339 thoughts on “Remember the Furcal rule”

  1. I missed this post by two minutes. From the last thread:

    I like the Wagner signing because the commitment is short. Supposedly there is a vesting option for $6.5M in 2011 if Wagner finishes 50 games.

    Now, do we re-sign LaRoche or one of the relievers?

    I thought Soriano was gone, but does it make sense to have two lefties at the back of your pen? I think not. Probably both relievers are gone and the Braves end up with extra picks in a deep draft.

  2. No one’s going to trade us anything much useful for KJ, or even Church, since there’s a solid chance of either of them being non-tendered and available without giving up anything other than money in exchange.

  3. @2

    I’d take that.

    Olney on the Deal:

    1. The Braves signed Billy Wagner, as colleague Jerry Crasnick confirms, and also offered arbitration to Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, as David O’Brien writes.

    A rival executive said this morning that he likes the deal for the Braves, because Wagner comes to them at a discounted rate. “He’s probably an $11 million-a-year closer if he’s not a Type A free agent,” said the executive. “So they get a potentially high-impact pitcher on a short-term obligation.” Said another executive: “It’s a value signing. You wouldn’t want to give up the draft pick, but because he came to them for less than what he’d normally cost, it’s probably worth it. … He was throwing the ball great in September.”

  4. Yeah, I know, wishful thinking. I hope we non-tender neither, but I think it’s 50/50 on Church and I think KJ’s as good as gone.

  5. I hope they hold onto Church…at least until they find a replacement. I love Heyward, but relying solely on a 20 year old rookie is dumb.

    If they signed Cameron and LaRoche…I’d call it a successful offseason

  6. I like the idea of signing Cameron even more now that he has not been offered arbitration.

    Other interesting non-arb names:

    Nick Johnson, Jermaine Dye, and Miguel Tejada.

  7. Stu’s ideal scenario:

    Sign Mike Cameron. Non-tender KJ & Church. (And Logan.)


    (a) Trade Jurrjens+ to the Royals for Billy Butler & Joakim Soria.


    (b) Trade Vazquez to the Cubs for Derrek Lee and sign Octavio Dotel.

    I seriously doubt we have any interest in Johnson, but I’d add Adrian Beltre and Octavio Dotel to the “interesting” list.

  8. I would not be interested in Johnson, but with an opening at first base, one has to think he could end up an option.

  9. I thought Dotel was a FA anyways? Id like to sign Nady and Cameron

    I like Johnson and his .400OBP, just wish he was right handed and without a mustache

  10. i’d like to sign nady and glaus. both add power. both add flexibility to rest chipper and ease heyward into the major league lifestyle. both are high risk/high reward guys.

  11. csg,
    Dotel is a free agent. He was Type-A and wasn’t offered arbitration. Which is why I think he’s interesting.

    ryan c,
    I don’t hate either idea, but I’m not sure Nady, in particular, qualifies as “high reward”.

  12. The rest of the quote from Buster Olney’s blog, to give further context:

    But not everybody loves the deal. From a talent evaluator: “I don’t get it at all [for the Braves]. Yes, the salary part is fine, but you’re talking about a lot of risk there — 38-years-old, coming back from Tommy John surgery — and you need those picks; those picks are invaluable. I know they could be thinking that they could get back picks for Soriano and Gonzalez, but if I’m in their shoes, I’m trying to collect as many picks as I can.”

    Moving Derrek Lee doesn’t make sense for the Cubs; they don’t have any reliable offensive players right now other than Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Soriano’s a fine player, but has knee problems and doesn’t walk. They don’t have a good replacement for Lee. I don’t see it.

  13. Nevin, for what it’s worth, the stuff you quote from the Olney article was not there earlier, when I read the story. So, Ethan wasn’t trying to be misleading or anything.

  14. @15

    Draft picks are the new market inefficiency. Teams and analysts overvalue them. Yes, they have value, but outside of the very high first round, they’re not gold. A closer in hand is worth two in the lower half of the first round. It’s good to see Wren ahead of this curve.

  15. Weird. Just refreshed it and saw that.

    I understand why there should be injury concern with Wagner…especially with the age, but one thing I also think should be taken into consideration is what I call the “athletic freak” factor.

    I mean, when a guy is right handed, breaks his arm, teaches himself to throw lefty at 100MPH, and then turns into one of the most dominant closers in our generation…well, it wouldn’t surprise me if he were a bit of an outlier from standard pitcher statistical trends.

    Is he a risk? Of course. But what reliever isn’t? Plus, if he is hurt, it’s essentially a one year deal. Soriano and Gonzo wouldn’t be, and their injury history is about as extensive, in spite of their ages’.

    With regard to the draft picks, the way I see it is we’re giving up one high pick for Wagner. We’re getting two for each of Soriano and Gonzalez. I like the deal. It sets us up short term, and we really don’t sacrifice anything long term

  16. Stu, Ethan: Believe that. Didn’t think otherwise, the deal’s just unfolding. Just wanted to make the additional commentary available to the list here.

  17. Most of the negative stuff out there has to do with Boston getting two picks out of the deal. First, their supplemental pick has nothing to do with us and costs us nothing. Second, assuming Sori and Gonzo decline arb and sign elsewhere, we could have 4 picks in the top 40. Of course where the picks are depends on who signs our relievers and if they also sign one of the couple of higher rated type-As, but losing the #19 pick for quite possibly 4 in the top 40 works for me. It’s possible the Braves wanted to lose that pick as this draft could already be quite expensive

    Also, I’d love for us to add Calero who made only $500,000 last year and wasn’t offered arb.

  18. Nevin – I am not so worried about losing the pick because of the extras we will likely have anyway.

    We lose a first rounder, but gain two first rounders (or second) and two supplememntals. Five to six picks in the first 100? We had like two that high this year.

  19. @20

    RE: the injury risk, I’m not sure Billy Wagner is more of an injury risk than Mike Gonzalez or Rafeal Soriano. They’re relievers. They’re all freaky and unpredictable. The Braves have replaced one – Gonzalez – at the same price they paid Soriano last year. Good move.

  20. Mac’s cautionary note aside, I like it! We got Wagner at sale price and we are not committed for the long hall.

    I trust that it also means that the Braves will be patient with Kimbrel’s development.

    And, lets go get Mike Cameron….

  21. Bowman just tweeted: “Braves officially announce Wagner signing. Press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. ET at Turner Field.”

  22. I laughed at this line on MLBTR (not-braves related):

    “Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that if any free agents are curious about playing for the Yankees, Derek Jeter says they’re welcome to call and ask him any questions they might have. Jeter could save himself some time by simply mailing every prospective free agent a picture of his hand wearing five World Series rings.”

  23. The picks given up for Wagner aren’t inconsequential but I’ll take proven major league performance at a discount over a first round pick any day. The Braves way. Potential for performance.

  24. 29

    Hate to keep harping on it but it’s “the PICK” given up for Wagner. We only lose 1 pick. May have just been a typo on your part, but I keep reading that we are losing “picks” everywhere and that is just not the case.

  25. Losing a top 20 pick could suck. One thing to think about, though, is that a lot of teams have draft budgets, meaning if you have a bunch of picks, you might not necessarily draft the same players you would if you only had some of those picks because you don’t have the money to sign them all. Don’t get me wrong, all things equal, I’d rather keep the pick, but I think it hurts more if it’s the only early pick you have. If we do end up getting 4 early-ish picks for Sori and Gonzo, then I don’t think it hurts as much.

  26. Billy Wagner > draft pick + $7 million. Good signing.

    If we could get Derek Lee for Vasquez, I think Frank would have done that yesterday. I don’t see the Cubs moving him. But, oh if they did…

    Add me to the Cameron and Calero bandwagon.

  27. From MLBTR –
    11:36am: The Braves officially announced the Wagner signing, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. That implies he passed his physical.

  28. I don’t understand the sentiment, “It’s OK to lose a draft pick because the Braves will get 4 back for Soriano and Gonzalez”. The value of the draft pick the Braves forfeit is completely independent of the value of the draft picks they net from the departure of Soriano and Gonzalez. They’re discrete events.

  29. @35 – I think all that is being said is that it makes it easier to cope with the loss of a draftpick knowing you should have others coming your way.

    Either way, this is a good deal. We get a good closer fore below market value.

