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 before things possibly heat up in the way of a move or two today (Wednesday) here at the fabulous Marriott in frigid downtown Indianapolis:

They’re still looking to trade a starting pitcher, but it’s become even more clear here that Derek Lowe is the guy that they really are concentrating on moving.

They’re obviously going to trade Soriano, and that could happen quickly given that several teams have been in talks with the Braves the past couple of days here at the meetings. Houston, Baltimore and now the L.A. Angels are all in the mix, though it appears New York and Boston, which had pursued him before he accepted the Baves’ arb offer, aren’t nearly as interested in him in a trade.

‘Stros, O’s or Halos – right now it looks like one of those. But that seems to be changing by the hour.

The Braves’ pursuit of a bat was put on hold temporarily while they dealt with the Soriano situation in the first couple of days here in Indy, and also while they tried to find possible takers for Lowe.

But the wheels continue to turn on the bat pursuit, albeit slowly. GM Frank Wren and his men are working it a bit, in addition to the primary focus (trading pitching). The Braves tried to add a valuable bench piece in Ross Gload, but the 1B/pinch-hit specialist (he led majors with 21 pinch hits in 2009 for Florida) has opted to sign with the already bench-loaded Phillies, even though he could’ve gotten more playing time at 1B with the Braves.

As for the “big bat” (or at least bigger bat) the Braves are looking for, the names we’ve continued to hear the Braves have interest in are free agents Xavier Nady, Marlon Byrd, and Mike Cameron. Jermaine Dye hasn’t been connected to Braves by anyone I’ve talked to since we got here, although that doesn’t mean they don’t have any interest.

If Braves believe Nady, returning from Tommy John elbow surgery, is healthy enough to play the OF or possibly 1B, they might go hard after him. The guy’s only 31 and in 2008 hit .305 with 25 homers, 97 RBI and an .857 OPS.

But Nady is also a Scott Boras client, which means he might try to drive up the price for Nady, since the Cardinals and Yankees have been mentioned as other potential suitors.

Nady hit .305 with 25 HRs, 97 RBI and .867 OPS in 2008.

Nady hit .305 with 25 HRs, 97 RBI and .867 OPS in 2008.

Not sure if the Braves talked to Cameron yet or just indicated they might have interest in the Georgia native (LaGrange) and McDonough resident. We do know Cameron would like to play for the Bravos, and that he’s still a stellar defensive CF who had 49 homers the past two seasons for Milwaukee (albeit with sub-.250 avg and sub-.340 OBP in that span).

Cameron is represented by the same agent as current Braves CF Nate McLouth, and most scouts will tell you Cameron is a better CF than McLouth. But Cameron has already made it known that he’d be willing to change positions to play for a contender. Not sure how that would work out and who would move if they got him, but the fact that Cameron has said he’d move probably bodes well for being able to work around or through a potentially sticky situation with McLouth.

Haven’t heard any new names of hitters as possible trade pursuits of Braves, and for now the Josh Willingham rumors have cooled. Not surprising, considering Wren told us yesterday that he never thought the Braves would get the hitter they’re pursuing via a trade for either of the pitchers they’re trying to deal.

Given the state of the free-agent pitching market –- i.e. Milwaukee offered Randy Wolf three years and $27 million and he hasn’t taken it as of this morning –- the Braves believe (hope?) they’ll be able to move Lowe without eating much at all of the remaining $45 million he’s owed over the last three years of a four-year, $60 mill contract.

Will it be one-and-out for D-Lowe as a Brave?

Will it be one-and-out for D-Lowe as a Brave?

They look at Lowe’s numbers over the past five years, the past eight years, etc., compared to those of John Lackey, the top free agent starter on the market who’s expected to far exceed Lowe’s deal, and the Braves have to hope other teams will look at them, too — rather than focus on Lowe’s struggles in 2009.

For the record, here are those stats:

• Beginning in 2002, when Lowe moved from Boston’s bullpen to become a full-time starter, he is 121-85 with a 3.89 ERA in 269 games (267 starts) and 1,650-2/3 innings, with a .263 opponents’ average.

• Lackey was a rookie in 2002 and made 18 starts. He’s won 10 or more games every season since then, but more than 14 only once (19-9, 3.01 ERA in 2007, by far the best season of his career).

• Beginning in 2002 (or, his entire career), Lackey is 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA in 234 games (233 starts) and 1,501 innings, with a .263 opponents’ average that’s identical to Lowe’s in the span.

•  In the past five seasons, Lowe is 69-58 with a 3.79 ERA and .264 opp average in 171 games (169 starts), with 674 strikeouts and 277 walks in 1,045 innings.

