Nate McLouth

Ugh.

McLouth basically never looked like a professional baseball player last season. He started out with a catastrophic spring training in which he struck out in literally nearly every at-bat. When real games started, he didn’t strike out that much more than he usually does, but virtually never made solid contact, contributing instead a plethora of FB-9s. He got even worse when Jason Heyward leveled him going for a fly ball in June, causing a concussion. He hung around for awhile, went on the DL, came back, and finally was assigned to the suburbs, hitting .168/.279/.265.

He was called back up the day before roster expansion; playing part-time he hit .273/.359/.527 in 65 plate appearances in September and October. So there is reason for optimism, but he was still parked on the bench against the Giants, getting only two at-bats, a hit in one of them. If McLouth really has repaired whatever was wrong with him — and there was something wrong, don’t doubt it, it’s just not clear what — then he can be a valuable player in 2011.

A poor defensive player, but not a catastrophe; you’d certainly want a better one in center with a second baseman playing left. A fantastic base stealer with the Pirates but only a mediocre 19 of 27 with the Braves. It’s not clear if he slowed down (he did have some leg issues in 2009) or if they’re doing something different that’s causing it or if it’s just one of those things.

Nate McLouth Statistics

163 thoughts on “Nate McLouth”

  1. Lot’s of keys to the season, but getting production out of CF one way or the other is HUGE! McLouth is young enough to rebound. If he could have the year he had in 2008, our lineup could be deadly. Man, I can’t wait for baseball…

  2. I rarely post ever on a non regular season post, but I just have to say how much I utterly loathe, despise and hate Nate McLouth. I thought after Keith Lockhart I’d never have to witness another Atlanta Brave, that sucked the complete joy out of Baseball for me, but watching McLouth continue to steal at bats from actual professionals, brings me to a level of depression, not of the planet earth.

    To make matters worse, the Phillies have put together the most complete starting rotation since the Smoltz-Maddux-Glavine-Millwood era. If McOUT is given at bats against any of those 4 starters, it’s going to be truly painful to watch.

    Seriously, the only thing I wanted this winter from Frank Wren was MClouth out of a Braves uniform and he couldn’t deliver that.

  3. Gotta’ love the honesty from Calipari after UK lost to Bama:

    “We shouldn’t have been in that game, so I am proud of that. But our practice tomorrow will be brutal.”

    Don’t know what to think about McLouth. I know he did better at the end of the year, but I really didn’t see anything that led me to believe that he’s completely turned it around. My guess is we’ll have a new centerfielder before the All Star break.

  4. I think he has slowed down. I though he was an average defender when we first got him, but now he can’t get to balls becasue he plays too deep. The loss of a step has really hurt.

    I think he has tried to compensate by trying to add some power, and it hasn’t worked. Remember when Andruw would hit a deep home run and then woudl spend the next few weeks hitting pop-ups to left or swinging and missing at breaking balls? I think McLouth does the same thing.

    I hope he turns it around. If he plays well, we will be a tough team to beat.

  5. I think he has tried to compensate by trying to add some power, and it hasn’t worked.

    Yeah, I don’t think that’s it, at all. He hit for a lot more power in Pittsburgh than he has, here. Maybe he went to the Jeff Francoeur School of Adding Power, whereby you lose significant power.

    I think he was just hurt or mechanically off, or both. No idea whether he’ll rebound, but I’m sure my man Jordan will be there to save us, if Nate fails. ;)

  6. I read a lot of Braves-related postings and I’ve yet to read anything that makes clear what happened to McLouth.

    He went from good to wretched overnight without any obvious cause.

    Weird.

    Could it be that pitchers are less focused when facing the Pirates? (If so, Diaz will hit .400 …)

  7. “A poor defensive player, but not a catastrophe”

    Maybe that was true in the past, Mac, but last year he really seemed to be a catastrophe. As a center fielder, UZR had him at -12.3 while DRS had him at -10, and that was in literally half the number of innings he played out there the year before. I think an improvement in CF defense is as important as our getting more offensive production from the same spot–and that’s why I HATE the fact that he’s back.

