Braves 7, Marlins 6

Florida Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 29, 2010 – ESPN.

What’s the word? Oh, yeah… RESILIENT.

The Braves got off the bat after another disaster start — oh, heck, let’s call it a catastrophe start — this one by Derek Lowe. At least with his other starts, Lowe has been giving them five innings before falling apart. Today, he gave up a three-run homer before getting an out, then managed only two more innings, in the second of which he allowed two more runs, before getting lifted. He sucks.

The pitching hero of the game was The Lisp, though he won’t show up with a decision or anything. He allowed a run in the fourth, but then threw three more innings, more or less unscathed, and kept the game from getting totally out of hand. Not that it looked like it would matter off of Josh Johnson. The Braves got an “unearned” run in the first on an Eric Hinske single, but left the tying runs on base, then didn’t do much of anything for five innings after that.

Luckily, Johnson had thrown 103 pitches, so the Marlins got him out of there after six. The Braves couldn’t score in the seventh, but our old friend Will Ohman didn’t have it in the eighth, allowing three runs, though only one was “earned”. Heyward walked to lead off, then after an out McCann singled to make it first-and-third. Hinske doubled to score Heyward and chase Ohman. The next reliever got Gonzalez to strike out, but Melky hit a little grounder to third that Wes Smelms threw badly on; Gaby Sanchez at first was charged the error, and he could have made the play, but Smelms should have been charged. Two runs scored and it was 6-4.

Marlins pseudo-closer Leo Nunez walked Brooks Conrad to lead off the inning, then Matt Diaz hit an opposite-field shot to tie the game. Nunez rallied to strike out Heyward and get Prado to ground out, then McCann hit a ball that I never thought he got enough elevation on to get out of the park. It bounced off the top of the wall, on to the retaining wall, then back onto the field. The first-base umpire screwed up the call, saying it was a double, but after video review it was changed to the rarely-seen trot, stand at second, then walk-off home run. Saito got the win after pitching the ninth.

193 thoughts on “Braves 7, Marlins 6”

  1. I think the error was properly charged to Sanchez. The throw didn’t bounce or anything; it was low, but it hit him where he should’ve been able to catch it.

    Anyway, awesome win.

  2. @2, Agreed. It was practically in his glove.

    Absolutely incredible game. Let’s gain a game on the Sillies.

  3. re: Marlins teal

    When they move to the new stadium in 2012, they will change their name to Miami Marlins and will no longer have teal as part of their team colors. Based on preliminary sketches of the new stadium, it looks like they’ll be using a type of aqua/blue, kinda of like Tampa

  4. This team sees a lot of pitches (second to LA in the NL), and today it paid off. Being patient knocked Johnson out of the game.

    If I had a league MVP vote, and I voted today, McCann would be my top non-pitcher. He leads a contending team and puts up outrageous numbers for a catcher. Since it’s really hard for a pitcher to win MVP, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t start entering the conversation.

    Cristhian Martinez was fantastic. To come out of the pen and throw four innings with no walks or homers is just great. Bullpen guys are used to short outings, so four innings without a losing control or making a fatal mistake is impressive.

    I thought I’d have to miss most of the game, but I’m glad I got to see the whole thing. This team is a joy to watch this year.

  5. 6—I think the Triple Crown race between Pujols and Votto will keep anyone else from being seriously considered.

  6. I must have found Bethany’s treadmill at the gym. I got on it in the bottom of the 8th and did not get off until the game was over.

    FWIW, I thought the delayed call walk-off was a lot of fun. I am sure it was not from the other perspective.

  7. Joey, I appreciate Heap’s contributions as much as anybody, but do you really think McCann has been a more valuable position player than, say, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, or Adrian Gonzalez, all of whom are equally in the thick of playoff races with far better offensive numbers?

  8. I sure wish the Pads had waited until after this series to start playing like the team I thought they were.

  9. @9, well, yeah. First, those other guys aren’t catchers, and they play a position where you’re comparing them to people like Pujols, Votto, Fielder, Howard, Gonzalez, Huff, etc.

    Pujols isn’t even the most valuable guy on his team. Wainwright is. The Cardinals and Reds have a lot of weapons, and Votto is helped by his park, which makes him seem a lot more valuable.

    I forgot about Adrian Gonzalez, though. That lineup is kind of lost without him. I might put him up on McCann. Maybe.

  10. actually the Helms throw wasnt that bad. Sanchez had to go down a bit for it, but it still hit in the web of his glove. Dont know how he didnt catch that one. Thanks though

  11. I guess my gut feeling on Pujols, Votto, and Gonzalez says that it’s hard to be most valuable when a handful of other guys who play the same position are nearly equal in value. Who in the National League is close to McCann? We’ll see how Posey finishes up the year.

  12. Great win — I really need to stop turning these games off.

    Playing around with BBRef season finder….Andres Torres (32) is the oldest player to hit 40 doubles in his first qualified full season in the bigs. You’re welcome.

