Braves open pitching camp, say collapse is behind them

The last time Braves pitchers were at Turner Field, they left with heads down, as did the rest of the team. That was after a 13-inning season-finale loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 28, which ended their 10-20 collapse and kept the Braves out of the playoffs.

When pitching coach Roger McDowell welcomed back some of his charges Monday for the first day of the Braves’ early pitching camp at Turner Field, questions about The Collapse and lessons learned from it elicited similar responses.

Not terse, but succinct.

“The calendar turned over to 2012, and so it is a new year,” McDowell said. “Like any other experience you go through, good, bad or indifferent, you learn from it and move on.”

To a follow-up question moments later, he answered: “We’re going to play 162 [games on the schedule], prepare in spring training and get ready for the season. What happened in the past is not going to dictate what happens in the future. So we’ll move on.”

Brandon Beachy, one of seven pitchers who took part in the first day of the two-week voluntary camp, said there was optimism among returning Braves despite the bitter ending to their 2011 season.

“That’s in the past,” said Beachy, 25, who finished 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts as a rookie. “We learned from it, I believe. We know what happened. No one [person] is to blame. Each of us on an individual basis has things we need to improve on and things we could have done better at certain times. But it’s the beginning of a new season.”

The Braves return the big three at the back of the National League’s top-rated bullpen – closer Craig Kimbrel, setup man Jonny Venters and left-hander Eric O’Flaherty – and their top four starters in Tim Hudson, 2010 All-Star Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson and Beachy.

However there are plenty of questions to be answered, specifically in the rotation with Hudson, Jurrjens and Hanson all dealing with health issues.

Hudson had back surgery in late November and will be brought along cautiously, which could push back his season debut back until mid-April or later, McDowell said Monday.

“We’ll progress [with Hudson] as the doctors say we can progress,” McDowell said. “Whether it’s the middle of April or the first of May, whenever it is. We’ll probably be a little bit more cautious so that we can have him at the end, instead of speeding up at the beginning.

“No need to rush things and then have a setback, then we’re looking further down the line. Where he can be healthy and he’s ready to go for the duration of the season.”

Hanson (shoulder) and Jurrjens (knee) missed most of the second half of the 2011 season, and the Braves are counting on both of them to be fully recovered for spring training and to spearhead the rotation entering 2012.

Beachy was the only incumbent starter at the camp Monday, but Hanson has worked out recently at Turner Field and McDowell got a good report from Jurrjens last week.

“Everything’s good” with Hanson and Jurrjens, McDowell said. “I talked to JJ last week. Tommy’s been in here working out. JJ says he’s ready to go and Tommy says he’s ready to go, so we’ll just prepare as if they’re 100 percent ready, which they are.”

Jurrjens, who didn’t make a start in September, working five encouraging innings in an instructional league game the day after the season ended. It would have served as his tuneup for a start in Game 3 of the division series if the Braves had advanced.

“I thought that was good for him from a mental standpoint,” McDowell said, “to be able to do that and go into the offseason knowing he was healthy.”

After hearing winter trade rumors involving left fielder Martin Prado and Jurrjens, Beachy was glad to see Jurrjens’ nameplate over his locker stall, adjacent to Beachy’s.

“I’m pleased we’ll have this guy [Jurrjens] back and Martin back,” Beachy said. “Those are two huge pieces of our team.

“I’m really confident in what we’ve got in this clubhouse and what we’re going to be able to do. We’re going to be healthy, and a lot of young guys including myself have a year of experience now.”

Also participating in the first day of camp Monday were pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, both expected to compete with favorite Mike Minor for the fifth-starter job.

Teheran and Delgado were thrust into pressure situations last season after injuries to starters. Delgado had a 2.83 ERA in seven starts and Teheran had a 3.83 in three starts.

“In the heat of a pennant race, what they were able to accomplish last year gives them an idea of what they need to do to prepare for a season,” McDowell said.

Others at camp Monday included reliever Cory Gearrin, prospects J.J. Hoover and Jaye Chapman and journeyman Buddy Carlyle, a former Brave who is back on a minor league contract after spending the 2010 season in Japan and 2011 with the Yankees.

120 comments Add your comment

2hot scott

January 30th, 2012
7:28 pm

Senator Blutarski

January 30th, 2012
7:35 pm

All right–baseball is coming back!…Spring time, Americana, the Braves!

