New year, same question: Will Braves deal?

Back from a week’s vacation, and obviously didn’t miss a thing regarding Braves personnel moves. Or even rumors of such moves, other than one that linked them to infielder Ryan Theriot, which surprised me and which I still question.

It's 2012, and Martin Prado remains a Brave. It's uncertain if he'll be traded before opening day.

It's 2012, and Martin Prado remains a Brave. It's uncertain if he'll be traded before opening day.

Before we go any further, I’ll note that the unsinkable Seth Smith trade possibility, the rumor that refuses to die, is indeed still alive.

The Braves would still like to get the corner outfielder from Colorado, but the Rockies are going to have to include at least a good center-field prospect (Tim Wheeler is one they like) along with Smith in any package for Martin Prado, and probably at least two or three prospects with Smith in a deal for Jurrjens.

In addition to his .287 average, .347 OBP, 56 extra-base hits and 15 home runs in 2011, another point the Braves like about Smith is that he’s first-time arbitration-eligible and will make below $3 million in 2012 and be under contractual control through 2014.

There’s still at least some Braves interest in outfielder Cody Ross, but the Braves would want the price to keep coming down. I’ve heard he wants something in the neighborhood of the two-year, $10 million deal that David DeJesus got from the Cubs, and Ross is reportedly in negotiations with the Oakland A’s.

Getting back to the seemingly improbable Theriot rumor, I say that because his defensive shortcomings are particularly obvious at shortstop — the position that would be most important for whichever shortstop/untility infielder the Braves acquire between now and Opening Day. (At this point there is a decent chance Atlanta waits to fill the vacancy after seeing who else becomes available in spring training).

The infielder they get would need to serve as backup to rookie Tyler Pastornicky, who turned 22 last month and will, barring unexpected developments, be entrusted with the starting shortstop job for 2012.

The veteran backup would need to be able to fill in if Pastornicky needs a day – or 15 days – off for injury, slump, whatever. The Braves have always placed a premium on defense from the shortstop position. Pastornicky’s defense is OK, solid enough but not spectacular, making defense from his backup all the more valuable, one would think.

I’m going to say the Braves’ interest in Theriot was  overstated, based on what I’ve gathered in the past few days. I’ll stop short of saying it was inaccurate, since it’s no fun explaining why a team suddenly makes a move that you (meaning me) had just said or indicated they would not make.

In the instant-response social media-driven rumor mill into which the hot stove league has evolved, circumstances can quickly change for a team, and what once was deemed undesirable can suddenly seem acceptable when options are limited. In other words, you never know.

What you do know, what you can be absolutely sure of, is that while a team’s circumstances can change, woe be the reporter left to explain that to readers, some of whom will screen-shot or otherwise save every word of every sentence in stories or blogs that were written days, weeks or months before a trade or signing that contradicts any assertion made therein.

♣ Sign o’ the Times: The Nationals are reportedly a frontrunner, perhaps the frontrunner, to land free-agent slugger Prince Fielder. If it happens, if Prince comes East, the NL’s toughest division would be even tougher.

These days it seems you turn on the telly and every other story is about the NL East.

(OK, I’ll stop with not-so-subtle Prince musical references many probably aren’t catching anyway.)

If Fielder does end up with the Nationals, the NL East would have five of the 11 NL players who had more than 30 homers in 2011 – Ryan Howard, Fielder, Dan Uggla, Mike Stanton, Michael Morse — including four of the top seven.

Prince Fielder

Prince Fielder

Fielder’s 38 homers ranked second in the NL, Uggla was fourth with 36, Stanton fifth with 34, and Howard tied for sixth with 33.

The Nationals recently traded for lefty Gio Gonzalez to join a starting rotation that features Stephen Strasburg, and if they got Fielder they would have four of the 31 NL players who hit at least 20 homers in 2011: Fielder, Morse, Danny Espinosa (21) and Jayson Werth (20).

For whatever it’s worth, that would be one more than the Braves (Uggla, McCann 24, Freeman 21).

Not that homers are of utmost importance in the grand scheme, but they’re still kind of fun to talk about on a chilly January day. And that team the Nationals are putting together – it’s an up-and-coming bunch already, folks. But if they add Fielder, look out.

