McCann contract situation looms for Braves

While most Braves fans are wondering who’ll be their Opening Day shortstop and whether Jair Jurrjens and/or the popular Martin Prado will be traded by the end of next week’s Winter Meetings, a potentially bigger issue looms in the not-too-distant future: Brian McCann.

Braves' Brian McCann, the best hitting catcher in the National League, is signed through 2012 with a $12 million team option for 2013. Then what?

Braves' Brian McCann, the best hitting catcher in the National League, is signed through 2012 with a $12 million team option for 2013. Then what?

Specifically, will the Braves make the six-time All-Star catcher a franchise player along the lines of Chipper Jones by signing McCann to a long-term extension in the next year or so?

McCann will make $11.5 million in the final season of his contract in 2012 (the base salary of $8.5 million was increased the maximum $3 million by escalators tied to All-Star appearances and Silver Slugger awards).

There is a $12 million option for 2013, a straight team option with a $500,000 buyout. Between now and the end of the ’12 season — we’ll operate under an assumption the team picks up the option — the Braves will face a big decision.

Will they commit a very large amount long-term to sign the local kid who’s become a team leader and the best-hitting catcher in the NL (and arguably best in the majors, at least until Minnesota’s Joe Mauer can stay healthy or Detroit’s Alex Avila has more years like the one he just had)?

Or will they possibly wait to make that decision after seeing what 20-year-old catching prospect Christian Bethancourt does next season in high-A or Double-A? The rangy, gifted athlete hit .289 with a modest five homers and .304 OBP in 387 at-bats last season in low-A and high-A, then opened some eyes in the Arizona Fall League, where he displayed his rifle arm and quick release from behind the plate and hit .302 with five homers in 72 at-bats.

The only question about Bethancourt was whether he would ever hit, and now he’s started to do that while continuing to add muscle to a 6-foot-3 frame. I talked to him after a game in Arizona and was impressed by his attitude, his knowledge of the game and his size. He’s a lean 205 now, up from 170 when he first came to the U.S. from Panama, and looks like he could easily carry another 20 pounds.

The Braves won’t say how Bethancourt’s development might affect their McCann decision or offer, but I’m guessing they probably see it as a welcome complication. By that I mean, if they had no strong catching prospect coming up through the system, there would probably be very little debate about whether you go all out to re-sign McCann and damn the costs.

Don’t get me wrong, Bethancourt is still a long way from being a sure thing. The chances are slim that he’ll ever produce six-plus seasons of hitting like we’ve seen from McCann — at any point during Bethancourt’s career, much less at the beginning of his career. We say that with reasonable assurance, because McCann has hit like few catchers  before. Meanwhile, Bethancourt is a bright kid with huge skills, but still raw in some ways and hasn’t shown ability to draw walks and post a good OBP.

Scouts in Arizona Fall League were impressed by the development of the strong-armed Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt.

Scouts in Arizona Fall League were impressed by the development of the strong-armed Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt.

But what I’m saying is this: The progress of Bethancourt can give the Braves some measure of confidence. They can feel good knowing that if they sign McCann to a long-term extension and, say, a couple of years into the new deal he starts to show more signs of wear and tear from catching for nearly a decade in the big leagues, they could have a big-time young (and cheap) catcher ready to split the duties with McCann in a transitional period.

Or take over altogether if the Braves decided to move McCann to another position (or another team, if he didn’t want to play first base, which is really the only other position I could see him playing).

Here’s what an assistant GM from another NL East team told me about Bethancourt out in Artizona, after this guy had watched him play for a couple of weeks in the fall league:

“He’s got power, he can throw, catch,” this official said. “That’s going to be a nice for [the Braves] — that’ll run its course about the time that Brian will have to move to first base.”

I should point out, I never mentioned McCann to this NL team official, who brought up the subject after I asked him for his impressions of Bethancourt.

A couple of scouts in Arizona claimed they timed Bethancourt’s “pop time” on throws to second base at 1.75 seconds, which would be well above the major league average and not far off the best times of peak-era Pudge Rodriguez, who’s had the best average pop times in the past 15 years. (Pop time is measured from when the ball hits the catcher’s glove to when it reaches the second baseman or shortstop, and 1.85 to 1.95 seconds is good for big-league catchers.)

“I didn’t have any 1.7’s, but I had some 1.8’s on this guy [Bethancourt],” said the NL team official. “And he runs damn well. It’s not average, but very close to average. And with that body…”

By “not average, but very close,” he meant that Bethancourt runs at close to average speed for a major league ballplayer. For a catcher to do that is highly unusual. In one of the two games I saw Bethancourt catch, he legged out a double and you’d have never known he was a catcher the way he rounded first, loped to second and slid into the base.

Anyway, he’s good. Great potential to do some things we don’t see many catchers do.

