When tryptophan wears off, Braves offseason should perk up

I’m thinking that if my man Homer Simpson were judging the early portion of this baseball offseason, he’d offer a one-word summary: Bor-ing. But things are going to pick up soon, folks.  Not long after the tryptophan wears off from our Thanksgiving turkey.

6a00e5518fa10688340120a53d4725970b-800wiHere we are in the final week of November, and the Braves and most teams are waiting for this offseason train to really get rolling down the tracks. It should after the Dec. 1 deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents, then it’ll probably be hurtling at full speed at the Dec. 7-10 Winter Meetings in Indianapolis (always lovely in December, from what I hear).

Oh, and before we continue, please remember you can always follow the wit, wisdom, pithy observations, recommendations and ruminations on Twitter at @ajcbraves. Yes, we made our deal with the devil at the crossroads.

It’s sure nothing like it a year ago, is it? (I’m talking about the offseason in general, not the GM and Winter Meetings. But yes, that’s different, too – in 2009 those were held in Dana Point and Las Vegas, respectively; this year the GM meetings were at a Chicago airport hotel, the Winter Meetings in Indy. Niiice.)

If you care to indulge me a moment, let’s take a look back, shall we? To last November.

The early 2008 offseason was eventful, to say the least. Just a year ago at this time the Braves and Padres had already spent more than a month discussing and negotiating a potential blockbuster trade for Jake Peavy, until GM Frank Wren announced just before Thanksgiving that the Braves had pulled out of talks.

Seemingly every twist and turn in those talks was leaked (and dutifully reported) by us ink-stained wretches in Atlanta, San Diego — and across the nation. It was the baseball story of the early offseason, at least for a while.

At this time a year ago, our fixation

At this time a year ago, our fixation

Only later did we learn that Peavy had either invoked or threatened to invoke his no-trade clause, contradicting earlier reports and comments from his agent and Peavy’s Alabama friends who said he’d long wanted to pitch for the Braves.

Until word circulated durig the Winter Meetings that Peavy desired to pitch for the Cubs and didn’t think the Braves wouldn’t be a playoff contender, it was thought the Padres’ ever-evolving, escalating demands were what sunk the deal.

Anyway, the Braves said <em>no mas</em> right before Thanksgiving.

But by the time the Braves pulled out, some close to the situation were already convinced that Peavy would probably never agree to the deal anyway.

From the Braves’ perspective, the asking price had soared – Yunel Escobar and a few Braves prospects including CF Gorkys Hernandez — and the Braves said they were tired of focusing so much on those negotiations and concerned about missing other opportunities while they wrangled with the Padres.

In the end, the Atlnta’s frustrating, ultimately fruitless weeks of negotiations with then-Padres GM Kevin Towers perhaps turned out for the better, since the Braves wouldn’t have later traded for Javier Vazquez if they’d landed Peavy, and would have opened a big hole in the lineup and defense by trading Escobar, one of the team’s two best players (along with Brian McCann) in 2009.

And here we are a year later, the Braves possibly looking to trade Vazquez – but only as a Plan B, if they’re convinced they can’t trade Derek Lowe without having to eat a big chunk of the $45 mill he’s still owed over three seasons.

I know, you’ve probably heard this a few times by now. And your point is?

No, but seriously, we’re just trying to refresh, since some only drop in on the ol’ blog from time to time, not all day like true Braves fans/blog loyalists.

The Braves would prefer to trade Lowe, clear up some payroll, and use that to pursue a big bat either through free agency or another trade possibly involving some younger Braves talent not named Heyward, Hanson or Jurrjens.

We interrupt this blog to announce Penelope Cruz has not one, but two new movies coming out

We interrupt this blog to announce Penelope Cruz has not one, but two new movies coming out...

Some of you understandably would like to know what’s going to happen, would like to be told point-blank that the Braves aren’t trading Vazquez or they are trading Lowe or they are or aren’t open to trading Jordan Schafer, etc.

But it’s not that simple. So many levers and interconnected parts in this offseason. Because if the Braves could find a taker for Lowe, it opens up a whole different set of circumstances than if they can’t and end up deciding to trade Vazquez, rather than trying to re-sign Vazquez if they could move Lowe.

And did I mention, we’re covering this offseason without as much access as we had a year ago, when Wren was nice enough to acknowledge the Braves were pursuing Peavy … then A.J. Burnett … and, yeah, the young Japanese pitcher who signed with Boston … and that situation with John Smoltz … and Rafael Furcal agentgate….

Without going into great detail again, we’ll just say last winter the Braves were involved in a lot of situations that got played out publicly, and at the time Wren and the Braves weren’t looking too good coming up on the short end.

After last winter’s experiences, and also, ahem, something involving Ken Griffey Jr. during spring training, Wren sought to have a more conventional, less-conspicuous offseason this year — to keep business matters private as much as possible.

So far, his dealings with most agents have remained private, and the only time Wren has commented on any of the rumors and speculation involving the Braves and possible targeted players was when he responded to a report that they were interested in Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, the lefty who figures to get a huge free-agent contract despite his lack of professional experience.

Wren came out and said the Braves had no plans to pursue Chapman, contrary to reports.

And that was it. So far, he hasn’t commented on any other players they’ve been linked to, including trade possibilities like Washington Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham and free agents Mike Cameron, Jermaine Dye and Mark DeRosa.

In the case of DeRosa, the Braves were named as one of 12 teams that had expressed interest in the former Braves infielder/outfielder, though the degree of that interest remains unclear.

Here’s what Wren told me this week when I asked him about laying lower this winter and his lack of comments about specific players the Braves might be pursuing or any confirmation or refuting of rumored links, other than the Cuban pitcher.

“I felt like last year — not necessarily on our part — but everyone we were involved with was very public in their discussions,” he said, referring to agents who either leaked information or openly talked about the Braves’ interest in their clients. “I don’t know that we’ve changed a lot [in his stance on making comments this winter], but I’m not going to comment publicly on speculation. It doesn’t serve any purpose. And so far nobody we’ve dealt with has discussed things publicly.”

He also noted that in some cases, the Braves or other teams might be linked to a player by an agent who names every team that’s made so much as a comment about one of the agent’s clients.

“If you call agents up and talk just in general about their list of players, if you just make an innocuous comment, I like [player's name] — that becomes interest in him.”

Wren added that the Braves might miss out on as many or more players this winter as last, but people probably won’t hear about it because the pursuits aren’t being played out publicly, at least so far.

“I’ve got a list of about 50 player we’re interested in, for three or four spots,” he said, referring to openings in the outfield and potentially at first base and the bullpen. “So we’re going to miss on about 46. It happens every year, but last year people put a notch on the door frame of everyone we missed.”

Yes, that criticism probably stung at the time, even if Wren ultimately went on to have a strong offseason topped by a pitching overhaul that turned Atlanta’s starting rotation into arguably the deepest in the National League.

His list of the team’s needs this winter has been kept to basics for public purposes, including this description he provided a couple days ago: “We’re looking for the best players; hopefully they’re right-handed.”

