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 thing.

As for Soriano, I’ve gone from thinking it’s perhaps a 50-50 proposition to thinking it’s likely the Braves will offer him arbitration, too, given what I’ve heard from agents and seeing where Soriano is generally ranked among available relievers (he and Gonzo are in most top three’s, along with Billy Wagner).

As you know, Soriano and Gonzalez are Type A free agents, meaning the Braves would get a first-round pick and supplemental-round pick if they offer arb and they sign elsewhere (provided the team that signs them isn’t picking in the top 15 of the draft, in which case it’d be a second-round pick instead of a first).

LaRoche is a Type B, so it’ll be only a supplemental-round pick as compensation if they offer him arb and he signs elsewhere. Garret Anderson is the Braves’ other ranked free agent (a Type B), and he won’t be offered arbitration for obvious reasons (the Braves want to upgrade at that position and aren’t going to risk being stuck with Anderson and paying him more than they paid him in 2009).

So we’ll wait for the official announcement, which hopefully will come near the close of Braves office hours instead of late tonight (midnight is the deadline).

(Addendum: Braves made the announcements earlier than expected, and there was one mild surprise: LaRoche not offered arbitration. Gonzalez and Soriano were offered arb.)

And then, after teams find out who’s been offered arbitration and who was declined offers, the free-agent derby gets underway. If there was any chance at all that a player was not going to be offered arbitration, then it made no sense for teams to sign another team’s free agent before today’s deadline.

But after those questions are answered, then it’s on. Things figure to pick up speed the rest of this week leading into next week’s Winter Meetings, which run Monday through Thursday in lovely Indianapolis.

It’s during those meetings when the ol’ hot stove gets stoked and baseball’s unique form of offseason wheeling and dealing really starts cooking, with rampant rumors and a few actual deals taking place before everyone heads back home to continue burning up the cellphone batteries and Ethernet lines.

You might have heard: The Braves have a pitching surplus and would like to move one of their starting pitchers, preferably Derek Lowe and the three years and $45 million remaining on his contract. And they want to add a proven hitter with some power, preferably right-handed. And Mike Cameron would like to play in Atlanta, and the Braves have some interest in the veteran center fielder.

No, you haven’t heard any of that? Well, in that case, welcome back from your long seclusion in that mountain hideaway. And get ready, because baseball’s silly season is about to get cranked up.

Busy times ahead for Braves GM Wren

Busy times ahead for Braves GM Wren

(By the way, think for a moment about an outfield of Cameron, Nate McLouth and Jason Heyward after Heyward arrives next season. In one year, the Braves would have gone from one of the least-athletic outfields in the NL to one of the most athletic.)

♣ Andruw on move (again): There was a time, not too long ago, when it seemed Andruw Jones might play his entire career for the Braves, and win 15 or more Gold Gloves before he was through. Now he’s changing teams for the third time in four seasons, the Gold Gloves are a thing of the past, but there are still plenty of Braves fans wish he was coming back to Atlanta to play instead of Chicago’s South Side.

I respectfully disagree. Despite the fact that Andruw was the best center fielder I’ve seen in my 16 years covering baseball, and perhaps the most purely talented player I’ve had the chance to be around, the Braves were right not to bring him back. Because he got old before his time, and he’s more like a former great player approaching 40 now than anything else.

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end... But they sure did.

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end... But they sure did.

We don’t know if it from playing so hard and beating up those shoulders and that back making all those diving catches, or relying too much on his natural skills and developing bad habits that betrayed him once those skills started to decline a bit, or a combination of those and other factors. But he’s a shell of the tremendous player he once was — even though he’s still only 32, in an era when players are excelling well into their mid-30s and some even longer.

Yes, he hit eight of his 17 homers last season with the Rangers away from hitter-friendly Arlington. But Jones hit just .214 with a .782 OPS overall, including .199 with a .705 OPS on the road.

He hit .200 with four homers and a .303 OBP in 65 at-bats as an outfielder. That’s all the Rangers used him in the outfield, this former perennial Gold Glove winner who is four years younger than the aforementioned Cameron. Ask a scout to compare the two of them over the past couple of seasons, and he’d probably start by laughing. Or cringing.

Andruw had 192 at-bats as a DH, 16 as a first baseman, and went 1-for-8 as a pinch-hitter. He’s a career 9-for-47 with two homers as a PH.

Since July 20, 2007, Andruw has hit .201with a .666 OPS in 217 games and 712 at-bats. Since Aug. 31 of that season, he’s hit .191 with 22 homers and a .291 OBP in 181 games and 575 at-bats.

And after July 8 last season, he hit .165 (20-for-121) with three homers and nine RBI. That’s all he played the rest of the way.

He was a terrific player, but the Braves made the right move in not ever seriously considering trying to recapture that glory.

If Frank Wren has shown two things during his tenure as GM, it’s that he can acquire pitchers as well as anyone in baseball who doesn’t have blank checks to sign free agents, and he doesn’t let nostalgia get in the way of personnel decisions.

Could the John Smoltz and Tom Glavine situations have been handled a little differently, with a little more sensitivity? Yes, I think so. But ultimately, Wren’s decisions were the right ones in both cases, I think most of us would agree.