But McCann is a proven commodity and one of the elite players in the game at his position over the past couple of decades. A natural hitter who has worked to become a terrific hitter. No player in franchise history was named to the All-Star team in each of his first three full seasons before McCann, who’s done it in all six of his full seasons.

He’s a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner as the NL’s best hitter at his position.

Pay McCann or….

If the Braves don’t re-sign him to a long-term extension, there is no way they could afford to sign a free-agent catcher who contributes anything close to the offense that McCann does. The aforementioned Mauer, the only catcher with better stats than McCann for a multi-year period in the past decade, made $12.5 million in 2010 in the last year of a four-year extension, in what would have been his first year of free agency.

Before that 2010 season, Mauer signed an enormous eight-year, $184 million contract that took effect this season and pays him $23 million annually, easily the biggest contract ever for a catcher.

Mauer was coming off a remarkable 2009 season in which he won the AL MVP award after winning his league’s batting title (.365), hitting 28 homers, and also leading the AL with otherwordly totals in OBP (.444), slugging (.587) and OPS (1.031).

In the two seasons since, Mauer has made $35.5 million — while batting .327 with nine homers, 65 RBIs and an .871 OPS in 2010, and .287 with three homers, 30 RBIs and a career-low .729 OPS in 296 at-bats in an injury-plagued 2011 season.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer had an injury-plagued season in 2011 in the first year of an eight-year contract that pays him $23 million annually, the biggest deal ever for a catcher.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer had an injury-plagued season in 2011 in the first year of an eight-year contract that pays him $23 million annually, the biggest deal ever for a catcher.

To repeat, Mauer will make $23 million in each of the next seven seasons.

Yikes.

McCann never had a season like Mauer had in 2009 (although he did hit .333 with 24 homers and a .961 OPS in McCann’s first full season in 2006). But McCann also never had a bad season like Mauer’s 2011. Not even close to one.

He has clearly outperformed Mauer over the past two-year period.

Despite a career-worst second-half slump after an oblique strain this past summer, McCann still hit .270 with 24 homers, a .351 OBP and an .817 OPS, the seventh consecutive season he hit .269 or better and fourth consecutive season he totaled more than 20 homers while posting an OBP of .349 or better and an OPS above .815.

McCann, who’ll turn 28 in February, has a career .286 average, .358 OBP and .844 OPS, with 136 homers and 537 RBIs in 882 games.

Mauer, who’ll turn 29 in April, has a .323 career average, .403 OBP and .874 OPS, with 84 homers and 502 RBIs in 918 games. He’s a four-time All-Star with four Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Gloves (McCann has no Gold Gloves).

Mauer made $23 million in 2011, and will make that much for each of the next seven seasons.

What kind of deal might the Braves be willing to offer McCann? Will they wait to see how he does in 2012, how he snaps back from his second-half slump? Will Bethancourt’s development play into the decision in any way?

The Braves aren’t saying, publicly or privately, and I wouldn’t expect them to for some time.

When Chipper was in this position…

Chipper Jones was in something of a similar position to McCann more than a decade ago. Jones had signed a four-year contract extension that bought out his arbitration years and included a club option for 2000, which would’ve been his first year of free-agent eligibility.

The Braves waiting until spring 2000 to begin negotiations with Jones’ agent, B.B. Abbott, and the sides came to an agreement at midseason and announced a six-year, $90 million extension that also included options for ’07 and ’08.

McCann, who has the same agent, signed a six-year $26.8 million extension in spring training of 2007, after his first full season in the majors (that amount is up to $29.8 million after the $3 million raise for 2011 from the escalators triggered by awards and honors).

Jeff Francoeur turned down a similar deal at that same time when friend and then-rookie teammate McCann signed on the dotted line, a deal that was similar in terms of years and dollars to the one McCann accepted, because Francoeur and his advisors thought he could make significantly more by waiting for a better offer in a year or two.

McCann took the security of a long-term deal. In hindsight, he certainly could have leveraged his first All-Star seasons into a much bigger deal, but there’s something to be said for McCann being able to work and thrive in those early years knowing that his future was secure, not worried about an injury or anything else that might reduce his performance.

Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones are franchise icons. McCann could possibly join them someday, provided he's a Brave for long enough.

Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones are franchise icons, but McCann is the only Brave ever named to All-Star teams for more than his first three full seasons. He's done it for six and counting.

Francoeur, the Sports Illustrated cover boy as a rookie and the one many had viewed as the next franchise Golden Boy, ended up struggling before being traded to the Mets in 2009, then later moving to the Rangers and the Royals, where he had an encouraging bounce-back season in 2011 (.285 with 20 homers, .329 OBP, .805 OPS).

McCann has made about $17 million since signing that contract, while Francoeur has made about $11.5 million in that same four-year span. Next year, McCann’s salary climbs to $11.5 million, while Francoeur will make $6 million with the Royals.

