Braves say newcomers have helped team unity

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – When Braves general manager Frank Wren went looking to bolster the lineup, bench and bullpen this winter, he had a few things in mind: versatility, right-handed hitting, and reputations for knowing how to win and be good teammates.

That last part was not incidental, either. A little more than a month into spring training, it’s apparent why it was stressed. Braves who’ve been on the team a while say it’s not just their most balanced team in recent years, but already perhaps the most cohesive.

“It’s a good chemistry, and that’s always a good thing,” said second baseman Martin Prado, who gives high marks to additions including outfielder Melky Cabrera, whom he said is a team-first guy all the way.

“For some reason people are always expecting good chemistry for everybody,” said Prado, who indicated it’s not as easy as people think.

Over the course of long seasons, teams can easily become cliquish or fragmented, particularly when results fall short of expectations.

Some teams might not have big arguments or fights, but coexist without truly being on the same page and sharing the same idea about how things should be done, or at least not the same desire to do them that way.

Even a team with a manager like the Braves’ Bobby Cox, renowned for running a unified a clubhouse, can have cracks develop over the course of eight months — especially when things don’t go as planned.

Winning has a way of concealing any sort of discontent, but it’s often there. It has bubbled beneath the surface occasionally in the Braves’ current stretch of four years without a playoff appearance.

At one point in the 2008 season, as Chipper Jones was on his way to winning his first batting title, the veteran third baseman confided that he was concerned about the direction the team seemed to have taken, specifically the attitude of some team members.

“That’s what happens when you have an influx of a bunch of different young guys,” Jones said this past weekend. “You’re going to have people going in different directions. I was pretty much the only holdover here, and yeah it was a little frustrating, because the game wasn’t being played the same way as it had been around here for a long time.”

From his familiar locker at the Braves’ spring-training headquarters, Jones looks around the clubhouse this spring and likes what he sees.

“That weeding-out process has taken place,” he said. “The young guys who have made it through are maturing and starting to learn how to play and learn how to win. You mix that in with a few more older guys from different organizations, guys who are good clubhouse guys, and lo and behold you’ve got a good mix.”

Wren’s offseason position-player additions included first baseman Troy Glaus for needed right-handed power; backup corner infielder Eric Hinske, who has played for three different teams in three consecutive World Series; and Cabrera, a switch-hitter who can play strong defense at all the outfield positions and contributed 28 doubles and 13 homers in 154 games for the World Series champion Yankees in 2009.

During spring training, Latin players often gather around Cabrera as he tells stories they say are both entertaining and inspiring.

“Definitely” a good addition, Prado said. “He’s one of those guys who’s going to put you on the spot — you have to play hard every time. He’s always concerned about what we can do as a team. Because coming from the Yankees, they play as a team. He talks to us about that.”

In the bullpen, the Braves added veterans Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito and Scott Proctor at the back end, and Jesse Chavez, who made 73 appearances as a Pittsburgh rookie last season. All were quickly embraced by returning relievers including Aussie sidearmer Peter Moylan, who said unity is exceptional on this Braves team and in the bullpen.

The Braves think their starting rotation, with Tim Hudson in place of traded 2009 ace Javier Vazquez, can again rank among the majors’ best.

The improved lineup has probably caused the most excitement during the Braves’ 11-6 start this spring, with the additions of Glaus, Cabrera and rookie right fielder Jason Heyward — a 20-year-old phenom that most Braves fully anticipate being their opening day right fielder.

The Braves led the majors with a .390 on-base percentage before Monday’s scheduled off day, and their 97 walks were 17 more than the next-most. Glaus ranks among league leaders in average (.444) and OBP (.559). Heyward has hit .444 with five extra-base hits and nine walks in 31 at-bats. Yunel Escobar has a .355 average with six doubles, and Brian McCann has hit .478 with two homers and nine RBIs in nine games.