♣ Crime Dog for Hall? There are very good arguments for and against voting Dale Murphy into the Hall of Fame. And for those outside Braves Nation, those who don’t understand what a special person Murph was/is and how he played with dignity and excellence – not to mention without chemical enhancement — on mostly awful Atlanta teams, the statistical argument against his selection to the Hall is pretty strong. Which is why he hasn’t really come close to getting in.

For me, McGriff's TV-commercial work is Hall-of-Fame stuff

For me, McGriff's TV-commercial work is Hall-of-Fame stuff. And that ballcap....

But that’s not the case with another former Braves slugger, Fred McGriff. The statistical argument for his election is strong, and I do think he’ll get in, although it might take a few years on the ballot — McGriff is eligible for the first time this year.

It might not be nearly as satisfying for fans of the 1980s-1990s Braves, since Murph played almost his entire career with the Braves and McGriff only played about one-fifth of his with the tomahawk on his chest.

But still, Crime Dog was a crucial piece of the Braves during a special period, and his election to the Hall would be as meaningful here as anywhere he played. He arrived in a midseason trade in 1993 and played in Atlanta through 1997, and in 1994 McGriff hit .318 with 34 homers and a career-high 1.012 OPS, finishing eighth in the MVP voting.

McGriff never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting (Murphy won back-to-back MVP awards in 1982-83), but he had sustained excellence over a long period, the kind of thing that Hall-of-Fame voters tend to reward. Murphy was dominant for about a decade, or less.

McGriff hit .282 with 34 homers and a .928 OPS for Toronto in 1988, when he was 24, and had consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons in 2001-2002 with Tampa Bay and the Cubs. He was 38 in 2002.

McGriff retired with a .284 average, .377 OBP, .886 OPS and 493 homers and 1,550 RBI in parts of 19 seasons. He finished in the MVP top 10 six times.

Murphy hit .265 with a .346 OBP, .815 OPS and 398 homers and 1,266 RBI in parts of 18 seasons. He finished in the MVP top 10 four times, and also won five Gold Gloves.

The stats will probably keep Murphy out of the Hall of Fame, unless he gets in on the veterans committee ballot down the line. But McGriff? Tough to argue against him, especially since he’s another player, like Murphy, who was never connected to performance-enhancing drugs of any kind.

Jayson Stark at ESPN.com made interesting observations about McGriff in a column in which he explained why he’s leaning toward voting for McGriff. Stark wrote:

I haven’t even gotten my Hall of Fame ballot in the mail yet. But how come I already have the impression Fred McGriff’s candidacy is going to get trampled in the Roberto Alomar/Barry Larkin/Edgar Martinez debate?

I haven’t decided yet whether I’m absolutely, positively voting for McGriff. But I think the people who have concluded — way too quickly — that he’s not a Hall of Famer just because his 493 home-run trots don’t mean what 493 home-run trots used to mean are missing something:

Fred McGriff’s greatest years came BEFORE the numbers exploded on us in 1993.

This man was a difference-maker before the world went haywire on us. So how come so many people are lumping him in there with the rest of the PED generation?

I understand that those 12 seasons from 1993-2004 comprise two-thirds of McGriff’s career. But let’s look at the numbers he put up early in his career, when 30-homer seasons were a feat for real, live middle-of-the-order mashers, not No. 6 hitters:

From 1988-92, McGriff had four seasons with an adjusted OPS-plus of 153 or better, more than anyone else in either league.

Both of his two home run titles came in that span (1989 and ‘92).

He finished in the top four in his league in home runs, OPS and home run ratio in all five of those years. And how many other players could say that? How about zero.

And if we expand his period of greatness through 1994, consider this: McGriff ripped off seven straight 30-homer seasons from 1988-94. OK, that may not seem like much of a streak now, considering there have been 11 streaks that long since then. But at the time, the only players in history who had hit 30-plus at least seven years in a row were Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Ralph Kiner. For more info on those men, go to Google and type in the word, “Cooperstown.”

… Now does that make him a lock Hall of Famer? Absotively not. The point here is that Fred McGriff isn’t a guy whose credentials should be hurt by the PED era. If anything, he ought to be helped by it — because he was pretty close to the same player from 1993 on that he was before 1993. Take a look:

• 1988-92: .283 average, .393 OBP, .531 slugging.

• 1993-2002: .290 average, .373 OBP, .506 slugging.

As the steroid age raged around him, he kept on doing pretty much exactly what he’d always done. Except that if you were a 31-homer, 102-RBI kind of guy in 1991, you had a chance to lead the league. If you were the same kind of guy in 2001, there were about 36 other men doing the same thing.

Well said by Jayson, as usual.

♣ Lefty prospect impresses: When he was included in the group of prospects added to the Braves’ 40-man roster recently, most of you probably saw Jose Ortegano’s name and thought, “Who?”

I know I did.

Young lefty Ortegano has impressed

Young lefty Ortegano has impressed

But the slender lefty is one to keep an eye on for the future, folks. Ortegano, who is listed as 6-1 and only 145 pounds (I doubt he’s still that skinny, but he’s obviously quite thin), really started to take off this past season at high-A Myrtle Beach and especially after a promotion to Double-A Mississippi.

