Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – June 03, 2009 – ESPN
Where to begin? The game? Eh, typical. The Braves fell behind 2-0 in the fourth with a combination of some shaky pitching from Derek Lowe — who was otherwise excellent — and shaky umpiring from the men in blue — who were not otherwise excellent. They got a run back in the sixth when McCann singled in KJ, but after loading the bases with two out (Prado hit a little swinging bunt to reach) they couldn’t get the run in as Francoeur (typically) struck out on a pitch that nearly hit his feet.
The tied it up in the next inning as Blanco reached on a bunt single and Chipper, pinch-hitting righthanded after not starting, doubled him home. But again, they couldn’t get the hit to get them over the top. Inning after inning neither team could, with the Braves blowing more chances, until the eleventh. In his second inning of work, Bennett walked the leadoff man, who then went to second on a flyout to left field when Diaz’s momentum carried him away from the play. He went to third on a grounder past Chipper, then scored on a miserable little flare hit off of O’Flaherty right over Chipper’s head. It was really a bad rally. The Braves went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Meanwhile, lots of stuff happened before the game. I’ll have longer posts about some of them over the next few days. The first big story was that the Braves released Tom Glavine, apparently at his request when they said that he wouldn’t be called up. The Braves have said that they didn’t think that Glavine would be effective, and I agree — which is why they shouldn’t have signed him in the first place. They handled this pretty badly.
Then they announced that Kris Medlen was moving to the bullpen and that Tommy Hanson would make his first start on Saturday. Hanson was kept in the minor leagues for essentially financial reasons, slowing down his arbitration clock. Basically as soon as they were pretty sure he wouldn’t have Super 2 status in two years, they called him up.
Then Jorge Campillo was placed on the DL, and the Braves called up Brian Barton from Gwinnett. Barton pinch-ran for Francoeur tonight; he stole second, but the umpire called him out anyway. He’s fast, his bat is questionable, and he’s a pretty good outfielder. He shouldn’t get too comfortable, because he’s likely going to rejoin the AAA team tomorrow, or Saturday at the latest.
For as the game began, word broke that the Braves had pulled off a major trade, sending Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke to Pittsburgh for centerfielder Nate McLouth. McLouth was the Pirates’ token All-Star last year, and though his numbers this year are a little disappointing, a lot of that’s bad luck — and he still has nine homers, or four more than anyone on the Braves. It’s a good deal; none of the players sent to Pittsburgh is really likely to be a quality major league regular. I have severe doubts about Gorkys’ bat, as he still hasn’t developed any power, and strikes out about as much as Schafer. Morton is most likely a fifth starter or middle reliever, though he is pitching well at AAA. Locke has a lot of upside, but has been struggling, and I estimate has no more than a fifty percent chance of ever pitching in the majors. McLouth immediately becomes, by far, the Braves’ best outfielder. He will probably lead off tomorrow, though I would use him in the five hole — or cleanup, if McCann rests after catching 23 innings over the last two days. Either Blanco or Barton will certainly be sent down tomorrow to make room — though it would be great if it’s Francoeur, or if Norton were put on the DL — with the other likely to be sent down on Saturday when Hanson is activated — though it would be great if the Braves went with eleven pitchers for awhile just to see what having a full bench is like.
Man, a big no-call when Derek Lee “checked his swing” early on…a no call by the umps…which negated a “strike ’em out, throw ’em out” because McCann nailed the runner at 3rd.
Then…they screw us with the Barton call on the stolen base.
At least there is a chance our good pitching will be accompanied by some more run support. Finally.
I like this lineup against Righties.
1. Escobar – ss
2. McClouth – CF
3. CJ -3B
4. McCann – C
5. G Anderson – LF
6. Prado or Kotchman – 1B
7. KJ – 2B
8. Francour or Diaz – RF
A friend of mine has a shirt that says: “Pittsburgh Pirates: Rebuilding since 1992.”
Another Pittsburgh friend of mine said tonight: “Rebuilding? We’re just tearing down.”
They’ve lost Nady, Bay, and now McLouth in a relatively short period of time. As if it wasn’t hard enough to be a Pirates fan.
I’m excited about the Mclouth acquisition…but do you think he plays CF full time…or is the next month or so an evaluation period of the Frenchy and G. Anderson trade values?
Francoeur should absolutely be sent down tomorrow. His at bat with the bases loaded in the 7th was unforgivable. I mean, it was beyond awful.
Kind of a rollercoaster day for the Braves. Releasing Glavine is the wrong thing to do, in my mind. It’s probably for the best in baseball terms, but it’s become clear that Glavine was only signed by Wren to cover his ass for the Smoltz debacle…which may not have been a debacle. Either way, Wren did the right thing for the 2009 Braves, but the wrong thing for the 9-year old in me that watched Glavine shut down the Indians in Game 6. Tough call.
And just to throw my voice in with the chorus, the McLouth deal looks wonderful for the Braves. Now, let’s see what it takes to get Willingham, eh?
Isn’t McLouth supposed to be a really bad center fielder? I seem to remember a bit of an uproar in the defensive metric community last year when he won the Gold Glove. Am I just making that up?
No, you’re right. The metrics mostly say that he was very bad, though they look better this year. He doesn’t make many errors, he has a good throwing arm, and he made some highlight-reel plays (including one in the ASG) and that got him the award.
@6: “Francoeur should absolutely be sent down tomorrow. His at bat with the bases loaded in the 7th was unforgivable. I mean, it was beyond awful.”
really? that’s a classic Jeffy at-bat. He’s got the patent on that.
edit: call it a “JAB” (“Jeffy at-bat”: noun. an at-bat where you swing at three pitches that you couldn’t reach with a telephone pole)
Betemit was DFAd today. He’s not a typical SS, but Id like to have him over Diory til Infante returns
Such a flurry of roster moves. I need a few days to digest them. When’s the all-star break again?
I’m trying to work on the lineup… and you almost have to hit KJ or McLouth leadoff to make it work. As it is, Yunel in the two hole is problematic, because it’s so lefty-heavy (and thus LOOGY-vulnerable). Hmm.
RF Out Machine
If they fall further back in their race, would the White Sox trade Jermaine Dye for a package centered around Schafer? Would everyone here approve of such a move?
No way. I don’t think McLouth is a long-term centerfielder. Schafer should be starting there next year.
