Keltner List: Andres Galarraga

The Keltner List was developed by Bill James as a device to evaluate a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. In The Politics of Glory James says that it is probably his favorite tool to do that. (You can read about the background in that book, or do a Google search, for further information.) So let’s run it for Andres Galarraga…

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

No. In 1993, he won the batting title and hit .370, and the profoundly ignorant might have been impressed by that, but even they knew something fishy was going on in Denver.

2. Was he the best player on his team?

He was the best player on the Rockies for the first two years of their existence, until they brought in Larry Walker. He was also the best player on the Expos for one year, 1988, but that was a fluke in which he played well and Tim Raines had a bad season — Raines was the “true” best player. He was the best hitter on the Braves in 1998, though their best players were Maddux and Glavine.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

Galarraga was the 2000 starter at first base for the NL All-Stars, but that was basically a sympathy vote after he’d missed the last season recovering from cancer. The real best first baseman in the league was Helton or Bagwell. He did win two Silver Sluggers, eight years apart, in 1988 and 1996. I would say that there never was a time when he was recognized as the best first baseman in the NL, that it was Will Clark early in his career, Bagwell or McGriff later, then Bagwell or Helton.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

For most of his career, Galarraga’s teams were also-rans. In 1987, he played well as the Expos finished third, just four games behind the Cardinals, but did most of his damage in the first half, hitting only .270/.320/.382 after the break. If he’d played better, it’s conceivable that the Expos might have caught the Cards, or (more likely) taken it to the wire before losing. This is the only year in which he was really a key player in making it or not. He played well in three seasons in which his team made postseason, with the Braves in 1998 and 2000 and as a backup/platoon player with the Giants in 2003, but those teams weren’t pressed. His 1995 with the Rockies was below-average, not that anyone noticed (he slugged .510, but who didn’t?) but they won the wildcard anyway.

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

Galarraga’s prime is hard to find, and not just because of the distortions of park effects in his Colorado years. His two best seasons (by OPS+) are at age 37 with the Braves and age 27 with the Expos. Galarraga missed the season after his best year, but played three years after that, pretty well. For his last four seasons, he was one of the oldest players in the league.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

Of course not. He’s not close to it.

7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

This is probably the strongest part of Galarraga’s case. The most similar player to Galarraga, by far, is Orlando Cepeda, with a similarity score of 940. There are all sorts of reasons why this is a bad comparison, having to do with the era, Galarraga’s park effects, and stature in the game. The fact is that they do have similar stats, and Galarraga has more homers and RBI. Two of the three next-most similar players, Jim Rice and Willie Stargell, are also in the Hall, and the third, Joe Carter, probably will be some day; I think Carter is a much better comp than the others. Nobody else on Galarraga’s comp list is in, but it includes Bagwell, who should sail in, and Murphy and McGriff, who are popular candidates, around here anyway.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

Galarraga meets 35 percent of Hall of Fame standards, which is a low total for a candidate, though there are a few in who are lower than that. In the other “standards” categories, he is on the low side but qualified: 115 on the Hall of Fame Monitor, 21 in Black Ink (27 is average for a Hall of Famer) and 122 in Grey Ink (144 is average).

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

Park effects, park effects, park effects.

Galarraga spent five seasons in Denver, coming at a point in his career when he appeared to be spiraling out of the league. During these seasons, he hit .316/.367/.577. That looks awfully good, but it’s in a league contest of (numbers by Baseball-Reference) .295/.367/.560. Adjust the context for historically average offense, and you get .286/.334/.525. Basically, he hit for a lot of power, but his on-base wasn’t anything special. However, we’re not talking a huge number of home runs; he got about eight extra playing in Colorado. And to be fair, he spent most of the rest of his career in pitchers’ parks. Also, he was considered a fine glove man, though my impression is that defensive statistics don’t necessarily bear this out.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

He’s not the best in his class, Fred McGriff is. There are also two holdover candidates, Mark McGuire and Don Mattingly. McGuire is a special case, and everyone pretty much would agree that he outrates Galarraga if you don’t have to take [redacted] into account. Mattingly was a similar type of player to Galarraga, actually, a high-average first baseman with pop who didn’t walk a lot. His best years were better, but he didn’t have as many good years, and I’d give the edge to Galarraga, who is also obviously far ahead of the other first basemen on the ballot, Eric Karros and David Segui. All of these guys will be looking up at Bagwell when he becomes eligible.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

Galarraga never won an MVP or drew a first-place vote; his best finish was sixth, and he drew votes in seven different years. He did lead the league in home runs and RBI in 1996 (finishing sixth in the vote) and that’s always been the sort of thing that wins MVP awards, but his team finished eight games back and everybody knew to take at least a little air out of the numbers. His 1998 is also an MVPish sort of season in a year in which Mark McGwire doesn’t hit 70 homers and Sammy Sosa doesn’t hit 66.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go into the Hall of Fame?

Galarraga started one All-Star game and was named to four more. This is low for a HOF candidate, but the same number as McGriff.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

Depends upon your definition. At his absolute best, in 1998, I would say yes. The problem is that he never established that level; he had, as mentioned, two seasons that good, but ten years apart. I think that other than in those seasons, it would be very unlikely that a team with Galarraga as its best player could win a pennant.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

Coming back from cancer was an inspiring story, though I don’t think it changed the game in any way. His biggest impact was as the big hitter on those early Rockies teams. The benefit that he and Charlie Hayes got from Mile High Stadium was so extreme that nobody could deny its impact.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

Yes sir. Again, coming back from a season off recovering from cancer, at the age of 39, is the sort of thing that these guidelines are supposed to be about.


I’m sorry, I just can’t see it. Galarraga had a couple of years of Hall of Fame numbers, but if you take the air out of the Denver stats, his other seasons aren’t at that level, and his case is borderline to begin with. I am a Big Hall guy, but I don’t think mine is quite big enough. I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise.

366 thoughts on “Keltner List: Andres Galarraga”

  1. While I agree, I have to say he was one of my favorite players to watch during his tenure here. The guy just exuded a general warmth, and love for the game that I found quite touching.

  2. From last thread: What would it take to nab Derrek Lee from the Cubs? He’s in the last year of his deal and I don’t think they figure to compete next year with the offseason they have had. Or if they need pitching – could we toss them Lowe and Medlen?

  3. With their big payroll, I’m sure Cubs fans expect to compete next year.

    As I noted in the previous thread, I can’t see them trading Lee after getting rid of Fox. (And I wouldn’t want to give up Lowe and Medlen for him, anyway.)

  4. I think the only way the Cubs would take Lowe is if we took Bradley off their hands, and I’m sure no one wants that either.

  5. I think you’d be surprised how many folks would do a Lowe for Bradley straight up trade. I would.

  6. Fair enough. It wouldn’t be my favorite trade ever, so maybe I’m in the minority here.

    Schafer and a prospect for a year of Dunn?

  7. Lee would be very nice, but I don’t see it either. Although it’s much more fun dreaming about Derek Lee than Xavier Nady.

    I’m still hoping against hope that Frank has a secret deal lined up for Miguel Cabrerra once we dump Lowe for prospects.

    Thanks for the Keltner list, Mac. I always enjoy those.

  8. Well I suspect NY needs to sign one more batter in any event. Matsui and Damon opened holes at OF and DH. Should the sign an OF, they’d probably let Swisher DH unless they sign someone else for that role.

  9. This Keltner list for the Big Cat may be the best tribute you could give him, Mac.
    Well done.
    I enjoyed watching as a Brave, especially a monster knock he hit off the catwalk in Tropicana Field. And his easy smile, which reminded me of the Big Doggie, Tony Perez.

    The HOF candidate that drives me nuts is Rock Raines. He’s a helluva story. In the past, I came down hard on him for substance abuse, but have learned more perspective. Even with a break for a serious illness (lupus), still manages 2601 hits. Received a settlement for gettting caught up in the collusion net.
    And although injuries prevented him from playing as much as he’d have liked, he got two rings with the Yankees.
    Also, he played in a major league game with his son. Maybe not the HOF, but somehow I hope he’s remembered.

  10. A classic example of a Hall of Very Good career. Andres also is a classic example of a career that looks to be steroid-induced, although I never heard anyone mention that while he was playing.

  11. Raines suffers from playing at the same time as Henderson, playing in Montreal, and the cocaine issues. I think he’s a HOF’er myself, but doubt he will be elected by the BBWAA.

  12. 16—Yeah, but do they have anyone who can play right field? Neither Gardner nor Cabrera is anyone’s idea of a RFer, and I assume Granderson was not acquired to play that position. Damon, even if he’s back, obviously can’t play out there, and neither can Bay. Holliday, maybe, but even that seems like a massive stretch to me.

