How things look (Nov. 3)

With the (to me inexplicable) decision to pick up Cards’ not-very-good outfielder Joe Mather, and the simply mindblowing choice to give Scott Proctor a major league contract, the Braves’ roster is coming into shape. Without further ado, here’s what we have so far:

REGULARS
C McCann
1B Freeman
2B Prado
3B Chipper
SS Gonzalez
LF Vacant
CF McLouth
RF Heyward
BENCH
C Ross
IF Infante
OF Mather
IF Vacant
OF Vacant

SP Hudson
SP Hanson
SP Lowe
SP Jurrjens
SP Minor (probably)

RP Kimbrel
RP Venters
RP Dunn
RP Proctor, for some reason
RP Vacant
RP Vacant
RP Vacant

Two of those last relief spots may be quickly settled, if the Braves decide to offer arbitration to Eric O’Flaherty and Peter Moylan, and I pretty much expect they will. Suddenly, Frank Wren’s task list doesn’t seem so daunting.

276 thoughts on “How things look (Nov. 3)”

  1. I’m okay with the Mather pickup. Organizational depth in an area of chronic need. It’s too soon to expect any big moves.

  2. 1—Agreed. I have no problem with getting Mather. I’ll have a problem if that’s the only or best guy we get.

  3. #6
    Just don’t take him out to dinner.

    Posed with a choice of rooting for Randy Moss or the Luftwaffe, I’d have to think about it.

  4. You probably can pencil Brooks in there as well. If Hinske is re-signed that fills up the bench, though maybe Mather is to fill the Hinske role? Assuming Diaz is non-tendered, Wren would need to find an OF somewhere.

    Moylan and EOF are locks to be offered arb and will be back. Marek or Martinez fills out the pen. Agreed Minor’s probably the #5 starter, but it’s possible JJ may have to be moved to get a quality OF, in which case there’d be work to do – I’m comfortablewith either Minor or Beachy, but not both.

  5. How expensive are #4-5 starters? Plus if you move JJ, you also remove whatever arb raise he manages to get, which can then be spent on someone to fill his spot.

    Everyone says it won’t be done and thus is pointless to talk about, but getting Rasmus just makes way too much sense for the Braves. He’s RH, he’s actually a good hitter, and he plays CF at a competent level. I would trade just about anything for him, up to Terehan on the pitching side and Freeman on the position player side, along with Jurrjens.

  6. Purina is providing the next postgame spread for the Titans, so I don’t really see any problems. Eminently dog-feedable.

  7. o rite.

    Still would trade just about anything for him. Including Freeman, and resign Derek Lee to play 1B.

    World Series locks.

  8. Moss still has our entire roster beat, and in a lot of ignominious categories, including actual jail time.

    But, this being the NFL where those types of things have unfortunately become commonplace, I like to root for people who actually try to win.

    Moss is a disgraceful frontrunner who quits on his teams when things don’t go his way.

    The world needs villains, too.

  9. I don’t really disagree with any of that, but he’s joining a winning team that will only be better with him on it. And he’s only here for this year.

    Gonna be fun.

  10. @14, as has been noted before,” the Cards have a pretty good 1B already. I think the reason everyone says it won’t be done” is because the Cardinals won’t do it, not that the Braves won’t make a substantial offer. They have little reason to trade him.

  11. #16
    Unless of course, he finds another in a career-long series of reasons not to be happy.

    The good news (for Titans fans) is that Moss should have the good sense to know that he’s playing for his next contract.

  12. I don’t know what the proper etiquette is for changing positions at the high minors, but if the Braves think Freeman can indeed play LF, he should next year.

    I really think that Adam Dunn or Derrek Lee should be playing 1B next year. Dunn would make the lineup too left heavy, but I think that a 1 year gamble (even at 10 million) for Lee would be perfect. Observe:

    D. Lee WAR by year:

    2010: 2.0 (injury plagued year early)
    2009: 5.2
    2008: 3.2
    2007: 3.9
    2006: 0.8 (50 games)
    2005: 7.6

    I think that he is a lock for 2.5+ WAR next year (assuming that he’s not injured, which in case insurance money should make this gamble a little safer). And if the Braves offer arb to him and he declines, we’re still getting a high draft pick. No lose situation, in my opinion.

    The more that I think about it, the more I hope that the Braves get Rasmus. This would be too perfect a situation. Freeman in left, Lee at first, and Rasmus in center. That would be a well above-average offense team, and with that stellar bullpen and sparkling starting pitching, this would be a NLCS favorite.

    Of course, this all goes out the window if the Braves decide that Freeman can’t play left.

    However, one can dream…

  13. Id be fine knowing that if we kept Lee, we’d get Rasmus…but, its not llikely. Freeman most likely will struggle at the plate for the first 50 games or so, we dont need to add him learning a new position to that level of adjusting.

    Most likely, if we kept Lee then Freeman would spend another year at AAA and we’d have zero salary room and another group of 4th/5th OF’rs to mix and match with Heyward. Just dont see that happening

  14. Freeman and Heyward in the lineup at the same time means two young guys with holes in their swings.

    They’ll be really good some day, but next year might be tough.

  15. like Melky, Nate, AAG, and Ankiel didnt kill us everyday? they had very big holes

    another thing to consider is that if Lee only provides a 2.5WAR next season he’s definitely not worth $13+m

  16. So Mather is the new Brian Barton?

    How expensive are #4-5 starters?

    It varies. The Giants paid a lot for their number 5.

  17. nope, Mac’s right. He made a little over 13 and even though he had a down year he’ll still get raise, prob 13.5-14m. I dont see why the Braves would take a chance with offering arb to him. Esp with only having $15m available to fill a few spots

  18. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Jurrjens this offseason for the right player but, it would be nice to build his value back after a bad year last year

  19. Mather could have been signed as a backup 1B option. The only reason to doubt that is he’s played 150 professional games at the position, which I believe makes him overqualified for this organization.

  20. The case for offering Lee arb is stronger than you think. There is a good post about it over at CAC. I won’t go into the mathematics, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Lee to decline it, as he is probably looking for one last multi-year deal. His return to form after the trade makes him a reasonable FA acquisition for someone looking for a 2 or 3 year player. Whatever his contract costs would be partially offset by whatever bonus money would have gone to the pick. The opportunity cost of not having a pick is offset is more than covered removing the risk of said pick not panning out and getting a 3 years of an MLB player.

    I don’t thin I articulated this very well, but you get the idea.

  21. yeah I read the article over at CAC. However, Peter thinks the Braves could trade him just like they did with Soriano last season. Im skeptical with that stance just because there are plenty of good available FA 1B this offseason. He also said the Braves would have to eat about $1-1.5m of the arb salary and would get nothing in return. Lee as a FA with his injuries probably gets a 2/16 deal on the market this offseason, there is no chance he turns down a 1/13 arb offer. Just dont think its worth the risk, but there are a lot of people who can figure this stuff out better than me.

