Where Do We Go From Here 2010.5: After Uggla

Okay, with the trade for Dan Uggla, it would appear that the Braves are through making major moves; the lineup, rotation, and back of the bullpen are all pretty much set up. The remaining efforts will be based upon tinkering around the edges, meaning the bench and the bullpen.

I still expect the Braves to make a move for a veteran righthanded reliever, maybe one who’s closed a little. (Though traditionally, they haven’t been too hung up on that.) I don’t think they want Craig Kimbrel to be out there without a lifeguard just yet.

The bench will have five men, two of them already set in David Ross (certainly, barring an injury) and Joe Mather (almost as certainly). They want to re-sign Eric Hinske, who provides a lot of insurance at positions the Braves can’t be too sure about.

That would leave two positions, which would have to be filled by (a) an outfielder who can play center, and (b) an infielder who can play short. Currently, Matt Young and Diory Hernandez are pencilled in, Hernandez probably a little more heavily. The outfielder is probably the more important of the two, because Alex Gonzalez, despite his myriad faults, is more dependable than Nate McLouth, and also a better defender at his position. You go into the season knowing that there’s a good chance your fourth outfielder is going to have to be the regular centerfielder for a stretch. I have to think that Wren will look among the various glove guys who are always looking for work and pick up a couple who can provide at least tactical (that is, pinch-running/late inning defense) value, even if you don’t want them playing every day. You can live with a guy who doesn’t hit much in the eight hole. I miss Gregor Blanco, he was a great #8 hitter.

Wren will also dispose of Kenshin Kawakami in some fashion, hopefully not involving cinder blocks, and no doubt will bring up McLouth’s name in any conversation he has with other GMs.

176 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here 2010.5: After Uggla”

  1. Actually, I want to hear Chip say “hit hard by the Uggla stick” many times. Embrace your hate.
    —————-

    Sure wish Diaz could play Center Field.

  2. gotta get a good defensive CF’r. If/When Chipper goes down then Prado shifts back to third. Our OF then has the make-up of Mather/Young/Schafer/MCLouth getting two of those spots.

    Without another addition, Chipper has to play 140 games or we might be in trouble offensively again

  3. Unlike his last BFF, this one actually has a track record of success. I’m not too worried. I’m just glad he’s making better friends.

    Also, LOL.

  4. SEC has suspended Bruce Pearl from all coaching activities for the first 8 SEC games. Basically out until middle Feb, I think. Cant go to practices, meetings, or games.

  5. Also, I loved this in the MLB.com story: “While eating lunch, Gonzalez received a text from Wren asking if he would be willing to acquire Uggla in exchange for Infante and Dunn. The Braves manager responded by asking who else they would have to include in the package.”

    Fredi was just like the rest of us.

  6. What about Jordan Schafer? Anyone have any insight on which one is the better defender – Schafer or Young?

  7. I bet Wren pulls the “We want Schafer to play everyday/he’s been hurt so much he needs the work” line and he starts in AAA

  8. I feel bad about it, but I’ve totally given up on Schafer. If he ends up being anything I’ll be thrilled, but I’m not holding my breath.

  9. Pearl can coach the UConn game. This is punishment from the SEC and not the NCAA, so there could be more.

    However, with the action that UT took and now this, I am not sure the NCAA will puish Pearl indivisually any further.

    But no one saw this coming.

  10. I hope not Stu. I don’t like the fact that he lied and I think that was really stupid.

    He has done a lot for Tennessee basketball.

  11. Big Caveat: I never saw Jordan Schafer play.

    So with that caveat, I never understood what the hype was about. Ok so he had exactly one good season statistically and one good spring training. I’m a Braves fan, I want the kid to become good but I stil don’t get it.

  12. I am proud to say that I have not given up on either Jordan Schafer or Cody Johnson….

    With respect to Schafer, gone are the days when he might be considerd an elite prospect–the type that the organization protects in trade talks or anticipates will be at least an ‘impact player if not an all star–but Schafer might yet be a CF who can put up average numbers, steal some bases and be a very solid defender–all of which will probably put him well ahead of McLouth….

