Lowe says all’s cool, he’s ready to pitch

Perceptions, assumptions and perceived ultimatums sure can change a lot in the space of three or four weeks.

Lowe says there's no hard feelings

Lowe says there's no hard feelings

Take the case of Derek Lowe, who was so sure four weeks ago that he was going to be traded, he told MLB.com: “I’m just waiting for it to happen. I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘if’ anymore. It’s just a matter of when.”

He also said that if he had to do it over again, if he knew the Braves would try to trade him a year into the deal, he would’ve signed elsewhere.

Seeing those quotes, Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz wrote on Dec. 16: “Before, the Braves wanted to dump him. Now, they almost have to dump him.”

Six days later, the Braves traded one of their two 15-game winners from 2009. Only it was Javier Vazquez, not Lowe.

(Oh, before we go any further, forgot to say happy birthday to The King. Elvis would have been 75 today — or is, according to some. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program….)

The Braves tried to trade Lowe, but no team would do it without Atlanta picking up a large chunk of the $45 million he’s owed over the next three seasons. So they turned to Plan B and traded Vazquez, who was coming off a terrific season and had one year at $11.5 million left on his contract before free agency.

The Braves had one too many starters after signing Tim Hudson to a three-year extension, and also wanted to shed some payroll. So, they traded Vazquez to the Yankees for outfielder Melky Cabrera, lefty reliever Mike Dunn and 19-year-old righty Arodys Vizcaino, the No. 3 prospect in the Yankees organization (more on that in a minute).

Braves hope Melky can break out of his box (I couldn't resist)

Braves hope Melky can break out of his box (I couldn't resist)

The move didn’t sit well with a lot of Braves fans, who hated to see Vazquez go after his career-best season (15-10, 2.87 ERA, 238 K’s), and especially hated to see him traded without getting a big bat in return.

But the deal is done, the die cast, all that.

And now, whither Lowe, coming off a disappointing season — 15-10, but with a 4.67 ERA –- and knowing the Braves wanted to trade him this winter?

The 36-year-old is home in Fort Myers, Fla., getting ready for spring training. When I called a few days ago to get the lowdown on D-Lowe and his mental state, he sounded much like he has most every other time I’ve talked to him.

Pleasant. Relaxed. Confident. And funny.

He did not seem bitter or resentful.

He did not sound like someone who felt so spurned that he might, oh, I don’t know, ask to be traded. Or at least harbor a lot of resentment.

“Absolutely not,” said Lowe, who explained the comments he made to MLB.com last month thusly: “The situation is, when you’re a year into a four-year deal — obviously when you’re going through the free-agent processs you pick a place you want to go, you do all that homework, you get there, find a place….

“Obviously no one is untradeable, that’s clear in this game. But that was the frustrating part, you find a place you like and Atlanta gives no no-trade clauses. And [so you're faced with possibly being traded and] finding yourself in a city you don’t like if they trade you.

“That had everything to do with [his comments]. It was nothing with not liking Atlanta — look at it any way you want, but it was just that I wanted to stay.”

I asked him if that meant all that happened this winter, with him being involved in trade rumors and not knowing which ones were valid — if that was all now water under the proverbial bridge or whether it might have some residual effect on his relationship with the Braves.

“There was really no water in the bridge anyway,” Lowe said, putting a twist on my use of a tired phrase. “Really. It’s an absolute non-issue I think with everybody. I talked to Frank [Wren]. It really wasn’t like there was anything to mend, just a situation where you didn’t want to get traded, but you understood the possibility of it happening, understood why people wouldn’t want to trade a guy [Vazquez] that just won 15 games and finished [fourth] in the Cy Young.

It was one-and-done for Vazquez in Atlanta

It was one-and-done for Vazquez in Atlanta

“I get all that. My opinion one way or another wasn’t going to affect what they were going to do, ultimately. If you’re looking at it [from a neutral perspective], here’s a guy  who just came in [fourth] in the Cy Young, and here’s a guy [Lowe] that had his highest ERA in four years. It’s a no-brainer for a lot of people. I get that.

“But [from his perspective] it’s a matter of being somewhere and wanting to stay, rather than [being traded] somewhere you didn’t want to go.”

For a moment during our conversation, Lowe got … well, I won’t say defensive, but he pointed out reasons that he didn’t think his 2009 performance was as awful as some have said. OK, he got a little defensive.

“You still win 15 games,” he said, you being him, and not me or you the reader. Unless any of you won 15 games in the majors last season, in which case maybe he meant you? No, he meant him when he said you. Anyway, to continue….

“It’s not as tragic as it seemed,” he said, meaning his performance and how some judged it. “That was more the deal, the wanting to be there [Atlanta] and see how good this team could be, instead of being all of a sudden on a last-place team.”

Lowe’s agent, Scott Boras — maybe you’ve heard of him? — will tell you that Lowe only had a few bad starts last season, and that he otherwise had a solid season. And if you had Boras on the phone, he could probably convince you this was true. He’s quite persuasive.

Now, we know Lowe’s season was not just a matter of a few bad starts. Lowe will say as much. He didn’t go seven or eight quality innings in nearly as many games as he usually does, and for roughly half the season he wasn’t a top-shelf pitcher. His .301 opponents’ average was the highest among eight pitchers who started for the Braves in 2009, and that includes Jo-Jo Reyes.

