More on Chipper, shortstop battle

Vivlamore reporting from Lake Buena Vista where the Braves play the Mets this afternoon.

There was so much to report from the Chipper Jones’ retirement (following the 2012 season) yesterday that I couldn’t possibly get to all of it. I thought I would share a couple of quotes I just couldn’t fit in.

On moving on: “I’ve been in professional baseball for 23 years. That’s a long time to do anything. I feel now that it’s time to do something else. I’ve got four reasons right here. I’ve got four little boys who’ve had a part-time father for a long time. They have sacrificed a lot and I think it’s about time I start paying them back.”

On his start: “The Braves organization has been great to me. It started with general manger Bobby Cox, who drafted my No. 1 overall in 1990, two days after I graduated high school. You are talking about an 18 year-old kid who didn’t know much about life but Bobby took a flyer on me and I’ve said many times I’ve spent the last 23 years trying every day to make him proud and make him not have to answer questions about why he took some young punk from central Florida with the No. 1 pick.”

On reflections of his career: “Now that I’ve made the decision I think it will start flooding back. All the highlights and the great plays and the home runs they kind of run together but the one thing I’m going to miss is the camaraderie with the guys in the clubhouse. … I think over the next six months it will all come flooding back to me, slowly but surely.”

On whether he was ever close to leaving the Braves: “Never, ever. I was never a free agent. I was never close to being a free agent. Whenever free agency was just about to come up on the horizon, we sat down and got something hammered out.”

On informing his teammates of his decision: “I told me teammate a week or 10 days ago that this was going to be it. I looked into each and everyone of their eyes and said please allow me to get my ducks in a row, allow me to be able to thank the people I need to thank. They respected my wishes. That was the ultimate sign of respect.”

I talked to Brian McCann this morning on playing with Jones. “I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today, if I hadn’t had a chance to play with him,” the catcher said. “Get a chance to see baseball through his eyes and see the way he sets up pitchers and the way he thinks. He is the smartest baseball guy I’ve ever been around. I feel very lucky to have been able to pick his brain about a lot of things.

“This guy is on a whole other level when it comes to intelligence on a baseball field. He gets the game. He understands swings. He understands everything. That is why he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Not only can he play, but he has the mental side of the game to dominate.”

Shortstop battle

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said following yesterday’s game against the Mets that the battle for the starting shortstop position will go down to the wire – and maybe beyond.

“We are going to let it play out almost to the end,” said Gonzalez, who will continue to rotate Andrelton Simmons and Tyler Pastornicky at the position. “Every time Pastornicky shows up something, it’s a plus. Same thing with Simmons, when he does something good it’s a plus. It’s an interesting thing. It’s one of those situations whoever we may take [north] may not be the guy you end up with anyway. It’s a long season. We could go with Pastornicky and in another month Simmons comes. Or you break with Simmons and Pastornicky comes a month later. It’s a long season and we still have to let it play out a little bit.”

Pastornicky went 4-for-5 Thursday in a tie against the Marlins. He admitted afterward that he has been putting extra pressure on himself this spring, knowing what is at stake.

Pastornicky said his pinch-hit single in extra innings Wednesday against the Nationals helped re-focus his confidence.

“One hundred percent,” he said. ” It was one of those things where you start having some good at-bats, start making some good swings and it’s a confidence thing. I can do this. I am here.”

Simmons will start today against the Mets.

Roster moves

The Braves have re-assigned five players to the minor leagues: C Christian Bethancourt, LHP Dusty Hughes, INF Ernesto Mejia, RHP Adam Russell, and INF Joey Terdoslavich.

Lineup vs. Mets

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Martin Prado, LF

3. Brian McCann, C

4. Dan Uggla, 2B

5. Freddie Freeman, 1B

6. Drew  Sutton, 3B

7. Jose Constanza, RF

8. Andrelton Simmons, SS

9. Mike Minor, P

54 comments Add your comment

Let's Go

March 23rd, 2012
9:49 am

DOB
Could Pastornicky or Simmons future be at 3rd base next year?

REEDBRAVES

March 23rd, 2012
9:59 am

JT

March 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

Dimwit Fredi needs to send Simmons to AAA camp so that Pastornicky can get more playing time at the major league camp. It isn’t helping either of these kids to sit them every other day. After Pastornicky’s big game yesterday he should have been in the starting lineup again today to continue to build that confidence. Simmons has never played above the A+ league, he needs more time in the minors.

