Braves 4, Pirates 3 (19 innings)

Box Score

Sure, sometimes you’re going to win a game that goes 19 innings on a disputed call at the play that it sure looked like the umpire got wrong. Still, we needed this one, and I’m taking credit, even if I still can’t type worth a damn.

With one out in the nineteenth, Julio Lugo walked. Jordan Schafer singled him to third. It being the nineteenth inning, there was no was that the Braves could hit for the pitcher… Scott Proctor. Proctor grounded to third — actually, it looked like grounded out hard enough to turn the double play, even with the tag. Lugo looked extremely out. He was called safe, and Proctor has a win and a walkoff RBI.

The Pirates took the lead in the first with a triple and two singles, 2-0.
they made it 3-0 with a homer from the 8th-place hitter in the second. After that, Tommy Hanson was mostly in control.

The Braves tied it in the third. Consecutive two-out singles from MxCann, Uggla made it 3-1; Hinske walked to load the bases. Heyward stepped up and singled to tie the score.

The two teams then went into dueling Hibernation Mode. Normally I would describe it but I’m running out of wakefulness.

580 thoughts on “Braves 4, Pirates 3 (19 innings)”

  1. Great to have you back, Mac. Hope you’re feeling better.


    Lugo’s right foot ends up standing on home plate after the slide, before he was called safe. And I’m sure Lugo expected to be called out since he shouldn’t have run anyways, so I’m not sure that cinches it either.

    Agree that the tag was applied, but the TV view closest to Meals’s angle looks like a pretty big whiff with maybe a slight touch to the leg–once, not two or three different places like some have said. If you aren’t going to give an automatic, “neighborhood” out call, then it was tough to tell if the tag was applied. A lot of that is on the catcher for me, who had plenty of time to not make a ridiculous swipe that grazed Lugo (also probably would have been easier to knock loose since he one-handed it). It’s clearer from the third-base side view, but that’s not where Meals was, nor should he have been.

    On it’s own merit, the call wasn’t that bad. Add in that Meals probably shouldn’t be that picky on a tag on that type of play and the inning/result, and it gets worse, but still not historically bad. Maybe just run-of-the-mill bad. replay

  2. Watching THAT replay, above:

    At 1:17, you see McKenry swipe across his body, and it sure looks like he tagged him.

    But at 1:40, they show a longview of the play from the third-base line, and at 1:47, you can see McKenry alligator armed the tag. I’m honestly not sure the tag didn’t just go over the top of him.

  3. If you aren’t rung up on that play than the standard of proof required to make an out call has gone up dramatically.

  4. So, McCann’s probably out for the month of August. Do we panic and dangle Teheran for a big bat now?

  5. If Wren lets Rasmus get away over Edwin Jackson, I think I’d rather have Jerry Meals as the GM.

  6. Proctor grounded to third — actually, it looked like grounded out hard enough to turn the double play

    Runners were on second and third. Schafer advanced to second after his single on defensive indifference. And if Proctor didn’t belly-flop, it wouldn’t have been a double play with the tag at home.

    Even with Proctor’s fall, if Lugo was ruled out, they wouldn’t have gotten Proctor. The catcher didn’t seem to notice he fell or have any intention of throwing to first.

  7. Glad you’re back, Mac. Get your rest; we all need it.

    Yes, I expect Wren’s going to press harder to get a bat- and maybe not as hard to get an arm, now that the Lisp proved his worth and we’re fooling ourselves into thinking Proctor is useful again.

  8. We don’t have anything that compares with Edwin Jackson. We have prospects who are likely to be better than him, but the Cards are in the race. They want a major league player.

  9. Apparently we are not all that serious for Beltran, according to his agent Scott Boras.

    It’s going to really suck when our big move at the deadline is Ryan Ludwick.

  10. ALSO: comment of the game last night was urlhix @ 529:

    “Let’s go parents, indeed.”

    Perfectly understated. Very satisfying.

  11. @11

    I bet the Cards would take Minor straight up over Jackson, and Rasmus is definitely worth Minor, imo. And Minor is MLB-ready, just not for the Braves.

  12. Jackson for Rasmus is apparently done. Unbelievable, but hey Schafer has a .600OPS and a broken finger.

  13. Blue Jays GM buys low on another young player having a bad year. Can we trade Wren for this guy?

  14. I’d go for a few years of Minor over a few months of Edwin Jackson. Maybe the Braves aren’t making that offer.

  15. Oh, and the Cards also get Mark Teahen in a three-way trade, according to USA Today from a White Sox source.

  16. What does Wren do during trade season? Talk with Fredi about motorcycles and wait until everyone else is done picking up players to make a move?

    Come on Wren. I’ve been a supporter, but you’ve got to do something sometime.

  17. Either we overvalue Minor, and the Cards think a couple of months of Jackson and Mark Teahen are worth more than him, or the Braves overvalue Minor and are not willing to trade him for Rasmus. It seems odd that we can’t top this offer.

  18. According to the AJC, the Braves believe (or at least are saying for public consumption)that Schaefer has done enough to merit more opportunities.

    If that’s the level of thinking in this organization, it’s pretty clear that the goal is to be decent and save money but not necessarily win a championship. No team really wanting to win would purport to think that Schaefer has shown much of anything–except Freddi Gonzalez, I guess, but he doesn’t even look at the stats that ARE on the scoreboard.

    And it’s pretty typical of how the Braves, over the years, insult the intelligence of their fan base by making blatantly falso or inaccurate statements. When they were having bullpen problems in the 90s, JS would always talk about how the bullpen was fine.

    I suspect Wren has to make some move now with McCann out–but, oh damn, they lost Johnny Gomes to the Nationals so that’s out. DOB floated the name Reed Johnson the other day; that sounds like the kind of move he will probably make–cheap, won’t require a top prospect, marginally useful. If your main interest is keeping payroll down and remaining competitive but not great,the best strategy is to hold on to all your prospects and finish second every year–or hope that the Phillies get old and collapse.

    I really don’t see how they survive without McCann for a month. This is 2010 all over again.

  19. The general standard for tags — on stolen bases, on plays at the plate, on any close tag play — is if the ball beats you, unless the missed tag is obvious, you’re out. We’ve had a lot of guys called out at second on that standard. We’ve also thrown a lot of guys out at second on that standard. In this case, Meals called a runner safe who was beaten by a country mile. If it was a bang-bang play, I could understand making it a judgment call. But this play wasn’t a judgment call. It should have been automatic.

  20. Apparently only the first part of the deal, Jackson and Teahen to the Jays, is for real official. Our front office might still have a shot.

  21. There were several angles that made it look like Posey was safe, too. All it takes is the one angle that shows he’s out. At that point, all inconclusive angles are irrelevant.

    It’s almost a shame that all the minor absurdities of that game, such as “Let’s Go Pirates!!!!!!!!!!!” girl and the guy running back and forth with a stack of like 100 cups, will be forgotten because of the ending. That was truly the most bizarre Major League game I’ve ever seen.

  22. In my mind, Wren to Mozeliak: “I want you to tell me right now that what the Jays are offering you is better than what we are willing to give you. I want you to say that you would rather have two months of Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen than six years of Mike Minor. Say it. Now. Out loud.”

    In reality, Wren to Manno: “You don’t think Rasmus is worth Minor? Okay.”

  23. “I really don’t see how they survive without McCann for a month. This is 2010 all over again.”

    This team has the third most wins in baseball and is still 3.5 up on the WC. This is no time to panic. We need another bat and another reliever but we should not give up Teheran in a panic move. Maybe now Mac will be better rested for Sept. and Oct. too.

    I also think everyone here is grossly overrating Colby Rasmus. He would definitely be an upgrade over Schafer at this point but he’s not a game changer and is probably not worth Mike Minor.

  24. I think everyone grossly overrates Mike Minor. I dunno when he joined the list of Untouchables, but I just don’t see it. He’s good, and ideally you never give up anybody good, but he’s not so good that you don’t trade him for a piece you need when the opportunity comes along.

    I just don’t get the Minor love. What are we waiting for? The incarnation of Joe DiMaggio?

  25. Rasmus isn’t the best center fielder in baseball, but: he’s 24, coming off a brilliant season last year at age 23, with stellar batting lines in the minor leagues and loads of talent. His biggest problem is that Tony La Russa doesn’t like him, which isn’t exactly a strike against him in my book.

    Also, I don’t know about grossly overrating Minor. His most important characteristic is unlike some of our more live-armed prospects, who either have injury or control concerns, Minor is virtually guaranteed to be a major league starting pitcher, rather than a reliever.

    Just a few years ago we paid $80 million for Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami, and we basically hoped they’d be solid mid-rotation starters. On the open market, that kind of pitcher makes $10-$15 million a year. It’s actually really hard to find a guy who’s able to pitch 200 innings with an ERA between 3.50 and 4.00. Minor can basically do that for free. That’s incredibly valuable.

  26. I mean what do the Cardinals want? A SP and a RP regardless of quality? Okay, give them Mike Minor and Scott Proctor. Proctor is obviously an amazing reliever after all. He just pitched three scoreless innings and came up with the game winning RBI a few hours ago.

  27. My two cents: Lugo should have been called out, and Meals was awful all game, not just on the blown call that ended it. But (in a strange and unsettling way) we owe the catcher’s quick swipe tag to Proctor falling down like a wet fish three steps out of the batter’s box. The catcher was thinking two outs and didn’t do enough to ensure the first.

  28. Exactly. Meals’s strike zone made that last call look like the work of… uhhhh.

    Crap, I need a good umpire to complete this simile.

    Well how about… wait, no.

    Hmmm… pass?

  29. @30

    But is it so much more valuable than a productive CF under team control for three more years that you wouldn’t make that trade? Especially considering the wasteland that is CF and the bleakness of the future at that spot?

  30. How is it possible that Rasmus can be had for Jackson? How is it possible that the Braves like Schafer even a little?

  31. Would I trade Minor for Rasmus, considering our incredible strength in pitching and desperate need for a center fielder? Probably. But if Rasmus can be had for just Edwin Jackson, then, good Lord, we have about five other pitchers who ought to be able to make it happen.

    I have no problem with the Braves publicly CLAIMING that they like Schafer. But I seriously hope they don’t actually mean it.

  32. @36

    Well I’m in agreement there, but I was thinking that if the Cards wanted an MLB ready player then Minor would be enough to put the Braves over the top of everybody else.

    Although it seems like it’s going to be Jackson + a prospect, so maybe Wren isn’t as lazy as I thought.

  33. New report is Rasmus for Jackson, Dotel, and Rzepczynski from If relievers are what St Louis want, we kind of need them, too, right now, so we may just not be a good match.

  34. Hmm.. looks like I can’t edit posts here using Chrome. But it looks like Jackson + Dotel + Rzepczynski for Rasmus.

  35. @24 – “The general standard for tags…” smells way too much like “because we’ve always done it this way”.

