Braves’ Schafer says he’s healthy, confident

Schafer homered twice in opening series at Philly, then hurt wrist

Schafer homered twice in opening series at Philly, then hurt wrist

He felt a pop in his left wrist on April 10, his last at-bat in the home opener against Washington.

Since then, Jordan Schafer has totaled 55 games played, 187 at-bats, 69 strikeouts, 36 hits, two home runs (both in Triple-A), 13 RBI, an unspecified number of cortisone injections, one wrist surgery and only-he-knows-how-many tattoos (both arms are now completely covered in ink from elbow to shoulder.)

But other than that, he seems like the same kid who came to spring training 11 months ago determined to win a big-league job.

Which is saying something. I think back to when I was 21, and wonder how I would have dealt with so much. And my answer is: Probably not well. And definitely not in a way that anyone would consider healthy.  But Schafer’s a tough kid, and mature (hey, don’t just judge the book by the tatts.)

And how many people that age have Schafer’s confidence? For that matter, how many people of any age have it?

He’s got it. Always did. This undersized Florida native, who still wears a ballcap backwards to do an in-studio live interview with a local TV station on a recent Sunday night newscast. He’s still the upbeat guy who doesn’t dwell on what he’s been through, or – like some others his age — ask you about the guys ahead of him at his position, or what club officials might be thinking.

Confident Schafer says as long as he's healthy, he'll be fine.

Confident Schafer says as long as he's healthy, he'll be fine.

No, Schafer just says, in so many words: No worries. It’ll work out. I know what I’m made of, what I’ve got.

To recap: Schafer soared to No. 1 Braves prospect, then sunk to suspended drug (HGH) suspect, then bounced back to be an opening-day starter, then got hurt and slumped horribly until season-ending surgery.

He did all of the above in a span of 21 months.

Tumult, thy name is Schafer.

The 23-year-old former Prince of Polk County (Fla.) is undoubtedly still a sensation around Haines City, but he’s not been a main topic of discussion with many Braves fans when they mull the upcoming season. But he could be soon. Again.

He got hurt last year, slumped, and got sent down. And after the Braves traded for center fielder Nate McLouth last summer, and for outfielder Melky Cabrera in December. And not after Jason Heyward zoomed past him on the up-and-comer list.

Where will Jordan Schafer be playing in August?

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But fans shouldn’t write off Schafer, because the Braves haven’t. He’s healthy now, and ready to prove people wrong. Again. Even if he has to spend a half-season or so in the minors, which seems a distinct possibility.

“I know everybody doubts me now because of what happened last year,” said Schafer, who hit just .204 with two home runs, eight RBIs and 63 strikeouts in 167 at-bats and 50 games for the Bravos before getting demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett at the beginning of June.

“But I know what went into last year. I have no doubts about myself.”

It became apparent later in the season that Schafer’s wrist was indeed injured worse than anyone (except maybe him) had known. Schafer had wrist surgery in September and couldn’t play winter ball. Couldn’t hit until a couple of weeks ago, though his recovery is ahead of schedule.

And make no mistake, the Braves still believe he can be a special player.

“He’s still one heck of a prospect,” manager Bobby Cox said this winter.

“I know people are going to doubt me,” Schafer said. “The writers are going to doubt me … maybe the organization is going to doubt me. But I have no doubts about my ability.”

Braves general manager Frank Wren said there’s no set plan for Schafer, who has only 499 at-bats in the past two seasons because of a 50-game HGH suspension in 2008 and the wrist problems last season.

“He just needs to play,” said Wren, who reiterated what Cox said about Schafer still being highly regarded by the Braves.

If you think about it, a return by Schafer at midseason could be a boon for the Braves, who, barring injuries, would have a surplus of outfielders and and a potential trade chip to acquire a player to fill another need that might crop up.

If for instance, they lost one of their aging new relievers, Billy Wagner or Takashi Saito, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Braves could package  Cabrera – or Schafer – to get a free-agent-to-be veteran reliever from a team that’s fallen out of contention.

(Of course, if the Braves were to make a move and sign someone like, say, Johnny Damon in the next month, they could … oh nevermind. Everyone knows where we stand on that, right? Don’t know where he’s going to end up, but I think any Damon suitors will step forward in the next week.)