  30. @35

    I see where you’re going with that, but is it true? Any first round will have a discrete amount of talent available. The point where the value of your third, fourth or fifth pick in that round begins diminishing is early. I agree that having the 20th pick doesn’t impact the value of having the 17th, but having the 17th could make the 20th less valuable if you think there aren’t 20 outstanding talents in the draft class.

    Me personally, if it’s not a single digit pick in the first round, I don’t weight it too heavily against honestly projectable, ready now, major league impact talent.

  31. I do not agree PW. The Braves can only pay so many first round bonuses next year.

    If the Braves were planning to sign another Type A free agent (or two) then I would judge the pick a true loss.

  32. They are not necessarily discrete events, nor is the timing of the Wagner signing necessarily a coincidence. In other words, had Wren not had a framework for a deal with Wagner in place he may not have risked offering Soriano arbitration.

  33. #35–True enough. But if the Braves had 3 first round pick and 2 more supplemental picks between the first and second rounds, it would probably explode their draft budget.

    I hope that we get these 4 picks and that the Braves don’t then shy away from drafting (and signing) the best players.

    In any case, I am happy about picking up Wagner….

  34. @35

    I agree that they are discrete events; however, they don’t happen in a vacuum. We all agree it’s essential that a minor league system be infused with talent every year. Losing your 1st pick detracts from that, but gaining others around that same area of the draft balances against that loss.

  35. Further, you could argue that if the Braves did not sign Wagner, they would have been forced to keep one of Soriano or Gonzales, “losing” two picks instead of one.

  36. 41—How did they fail, Mac? The deal Minor signed was agreed to long before he was allowed by MLB to sign it; it may not be “cheap,” but it’s definitely the price the Braves were looking to pay.

  37. Ok Frank, now go out and get us a first baseman or an outfielder. Yes, I know. The Furcal Rule is still in effect.

  38. Re: the bulldog discussion from last thread:

    Considering Wagner will more than likely replace Soriano, who some sportswriters have accused of not putting forth maximum effort unless he was in the last year of a contract/up for arbitration, I don’t think it’s “stupid” to mention that I, as a fan, appreciate his work ethic. The fact he shut us down and struck out four Braves in 1.2 innings in his first game back, making Brian McCann swing like a certain rightfielder, is way more exciting to me.

    And of course that’s not why you should sign someone. If all it took was the desire to win, Derek Lowe would have had a better year.

    So no, Lunatic96, you didn’t hurt my feelings. I called you Coach’s replacement because that was the last arrogant guy who made snide comments on this thread.

  39. Sorry Stu, misread your comment earlier. I thought it said trade Vasquez for Lee and Dotel

    Billy Wagner is worth more to me than a late pick, in which we’d probably try to save money with that pick anyways. Seems like we’d have to many picks and probably not enough $$ for them

  40. No your comment was still stupid. Just because you don’t see the guy jump around and act excited doesn’t mean he’s not giving full effort. If pitchers weren’t giving full effort they wouldn’t have a job.

    If you wanted to say he was a good pitcher who was left handed which is something valuable when we play the Phillies 19 times a year that would make sense. But to claim he’s a bulldog who works harder than other pitchers just because you think it’s true is stupid. Soriano had fucked up elbow last year and he still went out and pitched even though it was causing him pain, but I’ve never seen you call him a bulldog.

  41. It’s preposterous to say that all pitchers put out the maximum amount of effort or show the same willingness to compete. Remember Bob Wickman?

    And again, that’s hardly the only reason I think he’s a good signing. Chill out.

  42. at the press conference they displayed a Wagner jersey w/#13 on it…any idea if he payed McClouth for the jersey number or what Nate will be switching to?

  43. So our pen is shaping up to look something like this (with changes yet to come, I am sure)

    Kawakami (or other starter)
    One other (Parr, Reyes, Acosta, Abreu, Logan, etc.)

    Am I forgetting someone?

  44. It’s also preposterous to say that you as a fan can accurately measure who’s giving out more effort and who’s not. I don’t personally see Manny Ramirez study hours of videotape to become a better hitter, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it.

    Also, I’m not the one who started screaming about Coach the moment an innocent one-liner was posted.

  45. Yes. I forgot about Proctor.

    I don’t think he will be ready until mid-season, but his presence might make another bullpen acquisition optional.

  46. The guy who got JC’d on the last thread was right. He’s not a national sportswriter and you’re not Ken Tremendous. It’s how people talk about baseball. You’re overreacting.

  47. I hear Milton Bradley is a cocker spaniel. You know a little schizoid. From all the in breeding. Not Bradley but cocker spaniels……. shit, never mind.

  48. Rob, I expect a better post from you the next time news breaks at 3 AM on a Tuesday. You better not sound anything like Murray Chass, and you better include some advanced metrics. Ok?

  49. Word from my barber is that Bobby already has Wagner warming up in the pen. Wagner is expected to pitch four innings tonight and then again tomorrow.

    I see Wagner’s arm falling off around July 9th.

  50. Richt fires three today…defen coor Martinez, Jancek, and Fabris. I dont think he had much choice.

    IrishCentral is saying that Kelly will be the next head coach at ND

    and I did hear Kiffin’s comments, dude hates Meyer

  51. Here’s a non-sabremetric observation:

    I have high hopes that the post TJ-surgery clock for both Hudson and Wagner works as suggested that roughly 18 months is when it all comes together.

    Both should be throwing harder than ever. Add their experience, gamer makeup and the “Win One for the Skipper” attitude that should permeate our clubhouse next year and I am close to needing a Urinator.

    (Watch ’em both break down like Dravecky … )

  52. my handle is lunatic96 because when I was 15 years old I thought it sounded clever. I haven’t felt like changing it in the 10 years since because it’s a pretty rare username and people generally don’t take it.

    If somebody had called a signing of ours scrappy someone else surely would have said something snarky and nobody would’ve called that person the new coach. It’s not my fault that RobBroad4th got butthurt over a sarcastic comment. Not to mention that it was usually Coach who would make statements that couldn’t be backed up by facts, so if anything people should be calling RobBroad4th the new coach.

    But whatever, I obvious struck some sort of sensitive nerve with RobBroad4th and I’m sorry that I hurt his feelings. I’ll stop talking about it now.

  53. All year everyone has been saying that Kelly will be the next Irish coach.

    I’ll be worried when he shows he can improve their defense. I highly doubt he can improve their offense.

  54. John Manuel has a Rule 5 preview up at BA and lists Yeliar Castro and Edgar Osuna as More Names to Watch (basically 11-20). I haven’t heard of Castro but would be sad to lose Osuna.

  55. @72

    That concept came to mind immediately and is terrifying. It’s another reason why I like the games completed clause for the second year.

  56. Bowman said something about a Kelly Johnson trade on the horizon, but I haven’t heard much about interested teams. KJ for a setup guy?

  57. @76

    Thanks for the explanation. I thought the 96 referred to your year of birth. I had no idea you were already 15, let alone 15 some time ago.

  58. Wasn’t Castro in Single-A last year?

    I don’t see him being picked up. But then, Sergio Valenzuela was.

  59. Stu,

    It was a passing comment in the Inbox section of the main site. I may have misinterpreted it slightly:

    “Still, before next week’s Winter Meetings begin, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wren make a trade, and by that, I mean one more significant than the one that could involve Kelly Johnson.”

    It’s a bit on the vague side, but it sounds like he thinks KJ will get dealt at some point. Whether that’s backed up by something more than just speculation, I’m not sure.

  60. Does Ogilvy break out tonight, Stu? He’s the one guy on your team who terrifies me and it doesn’t seem like we match up against at all.

    Also, been reading a bit about Memorial. Very interesting arena. I’m curious to see how it affects us.

  61. If by “break out,” you mean, “have a good game,” I have no idea. I sure hope so. (But he’s done plenty of breaking out already in his career. And he broke out for the season in our last game against Arizona, where he finally—finally!—looked like the AJ of old.)

    AJ is sort of the key, but Jeff Taylor is our best player and Jermaine Beal, the only senior, is our steadiest.

    With the late game time, I don’t know what kind of crowd to expect, but if it’s close to full, your team should be in for quite a unique experience.

  62. “Memorial Magic” is indeed an observable phenomenon.

    It has the curious effect of causing normally adequate referees to call an abundance of fouls on the team wearing the darker jerseys.

  63. With Pedroia moving to SS, do the Bosox have anything we want?

    Any possible way to pry Youkilis out of there?

