Atlanta Braves: What if… the Braves HADN’T given up on pitchers like Wainwright, Marquis and Millwood?

From the Braves Vent

“Millwood, Wainwright, Marquis 16 games over .500 this year. Kawakami, Vazquez, Lowe 3 games over .500 this year. Love the way we trade the bad pitchers.” and “The Cardinals have 16 game winner Adam Wainwright and the Braves have memories of overpaid J.D. Drew.”

YOU TELL US: While hindsight is always 20/20, how do YOU think the Braves’ history of trades and offseason dealings — especially regarding pitchers at both the major and minor league levels — has come to impact the club? Are the Braves less interested in cultivating young arms than in going after offense? Which would YOU rather have?

62 comments Add your comment

Kashi

August 31st, 2009
2:48 pm

Wainwright is 16 game winner after how many years? I think we got what we game up at the time from J.D.

Nathan

August 31st, 2009
2:49 pm

I don’t think they have given up on them too soon. The fact is they felt had to trade Wainwright to stay competitive that year. And it paid off. They won the division that year and likely wouldn’t have without Drew. And while they’re pitching has suffered a time or two since then, they’re certainly in good shape again.

Marquis had flashes of greatness while in Atlanta but for the most part could never fully put it together. In his career he’s been inconsistent. Great one year – bad the next. I don’t think they made a mistake with him.

And then didn’t give up on Millwood. Maddux unexpectedly accepted arbitration that year which meant they didn’t have the money for Millwood anymore.

As for our starters’ record this year – that’s largely due to an offense that was missing for most of the first half of the season. Millwood, Wainright, and Marquis would not have fared any better in Atlanta this year.

JonnyHairdont

August 31st, 2009
2:49 pm

They were good moves at the time. Besides, Wainwright looks like Dane Cook.

iowabrave

August 31st, 2009
2:50 pm

There is no doubt that everyone would love to have Wainwright back. But remember the Drew had his best year for us that year and helped us get to the postseason. W/O Drew, we might not have made the playoffs. So to complain now about the Drew & Tex trades are completely based on hindsight. Both trades gave us a chance for winning a title. I don’t want a GM running my favorite team that does not take a chance at winning a title. I still find it hard to believe that adding Tex didn’t get us a shot at the World Series. They were good trades. We got what we wanted out of Drew & Tex produced, we just didn’t win enough.

bits

August 31st, 2009
2:51 pm

Kudos to Frank Wren for great trades. His predecessor (and current boss) was the architect of some of the worst trades in major league history. It started by trading Dye for Tucker. The J. D. Drew short term rental cost three pitchers that have excelled elsewhere. Then there was the Great Texas Farm Robbery. Five premier prospects for the short term rental of Tex. The Braves will be paying the price for that trade many years to come.

tralfaz

August 31st, 2009
2:54 pm

The other guys have some run support…perhaps even a major-league hitting coach

Lord Stromboli

August 31st, 2009
2:55 pm

But don’t forget about the trade 2 years ago with Texas. Half of there roster are all of the players we traded to get TEX and MAHAY

Chris

August 31st, 2009
2:56 pm

What if? What if? If my aunt had had a pair she’d be my uncle.

A) We didn’t give up on several of those guys – our hand was forced be baseball economics. For example when Maddux agreed to arbitration we didn’t have the cash to pay Millwood so we had to trade him. And even though he’s good this year – how long did he stink? J.D. Drew was instrumental in getting the Braves to the playoffs that year – certainly we’d like Wainwright back but at the time he was a PROSPECT.
B) For every PROSPECT pitcher out there you take a risk. We took a gamble on Wainwright and it didn’t work out. There’s also plenty of guys that we took on from other ball clubs that their fans would love to “do-over” that trade – Doyle Alexander for Smoltz? John Burkett? Paul Byrd? I bet the White Sox are saying we robbed them blind in the Vasquez trade? The Tigers are still crying over the Edgar Renteria for Gorkys Hernandez and Jair Jurrjens trade. We aren’t just sitting around getting reemed by other teams in trades and FA Signings here. Think the A’s are happy about trading off Tim Hudson in exchange for Charles Thomas and Juan Cruz?