Weaseal

January 30th, 2012
7:35 pm

Batter Batter Batter …. Swing Batter

2hot scott

January 30th, 2012
7:36 pm

DOB,

Normally, the schedule will allow a team the luxury of not having a carry a 5th starter at the beginning of the season, if this is the case and Hudson needs a month to get ready, where do Delgado and Teheran fit in? Neither one of them has anything to prove at AAA, so what do you do with them? The bullpen is out of the question because you want them pitching in a rotation.

OC

January 30th, 2012
7:39 pm

Who were the other middle relivers same time as Buddy Carlyle that failed us time after time ? Jeff Bennett comes to mind but there were others ? BTW glad to see Buddy Carlyle seems healthy again !

Ralph

January 30th, 2012
7:52 pm

What the *%#@ do we need Buddy Carlyle for, give us some bats.

panamajack

January 30th, 2012
7:54 pm

Carlyle can be this years Proctor.

jeffrey doo doo

January 30th, 2012
8:04 pm

“Buddy Carlyle, a former Brave who is back on a minor league contract

Chill

rayk

January 30th, 2012
8:13 pm

the team has too many pitchers and not enough OFs who can generate power and runs. so they sign another pitcher (a fringe major leaguer -cheap) . Teheran and Delgado will likely not have a starting role unless at least 2 of the 3 question marks are injured on opening day.
this team is content to try to back into a wild card slot, but not serious about winning.
as currently constituted, the Braves will not make the playoffs – by much more than 1 game this time.
aside from claiming a minor leaguer in the rule 5 draft, signing a group of minor league free agents, and signing back ther own guys, what have they acomplished all offseason ? not much.

BravesFanSince80's

January 30th, 2012
8:15 pm

nice report DOB, good to hear at least one of the definite starters is already there working…

Dawg '88

January 30th, 2012
8:27 pm

Dave….please help me here:

What times do the Braves hold their workouts once they get down to Disney?
Also, what date is the first workout at Disney as well?

Not talking about BP before the ST games. Instead the workouts prior to the ST schedule getting under way. Need to know….trying to plan my annual ST trip.

Any help is greatly appreciated….thanks in advance.

Mister Frisky

January 30th, 2012
8:55 pm

Still pumped about the discounted brisket sandwiches.

Laughing out Loud

January 30th, 2012
9:04 pm

I laugh at the dire predictions of what the Braves can or cannot do made by the haters and naysayers of Braves “fandom” if they are indeed really Braves fans! Last year was last year….baseball is for the optimistic from immemorial! There is always next year…exclaimed dem Bums from Brooklyn! Good for the Braves for their positiveness and we all ought to be looking forward to a great year of Braves baseball!

RJB in ATL

January 30th, 2012
9:11 pm

Wow. Bit of a surprise seeing the name Buddy Carlyle associated with the Braves again. Supposedly his minor league contract does not contain an automatic invite to spring training. With as much young pitching as the Braves have, it stretches the imagination that we will ever see him on the 40 man roster. But I think it is a “class act” by the organization to allow him a chance to try and prove to whatever scouts are out there that he can play a role in some team’s pen. Our maybe stick around as a roving minor league pitching instructor.

Frenk Wran

January 30th, 2012
9:53 pm

I hope that Roger’s days of threatening fans with a bat are behind him.

Buckeye Brave

January 30th, 2012
9:58 pm

I can only imagine the half baked trades & free agent signings Rayk & Ralph think Frank Wren should have made.

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

January 30th, 2012
10:17 pm

I saw lights on at the Ted Saturday night as I was driving by. Guess they were testing them.

Simpson's Homer

January 30th, 2012
10:36 pm

For those who want to bash a guy just for fun, during the 2008 season, when Carlyle was healthy instead of a Type-1 diabetic, his numbers were NOT bad at all as a reliever. He was 2-0 in 45 games, with 59 Ks in 62.2 innings, while only giving up 52 hits. His ERA that year was 3.59, which isn’t bad for someone whose role would not be as a set-up man or closer. (He did have major ups and downs as a starter in 2007.) PLUS, every team needs a couple of veteran pitchers at the AAA level to serve as mentors for the young guys and to be an alternative to calling up a 21 year old for bullpen depth if needed during the season.

timbo slice

January 30th, 2012
10:37 pm

Love Buddy Carlyle! that dude’s legit

Bob the Blogger

January 30th, 2012
10:41 pm

It looks like Teheran and Delgato may both start the year in AAA. Teheran could use a little more work in the minors, but Delgato seems to have nothing left to prove the way he pitched last year. Somehow these things seem to work out, and it will be great to have a pitcher like Delgato ready to compete when the time comes.

