148 thoughts on “Dan Kolb vs. Charlie Kerfeld. Also, game thread: Braves at Shells of Their Former Selves”

  1. Not fair. Kolb was a slow moving trainwreck on a team that actually had a chance to be good. I can’t think of a name other than Wohlers (who was really good most of the time) that sums up Braves’ despair more than Kolb. And they stuck with that guy all season.

  2. Re: Phil Collins-HOF

    As part of Genesis: Definitely (although Hackett and Gabriel better be onstage, too)
    As for himself-Not for me

  3. Kerfeld was something of a throw back–making him fun to watch. After tooling around the minors, I can remember that a number of us really hoping that he would stick in Atlanta.

    Kolb, on the other hand…..

  4. I don’t think we can say we still have anything more than a mathematical chance to make it to the post season, BUT it’s pretty possible we’ll be 2nd place in our division AND 2nd place in the WC standing. In June I’d have been pretty happy to see us end up with the 5th best record in the NL.

  5. RE: Wren and Cox

    Bobby Cox responded this morning to a Yahoo! Sports report of discord between him and Braves GM Frank Wren. Said Cox, speaking via iPhone from New York: “Everything is fine. Frank has been outstanding … I couldn’t believe it when I [learned of the report].”

    —Wait, Bobby has an iPhone?

  6. Going to the game with my girl and hopefully meeting up with ububba. If they lose tonight, it would be the tenth straight regular season game they’ve lost while I was there.

  7. A real fan would have already committed to not attending any future Braves-Mets games, Rob. Haven’t you done enough to this season already?

  8. Stu, I’ve only contributed to three losses this year, one of which was against the Marlins. Bobby Cox has cost us way more wins than that. ;)

  9. If the team is strong in 2011, bet he comes back in 2012, unless they win the World Series.

    At least Bobby doesn’t fall asleep on the bench as Casey Stengel was reputed to do in his last years. Of course, he often seems asleep at the wheel anyway.

  10. so Im guessing Yunel is probably going to get traded?? its possible that one more year of Bobby may cost us 4 years of Yunel

  11. 29 – that’s a huge jump. Bobby can work with Yunel, and has for 2 years. I would be shocked to see him traded.

    I think this is a savvy move by management. They get to set a date certain for Cox’s retirement so he can’t string them out year after year. They can spend this year settling on the right person to manage next. And Bobby get’s a farewell tour.

  12. I wonder if you then go for it next year. Package Medlen and Freeman for Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder (plus some filler) ?

  13. @29 – Really? I just don’t get where this comes from. Cox has no problem working with Yunel. He used to get on Andruw’s case the same way, and we never saw him get shipped out of town because Cox couldn’t deal with him. I really just don’t know where you guys come up with this stuff sometimes.

  14. @34

    Probably, but both figure to be on the block this offseason. You could start with Medlen/Freeman and add as needed while playing the two off of each other. Freeman will probably profile as a top 25 prospect next year and Medlen, at worst, seems like a league average starter in the NL. Probably have to give up a bit more, but it’s not an unrealistic starting point.

  15. Stu, you’re right. I think KJ would be more valuable to the Braves than Chipper, arguably the best Atlanta Brave position player ever, going forward.

  16. Another year of our lives as baseball fans wasted away by a spineless front office. Thank you very much Terry McGuirk and John Schuerholz!

  17. Personally, I’d rather have Prince Fielder than Adrian Gonzalez. Adrian Gonzalez is cheaper and plays better defense, but Fielder hits for a higher average and if the Braves are going to go the “acquire a 1B” route, you might as well just spend your money there (aka commit long-tern with big bucks, because they’re probably doing that soon at some position anyway) if you’re trading Freeman. So go ahead and get the better hitter.

  18. Jerry Crasnick:

    So what, precisely, is Francoeur? Under optimal circumstances, he’s an 18-20 homer guy who might hit .280 with an OBP of .310. Not great, but he still has a chance to be what one scout called a “useable piece.” That’s more than he was in Atlanta.

