Francoeur in World Series, Chipper’s rehab update, etc.

A few loose and semi-cohesive thoughts while wondering what it means that Jeff Francoeur will be the first of the so-called “Baby Braves” – nickname we always abhorred – to play in a World Series.

We’ve got a little news on Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman, but first….

Yes, the ex-Braves right fielder from Parkview High is going to the Fall Classic with the Texas Rangers, where Francoeur will become the first of the 18 rookies from the 2005 Braves to play in a World Series.

The other rookies from that ‘05 team: Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Langerhans, Wilson Betemit, Pete Orr, Brayan Pena, Andy Marte, Kyle Davies, Roman Colon, Blaine Boyer, Macay McBride, Anthony Lerew, Chuck James, Joey Devine, Jorge Vasquez, Matt Childers and Frank Brooks.

There wasn't a full-time right fielder in the majors with a lower OPS than Jeff Francoeur in 2010, but he's headed to the World Series, something than no other member of the 2005 "Baby Braves" has done.

There wasn't a full-time right fielder in the majors with a lower OPS than Jeff Francoeur in 2010, but he's headed to the World Series, something than no other member of the 2005 "Baby Braves" has done.

(For those who might be wondering, the last three guys on that list were pitchers who’ve never been in another major league game since that season.)

Francoeur, playing with his third team in 17 months, is headed to the World Series with the Rangers, who are also making their franchise-first appearance in the Series. Nevermind that Francoeur ranked last in OPS (.683) out of the 25 major league right fielders who had at least 400 plate appearances in 2010.

Frenchy’s got a chance to earn a World Series ring, and that’s big stuff.

The Rangers are facing the Giants, who keep surprising some out there who didn’t believe San Francisco’s pitching could perform against the Phillies like it did against Atlanta in the division series. It came reasonably close.

For some Braves fans, the Giants’ NLCS win was a painful reminder of what might have been. The injury-diminished Braves played the Giants to one-run outcomes in all four division-series games, but lost three of them.

The Giants limited the Phillies to 20 runs in six games in the NLCS, including two runs in the bandbox Philly ballpark in the clinching Game 6 (the Giants have clinched both of their series on the road).

And so, while we await for the Braves to hire a hitting coach and for the postseason to end so the hot stove can be fired up, let’s consider what should be a refreshing World Series.

It’s a series without those tired storylines – Jeter, Rivera, Victorino, Utley, Howard (who’s lasting image, at least for the foreseeable future, will be standing in the box with bat on shoulder looking at a breaking ball, like Carlos Beltran against Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS).

Before I give you my prediction and ask what you think, let’s look at what some guys said in response to my e-mails, texts, DMs and calls on Sunday when I sought some predictions from Braves past and present, plus a few other notables, including a Hall of Famer and a couple of rockers:

– Chipper Jones: Texas in five

– Tom Glavine: Texas in six

– Andre Dawson: Texas in six

– Derrek Lee: Texas in seven

– Kris Medlen: Texas in six

– Derek Lowe: “I don’t bet; rule 18-6″

– Will Ohman: San Francisco in six; “The misfits will prevail.”

From the musicians:

– Jason Isbell: “I’m calling ‘Frisco in 6.”

Former Drive-By Trucker Isbell is picking the Giants.

Former Drive-By Trucker Isbell is picking the Giants.

– Langhorne Slim (via Isbell, who’s currently on tour with Slim): “Langhorne agreed with me. SF in 6. I think he’s pi$#ed about the Phillies losing.”

– Matty McLoughlin, guitarist for The Soft Pack (and former Univ. of Richmond pitcher): “The Giants in 6. Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez are tough. I think Pablo Sandoval is going to do something big.”

– Will Johnson, singer-guitarist of Centro-Matic and  Monsters of Folk, noted baseball expert among rock ‘n’ roll crowd, and Austin resident:  “Texas in 6.”

– Matt Lamkin, vocalist/guitar for The Soft Pack: “Texas Rangers in 7 — I believe in Ron Washington.”

As for me, I’m thinking along the lines of colorful lefty and few of the rock guys: I’m taking the Giants, but this series is going the distance. Giants in seven.

♣ Chipper update: Hoss kept it brief when I asked him in a text about whether his knee-surgery rehab is on schedule and a spring-training return is still the target. “Yep,” he said in a one-word text reply.

And with that, he was going back to watching his beloved Steelers beat the Dolphins.

Who is going to win the World Series?

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♣ Freeman’s thumb: It’s still sore and swollen, so Freddie flew back to Atlanta on Monday to have hit examined by the Braves’ hand specialist.

Don’t be alarmed, folks. The MRI last week was good, showed no torn ligament or other such structural damage. GM Frank Wren said it would be shut down for at least a week in the Arizona Fall League, and that’s how long it’s been.

The impression I got was that the Braves were flying him back primarily to give Freeman peace of mind, because he was a bit concerned that the thumb was still sore after a week of rest.

But those who are familiar with thumb injuries know it’s not at all uncommon for them to take at least a couple of weeks for swelling to go down.

Freeman is important enough to the Braves, however, that it’s worth it for all concerned to have him be reassured about the status of his thumb and not worry too much that it’s not feeling good a week after he hurt it Oct. 18 sliding into third base on a triple in an AFL game.

♣ Colby Rasmus is good: And yes, the Cardinals center fielder would be a great fit for the Braves, who want to make a significant upgrade this winter in either center field or left field (they can move Nate McLouth to left field).

Colby Rasmus led all major league center fielders in OPS in 2010, his second season in the majors.

Colby Rasmus led all major league center fielders with an .859 OPS in 2010, his second season in the majors.

Other than being another left-handed hitter, Rasmus is absolutely a perfect fit for the Braves’ needs. And believe me, they won’t let his left-handedness stand in the way of acquiring him, if they can.