♣ Trading away a pitcher: The Braves have six proven starters with the return of Tim Hudson. If they do trade Vazquez, they’d free up his $11.5 million owed in 2010, and might also procure a solid young hitter back in that deal – unlike if they move Lowe, which almost certainly isn’t going to bring back a lot in return and would be more about getting out from under his contract than anything else.

Will Johnson go non-tendered at Dec. 12 deadline?

If he's not traded, will Johnson go non-tendered at Dec. 12 deadline?

But again, you’ve heard all this before, most of you. Just trying to reiterate where we stand as we wait for a couple of developments after Thanksgiving, that arbitration-offer date, and the Winter Meetings, and the Dec. 12 date for teams to tender contracts to their unsigned players (when quite a few arb-eligible players could be non-tendered and become free agents, with Kelly Johnson and Ryan Church as Braves possibilities in that group, if not traded first).

Will the Braves offer arbitration to their Type A free agents, relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez and Type B first baseman Adam LaRoche? If I had to guess, I’d say to at least two of them, with Gonzalez just about a definite.

I don’t know if they’ll risk a possible $8-9 mill salary for Soriano, but given that he’s rated the top reliever available by some analysts, perhaps the Braves will take that gamble. With Gonzo it seems like hardly a gamble at all, since the chances of Scott Boras advising him to take a one-year arb deal from Braves are almost nil – remember, Boras told us last week that about half of the teams in the majors had called to express interest in his new client, Gonzo, before the first day for teams to negotiate with free agents other than their own.

Gonzalez is going to get multi-year offers from some teams, and especially with his health history I can’t imagine him turning those down for a one-year arb offer from Atlanta. Same for Soriano, really, but I’m just not quite as certain about there being as many multi-year offers for Soriano. Perhaps I should be, though. When he’s on, he’s an elite reliever – maybe NL’s best in the first half of 2009.

And if the Braves lose both of them, which seems more likely than not, then don’t be surprised if they are a leading contender for Billy Wagner.

Wagner is a Southern boy who raises alpacas on his farm outside Charlottesville, Va. He’s an FOC (Friend of Chipper) and has made it known he’d like to pitch for Bobby Cox and the Braves. The lefty might sign a one-year deal for less than either Gonzalez or Soriano would cost the Braves in arbitration.

Yes, he’s 38 and only a year removed from Tommy John surgery. But if you saw Wagner pitch for the Mets against the Braves near the end of last season, or any of his appearances with Boston after he was traded, you know he looked sharp and overpowering again.

And while the Red Sox might offer him arb, Wagner wants to close full-time, which he wouldn’t do there.

It would cost the Braves their first-round draft pick, but they could end up with up to two first-round picks (and three sandwich picks) if they offer arbitration to their own Type A’s and LaRoche, a Type B.

♣ Other matters, hitting and such: Will the Braves pursue Mike Cameron, finally? The Georgia native (from LaGrange) let some know a couple years ago that he  would like to play in Atlanta.

LaGrange's Cameron can still go get it

LaGrange's Cameron can still go get it

Now, after spending the past couple of seasons in Milwaukee, there appears to be at least a little better chance Cameron and the Braves could be a match.

Cameron will be 37 next season, and he’s not the speedster or quite the Gold Glove center-fielder he once was. But the dude can still play. He’s right-handed, and over the past two seasons he has 49 homers and 140 RBIs with an OPS over .800.

Think about that – Cameron has 25 and 24 homers the past two seasons for Milwaukee, while McCann led the Braves with 21 last season (the Braves really were lacking boppers last year, particularly before the got Adam LaRoche for the stretch drive).

Cameron played 149 games last season, including 147 in center field. And played it well, too. He’s not a player better suited to DH, like, say, Garret Anderson.

Do the Braves want old dudes at 3B and at one of the OF positions? Hey, Cameron is far more productive offensively than Garret was last season, and their defensive abilities aren’t even comparable, as we said.

Besides, a team lined with veterans seemed to do pretty well this season in the Bronx, I seem to recall.

It’s too early to know where the market will go for Cameron, since those same Yankees or Cubs could alter it in a hurry if they decide to get involved. But if the Braves can get him for a one-year deal at, oh, about $5 million, should they do it? How ’bout $7-8 mill?

♣ Heyward factor? Here’s one other aspect to consider about Cameron. He is, by all accounts, a great guy in the clubhouse, solid teammate, good influence (notwithstanding a 25-game suspension for a banned stimulant two years ago).

With Jason Heyward on the way, you think having a role-model type like Cameron in the outfield might be attractive to the Braves? Not that Matt Diaz and Nate McLouth wouldn’t do fine helping show Heyward the ropes, but in Cameron you’re talking about a three-time Gold Glove winner, a Georgia native that I’m guessing Heyward probably admired over the years.

Could Dye be a fit in OF or possibly 1B?

Could Dye be a fit in OF or possibly 1B?

And speaking of guys that Heyward might have admired … how about former Brave Jermaine Dye, who was a Braves rookie in 1996 when Heyward was, what, 7? OK, so he probably doesn’t even remember Dye from that Braves era, but anyway…

I’ve gone on record as saying Dye stunk for the second half of the 2009 season, that his defense is pretty bad now, and that his offensive numbers were actually quite comparable to Garret’s after the first two months of the season.

So I’m not going to be hypocritical and say I think he’d be a great pickup for the Braves. On the other hand, he does have 51 homers over the past two seasons (27 in 2009) and did have an .885 OPS in 2008 (slipped to .793 last season).

And here’s the thing: Dye says he’s open to playing first base. If the Braves had reason to believe he could play a competent 1B, then I could see the attraction in bringing in the 6-foot-4 Dye in some sort of hybrid role, perhaps as an OF/1B until Heyward is ready. If Heyward is ready early, perhaps even during spring training, maybe Dye plays against most lefties (he hit .292 with an .894 OPS against lefties last season, though 20 of 27 homers were off RHPs).

Who knows how serious the Braves are, but they have at least asked about Dye. I’m only saying I could see the attraction, if the Braves don’t think they’re going to be able to afford to bring back LaRoche and believe that other proven, still-productive 1B options would be too expensive via trade or free agency.

As a one-year bridge to Freddie Freeman, Dye could be either the answer or part of it. Not ideal, mind you, unless they have some way of knowing he could play a solid defensive 1B (and I don’t see how they could know that). But maybe as a platoon there with Diaz or someone else … oh, I’m confusing myself now).

(By the way, the Braves aren’t concerned by Freeman’s late-season struggle in Double-A or his mediocre Arizona Fall League, attributing both to the sore wrist he developed this summer. That injury caused him to miss the last few weeks in Double-A and wasn’t entirely healed when he began playing in Arizona. Two months of rest this winter, Wren said, should do the trick.)

The Braves have asked about Cameron and about Dye, but it’s unclear where either of those guys are on the Braves’ big board.