    His Runs Produced and limitless potential are being completely and unfairly ignored.

  19. As much as I wanted Bobby to retire, this is the right move by the front office. He gets the farewell tour Jay mentioned and he’ll get a shot to win with what everyone assumes will be a playoff-caliber team. We were never going to win it this year. We knew it and upper management knew it. To kick Bobby out after a rebuilding year (a fairly successful rebuilding year both on and off the field) isn’t particularly fair.

    Coach, are you going to change your “2010 or bust?”

  20. This is a good move by the front office. You don’t kick Bobby Cox to the curb after a rebuild year.

  21. I’m listening to the Jerry Manuel show. I love this nugget:

    “Jeff Francouer’s a guy who brings a great attitude to the ballpark every day. He says things like, ‘Hey, we’re going to win 10 in a row, starting now!’ He’s definitely a keeper for me and I think he’ll be here a long time.”

    Of course, we’ll see if Jerry’s still here after Oct. 4.

  22. 49,

    I feel like they would have announced TP as the next manager if he was being seriously considered. I have a feeling they’ll be looking outside the organization and will settle for TP if there are no better options.

  23. I am more optimistic now than I have been in years, even the last couple of playoff years. I’ve really liked Wren’s moves over the last year. He’s made the team exciting and fun to watch.

    In 2004, I knew Drew was a rental. In 2005, I still can’t believe the team made the playoffs. The team is better now than 2005. The offense is at least as good, and the pitching, top to bottom, is better.

    Over the last year, Wren’s pulled great moves out of nowhere and made great FA decisions in the offseason. He couldn’t quite land two good OF in the offseason, and that killed us this year. McLouth came a little too late, and Francoeur left way too late.

    Now he’s phasing out Cox. The guy who kept playing Francoeur every single day when there were better options on the bench. Nothing but optimism here.

    I’ve liked Cox a lot over the years. The performance of the pitching staff compared to their stops before and after Atlanta is a testament to his abilities. I tend to think that stuff matters a lot more than what the team loses with all the bunting. However, playing Francoeur this year really hurt the team. We might be watching the Braves in the playoffs if he had been benched.

    Not only did we dodge a bullet when Moore went to KC, but we gained what looks to be a fantastic GM. I’m really impressed.

  24. Sad. I had hope that we might finally see the Braves organization unyoke itself from the albatross that is Bobby Cox. I will give serious thought to picking a team to temporarily root for during 2010.

  25. 53,
    You do not represent the majority of the fanbase. Most of the fanbase likes Bobby Cox. It’s the 15-29 year old fans that think they know a lot more about the game than they actually do that hate Cox. Those who know what they’re talking about either don’t care or like him. So, please, don’t speak for the entire fanbase.

  26. i love bobby cox.

    however, i hate his in game decisions and his inability to make out a decent lineup. i dont like “life lessons” to be taught at the expense of every other player on the team. i’m 31. what does that make me?

  27. I’m disappointed Bobby will be back, but at least we will know ahead of time going into next year that the Braves’ ceiling is losing in the first round. I guess it’s good to get hope out of the way early.

  28. @57 – LOL, talk about over-generalizing. I’m 28 and am a huge Cox supporter. Only knock against him is that he is NOT a tactitian. He is the best people manager there is though. That can’t be overstated.

  29. Wow, Mark Reynolds set the single season strike out record…again. 206 so far this season. That is so many strikeouts.

  30. Well, I’m glad Bobby’s going to be back. I know I’m in the minority, but I really don’t think he has hurt the team in any real way. Maybe he used Gonzalez, Moylan and Soriano 5 or 6 times when he shouldn’t have. Or a few bunts here and there. But I’m definitely not convinced that Bobby is the only reason we’ve underperformed our Pythag.

    edit: And I’m 23…you know, just for the record.

