Ross exit adds to Braves’ expanding to-do list

PHOENIX – Chipper is retired, David Ross is gone, Michael Bourn is likely leaving, Brian McCann is hurt, and Josh Hamilton isn’t walking through that door.

So I can understand why some Braves fans are getting anxious or downright worried.

The Braves will miss the veteran Ross, on the field and in the clubhouse.

The Braves will miss the veteran Ross, on the field and in the clubhouse.

But folks, it’s mid-November. Still weeks away from the Winter Meetings, which is usually when things really start heating up on the trade and free-agent fronts.

So before convincing yourself that this will be another Garrett Anderson or Raul Mondesi sort of offseason for the Bravos, I’d advise to take a deep breath and understand the team has both the cash and/or  trade pieces (which they now seem willing to part with) to assure they won’t have to settle for picking up a scrap-heap player for left or center.

No significant deals were struck but the hot stove was stoked during last week’s GM meetings near Palm Springs, and already we’re seeing things move a little quicker than usual around ‘ball. My guess is the Braves will have at least one of their two priority needs – center field and either left or third base – filled long before Christmas this year, and quite possibly both.

And add backup catcher to that list, too, now that Ross has gone, taking a two-year, $6.2 million offer from Boston that was too good to pass up. This despite the fact he loved playing in Atlanta, and after the season ended he and Braves had indicated they thought he’d be back and both sides wanted him back.

No one had anticipated a month ago that the soon-to-be 36-year-old catcher would double his salary and get a two-year deal. The Braves, after picking up the $12 million option on catcher Brian McCann, weren’t willing to spent another $3-plus million on the catching position in 2013, and also didn’t want to give Ross more than a one-year guarantee.

Considering their payroll, which GM Frank Wren said will probably be around $95 million or slightly above, can’t say I blame the Braves for not shelling out that kind of money for Ross. And that’s coming from someone who thinks his value far outweighed the stats he produced, which were solid.

Ross was as strong a presence in the clubhouse as the Braves have had during the past several years, and his intangibles – working with young pitchers, accepting and thriving in a secondary role to a perennial All-Star like McCann, always projecting optimism and good nature in the clubhouse – made him far more valuable than your typical backup catcher or bench player at any position.

Not to mention the fact that us writers might have collected some cash among us to help cover the difference if the Braves had been close in their offer to Ross, so good was he to work with for us in the reporting game. Of course, the Red Sox could find in their front-office lobby couches as much much as us writers might have scraped together.

So now the backup catching spot is added to the offseason to-do list. If I’m the Braves, I knock that one out sooner than later, since the McCann situation makes backup catcher more important than it would normally be. They hope to have McCann back as soon as mid-April, but if he takes the full estimated six months of recovery that doctors say his surgery usually requires, he’d miss the whole first month of the season and maybe some of May.

So while they can’t spend big for a catcher still in his prime, the Braves also can’t go into the season relying on someone like J.C. Boscan to handle the duties on a daily basis until McCann returns. Trading for ex-Brave Jarrod Saltalamacchia from those same Red Sox makes little sense because he’s going to make close to $5 million through arbitration and doesn’t hit lefties (.203 career average and .591 OPS vs. LHPs).

The Braves need to get the best fit to potentially play a few weeks and then be a complement to McCann, from a group of veteran backups some of the usual suspects, guys like Gerald Laird, Rod Barajas, Ronny Paulino, Miguel Olivo, Matt Treanor, Brian Schneider and Kelly Shoppach.

• Bourn free: OK, that’s the first and last time I’ll use that, and I realize that I showed my age in doing so. But what are blogs good for, right, if we can’t use poor puns and hackneyed phrases?

Anyway, surely no one who followed the Bourn situation closely was surprised that he and agent Scott Boras declined the Braves’ one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer last Friday, just like the other eight major leaguers who got qualifying offers (all were the same amount, as prescribed by the new system that replacing offering arbitration to your own free agents and having some classified as Type A or Type B for draft-pick compensation purposes).

If Bourn leaves as a free agent, Minnesota's Denard Span is a possible replacement in center and the leadoff spot.

If Bourn leaves as a free agent, Minnesota's Denard Span is a possible replacement in center and the leadoff spot.

The Braves made the one-year offer to assure they would receive a draft pick between the first and second rounds if Bourn signs with another team. They’ve also made a multi-year offer to Bourn through Boras, or at least let them know they wanted to discuss one (it’s tough getting a ready on exactly what they’ve done, as Wren said cryptically last week: “Really, the ball is in their court. We served it over there at the end of the season, and it hasn’t returned. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Boras is believed to be looking for a Bourn contract of at least five years and more than $15 million per season. The Braves haven’t given up on possibly re-signing Bourn, but won’t go nearly that high (or probably that long) in an offer. So they’re looking into all other options in anticipation of Bourn’s exit. With Boras, of course, it could take some time before Bourn signs with anyone.

Those who’ve said the Braves should give Bourn what he wants, keep in mind he’ll be 30 on Dec. 27, and speed usually doesn’t age as well as  assets such as power.