REEDBRAVES

March 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

GM

March 23rd, 2012
10:03 am

Best of luck Chipper – it has been an awesome ride!!

fordcobra

March 23rd, 2012
10:07 am

3rd base? I certainly hope not! We need experienced POWER for 3rd base.

Tomahawkin

March 23rd, 2012
10:14 am

Damn! The Terd got sent down!

Don’t be suprised if he is a Sept Call Up…

He has already been named Chipper’s Heir Apparent according to Athlon Sports after setting a record for doubles in the Carolina league last year…

FREE CARROLL ROGERS!!!

St. Pius Fan

March 23rd, 2012
10:16 am

3rd base? You kdding? Make a move on David Wright and pay him Chipper money next season, or grab a left fielder with decent power numbers and move Prado to third. There’s not going to be enough power with Chipper in the lineup this season, much less down the road if Simmons and Pastornicky own half of the infield

Tomahawkin

March 23rd, 2012
10:16 am

I Know this can happen because we play in a sick division, and the injury bug is already biting us but:

What Happens if we are 8-10 Games out of 1st after the All Star Game??? and moreso by Sept1st

Who gets Traded? And Who Get’s Ol Yellered?

Tomahawkin

March 23rd, 2012
10:18 am

David Wright???

No No No…

The Dude is past his peak and too injury prone to throw all that money to…Spend it on a younger OF, Like Shane Pestorino who would demand around 9-10 mill. and has heart

Tomahawkin

March 23rd, 2012
10:19 am

We Don’t necessarily need more Power, we already have that. Problem is we have too many streaky power hitters who K a lot…

Powderfinger

March 23rd, 2012
10:26 am

I believe our third baseman of the future is currently playing left field. Don’t be surprised if our next left fielder is someone we pick up this year at the trade deadline. That’s why Chipper’s announcement being made this early is so important. It gives us time and flexibility…

rammerjammer

March 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

Since Chipper’s 2013 option is off the table, the Braves have no excuse not to extend McCann’s contract. The money is definitely there now.

GoBraves!

March 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

Yeah JT, but its not just about hitting, if simmons has the range to make plays over there at short, than it could be a toss up. Alex Gonzalez didn’t do as well as he hit in Toronto, when he came over, but made outstanding plays on defense. Let it play out.

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
10:29 am

Let’s Go – I haven’t seen much from Pastornicky’s arm that would recommend him as a third baseman and Simmons is so much better defensively at short, I wouldn’t make that move. I think The Rev is going to be a bench player longer term.

Darlington

March 23rd, 2012
10:30 am

Agree with Tomahawkin. David Wright is already starting to break down and his numbers have been in decline over the past few seasons.

moboman

March 23rd, 2012
10:35 am

Patience. Cant judge a lineup while it is strewn with minor leaguers and never at full strength. Cant judge results while the pitching coaches are doing the same thing with who is appearing. Now that some of the minor leaguers are being sent down, lets see how the real lineup starts to perform, when pitching to our hitters is affected by who is on deck.

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
10:36 am

I used to think Wright would be a great acquistion, but a broken back and torn abdominal muscle don’t bode well for his future health. I no longer feel he would be a good pick up for the Braves.

Jeff R

March 23rd, 2012
10:41 am

I think if Pastornicky hits, he gets the shortstop job this season over Simmons, the better defender. I’d like to see Simmons win out because I think he’s the Braves’ long term shortstop, anyway (he’s the better glove and very likely as good or better than Pastornicky at the plate).

But it can’t hurt for Simmons to gain more experience in the minors this season, if it comes to that.

Supes

March 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

David Wright has had multiple back issues ( a red flag for sure)…HOWEVER, if and it’s a big IF…if he can stay healthy and get the frak out of NYC…I believe he’ll be productive (maybe not like he was at one time, but still considering the lack of production in the NL from third baseman in general, he’ll be a top 5 producer). Question is…how much money is going to be looking for…and also the Phillies will be looking to fill their void at 3B for the 2013 season.

Jeff R

March 23rd, 2012
10:45 am

Wright, older, health issues, and expensive. Why go down that road? Wren needs to look at acquiring a solid third base prospect. There’s no shortage of solid third base prospects in systems. The Braves may have pitching to spare moving forward. Why not look at bringing a better third base prospect into the system as part of a package deal?