After all, the Braves have also asked about DeRosa and a lot of other players we don’t even know about at this point, but asking about DeRo or someone else doesn’t necessarily mean they have him at the top of their wish list (DeRo could certainly help them, with some experience at 1B along with plenty at 3B and the OF. But a team like Philly might offer him a longer, richer contract and a better positional fit).

OK, glad we’ve cleared it all up for you (he says, smiling).

BBQ heaven awaits

BBQ heaven awaits

♣ We’re headed to North Carolina for Thanksgiving at the parents’ house in Wilson. Planning to eat pulled-pork BBQ multiple times, including Parker’s and Bill’s in Wilson, and a stop in Lexington on the drive up. (I much prefer it Eastern N.C. style, with the light vinegar-based sauce, the way I ate it growing up in Greenville. But the stuff with the red sauce in Lexington is also good. They add tomato to the vinegar sauce and only use the shoulder, not the whole hog that’s used in Eastern N.C.)

We’ll have continuous music cranked up on the drive, including the new Tom Waits live CD I bought today, Glitter and Doom Live, which has this classic (Fannin Street; lyrics below) on it. And here’s a bootleg clip of him doing the song during last year’s tour. By the way, the stellar Atlanta show on that tour — one of my favorite concerts ever — produced a couple of songs on the album. Can’t find a video of his incredible performance of Eyeball Kid in Atlanta, but here’s  video of him doing it in Houston, where he performed it much as he did here. Enjoy the madness (not to mention the glitter hat he dons midway through the song).

tom-waits_bp

“FANNIN STREET” by Tom Waits

There’s a crooked street in Houston town,

It’s a well born path I’ve traveled down

Now there’s ruin in my name, I wish I never got off the train,

I wished I’d listened to the words you said.

*

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

You’ll be lost and never found

You can never turn around

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

*

Once I held you in my arms, I was sure

But I took that silent stare through the guilded door

The desire to have much more, all the glitter and the roar,

I know this is where the sidewalk ends.

*

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

You’ll be lost and never found

You can never turn around

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

*

When I was young I thought only of getting out

I said goodbye to my street, goodbye to my house

Give a man gin, give a man cards, give an inch he takes a yard,

And I rue the day that I stepped off this train.

*

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

Don’t go down to Fannin Street

You’ll be lost and never found

You can never turn around

Don’t go down to Fannin Street.

1,843 comments Add your comment

nolie

November 24th, 2009
12:42 am

who are the best veteran free agent relivers? P-Cola

unfortunately Gonzo and Soriano are rated the two best.
Following is some of KLaw’s ideas on the

Closing the market

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If there’s an area of depth in this winter’s free agent market, it’s in relievers, including relievers who have either closer experience or closer stuff. Mike Gonzalez (No. 17), Rafael Soriano (No. 20), Billy Wagner (No. 24), Ryota Igarashi (No. 26), Rafael Betancourt (No. 34), Jose Valverde (No. 37), Fernando Rodney (No. 43), and Brandon Lyon (No. 47) all made my top 50 free agents (appearing on the site at 12:01 a.m. on Friday), while the injured ex-closer J.J. Putz is also available.

Getty Images

Gonzalez just hired Scott Boras as he eyes a big deal.

That market is made deeper by the availability of several comparable arms in trade, including Cleveland’s Kerry Wood (one year plus a vesting option remaining on his contract), Cincinnati’s Francisco Cordero (two years and $25 million remaining — thanks, Wayne!) and perhaps San Diego’s Heath Bell (two years of arbitration remaining).

The sudden surfeit of relievers on the market is in part an accident of timing, but it may also reflect changing attitudes toward closers and relievers in general as more teams recognize the volatility of reliever performance. Teams have handed out some of their worst long-term contracts to relievers in recent years:

* B.J. Ryan, Danys Baez and Kyle Farnsworth all received deals of three-plus years and were complete disasters.
* Cordero hasn’t been terrible, but he is overpaid to the point that the Reds may be unable to move him without paying part of his remaining salary.
* Billy Wagner gave the Mets two-and-a-half good years out of four, and his replacement, Francisco Rodriguez, had a shaky start to his three-year deal.
* Brian Fuentes’ debut year for the Angels made K-Rod look like a bargain.
* Brad Lidge’s three-year extension to keep him away from free agency now looks like a total loss.

Some teams are still willing to play in the deep end of the reliever pool, but many others have chosen to stick to short-term deals or avoid the deals altogether and try to build their bullpens from within:

* Oakland has been playing games with closers for years, first creating and flipping veteran closers, then running a series of kids through the role, including this year’s AL Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey.
* Pittsburgh has said it views relievers as risky commodities and will build its ‘pen on the cheap.
* The Red Sox don’t currently have any reliever under contract beyond 2010, nor do the Rangers.
* The Padres don’t either, although they have only two players total who are currently signed to multiyear deals.
* The Rays have just one reliever on a multiyear deal, Dan Wheeler.
* The Twins have just Joe Nathan, the best closer in the game, under a long-term deal, although the three-year deal they gave Jesse Crain, who went down with a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff three months after signing it, just expired.

We already saw some signs of this change in the way teams approach relievers last winter, when K-Rod got three years and Fuentes and Wood each got two plus some sort of option, this only two years after the Blue Jays gave Ryan his five-year boondoggle and 12 months after the Reds gave Cordero four years. With a glut of closers and potential closers on the market and only a handful of teams looking externally or internally for pitchers to fill that role — Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore and not many others — it might be a good year for teams hoping to nab a power arm at a middle-relief price.

Moe Berg

November 24th, 2009
12:48 am

Pulled-pork BBQ sounds wonderful. I haven’t found a place here in Chicago that I really like for it (some good ribs places), so I made my own a couple of weeks ago for the first time. It was pretty good. I’ll do it again soon and tweak the recipe some.

I hope they don’t go after Dye. Being up here, I was a bit more aware of how badly he was slumping than I usually would be. Of the two veterans you mention, I would much rather have Cameron than an ailing Dye at 1B.

shawn

November 24th, 2009
12:56 am

Get dye… Get cameron too and I think we are set on offense. Yeah.yeah

nolie

November 24th, 2009
1:02 am

Hey Dave if you are gonna continue the midnight special blog approach we out to gussy it up and make it an occasion like those old midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show that ran in Atlanta for years. Fans would come dressed as their favorite characters and play out scenes on the stage B4 the movie started. I wish I had a dollar for every time I went and watched that thing back then. Well maybe $100 would be better, it wasn’t THAT often

shawn

November 24th, 2009
1:05 am

Don’t worry DOB,Dye makes a lot of sense if you’re talking about a short contract and getting that guy away from the OF.And PLEASE somebody take Lowe….talk about opening a big door to make some seriously needed moves.

nolie

November 24th, 2009
1:09 am

Y’know Bobby likes good defensive first basemen, not sure I can see them getting Dye for first either. One game ain’t all that much experience. Diaz has played it that much and played it some in college IIRC.