• In the past five seasons, Lackey is 69-38 with a 3.49 ERA and .256 opp average in 150 games (all starts), with 837 strikeouts and 282 walks in 990-1-/3 innings.

Look,  there are reasons Lackey is viewed as being worth more than Lowe today. He’s five years younger, to begin with. But he also made only 24 and 27 starts the past two seasons, won 23 games in that stretch, had an ERA near 3.80 and totaled 269 strikeouts with 87 walks in 339-2/3 innings.

What Indy needs is a Neko Case show to warm things up....

What Indy needs is a Neko Case show to warm things up....

It’s not like he’s bringing true No. 1-caliber starter stats to the table. And if Lackey is going to get perhaps $18 million or more a year in a long-term deal, well, you could see where the Braves might expect (hope?) to get a team to pick up most of the remaining $15-mill-per-year on Lowe’s contract.

Say what you will about Lowe, but he’s got 29 wins and 405-2/3 innings over the past two seasons, and has won more than 14 games four times in eight seasons as a starter. He’s a proven big-game pitcher and a groundball specialist, both potentially attractive features for a place like, oh, Yankee Stadium.

The Braves will have some cash to spend, perhaps quite a bit of it, if they can trade Lowe without eating much of his contract.

I know, that’s still a big “if.” But if they can’t trade him, they would presumably move to Plan B – trade Javier Vazquez. Not what they want to do, but if they feel compelled to do it, it would open a new pool of potential hitters to target. Because in a trade for Vazquez, unlike one for Lowe or Soriano, the Braves could expect to get a good hitter in return.

Which reminds me: Those of you expecting a big return on either a Lowe or Soriano trade, you really shouldn’t get hopes up. The main purpose of a Lowe trade would be to clear up payroll; can’t expect another team to both take on that big salary <em>and</em> give up a talented young player or big prospect.

And with Soriano, if teams weren’t willing to part with a draft pick to sign him as a free agent, why would anyone expect a team to part with a good young player in a trade for him after he accepted arbitration. They’re still going to have to pay Soriano what they would have if they had signed him as a free agent.

If the Braves get more than a pretty good prospect in return for him, I’d be surprised. Maybe they will, if there’s enough competition among those teams pursuing him. But it would surprise me less if they don’t. If that makes sense?

(I need coffee. I gotta file this and go get some java, folks. And go mill around the lobby for a while, which I really don’t like doing at these meetings. But it’s unavoidable, since that’s where so many of the rumor are flying and the Twittering masses are pounding away at their PDAs.)

Wow, just looked outside (there’s a window a quarter-mile or so away from me, down the hall from the ballroom) and saw what appears to be Siberia outside. Howling winds, blowing snow, people barely able to stand.

So for today’s tune, we’ll stick with the theme established in the first blog from here – songs with titles that are multi-syllable placenames from snowy locales (we used the Bottle Rockets’ “Indianapolis” in that blog). Going with the master today, big James. And speaking of James McMurtry, here’s a video for one of his other songs, one of my favorites, “Hurricane Party.”

james-mcmurtry-off-and-running

“POCATELLO” by James McMurtry

Picked you up in Pocatello

In some truck stop parking lot

Out beside that burned up Volvo

With the smoking engine shot

And you just left that Volvo lying

You never gave it half a thought

Faithless, fine, and gone

*

You said you came from Randolph

Up across the Wasatch Range

You kept talking clear to Salt Lake

Liked to drove us all insane

But now I’m flying down

That four lane highway screaming out your name

Faithless, fine, and gone

*

Batten down the hatches I can hear my grandma say

Boy you like to play with matches

Gonna burn yourself someday

*

I’m gonna haul on back to Denver

Just as soon as I get through

And I’m burnt down to smoldering embers

But I guess I can make do

And now I hear some guy that used to

Manage some band I never heard of

Is trying to manage you

Faithless, fine, and gone

5,422 comments Add your comment

Home of the Braves

December 9th, 2009
12:17 pm

VP

December 9th, 2009
12:20 pm

Thanks for a new blog DOB. Keep them updates coming.

Marc in FL

December 9th, 2009
12:22 pm

Renegator

December 9th, 2009
12:24 pm

Boo Yeah! (Stu Scott reference for you there, DOB.

