Braves get busy: Lowe, McLouth gone, Hinske’s back

PHOENIX – Was just about to write a new blog when the news broke that Tony La Russa is going out on top, retiring after his Cardinals won the World Series. This came only about 30 minutes after I got a call in my Phoenix hotel room from someone asking me if I thought Terry Pendleton might be interested in becoming a manager.

Pendleton began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pendleton began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

My guess is that TP, who started his career in the Cardinals organization and played seven seasons for St. Louis, will be mentioned as a candidate for the Cardinals managerial job, a year after being switched from hitting coach to first-base coach with the Braves.

Pendleton turned down overtures from a few teams years ago, in part because he didn’t want to uproot his children while they were in school and because he loved Atlanta (still does) and Bobby Cox. Plus, he didn’t want his possible first managerial job to be with a team in flux, with a GM that could be on the way out and/or with a team that had an uneasy ownership situation.

Now that his kids are grown up, Cox is retired and Pendleton is no longer the hitting coach, I wonder if he might be more inclined to leave for the right job. And believe me, if St. Louis has any interest in him, that might be a job too good for almost any young manager or aspiring manager to turn down….

Then I was just about to finish the blog and check out of my Phoenix hotel when got word of the Derek Lowe trade. At first I thought person who told me was joking, then I heard the $10 million figure the Braves were paying and it made sense. About what we thought they’d have to cover of his remaining $15 mill in order to trade him.

They got a serviceable young lefty reliever from the Indians in the trade, but the only thing that really mattered was, the Braves got rid of Lowe, which opens a spot for one of their talented young starters in next year’s rotation. It had just become an untenable situation with Lowe and the Braves, and they weren’t going to go to spring training again with him clogging up one of the rotation spots, and certainly not as a $15 mill middle reliever.

From the day that Wren told us after the season that he didn’t see Lowe in next year’s rotation, well, it was pretty obvious the Braves would trade him for whatever they could get in terms of salary relief.

Derek Lowe's tumultuous three-year stint with the Braves ended when the Braves traded him to Cleveland in a salary dump on Monday. The Braves will pay $10 million of his $15 million salary in 2012 and will end up paying him $55 million for three seasons and 101 starts (40 wins).

Derek Lowe's tumultuous three-year stint with the Braves ended when the Braves traded him to Cleveland in a salary dump. The Braves will pay $10 million of his $15 million salary in 2012 and will end up paying him $55 million for three seasons and 101 starts (40 wins).

Much as I liked Lowe as a person and will miss his humor and good nature, it was a trade that had to happen for a team with as much young pitching as the Braves have. Hopefully the change of scenery and move back to the AL will help Lowe put together a good season with the Indians.

At $5 mill, he’s a good gamble for Cleveland. If he just wins 10-12 games and works 180 innings or so, it will have probably been worth it for them. Plus, he’s a good influence on young pitchers. He takes an interest in their development and sets an example with his work habits in spring training. But he had to go.

While our Carroll Rogers was doing the heavy lifting on the Lowe trade story, I spent my last hour or so in Phoenix on Monday morning answering questions on Twitter and the blog and crunching numbers, etc., before heading to airport. Now, after transcribing more interviews on plane for upcoming stories, I’m home.

And so, back to complete our originally scheduled blog…

Organization is solid: When the Braves stumbled to one of the worst September collapses in baseball history, it created a negative vibe that could linger for some time with many fans, who wonder what went wrong and what will be done to assure it doesn’t happen again.

But out in the Arizona Fall League, if you tell a scout or an official from another team that you cover the Braves, they’ll tell you that GM Frank Wren has the Braves in an enviable position going forward, with a big-league roster sprinkled with top-tier young talent and a farm system that a one opposing team official said was better-stocked than any other than Kansas City’s.

And for the first time in a while, that includes plenty of good position-player prospects in addition to a bevy of fine young arms.

A couple of those position players have been on display in the AFL – 20-year-old catcher Christian Bethancourt and 1B/3B/LF Joey Terdoslavich, who hasn’t made any top-prospect lists in the past but should find his way onto some this winter after following up his 52-double, 20-homer, .286/.341/.526 season at high-A Lynchburg with a strong performance in the fall league, where a couple dozen or more scouts watch every game. The Braves plan to play him at third base this season, after a season spent primarily at first base.

I’m going to do stories on those two guys in the next week or so, first one on Bethancourt this week and then one on Terdoslavich.