  13. It is kind of odd that a week after Mike Slive talked about SEC schools policing themselves, he suspends Pearl.

    However, I think the reason he did it was to satisfy the NCAA. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems odd that he would inject himself into an on going investigation like this and not on Newton.

  14. Well, (a) Pearl’s problems have been going on longer than Newtons, and (b) suspending Pearl won’t potentially cost the conference millions of dollars by crippling a national championship contender.

  15. Slive is so mad at the football coaches ratting on each other that he suspended Bruce Pearl for 8 games.

    I speak for a surprisingly large number of UK fans that would be sad to see Pearl go. Has really rekindled the UK / UT rivalry and plays an entertaining style of basketball.

  16. DOB tweet from the mouth of new manager: if healthy, chipper will be in the 3 hole, and he’s looking at either prado or mclouth for leadoff.

  17. I’m interested in opinions about Fredi Gonzalez and his approach to the bullpen. What has he done in the past? I just read about the Phils signing Dan Meyer. apparently he had 71 appearances as a (LH) reliever in 2009. Is this what we can expect?

  18. nate would be fine at leadoff if Larry can get him posting a .350OBP. Prado is a perfect 2 hole hitter

  19. When I read “Larry” I immediately thought Chipper had taken Nate under his wing. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea. I don’t know what’s wrong with McLouth and I don’t think anyone else does either.

  20. @24 and (c) there is a very real possibility that even if the allegations are all true, nothing Cam Newton/Auburn/MSU has done would rise to the level of a punishable offense. Assuming Cecil/Rogers tried to get money from MSU, who reported it, if Auburn/Cam know nothing of this, then Auburn/Cam/MSU are all clear. There may be legal problems that Cecil will have as a result, but they do not necessarily translate into eligibility issues for Cam.

  21. @34

    If his dad did as MSU for money, that in itself would make Cam ineligable.

    My point is, Slive alst week said it is up to the schools to hand down punishment, the the conference. Then one week later he does this.

    I am not against Pearl being suspended. That is fine. If this is all that happens to Pearl, even better. It just seems inconsistant and I think Slive is a tool.

  22. From David O’Brien “Gonzalez listed this as a possible #Braves lineup: 1. Prado, 2. McLouth, 3. Chipper, 4./5. McCann/Uggla, 6. Heyward, 7. Gonzalez, 8. Freeman”

    *buries face in hands*

  23. Nate does have a career .255/.342/.449 in the leadoff role. Its just amazing how awful he was last year

  24. Greetings from DFW…

    Connecting to my Austin flight, I see a buncha burnt-orange clad UT folk getting on my plane.

    “Oh, are the Horns in town? Who are they playing?” I ask, thinking that maybe I can catch the game, as my Saturday afternoon is open.

    “FAU” is the answer.

    Well, maybe not.

  25. @35, Can you point me to your source on that? If someone else lobbied without his knowledge to another school, why would that impact his eligibility?

  26. The NCAA should beware the law of unintended consequences re: Cam Newton’s Auburn eligibility.

    If they seriously go down the road where an MSU booster can claim without substantiation that Cam’s daddy tried to get money for his services FROM MSU and that and that alone is sufficient to get Auburn’s season vacated they are risking open revolt (one I would welcome).

    If, however, the FBI confirms some or all of what was detailed in the LSU blogger’s long and damning narrative – well, I can’t even imagine how ugly it will get for War Eagle.

  27. I don’t have much to say about any of it, except it is stressing me out and I’m going to be devastated if this season was all a farce. If Auburn did pay Cam, just give them the death penalty, please. I won’t root for an institution that participates in that.

  28. @45,

    I am fine with Cam playing, but Slive said last weekend that he wasn’t into handing down punishment, that should be up to the schools.

  29. I mean, you gotta think that Cam knew about this, right? I don’t think there’s anyway that his father would be able to solicit money without his knowledge.

