Well, the Phillies have reportedly signed Cliff Lee. Might as well cancel the 2011 season. Probably 2012 too, just to be on the safe side. Oh, let’s just shut down the game entirely. Obviously, the Phillies’ rotation is the most sublime thing ever created and it would sully it to make it actually have to perform in front of people like circus animals or something. Just imagine it, it’s better that way.


  1. Maybe there really was a ‘mystery team.’

    Well bring on the Lowe —> Yankees, Prospects —> Royals for Greinke chatter begin.

    AAR, I think this will end the ‘mercenary’ talk.

  2. Not at all substantiated, but:

    “Incredibly, Lee may have accepted a smaller offer (as much as $50M less) for fewer years, in order to return to they Phillies, who he helped lead to 2009 World Series.”

    so says

  3. Please, please, somebody, paint me a picture where the Bravos aren’t doomed to the wildcard hunt before the season even starts. Lie to me. It doesn’t even have to be a very good lie. I’m a guy. I’m easy that way

  4. that’s such a drag. i remember at bobby cox night a horrible guido phillies phan sitting in front of me told me that payroll “doesn’t matta”

  5. Do the Phillies need middle relievers anymore ? Seriously ? Do they really need anybody besides Lidge ? Sonofabitch.

    Also, I’m going to say the dropoff from Werth to Ben Francisco or Werth to a Francisco/Ibanez platoon and Dom Brown isn’t going to be that drastic.

    So let me get this straight …. the Phillies traded prospects to the Indians for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco. Then they lose Werth to free agency and replace him with Ben Francisco and Cliff Lee.

  6. Wow, shocked, where on earth the Phillies found the money?

    Now the Yankees really need Derek Lowe more than ever!!! Get it done Wren!

    You know, I know it sucks that Lee is joining the Phillies, but I kind of like him for saying no to the Yankees.

  7. Trade Lowe to the Yankees for whatever they will give. GET IT DONE WREN.

    I could have waited for next offseason for somebody to tell the Yankees to shove it.

  8. You can say the Phillies position players are aging, but what if they only carry 3-4 relief pitchers and use those extra roster spots for younger/platoon hitters to keep the ‘veterans fresh’ ??

    Even if they traded Blanton and put Worley in the rotation, if they had Contreras pitch the innings out of the bullpen that Halladay/Lee/Oswalt or Hamels don’t pitch, 2 guys to pitch the innings that Oswalt/Hamels and the #5 starter don’t pitch and Lidge to fill in the rest, wouldn’t that work ?

  9. Hell, the rotation is “aging” too. That doesn’t make them bad. You can be aging and still be great, and I’m pretty sure that a good offense and great pitching staff = a great team. They even have an above-average defense.

  10. The only reason I can think of that Cliff Lee would turn down way better offers from NY and probably Texas is that he hates the Braves. Only thing that makes sense.

  11. I’ll be damned. Wow.

    OK, OK. Lee is 32. Oswalt and Halladay are 34. This has to work in our favor, if not now, then soon.

  12. Good that we added a little righthanded power.

    Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Neagle, Millwood
    Halliday, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, who cares

    I never thought I would ever have a chance to say this, but I would say the two groups are pretty close.

  13. Fun-Fact Dept.
    Lee & Halladay last year: 463 IP, 404 K, 48 BB

    Hard to believe he left those years & that money on the table.

    Only bright side: Gotta believe that the Yanks go out & get a pitcher. They’ve got some question marks with their leftover staff. Maybe that works out for us.

  14. What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

  15. It doesn’t look very bright for 2011, but the position players are getting old, and we saw how injuries affected them earlier. Without Werth, the only really scary aspect of their lineup is Utley/Howard and that’s easily counteracted with a LOOGY. If Utley gets injured again they’re going to have trouble scoring runs which will become an issue even with that pitching.

  16. The grass isn’t always greener etc etc

    I have 15th May in the pool for the Phillies pitching injury crisis

    Wild card first, avoid in NLDS, and take the Giants route to World Series

    You know it makes sense…

  17. so, the phillies will have a 180 million dollar payroll this year. unbelievable.

    i’m bummed out…

  18. @25,

    They are all old dudes, doesn’t sacre me.

    Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Neagle, Millwood
    Halliday, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, who cares

    Four of those guys are going to the HOF, three of them are in one rotation, it’s not really that close.

    Guys, don’t panic. I think they needed to add a bat more than a pitcher and if JJ and Hanson are healthy, our rotation isn’t far off.

    I also think our bullpen is better.

  19. The braves REALLY need to fix the OF to compete. Somehow I don’t buy that Prado is going to be the everyday LF.

    We have enough in the rotation, and plenty in the pen, but our Defense and our OF leave something to be desired.

  20. Wren needs to nut up and send Beachy to Milwaukee for Cain. We’re going to need a right handed CF to spell McLouth/Schafer against Lee & Hamels.

  21. #29 & #30 – generation gap. kc, he is quoting Animal House, one of the great cinema experiences ever.

    Well hells bells. I guess the Phils will go 140 – 22 in 2011. :) Man thats a lot of money to leave on the table.

