While looking for bats, Braves fortify ‘pen

NASHVILLE — While the Braves still need to find a left fielder to round out their lineup, they’ve already made moves this winter to assure their bullpen remains one of baseball’s best. If they had gotten past the wild card game and into the meat of the postseason this past season, I think we would have seen how important that bullpen would’ve been in helping them advance.

In Walden, the Braves have added another to the collection of power arms in their strong bullpen.

In Walden, the Braves have added another to the collection of power arms in their strong bullpen.

Alas, the Braves kicked the ball around in a terrible inning and never recovered in a wild-card loss to the Cardinals. So the bullpen wasn’t a factor in the biggest game of the year.

But that shouldn’t make the ‘pen any less of a priority as they prepare for 2013, and it hasn’t.

The trade of Tommy Hanson for reliever Jordan Walden last week gave the Braves another power arm for back-end depth that should help manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell avoid overworking closer Craig Kimbrel and setup men Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters, as they were able to do in 2012 after seeing Kimbrel and Venters struggle during September 2011.

Walden, 25, has a fastball that tops out at 100 mph. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Texan had 32 saves and a 2.98 ERA in an All-Star rookie season in 2011, but pitched in a setup role in 2012 and had a 3.46 ERA in 45 appearances, with 48 strikeouts and 18 walks in 39 innings.

“Really good arm,” Wren said. “I think he probably was pushed a little too fast to the back of the bullpen [when he closed in 2011]. But he had 32 saves, hits 97-100 all the time. That’s what we were looking for, another guy who was impactful in the last 2-3 innings.”

When the trade went down, a lot of people figured the Braves were not just doing it to free up more than $3 million (the different in projected salaries for Hanson and Walden), but also to go cheaper in the bullpen and be able to deal O’Flaherty and his approximate $3.8 million arbitration salary. But that wasn’t the case, Wren emphasized right away.

Walden was a complement to O’Flaherty, not a replacement for him.

“This is an addition that allows us to continue deepening our bullpen,” Wren said of a Braves ‘pen that ranked second in the NL in ERA (2.76) and first in opponents’ OBP (.301), and ranked fourth in strikeouts (481) while issuing the second-fewest walks (151).

There are some who think the Braves still could package lefty setup man Jonny Venters or a lesser reliever in a trade. But Wren said they plan to have Walden join that formidable back-of-bullpen quartet of dominant closer Kimbrel and lefties Venters, O’Flaherty and Luis Avilan, who had a 2.00 ERA in 31 appearances as a 22-year-old rookie, with 33 strikeouts and 10 walks in 36 innings.

Walden’s fastball has heavy sink, but he’s struggled with inconsistent command and a problem leaving too many pitches up in the strike zone. He’s capable of throwing a good slider and decent changeup, but his command problems with both pitches undermines him at times and allows hitters to lay off his off-speed pitches.

Still, it’s a power arm with a lot of potential, and the Braves will control Walden for four more years before free agency (he won’t be arb-eligible until the 2014 season).

He’s not the only power arm the Braves added this winter, just the most accomplished.

We’ll keep an eye on another interesting one at spring training, right-hander Wirfin Obispo, who has a 98-mph fastball and a highly unusual backstory. The Braves signed the 28-year-old former Cincinnati Reds prospect to a minor league deal with a spring invite to big-league camp.

The Braves took a low-risk gamble on Obispo, who piled up strikeouts in Double-A last season with the Reds after pitching for several years in Japan.

The Braves took a low-risk gamble on Obispo, who piled up strikeouts in Double-A last season with the Reds after pitching for several years in Japan.

The Dominican pitcher is a Japanese-league veteran who went 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 25 games (10 starts) for the Reds’ Double-A Pensacola affiliate in 2012. This after going 0-1 with a 6.05 ERA in 10 games including three starts at Triple-A Louisville, where he had more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) in 19-1/3 innings.

The slender righty first signed with Boston in 2002 as an 18-year-old shortstop. He struggled and was let go, then signed with the Reds two years later and was converted to pitching.

Obispo got off to a promising start as a pitcher, striking out 52 in 40 innings in the Dominican Summer League in ’04 and posting a 2.31 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning again in ’05 in the same league. But then, problems. Big.

Obispo was caught in a marriage scam and the INS kept him from getting a work vista to come to the U.S. He had little choice but to pitch again in the Dominican Summer League, in rookie ball, and predictably dominated, posting a 2.04 ERA and 93 striikeouts in 79-1/3 innings in 2006.

