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 erstwhile third baseman will move to first base, where Glaus has played only six games in his career, and the Braves will hope his surgically repaired shoulder holds up after he missed all but 14 games in 2009.

The Glaus development capped an eventful three weeks in which Wren drew some scrutiny over the early signings of aging relievers Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to replace free agents Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, and what many felt was a somewhat-hasty trade of Soriano two days after he accepted the  Braves’ arbitration offer.

But like so many baseball moves, it will take a while before we really know if the right call was made, and probably several years before we determine which side “won” the Vazquez trade.

One knee-jerk reaction over the Vazquez trade was this: “How does a team help itself by trading 15 wins (Vazquez) for 13 homers (Cabrera)?” But that was both an oversimplification and a mischaracterization of the trade.

Vizcaino is who the Braves coveted, and got, in Vazquez trade

Vizcaino is who the Braves coveted, and got, in Vazquez trade

While an argument could certainly be made that it would’ve served the Braves’ 2010 needs better if Wren had waited to trade Vazquez for a power hitter, a key to the deal from the Braves’ perspective was what else they got in the trade: hard-throwing lefty Mike Dunn, who’ll compete for a bullpen spot right away; and especially 19-year-old righty Arodys Vizcaino, a premium prospect the Braves compare to their own top pitching prospect, 18-year-old Julio Teheran.

The Braves now have what some scouts say are three of baseball’s highest-ceiling pitchers in the low minors: Teheran, Vizcaino and  Randall Delgado, 19, who had 141 strikeouts in 124 innings at Class A Rome last season.

With that trio and 23-year-old major league standouts Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, the Braves might have more elite young arms than most organizations ever dream of. And the potential for their 2012 or 2013 rotation is staggering.

The Braves would’ve preferred to trade Derek Lowe, but couldn’t find any team to take all or most of the $45 million he’s owed over the next three years. So they dealt Vazquez, a workhorse strikeout machine who had a career-best season (15-10, 2.87 ER) and has a year left at $11.5 million before free agency.

For those who suggest the Braves would have been better off keeping Vazquez and not signing Tim Hudson to an three-year extension, again, it will take time to know if the right call was made. It might be a valid point.

But it’s also worth noting that Vazquez has posted an ERA under 4.42 in just one other season in the past six, while Hudson has put up ERAs of 3.53 or below in eight of his 10 full seasons in the majors.

The Braves didn’t get a power hitter in the Vazquez trade, but in Cabrera they got a serviceable guy who can play all three outfield positions and is still young enough (25) to realize more of the potential the Yankees once saw in him.

They also got a raw-but-talented power lefty for the ‘pen and an elite pitching prospect, all while clearing out $9 million in payroll for other needs.

The Braves used about $2 million of it to sign Glaus,  a nearly 6-foot-6, 250-pound righty-hitting behemoth who’s totaled 304 homers in 12 seasons, including five seasons with at least 30 homers and two with more than 40.

Glaus hit .270 with 27 homers and 99 RBIs in 2008 for the Cardinals, but missed all but 14 games last season after setbacks in his recovery from January 2009 arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He also missed big chunks of two other seasons (2003-2004) for problems with, and surgery on, the same shoulder.

The Braves probably have at least $7 million left in their budget, maybe closer to $9 mill (they won’t say exactly) and are still considering adding another hitter, possibly a left fielder (Xavier Nady?) who can also play first base. Or maybe a trade for second baseman (slugger Dan Uggla?), if they decide Martin Prado could still be in the lineup regularly at a mix of positions. Would the Marlins do a Melky-for-Uggla deal, with the Braves probably throwing in something else?

Stay tuned. If you don’t like how the Braves look, don’t worry… Oh, wait, we already used up our bromides.

♣ So what do you think of your GM? He seems to be a bit of a polarizing figure among some of you at times, but am I right in perceiving that the majority think he’s done a solid overall job? Yes?  No?

Wren has made bold, decisive

Wren has been bold, decisive in two years as GM

Is it accurate to perceive that many of you think he could have handled a couple of matters with a little more sensitivity, but that it’s tough to criticize the ultimate outcomes in most cases? Or is that not a good read on my part?

Because I can tell you, a lot of players and agents that I talk to seem to go out of their way to say he’s done a good job with the resources he has to work with, and that he’s been especially adept at building a pitching staff.

Let me know what you think. I’m curious.

Anyway, there’s no doubt he’s made some bold moves since taking the baton from venerable GM John Schuerholz after the 2007 season. And Wren has made them with confidence, maybe brashness in some cases, and with little apparent concern for criticism and second-guessing from media, fans, or even others in the industry.

One official from another team at the Winter Meetings asked a reporter why Wren gambled on offering arbitration to Soriano, who could have commanded more than $7 million through that process, and then why he traded him so quickly when other teams knew the Braves seemed desperate to unload him.