In fact, it was the second-highest among all qualifying major league starters, better than only Livan Hernandez’s .308.

Lowe’s OPS allowed (.799) was higher than any Braves starter except Reyes (.849 as a starter). Kris Medlen (.782) had a lower opponents’ OPS as a starter.

However, Boras is right about one thing — three particularly awful starts did spike Lowe’s ERA. Lowe gave up seven earned runs in 2-1/3 innings on June 14 at Baltimore, allowed eight runs (six earned) in three innings on June 25 vs. the Yankees, and gave up eight earned runs in 3-2/3 innings on Aug. 18 against the Mets in Flushing.

Lowe in 2003 postseason. He says he wants to do this with the Braves -- still.

Lowe in 2003 postseason. He says he wants to do this with the Braves -- still.

That’s 21 earned runs in nine innings over three starts. In his other 31 starts, Lowe was 15-7 with a 3.88 ERA.

No, I’m not trying to convince you Lowe was good for all but three starts. He gave up five or six earned runs in three other games, including two games when the Braves bailed him out by scoring eight and nine runs while he was in.

And he had only two quality starts in his last nine, down the stretch when the Braves really could have used a few more.

But I’m just saying, 15-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 31 of his 34 starts is not awful. And there was no arm injury, nothing major that would raise red flags and concern the Braves about his ability to bounce back.

Unless the humidity of Atlanta has some sort of effect on the heavily perspiring Lowe that might contribute to the blister problems he had in 2009. But I’m no doc or trainer, so I certainly can’t say whether that’s the case. We’ll probably find out, though, since he’ll be back this season.

“Hopefully [the Vazquez trade] works out for everybody,” said Lowe, who admired and respected Vazquez and didn’t want to see him go. “Hopefully Melky comes over and stays healthy and plays like he can, and I know Javy’s going to have success over there.

“What are we, 6-7 weeks away? I think the happy holidays are over, and we’re looking forward to spring training.”

Lowe began his throwing program this week, after spending a lot of hours this offseason watching video of himself pitching, and smoothing out some rough spots while going through his delivery countless times on a portable mound inside his home near the Gulf of Mexico.

Lowe said he and Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell sat down in the last weeks of the season and analyzed his delivery, focusing on a couple of things he was doing differently than he had when he was successful earlier in the season and in recent seasons. He said they agreed on what he needed to work on this winter at home in Florida.

Lowe has spent much of the offseason working with a former Red Sox conditioning coach who lives near him in Fort Myers, a guy that Lowe said knows him and his body well and has helped him iron out the flaws that had cropped up in his delivery, the ones that McDowell and Lowe both identified.

Lowe didn’t go into details on the adjustment or adjustments he’s made.

“It’s not like I’m throwing left-handed or sidearm or reinventing the wheel,” he said. “It’s definitely been hard work, but an hour here or an hour there in course of a day [during the early offseason] is not that big a deal.”

Hinske could be last move: A few hours after the Braves introduced big Troy Glaus as their new first baseman last Tuesday, they agreed to terms with Eric Hinske to serve as Glaus’ backup.

Hinske takes out Jorge Posada at the plate

Hinske takes out Jorge Posada at the plate

Yes, Hinske will also back up the other infield and outfield corners and serve as the primary lefty pinch-hitter. But his key purpose could be to help keep the injury-prone Glaus healthy.

Whenever Glaus needs rest, the Braves will turn to Hinske, 32, who hit 20 homers for Tampa Bay in 2008. He gets a one-year deal that includes a $1 million guarantee and up to $500,000 in additional incentives.

Between him and Glaus, the Braves are only paying $2.75 million guaranteed, though Glaus can make up to $2.25 million more in incentives if he stays healthy. Still, they’re getting by rather cheaply at first base, when you look at the prices for Adam LaRoche and other available first basemen.

If Hinske didn’t ring a bell with many Braves fans, it’s because the former American League Rookie of the Year has spent most of his career in that league, and mostly as a backup in recent seasons.

He hit .242 with eight homers in just 224 at-bats last season for Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees, after totaling 20 homers and 60 RBIs in almost twice as many at-bats (432) in 2008 with Tampa Bay

In 2008, Hinske hit .262 with an .844 OPS in 332 at-bats against righties, with 40 extra-base hits including 19 homers and 55 RBI. (Against lefties that year, he hit just .143 with a .487 OPS in 49 at-bats.)

He was the 2002 AL ROY with Toronto, but never became the star many thought he’d become. Instead, Hinske has carved a career as a solid bench player with a reputation as an energetic, positive influence in the clubhouse.

He played in each of the past three World Series with Boston (2007), Tampa Bay (2008) and the New York Yankees (2009), and homered in Game 4 of the ‘08 Series after being added to Tampa Bay’s roster before the game.

Here’s how much Hinske’s job description changed from the first four years of his career, to the next four:

He hit .258 with 137 doubles, 66 home runs and 284 RBI in 577 games from 2002 to 2005, averaging 16.5 homers and 71 RBI per season in that four-year stretch.

In four seasons since, he’s hit .245 with 47 homers and 140 RBIs in 419 games.

The way Wren talked last week at the Troy Glaus signing news conference, Hinske could be the last roster addition for the Braves before spring training. Wren said the team was close to its projected payroll limit, which was expected to be a little over $90 million, similar to 2009.