He opted to become a free agent to pitch in Japan, where he spent a year in the minor leagues and then missed the 2008 season for shoulder problems. Obispo went 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 14 games (seven starts) for Yomiuri in ’09 and won a game in the Japanese World Series.

After struggling with a 5-plus ERA in 2010, he moved to the Nippon Ham team and reportedly had a disagreement with superstar pitcher Yu Darvish, which may have had something to do with Obispo pitching in only two games that season.

Obispo then re-signed with the Reds at 27, and had a combined 3.00 ERA in 35 games (13 starts) last season in Double-A and Triple-A, with 91 strikeouts and 43 walks in 96 innings. He’s anything but a sure thing, as his age and Triple-A struggles attest. But a low-risk gamble with a potential high reward.

“A real good arm,” Wren said. “You try to find as many of those guys as you can and put them in the system and see if they develop.”

The Braves also claimed righty David Carpenter off waivers from the Red Sox last week, after he followed his good rookie season in 2011 (2.93 ERA in 34 appearances for Houston, with 29 strikeouts and 13 walks in 27-2/3 innings) by seeing his ERA balloon to 8.07 in 33 appearances with Houston and Toronto (he still had 31 strikeouts with 16 walks in 32-1/3 innings).

And then there is Juan Jaime, whom the Braves moved to their 40-man roster this winter, after the 25-year-old Dominican bounced back from a difficult two-year recovery for Tommy John surgery by overpowering hitters in the Class-A Carolina League. He had a 3.16 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 33 walks in 51-1/3 innings (42 appearances) for Lynchburg.

After missing two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, reliever Juan Jaime had an impressive year at Lynchburg and was added to the 40-man roster this winter.

After missing two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, reliever Juan Jaime had an impressive year at Lynchburg and was added to the 40-man roster this winter.

Jaime, a 6-1, 230-pounder, is another righty whose fastball routinely touches 98 mph.

“He’s a guy that sits anywhere 98-100 on radar gun, and he has a developing breaking ball that got better and better,” Wren said. “On any given night he has outstanding stuff. Big kid. Looking forward to seeing him in the spring.

• Who will lead? With Eric Hinske now officially gone – he signed with Arizona on Tuesday – the Braves have said goodbye to three of their most respected veteran leaders this offseason: Chipper Jones (retired), David Ross (signed with Boston), and Hinske.

Here’s what Wren said when asked Monday who could step up to fill the leadership void.

“I think we’re going to see kind of a changing of the guard in that area,” he said. “Because there also is a pecking order based on seniority and respect. No different than when Chipper felt like he couldn’t really be the leader as long as guys like the Madduxes and Glavines and Smoltzes were still in the clubhouse. He needed to be respectful of their leadership. And then Chipper became the guy, and I think we have other guys who saw it the same way, whether it’s Mac [Brian McCann] and Danny Uggla and Martin Prado….

“I think there’s guys that will step forward once we get to spring training and guys get in the room together again. I think it will take care of itself. It usually does.”

I would just add that I think Jason Heyward will also become more of a leader now. He made progress on every front last season, on the field and in the clubhouse, gaining a lot of respect for playing hard, never complaining, and being someone the team could count upon on a daily basis. That’s already leadership by example. Now, I think he’ll take it to the next level, even though he doesn’t strike me as a type that’s going to get up in guys’ faces on a regular basis or anything like that.

He’s an observant sort of guy who’s clearly taken it all in for the past few years and matured into the sort of player who holds himself accountable, is there to answer questions after every game, win or loss, whether he plays well or makes a mistake, etc.

After Heyward recently won his first Gold Glove, I asked Dale Murphy about him. Murph wasn’t at all surprised by the award for Heyward.

Heyward, here shown hugging Chipper Jones, could be one of the Braves who assert more leadership in the absence of veterans Jones, David Ross and Eric Hinske.

Heyward, here shown hugging Chipper Jones, could be one of the Braves who assert more leadership in the absence of veterans Jones, David Ross and Eric Hinske.

“Very deserving,” Murphy said. “Jason is one unique athlete, I don’t think there’s any question. Everybody recognizes his five tools — maybe go to six, because he can rob home runs with his height. [Murphy laughs.] But I’m very impressed with Jason’s game, his maturity, his growth. He’s still so young. It’s hard to imagine it’s only his third year, the way he plays. And defenisviely, he works at it and takes it seriously. That’s the hallmark of an athlete that you want.”