More and more it looks as if both NL wild cards, under the new playoff format that goes in effect during 2012, could come from the NL East. Of course, the Diamondbacks/Giants/Rockies might also have plenty to say about that.

♣ Large Liberty landowner: To repeat something that I noted in the comments section of the last blog, because I think it’s such an unusual coincidence, Liberty Media CEO John Malone became the largest individual U.S. landowner early in 2011, surpassing – wait for it — Ted Turner.

Yes, the CEO of the current corporate owner of the Braves surpassed Turner, the iconoclastic former Braves owner who funded payrolls that annually ranked in the top five of major league baseball and were frequently in the top three, not far behind the Yankees.

Here’s a link to a Forbes Magazine story that details just how much land those guys own.

John Malone (AP photo)

John Malone (AP photo)

And speaking of Liberty, under terms of its agreement to purchase the Braves in 2007, the corporation was permitted to sell the team only after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement that was in place at that time. That CBA expired Dec. 11, so now Liberty can sell whenever it pleases.

I’ve heard nothing of any intentions by Liberty to sell anytime soon. Plenty of Braves fans hope that if and when it does happen, the next owner is a local individual who’ll raise the payroll and demonstrate a Ted Turner-like passion to win, preferably while attending games and being visible for all the fans to see.

But let’s face it, what most really want is just for the payroll to be raised. If the team payroll was raised to, say, $110 million, how many in Braves Nation would really care who or what owned the team shy of a communist despot?

As for local ownership, Dodger fans can feel your pain – and then some. After the debacle that’s been the Frank McCourt ownership era at Chavez Ravine, most Dodger fans want a hometown owner to buy their team. Legendary former L.A. Times baseball writer Ross Newhan opined about the Dodgers’ ownership situation and why they should avoid another out-of-towner. Here’s a link.

♣ Chipper’s 3B heir? I’ve been asked several times by fans here and on Twitter about the Braves’ shortstop situation. Specifically, some want to know whether elite defensive SS prospect Andrelton Simmons might displace Pastornicky a year or two from now and let move Pastornicky to move over and replace Chipper Jones when he retires.

My reply usually is along the lines of, these things have a way of working themselves out in time. But another point to consider here is that Pastornicky is a speed guy and pretty good hitter who doesn’t really profile as a third baseman in any way. Doesn’t have 3B-type power.

Joey Terdoslavich does have third-base power, potentially. After hitting .286 with 20 homers and a Carolina League-record 52 doubles in 131 games last season while playing primarily first base for high-Class A Lynchburg, “Terdo” will move to third base this season at Double-A Mississippi and get an invitation to big-league spring training.

If he makes strides as significant in 2012 as he made in 2011, he could be ready in a year or two, maybe sooner than later if there were an injury. Players know they’re only a phone call away from the majors once they get to Double A.

Terdoslavich had 20 homers and a Carolina League-record 52 doubles in 2011.

Terdoslavich had 20 homers and a Carolina League-record 52 doubles in 2011.

Terdoslavich hit .321 with 11 extra-base hits (three homers) and a .424 OBP in 22 games in the Arizona Fall League in October-November. When I went out to see him and some other Braves prospects in the AFL, Terdoslavich seemed confident and not surprised by his performance against some of baseball’s top prospects.

But what really impressed me was his response when I asked whether he was as hungry, or even hungrier, to reach the majors now that he was closer than ever before.

“Growing up I always dreamed of playing for the Yankees, because my whole family is from New York,” he said. “That’s why I always try to wear No. 7 everywhere I go. It’s been my dream not only to play for the Yankees, but just to play major league baseball, since I was 8 years old in Little League…

“So now that I’m getting closer, playing minor league baseball and out here in the Fall League — it’s a lot closer than people think when you’re at this level, I mean, you’re only a couple of good seasons away. I’m more excited now than hungry. I’ve always been hungry to make it, and now I’m just getting really excited about it.

“All the work that I’ve put in, with me and my dad, all the stress and the hard work and the sweat, is now starting to show. I’m more excited than anything.”

A lot of players in the AFL had already had their first stints in the major leagues, either as September callups or, in some cases, more extensive experience during the regular season. I asked Terdoslavich if he’d talked to any of those guys out in the AFL, guys who’d had some time in The Show.