I’ll also do a story in the next couple of weeks on lefty Sean Gilmartin, who has really impressed out here with how he’s handled himself against some top hitting prospects, just a few months after signing with the Braves after being drafted out of FSU.

Although Gilmartin’s upright pitching mechanics resemble Tom Glavine’s, whom he emulated after watching as a kid, I had one veteran scout tell me out here that Gilmartin’s stuff is actually more reminiscent of Steve Avery. Glavine finished his pitches better than Gilmartin does, the scout said. But Gilmartin has a chance to be real good, he added.

Another AL scout, an older guy who’s been around for decades, said Gilmartin stands out because he already has such good command of four pitches. “He throws strikes a lot a lot better than some of those Texas pitchers,” the scout said, a day after the Rangers’ excruciating Game. 6 loss to St. Louis in the World Series.

Sean Gilmartin's pitching mechanics recall Tom Glavine, but one American League scout at the Arizona Fall League said the Braves prospect's stuff is more comparable to this guy, Steve Avery.

Sean Gilmartin's pitching mechanics recall Tom Glavine, but one American League scout at the Arizona Fall League said the Braves prospect's stuff is more comparable to this guy, Steve Avery.

One more kid who’s been off the radar but showing some good things out here is switch-hitting minor league outfielder Todd Cunningham, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft out of Jacksonville (Ala.) State.

After hitting .257 with a .348 OBP in 87 games for high-A Lynchburg, with four triples, four homers and 14 stolen bases in 386 at-bats, Cunningham has opened a few more eyes with a few big games in the fall league.

Granted it’s an extremely small sample size, but Cunningham has hit .326 (14-for-43) with a .362 OBP in 11 games with three doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs. Friday I saw him have a three-hit game that included a double and a terrific sliding catch in foul territory.

“He’s someone who we liked in the draft; we really liked his bat,” Braves assistant GM Bruce Manno said. “He’s a good hitter. He was hurt this year [strained elbow] for part of the season, so he ended up playing 87-88 games, then missed the rest of the season.”

That’s why the Braves wanted him to go to the fall league, where Cunningham has gotten more at-bats and shown he’s healthy.

“He can handle the bat,” Manno said. “He’s doing more things offensively now. He swings bat from both sides of the plate and his approach is very good.”

Cunningham is scheduled to play center field next season for either Lynchburg or Double-A Mississippi.

♣ Speaking of center fielders, prospect Matt Lipka was moved from shortstop to center field during the Braves’ instructional league after the season, and team officials were pleased with his progress at the new position.

The speedy Lipka, a former prep all-state wide receiver in Texas, was the Braves’ first pick in the 2010 draft, the 35th overall selection.

After hitting .288 with a .344 OBP and stealing 21 bases in 24 attempts during 52 rookie-league games in 2010, Lipka slipped to .247 with a .305 OBP and one homer in 127 games at Class-A Rome in his first full season of pro ball in 2011. He stole 28 bases and was caught 14 times.

He’s only 19, and the Braves are high on him for the long term. They have four shortstop prospects they believe to be sound – Tyler Pastornicky and the gifted Andrelton Simmons in the nearer term, and Nick Ahmed and Elmer Reyes behind them – and decided that Lipka could better help them in center, where they don’t have much quality depth in the organization.

Another of their top prospects, Edward Salcedo, has been shifted from shortstop to third base and progressed at Rome in his first full season above rookie ball. Salcedo showed marked improvement at the plate upon being moved full-time to third base, after splitting time between shortstop and third base early in the season.

With Lipka, the move to center could help him get to the majors sooner, and his physical tools are suited to the position. During the instructional league he worked on outfield skills with Doug Dascenzo, the Braves’ new minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator, and worked on improving his leadoff hitting approach with Don Long, the Braves’ new minor league hitting coordinator and former Pirates hitting coach.

“He’s athletic,” Manno said. “If you didn’t know, during four weeks of instructional league you’d think he’d been out there [center field] a long time…. I think center field is goingt to be a real solid position for him, where he can excel and just use his athletic ability. That’s been fun to see him take to it.

Catching prospect Christian Bethancourt has opened more eyes during the first weeks of the Arizona Fall League.

Catching prospect Christian Bethancourt has opened more eyes in the Arizona Fall League.

“We told him day before instructional league that we were going to move him to center, and he took to it very well. He’s excited. He’s aggressive, has a great work ethic, and just takes everything you give him and runs with it.”