Ryan in TN

December 9th, 2009
12:24 pm

DOB, What do you think the chances are of aquiring Josh Willingham, or maybe a Brad Hawpe in a trade for Soriano or Lowe?

shmoe

December 9th, 2009
12:24 pm

Petite Pettite. Tired of hearing about fkin Yankees!

brian

December 9th, 2009
12:24 pm

with the rumors of the Red Sox moving Mike Lowell if they will take a big contract in return, could a Derek Lowe for Mike Lowell swap be coming with Lowell playing 3B and backing up 1B (assuming he is healthy)? This would be another possible place of a derek lowe plus soriano deal happening

Nova Scotia Steve - #40

December 9th, 2009
12:25 pm

Thanks DOB…

Although I trust your sources Dave…always have.

Ken Rosenthal never ever mentioned the Braves as potential suitors for Mike Cameron in his update yesterday I was shocked.

None the less…its awful quiet around here today….calm before the storm???

Does anyone else just despise the guys we’ve been linked to so far this offseason for at least a bigger bat in the outfield.

And don’t get me wrong…I’m pretty dry on suggestions here myself…

Bravoman

December 9th, 2009
12:26 pm

Wolf to the Brewers 3 yr 27 mil

Bravoman

December 9th, 2009
12:26 pm

check that, just under 30 mil

Jim

December 9th, 2009
12:28 pm

If you want a Georgia boy with better upside than Cameron, why not pick up Sprayberry High’s Marlon Byrd?

Crazy Trades McGee

December 9th, 2009
12:28 pm

shazam… Soriano + Lowe for Brandon Wood + Jaun Rivera

shmoe

December 9th, 2009
12:28 pm

No news is good news as far as the people being mentioned with the Braves are concerned.

Rod

December 9th, 2009
12:29 pm

the ANSWER

December 9th, 2009
12:29 pm

We should go after Miguel Cabrera and relegate Chipper Jones to pinch-hitting duties where he belongs. We always seem to take advantage of Detroit in trade opportunities, so we might as well give them Lowe and Soriano straight-up for Cabrera. Sounds good to me!

Vince

December 9th, 2009
12:29 pm

Nady intrigues me….

Bravoman

December 9th, 2009
12:30 pm

Stay warm DOB. It’s a frozen iceland out there!

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:30 pm

To think, for just another 15 mil+ and a prospect the Brewers could have had Derek Lowe

shmoe

December 9th, 2009
12:30 pm

If we get Nady and LaRoche back, we’ll have the Pirates best former players lol

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:31 pm

shazam… Soriano + Lowe for Brandon Wood + Jaun Rivera

Do you think Wren would be able to hear the Angels front office people laughing, or would the phone have already been hung up?

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:32 pm

If we get Nady and LaRoche back, we’ll have the Pirates best former players lol

Aside from that Bay guy….. ;)

chris

December 9th, 2009
12:33 pm

good blog DOB, lets hope we can trade soriano or lowe sometime today!

bravesgirlnc

December 9th, 2009
12:33 pm

Ryan, did you READ the blog?

1L

December 9th, 2009
12:33 pm

DOB,
What are the odds of us packaging Soriano and Lowe in a big trade for an established bat? We could take on more salary that way since we’d be trading $23 mil worth of salary. Is there any team out there willing to make such a blockbuster? What about someone wanting to shed later payroll and we trade the two one year guys (vazquez instead of Lowe, plus Soiano)? with that almost $20 mil, we could possibly trade for a higher priced player than we could target trading just one of these guys at a time….

Hopefully Wren can think outside the box here, and really get a good player for this year, and not some marginal prospects in a salary dump.

Atbell14

December 9th, 2009
12:33 pm

If you think its cold today….good luck tomorrow when the high is 19!

Unreal

December 9th, 2009
12:35 pm

Typical Braves, get rid of there best players. Has been there trend forever.

Lew

December 9th, 2009
12:35 pm

CB-Friom the last blog-YOu can tell me all you want that not thinking Cabrera is a player we should target is merely a function of me thinking him a douchebag and being morally judgmental. However, from a purely business point of view-Dude has been a troublemaker since day one. He doesn’t stay in shape. He has fought (on the field, mind you) with teammates. He has been drunk and disorderly. He has beaten his wife. OK, maybe you and others might forgive him. His wife, however, might have a differnet viewpoint, but nonetheless-none of MY business, even though yes, I am a bit ticked about drunk driving since my Dad was killed in an accident caused by a drunk.

That being said, what really galls hell out of me with Cabrera is the fact that a day before the biggest game of the year-hell, maybe the biggest game of his entire career-he goes out, gets massively drunk (3 times the limit), gets in a bar fight with other patons, then gets home with the sun, kicks crap out of his wife and plays like a little leaguer, leading to his teams’departure from not only a Division Title, but the playoffs altogether.. At the very least, it should call his judgment into question.

But WTF Dude, all that notwithstanding, he still makes more than a fifth of what we pay our entire team. THAT alone should show any sane person he won’t be here.