  22. I think we need to keep KK and only pitch him agianst the Phillies, since they are an AL East team now.

  23. I think somebody said it a thread or two ago… I’m really starting to empathize with fans of every other NL East team in the 90s… The only bright spot is how dejected Mets fans are going to be for a couple years (till they shed some of their crappy contracts and start rebuilding).

  24. 42, yeah but they’re the Phillies and we’re the Braves so when we did it, it was morally just and approved by the gods, but when they do it, it is an act of hubris and utter disgrace.

    (Classic Greek Culture final today and I’m trying to get in the right mindset)

  25. Well Trace, I wasn’t talking about how “right” or “wrong” it is… just comparably dominant staffs… though I was going to say something about the difference in salaries… but then in 96 our team salary was $53M, and Mets, Phils, Marlins were in the $25-30M range… which doesn’t translate TOO far off from Phils $170 to our $85-90-ish on a percentage basis. The only “defense” the 90s Braves would have was that Glavine & Smoltz were home grown and the only Philly home grown ace is Hamels… but that’s pretty weak.

  26. As Braves fans, we spent years hearing how the Mets had won it all in the off-season. It was an annual event.

    With the knowledge that the Braves are done with any big moves, I think we could declare the Phillies as winners in the off-season, but we will see how this plays out on the field.

  27. @45,

    I disagree, until they added Lee, I though we had the best rotation in the east.

    Hanson, Hudson and JJ are pretty stout when healthy. I don’t expect Lowe to pitch like he did in Sept and Oct, but he was very good at the end.

  28. there are no decent FA pitchers left on the market right now. If Dayton Moore was smart he’d be calling every team and every media outlet letting them know that Greinke was available. There is no telling how high that bidding package might get.

  29. With that rotation, the Phillies can start printing playoff tickets already. I don’t think they will be good enough to win the World Series though. Just look at us in the late 1990s.

  30. tim hudson is 35 and derek lowe is 37. no way to sugarcoat it, there is not a bright side right now. the two best pitchers in the major leagues (according to WAR) are playing on the same team in our division.

    with our current lineup, hamels and lee will carve us up.

  31. Weren’t the Braves also supposed to be doomed this year when the Phillies traded for Oswalt? Yet if Chipper and Prado hadn’t gone down, the division would have been a toss up. And even with Oswalt, the Phillies didn’t even get back to the World Series — losing to the Giants of all teams.

    This certainly doesn’t help the Braves’ chances at winning the division, but they’re hardly doomed.

  32. Twitter:
    “@fauxfrankwren: We now officially put our full support behind Bud Selig’s attempts to add a second Wild Card. You should too!”

  33. The Braves have a nice rotation but the Phillies have an all-timer. But, things happen, guys get injured. The question really isn’t how the Phillies’ rotation stacks up one-to-one against the Braves but how good the Braves are overall. I think you would have to project at least 95 wins for the Phillies. Do we think the Braves can win 96? Hard for me to see it.

    Age will be a factor in a couple of years, but not this year. But, saying we are doomed is wrongheaded. This move may guarantee the Phillies will win the division but it doesn’t guarantee anything more than that. The wildcard exists and the Braves were probably only a Billy Wagner injury away from beating the World Champion San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.

    The fact is, the Phillies can do things like this because they sell out the ballpark every night; the Braves don’t. I understand there are reasons for that, but it’s just a fact. If the Braves were drawing as they did in the 90s, maybe Liberty would spend more money.

  34. There is some speculation this morning is that the RedSox agreed to take Blanton off the Phils hands to keep Lee out of NY.

  35. The Phils drew 3.7M fans to the Braves 2.5 and doubled them in payroll. The extra fans are not a trivial revenue stream, but it’s a lot more about who owns the team. Liberty has no interest baseball per se – they manage the team as a business unit. Profitability is far more important than pennants. Giles and Montgomery want to win, and are willing to spend to do it.

  36. Do the Phils have a decent TV deal? Seems like ever since we lost TBS our payroll has dropped dramatically. Id think that has more to do with that than the attendance aspect.

  37. That rotation has a lot of mileage on it. There’s a good chance that each of them decline from last year’s performance, not to mention the chance of injury.

  38. There’s a good chance that each of them decline from last year’s performance, not to mention the chance of injury.

    Would that this were so. These are three historically good pitchers, and their peer group ages very well indeed. If you had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz at age 32/34, you’d be in for a long wait for their decline phase.

  39. I know we’re all pipe dreaming about Rasmus, Grienke and Lowe for Swisher, but right now I’d take Mike Cameron.

  40. I would just like to say that I at least conjectured these two things happening this off-season:

    Cliff Lee returning to the Phillies and Werth signing a backloaded contract. Although the last was in reference to how the Braves could afford him and only for 5 years.

    Who’s the crazy paranoid homeless guy on the corner now?

  41. This news doesn’t worry me. Granted, the fact that it’s not baseball season has a lot to do with it — once we start playing the games we might be in trouble. But right now I think we’re okay.

  42. 52 – I really think Braves fans are wont to overrate Jurrjens. Perhaps I’m just not than into him, but his peripherals have always been mediocre and last year, injured or not, was no more an outlier for him than was his 2009 season. Basically, his BABIP was a little higher than normal while his LOB% was unluckily low. And despite the 2-run differential between the two seasons’ ERA, his xFIP was almost identical.