    This also leaves you with no salary room, no one to play LF, and Freeman back in AAA

  22. #40–I read the CAC piece and came to a similar conclusion. I don’t think Lee would be that easy to unload. The Braves could then decide to trade Freeman (which I don’t think they want) and he would bring high returns, but then 1B would be a problem in 2012…

    I wish we could offer Lee arbitration, but I just don’t see it….

  23. Read the CAC piece about arb to Lee a couple days ago.

    The mathematical, expected value approach is appealing, but I do not think it is actually applicable. Beyond that, in my opinion, he overvalues Lee for next year and I recall he assumes an acquiring team would have a potential draft pick benefit following an arb offer next year, which I think is incredibly unlikely.

    Even if I bought into the approach, I think there is close to a 100% chance Lee would accept arb, so Peter’s calculation says “don’t offer.”

  24. Desert,

    Agreed.

    Wren is sending out the 85 / 90 payroll thing. If Liberty would just go up about 5 (and CERTAINLY 10 would do it) we could.

    Sign Werth, 5 year 80 million. A little risk on the back end, but not much.

    Keep the arb guys we want to.

    Have a couple of million to go get a real right handed set up, back up closer, guy (3 mill, 1 to 2 year deal, like maybe even Saito, but only 1 year for Saito)

    AND SIGN ALL OF OUR DAMN DRAFT PIKCS.

    Werth in center might be passable for 2 to 3 years. He would be plus in right which might let you slide Heyward to center. He would be plus plus plus in left. Then, you keep Diaz for 1 more year to platoon with McLouth playing center or left against righties, Diaz against lefties. Then, you fix center field the next year.

  25. I don’t think Werth is worth $16 million a year.

    We have a surpluss of young pitchers, Wren needs to move a couple for an outfielder

  26. @38
    I’m a Long Island guy and got to see Tobias Harris a few times last year…he is the real deal. His younger brother isnt bad either.

    I’m hoping Wren makes a move for Kemp or Rasmus but I will settle for Upton.

  27. Yeah, I think basketball fans already knew Tobias Harris. I just hope, for his sake, that all the shenanigans at UT don’t make people forget him!

  28. Ububba (from previous thread),

    The Mantle book was fantastic. I’m still not a great fan of Jane Leavey’s style–she inserted herself into the story almost embarrasingly (Mantle made a pass at her while he was drunk, which was probably more than we needed to know) and her shilling for Roger Maris for the HOF was silly. But it’s a great story; I had no idea at how vulgar Mantle often was–usually due to being drunk–at public events. I think she somewhat exaggerates his playing ability; as great as he was she has a tendency to mythologize great players to make them almost superhuman. (On the other hand, hitting home runs when you are drunk is a skill that not many players have.) But she did a very good job of being balanced; you don’t come away thinking Mickey was a bad guy but just being sad for what his life ended up being. But DiMaggio comes off looking like a real prick, which is no great surprise I guess. Apparently, Mantle tore his ACL in the 1951 World Series and played with it the rest of his career as the medical technology of the day couldn’t detect.

    It’s a great book, although I would have liked to have seen how David Halberstam would have written it. But that’s a personal preference.

  29. Guess I’d better read that Mantle book. (I’m really behind; I still haven’t read Leigh Montville’s Ted Williams biography.)

    Whether or not the Yankees are in on Crawford/Werth, we can’t afford them. But I expect they’ll be bidding no matter what they say.

  30. Teams drool over young cost controlled pitching, we have buttloads of it, get us an OF with some pop for it, please Mr. Wren!

  31. @56

    I liked Halberstam too. Something about his style, a non-sportswriter writing about baseball–which game he clearly loved. Check out “The Summer of ’49” if you haven’t already.

  32. It should be a federal misdemeanor to talk on your cell phone in the library for longer than it takes you to step outside.

    /rant

  33. FlaBravesFan brings up a good point that we often forget when discussing the pros and cons of our FO.

    Hard to quantify, but our wealth of “young, cost-controlled pitching” (hereinafter known as “YCCP”) should present us with an opportunity. What Wren et al do with this opportunity should determine what his “grade” should be.

    But if our FO studies its’ navel and does nothing with this opportunity, the discussion will not linger long on this error of omission.

    If the sum total of our moves is to replace Diaz with someone of equal talent and (almost assuredly) less character, then he’s hidden away his one talent again (Melky, anyone?).

    Hey, we got what all the boys want. Gotta make it count for something.

  34. Reiter at cnnsi has done his top 50 free agents and best fits article.

    Two things jump out at me.

    1. He names only 1 guy as a ‘best fit’ for us, Magglio Ordonez at #29>
    2. Melky cracks the list as a top 50 free agent.

    The other thing that kind of jumps out at me is that Brandon Webb is a free agent. I know he is coming off injury and may never pitch again.

    Being that he went to college at Kentucky (southern kid, braves love ’em)and you were the Braves, would you take him if you could get him on the cheap and just see if he works out?

    Let’s say he does work out, then how much more flexibility would we have in the trade market?

  35. Now, now.

    We SEC bottom-feeders (this time of year, anyway) must stick together.

    Besides, Kentucky-boy Venters has done pretty well.

    Oddly, Webb didn’t have that killer sinker while at UK and still managed to make it to the bigs.

    If he passes the physical, I’d love to take a chance on him.

  36. We SEC bottom-feeders (this time of year, anyway) must stick together.

    It’s officially basketball season, man.

  37. Webb’s agent says that Rich Harden’s $7 mil or Hudson’s $9 mil are “conversation starters” for a base contract, with incentives on top of that.

    At that price, no. I’m not sure that he won’t get injured again just by thinking so highly of himself. He may have won a Cy Young, but Troy Glaus has two Silver Sluggers, Eric Hinske has a Rookie of the Year, and Omar Infante was an All-Star. All three are bench bats. Good ones, but still bench bats.

    Plus, I don’t care if Roy Halladay was willing to sign for a dollar. If he was from Kentucky, I wouldn’t sign him just so I could spare myself from Chip saying his oh-so-clever “Kentucky bluegas” line every fifth day.

  38. 68 – What do you know about our freshman, Stu? Anyone to get excited about?

    It’s a shame Ogilvy received such bad advice on entering the draft. Maybe, it will allow us to hang on to Jeffrey Taylor one more year.

  39. 71—They’re hoping to redshirt Siakam (to mature — he’s 17 and raw) and Henderson (to add weight). Odom, who will play mostly at the 4, is said to be the stud of the group — a 6’9″ guy who can dribble, pass, and shoot — but he looked a little tentative last night. Fuller, who will back up Tinsley at the point, looked awesome. Quick and tenacious on defense — something I can’t remember VU having at the point. And he’s already built. Reminds me of a classic Big East point guard, which is a good thing.