In regards to the original vent post – when did a pitcher’s winning percentage deem them “good” or not. Vasquez, KK, and Jurrjens aren’t but a few games over .500 but all have sub 4 ERAs and Vasquez is among the league leaders in Ks and IPs. Just because these guys got ZERO run support for 2/3 of the year means they stink?

I guess my point is that prospect pitchers either turn out to be Smoltz, Wainwright or a Jurrjens; or they turn out to be Jo-Jo reyes, Chuck James, or Damien Moss. You win some and you lose some and in the end it probably evens out.

NaHe5

August 31st, 2009
2:56 pm

Millwood is/was merely average…we don’t miss him (not a slam, just an observation). Marquis?…HAHA! A jerk-of-a-personality…poison in the clubhouse, for sure!…and a guy who REFUSED to try to get along with the coaching staff. Had he even TRIED to listen to Leo, he would currently be a front-runner on the mound for the Braves. Wainwright?…yup, we screwed-the-pooch on that one! And we can sit back and watch our “future” grow down in Texas too!

Lord Stromboli

August 31st, 2009
2:56 pm

Lord Stromboli

August 31st, 2009
2:59 pm

Well at least we got LaRoche back.

seifer

August 31st, 2009
3:03 pm

I hear what you are saying Bits but I do not blame JS for making the deal. He felt he had a great chance to win by acquiring Tex for the run hoping it would have the same affect as when he traded for McGriff. At the time of the Tex deal, the Braves were in the hunt so as a fan it was great to see all of these moves getting done just for a chance to get back to the post season. Had he sat back and done nothing he would have heard from everyone as to why he did nothing to improve the team. Not the mention how the players would feel that their management is not trying to increase their playoff hopes. In the end, JS made more good deals than bad so I am not going to jump all over him for being human and making a mistake especially considering that not all prospects bloom into all star caliber players. I respect him for having the balls to make trades like the Tex deal.

Ace Venter

August 31st, 2009
3:05 pm

Pitching isn’t the problem. The reason our pitchers don’t have as many wins is because we can’t hit. Wainwright and co. would have the same problem as our current pitchers if they were in Atlanta now. No run support.

NaHe5

August 31st, 2009
3:05 pm

….a couple more things: Had Wainwright been with us this year, he wouldn’t have 16 wins….more like 10 or 11 due to the fact the Cards support their pitchers with actual offense…more consistently, for sure! We can’t score runs on a consistent basis. Just like with JJ, Wainwright probably would’ve gotten about 1.5 runs/game. Again, not a slam on anyone, just a fact of the makeup of our team. There are too many dead spots in the lineup….at times, we are a scoring machine….but for some reason, other teams are able to produce runs more consistently. Too much long-ball mentality?…not enough run-n-shoot?…line-drive hitters?….old left-fielders who never dive for balls?….look at 2 of the MOST successful teams in the world: Korea and Japan. Rare long-balls, quickness, hi-average line-drive hitters, and solid defense! Not to mention pitchers who go MORE THAN 6 INNINGS!!

timthebrave

August 31st, 2009
3:10 pm

They wouldn’t have that record if they were playing for the Braves. Look at Juurgens numbers and you can see he would be in the cy young ballot if he had any run support. The Braves problem isn’t pitching. They have an excellent mix of young stars and veteran aces.

ArbyJr

August 31st, 2009
3:21 pm

NaHe5 hit the nail on the head – twice! Millwood and Marquis are OK, but no regrets here. Wainwright and Feliz (now burning it up in the Texas bullpen) are another matter…. and Garrett Anderson appears to be laboring under the misconception that if he loafs enough in the field, Bobby will put him at DH… can someone please tell him he’s in the NL now?