“Yeah, a lot of guys say it’s unbelievable,” he said, not even trying to conceal the excitement in his smile and his voice. “They say, ‘You think the big leagues is good, but it’s a lot better than you can only imagine.’ I say I think it’s pretty sweet, and they say, ‘No, when you get there, it’s a lot better than you think — no matter how good you think it is.’”

And just one more thing about Pastornicky: His speed is something the Braves are eager to add to their lineup during this transitional period of sorts, as they move into an era when they plan to have a team that’s different from those of the past decade or more.

“We’ve gotten younger and I think we’re progressively getting a little more athletic and injecting speed, all the things we’d like to do going forward,” general manager Frank Wren said last month. “The talent we have coming up in the system will profile more with the speed component.”

♣ Condolences and prayers: I just want to again express my deepest sympathies and prayers for Braves trainer Jeff Porter, his son David and their extended family after the tragic death of Porter’s wife Kathy in a traffic accident on Saturday. I can’t even begin to think what Jeff, who was driving the SUV that was struck by a George State Patrol cruiser, is going through.

Here’s a link to the guestbook to send condolences: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/atlanta/obituary.aspx?n=kathy-porter&pid=155301764

♣ The Bourn matter: The Braves haven’t begun contract-extension talks with center fielder Michael Bourn, who’s eligible for free agency after the ‘12 season. This is a common sort of timetable for the Braves, who usually wait until after the new year to address extensions, and agent Scott Boras, who usually advises high-profile clients to test free agency unless they’re blown away by an extension offer.

During a conversation I had with Boras after the 2011 season, he said a couple of things that reinforced my belief that it wouldn’t be easy for the Braves to sign his man Bourn long-term.

“On the right surface, Bourn is an extraordinary player,” Boras said. “Domed stadiums have harder surfaces, that really helps. Atlanta has one of the softer surfaces….”

And: “For guys like Michael, the market is better than it ever was. ever was. Guys with speed, Gold Gloves. Teams are looking to manufacture runs with speed, doubles, the things Michael does. And this guy’s the best center fielder in baseball.”

Bourn hit a career-high .294 with a .349 OBP and majors-leading 61 stolen bases (no other player had as many as 50). He’s led the NL in steals each of the past three seasons, and had 22 steals (but only a .321 OBP) in 53 games for the Braves after coming from Houston in a July 31 deadline-day trade.

♣ Let’s close with a tune from the man who made what I considered to be the best album of 2011, Tom WaitsBad As Me. This particular cut, “Bottom of the World,” is from his superb three-disc set from a few years back, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. You can hear it by clicking here.

images

“BOTTOM OF THE WORLD” by Tom Waits

My daddy told me, lookin back,
The best friend you’ll have is a railroad track
So when I was 13 said, I’m rollin’ my own
And I’m leavin’ Missouri and I’m never comin’ home

And I’m lost
And I’m lost
I’m lost at the bottom of the world
I’m handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I’m lost at the bottom of the world.

Satchel Puddin’ and Lord God Mose
Sitting by the fire with a busted nose
That fresh egg yeller is too damn rare
But the white part is perfect for slickin’ down your hair

And I’m lost
And I’m lost
I’m lost at the bottom of the world
I’m handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I’m lost at the bottom of the world.

Blackjack Ruby and Nimrod Cain
The moon’s the color of a coffee stain
Jesse Frank and Birdy Joe Hoaks
But who is the king of all these folks?

And I’m lost
And I’m lost
I’m lost at the bottom of the world
I’m handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I’m lost at the bottom of the world.

Well I dined last night with Scarface Ron
On Telapia fish cakes and fried black swan
Razorweed onion and peacock squirrel
And I dreamed all night about a beautiful girl

And I’m lost
And I’m lost
I’m lost at the bottom of the world
I’m handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I’m lost at the bottom of the world.

