Where Do We Go From Here 2010.2: What About the Pitching?

Nothing is ever as sure in pitching as with regular players, but you can be pretty confident in the following:

  • Tim Hudson will be in the rotation, and will probably be the Opening Day starter;
  • Tommy Hanson will also be in the rotation.

Hudson is now a 10-and-5 man and team leader; he’s not going anywhere. Similarly, it would be very strange for the Braves to move a cost-controlled proven starter like Hanson, particularly with payroll likely to be tight. At a slightly lower level of confidence, but still pretty certain, is one thing:

Lowe’s good work down the stretch and in postseason may have upped his trade value, making it a little bit likely that he would be shopped, but I don’t think it’s likely, especially as the rotation spots after him aren’t clear. Right now, the pencilled-in fourth and fifth starters are:

Jurrjens, who alternated between pitching better than he ever had before and worse, is probably more likely to pitch with the Braves in 2011 than if he’d had another good year, because it lowers his trade value. If Kris Medlen were healthy, they still might have dealt him, but as it is, I think he’ll be back. Minor is the leader right now for the fifth starter spot because he’s a lefty and because he had a good year in the minors. The assumption is that his poor work in the stretch run was because he was out of gas.

The other starters around are Brandon Beachy and Kenshin Kawakami. Beachy would seem to be the sixth starter, and I expect him to begin 2011 in Gwinnett if everyone’s healthy. I can’t imagine Kawakami will be in a Braves uniform in 2011, but at the same time I can’t imagine anyone trading for him. The Braves might have to release him and eat the last year of his contract.

All we can be pretty sure of in the bullpen, and the only guys who get the bullet points, are:

All else is flux. The only other member of this year’s bullpen who isn’t a free agent, arbitration-eligible, or on an option, is Michael Dunn; presumably he will be in the pen, but the Braves may want to give him some more minor-league work. Peter Moylan is up for his second year of arbitration and is due for a big raise just as his effectiveness has declined, and remember he turns 32 in December. I figure the Braves will either settle with him in advance or let him go. Eric O’Flaherty is up for his first year in arbitration. If he’d been healthy all year he would be a valuable trade chit; as it is, I think that Typhoid Eric will return, but I can’t be sure.

Kyle Farnsworth has a $5.25 million option for 2011 with a $500 thousand buyout. I can’t see the Braves paying that much for a middle reliever, even if they’re thin on the right side. Takashi Saito is listed as arb-eligible, but there are always peculiarities in the contracts of Japanese players, and it’s not even clear that he will pitch next year (at the age of 41). Cristhian Martinez quite likely will make the pen, but if he is anything but a long man that’s a bad sign.

Presumably, the Braves will sign at least one veteran for the back end of the bullpen to support the youngsters. I have no idea who that would be. That might leave two spots open for the usual spring auditions of fringe veterans and minor leaguers.

150 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here 2010.2: What About the Pitching?”

  1. I doubt the Braves will offer arbitration to either Diaz or Moylan. Neither are worth the cost. At the same time, I hope both can be retained, perhaps on 2-year deals worth a couple million per year. I think this result would’ve been more likely had this not been Cox’s last year, but we’ll see what we can get. I kinda doubt Saito will be pitching again next year, but who knows.

    Minor will almost certainly be the 5th starter baring some crazy Spring outcomes w.r.t. him and Beachy. Frankly, I’d like to have someone capable of starting behind those two should injuries come in to play, but we’ll probably not get that.

    The key place where we’ll gain some salary flexibility is from having both Wagner and Saito off the books. I think that comes to over $10M, which should cover the arbitration raises and contractual wage increases to other players with a bit left over to hopefully look around for a real LF. Have to wait and see how it plays out.

  2. Frankly, I’d like to have someone capable of starting behind those two should injuries come in to play, but we’ll probably not get that.

    Well, there’s Kawakami — I know, I know — and Medlen should be ready by midseason, right?

  3. LOL @ the Jeffy quote from last thread. I don’t even know if he meant it that way, but even so, it goes right up there with Chipper saying they should all go put on their Yankees gear as one of my favorite “Mets fans are posers” quotes. Kudos to Jeffy for that one.

  4. Headline on the back page of the always ridiculous NY Post the other day: Texas Blowhards Trash Talk Yankees

    Reason: Francoeur said he thinks the Rangers can win the series & Cliff Lee said, “We’re not finished yet.”


  5. 5 – How dare they?!?

    Minor league pen possibilities? Marek, Hyde, Gearrin? I could see one of those guys make the pen.

    Also, I do not know how we build up the offense without selling some pitching. Jurrjens would have been it without the injury. Maybe now it’s Lowe or Minor.

    We’ve got arms. We need bats!

  6. @6 – IMHO I agree that we should leverage pitching to get hitting. I know that I’ll be flamed for this but I think the Braves have to listen to offers for Teheran and Delgado.