♣ Bench upgrade coming? I wasn’t surprised to see the Braves pick up Eric Hinske’s $1.5 million option for 2012, and thought it was a good move despite his reduced production in 2011. As I’ve said, his versatility and veteran leadership made it a reasonable risk to pick up that option and hope he can get back to something resembling his 2010 form.

After hitting .256 with 33 extra-base hits (11 homers), 51 RBIs and a .794 OPS in 281 at-bats in 2010, Hinske hit .233 with 20 extra-base hits (10 homers), 28 RBIs and a .714 OPS in 236 at-bats in ’11.

After hitting .253 with a .797 OPS in 83 at-bats with runners in scoring position in 2010, he hit .232 with a .639 OPS in 56 at-bats with RISP in ’11.

I couldn’t help but notice that rookie Wilkin Ramirez had four hits in 10 pinch-hit at-bats and Diory Hernandez went 5-for-15 as a pinch hitter (9-for-25 between them), while Hinske went 9-for-56 (.161) as a pinch-hitter in 2011 with two extra-base hits (both homers) and 23 strikeouts.

This after Hinske went 14-for-47 (.298) with seven extra-base hits (three homers) and only seven strikeouts as a pinch-hitter in 2010.

It’s imperative that the Braves upgrade their bench, in my opinion. They certainly can’t afford to get so little production from the bench, particularly pinch-hitting, again in 2012.

It got overshadowed beneath the avalanche of other negative stats during the Braves’ disappointing finish, but consider the difference in their pinch-hitting from a year before:

In 2010, Braves pinch-hitters ranked 3rd in NL in average (.250), first in RBIs (42) and slugging (.447), and fourth in OBP (.319)

In 2011, their pinch-hitters plummeted to15th in the NL in avg (.175), tied for seventh in RBIs (27), dead last in OBP (.239), and ninth in slugging (.303).

That’s a staggering .224 decline in OPS for Braves pinch-hitters over 2010. Yes, Braves pinch-hitters had a .542 OPS in 234 at-bats in ‘11, after posting a .766 OPS in 228 at-bats in ’10.

Bench play can be a mercurial thing in the big leagues, which is why most teams have a vereitable revolving door of bench players, few of whom seem to last long with one team in a bench role. Hinske has unusual stature, and bringing him back made sense.

But again, the Braves have to hope he gets it back. And you’ve got to wonder if Brooks Conrad will be able to hang onto a spot.

Conrad was 13-for-62 (.210) as a PH, with 29 strikeouts.

The Braves picked up the $1.5 million option on Eric Hinske's contract to assure the versatile veteran would be back with the club in 2012.

The Braves picked up the $1.5 million option on Eric Hinske's contract to assure the versatile veteran would be back with the club in 2012.

Between them, the Braves’ two best 2010 pinch-hitters (Hinske and Conrad) from 2010 went 22-for-118 (.186) in that role in 2011, with nine extra-base hits, 52 strikeouts and 16 RBIs.

In 2010, they were a combined 27-for-105 (.257) as pinch-hitters with 14 extra-base hits, 27 strikeouts and 24 RBIs in 2010. Nearly twice as many strikeouts in about the same number of pinch at-bats. And obviously those included a lot of big at-bats.

♣ McLouth era ends quietly: To the surprise of no one, the Braves declined the $10.65 million option on Nate McLouth’s contract and paid the $1.25 million buyout. This move has been predictable since McLouth’s woeful performance in 2010, which was followed by another disappointing, injury-marred season in ’11.

McLouth’s .344 OBP was a big improvement over 2010 (.198), but nothing else was. He hit .228 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 267 at-bats, including just .179 with a meager .531 OPS in 84 at-bats vs. lefties.

In the past two injury-shortened seasons, McLouth hit a combined .210 with a .322 OBP and .650 OPS in 166 games, with 24 doubles, 10 homers, 11 steals and 40 RBIs in 509 at-bats. He had a concussion in 2010 and had a sport hernia this season that required surgery. He didn’t play after July 28.

The Braves got the one-time All-Star from Pittsburgh in a June 2009 trade, and McLouth hit just .229 with a .335 OBP and .699 OPS in 250 games (848 at-bats) for the Braves, with 44 doubles, 21 homers, 76 RBIs and 23 steals in 33 attempts.