  31. The Braves made the right decision. Bobby Cox is as great an Atlanta Brave as Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux and Chipper Jones. A dignified exit is the way to go on a man that has had very much to do with the success the franchise has had in the past decade and a half.

    No sir Coach – the educated, knowledgeable fan base has not been kicked to the curb.

  32. 57, YES I DO REPRESENT THE MAJORITY. Every damn poll put up was in favor of dumping Bobby Cox.

    When the blind lead the blind they all fall in…….

  33. 65,

    Let’s not forget about Greg Norton. Or leaving starters in too long (Derek Lowe’s 8-run fourth at Citi Field comes to mind).

  34. 65, the educated, knowledgeable fan base wanted Cox gone. You’re in the minority.

  35. I often criticize the Braves broadcasting teams so I feel like I should throw them a bone when they do something I like. I am a big fan of whichever producer has decided to cut to a dugout shot of Cox after his inane bunt calls. Thank you brother (or sister). Our long managerial nightmare is almost at an end.

  36. 68, you’re the one defending mediocrity, not me.

    Losing fourteen out of fifteen playoff appearances isn’t a crap shoot, it’s a trend. Ya’ll can all look forward to another season of it.

  37. When you go to Turner Field and they announce the line-ups, there are cheers after every Braves’ name. But two names are greeted with particularly loud cheers. One of them is Chipper Jones. The other is the one who drafted, developed, and managed Chipper Jones–Bobby Cox. The Braves fans still love Bobby Cox. And just because a couple of overeager kids post on the internet about how they think he sucks, doesn’t make those people a majority.

  38. I really wish people would quit pretending like they know anything about Bobby Cox’ people management skills. That former or, worse, current players say that they like playing for Cox means practically nothing which also says nothing to the fact that liking one’s manager is an entirely worthless commodity. Please stop citing an unquantifiable and unknowable thing as the primary reason that Cox is a good manager.

  39. If you’re going by the AJC poll online, I wouldn’t. I also wouldn’t go by what people say on the fox sports facebook page. Those people aren’t the educated, knowledgeable fans you are talking about.

  40. Any and every one of you are free to bash our HOF manager as if you know better than he does. All of you are free as a bird to pretend like all it would take would be to replace our HOF manager with (insert random untested utopian manager here) if you like.

    The rest of us are free to call you idiots as you deserve.

  41. @73

    I generally make about 20 trips to Turner Field per season. I have not witnessed the same louder cheers for Cox that you have. Really though, if the people for whom the NAPA cap shuffle and the tool race(how appropriate) are highlights of the game like Cox, should we really care what they think?

  42. The man got Gary Sheffield to behave for two seasons, and JD Drew to occasionally act like he wanted to be there. That’s a pretty good argument for his people skills.

  43. @75

    The fact that you want to discount Cox’s abilities at the manager’s most important function doesn’t mean we should. It means you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  44. Playing the Devils advocate takes zero brains. Don’t believe half of what you see, question everything and don’t accept anything heard at face value.

  45. Furthermore, I would go so far to say that liking one’s manager is just as likely to be detrimental to success as it is to increase the likelihood thereof. For example, I’m sure the players love not being required to practice the bunting skills that Cox so often calls on. Perhaps he should make himself a little less well liked and have the players practice the dumb shit that he is going to call on them to do all to frequently.

  46. Isn’t it amazing how eerily similar David Wright’s counting stats this year are to Frenchy’s in his last full year as a Brave?

    Wright NYM (2009) HR: 10; RBI: 68 (11 games to go)

    Francoeur ATL (2008) HR:11; RBI:71

    Maybe the boy should have just sat out after his concussion to save himself the embarrasment. BTW, I am aware he walks about 5 times as often and occasionally delivers a clutch hit.

  47. @84

    You’re probably too busy calling people on the internet with whom you disagree idiots to do so, but on the off chance that you aren’t; show me something quantifiable about how “people management” impacts the probability of winning a baseball game.

