Giants 3, Braves 2

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – October 11, 2010 – ESPN.

And so it ends. It figures that the season would come down to (1) Bobby going a batter too long with Derek Lowe, and (2) Melky making the last out on a weak groundout to third with the tying and winning runs on base.

Unlike most of the series, the Braves led much of the game, taking the lead in the third when Omar Infante and Matt Diaz singled, Omar went to third on a Derrek Lee groundout sac fly, and scored on a Brian McCann sac fly. Meanwhile, Lowe was awesome, and had faced the minimum through five and a third, the only thing separating him from a perfect game bid an error by Alex Gonzalez. And then Commando Cody Ross — who else — came to the plate and tied the game with a solo homer.

But the Braves came back, McCann launching a homer of his own leading off the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1. Lowe got the first man in the seventh, and then hit the wall, and for all that he’d been great, you really have to question what Bobby was doing here. Lowe walked Aubrey Huff, then Out Boy reached on an infield single, and then Pat Burrell walked, and finally Bobby pulled Lowe at 101 pitches.

If he’d brought in Peter Moylan even one man before… but he didn’t. Moylan got a weak grounder to short, but too weak to get two, and when AAG’s throw pulled Omar off the bag not to get any. Jonny Venters struck out the Amazingly Overpaid Aaron Rowand, but then allowed a single to — say it together, everyone! — Commando Cody, though Matt Diaz threw Burrell out at home to keep it 3-2. If only.

The Braves went 1-2-3 in the seventh, no surprise in that it was Diory Hernandez, Omar, and Melky (hitting for Diaz, and why?) Venters let Edgar Renteria reach on an infield single in the eighth, but as he so often does, erased him on a double play. McCann singled with one out in the eighth, and Nate McLouth ran for him. AAG lined to Edgar, who went into Braves Mode and dropped the sure DP ball, but Gonzalez didn’t run and was out by thirty feet anyway. Craig Kimbrel got a double play to end the top of the ninth, and again, you think, if only.

Brooks Conrad pinch-hit in the ninth, and flew out, but Rick Ankiel and Eric Hinske drew walks. Omar struck out swinging at ball three, and then Melky did his Melky thing to end it. If we’ve learned anything from this season, it’s that Melky sucks.

224 thoughts on “Giants 3, Braves 2”

  1. Mac,

    Thank you for a great blog. It is must read stuff everyday.

    Fellow Posters,

    Thank you for your insights. I have learned alot. I hope I brought some stuff to the table when I posted.

  2. I posted this aftert the recapped from Mac.

    After last night, I was ready for the end. I didn’t want it to end so soon, but I was ready.

    There is lump in my throat, and a smile on my face.

    Bobby, I’m gonna miss you. I have never known another manager. Enjoy a well earned retirement.

    Wags, for once I got to pull for you on my team. It was an honor.

    Melky, Agon, KK, and I know I’m in the minority here, but Frank Wren(I wish), good ridance.

    I am ready for the new era. I am ready for a change. I am ready for some youth. I never want to see the visitors locker room at Turner Field sprayed with bubbly again

  3. I feel cheated out of more seasons with Wags.

    Maybe we’ll get Rasmus or Kemp this offseason. Maybe someone will take Kawakami’s contract off our hands. Maybe Venters has a Nolan-Ryan arm.

  4. We have a fine core of players returning for 2011, with McCann, Heyward, Prado, Chipper, Hudson, Hanson, and some fine role players. Looking forward to a nice season next year. Hopefully Wren can get us an outfield bat for once.

  5. Mac, I watched that entire game and knew what happened and your recap still made me chuckle. Thanks for hosting another great season on here. I didn’t post as much as I have in years past, but I read nearly every day and appreciated the perspective you and the rest of the gang brought to the season. You’ve got the best baseball blog on the web, for sure!

  6. Well I think this might have gotten lost in the last thread but I honestly think that this was the most entertaining season I’ve experienced. And this blog was a big reason for it, so I thank you guys for that.

  7. Big thanks to Mac for another great season. Tough not watching the Braves from Atlanta, but this blog is a nice place to spend the time away.

    It’s going to be miserable in SF living through another postseason series, but I think I’ll wear my Braves hat all day tomorrow, just for the pride in this team.

    Thanks, Bobby.

  8. The fact that this season ended up resting on Melky’s shoulders makes me question whether or not we live in a good and just world.

  9. Hey Mac. Omar actually moved to third on a Lee sac fly (not a groundout) in the 3rd.

  10. Another big shout out to Mac. I haven’t followed baseball this closely in years, and this blog was a huge part of me falling back in love with it. Looking forward to spending the offseason with all you guys and hoping for bigger and better things in 2011.

  11. Mac, I know you hate Canada for reasons I will never understand. But on our thanksgiving day, this canuck thanks you for this season (as well as all the ones you’ve done this before) and wish you good health and a great off season.

    What a great season, it’s a pity the wheels couldn’t have stayed on just a little bit longer. Get well soon Chipper, Prado. Thanks for one final go round Billy. Thanks for showing up in the post season Lowe, and thanks for everything Huddy and Hanson, and especially Bobby. I’m not sure where to stop and I’d rather not dwell on negatives, so I’ll just wish everyone here a great winter. cheers, kp

  12. Giants will get their ass kicked by the Phillies. The Braves would have won if they had had their team.

    But 0-8 in elimination games at Turner Field? Dammit, I’m tired of seeing it. Even being undermanned this was a winnable series.

  13. Jacoby Ellsbury must be available for about 60 cents on the dollar. Can we trade some of our medical staff for him?

  14. McCann did all he could in the series. The throw by Diaz in the 8th to get Burrell was awesome, but I think McCann catching the ball and blocking the plate was about as good as I’ve seen.

    As has already been expressed, this has been the funnest season I can remember. Without all the injuries (Chipper, Medlen, Jurrjens, Prado, and finally Wagner) I think we could have made a pretty good run at it. Let’s hope for a great offseason.

  15. Chipper Jones…

    “I don’t want the last memory of me to be laying out behind third base. On top of that, I was playing really well and I was swinging the bat really well. I was healthy and I was running the bases good. My frame of mind was really focused. I just want to keep going,” said the 38-year-old.

  16. Well I’ll get over this in a little bit. I know that I went into this series thankful and realizing that they were lucky to even make it, telling myself I wouldn’t be too upset if they lost but damn I wanted to believe. How could you not with this team?

    Anyway, baseball is over in a few weeks, my hopes for a sports championship rest on Tech and the Falcons. So I guess my best chance is the Falcons.

  17. I never wanted Cody Ross, but somehow he fits well into what this club needs: a righthanded bat with some power who can play centerfield.

  18. 30—Yes, those were the exact reasons I and others were clamoring for him. Not sure why you wouldn’t have wanted a guy who “fits well into what this club needs.”

    But, we can probably agree that Colby Rasmus would be an even better acquisition. :)

  19. I’m getting out of my hammock to echo earlier sentiments that Mac’s blog and those who contribute are the best! Wit and knowledge with a healthy minimum of acerbic exchange.
    It is amazing we did as well as we did given the decimated defense. Looking forward to a healthy Chipper at least for one more year, Freddy To have a great first full year and carry on Bobby’s legacy. Everyone have a great off season!

