2:59 pm September 30, 2009, by David O'Brien
October 1st, 200912:01 am
What Would Burt Reynolds Do?
October 1st, 200912:02 am
Bravos need some power and a leadoff hitter. That will most likely be done with giving up a pitcher. This hurts me to say but the hottest arm we have that can generate some action is Javy so…
Carl Crawford is a FA and so is Chone Figgins. Both would fit a need in or two areas. leadoff and power speed…. money is the idea.
Looking to 2010 folks that all.
October 1st, 200912:03 am
I don’t know why I keep beating a dead horse but, even with the loss tonight with a rockies win, this thing is not over. I believe the Brewers can win tommorrow. The dodgers are losing bad ! They could possible sweep the rockies. they have did it all year. The Braves have to win !! 4 games against the Nats ! Can they do that though !!
The pain of this one isn’t exactly going away. Oh, what could have been?
A big win tonight would’ve provided the fuel for the rest of the way.
October 1st, 200912:04 am
Well Chop Chop, the big things i’m expecting next year for is for Hanson and JJ to continue to get better and be solid pitchers and maybe for a certain top prospect to make his debut sometime next year. The team is currently going from a 4th place finish last year to what looks like it could be a 2nd place finish. Thats movement, no? Oh and I see many playoff runs in their future young grasshopper.
October 1st, 200912:05 am
Guess I’ll pull for the Rox.
October 1st, 200912:07 am
Mixxo … even if we won tonight … the damn Rockies still keep doing it. We probably still would have come up a game or 2 short. Great run and hats off to the guys but it was too many games to overcome. 8
October 1st, 200912:08 am
Okay, Jake W..
I now know what prism to view you through.
October 1st, 200912:10 am
Lou Vales, I don’t get how your Marlins finish third or fourth every year.
If we had half the talent you have it wouldn’t even be funny.
I mean, I have a hard time telling Jeremy Herida and Jorge Cantu, Hanley Ramirez and Camryn Mabin, Cody Ross and Ross Gload etc. apart from one another but I’m pretty sure if the Braves had one or two of those caliber of players we would do a hell of a lot better than either we’re doing now or the Marlins themselves are doing.
Hey, they’re good at being spoilers. Must be fun.
I will pull for the Cardinals because SMOLTZ is on that team. The only team i will pull for. Hoping he gets some innings and makes a difference in a World Series or NLCS game.
All the others can kiss my Braves a…
October 1st, 200912:11 am
They’re on a mission alright. How many exciting comebacks and walkoffs can a club have???
October 1st, 200912:12 am
Next year Diaz should start in RF until Heyward gets the call. Loaf will be gone. I thought he did a little better than what his numbers suggest. .273 Avg .412 slugg. .720 OPS and low ,300’s in OBP. Loaf and Frenchy’s stats comeout very similar. Diaz hits better than Loaf, plays much better defence and hits better than McLouth. Diaz, .315 Avg. .390 OBP .492 slugg. .884 OPS. If he can’t start for us he should be starting for someone and would be a good piece in a trade deal if Heyward ’s going to get the nod out of spring training, If we don’t get a bopper for the OF then Diaz could start in LF, Heward in RF, and Nate in CF.
October 1st, 200912:13 am
Yeah Nick, let’s non-tender the player with the highest OBP on the team. Real shrewd baseball move there.
October 1st, 200912:14 am
N8 – we experienced a Rockies world series 4 and out a few years back. Lets hope they dont go back because they would be destroyed.
As a Braves fan I say pull for St. Louis and John Smoltz and hope he has something to do with a WS championship
October 1st, 200912:15 am
Nate at leadoff just didn’t work out. Back to the drawing board on a leadoff hitter.
October 1st, 200912:16 am
Whatever Chop Chop, don’t even know what you meant by that post. Why don’t you answer the questions yourself or simply just cut the crap. I gave it all the seriousness that post deserved, if you don’t like it, oh well.
Monty … how would Chone Figgins or Carl Crawford do?
October 1st, 200912:17 am
Oh, and Nolasco with 16K? Wow. Someone was on his game, huh?
Yeah. F’in Bast…..forget it.
Speaking of that..
Diaz shouted into his helmet as he walked toward the dugout.
I wonder if he was saying “Find a clue!” … did anyone hear?