    Advice had nothing to do with Ogilvy’s decision. He was gone, regardless, ready to be done with college. He’s making good money in Europe (on Iverson’s Turkish team, FWIW).

    I wouldn’t count on Taylor being here next year. I know none of the coaches are.

    I think we’re gonna have a pretty good year, though.

    PS: Recruiting-wise, tomorrow’s a big day. Dai-Jon Parker, from Milton High — isn’t that in your neck of the woods? — announces his choice from among VU, UGA, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, and Rhode Island. Weird group, but it’s supposedly between VU and UGA, and the VU insiders I know are quite confident. He’s a top-50 player and would close out a very good 3-man class.

  40. Yes we have YCCP. Lots of it. But there is also the salary issue. Josh Willingham, yes I am going to mention him again, will be paid 5 to 6 million dollars. Michael Cuddyer a whopping 10.5.

    Then there is the contract length issue. Do you trade Randall Delgado and someone for one year of Willingham?

    Finally there is what I will call the Adam Wainwright fear factor. Are you trading the next Adam Wainwright away for one year of a good but not great position player? Most here at Braves Journal are afflicted with the Adam Wainwright disease. Fear that we will trade away the next great pitcher for a merely good player.

    The Braves way has always been to trade potential for proven performance but I’m not sure we can do that anymore becuase of the payroll issue.

    IMHO the real stumbling block to the Braves acquiring an impact RH Left fielder will be money. Looking at that Reiter top 50 confirmed my thoughts that this class of FAs offers the Braves no help at all. A trade would be best but does Wren have the budget to absorb more salary?

  41. “Then there is the contract length issue. Do you trade Randall Delgado and someone for one year of Willingham?”

    nope

  42. We’re not exactly okay with it, but (a) centerfielders are harder to find than leftfielders, and (b) you’re better off spending top money for one player than medium money for two.

  43. So, given that the FA class this year is incredibly weak, and fear of trading away the next Adam Wainwright.. Is anybody okay with just playing it out this year and waiting for next year’s FA class and hoping there’s better options and we have more money? The year after that?

    Something has to be done some time, because you can’t really rely on playing baseball like the Rays or Marlins. That is, just sitting out on everything and hoping that one year you just happen upon a combination of your own guys that are good enough to win it all. I mean, technically you can, because it’s worked for the Marlins and the Rays, but that’s not how I want my team to approach baseball.

    So either A) you spend on free agents, or B) you take the gamble and you trade young prospects for someone who will help the team. Since option A doesn’t appear to be an option at all for the Braves, then it has to be option B.

    Because option C sucks, as far as I’m concerned.

  44. If your alma mater is in the SEC East, you have a good basketball coach and you’re going to have a good team this year.

    Someone is going to finish last (could be UK if Kanter isn’t cleared) and still be very, very good.

    If Tobias can keep from going all Jelani Kendrick on us (an open question), the Vols may have the best team. It’s also possible they could implode depending upon outside events.

    Take a look at UGA’s starting five. I see 3 or 4 guys that are going to cash a basketball check in the future.

    Vandy’s consistent influx of talent over the last few years makes them hard to discount. I have this nagging feeling that it’s all going to click for them this year.

    Everybody’s ready to bury USC because they lost Devan Downey, but it’s possible that his brilliance overshadowed a talented roster that might surprise some folks. (It’s happened before – the best SEC example of that is probably when Dominique left UGA and the next year the Dawgs beat Sam Perkins and top-ranked UNC on the way to the Final Four.)

    Oh, yeah – honesty compels me to report that the Gaytors have excellent players at every spot. Dammit.

    Predictions (or, more accurately, hunches):

    1. Vandy – just think it’s going to all come together for them this year. Losing the Big Aussie will actually help them – can’t build your team around an inconsistent performer.

    2. Kentucky – assuming Kanter is cleared in time for SEC play. If not, we finish fifth.

    3. Georgia – not quite enough good play from the PG spot.

    4. UT – elite talent at many spots and Brucie is coaching to keep his job. Some close losses and Tobias fouls out of ten games.

    5. Florida – still missing a killer instinct.

    6. USC – really, really good last place team.

  45. justhank,

    continuing after Mac’s great response.

    If the way to move McLouth is to pay him to work for someone else, then you might as well keep him.

    McLouth SHOULD be better. The only question I had was the eye problems. His late season show seems to show those are o.k. If you sign Magglio, then if McLouth doesn’t cut it and if Schaffer doesn’t blow out of the chute in April and May, then you trade CCYP for a centerfielder in June to get you down the road.

  46. Looking forward to seeing what the Hoop Dawgs can do this year. From what I’ve seen, I do like Coach Fox.

    Thompkins, obviously, is going to score (even if his game doesn’t involve much contact) and Leslie is going to produce some highlights (even if he goes braindead sometimes—see Eric Marbury entry below).

    That 7-foot JUCO transfer they got sounds like a stiff, but the freshman Thornton’s going to be the one to watch.

    #80
    It’s true that after ‘Nique went pro, he left a talented group (led by Vern Fleming) that eventually won the SEC tournament & made the 1983 Final 4 (beating Mullin’s St. John’s & Jordan’s UNC along the way).

    More than anything, I always believed a key to the ’82-’83 team was losing Eric Marbury (Stephone’s brother), himself a supertalent, but one with very little basketball sense. He could wow you one minute, then lose the game all by himself. Anyone who watched UGA hoops back then can remember a few of those episodes.

    What made that team go was the scariest 2 defensive guards in the league: Fleming & Gerald Crosby.

  47. What the Braves should do of course is trade away highly-valued prospects that won’t turn into much for under-valued players who will help the Braves next year and into the future. They should supplement that by signing some under-valued free agents for a lot less than they’re really worth and then have a couple of prospects break through in the minors this year only to be called up at the right time so that they can excel in the majors. Also, they should make sure that no body gets hurt.

    So yeah, get on that, Wren.

  48. I guess, that I alone, ok with the Chief, would be willing to part with Delgado and yes even Teheran for the right player.

    Teheran for Rasmus? Yes. IMHO Cost Controlled Proven Major Leaguer > CCYP
    Delgado for 1 year of Willingham or an equivilent? Yes.

    The team is built to win now. And its not like the Mets just didn’t get better with their new management team or that the Phillies just turned horrible. Keeping Delgado and ending up in 3rd place because we didn’t hit enough would suck.

  49. I don’t think that the Braves are in any position to bring in a one-year player as a significant piece. They’re already looking at breaking in a new centerfielder, a new shortstop and a new third baseman in 2012.

  50. Based on some of the posts on the Talking Chop blog, if you didn’t know anything about Mather you might conclude that he was a potential All Star. About as far as I’d go is to say that he should be better than Ankiel and Cabrera.