“I think we’ve swung the bats extremely well down here, top to bottom,” said Jones, batting .391 with a .517 OBP. “We’ve put together a lot of hits, scored a lot of runs. Defense has been pretty good, at least from the standpoint of the guys we’re going to take north.

“It’s shaping up to be about what I expected.”

210 comments Add your comment

Scott

March 22nd, 2010
1:29 pm

Scott

March 22nd, 2010
1:29 pm

Crap did I do that wrong?

TheNCBravesFan!

March 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

davidpredhead

March 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

come on guys….who’s first???

Bruce Chen

March 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

I see everyone is happy Francoeur is gone…

bschro

March 22nd, 2010
1:34 pm

Any one want to take a stab at who was a problem?

2008 was the year “Frenchy” was sent to the minors and smarted is mouth off to Cox and Wren – and then took it to the media . . . .

hmmmm . . . he would be my leading candidate.

will36206

March 22nd, 2010
1:35 pm

Unity and chemistry can be undervalued by many over a long season…Glad the Braves are finding it and glad they have experienced players who value it.

sportsmandh

March 22nd, 2010
1:36 pm

I am wondering if some of the comments are directed at Kelly Johnson too.

Braves82

March 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

Frenchy always thought he was entitled, and he quickly found out how entitled he was. Enjoy New York Frenchy. It will be a long time before you even sniff the playoffs again.

Bob

March 22nd, 2010
1:42 pm

231st!!!!
Wait……What???

robdawg08

March 22nd, 2010
1:44 pm

I guess Francoeur,Soriano,Gonzalez,Norton,and Vazquez were the bad clubhouse guys ?

I would like to think that M.Cabrera would be a starter since the Braves gave up Vazquez (an ace SP). Maybe the reliever will pan out one day that the Yankees included ?

The way Johnny Damon is hitting in ST it looks like the Braves missed signing a needed CF that can hit. McClouth is still young and maybe an extended minor league stay will rectify his slump ?

I think Hinske can play OF as well ?

whensidslid92

March 22nd, 2010
1:46 pm

Did Chipper just take a subtle stab at Frenchy? “The young guys who have made it through the weeding process”….hahaha. Love it.

robdawg08

March 22nd, 2010
1:47 pm

The Mets will be very good this year (most likely). They have Reyes,Beltran,and Santana returning from injuries. I hate the Mets too but give them credit on building a strong competitive team.

matt_t

March 22nd, 2010
1:51 pm

Hey DOB-
Maybe this will make the last part of Spring Training go by quickly.
New The Hold Steady Single
http://onethirtybpm.com/2010/03/22/mp3-the-hold-steady-hurricane-j/

raleighbravesfan

March 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

robdawg – Mets still need pitching.Vazquez was a good clubhouse guy, especially for Latin players. It is well documented why he was traded.

sidslidkid

March 22nd, 2010
2:03 pm

DOB, awesome read… should be fun to look up this article again at the end of the season. Thanks, keep em coming.

varoadrunner

March 22nd, 2010
2:04 pm

The 2010 version of the Braves seems to have a particular balance. Franceour was a definate distraction in the clubhouse. Let’s hope him well…. just not against us. The rest of the team seems to have jelled rather quickly and it does not seem that we have anyone that sticks out as a premedona. Escobar excepted, altho, he is a year older and has another year of Cox under his belt. Good things could be in store us in 2010.

Brian from SC

March 22nd, 2010
2:05 pm

robdawg, the Mets aren’t sure when Jose Reyes is going to play again. And I agree that their pitching staff just isn’t on the same level as the Braves or Phillies. They won’t score enough runs to make up for it.

In da Club...house

March 22nd, 2010
2:09 pm

Yes, everyone who left via free agency or trades were terrible club house people. Absolutely horrendeous.

BobbyCox

March 22nd, 2010
2:10 pm

I think Norton can really help this team. He’s a stand up guy. Where is Norton, anyway?

ugaaccountant

March 22nd, 2010
2:14 pm

What do you guys expect out of Johann Santana this year? Is he back to his old self, minus a little normal aging, or do you see last years injury as a turning point in the wrong direction? He’s the key here, as he’s their pitching staffs only hope.