In his last two-plus seasons with the Pirates, from Opening Day 2009 until the trade, McLouth hit .266 with a .351 OBP and .856 OPS in 333 games (1090 at-bats), with 73 doubles, 47 homers, 161 RBIs and 52 stolen bases in 56 attempts.

Read those stats again for comparison. During his more than 2-1/2 seasons in Atlanta, it was only for a brief stretches that the Braves saw the player they thought they were getting.

♣ Whew. That was long. Thanks for hanging in there till the end, if you did. OK, let’s get this posted. We’ll close with a classic from Joe Ely, who I’m going to get to see perform this week in Austin along with Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, James McMurtry, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shawn Colvin, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others at the Guy Clark 70th birthday tribute. You can hear the song by clicking here. This one reminds me of a woman I used to know. She was Colombian,and I knew her well. Or so I thought.

images

“SHE NEVER SPOKE SPANISH TO ME” by Joe Ely

I met her in old Mexico
She was laughing sad and young
In a smokey room no-one could see
All the poets they agreed
Spanish is a loving tongue but
She never spoke Spanish to me

She was born in Monterey
And all the Christmas songs were sung
The padres knew what she would grow up to be
Saints and sinners all agree
Spanish is a loving song
But she never spoke Spanish to me

Like a lion screamin’ in the jungle-o
She’d never fool with things she couldn’t see
She spoke to all the shadows in her bungalow
But she never spoke Spanish to me.

She said “If you’re from Texas, son,
Where’s your boots and where’s your gun?”
“Well, I got guns that no one can see!”
She laughed at that and both agreed
Spanish is a loving tongue but
She never spoke Spanish to me.

I left her in old Mexico….

– David O’Brien,  Braves/MIB blog

2,556 comments Add your comment

Chris from the Rock

November 1st, 2011
12:13 am

Let’s go get some offense Frank.

DHD

November 1st, 2011
12:14 am

A GREAT first day.

bozz

November 1st, 2011
12:17 am

I second that, a solid bat would be a welcome addition.

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:18 am

I was just getting started on my nightly “i’m the only one on the blog” rant. Leave it to DOB to mess that up ;)

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:19 am

Even though he apparently doesn’t want to answer my twitter questions… :D

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:20 am

Bat-

Regarding your question from the old blog-

It is much easier to type without a fork full of ice cream

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:27 am

Did everyone leave again?

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:29 am

Mud pie is heaven in a bowl

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:39 am

Mud pie consumed. Nobody is talking to me. So I will post random [expletive deleted] until someone does

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:40 am

Steve Young is wearing a pink shirt with an orange tie

bart

November 1st, 2011
12:40 am

Any Braves regulars playing winter ball?

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:40 am

I actually like them both, just not together

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:40 am

Bart doesn’t count, since he is not a regular. No offense, Bart.

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:41 am

And I think Marteen plays winter ball every year

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:41 am

Waiting for VJ to get home

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:42 am

I keep forgetting today is Halloween

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:42 am

Trent Dilfer is ranting.

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
12:43 am

” I knew her well. Or so I thought”

Ha! that sounds familiar.

Good read, DOB. Thanks

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:43 am

I can’t believe Matt Cassel is a starting quarterback in the NFL. If he was half this good in college…he still would not have played that much

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:43 am

DAMN IT BAT!!

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:44 am

Steve Young just said “rue this day” on Monday Night Countdown

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:45 am

How does Matt Cassel still have a job in the NFL?

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:45 am

I do like him, by the way

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:45 am

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:46 am

Y’all are going to have to read my posts for another 25 minutes at least. VJ won’t be home until at least 10:15

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:46 am

Maybe I will go to bed. Where did Tiger go?

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:47 am

Then again, I can sleep in tomorrow so I can stay up a bit later

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:47 am

Lucky for you all I am out of wine

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:48 am

Isn’t it about time for Vampire Tom to show up?

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:48 am

VAMPIRE TOM!!! I’M BORED!

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
12:48 am

Whoa………..mud pie makes cab yell at innocent bystanders

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:49 am

Only at 13…need to work harder

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:49 am

Bat-

Not yelling AT you. And you are hardly innocent. ;)

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:50 am

Mud pie is soooo good

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:51 am

Lucky for you all VJ is on his way

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
12:52 am

Wonder if McClouth was a roid victim?