    I think the tag was probably made, but if baseball had the same type of replay as football where the standard is that the call on the field stands unless there is conclusive video proof otherwise… this call is not overturned.

  36. 36 – Yep. I think what’s happened is that the Braves (1) like Schafer, (2) would only replace him with a right-handed center fielder, and (3) did not even pursue Rasmus. This, in any event, strikes me as the most plausible line of reasoning.

    In the past, I have generally been a fan of Frank Wren. The Braves are, after all, one of the top 5-7 teams in baseball right now with a mid-level payroll. Meanwhile, they have a very good farm system, even if it is somewhat bereft of high ceiling position player prospects, and a bright future. In a macro sense, these fundamentals remain in place.

    That said, Frank Wren has pissed me off quite a bit over the past 12 months, starting with the Escobar trade. Just because the Braves are doing well doesn’t mean they’re doing as well as they could, or even should be doing. After the much-maligned (and/or debated) Escobar deal, Wren has shown a bizarre unwillingness to trade from strength and an overwhelming preference for veteran scrapitude over youthful talent. So far this year, I have been concerned by more than a few FO moves–from the Linebrink deal to the Uggla extension (note: I liked the trade for one season of Uggla, and the draft pick compensation) to the Proctor signing to the inability to fill out the bench with a competent outfielder and infielder. There have been too many unforced errors, and letting a 24-year old talent like Rasmus get away for peanuts while CF continues to be a black hole is absolutely baffling.

    /end of rant

  37. Well, the reason for that standard is that we don’t have instant replay. If we had instant replay, you wouldn’t need rules of thumb like that. But that is the way that we’ve always done it. Meals made a call where the throw beat the runner, the catcher was between the runner and the plate and swept the tag over his entire body, Lugo thought he was out, and essentially every point of collateral evidence pointed to the runner being out. Except for Meals believing for a split-second — which he later came to doubt when he actually saw the replay — that the tag missed him. Again, in the absence of technology, this is why we have rules of thumb.

  38. Braves management need to substitute objective facts for subjective impressions. Freddi likes Schafer because he looks like he’s contributing even when he’s not. Taking low percentage gambles like bunting yourself on, stealing bases, and then scoring on a squeeze sticks in Fredi’s memory 100 times more favorably than another guy just taking first on a walk, and then jogging around the bases and scoring on another player’s home run. Freddi loves it when a “gritty” guy makes low-probability “managery” runs happen. Only the players get credit when someone hits 3-run home runs, and that makes Freddi feel left out and powerless, like he’s not earning his pay.

  39. Last night was the 2nd longest thread in Braves Journal history. It beat out the Farnsworth game.

  40. With 2 players likely going on the DL (McCann and Schafer), who would you guys like to see get called up?

    Word is that Chipper might also have to go back to the DL.

  41. All this time focused on the outfield, the biggest glaring hole seems to be located in the infield with a .500-something OPS everyday player.

  42. An addendum: I probably overstated the Braves’ preference for veteran grit over youth, not least because of their preference for Schafer over McLouth. I suppose this holds true mainly for the bullpen. But the main point is that they like grit – which Schafer, for whatever reason, embodies – more than talent. Or so it seems to me.

  43. @49, The outfield is the focus because outfielders are available. What shortstops are available?

  44. Adam, agreed. The Linebrink trade was a weird way to spend a few million, and the Uggla extension was a pretty bad way to spend $60 million. On the whole it’s been positive, though he — like the late-period Schuerholz — hasn’t been able to pull the trigger on several blockbusters that we appeared to be in on. Maybe that’s due to corporate meddling, or maybe he’s too risk-averse, but that’s definitely been a characteristic of his tenure.

    The thing is, we don’t really know anything about what Wren’s been doing other than the fact that, apparently, we have been actively pursuing a lot of these players. So he’s not sitting on his hands. It’s very possible that he wasn’t pursuing Rasmus actively for the reasons you mentioned, but maybe he managed to keep his involvement quiet from reporters. IF he stayed away from Rasmus, that would be insanely stupid. But we don’t know all the steps he’s taken behind the scenes. So for now I’ll withhold judgment. But if July 31 comes and goes without some kind of improvement — and Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel do NOT count as “some kind of improvement” — I’m gonna be pissed.

  45. Maybe we’re not getting Rasmus because we’re closing in on a deal for someone else.

    But if this deadline goes by while Rasmus, Upton, Pence, and Beltran were available and Wren ends up with Ludwick as our offense, then I’m just going to have to switch sides on this Wren thing.

  46. I kind of dig the Blue Jays, by the way. AA is the man. From the Escobar trade, to the Bautista extension, to the Wells deal, to the Rasmus deal, he’s having quite a year.

  47. I think Wren and the Braves have made it a policy to keep their cards close to the chest after the Peavy fiasco and Furcal snub a few years ago.

  48. @53
    Man, you’re a harsh judge. He’s putting up a hell of a season and steals at a 78% success rate. Given the struggles of Agony, the inability to find a decent backup, and Tyler’s ability to put the ball in play or walk almost 90% of the time, he sounds ready to me.

  49. Are you guys thinking this replay thing through?

    I don’t mind it for homerun/fair/foul (and I would welcome an improved version of Questek for ball/strike), but to introduce widespread replay or some bulljive challenge system would really interrupt the flow of the game and nerdify it no end.

    If Selig manages to stiff-arm the knee-jerk cries for replay after some tenured ump blows yet another call, I might regard his commissionership a success.

  50. Stats for OF and C other than Wilkin or Boscan:

    Gartrell: 22 hr .891 OPS
    Constanza: .370 obp 23 sb
    Chris Carter: .819 ops 18 hr
    W. Castillo: .666 ops (compared to Boscan’s sub .500)

    It’s getting a bit absurd that Wren won’t try some new blood because he’s scared that the shitty players that will have to pass through waivers might get snatched.

  51. Looking at some of the names the Rays are rumored to have offered for Rasmus, I’m thinking that there’s some component of the Jays deal the Cardinals just like a lot more than outside observers do.

  52. Looks like it’s down to Upton and Pence unless Braves swoop in on Beltran.

    Wren is aware of the concept of leverage, right?

  53. I don’t understand the Cardinals deal. It sounds like the Rays had much better stuff on the table, and I would hope the Braves had a better package for offer, too. That doesn’t seem like a good deal for them.

  54. But Pastornicky has no power. His minor league ISO is under .100. I love his K/BB ratio and I like his speed, but I’m afraid the bat is just going to get knocked out of his hands at this point.

    He hasn’t dominated the minor leagues at any level. I really think you’re rushing him.

  55. Guys relax. Now that the deals are starting to go dow, let’s just wait and see what happens over the next 24-48 hours. No reason to panic just yet.

  56. We cant hit and are replacing BMac, Chipper, Schafer with Ross, Hinski, McLouth in the everyday lineup. Our bench is now Wilkin, Lugo, Boscan, Conrad, and one legged Chipper. Its okay if people get the urge to panic a bit.

  57. Multiple local news outlets in St. Louis are reporting the 8 player deal. I still don’t get it.

  58. Seeing the Giants give up their top OF prospect does not make me hopeful about the price on Upton/Pence, since their teams were already reportedly asking for a lot. We may end up giving more for a player less valuable than Rasmus. That’s why you don’t wait until the deadline to make a deal.

  59. Everyone knows the Phillies are going to get Pence. Bourn or Upton is the best we can hope for. Which is fine if we actually do it.

  60. I think the fact that Minor is a lefty and we’re in the same division as the Phillies means he’s more valuable to us than he is to a lot of other clubs.

    Minor for a half-year of Beltran? I wouldn’t do it.

    Wonder if the Pirates would trade McCutchen for Heyward and Minor?

  61. MLBTR

    12:45pm: Though most reporters are saying Brown is the centerpiece, Olney tweets that Giants pitching prospect Zack Wheeler is expected to be the headliner instead.

  62. Damn — it’s Gary Brown and Zach Wheeler.

    Still, other than Posey, Lincecum, and Cain, Brian Sabean has never shown any compunction in trading his best prospects. He’s always built the team through the trade market and the free agent market, much more than with homegrown players. That’s his style. It isn’t Wren’s. For the most part, I’d say that’s for better rather than for worse.

  63. @78, But like you said, the Giants didn’t wait and gave up their best OF prospect — and now Wheeler! Deal too early, and there’s no pressure on them to bring their price down.

    The deal makes sense for the Cards, assuming they have good reasons to get rid of Rasmus (which I don’t think they do). They have Carlos Martinez and Shelby Miller waiting in the wings. They need someone less suspect than Minor right now, plus bullpen help.

  64. I think the Pirate catcher is almost as responsible as the umpire. Why make a sweep tag when you have plenty of time to just sit down and let the guy slide into you? The only reason I can think of is he didn’t want to get hurt somehow. The throw beat Lugo by 2 or 3 steps; if the catcher just drops down, no way does Lugo get in.

    As for Wren, I continue to think that his reluctance to pull the trigger on big trades is at least partly due to his understanding that Liberty’s payroll is limited. So he feels he has to stockpile as many prospects as possible. Someone like the Phillies, for example, could give up some prospects knowing that, if necessary, they could go in the free agent market. With the Braves attendence even more mediocre than usual, Wren knows there ain’t likely more money coming down the pike; there may even be less, so the only way to compete is keep your own guys. Of course, that contradicts the Uggla signing to some extent but, as with Lowe, they needed SOME bat and that may have seemed the best option overall.

    The Braves remind me of a friend of mine whose philosophy was it’s better to finish second all the time than to win occasionally and then be lousy. And, in fairness, Wren probably doesn’t want to get burned by another Teixera situation where everyone is complaining in retrospect that he gave up too much.


    There’s always reason to panic. If we don’t panic, how else can we pass the time? :)

  65. I’m still kind of dumbfounded at the kind of deal that landed Rasmus. I really can’t believe that either the Braves or the Rays couldn’t come up with something more appealing.

    If it took Wheeler and Brown to land a Beltran rental, I can’t believe the Cards got so little for Rasmus.

  66. Wheeler and Brown? Must be nice to be a Mets’ fan today, even if the team is done for 2011.

  67. Mark Bowman just wrote the following:

    Obviously many have asked whether this alters the Braves’ approach before Sunday’s Trade Deadline. Well it could certainly alter the discussions about B.J. Upton or any other player who could aid their lineup. But I don’t think Frank Wren is going to cave and do something irrational.

    Now the fact that it appears the Giants will land Carlos Beltran could prove even more influential to Wren. With one less outfielder available and uncertainty surrounding Schafer’s finger, maybe it will be more appealing to acquire Upton with the hope a change of scenery will help him maximize his great potential.

    So… the mouthpiece is saying that a trade could happen. Hmm…

  68. Upton would be a good fit for us. He doesn’t put us over the top, but he fills a hole.

  69. @89
    Conflicting reports suggest that Wheeler is the centerpiece, but doesnt mention anything about Brown. I can’t imagine it would be both.

