Countdown swaps: Braves, Falcons, MeAngelo and Marge

The Count answers to no blowhard

The Count prefers night games.

The Count always looks forward to baseball trade talks. He can never resist adding a new bat. (Sorry. It was sitting right there.) Anyway, I know the baseball offseason won’t officially start until the World Series, when hopefully the gluttonous New York Yankees choke and keel over like an over-sized mutant ATM machine that spits out one too many withdrawals during free agency. But since agent Scott Boras has begun his pimping duties, I figured Braves fans should know something early. Matt Holliday? Ain’t happening. We count down . . .

10. Boras: I’ve got your Holliday right here

If this makes you feel any better, it was Holliday, the solid hitting outfielder, who greased the skids for the Cardinals’ exit from their National League playoff series against the Dodgers. (Video below.) (UPDATE: The video has been deactivated, I’m guessing by Scott Boras’s secret police. So I’ve inserted a picture instead. So sorry.) You could say he kicked the entire city of St. Louis in the twins. (Baseball pun. See how I did that?)  But what Holliday remains is the highest profile free agent in a generally dreary class this winter. That hasn’t escaped Boras. He just likened him to . . .  Gold Glover Mark Teixeira? (Two guesses who negotiated Teixeira’s $180 million contract with the Yankees. If you need the second guess, take a seat.)

9. You didn’t spend, so Braves won’t either

That can't feel very good.

That can't feel very good.

The Braves need outfield help. They need a bat. They’re going to need one even more in the near future than they need now, if Adam LaRoche can solicit a three-year contract offer from another team. It’s doubtful the Braves would give LaRoche three years because they’ve got a prospect first baseman, Freddie Freeman, standing in th on deck circle. It seems certain the Braves will need to trade for offense. Their payroll of $92 million to $95 million last season will not significantly rise. Too many two-for-one-nights. Too many empty seats in September. Too few purchases of Kenshin Kawakami replica jerseys. I bring up Holliday only because of the number of readers who’ve emailed me inquiring about his potential as a Brave. When asked about Holliday, Boras said what any highly successful blood-sucking expert from his chosen profession would say: He drew a parallel with Teixeira and said, “These guys are blue-collar superstars. They don’t hit 50 home runs, but they’re complete players. … There are differences between hitters and complete players. Matt Holliday is a complete player. There is, frankly, no one like him in the market.” That is true. No other left fielder can sing soprano.

8. The dominoes start with Hudson

Tim Hudson is the first domino of the winter.

Tim Hudson is the first domino of the winter.

This will be an interesting offseason for Braves general manager Frank Wren. He wants to re-sign pitcher Tim Hudson. But doesn’t know if he can. He wants to trade Derek Lowe or Kenshin Kawakami for a bat. But he doesn’t know if he can, and he has to see how things develop with Hudson first. He wants to re-sign LaRoche. But doesn’t know if he can, and if he can sign Hudson and trade Lowe or Kawakami for a bat then maybe keeping LaRoche becomes less crucial for the everyday lineup. The difference between things going right and things going wrong will be the difference in the Braves playing in October next season or wondering when this post-season drought ends. Either the dominoes fall in sequence or the Labrador runs through the room and knocks everything over. Wren probably was correct when he speculated last winter’s quest to remake the starting rotation caused more stress than this one will. But this off-season tips one way or the other very easily. At least Boras just made one decision easy.

7. NFL’s trade deadline is a deadzone

Welcome to my annual rant: The NFL trade deadline probably will pass without a big-name player — or even what remains of Terrell Owens — from being dealt. Why? Because it’s Oct. 20. Potential sellers are only one-third of the way through their season. They don’t want to send a message to their fans, “We give up.” But how great would it be if this deadline was moved back at least a month? I realize football is a “team” sport and you’re not going to see a flood of left tackles moved at the deadline. But a more timely deadline would stir interest. And if there’s a team that believes adding a receiver, running back or pass rusher could put them over the top for a playoff berth, where’s the harm? I posed that question to Falcons president Rich McKay. He’s a long-time member of the NFL’s Competition Committee. Company guy. So I got the answer I expected.