    Medlen’s injury really screwed up any scenario involving trading Jurrjens or Lowe.

    If the Braves decide to take a risk on a vet coming off a poor season or a young hitter with potential I would think that Medlen himself, and or Minor could be on the block.

  7. I’d say Beachy steps into the role Medlen had at the beginning of the year and fills in the rotation if somebody gets hurt or sucks, like Medlen did this year.

    At some point Marek has to get a shot at a big league job and see if he can sink or swim, he’s 27 now. I’m not sure what’s left for him to accomplish at the minor league level. I’d say he has a pretty good shot to make the pen if he pitches well in the spring.

    I have Venters, Kimbrel, Dunn, and Typhoid Eric as locks to be in the pen. One ‘Veteran right handed arm’ of Moylan, Proctor or a $2-3MM Saito replacement along with Beachy, Marek and The Lisp. Boom there’s your bullpen.

  8. I just can’t see the Braves making an impact move to shore up the outfield through free agency, and I can’t see anyone willing to trade an outfield bat also willing to take Kawakami (or Lowe). So, at least as I see it, if the Braves are going to add a *good* outfielder they’re going to trade a cost-controlled young pitcher or two.

    Of course, maybe they’ll just do what they’ve done the past few offseasons and pretend like the outfield isn’t a problem.

  9. I know he’s been injured the last couple of years, but I think Grady Sizemore would look fantastic in a Braves uniform. Next year, he’s at $7.5M, ’12 he’s at $8.5M club option ($0.5M buyout.) Just looking at all possibly guys that might be available. I just don’t think Werth, Crawford, Kemp and Rasmus are realistic possibilities. It’s going to be a guy like BJ Upton, Ludwick, Sizemore, those types of guys.

  10. Adam,

    You’re right. Plus, it is easier to turn young arms into big league bats than it is the other way around.

    I think one of Venters/Kimbrell will be shipped for a hitter.

  11. #9
    Says a lot.

    As it stands, I have a hard time believing either will go. As long as their arms remain attached, those 2 guys look like a nasty back of the pen.

    Was listening to Ron Washington’s press conference & someone asked him about Francouer. After he offered up the he’s-a-great-teammate spiel, he very casually mentioned something most Braves Journal folks already know: “He’s very effective when we’re facing left-handed pitching.”

    2010 Texas: 21 PA vs LHP, 400/429/600
    2010 NYM/Tex: 135 PA vs LHP, 300/363/442
    Career: 982 PA vs LHP, 299/343/481

  12. wren: “We’re going to be very hesitant to trade pitching, because I think that’s our strength.”

    that’s a really dumb quote.

  13. IMHO I agree that we should leverage pitching to get hitting. I know that I’ll be flamed for this but I think the Braves have to listen to offers for Teheran and Delgado.

    Oh, I’m sure they’ll listen. And I think that’s what Wren’s saying in the quote Ryan posted above. If you want Julio Teheran, you’d better be willing to offer the moon. That’s what it’d cost to get Jeremy Hellickson, too. To my ears, all Wren is saying is, “We have a buttload of young pitching, and we know exactly how good they are. Bowl me over.”

  14. The Twins look to be a good trade partner for us. They have four solid to good outfielders at the major league level as well as two pretty intriguing prospects who seem to be blocked, their major league pitching is lackluster and their high minor league team feature almost no viable pitching prospects:

    1.Denard Span: A career slash line of 367/392/759, not much pop, but he’s fast and plays a good center field. At 26 he’s coming off a disappointing year, could be expendable with guys like Joe Benson and Ben Revere knocking on the door.

    2.Michael Cuddyear:.342/450/793 he’s 31 and coming off something of a down year. A right fielder by trade, he’s played lots of games at first base and some at third as well. He’s a little bit on the pricey side, but being right handed and having the ability to play both corner IF and OF positions makes him a good fit for the Braves.

    3.Delmon Young:325/435/760 unlike the other Twins outfielders, Young is coming off a career season in which he belted 21 homers and 46 doubles. while OPSing 826 at the age of 24. He is due a big raise in his second arbitration year so a deal is possible.

    4.Jason Kubel: 335/463/798. He’s entering his final arbitration year and like almost everyone else in MInnesota he too is coming off a down year in which he saw his OPS dip 157 points. He’s lefthanded, so he’s not a great fit, but the asking price might be low considering he’s going into his walk year and struggled in 2010.

    5.Ben Revere:389/412/801 in 348 minor league games. He’s only 22, and has spent most of his time patrolling center. I’ve never seen him play but statistically he looks like a younger Denard Span. He lacks pop but he’s an Atlanta native, he can steal bases and he has a cool name.

    6.Joe Benson:352/432/784 in 456 minor league game. Like Revere he’s only 22 and he’s primarily played center field. He appears to have less speed and more power and he’s right handed.