Say Hey-ward Kid

March 22nd, 2010
2:16 pm

Greggory Norton is in the unemployment line, probably the best free agent still available.

MLB player page, “Status: Free agent”

chc4

March 22nd, 2010
2:19 pm

“Cohesiveness in the clubhouse” basically infers that they are better off the field than on… which I’d say perfectly describes Glaus, Cabrera, and the bullpen acquisitions. Disappointing offseason for Wren & Co.

Ted M

March 22nd, 2010
2:21 pm

FYI…Jeff Francoeur is hitting .179 this spring

DHD

March 22nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Has Tommy Gregg made it to camp yet?

papafoxx

March 22nd, 2010
2:26 pm

ENOUGH TALK, PLAY BALL!

NC Braves Fan

March 22nd, 2010
2:26 pm

Awesome read, DOB. Suggests to me that so much goes on behind the scenes and that what is perceived one way by the fans can be read in a totally different way in the pressure cooker of the clubhouse.

George "Boston Brave" Spitz

March 22nd, 2010
2:30 pm

I attended my first Braves game in 1931 when I lived blocks away from the old Boston Braves ballpark.They lost 9 to 2 to New York Giants. I haven’t beeen so excited about a Braves team since 1933 when they briefly challenged the Giants for first place before losing a late August doubleheader and eventually falling to fourth. But I became a diehard Braves fan even when they went to Milwaukee where I have never been and after returning myself to New York City where I was born. I may be the oldest and the longest duration Braves fan..

jermaine dye

March 22nd, 2010
2:33 pm

please atlanta and frank wren sign me please

Mr. Enigma

March 22nd, 2010
2:34 pm

Also, who can forget the little feud between Chipper and Smoltz in 2007?

Oldbravesbag

March 22nd, 2010
2:34 pm

I will not believe Kelly Johnson was a problem…there was no indication of that…ever.

chc4

March 22nd, 2010
2:35 pm

Waaaaaaaaaaa! Waaaaaaaaaaa!

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
2:35 pm

chc, wonder if that stands for Chicago Cub, you at least sound like one with the complaining despite them actually showing ON FIELD success for the entire grape fruit league thus far. Troy Glaus has never had a season where he hit less than i believe 29 home runs except the one year last year when he was injured. Frank Wren has showed business savvy not letting his emotions guide his personnel decisions. He is playing the odds like any good business man, numbers are a more true indicator of future events than anything else if you look at the odds based on their past number Lowe will have a better year than Vazquez, Chipper will hit around .300 and Glaus will hit around 30 HRs. Now obviously this is all contingent on health but if they are all healthy the numbers point to no reason to think this won’t happen. All you can do is go off the data.

In case you need another example of Wren knowing what he is doing, where are John Smoltz and Tom Glavine this year? Thats right with the Braves…but not on the pitchers mound.

ElethA

March 22nd, 2010
2:36 pm

@sportsmandh I read on an article about Kelly that he just spent the offseason working out with Chipper and Mac, and that they were both helpful in fixing his swing, so I doubt that the comments are directed at anyone but Frenchy. Could be wrong.

ih8damets

March 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

Robdawg08,

The Mets will stink again. They are the cest pool of baseball. Plus Reyes will start the year on the DL

AustinBrave

March 22nd, 2010
2:38 pm

DHD- Oh my god Tommy Gregg he started a hitting school for kids in Newnan, GA and a couple of my friends took there kids to him and tried to get me to, BUT NO WAY. This guy was the worst, I think him and Norton must be relatives and Bobby Cox was there dad. Bobby loved these two guys.

jermaine dye

March 22nd, 2010
2:39 pm

please im begging you wren sign me i want to come back to atlanta

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
2:39 pm

Also those whining about the Glaus signing and not getting a bigger bat, free agent wise who was a better option? Even if they could afford it we were better off not going after Bay or Holliday they stand no chance to ever live up to the contracts they signed, they are very very good solid players, but they are not great and are by no means difference makers.