But Wren never showed any sign of regret over the move. He insisted the Braves knew all along there was a 50-50 chance Soriano would accept arbitration, then took a positive view of the outcome by saying hard-throwing reliever Jesse Chavez, whom the Braves got from Tampa Bay in the Soriano trade, could end up being better for the Braves than the draft-pick compensation they’d have received if Soriano declined arbitration.

The last thing you want to do, Wren said, was to not offer arbitration and get nothing when a free agent left for another team.

Say what you will about his moves, but Wren makes them with conviction, without hemming and hawing, then he stands by them. He’s hit it big on a couple of deals, notably getting Jurrjens and center-field prospect Gorkys Hernandez from Detroit for Edgar Renteria in a trade two weeks after becoming GM.

He’s been criticized for getting only Casey Kotchman and reliever Stephen Marek for Mark Teixeira in July 2008, but it wasn’t Wren who traded a bevy of top prospects to the Rangers to get Tex a year earlier. That was J.S.

And while Wren didn’t treat the other J.S. (John Smoltz) or Tom Glavine with what some believed was the proper amount of respect, ultimately his decisions with regard to both icon pitchers looked to have been the right call.

Smoltz struggled for much of 2009, and Glavine wasn’t picked up by another team after being released by the Braves. He hasn’t announced his retirement yet, but Glavine is expected to do so and, last I heard, was discussing some sort of front-office position with the Braves. Let’s hope that happens.

That would be a welcome coda to the recent saga, I think most would agree. And if the Braves get Greg Maddux back to spring training as a special instructor, as they hope to do, it could be some good times for the Braves and fans alike if Glav and Mad Dog were back together for a few days down at Dark Star.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot to mention: Only eight weeks until pitchers and catchers report.

shaverTHISWORKS

Billy Joe Shaver and me, few weeks ago at Eddie's Attic. That's Billy Joe on the right, offering to help with my Top 50 CDs list.

Best CDs of 2009: Without further ado, here it is. My annual list of the best 50 compact discs (or albums, in a couple of cases where I went with the vinyl) of the year.

My rules are simple: It must be a CD (or LP) that I possess in its entirety, not something I heard about or that I read was good, and not something that I downloaded one or two songs from or listened to at the listening station at Decatur CD or Criminal Records (or wherever else great music is sold).

That means two things: First and foremost, that I spend way too much money on CDs. Secondly, it means there are going to be some good or even great ones that I missed, that I didn’t procure (so far) or that I couldn’t bring myself to spend the full suggested retail price on without hearing first (can’t trust some critics, particularly ones who work at commercial-rock mags). We’ve got no genre restrictions, nothing like that is important here. Just good music, whatever.

Some not listed here got great critical reviews, but I either didn’t hear ‘em or didn’t like ‘em. Or there might be one or two I simply overlooked when I was going back through my stacks and shelves of CDs, trying to figure out exactly what came out this year (the damn type is so small and/or I’m getting so old that finding the date on the back of some of them is humiliating).

Two other things: I cheated slightly on my album of the year, in that it’s actually a four-CD box set. But since it’s easily the best thing released this year, and Big Star was one of the greatest and most criminally underrated bands to ever roam the planet, and because it’s not strictly a reissue (reissues can’t qualify for this list) but loaded with previously unreleased gems, it’s No. 1.

Album of the Year: Big Star Keep An Eye On The Sky; 2. Nirvana Live at Reading; 3. Raekwon Only Built for Cuban Linx…Pt. II; 4. Dinosaur Jr. Farm; 5. Tom Waits Glitter and Doom Live; 6. Neko Case Middle Cyclone; 7. Japandroids Post-Nothing; 8. William Elliott Whitmore Animals In the Dark; 9. The Rural Alberta Advantage Hometowns; 10. Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion; 11. Leonard Cohen Live In London 12. The Flaming Lips Embryonic; 13. Todd Snyder The Excitement Plan; 14. White Rabbits It’s Frightening; 15. Sonic Youth The Eternal; 16. Monsters of Folk Monsters of Folk; 17. Rancid Let the Dominoes Fall; 18. Mos Def The Ecstatic; 19. Drive-By Truckers The Fine Print; 20. Dale Watson The Truckin’ Sessions Vol. 2; 21. The Thermals Now We Can See; 22. Rosanne Cash The List; 23. M. Ward Hold Time; 25. Grizzly Bear Veckatimist; 25. Heartless Bastards The Mountain;

26. Justin Townes Earle Midnight at the Movies; 27. R.E.M. Live at the Olympia; 28. Dan Auerbach Keep It Hid; 29. James McMurtry Live in Europe; 30. Steve Earle Townes; 31. Wilco (the Album); 32. Levon Helm Electric Dirt; 33. Slaid Cleaves Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away; 34. Built to Spill There Is No Enemy; 35. Atlas Sound Logos; 36. Mastodon Crack the Skye; 37. Art Brut Art Brut vs. Satan; 38. Avett Brothers I and Love and You; 39. Ryan Bingham Roadhouse Sun; 40. Patterson Hood Murdering Oscar; 41. Holly Williams Here With Me; 42. Jarvis Cocker Further Complications; 43. PJ Harvey & John Parish A Woman A Man Walked By; 44. Bruce Springsteen Working on a Dream; 45. Bloodkin Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again; 46. Lucero 1372 Overton Park; 47. Pearl Jam Backspacer; 48. Eels Hombre Lobo; 49. Bob Dylan Together Through Life; 50. Meat Puppets Sewn Together.