I know, I know. But Wren was so baseball savvy today. Why would he give it up tomorrow?
So now what? I mean, I seem like a complete pessimist for talking about more trades, but we’re probably still a bat removed from having a legit offense. And now that we’ve gotten one that can play center on the cheap, we probably have a great deal of flexibility. I do know that this team got a lot better today. Can’t wait to watch Hanson debut.
McLouth was terribly defensively last year by UZR but is about average this year. Next year, he should probably be the left fielder (where he has been very good in a small sample of 31 games).
Also, I’m wondering if they should trade Francouer soon, since they’ve already pissed off a lot of the die-hards.
we dont have the ability to trade anymore position players. We can get another bat, but it will be with pitchers
I think a Derosa type player could be very attainable and would fit nicely now
McLouth may not be a long-term CF, but the offensive upgrade at present is so severe that we can certainly live with him there. And this probably does send Frenchy to the bench against some righties (McLouth in right, Blanco in center), I’d have to think.
There’s nowhere on the roster for Blanco, though. Like I said, he’s going down either tomorrow or Saturday. I’d like to see a Francoeur demotion, but a DL stint for either Kotchman or Norton is Blanco’s only chance.
Can’t wait to hear Smoltz light up Wren & Co.
We can stick McLouth in leftfield next season. That’s not a problem at all. We finally have a major league caliber outfielder!!!
Despite the loss, today is a very good day for Wren. If there is one thing about Wren I don’t like, it’s his way of handling our past, but that’s going to be over with when Chipper retires. Otherwise, what he did today makes me smile.
I never thought the day would come when I would think that Mark DeRosa would be an improvement over a Braves outfielder. But he has improved greatly since he sucked as our third baseman five years ago.
i dont know if you guys think it’s a jinx to discuss, but all of a sudden we have a potential ace that’s going to be our #5 starter. with the release of glavine, our pitching staff greatly improved. so….the 25 man?
mclouth comes tomorrow, barton goes down?
hanson comes the weekend, medlen goes to the pen…..what happens?
after this move, i think we are 1 roster move away from being a great team: jeff’s gotta go and i dont really care if it is an in house solution or not, he is just bad.
in one day, we fixed 3 weaknesses: back end of rotation, gaping outfield hole, middle relief.
Boy, was I wrong. I recant my statements earlier today, and my phone call to The Swarm on 1040 ESPN Radio in Tampa (anybody listen to that, BTW? Good stuff…).
Stu was dead-on when he said the Glavine release didn’t make sense unless they were going to add payroll. After all, as mraver put it, what’s the point of cutting $1M? Give Glavine his hoorah, unless you really need that $1M. It turns out, though, that they did.
So for an hour, Wren looks like a douche. Obviously, transactions aren’t made in a vacuum, and so it was probably the release of Glavine that makes the McLouth deal possible. So when the dust settles, the Braves are removed from a contract they didn’t need, give Hanson his opportunity to be brilliant, and have the financial flexibility to get a much-needed OF bat.
And man, this is a huge acquisition. He can run (something we can’t do), he has power (something we have none of), and he plays CF capability. Whether he’s a Gold Glover or he’s merely average, he cures what we need in CF. And I hate to say it, but with such a significant offensive increase in center, it makes ACHE and Jeffy easier to bear.
Since McLouth makes around $5M, I think we have to be about done with adding payroll. DeRosa would be a nice acquisition, and he would give us some much needed defensive flexibility with Infante out, but I believe he’s also in the $5M a year range (albeit a FA at the end of the season), and I can’t see the Braves FO being able to take on that much payroll. I think we have to ride with guys like Blanco and Barton, and see if Anderson and Francoeur can catch fire. Of course, when Infante gets back, I have to assume he’ll get more innings in the outfield.
As for what we gave up in the trade, I think we made out incredibly well. Locke has potential, but he’s still very far away. Morton, as far as I’m concerned, has upside but it won’t be in Atlanta, and Hernandez, if he’s lucky, will be Nate McLouth. So, all in all, you have to give up something to get something, and I think we gave up quality players that we could definitely spare.
Good day today.
Yay for McLouth. But I am not enjoying this new management. I cannot believe Smoltz and Glavine are both completely gone.
McLouth is only making 2MM this year. If we could add Willingham and drop Frenchy, I would be ecstatic.
Good day though, outside the actual game.
Interesting, what would it take to get Willingham?
Yeah, where to begin? We should have never signed Glavine…its certainly not a big deal at this point, but the Braves are not exactly rich….
Jeff Bennett loses again–not exactly his fault: when you only score 2 runs in 11 innings….
Medlen to the bullpen….probably inevitable, but a weird way to reward one of the more dominant starts by a Braves’ pitcher this season….
Oh, I like the trade–even though I am much less pessimistic about Gorkys than Mac. The real loss is Morton, who has a decent chance to become a quality starter. Given Locke’s roller coaster trajectory, I am happy to part ways with him…..
I think that is a good point. Everyone knew that Hanson/Freeman/Heyward were untouchable, but probably the best part of the trade was that we did not have to give up Medlen.
Also, the hypothetical that I find mildly haunting is that if we had left JoJo in AAA and he had continued to do well, would we have been able to substitute him for Morton?
I think that another aspect of this deal is that it gives Schafer all the time he needs. McLouth is clearly perfectly capable of playing center, regardless of whether or not he’s the best in the league. So we can leave him there until Schafer gets his issues worked out in Gwinnett. Then whenever he’s ready, we can call Schafer back up and send McLouth to right. It’s also good in that it gives us a plausible out for dumping Franceour. Before, we didn’t have anybody else worthwhile in the organization, so he stayed. Now if he doesn’t get it together, it’s easy to dump him and stick McLouth in right.
Incidentally, I know this is gonna come as a shock to everybody, but I would prefer we send Blanco down tomorrow and see what Barton can do for a couple days, since we won’t need a CF anyway. Interesting question BTW: What do we do with Blanco? Now he’s lost his starting spot at Gwinnett, too. I guess we do have a spot available for AA CF, but are Schafer, Barton, Blanco or Jones really better served by doing that? It seems to me somebody’s the odd man out down there. There’s also Reid Gorecki to send out, I suppose, but that still leaves three spots for four players who should be starting at AAA.
