Braves explore options during GM meetings

Schiller Park, Ill. – Yes, sir, that’s the address of my budget hotel ’bout a mile from the sprawl of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, where baseball’s GMs are having their meetings, thus doing their small part to make it clear to everyone watching that things are tough all over.

Key Biscayne, Dana Point, Calif., Palm Springs, Naples, Fla. – that’s where they’ve had these meetings in recent years, usually at a Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis or some other cradle of luxury.

Some of those places were so pricey that us schlub reporters would drive over in our rental cars and barely afford to pay for parking, much less breakfast (a bagel and coffee would set you back about 10 bucks at the St. Regis at Dana Point, where last year’s meetings were held as the economy was in full free-fall, a fact that I think caused some embarrassment for baseball as writers blogged and Twittered about the obscene prices and opulent setting where the GMs were gathered.)

Oh, and before I forget, remember you can follow us up-to-the-minute on Twitter — @ajcbraves.

This isn't the airport Hilton; it's the St. Regis in Dana Point

Definitely not the airport Hilton (this is St. Regis in Dana Point, Calif., site of 2008 GM meetings).

Anyway, they reduced the meetings from four days to barely two this year and held them at a modest business hotel connected to airport terminals by tunnels.

“Don’t get me started on that,” White Sox GM Kenny Williams was saying to a few of us reporters earlier tonight. “The O’Hare Hilton is very nice.”

I went over to talk to Williams because I wanted to ask him about Javier Vazquez, who was traded by Williams’ White Sox to the Braves (along with lefty Boone Logan) last winter in exchange for four minor leaguers including behemoth catching prospect Tyler Flowers and baby-faced infielder Brent Lillibridge.

All Vazquez did was have the best season of his career and one of the best seasons by a major league pitcher in 2009, going 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts with 44 walks in 219-1/3 innings. With better run support, he might have won 18-20 games.

Because the Braves have six quality starters – or will, provided Tim Hudson’s elbow looks good in the MRI he’ll have Tuesday, at which point the Braves would announce the three-year contract extension the sides have already otherwise finalized – they are looking to trade one of them.

They’re not going to trade Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson or Hudson, and Derek Lowe’s remaining three-year, $45 million commitment might be difficult to move, though a lack of front-line starters on the free-agent market could help in that.

With Kawakami owed $13.3 million over the next two years (he signed a three-year, $23 million a year ago and got a $2 million bonus up front so he could buy a house, etc.), the Braves should be able to find takers for him if they want to move the Japanese veteran.

White Sox GM says Vazquez's 2009 work wasn't surprising

White Sox GM says Vazquez's 2009 work wasn't surprising

But in moving Lowe or Kawakami, the Braves aren’t likely to get much in return, certainly not anything like they would be able to get if they decided to trade Vazquez, who has one year at $11.5 million left on his contract.

That’s a bargain for a 33-year-old pitcher coming off a season like the one he just produced, who has pitched more than 200 innings in nine of the past 10 seasons and totaled 651 strikeouts in 644-1/3 innings during the past three.

I heard today that the Braves have discussed the possibility of signing Vazquez to a multi-year extension rather than trading him, but they haven’t firmed up their plans or made an offer yet.

First, they have to get the Hudson thing taken care of, then probably get a better gauge of the market and what they might be able to get for one of their other starters, or whether they could get a team to take all of Lowe’s contract.

The Braves want to add a right-handed power hitter to their lineup, and that could come via a few different means. They could possibly trade for one, but probably only if the deal involved either Vazquez or perhaps a solid prospect included in a deal involving Lowe or Kawakami.

It’s not clear whether the Braves will make a big offer to try to re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche, their best power hitter after they traded for him at the July 31 deadline last year. He hit .325 with 12 homers, 40 and a .958 OPS in 57 games while playing exceptional defense.

But the first-time free agent might command a multi-year deal on the open market, and the Braves seem reluctant to block the path of first-base prospect Freddie Freeman if Freeman’s ready in another year or so.

Beyond that, the Braves also have concerns about LaRoche’s extreme career-long disparity between first- and second-half production. After the All-Star break, he’s a career .300 hitter with a .909 OPS and a homer every 17.7 at-bats.

Before the break, he’s a .252 hitter with a .773 OPS and a homer every 25.2 at-bats.

If the Braves decide to trade Vazquez, they might be able to get a young power hitter in return. We’ve mentioned Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz as a possibility before, even though Vazquez has a no-trade clause that prohibits a trade to a NL West or AL West team without his approval. He had that clause put in his contract, however, to prevent a trade to a West Coast team, because Vazquez doesn’t want to be that far from his family in Puerto Rico.

Could Rangers' Cruz be possibility for Braves?

Could Rangers' Cruz be possibility for Braves?

Whether he’d waive it for a trade to a team in Texas is unclear, and plenty of Brave and Braves fans hope they won’t have to find out.  Chipper Jones and other Braves have lobbied openly for the Braves to bring back Vazquez, who not only pitched well enough for a likely top-five Cy Young Award finish, but also was credited for working with young Jurrjens and helping him continue his ascendance.