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
12:53 am

Hope we can sign Bourne, if not Michael then Jason

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
12:55 am

Also like for us to get Parra from the Diamondbacks for LF, the guy is an animal defensively

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
12:55 am

Simply offering kudos to DOB, not trying to break your streak, cab. So innocent in that regard.

ccrider

November 1st, 2011
12:56 am

cabravesfan: The entire blog is in shock from the Derek Lowe trade! Some can’t believe another team wanted him, some can’t believe we have $5 million to spend for improving the team , but most of all we just can’t believe we don’t have to watch him pitch for the Braves again!

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:56 am

Bat-

uh huh. If you say so :D

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
12:57 am

And a SS that can hit situationally, I’d rather have Jack Wilson than Gonzo.

DS1

November 1st, 2011
12:57 am

McLouth was not a roid guy, in my opinion. But he had some injury issues and supposedly played with a sports hernia.

Maybe the real story will come out in a few years.

I hope we don’t get in too big of a hurry to sign Bourn to a long contract (btw, you misspelled both last names………..). That could be a mistake.

Players that rely on their speed often time have little to nothing when their speed diminishes.

Besides, he was only average at best with the bat after coming to ATL.

cab

How ya been? Any news in the past few days on nolie?

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:58 am

I just can’t get away from it- even SportsCenter mentioned Kim Kardashian…

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:59 am

DS1-

Only news I’ve seen is that nolie is improving slowly. Which is good. Hopefully he will feel up to stopping by to say hi at some point in the near future :)

DS1

November 1st, 2011
12:59 am

Jack Wilson is Alex Gonzalez with no power and a lesser glove. (not much, but less)

And Wilson hasn’t played starters innings in several years.

No thanks.

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
12:59 am

I’ve been good. You?

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
12:59 am

I can’t imagine the situation jack wilson could hit in.

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
1:00 am

Eithier could be a possibility, not sure of the clubhouse prescence tho.

DS1

November 1st, 2011
1:00 am

Who is Kim Kardashian? I’ve heard the name, but I don’t know anything about her??????????

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
1:00 am

DS1-

You are better off not knowing.

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
1:03 am

Just want a SS thatcan and will hit to the off-field and earns his stats consistently rather than in bunches. My spelling is not to be relied upon, plus didn’t know I was being graded.

glorydays (from SF)

November 1st, 2011
1:04 am

Kim is an ass.

DS1

November 1st, 2011
1:04 am

Been great. Busy. Changed jobs back in March. Area of coverage increased. Travel doubled. Not as much blogging time.

My youngest comes home a week from Thursday from boot camp and MP training. I am pumped.

Kinda bummed out today. Found out a fellow we knew from 10 years ago (oldest son was the best friend of his son) was one of the Americans killed in Afghanistan a few days back. He was a private contractor working on putting armor on vehicles. He was a welder.

Was over there because he wanted to make some good $ for a few years so he could retire early. Leaves a wife and 2 grown children. Real downer.

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
1:05 am

Sorry to hear that, DS1. Always tough when something like that happens.

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
1:06 am

I guess the Lowe deal has left Ward speechless.

Gotta go.

Peace, y’all

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
1:09 am

Hate to hear that, Wayne.

Bat Masterson

November 1st, 2011
1:12 am

Good news on your son though, Wayne

kevin from columbus ga

November 1st, 2011
1:14 am

There is not an article in the world that can get me to drink the Braves kool-aid again…The braves have a long time before they win their fans back. The first opportunity will be october of 2012.

cabravesfan

November 1st, 2011
1:16 am

Time for bed.

Good night all!

DS1

November 1st, 2011
1:21 am

glory days

Not grading, just making an observation……….

:wink:

kevin from columus

You’re either a fan or you’re not. It’s simple, really. Nobody here is trying to force any “kool aid” on anybody.

We’re just fans. Reading our beat writers’ (excellent) blog. Making observations about our team.

If you’re a fan when they win, well so be it. Most of us are fans come rain or shine.

Venice Jim

November 1st, 2011
1:25 am

DS1 – people like you who enjoy baseball because it’s a great game and don’t realize what an abject failure the entire season is if it is not validated by winning the World Series make me shake my head in wonder…

DS1

November 1st, 2011
1:33 am

VJ

How ya been?

It bothered me more before I had a wife and kids. Now it’s great entertainment, but not my life. (although my better half might disagree once in a while……….).