Well God’s green hair is where I slept last
He balanced a diamond on a blade of grass
Now I woke me up with a cardinal bird
And when I wanna talk
He hangs on every word

And I’m lost
And I’m lost
I’m lost at the bottom of the world
I’m handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I’m lost at the bottom of the world

–by David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

4,717 comments Add your comment

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
7:07 pm

Enter your comments hereThere once was a man named Bourn
Him leaving has got me torn
Our offense is bad
It makes me sad
This season Ill have to mourn

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
7:08 pm

nolie

January 2nd, 2012
7:10 pm

If Bourn caint do any better than a 321 OBP, I don’t even want him back.and if he has any kind of year at all he is gone

hold back the rushing minutes
Make the wind lie still
Don’t let the moonlight shine
Across the lonely hill

Dry up all the raindrops
And hold back the sun
My world has ended
cause Michael Bourn is gone

The Milkman whistles softly
As he comes up to my door
The Mailman brings the letters by
Just like he did before

They seem so busy all day long
As though there’s nothing wrong,
Don’t they know the world has ended
Cause Michael Bourn is Gone

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
7:12 pm

Jumped the gun. Should have said:
There once was a man named Bourn
Him leaving has got me torn
Our offense is bad
It makes me sad
This season Ill have reason to mourn

Its not that great anyway…. I guess I’ll go read the blog.

Tom O'Hawke

January 2nd, 2012
7:14 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB (or should I be thanking, al?).

keylargo

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

I think Wren will get us a player before the All Star Break. Ward

Ward – Unfortunately that has been the plan since September of 08.

PD

January 2nd, 2012
7:19 pm

Bourn was average to mediocre in his short time with the Braves. Even at the risk of losing him to the highest bidder when he goes free agent, I hope he has a star season. If he has a star season Boras will have a 85 page book on him asking for him to be the highest paid free agent in 2013. Will the Braves be able to bid? Not a chance and if he has a mediocre season do the Braves want him back?

Bat Masterson

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

Thanks for the new blog, O’Brien, good read.

Bat Masterson

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

Well if Bourn splits we can put the Bourn Supremacy BS to bed, thats a positive.

Bravefaninok

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

Thanks for the new Blog DOB! Hope you had a good vacation(even though you took time out to come on the blog and deal with the unnamed one and answer some questions).
Happy new year

nolie

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

sure, I hope he has a monster season…

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
7:23 pm

DOB
Is it pronounced Terd O’ Slavitch or Ter DOSslavitch?

Bat Masterson

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

No kidding set a bunch of records, help the Braves win a World series, turn down arbitration, and hit the road Jack.

Bat Masterson

January 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

BFChris27

January 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

Thanks for new blog :)

BravoMan

January 2nd, 2012
7:30 pm

Let’s make a deal…please…

Efrim

January 2nd, 2012
7:30 pm

Thanks for the blog, DOB. I’d be shocked if the Braves inked Bourn to a long term deal before he hit free agency. And once he hits free agency, I’ll be really surprised if he is in a Braves uni in 2013.

David O'Brien

January 2nd, 2012
7:36 pm

DOB
Is it pronounced Terd O’ Slavitch or Ter DOSslavitch?

The latter.

keylargo

January 2nd, 2012
7:37 pm

ter DOS(like M S DOS) la vitch

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
7:39 pm

Cool. Thanks all. I have read it in my head wrong for a while now…

MIBravesFan

January 2nd, 2012
7:41 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB.

I was very sorry to read about the death of Jeff Porter’s wife (I just saw it earlier). He and his son will be in my prayers.

Efrim

January 2nd, 2012
7:42 pm

Jurrjens for Smith and 3 prospects? Sure…….. Arenado, Pomeranz, and Matzek. :)

Tom O'Hawke

January 2nd, 2012
7:45 pm

(OK, I’ll stop with not-so-subtle Prince musical references many probably aren’t catching anyway.) — DOB

It whoooooshed me, DOB.

BFChris27

January 2nd, 2012
7:47 pm

I’d do Jurrjens/Prado for Smith/Arenado/Pomeranz and Maztek 8-)

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
7:48 pm

Either way, thats one pronounced Terd.
Thank you, Ill be here all week!

David O'Brien

January 2nd, 2012
7:51 pm

Was a typo in one of first few graphs about Seth Smith. Should have read Rockies ARE going to have to include at least a prospect, not AREN’T

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

January 2nd, 2012
7:56 pm

Wonder if there’s a chance we could get Smith without including Prado or JJ. That I wouldn’t mind.

Efrim

January 2nd, 2012
7:56 pm

So, if the Braves trade Prado or Jurrjens for Seth Smith, who makes 2.5 million through arbitration this year and therefore save 2-3 million, what would they then do with the 5-8 million they then have? Most all free agents have signed….