He said they were working to sign a versatile backup/pinch-hitter type player, and it was Hinske he was referring to. Hinske agreed to terms with the Braves that same night, though the deal hasn’t been announced yet because he first has to pass a physical that’s scheduled for this Tuesday.

Hinske, a former University of Arkansas standout, seemed to be on a path to major-league stardom after being the AL’s top rookie in 2002, when he hit .279 with 38 doubles, 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 151 games.

But his totals that season remain career-high marks for average, homers, RBIs and games played, in addition to at-bats (566) and on-base percentage (.365).

He had more than 500 plate appearances in each of his first four seasons with Toronto, and played in 147 or more games three times in that stretch.

In four subsequent seasons, Hinske has been primarily a bench player and pinch-hitter, playing more than 100 games only once — in 2008 he got in 133 games for Tampa Bay.

Another view of Vazquez trade: In case you missed it in the comments section of the previous blog, there was some good stuff about the Vazquez trade in a Baseball American story by Bill Ballew today (Friday). Here’s part of it:

While the Yankees also received lefthanded reliever Boone Logan, who spent most of last season in Triple-A, the Braves obtained righthander Arodys Vizcaino and lefthander Mike Dunn. Of the two, Dunn is closer to pitching in the big leagues, but Vizcaino’s ceiling is as high as that of any hurler in the Atlanta organization.

Dunn, 24, made his major league debut in 2009 while going 4-3, 3.31 in 38 relief apperances between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Drafted by the Yankees in the 33rd round in 2004 out of the CC of Southern Nevada, the lefthander spent two years as a position player prior to moving to the mound after the 2006 slate.

Hard-throwing lefty Dunn more than a tradae throw-in for Braves

Hard-throwing lefty Dunn more than a trade throw-in

According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Dunn was coveted by the Tigers during trade talks for Curtis Granderson. The southpaw has a 93-96 mph fastball and a low-to-mid 80s slider, offerings that can make him overpowering in short stints. Dunn’s biggest problem has been control, with the lefty issuing 46 walks in 73 minor league innings last year.

The 19-year-old Vizcaino is even more intriguing. Signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 for $800,000, the righthander has an electric arm and an advanced feel for pitching for his age. He went 2-4, 2.13 in 10 starts for short-season Staten Island last summer. He struck out 52 and walked 15 over 42 innings.

Vizcaino has a mid-90s four-seam fastball and a plus-plus curveball. He has made impressive strides with his changeup and the development of a two-seam fastball. At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, he has solid projectability, so much so that Cashman admitted, “He’s the guy that could really come back to haunt us in this trade.”


samcooke41

“A CHANGE IS GONNA COME” by Sam Cooke

I was born by the river in a little tent

Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ever since

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die

Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown

somebody keep telling me don’t hang around

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother

And I say brother help me please

But he winds up knockin’ me

Back down on my knees

Ohhh….

There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long

But now I think I’m able to carry on

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

5,443 comments Add your comment

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
2:27 pm

From the last blog…

Thrill House

“Tomahawkin’, how many beers and dogs are you scarfin’ down, man? You can get good bleacher seats for around $20. Or get the super cheap tickets for less than $10 and hang out at the bar. You can have a fun day at the park for not a lot of money.”

lol

I was making the assumption of what most families of 4 spend going to the games…

Personally, I’m a 26 yr old single man and I usually sit in the OF pavillion, and it usually costs me about 40 bucks. I get tuned up in then parking lot before paying for the overpriced beer…

I think next year I’m gonna dress up at the game like Tiger Woods, I’ve done that at Halloween parties and it works well…

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
2:30 pm

From the last blog

CJ10

I wasn’t joking about Chipper

He played 143 games but he played with nagging injuries all season which therefore slowed his bat down. Point is we can’t depend on him to carry the team when he has average somewhere around 125 games played per season since 2004…

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
2:32 pm

Another good read, appreciate that DOB.

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
2:33 pm

D.O.B.

I see that you are using my catch phrases “Mark It Down” at the end of your posts,,, LOL

I’m growing on you more and more each day, Next you will be bumping some old Mariah an old R. Kelly…, and you know that R. Kelly’s first cd “12 Play” is a Classic

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
2:33 pm

Brandon Fron WR

Whats Happenin Chief!

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
2:34 pm

T-Hawkin,

Not much. Work. School. The Usual.

TnBrian

January 8th, 2010
2:37 pm

Tomhawkin, it’s news to me that Glaus is a major injury risk. Aside from last season, when has he been out for long stretches with injuries? Like I said a few days ago…. if this was January of ‘09 and we just got a guy coming off a 27 HR, 99 RBI season while hitting .270 people would be thrilled.

Renegator

January 8th, 2010
2:38 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
2:38 pm

David’s is no longer the official sunflower seed of Major League Baseball it is now Frito Lay Sunflower Seeds that are the official seeds of MLB. In case anyone cared! 8)

Hopefully Derek Lowe comes out and pitches like the Ace we paid him to be. Needs a sub 4 ERA and at least 17 wins this year to call it a success.

ncscoots

January 8th, 2010
2:40 pm

From the last blog…

Yes, indeed, there’s nothing more entertaining than scrolling past dimwit posts on a previous blog, and then having to scroll past the same nimrod posts AGAIN on a new one. Thanks for that.