After going 4-5 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 21 games (12 starts) at Myrtle, he went 5-2 with a 2.83 ERA in eight starts at Mississippi, where he had 42 strikeouts with 15 walks in 47-2/3 innings, with 46 hits and only two homers allowed.

Ortegano has continued his progress in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he’s one of the youngest pitchers (22). He’s posted a 1.16 WHIP in 32 innings of 10 games for Caracas, which was tied for first place in the league before Tuesday.

“Jose made a very nice step forward about one third of the way through this past season,” Braves farm director Kurt Kemp told me this week. “Not sure I can answer why it was but his stuff got a little better, his confidence grew, and he pitched very, very well through the latter stages of the year. He has continued to pitch well in Caracas.”

He’s doing well in a league where a lot of hitters, including plenty with major league experience, put up big numbers.

By the way, guess who else is doing his usual thing in winter ball? Gregor Blanco.

Yes, the stalwart of winter ball and WBC play is hitting .318 with a .465 OBP for La Guaira. He had the second-highest OBP in the league, though only a .318 slugging percentage with five extra-base hits (no homers) in 110 at-bats. And he’d been caught in five of 11 stolen-base attempts.

♣ Diversions: It’s going to be a busy week, but we’re going to find time to watch tonight’s highly anticipated season finale of Sons of Anarchy, plus try to go see the legendary Billy Joe Shaver perform tomorrow night at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta. And I want to see The Road, though one of our regulars said it wasn’t as good as the terrific book by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote No Country For Old Men, which was into a great movie.

I’m also putting together the rough draft of my annual year-end best-CDs list to get that out before Christmas. And we’re thinking of tackling a best-of-the-decade, though that would have to wait until January some time.

OK, we’ll keep talking heading up to the arb announcements and so much more to come.

hank-williamsbiopic

“RAMBLIN’ MAN” by Hank Williams

I can settle down and be doin’ just fine

Til I hear an old train rollin’ down the line

Then I hurry straight home and pack

And if I didn’ go, I believe I’d blow my stack

I love you baby, but you gotta understand

When the Lord made me

He made a ramblin’ man.

*

Some folks might say that I’m no good

That I wouldn’t settle down if I could

But when that open road starts to callin’ me

There’ somethin’ o’r the hill that I gotta see

Sometimes it’s hard but you gotta understand

When the Lord made me, he made a ramblin’ man.

*

I love to see the towns a-passin’ by

And to ride these rails ‘neath God’s blue sky

Let me travel this land from the mountains to the sea

‘Cause that’s the life I believe He meant for me

And when I’m gone and at my grave you stand

Just say God called home your ramblin’ man

4,098 comments Add your comment

Chris

December 1st, 2009
2:30 pm

first on the this good ole blog :-)

Wayne in Utah

December 1st, 2009
2:40 pm

eighth or nineth on that the this there them ole blog…..

(couldn’t resist Chris!)

:-)

Burdell

December 1st, 2009
2:41 pm

So do I need to sign up for Twitter to find out who gets arb offers?

Capt Morgan

December 1st, 2009
2:44 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB.

Much appreciated.

Forecast Fred

December 1st, 2009
2:45 pm

What are your projections for next season’s Braves? Forecast away:

http://www.fangraphs.com/fanprojections.aspx?teamid=16&type=0

indybravesfan

December 1st, 2009
2:45 pm

DOB…this is the second post in which you have made fun of Indy…please stop bashing it until you spend more than two or three days in this city…after all maybe the Braves brass could take a little lesson on how to win again from the Colts management team. Cant be that bad of a place if we are awarded the Super Bowl in 2012 now can it?

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
2:45 pm

Burdell, not necessary. We’ll put them here as soon as it’s announced. But we do have some other stuff that’ll make Twitter worthwhile, particularly once the season gets going. Because I can post directly to Twitter from phone — from dugout, clubhouse, etc.

bravesgrl4life

December 1st, 2009
2:47 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB! Lets get cranking :)

drumzalicious

December 1st, 2009
2:47 pm

hey DOB. If the Braves were able to move Lowe just as a salary dump and not get anything back could you see them making a play for Cabrera from the Tigers? Of course the tigers would have to pitch in prob around 5 mil a year for that contract.

lavell12

December 1st, 2009
2:49 pm

This blog didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I think someone without sources could have written this.

Anders

December 1st, 2009
2:49 pm

Johnny Damon in left? Wow. Even Razor Shines couldn’t get anyone thrown out at the plate green lighting them on balls hit directly at old chicken wing out there in left.

Look elswhere Braves faithful. Don’t be fooled by Damon’s numbers on that ridiculously loaded team playing in a ban box. Damon would be hard pressed to play 110 games in the Braves outfield imo. The TED would kill him both in the field and at the plate.

Perhaps you’d like to give Daniel Murphy a spin in left? {:

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
2:50 pm

IndyBravesFan: How do you know if I’m being sarcastic or sincere when I call Indy lovely?