In 2013, McCann will make $12 million from the Braves, assuming they pick up his option, and Francouer is scheduled to make $7.5 million in the last year of his deal with the Royals.

Between now and then, things should get interesting with the Braves and McCann.

He’s been their best and most consistent hitter the past several seasons, and one of the best hitting catchers in a generation or two. So how will he be rewarded on his next contract?

And and will the Braves, who already have an outstanding first baseman (Freddie Freeman) who’ll be affordable for at least several more years, pay McCann somewhere in at least the mid-eight-figure range annually in a long-term deal?

If they decide not to offer him something north of $15 million annually in a long-term deal, would McCann possibly decide to test free agency, where he might be able to get considerably more from an American League team that could use him at DH some in the near future and a lot more in later years?

It might be awhile before we get those answers, but it’s worth thinking about and looking forward to, as we wait for more immediate matters to start to heat up during the winter meetings.

On to Big D: Speaking of those meetings, which run Monday through Thursday in Dallas, it’s impossible to know if the Braves will make a significant move while we’re there, but you can bet they will be involved in a multitude of rumors and plenty of actual trade discussions.

Every team knows the Braves are willing to trade some of their players, with Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado the two names that have been bandied about for the past two months.

However, Wren has also made it a point to say that the Braves aren’t trying to shed payroll and aren’t shopping players so much as they are listening to offers and seeing what it would take to make a move or two to strengthen the team.

Wren told me Monday that the Braves will keep searching trying to improve the team. A team that, even after its epic September collapse, wasn’t eliminated from postseason contention until the last night of the season.

The Braves need a shortstop, but as we’ve said they aren’t going to sign a free agent to a multi-year deal and aren’t going to trade for one with more than a year left on a contract. They want nothing more than a bridge to prospect Tyler Pastornicky, and they insist even that is not a necessity.

Wren told me Monday that the Braves would be content to go to spring training with Pastornicky as their shortstop, rather than get some marginal veteran player just to fill the spot. In other words, don’t look for the Braves to acquire a Ronny Cedeno to keep the shortstop spot warm until Pastornicky is ready.

Despite Pastornicky’s limited high-minors experience – 128 games in Double-A, 27 games at Triple-A – and his 26 errors in 2011, Wren said the Braves were confident after his performance the past two seasons, including a .314 average and .349 OBP in ’11, that they would be more than willing to go to spring training with the 22-year-old penciled in at shortstop.

Maybe there’s some posturing there, and the Braves want other teams to think they feel no urgency to trade for a shortstop, but Wren at least sounded pretty convincing when he said it. So we’ll see next week, after we get to Dallas and other teams start talking to the Braves.

It’s also worth noting that the Braves could always go into the season with Pastornicky as their shortstop and a veteran backup to spell him from time to time. And then, if things aren’t working out for the kid by mid-summer, they could make a move to improve the position.

I say this because a team I covered did it with great success once before, when the 1997 Marlins decided at midseason to replace talented but just-not-ready-yet second baseman Luis Castillo. They traded for veteran Craig Counsell in late July, and Counsell took over at second base, helped solidify the offense, and would end up scoring the winning run on Edgar Renteria’s game-ending single in Game 7 of the World Series against Cleveland.

Dave Dombrowski was GM of that Marlins team, and his top assistant was Wren.

The fact is, at present time there are very few potential bridge-type shortstops who appear to be available, after some veterans who fit the description already signed free-agent contracts this winter (deals that exceeded what the Braves were willing to pay for a shortstop/utilility player, both in terms of years and dollars).

Despite his limited experience in the high minors, Braves officials say they're confident Tyler Pastornicky could handle the shortstop position from Opening Day.

Despite his limited experience in the high minors, Braves officials say they're confident Tyler Pastornicky could handle the shortstop position from Opening Day.

There have been years when Braves GM Wren pulled off a big trade at the GM meetings or Winter Meetings, and others where he waited until later in the offseaon to fill his team’s priority needs. Will he swing a deal to bring a power-hitting corner outfielder to Atlanta? I’d guess that might be more likely than a move to acquire a shortstop.

Because while the Braves have the potential to get 25-35 homers and a high OBP out of Jason Heyward in right and solid all-around offense with 15-20 homers out of Prado in left, to go with the blazing speed from leadoff man Michael Bourn in center, we saw last year how those best-laid plans don’t always work out when it comes to fruition with players who are either young and or unproven at a particular position.

Will Heyward bounce back from a disappointing second season? I’d say chances are good. Was Prado’s subpar season attributable primarily to the staph infection that landed him on the DL for more than a month last summer? I think so, but can’t say for sure. No one can.

So do the Braves, after last year’s September debacle, go into the 2012 season without making any major changes and just riding their faith in their current corner outfielders and a rookie shortstop with no major league experience?

That I can’t see Wren doing. He’s too pragmatic to stand pat this winter.