O.J.

December 9th, 2009
12:36 pm

unreal, has it really been ‘THERE’ trend forever? Has it?

Marc in FL

December 9th, 2009
12:37 pm

It’s looking more and more like Lackey will have to be signed before we can get a team to pull the trigger on Lowe, no problem, it’ll happen soon enough and I think the Yankees like Lowe more than Lackey anyway. We won’t get anything for him, but it will allow room in FA market at least.

Anyone else think Coke was dealt cause the Yanks expect to sign Gonzo?

The real question for me right now is who do we get for Soriano? A prospect, a bench player?

TnBrian

December 9th, 2009
12:38 pm

Unless the Braves feel they can get a better OF & for cheaper I’ll be surprised if Cameron isn’t a Brave before too long. Nady would also be a very good fit maybe for 1st base, but he’s more of a question because of the injury thing. Once one or both of Lowe/Soriano is traded maybe then all that happens quickly.

CB

December 9th, 2009
12:38 pm

Am I the only one amazed that Wolf was able to get a 3yrs- 30mil contract? He had a good year last year,granted,but his career stats have been overall mediocre. He has been injury prone. Good luck with that one.

jokurone

December 9th, 2009
12:38 pm

Marlon Byrd is a loser…just like Sprayberry

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
12:38 pm

While I’m not sure of their financial situation, I’m suprised that the Rockies haven’t been mentioned with Lowe. A ground ball pitcher in Coors might work for them.

Dan Morton

December 9th, 2009
12:39 pm

I am sure you must have covered this in earlier blogs but for the life of me I can’t understand why we didn’t offer LaRoche arbitration. The guy is in his prime, a very good hitter ( second half ) and an excellent 1st baseman. Plus he is good in the clubhouse and apparently likes it here. If we had him for a year it would have allowed a little more time for Freeman to develop or at least let us know if he was going to develop. That would let us focus on getting the power hitting corner outfielder that we desparately need to go along with McLouth and Hayward ( sp? ).

Noah

December 9th, 2009
12:41 pm

At this point I think Cameron is in the $10mil/yr range and not sure what the Braves plan to spend. Some have argued Cameron brings as much to the table as Bay considering his defense and offense so hard to see him getting much less but you never know. Love to offload Lowe, keep Soriano and get a good hitter for $8 million (together this would equal Lowe’s current salary). prefer to see a hitter who plays good d though.

Gary O

December 9th, 2009
12:41 pm

Thanks for the blog DOB.

My issue with Nady is I would hate for the Braves to wait around for him and Boras, only to see him sign with somebody else (especially when Yank and Cards are interested). By that time, other options might be off the table.

However, if the Braves add Nady for 1B, and then add another decent bat in the OF (Mike Cameron for example), our offense should be much improved from last year. Will it be enough to catch the Phils? I don’t know, but at the very least, we should be capable of winning the wildcard.

Gload signs with the Phils even though he could have had more PT with the Braves. He knows what we know, that the Phils have a better chance to win the WS. That being said, wasn’t there a time when players chose the Braves over other teams that offered more PT? Man, times have changed around here…

Lew

December 9th, 2009
12:42 pm

Let’s see now- Mike Lowell, 2008, minus 49 games, 2009, minus 43 games.

Carlos DelGado- at least minus 18 gamds, five of last six seasons and minus 136 games in 2009.

Xavier Nady-minus 37 games in 06, minus 14 games in each of 07 and 08, minus 155 games in 09.

Are we perhaps starting to see a trend here?

Bravoman

December 9th, 2009
12:43 pm

With Wolf off the market it could possibly escalate a Lowe trade. Soriano should be dealt today.

Marc in FL

December 9th, 2009
12:43 pm

Dan – I think the fact that they didn’t offer Laroche arb was a statement that they wanted someone else. Laroche is OK, but you don’t defense on 1B is way overrated and he’s a about as streaky of hitter as you’ll find in baseball.

You don’t see the Phils or Brewers collapsing cause their 1B isn’t a gold glover, just saying.

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:43 pm

I know Wren said they likely wouldn’t fill their role for a bat on the trade market, but what about the following scenario?:

Tigers are interested in Juan Pierre, and the Dodgers want a pitcher in return. Tigers are also interested in moving Carlos Guillen, ideally to obtain the pitcher the Dodgers want. So…..

Lowe to Dogers, Pierre to Tigers, Guillen to Braves (can play LF/1b/3b).

Here’s the contract info on each:

Lowe is owed $15/yr for 3 years, total $45 mil.
Guillen is owed $13/yr for 2 years, total $26 mil.
Pierre is owed $10 in 2010, $8.5 in 2011, total $18.5.

