Bourn back to Braves? Rumor mill gets a spin

After GM Frank Wren said during a satellite-radio interview Sunday that the Braves had not closed the door on the possibility of Michael Bourn returning to the team, reaction on Twitter and the blogosphere went about as you’d expect in this age of 2 + 2 = 10.

Bourn (above) is a former Gold Glove winner, but the Braves say B.J. Upton is also one of the best center fielders in the game, despite metric stats that suggest otherwise..

Bourn (above) is a former Gold Glove winner, but the Braves say B.J. Upton is also one of the best center fielders in the game, despite metric stats that suggest otherwise..

Within an hour, Wren’s rather innocuous and not exactly earth-shattering response to the Bourn question was twisted, re-tweeted and exaggerated enough times to turn it into a juicy rumor in which some characterized the situation as the Braves in talks to bring back Bourn at a discounted rate now that his market had failed to materialize.

Some fans even got indignant about the possibility that the Braves might opt to move Bourn, a former Gold Glove winner, to left field in order to accommodate offseason free-agent signee B.J. Upton in center.

Twitter has created many profound changes in sports and the way they are reported and discussed. Inspiring rational, measured reactions is not one of those changes.

Those who know Wren’s modus operandi – or that of almost every other sports executive – should probably realize they rarely speak in absolutes with the media, usually for good reason. Wren didn’t expect Jim Bowden, the ex-GM-turned-sports-talk host, to ask about Bourn. When Bowden did, Wren responded by basically saying that, hey, the Braves always liked Bourn and what he did for the team, and had hoped at one time to have him back, but decided B.J. Upton was a better fit.

(That’s because of age and type of players they are — the older Bourn’s greatest skill is speed, often the first skill to erode. But that’s another story.)

Rather than say flatly that the Braves turned the page on Bourn and wouldn’t bring him back under any circumstances, Wren said they hadn’t shut the door on the possibility. Because in the (very) unlikely event that not one team makes Bourn a decent offer and then Bourn and agent Scott Boras circle back to the Braves ready to take a deal far, far below what Boras had once sought for the center fielder, then, well, why wouldn’t the Braves be interested?

But the operative words in that sentenced are “in the unlikely event” and “far below.”

That’s the kind of nuance — or in this case, unspoken detail — that doesn’t get included in the initial flurry of tweets after someone says something that is relayed, spun, and sometimes exaggerated or misrepresented.

Anyway, here’s the deal: Nothing has changed with the Braves and Bourn. At least as of Tuesday late morning, Wren hadn’t spoken with Boras about Bourn in weeks, since they declined the Braves’ $13.3 million qualifying offer (everyone knew they would decline that offer, since Boras was reportedly seeking a contract of at least six or seven years and well above $15 million annually).

The Braves subsequently signed Upton to a five-year, $75.25 million contract.

“They asked me if Michael Bourn fell in our lap, would we be interested,” Wren said of the radio interview Sunday. “I said yes, we’ve never closed the door on that. That wasn’t where I went in the interview…. Bowden said if his market collapsed or has already collapsed.

“And then he said who would you like in center field [in the unlikely event the Braves ended up with Upton and Bourn] and I said from our perspective it’s always been a toss-up.”

Wren repeated what he’d said to a few of us during the Winter Meetings a month ago: Defensive metric statistics, in the Braves’ view, were still a work in progress and not as reliable or pertinent as offensive metrics. Despite Bourn ranking significantly better in most defensive metrics, Braves officials and scouts also consider Upton one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball.

The Braves didn't wait around to negotiate with free agent Bourn, instead signing Upton to a five-year, $75.2 million contract a few days before the Winter Meetings.

Wren (left) and the Braves didn't wait around to negotiate with free agent Bourn, instead signing Upton to a five-year, $75.2 million contract a few days before the Winter Meetings.

When I asked Wren at the Winter Meetings whether Upton had been told during the free-agent recruiting process that he’d be the Braves’ center fielder, Wren said it was never a question which position he’d play if he signed with the Braves. Center field.

(Here’s what Upton told me at the press conference when I asked if playing center was an important consideration: “Yes, for right now that’s where I want to be,” he said. “If down the road I have to move to a corner, I’m able to do that. But for right now, I’m a center fielder. I have been for the last five or six years, and I’ve been doing on some artificial turf. Now I get to do it on some grass, and that might help me out a little bit. I’m looking forward to it, and don’t plan on moving out of center field anytime soon.”)

To make a long story short, the Braves haven’t been talking to Boras about Bourn, nor does it sound as if they have any intention to. And in the highly unlikely event that Bourn returned to the Braves this year, from what I’ve heard the Braves would not move Upton from center field.

• The other Upton: It wouldn’t be a Braves blog this offseason without a mention of Justin Upton, right? And sure enough, the Diamondbacks once again made it known this past week that they would trade Upton in the right deal. (If you’re J.Upton, at what point do you just call GM Kevin Towers and say, dude, what is your problem?)

Anyway, once again the Braves are one of the teams most-mentioned in Upton trade rumors, along with the Rangers, Mariners and, new this week, the Orioles (said to have had talked with Arizona before determining the price tag for Upton was too high). But Wren said he’s not been in contact with Towers since before Christmas.

The Mariners want him and might be ready and willing to meet Towers’ asking price, which no one has been able to glean specifically, other than multiple young impact players or prospects. Problem for the M’s is, Seattle is one of the four teams on Upton’s no-trade list, and he’d have to approve it for the deal to happen.

Towers is asking for big-time talent in return. The Braves quickly made it clear they wouldn’t trade shortstop Andrelton Simmons, the player Towers sought from Atlanta earlier this offseason. That pretty much ended the discussion then.

Towers reportedly has asked San Diego for third baseman Chase Headley, the league’s top power hitter in the second half of 2012. I can’t see that happening. Headley only made $3.475 million in 2012 and still has two arbitration seasons left before he’s eligible for free agency. Upton is owed $38.5 million over the next three seasons.

To me, Texas seems the most likely landing spot for Upton, unless he agrees to be traded to Seattle, perhaps in exchange for a contract extension or perhaps some sort of opt-out in his current deal after another year or two.