I’ve had all night to think about it, and I still don’t like what we did to Glavine BTW. I agree that we’re a better team with Hanson in the rotation, but that doesn’t make what we did to Glavine right. We should not have signed him in the first place, and even after that, Wren was given an out when Glavine injured his shoulder in April. However, he didn’t take advantage of that, either. At any point while Glavine was basically doing nothing for a month-and-a-half, Wren could’ve dropped the ax and it would’ve been alright. He knew that he would want to call up Hanson in June. He knew that Hanson was gonna be ready. He knew that Hanson was pitching well at AAA. There was no reason whatsoever to send Glavine out on those rehab assignments. But he did, and at that point, you really have to give him a fair chance, I think. You can’t let him play himself back into the majors and then pull the rug out from under him. It was classless and dumb, and I don’t buy the velocity and effectiveness thing. We all know that if Hanson wasn’t ready or around, or if there was another spot in the rotation available, they would’ve called Glavine up. I think you’ve at least got to give him a couple of starts in the majors. Glavine has every right to be upset, and what we just did to him was far far far far far worse than what we did to Smoltz, and yet because it’s Smoltz vs. Glavine, a bunch of people are still upset about what we did to Smotlz for some reason, which is what we should’ve done to Glavine. As it is now, Wren and the team look classless.
EDIT: I’m pretty sure, Ethan, that if we had called Morton up instead of Reyes, Reyes would have been having a gangbusters year in Gwinnett and you’d be asking the same question except in reverse. These two guys are pretty much interchangeable AAAA pitchers.
I think that Morton has a higher upside (much higher probably) than Reyes. The issue for Morton is confidence–a huge problem for a pitcher.
Morton was battling some type of injury when he pitched for the Braves last year: we really don’t know how good he is likely to be as a major league starter. My guess is that if the Pirates bring him along slowly (one immediate advantage that he will have is pitching with less pressure) he may develop into a solid starter….
No one is arguing that the situation isn’t awkward; however, I’d like to see someone try to argue that the team is better with Glavine than with Hanson.
The Braves kept their options open until they were forced to show their hand. Reminds me a little of the Patriots in the NFL. Is is cold? Yes. But I think Wren was just doing his job. Sentimentality should take a back seat.
“That ain’t right. I just feel bad for a teammate of mine that I had for a long time,” Smoltz said in Detroit, where his Boston Red Sox teammates beat the Tigers.
“It’s not how you treat people. He didn’t have a chance to fail at that level, if that was the issue or concern. It’s just too bad for a guy. First time working his way back and he pitched fairly well. They talked about his velocity being kind of funny, but no one’s ever talked about his velocity before.”
Having seen Morton pitch a dominant game in AAA last year, he’s definitely got good enough stuff to pitch in the majors. Whether he ever gets his confidence there is another thing.
After thinking it over, I’m pretty sure I like this deal. Between McLouth and Hanson, I think the June 4 Braves are 5 or more wins better than the June 3 Braves. All that’s really left is to dump at least one of Frenchy and ACHE.
I would also like to point out that the Braves had every intention of using Glavine this year. They had him set to start the game on April 18th, but his rehab didn’t go as planned. Also, I suppose they let Glavine continue rehabbing recently so that they could continue to evaluate Hanson to see if they wanted to bring him up now. The fact is, Glavine was NEVER going to pitch for us the entire season. He was supposed to be a filler until Hanson was ready. I don’t think you can blame the Braves FO for the fact that Glavine’s rehad didn’t go as planned.
There’s a difference between sentimentality and treating people right. There was absolutely no reason to string Glavine along like that, and there were no options to keep open. They knew this would happen. If something had happened to Hanson after they released Glavine, they had other options. We had been talking about it all season. You could see it coming from five miles away. What possible reason was there for keeping Glavine and stringing him along? What did they expect from him? To look better than Tommy Hanson? Yeah, right. There were 50 opportunities to do this before now that would’ve been acceptable. I have said in every post about this that Hanson is better than Glavine. But we knew that all along. That’s really not the point. It’s almost as if they were hoping Glavine would fall on his face so that they wouldn’t have to take any PR hit whatsoever and that is bush league BS. In the end, they did what they had to do, but it should’ve never gotten to that point, and they should in no way be praised for “making the correct baseball move.” They made 50 incorrect baseball moves which made this one necessary.
5.5 games back of the Philthies.
We got some damn work to do…
Nick, you make some fair points, but it’s not like Glavine was rehabbing on his own dime and pitching those rehab starts for free. Did he or did he not get paid $1 million for signing ? As just about everybody has pointed out, he shouldn’t have been signed in the first place. Should they have kept him on the roster, paid him another $1 mill and watched him get knocked around the park for a couple of starts and then released him ? Would that have been better ? I can’t imagine that it would have been.
The comments coming from Glavine’s agent, Gregg Clifton are laughable. Talking about taking a ‘drastic discount’ is very amusing. I must have missed all the teams beating down the door to sign him this offseason. With arms like Pedro still free agents, I can’t imagine teams will be lined up for him now either.
Tommy, thank you for all that you’ve done over the years, but you should know better perhaps than anybody that’s ever put on a Braves uniform, that this is a business.
“No other options?”
What if there was an injury? What if Wren could have flipped Hanson for Ryan Braun or package he couldn’t turn down? What if Glavine came back and was actually good? There are a ton of hypotheticals. Are any extremely likely? Probably not, but you never know. In any case, the FO kept their options open until they had to make a decision. As they should.
In the end they decided Glavine wasn’t good enough to hack it anymore. That is their prerogative, and they are much more qualified to make that decision than anyone here. At least they gave him a shot and the opportunity to prepare himself for MLB games.
However, none of these are even close to being the most likely scenario. Imagine if you are Frank Wren, and after enduring the disaster that has been the Braves outfield for the first quarter of the season, you are able to acquire an all-star CF for what you believe to be a reasonable price. To do so however, you have to add around 1.5MM to your payroll. What would be a way to accomplish this and stay payroll neutral? Oh yeah! Release the old, coming-off-surgery, questionable stuff guy (who is due 1 MM) you have been keeping around for at least partially sentimental purposes!
I actually believe Glavine would have gotten a chance if this trade hadn’t happened. But the pieces fit too well for it to be held up…even by an icon who used to be good.
Also, the Braves paid Glavine 7.5 MM and lost a high draft pick last year to watch him put up 63 innings of Frenchy-esqe numbers.