The obvious problem is the extra money Lowe is owed, but the Dodgers would also get an extra year of service for him. If the Braves paid a little of that salary, and the Tigers paid a little of it, this is a deal that could actually work.

One potential sticking point: Not sure how the Dodger feel about Lowe, who they had no problem letting go of a year ago.

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
12:43 pm

DOB: do you suspect the Braves will deal with the Soriano and especially Lowe situations first before moving on getting an OF/1B?

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
12:44 pm

Wow. The Brewers overpaid for Wolf??? Despite his bad year, Lowe is way better. Have fun in 4th place Brew Crew.

A Rod

December 9th, 2009
12:44 pm

Who’s gonna take his contract?

Fischerking04

December 9th, 2009
12:44 pm

Does the Braves front office really expect to get a big bat or just a pretty good bat? They have reportedly not had any interest, understandably, in the Bay, Holliday dealings. But those are the only two real game changer type offensive guys on the FA market.

So if Wren plans to fill the offensive woes with a FA my guess is he is planning on trying to get a pretty good offensive OF and 1B. Is that about the gist of it?

Noah

December 9th, 2009
12:46 pm

Dan,
Maybe they will still sign LaRoche but determined the market for him was less then what he would have got in arbitration. For $8-10miliion there are a lot of choices out there I think. Some 1b’s are: Russell Branyan (30+ homers last yr), Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado, Nick Johnson,

Nova Scotia Steve - #40

December 9th, 2009
12:47 pm

I can’t get over that Wolf contract.

I just puked…

Marc in FL

December 9th, 2009
12:47 pm

All I know is we need a lead off hitter that doesn’t suck and a better option for clean up. The two most important spots in a line-up (1st and 4th), are holes for this team right now.

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
12:48 pm

RC: if the Dodgers wanted to sign D-Lowe, they could have done so last year. He will not be a Dodger. Period.

Josh

December 9th, 2009
12:48 pm

Why are we interested in Cameron. Signing him would be a huge mistake. He cant hit fourth and he strikes out too much. I think Wren realizes this. Marlon Byrd would be a way better fit. He’s younger and a better hitter. He’s from GA too and former graduate of Georgia Perimeter College. GPC baby!! LOL

AdirondackDave

December 9th, 2009
12:49 pm

Nova Scotia Dave — Agree, it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm for the journeymen that have been mentioned lately for a bat. I have a lot of faith in FW though. He’s built a great staff and, in the end, I think he’ll work a deal for a bat or two that will really help us.

I find Wolf at near 30 to be just hilarious and very positive from the Braves point of view. They get a really superior pitcher (Hudson) for less and it strengthens the market for one of our starters. Nice going Wolfie and your agent.

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
12:50 pm

They defintely overpaid for Wolf, but that’s a pretty decent looking rotation in Milwaukee.

P-Town Brave

December 9th, 2009
12:51 pm

“Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Tigers have interest in Juan Pierre, and are “looking for a third team to supply the pitcher L.A. needs.” Odd, since the Tigers have more bad pitching contracts than anyone. The Tigers apparently prefer to unload Carlos Guillen.”

Ok, I’ll bite. How about Lowe returns to the Dodgers as Vaz will never waive his NTC to go there and we get Guillen for either LF or 1b (more likely LF as he’s terrible at 1b)?

Tiger Woods

December 9th, 2009
12:51 pm

Dan,

LaRcohe wanted a longer contract than 1 year. He wants 3ish. One reason why we didn’t.

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
12:52 pm

I would take half of Mike Cameron over Byrd. Last year was Byrd’s only productive year, and he played in hitter heaven aka Arlington. Check those home/away splits.

Noah

December 9th, 2009
12:52 pm

I would love Cameron (Cammy) but think many other teams including his former team in Seattle will want him too. His defense is great still according to scouts and he gives you 25+ homers a year and a little speed. If you want a leadoff type how about Damon, but his defense sucks.

Resident Cynic

December 9th, 2009
12:52 pm

Wolf’s agent is Arn Tellem so one must ask, is the agreement really an agreement?

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:52 pm

Some key Guillen stats over the last 3 years (345 games played):

.281 avg
.359 obp
42 HR
130 extra base hits

Gary O

December 9th, 2009
12:53 pm

Josh,

Marlon Byrd is not a good hitter away from Texas. Also, there is a lot of potential for injuries with him.

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:54 pm

NC Braves Fan,

The Dodgers didn’t want Lowe when it meant they got 2 draft picks for not resigning him. If they can get Lowe AND lose Pierre’s contract, they might be interested.