Anyway, back to Schafer. He won the 20009 opening-day starting job with a strong performance in the first weeks of spring training, then burst out of the gate with two homers in the opening series at Philadelphia.

But in his last at-bat in the April 10 home opener, the fourth game, Schafer swung and felt a pop in his left wrist. He says now his wrist never felt normal after that, although he didn’t tell anyone how bad it was for quite some time.

“I wanted to play,” Schafer said. “But when I look back on it, it maybe wasn’t the smartest thing. I may have made my wrist worse by doing things to try to play through it.”

He struggled mightily, batting .176 with six extra-base hits in his last 45 games for the Braves, with a .289 on-base percentage and meager .216 slugging percentage in that stretch. He played with his wrist taped tightly, and tests showed only a bone bruise.

He kept insisting he could play, that his sore wrist wasn’t affecting his swing. The Braves didn’t have many options and kept playing him.

“I was doing stuff to try to get rid of the pain,” Schafer said. “It was hard for me — your rookie year in the big leagues, you’re not going to go to Bobby and go, ‘Sorry, I can’t go, I’m hurt.’”

But with strikeouts mounting and his average sinking toward the Mendoza Line (.200), Schafer was eventually sent to the minors.

There he kept trying to get through the injury with rest and cortisone injections, assuring everyone that his wrist was improving.

While not the first young player to downplay an injury while trying to keep a job, Schafer understands it was a mistake. Eventually, an MRI revealed a  fracture. He had season-ending surgery Sept. 5.

“We played him with a broken hand — we didn’t really know it at the time, but it bothered him the entire [season],” Cox said in December.

We’ll let Schafer describe what took place in surgery, as he understood it.

“They took bone from higher up in the wrist and made a block from it, to put over where the problem was,” he said, “because I kept having bone spurs and everything there. There was a stress fracture in there. And I think they fused a tendon back together, but I’m not sure.”

Schafer was cleared to resume hitting two weeks ago. He admitted to have some concern until he began hitting batting-practice pitches from Braves coaches at Turner Field.

He said it was the first time since April 10 that he felt no discomfort in his wrist while hitting.

“I cannot tell you how big a relief it is off my mind,” he said.

And after that relief, there was excitement as he began to look forward to spring training. I asked him if he was eager to get down there and start competing again.

“Dude, you have no idea,” he said. “I’m so ready to get going. I haven’t played in so long, I’m just itching to get back on the field. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get going and playing again.”

And when I asked him about the future, about McLouth being under contract through 2011 and Cabrera being under the Braves’ control for that long if they want to keep him, Schafer said he can’t worry about that.

He made it clear he’d prefer to stay with the Braves, but knows that’s out of his hands.

“I love being around T.P. [hitting coach Terry Pendleton], being around Bobby, playing here,” Schafer said. “This city — I bought a house here [he has a condo in a high-rise in Atlanta's trendy Midtown]. It’s not like I’m trying to go anywhere else. I want to play here.

“But I can’t force them. If they don’t see me in their plans or whatever, I’m not worried about that. Long as I’m healthy and taking care of myself, I’ll be fine.”

If he opens season in majors, he'll join an exclusive club.

If he opens season in majors, he's in exclusive club.

Heyward’s ETA: We’ve had some debate throughout the winter on the ol’ blog about Heyward and whether the Braves should roll the dice and put their uber outfield prospect on the opening-day roster.

Most of you are probably aware now about the long-term money aspect of it. If not, I’ll boil it down by pointing out that if the Braves wait till the end of May to bringing him up, it would all but assure he doesn’t become a Super Two arbitration-eligible player after the 2012 season, and wouldn’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season.

In theory, that might mean he’s affordable to the Braves for one more season down the line. Of course, if they sign him to a long-term contract well before free agency, that would probably become nothing more than a footnote either way.

The Braves say his potential arb status in three of four years will have nothing to do with any decision they make on Heyward, and both Wren and Cox have Heyward will have a chance to win the right-field job in spring training.

So let’s instead focus on the experience aspect of this, because Heyward could potentially do something that only one player who was drafted and signed out of high school managed to accomplish in the past decade.

Rocco Baldelli was the only such player during 2000-2009 to have fewer than 200 at-bats above Class A before opening a season on a major league roster and sticking around to play at least 30 games in the bigs.