  30. thanks Smitty, but I am still confused – from your article:

    The mere solicitation by Newton’s father could be a violation of NCAA bylaws; if Cam Newton was unaware of what his father was doing, that may be enough to keep Auburn from being forced to sit down the Heisman front-runner until the NCAA rules on his eligibility.

    That’s not nearly what you said in 35 – do you know (seriously, I am asking) if BY DEFINITION solicitation by a “close” family member is an act that makes one ineligible, as Mac says in 46, regardless of the athlete’s knowledge? Maybe I missed something in the piece.

  31. @49, if Auburn (the university) paid this kid off, I’ll eat my hat. I suppose the booster theory is possible, but that is a hell of a chunk for a booster. There’s no way it wouldn’t be out by now if there was a direct payoff from the university to the Newtons.

  32. @54 Eh, the story on the LSU board is one of the most convoluted conspiracy theories I’ve ever read. They must have gotten sick of trying to argue that UFOs do exist and decided to tackle something more tangible.

  33. It’s hard to believe that a father soliciting money would not affect the son’s eligibility regardless of whether he knew about it. It’s tough on the son (and maybe not fair), but it would create a huge loophole if the father could ask for money with no consequences.

    People talk about corruption of politicians and the like. Big-time college sports (ie, football and basketball) are as corrupt, if not more so, as any institution. These schools should be embarrassed that stuff like this goes on, but they aren’t. And they wouldn’t dare de-emphasize sports because the alumni, whose only interest in the school seems to be the sports programs, would throw a fit.

  34. if Cecil did solicit money with or without his sons knowledge, someone has to be penalized. IF not, every parent out there is going to see what they can get for their kids. Its apparent, he did something and it makes no sense after seeing what all his son went through to get back to this stage.

    Im sick of hearing about it though, wake us up when something is concrete one way or another

  35. @59
    yah, i saw that too. i found it interesting that he’s not a shoo-in. i also found it interesting that uggla was able to take his number away.

  36. more from DOB

    #Braves have made an offer to FA Eric Hinske. GM Wren said they’d wait to make tender/non-tender decision on arb-eligible Matt Diaz

  37. @56 and 58, there are potentially huge legal consequences for Cecil, regardless of the NCAA – the words “extortion”, “conspiracy” and “wire fraud” leap to mind. They have nothing to do with eligibility, but are extremely serious. That is what typically keeps most folks from doing that sort of thing. I would also imagine my former employers at the IRS would have a thing or two to go over with Dad.

  38. Spike,

    I am with you. I don’t think Auburn paid him. I think the question is “Did his father ask MSU for money for him to go there?”

  39. McLouth leadoff = getting the out out of the way early.

    Year // Age // BA/OBP/SLG
    —————————————-
    2006 // 24 // 233/293/385
    2007 // 25 // 258/351/459
    2008 // 26 // 276/356/497
    2009 // 27 // 256/352/436
    2010a // 28 // 176/295/282
    2010b // 28 // 222/305/417

    2010a is prior to his demotion to Gwinnett. 2010b is after he was recalled from Gwinnett.

    Nate McLouth was completely out of whack last year, but he seems to have fixed the flaw in his time in AAA. Smart money is on him to hit something akin to 255/350/440 next year. Not a great OBP for the leadoff spot, but with his speed it’s not going to kill you.

  40. #64 – they paid him just like every other big time recruit gets paid. The school didnt necessarily, but a booster did.

  41. I think he was either muscling up to counteract his Turner-Field-warning-track power, or else…..nah, I’ve floated the alternate theory before and been castigated for it. It was the first thing, I’m sure.

  42. Yes, he had a concussion, but he was actually better after it (suffered running into Heyward on a fly ball). McLouth was hopeless in spring training and never got a whole lot better; I think he had an undiagnosed medical condition. I wonder if they checked his blood suger. Buddy Carlyle apparently had undiagnosed diabetes for years.

  43. @67 – You’re referring to McLouth? If so, I think the most straightforward explanation is “sometimes people lose their mechanics and have bad years.”