6. How can stories and debate about trades be bad?

McKay wrote in an email that moving the deadline often has been discussed but never voted on. Even then, he said, 24 of 32 teams would need to approve a change. He agreed that moving the deadline “increase the potential for more trades. However, ours is still the ultimate team sport which will always limit the value of in-season trades given the differences in schemes and terminology from team to team. Being able to plug in a player via trade in the NFL is not like baseball where a left fielder can be traded at 1 p.m. and start that night for the acquiring club.” As for McKay’s personal preference?  “I would not favor moving the trade deadline,” he wrote. “We have been a league that has great success based upon our competitive balance. I would not like to see teams late in the season able to make trades that affect that competitive balance because they no longer are in the race.” I’m guessing fans in cities of bubble teams would disagree.

5. D-Hall: The glue (you sniff) in the locker room

"If I only had a brain . . ."

"If I only had a brain . . ."

A co-worker of mine whose identity I will shield for his own safety suggested the Falcons should trade for DeAngelo Hall.  I think that would be a great move by general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Right after he hits himself with a ball-peen hammer. You’ll love this. Coach Hall told the Washington Post that maligned coach Jim Zorn’s decision to bench starting quarterback Jason Campbell was the wrong move. Hall, I suppose, has become somewhat of an expert on quarterbacks, given that they keep burning him. “As far as the change of benching Jason in the second half, obviously that didn’t work,” Hall said. “So that’s not the change you need. I think if I was the guy, I would’ve left Jason in . . .  I don’t think that was the right move. Coach made that move. Ain’t nothing I can do about it. He made that move, he had to live with it.” Yes, I do believe this is just the guy the Falcons want to add to the locker room. Presumably, the Redskins would have to throw a flamethrower and a book of matches into the deal.

4. Choose: Beer in the Duff or Marge in the buff?

margesimpsonplayboy

I hear the heels take off about five pounds.

And now for something completely different. The lowest common denominator of my readership — which would be the majority — is upset that I haven’t kept to my promise of posting weekly pictures of babe-a-liciouses for cheap page view purposes. Apologies.  But some of my female readers were a little put off. Fortunately, I believe I have found a starlet acceptable to both sides. To mark the 20th anniversary of the “Simpsons,” Marge Simpson has posed for Playboy! I figure most guys prefer one-dimensional relationships, anyway. Granted, Marge didn’t play sports. But there was that one “Simpsons” episode  when Springfield decided to legalize gambling in hopes of reviving the economy, and the church-going Marge dropped a quarter in a slot machine and won, and devolved into a gambling addict. I suppose then came the late-night drinking binges, the hookups with mob bosses and cosmetic enhancements. So let your eyes walk over this blue-haired wonder.

3. Meet the Bobby Knight-berg of Tel Aviv

For the record, I know a few dirty words in Yiddish. But I can’t be certain which ones the Tel Aviv basketball coach uttered this weekend. The New York Knicks played an NBA exhibition over the weekend against “Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv” at Madison Square Garden. The game was to benefit underprivileged children in Israel. But the setting didn’t soften up Tel Aviv’s coach, Pini Gershon. Everything was fine until former Hawk Al Harrington was called for charging and argued the call, which for whatever reason led Gershon to argue with the official about something. Then Nate Robinson interjected himself into the debate — then a Rabbi! Gershon was thrown out of the game. But he would not leave the court. Oy. If you’ve got the time, here’s the video.

2. And the Thrashers sign . . . Rich Peverley

They probably would’ve gotten a little more attention if they had re-signed Ilya Kovalchuk. But that hasn’t happened yet. Look, it’s wonderful that the Thrashers are off to a strong start (4-1) and that Kovalchuk says he wants to stay and that general manager Don Waddell says negotiations are going great. But until Kovalchuk’s name is on a contract extension, this is a problem. I Googled Kovalchuk’s name Monday and kept finding news stories focusing on his perceived uncertain future, some speculating on whether he would be dealt at the NHL trade deadline (Boston seems to be the hot rumor) and others wondering if he would go to Russia. Don’t laugh. I mean, I don’t think that’s going to happen. When Russians come to play in the U.S., it’s usually for one reason: To get out of Russia. But there are no salary cap restrictions over there. It would be easy to see Kovalchuk landing a deal for as much as $15 millioin a year. Think of Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, as a Scott Boros starter kit. He’s good. He’ll get what he can for his client. Waddell wants and needs to get this done soon, but Kovalchuk has all of the leverage. Until the deal is signed, it’s going to become a bigger issue and a distraction. But at least we can sleep easy that Peverley is in the fold.