In all seriousness, I’m sure it’s a good place when you get out and see the neighborhoods and have a chance to do stuff there. But it’s like just about anywhere else in the U.S. except NY, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and a couple other places — when you’re stuck downtown at meetings, and particularly if it’s middle of winter, it’s usually not too entertaining. But that’s fine, since we’ll be working like crazy anyway. Hardly ever leave the meetings hotel during these things.

But seriously, I’m sure Indy’s a good town. No disrespect intended. Just joking around.

Fischerking04

December 1st, 2009
2:53 pm

Hopefully we are able to offer all 3 of them arbitration. They will probably all get picked up and if we were able to get those picks we could nicely stockpile our minor league teams.

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
2:54 pm

Drumzalicious: No, I can’t see the Braves making a push for Cabrera.

Anders

December 1st, 2009
2:55 pm

Cant be that bad of a place if we are awarded the Super Bowl in 2012 now can it? (Indybravesfan)

You realize they’ve played the Super Bowl in Detroit too -right? Not sure I would leave that in your closing argument counselor.

RC

December 1st, 2009
2:57 pm

Cant be that bad of a place if we are awarded the Super Bowl in 2012 now can it?

Yeah, but Jacksonville had the Super Bowl in 2005, and it’s a poor man’s Cleveland :)

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
3:00 pm

RC, good point about Super Bowl in Jax.

bravesfan199

December 1st, 2009
3:00 pm

DOB,
If you had to guess…..out of laroche soriano and gonzo, who’s coming back?

indianabravesfan

December 1st, 2009
3:00 pm

i also live in Indy and it is a very nice place to live 9 months of the year, the other 3 I can do without. the sun is actually out today which is a shock this time of year.

why are they having the winter meetings in Indy when they do not even have a team??

Fischerking04

December 1st, 2009
3:00 pm

DOB: Do you expect Kimbrel to be in the pen out of Spring Training? The OF and 1B have been talked about ad nauseum but other than the Billy Wagner rumor there hasn’t been much on the pen.

If Roger McDowell thinks he can contribute early that could potentially fill a big need for us.

RHR

December 1st, 2009
3:02 pm

Bout damn time you devoted the pictorial selection of your blog to me. :lol:

Gonzo, Wren, Andruw and closing it out with a Hank song. I haven’t even read this one yet and I already like it.

O.J.

December 1st, 2009
3:02 pm

Out of LaRoche, Soriano and Gonzalez, I only see Adam as the lone probable come back. I think Soriano and Gonzalez will get more money and years elsewhere. While I think Adam may stay just to play one more year with Bobby and Chipper, his good friend.

lavell12

December 1st, 2009
3:02 pm

DOB

Will LaRoche take the arbitration offer?

CB

December 1st, 2009
3:03 pm

Poor Tiger Woods getting charges pressed against him – DOB steals his Dad’s BBQ and gets away with it. Is there no justice?

Fischerking04

December 1st, 2009
3:06 pm

O.J. I agree that Adam seems the most likely to return but your reasoning is flawed. I don’t think he would pass up a multi year offer just because he is friends with Chipper and he likes Bobby Cox as his manager. We are talking about millions of dollars. He will take the deal. The question is will he have the opportunity?

Kevin McGlinchy

December 1st, 2009
3:06 pm

Hey DOB, if the Crime Dog were to get into the HOF, would it likely be as a Brave? Seems like it would be…the 1993 pennant race, the 1995 title, and the counting stats of his prime or near-prime (spent as a Brave) would seem to trump the productive seasons he had late in Tampa and early elsewhere.

FJR

December 1st, 2009
3:07 pm

Here’s my top 50 of the decade, DOB. Tell me what ya think. Also, its only rock/alt-country. Have too hard of a time comparing other stuff.

A.A. Bondy – American Hearts
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead – Source Tags & Codes
Arcade Fire – Funeral
The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism
Beck – Sea Change
Blitzen Trapper – Furr
Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
Dead Confederate – Wrecking Ball
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day
Dr. Dog – We All Belong
The Edison Project – Do You Remember Rock and Roll?
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Gomez – Liquid Skin
Gomez – Split the Difference
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House – Menace
The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music
Jet – Get Born
Joe Purdy – Paris In the Morning
Kasabian – Kasabian
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Kings of Leon – Youth and Young Manhood
Kings of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak
Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane
Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves
Oasis – Heathen Chemistry
Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul
Ocean Colour Scene – North Atlantic Drift
Of Montreal – Satanic Panic In The Attic
Okkervil River – The Stage Names
Old 97’s – Satellite Rides
People In Planes – As Far As the Eye Can See
Pure Reason Revolution – The Dark Third
Radiohead – Kid A
Ray LaMontagne – Trouble
Rooney – Rooney
Ryan Adams – Hearbreaker
The Shaun Piazza Band – The Shaun Piazza Band
The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Behind the Music
The Strokes – Is This It?
Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
Travis – The Man Who
The Waxwings – Low To the Ground
The Whigs – Give ‘Em All a Big Fat Lip
The White Stripes – Elephant
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
Wolfmother – Wolfmother

RC

December 1st, 2009
3:07 pm

Phillies are now interested in Smoltz. Based on the teams he’s played for/been tied to since leaving the Braves, maybe he liked those Sunday red jerseys more than any of us realized (Red Sox, Cardinals, Phillies).

beekay

December 1st, 2009
3:12 pm

Let the Phils have Smoltzie…him , Pedro and Moyer can make a “golden guys” pitching staff that we will smash like Thanksgiving Potatoes!