I would just add one more thing, in regards to clubhouse leadership. As Wren pointed out, Tim Hudson was already a leader among the pitchers. Huddy’s got a personality and demeanor that helps his leadership transcend the pitching staff, and I would expect that to be even more the case now after the exit of other veterans.

• OK, got to get back over to the lobby and see if anything’s going on before we have our regular briefing with Wren this afternoon. Here at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, there is currently a special exhibit chronicling the The Bakersfield Sound. So I’m gonna close with a classic from one of the key figures of that sound, the great Merle Haggard. You can hear it by clicking here.

Branded+Man,+Merle+Haggard

“I’M A LONESOME FUGITIVE” by Merle Haggard

Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home
I raised a lot of cane back in my younger days
While Mama used to pray my crops would fail
I’m a hunted fugitive with just two ways:
Outrun the law or spend my life in jail

I’d like to settle down but they won’t let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home

I’m lonely but I can’t afford the luxury
Of having one I love to come along
She’d only slow me down and they’d catch up with me
For he who travels fastest goes alone

I’d like to settle down but they won’t let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home

I’m on the run, the highway is my home

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

4,816 comments Add your comment

nolakid211

December 4th, 2012
4:09 pm

There is no way we can use an internal option for LF with the market like it is for outfielders. Wren slightly overpays for Upton and then has the audacity to turn around a stick Constanza in LF? No you need to bring a quality player in to compete in this Division. We need to win the NL East not play in the WC game. MAKE IT HAPPEN

unbelievable

December 4th, 2012
4:12 pm

lol @ Auburn…$11mil in buyouts to bring in another “unproven” coordinator. Arkansas gets Bielema, Auburn brings back Gus.

P'cola Brave

December 4th, 2012
4:12 pm

Trade for Michael Young. Solid RH bat, Veteran leadership and solid player. Pencil him in at 3rd

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:12 pm

Alex Speier ‏@alexspeier

Interesting to see #indians so aggressive in Victorino talks. If he signs w/CLE, trade market for Shin-Soo Choo should heat up.

TennesseePaul

December 4th, 2012
4:14 pm

Thanks for the work DOB

BravePack(FreeFan)

December 4th, 2012
4:17 pm

Ward is saying we are talking with the Rockies for Fowler. Why are we getting more insider info from Ward than DOB or Bowman? I know I know it’s Ward and he’s probably making it up but who knows? I’d at least like Bowman and DOB to make some stuff up, anything really, give us some damn rumors please!

CB

December 4th, 2012
4:18 pm

Tell me nobody is dumb enough to give Victorino that kind of money. Well,other than Mixxo and Gsquared.

Mike in VA

December 4th, 2012
4:19 pm

Great article DOB. How do you find the time with so much going on??????

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:20 pm

Winter Meetings 2012 = lame. I don’t even care that the Braves haven’t done anything… nobody has done anything. I look forward to this time of year almost as much as I do spring training and opening day. So far it’s been the most boring winter meeting in recent memory.

When the big news of the day is Hinske signing then you know you’ve got problems.

ncscoots

December 4th, 2012
4:20 pm

Tell me nobody is dumb enough to give Victorino that kind of money.

Hey, it’s Mayan Money. You can offer whatever you like, since the world is gonna end in three weeks, anyway. :-)

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:21 pm

How is Victorino going to get that sort of money off of the year he just had? Just crazy money everywhere.

Mac is going to get a small fortune next year with even a slightly below career year. Something like .260/.340/.430 and he’s still gonna get a five year contract.

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:21 pm

BP, Ward is reporting on rumors he heard 3 days ago. I wouldn’t pay much attention.

Sorry Ward, it’s not you… the lack of excitement has me all pout-pout fish over here.

Ward

December 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

If Braves are looking for a lead off LF? I sure hope Wren, can get some thing done with Rockies than? I’m just going with the waves here. Fowler, has been tagged to the Braves.

P'cola Brave

December 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

Red Sox offered Victorino 3 yr/38 million

Nick

December 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

The Braves aren’t getting a LF. They are too cheap.

ncscoots

December 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

Winter Meetings 2012 = lame.

Still got another day, Murph. Maybe something simmering will come to a boil for ya, and you’ll be happy, happy, happy. :-)

Nick

December 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

The Braves aren’t getting a LF. They are too cheap.