  64. Random music endorsement:

    I highly recommend Phoenix’s album “Alphabetical.” It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites.

    Flying back to NY tonight after a long Thanksgiving holiday. I think that album will keep me company on the plane.

  65. Was Vince Young ever really that down in the first place? He had the bad few months last year, but it’s not like his play was THAT bad.

  66. No disrespect. Just from what I’ve been reading, it seems like he hadn’t been living up to expectations so far this year. Regardless, seems like a specimen.

    Mizzou can play defense against the best of them, but I don’t see how they have a matchup against him. Guess that’s why they play though

  67. He’s not really a “specimen”—if he were, he’d be unstoppable. Toughness/physicality is the knock on him. He’s just an incredibly skilled big guy with a lot of post moves. And he generally hits his FTs, of which he draws many.

  68. @85

    Yeah the 96 wasn’t so much of a problem when I was using it in 2002, but now I can see how someone would think that’s my birth year or something.

  69. 8
    I am very disappointed in part of your post, stu. We should trade jair for NO ONE. He is a #1 starter positioned as a #3 or #4 starter on a team whose competitive advantage is starting pitching depth. Jair is cheap and is a possible cy candidate in the years to come. As far as I am concerned, Jair, Hanson, and Heyward are untouchables. McClouth should be close to being an untouchable. Vasquez needs to stay on our team this year if we are competing for a championship. We need a power bat in LF and a stop gap 1B for freeman (or package freeman with someone else for a solid 1B). if we do all that, we are through. DO NOT TRADE JAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. I’d trade Jair for Pujols. But that’s about it for the list of folks I’d move JJ for. Which would never happen anyway from the StL end, soit’s notsomething I spend more than 5 seconds a year worrying about.

    But never say never.

  71. Ethan,
    Ugly game, glad to get out of it with a win. Your boys are pretty impressive.

    Mike N.,
    I don’t know about need, but I want Soria because he’s young, cheapish, and dominant. Having Wagner insurance or multiple elite late-game options would not be a bad thing.

  72. I really like Soria too, and before the Wagner deal might have been OK with traded Jurrjens for him. But with Wagner here now I don’t see the need for trading an elite, young talent for someone who wouldn’t be the full time closer for another 1-2 years.

  73. @113

    You need to think of the need as not so much of having a closer, but more so for a number of quality, high leverage innings pitched. Right now, all we really have that is proven in that capacity is Wagner, Moylan, and to a certain extent, O’Flaherty; however, we’ll probably need at least 250 high leverage IP next year. The more potential bodies that can contribute to that, the better.


    It’s a different game at Columbia, especially that last offensive foul on Mizzou, but I guess that’s why winning on the road is impressive. Ogilvy was pretty much what I feared, and when you held on to the ball, you executed on offense. Killed us on the boards too; we’re just not very tall. The difference though was you were stone cold at the charity stripe to our mediocre, and that sealed it. Good win.

  74. Because, (in Stu’s scenario) you’re giving innings to Joakim Soria that you would be currently be giving to Manny Acosta.

    Presumably that, along with the offensive production in Butler over the current 1B depth chart of Canizares/Prado/Infante, would be more than enough to compensate for the difference between KK and JJ.

  75. I’m pretty sure we’ll have someone better than Acosta to throw important innings without giving up JJ.

  76. On the “JJ Love”,

    Gang, you really need to think about it again.

    To get upgrades you either (1) pay in dollars (like getting Wagner) or (2) pay in players (usual trade) or (3) combination of both. We don’t appear to have a lot of dollars to pay with. And using those dollars sparingly on each position of need leaves more room to move forward.

    Firt JJ is NOT a number 1 starter. EVEN IF he can maintain the historically unlikely to be maintained BAPIP and “strand rate”, he still is more of a 2.

    So, if you trade JJ for Braun or for A. Gonzalez or for “a premier cost controlled position player hitter” that is a good trade (and probably a “fair trade” that might actually be able to happen when value [production of talent minus cost of talent] is similar on both sides of the equation.

    As to the specific of Butler and Soria, Butler is not quite as proven or accomplished as Braun, but is similar on the arb curve. He directly fills this team’s worst need (as of this moment) at salary cost lower than any FA or almost any other reaonably likely option. Soria is a great right handed reliever. JJ “plus” would be both a fair and a reasonable (from Braves perspective) trade.

  77. Keith Law thinks it’s a bad move or at least bad for the price.


    Not sure he is wrong, given his age and health concerns; of course, they get two draft picks if Gonzo and Soriano leave.

    As for LaRoche, I think it makes sense to not offer arbitration for several reasons: (1)they don’t lose a draft pick by not offering; (2) it seems pretty pricey for a guy that has a history of disappearing the first half of the season. Those games in April and May count just as much as August and September. (3) They can still sign him; it’s not as if this is Albert Pujols who will have tons of huge offers.

    Re JJ: I’m not sure he is as good as his numbers indicated last year, but at worst, he is a solid number 2, so there is no reason to trade him except for a top-flight bat like Braun. I tend to agree that it makes no sense to weaken the strength of the team for a marginal upgrade somewhere else. The fact is the Braves won 86 games with this team and they are likely to get some help from Heyward at some point in 2010.

  78. Ethan,
    That offensive foul was just a make-up call after Beal got mugged on the other end without a whistle just before. The officiating was awful, though—very choppy and inconsistent. Your guys were getting away with murder in the first half, and then the refs were incredbly ticky-tacky in the second. No flow to the game.

    Anyway, I’ll take the win.

    I don’t understand what you mean by:

    I tend to agree that it makes no sense to weaken the strength of the team for a marginal upgrade somewhere else.

    Again, the issue would be whether the dropoff from Jurrjens to Kawakami is greater than the increase from Canizares to Butler + the increase from Acosta to Soria. Neither of those latter increases would be “marginal”.

  79. I love JJ, and think it seems tougher to develop a guy who pitches as well and as composed as he does than it does to develop a hitter… that said, I don’t think he’s entirely untouchable (especially if we could move Lowe and extend Vasquez)… but I’d probably be worried about any trade involving him.

    JJ for Braun would be one thing (though I can’t imagine the Brewers would do that since they DO have Braun locked into a reasonable contract till 2015, the last two years are at 10 & 12M, and no trade clauses in it), but A Gonzalez (if I read Cot’s right) is only under contract through 11… a very nice contract for 10 & 11 (and a VERY nice hitter), but one can imagine he’ll test FA after that. I’m not sure it would be organizationally worth trading all the years of cost controlled JJ for 2 years of cost controlled A Gonzalez.

    Soria seems to have a strange contract. Good, not great, money being paid to a closer most years (3-9M/per from ’10-’14)… but after ’11 it’s all club options. Seems almost a perfect contract for a closer from a club point of view. The question would be if we wanted to give up all the years of JJ for that (if there wasn’t the closer injury risk it would seem to have been a decent idea prior to the Wagner signing).

    Billy Butler is an interesting case I guess… fills a need we have, but would block Freeman right?

  80. Not sure I would trade JJ for Soria / Butler.

    If someone wants to give us Ryan Braun for him, well, that’s another matter.

    And, can I add…

    Go ‘Dores.

    I’m glad we won, but squandering a 14 point lead in the last 5 minutes is concerning.

  81. Well, to argue that point Stu, the question is how much of an upgrade would Butler & Soria be over what we actually wind up with because I assure you that Wren is not planning on Canizares at 1st and Acosta as the righty-closer/setup man. Look, Soria is one of the best in the game and is cost controlled, so there is great value there, but his value is offset by the fact that in the JJ trade scenario, we keep Lowe and Vazquez at 8 figures and lose JJ who gets $400,000.

  82. On trading JJ for A. Gonzales – Because of the years and money, I would hope we would get a middle infield prospect thrown in, but somehow I think we would be the team providing the extra player.

  83. Jurrjens is good. He’s not more valuable than a real 1B. I’d certainly move him for Gonzalez. (The idea that a trade for Pujols could center on Jurrjens in return is laughable.)

    I’ll go ahead and repeat myself on Freddie Freeman, too. If you can improve the team by getting a 1B, the absolute last thing you should be worried about is “yeah, but this guy is under contract too long and might block Freddie Freeman.” Freeman just isn’t projectable enough to concern that much. At this point, he’s probably less of a prospect than was Ron Wright, and we all know how that turned out, right?