  20. Mac, thanks for a great blog — can’t believe it just unfolded the way it did, but then again, I can:

    “At least Melky doesn’t look nervous. He just looks hungry.”

    From the last thread. Comedic gold, and somehow, the most appropriate comment from all season.

    Three one-run losses….what a frustrating crock. I don’t wish poorly on the giants, the umps and our piss-poor fielding had more to do with us losing this series than anything else. On the contrary, I hope they shock the hell out of the Phillies. Charlie Manuel and Victorino have their own circle of hell reserved for them, so why not send them there a little sooner than they expect?

    Figuratively speaking, of course……

  21. “the umps and our piss-poor fielding had more to do with us losing this series than anything else”

    injuries and our piss poor hitting approach fit into that sentence somewhere

  22. I second those who predict a drubbing of the Giants at the hands of the Phillies. As much as I have hated the Phillies these last several years (largely because I have to deal with their fans), I find it perversely comforting that the team that just beat my team is about to run into that buzz-saw. Things can change quickly in baseball, but I don’t see anybody beating the Phillies this year.

    As far as next year goes, if the Braves can stay healthy they may make some noise. The pitching and bullpen should both be really good again. But I just don’t see where the offensive infusion is going to come from. Sorry to be a downer; I’m just being honest. But this was, as others have said more eloquently than I, a really exciting year to be a Braves fan. And, as always, a big part of the excitement came from this fantastic blog, which has been almost an obsession of mine for–gulp–more than a decade now. I feel as old as Bobby Cox!

  23. Thanks Mac. If you played an entire season of The Show and wrote recaps of the fake games I would read those. Particularly the one where you found a way to grievously injury Melky in a freak hot-dog eating accident.

  24. Mac, thanks for all of your hard work and keeping a smile on our faces with your post-loss write-ups. This might very well go down as my second favorite Braves season ever, behind ’91. It was a hell of a ride.

  25. My (extremely early) guess is that we won’t do much of anything with left field this offseason. I’m guessing we make a play for a good, young center fielder (Rasmus, Kemp, Ellsbury) and then roll with a Diaz/McLouth platoon (hopefully, with a splash of re-signed Hinske) in left.

    My fanciful ideal scenario: Chipper comes back healthy and plays left field. We spend on Adrian Beltre for third base.

  26. Melky Cabrera 2010 season

    .255/.317/.354 -1.2WAR -15.9UZR

    just wanted to say thanks to the worst baseball player in the majors

  27. Fantastic season, given the right context. Just getting to the postseason with our long list of injuries was inspired.

    It will take me some time to get over the miserable luck we suffered this year. I would give almost anything to see this team at full strength go against the Phillies for a chance at the World Series.

    Even worse, I’m not really sure where we go from here. Non-tendering Melky is a pretty good start. Wow, I feel better already.

    In all seriousness, thank you Mac for this treasure of a site.

  28. Left field, Centerfielder…one with power, the other with speed. A dependable right handed reliever….

  29. C – McCann
    1b – Freeman
    2b – Prado
    3b – Chipper
    SS – ?
    LF – Diaz/McLouth
    CF – Kemp
    RF – Heyward




    Is that a team that can go deep in the playoffs? As I am about to drive 8 hours back to Clearwater, FL after having watched that, I don’t wanna do this again.

  30. @ 50… viking funeral, but while Melky is still alive.

    I had to listen on the radio in 5 minute bursts…how did Glaus look at 3rd?

  31. I watched Bobby’s press conference on TBS. I got choked up a little, ok a lot. The guy got very emotional. Its clear to me that this team was special to him too.

    Mac, thanks for yet another great season. Fellow Braves fans thanks to you all too. I always get a great laugh from visiting here. Best baseball fans on the internet.

  32. Damn, Mac, you want Melky to get fatter? Putting him out to sea would be an atrocity to the world’s supply of fish.

    Seriously, Mac, thanks for another year of putting together the first and best place to visit when a person needs a Braves fix.

    By the way, the triage unit is needed to see what’s left of Johnny Venters’ arm.

  33. I know Heyward didn’t have a great series, but come on people, he’s 21 years old. I’ll cut him slack on his first postseason.

    It would be nice if Minor can pitch similarly to Bumgarner next year.

  34. Hated to witness two losses in a row, but I was glad to be able to cheer Bobby in uniform for the last time. His accomplishments are not likely to be matched by any future Braves manager.

    And I’ll join the chorus thanking Mac for providing this forum and community.

  35. I want Hinske back, too, but he’s not quite as perfect for next year’s team as he was for this year’s, what with Freeman also being a lefty.

    I’m most interested to see what happens with Kawakami this offseason. I would think we’ll see either KK get dealt for salary relief or Jurrjens get dealt for an outfielder. I kinda think the KK bridge has been burned, so they’ll be left having to get rid of him, in which case they probably can’t trade JJ…in which case they may not be able to get one of the aforementioned young CFs. I’m rambling.

    Seriously, though, how awesome would this — which should be doable for less than $100 million — be?

    (Beachy, waiting in the wings in AAA)
    (Medlen, healing … lurking … )

    [Saito-like free agent]

    Prado – 2B
    Heyward – RF
    Jones – LF
    McCann – C
    Beltre – 3B
    Rasmus – CF
    Freeman – 1B
    Gonzalez – SS


  36. Magglio and Ross would solve our problem. Ankiel is not coming back for sure.

    Do you think there is a chance that we may non-tender Matty?

  37. There is no way we will or we should trade JJ. He is getting his rest this year, and I bet he will return to normal next season. We may use KK+McLouth to trade for a bat with a bad contract (pls, don;t mention Chone Figgins again).

  38. There is no way we will or we should trade JJ.

    Yeah, that’s just wrong all the way around. And there’s no way anyone takes both KK and McLouth, unless the Braves are eating so much salary that it’s not worth dealing them.

    65—It’s all I’ve got, right now!

  39. Mac, Let me echo my regards for your work on this site, it’s almost as much fun as watching the game.

    This team was a resilient bunch of overachievers, and was a lot of fun, especially when they showed emotion, like they did the last week.

    I really enjoyed watching McCann, Heyward, Prado, Infante,Diaz, Glaus, Ankiel, Hinske, Ross, Conrad,Lowe, Hanson, Hudson, Venters, Wagner, and Kimbrel, and of course Chipper and Bobby.

    Not so much Gonzalez, McClouth, Farnsworth, and Lee.

    I absolutely hate Melky Cabrera, he has now officially eclipsed Ken Oberkfell as the Brave that I most hate.

    Thanks to all the great posters on here this was fun.

    My two images indelibly on my mind for the season, Heyward’s home run on opening day, and Ankiel’s splashdown in McCovey Cove.


  40. Putting Chipper in left would be ludicrous. The more I think about it, the more I think we trade Infante. He’s at the height of his value and I don’t think he’s good enough for the Braves defensively – especially with several ground ball pitchers. He won’t be a utility guy next year. I also think Canizares can be a good backup for Freeman.

    Call me crazy, but I kind of like Ankiel. I don’t think he’ll be back, but I wouldn’t mind having him around as a backup outfielder. He seemed to make some strides in plate discipline in his short stint with Atlanta – probably just luck or my perception is wrong.