Stanco

March 22nd, 2010
2:40 pm

Are the Mets still in the National League?? I thought they have been moved to AAA!! ……with Frenchy batting cleanup!!!

BamaBrave

March 22nd, 2010
2:40 pm

Soriano wasn’t exactly Mr. Warmth either…

chem

March 22nd, 2010
2:41 pm

Norton isn’t unemployed, he’s a batting coach this year for the Marlins AAA team. By the way, Norton’s career OBP is nearly the same as Nate Mclouth, the starting CF for your Atlanta Braves.

Bob Horner

March 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

I’m wondering if it’s a bit directed at the wooden-faced, emotionless, non-hustling pair of ex-Angels we had on the roster last year?

chem

March 22nd, 2010
2:43 pm

Oh, and it’s higher than Eric Hinske’s OBP (Nortons replacement)

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
2:44 pm

The chemistry problems started when we went into Yankee mode there for a couple years getting FA’s like Drew and Sheffield. The way these guys are coming together for example, Chipper, Wagner, and Glaus who were friends and respected each other even while on other teams, its the closest we have come to recreating the early 90’s atmosphere where the guys respect each other and play for each other.

chem

March 22nd, 2010
2:44 pm

also higher than Melky Cabrera

Bing

March 22nd, 2010
2:46 pm

Hey Jermaine…the National League doesn’t have a DH!

coach joe

March 22nd, 2010
2:46 pm

greg norton is the new hitting coach for the new orleans zephyrs, a triple A marlins farm team …

go braves

jermaine dye

March 22nd, 2010
2:49 pm

did you not listen to mlb hot stove i can still play the field please

All I'm Saying Is...

March 22nd, 2010
2:52 pm

First of all, all of this hitting is still taking place only in spring training so it needs to carry over, which I’m confident it will as all these guys (Glaus, Cabrera, Hinske) are experienced and professional and/or wise beyond their years (Heyward).

Second, after late June 2009, hitting was not an issue for our team so we know we (Prado, etc. ) can hit and can expect that Glaus will pick up and exceed where LaRoche left off, that Cabrera and Diaz will do better than GA and Frenchy if Heyward starts in the minors, and that Nate can’t do any worse than Schafer did.

As for the team chemistry, no doubt its better because:

Casey Kotchman was a grumble-bunny and rumored to be simply unpleasant (i.e. negative personality)

Francoeur was likely self-centered, arrogant, and thought himself God’s gift as he didn’t handle his early success and subsequent struggles well

and

Kelly Johnson was not hitting and did not hit for the first three months of the season and as his slump progressed his perspective probably got worse until he was finally benched in late June sealing his demise

We just need to do what we do and the wild card is easily within reach. And after two straight years of good fortune, Philly is due to back-slide some so the division is not out of the question.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
2:53 pm

Jermaine,
I’m sorry we have moved on. We have a new right fielder to make a star out of and then trade for Keith Lockhart…i’m sorry.

NC Braves Fan

March 22nd, 2010
2:54 pm

Could definitely be Frenchy that Chipper’s taking a stealth shot at – JF has gotten a few subtle digs in on the Branves since the trade.

Kelly strikes me as a good guy who stopped hitting last year — it happens. Who can forget all that extra work he put in at second with Glenn Hubbard in the offseason a few years ago?

I hope he bounces back in AZ.

JS

March 22nd, 2010
3:02 pm

Damon – Bravos were never going to spend that kind of money for a 2 year deal like Detroit did. He was never a legitimate option for us.

BravesFan79

March 22nd, 2010
3:04 pm

The fact the Braves are walking alot is a very good sign!

Daniel

March 22nd, 2010
3:09 pm

I agree that hitting and averages in spring training can be misleading, but what is encouraging is the patience being shown by the lineup. 17 more walks than any other club? I feel like plate discipline is something that can easily carry over to the regular season.

