4:51 pm July 11, 2009, by David O'Brien
July 12th, 20092:19 am
I live 5 minutes from Danville, never been to a Danville Braves game but iv been to atlanta 4 tims this year. Do I need to hit up a danville game soon???
didnt mean to send that twice.
Frank from KS (now living in CO)
July 12th, 20092:20 am
You do know that Lesnar is married to Rena Mero (ex-Sable from WWF/WWF), right?
I’ll be at his first Rome game too. I’m practically IN Rome, so that makes it easy.
If you make sure to eat your wheaties every morning, that brain cell might eventually be able to handle some Spanjer-Furstenburg action.
How good actually is this guy? I read on here everynight that he did something big, but is this guy actually that good or are you just a big fan? So im guess i need to go untill i get plenty autographs from him?
Ok, I'm REALLY drunk!
July 12th, 20092:21 am
What, nobody bothered to check out ‘Men on Film’ on youtube or something? You are really missing classic comedy, I’m tellin ya. Damon Wayans and David Allen Grier play some halarious queens!! Don’t ask me to link it, just type what’s above.
July 12th, 20092:22 am
July 12th, 20092:23 am
I’m practically in Rome for 8-9 months out of the year. But, I can use any excuse to go visit mis amigos en Rome and stop by ol’ State Mutual Stadium for a game.
Can’t wait to see how they get Spangler-Furstenspooneybarger on back of a jersey….
July 12th, 20092:24 am
Coach (2010 or Bust)
Actually, the Braves have 49 quality starts as of right now.
Are our Braves really improving? Yes and NO. They are 11-9 over the last twenty games while scoring 4.15 runs per game with a team ERA of 3.18.
For the season the same numbers are 4.20 runs per game and an ERA of 3.83
Believe it or not, the pitching has gotten even better while the offense is stagnant at best. The defense has shown a slight improvement by committing just eleven errors in the same period of games played.
Basically, the pitching has improved, the defense is slightly better and the offense is the same. Meanwhile, the running game remains non-existent (29 stolen bases, only the Brewers are worse).
I hate to say it because so many have already pointed out the fact that if the Braves win tomorrow we will be 44-44 .500, June 12th was the last time we were at .500 (30-30) and we will have played 29 games since then.
So YES, it’s a big game tomorrow. I hope we win.
You have asked us to do that before. May be you should cut back a little….
July 12th, 20092:25 am
When you meet him, be careful…not everyone can handle his awesomeness.
…and if you can’t, you’ll have been Spanjer-Furstenburged.
July 12th, 20092:26 am
THERE’S our wet blanket
July 12th, 20092:27 am
Me neither!! HokieBravesfan went to a game not too long ago and said that the entire name was on there, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.
July 12th, 20092:29 am
So im guess i need to go untill i get plenty autographs from him?
You definitely need to go and get lots of good pictures and share!
July 12th, 20092:30 am
@Adam Wainwright Lives:
I don’t remember Betimit or Andy Marte being considered “the future.” Actually, I remember them being guys who couldn’t crack the lineup because we already had better players playing in the big leagues at their position.
Marte played third base, which was obviously spoken for. Betimit was a utility player, but not quite good enough to replace our then-current starters (including, again, Chipper.)
Our position players were not the problem in 2006-07. Starting pitching was.
If you want to track this team’s failings since the last division title in 2005, you have to look at how we transitioned out of the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz years into the Just-Smoltz years.
In 2006, Smoltz, of course, was still strong. But Tim Hudson’s ERA went from 3.52 to 4.86. Kyle Davies screwed the pooch with an ERA of 8.38. Chuck James actually pitched OK in 2006 with a 3.78 ERA, then went down the tubes after that. Horacio Ramirez also went downhill and got traded to the Mariners (but at least the silver lining there is we picked up Soriano). We also continued to rely on the great John Thomson, who continued sliding downhill after his one very good year in 2004.
2007 was more of the same, just trying to find some starting pitching—like every other team in baseball. Smoltz was still Smoltz, and Hudson bounced back big-time. But after that it was Buddy Carlyle with an ERA over 5.00, Lance Cormier with an ERA over 7.00, Kyle Davies with an ERA over 5.00 (then traded to KC), Chuck James with a 4.24 ERA, and the Mark Redman Experiment giving us five starts with a record of 0-4 and an ERA of 11.63. Bringing up the rear was Jo-Jo Reyes, with 10 starts later in the year and an ERA of 6.22.
I will definitely agree that it would have been nice for Reyes, Davies, and Chuck James to be the second coming of Glavine-Maddux-Smoltz. But it wasn’t meant to be. This created a huge gap between our dominant pitching staff of the past and the staff of the present, which could end up being dominant. And now we’re banking on Hanson-Medlin-Jurrjens as the future. (And seriously, I think we’ve seen enough of Jurrjens and Hanson to know that at least those two are the real deal. I mean, come on.)
But the big difference between the starting pitching now and the starting pitching in 2006-07 is that we are not relying on the kids before they’re proven. In 2006-07, we had nothing beyond Smoltz and Hudson and nothing else. In 2009, we go three-deep with the veterans (not counting Jurrjens), and four-deep if Hudson comes back healthy.
So if anything, I fault the front office for not getting good enough veteran starting pitching for two seasons, 2006 and 2007. Last year would have been pretty good if everyone stayed healthy, and nobody stayed healthy except Jurrjens. This year, we got it right.