Bravissimo

December 9th, 2009
12:54 pm

Stro’s,O’s and Halo’s sounds like a Tom Waits song?

Noah

December 9th, 2009
12:54 pm

I would not pay $13 million for Guillien. For that money can’t you get better. Rather trade Lowe to yankess and get Nick Swisher if possible, he makes 8mil so you’d still have 7mil left for….Soriano or another bat.

Salamander

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

Lots of (bad) options for a 1B/OF bat being thrown around the blog today, but Wednesday does end in a ‘y’ so it makes sense that the collective bloggulace is throwing out whatever trash it can dig up.

The hypothetical list (starting with my favorite of the mediocre bunch):

Cameron (old, maybe too expensive)
Byrd (check out those home/away splits)
Nady (TJ surg for a non-pitcher)
LaRoche (2nd half hero)
Cabrera (rich, drunken clown)
Willingham (Nationals asking price is supposedly too high)
Dye (old, 2nd half crap out at the plate last year)
Lowell (really people?)
Delgado (old, bad hip, missed last year, played for the Mets, I could go on…)

I think that’s most of the usual suspects thrown around here. Did I forget any sub-optimal name?

CB

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

Lew, if you had caught what I said about his contract argument,that I understand. It is not just you that I hear on this blog being judgmental on players. A good example is people laughing at Tim Tebow for having convictions,and crying because his team lost. What a shame there are young people who believe in their faith enough to actually stand up for what they believe,he doesn’t throw it around at you and he just lives his convictions. I have to admire that a player like him is actually looked up to by his coach for his willingness to do missions work. Just so everybody knows I could care less about the SEC and who wins- my statement is about the young man. Lew,also sorry about your father, I lost my best friend in HS the same way.

Brad in KY

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

If Marlon Byrd is our offensive upgrade then we’re doomed.

Chopper

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

This is how I see the narrative:

Going into 2009 Frank Wren wanted to rebuild the pitching staff. He knew he had an excellent piece already in place in Jair Jurrjens. He knew he had an ace who wouldn’t be ready to go until August in Tim Hudson. And he knew he had an ace in the hole in Tommy Hanson. So he needed to acquire an anchor to make the staff go for the next couple of years. They thought that guy could be Derek Lowe. So they signed him to a 4 year deal. They needed depth so they signed Kawakami to a three year deal and traded for Javy Vasquez who had two years left on his deal. They expected those depth pitchers would get them to Tommy Hanson later in 2009. What they didn’t expect was that Vasquez would finally live up to his potential (now that he is where he wanted to be, in Atlanta) and out perform Lowe. So they wish that the contract situations were reversed for Lowe and Vasquez.

To me Frank Wren shouldn’t worry too much about what he gets in return for Derek Lowe. Clearing the payroll is the key. If they could find someone to take the whole thing for nothing in return, I’d say “here’s the keys.” Because nobody is going to trade the Braves what they desperately need in return for Lowe…a right handed power bat. And unless they want to trade their own prospects, they won’t land one that way either. So the only real avenue to get that bat is thru free agency. And the only way they can afford that is to move Lowe. So to me the smartest business decision you can make is to not worry about what you get in return for Lowe, just that the other team takes his whole salary.

And if I were Wren, I’d wait to deal Rafael Soriano until AFTER you get Lowe’s salary cleared. Because then there’s more flexibility in the Braves payroll because the right handed power bat they will likely sign, won’t cost as much as Derek Lowe’s $15 million. And with the ability to hold onto Soriano financially, Wren can afford to force a better prospect in return for him. And if he doesn’t get the prospect he wants, then just keep Soriano and have a deeper bullpen.

Chopper

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

This is how I see the narrative:

Going into 2009 Frank Wren wanted to rebuild the pitching staff. He knew he had an excellent piece already in place in Jair Jurrjens. He knew he had an ace who wouldn’t be ready to go until August in Tim Hudson. And he knew he had an ace in the hole in Tommy Hanson. So he needed to acquire an anchor to make the staff go for the next couple of years. They thought that guy could be Derek Lowe. So they signed him to a 4 year deal. They needed depth so they signed Kawakami to a three year deal and traded for Javy Vasquez who had two years left on his deal. They expected those depth pitchers would get them to Tommy Hanson later in 2009. What they didn’t expect was that Vasquez would finally live up to his potential (now that he is where he wanted to be, in Atlanta) and out perform Lowe. So they wish that the contract situations were reversed for Lowe and Vasquez.