  48. Had an awful day today. The first words out of my mouth today were “fuck it” at around 6:17 AM EDT. I should have seen it coming.

  49. @86 – For someone who doesn’t like it when people speak of Cox’s well-known people management skills, you sure went out on a limb with that one, didn’t you? Cox doesn’t require his players to practice bunts??? Now that is a laugher. And I’m sure you went to all their practices and know this, right? All I can say is, WOW!

  50. Of course the majority of fans love Cox. The Braves used to be terrible, then Cox shows up and they are really good for a really long time. People that come on blogs and bash Cox (like me) are in the extreme minority of fans. Most people that go to the games have never been on a Braves blog much less participated in an online poll.

    As for me, I’ve never liked Cox but understood that he seemed to get more out of his players then most and made Atlanta the place to be for other players. However I think that has been severely diminished over the years (Peavy, thank GOD) and looking back it could have been exaggerated. People wanted to come to the Braves to win, Cox might have been a nice addition, but it was really about the winning. Just like everybody flocks to the Patriots in the NFL, they may really like BB, but they really just want to win.

  51. @88 – It really isn’t that hard to figure. It is just like with any other job. You go to work, and you find yourself and your team hating your manager. The team environment just isn’t good and quality work doesn’t get done. Bring in a manager with good people skills and is well liked, and that team may perform much better. It is management 101. Not true in every case, nor is it quantifiable. But is say it doesn’t exist is simply assinine.

  52. @90

    This causes me to think back to one of the earlier comments I made on this blog about statheads failing to account for the important role that fielding plays in run prevention. I believe it was JC that pointed out to me that statheads didn’t especially discount the importance of defense so much as they chose to base there analysis of a player’s worth on things that are quantifiable. So, if we’re willing to discount something as obviously important as fielding due to lack of available data why would we make an exception for something of questionable relevance like clubhouse chemistry or player/manager interpersonal relations?

  53. @92

    I won’t pretend like I know how often Cox has his team practice bunting. I can say that on the many occasions I have shown up at the park early enough to see batting practice I saw nary a single bunt laid down by a non pitcher. I can also say that if bunting is practiced, it’s obviously not enough since the Braves are almost to a man so piss poor at it. A rational man (who has somehow failed to yield to the understanding that bunting with non pitchers hinders the ability to score runs) would be led to believe that scaling back on the bunting with his poor bunting players might be in order. Of course, that’s too much to expect from our halfwit HOF manager who thinks the only times one should consult stats is at the end of spring training and when filling out one’s All Star ballot which would be hilarious if it weren’t my favorite team in all of sport being torpedoed by that idiocy.

  54. 95,

    This causes me to think back to one of the earlier comments I made on this blog about statheads failing to account for the important role that fielding plays in run prevention.

    Are you talking about evaluating pitchers or fielders? There are methods to do either.

    I believe it was JC that pointed out to me that statheads didn’t especially discount the importance of defense so much as they chose to base there analysis of a player’s worth on things that are quantifiable.

    Defense is certainly quantifiable. +/-, UZR, or even Zone Rating. But it’s certainly quantifiable.

    So, if we’re willing to discount something as obviously important as fielding due to lack of available data why would we make an exception for something of questionable relevance like clubhouse chemistry or player/manager interpersonal relations?

    I never said fielding should be discounted and I’m fairly confident JC wouldn’t either.

    Regardless, just because you can’t quantify something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  55. I don’t think you can quantify using a reliever too often or pinch-hitting Norton, either. Even bad decisions turn out well sometimes, and good ones can go wrong. It’s all subjective – people-managing, in-game decisions – everything but the results. The results haven’t been great, but Cox has been dealt some very flawed teams.

  56. @95

    I don’t discount defense. I acknowledge that I don’t have a reliable statistical model to quantify defense, use what I have sparingly and allow for non-statistical analysis in the rest. It’s the same pattern I use to evaluate management.