As a retired franchise hero, they owe him everything. As a current player…they don’t owe him a damn thing.
That might have been a little harsh (I blame the middle east time zone that is keeping me awake all night), but the on the field product should be the first priority.
#34–I might add that it will be nice to see that Glavine will not finish his career in Atlanta getting rocked….If he signs on with sombody else it will be a Steve Carlton for the Twins act….
I am also happy to see that Venters had a good game–he needed it after two tough outings in a row….Otherwise, Jake Thompson’s troubles continue….
A friend of mine has a shirt that says: “Pittsburgh Pirates: Rebuilding since 1992.”
Atlanta Braves: Pretending their contenders when they are really not since 2006.
Good article by Passan:
Robert–Sometimes the truth hurts–particularly after 14 years. Lets hope that this is a temporary problem; people said the same thing in the early 1980s…
Ethan–Thanks for the post: interesting article, but Passan does not know the Braves’ organization that well. Locke and Gorkys are nowhere the prospects that Feliz and Andrus were. Also, I think he was a bit unfair to Morton….I don’t think that we have in any way a repeat of the Teixeria fiasco….
Feliz didn’t explode until after he was traded. Prior to that he was just a power arm with potential*. At least, I remember being on here during the trade, and that wasn’t the guy we were pissed at about losing. Also, he didn’t even crack BA’s top 100 that year. Salty and Andrus were the main guys in the deal, with Harrison being a decent low ceiling throw in.
I think (even though watching Elvis develop hurts) that I’d be okay with the Tex deal minus Feliz. We gave up some players, but sometimes you go for it.
Feliz really makes it brutal.
Anyway, regarding the article, I didn’t really bring up for the prospect analysis, but more for the examination of the position that Wren is in in trying to balance the legacy of the 90’s with the future of the club.
I’ve been as hard on him as any, but I’ve got to admit that, even with the strength of the farm system, he’s had a difficult hand to play.
*He kind of reminded me of Merkin Valdez (aka Manuel Mateo) that we threw in the Russ Ortiz/Damian Moss deal. Only obviously with a different result.
I am perfectly happy with this deal. This is no where near what we gave up for Tex.
Hey, Tex is red hot in May already! That’s what $180M can do!
I like the trade but it would have been nice to get RH hitter .. we are loaded with LH’s and we are vulnerable there .. and our best prospects coming up are both LH’s ( Heyward and freeman) .. we need a RH hitting 1st baseman or RF with POWER … we would be set then .. the only way to catch the Phillies it to be able to hit with them and we cant right now !!!
It’s interesting to hear Smoltz complain about treating people the right way, because, all the personal stories I’ve heard about Smotlz involve him being obnoxiously rude to other people for no apparent reason.
Not surprising to hear from Smoltz on this. Question: has any team ever paid a pitcher more than the Braves have paid Glavine, Smoltz, or Maddux?
Smoltz — $130,095,046
Maddux — +- $105,000,000
Glavine — +- $78,000,000
Backing off an opinion is not what the internet is for, Rob!
Not to mention his infamous homophobe statement as well . . .
If he’s such a class act, perhaps he can convince his new employer if they’re interested in signing Glavine.
Look at McLouth’s salary for next 3 years: (from Cot’s Baseball contracts)
12:$10.65M club option ($1.25M buyout)
That doesn’t tie up too much money for other upgrades except for ’12 which we could buy him out then.
Wren did a good job with this trade. Glavine was signed because for all the hype about Hanson, tnstaapp. Hanson had never pitched above AA ball. That he would dominate in AAA was never a given. Glavine was insurance. And as we all know success in AAA doesn’t mean squat. Hanson could be good or he could go Davies, James, Morton, Reyes on us.
Like all true Braves fans I have a special place in my heart for Tom Glavine but all good things come to an end eventually. I sure hope that he doesn’t go into a whine fest about how he was mistreated. And I also hope that he retires. Watching him struggle in another uniform would be just terrible.
Not sure if this was mentioned in the game thread yesterday… I was listening to the pre-game show on the radio and Chip Caray had an interview with Frenchy (I can’t believe I was able to force myself to listen to that). In the interview at one point Jeff had been asked about having to sit the day before and he said something like “I know there are lots of teams out there that would love to have me playing for them every day. If this is not the place for me to be playing I know there is a major league spot for me on some team and I’m ok with that.” I am para-phrasing from memory but that was essentially what he said. Sounds like Jeffy is beginning to convince himself that a trade/release is eminent. Dare we hope?
Plenty of teams would love to have him every day? He’s playing for the only organization in baseball that would tolerate his suckitude and he hasn’t even figured it out. I really think that his mental failings have turned him from a mid-700s to a mid-600s OPS player. What a shame. And to think, Jeff Francoeur was the poster-child for “make-up.”
Re-read Moneyball recently. The similarities between Beane and Francoeur as their beginnings as players are eerie. Neither can handle failure.
58 — A lot of teams?
Something I meant to note last night: When asked whether with the McLouth acquisition he is worried that the Braves are too left-handed, Frank Wren responded that he’s not, because only “about 20%” of the pitchers you’ll face are left-handed.
More or less accurate. 22.9 percent of NL PA this year have been against LHP.
My own post @57 I forgot to put this sentence in.
‘And as we all know success in AAA doesn’t mean squat. Hanson could be good or he could go Davies, James, Morton, Reyes on us. ‘
But even if he isn’t dominant he will be better than Glavine. And if clearing the money that would have been owed to Glavine helped facilitate the trade for McLouth then so much the better.
Even in the NL East? Didn’t we face a lot more than that last year?
Sure, a lot of teams would love to have Jeff–in AAA.
I can’t think of any other organization who would tolerate a ~.625 OPS from an *everyday* starting player at any position.
@58 If your paraphrasing is accurate then it confirms that Frenchy has a mild mental disability.
@59 so at some point in time we will see Jeff Francouer poster boy for innovative management of a baseball franchise? (attempt at humor)
Edit: That Francouer takes the field EVERY day is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 21st Century.
32.6 percent of the Braves’ PA this season have been against lefties.
Yeah, that’s what I thought. Do you think that’s just a fluke (for the second year in a row)? Or is it something to which we should be paying attention?
Tough one for Glavine however I like this “new” Braves business approach by Wren. That gives me hope that he’ll do something about the Frenchy situation as well. If he “screws” Glavine, it should be easier to do the same with Francoeur.