Flatbill Kid

December 1st, 2009
3:14 pm

Thanks for the blog, DOB. Great read as usual. Looking forward to seeing how this offseason turns out. I would love the athletic outfield of McLouth, Cameron, and Heyward.

Isn’t Hart, based on his last two years, just another Frenchy? Seems to me that when we got rid of Frenchy’s bat killing the lineup along with adding LaRoche we took off. I’m a huge fan of the salary dump but am hoping Cox won’t put Hart out there over and over with crap numbers.

Hillbilly

December 1st, 2009
3:14 pm

But I think the people who have concluded — way too quickly — that he’s not a Hall of Famer just because his 493 home-run trots don’t mean what 493 home-run trots used to mean are missing something

Make that 492 home-run trots and 1 sprint. McGriff hit an inside-the-park home-run in Colorado not long after he came to Atlanta. He actually hit it one night after Deion Sanders hit an inside-the-park homer for the Braves in the same ballpark. Don’t know why I remember that, but I do.

ncscoots

December 1st, 2009
3:14 pm

Jose made a very nice step forward about one third of the way through this past season

Proving once again a cardinal rule of evaluating prospects: don’t get married to an opinion. OK, and one other one, too: career minor league stats may or may not be indicative.

Kids develop at all kinds of different rates, and you just never know when the light will go on for them. You see a kid in May, he looks absolutely bewildered, and you come away thinking not-much-there. In August, the kid gets a tip, a tweak, or a full-blown revelation even, and breaks through. He’s not even the same player, anymore, but all you remember is what you saw. Which, by the way, no longer has context.

But, sure enough, someone will look at the kid’s stats prior to his enlightenment and still think not-much-there. And then come here to this forum and explain to us all why the kid needs to be included in a trade for 5.50 ERA reliever, LOL.

John Smoltz

December 1st, 2009
3:15 pm

“Phillies are now intersted in John Smoltz” RC

HA, of course they are! You know, it’s gratifying to know that other teams admire what I’ve done for the game of baseball and what all I’ve accomplished over my illustrious career. My agents phone will continue to be burned up with calls about my services for the 2010 campaign and beyond because they realize the importance of having a future Hall of Fame inductee on their squad. I;m not only a terrific pitcher, but a mentor to the younger kids coming up. I’m the total package.

beekay

December 1st, 2009
3:17 pm

FJR
Here is my top40
Week of November 30th, 2009

1 1 Lady Gaga
Paparazzi
2 4 Jason Derulo
Whatcha Say
3 2 Miley Cyrus
Party in the USA
4 5 Beyonce
Sweet Dreams
5 6 Kelly Clarkson
Already Gone
6 7 Britney Spears
3
7 3 Jay Sean
Down
8 10 Owl City
Fireflies
9 11 Black Eyed Peas
Meet Me Halfway
10 8 Kings of Leon
Use Somebody
11 9 Taylor Swift
You Belong With Me
12 13 Iyaz
Replay
13 12 Jay-Z
Run This Town
14 14 Boys Like Girls
Love Drunk
15 15 Justin Bieber
One Time
16 18 David Guetta
Sexy Chick
17 17 Colbie Caillat
Fallin’ For You
18 22 Rihanna
Russian Roulette
19 19 Cascada
Evacuate The Dancefloor
20 16 Black Eyed Peas
I Gotta Feeling
21 20 Cobra Starship
Good Girls Go Bad
22 23 Pink
Funhouse
23 25 Jesse McCartney
Body Language
24 28 Lady Gaga
Bad Romance
25 21 Mariah Carey
Obsessed
26 24 Keri Hilson
Knock You Down
27 32 Ke$ha
Tik Tok
28 36 Jay-Z
Empire State Of Mind ft. Alicia Keys
29 26 Jordin Sparks
Battlefield
30 27 Katy Perry
Waking Up in Vegas
31 29 The Fray
Never Say Never
32 30 Black Eyed Peas
Boom Boom Pow
33 34 Shinedown
If You Only Knew
34 31 Daughtry
No Surprise
35 33 Pitbull
I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
36 40 Boys Like Girls
Two Is Better Than One
37 35 Pitbull
Hotel Room Service
38 – Shakira
Give It Up To Me (featuring Lil Wayne)
39 – Jordin Sparks
S.O.S. (Let The Music Play)
40 39 Leona Lewis
Happy

Bob

December 1st, 2009
3:20 pm

Is there any chance the Braves will acquire either SD’s Gonzalez or Det’s Cabrera? The trade bait I come up with are Freeman & Medlen.

beekay

December 1st, 2009
3:22 pm

indianabravesfan
My guess is Indy is central in geography and inexpensive compared to larger cities. I went to a few Colts games at the Dome when I lived in Cincy and thought the city was nice and clean and the people were very friendly..my buddies used to call it India-no-place saying it was in the middle of nowhere

Jeff

December 1st, 2009
3:22 pm

To the fella pretending to be John Smoltz,

The “Total Package” was Lex Luger. ;)

Kevin

December 1st, 2009
3:22 pm

Winter meeting should be in Nashville. Now that’s a cool town.

drumzalicious

December 1st, 2009
3:24 pm

Nashville is a cool town. im surprised they dont have a baseball team

Chris

December 1st, 2009
3:24 pm

Bob, the cabrera hunt is not going to happen. but i could see the braves going after gonzalez if they really wanted to.