UKUGA

December 4th, 2012
4:24 pm

Good quotes from Wren.

Tumbledown

December 4th, 2012
4:24 pm

Thanks DOB for all your work.

Ward

December 4th, 2012
4:26 pm

BravesPack – I don’t make things up, just read my sites…….no offense….

Mikeyc588

December 4th, 2012
4:26 pm

Amazing stuff, DOB. Thanks. Hadn’t even heard of Obispo or Jaime. Intriguing guys…

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:26 pm

JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm

Buck Showalter just told us on SiriusXM that 30 managers were polled on wanting more instant replay and 29 of them said yes

unbelievable

December 4th, 2012
4:27 pm

Braves dont need a leadoff hitter. We need an impact bat in LF.

Tumbledown

December 4th, 2012
4:27 pm

Gotta be patient. Good things come to those who will wait. At least, that was what I was told years ago.

Lew

December 4th, 2012
4:28 pm

Will that finally shut Only Braves Fan TFU about O’Flaherty? Doubtful – he’s apparently obsessive and has nothing else in life to do but post about those obsessions.

Frank Wren

December 4th, 2012
4:29 pm

LF will be a platoon of Matty Diaz and Jordan Schafer.

Both can hit leadoff.

Problem solved !

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:29 pm

Boston 2013 payroll:

John Lackey – $15.95M
David Ortiz – $14.5M
Mike Napoli – $13M
Dustin Pedroia – $10.25M
Jon Lester – $11.625M
Jacoby Ellsbury – $8.1M
Clay Buchholz – $5.75M
Jonny Gomes – $5M
Andrew Bailey – $3.9M
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – $3.9M
David Ross – $3.1M
Alfredo Aceves – $2.6M
Craig Breslow – $2.4M
Jose Iglesias – $2.06M
Daniel Bard – $1.6M
Andrew Miller – $1.4M
Franklin Morales – $1.4M

17 players – $106.535 million

So they really can afford Shane Victorino at $13 million annually and probably afford another starter. Still wouldn’t nearly approach the $175 million they had last year.

Ward

December 4th, 2012
4:30 pm

Murph – I understand, but I’m curious on what’s up with Rockies. It’s like yes, no, and then yes again…… Maybe it will come down to the Rockies? The Upton trade talks look like they are slowly dying……

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:30 pm

Still got another day, Murph. Maybe something simmering will come to a boil for ya, and you’ll be happy, happy, happy.

I just want some moves. Not even necessarily Braves moves, just moves. Something. Napoli… Laroche… Hinske… that’s not enough. FA signings can happen anytime. This is supposed to be when the trades are made. Big drama. Chess match. Blah blah blah.

Drew

December 4th, 2012
4:31 pm

I’m interested in the whole Michael Bourne thing where his interest is drying up. He may end up getting a lesser contract than BJ Upton.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:31 pm

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump

A-Rod @Yankees had hip surgery & will be out 6 months. Do you notice all the “druggies” have bad hips.

Lew

December 4th, 2012
4:32 pm

Why do we hear more from Ward than Bowman and DOB? Because Bowman and DOB are maybe waiting to hear real news from the people who would actually know while Ward reads rumors anywhere he sees them and speculates?

Richard

December 4th, 2012
4:32 pm

I think you’ll see Cody Ross in LF. Personally, I’m all up for packaging Teheran/Delgado with EOF and another solid prospect for Alex Gordon, but I doubt that’ll happen.

unbelievable

December 4th, 2012
4:32 pm

Drew, its Scott Boras. Someone will overpay. I thought the Fielder market had dried up and then all of a sudden he got a massive deal. Same will happen with Bourn.

Braves' Nation

December 4th, 2012
4:33 pm

DOB,

With Angel Pagan re-signing w/Giants for $40 million for 4 years, any chance Bourn could come back
for 12 million for 5 years? He’s not signed anywhere yet.

How much wiggle room does Wren have for one more free agent?

Bourn in CF and Upton in LF would be sweet !

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:33 pm

Ward, I haven’t heard or read anything about the Braves talking to the Rockies in days… last I heard was that they wanted to much for Fowler and pretty much every team walked away from the table.

Where are you reading that they’ve resumed talks? Check the date of the article and if it’s 12/4, post a link.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:33 pm

Must be the lone dissenter….