  15. Not for the faint of heart: The Most Painful Braves Gut Punch Losses in October

    I’m not convinced that Delmon Young is better than Nate McLouth. His defense is unspeakable and his offense is overrated, plus he’s streakier than Kelly Johnson. I might consider him as a throw-in, but the parallels to Francoeur are frightening.

    Span is legit, and coming off a bad year I’d take a gamble on him. But I think we’d have a better chance at Ellsbury. Span is a Minnesota kind of guy, scrappy and crappy.

  16. #18
    It’s the very same post-game conversation I was having at a restaurant/bar on Memorial Drive Sunday night. (Yes, misery & beer go together.)

    I’d go:
    1. Lonnie Smith Game (1991). If Lonnie doesn’t experience that extreme brainfart, we probably win the WS.

    2. Leyritz Game (1996). We win, we go up 3-1. For me, a Georgian living in NYC, that one probably hurt the most.

    3. Ed Sprague Game (1992). We win, we go up 2-0. A totally different series.

    4. Brooks Conrad Game (2010). That was one poisoned script.

    5. Chris Burke Game (2005). Taught me to never trust Kyle Farnsworth.

    And I don’t even count any of the losses in the series we actually won. I was at the Ventura “grand-slam single” game. It was memorable, but… BFD.

    Still, I find it more amusing that the Mets count that as one of their bigger victories.

  17. That tweet looks just like a 2am text message that I might get (possibly by accident, possibly intentionally) from my Puerto Rican friend Jose.

  18. His English is probably better than your Spanish. But still, there isn’t much between his ears and he decided to let the world know it.

  19. It didn’t have so much to do with poor English, but with the lack of capitalization on words like “i” and “spain” as well as the alcohol reference. Anyway, my Puerto Rican friend Jose is a native English speaker.

  20. Dusty (from the last thread)

    I’m sure Hubbard was a nice guy. As I recall we got there late and they weren’t letting people in line anymore. He’d probably been there forever and just wanted to leave and I’m sure there were frustrated faces behind me as I stammered in front of him. Having to be warm and friendly anytime they meet anyone is a chore I know I couldn’t get done if I had to.

    Hadn’t heard the Bedrosian story. That was really great.

  21. I always thought (for good reason) that Pat Burrell was supposed to be brutal in the field, but UZR and whatever B-R.com uses for defensive wins above replacement seemed to like him with the Giants. If he can manage run-of-the-mill bad defense (or about what our LF defense has been for a few years), then he makes a lot of sense for us (and probably most other teams). Assuming that his TB (Tampa Bay, not tuberculosis… unless?) woes are behind him.

  22. I find defensive ratings for LF to be notoriously unreliable for some reason. For instance, by parking himself 10 feet from the warning track all season, KJ was evidently a young Barry Bonds in the field, if the metrics were to be believed.

  23. Ok, totally random and selfish, but I finished making my own scorebook for my senior project today!!! Figuring out how to sew it and line up the die cuts on the cover was a bear, but I think the result is pretty sweet. Warning, orange is used.

  24. I think even the designers of these metrics would tell you that a seasons worth of data points is too small a sample to make any concrete assessments. The figure I hear most often is 3 seasons is the minimal amount required to capture a meaningful valuation.

  25. Yeah… on the one hand, Pat Burrell has a career UZR of -57.7, including -41.9 from 2006 to 2008. On the other hand, it was +4.9 in about half a season in the field this year. I’m gonna go ahead and say that he still sucks, and the aberrant figure this year is just an artifact of a small sample size.

  26. @34

    Maybe that’s also why LF is particularly volatile — comparatively few chances to distinguish oneself, so making or not making a handful of plays can skew results disproportionately to other positions.


    Bethany, that is sharp!

  27. Sorry, but all those rosters scream “Wild Card – if you’re lucky” to me.

    And if Jayson’s (suddenly) famously hole-filled swing isn’t fixed, we’ll fall behind the Rockies, Padres and maybe even the Marlins. (That would suck, wouldn’t it?)

  28. Honest question: When Fredi was playing (almost) .500 ball, was he managing a better lineup than Bobby over the same period?

  29. Thanks for looking, guys!

    So, what are some of the outfielders you guys think would actually be attainable this offseason? I’m still interested in Matt Kemp… Are any of the FAs this year worth going after? I know there isn’t much of a chance we could get Werth.

  30. Mac, I agree with everything you said about pitching. I am pretty sure Dunn will be in the bullpen next season.

    I would do everything to keep JJ. JJ is getting his rest this season, and I bet he will do great next season. We should think about trading JJ after NEXT season but not this.

    I am more concerned with Hanson’s health next season. I am afraid that he will have a similar season to what JJ went through this year.

    I would be willing to listen for Delgado, but there is no way I am even listening for any idea relating to Teheran.

  31. @42 I think the Marlins play to their ability. They may have a better lineup, but their rotation depth is not as good as ours and they don’t have a bullpen to speak of. They are exactly what they are.