Now, getting back to Kenny Williams — I asked the White Sox GM if he had seen enough of Vazquez, who went 15-8 with a 3.74 for Chicago in 2007 before slipping to 12-16 with a 4.67 ERA in ‘08, to think he could do what he did this season.

“Absolutely,” Williams said. “Go ask Frank Wren right now what I told him Javier Vazquez would do, and he’ll tell you ‘He did exactly what Kenny told me he would do.’ Javy’s a fit for that situation.

“For us, we had to make our own decisions for our own set of reasons. Plus it’s a guy going from the American League to the National League, and no disrespect but….” Here Williams paused, didn’t finish the thought, and repeated, “No Disrespect.”

It was pretty clear to all of us standing there that Kenny wanted to say something about the disparity as he sees it between the AL and NL, and about how much easier he thinks it is to pitch in the latter.

“Whatever I say right now is going to come off as…” he said, again not finishing the sentence. Then he put it this way: “There’s a big difference between the American League and the National League.”

And this way: “If I were to get fired at this very moment, I would prefer to go to the other league to general-manage, rather than stay in this one.” He laughed and added, “Not that I’m lobbying for firing or anything….

“That’s disrespectful, too, what I just said there. Listen, I don’t know how else to put it, other than, there are no breaks in this league [the AL]. There’s no breaks.”

In summary, he said of Vazquez: “It’s not like we were trading a commodity we didn’t know we had. We knew how it would translate for our team and how it would translate for Javy once he went to Atlanta and the National League.”

White Sox are pleased with Flowers' development since trade

White Sox are pleased with Flowers' development since trade

Back in the Vazquez trade, Flowers was the guy the White Sox wanted most in the deal. The big catcher (6-4, 245 pounds) was coming off a monster performance in the 2009 Arizona Fall League when the trade went down, and he didn’t disappoint in his first season in the Sox organization and first above A-ball.

After batting .288 with 17 homers and a .921 OPS in 122 games at high-A Myrtle Beach in 2008, Flowers hit .297 with 15 homers and a .939 OPS in 108 games in Double-A and Triple-A in 2009, including .302 with a .993 OPS in 77 games at Double-A.

Was Williams pleased with Flowers’ continued development?

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “He’s going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy watching him.”

And we’re all going to have fun the next couple of days at the airport Hilton, surrounded by terminals and a sea of concrete, with the attractions of Chicago a good 40-minute train ride or $35 cab ride away. I’ll see Chicago next summer.

2687109149_2de56edaf0_o

Joan.

♣ Mighty Joan is back: We hated seeing an awesome season of Mad Men end Sunday, but the best news was that force-of-nature office manager Joan will return to a prominent role in the new agency next season. That is a very good thing. Now, we eagerly await the season-ending episodes of Sons of Anarchy, which has been better than ever in recent weeks.

Remember when TV was really not very good for what seemed like a decade?

Oh, and can someone give us a review after you’ve seen the new movie Collapse, if you see it before I do? Thanks.

We’ll go out with John Prine and Lucinda Williams doing a cover of this medley of songs by Hank Sr. off Prine’s 1999 duets album In Spite of Ourselves.  Here’s a link to the tune.

No one wrote them better than Sir

No one wrote them better than Sir

“WEDDING BELLS/LET’S TURN BACK THE YEARS” by Hank Williams

I got the invitation that you sent me,

You wanted me to see you change your name

I couldn’t stand to see you wed another

But dear I hope you’re happy just the same

*

I planned a little cottage in the valley,

I even bought that little band of gold

I thought some day I’d place it on your finger,

But now the future looks so dark and cold

*

Wedding bells are ringing in the chapel

That should be ringing now for you and me

Down the aisle with someone else you’re walking

Those wedding bells with never ring for me

*

Darling, let’s turn back the years

And go back to yesterday

Let’s pretend that time has stopped

And I didn’t go away

*

We had our love to make us happy

Love wasn’t meant to bring us tears

Love like ours should never die

So, darling, let’s turn back the years

*

I fancy that I see a bunch of roses

A blossom from and orange tree in your hair

While the organ plays “I Love You Truly,”

Just let me pretend that I am there

*

Wedding bells are ringing in the chapel

That should be ringing now for you and me

Down the aisle with someone else you’re walking

Those wedding bells with never ring for me

Those wedding bells with never ring for me

3,194 comments Add your comment

Andrew

November 10th, 2009
12:34 am

Andrew

November 10th, 2009
12:34 am

Andrew

November 10th, 2009
12:35 am

Andy K.

November 10th, 2009
12:35 am

Andy K.

November 10th, 2009
12:35 am

you can stop now Andrew

Random

November 10th, 2009
12:36 am

P-Town Brave (November 9th, 2009 5:27 pm): “Can I just say the 2nd part of your argument there really hit my point and hammered it home as the Bobby Cox of “now”….

