Braves say they’re glad big changes weren’t made

With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training one week from Sunday, the Braves’ roster looks about the same as it did during the September swoon that kept them from the playoffs.

This disappoints those fans who wanted general manager Frank Wren to shake things up. But players who endured one of the worst late-season collapses in history seem pleased to have the same cast as they crank things up again.

“I’m happy,” said closer Craig Kimbrel, National League Rookie of the Year after leading major league relievers with 127 strikeouts and tying for the NL lead with 46 saves.

“We have a good team. All the pieces are here. It’s not like we had to go out and get anybody. The team’s talented. We’re going to be fine. We’ve got a really good clubhouse; that’s a big part of having a good team. I’m glad we didn’t break that up.”

The Braves’ pitching staff, one of baseball’s best in 2011, could be even better if the Braves can stay reasonably healthy. They return all key members of the NL’s top-rated bullpen, led by Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty. Also back are their four best starters — Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy — and a group of young pitchers who will compete for the fifth rotation spot and one or two bullpen openings.

The Braves traded veteran pitcher Derek Lowe to Cleveland with a year left on his contract, agreeing to pay $10 million of his $15 million salary in order to turn the page after his second disappointing season and to open a rotation spot for a youngster from a group that includes Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado.

Hudson had back surgery in November and will be brought along cautiously. He might not be ready at the season’s outset, but the Braves think the worst-case scenario is a return by early May.

Braves players understand why fans wanted change, even if some wanted change for change’s sake. Others were disappointed the Braves didn’t add the big outfield bat that general manager Frank Wren said he was looking for after the 2011 season. Wren says they could still add a hitter or fill other needs in the coming weeks, but the Braves will evaluate some of their own players during spring training to gauge those needs.

“Any time you struggle the way we did down the stretch, it’s the last thing anybody remembers,” said Venters, arguably the majors’ best reliever until his late slump contributed to the Braves’ 10-20 skid to the finish.

“[But] we had the fourth-best record in the game going in the last month. Our team’s great. The clubhouse chemistry is better than any that I’ve been a part of. I’m excited about the team.

“I think we have everything we need to be successful. I don’t think we needed to make any moves, and I think Frank did a great job with the way he approached the offseason and let it play out. I mean, we had some unfortunate things happen last year — Tommy getting hurt, J.J. [Jurrjens] got hurt, Brian [McCann] got hurt, [Martin] Prado. And then you had J-Hey [Jason Heyward]. He’s not going to do what he did [in 2011]. He’s too good of an athlete to not make the adjustments and figure it out.”

Jurrjens (knee) and Hanson (shoulder) missed most of the second half, and both are healthy now and without restrictions. Through July 9, Jurrjens and Hanson were a combined 22-7 with a 2.14 ERA in 33 starts. After July 9, they went 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA in 12 starts.

“There’s no doubt that our rotation was the strength of the team,” Venters said. “That’s why we [relievers] pitched so much because our starters kept us in so many games. If those guys stay healthy, there’s no telling. … I expect to be in the thick of the division race anyways. But having those two guys, they’re horses. They’re No. 1 starters on most teams.”

Jurrjens and left fielder Prado were at the center of many offseason trade rumors, but Wren said all along he wouldn’t trade key players in any deal unless it made the Braves better. The Braves didn’t sign a major league free agent from outside the organization.

“I don’t think any of us really expected [significant moves],” third baseman Chipper Jones said. “Nobody was going to be a free agent; everybody was coming back. The bottom line is, for 4 1/2, 5 months we were pretty dang good. We had the third- or fourth-best record in baseball. We were right there. We just didn’t finish it out. I think that’s the sour taste that everybody still has in their mouth — [everybody] that’s not inside this clubhouse.

“We’re confident that we can go out and still play the same brand. I really didn’t expect us to do anything position-player wise, other than maybe a move or two off the bench. I expected most of the movement that we made to be done in the pitching staff, and you’ve seen it. With the exception of D-Lowe, there hasn’t been much, period. We’re OK with that.

“You sit back and you watch some of the other teams in your division make moves, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘They’re getting better by the day.’ But that’s the nature of the beast. It really doesn’t mean anything.

“On paper it looks good for those people. It might sell a couple of extra tickets. But if you make all the moves and you look up at the end of July and you’re still five games under .500, it doesn’t do you a lot of good. We don’t plan on being in that spot.”

151 comments Add your comment

Around The Horn

February 11th, 2012
3:05 pm

Frank showed needed patience!

Shelbyflash

February 11th, 2012
3:12 pm

No bat no run’s that’s not to hard to figure out

The Grinch

February 11th, 2012
3:20 pm

Let’s not forget there was some addition by subtraction. The team should be fine.

Josh

February 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

shelbyflash, so who do you suggest out of our starting lineup that we replace???

darrell starks

February 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

Braves will not come close this year unless they make a trade.