Tami

March 23rd, 2012
10:46 am

Let’s Go
March 23rd, 2012
9:49 am

DOB
Could Pastornicky or Simmons future be at 3rd base next year?

That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking since Chipper announced his retirement at the end of this season yesterday. Wouldn’t it be a real bonus to have BOTH players in the lineup with the A-Club?

I guess the real question at this point is: Which player would be the best one to start grooming for 3B, and which player should stay at SS? Remember: Chipper started at SS before he was groomed for 3B. At the time, the Braves had an aging Pendleton at 3B at a time when SS’s were plentiful in F/A. It ended up being quite the intelligent move on the Braves’ part to move Chipper to third, didn’t it? And whomever they pick to be the 3B Heir Apparent can have the benefit of mentoring right next to Chipper throughout the whole of the 2012 Season. Decisions on this should be made ASAP.

Virginia Brave

March 23rd, 2012
10:53 am

Vivlamore,

I don’t like to nit pick, but you need to proof read before posting.

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
10:54 am

It’s a moot point – Pastornicky has a weak arm and will not be a third baseman in the bigs. LIke an announcer said in one of the televised games this spring “It’s an arm like that that has made many shortops into second baseman in MLB.”

The Rev might be OK at second, but will never be a good defensve ss or 3B.

Tomahawkin

March 23rd, 2012
10:55 am

Enter your comments here

Tomahawkin

March 23rd, 2012
11:08 am

I don’t Think Simmons will be a 3rd Baseman…He doesn’t hit for power…even though he did win a batting title in the minor leagues last year…

Train Wreck Bystander

March 23rd, 2012
11:12 am

I have to admit I got flushed at the prospect of seeing Terd’s Terds in the cheap seats. I guess the Braves will wait until next year to take the plunge.

Jeff R

March 23rd, 2012
11:13 am

I think Pastornicky is a one-year guy for the Braves – if that. The Braves need stronger up the middle defense. Simmons delivers that at short. Wren will need to find a capable defensive and offensive replacement for Bourn after the season (if Bourn isn’t moved by Wren during the season IF the Braves fail to compete). Uggla’s an adequate defender, as everyone’s mentioned, and McCann’s okay behind the plate. Bethancourt may be the better long term move there, as has been much discussed.

Atave

March 23rd, 2012
11:13 am

It’s time to see if fans want Fredi or not, + if you want him as mgr., – if you do not. let’s see what the cut and dried is.

Atave

March 23rd, 2012
11:13 am

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
11:18 am

Last I heard, the Fans don’t get a say in the hiring of managers.

Atave

March 23rd, 2012
11:20 am

Just thought I’d get some different opinions Lew if you don’t want to play, don’t!

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

You mean you haven’t heard from everyone on the blog yet? Topics been run into the ground ever since Fredi became manager. And whatever wway you happen to swing, Frank ain’t gonna listen to your opinion.

Mets R Best

March 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

Speaking on behalf of the entire Mets organization, we look forward to, and would like to congratulate Chipper, on his planned retirement at the end of this season. We would, however, prefer that he make it effective immediately.

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

You want opinion, wait until George posts.

Atave

March 23rd, 2012
11:28 am

Didn’t start this for a debate just curious as to how others felt. I for one think Fredi’s style has developed too much comfort without the longevity and respect Bobby Cox had. Cox had a comfort style about him too but he also had that something(respect?)
that made players give their all. Fredi’s probably a fine man and has a good deal of baseball knowledge but lacks that something between he and the players.

Jeff R

March 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t the problem last season. He isn’t a problem now. He’s the manager, and manager’s are overestimated when it comes to a team’s fortunes.

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

Then you already figured out what most think.

Some favorites on the blog include -

Overworked his bullpen. Pulled starters too quickly. Won’t stand up for players by not arguing calls. Caused the collapse in September because of all of the above. Will get fired this winter if he doesn’t lead the Braves to the Promised Land. Too much like Bobby Cox. Not enough like Bobby Cox. Wants Medlen in the pen.

Lew

March 23rd, 2012
11:36 am

And he didn’t leave Heyward batting second. Or he had Mac hitting cleanup. Or Prado hitting second, or fifth, or seventh, didn’t let Bourn run, etc.