  41. I thought we were past the Chipper to LF ideas, the older more injury prone he gets, the more people want him in LF.

  42. Putting Chipper in left would be ludicrous.

    Why, exactly? I mean, I know it won’t happen, but why do you think it’s a bad idea? He can’t be worse than Melky or Hinske out there, defensively. Health concerns? I’m just not convinced that left field is any more dangerous than third base is for Chipper.

    And getting Beltre would be awesome. He’s got some right-handed pop, and he’s the best defensive third baseman in baseball.

    NOTE: As I’ve said from the beginning, I know this isn’t happening. I just think it would be a good idea.

    72—Weird comment. It’s not “people”; it’s just me. And this is the first I’ve said about it, ever. And, again, prove to me that he’s more likely to be injured in left field.

  43. I’m thinking it will go something like this:

    Manager: Fredi Gonzalez

    2B Martin Prado
    RF Jason Heyward
    3B Chipper Jones
    LF Josh Willingham
    C Brian McCann
    SS Alex Gonzalez
    1B Freddie Freeman
    CF Cody Ross

    UT Omar Infante
    C David Ross
    IF Brooks Conrad
    OF Nate McLouth
    1B Barbaro Canizares

    RHP Derek Lowe
    RHP Tim Hudson
    RHP Tommy Hanson
    RHP Jair Jurrjens
    LHP Mike Minor
    (RHP Brandon Beachy in AAA)

    RHP Craig Kimbrel
    LHP Jonny Venters
    RHP Peter Moylan
    LHP Eric O’Flaherty
    RHP Cristhian Martinez
    LHP Mike Dunn
    RHP Kenshin Kawakami

    Just trade a pitching prospect and some other stuff for Willingham and sign Ross. Maybe sign some good bench guys and bullpen guys if you can afford it. I’d feel good going to battle with that group.

  44. The more I think about it the worse I feel about Wagner. Dude was the anchor of the bullpen and a huge reason they made the playoffs, and his career ends hurting himself trying to field a bunt. He hurt himself on a damn bunt.

  45. I’m sorry to see the season end, but it happened at the right time. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your knowledge and opinions about the game we all love. I’ve had fun.

    Thanks, Mac, for everything you do.

  46. I know everyone is ready to start building fantasy lineups and that’s fine. Me, I’m going to savor this season for awhile. I can’t think of another manager that could have gotten this much out such a rag tag outfit.
    What a great season. What a great manager.

  47. Is there any chance in Hell we consider resigning Derrek Lee? Am I the only person not thrilled about a rookie playing first base next year? Remember the last time we handed a rookie a starting position? It’s not like Lee would cost too much money and if Fredi is anything like Bobby, I’m sure he’ll love the opportunity to platoon.

  48. Thanks for this blog, Mac. First year for me, great experience.

    Thanks Bobby, it’s been long time. I will miss you very much.

    Go braves!

  49. As a mostly lurker, I’ll echo the thanks to Mac; I spent the last 1/2 of this season without cable. I now appreciate your recaps more than ever. You were my eyes, ears, and disgust at Melky.

    Thankful for Bobby, glad he is sticking around with the organization.

    Can’t wait to see Melky patrolling the OF for the Pirates and/or Royals next season. I’m sure there are many Atlanta buffet restaurants who disagree.

    I hope we don’t pick up AAG’s option. I understand why the trade was made, but I don’t know if I can stand his sub .300 OBP all season.

    Here’s hoping we start the season with 3 outfielders worthy of playing everyday…the more things change the more they stay the same.

  50. God, what an awful oversight that was. I was honestly thinking about Jordan Schafer when I wrote that, completely forgetting about Heyward. That’s my depleted brain telling me to go to bed.

  51. Chipper’s not going to LF. No way, no how. I doubt Omar gets moved unless someone gets a little crazy with the trade offers. If nothing else, this year showed how important depth is, and Infante gives you depth at multiple positions. I see him getting lots of time next year spelling Chipper plus some starts in LF.

    Diaz might be back assuming he’s willing to sign a deal for less than he would get from arbitration. Ankiel (who’s only 31) could be a nice guy to have as a bench player. If you want to go after Cody Ross (not sure it’s what I’d do), one option would be to have him play CF vs. LHP and Ankiel there vs. RHP, with Ross going in for Diaz as a defensive replacement. Or something to that effect.

    I don’t think the Braves are going to be big players in the free agent market this off-season. If you wanted to trade a pitcher, Lowe just got way more moveable. You might even be able to get a decent prospect back at this point. Still, with Minor going for his first full season and Jurrjens recovering from injury, I’d just as soon keep him unless there’s someone we can go and get using that $15M.

  52. Who is signed for next year and who does the team have an option on ??? Anybody know ??? With Chipper coming back and being stuck with KK’s 7 mil we probabaly wont have any money to spend for OF bat …

  53. Stu, I understand your point, but Melky and Hinske wouldn’t get hurt simply by running. I am scared everytime I see Chipper running hard on bases. Seeing him in leftfield will give me an heart attack everynight.

    Wag, this is not the way you want to leave the game. Come back for one more year please. I am sure you will love playing for Fredi!

  54. Another reason I love coming here, aside from the humor and actual intelligent discussions- I get Braves info before most of my friends. There have been numerous times I’ve told them something and they’re like ‘How the hell do you know already?’

  55. Has Infante earned a shot at starting? I know his BA was pretty empty, and falling down to his career norms at the end of the season, but he still finished third in the league…

  56. Tough series, about what I expected, give or take a run both ways.

    Now that it’s over, I’ll say we would’ve had our hands full the next round. Wish we coulda make it, nonetheless.

    And I’m plenty glad I got to see the last one for #6. Thanks for everything, Bobby.

  57. Ankiel’s option is like $6M. There is no way we will pick that up. AAG’s option is like $2.5M. I think we will pick it up and may potentially trade him. Omar may possibly be our starting shortstop next season whether we like it or not.

  58. I know the Giants were probably slightly better than us this series, but Game 1, blown call = winning run; Game 3, Folk Hero = winning run; Game 4, blown call = winning run. Disappointing.

    Apparently since there’s only time for one take when it comes to anything Braves – as opposed to Yankees/Red Sox, on the behalf of whom ESPN is trying to craft a 25th hour for extra discussion – and that take tonight is Bobby’s final game (note: Haven’t watched any coverage, so I’m assuming this to be the case. Pretty confident, though.). Very understandable all things considered, but it’s unfortunate that more scrutiny will not be thrust upon this “umpiring crew”, chosen from amongst the MLB’s “best” umpires on the basis of “merit”.

    Hopefully there will be at least 5-10 more howlers throughout the rest of the playoffs, with the worst coming in the deciding WS game. Don’t think we see any change otherwise. I don’t even have to see replay. In fact, I’d prefer if they’d just review the umpires’ calls and fly the worst offenders to the home cities they’ve aggrieved for public beratings. Perfect continuance of the human element that baseball so sorely needs to protect.

    Apologies for the long form.

  59. Thanks for everything, Mac. I check this site before I check whenever I miss a game and have for the past seven or eight years. Thanks for providing this service to Braves fans all over the world. Here’s hoping 2011 is kinder to us.

  60. Johnny–That is well put. It has been a great season–Bobby got to the playoffs and we are now along way from the meltdown of June 2006 and the dreadful 2008 season….

  61. Helluva play by matty diaz and bmac on that play at the plate. You can’t play it better than that.

  62. I’m generally a lurker but I wanted to chime in and say thanks Mac! as well. I check the website daily even if I see the games to read the recaps and everyone’s take on what was going on. Excellent blog!