EW

March 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

can’t help but think chipper is referring to Frenchy and the like…would have liked you to expand on who might have been causing the cracks…since you hint at the possibility our clubhouse wasn’t as unified as we would have thought

38yrBravesFan

March 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

DOB – With all due respect, it’s “lo and behold”. And lo and behold we have a good team shaping up!!!

GO BRAVES!!

timthebrave

March 22nd, 2010
3:24 pm

Stop giving Norton cra*. He had 1 good year and 1 horrible year as a pinch hitter. Doesn’t mean he won’t be a great coach. Being able to teach hitting and hitting in the majors are completely different

Roman Gal

March 22nd, 2010
3:27 pm

Should i seek treatment? RHR

That’s like asking your pimp if you should take a vow of celibacy.

ugaaccountant

March 22nd, 2010
3:35 pm

What’s Norton making as hitting coach for the Marlins? Nothing too much right? The Braves should double it and pay him to give bad instructions to the Marlins prospects as they come through. Really take a special interest in key guys like Stanton. If he could screw up Stanton’s development it might kill the Marlins chances of making any serious challenge in a couple of years, since they rely so heavily on their home grown prospects.

Just kidding, he’ll probably be a good coach. Pinch hitting specialist would seem to be a real student of the hitting game, even if his talent level fell off in his last season.

Roman Gal

March 22nd, 2010
3:36 pm

Sadly I doubt most of the regulars here go to many games. smitty

I don’t know. I’d venture to say that those of us who live near Atlanta go to a good number of games.

leland

March 22nd, 2010
3:37 pm

What does “knowing how to win” mean? Did the Braves know how to win for more than a decade then forget how to do it? Maybe Bo-Co forgot, and having forgotten, is now unable to teach his team. What about the twenty-year-old rookie phenom, J-Hey? Does he know how to win? If you don’t know how to win, how do you learn how? Should the Braves start classes on it, if they don’t know already? Who would teach it?

chc4

March 22nd, 2010
3:38 pm

BuckheadBrave — Are you actually hyping the Braves spring training record? Seriously? The Indians are 11-5 and NYY is 8-10. That’s gotta be one of the dumbest measures of all time.

Our incumbent 1B, who played more than 10x the # of games as Glaus last year and is much younger, signed for 1 year and slightly higher $. Did I mention Glaus has never played first? The reason we didn’t go after LaRoche? Wren thought he wanted a long term, big $ deal. Oops.

Wren’s bullpen tradeoff was disastrous. We are minus a first round pick for Wagner and thought we’d get one each for Gonzo and Saito. Didn’t happen. Oops.

Yes, Wren made some good moves in past years — Jurrjens, acquiring Vazquez & Soriano — but this offseason has been a mess. We have the same holes in March 2010 that we had in September ‘09 which means it’s been a wasted offseason.

Kentavo

March 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

Norton was my hitting instructor – and I’m stuck in co-ed softball league unable to get past the glass ceiling.

Cecil34

March 22nd, 2010
3:44 pm

So many Braves teams over the past 44 years gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling in spring training – you know, everyone pretty much hitting a ton, pitching looking sharp, great defense, good chemistry….

Then the stark reality of April hits….

No one hitting, defense looking suspect, pitching not consistant.

Everyone gets along in the clubhouse in sunny Florida with a winning record and a relaxed atmosphere.

Funny how all that goes out the window once adversity rears it’s head.

I am hoping for the best, but how about let’s wait and see what the reality is once we get into the season a bit.

Chipper's Bunions

March 22nd, 2010
3:44 pm

Chemistry….schmemistry….I’ll take the ‘77 Yankees over any Bobby Cox team, EVER!!!

Lets see how well they get along when the 10 games behind the Phillies in September. Winning makes for great chemistry.