7,410 comments Add your comment

chris

December 23rd, 2009
10:47 pm

first after a busy last blog =)

new cars

December 23rd, 2009
10:47 pm

I’ve never been first

PTBNL

December 23rd, 2009
10:47 pm

Ok… This time everyone needs to be nice and respectful. Deal? lol

chris

December 23rd, 2009
10:47 pm

nor never will new cars haha

new cars

December 23rd, 2009
10:47 pm

still perfect…couldn’t see the keys

ncgary

December 23rd, 2009
10:49 pm

carl crawford would look good leading off

C's

December 23rd, 2009
10:49 pm

Tom O’Hawke – From last blog. Good point. But something tells me, for MOST of the complainers, that is not their reason.

Rock On........

December 23rd, 2009
10:50 pm

Probably not first but I tried

jeffrey d

December 23rd, 2009
10:50 pm

Was Billy Joe aware that a picture was being taken?

Vazy

December 23rd, 2009
10:50 pm

Fifteenth !!!!

Soph

December 23rd, 2009
10:52 pm

The Braves now have what some scouts say are three of baseball’s highest-ceiling pitchers in the low minors: Teheran, Vizcaino and Randall Delgado…

I know they’re all probably years away but it’s exciting.

I see the Hawks are getting screwed over. lol Horford’s a trip.

Bravesguy101

December 23rd, 2009
10:53 pm

“The Melk-Man…always knocks twice”

bbspell22

December 23rd, 2009
10:53 pm

DOB
Go to Canada already….geez. Enjoy the vac, I think you earned it (especially in the last 2 days)
Im diggin the new 30 seconds to Mars CD

Soph

December 23rd, 2009
10:54 pm

Was Billy Joe aware that a picture was being taken?

:lol:

HTF

December 23rd, 2009
10:54 pm

I’m a really big Frank Wren fan. He’s a shrew decision maker and he’s a risk taker. I love that in a GM. He’s turned this franchise around in a short period of time after a franchise-crippling trade was made half a year before his tenure started.

Tom O'Hawke

December 23rd, 2009
10:54 pm

“I’ve never been first”new cars

Ehhh, I was first on that last blog, you know the “World’s Record Blog”, ….. nobody cared. :(

Steve from OH

December 23rd, 2009
10:55 pm

But that was both an oversimplification and even a mischaracterization of the trade.

That’s a polite way of putting it.

Let me know what you think. I’m curious.

I think that, so far, he’s done a very good job. But he’s still got work to do.

Really enjoyed your segment on Wren. Well done.

brian

December 23rd, 2009
10:55 pm

No Line 50th on the list is a little harsh. I thought the album was solid

Tom O'Hawke

December 23rd, 2009
10:57 pm

” Good point. But something tells me, for MOST of the complainers, that is not their reason.”

C’s, you now know the blog.

BraveOne

December 23rd, 2009
10:57 pm

How nice would it be to have Glaus coming off the bench to fill in one of the corner infield spots…We have the prospects and players to trade for Adrian Gonz. (Melky and Prospects) then go out and sign Nady/Derosa/Dye to a one year deal to play Left or Right. That would be a solid line-up.

1. McClouth
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. Adrian G.
5 B-Mac
6. Nady/Dye/Derosa
7. Yunel
8. Diaz
9. Pitchers Spot

Steve from OH

December 23rd, 2009
10:59 pm

He hasn’t announced his retirement yet, but Glavine is expected to do so and, last I heard, was discussing some sort of front-office position with the Braves. Let’s hope that happens.

That would be awesome. I hope Frank and Glav can bury the hatchet and get that done.

ncgary

December 23rd, 2009
10:59 pm

it would be nice to fleece tampa bay out of zobritz and crawford, if that goes down i think we can print the world series tickets on up

matt-t

December 23rd, 2009
10:59 pm

If you like Mastodon, you should check out Baroness (out of Savannah) similar type stuff.

chris

December 23rd, 2009
10:59 pm

DoB- i’m not sure that the braves would add a guy like nady or derosa, and keep diaz on the bench, especially if heyward is coming up this year, and have melky as the 5th outfielder.

jeffrey d

December 23rd, 2009
11:01 pm

Somebody needs to tell Chris Andersen he looks like a tool.

Hoosier Aaron

December 23rd, 2009
11:02 pm

To answer the question, I think Frank Wren (overall) has done a very good job. However, I’m very disappointed with the Glaus signing. Sure, it could be a high reward move. It (to me) takes on more of a Pittsburgh Pirate move.