    I’m not really getting the Proctor signing either.

  51. Apparently Mather’s nickname among Cardinal fans was “Joe Bombs.” All I see is a moderate hitting RH who can’t get on base. Sort of like a certain SS, except with more power potential.. I guess.

  52. 83—Here’s hoping Thompkins doesn’t miss too much time with that high ankle sprain. I’ve heard 2-6 weeks. Scary for an already-shallow team.

  53. A player with a multi year contract would be even more expensive talent wise.

    Again if a one year rental a good player is the difference between Championship baseball or congratulating ourselves on achieving 3rd place ……

  54. mather had 3 good seasons in the minors before he hurt his wrist. for 2 years, like schafer, he battled constant problems with his swing and his numbers showed it. last year, by season’s end, he was supposedly completely healthy for the first time since 2007. he most definitely is a lightning in a bottle candidate. i like the signing.

    i’m guessing his nickname “joe bombs” has more to do with batting practice than anything.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=mather001jos

  55. @58, Yanks have 144M committed to 9 guys. They have to resign Mo, Pettite, and Jeter, plus hand out arb raises to Hughes, Chamberlain and Logan. Add another 20M for Lee. That’s 220M at a minimum right there, probably a good bit more, depending on Jeter. Granderson/Swisher/Gardner is a perfectly acceptable OF. They may posture on Werth/Crawford to drive up the price, but unless they move somebody first, I can’t see it.

  56. The team is built to win now

    It’s really not. Years of thinking they were one piece away has left the team many pieces away. The team needs a new left side of the infield and two more outfielders. They are breaking in a new heart of the order. We should be trying to get younger. 2010 was the big final push with Bobby and Chipper and now it’s time to get smarter.

    LF Vacant

    Man this guy must be in line for a big arbitration number this year. He’s been on the team longer than everyone except Chipper.

  57. #93
    So do nothing and hope that we draft position players? Trade Jurrjens or CCYP for position prospects? Is that ‘smarter’ given the state of the competition in the NL? Dude, the San Francisco Giants just won the World Series with less talent than our team has.

  58. Yeah, we need four new starting position players and the minor leagues – with Heyward and Freeman up – are empty. Something needs to be done about it. The Phillies crest won’t last forever, it would be nice to be in position to take over when they come down. This perpetual Garret Anderson-Troy Glaus patch job mentality is a bridge to nowhere.

  59. Give me sustained contender status over rebuilding mode anytime. I don’t want the Braves to wait until the Phillies crest is over. I want to beat their asses next year.

  60. How about we split the difference here –

    The Braves “core” of guys who are going to be pretty good for the next couple of years is Heyward-Prado-McCann-Freeman for position players, Medlen/Minor/Hanson/Jurrjens and Venters/Kimbrel/Dunn, with good SP depth in the high minors.

    It’s not a group that is “one player away”, but it’s a group that could certainly be in the mix with 2 or 3 good acquisitions or existing guys on the way out putting up a good year. If Hudson/Lowe/Chipper hold up next season, and Hinske/Infante hang on to their magic pixie dust, a guy like Werth would definitely be a difference maker.

    So you pays your money and takes your choice – do you bet on enough guys contributing to where one big FA makes a difference, move some of your young chips in trade, or stand pat and make do with inexpensive replacements, and pay a higher price at the deadline if you happen to be competitive?

  61. #99 – It’s this kind of thinking that gives you your present day Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. The Giants were lost in the wilderness for years before they were led out by premiere young players. Unless you have limitless payroll there is no such thing as a sustained contender. You need to understand where you are in the success cycle.

  62. I really don’t get the pessimism, Robert. This team made the playoffs with multiple problems toward the end of the year. There is precisely zero reason why next year’s shouldn’t. Folding a hand that includes the vast majority of a playoff team coming back seems pretty silly to me. You do not shut it down and rebuild with a team like that. I really don’t get the “we’re not clearly one of the best teams in the league, therefore we just shouldn’t try to win until we are” sentiment. Besides, teams do have to rebuild sometimes, but I don’t know why fans would ever be clamoring for it. You may have enjoyed the several years prior to this one, following minor league prospects and dreaming about the future while the Major League team sucked, but I didn’t, and I’m pretty sure most people are with me on that. You also don’t necessarily have to fold to replenish minor league talent. You can cherry-pick in trades here and there while still trying to win (which we have been doing lately), and there’s always the draft. Also, when McLouth and Chipper’s money come off the books, we’ll have money to sign or trade for a new CF and a new 3B. It’s not like we’ll be in the same situation.

    That said, I’m gonna have to agree with SI.com. I’m for going after Magglio Ordonez. He’s a right-handed, power bat, and he might be a bargain with everyone throwing their money at Crawford and Werth.

  63. It’s Robert’s kind of thinking that turns you into the Kansas City Royals or the Pittsburgh Pirates. This isn’t football, where the draft situation so heavily favors the poor teams and everybody gets the same huge payout from TV. In baseball, where the draft correlation is weaker, many players aren’t even subject to the draft, and operating capital is closely tied to attendance (which tracks winning), losing only produces more losing.

  64. 64 & 65

    RE: Reiter CNN/SI piece

    I always enjoy this piece in the offseason, but listening to who he deems the best fit is usually worthless. For instance this year he lists the Padres as the best fit for Vazquez, but as we all know, Javy had a no-trade clause to the West Coast teams making that highly unlikely.

  65. Didn’t we just make the post-season? Isn’t that the point?

    As long as we have pitching—and we should be fine in that department in 2011—we have a better chance than most NL clubs to make it again.

  66. I really don’t get the pessimism, Robert

    It’s easy really. We have no thirdbaseman going forward. We have no shortstop going forward (although Texas and Toronto do). No leftfielder. No centerfielder. You can’t just bargain basement paste your way over four holes.

    Use Jurrjens to get a piece or two. If Lowe starts out at all like he finished, eat some salary and try to get another piece. Let the young pitchers mature, let Heyward and Freeman get established as All-Star types. In 2012 when Ryan Howard is Mo Vaughn and Utley is hurt all the time, you’ve got a talented young team ready to take over.

  67. Besides which, blowing up the team is just lazy genearl managing. Even if it did work, it’s just not acceptable to give up and blow up your team like that, not even trying to win. Even if it did work (and as Mac stated, it really doesn’t), if a GM decides that’s the best choice, he’s just not doing his job.

    EDIT: But we can make the playoffs now, and if you can make the playoffs, you can win the World Series. With all the money we’ll have coming off the books, we can fill those holes next year.

  68. Leaving aside that trading Jurrjens now, when his value is lowest, is exactly the sell-low philosophy that helped turn the Braves of the seventies and eighties into perennial losers… You don’t trade now. All that does is kill your ticket sales. You wait until you’re into the season. If you’re in the race, good. If not, then you sell.