Hillbilly

January 8th, 2010
2:46 pm

David’s is no longer the official sunflower seed of Major League Baseball it is now Frito Lay Sunflower Seeds that are the official seeds of MLB. In case anyone cared!

Frito Lay > David’s
Their BBQ Seeds are pure bliss. Going to get some right now.

The A Bomb

January 8th, 2010
2:47 pm

Must be tough for us to talk about a No. 4 starter who has to “rebound” from a 15-win season.

Many of the Braves title teams in the 90s had 60-65 wins between the top 4 starters. Potential is there for the Braves to match that easily this year.

As a veteran pitcher, Lowe knows what he has to do — keep the ball down. What Cox has to do is to recognize if and when Lowe doesn’t have “it” on a given night and get him the hell out of there in a hurry. Can’t use veteran rules with him any more.

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
2:47 pm

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
2:43 pm
“DAP
January 8th, 2010
2:07 pm
ugaaccountant I don’t want us to trade away our homegrown players, period. I’d rather lose than do that.

you are entitled to feel that way, but im not sure why you like baseball. alot of our team would be gone if not for the guys brought in from other teams or signed through free agency. its the way baseball works, man.

you are right that team without the top payrolls rely on their prospects alot, but not just for the prospects that contribute to your team…but the ones who you trade away to get guys to solidify your 25 man. i think that last years trade for vazquez and the one for mcclouth are great examples of how to use your system to get what you need.”

I’m with you, I am primarily a fan of international soccer and ncaa football, where people don’t get traded. The rapid pace of trades and free agency has always been what drives me away from baseball.

I just don’t like the way the players are all seen as interchangeable parts. Not my cup of tea as a fan. But it is fun for message boarding and baseballs great fun with stats. Just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth all the player movement out.

I as a fan of course love when we get player movement in. That’s my right to be irrational that way

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
2:53 pm

Hillbilly – I prefer Ranch, haven’t had the BBQ in a long while. Love the Ranch ones.

Agreed with Lowe. Bobby Cox slaughtered Lowe’s ERA more than Derek did. That game where he gave up like 10 hits or whatever in a row or in the inning…was just butchered by Bobby.

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

TnBrian

I would be thrilled if we got 27HR and 99RBI’s, but look at it this way, he hit in the middle of the order w/ Pujols so I bet he got way more chances to drive in rus as a result of pitchers pitching around Pujols

Another thing about Troy Glass is that he’s off the roids. And not to mention He played on the same team with Jose Canseco, Scott Spiezio, Loaf, among others in Anaheim…

I’m still doubtful about him plus his defense is gonna be garbage, especially with braves fans used to seeing gold glove D at first from Roachy, The Kotchmeister, and Tex (his predecessors)

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

Pete Carroll to Seattle? Wow! Atlanta Fan favorite Jim Mora was fired and rumors suggest there is mutual interest.

cabravesfan

January 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

Brandon from Warner Robins-

Where did you hear that rumor? (Pete’s been “rumored” to be a candidate for half the open jobs in the NFL over the last several years…It would take an incredible offer (complete football control to start) to pry him away from USC)

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2010
3:02 pm

Those who don’t have Radiohead’s “Kid A” album, you might be interested to know you can download it from Amazon.com today for only $1.99. Jerry Crasnick just e-mailed me to ask how good it was and said it was available for $1.99. I told him, download immediately.

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:04 pm

cab,

Chris Mortensen. But its just a rumor at this point. Pete is the main target.

http://twitter.com/mortreport

Daslied

January 8th, 2010
3:06 pm

MFin04
Agreed with Lowe. Bobby Cox slaughtered Lowe’s ERA more than Derek did. That game where he gave up like 10 hits or whatever in a row or in the inning…was just butchered by Bobby.

That inning had, in order:
single to P
single (grounder) to RF
double
single (weak grounder) to LF
fly-ball single to RC
single (grounder) to RF
single (line drive) to RF
groundout to SS
single (grounder) to RF

So, what, 2 hard-hit balls, both contributing to the first 3 runs in what was a shutout? With men on base and one of the best groundball pitchers in the game I don’t blame Bobby for leaving him in.

Bob Wickman's navel lint

January 8th, 2010
3:06 pm

If Robert won’t say it, I will. Bobby Cox is a donkey. Rarely has any mlb manager been so ineffective at in-game tactics. Will be so glad when eeyore is gone.

Piedmont Blues

January 8th, 2010
3:07 pm

Pete Carroll, like Tim Floyd, bailing on USC, one step ahead of the law … ?

cabravesfan

January 8th, 2010
3:07 pm

Brandon from Warner Robins-

Thanks…I will believe it when Pete announces he’s taking it ;)

Noah

January 8th, 2010
3:07 pm

TnBrian: Agree with you on Glaus, could be the signing of the year and he bats right handed which is just what the Braves needed. I really like the Glaus and Hinske moves. Improves the lineup, bench and depth considerably.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

I’m watching that inning online right now. There was no one on that Mets team that could hit for power, so getting singled to death was about all they could do. But to give up 10 hits and 8 runs in one inning? That is absolutely absurd. He had no ability to get anyone out, that and he injured his non-pitching hand in that inning as well. Might have screwed with his head. Either way, can’t let a guy get shelled like that.