Bernie Pleskoff ‏@BerniePleskoff

#Nationals mgr. D. Johnson on instant replay: “You’re either all in or all out. Leave things in the hands of the umpires. They need jobs”

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:35 pm

I guess they’d go with Shane in RF and a platoon of Kalish and Gomes in LF.

CF Ellsbury
RF Victorino
2B Pedroia
DH Ortiz
1B Napoli
3B Middlebrooks
LF Gomes/Kalish
C Salty/Ross
SS Iglesias

Well, they so far didn’t give up any draft picks with their signings – which meshes with what Cherington wanted to do. Bet that’s part of the reason they weren’t interested in Swisher.

nolie

December 4th, 2012
4:35 pm

Michael Young is totally fried. He had a 690 OPS in one of the best hitters parks in baseball last year. Can we say “toast”?

BTW I said months ago that Shane would get at least 3 years and 10 mil per and several really ridiculed that.
Once again the old codger is right.
Good thing I am so modest or I would be unbearable

Hillbilly

December 4th, 2012
4:35 pm

Arkansas gets Bielema

That came out of nowhere. I don’t know much about him except for the fact that he’s going to his 3rd straight Rose Bowl. Go Hogs, I guess.

Ward

December 4th, 2012
4:36 pm

Ichiro, is still mentioned, and been brought, as of late. I guess I would be O.K. with him, and I would be O.K. with Choo too…..

Richard

December 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

Someone’s gonna overpay for Bourn. Probably Philly.

RC

December 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

#Nationals mgr. D. Johnson on instant replay: “You’re either all in or all out. Leave things in the hands of the umpires. They need jobs”

Hell, pay them to watch the replay screen. It would probably create MORE jobs for umpires, not less.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman

The Braves have signed catcher Matt Pagnozzi to a Minor Lg. contract. Pagnozzi will likely serve as ATL’s backup until McCann returns

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

BTW I said months ago that Shane would get at least 3 years and 10 mil per and several really ridiculed that.
Once again the old codger is right.

You did call that, and I don’t believe he should be anywhere near that…..

Upton at 5/75 in 2012 is looking nicer. Can’t wait to see what Bourn gets via Boras and a starving for attention Seattle Mariner team.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:38 pm

Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman

Pagnozzi, who will be targeted to spend most of the year with Triple-A Gwinnett, is the nephew of former big league catcher Tom Pagnozzi

VaBravesFan

December 4th, 2012
4:39 pm

Huge overpay for Victorino in my opinion… I’m stunned. I also see Justin Upton isn’t coming to Atlanta, which is upsetting. I was really hoping we could make a deal without Simmons being involved.

Tumbledown

December 4th, 2012
4:39 pm

Forget Young, time to get Olt!

RJB in DC

December 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

We have an impact bat in LF already with Prado. The question is if Juan Francisco can be solid enough (and slim enough) to become our regular third baseman. His power numbers in limited playing time in 2012, and currently in winter ball, suggests that he can. The downside id that he is another left handed bat in the lineup.

RC

December 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

Upton at 5/75 in 2012 is looking nicer. Can’t wait to see what Bourn gets via Boras and a starving for attention Seattle Mariner team.

I’ve actually had no problem with Upton’s 5/75. When compared with the Lowe signing, even looking at it through the lens of his performance and age BEFORE the Braves signed him, Upton is practically a steal.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

Pedro Gomez ‏@pedrogomezESPN

Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.

Lew

December 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

If Victorino is getting close to $13 mil a season, there is absolutley no way Bourn signs for $12 mil a season.

ncscoots

December 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

Upton at 5/75 in 2012 is looking nicer.

No kidding, LOL. Practically a flippin’ bargain, as long as he maintains a pulse.

Heck, BJ’s frozen head is probably a bargain at $15MM, the way folks are throwing cash around.

old man

December 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

Enter your comments here

Rev Buddy Greene

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

forget victorino i think we need to sign Ichiro!

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

Pagnozzi’s career stat line:

71 AB
.310/.364/.380/.744
1 HR
2 2B
13 RBI

Yippee, Now all the pieces are starting to fall into place.

Sigh…….

Venice Jim

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

Countdown under 6 hours until Springsteen…

David O'Brien

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

From Pedro Gomez on Twitter: Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.

RC

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

JUpton in Philly? Weird.

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

Huge overpay for Victorino in my opinion… I’m stunned

I think the entire baseball world is.