Heyward, who turned 20 in August, has 173 at-bats above the A-Ball level, all last season, with 162 of those at-bats coming in Double-A.

Baldelli had 166 at-bats above A-ball, including 96 at-bats in Triple-A, before debuting with Tampa Bay in 2003 and hitting .289 with 11 homers, 78 RBI and a .742 OPS in 156 games as a 21-year-old rookie.

You might ask, what about a guy like Nick Markakis of Woodstock, Ga.? He had only 124 at-bats above A-ball, and none in Triple-A, before hitting .291 with 16 homers, 62 RBI and a .799 OPS in 147 games as a 22-year-old Orioles rookie in 2006.

But Markakis played junior-college ball before he signed. Same thing for Albert Pujols, who then played a year in the minors at age 20 before debuting with St. Louis at 21.

We’re talking about players who signed out of high school, no college ball. And not midseason callups like Braves catcher Brian McCann, who had only 166 at-bats in Double-A  (none in Triple-A) before he was called up ahead of schedule at 21 during the 2005 season (and not to play every day).

Markakis went straight from Double-A to the majors.

Markakis went straight from Double-A to the majors.

If Heyward breaks camp with the Braves, he will be 13 months younger than Baldelli was when he made his major league debut (and 21 months younger than Markakis, just FYI).

Heyward, the pride of Henry County High outside Atlanta, played only 99 games last season because of a few nagging injuries. Of those 99, 49 were at high-A Myrtle Beach.

He played 47 games at Double-A Mississippi, and three more at Triple-A Gwinnett at the end of the season.

Heyward would have gotten plenty more at-bats against top prospects in the Arizona Fall League, but a low-back strain led the Braves to pull him out of there after four games as a precaution.

But he’s ready now and will be there when the Braves report to camp in about four weeks. But will he be in RF on opening day, or at Gwinnett if the Braves opt to add, say, another veteran left fielder? In which case they could play Cabrera or Diaz in RF and let Cabrera also get playing time in LF if said veteran LF needs some days off to stay fresh.

OK, we’ll stop with that. For now.

Wait, wasn’t Andruw similarly inexperienced? Glad you asked about Andruw Jones in regards to that age/at-bats thing. The former perennial Gold Glove center fielder was only 19 when he debuted with Atlanta late in the 1996 season.

But he was, of course, an international signee out of Curacao who played professionally at 17. Hence the drafted stipulation I made above.

However, even if he’d been drafted, Jones still wouldn’t have been in that exclusive club with Baldelli.

Even this guy had more than 200 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A

Even this guy had more than 200 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A

That’s because Andruw had 202 innings combined in Double-A and Triple-A during that 1996 season before he was brought to the majors. He had a season that most players can only dream about, and it’s worth mentioning again now.

Andruw began that season in Class A, where he had 17 homers, 16 stolen bases and a 1.024 OPS in 86 games.

After being promoted to Double-A that summer, he played even better, hitting .369 with 12 homers, 37 RBI and 12 steals in 38 games, with a – gulp — 1.107 OPS.

And after being promoted to Triple-A five weeks later, Andruw ratcheted up his performance yet again, hitting .378 with five homers, 12 RBI and a 1.213 OPS in 12 games. The Braves finally said, enough; the kid can’t stay down any longer.

Can you imagine if the internet and all the various baseball sites had been thriving back then like they are now? I mean, think about all the excitement that’s surrounded Heyward for the past couple of years, and Tommy Hanson.

Then look again at those almost-surreal numbers that Andruw produced in the minors, including those 34 homers and 1.000-plus OPS in his three-level ascendance during the 1996 season.

And that was after he’d totaled 41 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 100 RBI and 56 stolen bases in 139 games the previous season at Class-A Macon. All while making scouts’ jaws drop with his sensational defense.

Damn, Andruw was something.

And everyone who’s seen Heyward believes he will be, too. Different types of players, for sure. But blessed with enormous talent and desire.