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

cab,

You’re welcome. USC fan?

Tennbravefan

January 8th, 2010
3:11 pm

Tomahawkin – I agree with you post about Glaus on some levels, and some I don’t. Yes, he hit in the middle of the order with Pujols, but now he hits between Chipper and Mac, not to mention the RBI machine that is Escobar. Also, in regards to the roids issue it is obvious when looking at the numbers for those guys on the Angels that something was going on. However, Glaus is 6 foot 5 and 250lbs leading one to think he can hit bombs without roids. I’m not expecting 40 Homeruns, but 25 to 30 is very possible. Troy Glaus is essentially playing for his Major League career. He knows right this minute that if he plays 150 games, bats 265+, 25 HRS or more, and 90RBI+ then he gets a big contract next year. Thats big motivation for a 33 year old baseball player. Because of this, I think Glaus has a big year and is thus the steal of the off season.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:11 pm

Single, Single, only guy that can hit for power doubles in two. Bad start to the inning. Lets see what else happens…

cabravesfan

January 8th, 2010
3:11 pm

Brandon from Warner Robins-

4th generation alum :)

,$$Paul,$$Lentz

January 8th, 2010
3:12 pm

It must suck to be rooting against a team (my Cowboys) instead of rooting for your own team (whatever team you root for that is on the outside looking in).

Anyway, I’ll enjoy watching my Cowboys whip up on the Eagles for the 3rd time this year. Some of you haters can continue doing just that…….hating.

Daslied

January 8th, 2010
3:14 pm

MF, I see your point. But after the 4th run, Lowe was a groundball away from getting a double play and being out of the inning. He got several, but they were well-placed. I agree that if he was getting bombed you take him out, but I don’t disagree with leaving a groundball pitcher in during double-play situations.

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

Cab,

Thats pretty cool.

Paul,

Cowboys have a good team. manhandled my Falcons. It’ll be closer than last week. I’ll say Eagles 23-17

Daslied

January 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

MF, let me know about that inning. I’m relying on my memory and reading a gamelog (which I don’t follow very well). :)

CB

January 8th, 2010
3:16 pm

Paul,I bet it took longer to write that than it took AJC to erase it.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:18 pm

4-2 Braves, ground out, runner on third 1 out. Francoeur hits the crap out of the ball, 400 feet off the wall, 4-3 Braves. Lowe not pitching well at all. 2 singles for ground ball singles hitters, and 2 doubles for their only two power guys. Another hard hit ground ball single. 4-4.

Steve McP

January 8th, 2010
3:19 pm

Just in DL’s defence, I recall that in the game when Lowe gave up those consecutive hits many were bloops or seeing eye grounders, they were far from being line drives off of really bad pitches.

TennesseePaul

January 8th, 2010
3:21 pm

Jerry Crasnick just e-mailed me to ask how good [Radiohead’s “Kid A” album] was

You know this guy?

Daslied

January 8th, 2010
3:22 pm

Paul. Come on, man.

,$$Paul,$$Lentz

January 8th, 2010
3:22 pm

Brandon from Warner Robins……..I remember the Cowboys-Falcons game. While we outplayed you guys, I actually came away pretty impressed with the Falcons. You guys have a really good tandem in Matt Ryan and Michael Turner.

F-105 Thunderchief

January 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

I hope this Viscaino kid is another Jurrjens.

ncscoots

January 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

not to mention the RBI machine that is Escobar.

Oh, man, LOL. I wonder if Yunel realizes that people think he’s going to post a 1.000+ OPS with RISP every year. If he just drops back to his career .300/.400/.400, he’s going to get crucified here. :-)

,$$Paul,$$Lentz

January 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

Daslied………what do you mean?

Thanagar

January 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

Dave, it’s a die that gets cast (as in the singular of dice) not a “dye”–this isn’t an unconscious obsession with Jermaine Dye, is it?

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

P-Lentz Is Back!

Man I thought you got Bozo’d after that Pillow fight from the last blog…?

How do you like the Troy Glass signing?

I don’t like it at all, he’s slow, his defense will be garbage, he’s hitting in a pitchers-paradise, and he is off roids

not to mention he was on the same Angels team (in 2000 or 2001) that had Jose Canseco, Scott Spiezio, and Loaf on it…

Noah

January 8th, 2010
3:25 pm

comment from Seattle GM regarding Turner field and Kotchman:

“The fact he was acquired in Atlanta – it’s a tough park for a left-handed hitter”

The Braves had a lot of left handed hitters last year too. How much do you put into this?

Also, what a story about Kotchman’s mom.

“What happened to Kotchman is that his mother, Sue, had a brain hemmorhage in mid-August of 2008, shortly after he’d been traded to Atlanta by the Angels. She was given only a 50-50 chance of surviving the ambulance ride to the hospital.

Kotchman was in New York on a road trip when he got the news. He immediately went on bereavement leave and flew to the Tampa, Fla. area to be with her. She spent 15 days in intensive care in a hospital six blocks from Tropicana Field.

Her family would have to wake her every two hours to ensure she didn’t slip into a coma.

Finally, she recovered to the point where she told a shaken Kotchman to rejoin his team. Safe to say, the ordeal left a bit of an impact on the ballplayer”

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:25 pm

Paul,

Yeah, I came away from that game HIGHLY impressed with Miles Austin. Guy can flat out play WR. Speed and great hands. Now if they could get Roy Williams to play up to his potential that offense would be even better.