  8. McClouth was a decent player who perhaps thought he could be a great player. Maybe he just tried too hard to be great rather than “playing within himself.” Maybe he had personal problems that we don’t know about. Who knows!

  9. Talk about damning with faint praise. .273 a reason to be optimistic, a poor defensive player, but not a catastrophe, I’m like Alex R. I’ve seen this guy with my own eyes. True, he’s better than Melky, but I’d rather have Ankiel, which says all you want about McOut. I remember someone on here when we got him saying he just hits a lot of flyballs that will soon become routine outs, very prophetic. McOut will make three years in a row, where we have an outfielder that we need to come through for us. 2009-Francouer, 2010-Melky, now McOut, I see a pattern here.

  10. It did seem that everyone got more excited than was perhaps justified when the Braves got McLouth. When you are trying to piece teams together like the Braves do (and the Giants did), you need some luck, which the Giants got in abundance. The Braves have been a lot less lucky in their pick ups(or, alternatively, have not been as good at judging talent). Oh well, when the Braves sign Albert Pujols, everyone will forget McLouth. :)

  11. Remember when we thought that he was mediocre/pretty crappy in CF, but could be a plus corner OF? That was before we saw him play a left field that exposed him as Melky meets Ache.

  12. @2: “I thought after Keith Lockhart I’d never have to witness another Atlanta Brave, that sucked the complete joy out of Baseball for me, but watching McLouth continue to steal at bats from actual professionals, brings me to a level of depression, not of the planet earth.”

    I’m not sure from which actual professional he was stealing ABs? Melky? McLouth at his worst was still pretty much interchangable with Melky. Ankiel? Despite his occasional power, Ankiel is a horrible hitter and an even worse fielder than Shallow McLouth, though he has a stronger throwing arm. You don’t gain anything with either of those guys.

    Blanco? Blanco had a good on-base stretch as a Brave, but he’s not that much better. It might have been a mild improvement, but no enough to elicit anger. Also, he wasn’t even there for the last part of the year.

    I was fine playing McLouth because there was no one else to go in that spot. McLouth ended up, for the last couple of months, being more productive there than any other option.

    I’m also fine giving McLouth a shot to start the season, but, yeah, we need a better plan B than Mather. I just don’t know where we’d get a better plan B than Mather.

    If Freeman flames out, then we can play Hinske or Prado there and the other one in left. If Chipper can’t go, Prado can play there, and Hinske can play left. If McLouth sucks, we can’t really do much about it. Other than short, where the team is determined to play a crummy hitter come hell or high water, this is the riskiest spot on the team. We just have to hope he’s fixed himself.

  13. @17
    I’ve never thought of the McLouth acquisition as a total disaster. We desperately needed any offense we could get in the outfield at the time, I never thought much of any of those prospects and his contract seemed very fair. I didn’t think he could slip to a level of unserviceability where a 6.5M commitment would seem so onerous.

  14. it looks like the braves released their gametimes; any idea why friday, may 27 is a day game? it appears to be at 1:35 which doesn’t make much sense for a friday afternoon…i wonder if it’s a mistake?

  15. Mather is not a reasonable option in center. Physically, he resembles Hinske more than any other Brave; he’s listed at 6-4, 215, and is certainly heavier than that now. He’s not really a good corner outfielder. I know that the Cards played him there on a couple of occasions, but that’s just LaRussa being LaRussa.

  16. I agree. If McLouth is injured or is incapable of being a productive Major League player, who plays center, then?

    Heck, just move Heyward over and sign Manny! or Damon for a corner. Oh, yeah, there’s no money. Oops.

  17. Unless Mather has done a very poor (Brad Penny caliber) job taking care of himself over the last year, I’d say he looks more like Jeffy than Hinske.

  18. I bet Bobby Cox will put together the dumbest possible lineup this year and cost the Braves numerous games . . . wait, oh yeah.