  13. No offense Joey but I think you are probably the only person in America that would even put McCann in the same conversation as those others

  14. @18, his splits scream Coors field product.

    For 2010:

    Where the air has no viscosity and all balls are straighter: .380/.427/.755

    Where pitches move: .267/.286/.411

  15. That’s hilarious. Carlos Gonzalez’ slugging percentage away from Coors is less than his OBP at Coors. I didn’t notice that until now. That’s really difficult.

  16. 16—I had no idea that Torres was that old. I’d been thinking that the Giants had a nice, young, out-of-nowhere outfielder on their hands.

  17. BP did an article on this last week, basically considering Pujols, Votto, Huff, Adrian Gonzalez and McCann.

    The conclusion they reached was that while he may not win it, being the All Star MVP, a catcher who has been healthy all year and being against 1st basemen with similar stats, he could sneak into the top 3.

  18. @24, is there any correlation between All-Star MVP and season MVP voting? Like is there an All-Star MVP boost?

    My gut says no, but I don’t have any “numbers” on that. There’s just so much time between the All-Star game and the end of the season, I don’t know that it would influence voters.

  19. So DOB is reporting that Lowe had trouble gripping the ball. Is it wrong that I’m kinda sorta hoping that this indicates an injury that will remove him from the rotation? Wishing injury upon someone is very poor form. And yet . . .

  20. Pujols isn’t even the most valuable guy on his team. Wainwright is.

    I am unsure of how to compare pitcher and player WAR, but I really can’t buy this without some additional rationale. Wainwright only plays in perhaps 35 of the teams games.

  21. I love McCann, but dude – Albert Pujols’ has a 172 OPS+ to McCann’s 128. Albert could be a DH and I’d still probably vote for him.

  22. Spike beat me, but I also do not buy that Wainwright is more valuable than Pujols.

    Also, if there is such a thing as an unearned run, the two we scored in the eighth were it. It wasn’t like the pitcher had time to pitch out of it and failed (although I guess he could have just not let them on in the first place).

  23. I’m not sure there’s been a bigger turnaround between two series this year than Philly just had. Good thing we won.

  24. @28, I was talking outside of numbers there, too, but I think about total plays rather than number of games played. Sure, he’s only in 35 games, but when he’s on the mound, he’s the most important player on his team for almost every single plate appearance of the opposing team. In the NL, he also gets his own plate appearances.

    Just to put a rough number on it, although I know this ignores Pujols’ defense, Wainwright’s plate appearances, and a whole host of other things, Pujols has had 562 PA this year while Wainwright has faced 741 batters. I don’t know what about that makes Pujols more likely to be more valuable.

  25. I couldn’t put McCann in the NL top five just based on the fact that I don’t know if I could pick among McCann, Heyward, and Prado for the team MVP honor. So I’d probably put Hudson higher on the ballot than any of them.

    But that’s the point of this team — it’s highly decentralized, which makes it more RESILIENT. Winning the pennant without having anyone in the top 5 would be a badge of honor, I’d think.

  26. On a side note, according to Bill James’ method of ranking players by his run created statistic, which player has saved his team the most runs in the field this season?

    Yunel Escobar!

  27. @29, I’ve always put more of a premium on positional value than other people. I remember thinking that Andruw should have won MVP over Pujols and Lee because he was great in center, which is a whole lot more valuable than being good at first, even though his offense wasn’t as stellar.

  28. Andruw was the first NL player ever to lead the league in homers and RBI for a division champ and not win the MVP. And they couldn’t even blame his defense.

  29. dob reporting on omar being too valuable to be put back in a utility role next year. in the article, bobby and terry back up the argument. i think we might see prado in left field next year and the braves go hard for a center fielder. i’d be ok with that.

  30. #38, why move Prado? He’s been moved now because he can play 3rd, but Infante is the one with outfield experience.

  31. Infante starting LF? Interesting. I really can’t see how his value isn’t greatest at 2B, given that you get the side benefit of the risk of his not having another season like this one mitigated, and (for most clubs anyway) finding a slugging LF is a lot easier than finding a slugging 2B. Prado to third neatly solves the Chipper issue for the short term too.

    /sorry – misread the statement. Point still stands though.

  32. @38, @40

    1) Are we sure that Chipper will be good to start next year?

    2) If Chipper is solid, Prado moves back to second, and the infield is crowded, who would start in left over Infante?

  33. I find it very difficult to believe Chipper is back before the ASB next year, assuming he gets surgery straightaway.

  34. @48, yeah, that’s my thought, too. Swap Lee with Freeman, and we’ll have this infield for a good part of next season.

  35. @21, to be fair, it’s tough to blame Rockies hitters — and it is a franchise-wide problem — for their road performance. It’s incredibly difficult to adjust, no matter how talented the player, to only seeing actual breaking pitches in away games. If you’re going to mark down their home performance, you should give more credit to what they do away from Coors.

    I’m not saying CarGo should get a pass. I’m saying Rockies hitters can probably only be accurately compared to each other.