If you were making the call, how careful would you be this spring to make the right one on Heyward? It should be interesting.

images

“HUNTSVILLE” by Merle Haggard

That old white haired judge in Dallas

Didn’t pay my story no mind

They’re takin’ me down to Huntsville

I’m bringin’ in a load of time

They caught me on a caper that I planned for days

And proved everything I done

I’m on my way to Huntsville

Bt I’m looking for a chance to run

My hands don’t fit no choppin’ pole

And cotton never was my beg

The men better keep both eyes on me

Or they’re gonna lose old Hag

Hey there ain’t so far to Mexico

There I can find my way

They’re takin’ me down to Huntsville

But I’m not gonna stay

They got me chain and leg irons

I guess they got a good excuse

They know I’m gonna run the first chance

I get cause they never gonna cut me loose

And I really don’t care if they shoot me down

I’ll never be free again

I’ve got two long life turns to do

Both runnin’ in the end

Hey there ain’t so far to Mexico

There I can find my way

They’re takin’ me down to Huntsville

But I’m not gonna stay

4,315 comments Add your comment

Ease in Woodstock

January 22nd, 2010
9:23 pm

squintyeyed

January 22nd, 2010
9:24 pm

Enter your comments here

Ease in Woodstock

January 22nd, 2010
9:24 pm

As Bradley suggested, now I will go back and read the article…

squintyeyed

January 22nd, 2010
9:24 pm

HTF

January 22nd, 2010
9:24 pm

DOB,

This day last year was when the list of non-roster camp invitees was released. Any idea when that will be released this year?

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
9:26 pm

thanx for the new blog Dave

Soph

January 22nd, 2010
9:27 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB.

I like Schafer. He’s got a great attitude.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
9:30 pm

HTF, list already came out about a month ago, when Joe Thurston and Mitch Jones and a few others were on it. Only addition since then was reliever Chris Resop. I’ll try to find link to my story from back then if it’s not still on our Braves page on the website.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
9:30 pm

Just added a Schafer poll to the blog above.

Jurrjens4NLCY

January 22nd, 2010
9:32 pm

Good Blog,

I gotta believe Schafer is on the team in August so he can assume a playoff roster spot.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
9:33 pm

HTF, I just fished my Dec. 17 story out of my documents file. Here it is. These are the non-roster invitees, along with reliever Chris Resop, who the Braves had a couple of years ago.

By David O’Brien

Veteran utility infielder Joe Thurston and minor league home-run leader Mitch Jones were among six players signed to minor-league contracts by the Braves that include invitations to spring training, the team announced Friday.

The others were outfielder Brent Clevlen, who hit .265 with 16 homers for the Tigers’ Class AAA Toledo affiliate, and three from the Braves organization: left-hander Mariano Gomez and catchers Orlando Mercado and J.C. Boscan.

Thurston hit .225 with one homer and 25 RBIs in 2009 for the St. Louis Cardinals. He had 22 extra-base hits including four triples in 124 games, serving primarily as a backup at second and third bases and pinch-hitting. He also played sparingly in left field.

The well-traveled 30-year-old has a .225 average and one homer in 333 at-bats over parts of six seasons with the Dodgers, Phillies, Red Sox and Cardinals.

Thurston had just 66 at-bats in the majors until last season, when he hit .303 in 23 games through May 4, but .199 in 101 games the rest of the way.

In a 10-season minor-league career, Thurston has hit .295 with 250 doubles, 68 triples, 67 homers and 182 stolen bases. He hit .316 with 11 homers and 19 steals for Class AAA Pawtucket (Red Sox) in 2008.

Clevlen, 26, spent eight seasons in the Tigers organization. He has a .233 average and three homers in 73 major league at-bats, and a .261 average with 97 homers and 471 RBIs in 880 minor league games.

The Jones signing had been reported Thursday. He led minor league baseball with 35 homers last season for Class AAA Albuquerque of the Dodgers organization, while batting .297 with 103 RBI in 108 games.

Jones has hit .255 with 235 homers in 1,069 minor league games, including 70 homers in 878 at-bats over the past three seasons.

The Braves previously announced the signing of reliever Scott Proctor to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. He’s recovering from elbow surgery and should be ready by May.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
9:34 pm

I missed it! Soph

Well it’s not over. But it was nice seeing them dominate while I watched for a change. Usually when I turn the game on the opponent goes on a 29-1 run.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
9:37 pm

who still wears a ballcap backwards, over his ears

If my ears were that huge I’d wear a hat to cover them too.

Soph

January 22nd, 2010
9:37 pm

I was watching it and then the Bobcats came back. I flipped to something else for a while and forgot but I see we took over.

Usually when I turn the game on the opponent goes on a 29-1 run.