N8

November 24th, 2009
1:09 am

“The Georgia native (from LaGrange) let some know a couple years ago that he and his wife would like to play in Atlanta.” DOB

Is Cameron’s wife RH? Can she play 1B? (sorry – couldn’t resist)

nolie

November 24th, 2009
1:12 am

Can she play 1B? (sorry – couldn’t resist) N8

well she can’t have played it much less than Dye has ;)

Sturg

November 24th, 2009
1:15 am

I thought LaRoche was a type B free agent… But this is the second story in which he was listed type A. DOB, did something change?

Good blog by the way

Andrew

November 24th, 2009
1:16 am

Nate Mc
Prado
Jones
Dye
McCann
Esco
Cameron
Diaz/Heyward

David O'Brien

November 24th, 2009
1:27 am

Sturg, LaRoche is a Type B — just a mistake on my part. Glad you pointed it out. It’s fixed now.

David O'Brien

November 24th, 2009
1:35 am

And Sturg, I should add that him being a Type B makes it less likely they would offer arb to LaRoche than if he were a Type A, unless they’re prepared to pay him perhaps a $9 mill arb salary. Because all the Braves would get is a sandwich pick between first and second rounds if they offer arbitration and signs elsewhere.

dusty

November 24th, 2009
1:46 am

DOB that report i told you about way earlier with jon heyman saying that the mets would beat out the braves for holliday was mlb network on the hot stove

Sturg

November 24th, 2009
1:46 am

Thanks for the clarification… As much as I like LaRoche, I hope Wren can find something a bit more creative to fill the gap

P'cola Brave

November 24th, 2009
1:46 am

Sense Nady wasn’t mentioned I’m doubting there is much interest there. IDK why there wouldnt be. RH bat that plays 1B and OF.

P'cola Brave

November 24th, 2009
1:48 am

DOB

In your opinion, If Cameron is brought in who plays CF? McClouth or Cameron?

Arizona Brave

November 24th, 2009
1:57 am

All this free agent speculation is great, but it doesn’t mean jack if we don’t get rid of Lowe’s contract. Like DOB said, Lowe’s contract is the lever that gets those moving parts going and we’re stuck waiting on that till after Lackey signs somewhere. Patience fellow Braves fans, patience.

P. W. Hjort

November 24th, 2009
1:57 am

I should add that him being a Type B makes it less likely they would offer arb to LaRoche than if he were a Type A, unless they’re prepared to pay him perhaps a $9 mill arb salary. Because all the Braves would get is a sandwich pick between first and second rounds if they offer arbitration and signs elsewhere.

Ah, yes, but if he were a Type A teams would be less inclined sign him, due to it requiring them to surrender a 1st/2nd round pick. So, if he’s a type A, perhaps there’s a better chance that he accepts arbitration, due to the cost of a draft pick dragging down his market value. Though I don’t suppose the Braves would complain too much about having LaRoche for 1 year, $9 million.

Jay212033

November 24th, 2009
2:17 am

I think that Fernando Rodney would be a great closer option and he would cost the Braves as much as Wagner.

jed

November 24th, 2009
2:17 am

dye? no. cameron? maybe. nady? yes.

Jay212033

November 24th, 2009
2:22 am

P.W. Hjort

Your correct LaRoche will get anywhere from 7-10 mil anyway this season if the Braves do offer him arbitration and he accepts it would be a huge difference from what he’d be getting anyway.

Jay212033

November 24th, 2009
2:25 am

I would take Nady and Cameron if push came to shove. Play Nady at 1B and Cameron in RF.

N8

November 24th, 2009
2:36 am

What I don’t like about the Type-A or Type B free agent classification, is that either way, they are entitled to big raises in arbitration. The dollar amounts and raises should be capped for Class-B cases, so a team can risk offering arbitration to said players.

The risk/reward is much greater for the Class-A guys. I mean, if Gonzo goes to arbitration his salary would likely be much lower than if LaRoche went. So it’s a no brainer for the Braves to offer it to Gonzo. If he accepts, he’ll be retained for a very reasonable rate. If he declines we get a first round pick and a sandwhich pick. If LaRoche accepts its a much bigger hit and if he declines it’s only a sandwich pick.

Just seems odd to me. It just seems that the whole draft pick compensation concept is flawed to me.

On a side note, why not go after both Nady and Cameron? Surely if Lowe’s salary can be dumped and with Soriano likely gone, they could both be afforded. Cameron plays good defense and would be a great addition to the bottom of the order. Nady is not your prototypical clean-up hitter, but provides a very solid bat to wedge between Chipper and Mac.

Those two combined in 2009 for 16.5 million dollars. I don’t think either of them will command what they both made last year, with Nady coming off of his injury and Cameron getting older (and voicing a desire for him – and his wife LOL! – to play in Atlanta). Maybe I’m wrong, but both appear to be nice stop-gaps to Heyward and Freeman.

Not sure Nady is a spectacular 1B or not. Though the sample size of 75 career games at 1B is small, he does have a .994 career fielding percentage over there. I imagine his range is limited compared to your GG caliber guys. But he appears to be a solid defender.

N8

November 24th, 2009
2:37 am

Jay212033, apparently you and I are thinking alike tonight. LOL

N8

November 24th, 2009
2:44 am

Possible lineup before Heyward and Freeman arrive:

McLouth CF
Prado 2B
Chipper 3B
Nady 1B
Mac C
Escobar SS
Diaz LF (possible platoon)
Cameron RF

Not sure if that lineup would be better than the one with Loaf and LaRoche was after the trade for LaRoche, but it would certainly be solid, and with a rebound from Chipper, a healthy year for McLouth and the assumed “next step” for Escobar, that lineup should score enough runs to provide wins for our pitching staff. Especially if Vazquez is kept over Lowe. Even if Lowe was kept over Vazquez, it would still be a very solid team. But if Vazquez is dealt, I’d expect a bigger bat than one of Nady or Cameron to play one of those two positions, which of course would mean the lineup was even better.

I’ll repeat what I’ve stated a few times in recent weeks. Wren has TON of options.

One week people and this off-season is going to get fun.

N8

November 24th, 2009
2:53 am

Oddly enough, if Cameron and Nady are added, we suddenly become very RH heavy in the lineup, assuming that Diaz and Prado are going to be everyday players.

I think only one of the two spots Wren must fill (OF and 1B) has to be RH.

Maybe Wren finds a veteran OF with decent defense who bats LH and rakes against RHP to platoon with Diaz in LF and has Heyward start the year with the Braves and bats him 8th? And in a worst case scenario if Heyward bombs out and has to be sent down, the Diaz and his platoon partner both play full time, or Infante gets more AB’s in the OF?

Again. Many options for Wren. For whatever reason (call it off-season optimism), I think Wren gets it right and we head into the 2010 season with a much better club than we headed into the 2009 season with.

I just hope that Wren can find some bargins with out their (perhaps in the trade of either Lowe and Vazquez) so that he has some money left to upgrade the team at the deadline or along the way if things need fixing.