Great day yesterday, I like the moves. I don’t cry about Morton or Locke. Look at our rotation plus Medlen and some other better prospects in the farm.
Last year it was about the same — 31.7 percent. In 2007 it was 35.4.
One reason why I think that this was a good trade was we have a surplus of starting pitcher at the upper levels of the organization. Even with Morton traded and Hanson promoted, the Braves have Redmond, Parr and Armas Jr. Not exactly great options, but in a pinch they might be able to serve as #5 starters. Sure, it would have been great if we could have done this earlier with Jo Jo going rather than Morton, but the Braves are in much better position than they were 24 hours ago…..
I’ve had a different perspective on the moves by Wren regarding Smoltz and Glavine. I still think that Wren handled the Smoltz thing horribly and that he could have been a great help to us in some capacity by the end of the year. I was not as critical as some on keeping Glavine because I thought he would be able to pitch at an acceptable level if healthy.
That being said, unless something changes, I will trust that the scouts evaluated what Glavine has left and felt like he couldn’t help the team too much. If that’s the case, it’s a very difficult, but correct move.
As far as payroll, my thought is that we have some, but not much flexiblity. Anderson didn’t cost us as much as Griffey would have and McLouth is not very expensive this year – especially considering we won’t be paying any of Glavine’s bonus money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us make another OF deal. DeRosa would be okay, but we better not give up much for a 2/3 year rental.
I think Ethan pretty much hit it right. I don’t like what they did to Glavine (really, how they did it)but there is no reason to think they acted in bad faith. Glavine would have pitched had not the opportunity to get McClouth come along. Personally, I would have liked to have seen him get a couple of starts but if you really think you have a shot at the playoffs (I’m skeptical even with the trade) and you think Hanson will be an upgrade, you have to do what you have to do. It’s a shame what happens to these guys but, as I have said before, there is really no place for loyalty in a business involving hundreds of millions of dollars; I don’t blame Glavine or others for leaving for more money and I don’t blame the team for letting him go when necessary. Everyone says now they never should have signed him, but, at the time, it’s not like the Braves were rolling in pitching.
I’m curious at your comment; what should the Braves be doing? This seems like a good trade not just for this year but for the future–trading basically mid-level prospects for a solid player. People talk about the Braves needing to “tear it down” and rebuild but, my good, look at how young the team has gotten. Yes, you have some age in the rotation, but you also have two guys in their early 20s. You have youth at catcher, second, short, and first, and McClouth is pretty young, too, with Schaefer probably around next year. I think the team is being rebuilt without becoming the Nationals, although the project is not yet complete and probably won’t be for another year or two (until Heyward comes up).
I think this will make the team better, but we thought the same with Teixera (though this is a much better trade than that given the contract situation and who the Braves give up). McClouth is obviously a huge upgrade over Schaefer but I’m not convinced that it’s enough to make a big difference considering the remaining black holes in the rest of the lineup.
I really liked yesterday, if we had won the game, I would have loved it!
Some dumbass on the SportSouth Facebook:
“tommy betrayed us this year, too by insisting that he be brought up when he clearly wasn’t ready. this was tommy’s decision. he said bring me up or release me. he didn’t care about what was best for the team. for tommy, it’s all about tommy. he didn’t want to wait til he was ready (my guess, he knew he never would be). the braves needed the $$ to pay productive players. if he had wanted to stay here, he could have, in the minors. his choice.”
This may hvae been mentioned above, but if McLouth works out and Schaeffer recovers in AAA, McLouth has enough of a bat to carry a corner OF position, so we could have a de-facto competition between Schaeffer and Francoeur, with McLouth moving to the loser’s position.
McClouth is a huge upgrade, but unless Anderson can catch fire, there’s going to still be some offensive deficiencies.
I think Tommy Hanson is going to make a huge splash at this level and the Braves staff of Lowe-Jurrjens-Vazquez-Kawakami-Hanson will be, by far, the best in MLB.
These two moves coupled together are going to have a big difference in the long-run, I firmly believe.
count me in the minority that says “Screw Tom Glavine”……….i didnt notice him shedding any tears as he walked away a few years ago when he still had a little bit of life in his left arm.
And if KK struggles we have Medlen. Nice.
I gotta believe that Wren is looking hard for a Frenchy replacement right now.
Good point barrycuda. I love Glavine and can’t wait to see the #47 next to the #’s 31 and 29 by the big Coke bottle.
But he did walk for more money when he could have stayed and taken only a little less money and had a role in the front office.
I have an outside the box lineup:
5. Diaz/Ache preferably Diaz
7. Kotchman (5, 6, and 7 are interchangeable vs. the pitcher)
8. Pitcher’s Spot
The idea behind this is the the leadoff guy only leads off once a game theory. Maybe is the bravos do it this way McClouth will have an opportunity to hit with some guys on and in scoring postition.
I am sure everyone wants to have Frenchy hit 8 (or 9, or in Gwinnett), but I think it is better to have someone who can handle the bat there and take walks, (not exactly Jeff’s forte) so you clear the pitcher. However, the braves really lack that skill set, so why not do the LaRussa thing, clear the pitcher in the 8 whole and go with 2 ‘leadoff men’.
Another outside the box idea
Again, very outside the box. 2 things, one, chipper is the only thing remotely resembling a cleanup man in our line up. Two, Chipper in the 4 matches up better against both RHP and LHP because is it either 4 Lefties in a row vs. RHP or it goes L, R, L, L vs. LHP.
This team is still short two bats, and one of them HAS to be Right Handed.
Hey – McLouth has a reverse platoon split this year. I bet it’s his very low BABIP against righties, though.
The only thing I don’t like about the moves yesterday is the Medlen to the pen move. I think he should be starting in Gwinnett.
C Pimpbot 16
D. Hernandez (Infante-upon return)
And in August Hudson can replace whoever is sucking it up in the pen. (Cough*Bennett*Cough)
I hate that Tommy G. got the shaft, but as they said in Cocktail – “All things end badly. Otherwise they wouldn’t end.” And to me, this move works on two levels – it helps us this year while helping even more over the next two years.
I wish that when Hanson gets called up they’d just go ahead and send down Bennett and keep Blanco up. I think Gregor ought to get a fair chance to prove what he can do at the Major League level. I wonder if we could trade him to Toronto for a prospect, as he tore up SkyDome during the WBC.