    People who don’t think Cox, publicly beloved by players throughout his career, publicly acknowledged by players since his Blue Jays days through Matt Diaz today to create environments where they feel they can succeed, people who think that guy isn’t bringing something to the people management table don’t have a clue about people management.

    With that said, let’s turn the tables on you and your “we only pay attention to what can be modeled” analysis. Show me the money, kiddo. Show me the statistical evidence that proves Cox is a bad manager.

    I’ll wait over by the bar.

  57. You’ve got to think Prado would be more careful in batting practice since he’s already been knocked out of a game in the same fashion.

    @44, I think the biggest omission is that his arm wasn’t mentioned. It’s a cannon!

  58. All of which is to say I think he’s legitimately earned 2010. Hopefully Wren can get him an offense.

    I would comment about hoping that some of the anti-Bobby rhetoric could tone down, but I don’t really think it’s a significantly held opinion anyways. He has had a pretty brilliant career, though. If the Fighting Francoeurs have damaged that in the minds of some fans, then so be it.

  59. @95

    That was several years ago, around the time or shortly after DIPS was developed. I wasn’t saying that I or anyone else discounted the importance of fielding but that when evaluating players (or in the present case, managers) it is rational to base one’s analysis on the data available and not on subjective opinions. Subjective opinions have value but I certainly wouldn’t privilege them over objective data. It is easily provable that playing the game with fewer than 27 outs (which is what Cox chooses to do with his bunting and infatuation with poor hitting players) is likely to result in fewer runs being scored ergo, fewer games won.

  60. 106,
    You vastly overstate the impact. Like I always say, if there was a manager worth 5 wins, clubs would pay him $20 million. That character doesn’t exist. The impact managers have on the field is nothing compared to their impact in the clubhouse. And even with all of that, they’re still only worth about a win.

  61. what an effin’ loaf job–a 380 ft single

    edit–replay looked like the umps got the call right–it was off the padding on the OF wall

    edit2–it’d now be 5-0 if Anderson actually ran hard–why won’t Cox bench him like he does Escobar?

  62. As irksome as we find “all those bunts,” let’s not overdo it. The Braves have 85 sacrifice bunts for the season, and the NL average excluding the Braves is 64. Counting a few failed attempts, that’s still one extra bunt a week, and we can live with that.

    I hope we can also live with LaRoche next year, but we’ll just have to see about that. I like what Wren did this June and July; he should have done more of it last winter, but hopefully he’s crested the learning curve.

  63. My opinion is that the differences between managers at present is often not that great because there is still a great tendency for all managers to use the same counterproductive tactics. It is that very tendency which leaves open a window for an intelligent manager to exploit. Even still, I think 1 win is a low estimate for manager impact. Wasn’t Mac’s analysis that playing a replacement level player over Jeff Francoeur last season would have netted the Braves an additional 3-5 wins? That’s a pretty significant impact and one which is directly attributable to Cox.

  64. The AJC has an article on players’ reactions to the Cox news. For some strange reason, they didn’t get a reaction from Norton.

  65. Well, we have 37 sac bunts by non-pitchers this year. Looking at our division rivals, the Mutts have 43, the Phillies 14, the Natspos 20, and the Fish 22. Looks like the difference is about the same or even less when pitchers are factored out.

  66. SH by non-pitchers:

    Prado 10 (!)
    KJ 6
    Yunel 5
    Diaz 4
    McCann 3 (!!)
    Diory, McLouth, Infante 2
    Blanco, Ross, Jeffy 1

    Prado is tied for 18th in sac bunts. There are several real players ahead of him, but none of them has a .456 SLG.

    Bunts are stupid.

  67. @115 – There was no one else to put in right and there was no sense taking him out in a lost cause year when we had spent so much in time and resources to make him a useful baseball player. It was somewhat less defensible this year, but Bobby didn’t block the trade if he even has that power. He shouldn’t, and doesn’t seem to.