Richard Nieh

November 24th, 2009
2:55 am

Since Braves is waiting for Fredie Freeman to be ready, they should not even be worried about 1st baseman. They can just play Johnson at second and play Prado at first and concentrating on getting outfield power. This will free up some financial burden. Using Vazquez to get younger player (involving a trade include Diaz or Infante should get a really good young outfielder) but if they do trade vazquez, I hope he won’t be a rental.

By the way, trade Lowe for one year rental is an option.

Cherokee

November 24th, 2009
3:29 am

With a glut of closers and potential closers on the market and only a handful of teams looking externally or internally for pitchers to fill that role — Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore and not many others — it might be a good year for teams hoping to nab a power arm at a middle-relief price.

Thank you for that post nolie

Cherokee

November 24th, 2009
3:32 am

Though I don’t suppose the Braves would complain too much about having LaRoche for 1 year, $9 million. PWHjort
Somewhere I got the impression that they did not want him at arbitration price and so are unlikely to offer

ed

November 24th, 2009
5:41 am

Dave U couldn’t believe it when I saw the Parkers BB Cue sign and hear you mentioning it along with Bills. I grew up on Nash St in Wilson and went to school there. You are so right, it’s the best BB Cue anywhere. Wilson also has one of the best hot dog stands anywhere aksi in Dick’s Hot Dogs and the nostalgia inside is worth the price of going.

ed

November 24th, 2009
5:43 am

Ooops,that should have said I couldn’t believe it

NCBravesFan

November 24th, 2009
6:19 am

Cherokee & Nolie: agreed. If Gonzo and Soriano walk this year (which is likely) there’ll probably be a bit of hand-wringing and crying by some fans. But with so many FA closers available, the Braves can focus on getting a good arm at a reasonable price for that slot.

I’m intrigued by the possibilities of this offseason, but I wonder if the Braves still aren’t about a year away from doing serious damage in the NL East.

David O'Brien

November 24th, 2009
7:12 am

Ed: Dick’s Hot Dog Stand in Wilson is the best. Luv that place. Met the owner a few few years back after being sent there by John Schuerholz, who’s a favorite at that little place (Schuerholz’s picture is among the many on the wall; he spoke at one of Dick’s annual baseball luncheons, and a couple of N.C.-raised former Braves have, too).

David O'Brien

November 24th, 2009
7:14 am

P’Cola Brave: Interesting question. I say Cameron should play CF in that scenario.

VaBraveFan

November 24th, 2009
7:25 am

I dont see Gonzo or Soriano back considering they are getting alot of attention from the rest of the league. The Braves ussually dont spend lots on the bullpen. But i think They should sign Wagner to a 1 yr deal with a team option for 2011. And also go out and sign Someone like David Weathers. Both bring lots of experience. On the offensive side i think our bnest bet is to Trade Lowe to free money up. To make those Bullpen Additions, as well to signing a 1B and OF. The lineup starves for some real power, i dont think we’ll be able to get anyone with 30+ homer potentail unless they trade Prospects and/or Vasquez. But adding 2 players that can hit around 20 homers and hopefully the outfielder being good defensivly will still be enough with our great pitching.

CB

November 24th, 2009
7:40 am

DOB,I love my BBQ and you are making me plan a trip to Wilson,only 130 miles. Anything else worth seeing? Any other good foods?

Joseph G

November 24th, 2009
7:41 am

Has anyone considered signing Aubrey Huff as a stop gap? He isn’t LaRoach with the glove but is a much more consistant hitter with comparablr power. Not the big bopper we need but reasonable.
also the debate between lowe and javy, i say trade javy at his high point. History would say that this was his career year and lowe oly had a set back. think about it, lowe as your 4th starter is not actually too bad when considering other teams 4th starters. who knows maybe Tampa wil take him along with Shafer for Crawford

Jay212033

November 24th, 2009
8:01 am

Like I say if push came to shove why not sign Mike Cameron – 1 yr/5 mil contract, Xavier Nady – 1 yr/3 mil contract Ron Mahay – 2 yr/6 mil and Fernando Rodney – 2 yr/8 mil contract.

Let Cameron play RF since he has a better arm and range compared to Diaz. Platoon Schafer and Diaz in LF when Schafer starts put him in RF and Cameron in CF.

Now again this is if all other efforts fall through.

indybrave

November 24th, 2009
8:12 am

Indy isn’t Vegas for sure, but it could be worse. Do you know what part of town you are staying in yet or where the meetings are? Might be able to give you some places to visit that hopefully make your visit enjoyable.

David O'Brien

November 24th, 2009
8:16 am

CB: The BBQ alone is worth a drive to Wilson. But while there, you should check out the North Carolina Baseball Museum at Fleming Field (you might tell them Jim O’Brien’s son sent you), and the previously mentioned Dick’s Hot Dog Stand, which has ridiculously inexpensive and excellent dogs (and check out the ballplayers among the celebrities-who’ve-eaten-here photos on the walls).

Indybrave: Hopefully we have time in Indy for a stop at St. Elmo. Goood food. (That’s all I remember from a trip there covering Dolphins many years ago).

CB

November 24th, 2009
8:28 am

DOB,will do. Thanks.

Braveheart

November 24th, 2009
8:33 am

An interesting old Gammons SI article from 1988 on the art & science of managing, where the five most important traits are identified as managing people, identifying talent, preparation & teaching, handling pitchers, & handling the media

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1067267/1/index.htm

It was interesting to read this about Chuck Tanner:

Leyland also believes that stressing fundamentals in a well-organized camp pays off during the season. Responses to game situations—holding runners on first, pitchers fielding their position, hitting the cutoff man—become automatic when they’ve been the subject of repeated drilling. Because players generally spend less time in the minors than they used to, teaching has become more important on the major league level. Some managers, like Chuck Tanner of the Atlanta Braves, seem to have coaches simply because the game requires their presence—at least in the third-and first-base coaching boxes—but the trend is toward using staffs to teach, just as NFL head coaches employ their assistants as specialized instructors.

indybrave

November 24th, 2009
8:35 am

That’s a great spot and The Slippery Noodle is a good place for a drink.

Fischerking04

November 24th, 2009
8:39 am

Thanks DOB great article!

“…or another trade possibly involving some younger Braves talent not named Heyward, Hanson or Jurrjens.”

Wasn’t Freeman on the “Untouchables” list last year? It seems like this year he has been kind of left out (not just by you, but others as well) and I was wondering if that was on purpose or if I’m just mistaken.

Also, after TWO pics of P. Cruz I must say that you should next turn your attention to Monica Bellucci. It doesn’t matter if she has a movie coming out or not. Incredibly hot.

TennesseePaul

November 24th, 2009
8:52 am

but last year people put a notch on the door frame of everyone we missed

(raises hand) Guilty as charged. But don’t think I wouldn’t do it all over again. The public swings and misses were bad for the team morale… just ask Tim Hudson. Glad Wren learned his lesson.

Jeff R

November 24th, 2009
8:53 am

Eastern-style NC BBQ is the best. I can eat buckets of the stuff.