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
3:26 pm

Brandon From WR

IGGLES win 27-10, “Bank on It!”

I’m gonna laugh my narrow a..s off because I know so many bandwagon Cowturds fans on F-Book, and I’m gonna Clown when BSPN gets their feelings hurt as well!

Benjamin

January 8th, 2010
3:26 pm

I still can’t help but feel like this was another offseason where it felt like, going in, we had to make two real moves and contain elsewhere, and coming out, we have to make four moves to offset the moves we made…

Frank Wren plays checkers while the opposing general managers play chess.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:26 pm

Lucky Omar Infante type hit to Church in CF. 1st and 3rd 1-out. 4-4 game. Medlen up in the bullpen. Hard hit ball past Infante at 2nd. Run scores. 5-4 Mets, 1st and 2nd still 1-out. Pitcher is now batting for himself.

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
3:26 pm

I’m a free speech supporter myself. If anbody wants to come in a public forum and post race baiting posts, I suppose that’s their right as an American. Can’t see what good it will do them, but to each his own.

CB

January 8th, 2010
3:27 pm

Daslied,erased twice- might be a blog record.

Charlotte Observer

January 8th, 2010
3:28 pm

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:28 pm

T-Hawkin

That’s a bold prediction. Eagles-Cowboys will probably be the best game of the weekend. But it’s gonna be close. And a majority of the “BSPN” analysts have gone with the Eagles. Whoever wins it wont surprise me.

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
3:28 pm

Yeah, I gave Kotchman a complete pass in 2008 because it sounded like a very serious family situation. The article certainly supports that.

I’m surprised he didn’t turn it on to a higher level in 2009 though. He was really improving with the Angels in early 08.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:29 pm

Perez crushes a single to right field. Absolutely killed the ball (for a pitcher). 8 of 9 Mets batters have gotten a hit. 5-4 Mets, bases loaded, 1-out. Lowe still in. Absurd.

Paul$$$Lentz

January 8th, 2010
3:30 pm

…ugaaccountant……….How is that race baiting? Explaining what happened in the past does not mean that one condones what happened. There is a difference.

Macon Braves (RIP)

January 8th, 2010
3:31 pm

Daslied—I think he lives by the Crip motto: “Can’t stop, won’t stop”

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:31 pm

Got a ground ball with a fast runner in Pagan, only one out at 2nd. Runner safe at first. 6-4 Mets, 2-outs. Pagan steals 2nd. Lowe still in the game. 2nd and 3rd, 2-outs.

ncscoots

January 8th, 2010
3:32 pm

I’m a free speech supporter myself. If anbody wants to come in a public forum and post race baiting posts, I suppose that’s their right as an American

Sure, as long as you don’t confuse free speech with consequence-free speech (tip ‘o the hat to my buddy, the articulate and erudite Bat Masterson; not the first to say it, but I think the first to say it here. Hence, ongoing credit). Say anything you want, short of “Fire!”, but be unsurprised if someone wants to rearrange your face at its utterance.

welikebaseball2

January 8th, 2010
3:32 pm

Wow. Hinske possibly the last move? Here we go again. Victim to the $90 million payroll. So, what’s the big bat we so desperately needed? Scary if that offensive upgrade rests on the shoulder (literally) of one man…Glaus.

Sigh…

Braves fans are yet again expected to be excited over leftovers. Well, let’s see if we get what we pay for (or should I say don’t pay for) AGAIN. Wren is either delusional enough to think our roster has actually been improved by these signings or he’s okay with mediocrity as long as we don’t blow the budget.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
3:33 pm

DOB- thanks for the Kid A, point. If it matters to anyone, Kid A was named album of the decade by Rolling Stone. (I don’t put a lot of stock in Rolling Stone) Great album though nonetheless.

Tom Waits wears Redwing boots

January 8th, 2010
3:35 pm

DOB-

Radiohead are one of my favorites. Have not listened to the 2nd CD “Arkansas Masters” as Daniel suggested, any jewels?

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:35 pm

Castillo another ground ball single. Scores 2 runs. 8-4 Mets, and Derek Lowe is now being pulled from the game with 2-outs and a runner on first.

This is where I don’t understand why you take the pitcher out. The game is now officially over. He has given up 8 runs in the inning, why not leave him in and let him either give up one more run, or get the next out!?

What more could happen? He gives up 9 runs and 11 hits in the inning? 10 runs and 12 hits? Come on. Absurd. Mine as well leave him in.

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:36 pm

I’ve got to be honest. I’ve never listened to Radiohead. Am I missing out?

Noah

January 8th, 2010
3:37 pm

welikebaseball2 – We have gone over this a million times, Braves offense actually didn’t need a ton of help, it got most the help it needed during the season last year with the changes. Who did you want. After the additions Braves had one of the best teams in the game based on the numbers. Smartly, they decided at the Ted that pitching is number one and paid $9million/yr for Hudson. Did you want a bat instead. Bats sound good but pitching wins games.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
3:37 pm

welikebaseball2- I don’t think Wren has any choice with the budget, although he kept telling us that the Braves were not going to be hampered. He also said the Vasquez move was to free up money. I don’t know how the Hinske and Glaus contracts ate up all 9-10 milion that was saved.