So in the grand scheme of things, considering how other clubs flounder and we won 14 straight division titles, I think damning the front office for having a weak starting rotation for two seasons is a little nearsighted.
But maybe I’m just a glass-is-half-full kind of guy.
July 12th, 20092:34 am
At least if I have any trouble sleeping tonight, I’ll have one of these humongous posts to read to knock me right out
July 12th, 20092:36 am
I think the blog has had all the Spanjer-Furstenburg action it can handle…too many more mentions and the blog will implode.
The blog trembles at the sound of his name…
July 12th, 20092:39 am
I should have gotten drunk tonight. Why the hell did I let Doug and Adam Lives get to me? Trust me, guys, I made awesome points. I am going to lighten the hell up now.
My seven-year-old son prefers Rome games, because of the dancing cake on the scoreboard.
The best thing I’ve read tonight is that Shamus had ribs cooking at 1:55am.
July 12th, 20092:40 am
I’ve done it! I think I’ve found what could quite possibly be the worst thing ever in the history of music
July 12th, 20092:42 am
Ok i think ill go to the Danville game this comin Wednesday! Ill take a lot of pictures so if yall want to see them ill let yall know when im back wednesday night and yall just give me your email and ill send some. maybe i can get his and julio teherans autograph.
July 12th, 20092:44 am
Sounds good, CameronC.
We’ll all be expecting good pictures!
I checked it out jeffrey d, and I don’t blame the Jonas Brothers for that video. I blame John Mayer. Without him doing that cover in that style, it would never have happened.
July 12th, 20092:45 am
nite owl…very informed and reasoned post…thanks. i completely agree with your assessment. let’s not forget also that braves had severe bullpen icompetency that negated most of Smoltz’s & Hudson’s good starts. over the last 4 years, braves have not been able to piece together a good offense, good rotation, and good bullpen. unbelievably, until this year, the offense was performing consitently great over that stretch. braves have the makings of putting all three phases of the game together in the second half, and into the coming years with the great rotation and dynamic hitters coming up soon.
i, for one, totally trust frank wren at this point. he makes shrewd moves, period.
July 12th, 20092:48 am
roman gal…how, when and why did the spandex-fartinburger explode on this blog?
July 12th, 20092:50 am
saw the hurt locker today.
great movie. if there are any generation kill fans out there, you will LOVE this movie.
July 12th, 20092:53 am
Nite Owl – it’s not just the style. It’s that “I’m a doofus” look they always have on their faces. It’s the fact that the guy singing can merely carry a tune (and he’s quite flat in that song). It’s the fact that they show very little musical ability and yet they’re dooping people across the world to think that they’re the greatest thing ever because they’re attractive.
Or maybe I’m just bitter and anti-Jonas
July 12th, 20092:54 am
I was also upset that it said “John Mayer cover” which I guess is somewhat accurate because it’s a cover of JM’s cover, but I’m pretty sure the author had no idea it was originally done by Tom Petty
July 12th, 20092:56 am
Tom Petty rules!!
oh man what a night….I tell ya, if I still drank tonight would’ve been a perfect time to get loaded. But alas….
Good thing I had a Braves win, and the always friendly and rational confines of the blog, and some nice therapy from BB King and Norah Jones
What’s the latest on Greg Norton?
July 12th, 20093:00 am
Thanks Joe, and great point about the bullpen.
I think with Dimitroff running the Falcons, Wren running the Braves, and Sund running the Hawks, we are dangerously close to having three well-run franchises in this town. And God help me, I’m even thinking Waddell, since Kovalchuk lit a fire under his arse.
But the problem with being an Atlanta fan is that you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m thinking that, for example, Matt Ryan, Tommy Hanson, and Al Horford all decide to drop everything and live in Tibet. Something like that.
July 12th, 20093:05 am
I share your horror at the Jonas Brothers’ popularity. I’m not sure which would have been worse, them trying to imitate John Mayer’s version or them trying to do it Petty-style. I’m just saying they wouldn’t have tried the Petty version, and it would have saved us all.
But, we’ve seen it all before. Shaun Cassidy. New Kids on the Block. On and on it goes.
By the way, there are many kinds of therapy I would gladly accept from Norah Jones.
I’m thinking that, for example, Matt Ryan, Tommy Hanson, and Al Horford all decide to drop everything and live in Tibet.
Wouldn’t that be a slap in the face. And then we trade back for Jeff Francoeur.
July 12th, 20093:06 am
As a Jeff Francoeur fan, I’m sad to see him traded. But as an Atlanta Braves fan, I must admit this is probably better for the team. To his credit, Frenchy always seemed like a great teammate, a great kid and a guy who loved playing the game… but after almost two years of very pedestrian numbers, I guess it was time to pull the trigger. I hope he flourishes and has a good career… just too bad it won’t be in a Braves uniform.
And to all you fans who are clamoring for “more trades”… let’s be careful and not bankrupt our entire farm system. The 2009 Braves are likely not a playoff team… let’s get ready for a very strong run in 2010, 2011, 2012… with young guys like Infante, Prado, Escobar, McLouth, Heyward, Freeman, McCann, Jurrjens, etc., I think we’re poised for a good 3-to-5 year period. Remember, half of the Rangers’ team (which is pretty good this year) came from the Braves system in the ill-fated Tiexera trade (Harrison, Salty, Andrus, etc.) Throw in Andruw Jones and Kevin Millwood and it’s like Braves West! But seriously, let’s focus on building up and wisely using our deep minor league system and cultivating the young guys we already have in Atlanta. I think this team has one more good run in it for Chipper… I figure a deep playoff push in 2010 or 2011 and Mr. Jones can head to the Hall of Fame with a Braves cap on his head.