  13. Great guy, but I don’t think that anyone’s surprised by this Keltner. No one thought of Andres as a future HOFer when he was playing, except maybe for a few clueless Colorado sportswriters back when no one knew just how absurd Coors field stats were, and no one does now. He hit well in an era when tons of people hit well.

    Thanks for doing this one, Mac. These are always fun to read.

  14. Supposedly, Posada is going to DH 50+ games next year. Also, according to WFAN’s Mike Francesa, Cashman told him he’s not dealing Swisher.

  15. My personal favorite Galarraga memory occurred at Wrigley Field on Memorial Day 2000. I scarfed up 8 day of game tickets for me and friends that were 10 rows behind the 3rd base dugout. The tickets became available because it was a typical cloudy 50 degree Memorial Day in Chicago.

    Anyway, I got a doozy of a game–Mad Dog vs Jon Lieber. The Braves were two hit by Lieber but one of the two hits was a tater delivered by The Big Cat. What made it memorable was Chipper and Bobby were thrown out of the game on the pitch previous to Galarraga’s home run. Chipper was tossed after he flipped his bat back to the dugout following a called third strike. Chipper didn’t even argue, just tossed his bat and started walking to the dugout and, eventually, the showers. Never turned around. Just strolled to the showers. Of course Bobby came out to bitch and got the heave ho as well. Next pitch after the delay, Lieber makes the mistake of grooving one to the Big Cat. Braves scored the only run because…

    …that was all Maddux needed. He had had a 6 hit, 8 strikeout vintage Maddux performance. Actually it was better than vintage since it was a complete game shutout to boot.

    Galarraga makes into my personal Hall of Fame just for that one day.

  16. pw,
    thanks for discrediting my last post by “fixing” it. i guess modern science has nothing to do with longer life expectancies either. chalk it up to steroids.

    i do realize steroids has played a role in lenghtening athletes’ careers, but its not the only thing.

  17. If the Red Sox get Adrian Gonzalez, does that put any pressure on the Yankees to make another big addition like Holliday? The Yanks are already completely loaded, so I’m not sure if they would feel the need.

    Also, thanks for the Galarraga’s Keltner List, Mac. The Big Cat was always a favorite of mine.

  18. Thanks for the Keltner list Mac. Always a good read.

    I for one have no hope that we are going to get an elite hitter this off season.

  19. im somewhat skeptical of getting a “good” hitter. We looked at Ross Gload and DOB mentioned the fact that we wanted him to get somewhat of regular playing time at 1st.

  20. The Yanks are already completely loaded
    Sure, but it’s not as bad as last year, yet.

    1B – Teix
    2B – Cano
    SS – Jeter
    3B – A-Rod
    C – Posada
    OF – Melky
    OF- Granderson
    OF – Swisher
    DH – ???

    SP – Burnett
    SP – Pettite
    SP – Sabathia
    SP – Chamberlain
    SP – Hughes

    A group I would certainly go to war with, but another year older for the Jeter/Arod/Rivera/Posada/Pettite group and having to replace a 131 and 126 OPS+ from Godzilla and Damon, and a hole at DH for the moment. Looks like a 95 win club to me as currently constructed.

  21. pw,
    no love lost. i respect your research but i just disagree in many aspects of data research, especially the ones that predict outcomes. your suggestion that it’s unreasonable to think xavier nady can produce an .800 ops because he’s 31 (already in decline) and coming off of surgery, irritated me.

    i’m a school teacher in a school that is incredibly data driven. my students always excel, yet i never look at the data (or focus on the data) that “predict” outcomes. i feel that it predetermines the child to a standard far below the standard that i set for the child.

    predicting “peaks” of a player with a science that’s constantly evolving and making the human body more durable for a longer period of time is something that i cant wrap my tiny brain around because there are too many people that disprove it.

    so, in your research, you say that it’s not reasonable to think xavier nady can have an .800 ops because he only has 2 years of +800 ops, he’s 31 (post-peak), and he’s coming off of surgery.

    i say it’s reasonable because he’s only 31 and he ops’d +.800 his last 2 full years in the majors. plus, many players have career years under bobby because they enjoy the atmosphere created by him. i, for one, never undervalue the impact of human emotion (and obviously overvalue it).

    is your prediction reasonable because it’s backed up with data that supports 60-70% of mlb players decline after 29?

    is my prediction unreasonable because he did it 2 years in a row and can probably do it again?

    i guess xavier nady will have to decide who’s right. wanna make a friendly wager?

    “data driven” vs. “human emotion”?

    what could we bet? how about if i win, you send me a book, your choice (probably about data). if you win, i will send you a book (probably about human emotion). what do ya think?

  22. First major league game I ever attended as a kid — the family drove down to ATL from Virginia to see the Murph. The Big Cat hit a homer. For the Expos.

    Before the game started my brother and sister went to go get autographs along the LF line. I didn’t even bother since there were tons of kids down there. Somewhere in my parents basement is a giveaway plastic Braves glove with 4-5 names on it. The only one I can decipher is Tim Raines.

  23. Once at Spring Training in W. Palm Beach (1988?), I was walking back to my car in the parking lot & ran into Tim Raines getting into an argument with his wife. For some reason, I was a little embarrassed.

    Mets apparently made a $75 M/5-year offer to Jason Bay.

  24. Mets gotta make a big splash or they’re going to lose lotsa season ticket holders. Met fans have been steaming the last few days.

  25. tim raines was my favorite non braves player of all time.
    He just always seemed to come thru in the clutch. He is what defines a leadoff guy in my mind.

    I often wonder if there had been no strike how different things might have turned out.

  26. On the aging thing as it relates to Nady.

    He is coming off a 2nd elbow ligament replacement surgery. TODAY nobody knows if he can throw well enough to play first base, let alone outfield.

    You almost never EXPECT a player to reach his career peak at 31 coming off injury or PROJECT him on that basis.

    IF you rate and pay Nady at what he is (a BIG damn risk) then he might be worth signing.

    He is not (even in his peak year) a good enough hitter to be an everyday first baseman. His biggest health question mark is the strength and accuracy of his arm, so that kind of messes up outfield duty, doesn’t it?

    AND if everybody plays better for Bobby Cox then why don’t you get an 850 ops guy (maybe Glaus) and see if he can hit 900 OPS?

    Nady on the cheap is a “Garret Anderson option” who Cox will overplay because he is a “proven veteran.” Bad choice (unless CHEAP)

  27. Mac,

    I liked your Gallaraga analysis.

    My “Big Cat” story. In April 1998 (may have been 2000, whichever was Furcal’s first year up), I had my two sons with me in my sister’s BellSouth seats about two rows behind the dugout level seating. My younger son started calling when they came in from the field “Hey Cat” and got a couple of waves. About the 4th inning, Gallaraga came out and tossed the boys a ball.

    One thing that struck me then in person was just how massive of a man he was. I would say he was 6′ 2 or 3 and 260 or so. Absolutely not built like any other baseball player in the park.

  28. Anyone remember the brawl Galarraga got into against the Rockies? I still think if he connects with that punch he takes the dudes head off.

  29. Mets, apparently, are close to completing a two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi, a 30-year old who throws 93-94 with a splitter. He’d be the setup guy.

  30. 50,

    I remember it well. That pitcher looked terrified when Andres threw the bat down. I think that was also the game everyone ran out of pitchers and their back up outfielder struck out Chipper Jones in extras.

  31. If the circumstances were different, I could maybe see myself sympathizing with Lowe. But surely he realizes the unique situation the Braves are in, and that he is unfortunately the most logical choice to try and move. Trades are just part of the business man.. suck it up.

  32. Derek Lowe has got to go! This was my mantra last year–but he is certainly making it more likely.

    Too bad it was the O’s that signed Gonzalez–because there first round pick is protected. We will get their second round pick….

  33. @58

    To be honest, most of my initial reaction to the Wagner/Saito signings was based upon the fact that they could basically do what Soriano and Gonzalez did last year for substantially less. However, 13 compared to 10 MM isn’t significant in my book. I think Wren just assumed it would be and made other plans.

    Raffy and Mike were really good. Much better than Saito and Wagner were last year. There’s really nothing amongst any of the 4 that suggests one of them is more susceptible to injury than any other. That being the case, why wouldn’t you want the two that performed the best most recently? Especially if the costs were comparable and you wouldn’t lose your first round pick.

    Saito and Wagner might turn out fine, but regardless, I think Wren misjudged the closer market.

  34. Ethan–I would rather have Wagner closing the game than either Soriano or Gonzalez, but I do agree that he may have jumped the gun a bit; and it seems to have cost us the chance to have a pick in the first round. Given the Braves’track record in the upper rounds, the loss may not be great, but I would still prefer to have the pick.