This team has the pitching to compete. I personally do not think we have the wiggle room to take a chance (be wrong) and still compete. I’d love to see Glaus bang 30 HR & drive in 110 RBI – but I’m betting that on May 15, we’re searching for a replacement.

Overall Wren grade = A-
Glaus signing for 1B = D

MaineBrave

December 23rd, 2009
11:02 pm

First page post!!!!!

Steve from OH

December 23rd, 2009
11:03 pm

Something Dave would enjoy–Primanti Bros. sandwiches featured on the Travel Channel right now. Looks freakin’ good…

Goldenglove002

December 23rd, 2009
11:03 pm

My review of Frank Wren: I was a strong supporter of his prior to this offseason starting. He did quite a good job reconstructing the team last offseason and during the season (along with the renteria trade way back). However we need to see what the rest of this offseason looks like. Right now I think he is going to need to work some magic though in the next month though in order to get anything better than a C for this offseason. As of right now the team doesn’t look any better than last year and it seemed like he had the money to spend.

Tom O'Hawke

December 23rd, 2009
11:04 pm

“That would be awesome. I hope Frank and Glav can bury the hatchet and get that done.”

Steve, I agree totally!

DMBJAMS

December 23rd, 2009
11:05 pm

When I read your list, DOB I don’t understand how Dave Matthews Band isn’t one of your favorites. Okay I’ll stop. LOL

David O'Brien

December 23rd, 2009
11:06 pm

Steve from OH: Primanti Bros. sandwiches are outstanding. They have a few shops in Pittsburgh, where it’s based, but they also have one on the beach in Fort. Lauderdale. Went there many a late night (it’s open 24 hours). The fries cooked in the sandwich. Great stuff.

Latenight Bailbond Guy

December 23rd, 2009
11:06 pm

Hey, I wasn’t finished with the old blog yet!

Goldenglove002

December 23rd, 2009
11:06 pm

eh, rough job on the typing of my last post. I must like the word “though”.

Don!

December 23rd, 2009
11:07 pm

Do I like Frank Wren’s job so far with the Braves? Yes … but. Yes, I think he’s done a good job in improving the team from the time he took the job to today … but, as written above — I don’t think he’s been as sensitive to some things inside and outside the organization as he could have been.

As far as the Vazquez trade goes, I’m glad that DOB’s smart enough to see it for what it was — a deal to free cash and get a premium prospect. Everyone seems to just see the Melky for Vaz part of the deal and blow a gasket. Of course, the key is in two parts for the Braves — first, what do we do with the money (and I think Glaus is a good start) and secondly, how the prospect turns out in a couple of years.

I know this is going to go over like a lead balloon here, but I really see these moves as good, aggressive moves … for 2011/12. The Braves have a lot of talent just below AAA ball, and if those prospects pan out, and we don’t spend ourselves into a financial hole in the next two years — we stand a chance of being really, really good for this decade. The rest of the idea is that we still have the pieces to maybe make a run this year, but the focus is still a year or two off.

I can live with that, if that’s the plan. Of course, if we keep making band-aid moves … well, we’re only a year or two off from being the Mets. And I don’t think anyone on the blog wants that.

I wish Frank Wren was a bit more outgoing and respectful in his day-to-day interactions, he just seems a bit defensive about a lot of things. But I think I can see where he’s going and I appreciate the end goal. I just hope he doesn’t lose the good will of the Braves’ fan base or the respect of the players from the ‘Team of the ’90s’ in getting this franchise back to the World Series soon.

Later,

Don!

Steve from OH

December 23rd, 2009
11:07 pm

Gotta say, I’d sure like to try one right now Dave…

TnBrian(just need one more solid bat)

December 23rd, 2009
11:07 pm

Bradley is either a grouch who pays the majority of his attention to GA football(which is cool, but…) or he just hates Frank Wren. Seriously, Glaus isn’t THAT bad of a signing and could end up being one of Wrens better FA signings as the Braves GM. His facts are a little sketchy for such a vetran writer and I just think he has it in for the Braves FO for some reason.

Uggla would sure look nice in our lineup. Nady would be fine by me too. But, Nady might be a little too risky now that they’ve signed another player coming off major surgery in Glaus. Uggla would definitely make us a much more complete team, offensively.

David O'Brien

December 23rd, 2009
11:07 pm

Come on, now: You guys gotta tell me how cool that photo with Shaver is. I couldn’t resist using it.

Turlock Brave

December 23rd, 2009
11:08 pm

I’m surprised that The Flaming Lips was so high and that U2 was on there at all. I could see what the FL were doing, but I wasn’t that into it, and U2 was just boring. It was like some other band was trying to make a U2 album. It reminds me of the Stones in the 80’s when they ran out of ideas.

jeffrey d

December 23rd, 2009
11:08 pm

It’s pretty cool that you were able to get a picture with him, DOB. But it’d be cooler if it didn’t look like he was distracted by a butterfly.