We want offense!

January 30th, 2012
10:50 pm

…preferably from Braves bats.

Terry McGuirk

January 30th, 2012
11:22 pm

Y’all still think we care?

ray k

January 30th, 2012
11:33 pm

Another ray k in here, huh?

Bobby

January 31st, 2012
12:08 am

i think Minor’s age and experience gives him the edge

Mitchell

January 31st, 2012
12:13 am

Braves say collpase is behind them.

So is Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS and where did that get us?

Two years in a row we are to believe that the failure of the previous year will serve to motivate the team to finish better the following year.

Dear Atlanta Braves,

We’ll believe it when we see it.

Your “fans”

BravesfaninWis

January 31st, 2012
12:26 am

I guess when you are making millions of dollars whether you win or lose, it makes it easier to put everything behind them. It’s not behind me I can tell you that much. When a team shows no heart like the Braves did last September, its hard to support them. That is why I won’t spend a dime on them this year, and will laugh like hell when the fall flat on their faces again this year and the entire coaching staff gets fired. This team needs a new direction.

AussieBrave

January 31st, 2012
2:25 am

Starting to get a bit excited. I like Minor, it will be interesting to see who makes the rotation.

NickB

January 31st, 2012
4:11 am

What kind of fan wishes their team to lose? God yer a loser….. Just a terrible person! Horrible….

Stinger2

January 31st, 2012
4:15 am

One would expect the comments made by Beachy. The players would not say that the collapse of 2011 was still on their minds and it will take some time to get over it.
However, the problem is that it is still in the minds of many fans. As a fan, I personally believe there are issues that the team needs to address if they are to be competitive in the NL east with the Phils, Marlins and Nats. Then there are obvious question marks. The SS situation, Chipper Jones, where is the right handed power hitting outfielder that is needed are some issues. Anyway, all we fans can do is wait and see and hope for the best.

MikeY

January 31st, 2012
7:13 am

We still need a RH OF/1B bat that rakes agaist lefthanders, to platoon w/ Heyward or to periodically spell Freeman against tough lefties.

There were candidates that would have been affordable…Wren has let them slip by.

My thinking is that his strategy is to trade JJ about 2 months into the season, for a RH bat.

Lobosolo

January 31st, 2012
7:13 am

Mitchell, when are you and the rest of your ilk gonna actually do what you say… it’s obvious… you hate the Braves…. please, just go away… you bring NOTHING but doom and gloom in your every post… grab your binky, join your fellow puss-sters alex and phil, and go somewhere else to carry on your personal pitty party! Never seen (supposedly) grown people CRY as much as you and the whimpsters do! Even kindergarteners quit crying over everything as they age a year, why can’t you?

Lobosolo

January 31st, 2012
7:16 am

At least you got it right when you put “fans” in quotation marks, Mitchell… you’re certainly not one…

BartBuzz

January 31st, 2012
7:39 am

I hope the Braves can come back. Time will tell. Can Chipper stay healthy enough? Is the pitching healthy again? Can the new short stop replace Gonzo? Can the team hit in the clutch? So many unanswered questions.

Really?

January 31st, 2012
7:46 am

@Stinger2 — Geez, you are concerned as a fan… don’t you think the players who actually do this for a living, along with the coaches realize this too, or are you the only enlightened one?

Let's Go

January 31st, 2012
7:51 am

This is basically Minor’s 3rd year now so hopefully he is ready for the next step because I think the Braves need a dominant left hander in their rotation. This pitching staff can be great but the starters are going to have to pitch deeper into games and take some pressure off the bullpen. Beachy, Hanson, & Minor need to get into the 7th almost every start and a sure sign of trouble down the road is if in April & May these guys are at or near 100 pitches at the end of 5.

vermont 39

January 31st, 2012
8:01 am

You can throw zeros all day…if you don’t hit, you don’t win…there has to be a whole number somewhere on the board…crooked ones are even better.