Justin Upton, who's been dangled as trade bait repeatedly by Arizona GM Kevin Towers, would love the chance to play with brother B.J. Upton of the Braves. The two Uptons both say it's a dream of theirs to be teammates someday.

Justin Upton, who's been dangled as trade bait repeatedly by Arizona GM Kevin Towers, would love the chance to play with brother B.J. Upton of the Braves. The two Uptons both say it's a dream of theirs to be teammates someday.

Could he be dealt to the Braves? Yes, it’s possible. But Towers would have to show he’s serious and call the Braves with a reasonable proposal, rather than continue all the hemming and hawing. Since J.Upton’s salary is $9.75 million in 2013 (it jumps to more than $14 million each of the last two years of the deal in ’14 and ’15), the Braves could probably squeeze him into next year’s payroll, especially if they traded a couple million bucks from the current roster.

As things stand today, it’s believed they have at least $8 million left to spend for a left fielder. But the Braves seem to be serious and not just posturing when they say they would be comfortable going to spring training with their current roster, giving guys like Evan Gattis, Jose Constanza (and perhaps Jordan Schafer?) a shot at left-field playing time along with veteran fourth-outfielder/pinch-hitter Reed Johnson. Or Martin Prado could move back and forth between third base and left field in such a scenario, platooning in left with Johnson and at third base with Juan Francisco, coming off an encouraging winter-ball season.

If they do that, and some combination of those players, the Braves could pocket their remaining funds until the season, then make a significant trade or two as necessary during the season. Or they could make such a move during spring training if it looks like things won’t work out with what they have.

• Arbitration swap-date approaching: Having that $8 million or so left to spend could also permit the Braves to sign an arbitration-eligible player or two to a multi-year contract extension this month. Jason Heyward is a first-time arbitration player and could command a six-fold raise to about $3.5 million, and Kris Medlen is also a first-time arb guy expected to get at least $2 million.

Those two are candidates to have arb years (and possible a free-agent year or two) bought out in a long-term extension, but the player most of us thought was most likely to be approached with such a proposal was Prado, since he’ll be eligible for free agency after this season. He would likely command an arbitration raise from last year $4.75 million to about $7.7 million for 2013.

I thought the Braves would do all they could to lock him up to, say, a three-year deal. And maybe they will. Wren said at the Winter Meetings that if any arb players would be offered multi-year extensions it would likely happen in January.

I heard last week that the Braves had had contract discussions with Prado since the Winter Meetings, but hadn’t been able to work out a deal yet. From what I could gather, they had not approached any other player yet about an extension.

It’ll be interesting to see if anything happens with him or any of the others before Jan. 18, the day that teams swap salary-arb figures with their unsigned arb-eligible players.

The sides can continue to negotiate deals – one-year or multi-year deals – after that date, right up to their scheduled arb hearings in February.

All major league teams will receive approximately $25 million more from the new national TV deal beginning next season, which should theoretically give teams more incentive to sign players to extensions now, at least those players who could become free agents after the season. Because rest assured salaries are only going to rise with the infusion of more TV money to every team, just as free-agent salaries already jumped this winter due in part to huge local-TV deals that a few teams either finalized or will soon.

I’m just thinking aloud here, but maybe the Braves could sign Prado to a deal that includes a salary for 2013 roughly the same as what they’d pay in arb anyway (about $7.7 million through arbitration) then salaries of $10 million or so in the next 2-3 years. Or use a few million bucks of the $8 million or more they have left in their payroll this winter and give Prado something like $9 million-$10 million for each of the next three seasons.

Otherwise, it sure seems risky to sign Prado for just one year and then have him have the type of season he’s had in two of the past three years, in which case he might command a larger free-agent deal on the open market next winter.

• Bill James projections: The 2013 Bill James Handbook arrived in my mailbox last week (with Chipper Jones on the cover, tipping his cap to crowd). The first thing I do is flip to the back and go through the player projections for 2013, even though the projections often end up way off the mark. It’s still fun to look and see what James and his staff think will happen.

Here are the Handbook’s projections for key Braves hitters:

Heyward: .272/.360/.483 w/ 32 doubles, 5 triples, 26 HR, 92 R, 82 RBI, 20 SB

Simmons: 289/.351/.416 w/ 26 doub, 10 HR, 18 SB.

Bill James Handbook projects a .282 average with 25 homers and 95 RBIs from Freeman in his third season.

Bill James Handbook projects a .282 average with 25 homers and 95 RBIs from Freeman in his third season.

Prado: .291/.347/.425 w/ 38 doub, 11 HR, 63 RBI.

Freeman: .282/.358/.481 w/ 36 doub, 25 HR, 95 RBI

Upton: 248/.329/..436 w/34 doub, 23 HR, 75 RBI, 35 SB, 167 K

McCann: .266/.347/.467 w/ 29 doub, 23 HR, 94 RBI (134 games)

Uggla: .238/.341/.439 w/ 28 HR, 87 RBI, 174 K.

And for Braves pitchers:

Medlen: 14-7 with 2.94 ERA, 173 K, 36 BB in 190 innings

Kimbrel: 39 saves, 1.38 ERA, 109 K, 22 BB in 65 innings

Minor: 11-10, 3.76 ERA, 177 K, 61 BB in 189 innings

Hudson: 12-9, 3.36 ERA, 120 K, 54 BB, 193 innings

Maholm: 10-12, 4.00 ERA, 126 K, 58 BB, 198 innings

Teheran: 7-9, 4.43 ERA, 119 K, 55 BB, 149 innings (25 starts)

Delgado: 7-9, 4.20 ERA, 122 K, 63 BB, 137 innings (25 starts)

Beachy: 5-3, 3.09 ERA, 76 K, 23 BB, 70 innings (12 starts)

• Hall of Fame voting: The 2013 class for the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced Wednesday afternoon. That is, if there is a class.