♣ OK, let’s close with a great tune from an underrated band, the Cold War Kids. You can hear the studio version by clicking here, or see them do a great live version by clicking here.

2278_coldwarkids_3

“TELL ME IN THE MORNING” by Cold War Kids

Stick around Greenly, now that she’s gone
Take my time when I got to bed, and I sleep long
I’m getting over, mulling over
I said, “Could you just wait to tell me in the morning?”

Slow it down, slow it down
And lay it low, save it for the morning

I know that you would like, like to change me
Make me softer to your voice like a baby
I’m using caution, but you’re warning
I wish that you could wait to tell me in the morning

Slow it down, slow it down
And lay it low, save it for the morning

I’m shouting questions, like a fist fight
You try to take me by the arms lead me to the light
I’m almost over, warring over
I wish that you could wait to tell me in the morning

Slow it down, slow it down
And lay it low, save it for the morning
And I’ll tell you one more thing

I confess to self deception
And I broke the lock and I pried it open
Then pretended to be stolen
I am my own thief in the night

Struggled for many years just to get here
To learn humility and be my own teacher
I guess it backfired ’cause my motive
Was just to take and never care ’bout what I give

Slow it down, slow it down
And lay it low, save it for the morning

I’m shouting questions like a fist fight
You try to take me by the arms lead me to the light
I’m almost over, warring over
I wish that you could wait to tell me in the morning

Slow it down, slow it down
Laying low, save it for the morning
But I’ll tell you one more thing

I confess to self deception
And I broke the lock and I pried it open
Then pretended to be stolen
I am my own thief in the night

by David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

3,710 comments Add your comment

TnBrian

November 29th, 2011
9:57 pm

kc

November 29th, 2011
9:58 pm

I know the Rule 5 Draft is up coming and I have not seen a list for the Braves for who we might loose to the Rule 5 Draft?

DHD

November 29th, 2011
9:58 pm

Weird
Back to baseball….

Signing McCann is a no-brainer. Just do it. We lose the soul of the team if we let him go.

TnBrian

November 29th, 2011
9:59 pm

i know I’ll be #1 since dummy has to get banned for his junk nobody cares about anyways.

TnBrian

November 29th, 2011
9:59 pm

Now I’ll go read the blog.

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:00 pm

Uggggh! here we go again! sheesh!

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:01 pm

Someone hurry over to Wrens house and hide the liquor cabinet key! quick that sumbee has to be drinking some hard booze to think the way he is thinking!

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:02 pm

Wonder what the Rangers are doing? an actual team with a purpose!

Dob

November 29th, 2011
10:03 pm

See, I’d be worried about trusting Bethancourt, and not because McCann is the best catcher in baseball.

Bethancourt is under the age of 23, and it’s a proven fact you can’t win with players that young.

brian

November 29th, 2011
10:04 pm

please ban Lionel for the political crap

FutureBraves

November 29th, 2011
10:05 pm

Let him go save the money, hes going to get hurt

brian

November 29th, 2011
10:05 pm

thanks for the blog DOB. Superb blog to help get the Hot Stove cooking here (like we need any help). You may have caused McFann palpatations or a minor stroke with that blog though :)

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:08 pm

Personally I think for the Braves and McCann to work out a deal there will have to be concessions on both sides. McCann will have to settle for the fact that he won’t make the money he could on the open market because the Braves aren’t able to sustain a long term contract for high money on a position like catcher. McCann would have to be under the understanding that he may not play out the tenure of the contract behind the plate. I would imagine he would get a no trade clause or at least a limited one. The kid is a Georgia native who loves this team. I don’t see the cockiness in him as was in Francouer. This is his team and I’m sure theres no one that Chipper would like to hand the reigns over to more than him. It could be complicated with his position though and his want to stay there long term. Heres to hoping they get it all worked out.

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:09 pm

Lionel just posted that crap on the bottom of the other page. He had to bring it over to this one to I guess.

brian

November 29th, 2011
10:11 pm

we are not going to trust Bethancourt this year with the catching even if the unthinkable happens and BMAC is traded.

In 1-2 years could BMAC be traded, especially to an AL team, of course. This year with this team – not a chance.

McCann gives the Braves such a huge advantage at the catcher position especially important considering the Braves offensive woes. It would have taken a deal centered around someone like Matt Kemp for the Braves to even consider trading McCann.

For arguments sake (and to see if McFann is reading) would anyone trade McCann for Justin Upton as the centerpieces of a blockbuster? He could join Heyward and Bourn in the OF.

N8

November 29th, 2011
10:11 pm

JoeBrave….. making dumbasses look smart since, well…. since whenever he started posting.

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:13 pm

and N8 making a futile attempt at being a smartass well since he was born! I hate you ,man you are one arrogant piece of crap!

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:14 pm

I make no bones about my disdain for Pastornicky at SS! at least I don’t belittle others as if I am some lost n myself demi-god! you really are a piece of work there N8! NOT! loser!