If we can only squeeze out 2 or 3 really great, .300 power hitters from our minor league system next year or the next, I think we’ll be in good shape. Go Braves!
July 12th, 20093:08 am
ha! Yeah, she’s real pretty. And I love her mellow voice and smooth piano-playing
fastasballs………….I totally agree with your 1:21am posting. We are getting production out of the bottom of the order. The All-Star Break is coming at a good time for us. Kotchman, Escobar, Chipper and Prado could all use a few days to heal their nagging injuries.
Once we get Infante back, I think that we’ll have a balanced batting order. Getting rid of Francoeur’s rally killing bat was ESSENTIAL.
You are also correct in the fact that we have the potential to roll off 8-10 wins in a row. A few blowouts would be nice.
Also, adding another arm to the bullpen would be great. That is why I have been proposing having Tim Hudson pitch in short relief when he comes back from the DL. Imagine him being able to come in on nights that Soriano and Gonzales need to rest and getting a 2 inning save. Hudson has that bulldog mentality to pitch in short relief. And it would only be for this season. Hudson joining Soriano and Gonzalez in short relief at the end of games would make for an extremely strong bullpen. If Acosta could be that 7th inning guy, then Bobby could be “selective” in when he uses Moylan.
Frank Wren trading Francoeur for Ryan Church was a big deal. I like Ryan Church playing against right handers. His 0 for 4 tonight was a good 0 for 4. He swung the bat really well and drove a few pitches. He just hit them right at people. He took some pitches and worked the count. He will be fine.
Francoeur had the luckiest 2 for 4 that one can have. His two singles didnt even come close to traveling as far as the ball that Church hit to the outfield wall. One of those singles should have been an error on the shortstop.
July 12th, 20093:18 am
Alright I’m goin to bed….thanks everyone for (unknowingly) being a little distraction for me tonight
July 12th, 20093:24 am
“Betimit or Andy Marte”
You don’t remember far enough back. Betemit in particular was our next Andruw at one point.
July 12th, 20093:27 am
uga-brave: got to see that soon. heard nothing but sensational reviews of that movie.
schmohawk, we’ll probably have news on Norton tomorrow. He could get released. We’ll see.
July 12th, 20093:46 am
Nite Owl…….it’s nice to see a fellow Braves fan agree with me in saying that Frank Wren is a very competent GM.
Jeff……..concerning your 3:05am posting concerning the “ill fated Texeria trade with Texas” and you saying that “half of their team come from us”, you might want to do some actual RESEARCH, instead of just relying on sports pundits who sprew their nonsense about what is or isnt a good trade.
Lets take a real CLOSE look at that trade. On July 31st, 2007, the Braves acquired Mark Texeria and Ron Mahay and traded away Matt Harrison, a left handed minor league starting pitching……..Jerold Saltalamacchia, switching hitting catcher recently called up to Atlanta from the Minors……….Elvis Andrus, a slick fielding light hitting young shortstop playing in the minors……….left hander Beau Jones, minor leaguer…………and Neftali Feliz, a hard throwing minor league relief pitcher.
We got one very good year of service out of Texeria and then sent him to the Angels for Casey Kotchman and minor leaguer Stephen Marek.
Lets see how those prospects that we gave up are really doing for the Rangers:
1. Salty…………..Batting .244, 6 homers, 11 doubles, 29 RBIs with 17 walks and 85 strikeouts in 234 at-bats.
2. Matt Harrison…..4-5 record, 6.11 ERA, 11 starts, 63 innings pitched, 81 hits, 43 earned runs with 23 walks and 34 strikeouts. This is his second stint on the disabled list for shoulder and arm problems. He had similar issues last year. (By the way, does Harrison remind you of Horatio Ramirez?)
3. Elvis Andrus……………batting .235 with 3 homers, 4 doubles, 5 triples, and 15 RBIs, in 233 at-bats with 19 walks and 35 strikeouts. Dude has a pretty good glove, however he also has a weak bat right now.
4. Neftali Feliz……….2 years later and still in the minors.
5. Beau Jones……….2 years later and still in the minors as well.
From what I can gather from these stats, the book is still be written as to whether either team go the best end of this trade. The 3 guys that are on the Rangers Major League Roster, one is on the DL for the second time this year for shoulder and arm problems. Salty is primarily playing catcher. However, he isnt doing anything special. Low batting average, very little power. Few walks, lots of strikeouts The most “promising” player right now is Elvis Andrus. He can field his position. However he is going to have to learn how to hit. Low average and NO POWER isnt going to cut it.
In other words, all of those guys that the Rangers have from the Tex trade are struggling. So how can some of you say that the Braves got the worst end of that trade? At least we still have Casey Kotchman and the minor league pitcher who was recently promoted to Triple A.
So what a little investigation can do? However, I understand……..it’s much easier to just sprout in a posting about what you “heard” some talking head said about the Braves being robbed in this trade.
July 12th, 20093:48 am
Paul Lentz, I saw Francoeur’s bloop hit that drove in two runs. It’s weird to see him in a Met uniform, but it’s much better for him & the Braves that he is wearing one.