Some believe this could be the first time since 1996 that no player is elected by writers for induction into the HOF at Cooperstown. This is the first year that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, arguably the greatest hitter and pitcher of my lifetime, have been eligible for the Hall of Fame. Many writers have refused to vote for them, first-time-eligible Sammy Sosa, and others connected to use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

It’ll be interesting to see how many votes those guys get, but plenty of Braves fans are even more interested to see how many votes Dale Murphy gets in his 15th and final year on the ballot. The two-time former MVP and franchise icon has been named on less than 15 percent of ballots for the past 11 years in a row, which is ludicrous, as I wrote last month. Murphy’s stats are borderline HOF-worthy, but so were Jim Rice’s and plenty of other players now in the Hall of Fame.

This is the 15th and final year for Dale Murphy on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

This is the 15th and final year for Dale Murphy on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

I have no doubt that if Murphy had the same career playing for the Yankees or Red Sox, he’d have been named on at least 40-50 percent of the ballots by now. Hey, Roger Maris was. Look up their stats and compare.

The point I made in this blog last month in this blog was that if writers were going to use rule No. 5 on the HOF ballot, the rule that pertains to sportsmanship, character and integrity, as a reason to keep out the likes of Bonds and Clemens, then the flipside of that is that Murphy should get credit for having character and integrity beyond reproach, both on and off the field during his playing career and since.

In recent weeks, it’s become apparent that plenty of other writers view Murphy’s case similarly. From conversations I’ve had with some writers and ballots that others have revealed, it seems to me that Murphy’s vote total could at least double or triple this year.

He’s not going to get the 75 percent needed to be elected to the Hall of Fame, but if he gets a big boost in his vote total it should help his case with the Veterans Committee that could select him to the HOF at some point in the not-too-distant future.

While plenty of writers have tussled with how to vote, and who if anyone from the steroid era that they should eliminate from consideration, The Denver Post’s Troy Renck wrote Sunday:

Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer took a different path. With 37 candidates available on this year’s ballot and writers permitted to vote for as many as 10, he checked a single box for former Braves star Dale Murphy.

“Murphy has gained support this winter with writers citing rule No. 5 on the ballot, which states ‘voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.’

“Brookover believes the rule should be removed, eliminating some of the confusion regarding the players of baseball’s steroid era.

“’It’s kind of a symbolic vote. I am willing to admit that. I will probably never vote this way again. I even toyed with the idea of bowing out,’ Brookover said. ‘I have no way of differentiating who did and who didn’t. If integrity and sportsmanship are on the ballot, Murphy’s the one guy I would bet my life didn’t (use PEDs).’”

Veteran writer Scott Miller of CBSSports.com revealed that he cast two of six HOF votes to former Braves Fred McGriff and Murph:

“Wrestling with the Steroid Era throughout the month of December while researching my ballot, I did something I rarely do: I voted for two players I had not supported in previous ballots,” Miller wrote. “McGriff is one. He was a near-miss for me in the past, but the more I try to put the juicers into context, the more I see that maybe we’re overlooking the careers of some players who were wrongly diminished. With 493 career homers brushing up against the monster power seasons that came immediately after him, McGriff, I believe is one of these guys. As Bonds, McGwire and Sosa were crushing 50 and 60 homers a season, McGriff’s seven consecutive summers of 30 or more homers began to look fairly pedestrian (even though he ranks 26th all time). Knowing what we know now, McGriff’s career is worth a second (and third and fourth) look. He had a career .377 on-base percentage along with all of those homers, and his 4,458 total bases rank 49th on baseball’s all-time list.

“[Murphy was] the second player on this ballot that I voted for after bypassing him in the past. For me, Murphy always has been a near-miss. I just didn’t think his greatness extended long enough. But as I skipped Bonds, Clemens and others because of the ‘character, integrity and sportsmanship’ portion of the ballot, I began to think the corollary to that is that certain others should benefit from that. Murphy, known as one of the classiest players ever to play the game, clearly is deserving of a couple of extra bonus points in that regard. His back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983 and his five consecutive Gold Glove awards (’82-’86) speak to his greatness.”

The Indian-head logo: There’s been no announcement from MLB or the Braves regarding the use of the ‘60s-era Braves Indian-head logo on the team’s new batting-practice caps. The website Uni-Watch.com had illustrations of all the caps that Uni-Watch’s Paul Lukas reported would be unveiled before spring training.

A few days after his original post, he wrote that the Braves were reconsidering due to backlash from some who consider the logo offensive and/or racist. A Braves official told me that the team would have no comment unless and until the caps were unveiled by Major League Baseball.

I posted a poll about this issue last week on the blog. You can read that blog and vote here, if you haven’t already. In it, I asked readers what they thought about the logo, the same one worn on the sleeve of the uniforms the Braves first wore after moving to Atlanta in 1965.

There were five possible answers on the poll: 1. I like it and hope they bring it back; 2. It’s OK. I’m good either way, bring it back or leave it in mothballs; 3. I’m not offended by it, but just don’t like it; 4. I like it, but can understand where some might be offended; 5. I find it offensive and don’t think it should be used again.

braves-headAs of 6 p.m. Tuesday, there were 3792 votes cast – only one vote permitted from each IP address – including 2394 (60 percent) for “I like it and hope they bring it back.” Another 13 percent voted “It’s OK,” while 10 percent voted that they liked it but could understand where some might be offended, and 9 percent voted that they weren’t offended by it, but just didn’t like the logo.

Eight percent – 306 people – voted that the logo was offensive and shouldn’t be used again.

I also got plenty of reaction on Twitter and in emails from people including members of a couple of Native American rights groups.

The emails included some thoughtful responses from people on all sides of the issue. Here’s one of the emails:

I am a writer and Native American historian and I feel it necessary to comment on your article in today’s AJC regarding the Braves proposed new design for their batting practice hats. First, if anyone finds an item or word offensive, I submit that civilized people would refrain from using it. If you want to know the feeling Native Americans have regarding the issue, why don’t you contact their media editors and tribal leaders. Perhaps a note to Indian Country Today Media Network, or Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker could provide some enlightenment for you on the topic.