Well then you need to tune in every game! Clear your calendar for when the Hawks play the Cavs, Lakers, and Magic.

Bay Area Steve

January 22nd, 2010
9:39 pm

To summarize:

Schafer needs a big AAA year, and Roman Gal is still driving the bandwagon.

Heyward needs to kill it for two months at AAA. Patience, folks, and pray the Baseball Gods smile upon Melky.

Andruw was incredible, and doesn’t deserve the vile he gets here.

There are times, such as the end of the last blog, that I wish I could stab many of you in the eye with a fork.

Matt the Brave

January 22nd, 2010
9:39 pm

I think that it would be an interesting outfield with Heyward in right, Schafer in left, McClouth in center, and Diaz as utility OF. If the two younger players live up to their potential, then we would have some pop and a lot of speed in our outfield. Depending on who ends up being manager after this season, speed might be a good thing to have!

Eric from MO

January 22nd, 2010
9:45 pm

Wow didnt know Andruw had 56 SB in a minor league season.

DOB assuming the Braves dont sign Damon does that mean either Heyward or Schafer will be on the team to start the season? Seeing how the Braves have indicated that Schafer will start the season in the minors that almost means Heyward will start in Atlanta. Unless there is another scenario that I am overlooking.

HTF

January 22nd, 2010
9:47 pm

Thanks for searching for the article DOB, but I meant the in-house invitees that aren’t on the 40-man like Heyward, Freeman, Schafer, and Hanson were last year. I’d like to see who is going to get the shot to be in the big league camp.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
9:47 pm

Outfielders Nick Markakis and Rocco Baldelli are the only such players who played more than 30 major league games in the past decade after having fewer than 200 at-bats above the Class-A level in the minors.

McCann only had 166. Or is Myrtle Beach considered above Class-A since it’s A Advanced?

Soph

January 22nd, 2010
9:49 pm

There are times, such as the end of the last blog, that I wish I could stab many of you in the eye with a fork.

Ouch.

Eric from MO

January 22nd, 2010
9:51 pm

Pujols only had 104 at bats and that with including Class A Advanced

Soph

January 22nd, 2010
9:52 pm

Dammit. Look at the Hawks being all lackadaisical.

Ok, nevermind. They’re okay now.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
9:52 pm

I do not like Zaza

TnBrian

January 22nd, 2010
9:52 pm

I just wouldn’t bet against Schafer being traded by August since we have more than a few health questions on the team. We could be tooth and nail with Philly or the Mets by then and like DOB mentioned, one of those two relief guys could go down. So many things could happen that one would be a fool to try and predict anything.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
9:54 pm

I just wouldn’t bet against Schafer being traded by August since we have more than a few health questions on the team. TnB

I’d rather they traded Melky. Roman Gal paid me to say that!

Soph

January 22nd, 2010
9:55 pm

Oh, and cab if you’re here – I saw your post about the rain earlier. Glad it’s not bad – I was watching the news today and saw stuff about mudslides so I was worried about you guys.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
9:56 pm

are they in mudslide territory? I didn’t think they were.

Soph

January 22nd, 2010
9:58 pm

nolie – I have no idea. I wasn’t really paying attention to the news but I heard the words mudslide and California and thought about them.

Bill

January 22nd, 2010
9:58 pm

Schafer needs the time in AA Mississippie are AAA. he’s missed almost two full season, playing only 1/4 of games 08 and 1/4 of games in 09. But he will be back maybe July 2010 if he works hard.
Everyone seems to like to cut down Milkey but I believe like Wren & Braves Management that he’s going to surprise a few fans. Hope so anyway.

Poorbrave

January 22nd, 2010
10:00 pm

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
10:00 pm

Eric from MO: Only other scenario, other than signing Damon (or someone else), or having Heyward in RF, would be to have Diaz in left and Cabrera in right, presumably Hinske and Infante backing up.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
10:03 pm

he’s barely a league average which is actually below average for a corner OFers and he is coming to a tougher park. That’s probably why..I think they got him as the 4th OFer after Heyward comes up, that is what he is best suited for. we can all hope he gets it done

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
10:05 pm

Pujols only had 104 at bats and that with including Class A Advanced — Eric from MO

Only talking outfielders. But anyway, Pujols played Juco ball. We’re talking only about guys drafted out of high school, not college players. Pujols was 21 as a rookie, by the way. He was 20 in his only minor league season.