George from NC

December 23rd, 2009
11:09 pm

Shaver really knows how to look at the camera huh?

MaineBrave

December 23rd, 2009
11:09 pm

David O’Brien

December 23rd, 2009
11:07 pm

Come on, now: You guys gotta tell me how cool that photo with Shaver is. I couldn’t resist using it.

He looks like he is about ot eat somebody lol

Il Cattivo

December 23rd, 2009
11:10 pm

DOB

I think people are having a tough time recognizing you without the Brando-cool leather jacket.

Thundersticks

December 23rd, 2009
11:10 pm

If Wren can also add a Nady/DeRosa/Uggla in addition to Glaus, then I think we should be able to compete with anyone.

David Athens, Al

December 23rd, 2009
11:11 pm

overall … Wren gets an A …Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!

tyler

December 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Good call on Sonic Youth, Drive by truckers and the live REM. I also thought that the newest from Pearl Jam was their best since Vitalogy. Speaking of the Braves- I thought that Bradley was a little harsh with his article(s) about Wren. I prefer to reserve judgment until the season starts or at least until we make another move. I would like to see Uggla in a Braves uniform.

George from NC

December 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Amount of Bands i’ve heard of on the list: 7
Amount of Bands I listen to on the list: 0

Music fail?

Latenight Bailbond Guy

December 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Billy Joe looks like he’s lived a lot of the songs he’s written. My friend Keith Christopher used to play bass for him and his late son Eddy, so I got to hang out with them some. Great guy and very cool pic, DOB.

nolie

December 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Not even in the same discussion defensively and until he proves otherwise Rock On

Fielding Bible rated Adam as the 15th fielder. pretty dead average. good chance Troy can get close to that with some work. not like Roachie is all that

nick shay

December 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Very, very solid year end album list, DOB. Love that Rural Alberta Advantage disc and the Japandroids (and Neko Case, of course). Here are a couple CDs that I thought were among the best of the year that you didn’t include (in no order):

1. Vic Chesnutt – At the Cut
2. Holopaw – Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.
3. The Dutchess and the Duke – Sunset/Sunrise
4. Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
5. Thao – Know Better Learn Faster
6. Girls – Album
7. J Tillman [the Fleet Foxes' drummer] – Year in the Kingdom
8. The Dodos – Time to Die
9. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
10. Bowerbirds – Upper Air
11. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
12. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
13. Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer
14. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
15. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains
16. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
17. Bon Iver – Blood Bank
18. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – S/T

Andrew in PA

December 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Braves need somewhat of a safer pick now..i say keep melky and sign dero..need a backup first basemen too..melky,diaz and dero alternate in outfield,(keep chipper and mccann happy also),and for heyward i’d say start at AAA and have him ready for when we need him because you know we will.

1. Nate Mc
2. Prado
3. Jones
4. Glaus
5. McCann
6. Escobar
7. Derosa
8. Melky/Diaz

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:13 pm

I am not in favor of the Braves spending $8 or $9 mil a year on Mark DeRosa( he is sure to want a multi-year deal)……..or signing Xavier Nady to anything other than a 1 year contract.

I would rather see the Braves save that money for a possible trade deadline deal in July…or use the money to acquire a big bat via free agency after the 2010 season.

Since it is a “foregone” conclusion that the Braves arent going after Matt Holliday (according to many of you)……why not have Matt Diaz play left, McLouth in center, and Jason Heyward in right….with Melky Cabrera as our super outfield sub/late inning defensive replacement/pinch hitter? I dont see anyone out there worth spending that kind of cash on .
Since the Braves got Glaus on the cheap, why not make a run at Matt Holliday? I really feel that Matt Holliday would bring some real energy to our line-up and make Braves fans more willing to come to the ballpark and spend some cash, thereby increasing revenue.

Thundersticks

December 23rd, 2009
11:13 pm

Wonder if a trade of McLouth/Diaz and a couple of prospects would get us Nelson Cruz? Think about this lineup:

CF Cabrera
SS Escobar
3B Chipper
1B Glaus
C McCann
LF Cruz
RF Heyward
2B Prado

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:14 pm

Robert (Chipper Is The Best)…………Your 7:53pm posting has merit and it is very possible that the Braves outfield could play out that way.

However, if Schafer and Heyward both come up in late May or June…….I dont see Schafer playing in left when he platoons with Diaz. I see Schafer playing center and McLouth playing left field. Schafer has more speed and a way stronger arm than McLouth. When Diaz is in the line-up, then obviously he will be in left field while McLouth is in center.

Roman Gal

December 23rd, 2009
11:16 pm

Ann Arbor? Steve from OH

No. The backwoods of Mississippi.

Joshhh...

December 23rd, 2009
11:16 pm

I’m actually looking forward to the 2010 season, I’m tired of everyone questioning everything Wren does when we have no idea what will happen.

Our lineup going into 2010 looks so much better than it did going into 2009. Plus our bullpen is stacked from top to bottom.