Jeff R

March 23rd, 2012
11:55 am

Fredi’s not the problem, anymore than Bobby Cox was the problem after The Run ended for the Braves.

reason

March 23rd, 2012
1:57 pm

I’m thinking we will start the season with Rev and after a couple months (super 2 deadline) Simmons will be called up

AZBravoFan

March 23rd, 2012
1:57 pm

And don’t forget all the cap-tipping Lew….

Heisenberg

March 23rd, 2012
3:08 pm

Thinking outside the box, I would consider moving Uggla to 3B in 2013. That would allow Pastornicky to move to 2B & Simmons at SS. Improved speed and defense up the middle and power at 3B.

TDub

March 23rd, 2012
3:12 pm

Think Terdo or Salcedo is more likely for 3b in 2013 – which frees up money for Bourn *and* McCann (though if Bethancourt rakes in the minors this season, maybe the Braves let McCann walk?).

Dawgdad (The Original)

March 23rd, 2012
4:15 pm

They need to transition someone to playing center field and give them a year to learn the position. Bourn is gone after this one and maybe mid season if they perform as expected by many of us. Not sure if Rev has the arm for center, but doesn’t sound like he is the long term solution at SS. He apparently has the speed to play CF.

bzazz

March 23rd, 2012
4:25 pm

Prado gets moved to 3rd base and the Braves pick up Josh Hamilton for left field…or maybe not.

smalltownbravesfan

March 23rd, 2012
4:26 pm

2013 i still think they trade JJ for 3B, sign Upton cf, Simmons to ss, Pastor super utility after spending time playing 2b & 3b @ Gwinnett

smalltownbravesfan

March 23rd, 2012
4:27 pm

Prado stays in left

Nova Scotia Steve

March 23rd, 2012
6:57 pm

So Simmons and Pastornicky on the left side of the IF after Chipper retires – LOL

How about some guys who can f’in HIT THE BALL – Good Lord. This team needs offense not more .220 hitters.

Notice no articles on Simmons going 1-2 today with a BB and RBI – every time Pastornicky squeezes passes gas it makes headlines.

Bob the Blogger

March 23rd, 2012
10:14 pm

I really hope the Braves don’t deal Prado next year. If Terdo isn’t ready next year, he gives us the option of looking for either a left fielder or third baseman, and can provide a solid backup at multiple positions. He right in the prime of his career, and is a bargan at $7 million a year compared to some of the contracts out there.

Disgusted

March 24th, 2012
2:28 pm

This team is not going to pursue David Wright and given his recent injury history, it makes sense.

Liberty Media is not going to get us a Willingham, Cuddyer, Jamey Carroll or Clint Barmes, what makes anyone think the Braves would get a Wright type of player.

Or, even re-sign Bourn and Mc Cann once his deal runs out.

The heat is on the system for another 20 yrs, As goes the player development, so goes the Braves. And its a short window of opportunity.

Disgusted

March 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

I want to see what we get out of Fredi this year. If its a real clunker of a season like 79-83, he should be gone.

If he wins and makes the post season, he redeems himself.

The organization might not see it that way. They will do what they want, does not mean that they are right.

If Fredi does not win he will be a lightning rod for fan hate regardless of whether the Lew’s of the world like it or not.

Until the Braves redeem themselves after September, the nature of the fan reaction will be negative and it should be.

WaltCoogan

March 25th, 2012
1:11 am

Prado will replace Chipper at third and the Mets would not trade Wright to Atlanta (please don’t draw an analogy to the Braves trading Jeff Francoeur to the Mets).

Braveone

March 28th, 2012
11:58 pm

From the previous blog which had 1,012 comments, Venice Jim led the way with 159 posts. There were 289 different poster names. Here are the Top 25:

Rank Poster Frequency

1 Venice Jim 159
2 cabravesfan 40
3 noleee 33
4 Lew 30
5 Murph 25
6 ncscoots 22
7 CB 19
8 Soph 19
9 Bat Masterson 18
10 Tom O’Hawke 17
11 bravesgrl4life 16
12 Ease (Win for Ten®) 15
13 George 15
14 Jimmy 15
15 kenhotlanta 14
16 phil 14
17 Bravefaninok 13
18 Tomahawkin 13
19 DAP 11
20 Jeff R 11
21 uga-brave 11
22 ARS..Champagne Jam 10
23 McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô: 9
24 Ward 9
25 richbrave 9

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