    McLouth will never consistently be the player he was in 2008. Likewise, he will never consistently hit as bad as he did in 2010. Nate McLouth is the guy you saw in 2007 and 2009, and most likely that will be the guy we see in 2011.

    He’s obviously not worth the 2012 contract, but for 2011 he’s a perfectly reasonable option to start in CF. I’d move him lower in the order and get Heyward more at bats, because I’m a big believer in having your best hitter hit as often as possible, but otherwise I’m perfectly fine with McLouth starting in CF. He could use a defensive caddy, but the Braves fixed the problem in LF with the Uggla acquisition. As long as Chipper can be a reasonable facsimile of Chipper they don’t need another bat in CF.

  44. Here’s what I hope happened:

    ~ Rogers tempted Cecil with the idea to solicit money from MSU.

    ~ Cecil fell victim to the temptation.

    ~ MSU said no.

    ~ Cecil got scared (or remembered what he did for a living) and pursued that path no more.

    ~ The guilt (and the brilliant OC at Auburn) drove Cecil to steer Cam to the Tigers.

    Yeah, I know.

  45. Here’s what I think happened

    Cam Newton got paid money under the table to play football just like every other good college football player in the history of ever except for Tim Tebow because he would have reported it on his taxes and been found out too easily.

  46. Post completely unrelated to baseball (or sports in general):

    The new Donkey Kong Country game has replaced the awesome Kremlings ().

    Crocodillians have been a part of Donkey Kong since the psychotic “Jumpman” tried to get them to eat a baby gorilla that was just trying to save his dad from captivity. As an avid consumer of video games and amateur historian, I declare this an outrage.

  47. where can you compare all leadoff hitters from last season? Im interested to see where Nate would fall into place with a .350OBP

  48. Cody Johnson sold to the Yankees.

  49. where can you compare all leadoff hitters from last season?

    B-REF has the primary hitting orders for every team under their “other” pages. In the National League, the primary leadoff hitters and their OBPs:

    PHI
    Victorino – 327
    Rollins – 320

    ATL
    Prado – 350
    Infante – 359

    FLA
    Maybe – 302
    Coghlan – 335
    Bonifacio – 320

    NYM
    Reyes – 321
    Pagan – 340

    WAS
    Morgan – 319
    Espinosa – 277

    CIN
    Cabrera – 303
    Phillips – 332

    STL
    Lopez – 311
    Schumaker – 328

    CHC
    Theirot – 321
    Fukedome – 371

    MIL
    Weeks – 366

    PIT
    McCutchen – 365

    HOU
    Bourne – 341

    SF
    Torres – 343
    Rowand – 281

    SD
    Hairston – 299
    Venable – 324
    Denorfia – 335

    COL
    Gonzalez – 376
    Young – 312

    ARI
    Young – 341
    Drew – 352
    Johnson – 370

    There are few lead off hitters in the NL who would top McLouth’s career averages. Fukedome, Kelly Johnson and Carlos Gonzalez are not regularly scheduled leadoff guys. The best leadoff hitters in the league were Andrew McCutchen and Ricky Weeks, clocking in at 365 and 366 respectively.

    From a Braves’ fan perspective, if you thought Martin Prado made a good leadoff hitter, then you would like a standard year out of McLouth, because that’s what a 350 OBP looks like.

  50. Bethany @58, Most sports on the collegiate level lose money hand-over-fist.
    At Nebraska, football pays for everything. Last year the football program made $14 million dollars, the Women’s Basketball team (Big 12 Champs and very successful) and Women’s Volleyball (NU is a major powerhouse) both made a modest profit, the other programs all lost money that almost added up to the $14 million the football program made. Sports like gymnastics and swimming bring in limited revenue and cost a ton of money.

  51. @85

    I’d put the over/under on “Mark Reynolds” at over. Even though Reynolds is on pave to set a new record for most strikeouts ever, just ahead of Ryan Howard’s projected number.