Space Monkey

August 31st, 2009
3:23 pm

You have to give up something to get something. This was the result of Time-Warner’s penny pinching, not because we gave up on Wainwright. The same thing happened with Millwood. This is why the Braves are a shadow of their ’90s greatness. Everything bad that has happened to this team in the last 10 years begins with Ted Turner selling his company to those idiots at Time-Warner, the same financial geniuses who paid billions for AOL (which was at the time the worst of all Internet providers.). Don’t blame the Braves, blame Time-Warner.

submariner

August 31st, 2009
3:42 pm

It’d be nice to have a Jason Marquis or an Adam Wainwright back, but the reality is that they had no room for these guys at the time they were traded. With Smlotz, Glavine, and Maddux eatin into the payroll like they were, it was best, at the time, to get something for those guys. It wasn’t like the Braves were gonna cut ties with those Hall of Famers. On top of trying to win, they have to fill those seats, which hasn’t been going to well of late. Mostly because the Atlanta fans are so spoiled. The trade that hurt us over the long hall was Jermaine Dye. I can’t even remember who we got in return! His bat in the line-up would have been nice over all of these years. From a management standpoint, it made sense to make those trades. That’s why you have a minor league system. Not just to back fill positions, but to fill immediate needs. I’m glad those guys got their chances and made the best of them. How bout the Renteria for Jurjjens deal? We made out on that one. I think it’s safe to say they made some good ones and some bad ones over the years. For the most part, they’ve done all right. They DID go get Fred McGriff and they DID win 1 ring. What they need to do is put Bobby out to pasture and get a more up to date manager.

Smack

August 31st, 2009
3:44 pm

Marquis and Millwood I can do without (plus Rudy Darrow is a span of the Millwood for Estrada trade, a gift that has conintually gave us small pieces, estrada, then Villareal and Cromier, then Josh Anderson now a do nothing Darrow). But Wainwright and Feliz gives me nightmares and will continue to. Could we not have just traded JoJo instead of the Harrison/Feliz portion of the Tex trade?

Paul In Richmond

August 31st, 2009
3:46 pm

My regrets include hanging onto long ball hitters long past their prime and featuring them in the fat part of the order for the entire year even when their production sux. Andruw Jones, Sheffield, Frenchy, Gant, Anderson and now Larry Jones take up valuable at bats while we wait for the four-run homer.

Brian

August 31st, 2009
3:47 pm

J.D. Drew was one of the best players in the league his year with the Braves, and got us to the playoffs. Jason Marquis? He has been the definition of mediocre in his career. Millwood, as someone said, was really a salary dump.

These were good deals at the time. And that’s really all that matters. Back then, we were not in the mode of looking five years ahead.

DM

August 31st, 2009
3:48 pm

Wainwright would not have 16 wins with the Braves. The Cardinals can provide consistent offense to support their pitchers unlike the braves. If a braves starter gives up 3 runs, it’s an automatic loss and alot of the times they still lose when giving up less than 3 runs.

choozer

August 31st, 2009
3:55 pm

True, W wouldn’t have won 16 wins with THIS Braves team, but what Wainwright & Co. would have done for the Braves is allowed them to spend money upgrading their offense rather than having to sign 3 starting pitchers as they did.

Tami

August 31st, 2009
4:03 pm

I agree with Nathan @ 2:49 today. We’ve also seen position players and pitchers go to another team and get a 2nd life or something. It’s very irritating when the Braves — who appear to be patient by nature, almost to a fault — finally give up on a player and work them into a trade deal, or waive them. Then, that player suddenly finds their skills again with another team and goes on some kind of tirade. Makes you wonder….

steve munge

August 31st, 2009
4:09 pm

I have no problem trading someone if it gives your team a chance to get to the World Series, Wainwright has turned into a very good pitcher, but if we scored runs like the Cardinals Jurrjens, Lowe and Vasques would all have the possibility of 15-16 wins right now. The future looks good for Atlanta but we need a younger staff in the dugout to realize our full potential. Could Chipper Jones please keep his back foot planted and maybe try using a lighter bat as you are not hitting 90 mph. fastballs that are down the middle of the plate because your swing seems to be slow.

