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 their 15-2 run to get within two games of the wild-card lead, now they’ve lost three in a row, been eliminated from contention, and still have three games left against the lowly Washington Nationals. The season’s dog days didn’t arrive this year, not officially, until summer had turned to fall. But they’re here now. But they’re just about over, too.

Raise hands if you're bullish on Braves' future

Raise hands if you're bullish on Braves' future

And if you listen to these Braves, if you believe them, if you look at what they’ve got coming back, then also figure in another intangible – that they might have a little added motivation playing the final season for the manager they all love – well, there’s plenty reason for hope and optimism.

As one Braves official said to me yesterday, compare the situation now to where the Braves were at this point a year ago, when they were finishing a 72-90 season and entering an offseason with gaping holes to fill, including a starting rotation that needed to be rebuilt and franchise-icon situations that had to be dealt with, one way or another, while filling those needs.

All in all, you’d have to say the Braves came through the 12 months in good shape. While any season, much less a fourth consecutive season, that doesn’t end in the playoffs has to be considered an overall disappointment for a franchise of such pedigree – if it’s not considered a disappointment, then the franchise has really lowered its expectations – on balance there is plenty of reason to be a lot more pleased with this season than the last few.

More importantly, there’s more reason to be optimistic about the future than there has been in quite a while. Sure, plenty of us thought the “Baby Braves” of 2005 (God, I always hated that nickname) were poised to restore the franchise to prominence. But really, we should have figured that not all of those young position players who formed the nucleus of that youth movement, were going to be come established major leaguers, much less standouts.

And only one, Brian McCann, has become a standout.

But now, the Braves have the ingredient that is the most essential to long-term success. Starting pitching. Young starting pitching. A couple of budding aces, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, who will be affordable for a while, at least, and, barring injury, will virtually assure the Braves have a strong top-half of their rotation for the foreseeable future.

If they do what seems the smart thing and bring back Javier Vazquez, well, that’s three-fifths of a rotation that’s probably as good as any in the NL once again. Not a bad foundation to begin the 2010 season, if you ask me.

♣ OK, couple quick things before heading to the ballpark. Carroll’s covering game tonight, while I try to get some interviews done and get a start on a couple of stories running next week.

Oh, before I forget, here’s a link to a pretty cool Hank Aaron thing on LIFE.com, where he’s discussing his career and the lives and careers of guys he played with and against, including Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Sandy Koufax, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn and others.

♣ Andruw vs. Garrett: I had someone suggest to me in a pressbox the other day (no, it wasn’t a working journalist, thankfully) that the Braves would have been better off with Andruw Jones than Garret Anderson, because he’d have hit more homers and played better defense.

I just about spit my coffee.

After slow start, the stone-faced Anderson hasn't been as bad as some have suggested.

After slow start, the stone-faced Anderson hasn't been as bad as some have suggested.

While Anderson hasn’t exactly carved a spot in Braves lore, his season-ending numbers are going to be just about what the Braves expected to get out of him. The OBP is low (.309), but he’s never been a big OBP guy, with a career .327 mark to go with his .296 batting average before this season.

Anderson got off to a bad start after missing most of spring training and part of April due to injuries, and between that bad start and his less-than-hell-bent style of play and unemotional demeanor didn’t endear him to many fans, but Anderson has been a decent contributor overall, batting .275 with 40 extra-base hits (13 homers) and 61 RBIs.

His .720 OPS is unimpressive, but both the average and OPS were weighed down by the bad start when he was playing himself into shape (he had a .551 OPS in April, .681 in May).

I’m not suggesting, as Bobby Cox would have you believe, that Anderson has been outstanding.

But after hitting .260 with no homers and 12 RBI in 104 at-bats through May 30, Anderson has hit .279 with 20 doubles, 13 homers, 49 RBI and a .748 OPS in 380 at-bats over his past 101 games.

And since June 8, he’s hit .285 with 11 homers and a .751 OPS in 95 games. No, it’s not exceptional by any standard. But it’s not that bad, either. His defense? Well…

Andruw? Now, he’s been fairly awful this season. Again. He’s hit .207 with 17 homers, 43 RBI and a .316 OBP in 275 at-bats for the Rangers, including .185 with with a .277 OBP in 135 at-bats away from hitter-friendly Arlington.

The Rangers have played him for only 65 at-bats in the outfield, with the rest of his time coming as a DH (194 at-bats) or pinch-hitter.

And his defense? Suffice to say, the Rangers didn’t play him at all in center field (only LF and RF), and lately they haven’t played him much, period.

He hit three homers in a July 8 game against the Angels, but Andruw has hit .148 (17-for-115) with three homers, nine RBI and 30 strikeouts in just 34 games since then.

It’s startling, and baffling. He’s continued one of the most precipitous declines anyone can recall for such a relatively young player (32), one who hit 92 homers in 2005-06 and was a perennial Gold Glove center-fielder through 2007.

Since July 21, 2006, he has hit .209 with with a .313 OBP and .412 slugging percentage in 1,268 at-bats and 371 games, with 63 homers, 192 RBI, and 332 strikeouts and 180 walks.

Since Aug. 31, 2007, he’s hit .188 (107-for-569) with 22 homers, 67 RBI and 162 strikeouts, with a .287 OBP and .353 slugging percentage (.640 OPS).

But just you wait. I guarantee you that multiple, well-meaning fans will insist this winter that that he’s the part of the answer for the Braves next season.