Stop looking at what happened right now & look toward the future…

wreckmaniac

December 23rd, 2009
11:17 pm

It seems that a pitcher of Vasquez’s quality would have caused a feeding frenzy which is what occurs anytime a strong pitcher is available. This happened with no fanfare. The Francour trade resulted in nothing. I am a serious doubter of the Wagner deal. With this staff of starting pitchers it seems that the Braves could complete for the pennant now instead of going after kids 3 to 4 years away.

retired on the lake

December 23rd, 2009
11:18 pm

use that picture for your lead headshot.

Nick in PA

December 23rd, 2009
11:18 pm

is that Don Imus?

nfieldr

December 23rd, 2009
11:19 pm

DOB, have a great trip. I’m sure you’ve probably been to BC before, but if not, Vancouver and Whistler are both great. Also, a couple of recommendations for future trips. The Canadian Rockies and the town of Banff are awesome. And there are three ski areas relatively close to town. If you want to stay in the States, try coming here to New Mexico sometime. There are several great areas in the northern part of the state. Small crowds, good snow, and still a lot of sun.

The A Bomb

December 23rd, 2009
11:19 pm

Man from L.E.N.T.Z — Yesterday’s trade and today’s signing is now clear. We have a bad E.C.O.N.O.M.Y. and a decreased P.A.Y.R.O.L.L.

We’re not saving money now to overpay later.

David O'Brien

December 23rd, 2009
11:20 pm

Nick in PA: God, you’re right (Imus)

TnBrian (just need one more solid bat)

December 23rd, 2009
11:21 pm

DOB, dang, I didn’t know you had lived that hard. You could definitely use a vacation. Didn’t know being a beat writer took that much out of you. Sorry for any headache myself or anybody else has given you around here. Happy Holliday!

Seriously, Merry Christmas.

Delaware Brave

December 23rd, 2009
11:21 pm

I think FW has done a good job, I agree with most of his moves. I think the big question for 2010 is – will Chipper show up? He was terrible last year, and the Braves have to have him producing in order to have a chance at competing. If Chip & Glaus can both regain their earlier forms, this team could be very good. Only time will tell.

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:21 pm

Joshhh…………I agree with your 11:16pm posting. I actually like how our team is taking shape. Even if Frank Wren does nothing else of note to improve the roster, I feel that the Braves will still compete.

However, by standing pat Frank Wren will probably be putting a lot of faith that Jason Heyward can hit his way into the starting line-up in Spring Training. A strong rookie season by Heyward would definitely ad some pop to the line-up.

tyler

December 23rd, 2009
11:22 pm

Nick in PA- funny! Pretty close. He does put on a great show though. I got to see him at the Flora Bama a while back. Love him, great picture.

GboroBravo

December 23rd, 2009
11:22 pm

DOB dont know if you saw my post at the end of the last blog but you need to listen to Easton Corbin, sounds just like George Strait..you can listen to his single A Little More Country than That at http://www.eastoncorbin.com

David O'Brien

December 23rd, 2009
11:22 pm

Nick Shay: About 10 of those on your list almost made mine. I like all those on your list that I’ve heard. Haven’t got the new Vic Chesnutt, or I’m sure it’d be on my list. He’s pretty incredible.

Roman Gal

December 23rd, 2009
11:23 pm

Is it accurate to perceive that many of you think he could have handled a couple of matters with a little more sensitivity, but that it’s tough to criticize the ultimate outcomes in most cases? DOB

I’d say that’s accurate. I fully supported letting Glavine walk, I just wish it was done differently…like maybe not signing him in the first place. I was extremely not-happy when Smoltz signed with Boston, but that’s neither here nor there. And I’m not totally opposed to the return we got for Vazquez, I just don’t much like Melky.

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:23 pm

The A Bomb…….dude, I didnt say that the Braves WOULD save money now and spend it later. I said that I would RATHER see the Braves save money now and spend it later (that is if the Braves dont make an effort to sign Holliday).

P'cola Brave

December 23rd, 2009
11:23 pm

The addition of Uggla to the lineup would give it some serious pop with the potential Glaus has if he’s healthy

Geezer

December 23rd, 2009
11:24 pm

Has beens, walking wounded, and retreads….that is you 2010 Atlanta Braves and by the way Dave when did you start brown nosing Wren….you sound like his best buddy instead of an objective reporter…oh I guess it gets you more access…..

THE BEAR Illegitimi non carborundum

December 23rd, 2009
11:26 pm

I vote for a job well done for Wren. I like the way he makes decisions and the way he has of judging talent. So far so good.

As for how he handled Smoltz and Glavine it is never easy to end the career of a former star, a team icon. Smoltz priced himself out of Atlanta and Wren gave Glavine a chance by sending him to Gwinnett and he paid him $1 million to do it. I happened to see the last game Glvine pitched for Gwinnett and frankly he was awful. Had there not been three DP’s that afternoon the results would have been terrible. Glavine was hit all over the place and the DP’s saved him. And Wren was in the stands. He wanted to see for himself what Glavine had left, if anything. His decision was the time had come to end it and he did exactly that.