Roja

August 31st, 2009
4:13 pm

Wainwright was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 11, 2005, with the St. Louis Cardinals where he pitched 2 innings and had a 13.50ERA. He never started an MLB game until 2007.

Explain how we “gave up on him” by trading him in December of 2003 four years before he ever even started ONE major league game.

Phil

August 31st, 2009
4:15 pm

The Braves will probably trade Adam LaRoche again and then trade back for him again.

Roja

August 31st, 2009
4:23 pm

Please take note that the Cardinals and the Cubs “gave up on Marquis” for the same reasons we did — he always knew more than the pitching coach and in the post-season 10 games zero results. And the Phillies and then the Indians “gave up on Millwood”.

Shadetree

August 31st, 2009
4:28 pm

Instead of worrying about what we can’t control, what about someone telling Hoss to get a bat a couple of ounces lighter so he can remember what is was like to hit a fastball

Phil

August 31st, 2009
4:33 pm

Cox just needs to move Chipper down in the lineup but you and I both know Cox won’t do that.

LostCause

August 31st, 2009
4:43 pm

I don’t think they gave up on Wainright. They unrealistically thought they could keep Drew in Atlanta for more than a year just like they thought they could keep Texiera around for multiple years. It was a great move if it had worked. It’s a bad move now that it didn’t. After reviewing Frank Wren’s job this year and with the funds he has to work with, the only mistake has been over paying KK and Lowe. We have only been without a winner for two years and we at least have a contender fro the playoffs on August 31st. Unlike the Pirates and the Royals. Patience folks … just have patience.

Raymond

August 31st, 2009
4:50 pm

the problem was trading Wainright and then not offering arbitration to Drew so the Braves got no draft pick compensation when Drew left. The result was that we got Drew for 1 solid year, but lost many years of a top starter. Compared to the Teixeira fiasco, the Wainright deal is minor. Imagine JS threw in Beau Jones to get the deal done !(luckily, Jones is struggling at AA) Who neeeds Feliz anyway-he only throws 101 mph !

Jurrjens4NLCY {Knoble.MLBlogs.com}

August 31st, 2009
5:01 pm

Note to AJC: Stop writing about past Braves… No one cares

Frank Wren

August 31st, 2009
5:05 pm

for the last time the Braves really didnt give up that much for texiera.

That one is like the ” Man didnt land on the moon ” myth

You can prove it a thousand times and 10 percent of the dummies will still believe we didnt

Matt Harrison ERA 6.11
Salty Batting Average .236 ( And he is horrific behind the plate )
Elvis batting Average .267
Perez is a prospect and just that a prospect at pitcher

Ronjon

August 31st, 2009
5:05 pm

…and if my aunt had a tallywacker she’d be my uncle…

james

August 31st, 2009
5:35 pm

Is it too late to pick up Steve Avery on waivers??

HAL

August 31st, 2009
5:36 pm

o read the intr to tnhis and thought watch all theJS is GOD guys scramble to justify his idiotic trades while still trying to slam the job wrens done to patch up the train wreck he interited lol at this years pitchers record do ya all think a number three hitter whos a little better then 3 for his last 42 might have some small influence on that record? no? dident think so… dilusional lol

HAL

August 31st, 2009
5:38 pm

yea filiz for tex straight up might have been bad enough but js threw in salty and elvis too lol

HAL

August 31st, 2009
5:39 pm

texera average close to 300 bUT IN THE BRONK LOL

Lionel

August 31st, 2009
6:05 pm

Another one of JS panic trades. JS was an absolute disaster his last 3-5 years as GM. Giving up way too many good young players for one year rental. He knew he screwed up big time after the Tex trade. Then he leaves Wren with very little to work with. It is amazing where this team is. All the credit goes to Wren.