Bourn was the Braves’ MVP, in my view, during the first half of the season, but then his production fell off big-time. He hit .311 with 30 extra-base hits and a .366 OBP in 85 games before the All-Star break, and .225 with 15 extra-base hits and a .325 OBP in 70 games after the break, including a .195 average with 36 strikeouts in his last 34 games.

And after stealing 61 bases twice in the past three seasons, he had 42 in 2012 and was caught 13 times.

Who to replace him? I’ve noted a few times that an ideal replacement, both in terms of player type and cost, might be Minnesota’s Denard Span, who is good with the glove, if not the Gold Glove-caliber defender that Bourn is. He’s also a leadoff hitter, not the base-stealer or dynamic presence Bourn often is, but maybe a steadier hitter in terms of average and OBP (.284 and .357 in parts of five seasons).

He’s twice had 10 triples in a season, and Spann, 28, is under contract at an affordable $4.75 million in 2013 and $6.5 million in 2014, with a $9 million team option for 2015.

Plus – and this is a big one – the Twins need in trade what the Braves have a surplus of: young starting pitching. And last week, Wren said the Braves might use pitching in a trade to fill at least one of their lineup needs. He and Twins GM Terry Ryan met during the meetings last week.

Among free agents, San Francisco’s Angel Pagan, to me, is the best of those that fit the center fielder/leadoff description. But most people I talked to last week say he’ll be re-signed by the Giants after having one of his best seasons for the World Series champions, batting .288 with a league-high 15 triples, eight homers and 29 stolen bases in a career-high 154 games, and then two homers and six RBIs in the postseason.

Shane Victorino and B.J. Upton are the other top free-agent center fielders, but neither is well-suited for leadoff at this point, Victorino because he’s showing his age (he’s slower, and so is his bat speed) and Upton because his OBP has dropped steadily over the past five years as he’s become more focused on hitting homers. Can’t have a sub-.300 OBP in the leadoff spot, and that’s what he was last season. But he gives you plenty of homers and stolen bases, and he can go get it in center.

If the Braves don’t get a center fielder who can bat leadoff, they’ll have to fill the leadoff spot, too, since they indicate no intentions or desire to move Martin Prado to leadoff, and Andrelton Simmons doesn’t profile as a leadoff hitter either, not at this point at least.

Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is another trade option who can hit leadoff, but the Red Sox would demand a lot in return for a player who is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season and will almost certainly go on the free-agent market (Boras is his agent). Plus, Ellsbury is going to make about $9 million or more in 2013. Can’t see the Braves trading prospects and paying that salary to get one year from him. But maybe I’m wrong.

•And in left? Among corner-outfield possibilities, another Upton jumped to the front of the line last week in the view of many Braves fans.

Arizona GM Kevin Towers made it clear he’ll listen to Justin Upton, the marquee name that people have been buzzing about. He could move from right field over to left (Jason Heyward sure won’t be moving from right to left) and give the Braves a pair of 30/30 threats at the corners in what would surely be one of, if not the most dynamic outfields in the league.

The pulses of some Braves' fans quickened last week when the Arizona GM made it known he's listening to offers for slugger Justin Upton.

The pulses of some Braves' fans quickened last week when the Arizona GM made it known he's listening to offers for slugger Justin Upton.

However, writers and a couple of front-office types I talked to last week believe Towers will demand a Teixeira-like haul in exchange for Upton. (Yes, the Braves’ five-prospect trade package they sent to Texas for Mark Teixeira is still viewed around baseball as an example of what can happen when you become too focused on winning now and getting a player you believe will put you over the hump in the postseason.)

The difference, of course, is that Upton is under contract for the next three seasons, not a year-and-a-half away from free agency as Tex was. But it’s not as if there’s no risk involved, given that Upton’s had relatively modest 17-homer seasons on both sides of his tremendous 2011 season. Yes, at his worst he’s still a very good player, but Upton will make more than $14 million in each of the last two years of his contract, so to give up multiple top prospects for him, a team better be convinced he’ll be a consistent game-changer.

Upton in 2011 hit .289 with 75 extra-base hits (31 homers), 21 stolen bases and an .898 OPS to finish fourth in MVP balloting. His OPS has been just below .800 in the two seasons surrounding that one, and hit hit .280 with 17 homers, 67 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 150 games in 2012. It’s unclear how much interest the Braves have in either Upton, but I don’t think either of them is at the top of their board.

Who else? I’m in agreement with those who believe free agent Torii Hunter, a longtime center fielder, would be a good fit for the Braves in left, even at 37. He’s in great shape, coming off a real encouraging season — 313 average, .365 OBP, 17 homers, 81 RBIs — tempered slightly by his abnormally high .389 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). A potentially important note to keep in mind: He’s become good friends with Heyward, both belonging to the the select group of baseball endorsers on Nike’s Jordan label.

The Braves are interested in him and he’s told people the interest is mutual. For now, I still doubt Hunter will leave the AL, where he’s spent his entire career. He wants to win a World Series with a team before he retires, and with Texas, Detroit, Boston and others pursuing him from the AL, the Braves would presumably have to outbid them or convince him they are as close as any of his AL pursuers are to winning a title. Maybe they will convince him and/or outbid the others. I’ve certainly been wrong before in matters such as this.