Glavine made the negative noises after he was told it was all over. Wren didn’t. So anyone who wants to quarrel about that decision should take another look. Glavine’s career was over the year before. He just didn’t want to admit it.

Frank Wren has made a lot of good moves and I can’t think of any really horrible ones where it cost the Braves any good talent without getting back more than he gave.

MaineBrave

December 23rd, 2009
11:27 pm

Man whasts from with Jermaine Dye

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:27 pm

Roman Gal………..I have never been a Yankees fan. I have no love for them. However I’ve watched them play enough to know that Melky Cabrera contributed to their success. He has skills and if used properly can help a team win some games.

Now, am I saying that he will be a big difference maker with the Braves? Of course not. However, dude has been with a winner his whole ML career. I’m sure that his experiences with the Yankees can be a positive influence in the Braves locker room.

MaineBrave

December 23rd, 2009
11:28 pm

Whats wrong with Jermaine dye*

Man too much eggnog

Roman Gal

December 23rd, 2009
11:28 pm

Is L-e-n-t-z really being filtered here now?

P'cola Brave

December 23rd, 2009
11:29 pm

I don’t understand the knocks on Melky. Is he the power hitter we need? Hell no but hes still solid. Hes going to do nothing but contribute. Just because its not Bay, Holliday, and A Gonz doesn’t mean they’re horrible.

TnBrian (just need one more solid bat)

December 23rd, 2009
11:29 pm

P’Cola, the addition of Uggla would even shut Mark Bradely up… or, maybe not. He’d spew about Uggla’s low batting average and right two paragraphs of non-stop disgust for his defense.

I’d offer Cabrera & Medlen since we’re pretty good in the pen & OF depth, especially for the OF if we got Uggla.

jeffrey d

December 23rd, 2009
11:29 pm

RG – Yes, which is also why he had to add those periods in his name.

Goldenglove002

December 23rd, 2009
11:31 pm

Braves if they were to sign Mark Derosa (also works if you wish to plug in your own player rather than him to see the salaries), not a horrible team:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Avbp5i6g0yQndENIS1RQbzZiNHVsRzlab2drd1hsWEE&hl=en

jeffrey d

December 23rd, 2009
11:31 pm

I don’t understand the knocks on Melky. Is he the power hitter we need? Hell no but hes still solid

He reminds me of Kotchman. Kotchman was solid but didn’t do much for the offense.

Roman Gal

December 23rd, 2009
11:32 pm

I’m sure that his experiences with the Yankees can be a positive influence in the Braves locker room.

You mean he’s been a winner one year – last year? Because the Yankees weren’t exactly great the past few years. Sure, they made it to the postseason, but that would be sort-of like saying the Braves made it to the post season in 2005 on the back of Raul Mondesi or Todd Hollandsworth.

C's

December 23rd, 2009
11:32 pm

Alright that’s it! Its gone on long enough! I need to know……

How do you do bold, italics, etc…..

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:32 pm

THE BEAR Illegitimi non carborundum……..well said with your 11:26pm posting. Glavine would have been rocked if the Braves had given him some “welfare” starts in June instead of calling up Tommy Hanson……while costing the Braves a couple of mil.

The thing that many forget is that the Braves would probably not have made the McLouth trade if Glavine had been called up. Remember, if Glavine had been called up and stay the rest of the year with the Braves, he was slated to earn another $3-$4 mil. His incentives were based on time on the roster, not stats. Glavine’s salary was factored into the 2009 payroll before the season started.

By cutting Glavine in June, the Braves had room to fit McLouth’s salary into the payroll.

Roman Gal

December 23rd, 2009
11:32 pm

jeffrey d-

I guess that would explain why my comment is awaiting moderation.

C's

December 23rd, 2009
11:33 pm

jeffrey d @ 11:08 pm – Butterfly. That was funny.

MZ

December 23rd, 2009
11:33 pm

almost-got-the-new-Dinosaur Jr.-the-other-day-CRAP!!! … I (generally) trust DOB’s judgement … gotta go get it now

TnBrian (just need one more solid bat)

December 23rd, 2009
11:33 pm

Geezer, any smart writer that likes to get the fans some inside stuff from the GM wouldn’t write Bradley type blogs. Think about it, fans love to know what’s going on & no better person to get it from than O’Brien. By the way, he has given criticism to Wren, just not hate speech towards the man. But, I really think he believes the man has done a very solid job here. I know I do with the mess he was brought in to from Shuerholz.