@82 – I wouldn’t disagree, but with Campillo back to the DL and Bennett’s suckage, we need someone in there that can bridge the gap to Soriano and Gonzo. Moylan may be getting there, but I truly don’t like the combo of Atrosta and Bennett.
Glavine is apparently angry and wants to sign with the Mets or Phils to “shove it up ass?” Isn’t that the quote out this morning? Me, I’d love for Glavine to sign with the Phils. Having TWO Jamie Moyers in their rotation would help us close that five game gap quicker.
And let me just say: Fuck John Smoltz.
Yeah – I just value Medlen more as a starter. He’s got enough stuff to get through an opposing lineup a few times a game and he has pitched much more effectively as a starter in the last two years.
Meanwhile, Gwinnett’s rotation just got decimated. They lost Medlen, Hanson, and Morton in a couple of weeks time. I know that is way off the point, but in the inaugural season at Gwinnett – Ouch!
I like your second lineup. Chipper, like fine wine, has ripened into a fairly prototypical cleanup hitter – at least on our roster.
Yunel, Kotchman, McLouth, Chipper and McCann – pretty formidable top of the lineup.
@86 – Ahhh, the perils of being closer to the big league club. Not that it has anything to do with the present scenario, but figured I’d say it anyways.
I just want to say that I do not feel the least bit bad about or sorry for Glavine. Yeah, it was a money decision. So was him leaving us for the METS! Karma’s a bitch, Tommy!
And @85, completely agree about Smoltz. We loved you, but professionalism goes both ways, and YOU my friend aren’t displaying much of it these days!
Did any of you guys see the article in Choptalk about Greg Norton? His mom was strangled to death by his dad with one of his ties 20 years ago when Greg was 16. Greg is the one who found her. His dad denied it but finally came clean about it this past winter.
I agree that the Glavine thing could have been handled better and its a shame that the end did not come more gracefully. They probably should have had a heart to heart with him when it became apparent that he was not going to be ready on schedule — look Tommy, continue to rehab if you want but if Hanson is ready before you are and another rotation slot doesn’t open up, we probably aren’t going to bring you back.
But at the end of the day, can’t say I’m going to shed any tears for him.
As with Smoltz, I don’t think the Glavine thing was handled all that well (though not nearly as badly as the Smoltz debacle), BUT both were the right baseball moves to make considering where we are staff and finance wise. That said, looking back, the Braves have never done all that well with their team icons at the end of their career: Matthews, Murphy, Neikro, Aaron. Hell it seems letting Maddux go the way he did was probably about as good as we were likely to do.
Is there a rule about number of coaches in the dugout? Could we, within the rules, bring in Glavine or Maddux as an Assistant Pitching Coach mid-season without booting anybody else? (just curious if we could, not debating the shoulds of it).
I don’t think any team in any sport has really done well with their icons at the end of their careers. Look at the Yankees with Babe Ruth, the Colts with Johnny Unitas, and I’m sure there are others. It’s an inherently difficult situation because very few great athletes are willing to admit that their time is up.
As far as I know, there are no limits on the number of coaches but I have never heard of an “assistant” pitching coach and it would be a pretty awkward situation with McDowell. But I think the bridges with Glavine have been pretty much been burned permanently or at least until there is a new group in charge. It’s a shame.
Remind me again how we handled the Smoltz thing badly. Didn’t he choose a contract that offered him more guaranteed money?
I do not think Wren should have ever let Smoltz walk, but I do not see how he was mistreated.
Okay then, Glavine for HITTING coach.
I also dont think Wren shouldve met the Red Sox offer either. Smoltz was wanting to leave and play for a competitor. He’s getting that chance, but he should shut his mouth in the process. Its getting old
here’s something to note
The red sox, nationals, mets, phillies, and dodgers all are not interested in Glavine
Is Smoltz still scheduled to face Atlanta soon after coming off the DL? I’d love to shut him up. Temporarily, anyway.
should we save up every dime for this Bryce Harper kid in a future draft?
Is this another Sidd Finch thing?
Of course, it’s not April Fool’s.
The main thing with the Smoltz deal (as I recall) was that McGuirk went on a radio show or something the day it all came out and made statements to the effect that they were “shocked and surprised” in such a way as to seem like the team was blindsided by Smoltz making the decision he did. They then followed it up with signing Glavine in what appeared to be a largely “appease the fans” move, and had the whole Furcal/Griffey/Burnett situation unfolding around it. I don’t actually think Wren did all that bad a job PR-wise surrounding either the Smoltz or Glavine deals, but the Smoltz situation got mucked up a bit by McGuirk shooting off his mouth which prompted more back and forth than should’ve been.
I know my perception of it at the time was that basically the team kept telling Smoltz “just keep re-habbing, we’ll work something out”. But, the offer they had on the table at that point was different than what the BoSox had on the table (more guaranteed money from the Sox, and incentives that were fairly unlikely to be met from the Braves). So it was Smoltz saying they didn’t respect him enough to pay him or communicate what the team was doing to make itself competitive (and at that point the team looked like it wasn’t going to make any moves), and McGuirk speaking publicly in a way that seemed less than professional.
Now one can certainly say that Smoltz (and Glavine) haven’t maintained strict professionalism in their public discussion of the situations, but I think the onus here is on the corporate entity to stay professional more so than the individual player. For the corporate entity neither of these moves is/was a make or break situation. For each of the players it was/is their last ditch chance to maximize their primary revenue stream for the rest of their life. Corporations that rely entirely on talent (and good will of fans) to generate their revenue have a higher obligation for professionalism than that talent does. The job of a FO is to put the best product on the field, AND run the best PR campaign off it. The job of the player is to BE the best product on the field. Off the field the player obligation, socially/morally/ethically regrettably, is much less.
“should we save up every dime for this Bryce Harper kid in a future draft?”
No; we would need to figure out a way to finish last this year (assuming Boras figures out a way to make him draft eligible for next year, which I am betting Boras can do). However, given yesterday’s Braves’ trade, I doubt we can catch the Nationals now.
Since everyone else is doing it, here’s what my McLouthful lineup would look like:
And what it will actually look like:
PS: Anyone read/heard any comments from McLouth since the deal?