October 1st, 200912:18 am
Oh hey theres the pee guy. What a surprise. He forgot to mention something about DOB and Huddy. Maybe he plans to set an alarm and do it later.
October 1st, 200912:19 am
ThFor once I hope the future proves everyone wrong. Everyone from the rockies to mlb network and baseball tonight seems to know what’s going to happen because no team has ever came back from an 4 games deficit with 4 to go. The dodgers are going to lose tonight. The Dodgers are off tommorrow. We can only hope the Brewers win tommorrow. The Dodgers will be waiting on the rockies. The dodgers are going to have a 3 game winning streak. Yes, they are going to sweep the rockies ! The braves will have to sweep the Nats for a tie. It can be done.
October 1st, 200912:21 am
MIXXO – do you remember the last time the Rockies did this i do believe they went on a sick thing like 22 of 23 to finish the season.
They beat the Phillies and DBacks and made the WS …. got beat by Boston.
Has been done … by the same team that i dont think will choke.
You cut the crap, Jake W..
Stop expecting a bunch of kids to make your baseball dreams come true.
And can we at least be thankful that it wasn’t Yunel? I mean, my god this website couldn’t handle the meltdown if that had been Yunel at 3rd….or Chipper. If we had to go out like that at least it was good ol’ likeable Matty D.
October 1st, 200912:22 am
Didn’t Ramon Martinez have 18-strikeouts against us as a rookie, or maybe second year?
At least I didn’t have to change my name to RHR Norton…so theres that.
“Trade McLouth, start Schafer”
lose a McLouth, gain a McLouth. Nothing impressed me about Schafer when he was up here. He may be good but not near as great as everyone thought he would be.
October 1st, 200912:23 am
and i dont think they will make it out of the first round this year…. they will play the Phillies this time i expect the Phils to win.
I still think the Cards are the team in the NL that will play the Yanks.
This will be cool … the two best teams with the most WS titles in each league go head to head in the fall classic. Thats what FOX is hoping for .
October 1st, 200912:25 am
Speaking of name changes….how about changing the division name from the NL East to the MaNLilla East … home of great folders.
Nate, I don’t know how you can root for the Rockies.
F them. We talk about not getting respect, the Phillies are the most routinely overlooked team when it comes to favoritism among the sports media considering what they accomplished last year.
The Phillies are still the best team in my opinion. I for one can’t be mad at ‘em. They have good players all around. They do everything right or at least good enough. They have one of the worst closers in the game and they still won the division. I don’t mind coming in second to them. I hope they win.
The Dodgers and Cardinals suck. It pisses me off we don’t have the chance to play them in the playoffs. I have a feeling getting a taste in ‘07 had a lot to do with the Phillies winning it all last year.
We (Bobby Cox) blew it. The only reason the Rockies are going to be there is because they fired their manager but they’re going to get killed in the playoffs. They win because they have an offense that makes up for mediocre pitching.
I for one look forward to making the playoffs next year and losing in the first round.
October 1st, 200912:26 am
Oh yeah, I remember it well too. They were on fire.
October 1st, 200912:27 am
You are right Chop Chop, It does seem like I am rationalizing a dream to come true. You’re right. But it can happen, that’s all am trying to get across.
Why couldn’t it have been you, Yunel?
A damn shame, RHR.
Better yet, how about Chipper?
October 1st, 200912:28 am
braves and fish definetely have played some memorable games over the years.
had the expanded strike zone game in the nlcs. the balkoff by rocker. the game when francoeur struck out five times then got ejected when we had nobody on the bench, except pete orr who promptly butchered a fly ball in left that cost us a game, and of course tonights classic.
in the end the braves did not quite have enough steaks in the freezer offensively.
I’ll tell you right now I’m not rooting for the phillies. dodgers, or the damn rockies and I most certainly won’t be rooting for Tony ’70’s porn star hair’ LaRussa’s team. Forget that. Go…Tigers. Ha.
There are some positive clips in there, too. I guess that makes it all better.
October 1st, 200912:29 am
What baseball dreams Chop Chop, just because I said I expect big things to come next year I somehow pissed you off. I guess I suck for wanting to continue to see Hanson and JJ get better, oh and who wants that Jason Heyward kid to actually be good. We should have just lost as many games as we did last year. We will never make the playoffs again. The end has come for the braves. Sounds like you are the one who is crushed that his little baseball dreams didn’t come true. Me i’m happy with progress we’ve made, I don’t have to be some pathetic little whiner who has to harp on every little thing that this team does wrong. Life goes on. The teams plays again tomorrow and I will be there again to watch them win or lose.