Rasmus, whose younger brother, Cory, is a pitcher in the Braves minor league system, and has told friends he’d love to play for the Braves. He’s an Alabama boy born across the border in Columbus, Ga., same as Tim Hudson.

Rasmus is only 24 years old, still a year away from arbitration and four years from free agency. He’s very affordable and a terrific player whose .859 OPS was the highest among the 26 major league center fielders who had at least 400 plate appearances.

Rasmus hit .276 with 23 homers and a .361 OBP in 144 games for the Cardinals, after hitting .251 with 16 homers, a .307 OBP and .714 OPS in 147 games as a rookie in 2009.

He’s a legit five-tool player, and his .810 OPS vs. lefties in 2010 was only 65 points below his OPS vs. righties. On the road, Rasmus hit .306 with a .947 OPS.

So why on earth would the Cardinals trade him?

Mostly, the speculation he could be moved is tied to a reported bad relationship between Rasmus and manager Tony La Russa, or between Rasmus’ father and La Russa. They don’t agree on some things, let’s put it that way.

That said, the Cardinals know that La Russa might manage only one more season, and Rasmus could help them for a lot longer than that.

For a St. Louis team that’s trying to upgrade its middle infield, sign Jake Westbrook and re-sign The Franchise, Albert Pujols, the money the Cardinals could save with Rasmus in center field for the next several years is a significant thing.

All that’s our way of getting to the point: It’s going to cost a lot to pry him from St. Louis. The Cardinals will have teams lining up with offers if they make it known Rasmus is available.

What would it take for the Braves to get him? Start with a package that might include future closer Craig Kimbrel, and perhaps pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino as well. Or the Cardinals could look to upgrade their infield by asking the Braves for a package that includes Martin Prado (they’d still probably want a top young pitcher in an expanded type of deal like that).

♣ Kawakami rumors: The Braves have received interest in Kenshin Kawakami from multiple Japanese League teams (between two and five, depending on whom you believe).

Kawakami was a highly accomplished pitcher in Japan, and could be headed back there soon.

Kawakami was a highly accomplished pitcher in Japan, and could be headed back there soon.

The Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters are reportedly interested, and I’m told that the Giants — better known as the Tokyo Giants — and Hanshin Tigers are the teams that would be most able to absorb some of the nearly $7 million that Kawakami is owed in the final year of his contract.

Hanshin needs a pitcher, plus the Tigers were interested in Kawakami when he was a free agent, and the team president visited Turner Field in the past year.

However, Hanshin has also contacted the agent for Hiroki Kuroda, who was 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA in 2010 for the Dodgers. That’s quite a bit more impressive than Kawakami’s 1-10 record and 5.15 ERA in 2010 for the Braves, in the second season of a three-year, $23 million contract with Atlanta.

The Braves would probably have to pay all of Kawakami’s remaining contract and work out an agreement with a Japanese team to reimburse them for a portion of the amount. It seems the likely outcome, since the Braves have made it clear they’re trying to unload him this winter.

OK, let’s get this posted and get back to gathering wood for the Hot Stove.

Saw some serious acting by Edward Norton and Robert DeNiro in the movie Stone last week. Very good movie. Not great like The Social Network, Winter’s Bone or a couple others this year, but very good (saw The Town recently, that’s close to great). Want to see the John Lennon movie, Nowhere Boy, this week

Let’s close with a classic from the Velvet Underground, which the multi-talented Elizabeth Cook covers superbly. She sang it last week at Eddie’s. Here’s a video of the original Velvets version and here’s Ms. Cook doing it.

You probably know what Lou and the Velvets look like, so here's a photo of Elizabeth Cook.

You probably know what Lou and the Velvets look like, so here's a photo of Elizabeth Cook.

“SUNDAY MORNING” by Lou Reed, John Cale

Sunday morning

praise the dawning

It’s just a restless feeling by my side

Early dawning

Sunday morning

It’s just the wasted years so close behind

Watch out the world’s behind you

There’s always someone around you who will call

It’s nothing at all

Sunday morning

And I’m falling

I’ve got a feeling I don’t want to know

Early dawning

Sunday morning

It’s all the streets you crossed, not so long ago

Watch out the world’s behind you

There’s always someone around you who will call

It’s nothing at all

Sunday morning

Sunday morning

Sunday morning

3,230 comments Add your comment

DAP

October 25th, 2010
2:56 pm

playoffs!!! [rasmus is] Not even being considered by the Braves for the above reason.

if thats true, they are complete idiots.

If you don’t understand why it’s not good to have 4 leftys in your starting lineup–then you don’t fully understand baseball

im speechless here. the way you put that makes me think you are the most clueless person ive ever dealt with when it comes to a batting lineup.

chris

October 25th, 2010
2:59 pm

Playoffs!!!!

October 25th, 2010
2:59 pm

I’d be interested to find out how DOB feels about the above issue

jeffrey d

October 25th, 2010
3:00 pm

Great blog…appreciate all the updates, DOB.

My guess is Rangers in 6. :lol: at Lowe’s response

N8

October 25th, 2010
3:04 pm

I’m late to the party as usual. So here’s a copy of my last post at the end of the old blog, for those who care:

“It’s beyond me why anyone would think he should or would be an option for the Braves, who are trying to make a sharp upgrade in left field or center field” DOB

While for the most part I agree with you. Same goes for the Andruw conversation some of us had last week. But here’s the thing. YES, we already have a RF. But here’s what our LF did for us last year:

14 HR, 83 RBI .242/.302/.385/.687 in 621 AB

In the same breath, here’s what Jeff did in almost 200 fewer AB:

13 HR, 65 RBI 249/.300/.383/.683 and likely would play considerably better defense than anybody we trolled out into LF last year.

Not saying he’s THE answer. But if Wren can’t swing a trade or use some of the freed up money on a better option. A guy like Jeff or Andruw wouldn’t be horrible options in LF, provided Wren realy upgrades CF.