I’ve already said — more than some here want to hear — another player I think the Braves should target for left field: Minnesota left fielder Josh Willingham. He’s 33, and yes, with a history of back problems and mediocre defense. But he’s coming off a couple of highly productive offensive seasons, is owed just $7 million each of the next two seasons, and getting him would leave the Braves with enough money to spend big on center field and add some bench pieces and a reliever.

Willingham totaled 64 homers and 208 RBIs over the past two seasons with Oakland and Minnesota, and had 30 doubles, 35 homers, 110 RBIs and an .890 OPS in 2012 for the Twins while playing home games in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. It would appear he’s learned to manage the back issue, but a team would obviously view the medical reports closely before making a deal for him, if Minnesota will trade him.

People familiar with the Twins’ thinking told me last week they’d be surprised if they traded Willingham, because of that club-friendly contract and because doing so would open a hole in their lineup and they’d struggle to get a right-handed bat at an affordable rate to replace him.

• Whither Juan Francisco? Lost in all the discussion about the Braves moving Prado from left field to third base (or getting a third baseman and leaving Prado in left field) has been the status of Juan Francisco. Or whether he has any status at all going forward with the Braves, who traded pitching prospect J.J. Hoover to the Reds for the out-of-options Francisco in the last weekend of spring training.

At the time, Wren said Francisco, who was (and is) out of minor league options, would probably be Chipper’s primary backup third baseman and could figure in the Braves’ long-range plans. Seven months later, Francisco is rarely mentioned in the Braves’ long-range plans, but Wren said the team hasn’t given up on him and he still could be a factor.

They’re just not counting on him. The onus is on Francisco, who fell out of favor with the Reds after showing up for spring training way out of shape and didn’t do much to compete for a major league roster spot.

He showed flashes of his immense raw power with the Braves, and played well for much of the season’s when filling in for Chipper before going into a late-season funk and losing the confidence of his manager, who went with Prado at third base and used Reed Johnson some in left field after Johnson came over in a trade from the Cubs.

He hit .234 with nine homers, 32 RBIs, 11 walks and a whopping 70 strikeouts in 192 at-bats in 93 games for the Braves, for a .278 OBP and .432 slugging percentage. Turner Field fans saw how good Francisco can be: He hit .298 with a .927 OPS in 46 home games, compared to .185 with a .580 OPS in 47 road games.

But after hitting .275 (39-for-142) with 10 doubles, eight homers and an .839 OPS in 70 games from April 14 through Aug. 17, Francisco went 5-for-40 (.125) with one double, one homer and a .371 OPS the rest of the season, getting multiple at-bats in only eight games in that six-week stretch.

“I think over the course of the season, probably until the last month or so, when he got a chance to play regularly for Chipper, he played extremely well,” Wren said. “Not only offensively, but defensively. And the power – the power speaks for itself. In the number of at-bats he had and the number of home runs he hit, it’s clear he has power, and if he played every day we think he could be a 20-plus home run producer.”

Francisco had some promising stretches of slugging in his early and midseason starts, and worked with hitting coach Greg Walker to iron out a serious flaw in his stance and swing that made the left-handed slugger particularly susceptible to lefties. Francisco had a pronounced turn of his front (right) knee in and down, a dip that also cause his shoulder to dip and his body to twist, forcing him to uncoil, which might’ve helped him get an extra 50 feet on a few homers, but made it difficult for him to see the ball and react quickly.

“We need him to show a commitment, by coming into spring training in better shape,” Wren said. “ We also need to see him continue to work on the swing corrections that Greg Walker put in place at the end of the season and sent him back to the Dominican with. And we’re following up. We’ve had a number of meetings with him in the Dominican to reinforce all those things.

“He’s hired a personal trainer. He’s working out every morning for a couple of hours. And he’s serious about getting himself in the best possible condition coming into spring training.”

Francisco has struggled against lefty pitchers in his limited major league opportunities against them (12-for-63 with no homers, one walk, 24 strikeouts), but hit decently against lefties in the minors.

He struggled as a pinch-hitter this past season, going 5-for-41 with one homer, four walks and 20 strikeouts. But as a position player? Well, third base seemed to bring out the best in Braves including Francisco in ‘12: Prado hit .365 with a .482 slugging in 85 at-bats at third, Chipper .286/.449, and Francisco hit .265 (40-for-151) with eight homers, 27 RBIs and .497 slugging as a third baseman in 2012.

“He kind of hit that wall in August, he was doing fine against lefties,” Wren said. “The whole game was plenty good enough. It’s just he hit that wall. Once he got to that point, he just wasn’t as good. Then [Gonzalez] kind of lost confidence in him. He was racking up a lot of strikeouts when he did play. We had to use other people to get through those at-bats when Chipper didn’t play, and he lost the opportunities.”

Francisco's considerable raw power was displayed at times during 2012.

Francisco's considerable raw power was displayed at times during 2012.

But they haven’t given up on him, for one main reason:

“You don’t find many explosive bats like that,” Wren said.

• Towers tact: Let’s circle back to Justin Upton for a moment. Because I was struck by something at the GM meetings. Kevin Towers’ tact, or seeming lack thereof.

Say what you will about Towers, but the Dbacks GM certainly doesn’t follow convention when it comes to discussing players. Whatever his motivation for saying so, he’s come out more than once now in the past year or so and made it known that Upton could be traded. That’s not the way most teams treat one of their brightest young standouts.