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

January 2nd, 2012
7:58 pm

nolie, I’m pretty sure Innocent Bystander was refering to me when he mentioned “ignorant” comment.

VaBravesFan

January 2nd, 2012
7:58 pm

DOB

you really think the Braves would have interest in Wilson Betemit. Keeps Prado in LF fulltime, improves the bench. Upgrade over Conrad who is gone already.

Ray

January 2nd, 2012
7:58 pm

DOB,, I saw that and assumed the correction. Thanks for it though. Now the question is do you think the Rocks will pull the trigger. It appears that Wren has stuck to his asking price in talks with the various teams about Prado and JJ.

CB

January 2nd, 2012
7:58 pm

Buy some more land.

Ward

January 2nd, 2012
7:59 pm

DOB-Thanks for the article,and Info on Bourn,and the updates.I hope Wren,can sign Bourn,at least it’s still possible.Just think it’s a bad idea to let Bourn go.It might take the Braves another three years after that to find a lead off hitter again?

Efrim

January 2nd, 2012
7:59 pm

In any deal we do with Colorado, I’d want Matzek. He would be more of a lottery ticket throw in, which they may not think he is, so it probably wouldn’t work.

Furman Bitcher

January 2nd, 2012
7:59 pm

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

January 2nd, 2012
8:03 pm

DOB, thanks for the new blog.

Wren may surprise everyone, fairly soon.

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
8:08 pm

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

January 2nd, 2012
8:08 pm

SIGN FIELDER!!

Steve from OH

January 2nd, 2012
8:09 pm

Efrim, the Rox invested 4MM in Matzek via his signing bonus. He isn’t going anywhere as a lotto ticket, at least not yet.

MitchC

January 2nd, 2012
8:12 pm

Dave, as constructed now.. the Braves are probably going to finish no better than third in the East. The Phillies will be the Phillies, and the Marlins have inproved. Plus, how much hangover will the Braves have.. from blowing a wild card, that really should have been locked up in midsummer. This is an aging team on the decline, and a team full of question marks. JJ is injury prone, Hanson’s health is a question, Lowe is gone, and Hudson.. while he had a good year last year, is getting old. Chipper? We’ll be lucky if he plays 75% of the schedule.

I say, third place, and a win total not exceeding last year’s 89, and probably less. I will be very surprised if this team does better, unless some changes are made before the beginning of the season.

Bravofan

January 2nd, 2012
8:12 pm

Nice bloggage as usual!!

Ryan

January 2nd, 2012
8:12 pm

DOB The Rangers, Angels and now the Nats signing big TV deals is there a way the Braves have a chance when there Tv deals end?

interested bystanderss

January 2nd, 2012
8:14 pm

U are correct. Sir.

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

January 2nd, 2012
8:15 pm

Buster Olney reporting Braves close to trading for a Poo Hole … Pujols that is!

bobbymahlon

January 2nd, 2012
8:15 pm

Why would we trade an allstar for a platoon player, either JJ or Prado for Smith is a bad deal.

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
8:17 pm

SIGN FIELDER!!

And Freeman?

ccrider

January 2nd, 2012
8:19 pm

A few rambling thoughts: If, Prado is traded and Chipper decides to retire before next season and Terdoslavich isn’t deemed ready: who is going to play 3rd base? The free agent market is devoid of 3rd basemen that is equal to a even 40 year Chipper Jones with 38 years old Scott Rolen being the only average quality that is a true free agent(others have a team option(Wright, Inge, Polanco, Mark Reynolds).
Will the Braves regret trading Prado? Will they have to trade high pitching prospect to fill the void?
Has anyone noticed that the outfield free agents next year are very thin.
There is Hamilton, but we need a RHed bat and he will be very expensive if he stays healthy(a BIG IF). If Bourn leaves, you have a 35 year old Maron Byrd(a definite dropoff), Injury prone Victorino( If the Phillies don’t resign him) and BJ Upton( a dropoff from Bourn).
The Leftfield options might be better with Andre Either and Nick Swisher(If they make to free agency, Yankees and Dodgers usually find the money to keep good players)
The Braves have hopefully these positions filled for next year. Catcher(McCann), 1st (Freeman), 2nd(Uggla), SS (Pastornicky or Simmons) and RF (Heyward).
Will they have enough money to fill 3B, LF and CF with quality players and not have to lay bare the farm system?
Prado could fill either 3B or LF fairly cheaply, should we trade him ?