    The speed with which Wren dumped Soriano leads me to believe that he has some impressive target–which I hope might be Adrian Gonzalez. Unfortunately, if Gonzalez moves, it will probably be to Boston….

  35. @63 – I can see most of your argument, but I would much rather have Wagner closing games than either of the 2 we had last year. Besides, we worked those guys to death – chances are at least one of them won’t last the season. Also, 3 – 4 million isn’t alot to a team like the Yankees, but it is quite a chunk to us. Just ask Kelly Johnson.

  36. Lowe can go cry in his $45 million. If Hanson turned out to be a dud or if Hudson looked bad last year, I think it’s safe to say the Braves would try and keep Lowe. But that’s not the case and that’s the business.

    In all fairness, Mark Bowman probably called him up and asked him things like, “How does it feel to read about the Braves trying to get rid of you?”

  37. We overpaid Lowe to keep our right to trade him away. If he didn’t understand that, that’s too bad. Maybe Boras didn’t do a good enough job in explaining that to his client.

  38. KC–That is well put and it has long been one of the Braves’ SOPs….You are right: Boras should have made it clear.

    I also think that Lowe got overpaid because of the way Smoltz left….

    That said, I have a feeling that Lowe will not be a Brave for much longer….

  39. On the subject of Lowe,

    In the article, he says something to the tune of ‘nobody had to make the Braves offer me a 4/60 contract. It’s not like someone had a gun up to their head.’

    Well Lowe, nobody told you to accept it either. Sure, pitching was a weakness in the 2008 season; but, everybody said that it would have been our strength coming into the season and Hudson’s impending return would have done nothing to change that view. Additionally, Javy was traded December 4, 2008 to the Braves, and if I remember correctly, we found out about Kawakami a day before Lowe agreed.

    So you knew that we already had JJ, we had just gotten KK, JV, and you knew that Hanson was waiting in the wings along with Kris Medlen, and that Timmy was coming back later that year. So honestly, its not the Braves effing fault that you could not see past the numbers at the future that lay ahead for you.

    Finally, I’m a poor college student. So if you don’t like your guaranteed 45 million for three years of work, you can… you can… (and BYU honor code kicks in).

    If I could have it my way (without trading any of our starting pitchers), the rotation would be Javy, JJ, Tommy, Tim, and Kris. Lowe and KK would be relegated to what would probably be the best bullpen in all of baseball.

  40. Lowe’s comments remind me of when Glavine was released and he was blowing off steam in the press. It’s easy to point fingers and complain that you didn’t get your way, but even they have to admit that the Braves have/had younger, cheaper, AND better options.

    He’s the sixth, possibly seventh best pitcher competing for one of five spots. We want to trade him because the other options are so good, not necessarily because he is so bad.

  41. I have no problems with KK as the #5 starter, but it would be interesting to find a way to give Medlen some more starts and see what happens.

    At least this one nice problem for the Braves to have….

  42. vazquez is durable. hanson and jurrjens seem to be. hudson, even when healthy, has a few starts that he has to sit (oblique strains). kawakami had to miss a few starts last year as well while adjusting to the league. as the spot starter, medlen will get plenty of oppotunities to start.

  43. if Lowe had pitched like he did in 2008 then Im sure Vasquez would be getting moved. He pitched like a #5 starter, so Atl is looking to move him.

    I will say one thing about Wren. He isnt afraid to cut ties with someone and doesnt like to move top prospects. Thats kind of refreshing after watching the last few years of the JS/Bobby era

  44. 63—With Kimbrel and others waiting in the wings, I think Wren wanted to avoid multi-year deals for relievers. Had he known Soriano was going to accept arbitration, I think there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have signed one of the two he signed…unless the organization just wanted to cut ties with him for other reasons.

    75—Come on, Lowe didn’t pitch like a 5. I understand his frustration, but he did sign a deal without a no-trade clause.

    71—Is “effing” not a violation? Not mocking; I’m genuinely curious.

  45. Stu at 76,

    The word ‘effing’, not the actual word that its taking the place of; it’s a more widely accepted norm of teenage and tweenage Mormon culture than anything else, as I hear it quite a bit here at the Y. But it’s supposed to be a more comical adjective than one used in actual anger, which is why I think its accepted in a normally very tight-lipped culture. But the real F-bomb would probably not fly. C Shorter, any input from your years?

    While we’re at it, does somebody have some mountain dew that we can spike the sprite with?

  46. Right, that’s what I was asking about; I knew the F-bomb was off-limits. Seems sort of ridiculous that “effing” would be permissible, since the intent and meaning are the same, even if the vulgarity level isn’t quite as high. But, this is probably not a conversation for this forum. Thanks for the response.

  47. yeah, actually Lowe was about a #3 average starter last year, but he did give us 15 wins and what 21-22 QS’s? I just think dude needs to pitch somewhere where the humidity is a little lower. As much as he sweats and as humid as it gets in Atl, I wouldnt be surprised to see his sinker not sink and those blisters continue to get worse. I actually like Lowe, but I understand why the Braves are looking to move him

  48. What about “fracking?”

    I understand why Lowe is upset; at the same time, it’s business. He didn’t pitch that well for the money and the Braves pitching was much better than expected–other than Derek Lowe. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t mind keeping Lowe and seeing if he rebounds, but it’s not as if the Braves don’t have other needs.

    BTW, did anyone see the Bob Costas interview with Dick Allen on MLB Network? I actually thought Costas did a nice job, but Allen was almost incoherent; I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say much of the time.

  49. 82—In my perfect world, one in which we trade Jurrjens and Schafer for Adrian Gonzalez, we do keep Lowe.

  50. I know it is early in the offseason, but does anyone think we have a better team now than we ended the season with?
    I dont think we are even in a better position for the following seasons since we lost a 1st rounder for an old dude and got nothing for Sori and Gonzo signed for 6 to 8 mill a year we lost on that deal too.

  51. @80

    I agree.

    I remember one start in Florida where there Marlins were lighting Lowe up. The dude looked like a 6’6″ tropical depression on the mound. The heat definitely seemed to get him and probably doesn’t help his sinker grip at all.

  52. Marc,
    Enjoyed the Dick Allen interview, but I agree: Allen sounded like he had a little wetbrain thing going on. Some of his responses were nearly inaudible and he rambled a bit—but he was never really bitter.

    If I ran into Dick Allen in a hotel bar, I’d ask him to expound about Gene Mauch. I thought the ’64 collapse stuff with Mauch was some of the most interesting. You could tell he had more great Mauch stories. He even imitated him.

    In his Supreme-Court-reviewed bit, “The 7 Words You Can Never Say on Television,” George Carlin offered up a great irony: “There are more words to describe ‘dirty words’ than there are ‘dirty words.’ They must really be bad!

  53. @84 here’s a look at what we have right now (lineup wise) compared to what we had last year:

    mclouth cf
    prado 1b
    chipper 3b
    mccann c
    escobar ss
    diaz lf
    heyward rf
    infante 2b

    mclouth cf
    prado 2b
    chipper 3b
    mccann c
    escobar ss
    diaz rf
    anderson lf
    laroche 1b

    so, i guess it depends if you think infante and heyward are upgrades to garrett and laroche. i’m not sure they are, but it’s probably pretty close. remember guys, we were 2nd in the league in runs scored after the all-star break, but that was with an incredible laroche and a terrible chipper. with a good chipper and a good heyward, it’s not that bad of a lineup….but could be a lot better.

    do i think infante will be a starting second baseman?

  54. 87 – There is no way Prado is our opening day 1B.

    88 – Somebody else will be here no matter what.

  55. Well, my point was that if #87 is “right” and we don’t have somebody else… does it seem more likely we would have Infante & Prado at 1B and 2nd, or Freeman & Prado?

  56. Not Prado.

    Not Freeman.

    Who is going to give LaRoche $30M? He might come down to our price range and be the guy.

  57. Peter’s made the point a few times, but I still can’t see the downside of offering LaRoche arbitration. How does that end badly?

  58. @89
    wasnt making that prediction. just saying, as of now, what we have in comparison to what we had last year. i was simply answering oldtimer’s question.

  59. DOB, mentioned that the Braves are just too worried about his splits to commit $7.5-9 mil to him. Doesnt make sense at all. Frenchy never had splits but we ran him out there everyday. Dude will end up with a .275 800 ops and 25hr’s at the end of the year.