Here’s what Towers said to a group of us last week at the GM meetings, when the Upton rumors started flying again

“I just keep an open mind. Justin’s name gets bandied about, but people have asked here about Montero, Goldschmidt… Tough guys for us to move, but you need to listen,” he said….

“I’m open-minded into hearing what people have to say. If a deal presents itself that makes the Diamondbacks better by trading Justin Upton, I think I need to be open-minded to that. The last two years, there has not been a deal that we feel would make us better. That’s why we’ve retained him and we’ve kept him.”

When asked how Upton might feel about that, if he was worried about how the player would react to the rumors, Towers said: “I talked to him at the end of the season last year. I said that’s the way I do business, don’t this personally but if people ask about you, I listen.”

• Ross’s final words as a Brave: The day after the Braves’ Wild Card loss to St. Louis, in which he hit a two-run homer to give the Braves the early lead, David Ross talked about becoming a free agent and his desire to come back for a fifth season and third contract with the Braves. This was before the sides had talked contract, and obviously before Boston entered the fray with its big offer that landed the veteran catcher.

“I definitely want to be [back]. I love it here,” Ross said as the Braves packed up their lockers that Saturday morning, Oct. 6. “I love the chemistry of the guys. This is probably my favorite place I’ve ever played. It’s real convenient for me. There’s a lot of positives to being here. It’s no secret that the pitching staff here is a lot of fun to catch. And for me, the things that weigh most for me are, 1. Do I have a chance to win, at this point in my career? Obviously we have a chance to win; we won 94 games this year, with a lot of young talent.

“Do they still want a veteran presence, do they still want a backup? What direction are they going? We’ll see in the offseason. But I love it here and couldn’t be happier with the guys here. You’re talking about a bullpen that’s one of the best in the game and is just getting better and better. You’re talking about a starting rotation – it makes my job real easy, and fun.

“I definitely think there’s a chance to win here. Heyward and Freeman are only going to get better. You’ve got Simmons, who’s going to be one of the better shortstops, I would think, in the league next year. I don’t know what they’re going to do at third, but Martin Prado is one of my favorite players that I’ve ever played with. Eric O’Flaherty. We’ll have to to see what they do with Michael Bourn. But for the most part they’ve gone some core pieces here that are going to be really good, and  I would love to be a part of winning a championship. I think you’ve got as good a chance here as anywhere.”

That same day, Wren indicated the Braves hoped to have Ross back. Little did any of us know, the Red Sox were probably already thinking about how much they coveted the soon-to-be free agent.

Now, he’s gone.

• OK, let’s get this filed. I’m posting this blog from 36,000 feet or so, on way back from Phoenix after seeing a couple of Arizona Fall League games. I’ll write a couple of stories about shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed and third baseman Edward Salcedo later in the week. Ahmed really impressed with a couple of line-drive hits today and is putting the finishing touches on an AFL season in which he’s opened some eyes.

Let’s close with a great tune from the underrated singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, which you can hear by clicking here (and see a pretty cool and original video).

That's Jesse on the left, with an older fella you may recognize.

That's Jesse on the left, with an older fella you may recognize.

“QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD” by Jesse Malin

You say you want a revolution
Something you can touch
Like an age old contradiction
With alcohol and lust
And all the things you have are broken
And you can’t go back if they’ve moved
From dysfunction to this function
You know I’m singing just for you

Queen of the underworld
Took a ride on the tilt-a-whirl
Meanwhile another girl

Out on the street you hear their laughter
And pretty green eyes have turned to blue
Everything you’ve heard I’ve gotten
Persecution’s nothing new

Queen of the underworld
Took awhile baby to unfurl
Meanwhile another girl
Queen of the underworld

I never got an invitation
Never heard too much
I’m gonna make a reservation
But I’m not in a rush

And all across this alien nation
Or in a town called Resume Speed
Out on the highway of perfection
We only wanted to be free
Queen of the underworld, etc.
Don’t turn around

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

4,380 comments Add your comment

BFChris28

November 12th, 2012
9:35 pm

Mixxo

November 12th, 2012
9:52 pm

Mixxo

November 12th, 2012
9:53 pm

Someone tell me what the blog said please.

*did not read*

BFChris28

November 12th, 2012
9:56 pm

Basically talking about options to fill out the needs for the club.

Disgusted

November 12th, 2012
10:02 pm

Shoppach, Span or Fowler and Willingham on the wish list.

That would not be bad. Actually, pretty decent compared to some past off seasons.

Saltalamacchia is not that good — only redemming plus in his game is some power. Don;t need him.

I would not give up the ghost on Francsco either (If he could only raise the OBP to .310 to 320). Wren knows what he is talking about with the explosive raw power.

Can see him as a .240/.320/25/90 RBI guy. If not here somewhere else. Not disgraceful in the field either.

Can they do decent — we will see, not convinced.