What really surprises me though, is that the Braves would even consider doing something that is clearly considered hateful, offensive and yes, even racist to any group of people, regardless of the size of the group. Teams don’t choose logos and nicknames offensive to African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans because they realize it is offensive, politically incorrect, and distasteful. Why is so hard for them to show the same respect for Native Americans?

Incidentally, I think if you actually researched it, you would find that the Notre Dame logo is offensive to many of Irish descent. The bottom line however, is that as humans, we should be respectful of others. If in doubt, don’t do it. Plain and simple.

Respectfully,

Walter Knapp

I appreciate all the responses, folks. And if you haven’t voted, please take a moment to go back and do so. Thanks.

• Braves in the WBC: The Braves could do without at least a few of their top players for a week or more during spring training, because some of them are candidates to play in the World Baseball Classic during March.

Rosters have yet to be finalized, but here were the Braves’ potential participants Wren named, and the country they would likely play for: Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen (USA); Juan Francisco, Jose Constanza (Dominican Republic); Martin Prado, Luis Avilan (Venezuela); Freddie Freeman (Canada), Andrelton Simmons (Netherlands), and Edward Salcedo (Spain).

Wait, Freeman for Canada? (Some of you just had that reaction, didn’t you?) Yes, Canada. His parents came from Canada.

Avilan told Venezuelan reporters that he planned to skip the WBC after pitching a full season of winter ball.

Avilan told Venezuelan reporters that he planned to skip the WBC after pitching a full season of winter ball.

Avilan told Venezuelan reporters last week that he decided to skip the WBC tournament, saying that he needed to make the decision with his head and not his heart. A wise decision in my view, since the left-handed reliever has pitched all winter in Venezuela and is coming off an exceptional rookie season that puts him in position to be a key contributor in a loaded Braves ‘pen.

Better to get the rest that try to crank it back up to game conditions again in March after doing that during the Venezuelan winter ball season.

When I asked Wren whether it would be a concern if Kimbrel and Medlen pitch in the WBC, he said it’s always a concern, but that with the pitch limit and innings limit that Team USA will utilize, it shouldn’t be an issue and wasn’t enough of a concern that he would ask them not to pitch.

• Top Dozen Movies: After a flurry of movie-going in the last couple of weeks, here’s my list of top movies of 2012. I still haven’t seen some other highly regarded ones that I will get to soon, including Zero Dark Thirty (it starts here this week), Searching for Sugar Man, Compliance, Holy Motors, Safety Not Guaranteed, The Dark Knight Rises and Les Miserables. If I need to amend my list later, I will.

1. Lincoln; 2. Django Unchained; 3. Silver Linings Playbook; 4. Argo, 5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower; 6. Skyfall; 7. End of Watch; 8. Looper; 9. The Sessions; 10. Beasts of the Southern Wild; 11. The Avengers; 12. Bernie

Honorable mention: The Cabin in the Woods; The Master; This Is 40, Carnage, Moonrise Kingdom, Killing Them Softly, Rampart, Killer Joe.

• Let’s close with a tune from Elvis, whose birthday was Tuesday. Check out The King by clicking here.

Elvis-Presley-sb22

“CRAWFISH” (by B. Weisman, F. Wise)

Crawfish
Well I went to the bayou just last night
There was no moon but the stars were bright
Put a big long hook on a big long pole
And I pulled Mr. Crawfish out of his hole
Crawfish

See I got him, see the size
Stripped and cleaned before your eyes
Sweet meat look, fresh and ready to cook
Crawfish

Now take Mr. Crawfish in your hand
He’s gonna look good in your frying pan
If you fry him crisp or you boil him right
He’ll be sweeter than sugar when you take a bite
Crawfish…

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,555 comments Add your comment

Casey

January 8th, 2013
8:22 pm

DOB doing his damn thang on the rumor mill!

GT-Falcon Fan

January 8th, 2013
8:24 pm

FIRST to declare first!

DHD

January 8th, 2013
8:26 pm

So, we’re getting Bourn?

Ha!

George_George

January 8th, 2013
8:27 pm

Thank you for new blog.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
8:28 pm

Am I the only one who’d be disappointed if Heyward only hit .272 this year?

njbraves

January 8th, 2013
8:31 pm

Constanza and Schafer??? Really? My god, this team really pisses me off sometimes.

Chief Knock-A-Homa

January 8th, 2013
8:34 pm

Couple of things:

1 – DOB – do you NOT want the Braves to bring Bourn back, or what?? You just seem so negative about it when it is ever brought up… I mean, we get that it’s a long shot, but how great an outfield is that if we could work it out??!! Why not write about a way that it COULD work??

2 – And with Justin Upton – same thing… Why don’t you give us your thoughts on what the Braves WOULD be willing to deal for Upton ??

Would love to hear the positive thoughts on how both of these could happen…

njbraves

January 8th, 2013
8:34 pm

How about Wren gets aggressive and calls Towers… why not make a real push to get better instead of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring?? This LF platoon will be a disaster.

richbrave

January 8th, 2013
8:34 pm

For those interested, the word on the street is a torn LCL and possible ACL re-injury with exploratory surgery scheduled for RGIII. Recovery time 8-12 months. Nothing official. Just local rumors.

ATLfan

January 8th, 2013
8:35 pm

@najeh not if he has a .360 obp

njbraves

January 8th, 2013
8:36 pm

Bourn is not coming back to Atlanta, the notion is ridiculous. You think Boras is going to tell him to take a one year deal and switch to LF?? Not happening.

richbrave

January 8th, 2013
8:36 pm

NAJAH D:

Whaz’ up NAJ? Me. I’d be disappointed with those numbers. How’s things with FERRY? What’s he exercised about?

richbrave

January 8th, 2013
8:46 pm

For what it’s worth:

I see the FALCONS flying high barring an injured QB of course. If RGIII hadn’t re-injured himself in the first quarter, I believe REDSKINS would have scored touchdowns at least twice more and won.

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
8:47 pm

Seems like the blog is coming around on the view that this next seasons Braves team is gonna be pretty terrible.- Nick

Nope

The “ifs” are the key. If Uggla has a good-to-great year, McCann stays healthy and Upton reaches his “true potencial”, this team could actually win the division. It might be a long shot, but I’m sure WAS won’t repeat their run from last year, they will have a couple of bumps on the road this time around.