Without consistant bats in lineup and your best hitter batting .280 at best in Bourn there will be no Division challenge this year.
GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ralph

February 11th, 2012
3:29 pm

This is a much improved club, not because of who they got but because of who they got rid of, D Lowe, McLouse, Schafer, Linebrink, Proctor, Kawakami, Conrad. They didn’t pick up anyone that will help us win games but they got rid of a bunch that caused us to lose a lot of games.

darrell starks

February 11th, 2012
3:33 pm

JURRJENS, O’FLAHERTY FOR JOSH HAMILTON

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

February 11th, 2012
3:36 pm

Hamilton is in the last year of his contract and in desperate need for a change of scenery could change his life around coming to ATL.
GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

February 11th, 2012
3:40 pm

Braves must take chances on players instead of judging them all in the wrong place, we all no Josh has a drinking problem but there have been many succes story about players changing there life around once traded to another team.
GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winter of George

February 11th, 2012
3:40 pm

We need help

oldsquid

February 11th, 2012
3:41 pm

Enough with the fourth best record in August. We should all be able to see how that was a meaningless fact.
They have made no changes to fix the problem with the offense other than change hitting coaches.
Maybe this year they will have the best record in baseball in August and still collapse.

STRETCH

February 11th, 2012
3:47 pm

Am i the only person to see the same trending offense here? They made to the post season barely in Cox’s last year. NO offense in a series against the Giants that i still think they should have won.

Then the epic collapse last season. Sam thing folks, they rode the pitching staff in 2010 and got exposed last year, look for much of the same this season!

#1 GT FAN!

February 11th, 2012
3:48 pm

I would say Wren did what he needed to. I wanted a change, but if you look at the line-up; there is not much you could change without giving up way more than what you would get in return!

As the old saying goes… Offense wins games, deffese wins championships! And the braves have the BEST starting rotation and bullpen in the game today!

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

extremus

February 11th, 2012
3:49 pm

We’ll see if they say the same thing come October; that’s all that really defines success for a MLB franchise.

darrell starks

February 11th, 2012
3:51 pm

1. BOURN CF
2. PRADO 3B
3. JOSH LF
4. UGGLA 2B
5. FREEMAN 1B
6. HEYWARD RF
7. MCCANN CATCHER
8. TYLER SS

CHIPPER COMING OF THE BENCH WHO SHOULD NOT MIND THIS YEAR.

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Max Sizemore

February 11th, 2012
3:55 pm

Hamilton has only averaged 114 games over the last three seasons. Rangers will probably not re-sign him after this season.

darrell starks

February 11th, 2012
3:59 pm

#GT FAN the Braves have had the number one starting rotation for 21 years go figure how many championships only 1.
GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

old timer

February 11th, 2012
3:59 pm

I didn’t want to make a big trade either. We would only get taken dealing players (JJ and Prado) after down and injury-plagued years. Plus, we aren’t really sure what we need. Let’s see if Heyward gets back on the path to the type of success most of us expect he will have. If JJ stays free of injuries, he will have a great year and if management is convinced one of the young pitchers is ready, JJ can be traded for a quality bat, either after the all star break or in the offseason. What bothers me is we almost never can afford to keep the team together. Losing Michael Bourn after this season would offset anything we could get for JJ or anybody else. This is not the federal government. We’ve got to spend more money.

STRETCH

February 11th, 2012
4:06 pm

Prado is NOT a LF guy but they are on the cheap. Kinda like when you were a kid and you wanted to go to McDonalds but your mom said “how bout i make you one of my burgers?” and you knew your mom was broke but she tried to make you feel good about that greasy burger that later fell through the bread!

Brave New World

February 11th, 2012
4:08 pm

Braves will win 85-95 games in 2012; 85 if offense does not produce, and 95 if offense does.

Darryl Blackberry

February 11th, 2012
4:17 pm

I sense a mid-season trade a-comin’ if things aren’t firing on all cylinders by the All-star break. I’m just glad Frank didn’t overreact in the offseason.

JoeBrave

February 11th, 2012
4:17 pm

Delusional wishful thinking, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result! aint gonna happen!

1eyedJack

February 11th, 2012
4:37 pm

Nobody is going to get hurt!! Everybody is going to play up to their potential!!! Chipper is going to play 145 COMPLETE games!!!! We’re going to have the MVP and the Cy Young winner!!!!!

Has anybody seen my Unicorn? He was here just a minute ago.

PABRAVESFAN

February 11th, 2012
4:39 pm

with the rotation depth we have and the potential our bats have we will be just fine!! Go Braves 2012!!!!!