  70. A .700 OPS outfielder that has been getting on base at a Francoeur-esque clip this season should be just the thing to send the Braves surging past the Phillies.

  71. Upton fits. Tack on a deal for a bench bat and a reliever and hope for the best.

  72. Brown isnt in the deal, its top pitching prospect Wheeler and two others. Thats high for two months.

  73. I wonder about this “Change of scenery” thing. If you can’t play for Joe Maddon, who are you going to play for?

    That said, it wouldn’t take a new-and-improved BJ Upton to help us. Regular-old BJ would be an improvement.

    I wonder what the price is on Ludwick. Wonder if its even conceivable that both could be landed.

  74. @95

    We aint catching the Phillies, even if we trade for 1957 Hank Aaron and 1961 Roger Marris and Mickey Mantle.

  75. Dan, you are aware that Tampa is about the most severe pitching park in the majors now, his OPS+ of 101 would make him the 4th best hitter on the team (tied with Prado), 23SB vs only 7 CS, and exceptional road stats? Hardly Francouerian except in a passing raw numerical similarity – certainly not when put in context.

  76. Upton would be an upgrade, no question about it. Hopefully, he’d welcome a ticket outta that place & bust his ass in The ATL.

    BTW, no-hitter alert in Cleveland. Angels’ Ervin Santana is 3 outs away despite giving up a run today.

  77. @102 – Wow. That split is almost unbelievable. I had no idea Tampa was such a pitcher’s park.

  78. I would assume it will be either Wheeler or Brown. Then again, we’re talking about Brian Sabean here, so I probably shouldn’t assume anything.

  79. @106, hardly. Current: multi-year: Batting – 100, Pitching – 99; one-year: Batting – 102, Pitching – 101

    Tampa – multi-year: Batting – 92, Pitching – 91; one-year: Batting – 89, Pitching – 89

    EIGHTY NINE. Worse than Chavez by 25%.

  80. From Stark:

    “Other teams remain certain the Braves are GOING to add a bat. And as Buster Olney writes Wednesday, with Brian McCann heading for the disabled list, they need that bat more than ever.

    “But teams that have spoken with the Braves say they’re holding firm on keeping Mike Minor and their top pitching prospects (Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino) out of any deal — and that includes any conceivable package for Carlos Beltran, Pence or B.J. Upton.

    “An executive of one club predicted Tuesday that the Braves would wind up dealing for Josh Willingham. But for what it’s worth, the White Sox continue to scout Atlanta’s system, in case they decide to move Carlos Quentin.”

  81. 117 – Or maybe Mozeliak is.

    As for AA, I forgot about his acquiring Brandon Morrow for Brandon League. Tampa and Toronto are now the two best run organizations in baseball, which makes sense considering that the market effectively demands that they be. The problem for the rest of the AL East is that Toronto isn’t actually a small market. Just wait until they sign Fielder or Pujols, or nab Jimenez, or land Votto in a couple years.

  82. Guys like Schafer prove that prospects, no matter how exciting, are not sure things. It’s amazing that we’re reluctant to trade one of FOUR prospects to get a piece we need. ESPECIALLY now that we’re trading outside of the NL East.

  83. I know it off topic, but it is nice to see that Cole Rohrbough started in the GCL game. What a prospect he was and I am glad that the Braves have not yet given up on him….

  84. Cards get
    27 year old innings eater
    25 year old lefty reliever
    31 year old terrible outfielder who can play CF
    37 year old right handed pitcher

    They get a starter and a lefty reliever and a backup in case Rasmus’ replacement fails in CF and Dotel. IF an offer of Minor and some prospects was made by the Braves then I can see why the Cards think the Jays offer was better. They are looking to win now. Get into the playoffs, get lucky and win the whole thing. Think Giants.

    The Jays are now officially the Island of Misfit Toys. I wonder if Juan Bautista can council young Rasmus too.

  85. Wren will make a big move. I think this is just show to see if we can drive the price down on some guys.

    It has to be, right?

  86. If Wren was secretly aiming to field a team of all pitchers, I guess I’d have no choice but to applaud…

    C Vizcaino
    1B Lowe
    2B Minor
    3B Teheran
    SS Beachy
    LF Jurrjens
    CF Delgado
    RF Hudson
    P Hanson :)

  87. “Bryd has testy pre-game exchange with fan
    Frustrations starting to gnaw as season winds down.”

    That’s how the headline read on the Chicago Tribune Cubs page read today.
    No wonder he’s frustrated. Not only do people spell his name wrong, his team thinks the season is winding down, in July!

    I looked because Marlon B-Y-R-D has come up in discussions here before. I’d like to see him in a Braves uniform very soon. He can still hit.

  88. “We aint catching the Phillies, even if we trade for 1957 Hank Aaron and 1961 Roger Marris and Mickey Mantle.”

    Uh, Smitty, I beg to differ. I think an outfield of Aaron, Mantle and Maris in their prime would give the Braves a pretty good shot. In fact, I think Aaron, Mantle, and Maris now would be better than our current CFs.

  89. Maybe Wren has that Braves Journal malady known as Adam Wainwright disease.

    Lets face it we tend to over value Braves prospects here. And we don’t have a read on the market. Maybe prospects aren’t the hot commodity this year. Don’t get me wrong if it were me I’d be shopping Mike Minor in a big way. Not for just 2 months of Beltran but as the major part of a package that would get me a CF. Maybe Minor simply isn’t a good enough prospect to command a league average center fielder. I have to believe that Wren is trying his ass off to find a bat but he is constrained in the fact that he has only prospects to deal. That leaves out teams in contention that want mlb ready players. The teams that are out of it have multiple suitors and they may have pitching AND position players to offer whereas we only have pitching. Gotta look at this from all perspectives.

  90. Mike Minor, for whatever anyone thinks of him, is a Top 50 prospect who is a ML ready lefty starter. That is a very valuable piece, and should get you in the conversation for just about any player out there.

  91. I don’t want to mortgage the future, but the future doesn’t have a center fielder either.


    Here’s hoping that AA is so overjoyed by his fleecing of the Cardinals that he completely forgets to tender an offer to Ty Beede prior to the August 15th deadline.

    And I LOL’d at 77. Well done, AAR.

    EDIT: And I am disgusted that one of my prized keeper possessions is now a freaking Met.

  93. Minor would have headlined either of the major deals that went down today.

    If the choice is Upton and Pence for about the same return, I hope the Braves go with Upton. It looks like we’re being connected with Pence though.

    And Ryan Ludwick. =/

  94. I would welcome Ludwick with open arms, if a separate move for a CF was made. My preferences:

    1.) Upton + Ludwick/Willingham
    2.) Quentin + Byrd
    3.) Pence all by his lonesome

    I’m scared it’ll be JUST Ludwick, JUST Willingham or JUST Byrd.

  95. Yeah Braves need two OF’rs and a RHRP at this point (not counting Moylan)

    Willingham/ludwick/Byrd shouldnt cost too much

    Pence will be expensive, but get him and someone from the group above and we’ll be in much better shape.

  96. It will be just one outfielder, yes. I’m assuming it will be Ludwick or Willingham. Hopefully I’m wrong.

  97. I’d honestly be fine with just Ludwick or Willingham + a good reliever.

    Not as fine as I’d be with Upton or Pence, of course…

  98. Wren is the GM that, when the Braves were in the thick of things last year, got the team Farnsworth and Ankiel.

    So yeah, expect a Francoeur-for-Oberholtzer trade any minute now.

  99. I’m looking at Ludwick’s season, and his career splits, and… well, I don’t really like Ludwick. If the team is obsessed with finding a guy who can hit lefties, it’s worth noting that he has a reverse platoon split as a right-handed bat. Now, this never seemingly occurred to Wren/his mouthpieces when the Braves acquired Dan Uggla – a fine 2010 campaign notwithstanding – so I don’t imagine it will occur to anyone now. But I’m saying it anyway: Ryan Ludwick hits righties better than he does lefties.

    All that matters is that he’s right-handed, though. I guess.

  100. Welcome, Wil Nieves!

    145—I don’t really care about handed-ness; we just another good hitter, IMO, especially with McCann going down. (And I think it’s wrong to assume that Wren doesn’t know Ludwick’s or anyone else’s splits.)

  101. Ludwick is, at best, an average hitter right now. He’s also a bad baserunner and a below average fielder.

  102. Shrewd move to make JC Boscan the best 4th catcher in baseball now.

    Also, someone in the organization clearly hates Boscan. But then, why do they keep signing him to minor league deals?

  103. Wren did disappoint at the deadline last year, but the Uggla deal was pretty awesome. No one could have known that his first half would be such a disaster, and he does seem to be hitting like Uggla lately. Maybe he will get a good deal, have faith!

  104. I feel like we (and the Braves FO) properly value their prospects – some of these established players for prospect deals work in their favor (Tim Hudson) and some don’t (Tex). Like many, I tend to think the Jays underpaid and the Giants overpaid (assuming the trade includes Wheeler+).

    I know everyone is itching to make a move b/c other contenders are doing it and the Braves have looked shaky these last two series, but sometimes the best move is no move.

  105. I honestly think the deal for Tex was fine, we took our best shot at the WS. I think what made it so bad was when we traded him for Kotchman and Marek. If we just kept him and took the draft picks we would have Mike Trout right now.

  106. The best I can glean is that Wren isn’t comfortable making team-direction type moves mid-season. His M.O. appears to be, build a team in the winter, and supplement it on the run. Acquiring a regular to pencil in everyday for between 1.5 and 3 years, and trading away pieces that the organization has in it’s plans is not something he’s comfortable doing on a deadline.

    Which, you know, is probably for the best. The one time he made that kind of move, it was the Agony Affair. And I like the idea that there’s a plan and a process and that we don’t change course midstream.

    That said.. I think Pence would be worth changing plans for, a little bit.

  107. “I know everyone is itching to make a move b/c other contenders are doing it and the Braves have looked shaky these last two series, but sometimes the best move is no move.”

    Are we playing for this year or the future? If we are playing for the future, Wren should have offered Tim Hudson for Rasmus. I understand not depleting your farm system, but refusing to move any good prospect kind of backs you in a corner. You can’t improve your team if you’re not willing to give anything up — unless you’re Alex Anthopoulos.

    Also, TINSTAAPP.

  108. Well,
    Beltran is a better player than Rasmus.
    Beltran will have more impact on the division race than Rasmus.
    Context. Cards are in it for this year. Mets need prospects. The pitcher that the Mets received may not turn out to be anything. Sure the guys the Cards received aren’t superstars but Jackson and the relief pitcher are having solid seasons. Patterson sucks but he is just insurance in CF.

  109. @158 – I would suspect that a few years from now, the same will be said re. the SF Giants.

  110. “I don’t really care about handed-ness; we just another good hitter, IMO, especially with McCann going down. (And I think it’s wrong to assume that Wren doesn’t know Ludwick’s or anyone else’s splits.)”