The only real mistake is the re-signing of Chipper. I put that on JS. He panic once again following the backlash from a bunch of fairweather fans over Smoltz leaving. That he cave in and gave Chipper what he wanted. JS is too sensitive at his old age to any PR problems. It is time for him and Cox to retire. They are old relics of a bygone era. Time to let Wren do his thing and get his own Manager in.

T'ville Dawg

August 31st, 2009
6:08 pm

I pray that Tommy Hanson has only a couple of hiccups or he made be give away bait, and how about Jermaine Dye, but the correction was made for Laroche. Let’s look at what getting him back really cost. Saltalamachia, Elvis Andrus and a pitcher that’s at least a part timer, and Gonzalez may not be back. On the other hand the Braves raped Detroit on the Renteria for Infante and Jurgens trade, baseball is the great equealizer. Detroit would do well to hang up if Frank Wren calls, his predeccesor raped them on the Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz trade. I don’t use these words much so if the spelling police want to rip into me go ahead.

Bob

August 31st, 2009
6:08 pm

My main gripe re the trades is that it seems as though the team gets more and more older each year with more and more guys over 30. As a result, the injuries happen more and more frequently and the recoveries are longer and longer.

For example, although the Tex deal was a bad one for the Braves, one of the main reasons it did not work was due to an injury to Renteria which took him out of the lineup.

This year Anderson is hitting well but very slow in the outfield due to age and sore back.

Also, Chipper is hitting poorly and in all likelihood due to age and nagging injuries.

We need to bring in the young guys this month and get some speed on the base paths and in the outfield.

The pitchers will take care of the rest.

Joe

August 31st, 2009
6:13 pm

They wouldn’t be any better off than Lowe, Vazquez, and Kawakami in Atlanta. We wouldn’t hit consistently for them, either.

Mike

August 31st, 2009
6:28 pm

We are trying to compare Apples and Kiwi fruit. WOW. I remember the push at that time to get an outfielder with power. Gee…sort of sounds like this year. We were trying to make a push for the playoffs, not look at the future. I am telling you, our hindsight is really amazing.

Jeff R

August 31st, 2009
6:36 pm

At the time, I thought the Wainwright deal was foolish. We got rent-a-player J.ust the D.ough Drew. Wow. The Braves’ jacked up offense that year became a little more jacked up. The Bravos still took a nose dive in the first round of the playoffs.

Wainwright paid dividends for the Cardinals in his first year of service, as a reliever, no less. He was instrumental in the Cards winning the World Series.

And, yes, the Super Tex deal stunk to high heaven. Andrus is going to be a mainstay in the Rangers’ line up for years. Feliz has a chance to be a top starter.

NO MORE BOBBY

August 31st, 2009
6:46 pm

We give up on pitchers too soon and hold onto played out managers too long.

Tom

August 31st, 2009
6:50 pm

millwood for his career has been serviceable, 152-119 with a 4.03 era. a decent 3rd starter on a good team.what about the young ones they have given up on, kyle davies for example that never developed?

Tom

August 31st, 2009
6:56 pm

perhaps the braves gave up on kyle davies too early? no one thinks we gave too ealy on the guys who didn’t develop in the future, why is that?

Roja

August 31st, 2009
7:07 pm

We sure didn’t give up too early on JoJo. Too late? Most probably. And whty the heck don’t we give up on Norton??? I mean, Ralph Cramden can hit better than Norton!!!

Wesley

August 31st, 2009
7:32 pm

I look at it like this…We had our fair share of “raping” the competition with the Smoltz, McGriff, Jurrgens, Vazquez just to name a few….I guess everything comes out in the wash.