    Which means at least Fredi doesn’t bring negative value to his team.

  32. So I was on the Fredi Wagon until I read on foxsports.com that he is keeping Snitker at 3rd, moving TP to 1st and firing Hubbard and Cadahia. That is insanity. Cadahia I don’t know that much about But Hubbard I remember from his days coaching in Macon. He was always a CLASS act and a GREAT coach. I consider this Fredi’s first mistake.

  33. 33—Awesome, Bethany!

    41—Are you talking about Heyward (and misspelling his name)? Or are you thinking we’re signing Werth?

  34. @41, assuming you mean if Heyward fails, and fail he may, it would be one of the most spectacular flameouts of all time – every possible statistical, historical, and scouting indicator has him pointed for years of very goodness, if not greatness. You can’t make a roster decision that assumes otherwise.

  35. We signed this guy and invited him to ST

    3. Chris Garcia, 1b, Shreveport-Bossier (American Association)

    Age: 22. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 235.

    If Garcia could run a little or play a solid outfield, there’s little chance he’d been in independent ball. But Garcia’s inside-out swing doesn’t hit for the kind of power teams usually look for in a first baseman, which explains why he spent the entire season in Shreveport after finishing second in the American Association by hitting .361 as a 21-year-old in 2009.

    Playing in a league filled with veteran pitchers, Garcia once again finished second in the league in batting, this hitting .383/.501/.597 as he led the Captains to the league title. Garcia isn’t a slap hitter by any means, but he goes the other way with most everything, leading to lots of doubles (31 this year) to left-center. When he does pull the ball, he has enough pop to make pitchers pay (14 home runs this year). He just doesn’t do it as much as he should, at least yet.

    “He’s a pure hitter,” Shreveport manager Ricky Van Asselberg said. “He doesn’t get fooled much. He’s a very mature hitter. We’ve worked on pulling the ball more, but he’s a natural opposite-field hitter. When he learns to pull, his power will spike.”

  36. @43 I think Kemp and Ethier from the Dodgers both might be possibilities. Also, there is a small possibility Rasmus could be had but that would take both LaRussa returning and a trade package that the Cardinals cannot refuse. Coco Crisp is another potential fit.

    I suppose Kelly Johnson could be an option but I highly doubt the Braves would want to admit they whiffed in letting him go by re-signing him.

    Aren’t we all glad we didn’t sign Rocco Baldelli to a multi-year deal? What a disaster that would have been.

  37. Beat the rush — start talking now about McCann for the HOF:


    By my count, he’s had more seasons in which he’s appeared in the All-Star game as a catcher than all but 11 catchers in ML history (that awkward construction is on purpose — I could only find the numbers for appearances, not selections, and a few catchers (i.e. Del Crandall) appeared in two ASG in those seasons when there were two ASGs).

  38. Interestingly enough, that blog post was inspired by a comment by Rob Neyer.

    And yes, I think it’s completely true: Brian McCann is undoubtedly on a Hall of Fame career path, as long as his body (and eyes) stay healthy enough for him to remain productive for another 6-8 seasons at this level as a catcher, and another 3-4 seasons after that, perhaps as a 1B/DH.

  39. It’s depressing being a mid-market team with ownership that doesn’t really care if it wins. Actually, that’s an exaggeration–I think Liberty wants the team to be competitive and not be a joke but they aren’t committed to winning a championship. It’s not that the team is terrible and has no chance to make the playoffs, but we all know they aren’t going to make the moves that would make this an elite team, for e.g, signing Werth. This bothers me a lot more than hiring Fredi Gonzalez as manager.It’s tinkering around the edges. Plus, while the system has lots of pitching, it’s pretty much depleted in terms of position players. If they really want to contend, they are going to have to trade some of the pitching.

  40. @58

    Someone is going to over pay Werth and he isn’t really that young.

    Realistically, outside of Crawford and Werth, I am not sure there is a big time FA outfielder out there. Someone will over pay a Pat Burell and be stuck with him for 3-4 years. Being in the possition we are, we aren’t going to tie our selves into something like that. I know there is going to be a Lowe retort.

  41. @59,

    I agree with you but it seems that the Braves will again be counting on a lot of things falling into place: Chipper coming back, Freeman being ready, and so on. They seem to be stuck at a level just below the top (Phillies)with no real way to move to the next level.

  42. @60 to follow that train of thought a bit further…

    We don’t have the big budget to buy our way out of troubles, so I think there are two scenarios to consider:
    A) planning so you’re counting on things to go right.
    B) planning so you’re counting on things to not go wrong.

    In ’09 I think we went into the season counting on too many things to go right. In ’10 we had to count more on things not going wrong (and we made it to the post season even though quite a few things did go wrong). I would say counting on Heyward & Hanson to keep improving is counting on something not going wrong. Counting on McLouth to turn things around is counting on something going right (granted, going into ’10 counting on McLouth to not fall off completely was simply counting on something not going wrong… and it went wrong wrong wrong).