♣ Odd juxtaposition: I still can’t get used to seeing this full-page prostate-cancer public-service ad in Sports Illustrated (and other mags, I presume) that features just two pitchers in uniform in mid-delivery. Derek Lowe in a Braves uni and John Smoltz in a Cardinals uni (he wore a Red Sox uni in the same ad earlier this season).

But it does seem like longer ago than nine months that Smoltz left the Braves, doesn’t it?

Anyway, talk about bad endings. Hopefully, for Smoltz’s sake, this isn’t the end of the line. Because whether or not you dig what he’s said since leaving, as Braves fans you’ve got to respect all he did for the organization, right?

And if so, you can’t enjoy seeing him struggle like he has most starts this season, first with Boston and lately with the Cardinals. He had few good starts to begin with for the Cards, but lately he’s struggled mightily.

For the season, with both his AL and NL totals included, Smoltz is 3-8 with a 6.35 ERA in 15 starts, with 95 hits and 11 homers allowed in 78 innings.

His .300 opponents’ average includes a .342 mark (55-for-161) by lefty hitters, who have a gaudy eight homers and .976 OPS against him. Ouch.

With runners in scoring position, he’s allowed a .357 average (30-for-84) and five homers.

♣ Etc.

 

 

Hey, it's Gillliam Welch's birthday!

Hey, it's Gillian Welch's birthday

 

The Dan Uggla rumor yesterday was a new one for me. I hadn’t heard that (the trade-to-Braves rumor), and I don’t know if there’s anything to it, but it doesn’t really make much sense. I do know the Braves are intent on getting a right-handed bat with power.

But while Uggla is a right-handed bat with power, he actually hits righties better than lefties. He’s hit .249 with 24 homers and an .827 OPS in 426 at-bats against lefties this season, and .214 with seven homers and a .765 OPS in 126 at-bats against lefties.

For his career, he’s hit .262 with 100 homers and .846 OPS in 1,777 at-bats against righties, and .242 with 21 homers and a .764 OPS in 549 at-bats against lefties.

And for those who’ve complained about Kelly Johnson’s second-base defense, have you seen Uggla play the position?….

By the way, Martin Prado has hit .303 with a .925 OPS against lefties this season….

For the curious, here’s how rookies Tommy Hanson and J.A. Happ compare as starters this season:

Hanson is 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts, with 116 strikeouts, 46 walks and 105 hits(10 homers) allowe din 127-2/3 innings.

Happ is 10-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 22 starts, with 101 strikeouts, 46 walks and 131 hits (19 homers) allowed in 142-2/3 innings.

Hanson has no relief appearances, while Happ started the season in the bullpen and had a 2.49 ERA (and 2-0 record) in 12 appearances.

Happ’s overall season totals: 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA, with 118 strikeouts, 55 walks and 145 hits (20 homers) allowed in 164 innings.

All that being said, I think Florida’s Chris Coghlan is probably most deserving for NL Rookie of the Year.

 7l3x57yg-1

“GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION” by Vic Chesnutt

 

we blew past the army motorcade

and it’s abnormal load haulage

the gravity of the situation

came on us like a bit of new knowledge

 

the bubbliest bubble bath

broke down on the bank

the gravity of the situation

is why our old thought bubbles sank

 

humble and gracious

the gravity of the situation …

 

well, a fat hungry English crow

is picking at a badger carcass

the gravity of the situation

is hard to focus and harness

 

well, we met Bill Lowery

at the Queen’s Hall

the gravity of the situation

became apparent to us all

 

humble and gracious

the gravity of the situation …

3,403 comments Add your comment

RC

October 2nd, 2009
4:03 pm

Carol posted this at the very end of the previous blog:

Friday’s lineup:

1. McLouth CF
2. Prado 2B
3. Jones 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Anderson LF
6. Escobar SS
7. Diaz RF
8. Ross C
9. Lowe P

I believe DOB is posting a new blog here shortly. But I’m covering the game. (Don’t ask, just wacky stuff going on.) But if I don’t get to copy this over on the other blog, will someone?

Thanks, Carroll

Herschel Talker

October 2nd, 2009
4:10 pm

I am not optimistic. That is because Captain Titanic is still around. I am optimistic for 2011. If Frank Wreck hates him as much as is being reported, he should just fire the old fool.

Soph

October 2nd, 2009
4:11 pm

I had no idea all this happened during the Twins/Tigers game yesterday.

Twins angry at teammate’s ‘selfish act’ -

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-twins100109&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

rammerjammer

October 2nd, 2009
4:12 pm

DOB, thought-provoking stuff. The thing about Frank Wren is, you never know. He is way out in front of our headlights, all the time.

Tomahawkin

October 2nd, 2009
4:12 pm

I don’t like the idea of having Uggla in our lineup, Granted he has pop, but he will make a team that already has subpar defense worse, plus no speed

Plus he has no speed and I’m skepitical of him hitting in Atlanta for a full 70-81 games, granted he Clowns just about everytime he comes to Atlanta. He must see the ball well here at the Ted

The Steroid era is over, We need to go after guys that execute at the play and have speed, not mashers. As braves fans know you can have a sick lineup that is built around wainting on the 3-run homer, well that philosopy doesn’t work in October

Tomahawkin

October 2nd, 2009
4:19 pm

Unfortunately, JA Happ Will Win the Rookie of the Year, “Bank On It!”