    The only possible reason to acquire him is because he can hit lefties. Otherwise, his overall numbers suggest he’ll be largely useless. Johnny Gomes, for instance–whom everyone hated–actually had that skill. He would have helped the team. Ludwick however is a one year wonder (or 1.5 year wonder) who hasn’t hit at all this year, at home or away. Zips projects him to post a 251/.319/.415 the rest of the way.

    Admittedly, Ludwick is a good corner outfielder, but he has only 300 career MLB innings in CF.

  111. The only possible reason to acquire him is because he can hit lefties.

    Totally disagree, especially with all the injuries. But that’s already been hashed out ad nauseum, so I won’t bore everyone by going into it again.

  112. “Are we playing for this year or the future? If we are playing for the future, Wren should have offered Tim Hudson for Rasmus.”

    This. It’s frequently unclear to me what the larger plan is. Coming into the season, Wren did a decent enough of a job to play for both this season and next season, but right now the Braves will need a miracle to beat the Phillies and Red Sox/Yankees in the playoffs (both would be 7-game series). They’re just not as good as those teams. So what’s the plan? If we’re playing for the future, let’s act like it. At least dump Lowe on some desperate team like the Tigers, or deal Jurrjens, who is going to be moved this offseason in all likelihood anyway, for next year’s CF/SS etc. If we’re in it to win it, which we should be, let’s go get B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn, another bat for the bench, and a right-handed reliever. They still can do this, but refusing to trade Minor/Delgado/Vizcaino is not encouraging.

  113. 163 – What I meant by that is: he’s not good enough to make a significant difference on his own. With Chipper out, yes, he’d replace McLouth or Schafer, but so far his fWAR is only a little better than the latter. If he had a skill that could be leveraged, then he’d be worth it. But he doesn’t. He’s just a league average corner outfielder (at best) who won’t put the Braves over the top.

  114. People here act like Rasmus is the second coming. The Cardinals felt like having Jon Jay in center, Edwin Jackson rather than Kyle McClellan in the rotation, and McClellan, Rzepczynski, and Dotel fortifying their bullpen, all told, made them a more competitive team this year — which is what they obviously care about.

    That, on its face, doesn’t seem incomprehensibly stupid. You’d at least have to analyze it to prove whether it’s worth it on balance to make the deal before expressing outrage.

    I’m sure people have noted that Pence seems to be regressing to his mean over the past couple months, right? I’m nervous about overpaying for him.

  115. He’s just a league average corner outfielder (at best) who won’t put the Braves over the top.

    Given that the WC appears to be the best chance for the playoffs and there are a number of teams within range, a game or two might be “over the top” and a better corner OF for the next two weeks could make that happen.

  116. 165—Not sure what “over the top” means, honestly. I don’t think we’re catching the Phillies, regardless, and I think it would take an extreme collapse to miss the playoffs. I also think this team — with this pitching — is set up very well for a playoff run, even in our current state. Adding a guy who’s significantly better than, say, Julio Lugo or Wilkin Ramirez (both of whom look to be getting quite a bit of PT over the next several games) will help.

    Again, I’d love to get Upton or Pence, but I think Ludwick would definitely add value to this team.

  117. 1) Delgado or Vizcaino for Upton.
    2) The one not used to get Upton + some filler, maybe, for Ludwick and Bell.
    3) Some filler for Jamey Carroll.

    This would be my dream scenario. This would make the Braves mighty fierce, IMO.

  118. Stu, I am with you on Jamey Carroll, he would be a good upgrade over Lugo, or any other stiff we have as a backup UIF.
    Maybe we can get Kuroda too.

  119. 167,8 –

    I’m saying in the playoffs. I know it’s now taken for granted that anything can happen once you get there, but I have never really bought it. I’m a bit less optimistic than some that this is a World Series team right now, whatever the record. If Heyward and Prado return to 2010 form, and if Hanson and/or Jurrjens picks back up, then it will be; if they don’t, then it won’t be. Personally, I don’t think Ludwick, who has been a slightly below league-average corner outfielder so far this season, will make a difference one way or another.

  120. Do not see the point of Nieves and his 400ish ops. Not much of an upgrade over Boscan.

  121. wRC+ in 2011:

    Prado: 98
    Heyward: 100
    Hinske: 106
    McLouth 94

    Ludwick: 95

    So… what changes exactly?

  122. You know, thinking about it, the Braves lack of action on Rasmus might have to do with how they weigh defense. It’s entirely possible that Rasmus could be much worse in center than even McLouth, and that might kill his value. His defense might be so bad that it negates the above-average offense he provides. I don’t know. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyway, that’s not a problem with Upton, who’s stellar in the field. I really hope the Braves are making a play for him, like a top prospect (Minor, Delgado, Vizcaino, etc.) kind of play.

  123. I still believe the Cubs pair (either) is a better move. Ludwick is probably acceptable in right, but not center. Willingham is only acceptable in left.

    If Chipper is back, Martin is in left. Heyward is in right. Who plays center? That is the big question. Not Schafer (he is dl for now and I don’t think he is that good). McLouth is a little bad defensively, but can really produce against righthanders and sucks against lefthanders. Our part of the “pair” plays left until Chipper is back, then platoons with McLouth 2 days a week and Heyward 1 and gives Prado a day off once a week.

    Byrd and Wood (I know he is “no trade” but he would take it just like Derek Lee did last year), Kerry. Then, if Chipper retires, you let McLouth walk and Byrd has center and you go find a left fielder next year.

  124. and elsewhere, we’re looking forward to have Jerry Meals’ tutor, C. B. Buckner behind the plate for tonight’s game . . . what wonders await?

  125. @175, Well considering the only person who gets affected in the short term is Hinske, and he happens to bat from the other side than Ludwick, I am not sure what this objection means.

  126. @179,


    I think that Adam is saying we already have people as good as Ludwick, what difference does it make.

    On the righthander reverse platoon split. With Ludwick, it is a career thing. if it were just 1 year, I would not pay much attention. But somebody who is not a lefty masher or who cannot play CF is not what we need.

  127. Buster_ESPN Buster Olney
    Braves considering alternatives to Beltran: Pence, Ludwick, Willingham, others. ATL prospect liked by some scouts: Brett Oberholtzer.#trades

  128. As we all know, and as we’ve all known since before opening day, this lineup has two big holes. Unfortunately, SS might not be fixable until the offseason. I can’t think of any player being made available who would be a significant upgrade

    However, CF is fixable. Players like Bourn and Upton and maybe Pence (if you’re not scared of playing him there) all provide Schafer-like plus defense with a reasonable bat. I hope they’re trying really hard to land one of these guys.

    When healthy, the corners aren’t terrible. It would be great to have a RH guy when Prado has to move closer to the plate, but there’s not the epic room for upgrade that there is in CF. Hinske’s a pretty good hitter.

  129. @183, agreed, and have from day 1. What do you do if no CF is available at your price point is still my question to the field.

  130. So I keep reading lots of negative opinions of Schafer. I know there are better CFs out there, but if you have a choice for back up OF, is it McLouth or Schafer (no, you can’t choose neither; I think the Braves will keep at least one of them)? I don’t read much on here considering McLouth worse than Schafer. There seems to be a lot of “McLouth will OPS higher” but what does he do once he gets on base? Looks to me like Schafer has gotten on base 76 times and scored 32 of those times while McLouth has gotten on base 127 times (more on base, yay!) but scored only 33 of those times (boo!). Now I know what happens after they get on base is not all up to them and the person batting after them is more of a factor but surely the base runner does have some impact on the outcome and the numbers seem to suggest Jordan will score more than Nate. Also, we all agree Jordan has better defense, right? Just sayin…

  131. We really matchup well with the Cubs. Not only the Byrd, Wood combination but Reed Johnson as well. Seems like it wouldn’t cost any of Teheran/Minor/Vizcainio/Delgado either.

  132. mlbtr

    •Two front office men, neither from the Astros or Phillies, told ESPN’s Jayson Stark they believed the Phillies had a deal for Pence in the last 24 hours only to have the Astros back off. The Phillies offered Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singelton, and a second-tier pitching prospect for Pence, believes Stark. An Astros official told Stark they haven’t said no to any specific proposal, however.

  133. Hap, I think most of the people here would want Schafer as the 4th OF over Nate. Problem is both are in the lineup everyday, along with AAG.

  134. JimBowdenESPNxm JIM BOWDEN
    The next big trade could be Heath Bell to the Rangers in a package including Robbie Erlin #TRADES

  135. @185, you do realize batting, oh, EIGHTH for half of your PAs tends to depress one’s run scored totals, right?

  136. 184 – Trade for Willingham, Quentin, or another corner outfielder of that ilk. I suppose that if one of those guys will also cost one of the top 4 pitching prospects – doubtful for Willingham, but possible – then I’d look at Marlon Byrd for CF long before Ludwick.

    I was just making an argument against Ludwick specifically. I agree that he’d be a marginal upgrade over Hinske vs. lefties and McLouth vs. anybody, but not enough to warrant giving up anything of serious value. I’d have to think about what he and Bell together would be worth.

  137. I’m sure people have noted that Pence seems to be regressing to his mean over the past couple months, right? I’m nervous about overpaying for him.

    Since 2007, his rookie season, among all guys who have (a) played in the NL, (b) played in the outfield, and (c) had at least 500 PAs, Pence is 24th in wOBA at .352. He’s 18th among those guys with at least 1000 PAs. (Going from 500 to 1000 knocks ManRam, Morse, Milton Bradley, LoMo, Stanton, and Heyward from the list.)

    His mean is pretty good, IMO. And he’s just entered his prime, which he will remain in for the duration of his team control.

  138. LOL at this, btw Heyward sitting


  139. @185, I’d start Schafer over McLouth, but, for a 4th OF, I’d go for McLouth because pinch hitters are more valuable tactically than defensive replacements. For high-leverage situations, you can be certain that a pinch hitter will impact the game, but chances are against a defensive replacement influencing a single high leverage play.

    Of course, with our manager, the tactical advantage might be lost, but, in general, I vote against defensive replacements on 25 man rosters.

  140. @183,

    What is “your price point”?

    I think the Cubs are going to want the equivalent of a supplemental first rounder for Johnson. That is maybe Oberholtzer. Because we can either (a) get him next year in arb for 3 mill (and don’t have a centerfielder unless it is questionalbe Schafer who needs a platoon mate) or (b) get a supplemental pick, I would do that deal for Johnson.

    I think the Cubs will not trade both Byrd and Johnson. They lose Fukudome this year and want to lose Soriano (but I do not see how they can without paying 80% or more of his salary). Cubs will either (a) want to keep Byrd or (b) want to offer arb on Johnson to try to keep him.

    I would not offer to the Astros what they seem to have turned down from the Phillies on Pence, EVEN IF I thought he could play center. If he can’t play center, forget it.

    I would offer a nice package to the Orioles for Adam Jones. A flawed player with potential.