No excuse not to trade JJ

February 11th, 2012
4:40 pm

JJ is not worth keeping. JJ was as bad as Lowe last year he was just far luckier. The young pitchers will outperform the overrated JJ. Such a mistake to keep a pitcher getting more expensive that can’t K people or getting a lot of ground-balls. Braves will rue the day they didn’t lower their asking price for such a mediocre pitcher.

count_schemula

February 11th, 2012
4:41 pm

test, test of the emergency blog network

Ebenezer Snerdberg

February 11th, 2012
4:45 pm

1. Marlins
2. Philly
3. Nats
4. Braves
5. Mutts

goldwreck

February 11th, 2012
4:59 pm

The new hitting coaches will help.Heyward and Jones have already been very complimentary
of Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher.I don’t think any Brave complimented Parrish last year.

alanfalcon

February 11th, 2012
5:06 pm

Frank is always thinking about the stable of up and coming pitchers we have and I agree they look pretty good but with all of the pitching needs that you hear other clubs need and yet none of them come up with a good bat that we could use, sort of makes you wonder if Frank and the club arn’t over valueing them. I hope the players and management really play as good as they say they feel. I really hate to go thru another year and have it end as it did last year.

Maurice

February 11th, 2012
5:06 pm

Who would you give up for Josh? Do you remember the last trade we made with Texas? Where is that guy now?

1eyedJack

February 11th, 2012
5:14 pm

I never want to trade the farm for a rental player again.

Steve

February 11th, 2012
5:16 pm

The Braves have been to ONE playoff under Frank Wren.

JoeFan

February 11th, 2012
5:22 pm

What else do you expect the players to say? That they were disappointed changes weren’t made. That they know this team has weaknesses that weren:t addressed. Someone needs to shake things up and provide leadership for this organization instead of just spouting the same old sound bites.

PlayersAgent

February 11th, 2012
5:55 pm

Of course the players are glad there were not changes. Who wants to be the one shipped out of town. Imagine going from living in ATL to say living in Cleveland or DC.

the billman

February 11th, 2012
6:00 pm

How many times the last few years have the Braves loaded the bases with none or one out and failed to score? Too many and it’s too depressing. Remember the huge and exciting boost the Braves got during the 90’s when Fred McGriff was acquired, put the team on his back and carried it? This offense is much too uncertain to expect better than a third or fourth place finish this year. Florida and Philadelphia have clearly separated themselves from the pack Fighting the Mets to avoid the cellar is not my idea of a fun summer and Liberty Media won’t see a dime of my money. Hey…Go Braves!

tvsportscaster

February 11th, 2012
6:03 pm

If I see one more quote about how we had the fourth best record for four months of the season. I’m going to scream. Bottom line is the only thing that counts is they didn’t finish that way. They gagged away a 10 and a half game lead because of a sub par offense and they did nothing to improve that offense, so excuse me but it’s hard for me to get that excited with the same cast of characters coming back. Not to mention the cheapness of Liberty Media where Jack Wilson is our only off season acquistion, give me a break. What a horrific bench the Braves will have especially the last spot on the bench.

LostCause

February 11th, 2012
6:13 pm

Got rid of the worst pitcher and worst hitter. Got to be better. If Heyward and Prado hit even close to what they did two years ago there should be a couple more wins on the total, Go Braves!

mpimentel

February 11th, 2012
6:18 pm

we get rid of playaer who could be in a hollywood baseball movie, check the list
actor….movie
nate mclouth:… I’m falling from the out field…
kk…ocean ONE the robbery…
dlowe…titanic
conrad….I STILL know what you did the last … playoff’s game

Terry McGuirk

February 11th, 2012
6:24 pm

I really do not know why all of the Braves fans are angry, you have a very good competitive low budget team. At least I am keeping the board members at Liberty happy as the tax season comes at a good time at the Braves expense. Let the good times role and let’s look forward to many more tight budget years to come.

Disgusted

February 11th, 2012
7:12 pm

I am glad the players are happy. Fine and dandy, go out there and put up a good yr and do not fall asleep at the wheel at the end.

Its up to Fredi and the guys in uniform now.

If you win, you get a reprieve. If you lose its on you. Winners get the glory, losers get the boot;.

The guys who blunked up in September better step up…yall know who you are. And these kid pitcherswith all this upside better learn to go deeper in the games.

Get the message Mr, Beachy and Mr. Minor. And Mc Cann is on the hot seat this yr too with the second half he had.

Disgusted

February 11th, 2012
7:16 pm

This org cannot afford to take a chance on Josh Hamilton, would rather pursue other players.

The past substance abuse history is too risky for a team with this type of budget.

And I am a Hamilton fan, am pulling for him. The best place for Josh is right where he is.

Tyler

February 11th, 2012
7:16 pm

Ebenezer must be high!!!!! Marlins are not going to finish 1st in the division!! The Braves desperately need to add another bat…one that has power and hits for average…left fielder preferably!

Tyler

February 11th, 2012
7:17 pm

response to 'stretch'

February 11th, 2012
7:21 pm

Stretch – the hamburger analogy made me laugh out loud. Hilarious.

The Braves big need is a clutch hitter, haven’t been the same since david Justice trade.

But I love JJ and prado – glad we kept them.

Big Chief

February 11th, 2012
7:25 pm

The Braves didn’t make any moves because they don’t have the resources. We used up any flexibility we might’ve had paying $10MM for Lowe to pitch elsewhere. Wren should be fired for that alone (throw KK in there too).

After one of the worst collapses in MLB the players should realize nobody wants to hear about how great the team is. You get the impression everybody in this organization is extremely content with failure.