  63. I think that they’ll pick up AAG’s option. He does have value, just not a lot. But with the market for shortstops being what it is, he’s probably worth his salary. This year he was worth much, much more actually.

    Count me in on the “Go Get Rasmus” wagon. I would send a package to STL that included Jurrjens in a second. Here’s why:

    (1) Jurrjens is expensive starting next year
    (2) The Braves have starting pitching depth galore going forward
    (3) Cost-controlled young sluggers are the most prized assets in baseball
    (4) Jurrjens will never re-sign with the Braves.

    Ultimately, I imagine for these reasons STL would want more, or want a different package. If it was a Minor/Kimbrel/prospect package… that would still be doable. But without much financial room to move on the free agent market, the Braves will have to make a trade. They’re going to trade at least one good young pitcher this winter. Hopefully we get a guy like Rasmus. This team would be phenomenal.

  64. What a season. This was mostly fun. All the comback wins. Strange, but I am at ease with how it turned out. The Braves has a magnificent season. Looking forward to 2011.

    And like the guys before me said, Mac, thanks for a great site. This is the first site I open when I start up my laptop in the morning!

  65. To keep it going just wanted to say thanks to Mac and all the regulars for keeping Braves Journal interesting and witty. I don’t usually comment but I make sure to read all you guys input, so just remember they are plenty of behind the scenes readers who appreciates you guys.

    Thanks for a great season Bobby and the 2010 Atlanta Braves. 1 love

  66. I was really hoping for at least a game five… but between the fans cheering Conrad when he came up, and the Giants tipping their hat to Bobby after their win… well… hell of a classy way to end it if you can’t win the WS. Makes me feel better about the game, even if I don’t feel so great about the loss.

  67. Trade Lowe now that he’s pitched well for a month when other GMs have been watching? For the last year a lot of people have been dreaming about finding someone to take his contract. Do those sentiments remain, and would some team bite now?

  68. Internet ate mah post.

    Usually when the Braves are done, my love of baseball drives me to pick a team and follow them through the playoffs. Not this year. Baseball is over.

    Thanks, Bobby. Thanks, Mac. It seems a bit much to do a roll call thank you list. If you played in a Braves uni this year, thanks.

  69. I really thought that an entire season’s worth of poor-mouthing was going to lead to last-at-bat Melky heroics. Alas.

    I don’t want any position players back except for McCann/Prado/Infante/Chipper/Heyward/Freeman. Still unsure about Heyward’s ceiling, but at least he’s young. Frank Wren has his work cut out for him – this team has too many arms and not nearly enough bats.

  70. Good season eveyone. I look forward to Mac’s “Where do we go from here” articles.

    I felt this team really over achived and was better than we all thought they would be. They palyed ahrd and never gave up. Even with all the hurt players, we were still a tough out.

    That’s all you can ask of your team.

  71. There are no easy fixes for all the holes this team has.

    I think next year the braves begin the process of lining up their young pieces. It is going to be a process, not a reload. It is going to take 2-3 years. The foundation for next year is probably set.

    Freeman at 1b, Heyward in RF, Prado at 2b (or 3b depending on Chipper) Infante at 2b (depends on Chipper/Prado) McCann at C

    They have to fill in the holes in the OF and SS at some point, and that may not be doable in one offseason.

    Hanson/Hudson/Jurgens in the rotation.

    Minor/Beachy/Tehran/Delgado in the minors.

    Vizcanio and Medlen on the mend.

    As crass as it may sound, the braves are better off in the long run if Chipper retires. They have to try and move Lowe and KK for salary relief. None of that will happen. We will be stuck with all that salary and that will doom us to mediocrity for years.

    The scary thing is there are no assurances Heyward ever becomes the elite guy, or that Freeman is any better than Adam LaRoche. There is a lot of uncertianty going foward.

    I just don’t have the faith in Liberty Media or Frank Wren to make the necssary decisions going foward.

  72. regarding the tradeability of alex gonzalez:
    alex will be making 2.5 million dollars next year and according to fangraphs, he was the 6th most valuable ss in the game. alex, packaged right, could bring a decent return, especially for a cash stricken team.

    regarding the tradeability of derek lowe:
    derek came on strong at season’s end and in the postseason. in the right deal, derek might be tradeable. dealing derek could put us in the running for a major bat.

    signing a workhorse: the braves should actually try the sell high, buy low method this offseason. signing javy vazquez to a 2 year deal would be a good move.

    canizares filling hinske’s shoes: with freeman being a lh, hinske’s value decreases. canizares should get a hard look this upcoming season.

    bullpen: go young.

  73. @102 I’m hoping that Lowe can keep this late season form going into next year. That said, if someone wants him, get him the hell out of town.

  74. “The scary thing is there are no assurances Heyward ever becomes the elite guy”

    of course there are no guarantees here, but dont let this playoff series fool you. Heyward was one of the best players in the majors this season, as a 21yr old. .277/.393/.456/.849 is pretty dang impressive. I just hope that he can avoid some of these random nagging injuries

  75. I would have been happy just to get back to SF to avoid having the other team again celebrate at Turner Field. Not to be. But, IMO, it’s amazing that this team was really within a few outs (blown calls, bad plays) of winning this series. This was the most, yes, resilient team I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry they couldn’t have gone into the playoffs with their real team. The Giants are a joke, really. They played a decimated, undermanned team (that got even more undermanned during the series)and barely won. Anything can happen in baseball, but I think they will be lucky to win a game.

    I assume Wren will make some moves, but the best move would be Werth and that ain’t happening. I doubt that Rasmus will be available which, as far as I can tell, means that the Braves will again be tinkering, looking for bargains or guys (such as Matt Kemp) that have been injured or who their teams have soured on. Hopefully, I’m wrong and Wren will pull something out of his hat, but I’m not all that optimistic. I don’t know how Wren goes about improving the defense (although acquiring a competent CF would go a long way). One thing about the Phillies is they catch the damn ball. (By the way, whatever you think of the trade, AAG is a pretty damn good defensiveshortstop, I think). I don’t know where he gets the bat for the outfield. I guess perhaps JJ or one of the young arms will be available, but, IMO, this team needs an infusion of athleticism (in additon to Heyward) that does not seem available in the farm system. I agree with 104 above; this will be a tough offseason for Wren.

    So now we will get a promise from Liberty that we aren’t cutting the payroll–it will remain $__ million (fill in number after denying that the previous number was the payroll). I bet Liberty was thrilled with this season.

    But, at least we aren’t the Mets!

  76. Man, that was a looong season. I’m actually not too disappointed in the outcome — this was a resilient team, not a particularly talented one at most positions. It was great to see the guys in the playoffs again, especially in Bobby’s last season.

    Mac and (nearly all) posters, yet another enjoyable season with you guys. I’m looking forward to “where do we go from here?” Can we say some defense?

  77. couple of things…

    I dont think the Braves should try and sign for Javier Vasquez. He was hitting 85-87 in his last few starts. There is a ton of mileage on his arm and he’s just about done.

    If the Braves can move lowe in any deal, it has to be done. If not, Im a lot more confident in him now compared to last April.

    I think the Braves can trade KK. They may have to eat 3.5-4 mil in order to do so, but by freeing up a little bit of room they could go get a useful RH relief vet for the pen.