1.Doggy down time . . .

Georgia is off this week. Kinda like walking the Green Mile before the Florida game in Jacksonville, isn’t it? But because I’m such a nice guy, here’s something to comfort you for next season.

82 comments Add your comment

azcat225

October 20th, 2009
4:04 pm

CLE

October 20th, 2009
4:18 pm

Not that it matters, but the baseball agent’s name is spelled Boras.

zeus

October 20th, 2009
4:18 pm

It’s Boras. Not Boros.

Michael

October 20th, 2009
4:20 pm

First, and the Holliday video no worky.

Michael

October 20th, 2009
4:21 pm

The Holliday video no worky.

PMC

October 20th, 2009
4:22 pm

If the players that came out of Blacksburg were even a quarter as good as they think they are they might turn into a late 80’s Miami reborn. Instead…they’ll just continue being high school phenoms who fail miserably in the NFL.

Mo Mass

October 20th, 2009
4:25 pm

Murray for Heisman!

Asheville Dawg

October 20th, 2009
4:25 pm

Mo Mass

October 20th, 2009
4:26 pm

isnt it Ball Peen hammer?

Reggie Ball

October 20th, 2009
4:26 pm

midnite

October 20th, 2009
4:42 pm

Jeff, you must nailed your head with a ball “peen” hammer. The secret weapon of choice of most outlaw biker gangs(because it’s not considered a weapon).

Suck it Nerd

October 20th, 2009
4:47 pm

I miss Reggie Ball. Things haven’t been the same at UGA since he left…

Tech.

Reality Check

October 20th, 2009
4:55 pm

Unless same major last minute changes have been made, I believe UGA’s next game is in Jacksonville, not Gainesville.

ben

October 20th, 2009
4:55 pm

It’s ballpeen, not ball ping. Used to beat on metal; or hard heads.

Asheville Dawg

October 20th, 2009
4:58 pm

Okay, your Holiday video doesn’t work, ball peen hammers work well on the ignorant, Marge is cartoon, and why pander to a minority share of your readers. Maccabi coach was playing Israeli rules, first a little talk, then maybe a nosh, and more discussion. Trade deadline is a joke. Hall is gone and still can’t cover. Sign Hudson, because if you got pitching you won’t get killed. And wait UGA’[s petition to grant Reggie Ball, two more years is granted. If only GT still had Chan Galey!!!!!!!!!!

Matt

October 20th, 2009
5:00 pm

Jeff, man you need to relax about the Thrashers. Would it be good if Kovy was resigned at this point? Yes, of course it would. But I see the signing of Peverly as another step “in the process” (apologies to Coach Smith).

This team is off to a nice start, as opposed to the hole they usually dig for themselves at the beginning of the year. They are not going to win the Stanly Cup this year, but are working on making a solid team with future stars like Kane, Little, and Bogosian. When were we EVER able to say this team had young talent? (Kovy, Kari and Heatley together was probably it)

It worked before...

October 20th, 2009
5:02 pm

Hey, quit giving Reggie Ball such a hard time. So he spiked the ball on 4th down to stop the clock. It worked for the ‘90 Colorado Buffaloes. Spiked it on 4th, so they were awarded a 5th down. Reggie, being a student of the game, was aware of that precedent.

That said, this is not your Daddy’s Ga Tech football team…

Why Wait til next year?

October 20th, 2009
5:06 pm

We want Murray!
We want Murray!
We want Murray!
(That was the intended result, right?)

md

October 20th, 2009
5:07 pm

Sorry guys, its Borass, not Boras.