    I also dont understand why we released Barbaro. At least wait until we sign a 1B, even if you dont plan on him ever playing

  60. Inspired by question #13 on the Keltner List, here’s the list of all of the teams who have won the pennant without any Hall of Fame players:

    1944 St. Louis Browns
    1945 Chicago Cubs
    1981 Los Angeles Dodgers
    1984 Detroit Tigers (Alan Trammell is still on the ballot)
    1990 Cincinnati Reds

    I cut the list off there. Some teams from the 90s, such as the 93 Phillies and the 97 Marlins, may eventually make the list, but right now it’s too early to tell with players like Schilling and Sheffield still having a decent shot at induction.

  61. so far our targets have been Mitch Jones and Ross Gload

    Derosa has lowered his asking price to 3/18…Should we consider at 3/15? Dude can play anywhere, or can we get him for less?

    Boras told DOB that Nady wants $7 mil. Shouldve offered Laroche arb if thats what it will take to get Nady

  62. DOB, mentioned that the Braves are just too worried about his splits to commit $7.5-9 mil to him. Doesnt make sense at all. Frenchy never had splits but we ran him out there everyday.

    Has it occurred to you that the Braves are no longer making personnel decisions using the same evaluation model they employed during the Francoeur years? The fact that they used to make analytic mistakes like “well, he drove in a lot of runs that one year, so maybe he’ll get better” doesn’t mean they should now make analytic mistakes like “well, he hit like Frank Thomas down the stretch, so we should rush to lock him up all year irregardless of his standard performance trend line.”

    Boras told DOB that Nady wants $7 mil.

    My 15 year old nephew told me he wanted a Hyabusa for Christmas. That doesn’t mean he’s going to get one.

  63. 99 – Thanks for pointing that out. I had missed Larkin — who goes on the ballot next year — for some reason. He should make it in.

  64. Delgado is definitely a “Plan B” alternative. But you don’t go there until you see what shakes out with Lowe.

  65. Jose Rijo is a borderline HOF case from the 1990 Reds, too. He’s a better candidate than Jack Morris.

  66. Morris will probably make it in sometime anyway. The 1981 Dodgers… wow. Garvey is the closest thing they have to a candidate, though of course the manager is in. (As is the 1984 Tigers’.)

  67. @110

    Then why employ the “we ran Francoeur out there…” line of argument? Jeff Francoeur is not relevant.

    Also, I think we only get a 2nd rounder and a sandwich for Gonzo to Baltimore.

  68. stupup, their 1st pick is protected so we really didnt

    we really got screwed on both Soriano and Gonzo

  69. Jose Rijo was a fine pitcher, one of the best of the league at his peak. But his career record was 116-91 and he never won more than 15 games in a season. He was basically done at 30. His most-similar pitcher is Sid Fernandez.

  70. To me, Trammell should be in, but not Morris. Trammell’s chances look pretty slim, which is a shame. Morris will probably get in eventually based on 2 things: being the winningest pitcher of the 1980s, and game 7 of the 1991 world series. He doesn’t deserve to be in. Rijo didn’t get a single vote when he was on the ballot.

    Assuming Larkin gets in, plus Trammell or Morris, that leaves 3 teams on the list: 2 wartime teams and 1 strike year team.

    So yes, it is very hard to win the pennant without a hall-of-famer on your team.

  71. 77-78: Freaking.

    I’ve never really thought about profanity as against the code — just as something you didn’t do. I really don’t know.

    Euphemisms and taboo words is a fun topic.

  72. Fair or not, had he somehow managed to hit 400 homers I have to think that that 1 extra homer might mean a 10-20% increase in support from the voters. The voters are that stupid. And if they are anything they are often milestone obsessed. Dale Murphy probably has a stronger case for the Hall but he does worse every year in the voting. Murphy slumped very badly after age 30 and his failure to reach 400 homers and his awful final season at age 38 (Galarraga came back at age 39 and still was productive) really doomed him with the voters. I don’t honestly think that the Big Cat should go, but then again I also think that Phil Rizzuto was just barely not Hall material and he still got in. If the Big Cat had only played for the Yankees for a few years he’d probably have a lot more support.

  73. From Metsblog: “…i have heard that delgado is most interested in the Mets, Orioles and Braves, though the Orioles are the only team to be linked to him in rumor this off season…”

    How much is Delgado expected to make wherever he signs?

  74. Well, c. shorter, your comment made me curious.

    BYU Honor Code Statement:

    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. . . . If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things (Thirteenth Article of Faith).

    As a matter of personal commitment, faculty, administration, staff, and students of Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University—Hawaii, Brigham Young University—Idaho, and LDS Business College seek to demonstrate in daily living on and off campus those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will

    Be honest
    Live a chaste and virtuous life
    Obey the law and all campus policies
    Use clean language
    Respect others
    Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
    Participate regularly in church services
    Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
    Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

    Specific policies embodied in the Honor Code include (1) the Academic Honesty Policy, (2) the Dress and Grooming Standards, (3) the Residential Living Standards, and (4) the Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement. (Refer to institutional policies for more detailed information.)

    So, it looks like the use of profanity would constitute an Honor Code violation. No specific mention of the derivatives, though. :)

  75. Wow, glad I didn’t attend a school with an honor code. Strictly speaking, I think I can only claim to adhere to 2 of those points.

  76. And there you have it. Thanks, Stu. Makes sense.

    Virginia has an honor code.

    I think Wisconsin’s has something to do with Keystone, wings, Metallica… something like that.

  77. I’m fascinated by all this stuff. Suffice to say that I don’t think I could abide by the BYU honor code quoted above.

    In fact, going down the list, I’m trying to think of any of those that I could trust myself to uphold. Honesty and obedience of the law I would attempt, I think. Respecting others, much of the time. The others…

    Yeah, it’s probably best I didn’t matriculate there.

  78. Also, this just in from DOB:

    By the way, forgot to mention this during Winter Meetings, but Bobby Cox said the Braves are still talking about hopefully having Maddux as an instructor during spring training. That’d be pretty cool, wouldn’t it, if they hire Glavine to front office position (they’re talking with him about that) and have both him and Maddux in camp, however briefly?

  79. When I was in college we kept a list of the 10 commandments in order to cross them off once we had officially broken them. I don’t understand BYU at all.

  80. 138 — Yeah, I’d venture to guess that the majority of students who do attend have been living by such standards (more or less) while growing up and so choosing to continue to do so in a new phase of life is pretty natural.

  81. well folks,it has started…………..i was having lunch in town today and saw a pretty girl about 20 yrs. old wearing a t-shirt that said…….Tiger Did Me

  82. On Mitch Jones – beware. PCL statistics are usually inflated.

    Didn’t offer Adam arb because they were sure he’d take it…..and cost the team 10 million bucks. Why not wait him out and see if he wants to sign for less or is it too late for that.

    DeRosa at 6 per year for 3 years? Pass. Don’t blame him though he’s gonna be 35 or 36 next season. Looking for that last pay day.

  83. LaRoche would have a pretty good argument in an arb hearing against the braves after his second half performance, Id think

  84. Mariners and Yankees 1995 Division Playoffs Game 5 (Griffey dogpile game) on MLB TV right now. I remember watching that as a huge Griffey fan and jumping up and down. Top of the 9th right now if anyone is interested.

  85. I was at Game 2 of that series. Leyritz hit a 15th-inning walk-off in the rain.

    It was Don Mattingly’s last game at Yankee Stadium. He hit a mid-game HR & the upper deck shook like an earthquake.

  86. 1995 Mariners were a pretty incredible team. 3 future Hall of Famers (if you count A-Rod). Sweet Lou at the helm. Buhner in the OF. Hell, Edgar Martinez was 3rd in MVP voting that season.

  87. I was at a Braves-Giants game in San Francisco once where the upper deck shook like an earthquake…because there was an earthquake. A small one, about 4.1 I think, but I felt the stadium shake. They didn’t even know about it on the field. The Braves promptly game back to tie the game against Robb Nen, but lost it in extras.

  88. Stu, BFedRec, Chad, and Alex,

    Funny stuff. As a whole, I’m really glad I choose to came here… I absolutely love the place. Thanks for the discussion, its always interesting to see what others think of the Honor Code.

  89. What’s the difference between a Cadillac Escalade and a golf ball?

    Tiger can drive a golf ball further than 200 yards.

  90. What’s the difference between Tiger Woods and LeBron James?

    One takes it to the hole.. and the other plays basketball in Cleveland.

  91. Police: “Elin, how many times did you hit Tiger with the golf club?”

    Elin: “I don’t know. Put me down for a five.”

  92. O Pioneers, O Pioneers

    Come hither and claim your prize

    Tarry not and dither none

    As one D-Lowe will help your rise

  93. The threat of winter weather is here again and as if on cue, all the idiots in upstate South Carolina come out of the woodwork to act as if the world is about to come crashing down.