  84. Dusty,

    That would be offset by the fact that you’re getting an top ten closer for 3 MM, and a 1B at league minimum who put 73 XBHs during his age 23 season. It balances out.


    Definitely a solid non-con win. Really thought there was a chance to steal it at the last second. Hopefully, we rebound (both figuratively and literally) vs. Oregon on Sat. Luck against DePaul. From what I’ve seen, you’ll be getting a polar opposite as far as style of play goes.

    As far as a Butler/Soria – JJ trade would go. I just don’t get the feel the Royals would pull the trigger. Conceivably, it’s probably a smart move for them, as 1B and relievers are a lot easier to come by than cost controlled front line starters (especially as they’re not in a window to contend), but Butler is really their only good hitter with any power.

    Dayton’s been getting a lot of heat (deservedly) lately and I just can’t see him trading away his best hitter who is under control for 4 more seasons. Not because he’s smart, but more so because he’s reaching a point where the backlash would be too much. Plus, people in town would be pissed about Soria too. Called the “Mexicutioner” and has a semi-cult following…Royals fans don’t have much

  85. So how do we feel about the Phillies getting Polanco (sounds like it’s close to being done on a 3 yr/18 Million deal)?

    Oh and the Mets are about to “land” Henry Blanco.

  86. If 1B and relievers are a lot easier to come by than cost controlled front line starters, why would the Braves make that trade?

  87. Because we’re dealing from a position of strength to address two areas of weakness, and conceivably the dropoff won’t be as large in the rotation as the improvement will be in the bullpen/offense.

  88. I’m still not sold on that trade.

    Don’t think you need to sell me on it, though. Go ahead and rosterbate to your heart’s content. I think it’s time for bed.


  89. My dream rosterbation fantasy has a resurgent Nomar Garciaparra playing first base for us and putting up numbers like his 1998-1999 seasons.

  90. @135

    I’m pretty sure any Pujols pillow talk could suck me in faster than a hot coed with low self-esteem and daddy issues.

  91. This sounds scary but not sure I believe it:

    “However, one high-ranking executive tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that Soriano would be “insane” to turn down arbitration, which could net him a deal worth about $8MM.”

  92. So I’m on the treadmill watching SportsCenter highlights of the Duke / Wisconsin game. No sound, so I can only observe that AT LEAST 80% of the highlights are of Duke scoring.

    I keep waiting to learn that the Blue Devils pulled out another wind-aided victory but – alors! – it seems Wisconsin had the audacity to win the game and ruin all that great Duke highlight footage.

    “Doesn’t matter – run it, anyway!”

    Glad Vandy won but I was convinced that the first half offensive strategy was to dribble into double-teams.

  93. Me, too, hank. Me, too. That seemed to become the end-of-game strategy, too. And, the missing-wide-open-shots strategy was working very efficiently throughout the game.

    Thank God for rebounding and free-throw shooting.

  94. I admit that I know little about Billy Butler; I have no idea if that would be a big upgrade or not. Obviously, others on here have a better sense of how good he is. My point is that you don’t trade JJ unless you get a big upgrade; the issue about the dropoff from JJ to Kawakami for this year is not really the point. You also have to look at the age difference and what you are likely to lose from JJ in the future.

    The thing that makes it more difficult for me is that I’m not sure how good JJ actually is or, more to the point, if he is likely to improve in the future. If he is really going to develop into a number one-type starter, I don’t know if I would trade him at all. Contrary to what we see with the Braves, it’s much harder to develop pitching than hitting and a rotation including Hanson and JJ could win a lot of games (assuming health of course).

  95. My point is that you don’t trade JJ unless you get a big upgrade; the issue about the dropoff from JJ to Kawakami for this year is not really the point. You also have to look at the age difference and what you are likely to lose from JJ in the future.

    Those would be 2 big upgrades. And Butler and Soria are very young and cost-controlled for a while, like Jurrjens.

  96. Hank,

    I wouldn’t feel too bad. We do that to everyone. Especially if you’re not familiar with it. Kudos to you though keeping composure and knocking down free throws. That frosh is going to be a stud too.


    I still think we get a 1st baseman, but that would probably put a nix on a Mike Cameron type. I’m beginning to think it’s more likely too. I was wondering about it, and really, the supply might be significantly greater than the demand for premium (expensive) relievers

  97. It was really weird seeing the coaches halfway down the court when the action was away from them though.


    I don’t think so; otherwise, you figure they’d have done that the year Maddux accepted and we had to trade Millwood.

  98. I thought I remembered people talking about a situation last year if Frenchy had won his arb case, they couldve just released him and given him the league minimum. Maybe not

  99. You may be right. Per: http://baseball.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_baseball_arbitration_works,

    The panel, without opinion, awards the player a one-year, non-guaranteed contract at one salary or the other. If the player is cut within 16 days before the season begins, he is entitled only to 30 days’ termination pay. If the player is cut during spring training but after the 16th day before the season begins, he is entitled only to 45 days’ termination pay

  100. csg, that clause is for people who don’t have the option of free agency. If you sign a guy to a contract through arbitration in his 4th through 6th years of MLB play, you can release him in spring training and just pay something like 1/6th of his salary. But that’s /just/ if he was getting into arbitration without being eligible for free agency.

  101. Soriano accepting arb wouldn’t be the worst possible thing ever. At that point you’re basically taking Kelly Johnson’s paycheck and adding it to Mike Gonzalez’ paycheck to pay Soriano. It probably means you can only get EITHER a 1B OR an OF, but you can do that and still compete.

    If all the Braves do from here on out is sign Cameron or Mark DeRosa, they’re still competing for the playoffs. Moylan/Wagner/Soriano is a hell of a back end to close games. And you still have the option of trading one of your starters for a bat.

    I’d sign Cameron and test the trade markets, but I don’t cry if we go to war in 2010 with

    Diaz (1B)

    with Heyward and Schafer in the wings.

  102. Recently, I have been exposed to the concept that cutting an arb player does not eliminate the contract unless the cut is “baseball related” and that phrase means performance is worse than a team’s next alternative.

    However, I am reading above to indicate that for pre-FA arb (KJ or Church) it might be a “can cut at that time for any reason” but for a Soriano it would be “only if baseball related. Does somebody know ifthat is right?

    If Soriano accepts arb and is under the “baseball related” rule that will hamstring payroll. I was always more concerned with Soriano accepting arb than LaRoche. If Soriano can’t get 3 years 18 million he would probably be better off to accept arb.

  103. If Soriano accepts arb, the Braves will be able to trade him, too, even if it’s for not much other than salary relief.

  104. I would imagine the Padres and Royals would want more 0-1 service years players for any hypothetical Butler/AGon trade. Jurrjens really only makes sense for a team closer to contending.

  105. Well, the deadline to accept or reject arbitration is the 7th, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we stayed in a holding pattern until we know which way the chips are falling.

    After that though, (especially if Sori/Gonzo decline) I can see us moving quickly

  106. Stu,

    I doubt we sign any more relievers (unless maybe a third lefthander) until after the period to accept arb passes. Why commit 2 million to Dotel or Saito and then have Soriano accept arb on you?

    My belief is that in not offering arb to LaRoche, Wren really thinks he has a deal for a bat either at 1B or OF. Maybe not, but it sure looks like that. Another alternative view is that he doesn’t want the commitment to LaRoche to cause him to miss a play for a 1B and figures he can get one or the other eventually by some means.

    As to A. Gon compared to JJ, there is no reason to be against that IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS TEAM. If that move (or JJ “plus” a minor leaguer) were made, then first base is solved and you can still make a major OF move.

    And I think that OF move (following an A. Gon acquisition)should be two years of Cameron at 7 to 8 per and non tender Church (who I otherwise would tender). Then McLouth moves to right and is slight plus defensively there, Diaz is slight plus defensively in left, and Cameron is slight plus defensively in center. And each is a slight plus offensively as well for his position. Then, our next two outfielders (assuming Schafer doesn’t go out with JJ and he shouldn’t or we would be overpaying) would both be lefthanders (Schafer and Heyward) who could semi platoon around playing time for Cameron and Diaz.

  107. Why commit 2 million to Dotel or Saito and then have Soriano accept arb on you?

    See 151. We’re not keeping Soriano, now, regardless. If he accepts, fine, we miss out on a chance to get some picks, but he’s valuable as a 1-year commitment and we can trade him easily. And if you trade him for no return, that’s not worse than failing to offer arb and letting him walk in the first place.