Disgusted

November 12th, 2012
10:03 pm

Braveone — where is the top 25?

jbill

November 12th, 2012
10:06 pm

Thanks DOB..Glad you had a safe fly home.

least of the east

November 12th, 2012
10:08 pm

Braves also need a new manager, a new owner and maybe a new GM.
they prefer to lose assets via trade than sign free agents for nothing. that Teixeira trade was one of the worst deals in history (even though we got Mahay also)-ha ha.
the fact is they have lost their luster and are no longer seen as such a desirable destination. the playoffs is an annual challenge nowadays.
never have enough money and mismanage the payroll they have.
other than that, everything is just fine.

Beavercreekbravesfan

November 12th, 2012
10:10 pm

Hopeful, but still skeptical about the off-season. Last year JS promised a major league ready shortstop and a right-handed power hitting outfielder. I missed a few games, but, uh, don’t remember seeing them in the lineup. Bourn’s all but gone, and that’s the way it is, but hope we don’t end up with more recycled players when we might be only 2 players away from a longer run in the post season.

Jeremy

November 12th, 2012
10:10 pm

Hate to see you go Ross, he was a Damn Good Brave

Disgusted

November 12th, 2012
10:10 pm

Pagan belongs in SF.

For plenty of good reasons too long to type.

TNScott

November 12th, 2012
10:11 pm

Thanks, again, DOB. May you have a safe and uneventful flight home. I would add I think the price tag for J-Up is a bit high in prospects considering he is playing in one the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball. For my money, I would try to pry Chase Headley away from San Diego away first if possible. I think he is just coming into his own and plays in a park that is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks and still produces really good numbers.

Bravefaninok

November 12th, 2012
10:11 pm

Thanks for the new blog and updates DOB!

Disgusted

November 12th, 2012
10:13 pm

“Hopeful, but still skeptical about the off-season”

You should be — imagine if Simmons and Janish had not bailed Wren out of a potential SS mess.

There are no kids or waiver pickups this time around to bail out less he gets lucky.

That is on ownership.

tmc

November 12th, 2012
10:14 pm

One thing i noticed about Bourn all season was that he didn’t run nearly as much as he could have. Now, does that mean he wasn’t given the “steal” sign or he had the freedom to go, but chose not to.
I would hate to think Fredi wouldn’t run him to keep his steals down…
but there were many games and many situations in the 2nd half of the season where i would have run Bourn and he did not.
We’ll most likely never know, but i wouldn’t be surprised.

Baseball 101

November 12th, 2012
10:15 pm

Good info and insight, as usual DOB! Thanks!

Junior

November 12th, 2012
10:17 pm

Ok, so Freddie loses confidence in Francisco after going 5 for 40, but he keeps shoving Uggly out there for a few hundred at bats… I’m sure there is a punch line here somewhere.

BFChris28

November 12th, 2012
10:18 pm

I wouldn’t mind Russell Martin as the C til McCann returns. Then can either keep Russell as a back up C and pinch hitter or use him as trade bait.

Yunel's Frosted Tips

November 12th, 2012
10:19 pm

Well they blew up the chickenman in Philly last nite……

tmc

November 12th, 2012
10:21 pm

least of the east- agree on the Teixeira trade, but the worst trade of all time was by the Braves in 1983. The Braves sent a lead-off hitter for the next decade plus (Brett Butler) a starting 3rd baseman for 5-7 years (Brook Jacoby) and a player to be named to Cleveland for a Rotator cuff! (Len Barker, who i think pitched in like 5 games for the Braves in 1984 before retiring)
I STILL can’t believe that trade.

Ward

November 12th, 2012
10:23 pm

Hello everyone! Back for just a few! Thans for Info, and let’s hope Wren acts quickly on catchers, but I never heard of the catchers on this article, and it looks like the name form the list on Major League, when the Cleveland Fans said, “Who are these blankety blank Guys?” I hope Wren, does get us some one who can play LF, or Center? Just not getting my hopes up!

Ward

November 12th, 2012
10:25 pm

Wrens’ been searching for a LF fielder for years, so we will see. I’m trying to be positive, but we will see.

phil

November 12th, 2012
10:27 pm

An excellent read….

Best of luck to Ross. He’s missed already.

phil

November 12th, 2012
10:29 pm

Please don’t say the name Uggla….

I was beginning to forget about that black hole.

Ward

November 12th, 2012
10:31 pm

phil – I’m starting to see a black hole in all this trade talk, and Free Agency rumors. little humor

kral

November 12th, 2012
10:31 pm

let’s see we lost what we consider our three best pitchers…Beachy hurt…jair hurt..who knows..hanson..who knows..all-star catcher has worse year..no. two reliever does not repeat success …hall-famer is good but only plays 3 of 5 or so..gosh I watched almost every game and I could go on..or I could remember we won over 90 games…dang the manager and the front office and the players suck..maybe just some fans just suck

kral

November 12th, 2012
10:32 pm

you were in mine phil

Ward

November 12th, 2012
10:34 pm

All, have a good one! I’m going to enjoy the rest of the night! Don’t get your hopes up! I’m not getting mine! Peace my friends, and”Go!!!!!Braves!!!!!”

JC Boscan III

November 12th, 2012
10:35 pm

I smell us overpaying for someone who will not produce as expected. If not, we’ll probably be underwhelmed…….. Our bench was weak enough without losing Ross, too……….