  19. Marc – that would be pretty spot on except that Cox played Melky. A lot.

    Loved the Old Man, but he was certainly mule-headed at times.

  20. Contrast the CF situation with the awesome SP depth chart where Kawakami doesn’t even crack the top six, not even including the injured Medlen. Compare it with any team outside of Philadelphia, and you’ll see why the Braves will be competitive this year. It seems like the team should be able to trade one of the zillion #3 starters or a couple of the zillion hot pitching prospects for a backup CF who’s a borderline starter.

    Maybe Wren’s waiting for some SP buyers to get desperate, which could also be why he hasn’t moved KK yet.

  21. I don’t know enough about Matt Young in terms of defense to have a real preference between him and the likes of Schafer, Mather or Coztanzo. I’m going to reserve judgement for spring training. But I am rooting for Schafer to become a legitimate Major League CF sooner rather than later.

  22. Dodgers signed Marcus Thames so Xavier Paul is probably quite available. He’s a lefty, but can play cf

  23. His numbers are impressive. Beyond being effectively blocked by the Dodgers current major league outfielders(is a Gibbons/Thames platoon in left that sure of a bet to stick?), is there any indication that they’d be looking to move him? They have one of the deepest rotations in the game, so I don’t think we can trade Beachy for him.

  24. Alex, do you know more about Mather than what’s on the web? I can’t find much, but just from reading the STL blogs, that assumption (Hinske>Mather defensively) cant be right.

  25. According to Wren—in an interview I heard on WFAN last season—Bobby played Melky more than he wanted during the season, especially early.

    Much of Melky’s playing time was related to McLouth’s troubles.

  26. Well, we need any OF who can give us good center field defense and do something with the bat, oh yeah and speed on the bases would be a huge plus. I don’t care if he’s left or right handed, but I do see how one could view Xavier Paul as something of a redundancy when you have Louth, Costanzo, Young and Schafer all at your disposal. If he’s substantially better than this crop of outfielders though, which I have no reason to believe or not to believe, then he’s not a redundancy at all.

  27. Oh, no, I don’t know more about Mather than the rest of the internet — I know significantly less. I just know that whenever I’ve seen him, he has failed to look like a major leaguer, and instead looks like one of these random St. Louis types — the Brian Barton, Joe Thurston, John Gall-types who happen to get a couple hundred at-bats because Tony La Russa is insane.

    I never said I thought Hinske was better than Mather defensively. I just think he’s a better player overall, which I don’t think anyone seriously doubts.

  28. @37 Tony Gwynn, Jay Gibbons, and Thames all have guaranteed contracts. Throw in Ethier and Kemp, and unless LA wants to keep 6 OFs, Paul is gone. He is a 25yo with good speed, strong arm and decent power . He has a pretty good minor league pedigree, and was a Southern League All Star in 07. He can play all 3 OF positions. He is out of options. He could serve as a McLouth platoon partner, and LF/RF injury replacement or spot starter, and late innings PR. AAA averages 320/.380/.512 (Warning – PCL numbers) but he is still young, and has some upside. Can’t really speak to his defense. He was jerked around a bit by the Dodgers, and ultimately shut down for a neck injury. Still, his overall package is an appealing skill set for a 4th OF/CF platoon guy, and he’s probably a better bet than anyone we have now to fill the role.

    He’s probably as good or better than all 3 of Thames, Gibbons and Gwynn, all things considered.

  29. OK thanks, I was wondering if he was out of options and had to be moved. I don’t see why you’d pay real money for lil Tony Gwynn, who’s a known offensive sinkhole when you have a decent 4th OF type on the roster, I’m on board with a X.Paul acquisition. If he did end up in ATL, he’d have to be kept on the 25 man roster right?

  30. #13 – I agree with you. The most that we can expect out of McLouth is that he doesn’t suck as much as he did last season. This team can score runs but IMHO it will be hard to sustain rallies if the team has to carry both bad McLouth and AGon. Not to mention that Freeman is a complete unknown at this point.