PapaDawg

January 31st, 2012
8:10 am

I keep hearing the September Bomb is behind the Braves but with pretty much the same team returning how can we really feel anything will be different

JoeBrave

January 31st, 2012
8:26 am

Joey

January 31st, 2012
8:33 am

So the very same players that choked away a 10 game lead a few months ago won’t even think about it this coming September?

Riiiight.

Trouble is, with the Marlins and Nats improving, and us standing pat in the off-season, we probably won’t be anywhere near the Wild Card race this Sept to see if we lose 20 of 30 again . . .

theshoe

January 31st, 2012
8:53 am

Smoltz commented during a game last September that the Braves needed to start hitting. They never did and they failed to make the playoffs.

invictus mon

January 31st, 2012
9:00 am

Makes me feel good to know baseball is in the air! Another season, another year of maturity. We’ve been screaming about the bat problems for 2 years now. The last 2 years we’ve relied on our pitching staff to shut em down, and that last minute 1 swing of the bat. It’s not a reliable recipe for winning. We need a process that’s repeatable. That means small ball, singles and doubles with smart base running rather than the big blast. It means a reliable leadoff and the removal of all obvious holes in the lineup. Not sure we’ve made those kind of moves in this off season, but FW seems to be okay with giving them this season to find out.

bvillebaron

January 31st, 2012
9:21 am

I hope they are ready since I just took a look at the schedules for all teams posted in the USA Today. Unless I am missing something, it appears our Bravos play 18 games with AL teams consisting of 3 games with Boston, TB, Baltimore and Toronto and 6 games home and home with the Yankees while the defending NL East Champs, the Phillies, play 15 games consisting of 3 games each with Boston, TB, Baltimore and Toronto and 3 games with the mighty Twinkies. Don’t you just love it!

Enus Stokesberry

January 31st, 2012
9:38 am

Did roger shower before coming to the field?

coach joe

January 31st, 2012
9:41 am

is Medlan there..??? He is the extra peice the rotation needs…

urban redneck

January 31st, 2012
9:48 am

if you go to a caravan stop, get there early, i drove 85 miles round trip to mcdonough to get shut out yesterday…………..

i’m ready to get started. to quote the nature boy…………..WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

billy bob ball

January 31st, 2012
9:55 am

Who cares about the collapse behind them, when it’s the collapse in front of us that matters more. Liberty Media stood pat with a team that will finish 3rd or 4th in the NL East, because they short shift Braves fans with a payroll allocation more suited to a AAA farm team. The president of liberty media makes in excess of $100 Mil/yr, and they allow the Braves a payroll of $90Mil. They don’t care if a 1st place team or a 5th place team takes the field, they know fans will fill the seats and spend $50-150 on tix, colas and souvenirs. Petition the league, petition Selig, petition somebody, anybody to get us an ownership that cares enough to put a competitive team on the field.

Typical

January 31st, 2012
9:56 am

…and here come excuses being made already about the interleague schedule not being fair to the Braves. Boo hoo.

Charity Braves

January 31st, 2012
9:57 am

Same old Braves… Give Buddy Carlyle an invitation when he sucked 5 years ago…

Caravan Braves ?

January 31st, 2012
10:00 am

If a fan pays their money to attend the caravan then they ALL deserve to get an autograph from each of the players participating. I remember I went to a caravan in Atlanta about 5 years ago and it was like 19 degrees and me & my son stood in line 1 hour to get Chipper Jones autograph and he stopped signing. There was about 400 people still in line. That’s bad operations right there.

reckingball

January 31st, 2012
10:01 am

The Braves are going to win it all this season. WS Champions 2012.
GO BRAVES!!!!!

Caravan Braves ?

January 31st, 2012
10:02 am

The solution is for the Braves to purchase about 1,000 baseball cards each of the players attending and have the players pre-sign each card then give it out and shake hands with each fan. It would be faster and every fan would get an autograph.

Caravan Braves ?

January 31st, 2012
10:05 am

Bottomline is Phillies & Marlins are a better team on paper right now. When 3 of your starting pitchers are coming off injuries you’ve got major health issues that decide the fate of your season.

Herschel Talker

January 31st, 2012
10:05 am

As long as Fredi the idiot is running the show, the collapse is still front and center.

FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!!