    I also would imagine Hudson to regress a little this year, so even if Hanson improves and Lowe pitches the way he did the last 6 weeks of the season, I just don’t think the Braves would post more than a solid-to-very good staff. The Phillies, meanwhile, two of the four best pitchers in baseball and two other guys probably in the top 20. While I don’t think it’s time to panic–the Braves are still a top-three NL team–the Phillies’ go into the season with one of the best rotations I have ever seen, very good defense, and a solid offense. They even run the bases well. It all makes me feel ill.

  43. On Greinke: Not only would he bust the budget but the Royals want major-league ready middle infielders. If only we had a great defensive shortstop to dangle in front of Dayton Moore’s Braves-lorn eyes…

  44. We should start a pool and hire a guy to rough up Victorino before the season starts.

    Not because his defense alone usually costs the Braves at least one game against the Phillies, but because he wears that dumb looking double flap helmet, that, combined with his weird face, makes him look like some kind of alien cosmonaut or something.

    Not that I have anything against aliens.

    Oh and here’s a picture of the Phils’ new rotation:

  45. Well, now we know what it feels like to be the Toronto Blue Jays. The ridiculously cold weather down here this week just completes the effect.

  46. Alex – I think he’ll have a better year. Well, I both think and hope he will. My main point is that he’s not as great as the 2.60 ERA, and I’d be very surprised to see that kind of performance again (especially with this defense). To put him into the same conversation as any of the four guys now in the Phillies’ rotation is a bridge too far for me.

  47. @66,

    Would Giles and Montgomery be spending this much if they were drawing 2.5 instead of 3.7? I seriously doubt it. Don’t you think they are making money too? And I suspect the difference in revenue is not linear; it’s probably a lot more than the difference in attendence because people spend money when they are at games. I’m not saying Liberty is the greatest owner in the world–they obviously don’t care about baseball. But I don’t see how you can simply ignore the difference in attendence as being a significant factor in the difference in payroll. Do you really not think that the payroll would be larger if the attendence was better?

  48. Oh, whatever. Yes the fact they are doing well is a factor in their payroll. And no, I don’t think improved attendance would get a larger payroll from this ownership group. That’s the sort of thing that generally goes the other way around. You may recall ownership groups here have been quite willing to cut payroll when attendance was good. The bottom line is most, if not all ownership groups are quite capable of spending more if they wanted to. It so happens that Giles and Montgomery do at this juncture. “Selling out the stadium” and necessarily spending that instead of pocketing it are decisions, not imperatives.

  49. OK, but there ususually is some correlation between attendence and payroll. They aren’t completely divorced. I’m not defending Liberty and you may be right that it wouldn’t make any difference. But it doesn’t help.

  50. #64 The Braves won 91 games this season despite:

    – McLouth, Melky, and Ankiel playing centerfield
    – Heyward being hampered by a sore thumb for most of 2 months
    – Troy Glaus stinking it up at first base most of the year
    – Jurrjens being on and off the DL
    – the mess that was their 5th starter
    – Chipper going down in mid August
    – Prado going down the final week of the season
    – Saito and O’Flaherty missing many games due to injuries and illness
    – Bobby making his usual stupid bunts, lineups, and pitching changes

    With the additions Wren has made especially Uggla, better health, and better luck, 96 wins is well within reach in 2011.

  51. I mean, that’s baseball for you. I didn’t mind it so much when it was contained to one division in the other league, but now…. Yeesh. I think Nick nailed it @83.

  52. The Phillies were a much better team than us even without Lee. Now, the race is over before it has begun. Thing is, the wildcard just got harder too. Not a good day really. I guess this is how Orioles and Blue Jays fans feel every year.

    And there is no hope in the future. If the Phillies keep spending 100 million more than the Braves, they will forever have a better team. Kudos to them for assembling a group like that. Wow.

  53. I think it would take a massive attendance spike in order for payroll to budge. Braves had their payroll increase from 2.3 to 2.5 last year and the budget isnt moving. I think there is a correlation there, but its reversed. If the braves brought in big time FA’s then you would see a spike in attendance. People dont want to line up to come watch Mike Minor or Derek Lowe pitch a ballgame. However, they will show up to watch Halladay, Lee, or Strasburg.

    Question – I was talking to a friend at the gym and we were talking about guys that people want to come and watch. People like Lebron James, Brett Favre, Tiger Woods. Do you think a position player in baseball can be a difference maker in attendance or does it have to be a pitcher? I think it has to be a pitcher. Strasburg will sell out games, so will Lincecum/Halladay and so forth. Jason Heyward will draw some fans, but not like these other guys. I just dont think a position player in baseball can make that kind of an impact.

  54. Stu, you forgot one. AAG for Hanley

    that will leave us with


  55. @90

    I’m usually among the first on the Gloom-And-Doom Express, but I can’t agree with this assessment. Can we pencil the 2011 Phillies in as NL East winners? Absolutely. But stuff does happen, as the 2010 Braves can attest. Even in the likely event that the Phils do win the division, there are no guarantees once a team gets to the postseason (see the 2010 Philadelphia team, or most of the Braves teams between 1991-2005, for that matter). I also don’t think the future is as bleak as it may look right now. Teams that spend like drunken sailors usually end up paying a heavy price for it down the road. If the Phils keep this up, I see no reason to expect a different outcome. They are the nouveau Yankees, with all the dollars and arrogance, and none of the history. I like the Braves organization better going forward.