October 1st, 200912:30 am
No really. Does the Marlins closer have his drivers license yet? I thought Medlen looked young. He could be that kids daddy.
October 1st, 200912:33 am
RHR …. the SI cover story on the mag that went out was beautiful … about the town and how they love the TIGERS.
IS there any town in America that needs a championship than Detriot.
Look over the last year…. Michigan St. has the game in Detroit loses to UNC … Red Wings lose at home in game 7 to the Pengs.
God has to give Detroit some love with all the things that has gone over there.
October 1st, 200912:40 am
Yeah that was good, Driver. That’s why I’m rooting for them. Would be a great story. Especially since I hate all the other potential stories. But I mean, lets be honest. They ain’t getting out of the 1st round without some divine intervention.
October 1st, 200912:43 am
My friend (not really a baseball fan) always gets mad at me for not rooting for the Yankees in 2001 after September 11th.
Why he thinks I would ever root for the Yankees under any circumstances… ever… I don’t know. Eventually in this recurring debate I recalled that my brother was at olympic park the night of the bombing in ‘96. I didn’t know if he was alive or dead for at least an hour. He wasn’t hurt fortunately but didn’t we then deserve to win the 1996 World Series for those who were hurt or killed?
It doesn’t work like that. F it. F Detroit. F the Yankees.
October 1st, 200912:45 am
The Pistons won the NBA Championship in ‘04. Their hockey team is always good.
true … So MSU couldnt pull off the miracle in Detroit … The Tigers are their only hope. You read that article … those people have lost and been threw soo much than any city in the great USA. Have to pull for them vs. The Yankees.
because the Tigers will have to face the Yanks. They will get swept. That city needs a miracle.
The ajc is just mean making these pics.
I’m going to print off 8000 of our MFIKY signs and confetti the offices of the ajc with them. Or something.
October 1st, 200912:47 am
I don’t like when people ratchet up the expectations, Jake W..
That’s what got me “pissed.”
(Or caught my attention, anyway.)
I picked this team to go 85-77. Some thought I was optimistic. I know I have four-plus years’ worth of comments here to back up the fact that I’m a pathetic little whiner, but I don’t think I sold this team short by much. I certainly didn’t expect them to win a World Series or make the postseason.
October 1st, 200912:48 am
I just hope that the Tigers get the Central … will they beat NY probably not … but lets remember the Yanks have not gone to the WS since 2001
October 1st, 200912:49 am
Pistons havent been the same NBA team that the Palace in Auburn Hills is used to…..
Some of you say the Braves are just a big bat away from greatness in 2010. I disagree. I firmly believe the Braves need an actual leadoff man, preferably a CF with a good glove. McLouth is neither a CF or a leadoff man. He’s a LF, who needs to be batting 6-8. If we’re stuck with Chipper, and it appears we are, he too needs to be batting 6-8.
Unfortunately, with Cox returning next year, these moves probably won’t take place.
October 1st, 200912:52 am
Baseball talk … last World Series for the Tigers …. vs. St. Louis.. and 1984 vs. San Diego Padres
October 1st, 200912:53 am
Can’t do it. Don’t like LaRussa. Never have. Like him even less, knowing that he pretty much had to know that Canseco and McGwire were roided up to the max.
If it’s Yankees/Cardinals in the WS, I’m rooting for the Yankees.
Driver8, please tell me you’re from Detroit.
I can’t understand why anyone would give a $*** about that city. Why do they deserve a championship any more than anybody else?
What about the Angels losing Nick Adenhart at the beginning of the season?
Give me a break.
curtis jones – how about Carl Crawford Shone Figgins? Both are Free Agents
October 1st, 200912:58 am
RHR, I believe to an extent in karma. I believe that the baseball gods were as annoyed by me with the cheesy signs that had the word believe in the font and design of the Braves logo.
Whatever happened to giving out red foam tomahawks at the gate? But really? A sheet of paper that has that on it? Lame.
But as a photographer, I love those photos. Pretty much tell the story, don’t they?
mitchell im not from Detroit just caring about that city which is in bad ways.