  69. Characterizing ‘getting younger’ as ‘blowing things up’ is pretty lazy too. The Pirates and Royals are examples that extreme payroll limitations and lousy management don’t mix. They have nothing to do with the Braves.

  70. I’m 100 percent aboard the Magglio Train, BTW. Pick up a defense-first caddy (better yet, take Peter’s advice and get a GG-type CF who can’t hit and bring him in late with McLouth in left) and your outfield could actually be pretty good. If everyone stays healthy. It’s arguable that what the Braves should really do is move Jeff Porter into an emeritus status and spent a few hundred thousand on a really first-class trainer.

  71. If you think that any time in the Braves position is going to not try to win after what the Giants did, you are not being realistic. No fan base is going to put up with trading off pieces of a playoff team to wait for the Phillies to get old. There is a business component to this. I think the Braves have more weaknesses than people are willing to admit and, as Robert says, they have several holes to fill. But, trading Jurrjens at this point would be selling low and would be a bad signal to an already mediocre fan base (unless if was for, say, Rasmus).

  72. Yeah… I just don’t get the notion that says, “When you’ve got a playoff team, the thing to do is immediately start selling off parts because you’re going to have some holes [not to mention a buttload of freed-up payroll] a year from now.”

    The Braves made the playoffs last year. They’re going to have basically the same players back and probably lose less time to their best players to injury. Even if you expected a worse performance overall from these guys next year, it’s still a team that you don’t gut. Rather, you try to sign a couple veterans (guys like, you know, Andres Torres or Aubrey Huff) and hope you get lucky. Worst-case is you are in the race late and don’t make the playoffs or, if things turn into a disaster, you can trade to contenders in June and July and probably get back a similar return to what you would have in the off-season.

  73. Oh please. The Tigers sold their most popular player to the Yankees for an unknown minor leaguer and their attendance needle barely moved. Who on earth ever bought a ticket to see Jair Jurrjens? How ridiculous.

  74. Robert,

    Come on. Every single team has their holes; there is no such thing as a team with a perfect lineup, rotation, and bullpen. You’re complaining about a team that had absolutely no production from shortstop, CF, an LF the entire year, along with well below average production from 1B for half the year; a team that lost its premier offensive player at 3B and their arguably second best starter to injury; a team that lost its second-best starter from 2009 to ineffectiveness and injury and lost their best starter from 2009 to a trade; a team lost 2 months of production from RF due to a thumb injury; AND YET still played like the best team in the NL for more than half of the year, and MADE THE PLAYOFFS.

    Every team has its holes. Every single one. Our team was still good enough to make the playoffs regardless of these holes. Stop focusing on what we don’t have and be thankful that we have a system that’s developed such a good team.

    We’re not the Royals, or the Pirates, or the Nationals, and we are better than the majority of the teams in the league (and have been consistently over the last 20 years). And if you don’t believe that, go root for the Yankees, because they might be the one team with above-average starters at every position.

    But then again, if you do that, you would be complaining about how they don’t have a viable second starter in the playoffs.

  75. braves 14,

    How could they ever confuse Sandoval with Cabrera? That’s an insult to Sandoval’s physique. It’s like calling Marrisa Miller fat.

  76. FURTHERMORE, playing on a 100-loss team for a few years is the worst possible environment for Heyward and Freeman (since Robert wants to trade everybody else) to grow up in.

  77. Jair Jurrjens was one of the best pitchers in the league in 2008-2009. People come to see a winning team. Trading one of your best players after his worst season in the majors is a good way to lose. And people don’t come to see a losing team.

    I don’t think Pablo Sandoval needs all that ice cream.

  78. All of us old guys that followed the Braves during the dark ages of the 80’s know what its like to be a current Pittsburgh Pirate fan. I hope the team never ever returns to that status.

    I know no one here likes Liberty Media but we have been fortunate that they have let good baseball people run the Braves. At least they try to put a contender on the field every season. No not every move pans out but they are trying.

  79. Don’t worry ’bout me – sounds like a shakedown from Rogers. But if there is proof of Newton’s involvement, then let the chips fall where they may.

  80. 125 – well Liberty bought the Braves in June of 2007 and here’s our opening day payrolls since the start of the 2008 season

    2008 $102,365
    2009 $96,726
    2010 $83,890

    its a pretty alarming trend. They seem to be staying out of the Braves way for the most part and letting the FO handle everything, but the payroll is a concern. It also needs addressing that no one from Liberty Media showed up for a postseason game.

  81. #124 – He made 17.8 extra large last season.

    1 year 10 million?
    3 years 24?

    I dunno. He’s 37 but when healthy he is an elite hitter.

  82. The Proctor signing is not insignificant, and it probably warrants more discussion. It is an absolutely awful allocation of resources, and–to me–signals both a lack of foresight and the front office’s bizarre inability to understand their own assets.

  83. True, but it’s also the same crap they’ve done before. (Cf. Sturtze, Tanyon.) Likewise Mather. I don’t mind them stockpiling crappy talent, even if $750,000 isn’t peanuts, as long as they don’t take their eyes off the ball. I’m prepared to utterly ignore the Proctor and Mather contracts if Wren actually goes out and gets us the left fielder that we’ve needed for three years.

  84. No one should be shocked at the Newton news, it’s been obvious since his escapades in Florida that he’s not cut of the best moral cloth.

    He is a hell of a football player, though.

  85. one of my rules that i follow in life: try not to judge someone by their actions he/she portrays while that person is under the age of 22. almost everyone that i know has is at the lowest point of morality during that time. i, personally, made some questionable decisions during that time of my life and dont want to be remembered for them….

  86. This reminds me a little of the Albert Means story.

    Everybody got probation and Albert and his family got nuthin’ (IIRC).

  87. Albert Means ended up sucking at football.

    Though he did get a chance to have a get higher education for free, I can’t say I feel too bad for him.

  88. Birmingham Barons moving to downtown Birmingham is a horrible decision. Its not safe for people going to watch games and the Hoover Met/Regions Park is a very nice facility anyways. There is no reason to move this team across town. This could/will be the end of the Barons in Birmingham.

  89. like Mac said anything in downtown birmingham (esp North side) is a no go. There is really no reason to build a ball park when Regions park is in a very nice area of town.

  90. @140, if getting in trouble with the cops as a freshman in college is indicative of one’s moral cloth, there ain’t too many good ones in this or any other country.

    /they’ve known since july – if there was substance, he never would have played.

  91. Late one night in 1985, some friends of mine and I decided that it would be a good idea if we just got up in the morning and drove down to Birmingham from Chapel Hill to watch UNC play in the NCAA basketball tournament. For some unknown reason, in the morning, some of us still thought it was a good idea…

    We drove down, scalped some tickets, and watched a couple of games that evening. It must have been close to midnight when we got out, then we started driving randomly around Birmingham looking for a hotel.