‘01
‘03
‘06
‘07
‘08
‘09

“So you just mentioned 6 of the last 9 seasons, but I’m still wrong?!”

First — you did not originally qualify your rash and witless assertion in any way. This is exactly what you said:

“Bobby doesn’t run! Its as simple as that” — which is, yes, flat out wrong.

I’ll ask you again — What is the most significant difference between all those different Bobby Cox teams [ie, the five who averaged 142+ SBs per season and the five who averaged 60 SBs per season]? The roster.
What is the one constant between all those different Bobby Cox teams? Bobby Cox.
You would have to be a true igmo to simply say that “Bobby doesn’t run!”
If Cox has basestealers on base, he’ll let them steal bases. Otherwise, not.

It’s that simple.

But now what you’re saying is that “Bobby doesn’t run NOW! Its as simple as that.”

But it’s still not. Not at all.

Let’s go over Cox’ Braves’ five seasons with the most SBs and five seasons with the least SBs, and compare rosters.

‘91 — 165 SBs (68.5%), 30 3Bs, 749 Rs: ONixon (72 SBs, 124 Gs, 77.4%), RGant (34 SBs, 154 Gs, 69.4%), DSanders (11 SBs, 54 Gs, 78.6%), TPendleton (10 SBs, 153 Gs, 83.3%)
‘92 — 126 SBs (67.7%), 48 3Bs, 682 Rs: ONixon (41 SBs, 120 Gs, 69.5%), RGant (32 SBs, 153 Gs, 76.2%), DSanders (26 SBs, 97 Gs, 74.3%)
‘93 — 125 SBs (72.3%), 29 3Bs, 767 Rs: ONixon (47 SBs, 134 Gs, 78.3%), RGant (26 SBs, 157 Gs, 74.3%), DSanders (19 SBs, 95 Gs, 73.1%), JBlauser (16 SBs, 161 Gs, 72.7%)
‘99 — 148 SBs (69.2%), 23 3Bs, 840 Rs: ONixon (26 SBs, 84 Gs, 78.8%), CJones(25 SBs, 157 Gs, 89.3%), AJones (24 SBs, 162 Gs, 66.7%), GWilliams (19 SBs, 143 Gs, 63.3%), BBoone (14 SBs, 152 Gs, 60.9%), BJordan (13 SBs, 153 Gs, 61.9%)
‘00 — 148 SBs (72.5%), 26 3Bs, 810 Rs: RFurcal (40 SBs, 131 Gs, 74.1%), QVeras (25 SBs, 84 Gs, 67.6%), AJones (21 SBs, 161 Gs, 77.8%), RSanders (21 SBs, 103 Gs, 84.0%), CJones (14 SBs, 156 Gs, 66.7%), BJordan (10 SBs, 133 Gs, 83.3%)

‘03 — 68 SBs (75.6%), 907 Rs: RFurcal (25 SBs, 156 Gs, 92.6%), GSheffield (18 SBs, 155 Gs, 81.8%), MGiles (14 SBs, 145 Gs, 77.8%)
‘06 — 52 SBs (59.8), 849 Rs: ERenteria (17 SBs, 149 Gs, 73.9%), MGiles (10 SBs, 141 Gs, 66.7%)
‘07 — 64 SBs (68.1), 810 Rs: ERenteria (11 SBs, 124 Gs, 84.6%), WHarris (17 SBs, 117 Gs, 60.7%)
‘08 — 58 SBs (68.2%), 753 Rs: GBlanco (13 SBs, 144 Gs, 72.2%), KJohnson (11 SBs, 150 Gs, 64.7%), JAnderson (10 SBs, 40 Gs, 90.9%)
‘09 — 58 SBs (69.0%), 735 Rs: MDiaz (12 SBs, 125 Gs, 70.6%), NMcLouth (12 SBs, 84 Gs, 66.7%)

Okay, so tell me now — who on the past half dozen Braves rosters could compare to Otis Nixon, Ron Gant, Deion Sanders or even Reggie Sanders as far as stealing bases? Furcal? Who else? Who all has Cox kept leashed on the base paths in the last six or so years? Who this season did Cox not allow to steal bases who was able to?

Who has Cox had on his roster the last half dozen years or so who had the base stealing capabilities of even Quilvio Veras, Marcus Giles, Brian Jordan or Jeff Blauser?

Cox uses the players he’s given to the best of their abilities. Those abilities of late have not included base-stealing for the most part.

It’s as simple as that.

Oh, and as to your overall implication that the Braves need to run more, which I choose to represent as follows:

”Uhhhhh, duh Bwaves weally, weally need to wun mowuh, uhhuh, uhhuh, uhhuh!”

I offer the following:

In the Braves’ five highest stolen base seasons under Cox, when they averaged 142+ SBs per season, only twice did they manage to score 800 runs (averaging ~770 Runs per season).

In the Braves’ five lowest stolen base seasons under Cox, when they averaged only 60 SBs per season, only twice did they fail to score 800 runs (averaging 810+ Runs per season).