  94. I am real excited about the Mitch Jones signing….

    I sure hope that we don’t have to move Javy and keep Lowe…

  95. @170,

    Many thanks, be sure to tip your waitress.

    I saw “Up in the Air” the other day and it’s really stuck with me since. To me, George Clooney is the kind of actor who can only play one kind of character, but it works so well in this movie that all the Oscar buzz and Golden Globe nominations feel justified (much like Bill Murray’s performance in “Lost in Translation”). At any rate, I recommend it.

  96. @ 160, I thought the same thing when I saw that, and I would certainly do it. I doubt the Angels would, though.
    On the topic of the late 90’s Mariners… where do Griffey and A-Rod rank in terms of home-grown 3/4 hitters all-time? I have them at number 2 behind Aaron/Mathews and ahead of Mays/McCovey.

  97. desert, I went to an SDA boarding academy for my high-school years… I know from strict school rules… and was rather happy to get away from them. I don’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs (and never have), but try and take away my profanity and caffeine and I’ll @#$%^ @#$@#% @#$@!

    That said, the one thing I did leave that school with was a 4.0 GPA gymnast girlfriend who has now been my wife for 13 years… so you can find the good in any situation (even one in which holding hands with a member of the opposite sex is grounds for getting you in trouble).

  98. sdp in all my years in Charleston we had maybe 2 or 3 snow days. 1/4 inch of snow brought a metro area of 500,000 people to a stand still.

    Here in Ohio you’d think that folks know how to drive in inclement weather. Nope.

    BFed – The only vice I’ve kept from my youth, shamefully, is a terrible potty mouth.

    From Talking Chop – a link to Rob Neyers list of the top 50 players of the past decade. Chipper #7 and Andruw #20. Whether or not you agree with him, its still a good read.

  99. #169 – ububba, thats all in Wrens final plan. He made Cashman sign Johnson so he could now trade us Swisher for Lowe. Then they will resign Damon after the trade.

    That Wren fella, he’s just brilliant

  100. Weather? I got weather for you.

    It’s 17-degrees right now & I have tickets for the Falcons/Jets game on Sunday. Yikes.

    Re: Nick Johnson
    NY1, the all-news local cable channel here in NYC, did a short piece on the Nick Johnson deal. The highlight they showed was Johnson as a National colliding with his RF.

  101. I’m bored.

    Straw poll – Derek Lowe will be:

    A) traded before Christmas
    B) traded before January 1
    C) traded before spring training
    D) on the opening day roster

    Any predictions?

  102. Im optimistic, so B. Id guess most of these GM’s taks a nice little leave before Christmas. So for it to be (A) it would have to be done by probably Tuesday or so and I just dont see that happening

  103. just wondering how many people here would be upset to see us trade Vasquez + Freeman for Morales + Wood + another top player?

  104. If they trade Vazquez, it better be to the AL because I would hate to have to face him in the NL.

  105. Interesting idea csg… That might not be too bad a situation… would Lowe + Freeman get Morales? Would it be worth it?

  106. For you lawyers out there, I just read a court pleading in Alabama state court, asking for a continuance of a trial so the lawyer could attend the NC game in Pasadena. I’m sure the court will grant it. It is a civil trial so at least it doesn’t involve someone going to jail.

  107. @179 C
    I know you’ll tough it out and make that game!
    Buzz on the NFL Network last night (while watching the UNDEFEATED Indianapolis Colts) that NYC is making a big push to host Super Bowl 2013.
    Know anything?

  108. I imagine Vazquez will veto any trade out west. They will have to settle for Derek Lowe. And that means we will have to settle for basically nothing in return.

  109. My Mormon story:

    I grew up in a Protestant household where sex was never mentioned.

    I had just turned 16. As we were preparing to drive from Kentucky to Needles, CA to visit my grandmother, my mother pulled me aside and said:

    “As you know, I grew up in Needles. I want you to stay away from Mormon girls while we’re out there. They don’t drink or smoke, but …”

    Needless to say, I spent most of that vacation in search of LDS babes. Sadly, I have no info that corroborates my mother’s fears.

  110. What you didn’t realize is that the “but…” trailed off into an unspoken “they totally sacrifice virgins to their unholy space gods.”

  111. One at a time, Hank.

    BTW, I’ve had DJs who gig in SLC tell me some tall tales on that topic.

    Yeah, they’re trying to get a Super Bowl for the new stadium. It would be great for the city, but not for anyone who has to play or attend the game. Super Bowl week is usually nut-freezing cold around here.

  112. Not that it matters… M’s signed Langerhans to a major league contract (after non-tendering him earlier)…

  113. It wouldn’t surprise me (not that I have personal knowledge) that Mormon girls engage in certain activities. It’s not that unusual for people raised in restrictive environments to let themselves go when they have some freedom. During my single days, I met a woman who described herself as a Republican but she also mentioned that she needed to have sex on a regular basis. Unfortunately, she did not decide that it needed to be with me.

  114. In the Amish community, they have this thing called “Rumspringa” where the late-teens go wild for a year, then (as it was explained to me) they make an “adult decision” about re-joining the community.

    Of course, if they don’t, they’re shunned… back into the world of electricity & motor vehicles.

  115. I think the main part of the shunning though is that they’re shunned by their entire family and all the friends they’ve known their whole lives… not an easy thing for anybody to deal with, especially a late teen who might be in need of a little comfort and acceptance.

  116. Joe Thurston? hopefully to a minor league deal….Id rather see someone like Conrad get a shot first. Bobby will find a way to play this guy

    .225/.311/.330 isnt enticing in any way

  117. .225/.311/.330 isn’t enticing in any way

    Yeah, there’s no way he’d ever replace that .204/.259/.407 we got from Brooks Conrad last year…

  118. @199, “Rumspringa” from the German verb “rumspringen”, meaning jumping around.

    Hey, just wanted to contribute something.

  119. From MLBTR… Wren wouldn’t think about swapping Lowe for Matthews, would he?

    “Now that the Dodgers have traded Juan Pierre, the Angels are optimistic about unloading Gary Matthews Jr. and his contract, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. The Angels will have to eat some of the $23MM owed to Matthews if they hope to deal him.”

  120. @192,

    I grew up in Northern CA and dated a Mormon girl for almost three years. Several of my buddies did the same. Your mother was right to be nervous. :)

    EDIT: My buddies didn’t date the SAME Mormon girl mind you. Polygamy doesn’t go both ways.

  121. I am genuinely sorry that my earlier comments provided a jumping-off point for this Mormon-teasing line of discussion, c. shorter and anyone else (Blind Hawg?).

  122. “Yeah, there’s no way he’d ever replace that .204/.259/.407 we got from Brooks Conrad last year…”

    If youve got the same player why bring in another….Thurston had 267ABs Conrad had 54

  123. Reports say that the Cubs receive cash from the Mariners for the pleasure of taking Bradley off their hands. Unbelievable.

  124. I didn’t make a single joke about Mormons. The Braves Journal code of conduct is one of the few I willingly adhere to.


    What will you give her if she doesn’t want it?

  125. If you’re interested in learning a little more about “rumspringa” watch the documentary “The Devils Playground”. Made by a British woman about the late teenage years in Amish life. Filmed mostly in Lancaster County, PA., Lagrange County, Indiana, and Sarasota, Florida. Very well done, and very interesting.

  126. 221,

    Agreed, it’s a great documentary.

    I had an $18 hamburger at a lunch meeting in NY yesterday. The Double Double I just had at In N’ Out Burger in CA put it to shame.

  127. Christ, Silva has “issues”, is a worse baseball player, and MAKES EVEN MORE THAN BRADLEY. Jim Hendry must be stupid on a scale mere mortals can only dream of. Just cut him rather than make things worse.

  128. #214 Rob glad you cleared that up.
    I’ve always wanted to try In N’Out they are legendary. Do they exist outside of CA?

    #212 Ububba it says that no matter how much of a prick you are, as long as you can hit you can earn millions in MLB.

    Joe Thurston? Why? Can anyone tell me what exactly this guy is good at?

    #210 Uhhhhh No. If that was the case they would have kept KJ, right?

  129. @224 – I’ve personally eaten at an In N’ Out in Las Vegas. I believe they are in 4 western states or so.

  130. I love how people on the east coast talk about In N’ Out like it’s the Garden of Eden. I’m not a big fan of the fries, but the shakes and burgers are something special.

  131. I now think the owners and gm’s are not in collusion, but are basically offering 20 cents on the dollar and waiting for the “player chumps” to cave. Sort of like employers in the 30’s.

    KJ getting a 2 million offer. Nick Johnson signing for 5.5 for 1 year. Mike Gonzalez for 2 years for 12 million.