    When we finally found one, we naturally went looking for supplies, what with it being only 1:00 a.m. and all, plus we still had at least $12.00 cash between us, and we were only going to be there 2 more days anyway…

    I just remember finding this convenience store, with bars across all the windows, and you couldn’t even go in, you just told them what you wanted, and they slid it out to you like a drive through bank teller.

    I guess there are places like that all over the country, but for some ol’ country boys like us, it sure made an impression. I have no idea to this day what part of Birmingham we were in.

  92. #148 – its like they have to spend taxpayer money on something useless. First they wanted a new civic center/dome so they could get an NFL team to Bham, yes its laughable. Since that didnt pan out now they want a new baseball facility for the barons, which again, isnt needed. The average attendance a the current Regions park was about 4500 in 2009. There is zero chance that many people go to downtown Bham to watch them play now. Its a terrible decision

  93. @149,

    Boies is good but I think he may have a losing hand here. Having a client who is an MBA (and I think a lawyer) and claims she didn’t read or understand a contract is going to be tough to overcome. Neither side is very sympathetic but her story isn’t very credible. Of course, from baseball’s perspective (and that of Dodger fans) it would probably be better is she won because they would probably have to sell the team.

  94. bethany, i find you a disgraceful auburn fan. whether it’s athletically or morally, you’ve been quick to judge cam newton.

  95. so, alex gordon is arb eligible for the first time this year. the royals have been trying him out in left field to free up a spot for moustakas. what would it take to get alex gordon? beachy?

  96. blockbuster trade with kc:
    alex gordon and zack greinke for brandon beachy, omar infante, and jair jurrjens.

  97. I work in north downtown Birmingham (Financial Center for the locals) and it has gotten a lot better. The hipsters have moved into a bunch of lofts and there are some good bars and restaraunts around 20th street from first avenue north up to fifth.

    And, they really did a good job on the new railroad park. However, the area around the railroad on the southside is a ghost town. I mean nothing. Really a depressed area. My prediction is that Baron’s attendace will crater at the new park. they’ll skedaddle right back out to the Met, and leave the downtown park to host Birmingham city school games, and other than that, just to sit there.

    Birmingham and jefferson County never cease to amaze me with the boondoggles they will waste money on. Unless there is highly secure parking, right next to the stadium, these iditos are crazy if they think me and my 5 year old will be attending a night game in that area of town. Oh well, its only 50 million or so down the drain, and they pass it on too tourists with a confiscatory lodging tax.

  98. 160—Nah. Jurrjens, Freeman, Venters, and Delgado for Greinke, Butler, and Soria.

    Then, Teheran for Rasmus.

  99. Bill, You’re exactly right. No chance I take my two year old or wife for that matter to a night game in 2012. With Rickwood field and Regions park there is no reason for another baseball park/complex. Im about 30 minutes away from Regions park and usually attend 3-5 games per year, no chance of that happening now. I wonder what the ChiSox think of this move to the new park? They probably dont have the slightest idea

  100. @155 I really couldn’t care less what you think of me, much less how you judge me as a fan of my team, though color me surprised at how up in arms you are over a mildly phrased comment like mine.

  101. Rusty, it was probably just about the same area as they’re building the park.

    I’ve worked in Downtown Birmingham, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. During the day, it’s fine. After dark, that’s a totally different situation.

  102. From the “How the hell do you say things like this with a straight face?” department…

    Pirates president Frank Coonelly told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the team “must pitch far better in 2011” and confirmed that GM Neal Huntington will have money to spend on free agent arms. The Pirates, who had a $35MM payroll in 2010, could boost that above $50MM in 2011, Coonelly said.

    70M in revenue sharing money last year.

  103. @168 Ok, thanks. I mean, Chipper started falling apart young in life too, so it’s not out of the question, but he just seems awful creaky for allegedly being 34.

  104. Tennessee corner back Art Evans made a purchase of an automobile in the last spring early summer with a proper downpayment, etc.

    Since then Evans has not been diligent in his payments and to make sure everything is fine and squared away, Dooley is suspending Evans until he gets his house in order.

    This is not an eligibility or an NCAA issue. This is a Dooley issue.

    This is what I like about Dooley.

  105. @164 “I really couldn’t care less…”
    so, does that mean you do care?

    furthermore, you belittled his talent earlier this year and make quick character judgments based on hearsay and not facts.

  106. Not that it matters… but I’m pretty sure Renteria is 35, not 34 (he’s a couple months older than I am according to his birthdate of august 7, 1975 listed on the various sites)… and 35 sure feels old and creaky to me sometimes.

  107. I’m really surprised at the ink being spilled here about how bad a decision it is for the Barons to move to downtown Birmingham, especially from you, Mac. If you dig into the numbers you’ll see that “downtown” Birmingham (and here I am referring to downtown proper, not Ensley, Fairfield, Norwood, Titusville, etc…) is absolutely one of the safest parts of the metro area, excepting only the most whitebread over-the-mountain Mountain Brooks and Vestavias of the world. Birmingham has made a lot of mistakes over the years and had some real boneheads in city government, but they knocked this out of the park (pardon the pun).

    I work downtown every day and can tell you that there are some majorly cool things going on down here, with the Railroad Park that is right next to where the stadium will be built as example #1. The rise of the loft communities, 2nd Avenue North strip, new and existing restaurants, bars, shops on Southside and the amount of students and expansion at UAB and you have got serious potential. Throw a baseball stadium in the mix and IMHO you are going to see an explosion of growth in that area. If you opened your eyes and spent more than 10 minutes in the right part of “Birmingham” you would know all of this.

    I’d much rather watch a game in that environment than go see the Barons play in a gentrified, sterilized office park and then watch the world go by through the car window on the way home. I’d invite anyone who says they’d never go to a Barons game downtown to do exactly that. Your loss, though.

  108. I hope the CamBurgler get to play this weekend, that will mean a victory for my Mocs, maybe not Saturday, but in about six months.

  109. @171,

    Frequently, people say “I could care less” which means they do care. Saying “I couldn’t care less” is the proper way of saying “I don’t care.”

  110. as for someone who has lived in Birmingham my whole life and attended UAB, Im going to disagree with you Michael. They may have added some better things to that area, but it still doesnt change the fact that its not a safe family atmosphere. It may be a nice addition, but its still a waste of taxpayer money and doesnt bring anything of value to the city. Enjoy the games that you watch there though

  111. But ….

    If we could trade AGON for value and sign Edgar (as long as Infante is still on the team), I’d be fine with that.