If Nate McLouth is going to be the everyday CF going into next year, then yeah…. totally agree. Wren needs a massive upgrade in LF.

To me it’s all relative to what we got out of LF using 3 or 4 various options last year. If a guy like Jeff could get 500 AB and allow Wren to not take up 4 roster spots to cover LF…. why not?

I don’t want a guy like Jeff or Andruw as the “prize” acquisition this off-season, and certainly wouldn’t want either of them batting cleanup. But if Wren put all of his eggs in the CF basket (via trade or spending all is cash on a free agent like Wereth – never going to happen), then one of those guys would be a decent option as a #7 or #8 hitter and a fairly good defensive upgrade in LF.

Don’t you think?

Myself? I’d rather have Wren make two trades or free agent signings for two 6-7 million dollar guys in LF and CF, then have him spend 15 million on a CF (or LF) and then go cheap at the other position.

But for some reason, I see him spending big on one spot and going with a Loaf type of player for the other. I could be wrong though. It’s happened before.

McFann O O – 6

October 25th, 2010
3:04 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

Hoss kept it brief when I asked him in a text about whether his knee-surgery rehab is on schedule and a spring-training return is still the target. “Yep,” he said in a one-word text reply.

:lol: Chipper…

TnBrian

October 25th, 2010
3:04 pm

I’m with you DOB on Rasmus. It’d take what you mentioned to get him, but he is perfect for what we need, or a ton of teams out there need.

DAP

October 25th, 2010
3:05 pm

playoffs!!!

from DOB’s blog: And believe me, they won’t let his left-handedness stand in the way of acquiring him, if they can.

so there you go. good news, the braves’ front office aren’t morons.

Rob1855

October 25th, 2010
3:06 pm

What? No predictions from Patterson or Cooley?

OptimisticInTexas

October 25th, 2010
3:08 pm

Texas in 6, but those Giants have surprised me all the way….

Bat Masterson

October 25th, 2010
3:08 pm

I just don’t get how someone who showed so much talent and potential like Francoeur could have nose dived like he did. Keep in mind that as recently as early last season, he was still considered to be pretty useful. _ jeffery d

The was I recall it jeffery is, at that time everyone hoped he could figure it out and become useful.

Think about it, what was the theme in spring training in 09. Francoeur had been working with a new hitting coach hoping to solve his 08 problems. Lets face it, he stinks on ice.

McFann O O – 6

October 25th, 2010
3:08 pm

DOB Saw some serious acting by Ed Norton

Hey, I watched something with Ed Norton, too, last night! I…What? Oh…oh that Ed Norton…

jeffrey d

October 25th, 2010
3:09 pm

I wouldn’t give up Prado for Rasmus. I understand you gotta give something to get something, but you can’t get rid of your best right-handed hitter for a lefty in an already lefty-heavy lineup.

TnBrian

October 25th, 2010
3:09 pm

You wouldn’t trade Prado. You’re tyring to beef up your offense, so you don’t trade one of your best hitters to get offense. You wouldn’t trade your future closer unless somebody else in the pipeline is ready or close to ready. Venters is too erractic for me as a closer. I also wouldn’t trade that Teheran kid. Looks like a future ace.

I’m picky, but smart. Too bad I have no say so in sh**.

TnBrian

October 25th, 2010
3:11 pm

Oh God … DOB having Frenchy headline his blog gives too many ammunition to talk non stop about the Stench Man.

jeffrey d

October 25th, 2010
3:11 pm

Francoeur had been working with a new hitting coach hoping to solve his 08 problems

Whoops…I’m sorry, I mixed up my Jeff Francoeur seasons. I forgot he was awful in ‘08. I was thinking he hit over .290 in 2008 and hit almost 30 HR in 2007, but that was ‘07 and ‘06.

giants_fan_in_ATL

October 25th, 2010
3:11 pm

Enter your comments here

Danga

October 25th, 2010
3:12 pm

A guy like Jeff or Andruw wouldn’t be horrible options in LF

If we can agree that what we got out of LF was horrible last season, then stamping a new name on it doesn’t make it less horrible.

Playoffs!!!!

October 25th, 2010
3:12 pm

Well, I guess I know how DOB feels now, after reading the new blog. But I don’t agree. We would see every left-handed pitcher around coming out of the woodwork to pitch against us, especially relief pitching.
All the lefty pitching would really hurt Heyward’s numbers, McCann’s power and Freeman’s development. Plus the Braves are also going to give McClouth a chance to redeem himself.
Did you see how the Giants lefthanded pitchers nuetralized Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez in the playoffs? And they only have 3 lefty starters.
Not a good idea to be so lefty heavy

giants_fan_in_ATL

October 25th, 2010
3:12 pm

all that money spent to try to buy a championship, and phillies don’t even get the pennant!

BYE BYE, Philadelphia Phillies!

ChillyMutt

October 25th, 2010
3:12 pm

I don’t see us giving up Prado for Rasmus and if we do that just opens another glaring hole in the infield. I know – or at least hope and believe that we have seen the last of Brooks Conrad as an everyday player.

Mike Berry

October 25th, 2010
3:12 pm

Hey Dave…an ESPN guy named Adam Rubin on Twitter says that he is trying to confirm that Don Baylor has excepted the hitting coach job for the Colorado Rockies. DANG IT!!!

Rob from SC

October 25th, 2010
3:13 pm

DOB

Do you really see the Braves trading Craig Kimbrel?

CraZyTraDeMaN

October 25th, 2010
3:13 pm

Infante, Vizcaino, Beachy and Dunn for Rasmus. Would that get it done?

ncscoots

October 25th, 2010
3:13 pm

I wouldn’t give up Prado for Rasmus.

O’Brien gave me one of those “Are you kidding?”s a few months back when I suggested that Prado might be one of the few real value-for-value pieces in an offseason trade for a bat (I also mentioned Escobar as a possibility, but I don’t think David really cared about that much, LOL).