  56. @95, if Domonic Brown pans out, and they can move Ibanez, we are going to be way way back for a while. I also think they also are spending on pretty good players, but letting overpriced guys like Werth walk. While the first Lee trade was a bit suspect, and the Howard re-sign insane, the FA acquisitions have been top shelf. And sane or no, there are far worse guys to have at 1B than Howard.

  57. In 1929, the Braves payroll was $238,000. (The Yankees was $363,000.) I definitely think Liberty would be willing to go as high as $240,000.

  58. @106,

    If that’s true, then a special thanks to Hideki Matsui for keeping the Braves somewhat competitive.

  59. Hard to argue against a correlation between attendance and payroll, but it’s possible that most on here have the cause and effect reversed. It’s certainly logical that more money spent equals a better product on the field and results in more people willing to spend $ on that product.

    Do you think the Phils sold more season tickets the day before or the day after Lee signed?

  60. There really isn’t anything out there for the Yankees right now as far as starting pitchers go. They can take a few fliers on guys like Duchuscherer, but how far can that really take them? A Derek Lowe trade is starting to seem eminent, the trade market doesn’t seem to be offering many other logical fits for them. Greinke obviously doesn’t fit there, perhaps Garza, but he’s intradivision. Carlos Zambrano perhaps?

  61. @67 seems right, we could use a new TV deal. Yanks have YES, Red Sox have NESN, Phillies have CSN and WPHL and the Rangers signed a new TV deal recently worth $80m/yr for the next 20 years.

  62. I usually don’t buy into that “Big stage” BS that Red Sox and Yankees fans always throw around, but it seems like Greinke himself believes that he would be a bad fit for this kind of market, at least if his limited no trade clause is any indication. Also, it sounds as thought the Royals don’t believe the Yankees have a satisfactory package of prospect chips to offer.

  63. Interesting theory. Players succeed and fail for all sorts of reasons. If the folks in New York want to limit who they will employ based on long-distance diagnosis of “He’d fail in NY” syndrome, that is great news for the rest of the league, real or not.

    As you alluded, I’d say the presence of Wil Myers and Hosmer making Montero less appealing helped a good bit too.

  64. As opposed to guys like Ed Whitson, who had a hate/hate relationship with Yankee fans, Greinke has had genuine psychological issues (social anxiety disorder, depression).

    And considering that social anxiety disorder-related fears can be “triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others,” NYC wouldn’t seem to be the place for him.

  65. Professional athletes are egomaniacs. It is rare to find one who can admit to himself that it would go badly if he tried to play for the Yankees or the Red Sox. A great number of careers that wound up in the ditch would have remained on-track if more baseball players could admit this to themselves. If Greinke realizes this and is able to admit it to himself, good for him.

  66. Francoeur’s a dick but that’s really searching for something to blast him for.

    Not that he doesn’t deserve it anyway…

  67. @122
    I’m not sure if the decision would be based solely on “long distance diagnosis of “he’d fail in NY” sydrome. If he sounded excited to play in NY, they’d probably be more interested in him. The feeling that a marriage between Greinke and NY is less than desirable seems pretty mutual. The point I was making was simply that, in terms of looking at the overall market for available starters, NY and Greinke don’t seem like a logical match.

  68. To be fair, Francouer’s not comparing himself to Chipper and Smoltz as players.

    A lot of guys that go to NY/Boston and fail just weren’t that good in the first place. Ed Whitson was an ok pitcher that had a couple of good years and cashed in. Those guys will never live up to expectations in a market like NY. If anything, I think players probably try to hard to live up to expectations. But if you are good, there is no reason you should fail in NY or Boston. Maybe Greinke’s an exception–he truly has a condition–but as Nick suggests, you have to have a very strong personality and ego to get to the majors. If you didn’t, you couldn’t play in front of big croweds. Even Kansas City has fans that boo.

  69. I agree, Frenchy makes no talent comparison, but the money quote of “When I was 21 years old, I had mentors like John Smoltz and Chipper Jones, guys that showed me how to do it…Here, you’ve got a lot of 21- or 22-year-old guys who are ready to come up and be stars for years. Hopefully I can help them out.” is certainly well intentioned, but comes off as tone deaf at best. It’s just amusing in a “That’s our Jeffy!” kind of way.

  70. I feel bad that there are still Royals fans who read a Royals blog and have to spend time contemplating the state of the Royals.

    They deserve a benefit concert and a ribbon.

  71. All those Division titles fooled us into thinking we had something to protect.

    Just give me the Wild Card, baby.

    Until and unless Mr. Blanc buys the club, our strategy should focus on being the Wild Card team (and supporting efforts to add another).

    I’ve gone from Puritan to harlot on this issue precisely because my team is now officially a mid-major.

    I think it’s pretty well established that you can’t buy a World Championship, but you sure as hell can buy a lot of regular season wins. One way to fight this is to add another Wild Card team. (And, while we’re at it, let’s return the number of games to 154.)