Wrote it in the previous post: Braves should offer arbitration to Gonzo, Soriano and LaRoche. I’d be surprised if either Gonzo or Soriano would accept, and I can’t imagine Soriano not being offered at least a two-year deal somewhere. The upside for the Braves are two 1st Round draft picks.

I think LaRoche signs elsewhere if he gets a multiyear deal in the $9 million range. But if the market isn’t there for him, he might be open to go the arbitration route with Braves.

Signing LaRoche for one year at, say, $9 million is pricier than signing Cameron, who’s not even a first baseman and has age issues, but if Wren can move Lowe, then the budget has room for LaRoche.

I’ll say this again, too, if Wren moves Vazquez, he needs a solid return, not just budget return.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

November 24th, 2009
8:54 am

Sandwich pick might not be that bad, I think McCann was a sandwich pick. I just don’t know if anyone would pay 8-9 mil for AL. And speaking of sandwich pick, slaw or no-slaw on your sandwich?

dpelfrey

November 24th, 2009
8:55 am

Ah, a fresh blog. I feel clean now.

You do realize that all those names you mentioned will be reported in the rumor mill as deals that are already in the works. Have you ever tracked your stories to see where they get linked and how they get stretched into something you didn’t even say?

The Braves were a playoff team in the second half last year, even with a slumping Chipper and McCann and without the “big bat” they’re targeting this offseason. Of course, LaRoche and Diaz were playing out of their minds, so it all probably averages out. Either way, I’m optimistic about next year even if they don’t add a “big bat.” With the starting pitching they have (and the scary thing is it could be even better this year), anything is possible.

Don’t get me wrong, if they can find a productive right-handed bat to put in the lineup at a reasonable cost, go for it. But I’m not buying into the idea of making a desperation move and unloading a bounty of prospects just to get someone that can hit more than 25 homeruns.

Of course, Glavine and Maddux did say chicks love the longball. Maybe this is all about trying to get more “talent” into the stands for home games.

LeRoy

November 24th, 2009
8:58 am

No way the Braves are going to get both Cameron and Dye.

There’s a reason that Dye left, and Cox didn’t want Cameron a couple of years ago.

With Heyward coming up, that would mean that Cox would have to play 3 brothers.

Aint gonna happen my friend

O.J.

November 24th, 2009
9:04 am

What does everyone think of this idea? Trade for Bobby Jenks. Guy is a premiere closer and the Sox are sure to try and get rid of him, and what if its just that atmosphere that Guillen and WIlliams are giving off as to the reason why Jenks was off last year? Might be cheaper option to Wagner. Who knows.

Opinions or thoughts?

raleighbravefan

November 24th, 2009
9:04 am

DOB – Eastern NC BBQ RULES. Parkers and Bills are great, along with a dozen others in eastern NC. I personally prefer the Creamery over Dicks, but a good hot dog is hard to beat.

Daybed Wagmoe

November 24th, 2009
9:04 am

DOB — Thanks for the new blog and the refresher on the Braves’ offseason situation. I miss the days when the Braves had strong-hitting outfielders. We haven’t had a 20+ HR guy out there since Andruw in 2007, and that was a bad year by his standards. That’s pretty sad.

On a somewhat-related note, it’s kinda interesting to see the role the home run has played for the Braves in recent years. In 2006, the Braves hit 222 of them and had the most in the NL, yet they finished below .500 for the first time in years that year and were out of the playoff race by August, thus ending their 14-year streak. This season, they weren’t an offensively strong team (although I was surprised to learn that they were 10th in HR this season), but they were in the playoff picture up through game 156.

dpelfrey

November 24th, 2009
9:05 am

LeRoy: With Heyward coming up, that would mean that Cox would have to play 3 brothers.

I didn’t know those guys were brothers. That would be tricky to put three brothers in the outfield. I know I always fight with my brothers, so Bobby would probably feel more like a parent than a manager, always trying to break up those “brotherly” disputes. Maybe we can trade for Colby Rasmus so he and Cory and play together, and bring the Boone brothers out of retirement. Then the Braves can be the “baseball’s team of brothers.” That would sell tickets.

Oh wait, did I misinterpret?

Jay212033

November 24th, 2009
9:08 am

LaRoche will get a multi-year deal from several teams reguardless if the Braves offered him arbitration.

MitchC

November 24th, 2009
9:09 am

Dave, of the things you mentioned, two stand out. I really dont want us to trade Javy Vazquez. I’ve been saying that for months. I think it would be a huge mistake. He’s too young, and has too much of an upside.

Also, I would rather keep Gonzalez, as opposed to getting Wagner. Wagner’s too old, and missed almost two years due to TJ surgery. It’s a huge risk to have a 38 year old closer with his health history, and nothing in reserve. If we cant keep Sori, then hopefully we can keep Gonzo, and getting Wagner wont be an issue then.

My bet, as much as I hate to say it, is that we end up trading Vazquez, and keeping Lowe.

Of our other free agents, I think it imperative we keep Laroche. He’s still young, and has great power. The other possible guys you mentioned, strike out too much. Plus, if Laroche goes, we then need two hitters, not one. The idea is to add a hitter to the lineup, not subtract.

Glen W

November 24th, 2009
9:11 am

DOB – nice blog, Thanks for the updates.

I am not sure why no one is talking about Hank Blalock. I would think that it would be ideal to sign a 1B who could slide over to 3B if Chipper has to miss significant time. I think it’s easier to find a backup 1B who is productive with the bat than a backup 3B. With most teams carrying 12+ pitchers, the backup infielder on the roster needs to be able to play in the middle of the infield.

I know Dero would be attractive for the same reason. But it seems there will be much more competition for Dero than Blalock.

I know Blalock hits lefty, but if they find a right handed bat that can play a corner OF position. I think Blalock could make a lot of sense.

I think having a plan to keep some punch in the lineup if Chipper misses significant time should be a huge consideration around who they get to play 1B.

coach joe

November 24th, 2009
9:11 am

GREAT BLOG.Thanks for sll the info.. my thanksgiving week braves fix

GO SAINTS!!!

dpelfrey

November 24th, 2009
9:12 am

Daybed Wagmoe,

Good points about the role of the homerun. The Rangers are proof enough that you can be at the top of the league in that category and still suck if you can’t keep the other team from scoring. Offense, and more specifically, slugging, will always get most of the attention in baseball. But that’s what I love about baseball, there are so many aspects to the game that are equally important, but largely under-appreciated. Honestly, my favorite thing to see is a well-turned double play. It’s a thing of beauty. I could do without the longballs.

braves4ever

November 24th, 2009
9:19 am

DOB, that was a great blog, kudos to you! great off season reading and interesting thoughts. I will say that your fixation on Penelope is stronger than all of Braves nation was for Peavy, go DOB.
enjoy your time in NC and happy Thanksgiving to ya.

beekay

November 24th, 2009
9:20 am

Saw the Sporting News top free agents at each position and Gonzo was #5 reliever, Soriano did not make the top 5. I find it hard to believe that Rodney and Wagner and others are better than Sori…….haven’t heard Johnny Damon mentioned by anyone, not sure what he would cost but he would be a heck of alot better than Loaf was

DAP

November 24th, 2009
9:21 am

glen wI am not sure why no one is talking about Hank Blalock.

maybe it has something to do with that .277 OBP he put up last year. his stats are all over the place year to year, theres no telling what he would do.