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
8:24 pm

If you just type in “Terd” to Baseball Reference’s search box, it goes right to Joey’s stats page

Fairbrave

January 2nd, 2012
8:32 pm

I would like to see us trade JJ and Minor for Adam Jones and then sign a backup SS.

I don’t exspect Minor to win more than 10 games and we have Medlen that can do that.

Glass Half Broken

January 2nd, 2012
8:39 pm

It is not a kill the messenger mode that I am in. DOB has absolutely nothing to do with what the Braves management chooses to do or NOT to do.

I find it particularly frustrating to read about trying to aquire Theriot and Seth Smith. And there is also a guy who hasn’t even had a big league start perhaps moving over to third from SS after Chipper retires while another prospect that may not even be a Mendoza line hitter once he reaches the bigs, takes the SS position. While the CEO of Liberty, who only knows the Braves as an asset on the balance sheet, is busy becoming the largest land baron in the USA.

The name should be changed to the Atlanta “IF’’s”

IF …. about 25 things happen to create the perfect storm, the Braves may actually contend for a playoff berth. IF NOT….. it’s gonna be really ugly.

IF Chipper can play 145 HEALTHY games, along with Mac playing 145 healthy, NOT GASSED games and IF Heyward can figure out how to hit to his potential and get healthy and IF Prado or someone can produce in LF and IF Hanson can turn that dart throwing motion into something that isn’t going to make his shoulder fly off and IF Fredi can figure out how to manage the big 3 without each of them having to throw 75-80 innings and IF…….. just what I said……. lots of IF’s have to come together in a positive way for the Braves to be a factor. IF any of those things go South, gonna be the Braves in mid pack in the NL East.

nolie

January 2nd, 2012
8:43 pm

poor baby…….

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
8:43 pm

The name should be changed to the Atlanta “IF’’s”

Yeah, but what would their mascot be?

Anyway…for one thing, the offseason isn’t over yet. And another, our current roster is pretty much the same as last year’s except minus McLouth, Schafer, Gonzalez, Lowe, and Proctor. And last year’s team – collapse included – won 89 games. I don’t think the sky is falling just yet.

Blog Monitor

January 2nd, 2012
8:43 pm

Great Rose bowl…

Ducks fly…

Elmer Gantry

January 2nd, 2012
8:47 pm

We will get to see what it is like to be a Pirates fan before too long. They never make any real moves either.

Ray

January 2nd, 2012
8:50 pm

@Elmer, The pirates not until this past couple of years, they have not known how to develop any prospects. They have not done a good job drafting. And they don’t have the players the Braves have had for the last 20 yrs.

Mitchie-sand

January 2nd, 2012
8:55 pm

The name should be changed to the Atlanta “IF’’s”

Yeah, but what would their mascot be?

A hippogriff!!! Duh.

nolie

January 2nd, 2012
8:58 pm

Atlanta IFS


IF…..

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

P'cola Brave

January 2nd, 2012
8:58 pm

The Smith thing really has me scratching my head. He hits RHP well which is nice but not exactly our problem. Has some pop but has historically struggled away from Coors until 2011. He obviously has to platoon w/ somebody and I guess right now that would be Diaz. Diaz hit for a good average against LHP but his power was non existent last year. I think he only had 8 XBH all season. Acquiring Smith still requires us to add other pieces, like someone not only capable of playing SS but 3B.

Bat Masterson

January 2nd, 2012
8:58 pm

I would like to see us trade JJ and Minor for Adam Jones and then sign a backup SS. _ Fairbrave

Yes, well, you’re not going to see that………………. with good reason…….. it would be dumb of the Braves, really dumb

PD

January 2nd, 2012
8:59 pm

Every team is called the Ifs every season

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
9:00 pm

We’ve got a talented young nucleus of Freeman, Heyward, Prado, McCann, Hanson, Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino, Kimbrel, and Venters who should be around for awhile. Let’s act a little more logical before we start comparing ourselves to the Pirates.