  31. @45, I could see the former, but goodness, you’d have to REALLY hate his OF defense to significantly devalue Ethier by moving him to 1st (fangraphs does in fact hate his D, B-R merely finds it lame). Seems they have ALSO signed Gabe Kapler to a minor league deal, so maybe you are on to something after all.

    As some LA fans note in this article, this is definitely it for jamie Hoffman, also a 25yo CF/OF/1B with decent speed and good minor league avg/discipline

    http://mikesciosciastragicillness.com/2011/01/17/two-old-outfielders-at-once-dodgers-to-sign-marcus-thames-and-gabe-kapler/

  32. Dusty, he’s talking about Jose Constanza

    “Constanza will come to camp with a chance to impress the Braves with his speed. The 27-year-old Minor League veteran hit .319 with 34 stolen bases last season with Triple-A Columbus. He ranked sixth among all Triple-A batters with eight triples. ” – per Bowman in November

  33. exactly Mac….I dont care at this point, I just want someone in CF that can do something/anything above average. If its just a great defensive guy, I can live with that. I cant live with another 2010 Nate/Melky show. I think Ankiel was an upgrade over those two so I wont lump him in there.

  34. OK thanks must’ve missed that one. I thought I knew our system backwards and forwards and that name meant nothing to me.

  35. Glad I’m not the only one missing Blanco. Really think we could have used him until we can find a true stud in CF.

    Exponentially better than what we have now.

  36. First off, let me say I don’t hate Nate… and even though he apparently wasn’t very good defensively last year. After he came back up I’d been so used to watching Melky not make it to balls, that it FELT like he wasn’t doing a bad job defensively (conversely, to me Ankiel always looked like the balls were going to drop on him even when he made it to them easily).

    Hypothetical question.

    Nate McLouth is under contract for $7.75MM this year (with the buyout)… and has an option for $10.65MM next year. Can anybody imagine a scenario in which Nate manages to get that option picked up? How good would he have to play in ’12 to A) warrant that much in ’12 and B) make up for how bad he was in ’10

    Would anybody even consider it if he hit:
    .264 .366 .513 w/ 35 HR?

    (No, I’m not advocating we keep him, just asking how much it would take to redeem himself)

  37. The best Nate could hope for is a renegotiated extension, and I am not sure .264 .366 .513 w/35 HR would even get you there.

  38. I doubt anyone would believe he could come too close to repeating it.

    So, no, I think Elvis will rise from the grave before that option is picked up.

  39. The book on Nate is that he produced beyond his actual ability during his good years. I can’t think of a scenario where the Braves pay him 10.65 million.

    Who knows maybe he goes on a season long salary drive and gives the Braves something to think about. Nah.

    Again, all I expect and want out of Nate is not to suck.

  40. Not that it would make a difference but you’re already paying him the 1.25 so the question is whether it’s worth 9.4 to have nate in 2012.

  41. I had forgotten Nate’s contract was that bad. I mean, agents must just be pushing each other out of the way to negotiate with Wren.

    Even Cashman (you can’t make that name up) would be in trouble from his superiors for agreeing to that deal.

  42. Matt Young probably has a good chance of making the roster since he can backup in CF (as well as other positions).

  43. 69 — Wren didn’t negotiate that contract. He traded for McLouth when he was a good young hitter, we had a black hole in CF (Schafer was playing with a broken wrist), no team offense, and didn’t give up anything of importance. It looked like a fine deal at the time.

  44. I don’t know. He’s really, really good at his job. There are a couple of burps (the Lowe contract, the Yunel trade), but he’s been mostly stellar. Almost certainly better than I would be at the same job.

    Other than that guy in Tampa, there’s no one in baseball I’d rather have as a GM.

  45. BTW, that line was the ’02 Andruw one… though not way out of the range that people were reasonable to expect (or at least hope for) after Nate’s ’08

    .276 .356 .497 (26Hr and 46 232B)

  46. Re: Wren

    “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

    When you are the GM of a cash-challenged team, you can’t make $10- and $15-million dollar mistakes.