    Next thing you know, I’ll be arguing for an indoor football stadium. (Uh, anybody want to go sit outside today and watch a football game?)

  72. So…


    Should Wren work on a Swisher/Lowe deal?

  73. The Red Sox added two huge pieces to their offense, now they are more or less evenly matched offensively with the Yankees. I don’t think trading away a key bat for a middle of the rotation starter makes much sense to them.

  74. If the Yankees and RedSox don’t add some pitching, their games will be 5-hour 18-16 marathons.

  75. Wren should work on any deal that gets rid of Lowe’s contract. I dont see them moving Swisher now that Werth and Crawford signed elsewhere. Get rid of Lowe and trade for Greinke.

  76. @138, Their rotation is in much, much worse shape. Sabathia, and …. They can get an OF a lot easier than a frontline SP. I don’t know if Lowe is the guy, but a veteran pitcher for OF swap makes a lot of sense for the Yankees.

  77. I didn’t think fans in the midwest could be that harsh. I guess years of losing do that. I’m sure those fans will enjoy seeing Jeffy swing at pitches over his head. But he’ll be good in the clubhouse.

  78. I suggest people on this blog start to realize that our 2011 team is more or less complete.

    Any baseball executive that isn’t prepared move when the wealthiest team in baseball has a crying need and no immediate FA way to fill it should be killed.

  79. Royals fans would do far better for their health if they would just take the Pirate fan’s route. Simply stop caring so much. Of course, they don’t have the Steelers or the Penguins in Kansas City, I guess. All they have are crappy baseball and football teams.

  80. #141
    …Phil Hughes, a very unpredictable AJ Burnett, then the Sergio Mitres of the world. They’re going to get someone.

    If DLowe went to The Bronx, we could put Swisher at 1B/LF & ease in Freeman. And despite the low price, I’m not sure we’d want another LH hitter in Gardner, would we?

    From my observations, it seems like a big part of the he’s-not-cut-out-for-playing-in-NYC notion is rooted in how the player handles failure, especially in the beginning of his time here.

    Guys like Whitson got off to bad starts & exacerbated things by maintaining confrontational stances with press & fans (not to mention Billy Martin).

    Bobby Bonilla—a native New Yorker—did the same thing, fell off dramatically his first year & got booed like crazy, even though his next couple years in Queens were actually pretty good. Still, because of his early actions (like threatening local media), he became the symbol for those big-spending/underachieving Mets clubs. He remains one of the all-time hated Mets (by Mets fans).

    Better players like Randy Johnson & Jack McDowell had confrontational moments with media & fans, but their biggest sin (with fans) was that they failed in the post-season here. “They didn’t do what they were brought here to do.”

    Conversely, guys like Mike Piazza, Tino Martinez & Jason Giambi got off to really bad starts, but never made a peep about the boos they got. They handled it like pros & eventually everyone forgot about their bad start when they put up their regular numbers.

  81. 141
    The Yankees aren’t the kind of team that will fill one hole by creating another. If they trade for a Lowe or a similar or better pitcher, I don’t think they’ll be trading away players that are in their starting lineup. We all fell in love with the idea of the Yankees trading one of their outfielders, but that was under the presumption that Crawford, Werth or Dunn would be added to the mix. I suppose Magglio Ordonez and Justin Upton would fit their needs. But until I see one of them in Yankee pinstripes, I will have a hard time believing they will move Gardner, Swisher or Granderson.

  82. Magglio only costs money, and they get to keep their shiny Montero who is their longterm C solution now that Posada is a fulltime DH. It’s a much better move than trading a prospect, which they have treasure, and just give money, which they have a lot of. Maggs could easily outhit Swish next year for a comparable salary.

  83. Their career numbers aren’t that far off. Mags is a pretty special hitter and has the edge in terms of ability, but considering his history of injuries and the fact that he’s going to be 37, compared with Swisher who’s going to be 30 and has generally had good health, I think they’d prefer Swisher. Dollars and cents aside, as a strict baseball move, if I could turn Nick Swisher into Magglio Ordonez and Derek Lowe I’d probably do it. But let us not forget that Swisher is a favorite of the organization, his teammates, the NY media machine and the fans.

  84. Oh I certainly concede the difficulty in putting something together. But the universe of available quality starters is very small, and there is no question the Yankees are looking at every possible angle to get one.

  85. If I was trading Lowe to the Yankees and could choose a player(edit: out of the three outfielders) it would most certainly be Gardner. He’s still inexpensive, he’s a great baserunner, great outfielder, gun, fills our gaping needs for a leadoff hitter and a CF.

  86. L Gardner
    R Prado
    L Heyward
    R Uggla
    L McCann
    R Jones
    L Freeman
    R Gonzalez

    ….just rosterbating

  87. Lowe isnt worth his salary much less a good player in return. Id trade him for nothing just to get rid of his salary. I just dont see us getting Swisher or Gardner for Lowe.

  88. @157
    I agree that Lowe makes lots of sense for the Yankees, as I said earlier, he makes more sense than most of the guys out there that any of us can think of. He has postseason experience and a pretty good track record, he’s reliable and he’s a name.