Jeff

December 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

BTW, I seriously doubt John Smoltz signs with Philly…

LOOGY

December 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

Nashville Cats
Play clean as country water
Nashville Cats
Play wild as mountain dew
Nashville Cats
Been playin’ since they’s baby’s
Nashville Cats
Get work before they’re two

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

bravesfan199: I don’t know that I’d predict any of them will be back. If I had to guess, I’d say none. But it also won’t surprise me if one of them returns. LaRoche might be most likely among the three, and Gonzalez least likely. I think Gonzo is gone-zo.

RC

December 1st, 2009
3:26 pm

Is there any chance the Braves will acquire either SD’s Gonzalez or Det’s Cabrera? The trade bait I come up with are Freeman & Medlen.

Nope.

Flat Bill Kid

December 1st, 2009
3:26 pm

Kevin you are not kidding. 54 degrees currently and 39 tonight. That is a cool town.

Ritchie from Scotland

December 1st, 2009
3:27 pm

speaking of music, DOB can I recommend to you (if you haven’t got it already) The Temper Trap – Conditions. Saw them twice in Glasgow last year and they were easily the best band in 2009 for me. I know their album is out in the US now so check it out (as previous, if you haven’t already)

stamper

December 1st, 2009
3:28 pm

FJR –
you list is pretty solid. granted, i feel there are some obvious great albums that dont appear on your list… but that’s fine. (Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, for example)

my only real criticism is Dead Confederate. Really? You like them that much? I think it’s cool that a few Augusta boys are kind of making a name for themselves, but yeah… Wrecking Ball didn’t impress me…In fact haven’t impressed me since they changed their band name from Redbelly.

Just my take, is all.

DAP

December 1st, 2009
3:29 pm

Make that 492 home-run trots and 1 sprint. McGriff hit an inside-the-park home-run in Colorado not long after he came to Atlanta.

thats got to help his HOF bid, right?

Duke

December 1st, 2009
3:29 pm

beekay
What a horrible list that is. Did you get those songs from the MTV site?

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
3:29 pm

why are they having the winter meetings in Indy when they do not even have a team?? — indianabravesfan

They had them in Vegas last year and Nashville the year before that.

Anders

December 1st, 2009
3:30 pm

Minaya signed Cora and Coste yesterday. I understand he’s working on the letter “D” today.

Only four more days until the letter “H”!!!

beekay

December 1st, 2009
3:30 pm

Enter your comments here

Rob - in pain (from SC)

December 1st, 2009
3:30 pm

DOB

Do you see Jo Jo Reyes being given a real shot at making the bullpen as the second LH. In my opinion, Boone Logan walks to many batters. If not Reyes, will Lee Hyde or Jose Ortegano be given a chance to make the team as relievers. Kind of hard to crack the rotation in this system at the moment

Duke

December 1st, 2009
3:32 pm

If any of you like The White Stripes, check out their version of Tegan and Sara’s “Walking With a Ghost”. It’s a tasty mid day snack

Ted

December 1st, 2009
3:33 pm

DOB – in regards to Garrett, exactly how strong would be the likelihood he’d accept arbitration? I thought he wanted to return to AL anyway (so he could DH) and, at $2.5MM, he’s not looking at some huge payday via arb (not that he’s getting a payday via FA either).

Also, since arb awards are not guaranteed (at least to my understanding) he’s also risking the team cuts him early in ST and is only forced to pay him 1/6 of his salary – and then try and catch on with another team.

I guess, in summation, I do not understand the big risk to offering him arb. As a Type B, it doesn’t affect other teams draft picks so it doesn’t change his marketability, he wants to return to AL anyway and, worst case, they end up paying him 1/6 of what would be a small arb award (and his risk is that is all he gets if released early in ST and can’t catch on with another team).

Tomas

December 1st, 2009
3:34 pm

318 AVG, and a 318 SLG% and he has 5 extra base hits. Something just doesn’t fit.

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
3:34 pm

Hillbilly: Good note about McGriff. But I wonder, was that his only inside-the-park homer?

northbeach Scott

December 1st, 2009
3:34 pm

Thanks for the Blog update, Dave O. Predict that the Braves will offer arb to all three and all three will sign elsewhere. Would love to have LaRoche for a year and a helf, but he is surely worthy of a three year deal at more money for another team.

It will be interesting to see what curveball Mr. Wren has up his sleeve in order to add the missing pieces to the team. I have a lot of faith in him after the last two seasons. This is my favorite time of the off season next to spring training.

beekay

December 1st, 2009
3:35 pm

Duke, just a hunch but I think most of America will agree that my top 40 is pretty awesome! Matter of fact I would bet if you took the most requested songs on the radio today they might be very similar to my picks

Bravoman

December 1st, 2009
3:35 pm

Nice blog DOB. I predict Gonzo and LaRoche to be offered arbitration later this evening. Sign Wagner!

bry22

December 1st, 2009
3:36 pm

Braves should trade Medlen, Schafer, Freeman and a couple others to Padres for 1st baseman and closer. Make it a blockbuster!! 3/4 of Wrens work for the winter would be done.