Larry

January 31st, 2012
10:06 am

DOB – do all your readers a favor and quit asking every Brave to comment on the collapse. We get it – they were devastated, they’ve moved on. Now help us move on by focusing on 2012! Enough is enough.

pat

January 31st, 2012
10:08 am

Hmmm, as defensive as Roger is, I’d say the collapse is still very much the present.

space monkey

January 31st, 2012
10:11 am

Herschel:

Your message was unclear. You want to sign Fredi to a 25-year contract. Right?

bvillebaron

January 31st, 2012
10:15 am

Typical:

Tell me “tough guy” who do you root for? Let me guess, the Phillies? As a Braves fan living in central Pennsylvania for almost 60 years, I can assure you that there would be no end to the whining by not only Phillies’ fans but the local media as well if the schedule was reversed.

Caravan Braves ?

January 31st, 2012
10:28 am

Beachy : “I’m pleased we’ll have this guy [Jurrjens] back and Martin back,” Beachy said. “Those are two huge pieces of our team.”

Yeah and two of the main reasons Braves collapsed last year. Jurrjens was injured & Prado slumped.

Nobody knows really what kind of player Prado will be this year and the uncertainty is discontenting big time !

Caravan Braves ?

January 31st, 2012
10:31 am

I’ve said it before and I’ll now repeat it…

Can Chipper stay injury-free and play 125 games ?
Can Jurrgens,Hudson,Hanson regain form after surgeries ?
Can Heyward rebound to his rookie form ?
Will Uggla hit .200 in April & May again ?
Can Prado hit .300 ?
Is Kimbrel for real or was last year an abberation ?

Jesse Ton

January 31st, 2012
10:41 am

I’m with BravesfaninWis here. Easy for them to say “it’s behind us”. What do they care? They get to make millions, and win or lose, they get their check. Imagine if the rest of us got to fail and still get paid. FREDI SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED! You CANNOT keep the manager after an epic failure like last year, the Red Sox knew it, that’s why they fired a guy who had won 2 world series championships. If they think the fans in this city are just going to forget about 2010 and move on, they’re wrong, at least from this fan’s perspective. I’m a lifelong Braves fan of 30 years, been through it all with them, and this is the first season where I am committed to not attending a single game, not buying a single overpriced beer, and not supporting this team IN ANY WAY until they at least act like IT’S NOT OK TO LOSE! I think the fans need to send a message to the organization: LOSING IS NOT TOLERATED! ONLY CHAMPIONSHIP MATTER, NOTHING ELSE! We are way too easy on our teams, and it has to stop. I’m sick of them thinking that we can be won over so easily. To hell with them.

reckingball

January 31st, 2012
11:00 am

Were the Phillies the best team in the NL on paper last year?
How good did the Cardinals rate on the paper?
How did the Giants rate paper-wise in 2010?

stew

January 31st, 2012
11:00 am

Trade JJ, Hanson, and Prado and get Adam Jones and JJ Hardy somehow.
Beachy, Minor, Teheran, Delgado, and Vizcaino to start.
Medlin to set-up.
O’Ventbrel to close.
The rest of the staff isn’t consequential.

Kgolf

January 31st, 2012
11:14 am

DOB: do have a Braves twitter account we can follow? Thanks.

Pierson Brave

January 31st, 2012
11:17 am

Inter-league play stinks! The only time that the NL should play the AL is in the WS. It would do away with any perceived imbalance between league rivals and allow them to shorten the schedule to 153 games and let playoffs begin a week earlier. Especially with the expanded playoff format.