Yes i know about Adenhart.. what makes that more important than thousands of people who dont have jobs and dont have a home?
Terrible thing for that young man… i KNOW he is gone. Sorry to say we moved on.
October 1st, 20091:02 am
Broken hearted. Not only are our chances of the playoffs gone, I found out that there is no more Hawaii Winter League Baseball. It got absorbed in to the Arizona Fall League. I have been waiting all year for it to start…damn.
October 1st, 20091:03 am
Shamus, back in 1990 when he was with LA, Ramon M. did K 18 Braves. So did Ben Sheets maybe 10 or so years later.
October 1st, 20091:04 am
i dont believe the Angels thing … so what … i like that they remember him. I wouldnt do anything more.. Angels need to worry less about a fallen friend and more to the postseason
Its gonna be Red Sox vs. Angels
I’m not trying to ratchet up the expectations for this team Chop Chop but I am trying to have some. I like the job Frank Wren has done with this team and I believe that he will continue to do that this offseason. I think our problems that we need to fix for next year are clear and that we can fix those problems or at least most by next season. Does that gurantee us a world series or playoff spot next year, no. Gotta watch the season play out, injuries, down years, everything plays into that. Hopefully though next year we will be better. Thats all you can hope for.
October 1st, 20091:05 am
We are back to the sorry axx days of the 80s……. this sokin time wont go away until spring 2011. So get prepared, Bobby Cox might be saving best for last………..next season we might winless in april or in september, who knows.
Bobby has just annouced his lineup for next season opener:
1B Orr (he wants to resign him)
Opening day starter: Lowe…….
So get prepared.
October 1st, 20091:06 am
people die folks …. they do … lets not make it like someone important…. just a ballplayer.
Dodgers lose ! I’m telling you, the Dodgers have something to play for starting friday. The Phillies are a game back of them for homefield advantage. The Rockies are 3 away from the Dodgers. If the Rockies lose tomorrow and the Braves win, They are right back in it. The Dodgers are going to sweep the Rockies. They have already beaten the rockies 12 out of 15 games. Watch what I say. I will be back tomorrow and the next day as long as i am right. Remember me and what I said, Okay ?!
October 1st, 20091:08 am
Things could get worse:
Rocks lose the rest of the way.
Braves win tomorrow, friday, saturday and lose 1-0 on sunday on a R. Zimmerman HR in the top of the 9th.
In the bottom of the 9th we load up the bases with no out and chipper strikes out and brian goes down on a 1-2-3 DP, season over.
October 1st, 20091:11 am
Enter your comments here
October 1st, 2009
October 1st, 20091:14 am
BUT ITS STILL EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!
October 1st, 20091:17 am
You are right Doc, We may get the chance for our hearts to be broken one more time this year. Something else, the Phillies play tomorrow. If they win the Dodgers will be tied starting friday for the best record. The Dodgers are angry right now ! They haven’t won in a week. They have all the marbles to play for this weekend. Like I said the key is tomorrow for us. A Rockies loss and a win for the Braves, anything and I mean anything can happen.
October 1st, 20091:23 am
As long as SD, pirates, nats, fish and reds are on our schedule next season, we wont be playing october baseball. You can bet on it.
Plus we get to play KC next season…………you can already add 3 automatic loses right there.
October 1st, 20091:29 am
You could be right Doc, It depends on the off season moves the Braves make. You know, My heart is broken right now, But I refuse to give up until that 3:10 game is finished tomorrow.
October 1st, 20091:37 am
Right. As long as we’re competitive, we have a shot. Hell, we would have been competitive last season if we had been really lucky with the health of our aging pitchers. The Braves haven’t entered a season without any legitimate playoff expectations since 1991. We’re damn lucky as fans to have had that kind of run.
October 1st, 20091:56 am
October 1st, 20092:06 am
List of teams I’ll root for in playoffs (in order):
October 1st, 20092:08 am
Right ! Until tomorrow, it ain’t over !
October 1st, 20092:19 am
October 1st, 20094:24 am
October 1st, 20094:27 am
AJC– ALWAYS JACKINOFF COX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 1st, 20095:58 am
Do not see any hope for 2010 unless they get a big bat and McCann, Jones and McLouth participate in the hitting. They should trade Lowe if possible, sign LaRoche and do not pickup Hudson’s option.
