Archive for October, 2009

Would you really trade Jurrjens?

While it’s still a little early for many trade rumors of substance to start percolating, there is one Brave whose name is occasionally mentioned on this blog as a potential trade piece, one that to me seems not just highly improbable but almost outlandish.

Jair Jurrjens.

Yes, there are some denizens, presumably of sound mind and in a sober state, who advocate trading a 23-year-old elite starting pitcher who is not even eligible for arbitration until the 2011 season. A pitcher who won 13 games as a rookie, then improved significantly in 2009 during his second full season in the majors.

Jurrjens is a budding ace, not trade piece

Jurrjens is a budding ace, not trade piece

That’s not even taking into account that he’s extremely bright, has an impeccable reputation as a teammate and a hard worker, and he’s a kid who never complained while getting brutal run support for most of a season in which he could easily have won 18-20 games instead of 14. Beyond all that, he’s just too talented to trade right now.

He went 14-10 with …

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Wren’s plan for Braves: Get better

As we begin typing, the Phillies are two outs from returning to the World Series, this time for a likely Amtrak series against the New York Yankees, who with a win against the Angels on Thursday can wrap up their first AL pennant since 2003 — six years and only a billion or so dollars’ worth of Yankee player salaries ago.

Oh, well, at least I predicted half of the field correctly (I picked Phillies and Angels in my AJC previews last week).national-league-champions-2521a259f40c245f_large

And if a commuter-train series isn’t the Dodgers-Angels Freeway Series that many of us had sort of hoped for, at least it’s not the supremely annoying NY Subway Series we dread (though with the current state of the Mets, I don’t think we need fear a Subway Series soon, unless it’s a Cubs-White Sox version, which wouldn’t be bad).

I’ll get to Martin Prado and why I think he’ll be the opening day second baseman in just a second. (That’s what I’ve thought ever since about late July, when he was one month into thriving as the everyday 2B, and my …

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Clark left Braves, Hudson hopes to stay

For a slow Braves week with nothing going on, there sure was a hell of a lot going on. Whatever happened to the days of sitting back and getting a little time off after the baseball season ended and before the free-agent and trade discussions began?

Oh, that’s right. Little thing called the Internet.

Hudson says he'll take "hometown discount," but....

Hudson says he'll take "hometown discount," but….

Anyway, it is what it is today, and what it is is a 12-month baseball season, for all intents and purposes. College football fans like to say there’s three sports seasons – football, spring football and recruiting. Baseball fans are intelligent enough to divide their attention between their favorite sport and the others, but most also realize baseball never stops anymore, from pre-spring training Fan Fests and pitching camps, to spring training, the regular season, various firings and hirings, the postseason, more firings and hirings, free-agent filing, trade rumors, GM meetings, trade rumors and free-agent rumors, Winter …

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Wanted by Braves: Big bat, righty preferred

We’ve got some Junior Wells wailing on the stereo, Dodgers-Cardinals muted on the TV, door to the patio open and a nice Punch cigar burning. It hasn’t been a week since the season ended, but doesn’t it already feel like long time since the Braves were serious contenders for a postseason spot? And no, that’s not the cue for some lovable cynics here to say, “Because it has been a long time – about four years!”

No, I was referring to that fleeting time less than two weeks ago when the Braves were on a 15-2 tear that brought them within two games of Colorado for the wild-card lead. Two games. Then they lost one when the Rockies won one, and that was that. Flameout Even as Bobby Cox talked about how badly the Braves wanted to make sure they held on to second place in the East, they lost their last six in a row (their longest skid of the season, by the way) and finished in third place behind Florida.

But while the Marlins’ clueless owner debated whether to fire manager Fredi …

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Eliminated Braves are optimistic for ‘10

There’s nothing quite so uniquely empty as the feeling of following a team — whether as a fan or a beat writer — in the last days of a baseball season that’s ending with a meaningless series of game, rather than a playoff series.

Because the baseball season is so long, so involved, from six weeks of spring training to six months of almost-daily games, and because you (and me) have so much more access to players than in other sports, it’s a very different experience following, covering, and also play baseball, than other sports.

The ending feels strange and somehow hollow when expectations for a fan’s particular team were high to begin with. But especially so when you had those expectations reduced, then raised again, brought back from the brink, when you had either given up hope or were at least teetering — back in mid-June when the Braves were a sub-.500 team, or a few weeks ago when they were in fifth place, 8-1/2 games back in the wild-card race.

Any way. They made …

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When Braves strike out, they go for broke

 

 So we ink-stained wretches of the pressbox are watching Ricky Nolasco’s overpowering 16-strikeout performance against the Braves last night, marking each strikeout in our scorebooks while typing away at our stories and making note of the various announcements being made as Nolasco matched this franchise record or that one, or this Braves opposition standard or that one.

And it was announced that Nolasco’s 16 strikeouts tied Sid Fernandez’s 1989 mark with the Mets as the most against the Braves since the team moved to Atlanta before the 1966 season. Impressive, no doubt.

Diaz reacts after making last out of Wednesday's game, ending Braves' rally and any remaining postseason hopes.

Diaz reacts after making last out of Wednesday's game, ending Braves' rally and any remaining postseason hopes.

 

But there was one small word that was easily overlooked within that announcement. The “in” Atlanta part of it. And if I’d listened closer, and hadn’t been watching and scoring the game while also writing, I might have objected and said, “Yes, but what’s the record for …

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