Ward

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

Murph – Never give people your source…….Golden rule number 1 All, have a good one! Ichiro is very interesting too. Look good leading off in Braves Line – Up. Peace my friends, and talk tonight, and “Go!!!!!Braves!!!!!”

old man

December 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

Enter my comments where?

jbill

December 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

Diaz is not on team, thank God.

nolie

December 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

Justin was never coming to Atlanta. having family in the same work system can cause huge problems, plus they could never really afford him.

VaBravesFan

December 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

Having around 13 million to work with and some valuable young pitching we could trade, Wren has to do better than Francisco at 3rd base or some kind of platoon. I really believe Juan could be a 20+ HR guy with 130+ games but his AVG/OBP won’t be pretty, and expect 150+ strikeouts as well. We have enough resources to land a good everyday player for LF

ncscoots

December 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee.

That’s one way to do it, I guess.

Venice Jim

December 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

Braves will probably do something right after we leave for Anaheim in a couple of hours…

Lew

December 4th, 2012
4:45 pm

If it came to the point of playing Francisco at third, they’d get a RH hitter to platon with Prado in LF and let Martin play third against LHP.

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:45 pm

Wow. Upton for Lee. That’d be a trade and a half.

Then they swoop in and sign Greinke or Sanchez or Jackson or Lohse or Dempster.

Or most likely two from that group.

Tumbledown

December 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

The last piece to fall in place will be the signing of McLouth for LF.

Ray

December 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

With the latest market developments, it appears that Bourn will benefit greatly the longer he holds out. Oh yeah, someone will definitely overpay for him. I am pretty positive he will get over 90m and probably 100m. Apparently Swisher is going to wait until after Hamilton signs.

Samurai Squirrel

December 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

Ichiro could help provide the veteran leadership this team needs.

Rick C

December 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

Pagnozzi is essentially just replacing Boscan. Their minor league slash lines are practically the same.

nolie

December 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

Braves might well be done except for some tweaks and some dumpster diving……

Ray

December 4th, 2012
4:47 pm

It’s reported that Dbacks and phillies are talking Cliff Lee and cash for J Upton. Oh gosh I hope not.

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:47 pm

Murph – Never give people your source…….Golden rule number 1

I don’t think you know what a golden rule is… but ok. In other words, you’re like Brick from the movie Anchorman and just throw names out at random.

I love… carpet.
I love… desk.
Brick, are you just looking at things in the office and saying that you love them?
I love lamp.
Do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying it because you saw it?
I love lamp… I love lamp.

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:47 pm

Cliff Lee was fantastic last year. Interesting move for the Phils if they go that route.

Lew

December 4th, 2012
4:47 pm

Apparently the Four Aces pitching staff was a short lived creature. Not sure how dominant the Phillies staff will be this year with Lee gone and the Phillies hoping for 85-90% from Halladay.

Mike

December 4th, 2012
4:49 pm

Now that is weird with Justin in Philly, so that means we might have to look at Ichiro or somebody else, since the LF list is drying up and prices is going up as well.

VaBravesFan

December 4th, 2012
4:49 pm

Bourn is likely to get a 5 years 90 million or 6 years 102 million.

nolie

December 4th, 2012
4:49 pm

I think it makes it pretty unlikely that Gattis starts the season in Atlanta as a bench catcher, never thought that would happen anyway

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:49 pm

Lee, Kennedy, Cahill, Miley, Bauer/Skaggs/Corbin – that’s a seriously good rotation.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:49 pm

Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan

Arizona discussing all sorts of three- and four-way deals to get shortstop. Upton for Cliff Lee (per @pedrogomezESPN) could just be a start.

nolie

December 4th, 2012
4:50 pm

PLEASE, no Ichiro

Tumbledown

December 4th, 2012
4:51 pm

Ichiro would be a great addition . . . in 2004!

David O'Brien

December 4th, 2012
4:52 pm

Braves got their new Boscan — they signed catcher Matt Pagnozzi, 30, to a minor league deal. He’ll be Laird’s backup till McCann is ready.

Pagnozzi has spent a decade in minors, with a few cups of coffee in bigs with St. Louis, Colorado, Pittsburgh. Has .310 average with .364 OBP, 1 homer in 83 plate appearances in 33 major league games.

He’s a .220 career hitter with a .300 OBP, 26 homers and 225 RBIs in more than 2100 ABs and 703 games in minors.