    This year one of the things we counted on going right was Glaus being healthy, and able to play 1B, and not having dropped off the hitter wagon the last couple seasons (for a while this went very very right… then very very wrong). One of the things we just had to have “not go wrong” was Escobar & McLouth playing at (or near) their career levels… that didn’t happen.

    We, as a team with our budgetary constraints, can really only hope to plan to count on several things not going wrong, and hopefully limit ourselves to only counting on a couple things to ‘go right’. Yankees (and to some degree Boston and Philly) can build their teams with the philosophy of “we can win this unless several things go terribly wrong”… we don’t have that flexibility, but that doesn’t mean we can’t compete.

    Most of our question marks for ’11 are in the “Things not going wrong” realm (Chipper’s ability to hit and stay moderately healthy, Heyward & Hanson continuing to improve, McCann not go blind again, etc)… Since we are probably stuck with McLouth, the main things we “Need to go right” are that either he improves, or we get a relatively “sure thing” for the LF/CF area to compensate.

    I’m not sure where Freddie sits in those piles… but I suspect with as little time as he’s spent as an ML 1B he probably falls in the “Need to go right” pile (though hopefully having Hinske, or somebody similar, around to platoon a bit may mitigate the 1B risk and/or help FF come along).

  43. #57
    I wish Cody Ross had pursued his first true love. I guess now he gets Photoshopped with greasepaint.

    FWIW, my CS picks:
    Yanks in 5
    Phils in 5

    Of course, a ratings-busting Texas-Giants WS wouldn’t break my heart.

  44. @60 – Even with the fact that Werth is necessarily the answer, I see what you are saying: the Braves are not willing to spend the kind of money it takes to go to the next level. Werth may get overpaid, but you at least want to be in the conversation when it comes to those off-season moves that fill holes for championship-winning teams (Tex, Sabathia, Werth, Crawford, etc…).

    Comparing the Braves financial position to the Yankees is apples vs. oranges, I know, but it’s pretty obvious that Liberty is not interested in extending itself too much for the Braves to get the best possible answer to their problem(s). They’ll just have to make the small moves that we’ve become accustomed to, probably in the trade-market, and hope for the best.

  45. @63

    I really think we are going to make a move for an outfielder with some pop. Until the whole team got hurt, we were really only one solid hitter away from putting the Phillies in the wild card (that and their crazy finish)

    A lineup with Chipper and/or Prado in it and we probably beat the Giants.

    With the way Lee was starting to pick it up, a line up with Chipper AND Prado would give the Phillies some trouble in the NLCS.

    As far as Freeman goes, Im not counting on him carrying the team or anything. He is probably a 7th hitter at best for us next year. He might hit 10-15 HRs and will get on base some. Nothing like Heyward this year.

  46. Smitty, you think the OF will come via trade (probably for a pitcher of ours), or in the free agent market?

  47. I didnt know that Lee was playing with a torn thumb ligament. DOB says he tore it a week after he was traded to the braves. He never showed any sign of pain that I can remember

  48. Mlb.com has panoramic views from all the stadiums in the first round. It’s good enough that you can zoom in and clearly see everyone in the stadium. The one for Turner field is from the Sunday game, and the whole stadium looks incredibly depressed. The scoreboard says its the top of the eighth, so just one half inning later and they would have gotten a very happy Turner Field.

  49. @54 That drill has been around a long time. I used to have my players do that drill in the mid 80’s when I was coaching baseball in CA. I learned it from a guy who had played at Fresno State.

  50. @65

    I would think probably trade. There aren’t a lot of outfielders on the FA market that would fill the role we need.

    Rasmus and Josh Willingham are probably the top two trade targets.

  51. I see Cincinnatti as a possible trading partner to pick up a pretty good outfielder.

    They have Stubbs and Heisey that are both pretty good centerfielders and Bruce who can play center, plus at least one more pretty good one (can’t remember)in the upper minors.

    And, Cincinnatti needs some pretty good, pretty cheap pitching and with it they can compete in the division and wild card.

  52. Cincinnati has Cueto, Volquez, Chapman, Wood, Leake, and Bailey already…

    Rasmus hits left-handed. EDIT: Last year’s — NOT his career — numbers against lefties, while certainly acceptable, aren’t anywhere near what Kemp’s or Willingham’s are. And you know Rizzo will ask for the moon from us in exchange for Willingham. I won’t complain if we got him, but I don’t understand the adulation on here when we could be talking about Kemp.