  108. and Soriano, if healthy, is a guy that can bring a nice return around the allstar break, worst case scenario.

  109. I think you are over-inflating the potential trade market for Soriano, Stu. In this market not very many teams have the payroll flexibility to just bring in a relief pitcher for $8 million.

  110. Maybe so. I have the Yankees in mind.

    I also don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I don’t think they’d have offered him arbitration if they weren’t sure he’d decline. (Yes, I know they—and I—have been wrong before. Just giving my opinion.)

  111. I really wonder where all the love for Mike Cameron comes from.

    Player A: Career .250/.340/.448/.788
    Player B: Career .264/.346/.430/.777

    Player A is Cameron, Player B is Kelly Johnson. Johnson is much younger, much cheaper and has great plate discipline, while Cameron strikes out a ton. And Cameron’s defense is way overrated here (and elsewhere), he’s only slightly above average in CF. I want no piece of him for $8m.

  112. From a short term financial perspective, I don’t think Soriano will be able to get much better than what he would in arbitration – even with the Yankees. There will be takers, but given his injury history I think it would be crazy to sign him for more than two years.

    It may be smart for Soriano to accept arbitration, but I don’t think he was completely happy in Atlanta. His overuse, use as a setup man and closer, and his general player/coach relationships are all factors that may come into play. My guess is that he’ll probably bolt for somewhere else, but I don’t have a high confidence level in this.

  113. Have you seen the latest junk from K-Ros?

    “Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes the Braves will have to trade Javier Vazquez to obtain the impact bat they’re searching for. Here are the rest of Rosenthal’s rumors:

    •The Braves dream of trading for someone like Michael Cuddyer.
    •Josh Willingham might be a more realistic target.
    •Derek Lowe has too much money remaining on his contract ($45MM) to bring much of a return in a trade.”

    Please tell me we wouldn’t even consider Cuddyer for Vazquez.

  114. again, Cuddyer is not a dream acquisition, Ryan Braun is a dream acquisition and everyone in baseball knows that the Braves arent looking for an impact player in return for Lowe. A salary dump and a FA acquisition of Derosa/Nady/Laroche + Cameron for the same amount of money makes this team better

    Acosta for Willingham = sure, not much more than that though

  115. Tom,

    Mike Cameron plays CF, had a UZR/150 of 10.3 last year, and had an OPS of .795 last year. KJ has well-documented rough patches within seasons marred by inconsistency. Mike Cameron has the track record, and after last year, many wonder whether KJ is ever going to develop. Not saying that I disagree with you, but its reasonable that people are scared of giving KJ a starting spot on the team next year. Also, slightly above-average in CF is much more valuable than below-average at second base (after a stellar UZR/150 of 17.9 in LF, KJ has had UZR/150s of -7.9, -10.7, and -.2 at 2B the last three years, respectively).

    And that’s my first ever sabermetric-like post. Felt pretty good, actually.

  116. According to MLBTraderumors, we’re close to signing Takashi Saito for one year, $3 million.

    Red Sox fans sound a bit jealous in the comments.

  117. Wow

    “Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that free agent reliever Takashi Saito is close to signing a one year deal worth $3MM with the Braves.”

  118. Saito looks like he would be a great addition. Why would the Red Sox let him go? His worst year in the majors was 4-4 in 2008 with the Dodgers with a 2.49 ERA and 60 Ks in 47 innings. I know he’s had some injury problems, but he’s a steal for $3million on a 1 year contract.

  119. Not to be a buzzkill, but I think a valid point to consider here is the fact that our top 2 relievers are 38 and 40 years old, and everyone here knows how Bobby “manages” the top relievers in his bullpen.

    Theoretically, I think this gets us to where we were last year, but I still think we need another guy if we don’t want the senior citizens broken down by August.

  120. I, subject to the Furcal rule, concede to Stu.

    The only problem I see with the Wagner / Saito thing is appearances and innings. Wren and Bobby and McDowell need to have a long talk about not using them on consecutive day 3.

    Otherwise, the quality for the price is good. And the presence of Saito further pushes Soriano to not accept arb.

  121. You’d hope that guys like Lee Hyde or Craig Kimbrel could be ready to come lend a hand—even in higher-leverage situations—toward the end of the season, when the arms are getting tired. You’d hope.

  122. i love frank wren. if the braves decide not to deal lowe, one could argue that the pen is set:

  123. Do you reckon that the Saito signing really won’t happen until after the tender acceptance and rule 5 deadlines are over next week? That has to make too much sense.

    Otherwise, you are losing somebody for nothing or there is a deal that will be completed.

  124. if saito and wagner are signed for a grand total of 10 mil, that still leaves 9-10 million for a bat. frank, go get glaus and nady, please! they could both be signed for another 10 million. i love these early signings. frank wren is on a mission.

  125. Damn happy with Wren. If we can dump Lowe, get an outfield bat, and re-sign LaRoche….. yikes. I’ll take this team against any.

  126. Mike Cameron is a plus defender in CF. He is, at his advanced age, as good as people thought McLouth was in Pittsburgh. I’m as big a KJ supporter as you’ll find these days, but Cameron provides better defense, more power and allows you to shift McLouth to a corner (which improves the D there as well.)

  127. desert @166,

    but its reasonable that people are scared of giving KJ a starting spot on the team next year.

    True, but KJs numbers are almost exactly the same as Cameron’s, and that’s exactly why I’d be scared to give Cameron a starting spot on the team next year. His defense does not make up for the difference in age, potential, plate discipline and money, especially not if you consider KJ a LF.

    Our outfield might not be great right now, but it is lightyears away from early 2009. With Heyward and possibly Schaefer waiting, I don’t see a need at all to spend $8mil on Mike Cameron. Let’s get a great 1B or a REAL difference maker like Holliday.

  128. Kawakami and Medlen are basically the x-factors in that pen. If either one proves to be legit–is able, basically, to give us really good work in high leverage situations–then the pen will be stronger than last year’s. That said, I share the aforementioned worries about age. Everything could work out fine, true, but the chances that they won’t are greater.

  129. Love it…but we need a bat…bad…hope Frankie’s got that one figured out already. With the way the bullpen is shaping up, bringing LaRoche back would be ok, or Cameron/Dye/Nady…..just need a bat, hate to see the wast of another fantastic pitching staff. However, I’m becoming more reserved to the fact that we’re going to have to trade J-Vaz to get that bat.

  130. So you figure w/ 7 pen spots we’re currently at:

    L: Wagner, O’Flaherty
    R: Moylan, Saito, Medlen, Kawakami, and Abreu

    Sound right?

    KK’ll probably go back to the rotation/be traded, so there’s still potentially a spot open…

  131. The other thing is that, while we might have issues with some of Wren’s procedural shit (ie- Furcal fiasco), most of us can agree by now that the man isn’t stupid. I just can’t believe he’d be so proactive with committing finite resources to the pen and not have a reasonably sound plan for the offense.

    Cameron would be a nice luxury, but even if you sign him, there’s a gaping hole at 1B. IMO, that has to be the priority before anything else now.

  132. Ethan, completely agreed.

    BTW, I have just made a new wallpaper for my desktop. No graphics, just five names:


  133. @191 and the concerns about age. Yes, those concerns are reasonable. But I don’t think Wagner (38) or Saito (39) are notably worse injury risk than Mike Gonzalez or Rafeal Soriano. And they don’t command the multi-year committments precisely because of their age.

  134. Interesting tweet from Will “The Enormous Douche” Carroll:

    The Braves are bad at keeping injury-prone pitchers healthy … so they sign Wagner and Saito. You can’t copy Red Sox wo the med staff.

  135. “Bad at keeping injury-prone pitchers healthy.”

    I wouldn’t describe Wagner or Saito as injury prone. I also don’t know who these injury-prone pitchers we have done a poor job of keeping healthy are. But then, I’m not Will “TED” Carroll.

  136. I guess you could look at 2008 and draw that conclusion. It’s probably more likely that Glavine, Smoltz and Hudson would have had the same injuries elsewhere. If you extend this list to Hampton, he couldn’t stay healthy being a t-ball pitcher.

  137. Well, if Wagner’s healthy, they’re not really applicable. If he’s not, it’s still a resonable deal…at least until his arm falls off.