Venice Jim

November 1st, 2011
1:38 am

DS1 – I am good (save for a bit of lower back tenderness) – just got in from a long night of academic endeavoring. Was not expecting today to be a newsworthy day, but caught the big news on my Twitter feed while working with a guy on stats this morning – nice to never be far away from what’s happening…

Venice Jim

November 1st, 2011
1:39 am

And I am off to bed – talk to you later…

DS1

November 1st, 2011
1:40 am

but this September collapse was hard even for a positive guy like me to deal with………

nite folks.

Say a prayer for the Acerra family from Pennsylvania tonight…… Tony was my age.

N8

November 1st, 2011
1:41 am

cab, back of my Chiefs. LOL.

That was one helluva ugly way to win a game. But you know what. I’ll take it. Not because I like Matt Cassel. Not because I think that even if they win the mediocre AFC West they have a legit shot at a playoff run.

But because with the weapons they lost in 3 consecutive games to start the season (TE Moeaki in the last pre-season game, pro-bowl safety Eric Berry on opening day, and Jamaal Charles in week to against the Lions), if they manage to get this offense rolling? Next year is going to be pretty exciting. Might even be hard for Cassel to mess that up next year. Especially when you consider that WR Baldwin showed tonight why they took him in the 1st round, (only his second game of the year after missing all of training camp and the first 5 games with a broken hand from a fight with teamate Thomas Jones).

After the 0-3 start, I was on the “suck for Luck” bandwagon. But Todd Haley has shown a knack for getting the most out of WR in the past.

Seriously think about the weapons Cassel will have next year:

HB Charles
FB McClain
WR Bowe
WR Baldwin
WR Breaston
TE Moeaki

Who you gonna cover? Good luck.

And while that is a horrible way to lose a game for the Chargers. My hatred for Phillip Rivers leads me to feel it couldn’t have happened to a “nicer” guy. LOVE LOVE LOVE watching that guy crybaby and pout on the sidelines. Don’t like Norv Turner either. So I think it’s funny as hell.

DS1

November 1st, 2011
1:42 am

Good read DOB.

Thanks.

Ward

November 1st, 2011
1:53 am

Hello everyone found the post this time? Gald to see Hinske back,ubt should junk Conrad……Good to see Lowe,and Nate gone………

Ward

November 1st, 2011
1:55 am

If Braves take a chance on Pastornicky? I think he will do great,and I have no problem starting a rookie at SS. I think the Braves will go with Pastornicky.

Ward

November 1st, 2011
1:58 am

Trading Lowe was the best thing that everhappened,and now I don’t have to Sh*t my pants next yea! I was speechless all day,and had to tell my self it really happened…..

Ward

November 1st, 2011
1:59 am

Could we see Wren get Carlos Quentin? Hm………

Columbus

November 1st, 2011
2:20 am

Yeah Kevin, stop making my town look bad with your juvenile comments. Go root for the Red Sox….

Ward

November 1st, 2011
2:28 am

With the 5 million in cash,Why not go get Wilson Betemit for 3rd base,and you would still have money for a strong bench guy……I would want some one to back Chipper, if he gets hurt again next year?

pj

November 1st, 2011
2:29 am

Please correct me if I’m wrong on ANY of this – I could be…

Now that they have let a few guys into free agency (Sherril, Linebrink, Gonzalez), and they have shaved 5 MIL from D Lowe’s salary and resigned Hinske… after Arbitration – (which we stand to take a hit on Jurjiens and Prado, lesser on Medlen and O’ Flaherty),….

Shouldn’t we have around 20-22 Million to spend? (assuming Tehran takes Lowe’s place for the league minimum). If we got 2 cheap rentals for the bullpen to go with our big 3 and a possible Minor or Beachy long relief – Could we not then afford the 15 Million Jose Reyes at SS? Imagine this lineup!!
1. Reyes
2. Bourn
3. Chipper
4. Uggla
5. McCann
6. Freeman
7. Prado
8. Heyward

Ward

November 1st, 2011
2:38 am

Here’s what I like…..We get wilson Betemit 3rd base,and strong bech duties.Sign Mark DeRosa,and pick up Carlos Quentin,or Josh Willingham,or Cuddyer.Any one one I would be happy with for the Out field……..

Ward

November 1st, 2011
2:41 am

Wislon Betemit,and DeRosa would be great bench guy’s. Trade Diaz,and a package for an out fielder. There are lots of ways to go….

pj

November 1st, 2011
2:44 am

Just looks like – with the young cheap pitching – that we could go after a big name SS or OF. I see 20 mil on the table – what would you guys do with that money?