Rob from SC

October 25th, 2010
3:13 pm

They just named Carney Lansford the hitting coach

N8

October 25th, 2010
3:14 pm

As sad as this sounds, if it took one of Kimbrel or Prado to get Rasmus, I’d part with Prado first. Infante could be the everyday 2B until Hicks is ready to man one of the infield spots (or somebody else).

But damn. We all saw what happened to the lineup without Prado in it. It would almost require Chipper to return to form next year for the loss to not be so harsh. At the same time, Infante is a good hitter (and a fine leadoff candidate), plays decent enough defense at 2B and face it. Our outfield was putrid last year.

As for the LH bats? Doesn’t bother me that much. Either guys can hit or they can’t. Way more RHP to face anyhow during the season. But might require Wren to find a REALLY good RH option off the bench come late innings and playoff time.

But I think it’s a must for Kimbrel and Venters to be a 2 headed monster in that bullpen next year with Wagner leaving. The 5-pack of guys (Kimbrel, Venters, Dunn, Moylan and O’Flaherty) is as good as anybody’s bullpen out there, even without Wagner finishing it off.

Don’t break that young group up Frank. Unless the intention would be to temporarily have Teheran start at AAA and come up in June and pitch out of the bullpen (like Wainwright for the Cards) with the intent on eventually moving him back to the rotation (duh). Then I suppose a guy like Kimbrel could be expendable (short term), to get a guy like Rasmus under control for 4 more years.

Tough choices ahead for Wren on the trade front. Should be fun.

The Bream Team

October 25th, 2010
3:15 pm

Trading Kimbrel, Vizcaino, or Prado is not part of the solution to make the Braves better.

MikeInFl

October 25th, 2010
3:15 pm

I would trade Kimbrel and Vizcaino for Rasmus. Absolutely.

DAP

October 25th, 2010
3:17 pm

crazytrademan Infante, Vizcaino, Beachy and Dunn for Rasmus. Would that get it done?

it probbaly wold, except vizcaino is hurt right now and probably not tradable. plug in delgado instead, and i bet they think about that one really hard.

the thing about the cardinals, is that they need alot, and their budget is really thin. if they can turn one affordable player into several affordable guys that can help right away, i think they do it.

jeffrey d

October 25th, 2010
3:17 pm

Trading Kimbrel, Vizcaino, or Prado is not part of the solution to make the Braves better.

Well it’s not like we can get anything for McLouth or Kawakami. You’ve gotta give to get

chris

October 25th, 2010
3:18 pm

mikieLnFl- your crazy

Tami

October 25th, 2010
3:19 pm

I’m going to wait on my prediction for the WS winner until I see how game 1 is played. BOTH teams — in my mind — are pretty much dead even, and both are capable enough to win this thing. I believe it could go all 7 games, which should work to the NL winner’s favor since the Series begins & could end in a NL park. Having said that, the game 1 winner is usually the Series winner. I want to see who wins and how strong that game 1 winner played before I can say with any confidence who I believe will win it all.

TnBrian

October 25th, 2010
3:19 pm

I’ll play GM for a minute and here’s what I might offer up for Rasmus.

Jurrjens, Infante, Delgado.

Take it or leave it.

Puma

October 25th, 2010
3:20 pm

Rasmus looks like he would be a good fit, but if he does have issues with LaRussa, does that mean he has a tude problem in general or is LaRussa just a jerk? (for the record, he looks like a jerk, albeit a very successful jerk)

I think Rangers in 5, unfortunately SF’s magic ends in Texas, plus I can’t stand SF’s closer.

Infante for President

October 25th, 2010
3:21 pm

I just don’t see the Cardinals letting Rasmus get away, and I don’t see the Braves giving up, say, Prado and Vizcaino for him. Too expensive in talent. Plus, St. Louis is not some kind of desperate team. They seem to be trading from a position of strength, so why would they let a superb, young CF go? It’d be like the Braves trading Andruw Jones in ‘97 for a couple of hot young prospects.

ncscoots

October 25th, 2010
3:21 pm

You’ve gotta give to get

True that. But if you’re trading offensive players, you would like to be sure that the team’s run differential is going to be raised significantly by the player you’re receiving (in the Braves’ situation, anyway). How much better would the team be by adding Player B and subtracting Player A and inserting Player C as A’s replacement? Lots of variables, lots of possible outcomes.

Playoffs!!!!

October 25th, 2010
3:22 pm

Why we would consider trading the right-handed hitting Prado, perhaps our best hitter, to make our lineup more lefty heavy is absolutely absurd.

Tami

October 25th, 2010
3:22 pm

Regarding trade packages for Rasmus: I think the Braves will shoot themselves in the foot if they package their projected 2011 closer prospect for him. And why would anyone ever want Prado packaged into a trade deal??!! Who first of all could play with the spark that Martin plays with? He’s the inspired, emotional go-getter that the team desperately needs. And who is waiting in the wings ready to take his place? No one. Rasmus is a nice idea, but maybe not realistic.

Bobby Hill

October 25th, 2010
3:22 pm

Braves already have a $7 million LF/CF, Nate McLouth. No one is gonna take him of Wren’s hands. It’s too much money to simply release him. Considering the lack of available impact outfielders this winter, and the lack of payroll flexibility, expecting Wren to acquire two starting outfielder this winter is pure fantasy. It’s not going to happen. Maybe, maybe, Wren could swing an impact CF, and sign Frenchy to platoon with McLouth.

DAP

October 25th, 2010
3:22 pm

i dont even consider trading prado, if im frank wren. honestly, i dont consider trading kimbrel either. gonna have to find something else.

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:24 pm

Martin Prado………DOB I don’t like those thoughts…..And Craig Kimbrel thats a tough one to swallow, but for Rasmus I think it’s worth it…..