  138. PWH, I’d be interested to see the setup man article you were working on anyway. Also, in the press conference Bobby just hinted that something is in the works to bring some offense.

    And Barbaro DFA’d

  139. I think that JJ’s value is at it’s peak, because I don’t think he is as good as his surface numbers last year would indicate. He’s good, but in my opinion, he doesn’t have four years of #2 starter quality pitching in him, and definitely doesn’t have a decade’s worth.

    The real problem though with this Royals trade is that we have to some how isolate Grienke. If he finds out about the deal and looks up Jurrjens deeper stats, he’ll alert the organization that his production isn’t sustainable and they won’t let us fleece them.

  140. @206

    Over/under on days till the Royals pick him up?

    Also, what would people think about Lowe for Lowell straight up and plug Lowell @ 1B?

    Though it’d turn us into the all injury-risk team…

  141. Will Carroll, the same dude who tried to charge money for NFL injury updates on . . . wait for it. . . a Twitter feed. Yeah, Will, people are going to pay for 140 character injury updates. Calling him a douchebag is an insult to douchebags.

  142. More talk of moving Chipper to 1st in the MlbTraderumor comments. Is anyone else terrified by the thought of a guy with a history of knee, groin, hamstring, and feet ailments stretching to dig a ball out of the dirt at first? He’d snap in half.

  143. Damn, I only just realized that Sciambi had left the broadcast team. I was really growing to like his call.

  144. Come on, you don’t have to like what every writer says, but Will Carroll is good guy. No need to break out the d-bomb.

  145. For the Georgia folks the rumor is that Auburn’s jumping them to get into the Outback bowl. How did that happen considering they beat both Auburn and then top ranked Ga’ Tech?

    The other rumors are Ole Miss to the Cotton against Oklahoma State and Tennessee to the Peach to play Virginia Tech.

  146. ignorance and racism aside, i’m jealous of asian people: takashi saito looks 30! that skin is sooooo smoothe.

  147. Sam (who unfortunately seems to have sobered up – where’s the fun in that?) interjected a fascinating option:

    Diaz at first.

    Making room for an outfield of:

    McLouth in LF
    Cameron in CF
    Infante / Church / Heyward in RF

    As the president of the Matt Diaz fan club, I’m intrigued by that idea. Could he really play 1B? Has he ever done it before?

  148. I don’t think he’s played it much in the majors, but he’s a good athlete and 1B is not exactly the most difficult position on the infield.

  149. @226:

    My two (Japanese) brothers-in-law both have better hair than me and I’m the youngest. Actually, my father-in-law has better hair, too.

  150. @227 – Or it could be phenomenal. Diaz might be the second coming of John Olerud over there. Minus the hardhat.

  151. I didn’t see Saito’s press conference.. But Talking Chop has Bobby quoted as saying “Frank and Bruce are working on something else right now giving us a chance to score some more runs.”

    Coupled with Canizares being the one let go for roster room… I’d venture to guess Frank’s got a line on a 1b.

  152. For a pair of one-year gambles, I’m fine with the bullpen moves. A part of me would like to keep Soriano for the year, but I won’t hold my breath. I’ll just sit back & see how Wren plays it & how our lineup fills out. So far, so good, IMO.

    Happy as hell we beat 2 of our biggest, oldest rivals—I’m a UGA grad who grew up in Columbus, so that Auburn game always means alot. But when you go 7-5, beggars can’t exactly be choosers, knowhatImean?

    I know UGA’s not alone in that category, but I’m not going to get bent out of shape over any bowl game this season. Personally, I’d prefer to play Clemson in the Chik/Peach Bowl in the Dome. That was once a terrific rivalry, one I’d love to revisit.

    Outback would be fine because we’d get a chance to keep our perfect bowl record vs. Big-10 schools alive.

    (Fave trivia for Big 10/Ohio St. folk: UGA has never lost to a Big 10 team in a bowl game [7-0] and OSU has never beaten an SEC team [0-9] in a bowl game.)

    The Shreveport bowl, I think, we’d get a Big 12 team like Texas A&M. (Meh.) There was talk about a UGA/Va. Tech Chik Bowl. (Feh.)

    To me, it’s a big bowl of whatever. I’ll watch. I’ll root. I hope we finish well, but this is the weirdest UGA team I’ve seen since 1979. Ready to move on with some new blood.

  153. to let go of Barbaro, who never wouldve had a shot anyways, Im guessing someone is coming in soon….

    LaRoche/Nady/Derosa something like that

  154. I’m Japanese. I’ve been told that I look like I’m in my late 30’s early 40’s. I’m 51. I’d trade some of the youthful look for some actual youth though. My knees hurt, some killer tendinitis in the elbow and I can’t see worth a shit. Sure nice of the Braves to have 2 bro’s on the team. :)

    Loving what Frank Wren is doing so far. I’m gonna be sad when they non tender Kelly Johnson.

    Fearless prediction that will be completely wrong. The Braves will acquire Mark DeRosa.

  155. I’m adapted. My two brothers and dad are various stages of bald. Yeah sometimes its good not to be part of the old gene pool. I’ve got a lot of hair but there sure as hell is a lot of salt in what used to be jet black.

  156. Well, right now, I look kind of like I have mange. I’ll shave it off when I get home, probably. Everything is good right now. I don’t have much of an appetite, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  157. No clue. I wouldn’t pay to read him. I just figured if Shanks was talking about it then, per usual, there was no shot in hell of it happening.

  158. Its great to get up and find out that we really did sign Saito….

    I would be happy if we could resign LaRoche, pick up Cameron and hold onto to Lowe for awhile.

    ‘Lowe has got to go’ was my refrain for much of the summer–but I now wonder if we could keep him until July and see what he would bring near the trading deadline. In the meantime, Lowe can be a good complement to a very strong bullpen or he can start should somebody go down.

    However, unless Liberty has given Wren more resources than we know, I doubt that we can do all of these things.

    At least the Hot Stove is fired up…..

  159. Am I the only one who has a sneaking suspicion that Wren – for better or worse – is going to surprise all of us with who he acquires at the trademark “bopper”?

  160. Mac, in your case it’s a badge of courage. In my case it’s a sign of male pattern baldness.

    I sincerely hope you’re doing well.

  161. #247.

    i think it’s a JJ, KJ and Freeman for MCab and 15 million bucks.

    Then a Lowe and 8 million for Cory Hart.

    $ could balance out…and i think that Bobby could do wonders for MCab and Hart.

    i doubt that happens, but it’s fun to dream.

    Medlen (?)

    lineup of


    that’s a pretty sick lineup

  162. @249–if you trade Freeman how’s he going to platoon with Diaz?

    It’s all just conjecture at this point of course, but Cabrera is a good sleeper pick as to the person Wren might acquire. The drinking thing might have worn out his welcome in Detroit and the crummy economy there might have the Tigers wanting to drop some payroll.

  163. I think he means Heyward platooning with Diaz. Not sure about the Hart thing… think I might rather just keep Church till Heyward comes up and trade Lowe for prospects and salary relief than have Hart.

  164. This being Bobby’s last year, I have a feeling Frank’s going to wow us with a whammy of a trade.

  165. I don’t think Freeman is anywhere near ready and Heyward doesn’t play first. No need of putting anymore pressure on him like learning a new position.

    I think if we acquire a first baseman, then Heyward has a shot at making the team.

  166. If I were contemplating a deal with Detroit for Cabrera, I’d note that the Tigers ran Curtis Granderson and Joshn Anderson out as their CFers last year, and that Jordan Schafer still has a ton of upside. If Detroit has soured on the drinking/financials of Cabrera enough to move him I think a Lowe/Schafer package is a good starting offer.

  167. @249, he clearly meant a Heyward/Diaz platoon in RF, with Miggy Cabrera playing 1B after his proposed trade. I think his scenario is significantly off in that I doubt – very much so – that Wren’s going to trade away two of his starters, but if he could turn one of them into Cabrera that’s quite a bump to the middle of the order. Better than any hitter we’ve seen in there since Tex, at least.

  168. If we can turn Schafer for Cabrera, we have to do it. However, I think they would want JJ too, but you would have to think about it.