I’ve read before, probably here, that Hudson would not object to going to the pen. He could be a huge asset down there because no way those guys can continue the pace of innings & appearances they are racking up. Somebody is going to break down or they will lose their effectiveness, which is happening with Gonzo & Moylan. I’d like to see Acosta slot into the 7th inning if he continues to pitch well.
I’m glad Medlen will a start tomorrow (today), he needs some work, but I’m scared he’s going to be rusty. He really needs to go back to the minors after this start because he simply isn’t getting the work he needs.
I’m feeling a lot better about the offense, especially with Infante’s return in sight & Francouer flailing in Flushing. I think they could survive without adding that big bat if McCann/Chipper get back to raking. They both need the rest as well. I wouldn’t object to Wren getting a power bat, but right now I’m not sure where it would come from & if the Braves would want to pay the price.
The Phillies stole one from the Pirates tonight & look like their offense is getting on a big roll. Their pitching stinks, but when you score 8-9 runs a game it doesn’t matter as much. They won’t stay this hot, but it’s tough to make up any ground while they are.
Their pen is in worse shape than ours. They have been plowing through guys all season & will continue to based on their starters.
church's fried chicken
July 12th, 20093:52 am
Hey hey frenchy went 2-4 yesterday today sunday july 12 2009 3-5 1 homerun n 4 rbi’s makin him 5-9 with 6 rbi’s at break….wait till he feast on braves n hit 5 homeruns here when mets come to town….and i hope frenchy gives the finger to U folks and wren n bobby cox n TP…what a site frenchy u be better and mets will resign u for 2 years n take offer!
Peace jeffrey d. Say goodnight to Norah for me.
Gone Viral: not sure if you’re referring to my point, but yeah, I remember how hyped Betemit was in the early days. But he started to go sour before he even made the big league club. I think he started going downhill in AAA and only made the majors because he was out of options. By that point, the Braves weren’t exactly thinking of him as a savior or anything.
Same for Marte. He was home-grown trade bait. Never going to unseat Chipper, so I don’t think anyone thought of him as the future, either. I can’t remember if he was around when Chipper got moved to left, and I’m too tired to look it up, but that says a lot about relying on him if he couldn’t beat out DeRosa back then.
Good prospects, yes, but not big pieces of the future or anything. Think Tony Tarasco, if you really want to go back a ways.
Anyway, I’m hitting the hay. DOB, great blog. Thanks for letting us hang out with you.
And one last thing, DOB: not sure if you’re a fan of Dave Barry (the semi-retired humor columnist, author, etc.), but he was really good friends with Warren Zevon and spent a lot of time with him before he died. Talk about an odd couple…but extremely cool. Saw them in a documentary about Zevon a while back.
Good night, er, good morning to all.
July 12th, 20093:54 am
when you say infante’s return is in sight, what exactly is the timetable? i’m also excited for omar’s return.
July 12th, 20093:56 am
And thanks Paul Lentz. I like your thorough analysis. I know the others were having some fun at the expense of our long posts, but if you’re like me, not only do you have to get this stuff off your chest, but it’s hard not to respond to certain things.
So cheers and have a good one.
July 12th, 20093:59 am
soo… church’s is willieg?
July 12th, 20094:01 am
LOL I was thinking the same thing FaninFaytown. Could be DOB’s emailer or one of the nightly pranksters around here. That post is almost too screwed up to be believable, but then again…………..
July 12th, 20094:08 am
If its not, then whoever is attempting to copy him… nailed it.
July 12th, 20094:18 am
“By that point, the Braves weren’t exactly thinking of him as a savior or anything.
Same for Marte. He was home-grown trade bait. Never going to unseat Chipper, so I don’t think anyone thought of him as the future, either. ”
Betemit did start to fall out of favor at one point after he had been named our minor league player of the year. At that point, he was most assuredly being hyped as a future star. When he got to the majors, however, he caught everyone off guard by doing very well.
As for Marte, you are absolutely misremembering. He was the #1 prospect in our organization when we traded him. At the time, the Braves were absolutely berated for that deal since his minor league measurables looked so good. Our own GM characterized the deal as one we wouldn’t do if we weren’t in such desperate need of a SS, which Renteria was.
Whether or not the prospects had players ahead of them is always irrelevant to how good the players are.
July 12th, 20094:40 am
With Matt Cain injured Vasquez and Jurrjens have a shot as well.
the real Andy
July 12th, 20095:58 am
you know, it’s weird. smoltz getting his first victory outside of atlanta made it much more real. especially for boston. ugh. i have a real hard time wishing anybody on boston well. wish you didn’t go smoltzie.
July 12th, 20096:41 am
Just got home and catching up on the blog. I also heard that Norton was getting released soon. That one wasn’t hard to see coming.
July 12th, 20097:10 am
Here I am again and cannot believe Francorut is with the Mets, I guuess I should pray for he and his wife at church this morning.
July 12th, 20097:35 am
BTW — I remember when Chipper called Frenchy “Captain Caveman” and the next time I saw Chipper I reminded him that my swing was waaayyy better than that. He laughed and then said “but no offense to your people” LOL
I think the Braves should play Sundays game like a playoff game to get to .500 and get a quick reset for the second half. I firmly believe they can have a 10-12 games over .500 record at the end of the year which would put them right at the 87-88 wins that I think it will take to win the East.