Bravofan

November 12th, 2012
10:41 pm

I have never written on an ajc thread but I had to share my thoughts on David Ross’s departure.. As a lifetime fan of the game of baseball, I cannot think of a player other than Martin Prado that eximplifies what a “ball player” is more than David Ross. If we had a roster full of those two we would
never lose again. Ever. Best of luck to you Rossy, you will be sorely missed in Brave country..

Nova Scotia Steve

November 12th, 2012
10:41 pm

Sorry. I just don’t think Hunter is worth $7 or $8 million per-season given his injury history and age.

Who knows how he will respond to the league switch and what will we sign him for a single season? I would much rather a long term solution/sign.

tmc

November 12th, 2012
10:42 pm

i saw a blogger say it and i can’t improve on it any better.

The Braves value McCann @12-13 million more than D. Ross at 3.1 million for 2 years. – unknown blogger.

This will come back to bite the Braves. Mark it down.

George_George

November 12th, 2012
10:43 pm

FRANK WREN is CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP, to let ROSS get away. He will relise it in April wnem the loses start adding up.

BFChris28

November 12th, 2012
10:44 pm

1. Span or Victorino CF
2. Prado 3B
3. Heyward RF
4. Hunter LF
5. Freeman 1B
6. Uggla 2B
7. Simmons SS
8. BUC

Until McCann gets back.

That’s what I would like :-)

jbill

November 12th, 2012
10:47 pm

DOB..Wren and Braves have not talked at all about 3b are they just looking for LF’er and Prado automatic gets 3b. I’ve heard no rumors about Braves and 3b.
Any talk at all about Flower led off?

Efrim

November 12th, 2012
10:47 pm

Sounds like the Braves have a lot of interest in Hunter. I’d much rather him than Cody Ross or Ryan Ludwick. Just hope it’s a two year deal max.

cricket

November 12th, 2012
10:49 pm

who are these people?

Frosted Lucky Charms

November 12th, 2012
10:50 pm

Awesome! Wren is going after a 37 year old player past his prime. Nothing like spending $ that the team finally has on a player approaching 40. Can’t wait. What an investment.

Hiawatha Terrell Wade

November 12th, 2012
10:51 pm

The bit at the end about Ross really bummed me out Dave.

JHarber

November 12th, 2012
10:55 pm

I still have no confidence in Wren Can’t find his way past Dollar store, Hell he can’t even find Wal-Mart.

DS1

November 12th, 2012
10:56 pm

Hunter scares me a lot more than Cody Ross. I’m still holding out for David Wright and Chase Headley.

:wink:

brian

November 12th, 2012
10:57 pm

great blog yet again DOB.

DOB for GM!!

Bat Masterson

November 12th, 2012
10:59 pm

Best of luck to you Rossy, you will be sorely missed in Brave country..

Yeah, I’m gonna miss Dumbfounded, too.

jbill

November 12th, 2012
11:00 pm

DSI..That would put fans in the park…

Efrim

November 12th, 2012
11:03 pm

Switching leagues isn’t as big anymore, but it would make sense for Hunter to sign with Detroit. That’d be a nice upgrade for them in a corner outfield spot. Dirks/Boesch/Garcia in LF.

Efrim

November 12th, 2012
11:08 pm

Ross hit .232/.294/.390 outside of Fenway and .256/.308/.422 vs. RHP. And he’s looking for a three year deal. I think I’d rather have Hunter, despite his age. In fact, I might actually rather Ludwick too. Although I think Ross/Ludwick are if all else fails, imo.

hmmmmm..........

November 12th, 2012
11:09 pm

If we may go after Torii Hunter why not go after Ichiro?

jim

November 12th, 2012
11:10 pm

If the Braves thought that ross wouldn’t get a 2 year offer for that kind of money from somebody, then Wren was as out of touch as many on this blog are always writing. This was his last chance at a big (for him) payday and he earned it, if not from the Braves then from someone else. That contract should not have been a surprise to anyone. Had the Braves made a 2 year 5 million dollar offer the mihnute he hit free agency, he would probably have accepted, and it would have pre-empted the Red Sox offer and showed him that they valued his contribution and were serious about wanting him back. Like others have written here, 6 million for two years for a PRODUCTIVE back up catcher and team leader is not too much when one considers what they have paid for far less.

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:11 pm

who are these people?…cricket

excellent question.

brian

November 12th, 2012
11:14 pm

Hunter is not going to Atlanta. If he goes to the NL it will be to the Dodgers. I would not want to learn a new league at his age

Frosted Lucky Charms

November 12th, 2012
11:14 pm

I wonder what Julio Franco is doing these days? Call him up Frank I’m sure he’d play for cheap too.

jbill

November 12th, 2012
11:15 pm

I said it before but I’ll say it again…a BIG TRADE with Twins for Willingham and Span or Revere would solve two big spots. The Wren would have the money to get a relief pitcher and Catcher.

abeeeewright

November 12th, 2012
11:17 pm

DS1 … gonna put Wright in LF and Headley at 3B? Where’s Prado going to play?

jbill

November 12th, 2012
11:17 pm

brian..is that really a problem? we do have interleague play. I thinks thats a excuse.

hmmmmm..........