  169. It really comes down to what Detroit would be looking to accomplish in such a deal. If they’re looking for a straight cash dump, they’d probably require JJ. If they’re looking to off-load a “malcontent” with a huge contract, they would probably consider Lowe + Schafer. It’s all guess work from our end – rosterbation as the case may be. None of us are on the conference calls between Wren and whomever he’s negotiating with (though seriously, I’m open for that assistantship if you call, Frank.) Absent access to that sort of insider information, here’s what we can know, generally about Detroit’s situation.

    Their farm system is really dry. They consistently rank in the bottom ten for prospects.

    The few projectable prospects they have are mostly pitchers, but even they come with caveats. Jacob Turner has a live arm, but he was drafted in 2009. Casey Crosby is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Andrew Oliver throws hard but is, how you say?, unpolished.

    The best overall prospect they have is probably Scott Sizemore at 2B, but he’s already 24. Their “best” OF prospect is either Wilkin Ramirez, a slugger in LF who will almost certainly K too much to be an effective ML player, or Casper Wells, a guy who honestly projects to be fourth OF. Ryan Strieby is an iffy 1B prospect if he can maintain his minor league power.

    Depending on what they are looking to do as an organization, Detroit might be willing to swap contracts for Lowe. Their top three starters are solid – Porcello, Verlander and Jackson. But the back end of their rotation – Galarraga, Nate Robertson, Jarrod Washburn, Dontrelle Willis – could use some stabalization. 200+ innings of league average ball while their kids continue to develop has value to such a club. Schafer would have value as a true CF prospect that could move Granderson back over to LF. Throwing in Freddie Freeman as part of package could provide insurance should Strieby flame out like the Tigers last few 1B prospects have.

    There’s alignment for the two organizations to make some sort of a deal, as long as both front offices are working on strategies that compliment each other’s need.

  170. JJ + Schafer for Miggy is a TERRIBLE deal. Miggy’s contract is close to his value while JJ and Schafer will be grossly underpaid for the next 4-6 years. If they were both just prospects you could do that but not with JJ’s level of success thusfar. Especially if they’ve soured on MCab and we know they want to shed payroll, we can do a whole lot better. Obviously Lowe + Schafer makes sense, but if they are looking at more of a salary dump Schafer + Freeman + random Minor League Pitcher could work if we can unload Lowe elsewhere.

  171. I respectfully disagree. Cabrera is a monster, he’s signed for under $20M through 2016, and he’s not even 27 yet. That’s a very very valuable guy. Schafer plus Lowe? They would burn down the stadium. Add Freeman? Still don’t think it’s enough. JJ’s value will never be higher, and there’s a non-trivial chance that he’s not going to be able to sustain his current level. You gotta give to get.

  172. I agree you’ve got to give to get but his contract is:

    2010 $20 mil
    2011 $20 mil
    2012 $21 mil
    2013 $21 mil
    2014 $22 mil
    2015 $22 mil

    Tigers have to shed payroll and getting rid of a $20+ million a year guy is there best chance to do it.

    Where would that $ come from on our end to pay for Miggy?

    Also there’s a really good chance based on his conditioning that the last couple of years of that contract could be the worst in baseball.

  173. he’s signed for under $20M through 2016

    According to Cot’s, his next six salaries are $20M, $20M, $21M, $21M, $22M, and $22M.

    I’d be hesitant to give up both Schafer and JJ for Cabrera unless the Tigers also sent us at least $18 million.

  174. I was including 09 in the AAY of the deal – my mistake. Still, if he were an FA today, he would likely add quite a bit of money to that pile, and there would be zero chance of ATL winning a bidding war for his services. A HOF’er in the making for his prime years is going to cost you something.

    Edit – I don’t necessarily think this is the way to go, but he’s much better than Holliday, provides cost certainty, minimal risk, and puts an all star at a position that has plagued the system for years. I could certainly see the argument for getting him.

  175. csg

    He’s not that much better, but there’s still a really big gap between the two if you ask me. I doubt Holliday gets $21 mill a year though.

  176. •SI’s Jon Heyman tweets that Nick Johnson is “drawing interest from the Giants, maybe Braves, and a half-dozen more.”

  177. Saito and Wagner are probably an upgrade over Gonzalez and Soriano. Saito didn’t respond well to the AL, but he was a beast in LA. I never ever thought they’d be able to even move laterally. This is fantastic news.

    If a first baseman falls from the sky, this team has to be favored to make the playoffs next year. Even without one, they have a pretty good shot.

    I can’t believe the Braves are this good with this kind of payroll. Absolutely fantastic.

  178. At this point in his injury-plagued career (and considering our needs), I just can’t get excited about Nick Johnson anymore.

    Well, I’m off to Amish Country for a family wedding. Starting time: Saturday, 4 pm.

    Obviously, not SEC people scheduling that event. It’s actually a mix of Penn St. & Notre Dame fans.

    So, FWIW, here’s my big-game prediction:
    Alabama 23
    Florida 20

    Florida returns a kick, but Tebow throws a pick. Wishful thinking, I’m sure. Nonetheless, here’s to another great game.

    Roll Bama (and roll DVR).

  179. So where’s the Amish country your headed to Ububba? I’m pretty familiar with some of that country myself as a lot of my relatives live there.

  180. Ububba,

    Enjoy the wedding.

    I can’t say that I have a preference for the SEC game. Well, not quite. I’m pulling for Bama because Mac is cool.

    Roll Tide.

  181. I don’t have a problem with Nick Johnson at 1B. All he costs is money and he’s probably a better offensive threat, raw homerun totals notwithstanding, than Willingham or Uggla. And as long as Heyward is more Hanson than Schafer, this team can compete by simply tweaking the edges. A big splash, OMFG@! move would be entertaining, of course. But strategically one is not necessary.

  182. Yeah Stu,

    It’s tough having to face England but the other 2 in the group could’ve been much worse.

    Assuming we make it out of the Group in 2nd place, we would likely face Germany in the round of 16 then the winner of England/Serbia if everything holds form.

    Can’t wait for the England match though.

  183. It’s not that big a deal, really, but Cabrera is a much better hitter than Holliday. He’s ahead in OPS+, HR, and 3 years younger, and I can’t imagine the counting stats he’d have with 6 seasons in Coors. Holliday will most assuredly will sign a multi-year contract worth 20M or more AAV. I concede, Holliday only costs money, but Cabrera projects to be the better offensive player, by no small margin either.

  184. I vote no on Nick Johnson too. He hit 8 HRs last year. I’m pretty sure Casey Kotchman did the same (for different reasons obviously, but still…)

  185. Holliday brings more to the table defensively, but it’s true, Cabrera is the superior hitter by a whole lot. I’d take him, drinking and all, if they threw us a little money and we didn’t have to pay a ton of prospects. But I doubt that happens.

    Nick Johnson… ehhh. I’d take him for a short, low-money contract high on incentives. Couldn’t hurt.

  186. I really don’t want him at all but would anyone consider doing Gary Matthews, Jr and Brandon Wood for Lowe? GM is owed 23.5 over the next two years and would be the world’s most expensive 4th outfielder, but still saves us 3 per year over the next two years over Lowe and costs nothing in 2012.

  187. The only way I would go for Johnson is if we could also get DeRosa. Putting DeRo in a platoon in the outfield and having him as a backup for Chipper would help mitigate some of the injury risks with both Chipper and Johnson. Does DeRo play 1B? If not, Diaz would need to have his 1st basemans’ mitt ready.

  188. 289—If Chipper agreed to move to first to make room for Wood…maybe. That’s a really interesting idea. We probably should be able to get them to throw an actual prospect into the deal, too.

  189. That was what I had in mind Stu, kind of a bigger version of the Jake Fox deal. The Angels are the main team I feel we could move Lowe to, especially if Lackey moves on.

  190. can someone please tell me why we have “stong interest” in marlon byrd (according to peanut)? that would be a serious letdown.

  191. Our World Cup draw rocks! England will be formidable, but the one thing they are really good at is underperforming. Its fun to read about it in the British papers….

  192. They do the World Cup draw with ping pong balls? If the U.S. plays like it did in the Confed Cup ……

    Sorry, I like soccer. I don’t follow the professional game much but I do follow 2 daughters who are pretty good at it. They get excited by the World Cup even getting up at ridiculous times in the morning to watch the games.

  193. ububba,

    of all the weddings to crash, an Amish one likely is not a target-rich environment.

    For many reasons, but especially for Mac:


  194. For me, Alabama is like Gary Sheffield and Florida is like Milton Bradley. If I have to take one, I guess I take Alabama. But Saban is also a jerk, just not as big of a jerk as Meyer. And Alabama doesn’t have any deities on the active player roster either.