Just a thought…. maybe Wren is hinting that we are done in order to not show his hand (like with Soriano and Lowe/Vasquez). I know I have been critical of Wren being a little too public with his plans. Could this be the truth or are we really done?….

Paul$$$Lentz

January 8th, 2010
3:37 pm

David O’Brien………….why does one discussing what Jimmy the Greek said that got him fired scare you so much? You seem to be one of those weak minded people who feel that any discussion on race is wrong.

Tom Waits wears Redwing boots

January 8th, 2010
3:38 pm

Brandon-

In my opinion, Big Time.

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:39 pm

Tom Waits,

Any suggestions as to which albums/songs I should take a listen to?

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2010
3:40 pm

TennPaul: Do I know Jerry? Yes, real good guy.

TnBrian

January 8th, 2010
3:40 pm

Tomahawkin, you look at it your way and I’ll look at it mine. The way I see it, we’re stuck with Glaus at first and stuck with that not so Chipper image of ‘09 in all our heads. But, CJ was right up there with Pujols in ‘08 so if he can get back to that Chipper than Glaus should get plenty of protection from he and McCann. Gettin’ all down about what can go wrong with our team is just silly. I bet every team has fans that have their doubts heading into evey season.

Look at these 3 N.L. teams that have made big signings or trades this offseason:

The Cardinals– Carpenter’s health, what they have after Wainwright/Carpenter, all while wondering what the hell is coming out of their pen because their closer was garbage towards the end of ‘09. That Pujols/Holliday/Ludwick combo got them far in the postseason last time, didn’t it?

Mets– YIKES! Who pitches for them after Santana and I’ve read where the “experts” are even questioning his right elbow and the lost velocity. Frenchy can save them though.LOL

Phills– Anybody think Halladay will out-do what Lee did for them last year? Hamels almost has to have a bounce back year or that potent offense will have to do triple overtime duties to even keep them in ballgames. Injuries will happen to that team; no team is this lucky for this long. Oh, and the Braves pen doesn’t have NEARLY the question marks that they have. Take a look at who’s in that pen right now and you’ll see that only Madson is the most reliable one. Lidge is so up and down it’s hard to tell what you’re getting.

Bi*** if you want, but we’re not THAT bad off like some of you want to believe.

tiger297

January 8th, 2010
3:41 pm

Daniel can you show your calculation on the 9-10M saved?

Tom Waits wears Redwing boots

January 8th, 2010
3:41 pm

Daniel-

Who knows, I believe Wren has become a factor in determining the market value of the remaining FAs because he has signed 4-7 of them. But maybe my world is a little Brave-centric.

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2010
3:41 pm

Brandon: Most definitely.

Macon Braves (RIP)

January 8th, 2010
3:42 pm

Brandon—Radiohead is really good. Kinda of melody based alternative. Karma Police and Street Spirit are by far my two favorite songs by them, though there are plenty others that are good as well.

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
3:42 pm

I chose the word baiting carefully. Pretty much anything you say involving someones ethnicity is bait for a fight. It’s almost statistically certain that someone will interpret the words as a challenge or affront.

To illustrate how seemingly clinical safe usage of words can produce very different results, what if I said the Braves win 90 games in 2010? Pretty reasonable right? What if I said the Braves come in 3rd in the east? Not happy at all right? What if I put both together and say it’s because the Mets will win 92? At least one person on here is going to want to bash my teeth in, even though i’m saying we’ll be a winning ballclub in playoff contention and better than last year.

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
3:44 pm

WelikeBaseball2

Don’t blame Wren, Blame Cheap L Media

We Should’ve let Hudson Go and kept Vazquez…Especially if Wren knew that L Media was going to go cheap again…

Too many If’s on this roster to hang with the phillies

Brandon from Warner Robins

January 8th, 2010
3:45 pm

Macon Braves,

Thanks I’ll give those two a listen while im stocking groceries tonight. Having to pay tuition this semester :(

DOB,

Should I take a listen to the album you were talking about earlier? i’ll check the blog when i get off tonight.

Later everybody!

TnBrian

January 8th, 2010
3:47 pm

Oh, and I’ve read plenty of Phillies fans that are just as confused as many Braves fans are with their GM’s moves this offseason. I still don’t know why he couldn’t trade Blanton instead of Lee and have a Halladay/Lee combo. Restocking theit farm sysytem is what I’ve heard, but couldn’t they have traded one of their hitters to do that? Werth probably won’t resign with them because he’ll ask for too much and they’re tied up with Halladay. So, maybe Phills GM should get the bone head award for offseason ‘09.

Daslied

January 8th, 2010
3:47 pm

Brandon from Warner Robins
I’ve got to be honest. I’ve never listened to Radiohead. Am I missing out?

Dear lord, yes. Not sure if I’d start with Kid A. Here’s the order I’d go with:

The Bends – just great, great guitar-oriented power pop/rock stuff. Songwriting is off the charts, vocals are excellent.
O.K. Computer – where they started to get a little experimental, but it’s still pretty easy to listen to. Amazing.
Amnesiac – sort of “leftovers” from Kid A. Believe they recorded it at the same time?
Kid A – I love it, but it’s got some weird stuff on there. 5-6 really, really strong songs and a handful of, um, soundscapes?