RC

December 1st, 2009
3:36 pm

Minaya signed Cora and Coste yesterday. I understand he’s working on the letter “D” today.

Only four more days until the letter “H”!!! – Anders

Does that mean that Bay is no longer an option for NY?

Steve McP

December 1st, 2009
3:36 pm

Nashville is home to the Nashville Sounds, the Brewers AAA affiliate.

Anders

December 1st, 2009
3:38 pm

RC- Bay is not on the Mets list imo. Honestly I don’t think the H’s are either. I was just having some fun.

Mac

December 1st, 2009
3:39 pm

DOB,

I wanted to ask you if the Braves were still high on JOJO Reyes and if he fits into our future plans in the rotation. I have not heard much out of him in a while. Also, wanted to know if Kris Medlan still projects as a starter for the Braves, or the bullpen. Thanks for the new blog.

dp

December 1st, 2009
3:39 pm

DOB if the braves trade lowe and dont have yo pay any salary do you yhink then they may make a push for matt holliday

Rob - in pain (from SC)

December 1st, 2009
3:40 pm

bry22

We would probably need to insert Julio Tehern in that deal as well. I still think highly of Schafer (I would not trade him) but his stock took a big hit the last two years. Plus, SD would need a legit young proven player in that deal as well. too much for us to give up

I am I the only one who doesn’t want Gonzalez

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
3:40 pm

FJR: Good list. Quite a few on there that I’d have on my top 50; more on there that I would not. But a good list, nonetheless.

ugaaccountant

December 1st, 2009
3:41 pm

Rob – I think anybody on the 40 man roster has a chance at making the opening day roster. I assume they all have spring training roles with the big league club and play themselves into or out of the last couple of slots in the pen/bench. With injuries and all, many of them will contribute to the team at some point in 2010.

Rob - in pain (from SC)

December 1st, 2009
3:41 pm

Hey anders

That is one scary looking Mets bench

Chris Coste and Alex Cora.

GREGNORTON

December 1st, 2009
3:41 pm

I’m ready & willing! Make me an offer!

David O'Brien

December 1st, 2009
3:41 pm

dp: No, I don’t think Braves would get in the Holliday bidding war.

Rob - in pain (from SC)

December 1st, 2009
3:42 pm

ugaaccountant

Reyes was never given a chance to come out of the bullpen in spring training. I believe he is out of options so he needs to make the team or be DFA/traded

Rob - in pain (from SC)

December 1st, 2009
3:43 pm

GREGNORTON

December 1st, 2009
3:41 pm
I’m ready & willing! Make me an offer!

RETIRE or sign with the Mets

Romanbrave

December 1st, 2009
3:43 pm

DOB,
What do you think about a Lowe for Mike Lowell trade. Gives us a first baseman for a year for 12 mil and I know that is high….but you get Lowe off the books and is a good stop gap until Freeman is ready.

Tomahawk1310

December 1st, 2009
3:43 pm

I’m sorry but I don’t agree with some of the music taste on this blog. I was never into the alt-underground scene but that’s why there is so much different music. I can’t stand when some people call out music because it’s all in what you like as a person, and a matter of one’s own opinion. But seeing as many are probably from Atlanta one of the most under-rated hard rock bands are from there. SEVENDUST is a great rock band, just ask Peter Moylan.

Thomas in IN

December 1st, 2009
3:45 pm

Concerning Indianapolis:

Very nice downtown. Rough outerlimits. Nice suburbs.

Thomas in IN

December 1st, 2009
3:45 pm

Concerning Indianapolis:

Very nice downtown. Rough outerlimits. Nice suburbs.

Anders

December 1st, 2009
3:47 pm

Player BA R HR RBI
Keith Hernandez (1976-88) .301 79.0 11.3 75.0
Brooks Robinson (1958-75) .270 58.5 12.8 65.0

These are the per 500 game comparable offensive stats for BA,Runs,HR’s and RBI. How does Brooks Robinson get in the HOF and Hernandez doesn’t even get a sniff? Both were incredible defensive players who also won some individual hardware and were on winning teams that they were integral parts of.

These numbers were published by Marty Noble who feels Hernandez should be in. I tend to agree if Brooks Robinson is in.

As none other than Don Sutton said:

- a player should have been the best or among the elite in his particular area of expertise for an extended period.

Certainly Hernandez passes that litmus test. OK off the soap box I go.

bry22

December 1st, 2009
3:48 pm

DOB-
What do you think about Medlen, Schafer, Freeman and a couple others to Padres for Gonzo and Bell. Maybe the best 1b powerhitter in the big’s. Bell pretty good closer.

Anders

December 1st, 2009
3:49 pm

Rob in pain – I pine for the days when I can worry about my bench strength again! Bigger fish to fry – know what I mean?

Anders

December 1st, 2009
3:51 pm

All kidding aside, Cora is a solid guy to have on the bench. Versatile infielder and he’s like having another coach on the club. It’s pretty widely felt he’ll be a manager some day if he chooses to pursue that route – which seems likely.