    I dont see the Braves getting either Werth or Crawford, so they’ll be looking to find a trade partner. Names that would be good additions…Kemp, Rasmus, Swisher, Ellsbury…or they may take some cheaper looks at guys like Gomes, Scott, or DeJesus if those options arent picked up.

    Wren has a busy offseason

  78. Man, we might actually be on some good financial ground if we could get rid of KK and Lowe. I’d be fine replacing them with the likes of Beachy and Minor.

  79. On the last Brooks erra in the 3rd game, did anyone ever talk about how bad Nate’s throw was to home plate?

  80. BTW, did anyone notice Brenly’s comment (was it in the 4th or 3rd) when the Braves had two runners on? He said Bobby Cox doesn’t like to sacrifice in any situation. Huh? What Bobby Cox has he been watching?

    Re financial flexibility–I’m actually worried that if the Braves were able to get rid of the big contracts, the savings wouldn’t go into the payroll. They would just manipulate the payroll figures to avoid putting the additional money back into the team (saying the payroll is the same as last year but lowering the figure). Maybe that’s paranoia but I’m skeptical that Liberty really wants to spend much on the Braves.

  81. I caught that comment too Marc… wife asked what I was snort-laughing about. There were a couple others like that, though I can’t recall them right now.

  82. I also shook my head at the sac bunt comment. Bobby is one sadistic mofo if he truly hates calling for the sac bunt.

  83. I couldn’t really tell from watching on t.v., but it seemed like Conrad got a good reception from the fans when he it in the 9th. Was that the case?

  84. @115, Boy that’s hard to watch. I have a hard time watching grown men cry generally but watching Bobby do it just crushed me.

    Bobby will be a part of the organization for the next five years or so. Technically we can still win it for Bobby.

    Melky sucks.

    @120, He seemed to, though there was definitely some booing when he popped out.

  85. Conrad recieved the loudest standing ovation of the night. It was long and loud and pretty much the entire stadium was standing, both as a “we forgive you” gesture and a “can you do that clutch HR thing again” gesture.

  86. Yeah, very loud cheers for Conrad. Probably up there with McCann’s HR and the Hinske walk for loudest moment of the night. The “Bobby” chant after the game actually felt a little desultory to me, but most everyone stuck around for it.

    Then the video montage started up to the strains of “Like A Rock”, a song I’ve heard enough for ten lifetimes, so we left.

  87. Man, we might actually be on some good financial ground if we could get rid of KK and Lowe. I’d be fine replacing them with the likes of Beachy and Minor.

    Yeah, but if one of the starters gets hurt before Medlen’s ready to return, who joins the rotation? Parr? Redmond? I think the Braves should probably only dump one of their starters this offseason.

  88. I’m curious to hear opinions on Fredi Gonzalez. I know some people want to go a little further away from the Bobby Cox family, but I was impressed with what he did in Florida.

  89. Im more curious to see who our hitting coach will be next year. Im hoping he can get McLouth back on track and that he can get Heyward and Freeman where they need to be.

    Hiring Fredi is a pretty good choice. I just hope he makes a few changes in the dugout and that he’ll keep Roger

  90. dumping lowe and kawakami and signing vazquez would probably save somewhere around 10 million dollars this year which would really help. that way, we’d be only relying on 1 rookie starter until medlen’s return.

    i really dont want the braves to spend significant money on the bullpen or bench. there’s no reason why the bench couldnt be matt young, brooks, infante, canizares, and ross, and the bullpen venters, kimbrel, moylan, o’flaherty, martinez, marek, and dunn.

  91. Bah – post got eaten. Thanks Mac for another great year!

    Early fantasy roster for next year:

    SP – Hudson
    SP – Hanson
    SP – Lowe
    SP – Jurrjens
    SP – Minor

    Closer – Kimbrel (he’s just SickNasty)
    Set-Up – Venters
    7th Inning – Moylan
    RP – Dunn
    RP – Lisp
    RP – E.O’F.
    RP – Farnsworth/Saito/other cheap RH veteran

    1b – Freeman
    2b – Prado
    ss – AAG
    3b – C. Jones
    lf – Diaz/Hinske
    cf – ???
    rf – Heyward

    Supersub – Infante
    Folk Hero – Conrad
    4th of – Hinske/Diaz
    5th OF – McLouth
    C – Ross

    I can’t see trading for Rasmus, no matter how much we want him, as something the Cardinals would do. Ellsbury might be attractive, if the Sawx would part with him on the cheap, or maybe do an Ellsbury-McLouth problem child swap. If the Giants non-tender C. Ross, I’d try to sign him in a heartbeat, but whether we’ll have the salary flexibility to do so remains to be seen.

    Anyway – Wren did a good job this off-season prepping this team for this year (maybe not a perfect job, but definitely serviceable), so I’m cautiously optimistic about the off-season. Anyway, on to the ‘Where do we go from here?’ posts.

  92. I’d like one of those “11 for 6” t-shirts. Peel off one of the 1’s and you’re good to go.

  93. I’ve been a silent observer of this blog all season, and it’s been a pleasure. I offer the following tidbit as thanks.

    I too share Mac’s hatred of Melky, so it was painful to see the Fat One as the last Brave to bat for Bobby. That got me thinking . . . who was the first Brave to bat for Bobby?

    The answer is Jerry Royster. He hit a 5-3 groundout. Fittingly, Melky also hit a 5-3 groundout.

    So, ladies and gentlemen, it ended as it began. See you next season.

  94. Mac (and others), thanks for the wonderful site. I’m also an overseas reader of the site and it provides great insight that I miss just reading AJC or ESPN. While it hurts right now, it was a great 2010 season when you consider everything.

  95. Thanks Mac for another great year, and for all the posters who made it so enjoyable to visit.

    Mac how many years has it been doing this site? Ten? I think this is year 8-9 for me- always a blast.

  96. you know I didnt agree with hardly any of Bobby’s moves, but some of them I can understand. The one that keeps getting me is him pulling Diaz for Melky. Diaz made one hell of a throw to keep the game close and Bobby pulled him immediately. Of course, the last out of the season comes with Melky hitting another weak grounder….fitting

  97. I’ve been kinda grouchy the last few days, but now with a night to sleep on it, I realize we got everything out of this team that we had a right to expect- 91 wins, playoffs, games we could’ve won if we weren’t playing 9-on-15. Our holes are obvious enough and few enough that Wren should be able to plug them. This will be a better team than the Giants in 2011, and could be the best in the NL.

    Thanks to everyone, even to people I’ve insulted, and get some rest. You’ve earned it.

  98. 129—I’d be fine with that bullpen, but as this year proved, it’s not a bad idea to spend on a good bench. I’d much rather have Hinske and Diaz than Canizares and Young.

    The Vazquez idea is not a bad one, but I think it’s pure fantasy — much like my Chipper-to-LF idea — that we’d be able to unload both Lowe and Kawakami without still paying a good chunk of change.

  99. @137 agreed about lowe/kk trade probably being fantasy. my thinking…
    trade kawakami and eat 1.5 mil (-5)
    trade lowe and eat 4 mil total (-13 for 2011)
    sign vazquez to a 1/8 mil deal (+8)

    saves 10 million.