But personally I’d prefer the Braves traded Venters instead of Kimbrel, they basically have the same value, and the Braves already have 2 quality left handers.

Let’s say that the Braves trade Venters, and Vizcaino for Rasmus…….CF will no longer be a concern for a long time……..I think the Braves will have to sign a quality reliever like Kerry Wood(2 yrs 8 million seems fair), and they still need a right handed bat………….Matt Diaz needs to get non-tendered, and the Braves need to acquire somebody in this group:

- Josh Willingham
- Magglio Ordonez

Now that’s a team that just got a whole lot better.

2B Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
C Brian McCann
LF Magglio or Willingham hopefully
CF Colby Rasmus
1B Freddy Freeman
SS Alex Gonzalez

MFin04

October 25th, 2010
3:24 pm

Kimbrel or Prado for Rasmus? Lol. Maybe if they throw in Yadier! :)

Braves aren’t trading either of those guys for a long time.

Danga

October 25th, 2010
3:26 pm

Is Lincecum starting Game 1 for the Giants?

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:26 pm

Venters instead of Kimbrel and I’d do it in a heart beat.

ncscoots

October 25th, 2010
3:27 pm

Folks, just about any trade that’s worth a bleep, one that actually alters the Braves’ lineup, is going to hurt with its cost. You either are willing to deal with the pain of that transaction for the deferred pleasure, or you are not.

Maybe folks of the latter persuasion should not be allowed to comment on second-tier acquisitions, LOL. Maybe suspend whipping-boy privileges for a week, or like that. :-)

Chief

October 25th, 2010
3:29 pm

Um heck no to giving up Prado or Kimbrel and prospects for Rasmus.

And I wouldn’t consider being traded with 4 weeks left in the regular season, and being the 25th man on said team, much of a championship or accomplishment if the Rangers do win. A ring’s a ring, but it’s not like JF and his .167 playoff average has contributed to the Rangers run.

David O'Brien

October 25th, 2010
3:31 pm

Playoffs!!! and others: I never said the Braves would trade Prado for him, or Kimbrel; I simply told you what the Cardinals would probably ask for. That’s coming from someone in St. Louis who’s got a lot better idea what they’d be looking for than I do. Rasmus is a dynamic talent, a five-tool player who’s not even arb-eligible for another year. Teams will line up with offers for him if he’s available.

I mean, what do some of you think they’re going to ask for from the Braves in return for that kind of young player, Jordan Schafer and Mike Dunn?

Memphis

October 25th, 2010
3:31 pm

I am happy for Jeff. I realize he hasn’t done much, but I root for generally good people, and Jeff Francoeur is one of the classier guys in Major League Baseball. Yes I’m a Braves fan, but as long as he’s not on the Yanks,Phils or Mets. I’ll root for Frenchy.

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:32 pm

The two best options out there in the trade market for CF are Matt Kemp, and Colby Rasmus……..Kemp being right handed is a better fit……

Jair Jurrjens and a prospect for Kemp.

Playoffs!!!!

October 25th, 2010
3:32 pm

Tomas–I think Venters is more valuable to us than Kimbrel. Venters already has proved what he can do over a full year, he can pitch more than one inning per appearance, and he’s lefty. Every good lefty is a valuable commodity.

Bobby Hill

October 25th, 2010
3:33 pm

Let’s improve the Braves’ offense by trading away Martin Prado. That seems like a winning strategy.

MFin04

October 25th, 2010
3:33 pm

When did Rasmus become Matt Holliday, Jason Werth or Carl Crawford? My goodness some people are giving up some serious production to get him. His career season averages look like Nate McLouths. Am I missing something here?

Still not giving up a guy like Jurrjens, Infante, Prado or Kimbrel to get him.

Shaun

October 25th, 2010
3:34 pm

N8, there are obviously reasons to trade or not trade either Prado or Kimbrel for Rasmus. Prado is the oldest guy of the three so he’s likely going to decline sooner than Kimbrel and Rasmus, but he also makes more of an impact than Kimbrel if Kimbrel is the closer.

Infante is not a viable option as a leadoff hitter, although I think the Braves would be okay with him at secondbase and hitting low in the lineup. Infante doesn’t walk a lot so if batted balls aren’t finding holes, he’s not going to get on base enough and doesn’t have enough power to be extremely valuable. His value is in his ability to fill at several spots without hurting the team. Then again the Rangers are in the Series with Andrus leading off; which gives a strong indication that having enough good hitters is more important than where guys hit in the lineup.

Supes

October 25th, 2010
3:35 pm

TnBrian

October 25th, 2010
3:19 pm

I’ll play GM for a minute and here’s what I might offer up for Rasmus.

Jurrjens, Infante, Delgado.

Take it or leave it.

****************************

Wow, some of you are really over valuing Colby’s worth around here, (not just you sir but others before you on the blog)

No way WOULD Wren in his right state of mind offer that.

Jair for Colby straight up is FAIR enough. Jair (when healthy and pitching) could be a top 5 pitcher in the NL. No way am I throwing in our prospects, or our closer of the future as suggested here (insanity) for Colby.

Jair for Colby straight up. Take it or leave it Cards.

TennesseePaul

October 25th, 2010
3:36 pm

i dont even consider trading prado, if im frank wren. honestly, i dont consider trading kimbrel either. gonna have to find something else.

I don’t see Wren trading either of those guys. I wouldn’t say they are “untouchable” but they’re as close to it as you can get without staining yourself.

Playoffs!!!!

October 25th, 2010
3:36 pm

OK, DOB-I understand. But I still think four lefty hitting starters in our lineup is a bad idea.