I suggest that you change your name to Coach, and get yourself post haste to wherever he disappeared to.

Igmo.

PS: And if it’s really your contention that “Bobby doesn’t run NOW! Its as simple as that”, why did you so conveniently omit ’02, ’04 and ’05, when the Braves stole 76, 86 and 92 bases? Didn’t fit your curve, hmmmmm?

Igmo.

PPS: Yes, you’re still wrong.

Ditto above.

nolie

November 10th, 2009
12:39 am

Dave is my hero now. Thanks.I take back all the bad things I said. ;)

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
12:39 am

Forgot to mention that the Braves got a two-day extension on that deadline to pick up Hudson’s option. Deadline had been five days after World Series, but since they have a three-year extension that needs only a passing grade on MRI exam, the parties agreed to extend the deadline so Huddy could get MRI tomorrow and finalize the deal.

Andrew

November 10th, 2009
12:40 am

i want tyler flowers back …thanks dob

nolie

November 10th, 2009
12:41 am

i want tyler flowers back

we don’t have a DH position

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
12:43 am

Everyone can rest easy tonight — my luggage and I have been reunited. Another Delta adventure completed.

nolie

November 10th, 2009
12:45 am

Whew, I’m sooo relieved. Now I can sleep.

Wayne in Utah

November 10th, 2009
12:47 am

Doc

Think about this: Mac is an exceptional catcher. Probably the second best hitting catcher in baseball, and calls a good game. D is a little weak, but liveable.

Move him to first, and he becomes a defensive liability. He doesn’t save as many errant throws from the other infielders as a more polished first baseman would do, PLUS, he is now a middle of the pack hitting first baseman.

You just don’t make those sort of moves, at least not IMO.

TnBrian

November 10th, 2009
12:48 am

This is the second time DOB has posted a picture of Cruz to head one of his blogs. Don’t want to get ripped to shreds for speculating, but I believe Dave has a strong feeling this is their top guy to go after. I know, I know, Cruz would just makes a ton of sense for Atlanta, that’s all.

Andrew

November 10th, 2009
12:49 am

put flowers at first

Andrew

November 10th, 2009
12:50 am

lowe and prospect for cruz ..get it down now

TnBrian

November 10th, 2009
12:51 am

Sounds to me like this Kenny Williams should bite his tounge a little more or just choose his words better as a GM. We got it, the AL is superior to the NL & Javy isn’t good enough to be dominant in the AL.

MiamiBrave

November 10th, 2009
12:51 am

DOB

you are the man, much appreciated late night bloggage

Wayne in Utah

November 10th, 2009
12:51 am

nolie

If you ever wondered why I stay up later that I should, go to this website, listen to the second sound that is played (at 40% volume on my computer), and that is my constant companion.

If news ever gets out that WiU blew his brains out, this might be why.

Driving me frickin crazy tonight.

http://www.neuromonics.com/patient/treatment/index.aspx?id=50

TnBrian

November 10th, 2009
12:54 am

Good Lord, ole Random is up to his dirty tricks even at 1:00 in the morning. Jeez man, give it a rest. Or, I should say ma’am with all your rolley eyes & smiley faces. No real man would keep posting those, would they?

Wayne in Utah

November 10th, 2009
12:55 am

Cruz would be a good addition to this club. I don’t know that there might be others who would work out better, but sometimes you gotta take what is available.

Would Lowe or Kawakami do the trick? Might have to add a guy like Adam Milligan to sweeten the pot?

P. W. Hjort

November 10th, 2009
12:57 am

I’m betting the NL has a DH within 5 years.

Wayne in Utah

November 10th, 2009
12:58 am

TnBrian :evil:

What exactly is wrong :?: with a few smiley’s interspersed (sp) :roll: among a post :lol: now and again :mrgreen: ???

:shock:

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
12:58 am

TnBrian: I should have asked Kenny Williams what he considered the Kansas City Royals, if they’re not a “break.”

Randy S

November 10th, 2009
12:58 am

That was a decent blog, I mean, for an NL beat writer…I’m not surprised DOB was able to produce that…covering an NL team. I mean no disrespect, but if that had been a blog about an AL Central blog….

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
12:59 am

PWH: I’ll take that bet anytime, my friend. Because that’s not happening.

Wayne in Utah

November 10th, 2009
1:00 am

PW H

What makes you think that (the DH)? Being a traditionalist, I have always like the NL way, but I am also a realist, so I can see that NOT having the DH puts the NL clubs at a bit of a disadvantage. Though I suspect that it would cost a bit more.

It would sure make it easy to either rest guys, or move a no field guy into the everyday lineup (Cody Johnson, maybe?).

Wayne in Utah

November 10th, 2009
1:02 am

Kenny W and Ozzie probably deserve each other…..but, I do respect KW for standing up to Scott Boras in the past. Does he have any of Boras clients on his team now?

Randy S

November 10th, 2009
1:02 am

AL Central team, that is, beer and iPhone make for poor typing.