  112. “CamBurgler” – good god, that took all of a day to surface, despite there being no direct evidence implicating Newton, and the SEC has known about it for 6 months. I doubt very seriously anything comes of this, but it does remind me why I really don’t care for collegiate sports. Especially here in the south, the so-called fans are just horrifying.

  113. When it’s someone else’s ox, it’s great fun to trash talk when such events as the Cam Newton / Kenny Rogers story arise.

    But spike has a point. None of us know if the Newtons or Auburn had any dealings with Rogers or if this story actually even happened. In the meantime, a kid who seems to have made strides toward doing things better and is having a truly inspirational year (one that could be used to inspire others who have made mistakes) is being trashed without any proof of any kind.

    Should the NCAA investigate this? Of course. And they seem to be doing so. But until and unless some evidence is presented (much less adjudicated), the press (and we in the pajama media) is once again luxuriating in the self-serving gossip without regard to the damage they (and we) do to the kid’s reputation.

    As a former Labor Secretary said after he was exonarated after a politically-motivated smear campaign unraveled, “Where do I go to get my reputation back?”

    Here’s what needs to happen: all states need to pass laws that severely punish individuals who commit acts that endanger the eligibility of scholarship athletes at that state’s Universities.

    The guillotine would be my choice of punishment, but that should be a state-by-state decision.

  114. Frequently, people say “I could care less” which means they do care. Saying “I couldn’t care less” is the proper way of saying “I don’t care.”

    This reminds me of the famous scene in the “Fistful of Yen” segment of Kentucky Fried Movie where Han leads Loo through his prison and shows him three groups of prisoners:

    “Just lost drunken men who don’t know where they are and no longer care.”
    “And these?”
    “These are lost drunken men who don’t know where they are and do care. And these are men who know where they are and care, but don’t drink.”

  115. I think Mac and Michael are both pretty right. The city center is fine in the daytime, and it has really come along, especially on the northside over the last 5 years or so, but Michael, you can park at the Met and feel no danger. yeah, its a corporate park, and I’m sure the new park will be sweet, but I sure as heck am not gonna park on one of those little alleys near the old abandoned warehouses for a night game.

    And park you must, becuase as you know, there is no public transportation in Birmingham. Which seperates it from other cities where the downtown parks can work, even with little downtown resdidential population. If we could hop a subway or even a bus a block from the house, and pop out by the stadium, then there may be better prospects. In short, its a nice idead for downtown, but probably the wrong one.

    Will be nice to walk over for a business man’s special from time to time.

  116. In fairness to Frenchy, what is he supposed to say – “I’d like league minimum to be the short side of a platoon and dubious late inning defensive replacement”?

    /after having read the whole thing, he does still manage to come off as a bit entitled though.

  117. @188 Well, the thing for me is, you don’t hear guys like, say, Hinske saying things like that. Or maybe he does and I just don’t hear about it. Jeff is a crummy player and neither he nor the media seems to realize it.

    Maybe it’s not so much him but that the media gives him an outlet he doesn’t deserve.

  118. It’s not just Jeffy who’s deluded. It’s all the media types, especially on TV, who seem unable to get it through their heads that Francoeur sucks. It’s as if his stats are meaningless; they all talk about his power even though it’s almost non-existent now.

    @187,

    I find it rather ironic that Birmingham has no (or little)public transportation considering the place that the Birmingham bus system had on American history.

    Edit: I guess that’s Montgomery; my apologies to Birmingham.

  119. Jeff’s agent only has to make one phone call and that to Kansas City. How much will they offer? Kansas City will be like the Yanks, they’ll outbid themselves

  120. @195, the willingness of a national sports reporter to allow himself to be used as a cat’s paw is what I find reprehensible, if not particularly out of line for the breed.

  121. @196 For some reason I see the reporter’s actions as par for the course, though I am sure Meyer’s actions are too.

  122. @197

    They were set to be 6 year minor league FA’s. I’d guess they’ll get a look in ST, but I could see either getting cut/waived if they don’t impress and we need room on the 40 man roster.

  123. @197 – Given those guys’ track record I would guess they’ll get a look and then waivers. Very little about their minor league stats or peripherals looks encouraging to me. Abreu’s career minor league K rate of 10.5/9 innings looks interesting, but it’s hard to overlook a 4.78 career minor league ERA.

  124. I’ve never been quite sure why, but Meyer is light years ahead of Spurrier on the hate meter for me.

    Just me? If not, why is that?

  125. I have nothing but disdain for Urban Meyer, and that’s been my opinion on that for awhile. I’m not an Auburn fan (don’t dislike them, either…pretty much neutral on them), but this, if true, certainly doesn’t change that opinion any. It seems a little far-fetched, but who knows? Regardless, Meyer is a splendid little mix of phony, snake and petulant child. Spurrier is obnoxious, and enjoys being obnoxious, but in the end, he’s pretty harmless.

  126. Don’t know about y’all, but when I first wake up, I want to rosterbate.

    Suspend disbelief for a moment and look at this batting order:

    Prado
    Heyward
    Chipper
    Pujols
    McCann
    Diaz / Hinske
    McLouth
    Gonzalez
    P

    Insane? Was it insane when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    Look, I know the obstacles – St. Louis is unlikely to let the face of their franchise go under any circumstances; it will cost more money than Liberty would be willing to spend; we’d have to trade all of our prospects, etc.

    But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

    All is not guns and roses in St. Louis right now. LaRussa’s fractious nature has taken its toll and the time could be right.

    Certainly, we’d have to give up a lot – Freeman, Infante and Minor for starters – and Albert would have to agree to take more money than DLowe, but it would be worth it.

    Just look at that lineup. With Werth out in Phillie, that lineup – coupled with our pitching – would be the clear favorite to win the Division.

    Hey, if it were easy, anyone could be GM.

    Get ‘er done, Frank. What else are you doing on this chilly November morning?

    Well, other than …

  127. Sorry spike about the “Cam-burglar” thing. My boss said something about it and I thought it was funny.

    I hate Meyer worse than Spurrier. Meyer is a passive aggressive asshole, SOS is an up front original asshole.

  128. Only pick the country cares about:

    The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 28 Auburn 27

    Go Mocs!!!

  129. There’s just no reason for St. Louis to trade Pujols, and no way to make the trade worthwhile for us. Because of his value in St. Louis and single identification with the team, he’s worth more to them than he is to us. We would have to pay much more than he’s worth, and that would be self-defeating.

  130. Greetings from Minneapolis…

    Pujols? If only MLB were just one big APBA league.

    #213
    Don’t think you’ll see either of those guys in the Mets clubhouse next year.

  131. To be honest, I don’t think that the spammers are really trying anymore. They’re just posting generic comments.

    UBubba, you should see some of the crap I traded to get Pujols in my APBA league. Daric Barton was the best thing I gave up.