October 1st, 20096:53 am
October 1st, 2009
Do not see any hope for 2010 unless they get a big bat and McCann, Jones and McLouth participate in the hitting. They should trade Lowe if possible, sign LaRoche and do not pickup Hudson’s option.”
McLouth is a bit streaky, isn’t he? He does walk a bit, has decent power, good speed and smart baserunner/stealer, but he doesn’t get on base consistently enough to bat leadoff, IMHO, much like Kelly was.
Chipper, I think, will bounce back next year. I could be wrong, but I just think the fact we came so close, he was embarrassed with his numbers, and going out strong for Bobby (and perhaps himself) will mean some big numbers for him.
I agree with Lowe. Again, I think the Braves will go into the off-season in listening mode, taking the best offer for whichever pitcher, but I don’t want to hear moaning when we have to eat a significant portion of Lowe’s contract to get rid of him. It’s a sunk cost, regardless, so you have to do what you have to do.
As for McCann, I have no idea what you are talking about. Look at his numbers. Take into account his eye problems earlier in the year. Look at the other catchers in the league. Look at the catcher in the other league, save Mauer. Be grateful we have McCann, and be realistic in your expecations.
LaRoche and Hudson will be interesting cases. Refer to my earlier comments on Lowe; I think either he or Hudson will be gone, but not both, unless we pick up another starter somewhere. I don’t see the team giving a spot to Medlen or Reyes, even though we could use a lefty. As for LaRoche, I think both he and the team want him back, we will just have to see if the contract can be worked out to the benefit of both parties, both in dollars and years. Will it be a buyers market (team) or a sellers market (player)?
Marc in FL
October 1st, 20097:07 am
So are we going to have another Rockies versus Red Sox or Cardinals versus Tigers? The Yanks are getting to lose in the probably the first round as their pitching implodes, the Angels and Dodgers are both slowing down and won’t have much momentum, and the Phils are going to have a helluva time trying to hold down these good offenses with that bullpen of theirs.
I think I’m calling a Colorado vs Boston WS with the Rocks getting their revenge in game 6.
October 1st, 20097:29 am
Top Ten things I think will happen in 2010:
10. Hudson’s option will be picked up. He is a heck of a guy in the community and a local boy. He has shown enough promise in his 5-6 starts to take the gamble on him next year. Which leads to…
9. Vasquez being traded for a bat. Frank Wren has to use something to get more offense. It is obvious that was our weak point all year. Evryone knows that the win/loss records for ALL of the pitchers would have been better with a little run support. I do think that Wren will sell high on Vasquez to get a big bat. Most likely in a package deal. I can see this one as the trade that no one sees coming. (Fielder??)
8. Laroche will sign for three years. Every one likes him on the field and in the office. He obviously loves playing in Atlanta. Most people think that Freeman is a few years away still anyway. Plus, in the last year of that contract, he can work with Freeman after September call ups.
7. Chipper will bust out. Knowing that it is Bobby’s last shot at another title, he will give it his all. It looks like he might have already started to get out of his slump at the end of this year. You know he will work hard in the off season to get his swing back.
6. Both Soriano and Gonzales are gone. I think they will rely on Moylan to be part of another closer by commitee situation. I can see them getting a cheaper pitcher who might not have been a closer before and train him to be a closer. Of the two, I can see Gonzo sticking around.
5. Frank Wren will trade someone for Chipper’s successor. With Chipper having an off year and talking of retirement, the search for our third baseman of the future has to ramped up. This could fall in to the Vasquez trade as well.
4. Kelly Johnson is gone. He will be packaged in a deal/traded for a minor leaguer or given his outright release. It looks like he had his chance to be a everyday player, but the emergence of Prado has killed any hope of that on this team.
3. Heyward will not be on our opening day roster. The Jordan Schafer experiment has to have left a scar on the idea of a rookie on opening day. Now if he tears it up in Arizona and Spring Training, he has a chance, but he would have to be absolutely crushing the ball for it to happen. Plus, you know about his Arb clock.
2. Lowe will be here. The Braves are not the type of team that will eat part of a contract. I do not believe he even has much trade value over his name. I can see him bouncing back next year and improving on his ERA. His wins will be about the same.