I’m pretty Sure that Happ has have stellar run support all season…Which Is why I hate w-l stats for pitchers, they are way deceptive in measuring a pitchers performance

It seems like the offense supported Hanson for his first dozen starts, then he fell victim of recieving no run support much like Double J and Vazquez have been all season

KEITH MOON LIVES

October 2nd, 2009
4:20 pm

Thanks for another great year, D.O.B. !

Pujols

October 2nd, 2009
4:23 pm

Braves fans, I too believe….that your underperforming bunch of also-rans will end up the exact same place next year: watching the postseason on TV.
BWWWAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

ncscoots

October 2nd, 2009
4:25 pm

We need to go after guys that execute at the play and have speed, not mashers.

Right. For a team with an offensive need so great that even Dayn Perry could see it, you suggest…speed.

HokieBravefan

October 2nd, 2009
4:29 pm

I hope they don’t trade for Uggla! Can’t stand to watch him bat.
Look’s like he’s agitated and bout to pee his pants.

RK

October 2nd, 2009
4:34 pm

Happ and Hanson are 1-2, but Happ’s VORP is significantly higher:

http://baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=205448

You are all Cox apologists

October 2nd, 2009
4:35 pm

OPTIMISTIC FOR 2010? HOW?

1. Who will play left and right field?
2. Can you afford to sign Laroche, if not, who’s playing 1st base?
3. Is Chipper done? Does he have another year left?
4. Cox-what else is there to say, hasn’t gotten past 1st round in 8 years
5. Where’s the speed and athleticism?
6. Is Norton coming back?
7. Will you sign Soriano and/or Gonzo?
8. What about Hudson, Vazquez, Lowe, and Kawakami? You can’t keep all four, it’s impossible.
9. Who will leadoff, I hope not McLouth, it’s pretty obvious he isn’t a leadoff guy.
10. Is Prado ready for a full-season at second, from beginning to end? Maybe.

There would’ve been TONS of OPTIMISM had Cox announced his retirement and/or resignation. As N8 would say, IS IT 2011 YET?

Steve from OH

October 2nd, 2009
4:35 pm

Once Cox leaves, it will be perfectly relevent to consider and discuss things like potential roster moves, minor league prospects, and so on, because at that point those kinds of things will potentially affect whether the Braves succeed or not

Therefore, that’s what I will discuss

I, however, have a different theory: that you will give the new manager two (maybe one) week(s) before you decide that you don’t like him, and revert to your usual B.S.

P.S.–can this discussion of future moves (like, for 2011) start during 2010? Because, you know, Cox won’t be managing in 2011. So, at least, we should get a full year of your brilliance, right? Inquiring minds want to know.

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
4:36 pm

I CANT BELIEVE CHICAGO LOST THE OLYMPIC BID!!!

AAAAAAAAAAARGH!

All that money, all that effort, GONE!

Isn’t there a sensible politician in Illinois!?!?!

Braves better win!

DAP

October 2nd, 2009
4:37 pm

i did not hear a dan uggla rumor. thanks for the blog, DOB. it always interesting to reflect back on a whole season of baseball, to see what stands out, and which things that seemed so important at the time, fade away.

Steve from OH

October 2nd, 2009
4:38 pm

So, Robert, I would think that a (for example) hypothetical signing of Jason Bay would be relevant to you as his contract would run past Cox’s tenure.

I hope you’re true to your word.

DAP

October 2nd, 2009
4:41 pm

im not interested in uggla playing 2nd base. if you look just at OPS, martin prado is actually pretty equal to dan uggla. prado doesnt hit as many homers, but he does hit for a much higher average, strikeout much less and play better defense.

now, if dan uggla can play left field, id consider it.

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
4:42 pm

ROY = Chris Coglan

Will

October 2nd, 2009
4:43 pm

Great blog and one of my favorite songs. Good way to end the week. Lots of reasons to feel good about next season.

You are all Cox apologists

October 2nd, 2009
4:44 pm

Steve from OH,

Since you think you’re GOD of the AJC Braves blog, (really your a stat geek wuss who think’s he knows everything), how would you upgrade the Braves?

Efrim

October 2nd, 2009
4:44 pm

if you look just at OPS, martin prado is actually pretty equal to dan uggla. prado doesnt hit as many homers, but he does hit for a much higher average, strikeout much less and play better defense.

And Uggla is probably set to make 20 times more than Prado next season. I’d pass on Uggla, too.

Mixxo

October 2nd, 2009
4:45 pm

BMac……a “…standout?”

Interesting. A second half .261 hitting, overweight, supa-slow catcher that can barely field his position.

Unbelievable!

O'Brien

October 2nd, 2009
4:47 pm

DOB

I posted this on another blog, but I wanted to repeat it. After going 97-65, winning the division and making it to the world series last year, the Rays were very optimistic about this year.

Unfortunately, their record is something like 82-77 so far.

All I’m saying, is I hope the Braves dont take it for granted that they will be good next year.

Sadtoseeitthisway

October 2nd, 2009
4:48 pm

FINALLY, Laroche gets to bat cleanup!

Art Vandelay

October 2nd, 2009
4:48 pm

DOB, I share your sentiments about Smoltz, but I question your analysis of his recent performance. Sure, he had a lousy outing last night (6 ER in 4 IP), but prior to that he hadn’t given up more than 4 ER in a game since his swan song with the Sox (and he’s only given up as many as 4 ER in a game once since then). Even including last night’s stinker, he has a 4.26 ERA and 1.18 WHIP since arriving in STL, with 40 Ks and 9 BB in 38 IP. Pretty sure any MLB team would take that kind of performance out of their 4th or 5th starter. I think he’s still got something in the tank, and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him pitch again (and pitch well) next season. Doubting John Smoltz is just not a smart thing, as we’ve seen repeatedly over the years.