    Getting a good month and a half out of Glaus doesn’t win you GM of the Year.

  47. How someone can hate Nate is beyond me. Without a doubt he – unlike ACHE, Melky, Andruw and some other Braves players of late – TRIED hard. And that is all one can ask for.

    (That’s also why I never understood all the hatred thrown at Mike Hampton. Frustration? You bet. But hatred??)

  48. #69
    Interesting that you mention Cashman. He recently admitted that he didn’t want to sign Soriano—it wasn’t spending the money so much as losing the draft pick.

    But he was overruled by Levine, etc.

    Nonetheless, if everyone maintains health, they’ve built a pretty formidable bullpen for 2011.

  49. 79 — wonder if they’ll go independent too, or if they’ll stay for the BCS tie in and ease of scheduling.

  50. I don’t hate Wren at all, but I can definitely think of better GMs out there. Like anyone, he has his strengths and weaknesses. He’s good at building a bullpen, bench, and keeping a competitive roster together all the while preserving his assets/prospects. He is absolutely horrendous at finding good value in the outfield, and doesn’t seem to value defense as much as other innovative GMS do now.

  51. #76 – bingo…people need to check out that 2007 roster and the AAA/AA rosters when giving Wren his overall grade. JS really handed over an absolute mess.

  52. #81 – “built” maybe the wrong word there. Their setup guy and closer are making $30+mil combined. In comparison our two are making a combined $800K.

  53. Out-Of-Context Quotes Presents Adam M. in Comment #83!

    “I don’t hate Wren at all, but I can definitely think of better GMs out there. Like anyone…”

    Thank you, thank you…

  54. @81, Slightly OT, Cash has it pretty sweet – if a guy pans out, he’s a genius. If not “they made me do it!”. And a 200M payroll to go along with it.

  55. @82, they’ll stay in for the bowls. Unless you crack the BCS, it’s really hard to get into a good bowl game as a true independent. If they can swing something like Notre Dame, where a lot of bowls can go “Big 12 OR Texas,” they might pull it off. Otherwise, I don’t think they split. Boosters love bowl games.

  56. In YankeeLand, it’s built (Jeter, Rivera, etc.) & it’s bought (Giambi, Mussina, etc.)—what’s the difference?

    Of course, you don’t have to be a genius to outspend people, but it’s a nice luxury to use the rest of MLB as your minor league.

    The dirty secret with Pinstripers remains the stupid money they’ve spent on the Kei Igawas & Drew Hensons of the world. They make a mistake on people like that & it’s no big deal.

    BTW, Cashman wasn’t involved in the Soriano signing process at all. Randy Levine did the negotiations.

  57. I don’t think anyone’s saying Wren’s the best general manager in the game. I’d certainly take Friedman over him. But I’m not quite sure who else I’d rather have. Like Adam said, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. But Wren inherited a team that was out of the playoffs, and took it to the playoffs while building one of the most impressive collections of minor league pitching talent in the game. Most of his trades have been very good, and all in all his good trades far outweigh his bad ones.

    His signings haven’t been nearly as impressive, but they haven’t been catastrophic. Glaus did a pretty good job for $1.5 mill, IMHO, but the real evidence for Wren’s talent for signing free agent talent was the Saito and Wagner contracts last year. Those guys were freaking awesome.

    Yes, he sucks at building an outfield. But he’s really really good at building pitching. On balance, we have a really good team. That ain’t chopped liver.

  58. Not to mention, if Freeman pans out, they have a terrific offensive 1-5 locked up for a while on the cheap in sum. Some of that young pitching is going to be good, along with the guys already are. That’s a great core, and when the Hudson/Jones/Lowe contracts expire, some money to go out and get the other bits (3B, LF, CF)

  59. I agree with everything Alex said.

    I’d love to have Friedman, but that’s it. David Ross was also an excellent signing, and Pastornicky has the opportunity to undo the Yunel trade. The Lowe contract, everything considered, is a pretty good “worst move” for a GM.