  36. I’d like to see what Diaz could do if some team gave him a full-time job in LF. My bet is he’d thrive. (Thriving defined as hitting .300 and 20 homeruns.)

    If we can do better, fine. If not, that’s a pretty darn good bird in the hand.

    Why can the Rangers beat everyone but the Athletics?

    Hamilton is en fuego. I’m happy.

    Hurt or not, DLowe must go. To the minors or the DL, I don’t care.

    Kenshin is looking a lot better at the moment.

    You all killed me when I said trade Hanson. Still feel that way?

    Hinske getting hot and playing 1B would sure help this club right now.

  37. Timmons could be the only Brave to be Mayor of Richmond and Chair of the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners.

  38. Who would trade Hanson unless the return was something silly (like Longoria)? Hanson’s awesome.

  39. Diaz just doesn’t hit RHP well enough to play every day. Career splits:

    vs RHP (822 PA) .269/.327/.379
    vs LHP (767 PA) .336/.374/.540

    What’s often overlooked in the Diaz discussion, wherein it’s usually assumed he’s not been given enough chances against RHP, is that he has actually faced MORE RHP than LHP, and he’s Melk against them.

  40. Trading Hanson? For whom?

    I’m sorry, but if you are serious about that, you might want to check your health. He has just turned TWENTY-FOUR two days ago. Baring injury, he will be a #1/#2 starter for years to come. C’mon, don’t let two bad games blind you.

  41. Braves fans, circa June 1991: “Come on, Schuerholz, trade Smoltz for used baseball bats, please!”

  42. Hanson has already started 6 more games than last year. I would expect a bit of dropoff in the closing weeks of this season. He’ll be fine. If/when he finds his out pitch, his future is exceptionally bright.

  43. In the early ’90s, Gene Michael had to fight the Pinstriped Powers more than once to keep from dealing an inconsistent Andy Pettitte (and Bernie Williams).

  44. Spike at 61,

    agreed with the general tendency of your post, but…

    If/when he finds his out pitch, his future is exceptionally bright.

    …I don’t get this. No out pitch?? Tommy strikes out 8.2 batters per nine, more than any other starter on our staff. He’s exactly on his 2009 pace. His walks are down from 3.2/9 to 2.7/9 however, for a K/BB of 3.06. Hell, Greg Maddux never had a K/BB over 3.00 before 1993, his age 27 year.

  45. He runs into a TON of deep counts after getting ahead, and it has really taken a toll on him this year.

    /perhaps a better term could have been used than out pitch, but finishing batters off efficiently has been a struggle for him.

  46. ok.

    Many strikeout pitchers need a lot of pitches. I have no idea what the average number of pitches needed for a strikeout in MLB is, but my best guess is between five and six. Not the most efficient way to get an out for sure.

  47. Wonder what we could get for Infante this winter? He is going into the last year of his deal, his value is at an all time high. Something to think about.

  48. Just in time to miss the Phils & Halladay.


    The Dodgers will allow Manny Ramirez to be claimed off waivers Monday by the Chicago White Sox, who will pick up the remaining $4.3 million of his $20 million salary, according to baseball sources.

    There will be no players coming back to the Dodgers. The Dodgers could not comment on the report.

  49. #66 – I may be the only one here, but we need players like Omar here. Id extend him if we can get a decent deal worked out. Anyone that can play almost any position is a necessity on a mid market team

  50. BOBBY COX:

    “I can’t say enough about Matty. He got us off to a good start last night with a homer. He’s going to start seeing a lot of action here real quick – the Mets have three lefties coming up, and he’s swinging a hot bat right now.

    “It doesn’t matter righties or lefties for Matty.”

  51. Every time Diaz gets a chance to play everyday, he goes cold. He is the streakiest hitter on the team.

    When he is hot, everyone knows it. When he is not, no one really sees it, he just loses playing time.

    He is a good player, I am glad we have him.

  52. I recall Diaz doing rather well as a starter in the second half of last season. Didn’t he lead the team in OPS?

  53. Who said trading Tommy? I hope whoever said that remembers the days when we had to live with Morton, JoJo, and Buddy. This is only Tommy’s first full season. Hope we all remember he is still very very young, and same thing applies to JJ.

    I think we will leave Omar and Prado at second base and third base, and we will sign a power hitting leftfielder.

  54. Diaz did lead the team in OPS last year, primarily because he hit .412/.464/.640 against LHP.

    I’ve always thought Cox deployed Diaz well — he’s been given a couple of chances to play every day, and he usually finds his level again as a lefty masher. Diaz should thank his lucky stars that Bobby came into his life.

  55. other than freeman and kimbrel, there are many players at gwinnett that should be seriously considered for roster spots in 2011:

    canizares: .337 ba .400 obp .890 ops 11 hr 71 rbi (going to win league’s batting title)
    matt young: .305 ba .380 obp .797 ops 5 hr 33 rbi 32 sb (5cs)
    wes timmons:.298 ba .405 obp .815 ops 6 hr 35 rbi 19sb (8cs)
    brandon beachy: 1.83 era 140k in 113.1 ip
    stephen marek:1.51 era 53k in 47.2 ip

  56. best part of dob’s latest is from matt diaz:

    “The ball was middle-away and I hit it. I flushed it. I think I flipped the bat too far, but that will be determined the next time we play them, I guess.”

