Archive for December, 2009

Wren making bold moves; we pick Best CDs of ‘09

Some Braves fans are restless, perhaps understandably so. Watching this offseason roster construction process –- they traded Javy Vazquez for Melky Cabrera? — can be like watching sausage being made. Not as appetizing as the end result.

Melky's D is solid, but the offense....

Melky's D is solid, but the offense….

Oh, and you know what they say about the Braves’ roster: If you don’t like it, don’t worry. It’ll change soon.

(OK, people might not actually say that, but we had to cram in a couple of boilerplate phrases to reach our annual maximum, since you can’t carry unused ones over to next year.)

Anyway, so much for coasting into the holidays for Braves general manager Frank Wren. He stayed busy this week with two high-profile moves, trading Vazquez to the Yankees in a five-player deal, then agreeing to terms with free agent slugger Troy Glaus on a deal that won’t be announced until the former American League home-run leader takes a physical after the holidays.

If healthy, Mt. Glaus will slug

If healthy, Mt. Glaus will slug

The  towering …

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Maybe Braves get back to LaRoche, maybe not

If the Braves have any interest in re-signing first baseman Adam LaRoche, he said he’s not been told about it. That’s what he said a few hours ago when I texted him.

Asked him whether he’d heard anything from the Braves since becoming a free agent, and LaRoche replied in a text message: “No talk from ATL that I know of. Guess I should have hit .400 while I was there.”

To recap, he hit .325 with 12 homers, 40 RBI and a .401 OBP and .557 slugging percentage (.958 OPS) in 57 games after being traded to the Braves from the Boston Red Sox on July 31.

LaRoche on no Braves offer: "Guess I should have hit .400 while I was there."

LaRoche on no Braves offer: "Guess I should have hit .400 while I was there."

Braves officials have kept private most details of their offseason plans and maneuverings this year (you might have noticed), and all general manager Frank Wren has said about LaRoche is that the Braves haven’t ruled out attempting to re-sign him.

Wren was asked this afternoon about the lack of contact with LaRoche and whether the Braves still have interest …

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From bevy of Baby Braves, McCann is last standing

2002-ud-prospect-premeires-brian-mccann

The Braves’ last postseason appearance came in 2005, when an almost unfathomable 18 rookies helped Atlanta win its 14th consecutive division title. That included 12 rookies who made their major league debut that year. Think about that.

Seventeen of those 18 are gone from the organization now, with Kelly Johnson’s unceremonious non-tender departure Saturday leaving catcher Brian McCann as the only member of the erstwhile “Baby Braves” still with a tomahawk on his jersey.

In retrospect, maybe they were doomed by that bad nickname. Sort of like “Tweeting” is a really bad name, right? And speaking of Twitter, you can follow us on it  @ajcbraves.kelly-johnson

But I mean, come on. Baby Braves? I never liked it, never used it (if one of you finds it in a story with my byline, I’ll come up with a good excuse for how it got there).

The rundown of those 18 rookies reads like a who’s who of … well, I’m not sure exactly.

Wilson Betemit, Blaine Boyer, Frank Brooks….

As a group they were celebrated …

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In frigid Indy, Braves look to deal pitcher or two

Indianapolis – We’ve got grey skies, snow/sleet mix and not much sizzle in the form of trades or signings. Welcome back to Indy. That’s what we got through Tuesday night in the first couple of days at these Winter Meetings.

The the only moves the Braves made (so far) were ones thrust upon them by Rafael Soriano when he decided to take arbitration.

If you can help the Braves move Soriano soon, they'd appreciate it....

If you can help the Braves move Soriano soon, they'd appreciate it….

Soriano stayed, Ryan Church was DFA’d to open a roster spot for him, blah blah blah, and now Soriano will likely soon be gone via trade that his agent has already said he’ll approve if it gives The Scowl a chance to pitch in the eighth and ninth innings (those jobs are no longer available with the Braves, who hired Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito for the positions).

Oh,and before we go any further, remember to follow us on Twitter @ajcbraves.

So what have we learned and/or had reinforced about the Braves’ intentions since arriving in Indy on Sunday. A quick roundup …

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Firing up the Hot Stove in chilly Indy

Indianapolis – Welcome to chilly Indy, where baseball’s hot stove will be stoked plenty this week at the annual swap meet known as the Winter Meetings, and the Braves will move forward in their plans to trade a starting pitcher –- almost certainly either Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez — and get a hitter or two.

But first they will have to find whether Rafael Soriano’s agent is serious about his client accepting arbitration by the midnight Monday deadline for free agents to decline or accept offers made last week by their 2009 teams.

Uh, wait a minute, dude. See, they wanted draft picks, not you....

Wait a minute, dude. They want draft picks, not you….

As most of you are aware by now, Soriano’s agent, Peter Greenberg, was quoted over the weekend by ESPN.com Jerry Crasnick saying that Soriano is seriously considering accepting the arbitration offer the Braves made to reliever affectionately known here as The Scowl.

If he does, well, the Braves will have one hell of a loaded bullpen, but will have far surpassed their budgeted payroll for that …

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Baseball’s silly season is about to begin

Braves Phillies Baseball

Has free agent Gonzalez thrown his last pitch for Braves?

A few thoughts while we wait for baseball’s offseason game of musical chairs to begin in earnest after the announcements later today/tonight regarding which free agents were offered arbitration by their current teams.

For the Braves, it’s a given that Mike Gonzalez will be offered arbitration, since teams are expected to be lined up with multi-year offers for the lefty reliever and strikeout matchine, and the Braves wouldn’t mind paying him a projected $5-6 mill-or-more arbitration salary if he did accept their offer (which he won’t, not with Scott Boras as his agent and with the potential security of multi-year offers).

What about fellow closer Rafael Soriano and Adam LaRoche? It also seems almost certain the Braves will offer to LaRoche, again because it’s not risky – he seems likely to get at least one or two multi-year offers, and if Braves ended up paying him an $8-9 mill arb salary, that really wouldn’t be a bad …

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