    I would offer a nice package for BJ Upton. The Rays can’t afford to keep him on arb. They can offer arb and then trade him. Rays aren’t stupid. The next 70 days plus a possible post season are worth more to the Braves than to anybody else out there. The Rays don’t really need pitching, so this would have to happen sooner, so that they can either (a) trade Shields or (b) flip somebody else.

    Somebody will say yes for a centerfielder, if you put some value there.

    This move to me (a CF right handed and a RH RP) is taking a 60% playoff team to an 85% playoff team and taking that team one round deeper in the post season. That means that the value of a marginal win is VERY high for this club right now. The value of cost controlled innings of Randall Delgado 2 years from now or Mike Minor next year is not that much.

  141. @185, 191 – If Nate was as good as Schafer, then he’d score runs even despite having someone as bad as Schafer trying to drive him in.

    Woah. I’m dizzy.

  142. I assume a lefty is starting?

    I forgot about Adam Jones. After giving it some thought, I’ve come around on Stu’s endorsement. I wouldn’t sell the whole farm, but I’d give up a lot to have a guy like him in center field. These lineups are just too awful right now.

  143. @200, Mike Minor next year? Instead of whom?

    That’s the crux of this. Minor is ready right now, and we won’t have openings in the rotation until 2013.

  144. @206, Yeah, I know. Still sucks, though. At least Wilkin isn’t clueless at the plate.

  145. It would suck for him, morale-wise, to be sent down after that gem last night, but seriously … why wasn’t Christhian Martinez optioned to Gwinnett and replaced by a fresh arm for the next few games?

    Also: How bad must AGony feel to have Lugo ahead of him in this line-up?

  146. 205 – They’ll trade one of Lowe or Jurrjens. Probably the latter to fill one of the holes in CF or SS. Or LF, if Chipper retires.

    Of course, they could fill a hole NOW if they just traded Minor or Delgado.

  147. Yeah, Cristhian can’t pitch for at LEAST 3 days. I know a demotion is 10 days, but, we can’t yank Redmond or somebody out of the Gwinnett rotation to pitch any 13th inning’s we might encounter for the next 10 days?

  148. @200, the Philly offer is about equal to Minor, Delgado and Spruill, two Top 50 guys and a nice kicker. That’s a lot. Would you match it?

  149. @210 – THIS THIS THIS

    This is what I’m so confused about.. We can’t trade Delgado/Minor/Vizcaino for a CF, because we’ll need Delgado/Minor/Vizcaino to pitch, after we trade Jurrjens/Hanson/Medlen/Lowe for a CF?

  150. @216- Well, I was hoping we’d be able to keep Proctor in the 17th, 18th, and 19th inning role he’s proved to be successful in.

  151. Does it frighten anyone that Hunter Pence 2011 looks very similar to Nate McLouth back in 2009?

  152. If you’re wondering how much trade value a Clint Sammons would have had: in the neighborhood of $1, which is what we paid for Wil Nieves.

  153. Another idea:

    1) Jurrjens to the Yankees for Brett Gardner+
    2) Delgado+ or Vizcaino+ to the Rockies for Jimenez

  154. @218, if it became team policy to only acquire OFers under 30 who have put up a 125 or better OPS+, I would be fine with that.

  155. I don’t think Delgado or Vizcaino would be enough for Jimenez. That guy is on a very team-friendly contract.

  156. Butch Davis just got fired. Wow. Maybe we can get him to play center. That way Wren can continue to collect pitching prospects for our 2017 run at the wild card.

  157. There’d have to be a hell of a lot in the + to get away with headlining a trade with a prospect for one of the better starters in the NL.

  158. Gardner is a fine defensive CF who sports an OBP heavy 109 OPS+, leads the league in steals, and is under control for another 3 years after this one. That’s a lot.

  159. 224—Hence the “+”.

    226—Yeah, probably, but I don’t think it would require another Vizcaino- or Delgado-level player in the deal. Say, Vizcaino, Oberholtzer, and Simmons. Or something close. Of course, I’d probably be OK with trading both Vizcaino and Delgado for Jimenez.

    Also, I think the “+” in my Jurrjens/Gardner proposal would be significant, too, so you’d be increasing your tradeable asset stockpile before dealing for Jimenez.

  160. @227- I think Bethany is referring to Delgado+ or Vizcaino+ for Ubaldo. There’d have to be a whole lotta plus in there.

  161. Something tells me the Yanks would look to trade their best prospects for a rotation upgrade, before they’d ever trade a starting position player. During the season, at least.

  162. Jair has no idea where the ball is going.

    EDIT: Aah, yes. The old reverse jinx.

  163. It’s gonna take a lot of trades to fill all of the holes this team has in their heads.

  164. Bad baserunning by Prado. But for Freeman, I think we just have to accept that we will get zero benefit of doubt tonight.

  165. only chip caray could find that girl “just awesome!” . I’m sorry but her parents should be investigated for having such a high strung little girl.

  166. The Yankees would be stupid not to trade Gardner for Jurrjens straight up. Their starting rotation is a mess, and even worse right now, which is great timing near the trading deadline. They would probably give up more for Jurrjens. The Braves wouldn’t make that trade.

  167. What’s really unfortunate about the blown call at home plate to end the game last night is that it’s all anyone will remember and imply that he favored the Braves. In fact, Meals blew 40-50 calls at home plate last night, and generally favored the Pirates in most of them. It’s just that the rest were balls/strikes and not dramatic.

    He’s a godawful umpire. On the Laz Diaz/Joe West/Angel Hernandez/CB Bucknor list.

  168. This looks familiar.

    Uggla should have been in in the second. Tag up on the fly ball to RF, please.

    Also, Top of the 3rd had a textbook tag, just in case any Pirates weren’t sure what one looks like.

  169. Good news! Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Fredrock Freeman and Jason Heyward have been sent to the Royals for Melky McLouth and a Frenchy to be named later!

  170. @258 – I thought both pitches that were called balls to the last batter could’ve been called strikes. But they weren’t obvious strikes.

  171. So we bunt one of our best hitters, to get to some of the worst hitters in our lineup?

  172. Sac-bunting with your #5 hitter in the fourth inning to get runners in scoring position for Wilkin Ramirez, Julio Lugo, and Alex Gonzalez.


  173. awesome call on the bunt, Captain Sucky Pants. jeez this team is frustrating sometimes.

  174. I can’t prove it, but I’m confident Fredi and Parrish shave at least a run off our team average every game.

    (not entirely serious… but still)

  175. Wow, the Giants gave up Zach Wheeler for Beltran…I remember the Giants “stole” Wheeler from us before we took Minor. I think I would do a Minor-Beltran deal, but Wheeler is a better prospect.

  176. The “book” says bunt with Ross. The “book” also says force a lefty-lefty matchup when tied in in the bottom of the ninth. Burn the freaking book, Fredi.

  177. That’s the 2nd time tonight Ross has been asked to bunt. Sure, the 1st time he ended up swinging, but only after 2 strikes, and had a defensive swing for a lazy fly-out. Completely ridiculous. I’m done with Fredi.

  178. So how many innings are we going to play tonight?

    And why we bother to trade for freaking Wil Nieves?

  179. @ 274 – i dont have much more confidence in Heyward than any of the other suckwads hitting 6-7-8 tonite.

  180. Most nights I wonder how it’s even possible that this team is a solid playoff contender. I think the answer is that the rest of the league mostly sucks.

  181. I know Heyward sucks right now, but does he have a good excuse to not be playing tonight?

  182. “The Yankees would be stupid not to trade Gardner for Jurrjens straight up.”

    These are the list of MLB outfielders with more fWAR than Brett Gardner since the start of 2010:

    Jose Bautista
    Matt Holliday
    Josh Hamilton

    That’s it. Brett Gardner is fourth on the list. He’s a young, cost-controlled player who has elite speed, defense, and plate discipline, which basically makes him elite. Or, if you’re skeptical of his fWAR because you dislike UZR, it at least makes him very, very good, if not on the cusp of great. When one considers his age, his contract, and the fact that the Yankees really, really value him, the conclusion is inevitable: the Yankees would not part with him for Jurrjens. In fact, they may not part with him for anyone; he might actually be (practically) untouchable by this point.

  183. in other news, BJ Upton was held out of the lineup tonight…and he just had an off day on sunday.

  184. Wow, look what happens when you let Ross swing the dang bat. Who would have thought…

  185. 284—Extreme hyperbole alert. “Inevitable” conclusion? “Untouchable”? Give me a break.

    Jurrjens is team-controlled through 2014 (compared to Gardner’s 2015), and the upgrade from whichever 38 year-old is their current 5th starter to Jurrjens more than offsets the downgrade from Gardner to the platoon I referenced above. Gardner bats 9th for them, for crying out loud.

    And, for the record, if you look at rWar, Jurrjens has 12 since 2007, compared with Gardner’s10.8 since 2008. Given the Yankees current roster, if there is an “inevitable conclusion,” it’s the opposite of the one you’re drawing.

  186. What do you know – a run-scoring hit. Haven’t seen one of those in 20+ innings.

  187. according to ESPN’s Bowden,if the Braves trade for Pence, Heyward will be optioned to AAA.

  188. 294, that’s ridiculous. So we’d still be stuck with Schafer and McLouth in CF, who have performed so much worse.

  189. 292 – I look forward to Gardner being on the Braves, then.

    Also, Gardner is their leadoff hitter.

  190. Btw, is there a reason to play Lugo over Conrad? I don’t think I can handle him being in the lineup for the next two weeks.

  191. Somehow, I don’t think sending Jurrjens back out there is going to work out well…

  192. @294- But interestingly enough, if Bowden were the GM, he’d keep Heyward up and try and collect another half dozen corner outfielders. He’s another case of failing up.

  193. @300 After last night’s game, I can understand Fredi for asking one more inning from JJ.

  194. #294- Then its not worth the cost of trading for him. The goal is to upgrade the offense. We would be keeping three guys on the roster AAG 63OPS+, Schafer 74OPS+, and Nate 90OPS+. The sending Heyward 97OPS+ to AAA.

    Might as well trade for Reed Johnson, Marlon Byrd, Denard Span, BJ Upton, or Michael Bourn and get rid of Nate. Then you could add another piece in Willingham/Ludwick to strengthen the lineup and give more depth. All for less cost

  195. 299 — He’s just in there tonight with a LHP. I suspect Prado will be at 3b and Hinske in LF the majority of the time.

  196. Please, please, PLEASE leave Conrad in to play 3rd. He’d become our 4th best hitter.

  197. I think mlb trade rumors has ruined my love for baseball this time of year. I just want the trade deadline to be over already. So much speculation–so much unsubstantiated, idiotic analysis by guys like Bowden–is too much for me to handle. I’m just going to assume the Braves aren’t going to send Heyward down to the minors and let the chips fall where they will.

  198. 298—Right, just like you look forward to Upton being on the Braves because someone proposes a reasonable trade to acquire him.