Coach (I need more speed)

November 10th, 2009
1:06 am

Enter your comments here

ccrider

November 10th, 2009
1:08 am

DOB: And Cleveland, Oakland and Toronto this year

drumzalicious

November 10th, 2009
1:08 am

DOB:

If the Braves are trading Lowe and they do it as a salary dump do you think they would dip into the prospects to bring a slugger in or go sign someone that can give us pop at a cheaper price (Cameron, Nady, etc)

nolie

November 10th, 2009
1:13 am

This is the second time DOB has posted a picture of Cruz to head one of his blogs (TnB)

It might just be transference, I’m pretty sure he lusts after Penelope

TnBrian

November 10th, 2009
1:16 am

DOB, you read my mind. The Royals,A’s, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles& even his White Sox all stink, but I guess K.Williams might say that they are equal to 95% of NL teams if they played in the AL. What an arrogant douche bag that guy seems to be.

nolie

November 10th, 2009
1:18 am

(SCOOTS)

are you a computer code guy? I disremember.

Bobby Hill

November 10th, 2009
1:18 am

I don’t think lowe has any positive trade value. Wren’s not going to be able to trade him for anybody other than somebodyelse’s bad contract. He may be able to get somebody to claim Lowe on waivers or something. If Wren is able to unload Lowe without eating any of his contract he will have done great.

nolie

November 10th, 2009
1:19 am

nolie

November 10th, 2009
1:20 am

nolie

November 10th, 2009
1:22 am

He may be able to get somebody to claim Lowe on waivers or something. (Bobby Hill)

you can’t honestly think that they are gonna put Lowe on waivers, can you? Sheeesh

TnBrian

November 10th, 2009
1:23 am

Wayne, I liked that smiley face thing you did. Clever of you & you didn’t go over the top with it.

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
1:25 am

Nolie, correct (Penelope)

Matt the Brave

November 10th, 2009
1:26 am

So, who else besides Cruz are the Braves looking at? I heard Crawford from the Rays might be on the block, but they just re-upped him for $10m for another year.

Do you think that Rick Ankiel is in our budget? Or would he be a bit too anxious to return day after day to the place where his career nearly ended?

Matt the Brave

November 10th, 2009
1:27 am

Oh, and saw Andruw Jones has filed for free agency… :P

Andrew in P-tang

November 10th, 2009
1:32 am

I think Cruz is the best fit right now..Ankiel is a lefty so i cant see that happing..Ludwick maybe if the Cards were shopping him..i really dont want to give up Javy..if the braves really wanted to keep Javy and trade Lowe if the Rangers are worried about Lowe’s salary maybe the Braves can eat 2 mill a year on it since Cruz only made 400,000 last year

Andrew in P-tang

November 10th, 2009
1:33 am

Hey the Rangers owe us for us giving them the world for Tex

Bobby Hill

November 10th, 2009
1:43 am

Given his contract Lowe has negative or perhaps zero trade value. No one is going to give the Braves something of value for a player who has no TRADE value. Expecting Texas to send anybody to Altanta in echange for Lowe is absurd. Why would Texas want to give up a valuable trade chip AND take on Lowe’s contract. It ain’t happening. If Wren was lucky enough to find somebody who would take Lowe off the Brave’s hands for some scrub PTBNL Wren would be doing back flips in the hallway of his hotel. And he’s be a fool not to take it.

Jay212033

November 10th, 2009
1:50 am

“I’m betting the NL has a DH within 5 years.”

It’s dumb for both leagues not to be equal anyway. Pick one and go with it for both leagues.

Jay212033

November 10th, 2009
1:52 am

If we could get Cruz for Lowe, B. Jones and Jo-Jo Reyes I’d be extremely pleased!

Jurrjens4NLCY

November 10th, 2009
1:59 am

DOB:

Have you tried “Portillo’s” yet?
I hope you enjoy Chicago…

berrygin

November 10th, 2009
2:03 am

I just can’t see the Rangers giving Cruz, a very cheap, very powerful hitter, for an old, overpaid Lowe. Rangers are already short Milton Bradley’s offense from 2008, now you take away their next most productive hitter??? Maybe, just maybe for Javy.

P. W. Hjort

November 10th, 2009
2:04 am

Random,

A smiley face would serve to disambiguate his intent, not necessarily negate any stupidity.

Doesn’t disambiguating the intent negate any previously perceived stupidity?

Supes

November 10th, 2009
2:19 am

If we traded for Ludwick we wouldn’t have to give up Javy Vazquez…more like Kelly Johnson and a relief pitcher.

Then we could try moving Derek Lowe to the Yankees for Nick Swisher, or a prospect or two if the Braves can’t take on the salary.

Those would seem the 2 more logical moves, that way if LaRoache is not signed, Swisher can play 1B until Freeman is ready.

Hiawatha Terrell Wade

November 10th, 2009
2:23 am

Regarding the point that the Braves could get more in a trade for Vazquez than they could for Lowe…I think that’s missing the point.