They lost Ramos, had 5 less starts from Strasburg than normal, didn’t have Harper all year, added Haren over Jackson… that team is good. Very good chance to repeat in my opinion, and they had some bumps last season. Believe they lost 3 catchers in under 2 weeks.

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
8:49 pm

thanks rich…. I believe the same

Heyward has a .329 OBP the last 2 years….. hard to see it going back up to .360! But if he hit .272/.340/.500, I’d be okay… would prefer the avg. to be higher, but slugging is what I’d like to see go up.

Gulf Coast

January 8th, 2013
8:52 pm

Thanks for remembering the King today, it’s a shame,but I’ve noticed that his birthday and anniversary of death bring less and less media attention as the years go by!

BTW, Mr. Knapp, I am offended that you are offended! Bring on the caps!

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
8:52 pm

Wren repeated what he’d said to a few of us during the Winter Meetings a month ago: Defensive metric statistics, in the Braves’ view, were still a work in progress and not as reliable or pertinent as offensive metrics. Despite Bourn ranking significantly better in most defensive metrics, Braves officials and scouts also consider Upton one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball

:?

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
8:54 pm

But the Braves seem to be serious and not just posturing when they say they would be comfortable going to spring training with their current roster, giving guys….(perhaps Jordan Schafer?) a shot at left-field playing time

Not Schafer. Please no. .221/.305/.301/.606 66 OPS+, .591 OPS last year.

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
8:57 pm

Frank did say in an interview with Shanks? that the Braves likely won’t use much, let alone all, of the 25mil coming next year….

Chop Chop

January 8th, 2013
8:57 pm

If Bourn somehow fell into our lap, then he had damned well better be in CF. He’s much better than Upton out there.

As far as that logo goes, I’ll submit that Southern whites (who comprise the vast majority of Braves fans) aren’t exactly the folks I’d go to for accurate polls on what is and isn’t offensive. We don’t tend to be too concerned about how minorities feel about anything. That’s just the way it is.

MIBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
8:57 pm

Happy birthday, Elvis! (The thought still counts)

Wes Jorga

January 8th, 2013
8:59 pm

Really enjoyed Searching for Sugarman, an amazing story.

cornjolio

January 8th, 2013
9:10 pm

Forget about Justin Upton; lets get Chase Headley for 3B !

Sam

January 8th, 2013
9:10 pm

Thank you for the Braves player projections for 2013. Is there any way you can provide the projections for some of the top prospects in the organization?

Max Sizemore

January 8th, 2013
9:12 pm

I agree with the Braves that Upton is a plus centerfielder. Living in Florida, I have watched several hundred Rays’ games in the past 3-4 seasons (a decent sample size, I think), and I believe that the current fielding metrics in use underestimate Upton. But, be warned: he’s going to take an awful lot of called third strikes.

JC Brave

January 8th, 2013
9:13 pm

If Braves’ “ifs” go as well as they can, the Braves could win the division. But of course, if “ifs” and buts were candies and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

Not Impressed

January 8th, 2013
9:14 pm

I did not want BJ Upton on the Braves, nor am I impressed by Bill James’ 2013 projections for Upton. $75 million for what?

No way McCann drives in 90+ runs.

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
9:19 pm

No way McCann drives in 90+ runs.

Agreed… not hitting likely at 6-7. Last drove in 90+ in 2009, when he hit cleanup, in 125 starts. Can’t see him playing 134 games either, not built for that even if he started the season on the roster… if he misses 2-3 weeks, he’d have to play almost every game to reach that.

70-80 RBI

nolie

January 8th, 2013
9:21 pm

Prado’s fielding stats were superb/stellar last year in LF, at SS, at 2B. His worst stats, well below MLB avarage, were at 3B…The Old Man

Prado in 2012 per Bill James +/-. his career numbers at third are better than at second , he is an average-ish defender where ever he plays
LF…+7
2b…+2
3b…+2

beekay

January 8th, 2013
9:24 pm

I’ve been to several games, redskins, braves, etc. where there was a group protest on the name and logo. They all were the same crowd, one or two native Americans and the rest white liberals . It looked more like msnbc groupie night then a true protest. I like the new logo and will definitely purchase a hat

knarf

January 8th, 2013
9:27 pm

no end of watch and avengers at 10? weak

Tip O' the Cap

January 8th, 2013
9:29 pm

So the Bill James handbook says the Bravos starting pitching will get a cumulative 66-59 record. That would imply that the bullpen would have to go 28-9 for a 94 win season. Is that probable? How does that compare to last year / other years?

beekay

January 8th, 2013
9:34 pm

DOB your list last year was solid. I enjoyed most on your list especially Shelter. I’ll be sure to check out those movies at Redbox when they come out. What was your reaction to Jamie Foxx speaking out about gun control after starring in a movie where people are mowed down by high powered guns by the minute?

Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

January 8th, 2013
9:36 pm

I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly. . .

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 8th, 2013
9:37 pm

Braves bullpen went 25-14 this season, 26-25 last year, 32-19 in 2010, and 21-27 in 2009 (bullpen wasn’t great that year, obviously)

Yuuup

January 8th, 2013
9:38 pm

Don’t want a platoon between LF and 3B. Prado deserves to be a starter at one position, and one position only. If he has to start at more than one position due to injury, then fine, but not because one day there is a LH pitcher in, then the next day there is a RH pitcher in. It’s not fair to the guy at all.

You have 8 million to spend on either a 3B or LF. Stop being cheap, and for once use the f’n money that you have available and go out and get a impact player to push this team to the next level. So sick of the Braves going cheap and hoping like hell it works routine. Does the extra money saved go into Wren’s personal account or what? Seems like it,.