N8

March 22nd, 2010
3:51 pm

If how they each handled the Braves sending them to the minors is/was any indication, Kelly Johnson was NOT who Chipper was talking about.

Kelly said all the right things, putting the team above himself upon being demoted (to the minors and in losing his starting job).

Jeff did not.

That quote was a DIRECT jab at Jeffy.

shmoe

March 22nd, 2010
3:52 pm

varoadrunner: ” it does not seem that we have anyone that sticks out as a premedona. Escobar excepted”

do you mean “primadonna”? And I would strongly disagree that Escobar is a primadonna. He comes from a different culture and is still learning the ways of American Baseball.

JTH

March 22nd, 2010
3:53 pm

Francouer: Self entitled little turd who was more concerned with how he looks on a magazine cover than improving as a player.

Soriano: A-hole

Krotchman: Even bigger A-hole

Anderson: Just looking for a paycheck, doing what it takes to win was irrelevent

KJ: Lost confidence led to even poorer play.

None will be missed.

Mitchell

March 22nd, 2010
3:54 pm

sportsmandh

March 22nd, 2010
1:36 pm
I am wondering if some of the comments are directed at Kelly Johnson too.

I would think and hope so. He wouldn’t have been fit to play on the 1990 Braves team. Kelly had his moments but he should have been benched long before he was.

As optimistic as I am about this season, I’d be even more so with a different manager. I’m going to try my best not to be too critical of the man over the next six months but at this point, he’s a liability.

We definitely know he’s not one to change what he thinks works but he has to show a lot more faith in his pitchers. He can’t be going to his bullpen every night when the guy coming in no better suited to get hitters out than the starter even if he’s thrown close to 100 pitches. I wish he would just forget about the pitch count but that probably won’t happen.

We need to be sharp this year and mentally prepared. I don’t really know many people who are as good at what they do at 68 as they are at 50. Ordinarily a guy who loses four World Series out of five in a decade would be fired but to finish no better than third four years in a row after 14 straight division titles and see his clubhouse diveded and have his players losing focus? I mean, who’s fault is that?

You can’t tell me he’s the best guy to lead this team right now when they have a chance to get back to the playoffs.

Okay, I guess I’m being critical. I was thinking for a while that not even Bobby Cox could blow it this year. We’re too good not to make the playoffs or to win the division. Now I’m worrying that only Bobby Cox could blow this.

Can’t wait.

JeanE

March 22nd, 2010
4:04 pm

I don’t think it was a jab at KJ at all, definitely a slap at the “Golden Boy” Jeffy Francoeur!!! I love it, and I love this team, love the versatility and the way guys can play lots of positions. Nate will come around, he just needs to chill out. Don’t miss that jerk #7 and his prima donna attitude one little bit! Go Braves!

otiswassafe

March 22nd, 2010
4:08 pm

Did ya’ll hear DOB’s interview at http://www.atlantabaseballtalk.com? Pretty good stuff.

justin1

March 22nd, 2010
4:14 pm

The Latin players seem to always clique up. I understand that if you dont speak good english you would want to be around spanish speaking players. But Escobar (as much as i like him) seems to never talk to the American players AT ALL. I hope there is more unity than what we see on tv.

In da Club...house

March 22nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Escobar is the only club house cancer left.

T for Texas

March 22nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Francouer must have been trouble. Think about it. After the 2007 season where he was still considered to have a huge upside, the Braves draft Jason Heyward, a right fielder, with their number one pick in the draft, despite having other glaring needs in the minor league system. Now I am sure the Braves were taking the best possible player available, but I wonder if Frenchy’s attitude went to hell before or after the drafting of Heyward.

rodaddy

March 22nd, 2010
4:32 pm

Kelly Johnson was plain awful. He ruined last year with that drop pop fly against philadelphia. thanks for finally saying something chipper

Fish Bisch

March 22nd, 2010
4:34 pm

rodaddy
That was two years ago. Did you even watch the Braves last year?