Paul H

October 20th, 2009
5:24 pm

Thank goodness Hall is not a Falcon. There is no place on the “new” Falcons for a guy like him.

Volman

October 20th, 2009
5:28 pm

Nothing on the #1 team in the state, Georgia Tech? : )

Baba O'Riley

October 20th, 2009
5:31 pm

Reggie Ball didn’t spike the ball, he rolled out to the right and threw it out of bounds. Did you watch the game???????????

MiltonDawg

October 20th, 2009
5:35 pm

Falcons need some DB help/depth FAST!!! Williams was great, now Chevis Jackson?
Scott Boras is the single worst thing in all of baseball. Is he the anti-christ of free agents??

Lloyd Christmas

October 20th, 2009
5:35 pm

Man, you are one pathetic loser. No offense.

James Adams

October 20th, 2009
5:42 pm

I wish he owned 85 muzzles…

Mississippi State is next

October 20th, 2009
5:44 pm

Next season? You will see that the next several years in the East will be dominated by Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina. And for the people out there that think Florida will have a meltdown next year and have a Georgia-esque season you are wrong. One more thing, if UGA can hold Florida to under 20 points on Halloween then they have a chance. 90’s – Florida 9-1 vs. UGA. 00’s – Florida 7-2 vs. UGA……………soon to be 8-2.

Dan Morton

October 20th, 2009
5:51 pm

I want us to sign Hudson AND LaRoche ( he is only 29 ) then package Kelly Johnson ( Conrad and Infante are more than sufficient off the bench ), Kawakami and Freedy Freeman for a second or third year right handed hitting major leaguer with 30 HR .290 BA history or legitimate potential ( have absolutely no idea who that might be ). Bring up Heyward and you have a contending ballclub.

sunny purdue

October 20th, 2009
5:56 pm

Jeff…I think they are playing that game in Jacksonville this year.

MitchC

October 20th, 2009
6:04 pm

Jeff, it would seem that the most likely of the things that would happen for the Braves would be Hudson re signing. He wants to stay her, and will take a discount to do so.

As for keeping Laroche, and trading Lowe or KK. I look at it this way. If you were a team involved in a trade with the Braves, would you want to take a 37 year old pitcher who had a 4.60 ERA this year? Also, who wouldnt want Adam Laroche? The guy is still young, and can hit 20-30 homers. Even if his batting average isnt great, such power numbers, combined with 80 odd RBIs would look good in anyone’s lineup.

I’m concerned about the Braves. We have many pitching questions, and if we dont re sign Laroche, then we essentially need two more power hitters. I hope that FW makes some good moves.

Skydawg

October 20th, 2009
6:07 pm

Yeah, Schultz must have confused Boras with Soros..cos we know he’s a big left wing marxist.

@sunny purdue…..just shows you how incompetent he really is. Just like the rest of the fish-wrapper AJC. Go figure.

Gary

October 20th, 2009
6:22 pm

It’s ball peen or ball pein hammer, not ball ping.

F-105 Thunderchief

October 20th, 2009
6:25 pm

Sign LaRoche for three years. Freeman is no shoo-in. Remember Mr. Can’t Miss, Brad Komminsk. So up a guy you know is going to get it done and if Freeman pushes him aside, or can play third base, so much the better.

F-105 Thunderchief

October 20th, 2009
6:26 pm

Edited version. Sign LaRoche for three years. Freeman is no shoo-in. Remember Mr. Can’t Miss, Brad Komminsk? Sew up a guy you know is going to get it done and if Freeman pushes him aside, or can play third base, so much the better.

GO DAWGS

October 20th, 2009
6:34 pm

GEORGIA is going to upset Florida on Halloween!!!! GO DAWGS BEAT FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dagnabit

October 20th, 2009
7:25 pm

If JAWJA wins another game this year, it will be an upset.

gabeaux

October 20th, 2009
7:26 pm

Don’t you ever proof read? Are you so confident in your prose that you feel it needs no improvement? This isn’t a text message forum, this is the written word.

Larry

October 20th, 2009
7:46 pm

So, do we now know what is the correct name of the hammer?