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
4:49 pm

Where did you hear the Dan uggla rumor DOB? I may have started it yesterday in the blog but there is absolutely no truth to it, other than he may get traded given that the Marlins have Coughlan and he is going to get a healthy raise in arbitration.

I think he would be a good fit for the Braves. Oviously not playing second, why not try him at first base, and leave Prado in second. Uggla is going to have to change positions eventually, why not do it next season. And not because he can hit lefties because he isn’t that good, or hasn’t been good in his career, but he absolutely rakes in Turner field, and hits 30 homers drives in a 100 runs, and hits 250.

That’s my thoughts on Uggla, and he comes to mind because he is one of the few right handed power bats that are going to be available to this winter.

Steve from OH

October 2nd, 2009
4:50 pm

Since you think you’re GOD of the AJC Braves blog, (really your a stat geek wuss who think’s he knows everything), how would you upgrade the Braves?

First off, a few things:

1) Do not refer to me as God. Thanks
2) I am a stat geek. You’re not hurting my feelings there.
3) I am not a wuss.

To answer your question (a proper use of “your,” by the way, but apparently you need to be a “stat geek wuss” to utilize proper grammar)–I don’t know, and I won’t pretend to. It’s a very complicated situation and there are a lot of ways to go that would free us up the cash to address the need for a RH power bat (something I do think is a necessity), and several of the routes (trading Javy, letting Raffy and Gonzo walk) will leave us with holes elsewhere. So I don’t know. I don’t have access to the books and I don’t know what the trade market looks like. So I won’t pretend to know.

Get a RH power bat, and keep the pitching as intact as possible would be my general structure. I’d also try to improve the OF defense along the way, if possible. Though Heyward will do that internally.

I wouldn’t rule out trading McLouth at some point next year if Schafer is ready, either.

Steve from OH

October 2nd, 2009
4:51 pm

No Braves made the BA’s SAL top 20, but this is at least a little bit encouraging:

“If I could have ranked a 21st player, it would have been Randall Delgado. Managers and scouts love his explosive fastball, which some had up to 96 mph this year. The biggest question marks were about his secondary stuff and his command. He’s got excellent deception out of his high three-quarters arm slot, and a nice projectable frame. I can see why people would have expected him to make the list, especially considering he’s 19 years old. Milligan put together a solid year. Most people seem to like hit hit tool, but question how it will translate how he moves up the latter. Next year will be a big year for him.”

Anders

October 2nd, 2009
4:53 pm

Efrim- You ready for tonight? I hope my boys can weather the first 10 minutes or so. I’m sure it will be frantic. Unless Brashear lays out Crosby on his first spin around the ice.There’s a new sheriff in town!{:

Benjamin

October 2nd, 2009
4:53 pm

People are actually COMPLAINING about the year we just had and our optimism for 2010? Seriously?

Had we gotten the wild card spot, I’m not sure there’s a team in baseball that would’ve wanted us first round. We’ve got the deepest starting rotation in baseball, one of the game’s best catchers, a solid middle infield, a Hall of Famer (who, aside from 6 weeks of a slump, put together a solid season) at third, two of the game’s top young players in Hanson and soon to be Heyward (who will probably BE our left fielder next year), a good CFer, and some other pieces around them.

We just need to sign either Gonzo or Soriano and fill in the gaps in the bullpen, and we’ll be fine. I’m honestly surprised there are people out there who are anything but satisfied with this season, but we’ve got everything from trolls to down-on-their-luck Bobby-haters in this thread.

(…and Coughlan is the ROY in my opinion, too. Two weeks ago, I would’ve given it to Happ. It was a good year for rookies…)

Efrim

October 2nd, 2009
4:53 pm

Interesting. A second half .261 hitting, overweight, supa-slow catcher that can barely field his position.

Unbelievable!

He ended up having the 5th highest OPS among major league catchers with at least 200 plate appearances. And that’s on a down year. Wake up.

ncscoots

October 2nd, 2009
4:54 pm

Where’s the speed and athleticism?

Good grief. This ain’t track and field, you nitwit. I don’t care about athletes, just give me some bleepin’ baseball players.

Efrim

October 2nd, 2009
4:55 pm

Interesting. A second half .261 hitting, overweight, supa-slow catcher that can barely field his position.

Unbelievable!

He ended up having the 5th highest OPS among major league catchers with at least 200 plate appearances. And that’s on a down year. Wake up…..

Efrim

October 2nd, 2009
4:55 pm

Interesting. A second half .261 hitting, overweight, supa-slow catcher that can barely field his position.

He ended up having the 5th highest OPS among major league catchers with at least 200 plate appearances. And that’s on a down year. Wake up…..

Piedmont Blues

October 2nd, 2009
4:55 pm

Anders

October 2nd, 2009
4:56 pm

Efrim – OK, OK we get it. {:

Stumpknocker

October 2nd, 2009
4:56 pm

So we’re optimistic for 2010……with Cox back for another year the team will have to go on a torrid win streak early just to make up for 10 games that he’ll blow during the course of the season.

Benjamin

October 2nd, 2009
4:56 pm

Wow… just… wow….

——————————————————————————————————————————–
BMac……a “…standout?”