To me Frank Wren shouldn’t worry too much about what he gets in return for Derek Lowe. Clearing the payroll is the key. If they could find someone to take the whole thing for nothing in return, I’d say “here’s the keys.” Because nobody is going to trade the Braves what they desperately need in return for Lowe…a right handed power bat. And unless they want to trade their own prospects, they won’t land one that way either. So the only real avenue to get that bat is thru free agency. And the only way they can afford that is to move Lowe. So to me the smartest business decision you can make is to not worry about what you get in return for Lowe, just that the other team takes his whole salary.

And if I were Wren, I’d wait to deal Rafael Soriano until AFTER you get Lowe’s salary cleared. Because then there’s more flexibility in the Braves payroll because the right handed power bat they will likely sign, won’t cost as much as Derek Lowe’s $15 million. And with the ability to hold onto Soriano financially, Wren can afford to force a better prospect in return for him. And if he doesn’t get the prospect he wants, then just keep Soriano and have a deeper bullpen.

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

NC Braves fan

Gallardo, Wolf and who else? I’m missing someone.

lewie

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

Cameron and Byrd are garbage

lowe + soriano for C.Lee

Noah

December 9th, 2009
12:56 pm

But word out there is that Dodgers only want to sign pitchers to one year deals this offseason.

Gwinnett Fred

December 9th, 2009
12:58 pm

Everybody needs to take a powder. So little ever happens at the winter meetings – it’s mostly speculation and rumor, which usually comes true about 10% of the time, so I just wish the blog would stick to what happens rather than everybody’s Christmas wish list.

Marc in FL

December 9th, 2009
12:58 pm

Marlon Byrd’s HR and SLG were down away from Texas last year, but his other numbers were all almost identical to his Texas games. You guys make it sound like he hit .200 away from home or something.

Not saying his home numbers weren’t better, cause they were, but he could still be counted on an .AVG hitter. The problem with the fit for the Braves is we don’t need another no-power AVG hitter, we have enough of those.

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
12:58 pm

RC: the Dodgers’ owner is going through a nasty divorce and the team is watching its coins pretty closely. Lowe at $15 million over 3 years goes against that grain.

glorydays

December 9th, 2009
12:58 pm

Given that “improve the offense” does not mean a real big bat, is there a better option at first base than LaRoche, and how does that improve the offense. Who is going to get excited about Cameron? I think it would be better positioning to state we are going to improve the defense to go with our young pitching then we wouldn’t be disappointed with the addition of Cameron.

Nova Scotia Steve - #40

December 9th, 2009
12:59 pm

Salamander: I removed who I would may like to see in a Braves uniform no matter how far fetched the dream…But everyone else on this list I’m with you and think we should stand clear…

Byrd (check out those home/away splits)
Nady (TJ surg for a non-pitcher)
Dye (old, 2nd half crap out at the plate last year)
Lowell (really people?)
Delgado (old, bad hip, missed last year, played for the Mets, I could go on…)

RC

December 9th, 2009
12:59 pm

lowe + soriano for C.Lee

I don’t think the Astros don’t have the money for that, but could be wrong.

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
1:01 pm

Cammeron is garbage? Not quite. Also, I’m gonna be sick if I keep reading Byrd’s name in any sentence other than “Marlon Byrd will be playing for someone who isn’t the Braves.”

lewie

December 9th, 2009
1:02 pm

yea, that was my only worry….if the stros had the funds

Noah

December 9th, 2009
1:02 pm

I would be excited about Cameron, improve your defense a lot over last year and improve your power too. He is consistent with his power numbers and a good guy. One article broke down all the new metrics and said Cameron looked just as good as Bay but with less long term contract to pay for.

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
1:02 pm

owl hunter: Looper & Parra regressed last year but have had good seasons for Milwaukee in the past. Wolf will probably stabilize that staff if he can stay healthy. (Big if.)

SilverKey

December 9th, 2009
1:03 pm

Where’s the fun in that Gwinnet Fred?

Fischerking04

December 9th, 2009
1:05 pm

I don’t think some people realize that ALL PARTIES INVOLVED in the Soriano situation plan on getting him to another team. This includes Wren, Soriano, and his agent. Soriano doesn’t want to pitch in the 7th and Wren has made it clear that he is going to move him. So any possible scenarios where we keep Soriano are fundamentally lacking from the beginning.

P-Town Brave

December 9th, 2009
1:05 pm

NC Braves Fan-

Yeah, but isn’t that *ss backwards thinking? Wouldn’t you want to spend a crapload of money with the thought that hey, I’m gonna spend everything I have just so that b*tch gets nothing?!

FEAR

December 9th, 2009
1:05 pm

wolf signs. does that set the bar for the price of SPs?