  100. I think you’d have to eat more than that on Lowe, and I think that’s way too much to pay for Vazquez. Vazquez is a worthwhile gamble only if you’re paying very little, IMO.

    Also, if the Braves contributed $4 million, they would, for accounting/budget purposes, count it all against the current year’s payroll.

  101. If the Braves had made it to the World Series, would Bobby have coached the All-Star game next year or would it be whoever is the new manager?

  102. i’ve been waiting a while for this…

    rotation: hudson, vazquez, hanson, jurrjens, beachy
    bullpen: kimbrel, venters, o’flaherty, moylan, marek, lisp, dunn
    bench: canizares, young, conrad, ross, infante
    jj hardy (excellent defender, coming into his prime…buy low)
    rasmus (mclouth, gonzalez, and minor are sent to STL in exchange for rasmus)

    the braves are big matches with STL. they need a cheap, back end of the rotation starter and ss. we need a center fielder.

    kawakami and lowe are both traded for prospects.

  103. I’m sure Wren will at least place a phone call to inquire about the following outfielders:

    Colby Rasmus
    Matt Kemp
    Jacoby Ellsbury
    Chris Young
    Brett Gardner
    BJ Upton

    Any others?

  104. 143—Love the Hardy idea. No way the Braves are trading Minor. (No way the Cards would take McLouth.) No way they should dump that many starting pitchers. The rotation would go from huge strength to question mark, with Vazquez and Beachy.

  105. Lord, Neyer’s a douche

    It would have been wonderful to see Cox go out on top. But that doesn’t happen often. There’s a reason they go out.

    In this case, it’s called personal choice Neyer. For once, pull your head out of your ass.

  106. #125–In addition to Parr (if he is even ready) and Redmond, there is Scott Diamond. I am not for dumping two starters, but the Braves really have a great deal of starting pitching depth at the higher levels of their farm system….

  107. Wonder what it would take to get Ellsbury and Lowrie from Boston.

    147—Well, they have bodies, but none of those guys are close to Lowe or Minor. Or even, in my opinion, Kawakami.

  108. I think if the central parts of a trade were Minor and Rasmus, you’d have to do it. The team has to come up with a long term answer at center, and obviously has a bit of young starting pitching to deal.

  109. @146, he’s really, really, dropped in writing quality for some time now. It’s quite sad considering he was for many, myself included, a great introduction to basic sabermetric concepts in an interesting to read format.

    I can’t bear to read him anymore.

  110. 149—I don’t really disagree, but I think the Braves have other assets — Jurrjens and Delgado, for example — who could also be centerpieces of such a deal, and whom they’d be more likely to move. The Braves’ mouthpieces have been making a pretty big deal about finally developing another left-handed starter.

    150—AAR and I were talking about that fact, just last night. He has, I’m sorry to say, become something of a hack, which is almost depressing.

  111. @151, Oh no doubt. I suspect the Cards would insist on a major league talent in return, and Minor’s handedness would be just as appealing to them as to us.

  112. 148- Sign me up, but I can’t imagine it’d start off with anything less than Kimbrel and Delgado

    The funny thing with Boston is that they don’t really “need” anything.

    EDIT: what I mean is that they don’t need anything they just can’t go out and buy on the open market, so for a trade, you’d have to give them something that doesn’t fall into that category

  113. Well at least we aren’t fantisizing over Adam Dunn. Colby Rasmus is the new fetish here.

    So, the Cards are going to trade a 23 year old who led all MLB center fielders in OPS and is making only 413000?????? Y’all need to give up the crack. It’s bad for you.

  114. vazquez is really no more of a question mark than lowe. their eras, league and park adjusted, are probably pretty similar.

    you’re probably right.

  115. Lots of folks seem to assuming Diaz will be back. I don’t think tendering him a contract is a given. He hits LH well but a raise could make him expensive for a platoon guy.

  116. i’d like to hijack the thread a minute to ask this question:

    with a new manager, is this finally the year that chipper leaves the 3rd spot in the lineup?

    also, if the braves do dump big salaries, shouldnt this be the year they try to lock up guys like hanson, heyward, and prado?

  117. @157-

    I don’t think they’ll give Diaz a normal arbitration raise. They’ll try to sign him to a short-term deal (maybe 2 years?) at quite a bit less than he’d get in arbitration. I think $2-4M per anum would be about right for a guy who plays the short end of a platoon.

    It’s also worth noting that the Braves don’t have any (ANY) major salary commitments beyond 2012.

  118. I wonder what the Yanks plan on doing with Granderson and Swisher. You know they will get either Werth or Crawford. Swisher would be an interesting addition

  119. We assume that KK is lost to this team, but is that necessarily true once we have a new manager? My read was that Bobby lost faith and wouldn’t use KK anymore, so that might not be true of the new manager. Nonetheless, I’m in favor of dealing him so that we could better spend that money on some good talent in the outfield or at short.

  120. We may have to package a chip to go with KK to get a team to bite. Say AAG and KK for a RH outfield bat? Shuffle Infante over to SS and let Diory handle the late-inning defensice replacement duties?

  121. 156—Vazquez is a much bigger question mark than Lowe is. Like, much. Losing a bunch of velocity is a big deal.

    157—I hope he’s back, but I definitely don’t think it’s a given. A 4th-year arb guy coming off a down year is the prototypical non-tender candidate.

  122. I can see Diaz taking a below market deal to stay a Brave, that is if the Braves want him back.

  123. @163
    vazquez’s velocity was back by season’s end. dlowe has a chipped bone in his elbow. sure, vazquez had a much worse year than lowe, but he’s younger, strikes out more, and is just as durable.

    i respectfully disagree.

  124. checking stats:
    javy’s fastball was apprx a mph less at the end of the year last year compared to the end of the year this year.

  125. We actually may need Lowe. He’s a dependable innings-eater to depend on, which is needed with Medlen’s injury and Jurrjens’ uncertainty.

    I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be a good thing to get out from under Lowe’s contract, but it might not be a bad thing to keep him. I’m not ready to break in 2 rookies to the rotation for a full season in the same year.

  126. Like I said above, I think it’d be great to keep Lowe, but if there’s a way we can move that salary and then do something useful with it, it’s something you have to consider.

  127. 168—Well, I hope you’re right, because I really like Javy and don’t want him to be done. And if you are right, I hope we sign him — for less than $8 million, because nobody will be willing to pay him that much — and I hope we’re able to unload as much of the Lowe and Kawakami contracts as you seem to think we’ll be able to. I’m pretty skeptical about all of that being possible, though.

    I very much like your dream scenario of unloading Lowe’s, Kawakami’s, and McLouth’s contracts, that’s for sure.

  128. 2011 Roster, as it stands now:

    C — McCann
    1b — Freeman
    2b — Prado
    SS — Gonzalez
    3b — Chipper
    LF — ???
    CF — McLouth (under a guaranteed contract that looks impossible to get rid of)
    RF — Heyward

    bench: Infante, Ross, Conrad, Diaz? Hinske?

    1. Hudson
    2. Hanson
    3. Lowe
    4. Jurrjens
    5. Minor

    Bullpen: Venters, Kimbrel, O’Flaherty, Dunn, Kawakami (unless we can somehow unload the contract), Moylan?

  129. Moylan’s another guy I’m not sure you want to offer arbitration to. I think you try to get him on a two-year deal for like $3M per year. He’s a decent middle reliever but not exactly a shut-down guy, plus you have to baby him around left-handed batters.