MaineBrave

January 22nd, 2010
10:06 pm

great article DB

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
10:07 pm

Jordan Schafer Update « Braves Blog

January 22nd, 2010
10:08 pm

[...] Schafer Update By Mike Montgomery David O’Brien provided an update on Jordan Schafer’s recovery from September wrist surgery on his [...]

braves34

January 22nd, 2010
10:10 pm

Nobody has said anything about Jones the OLD new guy for the Braves.. If he can prove the numbers he put up in the minors, than i would think he would get the nod. And he is A POWER RIGHT HANDER on top of that.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
10:16 pm

If he can prove the numbers he put up in the minors, braves34

That’s the big question about him alright, 34. Much of that was in hitter friendly PCL parks, and if previous teams really believed he could get it done over a full season in the bigs surely they would have given him a chance.
He might do fine for us but you gotta think the odds of that happening are a little long.
We did talk a good deal about him when his signing was first announced.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
10:19 pm

HTF, they haven’t announced minor leaguers invited to camp yet.

braves34

January 22nd, 2010
10:19 pm

Lets be honest. there are alot QUESTION marks. For all the guys

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
10:26 pm

yeah there are 34, but that’s true about most teams to one extent or another. If you want to compete yearly without the huge payroll available to some, you gotta take some chances. At least Glaus, for instance, has been a pretty decent hitter as late as 08, when healthy.
Better IMO to take a chance on him being healthy-and the odds on that are pretty good-than to take the chance that some healthy player whose numbers are all over the place from year to year will give us one of his good ones, at least IMO.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:26 pm

just wouldn’t bet against Schafer being traded by August since we have more than a few health questions on the team. We could be tooth and nail with Philly or the Mets by then and like DOB mentioned, one of those two relief guys could go down. So many things could happen that one would be a fool to try and predict anything. TnBrian

So you wouldn’t bet against it, yet you wouldn’t be a fool to try and predict anything? Don’t you try to predict when you bet? And I would predict and bet that Schafer is not going anywhere, for the record.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:27 pm

sorry, yet you would be (not wouldn’t be)

TnBrian

January 22nd, 2010
10:27 pm

DOB, just your opinion here … what are the odds Braves sign Damon or another FA hitter, 50/50 or more 60/40 in favor? Remember, your opinions mean the world to a lot of people around here.

The Grinch

January 22nd, 2010
10:27 pm

Braves34, if you’re referring to Brandon Jones, he’s already gone. Got rid of him to fit Hinkse on the 40-man roster.

In a perfect world, Cabrera tears it up for a couple of months (which I think he can; dude’s only 25 and changing leagues), then we trade him in midseason for something we need and get Schaeffer up here. Melky has a higher salary and more trade value; no way they don’t keep Jordan instead unless he’s still struggling.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
10:29 pm

Talking outfielders only. I didn’t word it correctly. Outfielders drafted out of high school. (Although I think if we expanded it to all positions, McCann would be one of the very few others added to the list of high school draft picks with under 200 at-bats above A-ball.)

braves34

January 22nd, 2010
10:29 pm

Nolie… U SURE are right about taken chances part.. If it doesnt work out i think Wren job should be up in the air.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
10:32 pm

Grinch I think he is referring to Mitch Jones a big minor league homer hitter who the Braves signed a month or so ago.
as for Melky tearing it up, regardless of league he is coming to a much tougher hitters park that he was in, and mediocre players don’t necessarily get much better just cause they get older.
Like I said, we can all hope.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
10:35 pm

34, now see I don’t think that at all . I think Wren did a pretty nice job of filling several needs with somewhat limited funds, but that’s subjective for each of us.
On a realistic note, no matter what happens I’m pretty sure the club isn’t gonna fire him even if it all goes sour.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:35 pm

5/95 against signing another hitter.

nolie

January 22nd, 2010
10:37 pm

I think it’s pretty long odds on that too Stone

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:41 pm

I mean let’s think about it, say the Braves and Yankees offer Damon or even Nady 2 million. Who would you go to? Hmmm defending world champs who will win 100 or more games this year, in my opinion, or the Braves. Not really a hard choice to me.

braves34

January 22nd, 2010
10:42 pm

I surely think that Wren and the Braves are done, as far as adding another bat, atleast until midseason. But they might surprise me. And they have there fingers crossed. GUARNTEED.