Heyward's Hips

December 23rd, 2009
11:33 pm

First page post. :o

Sam

December 23rd, 2009
11:33 pm

I think Wren’s done a good job. The McClouth trade gave us a great athlete for a number of years and the Kotchman for LaRoche swap solidified the second half Braves. It was a tough decision on the Smoltz and Glavine front, but as we saw later on it was the right one. Hanson had an amazing year. The Lowe signing was a risky move in 08 for an aging vet, but given the circumstances of losing out on Peavy, Burnett, and Furcal, it was a move we needed to make or Braves fans would of tore his head out. Despite his ERA he was durable, logged a lot of innings, and won 15 games. Look how the Vazquez signing turned out and all we significantly lost was a blocked prospect in Flowers. All in all, he’s done a solid job replacing JS.

This offseason he’s made some chancy signings but we’ve still got January and February for more moves and time will tell from there. There was no way anyone would be happy with the outcome of a Lowe trade. Wagner and Saito are a solid pair to replace Sori and Gonzo (for close to their costs last season), but we’ll see how they hold up. We have a good bullpen around them. For 2-mil so far, Glaus’ signing has a TON of upside for a potential 25-30 HR player who hits around average. The only REAL mistake I think FW made was with Soriano. The gamble wasn’t wrong dealing him so quickly after his arb acception was a mistake. I understand why it was done, but I’d take more return over instant payroll space anyday. They should have given it more time. Atleast till Rodney and Valverde signed. The last move I think should be made is a signing of a power outfielder. One year of Dye would be a good move. His defense is shotty, but ATL still played exceptionally with Garrett on board. Add ten more home runs to Garrett’s numbers and we have a well-rounded offense. Plus Dye should be more affordable because of his 09 average (which I think was a fluke). We’ll have to wait and see what’s next!

P'cola Brave

December 23rd, 2009
11:33 pm

The marlins are running out of trade options and for a decent package we could probably land Uggla. Maybe some young bullpen arms (they have some openings there) and maybe some solid prospects that arent in our forseeable future.

nick shay

December 23rd, 2009
11:34 pm

The new Chesnutt album is definitely worth the money. It’s another collaboration with Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto and a couple of folks from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra (they did the North Star Deserter album with him too). There’s a bit of country, some folk, a little southern soul, a touch of post-rock, and Chesnutt’s lyrics all rolled into a really compelling package.

Chesnutt also released another album that got zero attention about a month after At the Cut came out. It’s called Skitter on Take-Off. Just Vic with an acoustic guitar and Jonathan Richman producing and providing some backing drums. It’s pretty good as well. Not as good as At the Cut, but the albums are almost too different to compare.

The A Bomb

December 23rd, 2009
11:34 pm

There’s no way a team that trades off an $11.5 million contract (and a good pitcher) for a $3 million 4th outfielder and a $2 million (plus incentives) 1B (is he officially a 1B yet or does he need to actually play there?) is going for the gusto. We could have kept Vazquez even temporarily and still signed Glaus while exploring other options with Vazquez. Wren obviously wanted to get on with his Mexican vacation.

All the IFS on this team must step up for this team to contend for a wild card. The division is unrealistic. We’re not on the same level as Philly. And don’t bring up Lidge because they’ve gone to the Series 2 straight years with his extremely crappy closing.

We’ve gone from a 90-win team 48 hours ago to a team that will win between 75 (if nothing works out) and 88 (if everything or close to everything works out) games. Plus we now have to listen to Chip Caray for the next 30 years (Hey — that’s probably the rest of my life!)

What a week.

GTsteve

December 23rd, 2009
11:34 pm

My wife left me this week after 15 years of marriage….but still the worst thing that happened to me this week was the trade for Melky

jeffrey d

December 23rd, 2009
11:35 pm

I guess that would explain why my comment is awaiting moderation.

Yeah, I had a slam dunk on Lent….PL yesterday, but it said my comment was awaiting moderation. Not sure why, I tried again. And again (sorry DOB). I later learned that his name was banned.

The Bird and Indian

December 23rd, 2009
11:35 pm

Great piece DOB.

AdirondackDave

December 23rd, 2009
11:35 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB, and I hope you have a great vacation out there.

On balance, I think Frank Wren and his staff (nobody does that job alone) have done an unusually good job. Building the pitching rotation last year was a thing of beauty. He gets and A+ from me for that work.

This year he has to focus on scoring more runs and it’s too early to judge but he’s off to a pretty good start with the Glaus deal. He’s also stockpiling prospects which is great and may mean something big could still happen before spring training or beyond. But if it doesn’t, he has still improved the offense for ‘10.

I have a lot of confidence in FW going forward. This club is going to be competitive this year and will be getting better in the years ahead. I’m stoked.

.P.a.u.l .L.e.n.t.z

December 23rd, 2009
11:35 pm

Roman Gal………Cabrera has played for only 1 World Championship with the Yankees. However, the Yankees have won a lot of games in the other years that Cabrera has played with them. He’s played in front of big crowds and faced the pressure (just playing in Boston 9 times a year against the Red Sox is pressure enough).

A player can play for a winner without winning the World Series. Before the last 4 years, one could say that Chipper Jones played for a winner his whole career.

Kyle S

December 23rd, 2009
11:36 pm

Was Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix close, not close, or not part of the consideration set?

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