  130. ryan c = irrational exuberance

    Love the enthusiasm but you have to add a couple of teaspoons of reality too.

  131. #160, I don’t think they will get Werth or Crawford. I think the Angels and Red Sox will go heavily after Crawford, with the Red Sox winning.

    I also think we won’t offer Diaz arbitration. It’s either a cheaper deal or nothing.

  132. 178—I’m not sure I want to, either, but I think the Braves will. He’s the DP guy, he’s in that Hinske/Ross group of “clubhouse guys,” and we’re not exactly loaded with right-handed guarantees in the ‘pen.

  133. It’s probably my fault the Braves lost. In recent weeks, whenever I won in tennis the Braves lost. I lost on Sunday so the Braves were obviously doomed, despite Bethany’s best efforts. Next year, I will see if I can get Rafael Nadal to match up for the Braves. :)

    I know people really like Minor (and he was excellent for the most part)but I would be willing trade him. Keith Law is much more impressed with the “Latin” young arms than with Minor and, while he is certainly not the be all of baseball analysts, he thinks Minor is a 3-4 at best. I certainly wouldn’t let Minor be the obstacle to a major trade.

    I think Vazquez is water under the bridge; let’s move on. No reason for the Braves to get older; they need to get younger and more athletic. Not that they are old but I don’t see bringing in a guy in his mid-thirties when you already have Hudson and, probably, Lowe. Let’s not give up on JJ yet.

    We talked about this earlier in the season, but it’s just amazing this team won 91 games. I think Wren made several major assumptions going in, most of which didn’t pan out. In no particular order:

    (1) Glaus would provide consistent right-handed power. In fairness, this looked good in May/June and is when the Braves were playing the best, but obviously it didn’t last.

    (2) Chipper would return to something resembling his old form. This obviously wasn’t true although he was starting to hit before the injury. I realize his OPS+ was good but he wasn’t really providing a lot of pop; certainly Wren was counting on more power from Chipper.

    (3) Escobar would break out offensively and be a premier shortstop. Regardless of your view of the trade, this clearly did not happen.

    (4) McLouth would be a competent, production CF. No comment needed.

    (5) Heyward would contribute significantly as a rookie. Obviously, this one panned out.

    (6) Wagner/Saito would stabilize the bullpen. This also worked out, although more because of Wagner and the young arms than Saito.

    (7) They probably expected Melky Cabrera to be, if not a star, at least a decent major league player who wouldn’t actively hurt the team.

    Two out of seven isn’t great. Obviously some things went well that weren’t expected, such as Infante’s performance, but, in general, it’s hard to believe this team won 91 games. It’s not all Wren’s fault but the Braves ended up with a lot of holes. I’m not sure what to think of Wren now but clearly he operates under constraints that Reuben Amaro, for example, does not.

  134. 184—FWIW, Law has said that Minor’s more than a 3-4 if the velocity jump lasts. Which is only common sense.

  135. Bowman and O’Brien are stroking their Twitter wood saying their fairly certain Fredi Gonzalez is going to be the next manager.

  136. I wonder what happens to Terry Pendleton if Fredi Gonzalez is the new manager. He clearly wants to manage and would have probably had his eye on this job for a while, and he may see this as an opportunity to move on.

  137. We don’t need to go back to Vasquez. Lowe is only a reliable 5 innings eater, nothing more. Unforunately we are paying 15 million for Lowe. Sept. was a fluke, and the Giants can’t hit.

    This team needs to go younger and we need to shed dead weight as much as possible.

  138. None of the proposed 2011 lineups (even ones that assume some rather unlikely trades/acquisitions) give us a team that’s better than the Phillies. I think we need to just work on getting younger and prepare for a push after the Phillies start to decline. Not sure how long they’ll keep their dream-team starters together, hopefully not for too much longer…grrrr.

    The lack of young and viable position players anywhere in our system means that we will have to trade some pitching strength to fill some hitting/defense weaknesses. I don’t see any other option short of hoping that someone with deeper pockets buys the team.

  139. I still think that losing Medlen was really when the wheels started to come off this year. While the Phillies obviously improved drastically down the stretch, I feel like we stopped playing our best baseball after we lost Medlen.

  140. 191 — And we lost Chipper only a few days later, and Prado was on the DL at that same time with the finger fracture. I think we knew then that the tables had been turned.

  141. @190
    you just cant look at it like that. the phillies, as is, are probably the best team in the majors. it’s not like ownership is going to save 15 million the next 3 years so they can spend 135 million in 2014 and “beat the phils”. put a competitive product out there and build around a young core of good players.

  142. The Phillies are probably losing Werth, and his heir apparent Dominic Brown hasn’t hit in the majors yet. So there is a solid chance they will be a little weaker next year.

    Also, Rollins looks toast, Halladay has already pitched 260 innings this year, and Oswalt the last few years was closer to being average than an ace before this season.

  143. Also, other than Hamels (and Brown), their entire core is in the likely-to-get-worse phase of their careers.

  144. “we’re not exactly loaded with right-handed guarantees in the ‘pen.”

    There are a few in-house options–possibly. We should all pay attention the AFL to see how Cory Gearrin does.

    “So, the Cards are going to trade a 23 year old who led all MLB center fielders in OPS and is making only 413000?????? Y’all need to give up the crack. It’s bad for you.”

    Last year Yunel Escobar posted a .357 wOBA with fantastic defense at one of the thinnest–and most important–positions in baseball. He was about a 4.5 win player, give or take a half win. This year Colby Rasmus posted a .366 wOBA with average defense (metrics disagree here) at another premium position. He was about a 3.5 win player. This year the Braves traded Escobar after he struggled for a half season and fell completely out of favor with the team’s future Hall of Fame manager. Rasmus, meanwhile, has also fallen out of favor with his future Hall of Fame manager, and was even rumored to have asked for a trade a couple months ago. His fate in St. Louis is uncertain.

    My point: never underestimate the power of “chemistry” when it comes to aging, Hall of Fame-bound baseball managers. If the Braves traded Escobar–a cost controlled, young talent–the Cardinals could send Rasmus off for the right package. True, they’ll smartly demand a better package than Alex Gonzalez, a relief prospect, and a backup middle infield prospect, but they are not so smart as to choose Rasmus over LaRussa.

    And as St. Louis Post Dispatch baseball writer Joe Strauss said in a recent chat: “Without getting too specific… the Braves appear well-positioned to make a play for Raz’. It has the potentital of making all parties very happy.”

    See here:

  145. @190,

    Agree. The Braves need an infusion of athleticism into the farm system. But that takes time. In the meantime, given that the payroll isn’t going to increase, the only hope is probably to do what they did this year–look for bargains, focus on pitching and try to catch lightning in a bottle (which almost happened this year). A CF that can actually catch the ball would really make a difference even if he doesn’t add much offense. The positive part is that Heyward is the kind of player you can build around.

  146. ” A CF that can actually catch the ball would really make a difference even if he doesn’t add much offense”

    This is key Marc. Simply adding a good center fielder and moving McLouth to LF would help the outfield defense tremendously.

  147. I think, in general, people are being a little bit too pessimistic about our hopes for next year (not that that’s anything new). I think we’re in pretty good shape. We have our rotation and bullpen pretty much lined up. There are some moves that could be made with the rotation, but when you’re down to basically one spot that you’re wondering about, I think you’re in pretty good shape. Giving up on Jurrjens would be pretty absurd at this point, in my opinion.