Pagnozzi’s uncle, Tom, was a Gold Glove catcher for the Cardinals for a decade beginning in late ’80s.

Efrim

December 4th, 2012
4:53 pm

Arizona discussing all sorts of three- and four-way deals to get shortstop. Upton for Cliff Lee (per @pedrogomezESPN) could just be a start.

Good. I’d like to see something crazy.

ncscoots

December 4th, 2012
4:53 pm

Arizona discussing all sorts of three- and four-way deals to get shortstop.

Awright! This is the kind of thing Murph’s looking for!

Lemme see…going eight-way, Lee off the deep rail, Upton in the side pocket. :-) Two teams end up with half the players they traded to start with, and the commissioner voids the deal due to confusion. I like it. Winter meetings at its best.

Farnsworthy

December 4th, 2012
4:54 pm

With no team jumping to take him at a gazillion dollars per year, maybe the Braves will end up with Bourn for another year……………..

Murph

December 4th, 2012
4:54 pm

In the span of 24 hours we’ve gone from hoping for a lineup of Upton and Upton to now possibly seeing Upton vs Upton several times per season. Yikes!

At least it’s more entertaining than Hinske news.

VaBravesFan

December 4th, 2012
4:54 pm

I could see the Indian’s possibly getting involved somehow with SS Cabrera,

Peter R.

December 4th, 2012
4:56 pm

Yea, if the Phils make that move they could be a great deal more competitive. Beats me why they would just get rid of Lee with sending money. They must think that Upton will hit 30 hrs a year with a .900 ops. I’m sure that’s what the Braves are hoping for with our Upton. If the Nats improve, which seems like a possibility with the signing of Haren, then the Braves are going to be fighting for second with the Phils. Just what the Braves having going for them is that the Phils may too many holes. Their GM must not have been thinking straight when he gave Lee, Hamels, and Halladay all that money. The Braves must be gawking at the asking prices in a trade for a LF. If the BoSox really sign Victorino for nearly 38 million over 3 years, then the Braves walked away. That’s too much money for him. I wonder what Swisher’s contract is going to look like at this point. I wouldn’t mind the idea of giving Francisco getting a shot at playing third if only he could hit lefties. If the Braves can just correct his swing, then he might get better. 50 abs against them isn’t many, but then again the Braves probably know what his numbers in the minors are like. I don’t want to ever see Constanza in a lineup to be honest. Just start Juan and play Prado in LF. Constanza’s a joke. Their lineup had serious problems last year, so beats me what Wren is doing. Maybe Gattis and Francisco could share time? Beats me. There’s hope out there for them. Maybe a trade will happen in later in the offseason if prices come down. The Rocks and the Royals probably know how much the free agents want and they want to be compensated accordingly. Gotta do something though. I think dumping Hanson was a good call. Paying him 4 million to pitch in the minors wouldn’t be exactly the most fruitful experience.

Ray

December 4th, 2012
4:56 pm

I don’t want to see Upton going to Zona.

jbailz23

December 4th, 2012
4:56 pm

If the Dbacks are taking Lee for Upton and sending Philly money wouldn’t you think we could send them Ahmed/Pastornicky, Tehran/Delgado and another piece or something and get him?

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:56 pm

Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan

Source insists Diamondbacks aren’t actively talking Cliff Lee for Justin Upton. Lots of interest in D-backs’ young pitching.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick

Things are moving fast with Shane Victorino. Source says #redsox are in “good position” to seal the deal.

old man

December 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

Actually, Choo is sounding better and better. He would be cheaper than three years of control with Gordon, and it gives us flexibility to bring in Gattis, Francisco, Ahmed, etc., if one of those guys really performs at a high level.

There would be a ton of PR pressure not to bench Upton or Gordon. Not so much with benching Choo if he is outperformed by someone else.

ncscoots

December 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

I could see the Indian’s possibly getting involved somehow with SS Cabrera,

Sure. Some third team drops a boatload of prospects on AZ for Lee, which are then shuffled off to Cleveland for Cabrera. That would work. Four-teamer, not as much fun as an eight-way, but fun enough.

Tumbledown

December 4th, 2012
4:58 pm

Peter R – Paragraphs are our friends.

Brava

December 4th, 2012
4:58 pm

Nick Piecoro ‏@nickpiecoro

Dbacks source tells me the Upton/Lee stuff “hasn’t been discussed” and is “off base.”

Add your comment