    299—I think — OK, I hope — that the reason is just that Lugo had a good game last night, and Fredi is just giving the “hot” bat another start. I would expect to see Conrad in there against the next lefty starter, if Chipper is still out.

    Then again, I would have expected to see David Ross swinging away with two on and no outs in the fourth inning…

  199. 315 – I don’t understand. I have no expectation that the Braves are going to get Upton. I hope they do – as you do – much as I’d hope they’d get a guy like Gardner.

  200. Okay, we’ve got BOTH of our major leaguers coming to the plate this inning. It’s now or never. Or the 11th.

  201. Seriously, why ya’ll want to get mad about the fairness of a trade that wouldn’t even happen?

  202. 318—You said you looked forward to Gardner being on the Braves, presumably pursuant to the conceit that I think it’ll happen because it’s reasonable. I’m just saying, that I think the Yankees would be willing to make such a deal doesn’t imply that I think the deal will be made.

    Anyway, as for Gardner’s spot in the Yankee lineup: It’s true that he’s had more PAs in the leadoff spot than in any other spot; however, he’s spent the second-most time in the ninth spot and 62.5% of his PAs in the bottom third of the lineup, this season. FWIW.

    322—Definitely not mad. Definitely agree that the trade won’t get done, mainly because the Braves wouldn’t trade one of their “established” starters during a playoff run. Just wish they would be open to something like that.

  203. Oh. Great. It looks like Freddie’s hurting. Well, it’s not like our offense could get any worse.

    EDIT: Stu, I think that might be the first time anyone ever used the phrase “pursuant to the conceit” to refer to Brett Gardner.

  204. Seriously, another injury?

    Why can’t these things be happening to the Wilkin Ramirezes and Julio Lugos of the roster, instead?

  205. 324 – I see. I’m too tired from last night; I don’t mean to be so snarky. Apologies.

    322 – Good question. I’m not really upset, though, and in all seriousness would love for almost any of these guys to end up on the Braves. If they don’t, well, I imagine everyone here will find some degree of unity again.

    Kimbrel is good.

  206. The Braves are going to have to start charging fans for more than one game.

    Also, Chipper just ran pretty well. Why is he not playing?

  207. I think the Pirates are a decent, but not great, team with a solid pitching staff and the Braves offense kind of sucks.

  208. Well, neither team is going to get 9+ innings out of its bullpen tonight, so either someone is gonna score soon or it’ll be J.C. Boscan coming on in relief of Freddie Freeman.

  209. This is why Martinez should have been sent down for someone who’s actually available to pitch. Though they did show him in the bullpen a little while ago, standing and swinging his arms like he was about to get loose, which doesn’t make sense.

    Apparently Freeman was volunteering to pitch last night. Maybe he’ll get his wish.

  210. I’m really surprised that we’re not getting Venters to get through the bottom of the Pittsburgh order so Proctor could face Walker and McCutchen in the 11th.

  211. If Venters is unavailable, then it really doesn’t make sense that nobody came up from AAA. Because if Proctor and Martinez are also unavilable, then we’re down to Sherrill and Linebrink–and that’s it.

  212. Everyone’s doing their part to make sure Lugo has a shot at the elusive platinum sombrero.

  213. It’s Winthrop University, Joe, not Winthrop College. I went to grad school there.

  214. Hanrahan is unlikely to pitch again this series after 92 pitches last night. We will not have Proctor or Lisp. Fair trade.

  215. @361 I used to defend for Fredi here, but I have given up. The guy is hopeless. He is like a in-game strategy machine with no creativity except for being flexible with hitting order.

  216. 366 — Hanrahan didn’t pitch at all last night. Maybe you’re thinking of McCutcheon.

  217. So let’s say the game went 15-17 innings. Would Hurdle still refuse to pitch Hanrahan? Would he, in a tie, pitch a position player before he pitched Hanrahan?

  218. 371 — They said Kevin Correia was going to be the next pitcher last night so they were even going to alter their starting rotation before pitching their closer.

  219. IBB to load the bases for Ross? Is there a Fredi clone in the Pirates’ dugout now?

  220. Rossy, end it. We have enough of baseball the last two days, I am sure you have enough as well.

  221. This is a weird decision. It doesn’t get them anything except, I guess, a force at any base, but to me that’s more than offset by the fact that you’ve just taken any margin of error away from your just-called-up minor league pitcher.

  222. Forgot they were keeping him for save.
    Is Ross the best active catcher in baseball?

  223. They probably couldve pounded Uggla with offspeed stuff and gotten a DP. Once you walk him you gotta get ahead of Ross. Ross got an easy fastball to hit there. Thanks Pirates.

  224. Lowe has never had a complete game for the Braves. Tomorrow would be a good time for his first.

  225. Hey, atleast hanrahan is fresh for a three run lead in the bottom of the 9th at some point in the future.

  226. @342 – It occurs to me that that is probably a significant component of homefield advantage.

    How many games have we seen the home team win in the last at bat in just the last couple of weeks where the closer never got in the game? I can think of 4. (Atl, Was, Pit, Pit.)

  227. @404 As I said, it’s a baseball convention. Whether you agree or not is a different story, but most managers (including Bobby) follow it.

  228. Giants are going to release Pat the Bat. I guess Wren will sign him and DOB will organism about it.

  229. Hey GUYYYYYYS, the Giants are expected to release Pat Burrell! Our LHP problems may soon come to an end!!!!

  230. @404 It’s only an advantage because so many managers are too stupid to realize they should pitch their best relievers first (once into the 9th inning+)

  231. how good was David Ross tonight? knocked in both of our runs, 2-2 throwing out attempted steals, great tag at the plate on the sac fly, coaching JJ to drop the Maholm bunt to turn it into a double play – incredible performance all around

  232. @408- 6 weeks ago, I’d agree with you on the principle that he’s a better gamble than Wilkin Ramirez, and because you could continue to stash Wilkin in Gwinnett while you found out what Burrell has left.

    But this close to the trade deadline, a shot-in-the-dark is a bit more of a gamble, if you allow it to preclude a move for an actual productive player to fill his would-be role.

  233. @408 We should get Burrell, but don’t consider that as an ultimate solution to everything Wren.

  234. @409. Would there be an exception when Venters and Kimbrel are on pace to pitch 80+ games?

  235. …if you allow it to preclude a move for an actual productive player to fill his would-be role.

    Yeah, it definitely wouldn’t be the only move I’d make.

  236. Also Burrell’s reverse platoon split (.807 OPS vs. RH, .669 vs. LH) and EXTREME home/road splits (.944(!!)/.638) tell a pretty fluky story. I’d sign him in a heartbeat if I could put him in AAA, but someone will give him a roster spot, guaranteed.

  237. Well, I suppose you could get a CF (Upton, Byrd) and send Schafer down, get a 4th OF type (Reed Johnson, Chris Denorfia) and dispose of McLouth, and ALSO sign Burrell and give him Wilkin’s spot.

    I suppose even you could keep McLouth and forgo a 4th OF upgrade. But signing Burrell off the scrapheap would have to coincide with a move for a real CF. If we are looking at corner types to plug here and there (like when Beltran was available, or Quentin, Willingham, Ludwick or really, Pence) then Burrell doesn’t help us.

    EDIT: Also, I’ll say straight forward that I would rather pay for Quentin or Willingham or Ludwick, than have Burrell for free. If I CAN’T have any of them for a fair price, yeah, I’ll take Burrell.

  238. Bowden is now saying that the Nats and Twins are working on a deal centered around Span. That would be very good news for the Braves, IMO, as the Nats have been reported as the most aggressive Upton suitor.

  239. I’m scared that Tampa won’t move Upton until the offseason. Also, Friedman is not an idiot GM. I prefer that we deal with idiot GM’s.

  240. After Hurdle avoided using his best reliever for the last 18 high leverage innings, I can honestly say that I know what it feels like to be a fan of team facing Fredi. And it feels fantastic. It’s as if the other manager is trying to help your team win.

  241. 418—I think his not being an idiot is a neutral factor, from the Braves perspective. No, you’re not going to be able to fleece him, but you’re also not going to have an Ed Wade-Hunter Pence situation in which the GM will be insisting on the moon because he needs a career-salvaging move. I don’t know that a deal will get done, but I think a fair deal certainly can (and perhaps even should) get done between Friedman and Wren.

  242. @420 I was surprised Ed Wade was even offered a job by the Astros, that tells you how stupid that organization is as a whole.

  243. Burrell is not only injured but is getting shown the door by one of the most anemic offensive teams in baseball.

  244. @425
    I didn’t realize he’s hurt. You’re right, he hasn’t played since July 14th. His .760 OPS is still better than any other RH bench production we could get.

  245. @413 There can always be exceptions based on work load, match-ups or what part of the order is due up. But they should be exceptions. Right now most managers just work under the opposite principle that they should hold their best reliever to a time that may never come, guaranteeing that they use worse relievers in more pressure situations in extra inning games. It’s stupid.

  246. MLBTR

    The Brewers obtained $1 from the Braves for catcher Wil Nieves, according to Adam McCalvy of (on Twitter). That’s right – one dollar. The Braves will pay Nieves’ remaining salary while he plays for their Triple-A affiliate.

  247. Burrell hasnt been able to hit Lefties since 2008.

    2009 – .588OPS 119AB’s
    2010 – .695OPS 89AB’s
    2011 – .669OPS 59AB’s

    Only 4 HR’s in those 3 seasons combined also.

  248. When you look at cost, production, and need (right handed, good baserunner, CF), BJ Upton is the guy Wren should be working his ass off to acquire right now. I hope he is.

  249. Can somebody smarter than me double check this, I think I did it correctly though. Using BR’s play index, Freddie already has the 10th best age 21 or younger 1B oWAR season ever, and the 20th best age 21 or younger WAR for a 1B ever.

  250. The Brewers obtained $1 from the Braves for catcher Wil Nieves, according to Adam McCalvy of (on Twitter). That’s right – one dollar.

    Wren overpaying again.

  251. 438 – You can’t just straight salary dump a guy, right? They have to give you something back. I think the Marlins bought Mac’s buddy Wes Helms for $1 from the Phillies a few years ago. The Braves are paying his salary while he hopefully never plays.

  252. Upton has to be the guy to push in a few chips for. Highest upside relative to age, but still at the very least plays average to above average defense and hits lefties. I don’t see where there are going to be any realistically available (Matt Kemp for example) better options at the end of the year, and I’d rather trade for a guy that can actually defensively play CF. I would not have a problem giving up Delgado/1 of Hoover-Clemens, etc group/1 lesser prospect position player/1-2 AAA bullpen guys take your pick for BJ and The Farns. I never thought I would advocate bringing back The Farns, I certainly didn’t last time, but he certainly would fill a need.

  253. 444 — Since both Bourn and Pence are under team control for years, that’s a no-brainer yes. The Astros would surely want another pitching prospect, but then again Ed Wade is an idiot.