  53. The problem with Swisher and Willingham, and to a lesser extent Kemp, is that they are not only going to cost talent, they are going to cost real money as well:

    Willingham arb eligible, last year 4.6M, prob around 7M for this year after two nice seasons in DC.
    Swisher 9M
    Kemp 5M

    I think I’d rather pay more and get an FA with no talent cost, or trade young talent for young talent and keep payroll room. We don’t have any similar talent/contracts to trade (well maybe JJ, but I see him as damaged goods right now)

  54. spike, I would too, but I dont see us getting much help from the FA pool. Werth and Crawford arent options IMO. Then you have the likes of Burrell, Magglio, and maybe Coco Crisp. Outside of that there isnt much. Hawpe could be a decent gamble, but then again he’s LH. Everyone appears to be LH these days

  55. Yeah. If we could just make room for Kemp…that’ll be my off-season pipe dream. The Dodgers might need to shed his salary, they don’t seem to want him around, and they need the pitching help more than anybody we’re discussing. Lilly, Kuroda, and Padilla are FAs. Do they have prospects coming up? Josh Lindblom was craptacular this year.

    Sigh. Someone needs to plant some ‘roids in the glove compartment of one of Kawakami’s cars. We need to void that contract pronto.

  56. @74, nor do I so, QED, trade young talent for young talent.

    Let’s say we offer Minor and Infante for Rasmus. Maybe St Louis comes back and says Infante, Kimbrel and Vizcaino. Split the difference and you get Minor, Vizcaino and Infante for Rasmus. Painful yes, but I think I’d do it.

  57. Yeah, I agree — I think Kemp and Rasmus are the two targets, with Ellsbury a consolation #3. All three are in serious hot water with their organizations, and honestly, Kemp’s money situation is just one more reason for that cash-strapped, screwed-up organization to trade him for cheap pitching.

    Minor, Vizcaino and Infante… you drive a hard bargain, friend. But I’d probably do it. Good thing we still have Kawakami.

  58. @78, don’t forget, that effectively screws up the bench for the present, and 2B when/if Chipper gets hurt. It’s a pretty painful trade to make.

    /Basically, you just gave Diory Hernandez or his FA equivalent 300ABs.

    //although if you signed Hardy, it’d be ok.

  59. Mike M., you are not the only one. I think Werth wont be as productive away from the Phillies.

    18 HR’s at home to 9 on the road.
    He had 23 doubles home and away though, so he can drive in runs.

  60. Oh no – but obviously there is a non-trivial chance that Infante’s role will be significantly more than that.


    Chipper’s contract sure hurts the team, doesn’t it? Probably more than Lowe’s does.

  62. @76, Im with you.

    I think Infante’s trade value is at an all time high. If we can turn him and some young pitcher for an outfielder, I think we have to do it.

    It is easier to find a utility player than a everyday outfielder.

  63. But, is it easier to find a utility player that you need to be able to play every day than it is to find an everyday outfielder?

  64. I’m more than happy with a Diaz / Hinske LF platoon. It’s CF than we need to fix.

    For all you Kemp fans, does his reputation for being a malcontent bother you? Is it earned? He sure had an odd year.

    So if South Carolina scores five touchdowns on Bama’s defense, how many do you think they’ll score on my Wildcats. I think the over / under is 32 (touchdowns, not points).

  65. Anyone think Francouer may have stumbled into a role that will allow him to stay in MLB for another decade?

    4th outfielder that plays against lefties?

  66. Chipper Jones’s contract hurts the Braves a lot less than the very real possibility that he will be healthy enough to play but not healthy enough to play well. The contract is a sunk cost, and we have more than reaped the benefits of the money we’ve paid him — his performance since 1995 has been worth far, far more than what we’ve paid him.

    But Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren are going to have to be willing to drop him in the order or bench him if he’s truly terrible, and he’s going to have to be willing to accept that. If they’re too shy and he’s too obstinate, then he’ll actually be a problem. But I don’t mind the money. We already got what we paid for and then some.

  67. I read that in Gwinnett they were giving Matt Young some time back at 2b. Anyone know if that continued through the year, or was just a brief experiment? I believe he started as a middle infielder.

    I’m okay with trading Infante, trading or non-tendering Matt Diaz, and cutting Brooks Conrad, if we get a real life, middle of the order outfielder, some kind of shortstop (is JJ Hardy an unreasonable request?) and promote Matt Young.

    I think you hang on to Hinske in this case, if at all possible.

  68. @93, that all depends on what they offer him to go home. Nobody, I don’t care who they are or how long they’ve been here, is walking away from 33M+ in salary.

  69. I think that a guy like Infante is much more valuable to a team like the Braves, who have to run out a few fragile/older guys due to budget constraints, than he would be to a team with more resources. That $2.5 option is insurance against losing your whole season if Chipper or Prado or LF goes down. He won’t have the power for 3B or LF, but he won’t be a black hole in the line-up like it would be if you put Diory out there.

  70. Infante’s very, very useful. But I wish we could have trotted Hinske out at 3rd instead of Conrad a few times in the playoffs. If he can play 3rd base, instead of just 1B/LF, his value to us goes up considerably, because of the Chipper injury factor.

  71. 77—Split the difference by giving a better offer than they’re asking for? Minor is worth more than Kimbrel.