1. The Braves will make it to the World Series. It is well known that the Braves are not the most exciting team to watch, with exception of the last few weeks. The Braves are going to be playing hard right out of the box next year for Bobby. They have proven to themselves that they can win and win alot. If you take a new big bat to clean up, a stud rookie in the outfield, confidence that you have the best rotation in the NL, and Bobby’s farewell year, the Braves are going to be SERIOUS contenders.
I realize some of this is common knowledge, but I am bored and just thinking out loud. We can grade it next year and see how I did.
P. W. Hjort
October 1st, 20097:38 am
I can see them getting a cheaper pitcher who might not have been a closer before and train him to be a closer
Not to pick on this particular sentence’s author, since people say this all the time, but how, exactly, do you “train someone” to be a closer?
October 1st, 20097:48 am
What I meant was, someone who has not been “labeled” a closer. Kinda like Saito in Boston.
October 1st, 20097:50 am
and by “train” I guess I meant “give them a shot”.
Mid Town Joe
October 1st, 20098:01 am
If the Nats offered to spot us 4 runs and we offered them 16 strike-outs, would you take it? The Phish did!
October 1st, 20098:09 am
Saw FIELDER’s line last night as I was following the BREW-CREW/ROX game and thought, “that might be a good option for LF. I wonder if he and the BREWERS would go for it.” But there’s a lot of options here, and absolutely no answers as of yet.
October 1st, 20098:14 am
Fielder in LF? Did I mis read what you meant?
“Train” has a malevolance heretofor not known in the english language. I knew what you meant MITCHIE-SAN, and thought nothing of it.
October 1st, 20098:15 am
Where does he play? I thought he played LF.
October 1st, 20098:31 am
The bottom line is the players didn’t hustle and didn’t act like they cared to be out there not running out close ground balls, yunel not even moving to when the baseball pases him and that E5 that Chipper made by trying to go down to one knee and field the groundball and he missed it completley and the next play what do ya know a base knock for two runs thats how the game went last night it was a great run! Matty we can’t blame it all on you but you can’t get flat footed no hesitation when the game is on the line!
This game was a mini-version of the whole season. Good to great pitching, nothing good happening offensively until the very end and then when they have come back to the verge of winning, they can’t quite pull it off.
The whole team seemed a bit off this game and last. We had chances and couldn’t quite pull it off. Maybe next season.
October 1st, 20098:33 am
Fielder is a first baseman
October 1st, 20098:37 am
Horrible way to lose, but it could have been much worse- imagine if it had been Norton.
October 1st, 20098:38 am
Shamus, back in 1990 when he was with LA, Ramon M. did K 18 Braves. So did Ben Sheets maybe 10 or so years later.–Pete
Also, Jake Peavy struck out 16 Braves in ‘06 and the Braves won that game.
October 1st, 20098:39 am
Chipper killed us in that game…his error absolutely killed that inning, his weak ground ball double play hurt us bad…and I am a big fan of his. Maybe Anders can help me with this one but didn’t Carlos Delgado have a significant Chipper like slump and then just blow up? They thought he was done because his bat slowed tremendously. We need him back next year especially since 14 mill is coming his way….We can’t trade JAvy, keep 6 pitchers put KK in the pen, someone could get hurt and you slide KK back. LEt Huddy go if he wants more than a 25 mill 3year contract
October 1st, 20098:40 am
I knew what you meant, Mitchie-san. I was just addressing the phrase in general. It’s like when announcers say “he’s trying to overthrow”. Pitchers overthrow sometimes. Do they ever try to overthrow?
And I like the idea of bringing in someone who hasn’t closed before (or in awhile). Paying market rate for closers is the fastest way to add a bad contract to your team. See this year: Francisco Cordero, Jose Valverde, Francisco Rodriguez, Billy Wagner, Brad Lidge, B.J. Ryan, Kerry Wood, and Brian Fuentes. All of these pitchers were significantly less valuable than their contract and they were all either signed as free agents or locked up at market-rates before they hit free agency. The list of economically successful post-FA closers is much smaller. Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, and Trevor Hoffman (but for the deal he signed, he’s hardly being paid market-rate for a closer).
So if you want to shore up the bullpen, paying market rate for a free agent seems like the worst way to do it. That leaves a) paying less than market rate for a closer on the FA market, b) acquiring a non-closer like you suggested, or c) making a trade for a reliever. I’d hate to give up prospects for a reliever, although a spare part (Kelly Johnson, Ryan Church, etc..) for a reliever could work.