July 12th, 20097:49 am
You can tell how bad Frenchy is when the headlines tell he starts hot in NYC when he hits a flair single and an IF single.
July 12th, 20097:59 am
as a former Maconite…I was pi$$ed when Betemit skipped Macon.
July 12th, 20098:12 am
How did willieg get your e-mail address last night? That had to be him. It had his own….unique grammar. One question though was it in mostly upper case with some lower case? If so then it has to be him!
July 12th, 20098:20 am
This is a big game today folks. I sure wish Javy was pitching but maybe Medlen will step up. The only problem is that he will only be able to go 5 probably. That means the overworked bullpen will have to step up again. Soriano has pitched 2 days in a row, will he be available today? I don’t know. Finishing the first half at .500 and going into the second half at home against the Mets with the opportunity to put them out of their misery sounds promising.
July 12th, 20098:22 am
“Whether or not the prospects had players ahead of them is always irrelevant to how good the players are.”
Well said, I agree.
I have mixed feelings about Soriano going to the all-star game. I think he could use the rest and would not want to see him pitch. Also, this may bump his salary up even more and that could hurt the Braves chances of resigning him. But, he deserves it so I hope he gets it.
July 12th, 20098:35 am
Braves could get a haul for Soriano at the deadline. He has been one of the best relievers in baseball this year.
July 12th, 20098:36 am
RSVF…you have a literary creation here, something worthy of a New Yorker piece, a novel, a movie…you’ve had the correct instinct to sense his name, background and his stats on the field elevate him above the masses playing the game…he is your creation, irony ,humor and all…
where do you go from here? his agent, perhaps…at least that puts you into a position to influence his future…negotiate that first big contract with FW which you will shrewdly tie in with attendance figures at TF which will explode overnight when he debuts…the hollywood and literary stuff will follow as night the day…and the t shirts/braves jerseys with umpteen letters, caps and hyphens jammed in will become a world wide cult rivalling you-know-who…
yes you can.
July 12th, 20098:38 am
I hear a lot of criticism of Cox for the way he handles his bullpen,which I’m in agreement with. It would really help Bobby to have a strong bench coach to help him in this area,or a stronger pitching coach. He does seem to put all his faith in a couple of relievers and abusing them to the point of injury.
July 12th, 20098:42 am
@Gone Viral: “Whether or not the prospects had players ahead of them is always irrelevant to how good the players are.”
True, but that wasn’t my point. They can be amazing prospects and still not be “the future” of the big-league club, which was really my only point to begin with.
For example, Saltalamacchia and Tyler Flowers were moved because they were valuable as trade bait, and they were never going to play here long-term as long as McCann was around. We got good value for them, just like we got good value for Marte. Renteria was good for us here, and then we turned him into Jurrjens, which was a masterstroke by Wren.
Good front office, I tell ya. Now that I’ve had some sleep, I feel even better about the moves Wren has made.
And the only reason I got off on this tangent was to defend the supposedly horrible farm system we have. I just think that’s way off target. Believe me, the last thing I expected was to debate the relative merits of Andy Marte and Wilson Betemit.
It’s been fun, though. My earliest Braves memories in this vein were trading away Brett Butler in the early 80’s. And we could look at Braves coulda-been prospects like Andres Thomas at SS.
This has all happened before, and this will all happen again. The only thing that changes is the names and how the starting pitchers pan out.
July 12th, 20098:43 am
at 25 years old francoeur has better numbers than chuch does at 30
better fielder, better arm, more speed
best years by most players are between 25 and 30
church has already been through that stretch will little success
most assist by outfielder in majors last 5 years – jeff francoeur
why did we want church
The bad part of this whole thing is that the Braves still have problems. If they go on a tear, best you can hope for is a Wild Card and a 1st round loss. I love the Braves and want them to do well. I just feel that with the present Ownership, we are not going to do much. The discussion of money comes up in every deal. I realize that this is a business, but the Braves were purchased to get a tax break. They were not purchased to win or lose.You can only get by with a certain number of .270 to .280 hitters with little power. It just will not happen. Check the batting average and homers of the whole team, but especially the outfield . There is just not exnough fire power there to compete with the normal playoff teams. Run the numbers and you will see. I wish the Braves the best, but there are too many bench players starting, that would not be starting on the better teams.
July 12th, 20098:49 am
I seriously doubt Hudson is going to go to the pen. It’s a completely different world coming out of the pen–especially nowadays with guys going one inning at a time and some guys only come in very sporadically (Medlen). Hudson would not get the preparation he needs to go into the regular, every 5th day, pushing 5-6 innings schedule that starters go.
Although, I’m thinking that since Hudson won’t get that many starts anyway before the end of the season, they will probably pencil him in here and there: to take over for a struggling starter, come in for a starter going on the DL or someone getting bumped up, etc. Then next year a decision will be made as to what is Hudson’s fate: another contract or let him go.
I’m starting to think that with the fact that there are so few decent sluggers available right now and with Wren saying, “Looking at our future, we think we have the foundation for a good club now that will only get better as we go forward. Each situation will be analyzed on its own merits and what impact it will have on our club…. I don’t see us adding significant payroll” we are not going to see a major trade before the deadline this month.
There may not even be a trade for a slugger during the off season barring any unforeseen events like Chipper or McCann having a significant injury. I’ll bet we see Heyward next season. He is at AA ball and will either start the season in AAA with a call up soon after the season starts or will debut in Atlanta as of day 1.