Zack Jones

January 22nd, 2010
10:46 pm

Dayum, not to big of a fan og Matthews Jr. but wow. $1mill a year isnt bad at all.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:47 pm

Wren is going to see where the team is at around june/july and go from there.

Smack

January 22nd, 2010
10:47 pm

Thanks for the new blog Dave! Hate to get out the red pen but there was a “20009″ in the Jordan part and I thought you or someone else this winter made note that he was either building or had bought a house in Cumming.

braves34

January 22nd, 2010
10:48 pm

Zack. The reason it is only a million is cause Mattherws still has MILLIONS coming to him from his old contract.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:50 pm

Got to see Sherlock Holmes last night, have to say I really enjoyed it. But I am a huge fan of Robert Downey.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:52 pm

it’s the same contract braves34, Angels are just paying 21 million of it.

bigboi

January 22nd, 2010
10:52 pm

pants on the ground pants on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground.

Smack

January 22nd, 2010
10:52 pm

“Only talking outfielders. But anyway, Pujols played Juco ball. We’re talking only about guys drafted out of high school, not college players. Pujols was 21 as a rookie, by the way. He was 20 in his only minor league season.”

FYI Markakis played JUCO too like Pujols. Was player of the of the year actually out of ole YHC….as a pitcher. Had a loony toon curve and 95 mph heat. Still the best young lefty I ever saw, like a young Kofax…

China Grove

January 22nd, 2010
10:54 pm

surprised the Halos couldn’t get a more favourable deal on Matthews. Very surprised. Paying 21 million???

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
10:57 pm

China, makes me wonder why the Halos were not willing to deal for Derek Lowe.

bigboi

January 22nd, 2010
10:58 pm

Hat turned sideways gold in your mouth

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:00 pm

perhaps that is the benefit of having an owner, like Artie, as oppossed to owners like the dreaded cuss words of liberty media.

Zack Jones

January 22nd, 2010
11:00 pm

Braves34, I know that. That’s why i said it was a GREAT deal for the mets. Wish we would have done it.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:03 pm

Braves34, I know that. That’s why i said it was a GREAT deal for the mets. Wish we would have done it. Zack

So what we could add him to Melky and together they would make a 4th outfielder? Ok sorry 4 and 1/2.

bravefaninok

January 22nd, 2010
11:03 pm

David O’Brien

January 22nd, 2010
9:30 pm

Just added a Schafer poll to the blog above.

I don’t see a poll…………..

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
11:03 pm

as oppossed to owners like the dreaded cuss words of liberty media.

This again? The “cheap” owners who are only paying $95 million while we hover around poor attendance?

Chris from the Rock

January 22nd, 2010
11:05 pm

Schafer’s the best defensive OF in the organization now. I look forward to seeing him and Heyward patrolling the outfield for years to come.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:06 pm

Just going by the blog posts I have read, jeffrey d. It has just seemed to me tha Liberty media is a cuss word around here. I got no problem with them, they have in fact increased pay roll. But at the same time having one owner who can say yes or no is a lot easier.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:07 pm

and you get 95 millions from where exactly? just curious

Zack Jones

January 22nd, 2010
11:11 pm

cold stone, its a million dollars.
pinch hitter for a million. trade melky, gives you the 3mill from melkys contract.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
11:13 pm

I don’t know why that poll got eliminated momentarily, but I returned it. And those who voted already, your votes are still accounted for in the poll, thankfully.

But if you haven’t voted, please do.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:13 pm

cold stone, its a million dollars.
pinch hitter for a million. trade melky, gives you the 3mill from melkys contract. ZACH

LOL, all I can say to that one.

Chris from the Rock

January 22nd, 2010
11:14 pm

Yeah, I’d rather having Matthews Jr. for 1 mil than Melky Cabrera for 3.1.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
11:14 pm

But at the same time having one owner who can say yes or no is a lot easier

As long as they’re forking over $95 million, I don’t care how many there are. Like I said, we don’t exactly pack the Ted, so I think that’s a pretty reasonable amount.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:14 pm

Staring the year in the majors still leading the way DOB (the poll)

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:16 pm

your missing the point jeffrey d, having one owner who can say yes or no to something. Like Ted did back in the day

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
11:16 pm

Cold Stove, I liked Sherlock Holmes, too. I thought Downey Jr. was great. Movie only got so-so reviews, but I really liked it. Not one of the best movies of the year or anything, but very entertaining.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:17 pm

and Jeffrey D why should we pack the stadium right now? Why?