  89. @161
    This is true and obvious. The Yankees have a very good outfield right now (maybe as good as the Red Sox or better), I don’t see them tampering with it unless they absolutely have to. I don’t see the Yankees weakening themselves in ANY areas considering the strides that the Phillies and Red Sox have taken this offseason.

  90. csg – yeah, but what would we do with said salary? Liberty’d probably just give Jenna Jameson a raise.

    As deep as our pitching seems, if we lose one of our top guys to injury, we’ll lose a lot of 5-4 games.

    It’s always a critical balance that determines exactly “how” a team wins.

  91. But if you trade away Lowe, who do you get to fill those 200 innings? I don’t doubt that a deal with NY might be possible, but the Braves have already factored Lowe into their plans for next year, and replacing those innings at this point would be tricky. I for one don’t want to go out for Pavano or some such. There’s just not a lot left that’d be worth spending that $15M on. It might be good for 2012, but it’s tough for me to envision how dumping Derek Lowe’s salary at this point helps the team for 2011.

  92. “Royals fans would do far better for their health if they would just take the Pirate fan’s route. Simply stop caring so much.”

    The Royals have the best farm system in baseball, and possibly one of the deepest of all time. Moore is awful at finding complementary parts, but let’s wait until some of the kids are up before we write their obituary. They’re gonna be ok, especially in that division, in the next three years.

  93. 166 –

    The thinking is that you make another move, maybe for Greinke or Garza. In that case, though, you’d have to send Prado/prospects, or some comparable package, and that would only re-exacerbate the problems in the outfield.

    For all of the Phillies’ high spending ways, they’re able to have such a complete team around their big guns because they have had guys like Victorino and Werth for reasonable cost. Why the hell can’t we ever get a $*!$^** outfielder? Even when Wren fills the hole, he does it by acquiring an infielder. This continues to piss me off.

  94. Also, I’m working on this song as a tribute to Cliff Lee:

    I’m in love with Philadelphia.
    Oh, I’m in love with Philadelphia,
    So in love with Philadelphia…
    But it can’t love me back.

  95. I am no fan, but Bon Jovi has a looong way to go to equal the Jewish Elvis. 50 years of selling out arenas is a tough bar to equal.

  96. #169
    Surprised the Beasties didn’t get in. They’ve got the magic formula—sales plus critical love.

    But what’s really weird, I think, is that Tom Waits got in. I’m a fan, but that’s an odd one.

    To me, Bon Jovi is merely New Jersey’s Bryan Adams—a cliche machine.

  97. I would hope that other Braves fans would realize the position that the Phillies are in. In order to make their season worthwhile, they now have to reach (and most likely win) the World Series. They now have the “historic” rotation of the kind that we once featured along with a good bullpen and solid offense. They’re a legitimately great team. Therefore they get to spend the offseason talking about how great they are, their place in history, and all that jazz. They get to spend the season talking about how they set up their rotation for the playoffs. They get to spend the playoffs hoping that a bad bounce or a hot team doesn’t stop them on their way to their rightful place.

    What do the Braves do now? They have to work as hard as possible to be that hot team and to benefit from that bad bounce. Yes, we’d probably have to get tremendously lucky to win the division, but we can certainly get the Wild Card again and we have the potential to do well in the playoffs once we’re there. So what if we have to toil in the shadows of God’s Gifts to Baseball for much of the time? We’ve not that long ago spent plenty of time in that sun. Just think about how sweet it was to see Ryan Howard’s deflation as Brian Wilson went nuts on the mound. Those are the moments that I like these days. I’m fine with a few years of gambling for nirvana. After all, 2 or 3 years and we’ll have Heyward in his prime to go with Teheran and maybe just maybe an owner with more willingness to spend. Until then, it’s Operation Make Philly Phans Phlail at Phickle Phortune. Game on!

  98. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the older voters considered suicide while listening to ol’ Tom and have nostalgic memories of their youthful self-indulgence.

    Boy, if this week doesn’t sum up Tennessee Basketball …

    Ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.

  99. @176, Well I would certainly concede the Phillies are going to qualify for postseason for the next few years. But the three tiered playoff system has not been kind to the juggernaut teams, in terms of winning WS.

  100. 151 – ububba, I wish I could find audio/video of Bobby Bonilla’s epic confrontation, I think it was with Klapisch, the ‘make your move partner’ threat. Good ol Bobby Bo.

    Are we really letting a solid (and it was solid) month and a half cloud our feelings about Lowe ? Doesn’t anybody remember last offseason when nobody would even take his salary if the Braves ate most of it? Granted there is a year less on the contract this winter, but I doubt the Yankees are going to give up anything of real value if they take on the salary. Do you think he would get 2/$30 if he was a free agent right now, because I don’t, especially entering his age 38 & 39 seasons. I think he’d get 2/$20 at the most, but JC would have a better idea of that than me. If he returns anything, and I mean anything of value, you should trade him and use the money now, at the trade deadline, next year, whenever, but the point is you have the money to spend where you might be able to get a better return for it. As far as ‘replacing his innings’ goes, I must have missed the memo that you can just pencil in a 38 year old for 200 innings. I have serious doubts that Lowe pitches as well as he did the last month and a half for any extended period of time. I have every confidence that Beachy/whoever in house could piece it together and replace Lowe’s league average innings until Medlen returns or Teheran is ready, etc.