  52. What about going after a guy like Podsednik? We could probably get him for cheap. He’s a true leadoff guy, with real speed that can play center or left. I mean come on Heyward led the team with 11 steals last year. Now that we got Uggla as the power guy, we should get a speedy OF to put in the leadoff spot, and he fits in the budget. If we signed him, the lineup alternating lefty righty could be:

    Podsednik L
    Prado R
    Chipper S
    McCann L
    Uggla R
    Heyward L
    Gonzo R
    Freeman L

    I think a guy like him is a perfect fit for us. McClouth can either be a fourth OF, or we could try to unload him. (Fat chance) Plus if Chipper goes down, or on days where he needs a rest, McClouth can play CF, Pods in LF and Prado at 3B.

  53. Hypothetical:

    Yankees aren’t willing to pay a “Yankee Legend” tax for Jeter and he walks. Do you sign him for roughly market value?

  54. Delgado was Rule V eligible?

    /edit – hmmm…

    Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s 40-man roster and:

    – were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or

    – were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.

    Wikipedia

    Delgado doesn’t seem to fit that at all. He’s only been here 3 seasons, and he was signed at 17.

  55. and now I can give up on Cody Johnson…..I wonder how much the Braves gained from ‘cash considerations’….

  56. @91- Podsednik is a fast guy who can play a decent OF. But he is emphatically NOT a “true leadoff guy”. His on-base is very batting-average dependent, and there have been many a season where his BA cratered. He’s a guy I wouldn’t mind signing as a 5th OF but I don’t think I’d want him for more than that.

  57. ummmmm

    The Pirates designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment. Anyone think we could sign Zach on the cheap to be a #5/Long Relief/LH filler in case we trade Minor guy? I’ve always been intriuged with Andy LaRoche (long thought to be the more talented of the brothers) AND he bats RH AND he plays 3B. I also somewhat like Young to play Utility for us (he plays 2B, SS and 3B adequately and has had a slash line of .255/.312/.393 in 595 plate appearances PLUS he OPSed .876 in eight minor league seasons). Interesting options there.

  58. @80 Bethany
    Been thinking about you and Auburn. For the second time in your young life, an incredible season for your favorite team may have a tang of bitter disappointment. This sucks beyond all measure.

    I could whine about the state of my Hoosiers’ basketball program, where after about 30 years of excellence under a coach with “serious issues”, we then turned the program over to fools and cheaters in search of victory. And have paid the price of irrelevance.
    But we’re recruting hard and will be back!
    Honest!

    Instead, as an SEC fan, please remember Rick Pitino’s “Unforgettables”–Pelphrey, Farmer, Feldhouse, and Woods–who stuck with a devastated program and got shot down by a last second shot by Laettner (he travelled!). This is what we mean by “Legends.”
    Most years I’d rather beat UK in roundball more than anybody, even Purdue.
    But when I think of those 4 guys sticking it out, I wonder if maybe the old saying is true. It’s not always whether you win or lose…

  59. I would go after Duke, we can use some extra lefties at the higher levels and McDowell seems to get alot of people.
    Would it have to be a trade? I am not sure how it works when a guy is DFA’d.
    Edit: I just checked his splits, i would only take him for free.

  60. The Pirates have (I think) 72 hours to trade a player after a DFA. At that point, they can release him or send him through waivers to the minors. The player can decline the assignment, making him a free agent. If he doesn’t, every major league team (starting with the worst team in the same league to the best, then the worst team in the other league to the best) has a chance to claim him. If he doesn’t refuse the assignment and isn’t claimed, he goes on the minor league (usually AAA) roster.

    Duke would get over $4 million in arbitration. Nobody’s likely to claim him knowing that. As a free agent, you could offer him the minimum with incentives.

  61. RE: Podsednik – He’d be a useful fifth OF if he can still run them down, but he’s not a starter ahead of any OF option currently on the club, including McLouth.

    RE: Jeter – No. Just…no.

  62. @103 Thank you for the perspective, Kevin. All I can hope for is that if the hammer does get dropped on Auburn, the scummy influences who tarnished the school will be forcefully removed and it could someday be rebuilt with legitimacy.