    I think Wren’s done a pretty dang good job, and he’s built a team that will continue to compete, which a lot of GMs can’t do while producing a playoff team.

  60. I’m not sure but our outfield does have two all stars in it from last year. Given that Prado was playing second, but if he had numbers like he did last year at the break, he will be on the team again.

    Finding a big bat for a corner outfield spot costs a ton of money that we don’t have. Also, there aren’t a lot of available CFs out there right now.

    I think given his parameters, Wren has done a great job.

    @82, no way they become independent. They cut a sweet deal with the Big 12(?) where they get a larger slice of the pie than the rest of the league. Being independent would hurt recruiting in the long run plus they would have a hard time finding games to fill a schedule at this point. They really have a sweet deal gong on where they are. Basically, they had offers to join the Big Ten, Pac Ten and probably the SEC and at the 11th hour the rest of the Big 12 sould their souls to keep the conference (or what’s left of it) together.

  61. I would like to believe that Wren is an improving GM. Like many–if not most of us–it takes time to settle into a new job and become good at it. There is no surprise or shame in this, but Wren has to do it in public–in fact, a hungry public. Therefore, before we criticize the Lowe deal(which I have done with great relish) we have to remember that it was set up by the way he handled John Smoltz. Since Blanco came up on the thread I will re-iterate from a couple of threads back that the Braves may have managed to mishandle Blanco and Schafer without having much to show for it. There are other things one might easily complain about.

    Nonetheless, as we move forward I think that Wren’s moves have gotten better (I liked the Yunel deal)and so I believe he has probably become an asset at this point. One of the things that I like about Wren is that he makes useful deals without trading away our best prospects. He has at once managed to improve the club immediately and for the longer term. We should be competitive (if we are not already ‘doomed’)in 2011 and better through the decade. As much as I have criticized Wren, I think that he deserves a great deal of credit for putting us in this position…..

  62. I would have no problem arguing that Wren is the second best GM in baseball.

    My deep, dark fear is that in four years I’ll be saying that about Alderson. That guy scares me more than any single player.

  63. 93 – This has pretty much sealed it for me. If anyone ever again posts a link with a lead in about Lenny Dykstra, I’m going to open it. The link above + the link about a guy working for Dykstra a week or so ago were two great ones. Thanks for sharing.

  64. On Wren:

    The important thing to remember is that while taking the Major League Club back to the playoffs, Wren has also managed to have a consensus top 5 (maybe top 3) farm system and that is even after graduating the top prospect in the game (Heyward obviously). Of course we can pick on the inability to build depth at certain posistions (OF and MI) but a team with budget constraints is going to have weaknesses. For what he has to work with Wren’s doing a helluva job.

  65. That Lenny Dykstra–he’s such a romantic and a wise money manager as well. And, just the other day, I hear he was reading Proust.

    GMs are like managers–the closer you are to them, the less you like them. I bet there are Red Sox fans that bash Theo. Wren hasn’t done everything right by any means, but considering his situation, he has done pretty well. I too would like to see more emphasis on defense but it’s not that easy. And, at least, he’s not Jim Hendry.

    I am starting to realize just how spoiled we got during the 90s. The Braves won 91 games last year-second in the NL. That’s a lot of wins. It’s hard to win 90 games. Yet, between 1991 and 2005, the Braves won more than 91 games 11 times (and, really, more since they probably would have won more in 1994-95 without the shortening of the season). It’s ridiculous how good the Braves were–and a shame they didn’t win more championships to validate the team. I often complained about them not being a great team because they didn’t hit enough, their bullpens were relatively weak,and so forth. But, in retrospect, they were a great team for 15 years. The same thing is going to be said about the Indianapolis Colts–the parallels are pretty significant.

  66. And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The check was that of the little piece of pleasure which on Saturday evenings at the Avalon in Los Angeles (because on those evenings I did not go out to borrow money from my acquaintences), when I went to say good evening to her at the bar , I gave my Flava of Lust, dipping it first in her own B-cup before releasing it to her. The sight of the little check had recalled nothing to my mind before I had touched it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the meantime, without touching them, in the documents from my lawyer, that their image had dissociated itself from those Avalon days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the shapes of things, including that of the little thin line of dust, so richly sensual under its severe, religious grain, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness.