Braveone

January 8th, 2013
9:44 pm

From the previous blog which had 2,674 comments, TheOnlyBravesFan led the way with 244 posts. There were 301 different poster names. Here are the Top 25:

Rank Poster Frequency

1 TheOnlyBravesFan 244
2 nolie 170
3 cabravesfan 150
4 Lew 86
5 Lane Kiffin 71
6 Murph 62
7 David O’Brien 54
8 Tom O’Hawke 54
9 ncscoots 50
10 keyLargo. 49
11 DAP 47
12 TennesseePaul 44
13 RC 43
14 Ward 42
15 phil 42
16 VaBravesFan 41
17 kenhotlanta 40
18 Efrim 37
19 richbrave 37
20 Cliff Fiscal 35
21 George_George 35
22 BFChris28 34
23 Lee in S GA 34
24 Bobby H 32
25 Shaun 31

[...] by WickedCurve Betting Baseball Club – Atlanta BravesBetting Basbeball Club News – Bourn back to Braves? Rumor mill gets a spin – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Bourn back to Braves? Rumor mill gets a spinAtlanta Journal [...]

[...] by WickedCurve Betting Baseball Club – Atlanta BravesBetting Basbeball Club News – Bourn back to Braves? Rumor mill gets a spin – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Bourn back to Braves? Rumor mill gets a spinAtlanta Journal [...]

nolie

January 8th, 2013
9:45 pm

it is true that they are not as reliable as hitting or pitching stats, but they are good enough to figure out that if a players ranks near the bottom most years, that he is NOT one of the best fielders.
it is also pretty self-serving to quote said metrics when they show Bourn as great but ignore those same metrics that say that Upton is mediocre at best.

beekay

January 8th, 2013
9:47 pm

Yuup…who are you going to spend it on? We will most likely have to trade for someone, which means giving up some young pitching talent like Delgado.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jacks BBQ

January 8th, 2013
9:47 pm

nice blog. great info

northbeach Scott

January 8th, 2013
9:47 pm

Enjoying a fine Arturo Fuente Opus X, perfection #5 at the Chop House cigar room in Grand Rapids, MI. What a luxury to enjoy such sine smoke, indoors on a cold winter night, served by lovely ladies. It is good to be alive. I also enjoyed a simple Johnny Walker Black on the rocks, Ron.

Cool to be able to enjoy the old MIB blog, to savor the time. Back to Charlotte, tomorrow and the real world.

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2013
10:15 pm

What was your reaction to Jamie Foxx speaking out about gun control after starring in a movie where people are mowed down by high powered guns by the minute? — beekay

A. Glad he did; B. It’s a movie, set before the Civil War; C. Nobody in the movie uses high-capacity magazines or automatic weapons.

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2013
10:15 pm

no end of watch and avengers at 10? weak — knarf

D’oh — thanks for reminding me about End of Watch. Completely forgot it. Definitely in my top 5. Will go back into list now.

keyLargo.

January 8th, 2013
10:17 pm

exploratory surgery scheduled for RGIII. Recovery time 8-12 months. Nothing official. Just local rumors.

RichBrave – I’m wondering why it takes 8-12 months to recover from exploratory surgery? They must be making an incision in his abdomen to insert the scope? :mrgreen:

oh'man

January 8th, 2013
10:18 pm

David O’Brien — What did you mean by this quote “went about as you’d expect in this age of 2 + 2 = 10.”? It is funny!

David O'Brien

January 8th, 2013
10:22 pm

Glad that knarf reminded me about End of Watch. Not only had I forgotten that one, but also Bernie, which was hilarious. Went back in an updated my movie list.

Lane Kiffin

January 8th, 2013
10:22 pm

Thanks for the new blog chief

nolie

January 8th, 2013
10:28 pm

there’s that “automatic weapons” emotional blackmail word again, they are not automatic.
and Columbine occurred during the time when large capacity magazines were banned
there are no easy answers

Nowhere man

January 8th, 2013
10:28 pm

Searching for Sugarman was really good.

George Allen

January 8th, 2013
10:28 pm

REGARDING PRADO’s EXTENSION: While practicing for one of the Venezuelan League teams, Prado revealed he was seeking a four year deal, but Atlanta, so far, had only offered a three year deal.

George Allen

January 8th, 2013
10:32 pm

SAY DOB, Twitter kinda reminds me of that game where you whisper a secret into one person’s ear and by the time the message gets all the way around the classroom, it’s totally different…Almost as helpful, sometimes, as listening to the opinions of ESPN Sports Writers, or Opinions of Writers about justification for or against candidates for the Hall of Fame.

richbrave

January 8th, 2013
10:32 pm

SOUTH of the BORDER

VENEZUELA

LARA CARDINALS top of the fourth

C JOSE YEPEZ [.308 BA] 0-1

LHSP YOHAN FLANDE [1.08 ERA] 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 SO.

ZULIA EAGLES

No BRAVES playing.

Stanley

January 8th, 2013
10:37 pm

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Bourn will be a Brave next year and Wren has Andrelton on the trading block.

Nowhere man

January 8th, 2013
10:38 pm

Paradise lost 3 was really good. If you do not know anything about this story check it out on http://www.wm3.org. Two new movies about the deaths of the three cub scouts and three teens who were falsely charged one by Peter Jackson called West of Memphis and another Devil’s Knot will be out later this year.

A case of Satanic panic and the three teens were deemed to be outcasts because they listened to heavy metal music and wore black clothing. If not for the help of Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins, Johnny Depp and the film makers of the first paradise lost two of these men would surely still be in prison and the third executed.

richbrave

January 8th, 2013
10:38 pm

Based on his value to this team I’d give PRADO what he wants. Four years, and whatever amount of money that’s agreeable to both sides.

nolie

January 8th, 2013
10:40 pm

that is some of the worst between-the-lines reading I’ve ever seen Stanley

ChipperisGod

January 8th, 2013
10:51 pm

Yeah, I agree that Bourn will probably not be back here. Upton is interesting, but I really want to sign Prado, Heyward, Freeman, Medlen and Kimbrel to long term deals.

They are the pillars of the future.

If I had to do a top 10 for films:

1. Wreck It Ralph- great from a storytelling and story structure standpoint. Fantastic characters and amazing worlds. This is no kids movie to me. Feels like a great Pixar film if anything that can appeal to all ages. It’s just great filmmaking.