  101. Lowe in ’09 2.6 WAR, 2.7 WAR last year. Even if it’s a straight salary dump, the money can be allocated better, these innings aren’t irreplaceable, and can come from in house.

  102. I was just looking at the Braves stats from last year – Craig Kimbrel had an ERA+ of NINE FOURTEEN. Huge SSS, but still – that’s ridiculous.

  103. I don’t know though, Lowe has won 31 games over the last two years. Like it or not, he’s our ace. The only way moving Lowe seems like a good move to me is if we decide to keep KK around.

  104. @ spike in 180: That was part of the point I was trying to make, however poorly. While the Phillies’ having Cliff Lee makes the Braves’ path more difficult, it guarantees the Phillies nothing and makes it even sweeter when/if they do fail (preferably at the hands of our beloved 9).

  105. 31 wins or not, he’s not worth $30mil to us over the next two seasons. Not when we could replace him with Teheran/Medlen/or Delgado for $400K a year from now.

  106. spike

    Montero is NOT the Yankees’ long term C solution. He wont stay at Catcher. Their long term C solution is Gary Sanchez.

  107. Maybe Cliff Lee can go back to sucking and get sent back to the minors again, that would be fantastic.

  108. Informal poll:

    How many wins on the season if the 2011 Phillies were to go with a 4-man rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt?

  109. Justhank,

    They went as far as the Cats did last year.

    But really, Tennessee plays two-three games like this every year. Oakland wasn’t a great match up.

  110. @198,
    I wish they would. They would make the playoffs, but they would be worn down in October. I say they would start well and end up with 102 wins.

  111. I dunno, Halladay is a horse with 9 CGs each of the last 3 seasons… I’m not sure how worn down he would be.

    edit: And do we actually know that’s Wholer’s ring on eBay? I didn’t see the part of the ring with jersey number.

  112. Oakland is a pretty good 6-5 team. Anyone can lose to a streaky perimeter shooting team on a given night. Look at their losses on KenPom….ILL, Michigan State, WVU and Purdue. Not too shabby. Vandy lost to WVU as well if I’m not mistaken.

    Not a Tenn fan by any stretch, but that’s not a horrible loss. And I love the Hopson box cut. Keep growing it.

    Free Enes.

  113. 204—They’re the best team in their low-major conference, definitely the type that can jump up and get you. (Although I’m not sure what your WVU point is. UT lost at home to a team that lost by 12 more points to WVU than VU did … well, OK.)

    I was really just giving Smitty and Nick a hard time, largely because Nick asked me to. Neither their wins or their loss have changed my opinion of how good they are. Good, but definitely not as good as VU and definitely not top-10-good. Like I’ve said, I’m really looking forward to conference play, so we can get a better idea about how good all of these teams in the East really are. I could be way wrong; it’s happened before.

  114. @150, If you visit the guy’s site, the 1996 Braves NLCS ring is the same price as on eBay, $7k.

    The Diamondbacks 2001 WORLD SERIES ring is $2k.

  115. Stu,

    Vandy can’t beat Pitt and Tennessee could beat Mizzou. Imagine how bad Oakland would put it to the Dores.

    ha ha ha.

    I am pumped for conference play. Even though my coach can’t coach half the games becasue the commish is over reaching, but hey, no excuses.

  116. SECE has good teams this year – Vandy, Tenn, FL, UK and UGA. Mark Fox is going to have a squad in a few years. Conference play will be fun.

  117. #210
    Fox does have some talent this year.

    Because of the Dogs’ inconsistent shooting, they have some dreadful offensive droughts. (Bad free-throw shooting, too.) But they’ve still got a genuine post-up threat & a potential transition monster.

    The Tech game was freaky because their outside shooting hasn’t really been that good. But I suspect they’ll incorporate Thompkins even more & open up the outside. Leslie, however, remains an unpolished talent.

  118. Do you think a position player in baseball can be a difference maker in attendance or does it have to be a pitcher? I think it has to be a pitcher. Strasburg will sell out games, so will Lincecum/Halladay and so forth. Jason Heyward will draw some fans, but not like these other guys. I just dont think a position player in baseball can make that kind of an impact.

    I was thinking about Pedro yesterday in relation to this question, specifically as it relates to road game attendance. I would agree that a spike in attendance due to a visiting player would almost always be due to a pitcher, not a position player. You know you’ll only get one or two chances to see a particular starting pitcher in a season, and he’ll be onstage half the time that day.

    But I doubt that mere pitching excellence is enough to drive road attendance. It would surprise me to learn that people in, say, Cincinnati came out in large numbers to see Greg Maddux, because he lacked charisma and/or any factor of sudden stardom. And he didn’t rack up huge numbers of strikeouts, which helps.