    The lineup does have some holes that need to be filled, but it’s not the disaster people are implying. I would say that even if our lineup is mostly the same next year, we would probably be in OK shape. You can’t look at our playoff lineup as a barometer for our hitting this year. That was a decimated shell of what our lineup was earlier in the year, and our lineup was plenty good enough before we started taking on water. You have Freeman at first next year. You exercise the option on Gonzalez, who is not as bad as he played the last part of the year (though I will admit he’s not my favorite). Prado’s back, either at second or at third, and either Chipper or Infante’s in the other place, I would think. You re-sign Eric Hinske to a one-year deal. Nate McLouth is probably our starting CF next year, and I don’t see any way he can possibly be worse than he was this year, and you would have to think he’ll be better, at least slightly. You’ve got Heyward in RF, obviously, and that leaves LF as the only realy spot where you’ve just got no clue what’s gonna happen. But regardless, that’s not a bad lineup. It’s a lineup that certainly held it’s own for the majority of the year, and with the pitching we’ll have lined up, should be good enough. And that’s with the lineup largely the same. If we make a trade somewhere else to shore something up, all the better.

    I just think that, minus the pretty devastating injuries we took toward the end, this team pretty much cruises into the playoffs this year. Whether we would’ve held off the Phillies, I don’t know, but you only need to get into the playoffs, I’ll remind everybody. I think we need to stop looking at the Phillies and telling ourselves that we’re not good enough. Even with all the problems we had, we still made the playoffs. I just don’t see why a full-strength team that looks mostly the same next year shouldn’t be expected to make the playoffs again. And I expect we’ll make a move or two to shore it up and make it better.

  148. ‘rasmus (mclouth, gonzalez, and minor are sent to STL in exchange for rasmus)’
    IMHO is an irrational proposition.
    the Cards take
    an outfielder that has been steadily declining coming off his worst season getting paid over 7 million over the next 2 years.
    A shortstop with a career .294 OBP owed 2.5 million
    A lefty pitcher whose ceiling is 3rd starter.
    Braves get:
    Best offensive CF (by OPS) in MLB who is only 23 and cost controlled.

    irrational exuberance.

  149. A lefty pitcher whose ceiling is 3rd starter.

    Nobody thinks Rasmus is going to be gift wrapped and presented to the team, but Minor’s ceiling is considered a bit higher than this as of now. And even so, a young cheap LH 3rd starter is a conversation starter for just about anyone.

    /Rasmus was benched or injured for 20 games in the second half after playing all in the first, and his OPS went from over 900 to under 800. TLR clearly doesn’t trust him, and would not object to his being moved.

  150. I know people really like Minor (and he was excellent for the most part)but I would be willing trade him. Keith Law is much more impressed with the “Latin” young arms than with Minor and, while he is certainly not the be all of baseball analysts, he thinks Minor is a 3-4 at best. I certainly wouldn’t let Minor be the obstacle to a major trade.

    Marc, I understand what you’re saying, and right now it looks like we have a surplus of pitching in AA, but don’t underestimate the value of a solid #3 starter. If we had had Mike Minor in 2007, we’d have won the division. (And if we’d had a healthy equivalent of Mike Minor in middle infield this year, we’d have won the NLDS.) The Braves have lost more than their share of games because they lacked enough players just below stardom. Mike Minor has a chance to develop into a #2 left-hander, but even if he remains where he is — a number three starter — he’ll be worth a great deal to this team.

  151. AAR,

    I don’t underestimate the value of a solid no. 3 but I think the Braves have sufficient other needs that they will have to trade from strength. Realistically, they are going to have to give up something to get something.I’m not saying give Minor away for Joe Schlobotnik but they have enough organizational pitching depth to survive without him. They don’t have depth in position players. If it is a matter of getting someone like Rasmus, I would not let Minor be the obstacle. I would rather give up Minor than give up one of the better arms (Teheran, Delgado, etc.).

    Let me pose a question to the group. What is the opinion of Martin Prado as a defensive second baseman. I think of him as adequate to slightly above average. He certainly isn’t below-average but am I underestimating his defense?

  152. 197—I had not seen that from Strauss. Oh, my. Irrational exuberance launch in 5 … 4 …

    200—Has a single person indicated that they’ve “given up” on Jurrjens? Hint: No. The point is that, of the young guns, he’s the expensive one, and it’s going to take at least one of the young guns to get a guy like Rasmus or Kemp.

  153. On Atlanta sports radio just now, Frank Wren admitted that they have already been conducting interviews for the managerial job, and issued absolutely no denials whatsoever when asked if they already had a deal done for the next manager. Point is, I heard nothing to dissuade me in the slightest that Fredi Gonzalez is already locked in as next year’s manager. In fact, I’m now more convinced than ever. Note: If he does become the new manager, I’m pretty satisfied with that move.

  154. I don’t think people wanting to trade JJ are giving up on him. I’m not anyway. It’s just that he’s a good young pitcher who’s about to become very expensive with an agent who is known for getting players every dollar possible.

    It’s not “giving up” on JJ, it’s trading him at a point where he doesn’t hurt the Braves with a contract and we can get a piece we desperately need.

    And Gonzalez is exactly as bad as he showed in the last part of the season. 5000 career PAs prove it, and he’s not entering his prime. He’s only going to get worse.

  155. I think Minor’s untouchable because we desperately need a lefty starter. Especially in a division headlined by the Phillies.


    Man, I’m really disappointed the season’s over. It’s been a great ride and made a total damn blast by Mac and all the rest of you guys.

    Oh well, now we can all talk about college basketball, can’t we?

  156. Marc Schneider at 205,

    I believe that Martin Prado may be the most focused hard worker in baseball. He has gone from a relatively stonehanded defender to a slight plus in 3 years. He has gone from a guy who wouldn’t hurt you with the bat at second to a guy who can possibly be above average with the bat at 3rd.

    My question with Martin revolves around the finger. I was very concerned that he came back too quick and everything might knit together wrong and really mess him up. I hope I am wrong on that.

  157. Yes, let’s talk hoops. From what I hear from someone who would know, we’ve only scratched the Pearly surface. I’m really looking forward to watching that program go down in flames.


  158. Cardinals need, as they always seem to, a 2B and starting pitching. How likely is it that they’d take Infante, McLouth (with the Braves paying $4m-5m of his salary) and a young pitcher?

    If we do get him, it would essentially turn the end of Braves-Phillies games into the JC Romero vs. Jonny Venters show.

  159. It will be April before we hear anything final on Bruce. There are lots of rumors floating around, but there was a feeling that it was all done, now it looks like there could be some other stuff, but it may be okay.

    He really has a a great contract and can only get fired if seriously violations occur, with out a huge buy out. I think UT knows everything and have self reported it all. However, lying to the NCAA is really really stupid.

    From all that I have gathered, all the violations were secondary, but the lying was huge. I think we lose some scholarships and Pearl might get some sort of punishment, but he will survive.

    That is unless something else comes out that UT didn’t know about. There is a lot of speculation from people “in the know”, but it is all really wait and see.

  160. Those were some pretty gut wrenching losses but at least they’re tempered by the addition by subtraction of Bobby Cox. .

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