Braves Lose!

February 11th, 2012
7:30 pm

I haven’t talked to anyone that has an ounce of enthusiasm for the upcoming Braves season. As for those responding with the oh so fresh,”you aren’t a true fan” drivel, I’d say you have to be blind, young and/or stupid to think this team will matter in October.

Stinger

February 11th, 2012
7:32 pm

Wren doesn’t know what to shake up. He’s in the club so he’s not under the microscope. The players and the coach will take all the blame..Wren will do mostly nothing…but defend why he does nothing. Don’t take my word..just watch.

33% Cancer-Causing Hot Dogs for Brave STHs

February 11th, 2012
7:45 pm

Yeah, the rest of the vastly improved NL East is also glad the Braves didn’t make any changes.

reckingball

February 11th, 2012
7:52 pm

I think that the Braves will be in the thick of the race for the NLEast this year, and that they have a very good chance to win it all.
If they can hit with RISP they can do it.

extremus

February 11th, 2012
7:59 pm

I don’t know what’s more self-delusional; the statement or the fact they think they can sell it to frustrated Braves fans who are (generally) more intelligent than they’re given credit for.

Dawgdad (The Original)

February 11th, 2012
7:59 pm

Wren (Mr Patience) is like my father when I asked why couldn’t we get a more reliable and newer car. He would always say, what are we going to do with that awesome ride we have now? It is too good to get rid of, yet.

Bill

February 11th, 2012
8:09 pm

I love to read what our players say..always so positive, wonder why?
Its funny with all the problems everyone is so happy. The biggest and most important move was getting Greg Walker and his asst. I hope and pray we don’t have all the “ifs” we had last year again this year. I’m looking forward to Bourn having a great year..Fingers crossed that Chipper don’t get hurt and the three pitchers hurt return to full speed.
I am damn glad the season is almost here..win -r- lose..Go Braves!

Disgusted

February 11th, 2012
8:11 pm

“I don’t know what’s more self-delusional; the statement or the fact they think they can sell it to frustrated Braves fans who are (generally) more intelligent than they’re given credit for.”

Good question—I would say the latter, that they really believe that Braves fans are going to buy that BS.

The culture of the whole orgainzation is one of excuse making…I do not see anyone in the management of the team or Fredi stepping up and acknowledging just how disgusting they were the last 30 games of the season.

All you hear is how good they were thru August. Hey, it was not good enough.

DawgDad

February 11th, 2012
8:16 pm

I’ll tell you why I’m “angry” – I have on my shelf two sets of unused playoff tickets, and the team and management have collectively acted like all is rosy despite a 10-20 finish down the stretch.

All is NOT rosy. When Hanson and JJ went down there WERE NO ANSWERS, despite all the highly touted pitching depth. Now we hear the same sad story about all the SHORTSTOP depth. There is NO DEPTH because there is NO PROVEN MLB STARTER at the top. Nobody knows if the big starting arms are going to be healthy and effective. Too many in the lineup are coming off sub-par seasons, and there isn’t a lot of upside potential outside of Heyward. They have one of the weakest outfields in MLB, the third baseman is this millenium’s Roger Dorn, and the all-star catcher ended the season a complete physical wreck, totally ineffective. The second baseman went 0-for-five months last year. The manager couldn’t find the right buttons to push. The GM is paying $10 million of a $95 million budget so ONE pitcher DOES NOT pitch here.

Hey, it’s almost time for Spring Training. All is rosy, right?

229Bravsfan

February 11th, 2012
8:19 pm

I didn’t know we had so many Braves know it alls on here. Y’all must be in the clubhouse or something. If you think the Braves will repeat last year’s disaster, you must be crazy, and if you think the Braves will finish last or 2nd to last in the division, you must be crazy. All of y’all fair weather Braves fans will come back around eventually. If you are a fair weather fan, please do yourself a favor and shut up. GO BRAVES!!!

DawgDad

February 11th, 2012
8:23 pm

I want to hear interviews with Chipper, McCann, Uggla, Prado, Minor, and others where they say “Yeah, we’re chomping at the bit to get going because we crapped all over ourselves and our fans last September and we want to jump out of the gate and beat up on some teams and prove to everyone and ourselves we deserve to be here”.

joey

February 11th, 2012
8:51 pm

Look. It’s nice to be optimistic, but these Braves are built to compete for the wildcard. They are not focused to win the division. This is what Frank Wren is here for. They said it themselves when Wren got here. Until they find new a new owner, change the attitude of the players, fire Wren, only then they will be competitive again. But I do not see that happening this year and beyond. Even with JJ and Hanson on the DL during the beginning of the collapse, they still had a pretty good team, but they lost the will to win the wild card.