    Here’s my chronological list of must-see pitching phenoms:

    Mark Fidrych
    Fernando Valenzuela
    Roger Clemens
    Doc Gooden
    Hideo Nomo
    Kerry Wood
    Pedro Martinez
    Tim Lincecum
    Stephen Strasburg

    Pedro is the only one on my list who became a phenomenon after he’d already been around for a while. Everyone else was a fresh face — novelty also seeming like a requirement for phenom status. We eventually got used to all these guys (except The Bird, of course), and my guess is they probably only drove attendance for a season or so, even the ones who maintained their excellence.

    What do you think, did I leave anyone out?

  119. Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling

    *EDITED to add – Neither of these really qualified as phenoms, I guess. But there was a time when Johnson or Schilling could go off at any moment and strike out 15+. I know I would have wanted to be there to watch them pitch if given the opportunity.

  120. In case you are blocked at work –

    1. Julio Teheran, rhp
    2. Freddie Freeman, 1b
    3. Randall Delgado, rhp
    4. Mike Minor, lhp
    5. Craig Kimbrel, rhp
    6. Matt Lipka, ss
    7. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp
    8. Brandon Beachy, rhp
    9. Brett Oberholtzer, lhp
    10. J.J. Hoover, rhp

    Interesting that Kimbrel, who has ML success, is ranked 5th.

  121. #213 -yeah, that was my take on it. I wonder if Aroldis Chapman would make the list. If he was moved to the rotation, Id pay to see a 103-105 mph fastball. Id probably add Halladay, Smoltz, and Maddux to the list.

  122. I think a position player would almost have to be chasing a record in order to really drive road attendance. Aaron, Rose, Ripken, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds would be my list.

  123. @200: Actually, give more credit to UT for actually being within a few buckets of making the Final Four. UK, on the other hand, saw WVU’s 1-3-1 and soiled itself.

  124. Completely anecdotal, but I have more than one friend who is a casual baseball fan, who “collect” pitchers. One isnt a sox or rays fan, but he bought tickets to 3 games in Tampa bay to catch Pedro and Schilling in a series.

    They don’t ever mention position players they saw. And they are both more into established stars than phenoms. The “tell my future children” factor.

    And they’re totally jealous that I’ve seen Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.

  125. I saw Maddux ans Schilling go at it once, it was terrific. I have also seen a couple of Smoltz Pedro show downs there come to mind.

  126. I know I’ll tell my grandkids about the sunny May afternoon in 2006 when I watched giants of the game Kyle Davies and Steve Trachsel face off against each other. Got to see a mammoth home run off the storied bat of Endy Chavez, too. Ahh, memories.

  127. Or the time that grandma (my wife) bought us tickets to a game right after we were engaged. We drove down from Virginia to Atlanta to see… Horacio Ramirez against ___ (I can’t even remember) for the Phillies. Yes, grandchildren, THE Horacio Ramirez. ugh.

    The cool story to be told will be about Billy Wagner throwing his warm up ball to me (instead of the couple of kids in the bleachers) because I yelled that we had just driven down from Charlottesville.

  128. Pretty sure I went to a game in 2004 that was one of the patented ‘Sunday Lineup’ games that featured Nick Green, Jesse Garcia, Dewayne Wise, and Eddie Perez in the same lineup. I don’t remember who started but it was probably Travis Smith or someone equally crappy.

  129. Just saw the braves top ten prospects as rated by Baseball America
    no surprises
    1. RHP Julio Teheran

    2. 1B Freddie Freeman

    3. RHP Randall Delgado

    4. LHP Mike Minor

    5. RHP Craig Kimbrel

    6. SS Matt Lipka

    7. RHP Arodys Vizcaino

    8. RHP Brandon Beachy

    9. LHP Brett Oberholtzer

    10. RHP J.J. Hoover

    Any subscribers care to paraphrase what they said about Lipka?

  130. lipka at 6 and salcedo completely left off? i thought prospect rankings were more about projections and not actual results from the previous year?

  131. I was at a game in NY vs. the Mets that Jose Capellan started for the Braves. My first and only Braves game outside of Atlanta, and Jose gave up nine runs in the first two innings. 6.000 miles from Germany just to see THAT.

  132. Freeman and Lipka. Lipka had a slash line of .288/.344/.380 in rookie ball, and he’s the best position prospect who’s not starting in the majors next year.

    And we trade a 27 year old shortstop for an old guy and another pitching prospect.

  133. Oberholtzer is a surprise.

    I think most outlets would have Salcedo, Bethancourt, and Carlos Perez on this list ahead of him.

    Also, it looks like BA thinks highly of Harrilchak, though he is not in the top ten.

  134. It sounds like Andrelton Simmons may be closer to the bigs than Lipka. If he’s as good defensively as billed, it may not be all gloom and doom.

  135. I’ve noticed that the Braves have touted some prospects’ defense as better than it really is in the past. *cough* trade value *cough*

    Schafer, for example, was supposed to be the next Andruw defensively, but I call him “Magellan” for the routes he took.

    Prado was supposedly a great glove coming out of the minors…and while his defense is not a problem, it’s not exactly Orlando Hudson.

  136. Juan Castro signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers. If he plays in the majors in 2011, here’s the list of active position players with longer major-league careers (assuming each also plays in 2011):

    Ivan Rodriguez
    Jim Thome
    Alex Rodriguez
    Omar Vizquel
    Manny Ramirez
    Chipper Jones

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