If they can dump Lowe’s salary on a team hungry for pitching and take back a modest return (say a decent bullpen arm), Wren can take that money saved and spend it on Mike Cameron as a 1 year stopgap to Schafer.

I don’t think that’s necessarily the way to go, but with the way Wren is building the team, a good defensive CF that hits right-handed, has power, and is available on a 1 year deal at a reasonable rate seems to fit pretty well with the big picture plan.

berrygin

November 10th, 2009
2:57 am

If the Cards lose Holliday, they can’t trade Ludwick. Then they would literally have no one to bat behind Fat Albert. We missed our chance to trade for him last spring, when people thought KJ was worth something. Now no one is going to give up a thing for him. He’s the Scott Thorman of this year. Only he does have a better chance of being good.

As for Lowe. At the end of 2008 he was 14 11 with a 3.24 ERA.
He had never made more than 10 mIl. He made 15 Mil last year. 15-10, but what everyone will notice is the 4.67 ERA. And that he’s going to turn 37 in June. Really, who is going to take that salary on this year, when they could have gotten him last year, coming off a year where his ERA was a run and a half less????
Braves don’t like to eat salary, but they would have to eat half of his, at least. And as mad as it makes me, the AL league a snob league, and not just Kenny Williams would think he’d have a 5.67 ERA in the AL.

And Mike Cameron is going to be 37 next year, struck out 156 times, and over the last 3 years has hit .250 or under. Is that going to be our cleanup hitter??? Is that kind of production going to put us on top of the Phillies???
Surely there is some better fit than that…..

Obee

November 10th, 2009
6:11 am

Might he have been referring to the DH rule, rather than the quality of the teams in the leagues?

By the way, thanks for the Meat Puppets recommendation. Never really liked them much before, but the latest is great.

Random

November 10th, 2009
6:17 am

P. W. Hjort (November 10th, 2009 2:04 am): “Doesn’t disambiguating the intent negate any previously perceived stupidity?”

No — it may confirm it.

Matt Layne

November 10th, 2009
6:23 am

I know hes alot of money but why is there so much disrespect for lowe? Have you all forgotten his work ethic is the spring? Or his amazing first start as a brave? I understand he had some bad games in the middle but overall he was a pretty good pitcher alot better than what we had in 2008. I say give lowe another year to improve and just raise payroll to add another bat.

Matt Layne

November 10th, 2009
6:26 am

oh and not to put down the american league but the White sox last year were…..um no exactly the braves of 2009. I dont want the NL to have a DH but if that is what it takes to make the two leagues even again so be it. Atleast the DH allows good hitters to stay around baseball longer after they can no longer play the field.

Matt Layne

November 10th, 2009
6:27 am

I will also add that Chipper will be a brave till 2020 if the NL adds the DH.

Random

November 10th, 2009
6:27 am

Bobby Hill (November 10th, 2009 1:43 am): “Given his contract Lowe has negative or perhaps zero trade value. No one is going to give the Braves something of value for a player who has no TRADE value.”

Stick around and see what kind of contract Lackey gets, and then tell us how “out of whack” is Lowe’s.

18 Wheels of Love

November 10th, 2009
6:54 am

Bowman, on his blog, reported a few days ago that Huddy passed his physical, therefore making the extension complete. So is the MRI not part of the physical?

Couch Tater

November 10th, 2009
6:58 am

I think it was Bill Giles of the Phillies, who’s very much like I am, very sensitive to baseball, who said, “You know, a little controversy between the leagues isn’t bad and maybe this is all right.” And so that’s why everybody has left it the way it is, including me. – Bud Selig

PWH,

It’s all about marketing the game. Nothing keeps MLB fans screaming more than the DH. Good for business.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/the_bonus/03/20/changeup.designatedhitter/1.html

Dude

November 10th, 2009
7:13 am

What about a salary swap of Lowe for Juan Pierre? That gives us a lead-off hitter with good speed that plays left-field. Then we can shift McClouth to lower in the order to take advantage of his power.

chuckw/deadjournalist

November 10th, 2009
7:23 am

dude – you’ve said what i’ve been thinking for several months; but i doubt the dodgers would take lowe since they didn’t make a significant effort to resign him.

Matt Layne

November 10th, 2009
7:25 am

To have a fair game in any sports the rules gotta be the same. In Interleague play and the World Series the American league will always have the upper hand till something is done about the DH one way or another.

Matt Layne

November 10th, 2009
7:27 am

Juan Pierre isnt the power that we need but it does seem like the guy is always in the playoffs. in the 00s alone has he missed the playoffs at all?

LoMel

November 10th, 2009
7:30 am

Ugh, Kenny Williams. And should you really be talking, sir? I live in Charlotte and have paid money to watch your sorry-a*s AAA team play since 2003, and since ‘04 the Knights have finished under .500 every year except ‘06. Maybe instead of mouthing off about the NL teams you should focus on working with your own system.