Braveone

November 1st, 2011
4:22 am

From the previous blog which had 4,015 comments, Efrim led the way with 319 posts. There were 210 different poster names. Here are the Top 25:

Rank Poster Frequency

1 Efrim 319
2 cabravesfan 216
3 tiger297 187
4 Tom O’Hawke 168
5 DS1 144
6 Ward 136
7 raleighbravefan 117
8 Murph 114
9 McFann O O o Get Well Soon, Nolie!! 107
10 Trey 103
11 jeffrey d 102
12 ncscoots 100
13 Bat Masterson 98
14 richbrave 97
15 RC 96
16 TennesseePaul 88
17 BraveFaninBC 82
18 Snotboogie 82
19 CB 78
20 David O’Brien 73
21 uga-brave 73
22 Lew 71
23 Moe Berg 63
24 Ease 59
25 N8 59

kevin from columbus ga

November 1st, 2011
4:26 am

I would just burn the cash because it is what were going to do anyway. You can all attack me for having the same opinions as the guys on 790 in the zone. They have grip on reality as I do when it comes to the Braves. As a fan the braves have to prove to me something before I put my money back into their product. Watch how many empty seats at the ted next year that share my opinion. I guarantee you they are Braves fans but are not fools to accept the torture the city of Atlanta gets year after year choking and not winning championships.

NickB

November 1st, 2011
4:37 am

@pj No they won’t have nearly that much because many of the players are going to get arbitration raises and McCann gets a raise of a couple of mill as well. So , if you count Gonzo as being gone, along with Lowe’s $$$ we are looking at like $8 mill tops

ncgary

November 1st, 2011
4:48 am

lets hope liberty goes to around 110 million and leaves enough for cuddyer

Ward

November 1st, 2011
4:57 am

Use the 8 million to get a couple of guy’s.
1. Wislon Betemit-would be great incase Chipper got hurt.
2. Mark DeRosa-for utility guy
3. Trade for a LF or RF bat that can play the corners if you can’t find one on the Free Agent Market.
All have a good one and peace…….Talk tomorrow.

longtimebravesfan

November 1st, 2011
4:57 am

If you include arbitration and other raises, and minimum salaries for 10 or so players (Heyward, Hanson, Freeman, etc.); the Braves payroll is a little over $85 million already.
And since Pastornicky and Simmons are close to the majors, I doubt the Braves will spend big for a SS. They will probably look for a vet for 1 year deal, unless a good SS becomes available on the trade market.

Jeff R

November 1st, 2011
5:40 am

Good for Frank Wren, clearing $5 million form the Braves’ payroll with the Lowe trade. Actually, that’s a couple of million more than I thought Wren would get if another team agreed to take Lowe.

It should be a spirited competition for Lowe’s spot among the young and ready pitchers, with Minor having the inside track due to his two years of part time major league service. Medlen can’t be counted out of the running for Lowe’s spot, but I think he plays more Moylan’s role moving forward.

Couch Tater

November 1st, 2011
6:46 am

The Braves’ payroll limits are not set by Liberty but by McGuirk in consultation with other team officials, he has said – April 2010, DOB

McGuirk: “So Frank, What’s your plan with Lowe?”

Frank: “Well uh, I was thinking [ahem] that we might possibly [cough, cough] uh, take one on the chin.”

McGuirk: “How about Kawakami? Remember you wanted me to authorize a $2 million dollar bonus?”

Frank: ” I thought for sure Maserati would come through with the ad deal and the rotating neon Turisimo above the right field stands.”

McGuirk: “McLou…, hold on Frank. I have to take this call.”

Frank to Manno: “Let’s hold off on the new budget proposal.”

richbrave

November 1st, 2011
6:48 am

kevin in columbus:

You have to do what you feel is best, but I guarantee that you will be missing some of the greatest baseball ATLANTA’s even seen from this club going forward next season and thereafter. The stage is set for a World Championship sometime soon after 2012.

Bschro3000

November 1st, 2011
6:54 am

Dave –

I would be interested to see the number of starts and PA’s Conrad and Hinskie had in 2010 vs 2011.

I think Cox did a better job getting those guys at bats and starts than Gonzalez …

(I know that September last year should probably be taken out … They were getting a lot of ABs because of injuries)

richbrave

November 1st, 2011
6:55 am

FALL BALL

ARIZONA

SURPRISE SAGURROS

C CHRISTIAN BETHANCOURT [.333 BA] 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR [3], 2 RBI [10], 1 SO, 1 CS by BETHANCOURT [6].