Falkor

March 22nd, 2010
4:35 pm

I have been frustrated with Wren at times like most, but looking at the roster at the end of 2008 we are a much, much better team. He had the balls to cut essentially-life-long Braves Glavine and Smoltz in route to completely overhauling the starting 5 which at times included JoJo Reyes, Jeff Bennett, Jorge Campillo, Chuck James and Charlie Morton. I don’t hear too many great things about these guys if any.

Concerning Vasquez: there is no doubt we traded him at the peak of his value. Granted we didn’t get anything mind-blowing in return, but we did get key pieces to our roster, and if the young stud is the next Hanson/Heyward then we made out better than the Yankees.
It’s funny how the trade to get Vasquez was critisized almost as much as the trade to get rid of him, a year can make a big difference.

None of the moves this year have been sexy, but they fit within our own self-imposed salary cap, and I think it’s without a doubt the best team we’ve had in 5 years.

Come playoff time Wren will probably be up for Executive of the Year…..

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
4:36 pm

well chc all i can say is when we are in the race in early October I hope you don’t jump on the band wagon. I can’t even argue with you because arguing that a team with Glaus, McClouth, Prado, and Heyward is somehow the same as a team that had Francoeur, Kotchman, Kelly Johnson, and Jordan Schaffer at those same positions shows a complete lack of grasp on the game of Baseball.

Adam Laroche told the Braves he deserved and wanted 3 years, what was Wren supposed to do sit on his hands and pray? He went out and got the next best option and ended up with a player who is more consistent he will hit for better average and more consistent power odds are Glaus won’t be .200 with 5 HR’s before the break then .350 with 15 HR’s after the break but that is very likely what you will get from LaRoche. The goal is to be in contention from day 1 not have the mad dash we had to pull last year.

wjones

March 22nd, 2010
4:41 pm

Chipper’s Bunions

“March 22nd, 2010
3:44 pm
Chemistry….schmemistry….I’ll take the ‘77 Yankees over any Bobby Cox team, EVER!!!”

Funny you should say that. Remember who the first base coach was on the 77 Yankees? That’s right–Bobby Cox.

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
4:50 pm

oh and i forgot to mention I will take Wagner over Gonzo or Soriano anyday. They each had flashes of decency but were inconsistent at best. Everytime they took the mound they were a train wreck waiting to happen and Gonzo with his little thriller zombie dance delivery was ridiculous. Look at how many games we finished out of the wild card and look at how many blown saves Gonzo and Soriano combined for, it would have been a totally different, better outcome with someone else closing out games. Now we have someone who will close it out for our starters and Moylan who actually is a great relief pitcher, one of the elite in the NL after last year.

Paddy O

March 22nd, 2010
5:00 pm

all you soap opera baseball morons – you actually want your ball players to have “i’ll kick your ass” attitude. the problem is apparently Chipper, he did not want 2 prima donnas on this here braves squad. that said, I would wager that Frenchy will cost the Braves at least 3 games this year, which just might keep us out of the wild card hunt.

Paddy O

March 22nd, 2010
5:02 pm

IFF Wagner goes the whole year; if Hudson goes the whole Year – way, way way too many crucial IFFFS.

ChaddyDaddy

March 22nd, 2010
5:03 pm

Let’s not forget, there are other youngins – besides Frenchy and KJ – who have been “weeded out” since our last journey to the post season: Kyle Davies, Chuck James, Scott Thorman, Josh Anderson, Jordan Schafer (for all intents and purposes), Casey Kotchman, Soriano, Gonzalez, Eric Langerhans, Pete Orr, Salty, Marcus Giles, etc . . . Perhaps he was alluding to these fellers as well.

Maybe he was also referring to the stubborn attitudes of Bob Wickman (i.e., refusing to pitch in non-save situations) and Andruw Jones (i.e., refusing to accept instruction and insisting on being a “pull hitter”) a few years ago. And, as much as we all think we’re going to miss Soriano, it was only the year before last that his arm was fine according to several MRI’s but he refused to pitch for half the year. I’m sure Chipper wasn’t all that chipper about that.

wjones

March 22nd, 2010
5:07 pm

“I would wager that Frenchy will cost the Braves at least 3 games this year, which just might keep us out of the wild card hunt.”