November 12th, 2012
11:19 pm

im not the biggest Wren fan but it’s not his fault the Braves are bargain shoppers blame ownership. There was this outfielder who nice ALDS, played for the Orioles, and is a free agent: Nate McClouth

jbill

November 12th, 2012
11:19 pm

Wright in LF ????

brian

November 12th, 2012
11:19 pm

Braves need to get Span and then go from there. Depending on what prospect(s) it takes to get Span they can reassess and see if they can get someone like Upton or Headley.

If the cost is Teheran or Delgado, Ahmed, and Spruill – would you do it? What about if you could get Headley from San Diego for the same package? Who would you choose? What if Bethancourt has to be added to the package or Francisco (stop laughing – it was in the article)?

I would do the trade for Upton if we could keep Bethancourt.Same for Headley. I would probably take Upton knowing that Prado will give similar production at 3B.

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:20 pm

abeee

Wright at 3B. Headley in LF. And Prado is going to be the backup CF, C, 2B, 1B, SS, RF and is going to sell hotdogs in the stands between innings.

(Guess I should have said “or”)

:wink:

brian

November 12th, 2012
11:21 pm

I would love to see a lineup of:

Span
Prado
Heyward
Upton
Freeman
Uggla
Simmons
Back up catcher
Pitcher

Bama Braves

November 12th, 2012
11:22 pm

On Span. He Turned Down A Trade To The Reds So Why Dose Everyone Think That He Would Come Here?

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:22 pm

I’d choose Headley, but both would demand a lot of trade chips and there are at least a dozen or more teams with better groups of prospects to trade at this point. It ain’t a vacuum out there

braveslifer

November 12th, 2012
11:22 pm

Headley by far. The package you mentioned sounds right for Headley. To high for Span in my estimation.

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:23 pm

cause we are so cool on the blog, Bama……

brian

November 12th, 2012
11:24 pm

just wonder if Gilmartin will be traded or the Braves will plan on him taking Maholm’s place in a year. Also wonder if Maholm could be trade bait if the Braves feel that either Delgado or Teheran is ready (and they are not traded)

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:24 pm

brian

I’d give San Diego Teheran or Delgado (they’d probably ask for Minor too), Ahmed, Spruill, AND Bethancourt. I’d throw in a $100 Zaxby’s Gift Card and a 3 day 6 Flags Pass for the whole team!

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:24 pm

Sounds light to me for Headley

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:26 pm

nolie

It’s DAMNED light! They would ask for players that will hurt to give up.

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:27 pm

$200 Gift Card?

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:28 pm

Who’s kidding who. We’d have to give up Prado or Simmons to get either Headley or Wright.

walker

November 12th, 2012
11:30 pm

we need to get span and justin upton. we also need to trade uggla and get either wright or headley to play third and move prado back over to 2nd. leaving us with a lineup of:

Span CF
Prado 2nd
Heyward RF
Upton LF
Freeman/Wright
Headley/ Freeman
McCann C
Simmons SS
Pitcher

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:30 pm

I agree Wayne

jbill

November 12th, 2012
11:32 pm

brain..thats not bad….I.’d be happy with any of those Headley are Upton…Wren knows who we can give up..I sure don’t.
Span
Headley or Upton

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:32 pm

good luck on even one of those Walker , perhaps Span, the rest are dreams

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:32 pm

walker

So you’re going to trade for Span, Upton AND Wright or Headley? Exactly HOW are you going to pull that one off???

Buttermilk Tuesdays

November 12th, 2012
11:36 pm

I find it humorous that the media and the AJC writers continue to bring up the “inherent risk” of signing a guy like J. Upton. The Braves don’t flinch when it comes to paying exorbitant amounts of cash to guys like Dan Uggla, Derek Lowe, and Brian McCann, but when they get a chance to actually pick up the check for a legit MVP-caliber type player like Upton… “Oh no, we can’t do that, the risk is just too high.” Really? For a 25-year-old kid that clearly possess tremendous talent, and is capable of becoming of one of the best players in all of baseball? You’re not willing to take a shot at him, but would rather continue paying guys like Uggla and McCann? Management has some backward-ass logic.

hmmmmm..........

November 12th, 2012
11:37 pm

Our luck will most likely be the Braves adding Span or Hunter. Then use internal options to fill the other spot Gattis in LF or Franscisco at 3rd and Prado in the leftover spot.

jbill

November 12th, 2012
11:38 pm

Bama Braves, Cots Contract don’t say Span has a not trade contract therefore he can’t stop the deal.

braveslifer

November 12th, 2012
11:38 pm

“So you’re going to trade for Span, Upton AND Wright or Headley? Exactly HOW are you going to pull that one off???”

Pretty sure the plan begins with kidnapping…

Buttermilk Tuesdays

November 12th, 2012
11:39 pm

ass-backwards*

jim

November 12th, 2012
11:41 pm

I have been a defender of Wren up until now, but the attempted trade of Delgado for a 3 month rental of Dempster and losing Ross by not going 2 years at 3 million/year given the questions already surrounding the catcher’s position are moving me over to the other side of the argument. Adding some combination of Span, Willingham, Hunter, Cody Ross, or BJ Upton while removing Chipper, Bourn, and D. Ross does not make this team a pennant contender in my eyes next year or strengthen it for the longer run. And if people think there is a surplus of pitching we can just deal away with no consequences, wait until one of the starters goes down or underperforms next year and there is no Delgado in the system to fill that need. The history of TJ surgeries suggests that Beachy won’t be back to form until 2014 — he will be back next August, but not his old self until the second year. Hanson is the most likely to underperform or go down so that leaves Medlen, Minor, Hudson, Maholm, and ? — A decent pitching staff, but not the Giants, Reds, Nats, and Phillies. Even the Mets staff of Dickey, Niese, Harvey, Santana, and Gee or Wheeler is just as strong.