  254. 444 – That would be a crazy good lineup.

    CF Bourn
    3B Jones
    C McCann
    LF Pence
    1B Freeman
    2B Uggla
    RF Heyward
    SS Gonzalez

  255. If someone had told me before the season that Freddie Freeman would be having a better year than Ryan Howard, and that Howard has only declined a little from last year especially relative to the league numbers, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.

  256. If someone had told me before the season that a 21 year old would be hitting third and that a 21 year old would be getting the Klesko treatment against Paul Maholm, I would have believed you, then I would have told you that you were batshit crazy if you told me Heyward would be the guy sitting on the bench while Freddie was hitting third.

  257. I think I would do the Pence, Bourn deal at 444 because you would have them this year and all of next year as well as draft pick compensation for the years after 2012. You definitely need to get a utility man like Carroll after losing Prado though.

  258. 445 — I think you were getting Pence and Beltran mixed up. Beltran is a free agent after this year, but Pence isn’t one until 2014 although he becomes arb eligible next season.

  259. The Astros aren’t trading Pence. If they rejected the solid Philly offer, he’s unattainable at any reasonable price.

    I hope that attitude is constrained to Pence. Bourn’s probably the guy we have the best shot of getting, assuming the front office expands their view beyond right handers to any legit CF.

  260. @452 It was my understanding that Pence would be gone after 2012, if that’s wrong then I’ll swap sides on the argument.

  261. What is going on in this picture being used on the official site; from the game yesterday after the Braves won on Ross’ single?

    Looks like Hinske is celebrating by urinating on the umpire.

  262. You know, these two weeks of rest in the middle of summer may actually be a blessing for McCann when September comes.

  263. @461 Of course. That’s a big assumption on my part.

    Cole Rohrbough…I have completely forgotten about him. He makes a good case of why teams should be more willing to trade pitching prospects for establish veteran. I didn’t realize he is still with the Braves.

  264. 462—Pitching prospects who haven’t made it out of A-ball, maybe. Hardly apples to apples, comparing him to Delgado, Minor, etc.

  265. I understand wanting to keep some prosepcts, but when you have a more than two that play the same possition, pick the ones you think are most likley to do well and move the others. It is a gamble, but so is driving on the interstate.

  266. I would definitely do the Prado/Minor/Schafer deal for Pence and Bourn. But it looks like Wade’s asking price is much higher than that. I’d also throw in another mid-level pitching prospect, a relief prospect, and one of Simmons or Lipka.

    If they wanted Prado and two of the team’s top-five prospects, I’d say no.

  267. Well, something has to give. The rotation is set for next year at this point and Minor/Medlen/Teheran/De;gado will basically all be ready by the start of 2012.

  268. I do think Medlen will come back, when he comes back, to the bullpen. And there’s always the offseason to deal one of the more expensive starters. But yeah, I join the chorus of those wondering what the point is of holding onto so many starting pitchers–at least when the offense needs so much help.

  269. Maybe Wren is just trying to make Gwinnett really good so people will go to games over there.

    That has to be it, right?

  270. @470, you joke, but that’s been a motivation in the past. Moises Alou, I believe, was a PTBNL in a trade because they wanted to keep him around until the end of the AAA season. Then the Pirates messed up and leaked his name before he cleared waivers, forcing the Expos to claim him and accelerate his departure.

  271. jj3bagger at 445,

    Unless the Cubs are continuing in deep moronia, Byrd and Johnson should be “reasonably available.”

    It is “possible” that Adam Jones could be available for a reasonable offer and an offer should be made. You never know with the Orioles. The offer could include enough value to get Uehara (as with the Cubs you could try to add Wood).

    The way to do an Upton deal might be to expand it. I don’t remember what they were looking for for Shields, but I remember shortstop as a “need”. This is not “calculated” as to value, but how about dealing Minor/Beachy and Hicks/Pastornicky and Bethancourt for Shields and Upton? Rays don’t need the ML read pitcher, but they are smart enough to know how to move them on.

  272. You know, if we’re trading with the Cubs, I’d much rather go after Brett Jackson and let them keep their mediocre old guys…

  273. My prediction is that Monday morning everyone on this blog will be unhappy with whatever move/non-move Frank Wren has made. I hope I’m wrong (and maybe practice some reverse psychology) but I have no confidence at all that Wren can/will do anything to substantially improve the team now. Burrell sounds like his speed, cheap and a marginal upgrade. I suspect Upton will end up in Kalamazoo before he ends up in Atlanta. :( After all, you can’t risk that 8-man rotation in 2017.

  274. Marc at 474,

    High probability you are right.

    I understand the Braves model. Try to almost assure a playoff run every year and a playoff appearance most years. Don’t sacrifice a playoff run in the future to increase probability of a playoff appearance this year or to increase the depth you go in the playoffs. In Atlanta, that maximizes revenue if Liberty holds the team and keeps the franchise value highest over the long term for re sale.

    HOWEVER, MAYBE Liberty is close enough to its “can deal day” as set by (a) tax dode and (b) MLB, that the “cache” of selling a “World Series winner” versus a mere “playoff contender” to their “billionaire buyer of the day” will let them “cut loose.”

  275. Stu at 473,

    And how exactly is an A ball outfielder that bats lefthanded going to help this team this year?

    However, he could be a reason that they don’t need to hold on to so many outfielders.

  276. The Braves must be planning on a Lowe/Jurrjens dump this offseason because otherwise their clinging to every starting pitching prospect they have makes no sense.

  277. Starting to feel like we’re getting cornered in to Upton-or-Bust.. and I’m not just not convinced we match up well for that.

  278. What happened to the Lowe-to-Detroit rumors?

    Am I crazy to think we could have had Beltran a few months ago for a lot less than the Giants gave up?

    The trouble with waiting until the deadline is they all look better at closing time.

    Interesting move by UNC. Even more interesting strong denial of wrongdoing by Butch Davis. This has a chance to get ugly.

  279. 477—He’s at AAA and is generally considered one of the best outfield prospects in the game. He would immediately be an upgrade over Schafer and McLouth, and he’d be under team control for the next six years.

    480—I think we match up extremely well for an Upton deal. I’m just not sure our GM has the guts to pull it off.

  280. reaganman,

    Don’t know what it would take, but he is as good of a defensive player as AGon and a much better hitter and baserunner. And moving A Gon to the “Julio Lugo” postiion improves that as well.

    I still think (1) is righthanded reliever and (2) is competent fielder for center that either (a) IS righthanded or (b) has such a good “against lefties” CAREER and recent split (as left hander or switch hitter against lefties) to justify being a starter on a playoff contending team.

    Decent middle / left infield help would be 3 and right handed bench bat 4. So, that makes Furcal more important than a posible Burrell sighting, right?

  281. @475,

    I know people hate hearing this, but the reason the Phillies and Giants go for it is that they sell out every game. When I watch a game from CBP or AT&T (or whatever it’s called), the atmosphere seems so much more alive than in Atlanta. What’s the incentive to spend (whoever owns the team) when you have one of the best teams in baseball but you still can’t draw-for whatever reason?

  282. I floated the Furcal idea a few weeks ago, right as he was due to come off the DL.

    But he’s gone on to hit .179/.286/.209, for a .495 OPS for the month of July.. I guess he wouldn’t be an upgrade.

    Meanwhile, Mike Cameron hit two homers last night..

  283. 484 – Fair point, but I think a guy like Arthur Blank would promote the team better than Liberty and more people would show up.

  284. We are the last team in on Pence. I am starting to think if we can Furcal too, for cheap, it wouldn’t hurt.

  285. Why don’t more fans show up? I’ve wondered that myself.

    Coming from Cobb County, it’s always a bit more of a hassle to get to the Stadium, walk the relatively long distance from parking, and especially to get out than I’d like.

    With MARTA leaking money, I don’t see a direct rail line being built anytime soon.

    The ticket prices aren’t bad, but the food is horrible and the prices for said horrible food are insulting.

    I dunno. I do think an aggressive owner and a well-funded promotion staff could turn it into a must-go event similar to Phillie and SF.

  286. Furcal can’t cost much. I imagine there’d be a lower price on him than there’d be on Jamey Carroll. I would prefer Carroll, though.

  287. Reed Johnson would be an upgrade. He’s got a career line .314/.373/.468 vs lefties. He can play all 3 OF spots.

    As for the attendance – The stadium is in a terrible place. Its hard to get to and most of the time you are parking a long way from the stadium. Its not the safest place to be walking around with your family either. It also doesnt seem to be policed all that well.

  288. Hell, go for the trifecta and get Reed, Furcal, and Pence. Seriously, it’s not like we’re going to miss the production of the players they’d be replacing (McLouth/Schafer, Lugo, Wilkin).

  289. But the team used to sell out every game – no worse than 3rd overall from 92 – 99, with all the issues above the same or WORSE. Their act got tired, that’s all. Finishing first but but with little postseason success took it’s toll and the fanbase took their regular season success and playoff failure as a boring given. Win a WS or at least a freaking pennant and you’d get some of the excitement back.

  290. Spike,

    I agree that the lack of playoff success made the regular seasons seem meaningless. I also understand there are legitimate reasons for people not to go–even if they did sell out before. Hell, if I couldn’t take the subway to the games here in DC, I would rarely go.

  291. Willingham would be a really good pickup if having someone with catching experience on the roster would let Freddie feel like he could pinch hit Ross more (after McCann comes back).

  292. Just noticed that Willingham has been better against RHP than LHP this season. His career line is more encouraging, but for a short-term pickup, I think recent trends are worth looking at.

  293. I think someone already said this, but Wren must be holding on to Minor becuase the braves plan on dealing Jurjjens in the off season. And he is our only lefty that may be MLB ready.

  294. If the Braves do go after a corner guy, I hope they’ll consider giving Prado a shot at shortstop on days when Lowe and Hudson aren’t pitching.

  295. If they are dead set on getting a corner, I’d prefer Quentin. Wondering what he would cost. Delgado plus a lower level guy?

  296. OK, so my new dream scenario:

    1) Vizcaino for Upton
    2) Delgado for Ludwick and Bell

    Lineup for Hanson/Jurrjens/Beachy starts:

    Upton – 8
    Prado – 6
    Jones – 5
    McCann – 2
    Uggla – 4
    Freeman – 3
    Ludwick – 7
    Heyward – 9

    For Lowe/Hudson starts, you bat AGony 8th and platoon Heyward and Ludwick (shifting Prado back to left), if Chipper’s healthy.

  297. Who is the odd man out in a Carlos Quentin trade? Heyward?

    I would let Prado try center before sending Heyward down and let Schafer come in to play center in the late innings.

  298. @515,

    True, but I think we need an everyday bat first. Then we can look for a platoon partner for Heyward.

  299. You’ll note that step one of my proposal was getting BJ Upton to play center every day. And, considering Chipper’s health, Ludwick would likely be more than a platoon partner, especially if Prado played shortstop.