  57. I think Glaus needs to get some AB’s when he comes up. Maybe he will keep his hot streak going in the big leagues.

  58. put Infante in CF, our defense is bad anyways

    Infante CF
    Prado 2B
    Glaus 3B
    Diaz LF

    move Diaz up against LH’rs

  59. By Joey’s standard Babe Ruth wasn’t as valuable as Brian McCann because there are more good rightfielders than catchers. I mean Pujols may end up being one of the top ten players in baseball history.

  60. Pujols just had arguably the best decade on any hitter in history. It’s hard to argue that he isn’t valuable…

  61. If, when the year began, someone told me that both McLouth and Glaus would be relegated to AAA by late August, I probably would not have believed the Braves would be in 1st place.

    Baseball’s cool that way, I guess.

  62. Who would have ever believed that 4 of the 5 Braves starters (excluding Hudson) at the first of the year would be a combined 25-35 and Jurrjens would be the only one with a winning record (5-4)? Add to it that our 6th starter would go down with Tommy John surgery and I would have said the Braves would be lucky to be above .500.

  63. @87, just because someone’s one of the best hitters ever doesn’t mean every year is his best. Two years ago, Pujols was pretty clearly most valuable, and last year he probably was, too. This year, it’s not really clear. Even in his own position, Votto might be having a better year. As crazy as it sounds, this is a down year for Pujols.

  64. @91 – I’m in favor of a pre-emptive hook for DLowe.

    At least Joe Johnson gives us something for his team-wrecking contract.

  65. Puljos and Votto are battling for the tripple crown. Their teams are in the playoff hunt. They have been more valuable than McCann.

    I would take Puljos’s worst month over just about anyone’s best month.

    In fact, if we could get Puljos son to come start in the outfield for us today, we should consider it. I think he is like 5. But still, his last name is Puljos and he might hit .290.

  66. Haha. I refreshed this screen (@my last comment) and the browser said there was an error on the page. Sorry, Troy.

  67. Here’s the point. If I said the Cardinals would trade Pujols for McCann straight up (forgetting age and contract status) wouldn’t you do that immediately? Put Pujols at first and move Ross behind the plate and the Braves are immediately better (and the Cardinals are much worse). This isn’t to take away anything from McCann, who is a very good and very valuable player. And I agree that, in general, positional value makes sense; a good hitting catcher is obviously more difficult to find that a first baseban (except for the Braves, apparently). But Pujols is simply a much better and more valuable player than McCann, especially given McCann’s poor defense behind the plate.

    Plus, I would argue that the Braves MVP has been Prado, who has been consistently good from the get go.

  68. @102, Under this metric, McCann is less valuable to us than he would be on other teams, and thus a less valuable player, because we have the best backup catcher in baseball, too.

    That sounds reasonable.

    I don’t think “Most Valuable” specifies context. If you’re looking at a league-wide starting line up, and you’re looking at whom you could least afford to lose, I think McCann is the last guy you trade on the team. If Posey keeps things up, maybe it’s Hanley.

    It’s hard to be most valuable in the league for a given season when you could have been replaced by another guy in the league with almost no dropoff for the season. Two years ago, Pujols had no one close. This year, he has a couple of guys who are close.

  69. I guess, at my core, I still have a sense of MVP as a single-team award. Like who on this team could we have really not done without? Who would have hurt us the most if he was absent? Since you have a bunch of different teams with different needs for a league-wide MVP, I tend to construct a hypothetical league team, and I think about who’s the most valuable on the imaginary NL team. Who would it hurt the most to lose?

  70. Well, without Pujols, the Cardinals wouldn’t even be sniffing first place. You can argue forever about what “most valuable” means. What about a team that wins 80 games and without so and so, would have won 70? Maybe he is the most valuable player. Why does it have to be a pennant contender?

    No doubt McCann, at this point, is the best player on the team. But he hasn’t had the best year–and I realize there is some bad luck involved. But Prado has kept the team afloat during periods where McCann has struggled. Where would this team be without Prado? Frankly, if you talking about a Brave for MVP of the league, Prado has a better argument than McCann IMO. And, let’s face it, it’s not as if McCann adds value with his defense.

  71. You can’t knock McCann’s defense unless you’re willing to give him credit for how he calls a game. I don’t know how you measure that, but the Braves pitching staff doesn’t suck. Some of that is because of him.

  72. Besides, if the Cardinals and Reds swapped first basemen, what would be the impact this year (and *only* this year)?

  73. You can’t knock McCann’s defense unless you’re willing to give him credit for how he calls a game.

    Sure I can. The two have nothing to do with each other, and honestly, I am not sure how much stuff is called from the bench, or how McCann’s game calling compares to other catchers. Neither of which keeps me from recognizing his defense is adequate, but not much more.

