If WAR would’ve been prevalent in the late-90’s early 2000’s, then the Braves likely wouldn’t have gotten themselves in this mess. However, if they wouldn’t have gotten themselves into this mess, then we wouldn’t have wankers to write about, especially Braves One Year Wanker, Rico Brogna.
Braves One Year Wanker, Rico Brogna
What a wanker. During a run where the Braves were legitimately trying to be a World Series contender year-in and year-out, they handed some key offensive position jobs to some guys who were not key offensive position guys. The Braves had such an incredible core in the 90â€™s and 00â€™s: Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Javy Lopez, Rafael Furcal, etc. You know all the names. They produced some tremendous additional pieces: Marcus Giles, Kevin Millwood, John Rocker, etc. They would also get lucky with fliers turning in big seasons, and the 2001 season was no different. John Burkett, at age-36 season, made the All-Star team.
But the Braves had a hole at first base. Andres Galarraga had a tremendous comeback year, and he was gone. Aging veterans Bobby Bonilla and Wally Joyner didnâ€™t get the job done in limited roles at first base the year previous. The Braves learned their lesson, right? You need a Galarraga, not a Joyner, right? No. Instead, the Braves signed Rico Brogna.
Braves One Year Wanker, Rico Brogna…Living in the Land of Bad Ideas
The team had gotten expensive with the aforementioned players all, at that point, making big money, so duct tape and chewing gum had to be used to fill out the rest of the roster. There really was no reason to think that Brogna was going to be the answer, but they had some success in the scratch-and-dent aisle, so why not? But Brogna had not had a league-average OPS since his age-26 season, and his age-31 season would be no different. At first base, no less, Brogna put up a .632 OPS, 62 OPS+. After 223 PAs, and he was gone.
The Braves would then turn to fellow wankers, one of which of the one-year persuasion. Ken Caminiti would be another person to finish his career playing first base for the Braves in 2001, and we have already read how well that went. Wes Helms got some action at first, and though he fared better (83 OPS+), it wasnâ€™t enough to keep the Braves from digging Julio Franco out of retirement. Thatâ€™s how bad it was. Franco was the only saving grace of the first base position that year, hitting .302/.376/.444 in 102 PAs at the incredible age of 42.
The Bravesâ€™ offense that year would only have two league average hitters, Chipper and Brian Jordan. The rest was a disappointing lot, with Brogna leading the pack. What a wanker.
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