Delbert D.

November 29th, 2011
10:14 pm

Don’t do the Mauer thing. That is too risky. I’m sure the pencil-necks at Liberty Media will agree.

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:15 pm

Scroll past my posts and I damn sure will yours!

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:16 pm

Gotta re-sign Mac! say 6 more at 15 should do it!

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:17 pm

Glad some of y’all liked the post. I just stumbled into it week or so ago while looking for something else. after reading it I thought it was about the best scouting primer I have ever read. Couple of slight differences with what I was taught 4o some years ago,but basically the same.
The Yanks in the 40s and 50s are the ones who basically codified a lot of that and it has stayed almost totally relevant over all this time.
Good blog DOB. It will be interesting to see whether McFann’s heart gets broken in a few years or if she will continue in baseball bliss……

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:19 pm

Bobby V.In Boston….well that should get interesting to say the least.

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:21 pm

JoeBrave

Can’t say I’m suprised on Bobby V in Boston. As soon as I saw him on the radar I figured he’d get the job.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:22 pm

Bobby V knows baseball. he is also an arrogant prick who can be charming when he wants something but eventually lets his ego get in the team’s way. Maybe he has matured late………Boston needs to hope so

Sopheee

November 29th, 2011
10:23 pm

Mac fo’ life.

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:23 pm

Mariners interested in Seth Smith. Hopefully they pull the trigger to put all the Prado/Seth Smith stuff to rest once an for all.

brian

November 29th, 2011
10:23 pm

as hard as it is to think about, DOB brings some great points to the table in thinking about signing McCann to a long term contract. Having a young, viable option does complicate the front office thinking.

I would like to see what the big board looks like in the board room with the projected lineup in 3 years. Have to at least have Bethancourt pencilled in under McCann

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:24 pm

McFann O O o

November 29th, 2011
10:24 pm

Not exactly the best thing to read before heading off to bed…and I don’t think I blinked through the entire article…

But thanks(?) for the new Blog, Chief…dear lord in heaven, I can’t believe there’d even be a “maybe” in there anywhere!!…

brian For arguments sake (and to see if McFann is reading) would anyone trade McCann for

No.

nolie It will be interesting to see whether McFann’s heart gets broken in a few years…

Eesh…that would be……that would be weird. Not exactly “devastating”, because it’s only baseball, but…I wouldn’t like it at all. I’ve been a Braves Junky since 2006, so it wouldn’t look right to have no BMac. I think it would be a year or more before I could even look at the other guy behind the plate…

or if she will continue in baseball bliss…

That I could go for. :)

unbelievable

November 29th, 2011
10:24 pm

Pastornicky doesnt need to be our opening day SS. Braves need to look at the cost of Stephen Drew or Scutaro.

brian

November 29th, 2011
10:24 pm

I still think that Prado, if traded, goes to the tigers. AL team so we are not having to play against him. The Tigers want him and Miggy Cabrera wants him.

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:25 pm

Tired! had enough of wise ass people today! P’cola you take care, hopefully Valentine will last in Boston, seems quite likable, at least as an analyst.Go Wren, make the right choice, tread lightly however on unwise choices, leave the babies in the cradle, and bring the real men to the dance!

McFann O O o

November 29th, 2011
10:25 pm

Sopheee

YES!! :D 8O

brian

November 29th, 2011
10:27 pm

must be nice to know that everyone thinks of you McFann when any McCann news pops up. I expect there was some hyperventilating when you read the blog as well

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:28 pm

unbelievable

Drew costs 10 mil this year and is still a staple in ARZ and coming off a serious ankle injury. Scutaro’s option was picked up in Boston. I would be very suprised to see him moved.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:28 pm

there is no chance in the world that they would pay the salary of either one , let out give up prospects on top of that

Sopheee

November 29th, 2011
10:28 pm

Didn’t seem like Bobby V matured whenever I caught him on ESPN the past few years. He comes off as a know-it-allish jerk. I just don’t see him working out in Boston but we shall see.

McFann O O o

November 29th, 2011
10:28 pm

brian

Yeah, it is kinda nice…for the most part… ;)

I expect there was some hyperventilating when you read the blog as well

My heart was sent into arrhythmia…

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:30 pm

I will say this however,Brian McCann deserves a ring! and if Wren is hell bent on driving this team of BIG IF’S into the ground, then by all means Trade Mac! He deserves better!what with all the if bouncing going on around the Braves! If JJ is healthy, IF Prado, Heyward, Uggla bounce back, IF Hanson is healthy, IF the KID can play SS, IF IF IF!!! get the picture!

Joey B.

November 29th, 2011
10:30 pm

So … how many of you actually think Wren makes a substantial trade in Dallas next week? I’ll say yes.

Bama Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:30 pm

Waves BY Bye to Brian…….

Playoffs!!!