Interesting. A second half .261 hitting, overweight, supa-slow catcher that can barely field his position.

Unbelievable!
——————————————————————————————————————————–

Brian McCann is getting bashed. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mccanbr01.shtml Four full seasons. Four All-Star appearances. And all of a sudden, he’s an overweight joker who can’t do anything right.

These things need some better fans…

Steve from OH

October 2nd, 2009
4:57 pm

Ok, my battery is dying and I’ve got stuff to do. Later.

Go Braves!

Sam

October 2nd, 2009
4:58 pm

ATL needs to make these moves:

1) Re-sign Adam Laroche to a 2-year deal (Above average power hitter for the bottom of the lineup)
2) Re-sign Mike Gonzlez (Probably will be able to retain him at the cheapest. But we need to keep one of the two)
3) Re-sign Tim Hudson, but not for the 12 mil.
3) Trade away KK and get rid of Kelly Johnson. Probably won’t get much return, but aim for a decent reliever to help out the bullpen.
4) Sign Chone Figgins. Not an incredibly expensive option. He has outfield experience and could be placed in LF. We need a true leadoff hitter who can steal some bases.

With Matt Diaz in RF until Heyward comes up, the Braves would have a pretty well-rounded lineup.

1) Figgins LF
2) McLouth CF
3) Jones 3B
4) McCann C
5) Escobar SS
6) LaRoche 1B
7) Prado 2B (Imagine having him at the bottom of the order..)
8) Diaz/ Heyward RF

Staff:
Vazquez
Jurrjens
Lowe
Hudson
Hanson

Campillo
Mariano Gomez (Bright Future)
O’Flaherty
Acosta
Moylan
Gonzalez

A power bat like Bay or Gonzalez would be great, but chances are Wren won’t be able to get a big name. If we do get a power bat it better not be a Teixeria deal either. We need some long-term security. With this year’s chemistry and the right moves this offseason the Phils could be running for their money.

Mixxo

October 2nd, 2009
4:58 pm

Efrim – (my pal)

I hear ya already!

Relax!

Art Vandelay

October 2nd, 2009
4:58 pm

Tomas, Uggla is too short to play 1B — he’s barely 5′11″. Gotta have someone who can reach up for the high throws.

Dan Uggla

October 2nd, 2009
4:59 pm

Please don’t trade me to the Braves. They are my bi$ch…I own them.

Piedmont Blues

October 2nd, 2009
4:59 pm

DAP,

Yeah, I’m intrigued by the notion of getting Uggla and moving him to LF. So long as it doesn’t cost a lot getting him. (It shouldn’t. Uggla may be a non-tender candidate after all.)

Hard to believe, but our own Matty D had a better season overall …

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
5:00 pm

If Prado can play first base then even david Eckstein could.

Benjamin

October 2nd, 2009
5:01 pm

Dan Uggla

October 2nd, 2009
4:59 pm

Please don’t trade me to the Braves. They are my bi$ch…I own them.

———————————————————————————————————

Dude’s got a point…

Piedmont Blues

October 2nd, 2009
5:01 pm

Sam,

Braves do need a more conventional leadoff hitter (or they need McLouth to fill that role next season), but Figgins doesn’t fill the most obvious need, for a masher. And my guess is, Figgins will be a hot commodity thanks to his versatility. So he will not be inexpensive.

Chipster

October 2nd, 2009
5:02 pm

Steve isn’t “God” just a Pompous Yankee Prique

Piedmont Blues

October 2nd, 2009
5:02 pm

Tomas,

Hey, Jeff Bagwell did it, and pretty well, too.

Efrim

October 2nd, 2009
5:03 pm

Sorry for the triple post!

Efrim- You ready for tonight? I hope my boys can weather the first 10 minutes or so. I’m sure it will be frantic. Unless Brashear lays out Crosby on his first spin around the ice.There’s a new sheriff in town!{:

Anders, totally. Except that I moved more north in CT so I don’t get MSG any longer. Very bummed about it. First SNY, now MSG. Can’t watch my Braves or Pens. Might call the cable provider, though. See what they can do. I’m pumped for the season and I love how Ovie scored two goals last night and already people are thinking how Crosby will answer. So stupid, imo. Anyway, you’re not going to like this, but I think the Bruins, Capitals, Flyers and Pens are the cream of the crop in the East this year. I just can’t see the Rangers scoring enough goals to keep up with those teams, but I could be very wrong. Marion Gaborik certainly has the ability to propel the Rangers O.

No Braves made the BA’s SAL top 20, but this is at least a little bit encouraging

Was shocked to see that none of them made it, Steve. But it’s great to see that scouting report on Delgado. I saw in an earlier answer that Hoover and Spruill also gained quite a bit of consideration. Be interested to see which ones can take a big step forward next year…..or which ones are held onto or dealt this offseason.

Gotta step out for a bit. Later.

Efrim

October 2nd, 2009
5:04 pm

First SNY, now MSG. Can’t watch my Braves or Pens

When they play the Mets and Rangers, of course.

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
5:06 pm

There is NO Dan Uggla rumor!!

I said yesterday, “I wonder if the Braves would pick up Dan Uggla and move Prado to first…”

Thats it, there is no rumor…

Philliesuk

October 2nd, 2009
5:09 pm

I post on this blog very rarely. I would rather read the comments, most of which are usually moronic. Today’s idiotic comment comes from Mixxo, who tries to degrade Brian McCann. Give me a freakin break.