With us having versatile Ryan Church who can play all 3 outfield positions, it gives the team flexibility. Matt Diaz is killing the ball, G Anderson is coming around, McClouth is a fixture in the outfield, and who knows if we’ll end up seeing Schafer again… There seems to be enough options to get us by–barely. We still need a slugger but my guess is that it will be from within.
Who knows, we may even see Freddie Freeman’s debut next year as well…
July 12th, 20098:58 am
In seeing the headline about Smoltz getting his first win last night, it got me to thinking that as hard as it was to lose him – it really was the best thing for the Braves. Here we are at the All-Star break and he’s just notched his first win. And thus far, he is a five inning pitcher at best.
I hope he continues to get better and go deeper into games, but he simply would not have contributed enough to the Braves at this point in the team’s evolution to make it worthwhile.
I’ve had my doubts about Wren’s performance, but halfway through the season it looks like he’s done a pretty decent job after all.
And Jim, as aggressive as Wren has been – I don’t think he’s done dealing for a second, tight payroll and all.
The Dodgers’ website has an article that says that Broxton will miss the ASG. I don’t know who would be more deserving than Soriano, who belongs on the roster to begin with, though I do know that a lot of folks are arguing that Pablo Sandoval deserves a spot, and that’s probably true — but I don’t think even Manuel would be bone-headed enough to replace a reliever with a position player.
As for Vazquez taking Matt Cain’s spot — if he does, I hope they’re cautious with him. I don’t know if his strained lower abdominal muscle will be good enough by Tuesday, but if he’s gonna start the 5th game after the break, then they’re giving it plenty of time to heal. As deserving as he is, the last thing any of us want would be for him to mess it up even further and risk his 2nd half. And if I’m Manuel, I wouldn’t want to take a pitcher that I can’t put in the game.
July 12th, 20099:02 am
Some entertaining blogging by the late-night crew. Some great analysis of the dry years of 2006 thru 2008. I like the direction that Wren and company are leading the Braves. Thanks for the Wren interview DOB! We have an abundance of starting pitching and a core of position players that are top notch. Looking forward to the next batch of “Baby Braves” in 2010 and 2011. Lets win this game today and get healed up for a run at the post season.
July 12th, 20099:05 am
You are definitely on to something. It seems that you either have to build a ball club from the ground up like the Marlins, Twins, or A’s (then it is difficult to build a fan base with the turn over) or you spend a lot of money like the Red Sox or Yankees. It’s difficult being in the middle of the pack in spending since it seems like a crap shoot making it to the World Series. They guys in the middle always seem to be one or two great players short of a truly competitive team–something the spenders can afford to buy and the non-spending building teams can bring up from the minors.
My fear is that while we are waiting for the sluggers to make their way through the system: Heyward, Freeman, and Spanjer-Furstenburg (would this be the longest name in MLB history? It’s longer than Saltalamacchia for 4 letters and a hyphen), Chipper may be on a serious decline because of age and accumulated years of injuries. So it may be addition by subtraction when one of these guys finally makes it and realizes even a portion of their potential which may not be their first year in the majors. Are we really going to compete in 2010? or 2011? Maybe 2012?? In 2012, I believe Lowe will be in the final year of his contract and who knows if he is going to be effective at all.
This is the dynamics of baseball. It’s all about timing. When are you going to get the best players on your team at the same time. You even get that during the season–trying to get all your guys hitting and pitching well at the same time. Hitting is all about timing and pitching is all about rhythm. Huh… I’m on to something there…
Thus, I’m thinking this club is going to stay so-so until we see the debut of cheap Heyward and Freeman, and then we gotta hope they hit like we think they can from day they are called up to the big time.
Note to everyone… We may be in a weak division and we may actually win it even this year, but to me, I could care less about that since there is no way this club is going to win anything in the playoffs. We just do not have the horses to make it to the World Series which is my ultimate goal. Maybe next year??
July 12th, 20099:11 am
Its amazing to me to read all these postings about how great it would be that a part-time platoon player get a chance to start over a full time player! When has that ever proven to produce long term success? Diaz and Infante are part time players and their stands would reveal that if they were allowed full time status. Diaz numbers have already started going down. These kinds of statements prove those making them don’t really have a clue.
I did not like the trade at first but the more I find out about Church the more I begin to believe its not so bad. I didn’t realize the numbers Church was putting up before his injury last year. So I’ll give him a chance to show what he can do. However, with only one power bat in the outfield and one at catcher I don’t see the Braves making the kind of push they would need to make to win the division. Chipper is not a power hitter anymore. Nate and McCann have good power not great. I think the Braves need to make the move for Dunn if they can but this trade for Church hurts that theory unless you play Dunn at first??
Lets see what Frank Wren is made of? TIme to get out of your boss’s shadow!
July 12th, 20099:13 am
Couldn’t we have expanded the deal to include Frenchman in a bigger deal for an impact leftfielder? Church is just a stopgap until Heyward is ready. He is just another body who’s had his moments (although they didn’t last long). I don’t expect him to be playing in the majors in 2011. We still need a big right-handed bopper ( ala Ryan Braun, which never will happen unless we overwhelm the Brewcrew). That being said, Cody Johnson at last check had 22 hrs, 60 rbis, and 100+ strikeouts at Myrtle Beach. Could he be that much worse than Anderson in left field? With stats like that why isn’t he a prospect ( I only hear of Heyward and Freeman)? One thing for sure, we need a righty power bat to bat cleanup and another bat for the five hole (3-4-5 should be playing everyday). When your catcher hits in one of these spots and has to sit once a week the integrity of your lineup is minimized. The odds of you winning that game are greatly lowered. 3-4-5 have got to be solid (Gant, McGriff, and Justice). Phillies can’t pitch, but 3-4-5 are solid. Until we compete on a daily basis 3-4-5 with them they will run away from us no matter how superior our pitching is or how many
games we win against them.