P'cola Brave

December 1st, 2009
3:51 pm

DOB

Is A. Gonzalez even still being considered or is he still more of a wish?

Duke

December 1st, 2009
3:53 pm

beekay
That doesn’t mean they are good music. Just because American teenagers vote for them should not classify them as good music and half of those shouldn’t be classified as music at all.

ncscoots

December 1st, 2009
3:53 pm

dp: No, I don’t think Braves would get in the Holliday bidding war.

Well, geez, how much can he ask for, LOL? From what I read, he isn’t going to get Teixeira years and dollars. I mean, the Braves were willing to spend $15MM on a starting pitcher last year, so how does $18-20MM for an everyday player break the bank?

Not that I’m sold on Holliday as savior, but, bloggers here sometimes sound as if the Braves can’t afford to wash the unis twice a week, LOL.

beekay

December 1st, 2009
3:54 pm

I hate to see Gonzo leave. He had one of the best attitudes on the team. He seemed to really enjoy the push towards the playoffs and gave us his all every night. I will miss him more than Sori, Loaf, Church, KJ,and even Roachie

BPennington

December 1st, 2009
3:54 pm

I’d love to see the Braves go after M-Cab or Adrian Gonzalez, but alas I just don’t feel it’s in the cards.

rdawg

December 1st, 2009
3:54 pm

The Whigs are playing Friday night at the Variety Playhouse fwiw FJR. Should be a fun show

Hillbilly

December 1st, 2009
3:55 pm

Hillbilly: Good note about McGriff. But I wonder, was that his only inside-the-park homer?

DOB, yes it was…according to his home-run log at baseball-reference.

bry22

December 1st, 2009
3:55 pm

I would come close to breaking the bank for A. Gonzalez. If it doesn’t work out this year you could get quite a bit for him next year if you must trade him!

Jake W.

December 1st, 2009
3:56 pm

During the season I thought Soriano would probably be the harder of the two relievers to keep but the way things look this offseason it might be Gonzo. I assumed he would be the hardest to keep just because he was flat out dominate for most of the season although he did have his struggles in part of the second half. I would be happy with keeping either one. It’s pretty much a no brainer that both aren’t coming back. Only thing with losing Gonzo though is I viewed him as our best lefty in the pen. EOF had a good year but i’m not sure I want him to be the go to guy when we have to face some of the best lefty hitters in the game like Howard. Haven’t really payed that much attention to which relievers are available outside of the closers. I wouldn’t mind us getting Wagner if we lose both.

ND Brave

December 1st, 2009
3:56 pm

I sure hope the Braves aren’t pursuing A Gonzalez. It would take a lot of talent to get him and it would be a repeat of the Texiera situation. Then after A. Gonzalez leaves when his contract is up and all the talent the Braves traded to get him are flourishing in the league, we’ll hear everyone whine and complain and saying, “What was Wren thinking!?!?!”

NEW CARS

December 1st, 2009
3:57 pm

I don’t know if I would say that Hernandez was among the best all-around at 1b for more than a handful of years. Robinson won 16 straight gold gloves at a more important position and is generally considered the greatest defensive 3b in the history of the game. Now the one that I don’t get is Ron Santo…A better hitter than Robinson by far and still managed to win 5 GG’s while competing against the likes of Ken and Clete Boyer…Santo should be in…Hernandez was an outstanding player and was great in that Seinfeld episode, not so much in the hair coloring commercial…But I think there is a long list of 1B that I would consider before him…

McFann O

December 1st, 2009
3:58 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

But the slender lefty is one to keep an eye on for the future, folks.

He is kinda cute…

BTW–Happy Anniversary to everyone’s favorite catcher and his wife!

Burdell

December 1st, 2009
3:58 pm

why are they having the winter meetings in Indy when they do not even have a team??

That’s probably why they’re having it in Indy. I hate it when my annual conference is in the same city in which I live – I miss out on the free quasi-vacation.

But we do have some other stuff that’ll make Twitter worthwhile…

I just figured out how to subscribe to your feed using Google Reader (which is how I follow this blog). It looks like it’s not that bad after all :)

Soph

December 1st, 2009
3:59 pm

I can’t stand when some people call out music because it’s all in what you like as a person, and a matter of one’s own opinion.

Yup, agreed.

P'cola Brave

December 1st, 2009
4:00 pm

If an extension can’t be made with A. Gonzalez before acquiring him then its not worth breaking the bank.

[...] Stark says McGriff belongs in Cooperstown.. “Fred McGriff’s greatest years came BEFORE the numbers exploded on us in 1993. This man [...]

Fergie

December 1st, 2009
4:01 pm

Boom Boom Pow!

TnBrian

December 1st, 2009
4:03 pm

ND Brave, as cool as getting Adrian Gonzalez would be I’m kind of hoping they go easy with just some signings like Cameron & possibly a trade for Coner Jackson who could play 1st for a year. Gonzalez would be awesome, no doubt, but I don’t trust that he would sign an extension & the fact that they’d want a boat load of our talent for what could be two years of him wouldn’t be worth it in the long run.

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