2. Django Unchained- A little too long, but fantastic action sequences, great characters and crisp Tarantino dialogue abound. Cinematography was great as well.

3. Les Miserables- Not a big musical fan, but some good performances and very good story are in here. While some characters are shoe horned into the final act, and there are some storytelling issues I had with it, there are some great songs and overall is a very rewarding film. Anne Hathaway’s “I dreamed a dream” scene is worth the price of admission. It is the most powerful scene I saw all year.

4. The Master- Powerful filmmaking, though somewhat repetitive after a while and a bit drawn out- there were some amazing performances, particularly by Hoffman. Unbelievable cinematography and editing.

5. Lincoln- DDL is fantastic as was Sally Field. Some forced sub plots and a particularly flawed point in history to so narrowly focus on as there was so much more to Lincoln than that hold it back from being truly great.

6. The Dark Knight Rises- Way too long and gets a bit ridiculous (hated the prison stuff, illogical and forced), but overall TDKR is a good finale to a stellar trilogy. Bane is a great villain, Hathaway was great, Bale turned in another solid performance. Technically perfect with its masterful sound, cinematography and editing. Great direction. Just a flawed script that loses control of itself in the second and third act, but still holds it together enough in those acts for it to ultimately be a success. Not as good as its predecessors.

7. Skyfall- Bond’s best since Goldeneye. Great performances, solid story, amazing cinematography. Story could have been better, the constant references to it being the 50th anniversary and Money penny were dreadful. But it was a very good James Bond film. Something we haven’t seen in quite some time.

8. Promised Land: A solid movie. Nothing special, and doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is. Tight storytelling, good performances and a good script. It doesn’t tap into emotions enough and is technically pedestrian. But a really solid little movie.

9. The Avengers- A really fun, fast paced movie that brings together a lot of fun characters. Fun pop corn action with little depth and a razor thin story. Would have liked to see a better antagonist, and the aliens were dull and uninteresting. Still it was a really fun popcorn movie, but I feel like it could have been more. Feel like it should have been on TV, technically not as filmic as TDKR.

10. The Hobbit- Really disappointing to me. Only on here because I didn’t see that many movies. Huge LOTR fan. No real character development here, the main character isn’t focused in on enough, pointless LOTR connections are made, the dwarves are all background characters and I just don’t care as much as I should. Repetitive action scenes abound as well.

It’s still very well made and is to a degree engaging. And the Gollum scene was amazing. Just not enough character development and stretching these movies out into three films feels very forced.

Didn’t see Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Moonrise Kingdom, Looper, Wallflower and a few others I should have seen.

Stanley

January 8th, 2013
10:52 pm

Yep, Frank Wren is a sly guy. He probably set this up with the D.J. so he could signal something is afoot. Bourn will be back. Bank on it.

Steve McP

January 8th, 2013
11:04 pm

I wonder if Jurrjens considered playing for Holland in the WBC – would be a good showcase for him if he is back to any sort of form.

Shaun

January 8th, 2013
11:08 pm

Flight is one of the best movies I had seen in a while.

Raffy

January 8th, 2013
11:12 pm

DOB so no seven psychopaths with tom waits??

Expand Instant Replay

January 8th, 2013
11:16 pm

Hope they get some sort of multi-year deal worked out with prado. Love the guy, our best and most consistent HITTER.

Sherman

January 8th, 2013
11:25 pm

Enter your comments here

Just say in'

January 8th, 2013
11:29 pm

Fighting Irish, the Padres, demon Deacons, cowboys, boilermakers, Yankees, texans, saints, patriots…..why are these names not considered offensive? Just think about it!

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:35 pm

Hello everyone! If I had to choose between Schafer, and Constanza at the last, and very last idea……. I would choose Schafer, because Constanza is streaky….

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2013
11:37 pm

You can’t skip Les Miserables as big of a music fan as you are.

Tom O'Hawke

January 8th, 2013
11:39 pm

I would choose Schafer, because Constanza is streaky…. — Ward

Right, and Schafer is consistently sucky.

What are you doing on here at this time, Ward, take the day off?

Sherman

January 8th, 2013
11:39 pm

I hope the blogger who was critical of my slight of Irish history is still reading David’s excellent blog because I want to sincerely apologize to you. I searched several times for your name but could not find it. The Indian mascot controversy is an emotional subject for me and for people I work with. In trying to make an argument like “I wonder how black people would like it if we put black sambo on the hats” or “I wonder how Notre Dame supporters would feel if the Irish had suffered in this country the way American Indians have,” I then risk insulting those people, which is the last thing I had in mind. The Irish people have a proud history and have also endured much, perhaps more in Europe than in America, but also here. I just want to see all peoples honored and respected and I don’t think the suggested new braves logo head hat would do that for American Indians

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:39 pm

I think Wren should gove Justin Upton a call, and have Justin Upton talk to Towers. Then he should call, and get rolling…..Wren, should show some interest, and try a little harder!

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:41 pm

Tom- Laringitus, and off from work sick, and thought to wright a few.

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2013
11:42 pm

I’m not even remotely interested in bringing back Bourne. He tanked last year down the stretch, is aging and is still a Boras client. Boras would find a way to bleed us even on a short deal.

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2013
11:42 pm

I’m not even remotely interested in bringing back Bourne. He tanked last year down the stretch, is aging and is still a Boras client. Boras would find a way to bleed us even on a short deal.

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:42 pm

Just not sold on Constanza…..

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2013
11:44 pm

Constanza’s not starting. He’s 4th in line behind Gattis, Francisco and trading for someone.

Still, one slot ahead of Schaefer for now.

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:45 pm

Really don’t like Schafer if it came down to it, but maybe the kid will come through, just a big maybe? That’s if down to the very last, and very last idea?

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:50 pm

Anyways, let’s hope Braves, can still g for Justin Upton? Maybe B.J. can call his brother to get Towers moving?

Tom O'Hawke

January 8th, 2013
11:54 pm

I still think the D-Backs will move an OF’er. If not Upton, then Kubel.