July 12th, 20099:14 am
bravesfanforever, you make some good points. The only thing I would add is that the Red Sox are so good because they can combine a great farm system with the ability to spend. They have been very smart, Theo has admitted modeling his initial approach after JS and the Braves, to try and not trade away his top talent. If you look at their club, Youk, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Papelbon, and a few role players (Daniel Bard, Masterson (awful yesterday), Delcarmen, etc) all came up through their system. They also have a few top notch prospects ready to step in (Bucholz, Bowden) if needed. When you can combine a great farm system and scouting with an almost never ending cash flow, it really becomes a little easier to get the right people on the team at the right time.
July 12th, 20099:18 am
Soriano should be unavailable today. He has pitched 4 out of the last 5 days! This is why Gonzo has elbow inflammation and will be out past the trade deadline. Cox handles relievers horribly.
Notes about the interview with Wren…
About Yunel… In my experience, I’ve noticed that people who come from communist countries tend to be really selfish. I think it’s a result of having to deal with their system which means trying to get around the extreme bureaucratic system at any cost to get what you want. Seems like a survival technique. Hopefully over time he will adjust to America which also means selfishness–just kidding–but rather learn to work as a team which I think Americans do very well. I think step one would be to learn English.
Wren didn’t really say a whole lot that we don’t already know. Not sure if it was the softball questions or the typical rehearsed answers. Anyway, it’s just baseball. Not like we need to grill the guy like he is a dictator or a democrat leader being interviewed on Fox News.
bravesfanforever – I agree with you that the Braves’ best years are most likely ahead of them and any moves should be made with this in mind – but we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss their chances this year either.
They have quality starting pitching and a filthy closer in Soriano. That kind of team is built for postseason ball. They just need to hit consistently and play better defense in order to have a good second half. And if they do happen to make it to the postseason, who knows what could happen?
Also, the Cards won it all in 2006 despite an 83-win regular season. Granted, they had Pujols and some other good hitters, but I’d say our pitching top to bottom is better than theirs was.
July 12th, 20099:22 am
“I was just trying to pick his mind on [Braves skipper] Bobby Cox,” Manuel joked. “He’s one of the best managers in the game. What does he do every day? Why is that roster so good”
JOKED – In other words, he was JOKING when he said Cox is one of the best managers in the game. He was JOKING when he said he was picking Francoeur’s brain regarding Cox
In other words, they were, in reality, laughting at and about Cox (about what a dumb fool he is)
There you have it
I can see Francoeur telling his new teammates all kinds of “big dumb Donk” stories
July 12th, 20099:25 am
Does anyone really think this division is being won by 83-85 wins? People always say that midseason and then have egg on their face when a team wins 88-92 games. Whoeve wins this division is going to win at least 88 games.
Do the math. Braves will have to go 45-30 in their last 75 games.
Robert – That’s not what “joked” is implying at all.
July 12th, 20099:26 am
Why does everyone think Infante is an everyday player? He is in fact only a very good utility player who’s batting .349 over a short stretch. He is not gonna put us over the top (he’s not a 15 hr player).
We need true power hitters not punch and judys.
July 12th, 20099:30 am
JasoninFL…A good farm system costs money and of course you need good baseball people. It all starts at the top and you need to have a firm philosophy that you want to win. The Red Sox from top to bottom are phenomenal. It’s no wonder they are competing at such a high level.
Frankly, I think the biggest problem with the Yankees is that they depend on free agents a little too much and they tend to trade away their best prospects. If everyone performed up to expectations they would win every single year on talent alone, but it doesn’t work that way, especially with guys in their 30’s. You never know what is going to happen. They always seem to have key players underperforming or on the disabled list.
The Red Sox are a different story because they have a good blend of the young and experienced. And yes, they have money to spend–just like the Braves of old. I hope you realize that the Braves used to be in the top 3 in spending almost every year during their big run of the 90’s.
So I think we are going to have to hold our breath between runs every 3-5 years when the team reloads. We won’t be having any more 14 year runs unfortunately unless we get another Ted Turner.
July 12th, 20099:33 am
THANK you, stew…I keep seeing posts starting with “well when Infante comes back….” like he’s going to set this offense on fire. He’s an above-average utility player and a serviceable every day player in my opinion.
Same with Brooks Conrad. I have no idea where all of this is coming from. He was hitting .250 something in AAA (and had done similarly his entire career). It’s great to see the “kid” having a lot of success, but the truth is he’s probably not going to keep this up at all.
July 12th, 20099:37 am
I think the Mets made out great in this trade because they aren’t a bunch of tightwads and they can afford to be patient and pay the guy even if they have to send him to AAA. They will offer him arb next year and if he sucks they will option him down and let him get better. Bobby said they brought Jeff up a year and half or two years too early and I think the success he had was the worst thing that could have happened to him. I think Schafer struggling and going back down will be good for him, that’s what we should have done with Jeff, send him down and let Matty play. Too late for that now, Jeff is just too talented to be this bad, I wish him the best and I think this will end up being the best thing that could have happened to him. He will be succesful somewhere someday.