  74. You have to have a catcher, or else you’d have a lot of passed balls. Otherwise, I don’t tend to believe that catcher defense — in terms of throwing out runners, blocking wild pitches, and preventing passed balls — is all that important. I don’t think there’s a huge run difference between the best defensive catcher in the world and a guy who’s merely adequate.

  75. I’m not saying they have anything to do with each other, but calling the game is much more important than throwing out would-be base stealers. Calling a game matters on literally every pitch. And it is impossible for a manager to call everything from the dugout. Do catchers look in the dugout every time a pitcher shakes off a sign? How about setting up and providing a target? How would a manager even signal that?

    Also, it’s not fair to blame the Pimpbot for guys that steal bases off someone like Tommy because he’s bad at holding runners and takes more time delivering to the plate.

  76. Well the value of catcher defense is certainly debatable. I do think we can agree that to the naked eye, Brian does not appear to be near the top of the leaderboard.

    /As I recall there were a couple of articles trying to determine if Pudge’s defensive skills overcame Piazza’s offensive advantage (the answer was mixed, but probably not).

  77. Actually, proficiency at throwing runners out might be detrimental to a team. A good defensive reputation might keep marginal basestealers from attempting to steal second, depriving you of good shots at a free out. If you mow them down every time, they’ll stop running.

    However, if you f-up one every once in a while, and it gets on Sportscenter, you might have bought your team a dozen free outs that season.

  78. @114, even if we stipulate that gamecalling is an important skill, you haven’t really defined Brian’s skill level at it, and how he compares to other catchers.

  79. A good defensive reputation might keep marginal basestealers from attempting to steal second, depriving you of good shots at a free out.

    Wouldn’t having an undistracted pitcher and 1B more than offset the potential few outs you might get, as well as never giving up any SBs?

  80. Well, I admit that his defense is not as good as the two best catchers in the NL (Molina and Ruiz), but the dude can hit.

    Also, as the immortal Dan Uggla is reported to have said, “It’s probably a homer, dude.”

  81. If you’re up 12-0 on the Astros in the 9th, and Bourn is feeding his basestealing compulsion, just throw it into the outfield, go “oops,” and hope that Podsednik and Nyjer Morgan are watching on their phones and salivating.

  82. Spike,

    That’s a very good point @117, but I’m not sure it trumps the Uggla quote.

    I’ll work on it, though.

  83. Yeah, I’m kidding, spike. That would come close to violating the First Rule Of Baseball:

    Always Take The Out.

    Of course, in the strict since, it really only violates the Hustle Corollary, “If the risk is low, Always Go For The Out.”

  84. If you want to make an argument for McCann as the MVP, it’s that he’s been the one constant in the Braves lineup this year and has come up with some really big hits for us. He’s clearly not been as good this year as Votto and/or Pujols (or probably even Adrian Gonzalez, who if you take him out of PETCO, has probably been almost as good as the NL Cental pair). But if the Braves make the playoffs with the best record in the NL, he’ll definitely get some votes.

    Me, I’d probably go with the 1B from the Central team that wins the division. I don’t usually consider how well your team does, but this year it’s all very close, so I’ll just use that as a tie-breaker.

  85. Joe Morgan was singing Carl Crawford’s praises last night and I’m inclined to agree with him.

    But his numbers are good, not great.

    What say y’all and how much would he cost?

    Crawford’s homer was likely largely a result of Boston’s fixation on the runner at first.

    If the RedSox catchers did not have the reputation of being as easy as all the girls at Vandy, perhaps they wouldn’t have felt the need to go to the slide step which likely contributed to Crawford getting a cripple pitch which he hit seven miles.

    I love a great defensive catcher. But I love Brian McCann more.

  86. On Infante…. IIRC, his contract is up at the end of the year. I’d be surprised if we’re able to re-sign him the way he’s hit for Atlanta. The current crop of SS is just plain awful (one of the reasons Gonzalez’s option for next year is so useful), and Infante can play there. I’d be surprised if someone didn’t pony up for 3+ years promising him the starting gig at SS. I doubt the Braves will try to match that, so his return will come down to how much he wants to stay in Atlanta, and I just don’t see it happening. I’d really like to see him come back, since he’s been a fantastic sub for the Braves these past two years and has maintained his production in an expanded role this year. But I doubt it’ll be worth the price it takes to retain him. Then we have to wonder whether that means we get one of Doiry Hernandez/Brandon Hicks coming up or if we go shopping for a backup MI. Hard to say what the best option is, especially considering we’re going to need some Chipper insurance going into the season.

  87. Most veteran pitchers really call their own game. Granted, the catcher has more input into younger guys like Hanson and maybe Jurrjens, but I think calling the game is overrated. For example, Yogi Berra was known to call for fastballs with men on base because it was easier to throw when runners were stealing. There is no evidence that I’m aware of of any correlation between the catcher and a team’s ERA.