No, don’t you remember, we traded him to the Mets? He will be costing the Mets those games!

BuckheadBrave

March 22nd, 2010
5:11 pm

I’ll take 3, dont think it will happen but that is much less than the amount he would cost if he was actually on the team.

Reid in EAV

March 22nd, 2010
5:14 pm

**George “Boston Braves” Spitz** — if what you’re saying is true (and you’re not an impostor, putting us on), you’re officially my hero. Fantastic story.

robdawg08

March 22nd, 2010
5:18 pm

Chemistry in the clubhouse means very little. The Yankees of the 70’s had R.Jackson,Piniella,Dent,Guidry,and Gossage who all were known for their self-centered personalities. Same goes for Mike Schmidt,G.Luzinski,Rose,S.Carlton on the 80’s Phillies.
Just give me the best 9 hitters and 8 pitchers statistics-wise even if they all have zero personalities and I’ll win. Team chemistry would be nice but is not essential.

I think the Mets will be very good, you don’t. We will soon see who is right and who is wrong.

robdawg08

March 22nd, 2010
5:29 pm

Kelly Johnson only has himself to blame. He was given every opportunity to be the starting 2B. His weak hitting and errors on routine plays doomed him. The Braves have never had a great 2B like R.Alomar,C.Utley,R.Sandberg,etc. They seem to go after .255 5 32 guys with great gloves. Other teams get .300 25 100, 2B with great gloves.

JEFF

March 22nd, 2010
5:32 pm

It was not me! I was the center of clubhouse friendliness. Everyone loved me. Maybe the troublemaker is still on 3rd. NYC surely has better nightlife than ATL. Thanks for giving me the promotion Bobby.

BehindEnemyLines

March 22nd, 2010
5:33 pm

Loosely translated, they got rid of at least one player who chose to have a life instead of tag along kissing Chipper’s butt when he gets his redneck on. But back to baseball, when do Gene Garber & Terry Forster report to bring down the median age in the ‘pen?

Chopdawg

March 22nd, 2010
5:34 pm

What Reid said–welcome, Boston Brave

WJ

March 22nd, 2010
5:37 pm

First! or Last!

robdawg08

March 22nd, 2010
5:37 pm

Memo to Frank Wren : Draft a power hitting,slick-fielding 2B in the next draft. It seems the Braves draft mainly pitchers and OF’s in the early rounds. D.Hernandez,T.Pena bucked that trend a little.

kurula

March 22nd, 2010
5:40 pm

the attempt at signing johnny damon makes a little more sense now. damon is reportedly a great clubhouse guy. but the braves didn’t seem to be too broken up over not getting him, so i guess it was one of those things where there really can’t get too much of a good thing.

WJ

March 22nd, 2010
5:40 pm

The play on the field will tell it all in about July. We should fully know by then if we have the right chemistry and a playoff bound team.

robdawg08

March 22nd, 2010
5:41 pm

I think Frenchy’s slow bat caused him to be traded, not Chipper. Chipper’s the best player in Braves history. Hank Aaron wasn’t a Brave very long. Murphy is a close 2nd.

WJ

March 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

comments about Francoeur and being a problem for Bravos. Didn’t his problems really start at the time that he got married. It seems he had difficulty from that moment forward. Could his mind have been somewhere else beside the ball field.

jerry

March 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

Beware of peaking too soon!!!

WJ

March 22nd, 2010
5:46 pm

Robdawg8:
Hank Aaron wasn’t a brave very long? DUH! Only the majority of his career. He was with them in Milwaukee before they moved to ATL. Check facts.

kurula

March 22nd, 2010
5:47 pm

hank around wasn’t a brave very long? well, i guess just long enough to hit more than 715 homers….

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