Mister Frisky

February 11th, 2012
9:11 pm

Mike

February 11th, 2012
9:19 pm

This team clearly has the pitching to compete. Last year we dealt with 1) Uggla’s 1/2 season, 2) Heyward’s awful season, 3) McLouth, 4)Prado’s sub-par season(still decent but not his standard), and 5) McCann’s worst month of his career. Despite that we we still in it on the last days. The thing this team need is patience. 2 years ago, they were one of the top team in OBP(4th @ .339), Last year they were 26th @ .308. They managed to hit 34 MORE HRs last year but still managed to score 97 less runs.They HAVE to get on base. With Bourn and possibly Pastornicky they can create more runs due to their speed but J-Hey has to show the patience he had his rookie year.

reckingball

February 11th, 2012
9:32 pm

This team can compete for the Div.
Mike is right, the batters need to get on base, and they need to do a better job of hitting with RISP.
Their failure do so last year, is what prevented them from possibly winning the Div., or at least winning the WC.

least of the east

February 11th, 2012
9:40 pm

we’ll see how the players feel by the All Star break when they find themselves in 3rd or 4th and about 10 games out.
to watch other NL east teams make improvements and say who cares is ludicrous.
like was said earlier, keep doing the same things that got you nowheres and expect miracles this time around.
Wren and Libery Media belong in a fantasy baseball league.
4 teams are now after AJ Burnett, but we can’t get anything reasonable for Jurgens ? absolutely unbelievable ! it boggles the mind. Burnett can’t pitch anymore even when healthy and he is in demand while there is no market for Jurgens ? if we had GM Brian cashman in charge, Jurgens would have been gone a long time ago.

reason

February 11th, 2012
9:48 pm

What else are they going to say “Gee, Batman we missed out”

Ralph

February 11th, 2012
9:51 pm

I will not be too disapointed with this years 4th place finish because thats what I expect going in not like last year with all the pre season hype then the big let down. I think this year is totally a preparation for a complete rebuilding starting next year. If thats what its all about I can live with it, GO BRAVES 2013!!!!!

Ralph

February 11th, 2012
9:56 pm

least of the east

All the other teams know that JJ is injury prone and probably won’t make it through May.

Skeezix

February 11th, 2012
10:07 pm

We are one very good power hitter short of being a solid team that can seriously compete for the NL East title and go far in the postseason. A lot of fans realize this and I believe that is why we are disappointed. The collapse was depressing, the letter gave us hope; but alas, here we are on the eve of Spring and we still have no big stick to beef up a weak offense. As we saw last year, a low scoring offense puts a lot of pressure on the pitchers and over the course of a long season eventually wears them out.

Ralph

February 11th, 2012
10:19 pm

One big stick does not cure a weak offense.

Bob the Blogger

February 11th, 2012
11:28 pm

The problem last year was an inordinate number of injuries, not a lack of talent. The injured players are healed. Additionally we will have upgraded starting pitching with whoever replaces Lowe, and an upgraded bullpen. SS is obviously an unknown. If JJ pitches well and Hudson comes back in good form, we can get good value in a deal for JJ.

Ralph

February 12th, 2012
12:07 am

Lots of if’s there Bob!

Younger Than That Now

February 12th, 2012
4:57 am

Last year there were several who wanted DLowe traded “even if we have to pay his entire salary”… so he’s traded and we’re paying 2/3’s of his salary. And what do we hear now? More bee-otching because he’s been traded and the Braves are picking up $10 million of his salary. Come on people… you can’t have it both ways! And that’s just one example… if JJ and Prado were traded this offseason, and it doesn’t matter who it was for… there would have been major bee-otching about that. Just as there is now since they weren’t traded! JJ could be traded tomorrow… I guarantee it! That is if you’re interested in giving away a very good pitcher. Sometimes the best trades for your club are the trades that you don’t pull the trigger on… it happens more times than any of us know or realize.

Before the all-star break last year, JJ was arguably the best pitcher in the NL… and heavily considered to be the possible NL starter, and it would have been justified. Then he got hurt… injuries happen… ask any team in MLB, and nobody’s immune from that.

All these teams and all of their offseason moves means nothing except on paper and payroll. If it was meaningful, last year you could have just given the WS trophy to Boston… on paper they were the best team in baseball.

In 2012, I’ve got confidence in the Braves and the players we have, and until I’m proven wrong on the field, I’ll stay right there! GO BRAVES!

kangaroo Court

February 12th, 2012
7:55 am

I love the Braves and I am a life long fan. I believe they will do well in 2012!
My biggest wish for Atlanta fans is that both the Braves and the Hawks could have an owner like the Falcons have.

Disgusted

February 12th, 2012
9:24 am

Biggest issue with most fans here is the distrust of team management and ownership.

If it were an Arthur Blank type of ownership there would be more trust that down the pike, they would do something to get a player they needed.

As for the Lowe trade, they did the best they could, not faulting Wren on that. I do not think Wren has done that bad a job for the resources he has had. Its LM I have no faith in.

For those who bash Wren for Lowe, KK amd Mc Louth, remember that those were applauded moves at the time.

The Mc Louth trade looked great at the time. How was anyone to know that he was a one season wonder in Pittsburgh. He was so so when they got him for the rest of 09 and bad in 10 and 11.