Bobby's Belly

November 10th, 2009
7:54 am

LoMel – Follow any baseball this decade?

Except for the fact Kenny Williams is correct, let’s bash him anyway.

37YearBravesFan

November 10th, 2009
7:56 am

Boy I hate this part of the year. DOB tries to keep us interested in Braves with GM Meetings blogs. Where is February???

DOB, just finished reading the piece on Minor. Sounds like we got a good deal. There was a comment about the kid being ready to pitch at the Major League level in a year or two, which then started me wondering, How will he break into a pitching lineup that still has Hanson, JJ, Kawakami, Huddy, possibly Lowe and Vazquez?

Or is that tooo far to think about, with toooo much that can happen between now and then?

GO BRAVES!!

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
7:57 am

18 Wheels: The MRI is another requirement for the insurance company that will cover Hudson’s contract, in addition to the thorough physical exam that he had early last week.

He’s had MRIs since surgery and has had no setbacks or discomfort that would indicate problems with the reconstructed ligament, therefore Hudson and the team are confident there will be no problems with this MRI.

Nonetheless, it has to be done, as a requirement for the insurance policy.

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
8:00 am

37yrBravesFan: We don’t know which pitcher might be traded in the next weeks, which pitcher or pitcher might be hurt in the next months, or which pitcher or pitchers might be hurt or traded in the next couple of years.

So to ask how Minor might fit into the rotation in a year or two or whenever he arrives, is really a bit pointless right now, in my opinion.

stew

November 10th, 2009
8:02 am

Cruz doesn’t drive in enough runs for someone who hit 33 hrs. I don’t think he’s the answer. Plus he probably won’t hit as much in the NL. I’d rather make a play for Ryan Braun. I’d give up a lot for him. We need righty power and all our prospects are lefties. Actually the DH accounts for about 1/2 to 3/4 of a run more per game in the AL. AL games have more 10th or 11th pitchers (on the staff) working in them.

David O'Brien

November 10th, 2009
8:02 am

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, although he’s been told by doctors that he can live a full life without drastic changes.

For those of us in or approaching middle age, he was one of the true sports icons of our lifetimes, and quite possibly the greatest college basketball player of all time.

McCann Fan

November 10th, 2009
8:24 am

Trade Vasquez and Freeman for Ryan Braun then sign Laroche long-term.

The Milwaukee Brewers

November 10th, 2009
8:41 am

Trade Vasquez and Freeman for Ryan Braun then sign Laroche long-term.

Duhhhh, otay

Cecil34

November 10th, 2009
8:41 am

DOB

Any interest in Jason Bay?

Ryan in TN

November 10th, 2009
8:42 am

Are there any possible deals in the works so far during the meetings? If not, do you expect anything to happen?

dpelfrey

November 10th, 2009
8:43 am

Mad Men was fantastic last night. When they were sneaking around stealing accounts and office supplies, I felt nervous as if I was actually with them. That’s the sign of a truly great show, when it sucks you in and you feel like part of the plot. Absolutely phenomenal.

Now baseball, I think it’s funny how Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen always put their foot in their mouth. You think by now the team president would have some sort of PR person following them around keeping this stuff from happening.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see how this offseason shakes out. And while it would be nice to put all the pieces in place perfectly before the season starts, we should know a team with a payroll under $100 mil needs a few pleasant surprises along the way. We’re not the Yankees or Red Sox and can’t have a surplus of proven bats and arms. Whether that means they need a big rookie year from Heyward, a couple of young relievers making a big impact (Medlen, Kimbrel) or an old veteran having one last monster year at the plate (come on Chip, we’re counting on you), it’ll take something on that order for the Braves to get back on top. One thing we know, they have the starting pitching to do it…and that’s a VERY GOOD START!!!

Josh Smildress

November 10th, 2009
8:45 am

Keep all the pitchers and trade Schaffer/Freeman for hitter- BOOM

RHR

November 10th, 2009
8:59 am

Can I get a definition of middle age? :D

dpelfrey

November 10th, 2009
9:00 am

I wouldn’t trade Schafer. He’s had a rough start to his career, but he still has all the goods. Plus his value is low now, so it’d be a waste to trade him now.

jeffrey d

November 10th, 2009
9:00 am

Keep all the pitchers and trade Schaffer/Freeman for hitter- BOOM

But do you think any team is going to want an aging band leader?

jeffrey d

November 10th, 2009
9:02 am

RHR – according to Wikipedia

The Middle Ages is a period of international history covering roughly a millennium in the 5th century through 16th centuries

timthebrave

November 10th, 2009
9:02 am

I just read the article about Minor. I saw him pitch against UGA and he completely dominated. He is not an overpowering pitcher but he had great command and location that day and I was really impressed. I don’t think he is a #1 starter but I definitely could see him as a no2 no3 starter

Efrim

November 10th, 2009
9:05 am

Bust erOlney wrote a blog about the Elias rankings coming out yesterday and which players it hurts(or helps). Here is his section on two Braves players:

There might be bad news for: Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano. They are both Type A free agents, and because both have some history of medical issues, it’s very possible that teams won’t be willing to give up top draft picks in order to land them. But it’s also unclear whether the Braves would offer arbitration to Soriano, who made $6.3 million last season and could conceivably earn something in the range of $8 million to $9 million. Gonzalez made $3.45 million last year.