  300. I haven’t paid as much attention to Heyward’s splits this year, but upon perusing them… well. He has gone from a .341 wOBA in 2010 to a .257 wOBA in 2011 against lefties. To be sure, his numbers against righties are also down this season, but he remains an above-average hitter against them nonetheless.

    When facing southpaws, Ludwick would definitely represent an upgrade over Heyward (or McLouth, for that matter). I’d prefer Willingham, though, for that type of role.

  301. Ludwick is a corner outfielder with a 92 OPS+. He sucks.

    We should shoot for Upton.

  302. 518—Yeah, I would, too. If they could get Balfour or another righty reliever from the A’s in addition, that’d be great. I just like the idea of killing two birds with one stone in the corner-OF-to-sorta-be-platooned part of the deadline plan.

    519—Cool story, bro.

  303. I just want to throw this out there: Denard Span has a reverse platoon split in his career, is a great defensive outfielder, and has some pretty excellent plate discipline. He’s also fast. The Twins want Drew Storen for him; that could be topped. I admit that I haven’t looked at his B-Ref page, but he’s basically a 3-4 (f)win player who is in his prime and under a reasonable contract. It’s too bad the Braves seem so lefty-averse. Between him, Rasmus, and Bourn, they may well have ignored* a number of nice CF options out there.

    *maybe. What do I know?

  304. re attendance: The population of the metro area has gone from 3 million in 1990, to 4 million in 2000, to 5.7 million in 2010. More people who could go to games, yes, but also more people to dodge to get there. I have friends and family in different parts of town, and the logistics of getting together with them now are just different than they used to be.

    Edit: I have a feeling I just missed some sort of whacked out post. I hate it when that happens.

  305. 521—Don’t think substance is required to refute an obviously-false claim. Sorry.

    522—Yeah, I wish I could believe that Wren doesn’t look at him and think, “Hey, that’s basically what Jordan Schafer can give us.”

    I really like Span’s Twitter persona…

  306. What’s false? He’s a corner outfielder with an OPS+ of 92. That’s obviously below league average from an offensive position.

    He might be marginally useful as a guy with a .750 OPS against LHP. So would Jeff Francoeur. I wouldn’t trade a legitimate prospect for him.

  307. 525—I don’t recall advocating that a legitimate prospect be surrendered for him. I suggested Delgado for Ludwick, a useful part, AND Bell, a useful part who’s also going to be a Type-A.

  308. If we got Bell all the sudden our bullpen is rock solid again. I’d say yes to Stu’s proposal even though I don’t think much of Ludwick, but only if we get Upton too.

  309. @529, You’re like the poor kid who wishes for a pony every Christmas. Best to taper our expectations. :)

  310. On attendance, there are an infinite number of excuses that could be thrown out there. And I’m sure that in specific cases, some of the excuses are perfectly valid. Generally speaking, though, it all boils down to the fact that it’s not the hip thing to do anymore, so people aren’t gonna go out of the way to go do it. If it were the in thing to do, none of these excuses would matter, people would go anyway.

  311. My personal issue with the stadium is the location downtown instead of in the suburbs and traffic. Also, current gas prices are stopping me from making many 3 hour trips.

  312. Do we really want a guy with an ERA under 1.00 (O’Flaherty) as our sixth-inning guy/LOOGY? Wouldn’t that kind of be wasting him?

  313. I’m like the kid who asks for a real dog and gets a stuffed animal. Like wanting Pence but getting Jordan Schafer instead.

  314. @532, throw in a ring or two and a couple more flags and you’d be surprised how trendy it would become.

  315. #535 – there will be plenty of opportunities for all the guys. So, yes Im fine with that and its not wasting him. Venters/EOF/Kimbrel will all need some off days.

  316. @536, And when you lose the stuffed animal, you’re given a Pet Rock named Nate McLouth.

  317. Rob
    I like Quentin, but do you send Heyward to AAA? It dosen’t solve our CF issue. I think Quentin is our Pence fall back option (maybe?)

    It is starting to sound like we over vaule prospects though. That is a shame, this is a good team that could be made great with some tweeking.

  318. Right now, Hunter Pence is like the mystery blonde in the T-Bird (Suzanne Somers) from “American Graffiti” & we’re all Richard Dreyfuss.

  319. If Beltran costs Zach Wheeler, I’d hate to think what Carlos Quentin costs. I’m pretty sure we won’t get him.

    I’m not sure why everyone is focused on the corner bats when the easiest upgrade is CF, and there are multiple options available (Upton, Bourn).

  320. All of the Atlanta pro sports suffer from the same problem (including the now departed Thrashers… sniff, sniff). Besides the actual venue itself there is almost no other “life” around it. If you attend a Predators hockey game in Tennessee there is all kinds of cool night life right around the arena. Anyone want to hang out around the TED? I didn’t think so. Anyone want to hang out around Philips? Nope. The Ga Dome? Not so much… all of the venues are placed in areas where development of night life is not really encouraged or feasible. Put a venue near Buckhead and maybe you would be onto something. One would think owners and city leaders could observe other cities which are successful and learn something about how to build a venue and its surrounds into an experience.

  321. Every time I see a game at Turner Field, I’m surprised by how aggressive the homeless people are on the trains and in the parking lot outside. This is coming from someone who grew up near San Francisco and lived in New York for 4.5 years.

  322. I’ve often thought the Braves, having a regional fan base, should play a couple of weekday home series a year at other venues around the Southeast. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were able to sell out a number of SEC football stadia, if they only go there one series every five or six years. It would increase fan interest (and merch sales) throughout the region, and it would provide higher gate revenue if you pick some of the weeks with the lowest projected attendance.

  323. I’m convinced that Frank Wren reads this blog and then, for some perverse reason, decides to do the opposite. “They want me to improve the team at the deadline? Ha! I will show them.”

    The last two years, the Braves have had good teams but have entered the latter part of the season with obvious holes and/or injuries to key players. The response last year was Derrick Lee and Rick Ankiel. I fear that it may be the same type of thing this year.

  324. If MARTA took you anywhere close to the stadium it would be a whole lot better. Right now if you want to take MARTA to get to the game you have to stop at and walk through Underground to get to the buses and stand around waiting for them to take you to the stadium. I don’t really have a tough time getting to games, when I go it’s usually during the week when I’m on campus and it’s actually fairly easy to get to the stadium from Georgia Tech. But if you’re in the suburbs and want to make it to a 7:10 game you have to use 75/85 at a time that isn’t the best to use those interstates, and it’s especially bad this summer because of the construction being done inside 285.

    Also, as Hap mentioned, there’s nothing to do around the stadium after the game. If you want to hang out with some friends afterwards you have to make your way back up to Midtown or Virginia Highlands which can be a pain as well. Those roads aren’t the best after games and finding parking around there is awful as well.

  325. •As many as eight teams are in on Pence, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, including the Phillies and Braves. Rosenthal says the Astros are listening.
    -MLB Trade Rumors

    I think the talking heads are just making things up

  326. Sure, but it has always been that way, and at one point, they were getting 3M a year. A MARTA station would not have helped the 2008 Braves, even if it was free and stopped off in front of my house.

  327. “•As many as eight teams are in on Pence, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, including the Phillies and Braves. Rosenthal says the Astros are listening.”
    -MLB Trade Rumors

    If this is true and you are the Astros, don’t you have to trade him?

  328. houston being smart for once and holding out for the absolute best deal? the apocalypse may happen before august 2.

    I thought Derrick Lee did pretty good for us.

  329. Braves sent Wilkin Ramirez down to make room for bullpen arm, Anthony Varvaro.

    Probably reading too much in to it, but I think Wren
    must be confident he’ll be making a move, if he’s going to go 10 days minimum without Ramirez with Schafer on DL, Chipper and Uggla nursing strained quad and calf, and an OF of Prado/McLouth/Heyward and only Hinske to back it up.

  330. @555

    My barber.

    He says Wren has taken so long becasue he is working out a huge deal.

    ATL gets: Pence, Bourn, Brad Ziegler, Conor Jackson
    Oak gets: Prado, Austen Wates
    Hou gets: Minor, Delgatto, Willingham, the Lisp

  331. DOB, new mouthpiece of the organization, says that Carlos Quentin is a perfect fit for the Braves b/c of Heyward’s struggles and goes on to talk about Heyward being sent to the Minors or benched. YIKES!

  332. Does this mean Heyward really isn’t hurt? I keep telling myself that he’s hurt and the organization is too stupid to DL him.

  333. @563
    Let me rephrase my own statement by saying that DOB speculates Heyward would become a part time player or be sent to AAA, not necessarily benched.

  334. Interesting tweet from Jeff Schultz…
    “Frank Wren, Bruce Manno came downstairs, talked to Fredi Gonzalez for 5 mins, went straight back to office. That’s all I know.”

    How would you guys like this lineup?
    Quentin RF
    Heyward CF

  335. If this Stark piece is true –

    “Clubs that have spoken with the Braves say they have three primary names on their buy-a-bat shopping list: Hunter Pence, Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick. The Braves looked into B.J. Upton, but don’t seem prepared to pay a big price for him. We also haven’t heard much that suggests the Braves are still bullpen shopping.”

    – then it’s likely some here will be disappointed. That Bourn and Span are not at the top of the list, and that they’ve given up on Upton, and that they’ve stopped looking for a right-handed reliever: all of this suggests the FO is as uncreative as many here have feared.

  336. Wrote a long post, thought about it for a second and realized that it’s just too idiotic to get worked up about.

  337. Oh and it’s most interesting that the CW seems to be that Uggla is gonna keep right on rolling along.

    /and thinking about how long of a leash Uggla has gotten, and how short Heyward’s has been leads to some unpleasant places.

  338. @568

    “Wren made a motion with him arm, almost a waving motion.”

    “I see Manno and Gonzalez shaking, perhaps in celebration?”

    “Wren just looked at his watch. Time to make a deal?”

    “I just heard the word ‘buy’ before they went upstairs. That’s all I know.”

  339. Is it just me or does anyone else have the feeling that the Braves are going to do something really stupid?

  340. @571, that’s understandable. He kept rolling along for a number of years before he came to Atlanta. It’s reasonable to think that the half season is the anomaly, not the years that came before it.

  341. @571-edit, I don’t think it’s unpleasant to think that they give a guy with a long track record a longer leash than a guy with one good year and no prior major league PAs.

  342. DOB’s all over it, too: “Don’t know significance, but Wren & asst. GM Manno walked w/ sense of purpose to field to talk w/ Fredi for few minutes, then back upstairs”

    Wren: “Do not forget to come to my daughter’s recital this weekend. She will be very upset if her Uncle Fredi misses another performance.”

  343. Heyward, in fact almost nobody, has ever been as bad as Uggla was through the first 80 games of the year, and the bench word never came up. In fact, he’s STILL outhitting Uggla, and by a nontrivial amount at that. Not to mention his “one good year” was better than any year Uggla’s ever come up with.

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