At least Lowe did go 31-22 and gave them 190-200 IP for two yrs, of course he was overpaid, but what was Wren to do, go with a rotation of Jo Jo, Charlie Morton and Reyes.

Okay, KK was a bust, but if you overlook wins, he did not do that bad his first yr. He got injured things happen.

I am not optomistic about this team but putting it on Wren is misplaced anger. Fredi was fine with me before the September collapse.

The 2012 Braves have a lot to prove. Glad the boys are nice and happy, kum bah yah, now go out and prove you bums are worth something. You did not get it done doen the stretch and that is the way it is..fact–yall choked.

Disgusted

February 12th, 2012
9:28 am

JJ is better than the saberatricnubers make him out to be, but some teams will undervalue and low ball the Braves because of that.

Wren was smart to hold on to JJ if the return other teams were offering was unsuitable.

When healthy, JJ is a winner. If he gives ma 13-14 wins and a 3.5 to 3.75 ERA, that is good enough for me. Some folks just overanalyze the game with these new fangled advanced stats.

Just win baby.

BravesfaninWis

February 12th, 2012
9:44 am

Its easy for the players to say, they are the ones getting PAID to play, we fans are the ones PAYING to watch them play. Truth is, they have many question marks about them that won’t be answered for several months of this next season. Their starting staff has a whole bunch of question marks hanging over their heads with the injury concerns to Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrgens.

Also, Frank Wren said that they can still add a hitter in the coming weeks, what, another teams scraps? Since you sat with your hands up your ass for the entire off season, let it be now you dumb ass. Take it like a man. If they play good, you will look like a genius. If they play poorly, pack your bags and leave like a man.

garynpohio

February 12th, 2012
9:49 am

Ralph is right on target, thanks for the interjection of realistic expectations.

Fed Up Fan

February 12th, 2012
9:56 am

@DOB- How about a writing story about how the Braves absentee ownership tolerates, and even initiates and encourages mediocrity in their front office and coaching staff? (i.e. the inherent lack of accountability of a corporately owned sports team)

If you did write such a story, I’m sure that you would alienate yourself from the Braves, but I’d dare say that you would ingratiate yourself to a multitude of thinking fans out there. And who knows, you might even win a sports writing award in the process.

oasisbraves

February 12th, 2012
11:03 am

People need to calm down. While our line up had a hard time scoring runs last year, a slump is contagious, but this won’t happen two years in a row. Heyward and Prado especially are now 100% healthy, and with a full season of Bourn…we’ll be fine. Our pitching staff?? WOW…affrer last year and looking into 2012…does anyone else see possibly the the best pitching staff in 10 years developing?

GO BRAVES!!…..and go see NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS!!

Obee

February 12th, 2012
11:04 am

Fed Up Fan:
That’s a lot of assumptions in one sentence. That kind of story would end up being more of an opinion piece than the kind of straight forward news story DOB typically writes. Who would be a good, on-the-record source to verify your hypothesis? Given how much good, entertaining info DOB gives us on a regular basis (and I can assure you it takes an enormous amount of time to do it as well as he does), I can’t imagine he would even want to pursue that, given that it would be time consuming and probably lead to nothing more than a black hole.

P Rose

February 12th, 2012
11:15 am

Chipper: ” The bottom line is, for 4 1/2, 5 months we were pretty dang good. We had the third- or fourth-best record in baseball. We were right there. We just didn’t finish it out. I think that’s the sour taste that everybody still has in their mouth — [everybody] that’s not inside this clubhouse.” What a royal @$$.

Rico

February 12th, 2012
11:26 am

DOB, the thing that most alarms me about the future of the Braves is the cable tv situation. Teams like the Angels, Rangers, Tigers and even soon to be the Padres have inked or are about to ink mega cable deals. Deals that are infusing those franchises with vast financial resources. According to what I read, Terry McGuirk says we are stuck with a deal that will not allow us to pursue these type of big money cable contracts. I think he said we’re stuck for another 15-18 years under our existing small money deal. How in the world are we going to be a true contender under this scenario?

Kolb

February 12th, 2012
11:31 am

Did we really think the players would say anthing else when asked if they were glad no changes were made? The fact that they love to say they were the best 4th place team for much of the season is all fine but when one of those teams ahead of you is in your OWN DIVISION, you do something about it. Why settle for second best? 10 years ago, this team would never settle for that. Now it seems just getting to the playoffs is good enough. What a fall from grace.

MitchC

February 12th, 2012
11:47 am

I think the Braves will be decent, but out of the playoff mix, unless their key players stay very healthy, and perform above expectations. We know Chipper will miss at least some time.

The Phillies will be the Phillies, the Marlins improved. The team that took the most significant hit is the Cards, with Pujols gone.

Obciously as a Braves fan for almost 30 years, I’;d love to see them win 90 games and take the Wild Card. My reality says, that they will probably be more around 85 wins, and miss the playoffs.