Hail To The Thief is pretty good, and In Rainbows is as well.

tiger297

January 8th, 2010
3:48 pm

if wren knew Media would be cheap how is keeping Vazquez at 11.5 vs huddy at 9 the right decision?

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

And if a certain poster is supposed to be banned, they should stay gone. A business has the right to deny you virtual entrance if you’ve violated their terms of service. I’m assuming that’s why the name has funny symbols. Freedom of speech doesn’t guarantee you continued access to their forum.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

Brandon- get Ok Computer and Kid A. You will be all set there.

Tom Waits wears Redwing boots

January 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

ugaaccountant-

Lots of moods and opinions in the blog world. That is why I found the infamous overnight fight of 1/7 – 1/8 so entertaining. Just imagining the 2 combatants hustling over their keyboards, pointing out the pointless was beyond funny. Some real world entertainment, which is why I wish they’d keep the camera on the interloper during sporting events.

PMC

January 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

How can you be bitter or resentful when the reason they couldn’t trade you…. YOU MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY.

He’s got no reason to be bitter about anything whatsoever.

MZ

January 8th, 2010
3:50 pm

How ’bout Artie Lange?

welikebaseball2

January 8th, 2010
3:51 pm

Noah: I’ve got to disagree with you on a couple of things…
#1) You say “pitching wins games.” So why did the Braves finish 3rd in the majors in team ERA yet miss the playoffs? Because a strong pitching staff bodes well for the playoffs, but if you don’t score runs you don’t make the playoffs.
#2) I don’t know what offensive “numbers” you’re referring to in terms of the Braves being the “one of the best teams in the game.” The best teams in the game were in the playoffs. Maybe you’re talking ERA (obviously you’re not referring to our offensive stats). If so, again I say, pitching is crucial but you’ve still got to score runs.

Oh yeah, who did I want? No one that our penny pinching GM would go after.

Macon Braves (RIP)

January 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

I agree with Daslied on the albums. The Bends and O.K. Computer are the best of the bunch. Also check out the song Creep ,it slipped my mind when I mentioned the other two songs. I like it about as much as the other two.

MFin04

January 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

Dang Chipper Jones was good in 2008. If he can produce at a level halfway between 08 and 09, the Braves will do pretty darn well this year.

Tomahawkin

January 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

TnBrian

You know that our lineup scares No One, Yeah I may be B…ching about our Cheap owners but how much you want to wager that you will be cussing on this blog during the first half of the season when our starters give us 7 strong innings and we lose 3-2…

Because if I recall from last year both of us about lost it when the braves could on score 1-2 runs against AAA teams like the Pitates and Nationals?

TnBrian

January 8th, 2010
3:54 pm

I’m NOT cool with keeping Hudson over Vazquez, but I’d be more ticked if I’m on the Yanks side because they just got a guy that they’ve already had and might have traded a future Vazquez in Vizcaino to get him. All for just a year of him.

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2010
3:54 pm

Daniel, those two Radiohead CDs — Kid A and OK Computer, plus The Bends and In Rainbows.

welikebaseball2

January 8th, 2010
3:54 pm

Daniel: I hear you. Honestly, I hope Wren is indeed just being secretive. If we’re done I can’t say that I’m exactly enthused about the ‘10 season.

Tomahawkin: True. I guess Wren is sticking to the budget given to him. It’s just that he likes to hint that he’s not necessarily “restricted” by the budget. I’ve heard him say that in a few interviews. I agree with you though. His hands are likely tied.

Steve from OH

January 8th, 2010
3:56 pm

You seem to be one of those weak minded people who feel that any discussion on race is wrong

You just don’t get it, do you? It’s not about that. I don’t know if you want to use this forum to push your own agenda, if you just like talking about that stuff, or whatever, but read carefully:

THIS IS NOT THE FORUM FOR THAT.

If you want to talk about it, that’s fine, I couldn’t give two sh!ts what you say. But when you’re here, you should respect O’Brien enough to follow his rules. Period. End of story.

Macon Braves (RIP)

January 8th, 2010
3:56 pm

One album that Daslied didn’t mention that is great as well is Pablo Honey. It’s really strong as well and has Creep on it.

Tom Waits wears Redwing boots

January 8th, 2010
3:56 pm

Some bands don’t make bad records, just differnet kinds of records. Any Radiohead record is worth the price, especially @ 1.99

CB

January 8th, 2010
3:59 pm

Steve,why do you respond that way to stupidity? It is what he wants- to agitate.

Lunatic Fringe

January 8th, 2010
3:59 pm

MFin04
Wow—live “recorded game” comments

Wish the blog was this rational during real games

welikebaseball2

January 8th, 2010
4:00 pm

Tomahawkin:

I’m also with you concerning the if’s on our roster. If Chipper battles injuries again, we’re in trouble in terms of “big bats” in the lineup. McCann will be a constant. But if Chipper doesn’t stay healthy, which I’m not convinced he will, our hopes of more power from the plate rests solely on the shoulder (pund intended) of Glaus. Too many if’s indeed.

Daslied

January 8th, 2010
4:01 pm

I like Pablo Honey, but it’s my least favorite. I don’t think it’s going to convert anyone, necessarily. :) I saw them at a tiny club in Charlotte on that tour, but had no idea what they would become.

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