July 12th, 20099:39 am
Robert — where’s that quote at 9:22am from? You’re making an awful lot about how some sports writer wrote up a story. The “joking” part seems to be more about Manuel picking Francoeur’s brain than about Cox being one of the best managers in the game. When you put up a quote like that and argue something about it, it would help if you didn’t just take it out of context.
July 12th, 20099:41 am
NCBravesFan… Yeah, it’s a crapshoot in the playoffs. But! It is possible that the Braves could make it all the way but I’m thinking in terms of odds. What chance do you think an 83 win team has against the Cardinals, Dodgers or Red Sox? Maybe they would get past round 1 but what about the next step? Then the World Series?
I’ll give them a much better chance if…
1. Diaz hits .330 and slugs .500
2. Chipper goes back to hitting somewhat like he used to (better than downhill like right now)
3. Kotchman finally realizes his potential
4. Our pitching staff doesn’t poop out before the end of the season
5. Church actually contributes
6. We don’t suffer any significant injuries from here on out
That’s just a few things. I really think it mostly depends on the offense moving along. Thank god Cox FINALLY started playing Prado and Diaz regularly!! I swear the biggest reason the Braves tend to do much better in the second half every single year is because it takes Cox a half a year to realize that he made some bad decisions sticking with guys who had no business being in the line up or rotation!!! Just think if Cox could make these decisions sooner what kind of clubs we could have had in the past and where we could be right now (we’ll see)…
Did you know?
July 12th, 20099:42 am
The Braves are 12th in the NL in Bullpen ERA. With how good Soriano and Gonzo have been, that’s sad. You can make the argument that the Braves need a relief pitcher just as much as a slugger.
July 12th, 20099:43 am
Can anybody ever remember a former Braves player criticizing Bobby Cox? I know I sure can’t think of anyone who has departed and had anything but nice things to say.
July 12th, 20099:48 am
Man, you guys sure go on and on about Infante like he is going to be the difference maker the rest of the season. I think you guys are forgetting this guy is a lifetime .264 hitter with a .700 lifetime OPS. That’s not very good.
Likely this guy is not going to be batting .349 the rest of the way especially since he spent significant time on the disabled list. This guy is not Chipper Jones who can pick up a bat after being in a coma for 2 weeks and hit 2 homers. Likely he is going to start out a bit slow to get his bearings and then he will have lost all of his momentum he had earlier this year. That basketball-sized ball that he was seeing is going to be the size of a pea.
Hopefully we can even get what we got last year with the .293 BA but with the law of averages he is going to have to bat something like .250 to even out that .349 the rest of the way.
Geez… How have times changed. Before we wished for the biggest slugger in the game and voila, we get Fred McGriff at the trade deadline, and now we just wish our weak hitting bench players come back to hit .300 and carry the ball club. Fat chance.
Now we just have to wish that several players pick it up and we get very lucky. Anyway, there is always next year!
It’s clear you haven’t been in a batter’s box since you were in TBall. The idea that Jeff Francoeur will “NEVER” be a decent Major League hitter is absurd. Getting away from Terry “worst hitting coach in MLB” Pendleton is the best thing that could have happened to JF. Everybody said Andruw was washed up. I bet the opposing pitching staff the other night would disagree. You know, the staff that AJ HIT THREE DINGERS IN ONE GAME OFF OF.
You are an idiot.
No doubt that Bobby’s a great guy who treats his players great. He gives them all the respect and support in the world. Chipper noted that he’s like a “grandfather.”
But that’s the problem some people see with Cox. They see a dull team that suffers from the same problems, and they want to see a hard-butt manager who’ll step on his players’ toes once in awhile. Who will challenge them and even chew them out a little if they need it.
July 12th, 20099:49 am
bravesfan – oh yeah I agree it’s going to be incredible if this cast and crew gets deep into the postseason this year (it’ll be quite the accomplishment if they make it to begin with, as you have so eloquently pointed out). I just have a feeling that Wren is going to swing a trade that will help the offense further — but I could be wrong.
Added to that, if the Phils sign Pedro and are able to swing a trade for Halladay, I would think they would become the instant favorites to win the division.
The rest of this month will be quite telling!
July 12th, 20099:50 am
bravesfanforever, yup…well aware of the past spending of the Bravos and its slow descent over the years. I was agreeing with your assessment and continue to agree, especially about the part about the Yankees. My point simply was the Sox combine the best of both worlds and truly are this decade’s Braves, IMO. They will be a consistent contender for years because of their emphasis on scouting and the farm system as well as their budget. It appears the Yanks are trying to get there with their refusal to include Joba, Hughes, and others in trades in recent years, but to be honest; they have a long way to go regarding their farm system.
July 12th, 20099:53 am
jeffrey d: that’s a valid thought (if indeed that’s how the players see it) and not a very harsh criticism. So I wonder why no player has raised that point – even in praising their new manager (implying that Cox is too soft on his players in the process)?
July 12th, 20099:55 am
Chop Chop-I really hope you see this some time today. If you really think that I’m willieg, then you are (to use Paul Lentz’s words) a complete moron and will NEVER win a Wurlitzer.
Dude, I post under my own name. I feel no need whatsoever to pretend to be anyone else besides myself.
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