Don

January 31st, 2012
11:23 am

If all that is needed is for someone to say “Its behind us”; then perhaps it would have been a good idea for someone to have said this in the middle of September last season.
But there is no reason to worry, After all, all that is needed to win is:
(1) The FOUR of our five starting pitchers who are injured to come back and return to being great. (What are the odds on that for Pitchers after seious injury??)
(2) And relating to all of our additional young Pitching talent, the situation to STOP where – since Leo left as Pitching coach 6 or 7 years ago – of all the large nuimber of Starting Pitcheres we have had, MOST OF THEM HAVE ENDED UP BEING INJURED. (What are the odds of that not continuing???)
(3) For Chipper to play a reasonable number of games and to have ACCEPTABLE DEFENSIVE RANGE both to his right and to his left – when he is playing; and for him to return to being the great, great hitter that he once was – or to at least hit like a 3rd place hitter where he is hitting in the batting order. (What are the odds??)
(4) For Heyward to hit like a major leage outfielder instead of a hitter not good enough to make a major leage team as a fourth or fifth outfielder. (What are the odds – when there is no indication of his being able to adjust to major league pitching???)
(5) For a rookie shortstop to have acceptable production as hitter when there is no indication that he is ready to hit major league pitching – even if he is able to do the job defensively. (What are the odds of this happening???)
(6) For the second baseman to have an acceptable Batting Average and an accptable On Base Average after the 2010 season that he had in these departments. (What are the odds????)
And this assumes that Prado is still with the team and will play Left Field and will return to being a great hitter (which I think is very probable — But then who will play 3B when Chipper is out???
AND MOST SIGNIFICANTLY — WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF ALL THESE THINGS HAPPENING OR EVEN MOST OF THESE THINGS HAPPENING?????

Brave New World

January 31st, 2012
11:39 am

The Braves collapse is indeed behind them, just as every team’s 2011 is behind them as well. Had the Braves been the heavy favorite to win it all (think Phils and Red Sox), their 10-20 “collapse” would have been more “epic.” In reality, the 2011 Braves were a playoff contender that endured the loss of 3 of their starters (Hanson, Jurrjens, and Lowe – oh that’s right, Lowe wasn’t hurt, he just stunk)as well as a less-than-healthy Prado and Heyward. We will be back as contenders in 2012! GO BRAVES!

Kgolf

January 31st, 2012
11:45 am

DOB: never mind, found it.

Mitch "wild thang" Williams

January 31st, 2012
11:53 am

I can still pitch, and I’m a lefty.

DogTheMan

January 31st, 2012
12:38 pm

I truly believe that the players are not getting it. That is teh fault of the manager and the management. There has been no accoutability for the collapse. All we ever hear is that same old stuff. It didn’t go out way. It wasn’t our time. That’s all BUNK!!! Where is the passion. where is the sick feeling and the yearning to win. New ownership is needed badly and so are players with some fire..

Disco Stew

January 31st, 2012
12:53 pm

Look from here until mid April every beat writer and blog reporter will be doing lighter pieces on their teams. As the saying goes “every team thinks they will win the WS going into spring training”

ST is the ultimate reboot or palate cleanser. The Braves are no different.

If they stink up the place and the “IFs” don’t pan out to there favor there will be plenty of articles and blog posts calling for Liberty to go and or people to be fired.

With the lousy TV deal hanging around this club like a lead anchor they are going to be stuck in a 3-4 year loop of living off minor league talent and cheap 1yr rentals. Then when their young guys get too expensive they will unload them and spend 20-30mm on new players.

That is the new Braves way. I am getting a headache from critiquing them. :) Let’s see where they are coming May 15th. By then you will know what kind of team you have.

I say its a coin toss good or bad at this point based on comebacks & health. No meaning adds at the deadline IMHO. If they make a big trade at the deadline it will be to unload a player to a contender.

JAFO

January 31st, 2012
1:03 pm

Hope is permanently on the DL and IF can’t hit left handed pitching.

Jack Lill

January 31st, 2012
1:07 pm

Brave fans get ready for a forth or fifth place finish, Even one of your sportswriters is talking about movies instead of the Braves

Moneyball

January 31st, 2012
1:09 pm

No late September swoon this year. Braves will be mathematically eliminated by Labor Day.

True Dat

January 31st, 2012
1:15 pm

I see the Braves as 3rd place at best in the East. Then their excuse will be “we are rebuilding and our pitching is young”. Lately the mantra for the Braves is “wait till next year” but next year winning NEVER comes !

True Dat

January 31st, 2012
1:15 pm

Can we talk religion & politics ?

True Dat

January 31st, 2012
1:17 pm

What’s the deal with Heyward ? Is he a Hank Aaron or a Terry Harper ? Based on last year he ain’t even a Terry Harper…

True Dat

January 31st, 2012
1:21 pm

Instead of trading for or signing a power bat LF the Braves chose to keep light hitting Prado & hired a new hitting coach (Greg Walker who hit a career .245). That makes a whole lotta sense…

Alphabet

January 31st, 2012
1:33 pm

Not necessarily saying I disagree or it is the wrong move, but the talk of saving Hudson so he is available at the end shows they may not have learned anything from the collapse last year. I watch every game and it seemed to me the collapse started when the focus starting shifting to getting everyone rested for October. Until you have an “x” or some other clinching mark to your name you can’t worry too much about rest.