MitchC

February 12th, 2012
11:49 am

One other point: I think we needed another bat. Uggka had the power and RBIS last year, but not the average, and we still didnt make the playoffs. Even if he brings the average up, I think another bat would have been a good idea.

john

February 12th, 2012
11:58 am

-MEDLIN- A WINNER – don’t forget him
-Prado not good 3rd Base Fielder-plays 2ndB best but could be decent LF in a year or so if he plays there regula-he is real good athelete
-Chipper do not swing at first pitch so often-young Players follow your lead and not as good as you yet
-Gonzo -Brian needs rest in July August heat-USE BB Best Back up C More
-Braves not going to WS or even far in Playoffs with present Owners-SELL

mojochopper

February 12th, 2012
12:22 pm

Honestly, what do you expect Wren to do this offseason. The only movable parts are JJ and Prado, both coming off injury plagued/sub par seasons. They trade value is low. While JJ is expendable with our plethera of young pitching prospects Prado is too valuable as Chipper’s back up at 3rd. I see nothing wrong in giving the guys (JJ, Prado, Heyward, etc..) a chance to prove there salt, reassessing our needs depending on where we are at in the standings and then going after the right piece to charge the team for a strong playoff push. Hopefully someone we can keep long term.

Eddie Matthews' Ghost

February 12th, 2012
12:25 pm

The Braves are losers. Worse than when we were in Milwaukee. The Brewers are a better organization than the Braves now. Yes, they lost Fielder, but I don’t blame them for not giving him half the payroll. Add three or four decent players for what they give him over the length of that contract. Fill 3 positions instead of one. The Braves have won nothing. Hamilton??? Are you kidding d. starks (above), or are you his agent shopping for a team? 5 Hamilton posts in bang bang bang a row. Jeeze, Thelma and Louise. A Hamilton with a history as his is not what the Braves need. Just another 115-125 game Chipper is all the guy is. Weird has not put a winner on the field since he got here. One maybe, but no more. The guy is a loser. Traded good players off or rentals when are gone now. Great job. In the real world, the guy would have been fired by now.

Disgusted

February 12th, 2012
12:29 pm

“According to what I read, Terry McGuirk says we are stuck with a deal that will not allow us to pursue these type of big money cable contracts. I think he said we’re stuck for another 15-18 years under our existing small money deal. How in the world are we going to be a true contender under this scenario?”

@Rico–Wasn’t Mc Guirk an insider during the Time Warner years? Any possibility he could have been one of the parties behind that TV deal. Just windering???

Truth be told is that under the arrangement, Liberty has supposedly not taken an operating role in the team. Could that be why you never hear from any of the big wigs directly from Liberty?

Mr. Mc Guirk seems to be the one calling the big financial shots or am I seeing things wrong?

Whichever way you spin it, its not good for Braves fans for the next 21 yrs.

John–You can say sell, but I have addressed the question a few times on the blog–Are the Braves even a good buy for another prospective owner?

As it seems now, we are stuck with this business model for alot of yrs and will be falling into the bottom third of payroll as other teams get lucrative cash infusions from other sources.

Just wait and see where we will be in 2020? Ouch.

David O'Brien

February 12th, 2012
12:53 pm

DOB, the thing that most alarms me about the future of the Braves is the cable tv situation. Teams like the Angels, Rangers, Tigers and even soon to be the Padres have inked or are about to ink mega cable deals. Deals that are infusing those franchises with vast financial resources. According to what I read, Terry McGuirk says we are stuck with a deal that will not allow us to pursue these type of big money cable contracts. I think he said we’re stuck for another 15-18 years under our existing small money deal. How in the world are we going to be a true contender under this scenario? — Rico

The deal is what it is, so they have to make the best of it and maximize other revenue sources. Only time will tell how much of a detriment or obstacle the deal becomes, but if many more teams start working out the huge TV contracts like the Angels and Rangers have recently, it could certainly become problematic.

Dawg Haus

February 12th, 2012
1:58 pm

Addition by subtraction. Go get ‘em, Bravos!

bvillebaron

February 12th, 2012
2:08 pm

Braves Lose:

I have been a Braves’ fan for 50 years pal and I am plenty excited for this year. The amount of negativism on this board is beyond absurd. The Braves missed out on the playoffs by 2 games (1 to get into a 1 game playoff) despite losing 20 of their last 30 games. Their #s 2 and 3 starters, Hanson and Jurrjens, were, as Dave points out, among the best 2 tandems in the NL until they got hurt and basically missed the last 2 months of the season. Prado and McCann also limped down the stretch due to injuries and Heyward had a terrible sophomore slump season. The chances of all of that reoccurring this year is low.

Did any of year armchair GMs (a/ka/ critics) ever consider that young players IMPROVE as they get older? The most important component of a championship baseball team is pitching. The Braves have one of the best pitching staffs, if not the best, 1-12 in MLB. The have 9 legitimate or top rated prospects to fill out a 5 man rotation, only one of which, Hudson, is older than 26 years of age (i.e. Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Minor, Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino and Medlen) and a talented and deep bullpen that may just be the best in baseball (Kimbrel, Venters, O’Flaherty,most likely Medlen, Vizcaino, etc.).