RC

December 9th, 2009
1:05 pm

NC Braves Fan,

I completely agree that Dodgers financial situation could be a problem. That’s why I said Braves and Tigers could pitch in some of the money to help offset what’s owed to Lowe. Let’s say the Braves pitch in $6-7 million and the Tigers $4-5 million. If those numbers can add up to $11.5 million, then the Dodgers are only taking on a $15 million commitment spread over 3-years. Considering that there is NO way they get a pitcher close to Lowe’s quality for $5 million a year over 3 years, I think they’d do this deal.

Wes

December 9th, 2009
1:06 pm

Any word on the Braves signing Adam LaRoche? Or bringing up Freddie Freeman to fill the empty first baseman position? One of you AJC bloggers (can’t remember who) advocated signing Adrian Gonzalez, if the Padres allowed it. That trade MIGHT actually be worth giving up Vazquez.

For the 5,400,850,954 time......

December 9th, 2009
1:06 pm

Check out Marlon Byrd’s home/road splits, his numbers are inflated by that park in Arlington.

Salamander

December 9th, 2009
1:07 pm

Cameron is garbage? Not quite

He is my favorite of the oft-mentioned, sub-optimal players thrown around on this here blog. I wonder if his price tag is going to be too high though. He isn’t worth investing more than ~$7 mill/year for maybe 2 years, and that is a steep price tag for a so-so player on the wrong side of 35. Also, I pulled those numbers out of my behind. I have no idea what the market thinks Cameron is worth.

P-Town Brave

December 9th, 2009
1:07 pm

FEAR-

Yeah, the fact that Wolf gets that kind of money is laughable…even Jason Marquis thinks that contract is NUTS!

Certainly makes Lowe’s contract look more manageable.

SilverKey

December 9th, 2009
1:07 pm

That trade would be Wes, but the Padres would laugh in your face.

BravesfaninWis

December 9th, 2009
1:09 pm

DOB,

We just got 14 inches of snow dumped on us, and it will be 25 below zero tonight. The sad part is, this is our first snow fall of the year.

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
1:09 pm

Personally, I think the Lowe market essentially comes down to TUS – Yanks, Red Sox, & Angels. Maybe the Mariners get involved if they want to spend money on pitching.

For a lot of teams, I imagine a pitcher who could be signed or traded for with a shorter contract & lower salary is going to be more attractive than Lowe at 3yr/$15 million.

C's

December 9th, 2009
1:10 pm

Vaz MIGHT be worth A. Gon? Might?

Fischerking04

December 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

Question: What are the odds that Schafer outplays Heyward in ST and gets a spot on the opening day roster? With all of the scenarios I’ve heard, none of them really involve him. But the Braves front office is still high on him and I’d like to know what their plans are with him.

TommyP

December 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

I agree that the Wolf signing is more $ than I thought he’d get but since coming back from surgery AND since his move to Houston a year and a half ago, he’s been VERY good. I believe that’s what the Brewers are banking on…good health since the TJ surgery.

I’m pretty stunned to hear the Braves aren’t working the trade market to acquire a bat. (or so it seems by Wren’s quotes)

With the Granderson acquisition and probable Damon re-signing by the Yanks, I’d be interested to see if the Braves can acquire Swisher from the Yanks. Swisher and Nady??? Hey, that would be alright by me.

DOB: Hope you take this the right way but you’re money in the offseason with these blogs.

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

Salamander

I’m all about Cameron, too. He might cost a little, but he’s one of the more sensible options out there. We’re not getting Gonzales, Cabrera or anyone like that. Cameron also contributes to one thing we need that nobody is talking about: DEFENSE!

Tommy T

December 9th, 2009
1:12 pm

NC Braves Fan

December 9th, 2009
1:12 pm

P-Town Brave: LMAO! Well, the divorce keeps TJ Simers at the Times interested and gainfully employed (and TJ’s writing about it keeps me entertained).

owl hunter

December 9th, 2009
1:13 pm

The Padres are going cheap and young. They don’t want Vaz.

richbrave

December 9th, 2009
1:13 pm

LOWE to the YANKEES for NICK SWISHER straight up.

TennesseePaul

December 9th, 2009
1:13 pm

Thanks for the updates DOB.

So, in summary, Braves fans should not expect anything exciting from trading a top of the rotation pitcher, a “stud” closer, or anything A grade in terms of acquiring a middle of the order bat… well speak for your self. This Braves fan will cheer and clap upon the report that the Braves traded Lowe and all his salary for an oft-injured thirty year old A ball pitcher, Soriano for a Rule-5 draft pick and used the savings to pick up Marlon Byrd and Mike Cameron. That’s a combined 30 Homer potential! and minor league depth!

World Series here we come.

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