  132. Bama put absolutely no pressure on LSU’s QB’s in the 2nd half. 3rd and 13 with the game on the line and they rush the front 4 and drop everyone else into a prevent zone. Unreal

    That and the lack of a passing attack (15+ yards) is what has cost them two ball games.

  133. Les Miles sold his soul to the devil at one point. That’s the only way to explain his success. Incredible.

    In fact, Miles is on the short list of coaches I would want on my team. Being a Florida fan, I do love Urban Meyer, so bear with me here. This is my list:

    Urban
    Saban
    Miles

    That’s it. I would take Miles over Mack Brown, Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, Pete Carroll (in his heyday), Steve Spurrier (at this point), Houston Nutt, Brian Kelly, Gene Chizik, all of them.

    I feel dirty saying these things.

  134. Joe Pa wins his 400th game. NU up 21 -7 at the half and the Lions come back and kick our asses. They had too many big fast athletes. But Dan Persa is an amazing player.

    South Carolina just can’t stand success. Good Lord.

  135. Alabama has good receivers, a solid qb and excellent running backs on offense. Unfortunately their offensive line is terrible. I knew the offense would have to carry them a few games given their defensive losses. It was crazy for Bama to be rated number one in the first place. A team doesn’t lose 10 defensive starters (including 4 All Americans) and pick up where they left off defensively.

  136. And this is when we discover that the attendant was supplying steroids to Jeff Francoeur.

    I know that he’s not failed a test, but I mean its not like MLB is going to waste their time testing Francoeur for steroids, right?

  137. Why do I suddenly get the feeling that Frenchy will be living in his parents’ basement within the next three years?

  138. My son will be attending The Ohio State University starting this winter. I can’t bring myself to drink the Koolaid, but I don’t despise them as much as I used to. I let the propaganda they give you on campus visits get to me I guess.

    I’d like to find the guy that wrote the BCS computer program. My only question would be: ‘Ok dude, what now?’

    I caught Zenyatta fever in the build up leading to the Breeders. I’m not a horse racing fan at all but she has a great story.

  139. My SEC bowl projections:

    MNC Game: Auburn (13-0)
    Sugar: LSU (11-1)
    Capital One: Alabama (10-2)
    Cotton: Arkansas (9-3)
    Outback: Florida (9-3)
    Peach: South Carolina (8-4)
    Liberty: Mississippi State (8-4)
    Music City: Kentucky (7-5)
    Independence: Georgia (6-6)

  140. Braves 14, either Alabama will have three losses or Auburn at least one loss at the end of the season since they play each other in a couple weeks.

  141. whats the tie breaker if Auburn loses to UGA and Bama, while LSU loses to Arkansas? LSU, Auburn, and Bama will all have two loses and all beat each other head to head

  142. csg

    I believe it’s record within the SEC West, and the next tiebreaker if needed would be record vs common opponents.

  143. You all should have been at the Clemson-NCSU game yesterday. What an atrocious display from two ACC midgets.

  144. The only way Bama gets in is for LSU to lose 1 of their next 2 games and Au loses to Ga and Alabama. If Au beats Georgia they have won the West.

  145. Actually, Alabama would have only one SEC West loss. LSU would be knocked out with two, then Alabama would win on head-to-head. I don’t see it happening.

  146. Ah right. Forgot about SC being east. However, if AU beats Ga, it is academic, as a 1 loss Auburn team would go ahead of a 2 loss Alabama team.

  147. The Favre love in Minnesota is bizarre.

    Everyone hated him, of course, when he was in Green Bay. But, everyone I talked with up there this weekend was making all kinds of excuses for him, for just about everything (the game streak, playing hurt, the text messages). It was all FavreLove & MossHate.

    Then when I get to the Delta terminal at MSP this afternoon, most of the staff was wearing Vikings jerseys (mostly #4). Of course, when I got off the plane, I saw that he’d had a huge day & engineered quite a comeback.

    Good thing. I had Minny in my knockout pool. Thanks, #4.

  148. @253 The coach’s villainous behavior overshadows the qb’s obvious drawbacks.

    I had New England in my knockout pool.

  149. @254 – I actually like daylight savings time a lot. It’s going to standard time like we did today that I hate. I will go to work in the dark and come home in the dark for the next several months – that stinks!

  150. I had the Cardinals money line +290. I take solace in the fact that they shouldn’t have had the lead they blew to begin with….

  151. He’d have to hit like Bonds and field like Andruw to get that option picked up, and probably not even then.

  152. well, the option is for 10.65 million and, according to fangraphs, he was worth 15.1 million in 2009 (and 16.5 in 2008).

  153. Mixed feelings:
    Interested in how Yankees handle contracts for Jeter, Posada, Rivera, and Pettite.
    But won’t take long to get sick of hearing about it!

  154. If Fangraphs says he was worth 15M in ’09, that’s an indictment of their system more than a valuation of Nate. A CF with an OPS+ of 108 and pedestrian fielding by their own metrics ain’t worth that. FanGraphs has him at 3.2 WAR for 09, and BBRef at 0, so I am not the only one who sees it that way.

  155. Id say chances of picking up Nate’s option is about zero no matter what type of year he has in 2010. He’s such a bad defensive player that its not worth it.

  156. as of now, there are some pretty interesting cf available in 2012:
    Carlos Beltran (35)
    Mike Cameron (39)
    Coco Crisp (32)
    David DeJesus (32)
    Cody Ross (31)
    Grady Sizemore (29

  157. Unfortunately, Mike Cameron got old and fragile.

    DeJesus is basically a marginally better McLouth, in that he’s an outfield tweener: he doesn’t quite have the glove to star in center, and he doesn’t have the bat to star in a corner, but most of the time he won’t kill you. I wouldn’t mind going to get him, but he’s the kind of second- or third-year talent who always gets wildly overpaid in the free agent market.

  158. As much as I’d love Sizemore to be available, I don’t think the chance of free agency in 2012 is very high. He’d have to completely fall apart. Even if he played like 2009 all next year, I think they still pick up his option, but he’ll probably be better than that.

  159. It’s hard to believe Sizemore is only 29. I wonder if he’ll ever be able to play centerfield effectively after his knee surgery. 2011 with the Indians will determine if the injury was just a minor setback or if his career follows Andruw’s career from a few years ago.

  160. mlbtr compiled a top-50 free agent list and only have us taking kevin gregg. i hope beyond hopes that this doesnt happen. he’ll cost more than he should because he’s a “closer”.

  161. They also say that Boras and Magglio Ordonez will be looking for $10 mil and/or multiple seasons. I know we need a good OF bat and Ordonez is probably the best out there after Werth and Crawford, but paying a 37 year old $10 mil or giving him multiple years scares me. I don’t want to spend a little less money for a lot more risk. 37 is just too close to “fall off a cliff” stage for me.

    I want Rasmus. =(

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