GTSteve

October 25th, 2010
3:37 pm

Do you think the Cards would make the deal for Dunn and JJ….maybe add A or AA outfield prospect

David O'Brien

October 25th, 2010
3:37 pm

When did Rasmus become Matt Holliday, Jason Werth or Carl Crawford? My goodness some people are giving up some serious production to get him. His career season averages look like Nate McLouths. Am I missing something here? — MFin04

Yes, you’re missing something. Mainly the fact Rasmus has played only two seasons, is still a year away from first-time arbitration eligibility, and led all major league CFs in OPS. Other than that, not much.

N8

October 25th, 2010
3:38 pm

“If we can agree that what we got out of LF was horrible last season, then stamping a new name on it doesn’t make it less horrible.” Danga

Totally agree. But here’s the thing. Let’s assume for a second that McLouth would have had a “2008-like” McLouth season and continued as the leadoff hitter, allowing Prado and later Infante to bat lower in the order….

Would it really have mattered if the LF was below league average? EVERY team has weak spots in the order.

Our LF and CF combined last year for 1327 PA and had 21 HR and 131 RBI. Through the first half of the year, Escobar was MIA. Other than 6 weeks covering May and early June, Glaus was dead weight as well.

That’s 4 of the 8 everyday lineup spots that literally were non-factors.

If Wren filled LF with a guy that hit .250/.325/.400-.450/.700 with 20ish HR and 85 RBI??? But at the same time massively upgraded CF?

Yes, it’s not any less horrible by itself, but with better guys surrounding that spot in the order, wouldn’t be as devistating.

Plenty of Braves teams in the 90’s had dead spots in the order. They just happened to have all-stars at many other spots. With our pitching, this lineup could function consistently with 5-6 really good hitters in the lineup.

There were times early last year, where we were LUCKY to have 2 guys hitting the ball well for more than a week at a time. Add to that, the defense in LF was putrid at best.

How much LF needs to be upgraded, is much more dependant on how much CF is upgraded. If that makes any sense? But that’s why I’d rather see Wren get two guys capable of going .270/.340/.475/.825 with around 15-20 HR, 30-40 doubles, then getting one 40 HR guy and giving LF to Nate. Which certainly would be acceptable if Nate returns to form.

But who honestly thinks that’s going to happen? I’m sorry. But I don’t.

I’ll repeat those numbers, just so they sink in. ALL Braves CF and LF last year:

1172 AB (1327 PA), .237/.312/.363/.675 with 21 HR and 131 RBI

If you simply swap out Rasmus for our CF last year, those totals are:

1085 AB (1219 PA), .256/.325/.433/.758 with 37 HR and 149 RBI.

Add to that, there’s about 100 or so PA missing, since Rasmus didn’t have as many AB/PA as our CF’s combined. So the HR and RBI would likely be a tad higher. (Rasmus played in 144 games).

How many more wins do you think 16 more combined HR from our CF and LF would have been worth last year? 3, 4, 5?

Like I said. Upgrade one of the positions significantly, the other could remain the same and the end results might be better for the team over 162 games. Still need guys to produce come playoff time though.

Also, if you swap Prado for Rasmus, and replace him with Infante, that also cuts down on some power and SLG percentage. So it might be a wash.

Which is why if a guy like Prado is needed as a “chip” to get Rasmus, then Wren better find a better option in LF as well. If Wren chooses to center a package around Kimbrel and Prado stays? I don’t think a HUGE upgrade is needed at both positions (LF and CF), just one.

Our strength will still be the rotation. Just simply have to get a little better (and healthier) in the lineup to add 3-4 victories to our 91 total of 2010.

Rob from SC

October 25th, 2010
3:39 pm

Honestly I would offer Delgado as the centerpiece for Rasmus. Delgado is a top pitching prospect.

Shaun

October 25th, 2010
3:39 pm

MFin04, yes apparently you are missing something. Rasmus has a career OPS+ of 110 and just turned 23 in August. And posted an OPS+ of 132 as a 23-year-old. Nate McLouth didn’t have an above-average offensive season until age 25 and wasn’t noticeably above-average until age 26, and hasn’t been nearly that good since.

I could understand being hesitant to trade Prado and Kimbrel for him. But Jurrjens or Infante? By the way, the Cardinals would never give Rasmus up for Jurrjens or Infante as the centerpieces of a deal because they know how lopsided that trade would be.

Bat Masterson

October 25th, 2010
3:40 pm

A few loose and semi-cohesive thoughts while wondering what it means that Jeff Francoeur will be the first of the so-called “Baby Braves” – nickname we always abhorred – to play in a World Series. _ DOB

What does it mean?

Several more opportunities for RHR to rip him. Enjoy

Forrest Gump was not fiction.

Pl sightings, expressing his irrational Francoeur love.

The baseball gods have a twisted sense of humor.

A larger audience when Jeff inevitably put his foot in his mouth.

Hundreds of bring back Francoeur comments.

Blind squirrel, blind hog, dumb luck and on and on cliches.

DAP

October 25th, 2010
3:40 pm

MFin04 His career season averages look like Nate McLouths. Am I missing something here?

Yes, I believe you are.

Rob from SC

October 25th, 2010
3:41 pm

The problm with trading Jurrjens is that it leaves us with both Beachy and Minor in the rotation until Teheran is ready.

I still say Delgado, Dunn, Prospect in lower minors for Rasmus.

dpelfrey

October 25th, 2010
3:41 pm

Just keep things in perspective folks. After the 2008 season, most of you would have had the same reaction about trading Kelly Johnson as we’re having now about trading Prado. Kelly struggled in 2009 and lost his job. Bottom line…YOU NEVER KNOW!

Not saying anything, I like Prado and I think he’s a very good ballplayer. But someone else said, you gotta give something to get something. This isn’t like trading on fantasy baseball. The Braves have a very specific need, which limits the possibilities and makes it difficult to pull off anything significant.

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:41 pm

Playoffs!!!!, 3 reasons I prefer Kimbrel to Venters for the Braves………..