RHR

November 10th, 2009
9:09 am

Oh thanks, jeffrey. That means I’m in the clear.

But anyway…

The New York Mets apparently have no plans to break the bank to sign an elite free agent.

Adam Rubin of the Daily News reports that the asking price of outfielders Matt Holliday and Jason Bay is expected to be too high for the Mets. The plans instead call for the Mets to sign a left fielder from the “second tier” of free agents.

If the Mets land a left fielder via a trade or free agency, that would allow them to use Daniel Murphy as their primary first baseman next season.

Any attempt by the Mets to cut corners will raise questions about the financial health of the franchise. Mets owner Fred Wilpon is among those who lost money in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme.

But but but …. Anders said they made 50 million.

Don

November 10th, 2009
9:13 am

Braves explore options???? The absurd thing is that they are exploring all kinds of options – but completely ignore the option that would do the most to improve the team – the options that is also completely simple and would cost very little – the option that is completely obvious and is by far the most significant and pressing problem. The failure to pursue this option also makes all other efforts to improve meaningless. The option that they refuse to pursue is the termination of Bobby Cox. They don’t need another bat or bats for the offense nearly as badly as they need a someone who knows how to manage the offense. They can make all the most desireable of trades or free agent signings and it will all be pointless as long as Cox is managing – unless their Pitching (like in the past) should be so great – so far far superior to the other teams that it overcomes his management procdures and lack thereof and enables them to win the over the long 162 game season – in spite of him.

nolie

November 10th, 2009
9:13 am

DAP

November 10th, 2009
9:13 am

i think what ken williams meant to say is “they play real baseball over there in the NL.”

MZ

November 10th, 2009
9:14 am

i can’t remember a time when the Braves had so many offseason options to consider … the Braves could either look extremely similar to the way they looked at the end of this past season or they could feature a decidedly different look:
Lowe, KK, Vazquez, LaRoche, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Church, Greg Norton, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Garret Anderson (i’m probably forgetting some guys) … some or all of these guys could be gone by opening day … then again, some or all could be back
either way, it has been exciting to watch the way this team has morphed and steadily improved since failing to make the playoffs in 2006 … 2010 (and the months leading up to it) should be just as exciting

18 Wheels of Love

November 10th, 2009
9:15 am

THanks for the clarification DOB. Now go check out the new Alice in Chains and Q-Tip records.

jeffrey d

November 10th, 2009
9:16 am

I don’t see the Mets sitting on their thumbs during this offseason. Especially after getting rid of Delgado’s and Wagner’s salaries.

Rock On......

November 10th, 2009
9:28 am

With DOB’s quotes from Williams it answers any questions I have about why in the world Guillen is a manager. Nuff said on that.

DAP

November 10th, 2009
9:29 am

ankiel would be a good option for a 4th outfielder and defensive sub, and thats it.

berryginMike Cameron is going to be 37 next year, struck out 156 times, and over the last 3 years has hit .250 or under. Is that going to be our cleanup hitter???

cleanup hitter, no, but he has also hit 70 homers, 218 RBI and stolen 42 bases in the last three years. not to mention his excellent defense which makes him an over all more valuable player to a team than jason bay.

McFann Ô

November 10th, 2009
9:31 am

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “[Flowers is] going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy watching him.”

Eat your heart out, Joseph!

:P

Wayne

Couldn’t agree more.

CB

November 10th, 2009
9:31 am

37yearsBravesFan,you hate this time of year? You foolish fan. This is the best time of year,we can forget all of Sept. disappointments and dream of what can be. We can make all the fantasy trades we want,we see only through rose colored glasses. All our good players are great,all our lousy players we can dump on other teams for their great players. You foolish fan,you don’t know what you are missing.

jeffrey d

November 10th, 2009
9:34 am

CB – you forgot the proposed lineups

Jim

November 10th, 2009
9:35 am

Nelson Cruz scares me a bit. He’s a little old to be considered a young prospect and he’s only had one good season, which was in a big time hitter’s park. I could be wrong, but I would be disappointed if we traded Vazquez for Cruz.

http://www.fanhuddle.com/atlantabraves <—- It's more commentary than you can shake a tomahawk at.

CB

November 10th, 2009
9:36 am

jeffrey d,uh-dream of what can be?

jeffrey d

November 10th, 2009
9:37 am

Let’s trade Jojo, Medlan, Schaeffer and Lowe for Ryan Braun. Then, get him to play first base and sign him to a cheap extension. Escobar can take Lowe’s spot in the rotation, and Ryan Howard can hit cleanup.

Oh, and we traded for Ryan Howard too.

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