There are two problems with Braves fans:
1. They are too lazy to show up to the ballpark. I’m not going to get into this again.
2. They are overly critical about every aspect of the team. There are about a thousand examples. It’s funny to look back at the offseason and to see how critical everyone was of Frank Wren’s moves. The real morons were still blaming him for the Teixeira trade, even though that was courtesy of JS. Many others forget the trade for Jurrjens. And I remember very few who were positive about the Vazquez trade. The problem with Braves fans is this: They think they have a crystal ball and can predict everything that is going to happen. Everyone is always so polarized. It’s either ‘incredible trade’ or ‘this trade sucks.’ Even now, there are people predicting that we are not going to make the playoffs next year. Many of them are saying it’s because of Bobby Cox. I get as frustrated with Bobby as any of you, but do you not remember that we went to the playoffs 14 years in a row? How dumb can you get. Even though he makes questionable moves with his pitching, you can’t deny all of good he has done for this team.

I have loved following the Braves for 30 years, but the fans get worse every year. The worst part is that they seem to be more uneducated about baseball than ever. I’m just going to assume that there are a lot of teenagers on this blog. And by the way, I’m really talking more about reading the blog from this entire year, not the comments from today (expect for Mixxo’s).

GT

October 2nd, 2009
5:11 pm

Before 1990, we had just one playoff team, while in Atlanta. The only World Championship ever won by any Atlanta team was by the Braves under Bobby Cox. This year’s team was the last one out of the race in the national league, with only 4 games left in the season. The opening night lineup has had half it’s regular players either traded or sent down and in every case replaced by a better player. We did not have two starting pitchers for opening night, one of them now considered our ace. There are dozens of teams that never get a sniff of a division championship team. Why do we have fans that think we owe old pitchers respect, yet we owe this management nothing? Next year is the final year of a manager that we will see the likes of seldom in our lifetime. It is a rarity in this town or any town. We live in an era where people are deaf to these kind of things only see the bad, expect something for nothing. In Bobby Cox on up to Terry McGuirk we got lots of something for lots of nothing and I for one say thank you.

Anders

October 2nd, 2009
5:13 pm

Efrim- I can’t disagree with you, the Rangers put all their eggs in Gaboriks basket. Very, very risky imo with his injury history. Plus I’m not sure how he’ll be playing for Torts who is extremely demanding. Usually a problem for europeans. Plus they have two rookie defenseman and Redden and Roszival. Could be ugly on the back lines. I’m hating the Olympics coming this winter too.

I’m going to the home opener tomorrow night. I’m stoked for that. Afternoon of some college football and suds down at Legends Bar across from the old Empire State Building and then over to the big top to crush the Sens! Enjoy the game tonight.

Herschel Talker

October 2nd, 2009
5:13 pm

I am optimistic about the Braves in 2010. I am optimistic that Booby the moron will train wreck the Braves in 2010. I am optimistic that if it isn’t Greg Norton who is first off the bench, it will be Booby’s new manlove (a la Pete Orr, Keith Lockhart, Dorky Miller). I am optimistic that the Braves will underacheive. Frank Wreck needs to pull the plug on Booby ASAP.

Sam

October 2nd, 2009
5:13 pm

Piedmont Blues,

You’re right the Braves could definitely use a masher in the heart of the order, but I see the chances of them signing one very slim. What I meant to say by Figgins as inexpensive was compared to taking on a contract for a slugger. Bay will be in the 15-million range along with Holliday. Prince makes over 10 mill next year. Adrian Gonzalez would be the cheapest option at around 5 million next year, but he would demand a great cost. I can’t see Wren pulling the trigger. I hope he could pull it off though! Figgins will get a lot of interest, but I see him as one of the best options. Xavier Nady could be interesting if healthy too.

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
5:14 pm

This is what Dan Uggla has done in Turner field:

36 games, 146 AB 32RUNS and has 356AVG with 9HR 30RBI’s and 15 2B 1 3B with a 404 OBP and 658 SLG a 1062 OPS.

Dan Uggla

October 2nd, 2009
5:18 pm

Thomas, look at my numbers at home against the Braves…even more impressive. But, please don’t trade me to Atlanta.

Dan Uggla

October 2nd, 2009
5:20 pm

Tomas (not Thomas), I’m sorry.

Noles

October 2nd, 2009
5:20 pm

What about trading KK for Juan Pierre? That solves the leadoff position and adds speed. Definitely not the best defensive outfielder but GA is not exactly Willie Mays either. The Dodgers need pitching and we need someone like Pierre or Figgins for the top of the order.

njbraves

October 2nd, 2009
5:23 pm

Cox apologists….How dumb are you. You list 10 things you say are concerns for next year, with Bobby being one of them. Then in your infinite wisdom, you say there would be tons of optimism if Cox was retiring. So Bobby retiring would fix the other 9 so called issues?? keep teying buddy, maybe one day you will actually have a post that makes sense.

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
5:26 pm

Someone mentioned Nolan Reimond on the old blog. I like him, can he play 1B. Diaz can’t be the right fielder, he just doesn’t have the defensive skills a good RF normally haves.

At opening day Jason Heyward needs to be the right fielder. What else does the guy need to do to prove he is ready. He raked in A ball, advanced A ball, did even better in AA, and even had some at bats in AAA(he hit 364 in about 4 games). He is not a Jeff Franceour type player, he normally has at bats that last more than one pitch. He takes his walks and doesn’t strike out a lot. Plus he has good speed, and a good throwing arm, not extraordinary but better than Diaz thats for sure. Diaz would be perfect in left field his normal position.