1. The Braves have Mike Dunn and Eric O’flaherty they can afford to trade Johnny
2. Venters will reach arbitration faster than Kimbrel.
3. And most importantly Kimbrel stuff is more suited for a closer than Johnny’s…….If the season started today I’d bet Kimbrel is the closer.

David O'Brien

October 25th, 2010
3:41 pm

Tomas, you really think the Dodgers would trade 26-year-old Matt Kemp, who’s averaged nearly 25 homers, 30 stolen bases and 90 RBI over the past three seasons, for a pitcher coming off knee surgery and an injury-plagued season, plus a prospect? If so, you must be talking about an absolute premier prospect.

RAnkiel

October 25th, 2010
3:42 pm

Enter your comments here

Supes

October 25th, 2010
3:43 pm

Suggesting trading Venters or Kimbrall or any of our young top prospects like Delgado for Rasmus is going to seriously weaken the Braves strength of young, cheap, impactful pitching for the future.

Suggesting trading Prado (who is probably gonna take over 3B for Chipper when he retires on a permanent basis) is crazy as the Braves have nobody else to man that position and provide considerable production out of it. (Unless you all want Brooks Conrad playing 3B for your Braves in 2012!!!)

Suggesting trading Infate would seriously hamper this team’s ability to sustain ANY injuries and continue going without missing a beat. Think about it…Prado gets hurt…Infante steps up. Or God forbid Alex Gonzalez gets hurt…who is going to play SS? He can play LF, CF…he’s your best all around positional sub player, you can’t afford to lose him in a trade right now.

The person that makes most sense to trade if Jair Jurrgens (not that I want to see him gone, just saying him gone via trade would weaken the Braves THE LEAST) for 2011.

Isn’t that the plan? Improve while dealing someone who when gone you will miss the most in 2011 and in the future?

TennesseePaul

October 25th, 2010
3:44 pm

That’s coming from someone in St. Louis who’s got a lot better idea what they’d be looking for than I do.

This is good info… though if I were to see it copied and pasted back from MLBTradeRumors I’d lend it no credence. I’ve been through the lecture. If it appears on that site, it is false and useless, even if it is merely a link back to a credible source.

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:44 pm

Seriosly Rasmus led all mlb CF in OPS…..didn’t know that

David O'Brien

October 25th, 2010
3:44 pm

Tim Hudson has won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award voted by players (part of the Players Choice Awards)

Frank from KS (now living in CO)

October 25th, 2010
3:45 pm

Well, it looks as if the Braves have lost out on Don Baylor’s services….*sigh* as this link confirms…

http://taoofsteve.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/10/baylor_to_be_named_hitting_coa.html

Hat Land Dub Raves

October 25th, 2010
3:45 pm

DOB,
That picture is amazing! (I ain’t talking about Kawakami.)

Supes

October 25th, 2010
3:46 pm

I think Wren needs to wait till late into Spring training…show that Jair Jurrgens is healthy and back to 100% and then make a trade using him to acquire LF/CF help.

That’s the best move for the Braves organization without weakening it with another Mark T. type deal…and man it does suck to see Evlis Andrus and Neftali Feliz getting it done for the Rangers….

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:47 pm

BJ Upton is starting to look good, simply because he can run, great defense, and he is right handed with potential pop but a lot of SO’s

ncscoots

October 25th, 2010
3:47 pm

Just simply have to get a little better (and healthier) in the lineup to add 3-4 victories to our 91 total of 2010.

Dangerous thinking, nathan. I don’t know if “magical” is a repeatable skill, :-) so I don’t think you can just pencil in those 91 wins again.

Supes

October 25th, 2010
3:47 pm

Tim Hudson has won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award voted by players (part of the Players Choice Awards)

***************************

That’s awesome news. Tim Hudson deserves it. He was the Ace of this team (except for Sept…when Lowe stepped up) Congrats to Huddy!!!

Puma

October 25th, 2010
3:49 pm

I like both Prado and Infante, but I got to think that trading either of them right now would be at the peak of their value, neither one is going to get better than they were last year, especially Infante who is not an everyday player, but an awesome utility guy.

However, someone earlier made the point that we are pretty thin on infield prospects at the moment, so if we were to trade either Prado or Infante, we would just be creating another gaping hole.

Shaun

October 25th, 2010
3:50 pm

MFin04, basically McLouth has had 1 all-star-caliber season in the majors, a couple of okay seasons…and that’s it. Rasmus so far in his career, in spite of the fact he just turned 24, has been about as good as McLouth was in his second- and third-best seasons (when McLouth was 25 and 27).

Also, Rasmus has already had a season better than McLouth’s best (on a per-game basis). Rasmus’s OPS in 2010 was .859. McLouth’s in 2008 was .853. Rasmus was 23. McLouth was 26. Age 26 is an age when players’ performances typically peak. Age 23 is about 3 years away from an age when players’ performances typically peak.

If Rasmus’s career looks anything like McLouth’s by the time Rasmus is 28, it would shock every single person in the baseball world.

Churchy

October 25th, 2010
3:50 pm

Back to the Texiera trade. In looking at the players we sent to Texas that are now major contributors for them, it’s hard to swallow.

MFin04

October 25th, 2010
3:51 pm

Oh by all means then we should definitely get Rasmus! 8)

Still wouldn’t trade Prado, Kimbrel or Jurrjens for him. And would hate to lose Infante as well. I just don’t see how trading one good player and a prospect for another good player is a vertical move. Maybe slightly vertical but it depends on who you get to replace the void you’ve created. You also end up giving up a prospect as well. Not to mention with youth there is an unknown factor or the possibility of the guy tanking.

That is one of the benefits of signing a big name high priced free agent. You do have to pay a lot, but it is automatically a vertical move without giving up anything but money.