Buttermilk Tuesdays

November 12th, 2012
11:46 pm

@jim: Teheran, Gilmartin, Avilan, Graham, Martin, and Wood.

Buttermilk Tuesdays

November 12th, 2012
11:47 pm

We have plenty of pitching.

Venice Jim

November 12th, 2012
11:47 pm

There was this outfielder who nice ALDS, played for the Orioles, and is a free agent: Nate McClouth

There is no such person…

JHarber

November 12th, 2012
11:47 pm

Jim—I agree on all points except Wren Have had him pegged for a couple of years but the attempted trade of Delgado for Dempster finished the deal.

hmmmmm..........

November 12th, 2012
11:47 pm

not trade contract? He’d have to be a 10 and 5 guy. Ten years in the league and five with the same team

Bravesfan54

November 12th, 2012
11:50 pm

The fifth estate (sports division)assumed that B McCann would be resigned and consistently wrote it that way – as if to say it was a “no brainer”. I wasn’t completely alone on this blog as being decidedly against exercising this option – but I clearly was in the distinct minority. However, that decision having been wrongfully made,in my opinion, absolutely dictated, the decision not to compete against Boston. The better move would’ve been to let McCann go to the highest bidder (maybe Boston would take a flier on him), resign Ross and have both a plan A (our minor league phenom) and a plan B – a reasonably priced, seasoned, clubhouse friendly guy. Catchers: $2-5M, future uncertain, options: priceless!)
McCann is an expensive gamble and under the best of circumstances will not be back in decent baseball (or other)shape before mid-to-late May. $12M gets you this far, and now our first 60 days behind the plate reek of both uncertainty and instability. In the end, it wasn’t letting Rossy go, but the signing of BMac which will impact this team. (Subtext: who ever heard of seeking a backup catcher as being one of the pieces you need to find in the off-season. It’s absurd that we have to replace a back-up catcher because we committed to our $12 million dollar, defensively challenged, not too healthy, catcher – and one with back-to-back ‘poors’ in his rearview. We got some catch-up to do, boys, hitch them ponies and let’s ride! (Sorry Amber!)

hmmmmm..........

November 12th, 2012
11:50 pm

Hey VJim, did i mention he plays CF and bats leadoff?

ncgary

November 12th, 2012
11:50 pm

i try and not get down on life when i get thrown all these lemons, but now i get thrown some strawberries in amongst the lemons, and it has stung me the wrong way today. we went to the beach a couple months back and onb the way home stopped at the scotchman and got some gas. they had a sign up said to text to win the harly sporster, so i show renee the sign and say you know , you could probably win that.
well we get the call today and she won it. a nice red and black 883 sporster. now how am i gonnna ride this while on oxygen 24/7. he sure has a cruel sense of humour at me for some reason now
lol

https://www.facebook.com/ScotchmanFans

scroll down and check out her bike

Buttermilk Tuesdays

November 12th, 2012
11:53 pm

@Bravesfan54: Completely agree regarding McCann.

DS1

November 12th, 2012
11:53 pm

nolie

If Olt turns into a monster RH masher in the next year or two, we’re all going to look back and say “we coulda had that guy!”

:wink:

Can we push Janish as the second coming of Simmons? Hey Texas, we’ve got a guy who is EVEN BETTER than Simmons!

HooRah

November 12th, 2012
11:53 pm

how could Span have turned down a trade? He is not a 10/5 player

Venice Jim

November 12th, 2012
11:56 pm

Oh – you mean Nate McLouth…

JASon

November 12th, 2012
11:56 pm

“No one had anticipated a month ago that the soon-to-be 36-year-old catcher would double his salary and get a two-year deal.”

I have two words for the braves organization: suck it.

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:57 pm

same with Boutjos Wayne…TOBF will be rubbin’ it in big time

brian

November 12th, 2012
11:57 pm

if the Braves could get Span and Upton or Headley it will be a rock star offseason from Wren. Those players should be in the realm of reality and they do not break the bank.

The Braves then can focus on locking up Heyward, Freeman, Kimbrel, Minor, Medlen, and Beachy over the coming years along with likely simmons

nolie

November 12th, 2012
11:57 pm

they have two words back….

Venice Jim

November 12th, 2012
11:58 pm

Good to see that DOB writes a column ridiculing people who don’t understand baseball, and they show up to prove the point…

HooRah

November 12th, 2012
11:58 pm

brian the dreamer, always believing in miracles

brian

November 12th, 2012
11:58 pm

DS1 – why would we say that we could have had Olt? It has been well reported that Texas told many teams that Olt is unavailable.

ncgary

November 12th, 2012
11:58 pm

did ya take a look at my bike nolie

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