  67. The Cookie indeed.

    /Orson Welles slow clap.gif

    //I might have gone with “the check was for that little piece of Monica” though… You are more subtle.

  68. @108, that wouldn’t make sense in the sentence. For Lenny, Money == Pleasure. He isn’t giving her a piece of herself; he’s acting like he’s giving her money and enjoys the pleasure he imagines she takes from that. The memory is ultra awesome because he’s not really giving her money, so he gets to spend lots of money and act like the big shot while not sacrificing any actual money. The memory isn’t of a sexual experience, it’s of fake-giving money, and the detail is of how he gives it to her.

    Also, if you read that line, all you think of is Mambo No. 5. At least, that’s all I’m thinking right now, thanks to your comment. Just the chorus, too.

  69. Musical thread hijack:
    New sweetheart wants romantic music for Valentine’s Day. I need a guarenteed winner.
    Please help!
    (I’m thinking the Very Best of Van Morrison)

  70. Chet Baker is terrific.

    #113
    Van the Man works just fine, even “Astral Weeks.”

    Me, I’d go with Marvin Gaye. There’s a 2-CD Motown best-of, but “Let’s Get It On” & “Midnight Love” should do the trick.

    A few electronica titles that fit the bill:
    *”Blue Lines” or “Protection” by Massive Attack
    *”Moon Safari” by Air
    *”The XX” by The XX

    A couple jazz titles:
    *”Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis
    *”A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane

  71. Seconding Julie London, or else Nina Simone. Also like the Miles Davis, especially if you’re looking for instrumental dinner music. Are you buying it for her, or to have something for you to play?

  72. If you’re looking to get some, @116 gave away pretty much the entire Gettin’ Laid Canon. He might have left out a Portishead album or something. This comes close to violating a Man Law.

  73. Portishead (well Dummy anyway) makes me melancholy, not romantic – it’s one of my all time favorite albums.

  74. #124
    Back in the day, we used to call them “couch tapes.” But it’s true—chicks dig Portishead.

    On that tip, there’s a relatively obscure, late-’90s CD called “Zipless” by an artist named Vanessa Daou that pretty much takes that notion as far as you can go. It’s a sexy, downtempo take on Erica Jong’s writings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aMD8v7sBog

  75. @127, do you remember Stomped Out Like A Small Fire? I can’t find any recordings and I loved them back in the day.

  76. Maybe they’re hoping Andruw’ll be this year’s Marcus Thames, but one who can still play the field a bit.

    In 102 PA vs LHP last year, he went 256/373/558.

    Hoping he does well, because this is the wrong town to suck in.

  77. Could be the right move for his HOF candidacy — do well in NY and the question will begin to get raised.

  78. Definite similarities in terms of becoming a Yankee at similar stages of their career, although Raines had an under-appreciated skill set. He isn’t in, but you can’t say the question isn’t raised….

  79. Andruw’s gonna be a hard sell because it’s hard to properly appreciate his defense. But he’s already at 400 homers, and if he can hang around long enough as a corner OF to get to 500, I think he has a good chance of getting in by traditional means. Even if he doesn’t, he’d be a very good candidate for a future Veterans Committee.

  80. #140
    A weird conversation, for sure. I can hear it now: “He’s the Ozzie Smith of centerfielders, but with 450 HRs!”

    #139
    Hot stuff.

    BTW, folks, that’s ol’ Spike rocking the Tele & the cowboy hat.

  81. Bill James did a four-part piece running down the players on the most recent Hall of Fame ballot. He was middling on Murphy, but ranks McGriff fifth, ahead of (among others) Alomar, Larkin, and McGwire. Fred is at the bottom of his “B” group, “More-than-Qualified Hall of Famers of a type who are almost universally selected fairly quickly.” The top guys are “Obvious Hall of Famers.”