Towers is, obviously, trying to get as much as he can. He says he’ll stay with what he has and send Eaton down to AAA.
I say, BullShorts!

Wren is, obviously, trying to give as little as he can. He say’s he’ll be satisfied with what he has if he can’t sign anybody.
Who knows…

Maybe there REALLY is a chance for either Gattis or Francisco. Or it’s just a ploy by Wren to not look desperate and bring the price down.

richbrave

January 8th, 2013
11:54 pm

EASTERN TOROS

lead-off CF JOSE CONSTANZA [.263 BA] 1-6, 1 R.

LHRP JOSE LUGO [3.65 ERA] 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER.

Ward

January 8th, 2013
11:58 pm

Tom – I’m O.K.with Gattis, and Francisco platoon, but Towers will have to be real here. He can’t get every thing he wan’ts, but we’ll just have to wait, and see?

richbrave

January 9th, 2013
12:00 am

VENEZUELA

LARA CARDINALS

C JOSE YEPEZ [.313 BA] 1-4, 1 SO.

LHSP YOHAN FLANDE [L 0-1, 5.40 ERA] 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 SO.

FLAMBE’s nuts are toasted in the fourth as he gives up a walk, three hits, and four earned without registering one out.

Tom O'Hawke

January 9th, 2013
12:01 am

Wait & see is right, Ward. I think if something is going to happen, with Towers, it’ll be a few months down the road.

Tom O'Hawke

January 9th, 2013
12:04 am

FLAMBE’s nuts are toasted

(chuckle)

richbrave

January 9th, 2013
12:05 am

Bravos28

January 9th, 2013
12:29 am

DOB
I can’t believe you liked this is 40, I went and saw it and thought it was way to long without much of a point pretty much it was just about a couple growing apart and arguing the whole movie.

ray k

January 9th, 2013
12:43 am

More praise for Skyfall, huh? I had hoped for better. Although an upgrade from the miscarriage that was Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale was far better.

There was no fun to be had this time around; too much gloom. If Bond isn’t the kind of guy you’d want to have a martini with, they are doing something wrong. And putting M front and center was a mistake–she’s far more interesting in the shadows.

nolie

January 9th, 2013
12:49 am

pointless LOTR connections are made, the dwarves are all background characters and I just don’t care as much as I should. Repetitive action scenes abound as well…Chipper

what was pointless about them, did you read the books? They were all part of the books.

nolie

January 9th, 2013
12:54 am

I thought Skyfall was pretty good myself as was Django. and Lincoln

Ward

January 9th, 2013
1:29 am

As, I was thinking waitng is good for us. It brings out character if you can wait to see what Wren, will do? I would like Wren, just to get the LF solved now, so we can go into Spring Training knowing, instead of not knowing every year, because of who’s going to play where. Being a Braves fan, we have to put with Wren, and just be patient. It’s not easy, but Wren, hasn’t done tob this year, and last year!

Ward

January 9th, 2013
1:31 am

Meant to say too bad this, and I think with more patience, we will have a good solid team to go further in the Playoffs. All, have a good one! Peace my friends, and be excellent to one another, and “Go!!!!!Braves!!!!!”

Netherlands Brave

January 9th, 2013
3:22 am

It would be so neat if Murphy made it to the HOF. BTW does anyone else agree that he probably holds the Braves record for the most autographed baseballs. I actually have a total of five and I’m not a big autograph seeker. Having Bourn back would be awesome but I’m really intigued with Gattis.

No. 1 Braves Fan

January 9th, 2013
4:47 am

DOB: Nice piece of work. Always interesting info. provided in your blogs.
My opinion is that nobody except Wren knows what may or may not happen
relating to any Braves moves. Its fun to read all the comments and speculations of your readers.

TK

January 9th, 2013
5:41 am

I am a little surprised Mr. Wren has not at least talked to the DBacks since before Christmas about Upton. Go kick the tires and see if the price has gone down or how it has changed. I agree with you DOB….Justin must want this over with.

Mr Maggot

January 9th, 2013
7:13 am

“I like the new logo and will definitely purchase a hat”

Well, another white person of exquisite taste has weighed in. Really, does anybody wake in the morning and decide that, yes, I need artwork throughout my home depicting a LOL red American Indian head? Why? Because it looks so good and I would like it. Offended or not it’s a stupid idea and no middle-aged and above white person can actually claim–and mean it–that I just like it more than anything the Braves could have come up with. Weird you folks who are coming out and lining up to buy them. I’m an out of shape 55-year old white and not offended by it but can easily see how it could be offensive and how stupid it looks.

Mr Maggot

January 9th, 2013
7:13 am

“I like the new logo and will definitely purchase a hat”

Well, another white person of exquisite taste has weighed in. Really, does anybody wake in the morning and decide that, yes, I need artwork throughout my home depicting a LOL red American Indian head? Why? Because it looks so good and I would like it. Offended or not it’s a stupid idea and no middle-aged and above white person can actually claim–and mean it–that I just like it more than anything the Braves could have come up with. Weird you folks who are coming out and lining up to buy them. I’m an out of shape 55-year old white and not offended by it but can easily see how it could be offensive and how stupid it looks.

Mr Maggot

January 9th, 2013
7:23 am

“Maybe B.J. can call his brother to get Towers moving?”

You know it is possible that the brothers do not necessarily want to live together again after having roomed together for the first 18 years of their lives, right?

Trader Jack

January 9th, 2013
7:27 am

DOB,

Online rumors suggest the Braves have interest in the Nats’ Michael Morse.

With Washington being a division rival, any chance a deal could happen? With the Nats having a deep starting rotation, I don’t know what we could possibly offer them in return. Maybe a 3-way trade with another team?

Mr Maggot

January 9th, 2013
7:28 am

My reading is caught up.

Summary:

Time will tell. I’m a little surprised that Wren……..
Who knows? Nobody except Wren knows…….
Wait and see.

I think we have everything covered.

cornjolio

January 9th, 2013
7:30 am

I never heard of a Native American tribe called “the Braves”.

Get over it !

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