November 29th, 2011
10:30 pm

Why not McCann in leftfield someday?. You don’t have to be a gifted athlete to play leftfield. He could then play 158-160 games and maybe put up numbers like 30 HRs and 120 RBIs.
With the extra ABs and not being worn down by catching, he could put up MVP numbers.
And let’s be honest, he is NOT the greatest defensive catcher.

Sopheee

November 29th, 2011
10:30 pm

ACC! ACC! ACC! (Except Duke).

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:31 pm

I’ll guess no, Joey

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:32 pm

and I’ll second nolie on the NO!

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:32 pm

yeah plenty of catchers have played left, could happen.especially if Freeman lives up to his promise

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:33 pm

unbelievable

November 29th, 2011
10:34 pm

Pcola I doubt Stephen Drew would be available either. Boston has Lowrie and could move Scutaro. I dont think it would take a great prospect to get him, but Braves and boston could look at a bigger deal…Say Jurrjens for Scutaro and Reddick

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:35 pm

JoeBrave

I think everyteam is built on IF’s. Even the Phillies have IF’s going into next year. Its a part of Baseball that makes it great. No year is ever the same. Granted we have more IF’s than I really like.

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:36 pm

Lowrie is a non-tender candidate. Scutaro is Boston’s starter til Iglesias is ready to go.

We made the September 2007 Mets look like the 1927 Yankees

November 29th, 2011
10:38 pm

The Boston Red Sox just hired Bobby Valentine to be their manager. It’s a good fit…because not only does Valentine want to win…but he’ll be supported by passionate Red Sox fans who demand a winner…as well as management and ownership who will do what it takes to put the best product on the field. The Red Sox will perform MUCH BETTER down the stretch in 2012.

Our Braves, on the other hand, basically stood pat. We have the same manager who has a career record of 306-305.

I remember DOB saying, “What has Bobby Valentine ever won”? At least he managed a team to the World Series. Fredo hasnt even taken a team to the playoffs yet. Valentine expects results..and will push his players to perform. Fredo……basically follows Bobby Cox’s “let’s blame bad bounces and the other team hitting good pitches” school of thought.

The Red Sox will win the AL East in 2012. The Braves, will struggle offensively and hope for one of the two Wild Card spots to fall in their lap.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:38 pm

they are not gonna pay 6 mil for a SS. If you think they will you are deluding yourself

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:38 pm

P’cola, a helluva lot more if’s! JJ,Chipper, Hanson, Heyward, Uggla, Prado, Beachy, Minor, even Hudson at this point, and now an even bigger if being proposed at ss. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t look all that promising. that is 10 great big ol IF”S

The A Bomb - OUTCHOKED ® TWICE!

November 29th, 2011
10:39 pm

Won’t keep fighting the DH battle on this blog as I’ve done many times, but if the NL went to the DH no NL team would benefit more than the Braves…. and justify giving Mac that big-money deal.

As long as baseball is realigning it’s time for the DH to go full speed ahead. And the Braves would be the biggest beneficiaries, despite what most of you think.

keyLargo

November 29th, 2011
10:39 pm

i know I’ll be #1 since dummy has to get banned for his junk nobody cares about anyways. TenBrian.

Actuall Tenbrian, you’re #3. That was #2 just above you.

TnBrian

November 29th, 2011
10:39 pm

Thanks for the read Dave. I’m with you too on Wren … he will do something. Could be pretty big too.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:40 pm

Ban the DH!!!!!!!!!!!BOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:40 pm

unbelievable

Boston is going through the same thing we are in terms of the collapse but Scutaro was definitely a bright spot on that team and I don’t think they’d be inclined to move him. Especially w/ Lowrie history. If Iglesias was closer I think their would be more of a chance. Of course everythings possible I just don’t seem him being moved. Though coming off a career year he is at peak value and the compensation system changes next year.

The A Bomb - OUTCHOKED ® TWICE!

November 29th, 2011
10:41 pm

Didn’t say I liked it Nolie — just what would benefit the Braves.

Baseball needs to be consistent. Why shoud Minnesota be able to benefit with Mauer while the Braves have to bench arguably their best hitter 1-2 days per week. Not equitable.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:42 pm

Don’t care. Don’t want it

JoeBrave

November 29th, 2011
10:44 pm

Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux would tell you “chicks dig the long ball” the dig it even more when the pitcher steps into one.

The A Bomb - OUTCHOKED ® TWICE!