Henry Aaron's Ghost

January 31st, 2012
1:52 pm

The Braves start the season with the longest list of “IF’s” of any team in the NL. They need ALL those if’s to come good or they are sunk. NO TEAM gets ALL their “if’s” to come good. Thus, the Braves are done by July 15th and sellers in the race. JJ, Prado, others, will be traded for yet more “future” (spelled CHEAP) players. Chipper will not play 110 games. Heywood will hit less than .250 and continue to strike out 1 out of every 3 ABs. Ugly hits .215 with 185 K’s again. Injuries, age, does this team in early. Too bad. So sad.

Ex-Braves Fan

January 31st, 2012
1:57 pm

Remember, NEXT year never comes. When it get’s January 1st, it is no longer NEXT year. It is THIS year. AND RECENT HISTORY HAS PROVED: The Braves do not win THIS year. They continue to look to NEXT year.

True Dats Dat

January 31st, 2012
1:59 pm

The Nationals beat the Braves almost every game down the stretch last year. So instead of just the Phillies to fight with now the Braves have 3 teams that all got better by trading and signing players. The Braves stood pat. The Braves will regret that and finish 4th in the NL East this year.

bvillebaron

January 31st, 2012
2:00 pm

True Dat:

You win the prize for the most pessimistic poster. I can’t quite figure out why you keep following the Braves if the irritate you so much. Just a couple thoughts for you to consider:

(1) I don’t recall Braves management saying this year or last that they were waiting for next year; the missed the playoffs by 2 measely games despite going 10-20 in September, having McCann and Prado have injury related poor performances down the stretch; being without their No. 2 and 3 starters effectively for the last 2 months of the season; and Gonzalez and/or Wren choosing to send Lowe out to pitch batting practice in August and September, including the pivotal last game despite the fact that Teheran and Medlen were on the roster;

(2) Who knows who the real Heyward is right now; however, he did play injured last year which I and many others feel contributed to his sophomore slump and he is still only 22 years old;

(3) The only power hitting outfielders available on the market were overrated and overpriced (e.g. Willingham, Ludwig, Cody Ross, etc); Wren kicked the tires on Adam Jones, but, if the alleged asking price was accurate (i.e. Jurrjens, Prado and two of the Braves’ premier young pitching prospects), who in their right mind would want Wren to make that deal;

(4) Greg Walker’s lifetime BA is irrelevant to whether he is a good hitting coach–Hank Aaron was a great hitter but by his own admission would be a lousy hitting coach; besides, unlike Larry Parish, at least Walker has been a successful major league hitting coach in the past;

(5) Prado admittedly does not have a lot of power, but in almost 2,000 career ABs he has a career BA of .293 and OB of .341 despite his lousy year last year;

(6) Pitching is the key to success in baseball and the Braves have NINE (9) established pitchers or premier propsects to man a 5 man rotation (Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Minor,Medlen, Delgado, Teheran and Vizcaino) and one of, if not the best, and deepest bullpens in MLB with Kimbrel, Venters, O’Flaherty and probably Medlen and Vizcaino (with the exception of Hudson and O’Flaherty, all of these guys are 26 years of age or younger); and

(7) All of the other contending teams in the NL East have their own offensive issues, including, if not especially, the Phillies.

Did it ever occur to you and the other critics that this team can improve without significant changes simply because the young core will be a year older and a year improved and hopefully they won’t be hit with a rash of injuries down the stretch? Probably not.

Eagle Eyeball

January 31st, 2012
2:03 pm

I see everything from the sky. And the sky is falling on the Braves. With Ted Turner,John Schuerholz,Bobby Cox,Smoltz,Glavine,Maddux Braves were winners. Now with McGork,Birdie Wren,Fab 5 Fredi G,and Hudson,Hanson,and Jurrjens the Braves are losers.

True Diss

January 31st, 2012
2:06 pm

Baron Von Raschke, you left out the part about those 3 pitchers coming off major surgeries. You also left out the rookie shortstop. Its hard to see the glass half full when 3 other teams appear better than your team and your team did nothing to improve !