    Does Andy LaRoache play anywhere other than 3B well? His BR page lists him as having some time in the outfield and 1st and 2nd base. Is he too expensive to go after?

  63. Andy LaRoche plays 2B pretty well, 3B pretty well. Don’t know about his OF defense, and he’s never shown enough bat to even consider him at 1B. Considering that he’s not really going to be very expensive I’d certainly take a flyer on him as Infante’s replacement. Only infield position he couldn’t back up would be SS, and there’s always Diory and Hicks to cover that in case of an emergency.

    No amount of Derek Jeter’s improved offense at SS (assuming he’s not, you know, really old and past his prime) would make up for all of the ground balls he would give back to the opposition on weak dribblers to his left. On top of that, none of it would be worth the hell of having to ‘root for’ Derek f*cking Jeter.

  64. I could get over my antipathy toward Derek Jeter in a New York minute if we signed him to a cheap, incentive-laden contract. He doesn’t seem like a bad human being (other than all those rumors about him giving herpes to Jessica Alba), he’s just the face of a franchise that I despise for reasons that go far beyond him. He will never, ever play for the Braves, because there is no chance in hell that we would ever pay him what he thinks he’s worth.

    But I would not have any moral qualms about allowing myself to root for him if he were on my team — and hate his stinking guts if he booted a grounder or hit the way he did this year.

  65. I’d love an upgrade from McLouth, but if he really is the starter in CF then I nominate Endy Chavez for the backup OF spot. He can pinch run, isn’t an absolute liability with the bat and can really track the ball down in all three OF positions. Plus he’s Venezuelan, we’ve already lost Infante and Blanco so he’d help the team recharge in that area. I’d be interested in taking a similar direction at short, I like Cesar Izturis as a latter day Rafael Belliard.

  66. In much the same way as Tom Glavine was only a Met by contract, Jeter will never be anything but a Yankee. No.

  67. In a vacuum, Jeter wouldn’t be a bad guy to get. But when your 3B and 2B are Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla, and your pitching staff is ground-ball oriented, you need a SS who’s got some range. If there’s one thing Jeter does not possess, it’s range. Regardless of what you believe about Jeter as a defender, it’s almost indisputable that he doesn’t have very good range.

  68. Greetings from Austin…

    It’s been a pleasure to watch Jeter play up close all this time. Despite being a season-ticket holder for 15+ years, I’m no Yankee fan & for me, the guy has been impossible to dislike.

    The hype is just hype. Who cares?

    I don’t see him going anywhere.

  69. The SEC, where nobody, and I mean nobody plays any defense.

    I’m just doing what most on here would do if these Saturday afternoon CBS games this year were Big 12 Games.

    The SEC, where you should always take the over.

  70. To combat the spread, you need great inside linebackers. The SEC had those for years — Ryans, Willis, Spikes, McClain — but they’re all gone now and the new guys don’t measure up.

  71. While I don’t dispute the SEC’s (general) supremacy, I do dispute this line of reasoning that the announcers took during the end of the game:

    “LSU is struggling to beat a 4-6 Ole Miss team! You can’t take any week off in this league!”

    Think about how this narrative would go if Stanford struggled at home against Arizona State, or if Wisconsin struggled at home against Purdue, or if Nebraska struggled at home against Colorado:

    “Stanford (or whomever) is struggling to beat a 4-6 Arizona State team! They could never play with the likes of the SEC’s best!”

  72. @127 In their defense, they were also talking about how Ole Miss was only 4-6 because they had played some very stiff competition, and in any other league their record is probably a lot better. But I agree, it’s not an argument they would apply to any other conference. If you tried to argue that the Pac-10 was tough because Cal almost beat Oregon, I’d laugh you out of the room.