    So, for Mac, and for the lesser evil:

    Roll Tide, Roll.

  195. @284,

    as mentioned above, Cabrera makes what he should. There is no surplus value to be had by acquiring him. You don’t give up JJ to get him unless they are giving money too.

    Again, its no doubt that Cabrera projects as a ~5 win player for the duration of that contract…..its just that he’s already paid like one.

    and as an aside, the salary dump + drinking problem means that we should get him for less if Det is really looking to dump.

    If they are serious about it a package starting with Freeman would have great value to them.

  196. I can’t see adding Miggy without dumping Lowe, and I don’t see Frank trading TWO starters this offseason. However, if we *could* nab him and keep the rest of our rotation intact, I’d do JJ/Schafer.

    Miguel Cabrera is really, really good.

  197. I recently attended a hitting camp with Marlins hitting director, John Mallee who’s been there for 9 years. He showed all kinds of video of Miggy and the way he talked sounded like he was the best hitting student he ever worked with. I think he’s the best young hitter in MLB.

  198. @301

    I dont’ necessarily buy this. Yes, he might be getting paid what he is currently worth, but that’s only really applicable if he were on the open market. The premium (ie prospects) is for the team control of that contract. It’s not as if there was a Cabrera currently available for any team who can drop 100 MM over 5 years.

    That being said, Derek Lowe would have to be involved in any package, simply for the fact that without shedding his deal, there is no way in hell we can add 20MM annually to the payroll.

    In my head, a realistic trade for Cabrera would be: Lowe, Schafer, Freeman and KJ (as Detroit now needs a 2B).

  199. Given I hate both teams almost equally and the game has no bearing on Tennessee’s bowl standing or anything, I really couldn’t care less who wins. I will actually be there as a neutral, though, and will hope to see a good game.

    Really, the World Cup draw could not have been better. Algeria and Slovenia were pretty much the easiest teams we could have drawn from those two pots, theoretically, and while England will be tough, it will also provide a good challenge and I’m really looking forward to it. Had we drawn South Africa, our group might have sucked a little bit too much.

  200. So, if they turn Maybin-Miller into Jurrjens-Schafer (plus Willis), they’ve done pretty well.

    I think Lowe has to be going the other in any deal for Miggy.


  201. They can’t hope to get for Cabrera what they gave up to get him. He was two years younger and significantly cheaper when he was acquired.

    Lowe/Schafer/Freeman—and, if the Tigers want either of them, KJ/Church—does look pretty close to a good deal for both sides.

  202. I’d do Lowe/Shafer/Freeeman/KJ, but would Detriot? And would they do it this quickly? A Shafer/Freeman/KJ package could probably be pretty beaten by somebody like Boston, right? And they wouldn’t require the Tigers to take on Lowe’s salary.

    I don’t see it happening, but I’ll surely dream about it.

  203. Good to see all the Roll Tide sentiments. I really think special teams will be the difference in the game. Arenas is an excellent return man for Alabama, but Florida also has good kick/punt returners. What scares me is Fla’s kickoff coverage. It is one of the best in the nation and Bama’s is one of the worst. If it comes down to field goals though, Tiffen is hard to beat for Bama. I say Bama wins 24-20.

    Btw, you guys may think I’m crazy, but I believe if Bama would have marketed Javier Arenas as a Heisman candidate and let him play about 30 to 40 downs on offense he would be the easy Heisman front runner. The guy is 37 yards short of the All -time NCAA punt return yardage record, is second on the team in tackles, and was just voted to the American Football Coaches Association All-America team on defense. He could easily be a Danny Woodson type of Heisman pick.

    As for Braves baseball and the talk of Marlon Byrd, he would only be slightly better than Garrett Anderson, but as a stop-gap until Heyward is ready, he would be okay – not great. I say we continue our work with Asian players and go for Shin-Soo Choo. I wonder what it would take to get him from the Indians.

  204. A bad contract plus two B prospects plus some junk for Cabrera. I just don’t see Detroit doing that for some reason. They’d just keep him at that point, and would be right to do so.

    The trade was Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo.

  205. Joelk,
    I’m in historic downtown York, Pa., a little south of Lancaster.

    I was going to stop at the APBA store there in Lancaster, but we couldn’t get there before closing time–got stuck behind some horse & buggies.

    Nothing you can do about it in these parts.

  206. They won’t take Lowe. They are trying to dump Cabrera’s salary. Why would they take on a lesser player for just 5 million less?

  207. 318,
    Well, while the difference in 2009 salary is only $5 million, there’s quite a difference between $126 million guaranteed and $45 million guaranteed.

  208. And, again, it’s not like Lowe sucks. If for no other reason, his lack of injury history would probably have him as the #2 SP in this year’s free agent market. Seriously, go look. I hadn’t really been paying attention cause we don’t need SP, but the list is pretty pathetic.

    It’s not a salary dump. Yes, Cabrera is better, but the difference in their talent is being compensated by the lessening of the financial commitment and the prospects being included.

    And while it’s not directly related, look at the prospects Detroit gave up to get Cabrera (when he was cost controlled for two more years) Is anyone at all convinced that Miller/Maybin will be better than Schafer/Freeman?

    I agree there won’t probably be a deal, but that’s mostly because I’m not convinced Detroit wants to trade him. I mean, he is Miguel Cabrera.

  209. I think Wren trades for a Rivera/Willingham type, then waits LaRoche out and signs him on the cheap.

    That allows Diaz to keep RF warm for Heyward, then trasition to a 4th OF/LaRoche quasi-platoon partner/interleague DH.

    We know it’ll never happen, but would you trade Lowe for Uncle Milty?

  210. 319 320 Good points. I should think before I type.

    But I still don’t see the Tigers taking on even ‘just’ 45 and Miguel Cabrera is certainly worth more than a couple of B prospects an over priced #3 starter and a 2b coming off his worst year.

    But if we are going to fantasize, do it right. Freeman, Hanson, KJ, Reyes for the Panamaniac.

  211. the yankees are said to be cutting payroll to 185 million. they have 12 players that they owe 170 million dollars. that’s simply insane.

  212. Alabama is meh. Florida foisted Tim Tebow on the world. There is no punishment sufficient for that sin. Roll Tide, both in the sense of “win, Alabama” and “I happily await the melting of the Greenland icecaps the flooding of Florida – drown, you bastards! drown!!!”

  213. That fourth OF from San Diego that “Coach” had such a stiffy for. He was from Panama and “Coach” called him “the Panamaniac.”

  214. 321

    why on earth do we want Bradley? what happens when he mouths off to Cox? does Chipper go all Gordon Liu on him? or do we have to get Heap’s big ole self in that fracas? or does Cox just chump slap Bradley and then scowl at him for days?

    no thanks. we have a great clubhouse, from all reports, and guys love it here when they are here. Bradley would just take everything and turn it upside down.

    not even for KJ and Chipper’s jock would I want Bradley on the team.

  215. I’d do Bradley for Lowe no problem. Cox has done well with Bonilla and Sheff, Bradley would be fine. With a corner OF rotation of Church, Diaz, and possibly Heyward, durability isn’t as much of an issue, and he’s a switch hitter who pounds lefties to a .306/.387/.497 career clip. He’s only got two years on his contract to boot, and he’s a good defender. It would be a sharp move that would give the team a ton of offensive flexibility. Projection systems like him to have a strong bounceback season as well. It will never happen, but it would be a great solution.

  216. Agreed with Spike. If the Cubs would swap contracts, Bradley for Lowe, the Braves would be fools not to do it. He had a rough start last year, but after that he was typical Milton Bradley. He’s fragile, both physically and emotionally, but Bobby Cox’ clubhouse is where players with emotional difficulties tend to calm down and produce quietly.

  217. Why give up Lowe for Bradley? Mike Cameron would cost less than that 9 mill, and you’d still have Derek Lowe available to be traded for a couple prospects.

  218. As bad as the Cubs seem to want to move Bradley, I wouldn’t want to put Lowe for Bradley on the table just yet. The Cubs were apparently willing to take back 8 million of Burrell (who has almost no value) and put a little money toward Bradley. I would want “Bradley Plus” (either a prospect or two or some cash).

    Then, if you decide you really can’t hack Bradley, you can throw him out for whatever you can get.

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