    @123, I don’t see how you can say McCann has been the one constant. What about Prado, who is hitting for a much higher average, a good OBP (admittedly lower than McCann’s) and has nearly as many home runs? I can’t understand why everyone seems to downplay Prado. Yes, McCann has had a lot of big hits but he has also had some slumps as well. Prado has been solid all year.

    This isn’t intended to be a knock on McCann, but Prado deserves some props.

  88. I think the idea that the Braves would ever be a big player for a premium free agent (which I think Crawford is although I’m not sure he is really that good)is pure fantasy. Lowe was an exception because they had no one else, but Crawford will draw interest from a lot of teams willing to pay a lot more than Liberty Media would.

    And I suspect that Lowe’s performace is likely to make the Braves more, not less, reluctant to go after top free agents.

  89. I like Crawford as a player and even more as a clubhouse guy. I think he’s a solidly above-average defender and hitter. I think he was overrated a few years ago because he picked up a million steals. But he puts up a .280/.350/.420 every year, and consistency is well worth something, and he may have been overshadowed somewhat by his high-flying teammates on the Rays.

    I don’t know what it’d take for him, though. I’d love him at $4/40. But at 6/$80, I’d probably balk.

  90. The price is going to be run up on Crawford by the Mets, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox and Tampa (they might get in on it)

    The only chance we have is if Libery Media sells a ton of porn this year, we are able to move McLouth, Lowe, KK and Chipper hangs it up.

  91. Infante’s contract info:

    2009: $1.85 million, 2010: $2.225 million, 2011: $2.5 million club option ($0.25M buyout), 2012: Free Agent

  92. 125—I think the Braves have a team option on him for next season, which is a no-brainer. Hopefully, they can work on an extension this offseason.

    126—McCann hasn’t spent any time on the DL. I think that’s what was meant by “the one constant.”

    For the record, FanGraphs credits McCann with 4.7 WAR so far this season (compared to Prado’s 3.9).

  93. Even if LM did make tons of money, do you think they would invest any of it back into the team? This year will probably end up being financially awful for the team, because LM will go “Hey look this team competed with an $85 million dollar payroll! Maybe they can do it with $75!”

    Didn’t they just acquire the team as part of tax deal or something anyway? It’s not like LM owners got together and thought “HOLY FUCK LET’S BUY A BASEBALL TEAM!” They got together and thought “Hey if we buy this thing from crazy ol’ Ted, we could save up to 15% on our auto insurance!”

  94. How soon can Mr. Blanc buy the team? (I know I ask this every month or so, but can you imagine …)

  95. @128 – I think 6/$80 is probably closer to what he will get. Which is why he won’t be playing for the Braves.

    Unless they can get some certainty on Chipper not coming back in the offseason, I don’t think you’ll see the Braves make any big moves. Should be interesting to see what happens though, with Kawakami/Lowe again being a big storyline.

  96. “The unique deal allowed Liberty to dump its significant share of Time Warner stock while avoiding the capital gains taxes it would have otherwise paid. Tax laws passed last year allowed the swap to proceed tax-free because Liberty would receive a portion of Time Warner’s assets — most notably the Atlanta Braves. According to the Wall Street Journal, the two sides likely saved nearly a billion dollars in taxes.”

    “In an important item for baseball fans, Liberty committed to keep the Braves’ payroll at or above current levels, about $80 million. Liberty also committed to keeping the team in its portfolio for at least four and a half years, preventing the quick turnaround some feared.”

  97. @134 – You are exactly right. LM bought the team as a “tax-efficient” investment. That is exactly why Major League Baseball made them promise not to sell the team within a certain number of years (I want to say it was 5 or 6 years), so as not to give the impression that it was all just a big tax dump.

    Which it was.

    EDIT – @137 – Beat me to it.

  98. I’m reading that SI article on Bobby & ejections, and realized I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of him during his Blue Jays time… and I don’t think I want to either.

  99. I would be okay with Apple buying the team, even if they gave them a new name and an aesthetically pleasing logo. Especially if they would fund a cool high tech iStadium.

  100. Potential big winners this off season:
    Adrian Beltre
    Carl Crawford
    Jayson Werth

    You could make a case that all of them are better than Jayson Bay and you see what he got paid.

    Dix, when you buy the team, build a stadium in the North Atlanta metro area with a MARTA line to it.

  101. Bay got 4/$60 from the Mets, but no one else was willing to pay anywhere near that last year. Beltre has done a decent job building his value back after taking a one-year deal, but his market value was pitifully low just one year ago. Werth will probably be the star of the offseason; Crawford won’t be able to get nearly his money.

    I know that 4 years/$40 million isn’t remotely realistic. But he’s not a slugger. I just don’t see him getting paid slugger dollars.

  102. concerning brian mccann:

    brian and salty basically caught the same pitchers throughout the minor leagues. brian’s cera was 1/2 run lower than salty’s. imo, that’s a pretty big deal.