Otherwise, you’re left with scrap heap closers, the type of acquisition you pray will work out and rarely does, and those that never got the opportunity to close. And if you’re good with your scouting and research, you might be able to find someone who is just as capable as the best reliever on the market (the one who is being well overpaid to close games for the Cubs) from the group of FA RP’s that have never closed.
Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t. There’s inherent risk every time you bring in a new RP, regardless of whether or not they’ve closed before. RP’s are so volatile in the first place that you assume risk with each pitcher you acquire. There’s always that chance that they injure themselves or forget how to get outs. I think there’s more uncertainty in the bullpen than any other position in baseball. Teams cycle through relievers, discard them and recall them at their whims. That’s because they accept the risk and choose to get by riding the hot hand rather than devote resources there.
John Schuerholz understood this perhaps better than anyone. In the age of relievers getting huge contracts and closers being paid like DH’s, Schuerholz never committed long-term to something as volatile as a relief pitcher. As well he shouldn’t have. Look at all the different single-season saves leaders (and others that saved at least 10 games) during the playoff run:
1991 – Juan Berenguer – 17 (Alejandro Pena – 11)
1992 – Alejandro Pena – 15
1993 – Mike Stanton – 27 (Greg McMichael – 19)
1994 – Greg McMichael – 21
1995 – Mark Wholers – 25
1996 – Mark Wholers – 39
1997 – Mark Wholers – 33
1998 – Kerry Lightenberg – 30
1999 – John Rocker – 38
2000 – John Rocker – 24 (Mike Remlinger – 12, Kerry Lightenberg – 12)
2001 – John Rocker – 19 (John Smoltz – 10)
2002 – John Smoltz – 55
2003 – John Smoltz – 45
2004 – John Smoltz – 44
2005 – Chris Retisma – 15 (Dan Kolb – 11, Kyle Farnsworth – 10)
That’s 12 people that saved at least 10 games in 15 seasons. There was zero stability there. So whoever says you have to have a big-name, established closer to win is full of it. And someone who says you have to have a big-name, established closer to win in the post-season is even stupider. The Braves made the post-season 14 consecutive times. And the three years that the best closer they’ve ever had was closing games for them, they lost in the post-season, too.
October 1st, 20098:47 am
PWH,Moylan can close for the Braves next year if necessary,when he goes into a game I feel more secure with him than Soriano and Gonzo.
October 1st, 20098:58 am
P. W. Hjort,
Thats one of the best posts I have read in a while. Well done.
Anyway, I agree that the plan to just sign a relief pitcher with the hopes that they can close rarely works out. But in these tough economic times, I can see it happening. Honestly, I bet the thinking is that Moylan can close next year, but they need some insurance just in case. Moylan has to be considered at this point with the amount of appearances and his second half ERA. I cant see them paying Soriano with his inconsistent velocity and injury history. Gonzo on the other hand is a little cheaper, but he can be inconsistent as well.
Oh, another over used phrase is “professional hitter”. I hate that one. Even thought everyone in MLB technically is a professional hitter. They all get paid to hit a ball, professionally (except for Greg Norton, of course). I get what it is supposed to mean (guys like Helton, Chipper, Pujols…) but it gets thrown around alot lately…
October 1st, 20099:00 am
Moylan can close for the Braves next year if necessary,when he goes into a game I feel more secure with him than Soriano and Gonzo.
I agree. But you and I both wouldn’t have said that 3 months ago. Which goes to show exactly volatile the bullpen can be. The Braves community has largely shifted their support for who should be the full-time closer at least 3 times this season. First, Gonzalez. Then, Soriano. Then, Gonzalez again. Now, Moylan. Bullpens are totally unstable. And you can win by devoting few resources there and riding the hot hand.
And if your bullpen isn’t working out, all it takes is a few million dollars and a few half-way decent prospects to bring back 2 solid if underwhelming relievers mid-season.
October 1st, 20099:02 am
Chris Reitsma, now there was a closer. He was about as effective as a solar powered flashlight.
I was at the TED last night and I wish everybody could have that intensity level every game! poor Norton only 10 hits on the season the crowd was giving him some blue birds including myself. The ninth inning rally just had to happen with two outs didn’t it just like everything else the Braves try to do
October 1st, 20099:03 am
The 9th inning rally happened with 4 outs, I believe.
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