  73. I preemptively nominate Philadelphia RF Dominic Brown’s nickname to be “Dominic Greene”. Reasons:

    a) They are both ugly.
    b) Brown is to the Atlanta Braves as Greene is to James Bond.
    c) They’ve both got extremely disgusting and perverse sidekicks, Brown to Victorino and Greene to Elvis.
    d) Honestly, I have a strong feeling of dislike towards both of them.

    Questions/Comments/Suggestions/Criticisms?

  74. Camille is some hot Russian model, Bond is Bond. And no, I’ve had this idea since I watched him play earlier this year, but it was a crappy enough idea that I didn’t really care to put it into words.

  75. The more I think about it, the fact that Dan Uggla has hit more home runs in the first five years of his career as a middle infielder than anybody else in the history of baseball is pretty damn impressive.

  76. Vandy needs to move heaven and earth to bring in Mike Leach.
    ————————

    How is AGON generally viewed as a defensive shortstop?

  77. @141, I will concede I never really saw him play that much before Atlanta. But if the stats say he’s good, there is a problem with the metric, because he is terrible out there. I mean really, there is no way anybody could get the impression he was “one of the better shortstops in baseball” based on his performance here.

  78. UZR/150 and Total Runs has AAG and Yunel in a dead heat defensively in ’10, but with AAG having something of a positive outlier season. Typically he’s about average. I find he plays an aesthetically pleasing version of the position FWIW.

    He’s also usually been an average hitter for a shortstop. He’s a dependably average player who we have under contract for one year, $2.5 million. That, my friends, is not a problem.

  79. @137 I will fight you for him!

    I’m less concerned with AAG next year than I am about who is going to be our SS in 2012.

  80. I was neither commenting on his desirability as a player, nor his comparative value with Yunel. He looked terrible, to me, in the field as an Atlanta Brave. I am not sanguine about this changing.

  81. 138—That would be stupid and won’t ever happen. He’s not close to the Corbin-Stallings model of VU integrity and success. Names I’m hearing from reliable sources, though, include Tommy Bowden and Al Golden. Either of those would be outstanding hires, IMO.

  82. Other than being an odd duck, I hadn’t heard anything unethical about Leach.

    Btw, I think Craig James’ spoiled son has caught exactly one pass this year.

    Golden would be a good fit.

  83. Leach is a self-promoting attention whore who, whether totally deserved or not, has a cloudy reputation. VU will never take an interest in someone like that. Thankfully.

  84. I thought AAG made some incredible plays at SS. IMO, his problem was he made errors on way too many simple plays. Maybe not quite this extreme, but he reminds me a little of Rafael Ramirez several years ago. I don’t like AAG much at all, but I’m resigned to the fact that there just aren’t many good hitting/ fielding SSs available. He’s not great, but he’s probably about as good as we can hope for right now.

  85. I am amazed the Braves gave up on Kody. I hated the draft pick, but he is still young enough to develop.

    It’s not like we have too many position players in the minors.

  86. On AAG’s defense:

    [Groucho the Sabermetrician]

    “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

    [/Groucho the Sabermetrician]”

  87. According to Cots Contracts, here’s the market for shortstops:

    Jason Bartlett TB
    Yuniesky Betancourt KC *
    Rafael Furcal LAD
    J.J. Hardy MIN
    John McDonald TOR
    Augie Ojeda ARZ
    Ramon Santiago DET
    Marco Scutaro BOS *
    Jack Wilson SEA

    Obviously it’s a little early to say who’s going to be worth looking into, but Furcal may still have a decent two years left in him, like Furcal, Jack Wilson has battled injuries, but he’s a plus defender when right and so is JJ Hardy. Bartlett is the one guy from this group that will be seeing a big contract. It seems like the Braves have several internal Shortstop options, but aside from the less than viable Diory Hernandez none of them will be ready until 2013. Hopefully Andrelton Simmons or Pastornicky can make some big strides over the course of the 2011 season.

  88. The other thing with AAG is that he’s likely to be a Type A or Type B free agent (assuming those designations still exist) come 2012. Given that there’s little downside to offering a guy making $2.5M arbitration, we’ll either be able to hold on to him at a reasonable rate or at least get a draft pick or two out of it.