  103. 132,
    B-Ref has McCann ahead of Prado as well (4.2 to 3.0). Makes sense to me. Substantial gap in on base average (advantage McCann) and McCann plays a more difficult position. B-Ref also has Heyward (3.2) and Chipper (3.1) barely ahead of Prado.

  104. 145,
    It depends on who the Yankees want. I’m guessing they’re probably going to sign one of Werth and Crawford plus Cliff Lee. Whoever they don’t sign the other 29 teams can fight over.

  105. Um…with the success rate of basestealers in general, wouldn’t it be far better if no one tried to steal on us?

  106. Warning: Completely non-baseball related tangent follows.

    I dunno if anybody here has ever heard of or is in anyway interested in this, but just a few days ago station UVB-76 just transmitted 4 voice messages in 6 days, with the last coming some time yesterday. Only four voice messages had ever been previously recorded, and the first of this batch was the first to be heard in four years.

    Like I said, completely unrelated to baseball, but interesting in a creepy sort of way. To me, anyway.

  107. Well on one hand, I’m fairly certain that Russians wouldn’t let a bunch of people on the internet listen to super secret spy broadcasts if there was anything one national important being broadcast, even if it were in code. But then on the other hand you have to wonder why to continue to let the thing exist in the first place if it doesn’t have some function. It’s apparently some sort of government station, as Russian officials have acknowledged it, so it’s not just a private station that they can’t/won’t shut down.

    Doesn’t really help that most of the voice transmissions have been a series of numbers followed by a series of names, or that this recent burst of activity came not long after those Russian spies were caught.

    Edit: Or what @158 said. It’s probably a station run by ghosts of Nazi super soldier experiments that have come back to destroy the world because they’re super pissed off. Like that terrible movie that I can’t remember the name of at the moment.

    Second Edit: Also, if that isn’t actually a movie and I’m just imagining that, then consider this my record of having come up with the idea first.

  108. So Infante is ours for at least another year – is that right?

    Core of the team from this group of players:

    McCann – C
    Prado – tbd
    Infante – tbd
    Gonzalez – SS
    Freeman – 1B
    Heyward – OF

    Chipper – hoping he returns for a “Favre to the Vikings” type year.

    Where are we contract-wise with:


    Starting Rotation:

    Lowe (if we must)
    Kenshin (if the new manager allows)

    Meh. Got some work to do.

  109. Diaz has one arbitration year left. Melky has at least one. Hinske will be a free agent.

    Also, AGony isn’t necessarily under contract for next season. The Braves have a club option.

  110. BTW-Granderson hits left-handed, and has always had huge platoon splits (can’t hit lefties a lick). With our best 2 hitters next year likely to be Heyward and McCann, and Freddie Freeman ready to take over at 1B (all left-handed hitters), we are way too oriented that way to bring in another “regular” who hits poorly against LHPs.

  111. Id expect Diaz to be back and Melky to be nontendered. I dont see the braves picking up the options on Farnsworth or Ankiel. Wagner has decided to retire so that option wont happen

    I expect to see KK moved and then Beachy probably becomes the #6 emergency guy. Teheran may get some action after the allstar break next year with the way he’s progressing also

  112. #145 – Crawford’s making 10 this year. 4/48? Yankees, Sox, Angels bidding against one another? I dunno.

  113. We’re really, really doomed. I just hope the Russians’ impending internet attack doesn’t take down Bravesjournal. ;)

    Re: Yankdom
    I think Lee’s a given to be a Yankee next year. It’ll be just like Sabathia. They want him. They’ll get him.

    There’s been a longtime Pinstripe fixation on Crawford and, yes, Werth has been mentioned up here.

    It’s tempting to think that Gardner’s good play has complicated things a bit. (Granderson’s early injury was really a big break for him.) I don’t think anyone expected Gardner to have this kind of season, certainly not Cashman. Still, I’d guess that he’ll return to speedy-4th-OF/pinch-runner status—he’s an 85-percent base stealer with zero power.

    He’s been really good for them this year and, on a team with tons of other weapons, a guy like that is really useful. No need to deal him.

    I think they’d go for one of those 2 OFs. They could move Swisher to DH or deal him. (Posada’s gotta break down completely at some point, right?) Crawford’s a little younger than Werth, so maybe they outbid for him.

    Here’s a Yankee platoon that’s really worked. Wanna see a lefty masher? Check out Marcus Thames this year: 118 PA, 353/423/553. Yow.

  114. By the way, watching the Rays last night was really a treat. Their speed and athleticism is amazing; they get to everything in the outfield and race around the bases. I know sabermetricians may consider speed overrated, but it sure seemed to put pressure on the Red Sox. I wish the Braves had a little bit of speed. It helps both offensively and defensively.

  115. 170—I expect him to be back, too, but it would be nice, IMO, if the Braves decided that they’re comfortable with Infante at short and chose to spend AGony’s money on an outfielder.