They have McCutchen.

Tom O'Hawke

January 2nd, 2012
9:02 pm

The name should be changed to the Atlanta “IF’’s”

Yeah, but what would their mascot be?

The only thing I could come up with is, T-Hawkin, dancing on the dugout in a big, question-mark costume.

David O'Brien

January 2nd, 2012
9:03 pm

I find it particularly frustrating to read about trying to aquire Theriot and Seth Smith. And there is also a guy who hasn’t even had a big league start perhaps moving over to third from SS after Chipper retires while another prospect that may not even be a Mendoza line hitter once he reaches the bigs, takes the SS position. — Glass Half Broken

More like Glass nine-10ths broken, my friend.

1. Braves aren’t trying to acquire Theriot, which is what I tried to make clear in so many words — just a rumor started elsewhere, and people I talked to said it was inaccurate.
2. No one in Braves organization has mentioned a word about even the possibility of Pastornicky moving to 3B. No one. Only fans have asked me that, as I said in explaining why it doesn’t make sense.
3. No one in Braves organization has said that Simmons will displace Pastornicky. If he keeps developing, it’s a reasonable assumption we all can make that it would happen. But that’s all it is. Braves haven’t said that’s what is going to happen.

Tom O'Hawke

January 2nd, 2012
9:04 pm

Ha! I actually thought I’d be the only one replying to jeffrey.

Bat Masterson

January 2nd, 2012
9:04 pm

They have McCutchen.

And Charlie Morton, don’t for get about him

Brave New World

January 2nd, 2012
9:05 pm

What about Renteria as a back up shortstop?

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
9:07 pm

Ha! I actually thought I’d be the only one replying to jeffrey.

Well thanks, Tom. I was about to compliment your funny Tomahawkin line, then you say “I’ll bet no one’s gonna reply to that big ol’ dork!”

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
9:08 pm

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
9:09 pm

Wow, the Pirates have 6 Mc’s on their team. I’ll bet that place is jaunty during St. Patty’s Day.

Ray

January 2nd, 2012
9:09 pm

jeffrey,, thank you,, well said

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

January 2nd, 2012
9:10 pm

“I want, I want … I need, I neeeeed”

Tom O'Hawke

January 2nd, 2012
9:11 pm

I can’t believe you read between my lines so accurately, jeffrey. You must have espn. ;)

Poor DOB. He gets grief for not writing a blog. Then, he gets grief when he does.
Have you ever thought about running for office, David?

Mr. Baseball

January 2nd, 2012
9:11 pm

When Prince Fielder signs with the Nationals this week, the Braves will be fighting with the Mets for last place in the NL East !

cornjolio

January 2nd, 2012
9:12 pm

TERD = Braves’ 2012 season

Sopheee

January 2nd, 2012
9:13 pm

Thanks as always, DOB.

Keep Marteeeeeeeen.

keylargo

January 2nd, 2012
9:17 pm

The name should be changed to the Atlanta “IF’’s”

Yeah, but what would their mascot be?

A confused tranny.

Moe Berg

January 2nd, 2012
9:19 pm

Soph–I met a cute South Asian infant with huge jowls that kept staring at me with huge eyes in the elevator the other day. Her name is also Sophia–thought of you. (Not to imply that you have big jowls, since I actually have no idea what you look like.)

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
9:20 pm

What’s an infant doing riding the elevator? How did she even reach the buttons??

VaBravesFan

January 2nd, 2012
9:20 pm

Guess the Braves have only been interested in Seth Smith…Seems like there are solid guys in free agency that would come on 1 year deal for pretty cheap.

Felix

January 2nd, 2012
9:21 pm

Don’t want to see Princess with the Nats and/or in the NL East. He is a prima donna who thinks no pitcher should ever throw inside to him. I hated it when we would play the Brewers because I knew I’d have to watch his antics at the plate. I sure don’t want him in the NL East where I will have to watch his act even more. If the Nats do land him, the Braves will slip even further back in the division.

Moe Berg

January 2nd, 2012
9:22 pm

jeffrey d–There was an elevator operator and the little Sophia had her floor number pinned to her onesie. Alas, she was not very good at exiting the elevator and ended up passing floor twelve quite a number of times.