    I honestly can’t see the Braves trading either, although I’d be all for it,

  72. I do believe the Braves moved Matt Young back to 2B, which makes him more valuable to our org. I dont know how his defense is at the position, but I think he played INF before we drafted him

  73. I honestly don’t think the team will trade Vizcaino and other organizations are likely to be wary of him due to his injury. I think Delgado in place of Vizcaino gets those deals done.

  74. @100 – I understand a starter is worth more than a reliever, but wrt to Minor and Kimbrel, I think Kimbrel is ready to excel at the major league level right now. I am not sure you can say that about Minor. Hold his own as a 5 starter, probably, but not much more than that as of today.

  75. I think you’re selling Minor short. He should be pretty darn good with an offseason of rest. And you may be simultaneously overrating Kimbrel, who is uber-talented but prone to extreme wildness.

    I think it’s a pretty safe bet that both the Braves and the Cardinals value Minor more highly than Kimbrel, although, as I said, I’d be pretty surprised if the Braves traded either.

  76. Is it me? Or does this letter to Mets fans strike me as odd?

    I mean, I think the fans already assume you’re trying to improve the team by hiring the right guy. A letter like this strikes me as totally unnecessary:

    Dear Mets Fans:

    We have heard from many of you over recent weeks offering suggestions and ideas on how to assemble a winning team. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Your interest and support of the Mets is greatly appreciated.

    We have been hard at work since the end of the season exploring ways to improve our club. As you likely know, this week we interviewed five candidates for General Manager—Allard Baird, Rick Hahn, Josh Byrnes, Sandy Alderson, and Logan White. They all are intelligent, creative and passionate about winning. They conveyed their honest assessment of our franchise and discussed how we can move forward on our pledge to give our fans the winner that they deserve.

    We are continuing our search and expect to hire our new GM in the next few weeks. We will be in contact with you with more information and details soon.

    Thanks again.

    Jeff Wilpon

  77. I’m pretty much of the belief that relievers are mostly fungible but
    18 K/9 guys don’t grow on trees.

  78. He’s one of the few guys who can afford to. His rep is already made, they will give him a lot of money to spend, and if it doesn’t work he can walk away in couple years with no harm done. It’s the first timers who need to steer clear of this one.

  79. Why? Money.

    The talk in Metland is that Alderson has the inside track with the club, but the sticking point is the amount of actual say he’d have in running the day-to-day operations.

    The Good News: As long as Jeff Wilpon is really running that club, everyone else in the NL East has a chance.

  80. Yeah, that’s the thing. Why would Alderson take a job where he won’t really be in charge? He already did that, early in his Oakland days, and didn’t like it.

  81. I’m thinking right now that I don’t want McOut playing CF under any circumstances, even if he somehow finds his hitting stroke. I would rather him platoon in LF (since a full-time LF is not allowed on the Braves), play Heyward in CF, and then find someone with some pop for RF.

  82. braves new choose two menu:

    if the the braves could find a taker for kawakami AND if they dont trade away any of their pen, AND if they use their strengths from AAA to fill out their remaining bench (matt young and barbaro), the braves could probably choose 2 of the following players either via trade or free agency, and still stay in budget:

    1. cody ross
    2. bj upton
    3. matt kemp

    1. josh willingham
    2. pat burrell
    3. magglio

  83. Rasmus should be the guy the Braves go after, but I really don’t see the Cardinals being stupid enough to trade him. LaRussa’s not going to be around forever. If they do trade him though, I think they would want bats (or at least a bat, Infante would almost certainly have to be included) a lot more than pitching, and we all know how stocked with hitting talent the Braves system currently is.

    The Dodgers, on the other hand, are plenty stupid enough to trade Kemp. I only see them moving him though if they can’t find anybody to take Russell Martin off their hands. I see the Dodgers as a team where KK might have some value if the Braves are willing to eat 80-90% of his salary. I think KK plus cash, one of Minor, Vizcaino or Delgado, one of a slightly lesser tier guy like Beachy, one minor league relief guy like Hyde or Marek gets it done for Kemp. Like I said before, I’d be surprised if the Dodgers move Kemp, I think they give him one more year with Mattingly and see how he does.

  84. I sort of mentally drafted a list of teams to trade with… and with the Mets not a likely target, the obvious team to go with is the Dodgers. They pretty much have to unload a regular player to cut payroll.

  85. didnt Pujols have some negative things to say about Rasmus also. He’ll be around a lot longer than LaRussa

  86. the nationals came out and said they’re going to spend big on pitching. let’s help them cut that spending and trade them a cost controlled #4 or 5 starter and get us some willingham. how sweet would a lineup with kemp and willingham look?