It doesn’t make sense to me to bat McClouth 1st or 2nd. The main point of getting him was to add power. You want him hitting behind the high OBP guys in the middle of the lineup and driving them in with doubles and homers.
There’s no perfect guy to hit leadoff but I’d put Escobar there because he hits so many ground balls and double plays. By having Yunel leadoff you’d at least save yourself from having a lot of 1st inning rally killing double plays.
So maybe something like
Until they get a better RF (memo to Frank Wren: feel free to trade or release Jeff and call up Brandon Jones), I’d play Diaz every day (in LF vs lefties and in RF vs righties) with Francoeur sitting vs righties.
SI would never put anyone on the cover that could possibly “miss.”
Even still, the kid seems quite impressive.
I’ll always remember Glavine fondly, and the Braves organization does owe him a few things. They owe it to him to retire his number, put his picture on the outfield wall, and to have a Tom Glavine Appreciation Night every season. Heck, every game of every season, if they like. Go so far as to show replays of Game 6 1995 WS between every inning of every game. Rename Turner Field Glavine Field if they so choose. That’s what they owe Tom Glavine.
What they *do not* owe Tom Glavine is to further hinder the big league club so he can have one more opportunity to prove that he doesn’t have it anymore. Isn’t that what last season was? Remember when we gave up $6 million and our 1st round pick to the Mets so he could ride into the sunset as a Brave? It’s about the future of the Atlanta Braves, not the past.
Btw- I really, really like the McLouth trade.
I honestly want to keep Yunel and Kotch at the top, but somehow Bobby always has different idea…and why did he put KJ back at the top for the last few games?
how about this thought…
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Braves were in serious discussions to trade for Marlins outfielder Cody Ross before pulling off the Nate McLouth deal yesterday. The Marlins made Ross available, but ultimately decided not to deal him. Some within the Atlanta organization would have preferred to trade for Ross because he wouldn’t have commanded as much of a return as McLouth did.
On Bryce Harper…
Borasbot 2.0, in my opinion. Insanely touted, first overall pick, demanding a huge signing bonus, and wanting to play in Yankee Stadium in pinstripes.
Great, I’m definitely going to be cheering for this kid…
Don’t see why we couldn’t still add Ross…
He’s a lefty masher who, like my grandmother, is also better than Stenchy is against righties.
Ross, Willingham, DeRosa, Spilborghs…there are quality guys out there who could presumably be had for not a lot, prospect-wise, and wouldn’t break the bank.
PS: The Mets are already down 4-0 to the McLouthless Bucs.
There isn’t any reason we couldn’t still add Ross, except the CBS report seems to indicate the Marlins aren’t going to trade him for now. But we should still go after Willingham. I’m not as high on Spilborghs. His numbers away from Coors have been Frenchy-esque this year, and you can’t explain it away with a terrible babip.
Edit: For whoever wanted comment from McLouth: “Huntington said McLouth was “shocked and disappointed” when he was told he’d been traded. McLouth did not return phone calls and a text message from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.”
The biggest positive from the release / trade to me (and I believe there are some negatives)is that (from what DOB said) Wren went toe to toe with Bobby and said, “No, dammnit, we are releasing him,”
That gives me hope that Wren may tell Bobby that Diaz plays right against righthanders and left against lefthanders until further notice.
I’ve been listening to the Bucs-Mets game on the radio today. Lotsa talk about how unhappy the Pirate players & fans are with the McClouth trade.
Howie Rose was telling a story of how a Braves scout had been following the Bucs around for the past week and, apparently, had been hanging with some of the Metfolk when they got to town. “His phone was ringing off the hook the last couple days,” said Rose, “but we had no idea it was going to be something this big. He never tipped his hand.”
BTW, Andrew McCutcheon, the hotshot prospect who replaces McClouth in CF, got a hit in his first ML AB.
It’s 4-3 now & the Mets are threatening.
8. Francoeur, Out Maker Extraordionaire
@103: I haven’t figured out exactly what my lineup would look like, but your example of what it will look like is definitely right on.
The only change I might make would be at the bottom, where I’d go:
Of course this ignores egos… I just don’t think you could move Garret to 8th without pissing the guy off.
I really can’t wait to see this lineup, but I guess we’re going to have to… at least until Schafer wakes up in Gwinnett:
And the Mets’ Daniel-Murphy-at-1B experiment isn’t really working either. He just made a 3-base error that cost them a run. He’s in the wrong league.
The Pirates’ newfound speed is killing the Mets today, who are also getting LaRoched to death. C’mon, boys, get that sweep.
A sentence containing “newfound speed” and “LaRoched to death” must be a rarity.
Just out of curiosity, how is Janderson doing this year?
I’m pretty sure there’s no shot of that happening, Cliff. Nor should there be. For that is a managing decision, and should be totally up to Cox. Releasing Glavine was a front office decision, and was therefore, in the end, totally up to Wren. If Wren demanded that of Cox, Cox should probably do the same thing that Wren did when Cox complained about releasing Glavine, and would be right to do it.
Regardless of what we think of Cox’s decisions sometimes, he’s damn sure earned the right to not have his GM tell him how to manage the team. If Wren starts doing that, Cox should immediately quit, like right then and there.
Janderson = not so hot
.260/.302/.330/.602 10-11 in SB’s
That is what I am hoping for. I am just sad the Glavine release didn’t get it done.
I agree that it is SUPPOSED to be the manager’s job, but if the manager doesn’t get it, then his boss is obligated to fix it.
FREE MATT DIAZ. By any legal means necessary.
Nobody in a job EVER “earns” the right to make decisions detrimental to the organization. This one is obvious, proven, and clear cut. Yes, the manager should expect to manage, but he ought to get his head out of his heinie.
By the way, I saw McCutcheon when their AAA team played at Gwinnett last week. He’s really damn good. He basically was the control switch for the entire Indianapolis offense from the leadoff spot.
That’s another aspect of the trade that Pirates fans and people complaining that the Pirates are giving up may be missing. Maybe they liked him more than McLouth. He sure looked Major League ready to me, and apparently was. If you can flip the guy who’s blocking him for another CF (and therefore OF) prospect, a pitcher who can pitch at least at a #5 level in the big leagues right now and a pitching prospect, it’s probably not a bad deal.