November 29th, 2011
10:44 pm

Well — it’s probably coming. And it will help the Braves keep McCann IMO.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:46 pm

I also don’t think there is any reason to assume it would benefit the Braves as much as it would teams with much higher payrolls that could afford to add another very good hitter on top of a strong starting lineup

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:48 pm

JoeBrave

I think some of those IF’s are minor. I fully expect Prado to bounce back. I’m not going to say he bounces back to a .300 hitter but I think hes capable of hitting .280+. Beachy solidified himself and has the past few seasons. Really hasn’t given a reason to question him. Hanson, JJ and now Hudson all IF’s. I think the bullpen is the core strength. Heyward a big ?. Uggla hit 36 HR and had over 80 RBI. Has always hit well in Atlanta. Really don’t expect anything worse than that next year. SS is obviously a ?? until its resolved. Still plenty of ? but its still early in the offseason.

McFann O O o

November 29th, 2011
10:49 pm

OK, well, guess I better get some shut-eye…though I don’t feel nearly as tired as I did before I read all this… :P :mrgreen: But kudos to DOB—hard to keep me reading non-stop for more than 5 minutes at a time… ;)

Night, all! KEEP BMAC!!!!!!

AdirondackDave

November 29th, 2011
10:49 pm

Joey B — Yup, I’ll add my 2 cents and agree that Wren will probably make a move for a power left fielder next week or within a week or two after. I like Marteen a lot but as a second baseman or super utility guy. The guy is an all-star at second and every other GM that wants an upgrade at that position knows that and will be talking to Wren.

I have no idea about Jurrjens and the market. Sure, he has value now but if the clubs holds him and he produces during ST and April-May his value should go up enough to bring in a serious haul of offensive talent and/or prospects. Or maybe somebody will pull the trigger on him soon that will satisfy Wren.

BFChris27

November 29th, 2011
10:50 pm

Thanks for new blog!

I can’t wait for the winter meetings to begin.

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
10:53 pm

I don’t see a big trade coming. Probably some smaller ones that solidify the team. Wren has said he doesn’t intend to blow up the team and I don’t see teams wanting to meet his asking price. It will probably be smaller moves that gives this team depth.

BFChris27

November 29th, 2011
10:58 pm

P’cola Brave

I believe so too. If any big trade happens, it’s Prado (Jurrjens prob not going anywhere), but I think it’ll end up being smaller deals.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
10:58 pm

It will probably be smaller moves that gives this team depth….P’c

my thoughts too, but we can hope

Joey B.

November 29th, 2011
11:04 pm

So you guys don’t even think Wren will acquire a bat to start in LF for us?

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:05 pm

If they don’t spend on a shortstop it should give them enuff green to acquire a decent 4th OFer

N8

November 29th, 2011
11:06 pm

“I hate you ,man you are one arrogant piece of crap!” JoeBrave

Thanks. Doesn’t hurt my feelings to be hated by a whiny little bitch who does NOTHING but complain about Frank Wren and Liberty Media.

WAAAAAAAAH!!!! WAAAAAAAH!

Grow a set and put some substance behind your pissing and moaning. Same sh!t. Different day with you.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:07 pm

start in LF? nope. It won’t be cheap to find a LFer who hits around 800 as Prado might do.LFers don’t hit like they used to :(

DAP

November 29th, 2011
11:11 pm

DOB, thanks for the bloggage. i think most of us are in agreement that wren is a very good GM, and i have alot of confidence in him making good moves. bottom line, even though alot of folks feel nagativley about the team, we have many very good pieces in place. great bullpen returning, deep rotation with tons of potential, a good, young powerful, fast lineup (yeah i said it). it wouldnt be a stetch to me for the rev to start at SS and this be a very good team again next season.

im very excited about this team, even as is. i cant wait to see what wren does.

by the way, im kind of attached to prado and hope he doesnt get traded. used to feel the same way about jurrjens, but since he hasnt been there down the stretch for us the last two years, i dont feel quite as strongly about him.

N8

November 29th, 2011
11:12 pm

“I make no bones about my disdain for Pastornicky at SS! at least I don’t belittle others as if I am some lost n myself demi-god! you really are a piece of work there N8! NOT! loser!”

Did you just drop a “NOT” on me?

Uh…. OK Wayne. Game on!

And, as for the “belittling” thing? You piss and moan non-stop about a guy (Wren) who probably has more brains on a bad day than you likely do. Get over yourself.

I only “belittle” idiots and whiners. Stop falling in one of those categories and it will stop. It’s that simple.

Joey B.

November 29th, 2011
11:12 pm

nolie – If they don’t spend on a shortstop it should give them enuff green to acquire a decent 4th OFer

Yeah. This makes no sense whatsoever. Why do we need a 4th OFer? We have two above average 4th OFers on our bench. Diaz and Hinske. A LH and a RH. We won’t spend on a SS in this weak market. We’ll stick with Pastornicky, probably trade one of Prado/JJ, and trade/spend on offensive impact in LF. Could be a FA, but probably a trade for an LFer. Wren won’t let this offense slide after that collpase. Prado’s a super sub not a LFer, he’ll get replaced out there, and we’ll be better that way.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:15 pm

neither Diaz nor Heinke is a 4th OFer man. neither can play center. and

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:17 pm

and I’m not in the habit of not making sense

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:18 pm

Enter your comments here

DAP

November 29th, 2011
11:18 pm

oh, and of course extend bmac. no question about it, and hopefully we can get hom for about what chipper made in his 2nd extension from 2000-08