And Idiot

November 24th, 2009
9:23 am

O.J.

Been thinking the same thing about Jenks. Wonder what they’d want/need in return? That one probably waits a bit, though. At least until after the arbitration ordeal with our closer tandem.

ChipChop

November 24th, 2009
9:23 am

DOB, that picture of Parker’s BBQ is just WRONG, man! I love that place! No place on earth has BBQ like Eastern North Carolina. I live in Western North Carolina and it’s just not the same. On the Braves front, I have to think that there’s something better available than Xavier Nady at first base. Got to be. He barely even saw the field last season before he was injured. Not quite the player Atlanta wants to rely on to provide the power they need. I had read Derrick Lee may be available and that would be interesting for a season or two. Would the budget allow Atlanta to deal for Lee, sign Mark Derosa & Mike Cameron and trade Derek Lowe for prospects or relief help plus an extra outfield bat? Then, the Braves could let Martin Prado go back to being an utility player.

TedBob

November 24th, 2009
9:26 am

What about (dare I ask) Smoltz back in the pen as the RH closer and Gonzo as the LH closer? I’d wave bye to Soriano.

ChipChop

November 24th, 2009
9:26 am

About Jermaine Dye. Has anyone ever met him? He’s hardly the community service volunteer that Atlanta has grown accustomed to. I went to spring training back when Atlanta was in West Palm Beach and Dye was about to make the big club and he was hardly even professionally friendly. The rest of the players were cool. We stayed in the hotel that some of them stayed in including Bobby Cox.

Jay212033

November 24th, 2009
9:31 am

ChipChop

Why would you not want Prado at 2B? He could put up numbers comparable to what DeRosa could for far less money.

ChippersLoveChild

November 24th, 2009
9:31 am

Cameron is going to make 8 or 9 million. Five mill won’t cut it.

new cars

November 24th, 2009
9:32 am

DPelfrey,
There is a precedent. The Alou brother, Felipe, Matty and Jesus came up together with Giants in the 1960s. The brothers Alou made baseball history at the Polo Grounds in New York September 10, 1963, as they batted consecutive in the order.

On a serious note, I hope we can be patient and wait for the after Christmas markdowns as far as our purchases. On the selling front, I say that just as soon as Lackey and Halladay are figured out, we put the pressure on potential trading partners to move Lowe and/or Vazquez. I really want one of those big boppers, but I think Fielder, D. Lee, Berkman and A. Gonzalez are going to cost too much.
How about Cameron in cf and batting 8th and a combo of Delgado or Blaylock and J. Dye at 1b. I think Dye may have more in the tank than he’s getting credit for and the other two would give us more bang for our buck than Adam. I just don’t see paying Laroche 9-10 million. He’s a mid-level 1b at best.

BravesfaninWis

November 24th, 2009
9:34 am

Thanks for the new blog DOB.

I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks when things will start picking up as far as free agency and trades. It will be nice to see what our team will be looking like next season.

DOB, do you know ahead of time what games you will be covering on the road? If you are in Milwaukee next season I would like to meet you and buy you a beer or a famous Wisconsin brat, or both :) Just a thanks for all you do for us fans on this site.

ugaaccountant

November 24th, 2009
9:42 am

1) Is anybody curious about the hype from 680 the fan that Gary Sheffield apparently wants to play in Atlanta or TB? Any chance he plays a passable first base? If so I could see a vague chance of buying him and Dye and hoping that works for 1b and RF until Heyward is up.

It also brings back 2 former Braves as well as 2 african americans which that one guy yesterday went on and on about being important.

2) N8 – I think type a and b draft pick compensation changes next labor negotiation. Probably no more losing/gaining 1st rounders as the Yankees broke that system last year. Maybe no more requirement to offer arbitration as you’re losing the player either way.

New system without the arbitration requirement could look like this: Type A free agent gets you 2 sandwich picks , 1 after 1st round, 1 after 2nd round. Type b gets you 1 after 2nd round and another after 3rd round. Much simpler process and it doesn’t hurt the players ability to sell their services to the team of their choice like the current system does.

There are no picks lost, only created, so the original team either retains the player or gets picks. These picks are still quite good, but don’t require multi-million signing bonuses. Since the team losing the player was too cheap to re-sign him in many cases, it’s probably a good thing that the pick to replace him doesn’t require forking over millions of dollars to sign.

O.J.

November 24th, 2009
9:42 am

OMG, Smoltz is not coming back to close people, can we please stop beating that dead horse?

Hey MB

November 24th, 2009
9:46 am

Do you guys even run spell check?

“Atlnta’s”

O.J.

November 24th, 2009
9:47 am

Well, the White Sox could probably use a 2nd baseman since they traded away Getz. How bout Kelly Johnson and a minor league arm for Jenks?

ncscoots

November 24th, 2009
9:48 am

The Rangers are proof enough that you can be at the top of the league in that category and still suck if you can’t keep the other team from scoring.

As last year’s Braves are proof enough that run prevention is futile if you can’t score. Braves surrendered their fewest runs since 2002 and second fewest going all the way back to 1998, yet their run differential was only about 90 runs. Many here talk about the second half, and how the team was as good as anybody, and they still averaged fewer than 5 runs a game during that span. In the end, the pitching wasn’t enough, and the offense at its best wasn’t enough.

ugaaccountant

November 24th, 2009
9:49 am

Spell check, on a blog? No, most people don’t run spell check for something as trivial as a blog post. I just glanced at my screen and I don’t even have a spell check icon.

dpelfrey

November 24th, 2009
9:52 am

new cars,

My “brothers” comments were made tongue in cheek, go back and read LeRoy’s post before and it’ll make sense.

beekay

November 24th, 2009
9:54 am

Was in Boston over the weekend and hung out with a sox season ticket holder, he told me D-Lowe went out way too much and was always sauced. He said the guy was one big mess and they had to finally cut ties after he embarassed the owners one night out…DOB have you heard anything about him changing his life style since? If not I wonder if his boozing would scare teams away from taking on 45 mill.

37YrBravesFan

November 24th, 2009
9:54 am

*Gasp* Thanks DOB for a new blog. Us everydayers have been driven to playing AJC’s “Can You See the Changes?” we’re so bored.

Have a great Thanksgiving. Feb 14 is around the corner!!!

GO BRAVES!!

VaBraveFan

November 24th, 2009
9:57 am

Sheffield i wouldnt mind seeing. I much rather have Sheff over Church for sure. Sheff should only garner around 1-2 million. I could see him playing a little 1st base and outfield and being a nice option coming off the bench late in games.

Prado put great numbers up and is gonna be the starting 2nd baseman. If he declines he fits perfect as a utility guy like Infante.