Good grief!

YellowJacket

October 20th, 2009
8:00 pm

Aaron Murray is a really nice boy, he is.

Ball Peen

October 20th, 2009
8:19 pm

Ball Peen Hammer (not ping)

Elmo

October 20th, 2009
8:29 pm

Hit yourself with the ball peen hammer for mentioning DeAngelo. Is there not enough “Cancer” in the World guy ?

Reid Adair

October 20th, 2009
8:37 pm

So much great stuff this time, Jeff, I don’t know where to begin.

I agree. The Braves, whether at the ownership or Frank Wren level, will not cough up the money for Matt Holliday. If Wren honestly thinks any other team out there is going to trade for Derek Lowe or Kenshin Kawakami after the ridiculous contracts he gave them, he really is a worse GM than even I think he is.

I’m also confident, despite what he says about Tim Hudson, that it won’t happen. He’s lied before, so claiming he wants to keep Hudson may be a lie too.

athensdawg

October 20th, 2009
8:47 pm

great job yanking the ole T.C. chain. we deserve it…..and whomever said that all future georgia wins this year will be an upset is partially correct. I believe that we should be favored (not by much) against ten tech for homecoming. but right now, the rest of the way looks like one big L after another.

DBCOOPER

October 20th, 2009
9:06 pm

Where is the story?

Jeff Schultz

October 20th, 2009
9:13 pm

All — thanks for the correction on Boras and the ball-peen hammer. Also, can’t explain the video. I know it had been removed from most websites but found this one in the late morning and it worked. I suspect Boras. The photo will have to suffice. Thanks. JS.

Shamus Thacker

October 20th, 2009
9:13 pm

It will be easier to trade KK than Lowe. We’d have to eat 75% of Lowe’s wages to GIVE him away.

Actually, Georgia would be better off going to Gainesville. They’re gonna get hammered if/when they show-up in J’ville.

We’ve had occasional good-to-great Falcons seasons, but this is the most enjoyable beginning to a season in the 40-years I’ve looked-on. I feel like we’ve got a REAL shot at beating ANYBODY, their place or ours. Not with gimmicks, or smoke and mirrors, but with players who behave and play like true professionals.

GO FALCONS!

Jeff Schultz

October 20th, 2009
9:14 pm

Reid — I actually do think Wren wants to keep Hudson. Just don’t know if Braves’ offer will be close to those of other teams. Market is difficult to gauge right now.

Joe

October 20th, 2009
9:45 pm

Frank Wren should sign Barry Bonds I would like to see Bonds play one more season and retire as a Brave.

BnB

October 20th, 2009
10:05 pm

McKay probably has merit to his comments but Braylon Edwards didn’t look too bad last Monday after being on the Jets for about three days.

bugman

October 20th, 2009
10:22 pm

Matt,

You’ve got to be kidding, right?!

Former Braves Fan

October 20th, 2009
10:23 pm

As long as the stupid Braves don’t put a team on the field that can WIN the whole thing, not just disappoint in the playsoffs yet once again, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE EMPTY STADIUM SEATS IN SEPTEMBER!!!! No win, no come. It is that simple. I used to enjoy driving over too Atlanta to go to a game. But I am not doing a 200 plus mile round trip for those high prices only to see the Braves behind by 6 in the top of the 3d inning. Ain’t gonna happen. The tease at the end of this year didn’t do it for me. I NEVER felt that they were going to win the wild card, or the division. Just was not going to happen. I was not excited by this team. I am sick of Jones getting hurt every night. Sick of a team that just goes through the motions. Yes, I am blaming it on managment and Bobby Cox. Cox has been there too long. This will just be another year of nothing. The Braves need new blood leading them. They are way past all those division titles. Take those stupid flags down. They mean NOTHING NOW!!! Keep the WS win one up, but not the others. Why? To remember all the blown dreams of another WS win. I think not. They lost four others. Blew a 2-0 lead to the Yankees, after getting that 2-0 lead in NY CITY!!!!! NOPE, the Braves will continue to lose. Ain’t spending no money on Holliday, or anyone else.