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
11:19 pm

Joey B

So you want to replace a guy who has OPS over .800 in 3 of his 4 seasons? Who you gonna replace him with? Name a team thats moving a guy who puts up consistent numbers or a FA that does that that doesn’t cost 10 mil plus. There isn’t one available. We have to acquire someone that can backup CF. Wren isn’t going to move Prado and JJ just for the sake of moving them. If the package isn’t a visible upgrade it won’t happen. Prado is more than your starting LF, hes your starting 3B for 20-25% of the season. Moving him opens up two holes.

Jbailz

November 29th, 2011
11:21 pm

What is everyone’s thoughts about other possible positions for Mac? I’ve seen LF, DOB said something about 1B but we have a pretty decent guy there right now, what about 3B? If we have an above average SS with good range I think Mac could be a decent 3B. We are going to have to move him if we want him to be the future of this franchise cause face it Catcher is the hardest position to play in baseball.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:22 pm

15 mil per when he is already making 11.5 with two years to go? that would be nice, but I think it might take more

DAP

November 29th, 2011
11:22 pm

i still think cody ross would be a solid addition.

uga-brave

November 29th, 2011
11:23 pm

nolie, thanks for the 7:41 post from the previous blog.

Joey B.

November 29th, 2011
11:27 pm

nolie-neither Diaz nor Heinke is a 4th OFer man. neither can play center. and

How many games is Bourn going to miss in center? Five? C’mon. Constanza can’t get called up if we really need someone to play CF, because Bourn can’t for whatever reason? Wren’s not aiming that low after a collapse of epic proportions. He’s not bringing essentially the same team back minus Gonzalez, plus Pastornicky after that September. Given his history, Frank will find a way to bring a productive starter we’ll put in LF.

DAP

November 29th, 2011
11:28 pm

nolie, chipper made over $16mil at the peak, and id like to think that would be enough $$$ per year if the number of years was right.

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
11:28 pm

DAP

I agree on Ross. He makes the most sense with his skill set. With the money available hes at the top of my list.

P'cola Brave

November 29th, 2011
11:30 pm

Joey B

Listen to what Wren has said this offseason. They are going to find someone to serve as a backup in CF. Name a team that doesn’t have a backup CF option. Your not going to option up a AAA player everytime Bourn gets a day off, be serious.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:31 pm

Wren’s not aiming that low after a collapse of epic proportions….Joey B

wanna bet?

David O'Brien

November 29th, 2011
11:33 pm

The Boston Red Sox just hired Bobby Valentine to be their manager.

It is a bit difficult to imagine right now, Bobby V running the storied BoSox. Guess we’ll get used to in a hurry, though, like we do with most other changes that seem so radical initially.

nolie

November 29th, 2011
11:34 pm

Ross would be a decent addition.and they could likely afford him if they want to.I don’t see them adding anyone much better no matter how rude Joey gets ;)

Wide Right

November 29th, 2011
11:34 pm

Re: McCann. The Mets faced this problem with Piazza – face of the franchise, best offensive player at Catcher. My opinion is that this an area where the Braves have the luxury of time. This decision doesn’t need to be made until the end of the year. That will give Wren time to see if Bethancourt continues this impressive rise in through the ranks, Freeman can improve upon a great start and whether McCann’s first oblique injury (at least that i can recall) is not a sign that he is breaking down already. I love McCann, want him to stay. But i think this upcoming season will allow Wren to judge whats best for the team, regardless of sentimentality.

Joey B.

November 29th, 2011
11:34 pm

nolie- wanna bet?

Well, what tells you that he is aiming that low?

Wide Right

November 29th, 2011
11:35 pm

how old is Valentine?

Jbailz

November 29th, 2011
11:38 pm

Wide Right – I agree, but I think the chances are still less than 10% they get rid of or don’t sign Mac. Even in Bethancourt is a beast and Freeman does more of the same. They would either move Mac and bring Bethancourt to catch or use him as trade bait for a big splash. I just can’t see them moving Mac because on more than one occasion it’s been referred to as “his team” after Chipper retires and the Braves aren’t above making sentimental choices.

Chris from the Rock

November 29th, 2011
11:38 pm

Wren needs to pick up a LOOGY too this winter.

Nanny

November 29th, 2011
11:40 pm

DOB, please tell me you get paid substantially more than D. Orlando Ledbetter. You consistently put out amazing and informative blogs, even during the offseason. Pop time was something I was unfamiliar with.

DLed on the other hand can’t even write a proper paragraph during the season itself, much less provide thoughtful analysis. Thanks again for the work you do, Braves fans are lucky to have you.

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