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
5:29 pm

Noles,

Juan Pierre makes 10M Dollars, that would cost us 2 million dollars

Noles

October 2nd, 2009
5:31 pm

Jurrjens4NLCY,
How much do you think Figgins would get as a FA? I think at least that much. We need a table setter for the top of the order.

Anders

October 2nd, 2009
5:31 pm

At opening day Jason Heyward needs to be the right fielder. What else does the guy need to do to prove he is ready. (Tomas)

Remove Jason Heyward, insert Jordan Schafer. That was only about 8 months ago. How’d that work out? This game is hard at this level. Really, really hard.

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
5:35 pm

Noles,

Figgins would make like 10 – 13M a year, but If we’re going to spend that much money, it should be for a RH power bat (Nady, Bay, etc.). If you want someone with speed to hit atop the order, go for Joey Gathright, he makes league minimum, and the O’s won’t want him…

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
5:36 pm

Jason Heyward WONT be in the big leagues opening day…

Braves want to hold him back for money purposes, and to do that, they have to wait until ‘10 All Star Break to do that…

Noles

October 2nd, 2009
5:42 pm

Jurrjens4NLCY,
Doesn’t Gathright play for the Red Sox?

Frank Wren

October 2nd, 2009
5:43 pm

Remove Jason Heyward, insert Jordan Schafer. That was only about 8 months ago. How’d that work out? This game is hard at this level. Really, really hard.

Heyward and Schafer arent even in the same league. Your comparing apples to oranges. I get your point though. Youd like to see Heyward fail like Jordan did. Sorry thats not going to happen.

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
5:45 pm

Schafer is another story. He missed 50 games because of the suspension, and had a rather dissapointing season in AA hitting 270 or around 270 with less than 10 homers. Now look at Jason Heyward, he was hitting around 370 almost until more than half the season then got hurt and started truggling a bit then he recovered fully and ended up being promoted to help the Gwinett Braves, it only lasted 4 or 5 games but he wasn’t overmatched hitting around 364.

But I agree with you Jurrjens4NLCY. If they don’t call him up it will be purely for money purposes so he doesn’t become a super two. Kinda off what they did with Hanson this year. But if he has a monster spring and they dont acquire anyone to replace Garret then I gotta think he’ll merit to start opening day.

Braves Paisan

October 2nd, 2009
5:46 pm

Good evening, Braves Beat Blog Denizens:

They played their hearts out until the end. Sure, Chipper is a big question mark for next year, but there is no doubt that our starting pitching will be exceptional right out of the gate. And we have the nucleus of a good offensive attack.

Judy and I have tickets tomorrow night, and we will cheer them on right until they pack up the gear for the year. It was a banal ad campaign a few years back, but banality doesn’t have to equate into untruth: THIS IS OUR TEAM !!!

Frank Wren

October 2nd, 2009
5:46 pm

What about trading KK for Juan Pierre?

Juan Pierre maybe the worst player in baseball. His OPS is consistently near the bottom of the league and he may be the worst fielder in the NL. If the Braves trade for him I will refuse to watch a game until he is traded or released.

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
5:47 pm

Noles,

Huh.
When did that happen?
Anyways, you could still get Gathright pretty easily…

Frank Wren

October 2nd, 2009
5:48 pm

Oh and Anders you guys get Frenchie for a full season in RF next year. LOL

Enjoy !!!

richbrave

October 2nd, 2009
5:48 pm

It’s deja vue 1990 all over again. Hands raised high! If the team this off-season is re-assembled with the pitching parts to make it successful, and new offensive parts added to strengthen its weakness in the middle of the line-up, the BRAVES should put the swagger back in TURNER field in 2010.

jeffrey d

October 2nd, 2009
5:49 pm

Oh and Anders you guys get Frenchie for a full season in RF next year. LOL

Have you seen Frenchie lately?

Cloverleaf

October 2nd, 2009
5:49 pm

RAH, RAH, RAH,…..instead of focusing on why the Braves didn’t make the play-offs for a FOURTH straight season, our two beat writers/cheerleaders are already painting a rosy picture for next season. Only in Atlanta.

HAL

October 2nd, 2009
5:51 pm

Enter your comments herei guess the lead to this blog says all you need to know about loaf comparing him to adru flatters .,loaf at least drew tried most of the time as far as im concerned loaf was an embarrasment to the braves uni period!!!

Braves Paisan

October 2nd, 2009
5:51 pm

Juan Piere is ca-ca.

Frank Wren

October 2nd, 2009
5:52 pm

Have you seen Frenchie lately?

He has been a little better lately but he is one slump from going right back to captain caveman mode.

Nothings changed. And he is still choking and swinging at the first pitch no matter where it is in a clutch situation.

William Huff

October 2nd, 2009
5:53 pm

Braves need to focus on four things going into the offseason
1. improve the outfield
2. get two big bats and
3 start spending some money or they wont make the playoffs
4. Fire Frank Wren. He sucks..

jeffrey d

October 2nd, 2009
5:54 pm

Good call, Cloverleaf. Alienate the fans. That will bring in the viewers and raise attendance.

Next time DOB should title the column

Braves SUX!!

Then when you click on the link it’s just a picture of Bobby flipping you off.

Chris Broe

October 2nd, 2009
5:55 pm

A half-witted eulogy for a .500 team.