DOMINICA, MEXICO, and VENEZUELA – No games scheduled.

AUSTRALIA

Play begins Thursday November 3.

PUERTO RICO

Games begin Friday November 4.

Coach (2011 Fredi G. FAILED)

November 1st, 2011
7:00 am

Agreed with couch tater’s post. Frank Wren has done an absolutely wonderful job with player development, especially with all the young pitching.

That said……Nate McLouth, Troy Glaus, Melkey Cabrera, Ryan Church, Derek Lowe, Garret Anderson and Kenshin Kawakami were all mistakes. Which is to be expected because not every move hits pay dirt. But these were free agent and trade acquisitions.

Wren had better learn from his mistakes by improving his thinking because more than anything, these moves have put the Braves budget in tough financial straights these past three years.

BravesAC

November 1st, 2011
7:00 am

Whoa….had knee replaced 7 weeks ago, lost 40 lbs doing rehab so hard, but the Lowe trade had me jumping up and down. I wish him well but I think it’s a must do move.
I agree with other posters – Betemit and DeRosa would be so solid for the bench/part time starters. I like that move so much more than a Grady Sizemore flyer. And you can almost bet the Braves go after Willingham in a Fredi reunion with a RH outfielder.
P.S. Even now I may be faster than

BravesAC

November 1st, 2011
7:01 am

That P.S. was:
Even now I may be faster than McCann running to 1b.

Old time Fan

November 1st, 2011
7:07 am

I have been a Brave fan since 66 and have suffered a lot especially in my younger days when every spring I felt that this is the year. It is good to read posts by sensible fans before the haters get on here. A few observations over coffee this morning. Chipper will be here this year, accept it and appreciate all he has done in his career and the leadership he brings. Prado is somewhere between 2010 and 2011 and is really little more than a utility player. I would package him in a trade with a pitcher or two and get a real left fielder. Time to try a rookie at SS, Wilson or AG is not the answer. McCann is a good hitter and a poor catcher. I think he is lazy on D. How many times does he reach for a low and outside pitch and does not move his body? Sign Bourn, short leash on Hayward, Fredi is not the answer as manager and who in the world cares about what happens to a Kardashian and why are they always in the news?

Ease

November 1st, 2011
7:08 am

Wow, I made the top 25? So much for the hiatus that I was supposed to be on…

richbrave

November 1st, 2011
7:51 am

EASE makes the Top 25? LaRUSSA retires? PENDLETON may be in as CARDS manager? LOWE gone and only for 10 mill? “SKI comes back? PARRISH out and FREDI’s next? WOW? News all ’round. Gotta’ get back to Buckhead.

Efrim

November 1st, 2011
7:53 am

But I also think your summary is a little high. I don’t think Bourn will get quite that much, for one thing, and McCann’s salary is probably amortized more over life of contract, knowing how Braves usually do their accounting. But I’m not sure, since they don’t disclose any of that.

Okay, but that makes it a lot harder for me to figure out. ;)

Efrim

November 1st, 2011
7:55 am

Office is closed for second straight day. As much as I like the time off, so many people are without power in CT the roads are loaded with cars every hour and long lines at gas stations. Really lucky I have power. So many are without power.

Braves fan.

November 1st, 2011
8:00 am

We have like 15 million to spend….

Ease

November 1st, 2011
8:03 am

richbrave

November 1st, 2011
8:07 am

Old Time Fan:

Agree with a lot of your post especially about McCANN’s defensive prowess, or lack thereof. I know little of his pitch management, but he doesn’t move around behind the plate well.

Go to the park, if nothing more than to see one of baseball’s greatest switch-hitters all-time end his career as a BRAVE. I would add, don’t be too surprised if he’s back in 2013..

I love the idea of PRADO and a young arm like SPRUILL for a genuine LF’er.

Sign BOURNE. We haven’t had an effective lead-off man since FURCAL.

Short leash on HEYWARD.

I’m more ambivilant than you are on FG. This year tells the tale on FREDI’s leadership I think.

I agree with DOB that the bench which already includes ROSS and HINSKI must be improved. CONRAD is on thin ice this year. I don’t think he makes the club out of ST.

And finally, despite MATT’s contract, I think he’s moved to another club in a trade that brings in a bench infielder. ST will determine his fate as a BRAVE.

Add your comment