True Diss

January 31st, 2012
2:08 pm

So i should get a guy that misses all his targets to teach me to shoot a shotgun ? Funny logic. If you can’t do something well yourself you can’t teach someone else how to do it well.

True Diss

January 31st, 2012
2:09 pm

A guy like Greg Walker that couldn’t hit a baseball very well cannot show another hitter how to succesfully hit a bat baseball (like .300 hitter average). He can show them how to hit .240

True Diss

January 31st, 2012
2:10 pm

And bats very true.

charles

January 31st, 2012
2:10 pm

Since noone talks to me lately, maybe I am not supposed to say anything. I just asking if the trade of Heyward to Yankees is true?

True Diss

January 31st, 2012
2:11 pm

That’s like hiring Madoff as your financial advisor…

Typical

January 31st, 2012
2:35 pm

bville – why do you presume I’m a Phills fan? Because I dislike pre-emptive whining from the supporters of the hometown nine?

Whatever you say, “tough guy” =)

Felix

January 31st, 2012
2:59 pm

Carlyle’s back? Wow, that will really turn things around. That is the difference maker we needed, right there.

Now I have a whole new outlook. At least a 100 win season with old Buddy on the mound.

Mark (another one)

January 31st, 2012
3:00 pm

All the negativity is unbelievable. We’re getting ready for spring. Everyone is looking forward to the season.

The Braves have so much pitching depth its crazy. With the speed of Bourn and Pasternicky, maybe the offense will try some running this year. Heyward, Uggla and Prado will all have better offensive stats than last year. Freeman will continue to improve and McCann/Ross will cover home.

The real questionmark is will they find a third basemen to take 400-500 at bats and give us a .470 SLG? They will need to put some fear in the other team’s defense and drive in some runs, especially with runners in scoring position. A high OPS (.340 or above) would be great. Give me someone that is arguably in the top 3 as an offensive third baseman, and make sure they can field the position. Oh yeah, that’s Larry.

I can’t go to spring training this year but its a time of year when people need to be positive about the future. It is still to be written. Most teams have to go sign huge contracts for free agents that distort their payroll. The Braves were forced to do it a couple of years ago and ended up with KK and Lowe. We are still paying for that. Its best when you can build from your farm teams and maybe some trades. I like the way the Braves are building for the future.

As people slam Wren, remember that when he traded away a disruptive SS for a steady hand, he also obtained Pasternicky.

Disco Stew

January 31st, 2012
3:00 pm

The Braves have no money so what moves could they make? Apart from trading Delgado, Teheran or Minor in a deal Prado and JJ alone (or even combined) weren’t going to bring back enough to dump them.

Sooner or later Wren will trade a great arm and not just a JJ salary dump type of move unless he gets some payroll room.

Next year he will have that room but a very poor showing in 2012 will put him and Fredi on the hot seat.

kc

January 31st, 2012
3:13 pm

uhhhh, NO it is not behind them. They collapse in the playoffs EVERY YEAR. That is a trend. Hate to break it to ya.

Talls

January 31st, 2012
3:13 pm

What about a “6th starting pitcher”? The idea is on those 5th starting days we could have two pitchers that will be used exclusively to salvage the rest of the bullpen & give days off. The 5th starter pitches the first 4-5 innings and then the 6th starter finishes off the last 4-5. When not needed, for the 5th/6th starting duties for an extended amount of time, you have a built in long reliever or two great guys (teheran and Delgado) to pitch extra innings and rest the big 3 more often.

Bravo_F 52

January 31st, 2012
3:39 pm

I like this team’s chances

Preston Hannitized

January 31st, 2012
3:40 pm

Who says Frank Wren has been inactive? He is bringing back Jack Wilson and -wait for it – Buddy Carlyle is in the house.

PMC

January 31st, 2012
3:42 pm

Baseball players would have nothing in thier heads if it weren’t for cliche’s.

The calendar has rolled over….it’s a new year….we’re going to play all 162 one at a time…

OC

January 31st, 2012
4:10 pm

For those whp use Greg Walker’s batting average against his ability to be an effective hitting coach ever heard of Charlie Lau ? Check his stats and he was one of the greatest hitting coaches of all time ? How ’bout Dave Duncan”s pitching record vs his success as a pitching coack ??

OC

January 31st, 2012
4:11 pm

whp = who !! OOPS

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