    I am now convinced we won’t move Lowe unless we pay money.

    I am also convinced that we can pick up some real talent cheap, but it probably won’t fit. We should have been in on Nick Johnson.

  132. In N Out was good, but I don’t get the “best burger ever” thing. I’ve had better burgers in plenty of other places.

  133. Javy’s not going to the Angels. And if he does, anything short of Morales would be a huge disappointment.

  134. In ‘N Out is way overrated.

    Lowe, Prado and Jo Jo for Pujols. Though I’d really hate to give up Prado.

  135. DOB tweeted about LaRoche’s reaction to the lack of discussion between himself and the Braves.

    “Guess I should have hit .400 while I was there.”

    *sigh* I love Adam, and want him back next year, but come on. Anyone should know why the Braves are reluctant to give him a big contract.

  136. The Braves are like the entreprenuer that has one really good suit and they wear it everyday.

    Damn, I miss Ted Turner’s money.

  137. via dob’s tweeter, johnny damon has some interest in playing for the braves this year. i dont see a fit.

  138. Are we at the point yet where it’s ok to trade Lowe to the Mets for a fringe prospect?

  139. “Now that the Dodgers have traded Juan Pierre, the Angels are optimistic about unloading Gary Matthews Jr. and his contract, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. The Angels will have to eat some of the $23MM owed to Matthews if they hope to deal him.”

    Goddamn, must every outfielder the Braves are linked to this offseason be so undesireable?

    Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd, Xavier Nady, Gary Matthews, Jr., Johnny Damon….

    Adam LaRoche would provide way more than any of those guys. He can be had on a one year deal too I think.

  140. Dan, I dont think LaRoche can be had for a one yr deal right now. His agent still wants 3/30 and we would probably only go 1/7

  141. Even if you unload Lowe’s contract, who could you possibly sign now better than LaRoche? (This assumes the Mets are stupid and overpay Bay, and Cards do the same with Holliday)

    The feasible options seems to be: Dye, Vlad, Damon, Nady, Byrd, Miguel Tejada, Glaus, DeRosa, Delgado, and Blaylock.

    All of these guys have major issues, and LaRoche was better than a lot of them last year. Is there really anyone in that list you’d feel good about giving even 2 years at 10MM per?

    I’m almost to the point now where I have to believe that, in the event that they trade Lowe, the semi-mythical “Impact Bat” will have to come in via a trade.

  142. Better over there than here.

    Isn’t it obvious that we didn’t tender Adam because we are on the cusp of acquiring Albert?

    Fudruckers was good but kind of expensive. I don’t think they exist here in Columbus anymore. The allure of Five guys is that its relatively cheap, fast hot and decent quality.

    Its interesting waiting to see who gets Bay. He’s apparently priced himself out of Boston and Seattle. Only the Mets seem to want to give him 4 years.

    With the exception of the KJ non tender I like what Wren has or more importantly hasn’t done so far this off season. I think that he is holding on to Lowe to see just who gets desperate enough to offer more than a fringe prospect for him.

  143. I’m not against waiting to move Lowe, but we need offense after we trade him.

    Even if you believe the speculation about Lowe for Juan Rivera, to contend with an improved Phillies team, we need to have at LEAST LaRoche’s production at 1B next year.

    I’m just curious to see how they go about acquiring it…

  144. @248 – Assuming Delgado is healthy, I’d go with him.

    In fact, Trade Lowe for Swisher (throw in a middling prospect if you have to), then sign Delgado or LaRoche. Then we should be done.

  145. AAR – if we are going to do that Id rather give it to a RH player who has played the same amount of games at 1st as Damon (1) and sign Dye

  146. @257: I don’t think he literally meant they were heading to camp right this instant. I don’t think anyone is down there at this time of year.

  147. Ethan at 248,

    In considering re-signing LaRche as compoared to your list of FA’s, there is no reason to compare to a 2 year 10 m per year contract. None of those guys will get that. In fact, none will get that much per year and none will get more than 1 year guaranteed unless they sign CHEAP (3 million or less).

    Nick Johnson either REALLY wanted to be a Yankee, or he has given a big indication of 1B value. I would rather have had Nick at 5.5 than LaRoche at 7 (and maybe even at equal money).

    The remaining potential 1B’s are playing muscial chairs against themselves, and they are now probably beginning to understand that. Were I Frank Wren, I would be making sure Glaus’ agent knew I was interested. He is the best fit IF his shoulder situation will not hinder his offense and offers any upside of later playing a credible 3B.

  148. Cliff,

    I completely agree with you. My point was that if we’re getting an “impact bat,” shouldn’t it be someone good enough to warrant at least two years at 10 MM per? Especially if we’re clearing Lowe’s contract to acquire them? Like you said, I don’t see anyone on that list who deserves that.

    Maybe we’ll strike gold with some combination of Delgado and Swisher/Rivera, but in that scenario, you’re basically praying you get lucky with Delgado, because IMO, with his age/injury, it’s dumb to expect the player of two years ago.

    I’m just trying to figure out Wren’s plan. We know that while he’s not perfect, the guy isn’t an idiot. The Phillies are going to be really, really, good next year. He has to do more if we’re going to compete.

  149. Bowman made a point about Fran Wren and the FO being especially tight-lipped this year. I really hope that’s because they have something big up their sleeves and they’re only interested as Nady as a Plan B (or C. Some good arguments have been made against signing him a few threads ago.)

  150. Wren may be hamstrung by Lowe’s contract. Once he unloads Derrick then we may see a lot of action.

    Or he may not like what the offers he is getting for Lowe or he isn’t getting any at all as the other GMs try to wait him out. To see if he’ll throw in a portion of the salary as part of the deal.

    Finally Wren probably just doesn’t like the prices being quoted out there. JC may disagree but some of the numbers being leaked are either unreasonable or at the top end of the asking players value. Example LaRoche 10 nillion per year or DeRosa 3 years 15. He is waiting out the other teams to make sure the Braves aren’t the team overpaying.

  151. Would the Nationals go for a Derek Lowe, Kris Medlen and Jordan Schafer for Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham type deal? Maybe if we included one or two more B pitching prospects as well?

  152. Props to Chipper, from Kurkjian’s ESPN All-Decade team piece:

    “Third Base: Alex Rodriguez
    It’s an absolute push here with Atlanta’s Chipper Jones, who will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. A-Rod didn’t begin playing third until 2004 and played 185 fewer games at third in the decade than Jones, but from 2004 on, their numbers were nearly identical in several important categories: Rodriguez’s OPS was .968, Jones’ .965. A-Rod had 716 RBIs, Jones 715. A-Rod had 238 home runs, Jones 220. But the big difference is that Rodriguez won two MVPs at third base in the decade, and Jones didn’t win any.” Ha.

  153. 273 – I don’t know about the best but it is terrific. A simple premise done exquisitely well. Chick-fil-A is amazingly good.

  154. Chick-fil-A pressure cooks their chicken in peanut oil. This is why it’s so crispy and tender. Their milkshakes are also absurdly good.

  155. @276 “absurdly good” and “1000 calories and 140+ grams of sugar” are not mutually exclusive terms – in fact, there’s a pretty good correlation between the two. Now, if Johnny had said “amazingly good for you“, I could see your point.

  156. I agree with Johnny #266–Wren probably is not getting good offers for Lowe. Who would want to pay Lowe $45 million–especially given his age and the way he pitched the last two months of the season? Add the fact that the Braves want something in return and its a pretty tight market. Of course, this outcome was nearly predictable when Wren made Lowe an offer so sweet that Boras jumped…..

    Not Damon, no…..

  157. Are we better off holding Lowe til the deadline? Who else is likely to be available?

    Of course, this all presumes that we don’t really have a good way to use Lowe’s money on upgrading the offense at present.

  158. Yes, we are better of holding Lowe unless we can get rid of his entire salary cleanly. Even if we get minor league junk it is worth it.
    We may not sign a Bay or Holliday this year, but it my allow us some flexibility for next year.
    basically, do not trade him for someone else’s money, lose hi or use him, thats it at this point.

  159. Went to the UGA v. Illinois game tonight. They held it at the Gwinnett Center and the crowd was probably 60/40 Illini.

    Great game by two very well-coached teams. If Fox can recruit a lick, Georgia’s got their coach for the next decade.

  160. The question is academic: the Falcons will be lucky to win 2 out of their final 3 games. I would be happy to go 9-7 and establish two consecutive winning seasons for the first time in the history of the franchise…..

  161. #284
    Nice win for the Dawgs against a decent team. Still, this group is going to have all kinds of trouble this year. From what I see, Thompkins is the only talented guy they have.