Frank from KS (now living in CO)

October 25th, 2010
3:52 pm

Puma – Prado’s going to have better stats than he did this year. Just a gut feelin, and if it wasn’t for him gettin injured late, his presence in the lineup in the post-season would’ve been a BIG lift..not to mention, in the field too.

dpelfrey

October 25th, 2010
3:52 pm

I keep looking at Twins and think there has to be a match there. They have Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Denard Span, plus the speedy prospect Ben Revere. With Morneau coming back, Cuddyer won’t be able to play 1B, so they’re going to have to find a spot for him. Looks a little crowded to me.

Plus if the Red Sox or Yanks sign Crawford, that would probably make a few more guys available.

David O'Brien

October 25th, 2010
3:52 pm

Rob from SC: I doubt the Braves would trade Kimbrel. I think they’d be more inclined to trade one of the starting prospects not named Teheran (and probably not Delgado).

Daybed Wagmoe

October 25th, 2010
3:53 pm

Supes — so, when healthy and pitching, you think that Jurrjens could be considered to be as good as Lincecum, Halladay, Carpenter, and Wainwright (not to mention Hudson, Santana, Hamels, Oswalt, Cain)?

Hillbilly

October 25th, 2010
3:54 pm

Holy Crap! I’d be willing to trade Lou Reed for that girl any day. You can put THAT quote on MLBTR.

Frank from KS (now living in CO)

October 25th, 2010
3:55 pm

Churchy – Oh wa, wa, wa….*rolls eyes*

Jezzzzus, let’s get over the Tex trade and this, that and the other. It happend over what…2, 3 years ago or so. Get over it. Bad trades happen. Baseball just like life in itself is a risk, but ya never know what’ll happen if you don’t try…..that’s why JS traded for Texieria. It’ didn’t work out. It happens.

GTSteve

October 25th, 2010
3:56 pm

Congrats Huddy

Tomas

October 25th, 2010
3:56 pm

DOB, I actually think Rasmus is tougher to acquire than Kemp, because Kemp is already making 6.95 million and has been criticized for a lack of hustle, etc.

Kemp is also coming from a bad year to his standards………Jair still has value, his injury isn’t that serious, he finished 5th in the CY Young award voting in 2009, now the prospect needs to be an above average prospect but not Teheran, Delgado, or Vizcaino territory.

Shaun

October 25th, 2010
3:57 pm

Bat Masterson, the Rangers absolutely will not let Francoeur come up against a righty pitcher in a key situation unless it’s something like the 12th inning and they’ve exhausted all their other options. The Rangers are finally a team that learned how to maximize Francoeur’s skills, using him against lefty pitchers. I’m happy for Francoeur because he seems like a good guy.

Francoeur’s career against lefties: .299/.343/.481
Against righties: .256/.296/.403

Playoffs!!!!

October 25th, 2010
3:58 pm

Tomas- OK, those are three good reasons. However, of our three lefty reliever, Venters is, by far, the best.

Bat Masterson

October 25th, 2010
3:58 pm

Appreciate the blog DOB, good work.

Churchy

October 25th, 2010
4:01 pm

Frank from KS
Take it easy dude. A few very good players from our minor league system made it big for them. No big deal. It happens. There have been just a handfull of players like that over the years and there are two right there. Screw You!!!

TennBravesFan

October 25th, 2010
4:01 pm

DOB what about trading Infante for Rasmus? I know prospects would have to be involved but I would rather trade Infante than Prado. I see Prado as a batting title candidate for the next 10 years. His only down fall (if you can call it that) is that he plays too hard. Thats why he keeps getting hurt. He may need to learn to dial it down a notch for the sake of remaining healthy for an entire season. I understand he is a hard nosed player and dialing it back is not part of his game.

Murph

October 25th, 2010
4:02 pm

Ok, new plan.

Sign Elizabeth Cook to play CF. She may not hit quite as well as McLouth, but her range in the field is probably about the same and who would you rather watch walk up to the plate and strike out 4 times a game?

Shaun

October 25th, 2010
4:02 pm

Tomas, As much as we love Rasmus and as little as he makes compared to Kemp, Kemp has proven himself and is in his prime. The Dodgers probably have little motivation to trade him unless they are blown away. But the Cardinals would probably give up Rasmus for the right price; they probably wouldn’t have to be as blown away quite to the degree the Dodgers would.

Murph

October 25th, 2010
4:04 pm

I really like Kimbrel. The kid is going to be an absolute lights-out closer. But… closers aren’t exactly the Hope Diamonds of the league. If trading Kimbrel means the team gets Rasmus, I say do it. Venters might not be as dynamic, but he’d get the job done.

wjones

October 25th, 2010
4:04 pm

“Shaun

October 25th, 2010
3:34 pm
N8, there are obviously reasons to trade or not trade either Prado or Kimbrel for Rasmus. Prado is the oldest guy of the three so he’s likely going to decline sooner than Kimbrel and Rasmus, but he also makes more of an impact than Kimbrel if Kimbrel is the closer.

Infante is not a viable option as a leadoff hitter, although I think the Braves would be okay with him at secondbase and hitting low in the lineup. Infante doesn’t walk a lot so if batted balls aren’t finding holes, he’s not going to get on base enough and doesn’t have enough power to be extremely valuable. His value is in his ability to fill at several spots without hurting the team. Then again the Rangers are in the Series with Andrus leading off; which gives a strong indication that having enough good hitters is more important than where guys hit in the lineup.”

UM…..I hate to break the news to you, but Infante spent a considerable amount of time in the leadoff spot THIS SEASON, a season in which they won 90 games. And to counter that Infante had some kind of a fluke year, as the years go by it becomes increasingly hard to make that argument stick, as he has been with the Braves for three years now and has hit over .300 each year. He did show some increased power this year, as this was his first year with the Braves that he didn’t have to fight off a broken hand. You described him as some .250 hitter who might hit 2 or 3 homers. I do think Infante has enough speed to steal more bases, if someone would/could work with him, and just the threat would make a difference for us.

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