ISH

January 2nd, 2012
9:23 pm

Bourne will be traded before the deadline.. No sense in letting him go without getting something in return.

Big Al

January 2nd, 2012
9:23 pm

DOB,
Any chance that Freeman could be moved to LF to make room for Mauro Gomez at 1B?

Efrim

January 2nd, 2012
9:24 pm

Steve from Ohio, you could be right about Matzek, but sometimes prospects are traded who were given a large signing bonus.

VaBravesFan

January 2nd, 2012
9:26 pm

ISH

We use him to win with.

Sopheee

January 2nd, 2012
9:28 pm

Ha, Moe. Sophia’s been a top baby name for a few years now. I remember being in elementary school and people either not knowing what to make of my name or asking me if I was named after Sophia Loren.

By the way, I read about your wife’s green card dilemma thanks to Mr. Thief. Any luck in getting it back or obtaining a new one?

Frank Wren

January 2nd, 2012
9:29 pm

Don’t worry Braves fans, you should feel confident that I, Frank Wren, am on top of everything.
It is beddy time now. I always have animal crackers with my milk before nappy.
……….now where are my bugs bunny pajamas?

The Dude

January 2nd, 2012
9:31 pm

Looks to me that the Braves are looking to phone in 2012 and reload for 2013. The young pitchers..Tehran, Delgado, Vizciano should be ready to take the reins by then.

DOB, with the exception of Uggla and McCann…what big contracts will still be on the books in 2013?

Ward

January 2nd, 2012
9:31 pm

Hello everyone! Anyone watching the Fiesta Bowl. Interesting game. People seem to over look the Braves young starting pitching,and bull-pen. Wren got us Robert Fish,and Jason Rice.I have reason to believe the Braves can compete,and go for with pitching.

Moe Berg

January 2nd, 2012
9:32 pm

Soph–Yep. Names go in cycles. I have a nephew that is three. When my sister was pregnant with him, my then two year-old niece (his older sister) declared that she wanted to call him Sofa. My sister asked if she meant Sophia. My niece looked at her mother as if she were a complete dolt. Of course, not. If I meant, Sophia, I would say Sophia. I like Sofas, so I want to call the baby Sofa. While that is not my nephew’s name, it is what I still call him.

No luck yet, immigration offices have not yet opened up after the holiday weekend. The one in Delhi should be opening up in about an hour, so hopefully, she will reach someone there.

Ward

January 2nd, 2012
9:33 pm

Are pitching is deep ,and young,and excited to see how it progresses.

ISH

January 2nd, 2012
9:33 pm

If we’re not in the hunt by the break.. then we trade him. I’m not optimistic about our chances in ‘12 but I’ve been wrong before.

Ward

January 2nd, 2012
9:34 pm

Well just thought I would mentioned our pitching. Good pitching beats good hitting. Isn’t that the old saying?

VaBravesFan

January 2nd, 2012
9:36 pm

Wren never had plans on bringing in any new players.

ISH

January 2nd, 2012
9:38 pm

I like our young rotation but I’m not convinced that there’s a true ace among them.. time will tell.

[...] but they could still use shortstop depth and may bolster their outfield before Opening Day. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the latest rumors on the [...]

[...] Braves still looking for possible deals as new year begins | Atlanta Braves“The Braves haven’t signed a free agent or made a significant trade acquisition since the 2011 season ended. But they’re still looking to do so.” [...]

Moe Berg

January 2nd, 2012
9:43 pm

I like our young rotation but I’m not convinced that there’s a true ace among them.. time will tell.

The Braves’ big three in the 90’s did not look like aces in their first season or two. Maddux took until his third season to have an ERA under 5.00. Glavine’s first two seasons produced ERAs of 5.54 and 4.56. Smoltz first season produce a W-L record of 2-7 and an ERA of 5.48.

I am not saying that these young players will turn out as aces. I am just pointing out that the first impressions do not necessarily dictate the career trajectory.

Steve from OH

January 2nd, 2012
9:45 pm

Steve from Ohio, you could be right about Matzek, but sometimes prospects are traded who were given a large signing bonus.

Oh sure, without a doubt. I’m just saying that the Rox aren’t likely to view a minor-leaguer like Matzek as throw-in bait just yet.

ISH

January 2nd, 2012
9:46 pm

thus.. “time will tell”.

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