    Saw them vs. St. John’s at MSG a couple weeks ago & they were a ponderous team, always looking to slow it down, never taking any runouts, even when they were available. Not a good performance. They lost by 10. The UK/UConn game that followed was played at triple-speed.

    Re: Falcons
    Yeah, they’re post-season toast. They gotta go 3-0 to finish 9-7.

    Off to the Meadowlands…

  162. I’m not sure where all this anti-Damon sentiment is coming from. He’s old, but he’s still a good player. I wouldn’t want to go long-term, but on a one-year deal it would be a good pickup.

  163. If the Braves did sign Damon, how crazy would it be to bat Chipper second and Yunel third? Chipper being more of a contact hitter than in years past, etc.


    1. Damon
    2. Chipper
    3. Yunel
    4. Mystery OF or 1B
    5. McCann

  164. I’m fine with Damon at the right price and length of contract. He would serve as a decent stopgap for Heyward. That being said, he should be 3rd of 4th on the list of players we should be going after.

  165. i guess being better than ACHE qualifies you as a good player these days. have you seen Damon throw lately? the guy couldnt break a window at 30 feet.

  166. Who cares? If you’re going to have a weakness, throwing arm is it, particularly in left field. Damon hit .282/.365/.489 last season, with 24 homers. Those would have been the best numbers on the team.

  167. I don’t get the anti-Damon sentiment either. We would have a legit leadoff hitter for the first time in 3 or 4 years. Obviously those home run totals wouldn’t be as high in Atlanta, but you could pencil him in for 15 – 20. That is good for a leadoff. Also, the guy is money in the playoffs.

  168. @291 – Hahahahaha. Beautiful.

    I had a similar reaction to getting Johnny Damon as most: Why? But in light of Mac’s comment and looking at his stats, he actually would be one of our best offensive players. That doesn’t say much for Damon, but it says a lot about how bad our offense is.

    The only issue is what Joshua just mentioned: he’ll probably hit a lot less home runs in Atlanta. So, he wouldn’t be the middle of the order bat we need. He will hit very similar to what Yunel, McLouth, Chipper, McCann, Prado, and Diaz already give us. He’s not the answer, but he is an answer. We would most definitely have to get a big 1B bat if we throw out an outfield of Damon/McLouth/Diaz(Heyward).

    I’m not one for fantasizing about lineups, simply because lineups aren’t that big of a deal, but this would be a pretty good one with our existing rotation and newly constructed bullpen:


    That’s pretty good lineup, but with the trade for a big 1B bat (Gonzalez please!), it would mean we probably won’t be seeing Schafer, Freeman, etc. in Atlanta. Tough decision.

  169. Damon is better than what we have i guess. Is he better than Diaz? Damon hit 17 HR’s at Yankee stadium and alot less in the second half of the year.
    I guess I would take him if it meant Damon, McLouth Diaz OF.

    Who’s on first.

  170. After looking at the lineup one more time, gosh, if we don’t get a cleanup hitter, that is one overly consistent lineup. You could throw out an above-average rate stat line, and not know who the heck it belongs to. Most of those guys will have a BA in between .280 and .320, an OBP between .360 and .390, and a SLG between .420 and .460. I suppose consistency is good, but dang, could they have constructed it anymore the same top-to-bottom? There is ONE high BA and OBP guy (Chipper), but it’s not like there are too many people that are much more likely than average to get on base, and pretty much no one is a power threat. Yikes.

  171. Our offense wasn’t THAT bad last year guys. Yes, it lacked power and we all agree we need it. But we were 6th in the NL in runs scored (and that is with much of the season with Frenchy and Schafer in the lineup). Not saying we don’t need more offense – just saying it’s not as dire as most make it out to be. I would say we could easily win any other division with the lineup we ended the season with last year. The problem is that Phillies lineup is scary good (but still didn’t score 100 more runs that us in than cracker-jack ballpark).

    FWIW – we also scored more runs than a Cardinals lineup that included Pujols, Holliday, and Ludwick.

  172. I’m not enthused by the prospect of trading for Gonzalez mainly because I don’t think we can resign him after 2 years. The prospects we’d have to give up don’t make it that appealing either.

    In comparison, we could have Miguel Cabrera for 6 years and give up less in the way of top prospects unless we wanted Detroit to eat some of his salary.

    The only problem with Cabrera is that the statement by Wren saying he earns too much for us.

  173. My problem with Damon is he’s injury-prone, a bad defender, potentially expensive, and honestly a step sideways as far as offense. He’s a consistent bat, maybe, but not an impact bat. And, of course, not a 1B.

  174. Joshua,

    I agree that our offense wasn’t that bad. Now, to be fair, Francoeur only played 80 games for us, and Schafer only played 50. So, for the most part, the lineup that we had towards the end of the season was the lineup we had for most of the season. And even with that lineup for most of the year, we were 6th out of 14 teams.

    I know that we should work in a step-by-step process, but I think we could be competing for a championship this year, with the amount of pitching we have and a lot of potential on offense. So with that said, championship-level teams can’t settle for 6th in the NL in runs scored. The offense is easily our weakest link, and it still needs to be improved dramatically to get to that championship-level point. IF we can get a middle-of-the-order bat, I think it pushes us over the top to being an elite team in MLB.

  175. For what it’s worth, they’re saying Murphy died of sudden cardiac arrest. My aunt died of sudden cardiac arrest in October 2000 at age 37. She took one cocaine hit too many and it stopped the heart. She fell over dead in the bathroom where she was apparently shooting it up.

  176. I hate to sound cynical, but a movie star dying of a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 32 puts me into sdp’s line of thinking. Regardless, that’s really sad.

  177. I did also forget about Casey Kotchman. I amend my statement slightly that our offense isn’t vastly improved at this point.

  178. @308,

    TMZ speculated that she had an eating disorder and a cocaine problem, but she had always denied it. It does certainly look that way though.

  179. It would be pretty hypocritical of me to be utterly tired of the Tiger Woods drama, but care about Britney Murphy’s personal problems, so I’m going to remove my interest from this.


  180. @303 – Speedballs, man, speedballs.

    Damon wouldn’t be a bad signing if the money’s right. Damon and Nady aren’t the impact bats we’ve been looking for, but maybe we could do a midseason trade for a bat like Adrian Gonzalez.

  181. Yeah…I was about to mention Heyward in that post, but I really don’t think he’ll put up very good numbers in his age 20 season. I can’t think of too many 20-year old hitters off the top of my head, but Justin Upton and Andruw Jones had underwhelming seasons in their age-20 years.

  182. Justin Upton had a 106 OPS+ in his age-20 season. He also got his butt kicked to a 62 OPS+ in his age-19 season. Heyward will be having his first exposure to the major leagues at age 20, so he won’t have had the initial transition that Upton had. Andruw also sucked in his age-19 season, but sucked slightly less in his age-20 season.

    It’s all pretty irrelevant, however, since Jason Heyward is not Justin Upton or Andruw Jones, and he’s going to do what he’s going to do independent to what two other players with different skill sets did. If Heyward can be just league average, he’ll be much better than Francoeur’s 68 OPS+ in Atlanta and about what Church gave us with the 99 OPS+ he put up in Atlanta. We want to compare what each position will look like compared to what we had at that position in 2008, but that’s assuming that our pitching staff will be as good as it was last year, and I have no idea how that will shake out.

    We need a first baseman. It’s as simple as that. Personally I don’t think LaRoche is that bad of an option either, even with his slow starts.

  183. The problem I have with Damon is Church.

    Damon’s 2009 power is a Yankee Stadium illusion. Church had established himself as an 850 ops guy aginst righthanders and 700 against lefthanders before his concussions. Then, for one year with the Mets (parts of 2 seasons) he was 600 against lefthanders and 750 against righthanders. After he got to Atlanta, he just about came back to his previous form.

    Church can play a better left than Damon, but also can play an above average right and a passable center. Damon’s noodle arm will not let him do that.

    Damon is a possible 280 / 360 / 420 guy next year in ATL. Church could have given you that offense and better defense for 3 to 4 million and we released Church. KJ can give you as good or better defense and probably have a shot at that offense for that same 3 to 4 million.

    To even be looking at Damon is a result of poor roster management. Getting Damon on anything other than a significantly cheap 1 year deal (like 5 million) isn’t stupid, but it doesn’t solve the problems the team needs solved.

  184. That’s true, Rob, but it’s useful to look at comparisons.

    Good catch on Upton, though. I was looking at his age 19 season. I’d take an OPS+ of 106 out of Heyward this year.

  185. If we make a trade, I don’t see how it could be for Gonzalez. The Red Sox, who have as much young talent as we do (and need it less) are competing. I think a package would have to be centered around Jurrjens/Hanson and Schafer. That’s a lot to give up for two years of A-Gon and I’m not sure it would get the job done.