  82. Mac, how can you and I be two of only 271 people who have read that? Posnanski makes three, I suppose. It’s Bill freaking James!

    I mean, I know the answer — it’s the nominal fee. It appears that $3 a month cuts out, what, 98% of his potential readership? Jesus, no wonder it’s so hard to make a living writing these days.

  83. Been awhile and depends on the lady, I guess, but “Into the Mystic” always seemed to slay any inhibitions – as if it were a different place and time and construct.

  84. Been trying to watch this Florida Auburn basketball game, but doing so mocks the word excruciating

  85. Gotta love the GM speak…

    there’s too many teams that would love to have him

    139 — Spike, awesome stuff. Love that tone on the telecaster.

  86. Questions I hope the front office is asking:

    Can Edmonds still play center? He played a decent number of games there last season in Milwaukee on a team that had a couple of legit options. He can clearly still hit well, although at his age any year could be the year it all falls apart. He should be discussed.

    Are there any attainable options for backing up an offensively challenged older shortstop? Unfortunately, I can’t think of any. They should be looking for teams that match up well for a trade, but we’re probably stuck with Diory. On the plus side, shortstop is just about the only non-pitching position in the minors where there’s some talent.

    Now that Cox is gone, can we take on someone like Lastings Milledge? Milledge is interesting. He didn’t play center last year, but he was a full time CF at one point, and he’s only 25. His numbers aren’t amazing, but he’s still young, and he would be the best CF option if Nate can’t hit. When the team gave away Yunel, character mattered a lot. With a new manager, does it still?

    How do other teams view Brandon Beachy? Injuries happen a lot, so it’s great to have someone like Beachy in the minors who can step in and not suck in a pinch. However, when Medlen comes back, he’ll probably be the emergency starter. Beachy seems expendable with so much talent coming up the pipe. Even if none of the top-rated prospects work out, Medlen will probably be ready to start next year, causing a squeeze that will only be worse if one of the prospects pulls a Minor and forces his way up the system. If Beachy has value, there are needs.

    Are we holding out too long for a better Kawakami offer? At this point, offers are just as likely to disappear as get better. Is it worth risking being stuck with his contract for an extra $200k of relief?

  87. I would have been interested in Milledge, except for this: he doesn’t seem able to do anything well at this point. The stats hate his defense, he has no power, he doesn’t really walk, and he’s a low-percentage basestealer despite good foot speed. He’ll be 26 in April. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s a former product of the Mets hype machine, he’d be just another AAAA player. I just don’t see anything in there that’s worth taking a flyer on.

  88. Yeah, but someone has to play center field if McLouth still has issues. They can’t just leave a huge blank spot on the field.

  89. Thanks to all for album picks.
    Being reminded of Chet Baker and Julie London are why I asked the question on this blog.
    Marvin Gaye, Norah Jones, and Miles…those are classics.
    But I’ll be searchin’ hard for Portishead!
    Y’all are truly awesome.

  90. @154

    If we pick up another CF, he will have to be right handed.

    Like a back up short stop, we can get a platoon partner and/or back up for McLouth near the end of spring training.

  91. Where? I really don’t think a backup shortstop exists for any reasonable price that’s better than Diory. Near the end of spring training, there might not be any Plan B CFs left, either.

    I don’t think a Plan B CF has to be right handed. It would be nice, but the real goal is to hedge against McLouth starting out this season like the last one.

  92. Is there anywhere we can find defensive stats for minor leaguers? What is the scouting report on Young? I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him this year.

    Also, if the Braves are so sure McLouth turned a corner last September, why did he get only two at bats during the playoffs? I mean, they gave all the at bats in CF and LF to Rick Ankiel, Matt Diaz, and Melky Cabrera. At the time, I was ok with that–at least in having the former two out there–but that was precisely because I didn’t think McLouth HAD turned a corner.

    And I’ve said this before, but even if McLouth does turn it around, he will in all likelihood still need a platoon partner. He has never been able to hit lefties.

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