  89. Last year will still still be on his resume for the following off-season. (I think they look at the past 2 or 3 years when assessing “type”.) Either way, there just aren’t that many good SS around any more. Since he hits well enough to be a league-average starter, I figure that along with his bit year in 2010 will be enough to push him into the “get free draft picks” zone.

  90. It’s not position specific (but it does factor the last two years) – you have to be one of the top 20% to get type A, and next 20% to get B. And in order for either of those things to have any meaning, you have to offer arb to the player and have them sign elsewhere before the deadline. We ain’t gettin’ no picks for Alex. We might get another year of him (horrifying) by offering arb, but do you seriously think he’ll be worth 3M (current salary + 20pct) in 2012 as a 35yo SS?

  91. FESTUS Rules!
    ————-

    OK, the Braves are on a bit of an off-season roll – so let’s ride the momentum and make a move for that last great piece.

    What is it? McCutcheon? (Don’t say it’s not possible. The Pirates have shown what they are, now let’s talk about the price.)

    Is it Magglio? (Not my cup of tea, but others seem to like it.)

    Can the brown-eyed handsome man from Cleveland be had to play center field? If so, is he the final piece that puts us over the top before the Mets remove their heads from the darkness?

  92. I’m on my phone, so looking up is a hassle.. so,

    Is Sizemore right-handed?
    How low is his stock in Cleveland’s eyes?
    What is his contract status?

    If he’s cheap enough in prospects, dollars, and years, I think his upside could at least be “gets mclouth to the bench.”

    I guess no one can be cheap in all three of those currencies, and still be good at baseball.

  93. From MLBTR

    “In a mailbag piece, Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer says he doesn’t believe Grady Sizemore has any trade value until he shows he can play after having microfracture surgery on his left knee. Sizemore will earn $7.5MM in 2011, then the team will have to decide between his $9MM option for 2012 or a $500K buyout.”

    He’s lefthanded, but that’s not really an issue anymore since we have Uggla. A leadoff hitter could well be lefthanded, the team just didn’t want it’s power hitter addition to be a lefty. His 7.5 Million is way too much for the Braves to take on however. I would imagine Cleveland will at least try to let him build some value by showing he’s healthy and then maybe get something for him at the deadline. As it stands right now he’d be a classic salary dump, we can’t take on that salary which is a bummer. A team with the resources to make a 7.5 million dollar gamble could really strike gold in a situation like this.

    By the way, is it possible that there’s a correlation between internet penis photographs and micro fracture surgery? If Brett Favre has to have Micro Fracture surgery at the end of the season then I think we’re on to something.

  94. North Carolina definitely isn’t the 8th-best team in the country, but here’s a complete list of teams in the SEC better than VU, right now:

  95. Thanks Ithaca,

    Being right-handed would have been slightly advantageous, raising his floor to ‘platoon partner with McLouth.’

    But that’s too much money and Cleveland would be wise to just play him, or dump him on someone else, rather than eat money to get prospects.

  96. 163 – Kind of a bold statement with a handful of games played. I know you’re an unabashed Vandy homer but geez. Kentucky’s frosh are meshing much earlier than last year’s batch. I think they’ll surprise in Maui.

  97. Meanwhile, Ellis Hobbs may have been crippled for life by a helmet-to-helmet hit. Which was not flagged. The NFL rules are increasingly arbitrary. I think they were written by the same guys who decide what’s a balk.

  98. 168—I was saying it before the season started. UK shouldn’t scare anybody this year. Much less talented.

    You’ll see, soon enough.

  99. Stu, we’re (UNC) VERY young at key positions and, honestly, we’re not all that good yet.

    I still think we’re a year away from being silly good (assuming Barnes stays and based on the past two games he needs to stay).

    Plus, Vandy is good.

  100. 174—Agree with all of that. You may not even be a year away, though — could be more like a couple of months. I hope so, anyway. :)

    We are good. 9-deep and extremely versatile. With a good (necessary, IMO) splash of experience.

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