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
11:18 pm

Smack: Oh, hell. Then nevermind. My research has all kinds of holes in it. Didn’t realize Markakis had played juco ball. Let me see if I can massage it to make sense. Thanks for the heads-up.

Couch Tater

January 22nd, 2010
11:19 pm

DOB,

Thanks for the new blog and the Merle tune. Here’s a video of Merle with Marty Robbins. Purdy funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1EJ0KxKvW0

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:20 pm

Also watched The Lovely Bones a few days back, thought it was pretty good.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
11:20 pm

Yeah, I’d rather having Matthews Jr. for 1 mil than Melky Cabrera for 3.1.

I dunno, Matthews, Jr. seems like another Loaf

Chris from the Rock

January 22nd, 2010
11:22 pm

My fiancée is making me watch “The Runaway Bride” with her. Can I get a pinch-hitter?

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
11:23 pm

Cold Stove – I agree. The average fan sees an average Braves team and would rather spend their money elsewhere. But just looking at our history a little…

In 2003 we had a powerful offense, Greg Maddux still in the rotation, Smoltz closing, and won 100-something games. Our attendance was just above 30,000. Last season it was a little above 29,000. Pretty close.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:23 pm

DOB–

I know you work your butt off, but I was just curious how much time you actually spend in the AJC office? I know you said you had some meetings today but is that all you really “go into the office” for?

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:24 pm

I think in 2003 we were still breaking the 3 million mark, which is a bench mark for good attendance I believe. Maybe I am wrong but I seem to recall Skip on TV saying and yet another year of the Braves going over the 3 million mark. But I am too lazy to see if 2003 was one of those years.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
11:25 pm

OK, I think I’ve got it worked out now. Again, thanks for the heads-up Smack. As much as I hate having errors, I hate even worse when they’re not caught by anyone for days on end.

Jack

January 22nd, 2010
11:25 pm

Dave, couldn’t agree more about Schafer. I’ve given thought that he may doing too good at 3A to hold back. Hope he comes back and send McLouth packing! Would love the speed leading off.

David O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
11:29 pm

Cold Stove, I rarely go to the office. Most of the sports beat people are the same way, none of us have a desk there, but I go in even less than the others because baseball has so many more games than the other sports. No reason to go by the office unless for meetings or to pick up mail or things of that nature. Because the pro basketball and hockey teams play next door to our downtown office, those guys can stop by the office before they go to the game. But that’ll change, too, after our office moves north to the 400/Perimeter area this year.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:30 pm

ok nope, you’re right jeffrey d it was 1997-2000. attendance in 2003 with a far superior team was just a hair higher than this year.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
11:31 pm

DOB – even now, during the more-often-than-not slow and boring offseason, you don’t stay at the AJC offices? Or do they give you less to do since during the season you’ll be running around the country?

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:33 pm

That must be one of the things you really like about your job, DOB. Not having a typical 9-5. But on the flip side I know you have some nice long 16 plus hour days during the season.

jeffrey d

January 22nd, 2010
11:36 pm

Yeah, Cold Stove, I don’t understand our attendance. A great team in 2003 gets 30,000. An OK team in 2007 gets 34,000. A slightly better team in 2009 gets 29,000.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:38 pm

nor do I jeff d. Some will say ahh ATL fans are weak they are this and they are that, but man you go back to the early 90’s fulton county stadium was packed and they were in the games. Especially during the playoffs and playoff runs. Jump forward 10 years we can’t even sell out a post season game. Maybe too many baseball hearts got broken from all the post season failures.

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:41 pm

maybe I should say failures cause we would sure like to just get back to the playoffs huh

Cold Stove

January 22nd, 2010
11:43 pm

**shouldn’t** man if I could type that would be like a world series win

China Grove

January 22nd, 2010
11:47 pm

Long periods of winning usually create a complacent fan base, except for in major markets. Most Braves fans are hardly excited by anything less than excellence, but if we go long enough without winning, when we come back to the top we’ll have rabid fans again.

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