  68. True. Remember, he’d had a halfway decent 2007, and there was hope that he’d turned the corner enough to be useful. And Bobby did try to send him down… only to have injuries force Bobby to call him right back up, whereupon Jeffy showed that he’d learned nothing.

    Edit: Nice work by Hudson to get out of the jam.

  69. Now, I don’t want to defend Jeffy. He sucks. He has sucked for a long time. He didn’t have very good minor league numbers. But the 2008 Atlanta Braves had no one else. This was a team that had Gregor Blanco in left most nights. There were just no options. Complain about the bunts, the overworking the bullpen, whatever. But the Frenchy thing was mostly out of his hands.

  70. My opinion is that the differences between managers at present is often not that great because there is still a great tendency for all managers to use the same counterproductive tactics. It is that very tendency which leaves open a window for an intelligent manager to exploit.

    So, when you compare Cox to actual real world alternatives you don’t think he is a drag on the team’s performance, but when you compare him to your utopian fantasy of what an “intelligent manager”, none of whom apparently exist in our poor, fallen reality, he’s worth firing.

    I see.

  71. ObTonight’s Game: Hudson’s done well and deserves one more inning. Now if we can break through for another run or two, I’ll be more comfortable.

    And the Pads lead the Rockies 2-0 in the 2nd.

  72. @126

    Apparently, you don’t see. A tendency, even a great one, does not indicate that there are no outliers. Oakland and Boston managers use modern (intelligent, if you will) analysis to make their decisions. Earl Weaver employed the so called Moneyball tactics long before Beane came along. I’m sure there are others.

  73. Not even Dan Kolb could blow his lead.

    I am glad we get to send Bobby out on his own terms. Maybe the team can over come his bunting next year

  74. Smitty, let’s not tempt fate.

    Seriously, I think these Braves will win the division next year. And even the weekly WTF bunt won’t stand in their way.

  75. Earl Weaver baseball = walk, single, 3run HR

    Earl Weaver baseball =/
    walk, bunt with excellent hitter, followed by inevitable walk to best hitter on team, followed by a GIDP by a terrible hitter who is inexplicably hitting cleanup

    Earl Weaver baseball = play for one run lose by one run

    Earl Weaver baseball /= play for one run all the time

    I would have thought that with all the noise you make about being older than me that you might remember Weaver a little better.

  76. Farewell tour for Cox?!

    We’ve got about a week and a half left and two more home series to close the year. There’s your farewell tour.

    You think fans in other ballparks give a rat’s ass about Bobby Cox’s last year phoning it in from the bench??

    Cox should have been the last seven home games of 2009 to be feted properly for all of his accomplishments and given an APBA game as a parting gift while being shown the door. Why on earth would the Braves need to give him another full year to extend his ejection record??!

    And if any of the players really, really don’t like it*, Washington’s always up for a trade.

    *I imagine they’d live, if not rejoice.

  77. The Dank Lob gave up 3 or more runs in five different games in his wonderful year with us. Seven if you count inherited runners.

  78. With Moylan and O’Flaherty pitching the seventh, I wonder if Gonzalez is available for the eighth. That’s Moylan’s 83rd appearance without a home run allowed this year. He’s one behind Reitsma’s team record for appearances in a season.

  79. @135

    I agree with all that except I would have gone with “Cox should have been the last seven home games of 2009 to be fetid…”.

  80. I think Smitty meant that not even Kolb could blow the lead he currently has in the poll, not the current game.

  81. Oh. Well, that makes more sense.

    It’s now 5-0 Padres, for those who feel the horrible stirrings of hope.

  82. @141–if the Braves have a kangaroo court, I’m guessing Gonzo gets a fine for giving up a double to the Out Machine

  83. Earl Weaver played for the 3-run HR *when he had the hitters to do so.* Just like Bobby Cox. When either manager lacked the HR hitters to play that sort of baseball they modified their games to fit their rosters.

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