    Miggy would not be cheap, but Freeman makes sense as a part of that package. Freeman and Schafer plus a B prospect maybe (Delgado or Spruill). The price probably goes up if the Tigers have to eat salary.

    To me Schafer is the biggest loss, but I would not miss him as much if we have an impact bat for 6 (as opposed to 2) years.

  186. So anyone seen Avatar yet? If not, I highly recommend it. I saw it IMAX 3D on Friday. The story isn’t very original, but it was probably the best movie going experience I’ve ever had.

  187. 323,

    “Avatar” was a lot of fun. I saw it in 3-D on a regular screen and would have preferred to watch it in 2-D. The glasses got a little uncomfortable for a 3-hour movie. However, I hear the glasses are better for IMAX 3-D.

  188. Church wasn’t the same after that concussion. Whether he’s fundamentally changed or it’s just an observed change and a coincidence remains to be seen. I like the idea of bringing him back, actually, but not as a starter.

    Dream off-season at this point is Lowe and McLouth for Swisher, prospects for Billy Butler. At least for me.

  189. Has there been any discussion of possibly signing Johnny Gomes? I don’t know much about him, but he seemed to be promising with the Reds and had a bit of power…

  190. Lowe and McClouth for Swisher?

    I am not sure I understand. I suppose you assume Lowe has no value. I am not totally sure I wouldn’t rather have McClouth than Swisher.

  191. @326 – So you would trade our ONLY guy with reasonable speed for a guy with nearly identical peripherals over the last 2-3 years? I don’t mind adding him to the lineup, but moving McClouth to add him would be placing an identical player out there minus the speed. That would make absolutely no sense.

  192. More to the point, here are some stats. McClouth’s slugging is actually better than Swisher’s if you take into account that Swish played in a TBall field last year. He also strikes out alot more. I’d also venture to say that their OPS would be a wash (again, Swish played in a TBall field and Nate was injured and played worse once he got to Atlanta). Nate actually had an OPS over .800 before arriving.

    Swisher last 3 years:
    .262 .381 .455 .836 (131 K, 3 SB)
    .219 .332 .410 .742 (125 K, 3 SB)
    .249 .371 .498 .869 (136 K, 0 SB)

    McClouth last 3 years:
    .258 .351 .459 .810 (77 K, 22 SB)
    .276 .356 .497 .853 (93 K, 23 SB)
    .256 .352 .436 .788 (99 K, 19 SB)

  193. I wouldnt trade McLouth for Swisher, I would entertain Lowe/Schafer for Swisher. Assuming they’d pick up all of Lowe’s contract

  194. I think that adding Damon would probably be the equilvalent of getting an expensive Kotsay….Sure, he hit 24 HRs (most in the new Yankee Stadium), but I would not be surprised to see his power disappear in Atlanta. For a rock bottom price, he might be a decent pick-up, but I would certainly hope that we could do better….

  195. Schafer may become a more valuable player, but there is no certain evidence to believe that he can hit major league pitching….

  196. I think that Schafer is as valuable as McLouth, if not more valuable. I would say that Schafer may have a bit more potential, and isn’t terribly far away from fulfilling it.

  197. When you consider price, years of control and defense, Schafer may already be more valuable than McClouth.

    I think he will prove he can hit.

  198. McLouth has already proven he can hit. Hopefully, Schafer’s troubles were all due to his wrist, but that isn’t a given.

  199. Wow! I have no idea where the concept of Schafer being more valuable than McClouth comes into play. Yes, the kid has tremendous potential, but he has shown absolutely no evidence that he can hit at the major league level. I know he was injured and blah blah blah, but come on. The dude struck out like 50% of the time (just grabbed that number out of thin air – could be more or less). I want to keep him because I think he will be a good/great player, but to say he has more value than McClouth is going a bit far. Someone with an OPS over .800 and can hit 20+ homeruns a year playing center is invaluable. You can make an argument that he shouldn’t be playing center, but he is – and for a CF, he has good numbers.

  200. Calling Schafer more valuable now includes consideration of his cost and his years of control.

    Saying he has shown no evidence that he can hit MLB pitching is a bit of an exaggeration, too.

    I seem to recall the guy flat out winning his job in Spring Training. He hit .324/.378/.471 over about 70 ABs. He also hit .273/.415/.439 in his first month (66 AB) as a Major Leaguer at the age of 22. Supposedly, he injured his wrist that month and his stats steadily declined from about April 21 on.

    The guy is going to be healthier and he should get a lot better with maturity and experience. Do not forget he was primarily a pitcher in high school.

    He has more value than McLouth. I would certainly rather receive him in trade than McLouth.

    Now, as a Braves’ fan, I would be willing to see him go if the return was high enough. Swisher does not fit the bill.

  201. Jordan Schafer had a great breakout year in 2007 and played well in about half a season in 2008 and then in the AFL. The fact that he hit well in Spring Training does not mean a lot.

    Yes, his stats declined with the broken wrist–but I tend to believe that pitchers were also learning how to pitch to him.

    All told, it is too early to write off Schafer, but it is equally unwise to say that he now has more value than McLouth. I hope that the Braves keep him and he develops. Wouldn’t an outfield of Heyward, Schafer and McLouth be nice?

    I don’t want to see him traded for Swisher either….

  202. 341,

    Agreed. It’s easy to say that his broken wrist hampered his progress, but most of the K’s I remember were swings and misses. Embarrassing ones. One would think you’d take a few more pitches if your wrist was hurting….

    That said, I’m very interested to see what he’s capable of next year and I hope it’s with Atlanta.

  203. Put McLouth and Schafer out on the trade market and see which one gets you more.
    An established major league center fielder? Or
    A kid coming off an injury whose best season was in A ball?

    All that being said I sure wouldn’t let retaining Schafer stand in the way of completing a trade for a hitter or dumping Lowe’s salary.

  204. Most of his swings and misses were because pitchers figured out he couldn’t catch up to the fastball inside.

    Considering you wouldn’t reach the level he did without being able to hit a fastball in the zone, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that it was the wrist that was affecting his swing.

  205. Schafer has a massive hole in his swing that I am sure he didn’t correct on the disabled list in AAA. I don’t think we could even trade him at this point.

  206. Unless we’re able to get someone like Swisher in a Lowe deal, I’m starting to believe it would behoove us to just keep Lowe. If this year’s payroll is indeed the same as last year’s, we should be able to afford something like Nady and Glaus without shedding any additional salaries, and it’s not looking (to me) like we’re going to be able to do much better than that even if we have $15 million more to work with.

    I’m hoping Frank has a gem up his sleever, but based on what’s been reported, I think I’d rather just keep the incredible pitching depth.

  207. I agree fully with Smitty on his point. Maybe part of the “hole” in Schafer’s swing had to do with his wrist injury, but it’s mostly wishful thinking imo. I hope he can get it straightened out, but unless he does it soon, I’m not optimistic for this year.

  208. Horrible news on Chip Caray. The satellite delay makes it really hard to turn on the radio and listen to those guys, but it’s tempting.

  209. You guys beat me to it by 15 minutes… was just catching up on Twitter and saw that… was surprised I couldn’t hear the screaming over here from across the internet.

  210. Maybe Skip had a secret stash of tapes from drinking exploits with Fox Executives that is to be released by the family’s attorney if Chip doesn’t keep a job.

    Either that or Chip has read up on Robert Johnson. But wait, didn’t Robert Johnson’s deal include BEING GOOD at it? I guess Chip was too dumb to remember to ask for that.

  211. That the Caray name will bring in viewers?

    That he may have pictures?

    That Braves fans enjoy sucky play by play?

    That someone needs to be more irritating than Joe Simpson?

  212. 342 – He did take more pitches…and walked more for a while, until figured out he was less likely to swing.

    Caray’s return will allow me to catalogue the idiotic things he says. I guess we should just make the most of it.

  213. “Taking the air out of his Denver stats” doesn’t necessarily make sense given that Galarraga’s home runs, on-base percentage, and slugging average all increased in 1998 with the Braves (compared to his excellent 1997 with the Rockies). In fact, in his first year with Atlanta, Galarraga posted a higher on-base percentage than in any of his previous four years with Colorado, a higher slugging average than in three of his five years with Colorado, and more home runs than in four of his five years with Colorado. Plus, Galarraga led the National League in total bases (and hits, and doubles) in 1988 while playing for Montreal.

    … so there goes that argument. I don’t know that Galarraga belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he has been unfairly diminished and discredited for his years in Colorado.

    And, please, can we drop the “Keltner List” as some gold standard for evaluating Hall of Fame candidates?

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