They should only sign Jermaine Dye if he comes at a low salary and i’m talking around no more than 4 million. I mean Loaf got 2 million. Dye only upgrades power over him so i dont see dye getting much more.

Joebrave

November 24th, 2009
10:00 am

ThisYear’s free agency has 3 categories.
1.Superstar
Bay,Holliday,Lackey

2.So-So Servicable
LaRoche,Derosa,Nady etc.

#3 Geriatric club
Cameron,Anderson,Smoltz,and
Porter Wagner

mike from the coast

November 24th, 2009
10:01 am

Dave has it ever been mentioned about moving Lowe to closer? It seems his problems arose around the 4th, 5th, or 6th innings later in the year. And didn’t he pitch in that roll sometime in the past?

VaBraveFan

November 24th, 2009
10:01 am

MLBTR

Another big bat might be on the Trade market. M.Cabrera from the Tigers. He’s owed 126 million up to 2015. Tigers are letting it be known they are trying to get salary relief.

brent a.

November 24th, 2009
10:02 am

I was once offered a job in Wilson, NC. Took a job in Atlanta instead.

Two years later . . . I was living in Houston.

Joebrave

November 24th, 2009
10:02 am

how bout send D.lowe to the ANGELS, PROSPECTS TO THE WHITE SOX, AND KONERKO TO THE BRAVES?

And Idiot

November 24th, 2009
10:11 am

O.J. @ 9:47

It would sound good except that KJ will probably be gone by trade or non-tender by the time we get around to that deal. Gotta figure we’d wait until after arbitration offer/accept period with Gonzo and Soriano. How ’bout Conrad instead?

I like the chances because of friction among Jenks, Guillen, and Williams and a history between the Sox and Braves. But the reason for the friction worries me – Jenks’ conditioning habits.

Frank Robinson (Rockmart)

November 24th, 2009
10:15 am

DOB,
Loving the title for this blog. And I certainly hope it does. The suspense is killing me!

Braves 4 Life

November 24th, 2009
10:16 am

VaBraveFan- I saw the same rumor on ESPN that the Tigers are in to trading M.Cabrera. Buster Onley listed 6 or 7 teams that may be interested and the Braves were one. In his post he said he couldn’t see the Tigers being able to trade him without eating tens of millions of dollars. It would nice for the Braves to be the vulture praying over the Tiger’s prized 1B/3B. Getting rid of D. Lowe (15MM) and the projected Arb figure for Adam Laroche ($7MM to $10MM) is greater than M. Cabrera’s 20MM salary this year. Now if only we could talk the Tigers into eating some contract in years 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Clint

November 24th, 2009
10:17 am

I know this might sound crazy, but how about Freeman, Lowe and some A ballers with upside for Miguel Cabrera? Have the Tigers throw in 4 million a year over the 6 years left on Cabrera’s contract and the $ per year is a wash for the Braves, but would save the Tigers 45 million over the life of contract. The Braves get a real “big bopper” for the line up, the Tigers get their first basemen of the future, some additional farm system depth, a serviceable mid rotation arm, and some much needed salary relief.

Notes on contracts: Cabrera- 6 years at 19 million / year left on contract, Lowe- 3 years with 15 million / year left on contract.

Efrim

November 24th, 2009
10:18 am

New system without the arbitration requirement could look like this

I’m for any system that doesn’t mean you have to give up a first round pick for a relief pitcher. It’s absurd.

Clint

November 24th, 2009
10:19 am

Didn’t see that VaBrave just posted the Miggy note. I really think this could work though!

O.J.

November 24th, 2009
10:20 am

I dont think conditioning has anything to do with it honestly, i mean its not like he is obsessively obese. Bob Wickman was a decent closer for the longest time and he was much larger than Jenks is. I think he needs to have a change a scenery like Vazquez did.

dpelfrey

November 24th, 2009
10:20 am

nscoots…

The combined offense and pitching in the 2nd half last year was good enough for a 43-31 record (43-25 if you exclude the last 6 games where they effectively gave up). Project that over a full season and you have a 95-win team and most assuredly a spot in the postseason.

The Braves have a payroll under $100 million, which prohibits them from spending and trading at will to assemble a great rotation, great offense, great defense and great bullpen. Vast improvements in one area mean sacrifices in other areas. The Braves lost in 2008 because of the starting pitching, so Wren went out and stocked up on pitching, without doing much to improve the offense (unless you think Loaf worked out well). I think we could all agree that we were nervous about the offense heading into this past season. Now the pendulum has swung back in the other direction. I just hope that all the resources aren’t spent on adding an expensive “big bat” while sacrificing on defense and in the bullpen.

My point is it’s not all about runs per game. It’s about wins, and it takes a reasonably balanced offense, defense and pitching to win more than you lose, except in very rare occasions.

O.J.

November 24th, 2009
10:27 am

Clint you are way off on Cabrera’s contract numbers bud. Here’s how it breaks down

2010: $20 Million
2011: $20 Million
2012: $21 Million
2013: $21 Million
2014: $22 Million
2015: $22 Million

Thats an average of 21 million per year, not 19.

Braves 4 Life

November 24th, 2009
10:28 am

Clint- Your figures for Miggy are off by a little. These are his figures according to Cots Baseball Contracts: 10:$20M, 11:$20M, 12:$21M, 13:$21M, 14:$22M, 15:$22M

njbraves

November 24th, 2009
10:29 am

Adding Cameron/Dye and Wagner will land this team in 3rd place again. Great.

O.J.

November 24th, 2009
10:30 am

Besides, Braves do not have that kind of flexibility to take on that kind of payroll for 6 years.

And Idiot

November 24th, 2009
10:30 am

Hey, Jenks’ conditioning issues come from his bosses with the Sox, not me. And they don’t seem willing to just let the issue die. Re this link:

http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091123&content_id=7707382&vkey=news_cws&fext=.jsp&c_id=cws

I like the guy and see this trade idea as a double win for me. Unless we deal a RP back to them, maybe it opens a job for a friend of mine who has closed for several of their minor league teams and has had a few cups of coffee with the big club.

Lew

November 24th, 2009
10:31 am

Joe Brave-How about no way to Konerko?

And for some of the rest of y’all-Why would anyone trade for Kelly Johnson when there is a good chance of him being non tendered in a few days? Think Marcus Giles here, people. Why trade players and stick yourself with a close to $4 mil arbitration award when you could potentially pick him up on a mInor league contract in a week?

Lew

November 24th, 2009
10:33 am

And the Braves will never consider picking up over $120 million (and an average of more than $20 mil per year-more than 1/5 of their ayroll) for Cabrera-even if he hadn’t blown a three times legal limit on a breathalizer the night before a one game playoff. Start using some sense (since?) here.

Braveheart

November 24th, 2009
10:38 am

I dont think conditioning has anything to do with it honestly, i mean its not like he is obsessively obese. Bob Wickman was a decent closer for the longest time and he was much larger than Jenks is.

Wickman was a serviceable closer, but remember when he nearly stroked out in Colorado in early 2007 because he was too fat to be a mile high?

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