The team will also have Bourn from the beggining of the season I look for Prado and Heyward to have bounce back seasons.

I wish the Braves would have acquired an every day right-handed power bat in the offseason too, but the availabe free agents (e.g. Willingham, Ludwick, etc.) were overrated and overpriced. Apparently Wren kicked the tires on Adam Jones, but the who in their right mind would pay the alleged asking price (i.e. Jurrjens, Prado, and 2 of the Braves’ premier young pitching prospects). Given those circumstances and the fact that the trade value for Prado and Jurrjens is currently low, it makes all the sense in the world to go to camp with what you got and hope that both of them prove they are healthy and see what the market may look like at the end of Spring Training or even at the trade deadline. The season isn’t over on February 12th.

Finally, every team in the NL East has their own offensive issues and question marks or “ifs”. For example, the Phillies have to wonder (1) how Howard will do after Achilles tendon surgery; (2) are Polanco, Utley, Rollins,etc. too old to ever return to the level they were at several years ago; (3) is Dom Brown a prospect or a suspect, etc. Despite all of the fanfare over the moves made by the Marlins and Nationals, the Braves are still at least the second best team in this division even as presently constituted.

GOP Cannon

February 12th, 2012
3:15 pm

Well thats good to know… aparently the only people in the city of Atlanta that are happy about the offseason are the players themselves. Yeah!

Larry

February 12th, 2012
3:39 pm

The greatest pitching staff in the world can’t win a single game if the offense can’t score at least 1 (and preferably 3-5) runs per game. Unlike the boreing game of soccer, baseball doesn’t play for 0-0 ties! We need to score some runs when we have bases loaded and one or no outs on a consistent basis. Hope they can do it! Go Braves! (a Braves fan for half a century!)

BusterBaseball

February 12th, 2012
4:11 pm

Here we go again with the Braves organization, and some of the fans drinking too much of the kool-aid. If the Braves would have made it to the playoffs, than that “fourth-best record” before the last month in 2011, would have been worth bragging about. I don’t hear Redsox fans bragging about how they almost made it to the playoffs last season. Marlins made some big moves, so the Phillies won’t be the only team we have to worry about in our division.

JJ

February 12th, 2012
5:02 pm

Bvillebaron, sounds like excuses to me. The Braves aren’t the only organization in baseball to suffer from injuries. If they were such a great team in 2011 as you just bragged about, they would have won through the injuries they suffered.

Disgusted

February 12th, 2012
6:11 pm

DOB…The fans on here are not stupid and they can see the future handwriting on the wall.

We, as a group hate the previous ownership of Time Warner (after Ted lost his boardroom fight) and the current Liberty Media group who are here for a tax transaction.

There is fair reason for it…and overcomming a wretched TV deal is hardly possible in an industry that has become built as big as it is because of TV and advertising revenue.

And I am not one of those who say boycotting the games. How much more can be generated even if you have another say 500,000 or even a million in the seats.

I doubt that it happens given the mistrust between the fan base and team management and ownership. Coupled with last yrs collapse, I hope to be wrong but I see attendance of 1.9 million. And an 83 or 84 win type of yr.

The Braves fan base is POed now, and for the average fans POV, why should we understand? What has this ownership done for us?

Still I say, go to some games if you can afford it, stay with it. Even if you only go to a few games. Be angry but do not abandon MLB. Or else we saw what happened with our hockey team.

Could the same happen to us? We will see in 10 yrs. Its bleak right now

TJ

February 12th, 2012
7:09 pm

Hey… what if the Braves actually win the WS this year, I bet Terry McGuirk would be p!##ed.

tim

February 12th, 2012
7:31 pm

PLAY BALL !!!!!!

frustrated fan

February 12th, 2012
10:21 pm

I guarantee this season will not be like last year. This season will go only one of two ways. Either way better or way worse.

Flo-Rio-Duh

February 12th, 2012
10:36 pm

Heyward is the key on offense. He has to bat at least .280. 20 HRs, 80 RBIs and he must be consistent. If he fails the offense will generate 2 runs a game like it did last year when he was AWOL. Prado must also return to form and stay healthy. He is better at 3rd and may be there before the year is out. Braves need help on the bench that can play the outfield. The starting pitching is depending on a lot of “if”s. Without 4 starters that can go 7 innings the bullpen will wear down again.

Barry Bonnell

February 13th, 2012
12:03 am

We may need another bat In left field If Chipper has a Sub Par first couple of months…

Name (not required)

February 13th, 2012
12:49 am

whoa. we’ll be fine this year. you folks need to chillax, buy tickets, show up to the ballgames on time and learn to enjoy the pastime of baseball (again?). this isn’t college football so for pete’s sake chill-out. our braves again will be one of the classiest teams in the mlb, with a no doubt hall of famer in chip, potential hall of famers on the roster, and they play in the hottest city in the south. y’all relax fools and support your team.

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