  87. The Dodgers, BTW, would be much better off if they traded Ethier than Kemp; Ethier is three years older, makes $3 million a year more, will be a free agent the same year (2013) and can only play in the corners. Yeah, his 2010 stats are better, but it’s mostly batting average. Kemp’s most-similar player through his current age is Carlos Beltran (followed by Andre Dawson); Ethier’s is Richie Zisk. Now, who would you rather have, a 25-year-old Carlos Beltran, or a 28-year-old Richie Zisk who makes half again as much?

  88. Pujols made some comments about Rasmus, but Pujols has also butted heads multiple times with LaRussa FWIW. I just can’t see the Cards moving Rasmus unless they get multiple hitters back, especially middle infielders.

    Kemp’s BABIP for ’10 was 49 points below his career average, it looks like he was a bit hit unlucky and his K’s went up a bit too (153, 139 first two full years, 170 this year.) No stats seem to say he played very good defense at all, his rumored ‘laziness’ seems to be the cause for that. Does anybody have his +/- fielding stats for ’10 ?

    I think Kemp stands as the most realistic target for an upgrade in center, and if that happens, I certainly think a McOut or Hinske/Diaz platoon would suffice in left if Kemp and Heyward are manning the other two outfield spots.

    I agree with Mac that the Dodgers would be much better off trading Ethier, but it’s Ned Colletti we’re talking about. Russell Martin’s the guy they really need to move, and the guy I think they Dodgers will move, keeping Kemp and Ethier.

  89. “I think Alex will be what he’s always been. He’ll be somewhere between .260-.270, hit 15-20 home runs, drive in 70, 75, 80, and play really good shortstop.” – Wren

    now we go and see what he really is – career – .249/.294/.402. In 12 seasons ge’s only driven in 70+ rbi’s 3 times. In 12 seasons he’s only hit 15+ hr’s 4 times. Let me rephrase for him, “we expect Alex to hit between .240-.250, hit 10hr’s, drive in 50rbi’s, and play a good SS.” Okay, fixed now.

  90. By the way, that was one of the worst third base plays you’re likely to see, courtesy of Michael Young. Get in front of the damn ball. With the bases loaded and no outs, he tried to play it off to the side and it bounced over his glove for a two-run single. Even if the ball literally impales him in the chest, they’re guaranteed to save a run and virtually guaranteed an out.

  91. Michael Young is the new Garret Anderson — durability, franchise “loyalty”, and high batting averages confer respect upon him far above his actual value.

  92. Isn’t Kemp getting to the point where he may need to move to a corner? I’d be fine with him in left if he can get the OBP back up.

  93. Kemp is 25, not 30. And people really seem to undervalue Mike Minor. He’s way, way more valuable than Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. He’s a rookie pitcher (he’ll probably end up being a “Super 2” guy, but still under team control for the next 6 years) with the upside of a #2. He’s almost certain to stick in the bigs, so his floor is pretty high, too. Of all players to control on this team, I think Heyward beats him. Yes, including McCann. The Braves control McCann for another 2 years at $6.5 and $8.5M with a $12M option for 2013. Even the best (Can we still say that with Posey around? Yes we can.) catcher in the NL is still probably not worth what Minor is at a price of “free” for at least the next two years and “cheap” for the 4 following it. Okay, Hanson’s also close. But I think we’ll only have him through 2014.

    So ya. Don’t go throwing him as a “pick one” between a bunch of prospects.

  94. There is no way in hell the Braves will trade Kimbrel or Minor unless they get a bomb in return. Wren has already confirmed that, and rightfully so. I bet the plan is to give McLouth a fresh start in 2011, and hope he’ll return to Pittsburgh form. It won’t work out, but it’s going to happen, count on it.

  95. McLouth will definitely get a chance, because of money concerns. But he actually was just fine once he came back from “injury” on August 31. After he came back, he hit .263/.358/.509. Add that to his fringe-average defense and you have a player who deserves the contract that he’s saddled with.

  96. Tom, I disagree. If the braves can get an offensive player like Colby Rasmus, its not going to be who is traded, they’ll trade both. IMO

  97. Nate McClouth last full year in Pittsburgh 26 hr, 94 rbi, .276 ba, .356 obp
    Colby Rasmus this year in St.Louis 23 hr, 66rbi, .276 ba, .361 obp.

    These two guys might be the same. Sure Rasmus looks like he has more upside, but I’d much rather sign a guy like Willingham and keep Kimbrel and Minor.

  98. you’d have to trade for Willingham also, price may be less, but Wash will want a very good pitching prospect in return

  99. well MLBTR is saying that the Phils are going to unload some salary to make a run at Cliff Lee. Thats exciting, Id sure love to see a rotation of Hallday, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels

  100. Okay enough about baseball.

    Elton John and Leon Russell just released a collaboration album and nobody told me about it. Why does everyone hate me?

  101. Randy, Rasmus did it at 23, McLouth at 26, and Rasmus was a far better hitter in the minors. For the moment, although your point is well taken – anyone can blow up – Rasmus is a lot better risk to repeat those numbers.

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