Fitting!

jeffrey d

October 2nd, 2009
5:59 pm

You can swing at the first pitch all you want on my team if you’re hitting .307 and slugging .489. I’m pretty sure Francoeur’s gonna be just fine.

richbrave

October 2nd, 2009
6:02 pm

“…the PHILS could be running for their money.”:

Don’t forget our situation at the end of last year – injury-wise. The METS will not be chopped liver with everyone finally healed up and back manning their stations. If we maintain and get stronger, it should be quite a dog-fight in our division.

We improved by leaps and bounds against our own division. From 4-14 to 10-8 against PHILADELPHIA as an example. Let’s keep that trend improving, while pounding the rest of the NL, and the AL opponents we face next year.

jeffrey d

October 2nd, 2009
6:02 pm

A .500 team?? How many .500 teams are 13 games over .500? Did I miss my turn when DOB was passing out stupid pills this afternoon? It’s even stupider than normal here!

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
6:03 pm

Chone Figgins, Nolan Reimond, Dan Uggla, Juan Pierre, and Adrian Gonzalez. Who has the most realistic chance of becoming a Brave?

J-MAN

October 2nd, 2009
6:03 pm

Anybody think we could get A. Gonzalez for J. Schafer and F. Freeman and does anybody else think Kris Medlin should get a chance to start. If we dump hudson we free up 12.5 mil and if somehow we can get somebody to take Lowe we would have enough $$$ to attract a J. Bay or M. Holliday (I perfer Bay by the way, and yes that rhymed). But you have to give Heyward a shot and if he isnt ready you have Diaz as a back up plan. Then that leaves the bullpen and we have to sign one of our closers wish both but the Yankees will snag one of them up and I wish the Yankees would figure out that when they steal our pitchers it nevers works out (S. Karsay, Jared Wright, and Kyle Farnsworth) although when they take our everyday players they at least break even (G. Sheffield, M. Tiexera if you dont count his stint with the Angles). I’m beginning to rant again so I better leave that to Jurrjens he seems more acoustumed for ranting, dont want to make him jealous lol

Vinings Jim

October 2nd, 2009
6:05 pm

jeffrey d – before I had a chance to commend you on your 5:54 I have to add your 6:02. I will try to keep you from being a lonely voice of reason, since I actually get to be around for the entire game tonight… ;)

CB

October 2nd, 2009
6:08 pm

VJ,try to stay calm tonight, I got your back.

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
6:12 pm

Why Figgins and Pierre? Figgins is awesome, and Pierre hits 300 and steals a lot of bases but he is making way too much. If what you’re looking for is speend why not BJ Upton. He stole 40 bases, and we know he is very capable of having an excellent year in all aspects of the game, plus the fact he is still under team control for the the next 4 seasons He is a better fielder than Mclouth, and that’s saying something.

Vinings Jim

October 2nd, 2009
6:13 pm

CB – I will do my best – strangely enough, the thing that set me off last night was the one fine poster who made fun of my girl for her spelling – that’s your job and mine! Plus, he went over the line with that comment. After that, it was just fun ranting at those of his ilk…

Just to piss off jeffrey d

October 2nd, 2009
6:15 pm

Your all SO stupid!

It took Bobby Cox 5 Hall of famers and 30 All Stars just to win 1 WS title!!!!!!!!!!!!

ONE WORLD SERIES TITLE IN 14 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111

He sucks and should retire!!!

If it wasn’t for him we coud’ve won 14 WS TITLES!!!!!!

BUT NO HE IS GOD AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!

NO MORE BOBBY! NO MORE BOBBY!!!

5 STRAIGHT YEARS!!!

Tomahawkin

October 2nd, 2009
6:15 pm

If Someone Mentioned Trading KK for Juan Pierre then they need to be Bozo’d from the blog!

Pierre is a half-decent leadoff hitter, but he doesn’t steal bases no where near as much as he used to and his Little league Arm is worse than Johnny Damon’s. This team’s OF defense is already bad enough as it is…

richbrave

October 2nd, 2009
6:15 pm

I see HEYWARD on the 25-man coming out of ST only if he has a phenom-type experience. I mean like .400 level stuff with prodigious HR’s etc. Otherwise, I think he starts at GWINNETT. The BRAVES want to see him settle in at least, against AAA pitching. After his arb clock expires, THEN you may see him in ATLANTA on some basis. FREEMAN much more problematic unless he too has a breakout spring in MISSISSIPPI. But neither player comes to the big club early unless management’s hand is forced by the player in question. In FREDDIE’s case I think his swing has a pretty big hole in it that was discovered this year in PEARL by opposing pitchers. That needs fixing – unless he was hurt and I don’t realize it.

Tomahawkin

October 2nd, 2009
6:18 pm

Tomas

I’d love to have Figgins…He’s is a poor mans Placido Polanco and polanco is a poor man (Both of them are wayyy underrated) compared to marginal players on the Red sox and Bankees

Figgins would be our leadoff hitter by default

richbrave

October 2nd, 2009
6:18 pm

TOMAHAWKIN:

Would PIERRE’s arm be something like ANDERSON’s?

Jurrjens4NLCY

October 2nd, 2009
6:20 pm

Loaf has an average arm…
Loafs range is the problem, not his arm…

Pierre’s arm is WAY worse thans Loaf’s

Tomas

October 2nd, 2009
6:20 pm

Freddie Freeman absolutely no way he starts as Atlanta’s 1B. I don’t know why but I just think he’d have a Scott Thorman type season right now.

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