  116. CODY ROSS! CODY ROSS! sign him to 2/13 million. he fits this teams needs. trade kk and a prospect for chone figgins, insert him into infante’s “pre-chipper injury” role and have him play everywhere.

    with 3 guys like prado, infante, and figgins (who can play almost anywhere) when a guy, such as chipper, needs a few days rest, the lineup would lose none of its potency. prado could be starting lf, backup 3b, 2b, and 1b. infante could be starting 2b, backup ss, 3b, lf, and cf. figgins could be utility filling in for 3b, lf, and cf.

    cody’s job: destroy lefties.

  117. @171
    the braves could choose to sell high on AAG and take advantage of a weak SS market. he could bring a nice return. however, i think they like him too much to do that.

  118. The Braves have never really been a sell high team, with (there are notable exceptions like Andy Marte and Millwood of course), and both times the return was uninspired to say the least. Both trades worked out mind you, but more in spite of rather than because of the principals involved.

  119. Figgins – 20 something million is a lot for a utility player.

    Ellsbury is intriguing, but there is some doubt that he is really a CF.

    Marc, no one doubts the utility of speed, it’s the stolen base that is over rated.

  120. Spike, I’d say that the Renteria trade was an excellent case of selling high, and the return we received was better on paper, too. On the other hand, the Vazquez trade was a sort of sell-high, and the return there looked uninspiring too; of course, most people would still argue we “won” the trade, because we got major league value for a guy whose arm appears to be shot.

  121. The Marte/Renteria deal has got to be one of the best ones of the past decade. Not sure how you can characterize it any other way, especially given the follow-up that netted Jurrjens.

  122. I don’t think they sold high on Soriano, honestly. They were in a terrible bargaining position, and the Rays knew it.

    I think Spike characterized the haul as “uninspiring” because they traded one of the best prospects in the minors for a shortstop with a nearly crippling deal who had just slunk his way through a terrible season in Boston. Obviously, he was amazing for us, but he didn’t exactly look like a franchise cornerstone at the time — which is exactly what Marte looked like.

  123. I said Marte was selling high – but for a SS coming off his two worst seasons in a high offense ballpark meets the definition of uninspired. He had one okay and one great year here, and of course, Marte busted, so we “won” the trade, but I can’t believe that was the best available deal. I think this is true of Vazquez as well

    If you are referring to the Renteria for JJ trade, then of course you are correct. I missed that one.

  124. I am defining “Selling high” as getting the best possible return for a player. This would clearly exclude Chavez unless you needed an organ transplant of some kind.

  125. According to Talking Chop, on Freddie Freeman:

    “He’s first in the league in hits and total bases, second in average and doubles, third in slugging, OPS, and RBI, fourth in runs, sixth in on base percentage, and tenth in homers. And he won’t turn 21 for another couple of weeks.”

    Also, according to the AJC, he is getting called up on Wednesday!


  126. Andy Marte was traded for Coco Crisp pretty soon after the Renteria trade. I don’t think his value was especially high.

  127. Yup. Gotta figure they’d bring up Freddy once rosters expanded if for no other reason than to give him a taste of the majors before next season. I figure he’ll get a few ABs here and there. No real reason not to given the way the current crop of 1Bs have been playing.

  128. Coco Crisp was a 25 year old defensive whiz CF coming off a 117OPS+/4.6 WAR season when that trade was made. Clearly just a throw in.

  129. the giants already spoke out about their reasoning for signing ross had more to do with blocking him from contenders.

  130. 189—I don’t think that means they’ll just non-tender him. He’s valuable, and better than most of their other outfield options.

  131. How much will economy weaken free agent market. Who has $ besides LA, Bosox & damn Yankees. Has Atlanta attendence improved as it should have?

  132. For single seasons, From 1901 to 2010, For age 20, During first season , (requiring G>=0 and Qualified for league batting title), sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

    Player ages are computed as their age on June 30th

    1 Ted Williams 160
    2 Frank Robinson 142
    3 Jason Heyward 129

    Up to 14th among all age 20 seasons ever now, too.

    Moving on up.

  133. For single seasons, From 1901 to 2010, For age 20, (requiring G>=0 and Qualified for league batting title), sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

    Player ages are computed as their age on June 30th

    Rk Player OPS+ G Year Age
    1 Ty Cobb 167 150 1907 20
    2 Mel Ott 165 150 1929 20
    3 Al Kaline 162 152 1955 20
    4 Mickey Mantle 162 142 1952 20
    5 Alex Rodriguez 160 146 1996 20
    6 Ted Williams 160 149 1939 20
    7 Rogers Hornsby 150 139 1916 20
    8 Jimmie Foxx 148 118 1928 20
    9 Dick Hoblitzell 143 142 1909 20
    10 Frank Robinson 142 152 1956 20
    11 Ken Griffey 135 155 1990 20
    12 Sherry Magee 134 155 1905 20
    13 Tony Conigliaro 133 138 1965 20
    14 Jason Heyward 129 110 2010 20

    That’s a list. And all but two of the guys above him had played prior to the season.

    He’s well past Willie Mays for the time being.

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