EDIT: While I don’t think that Cox bowing out after this season would be a bad thing, you are vastly underestimating the degree to which the team would collapse if Cox suddenly quit because Wren was being a jerk. There would be no succession plan, the team would all be on Cox’s side. It would be a complete mess that would sink us for the rest of the season. We do not want Cox to quit in the middle of the season.
And you are vastly overstating the detrimental effect to the lineup of not starting Diaz every single game. It is an arguable point, and an extreme stretch to say that its ruining the team, and it is completely a managerial decision and is not worth ruining the team over.
“…Cox should immediately quit, right then and there.”
Hmmmm…do you think Frank Wren reads Braves journal for ideas? Because that might be a good one.
Schafer went 0-5 with 2Ks last night for G-Braves.
I have liked McLouth from that opening set we played with the Pirates last year. I think we stole him. What a pick up.
For all those who can’t believe how we shafted Glavine–and of course they aren’t as prevalent here as the DOB site–just remember he left us first.
I’ve always been a fan of his and will never forget what he meant to those 90s teams but we (foolishly) already paid $8 million for sentamentality last year and what did that get us. We also gave him $1 mill this year already (basically as insurance against injuries/reaction to the Smoltz debacle).
It’s a tough spot for all involved but this makes the team better this year.
Divyesh (Provo, UT): Thoughts on the Glavine debacle?
SportsNation Keith Law: (1:51 PM ET ) Good move by Atlanta. No room for sentiment.
well Dontrelle is being Dontrelle, how about this line
2.1IP 0H 4ER 5BB 3SO
They almost had a McOutfield.
Does McLouth make Kfer expendable?
It’s actually “Andrew McCutchen”, as his family is too ignorant to put an o where it belongs.
— McCutcheon A. Thomason
I hope to God not. Assuming Kfer ever figures it out, we basically have all three OF spots spoken for in a couple years. If he doesn’t, then we can worry about that.
Yeah, in 2011, the outfield should be McLouth in left, Schafer in center, and Heyward in right.
BTW, has anyone heard if the Pirates are going to promote Morton? Their rotation is not that bad, actually. But I’d like to see Braves North, with LaRoche, Morton, and Kali (when he comes off the DL).
Hey Mac (or anybody else), I’m curious. What would you do about the fact that we now have five AAA-level outfielders in the minor leagues (or will by the end of the week), four of whom should be starting?
Like I said above — I expect that Barton or Blanco will go down as soon as McLouth arrives, and that the other will go down when Hanson is called up, though I’d prefer to keep one of the two. Actually, I’d prefer to keep both and send Jeffyto Gwinnett, but that’s not likely.
invite them to play Russian roulette? 🙂
edit–kidding aside–put one at DH
Yeah, but my point is that we’ll then have Blanco, Barton, Schafer, Jones and Gorecki all at AAA, and all but Gorecki should probably be starting. Do we send one down to AA, do we release one? What do we do with that?
I think Jones is aching right now. I would guess that he DHs.
open the flood gates 8-4 now
I wouldnt be surprised to see Jeff cut loose or traded very soon, Id like to see what Barton can do. Never seen him play, but he did have an okay obp with St Louis last year and apparently can use his speed unlike Blanco
lets get Cantu and put him at 2nd and move KJ to RF
I think Jones is aching right now.
so you’re saying he’ll be called up to play lf?
Offer Frenchy a demotion to Mississippi or an outright release while we keep Barton with the big league club…at least until we get a better RH bat.
But all kidding aside, Schafer gets every start in center while the other 4 rotate. Shouldn’t be too big of a problem.
Mac, the Pirates GM seemed to indicate that Morton will start at AAA.
I’m still interested to see how McLouth handles this. Him getting traded like this is like us trading McCann in June of 07. He committed to them longterm, and they traded him for a AA CF who strikes out too much, a AAA head case and a single A southpaw with upside. Can’t feel too good.
edit: Here’s the link to the story from the Pittsburgh paper.
Money quote from McCutchen: “McLouth wanted to be ‘that guy’ for (the Pirates)” We’ll see. I hope he takes it well. I still miss Glavine, and the idea of him pitching for the Phillies makes me a little nauseous.
From the way Huntington talked, Morton was going to be up with the Pirates in the very near future.
I would love to see us get another good outfielder like Shin-Soo Choo. An outfield of Heyward, McClouth and Choo in a few years could be pretty special. If we did something like that, we could easily afford to trade Schafer or move one of the 4 to the infield.
I wonder about McLouth, too. He’s being forced onto a team he may not want to be on at this moment.
Anywhere is better than Pittburgh (at least baseball wise)
McLouth says emotional goodbyes: http://tinyurl.com/qgpv9y
Classy farewell interview speaks well of McLouth.
Glavine on the Phils?
Amen, ububba. If he wants to tarnish his legacy—and help our offense out in the process—he can go right ahead.
It’s hard to see how he could be much worse than what the Phillies are throwing out there now. Only the Gnats have a worse team ERA.
McLouth sounds like a good guy. He certainly isn’t a perfect player, but the way I feel about this trade is the way I feel about the Vazquez trade: with every passing minute, I like it more and more.
He’s a solidly above-average player for an outfield filled with screamingly below-average talent. The degree to which he improves our offense is almost impossible to overstate — again, he immediately leads the team in home runs, and he transforms a lineup spot from an automatic out into a power threat.
He’s 27, and probably about as good as he’ll ever be. Offensively, that means he’s an .800-.850 OPS guy, who won’t crack .900 except by way of statistical outlier. Defensively, that means he’s an average-to-below-average guy who will only get worse as he ages. He’s more than good enough for an outfield corner, and signed to an extremely reasonable long-term contract that means that at least one of our toxic 3 outfield spots is taken care of at least until Heyward’s ready.
There is still room in our outfield for Schafer, and this move gives him the additional development time I wish he’d had at the beginning of the year. Hopefully he has his head on straight enough to be able to deal with the lessons he learned in the big leagues and figure out how to patch the holes in his swing.
The clock is running out on Jeff Francoeur, who only has to look to his right to see what a major league hitter looks like. In two days, the Braves demoted one outfielder who wasn’t hitting and traded for another outfielder who can hit. Even as obtuse as he is, he has to realize that no one can suck forever and get away with it.
And now Tommy Hanson’s here. I feel so much better about this summer, I’m almost embarrassed.
I wasn’t aware of this:
Well, that’s just depressing, AAR.
Player analysis/game thread is up.