Braves had no choice but to cut losses with McLouth

This is what Nate McLouth looks like when he hits a home run. It's an old picture. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

This is what Nate McLouth looks like when he hits a home run. It's an old picture. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

When I spoke to Braves general manager Frank Wren earlier today and asked about the struggling Nate McLouth, this is what he said: “The last ball he hit the other night was the hardest he’s hit since he came back. So we’re hoping that’s a sign.”

Sign? Right. Turns out the only sign was off of Interstate 85 heading north, exit 115: Buford Drive. That’s where McLouth will be parked indefinitely.

The Braves optioned McLouth to the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. Ironic. He sort of takes the roster spot vacated in Gwinnett by Jordan Schafer, who was recently demoted yet another level down to Double-A Mississippi.

There was a time when McLouth was viewed as the bridge to Schafer. Now both are bridges to nowhere.

Give Wren credit for this. He understands this season can be a special one for the Braves. He’s not taking any chances. He decided to deal talented but pouty shortstop Yunel Escobar, giving up age and potentially something greater down the line, for the more stable Alex Gonzalez. Now he is dropping McLouth, who is hitting only .168 this season  and is 1-for-15 since returning from the disabled list with a concussion. The final straw might have been grounding into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded the other night in Florida.

The move doesn’t solve the Braves’ problem in center field, but it eliminates an eyesore from the roster. Wren presumably has been trying to move McLouth before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but the fact the player signed a three-year, $15.75 million contract extension last season makes that problematic.

Wren also has been hesitant to make a deal that could disrupt the Braves’ chemistry. For more on that, click here.

But for now, he deserves some credit for knowing when to cut losses with McLouth.

Last four posts (free and in HD)

Braves’ Wren struggling with decision on whether to deal

Countdown’s health report: A-Roid, hot dog stands, mite fight!

With Oswalt trade looming, should Braves worry about Philly?

Ranking the SEC, from Bama to Vandy (and Georgia No. 4)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

177 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

July 27th, 2010
4:47 pm

Schultzie:

You the man.

HT

JOe T

July 27th, 2010
4:47 pm

Had to be done!! He has got to get his swing together!!

JOe T

July 27th, 2010
4:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Skram30082

July 27th, 2010
4:48 pm

Good move by the Braves.

Hey, any word on Venters’ suspension?

Sutton's Fro

July 27th, 2010
4:52 pm

PLEASE tell me that Gregor Blanco got his roster spot! It’s kinda funny we have struggled with a regular starting 8, and then have a couple .300 hitters on the bench (Blanco and Infante).

Frank Wren

July 27th, 2010
4:56 pm

It’s not my fault. When I traded for McClouth I thought he was that immortal dude from Highlander.

keith

July 27th, 2010
4:57 pm

Good job for now! For us to be competitive in the playoffs and have a legit shot in the WS, we need one more bat.

Josh Willingham, please. :) Or Hart.

keith

July 27th, 2010
4:57 pm

Sutton’s, Blanco still need to stay in AAA for 4 days before he is available to be called. Hopefully, he will be called up then…

Smitty

July 27th, 2010
5:03 pm

The Braves could not ask for more than Blanco gave them just last month. Plus they have Infante.

Greg Norton

July 27th, 2010
5:03 pm

I am still available, big boys….

Mr. Pappagiorgio

July 27th, 2010
5:03 pm

Why dont we put Infante in Center or left, and move the others around????

Sutton's Fro

July 27th, 2010
5:07 pm

Greg, my beer-league softball team doesn’t even want you!

The Grinch

July 27th, 2010
5:13 pm

The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. Good job, Frank. At least SOMETHING positive came out of that Florida series.

OpenMinded

July 27th, 2010
5:13 pm

Even Francouer would be a great improvement over McClouth

ShaunC

July 27th, 2010
5:14 pm

The Bridge to Nowhere line is great!

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

Sad but true, you could not wrap him in bacon and get a cayote to take him.

Bring on Greg White.

Darrin "The Vent King"

July 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

rugburn

July 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

if you are talking about willingham for cf, we would be better off putting diaz out there. we need a cf not another converted project and i like matt’s bat

Too tough 44

July 27th, 2010
5:22 pm

As any player being demoted, I feel sorry for them…but, its time to play our BEST TEAM AND players that can produce! And, I am a chipper fan, however, his best value may be resting and playing every other day and pinch hitting…letting him get some needED rest! And, would rest up McCann a little more too…we need fresh legs, eyes and bats for this home stretch, and hopefully on to win a WS!!!!!! GO BRAVES!!!!!!

William Shatner Face

July 27th, 2010
5:23 pm

So were playing without a center fielder now?

Remarkable

July 27th, 2010
5:24 pm

You are right Jeff but does this mean we have a $5 million dollar man playing at tripple a for the next two plus years? Can Blanco and Diaz be our answers? I don’t think so.

Beer Angel

July 27th, 2010
5:24 pm

One more eyesore to go………….. CHAVEZ! This guy should go sell beer in the stands. I cringe when I see him come out of the bullpen.

Bangkapi Ajarn

July 27th, 2010
5:27 pm

Jeff, Props for this paragraph- succinct, almost poetic, places the transaction into perspective re: the big picture. Well done.

“There was a time when McLouth was viewed as the bridge to Schafer. Now both are bridges to nowhere.”

rugburn

July 27th, 2010
5:28 pm

can i get an amen for too tough. we also need production in the 3-hole. 1 and 2 are getting it done. there have been alot of rbi opps and our 3 spot should be leading the league

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Ted M

July 27th, 2010
5:32 pm

So McLouth went willingly? Or did have no choice?

Paddy

July 27th, 2010
5:36 pm

Nate’s contract sort of makes you forget about Albie Lopez!

Ted M

July 27th, 2010
5:37 pm

Damn, he was poised to bust out against Strasburg! LOL

Paddy

July 27th, 2010
5:38 pm

Ted M …of course he went willingly! Are you going to walk away from a 5 Mil a year contract. If he is playing he is collecting!

Idot

July 27th, 2010
5:39 pm

He probably could have quit and forfieted all the money, or accepted a buyout. What would you have done?

Hedley Lamarr

July 27th, 2010
5:40 pm

YYYYEEEEESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bobby Coccyx

July 27th, 2010
5:40 pm

He really is a good kid.

Falcon Josh

July 27th, 2010
5:40 pm

Enter your comments here

Falcon Josh

July 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

Hinske/Diaz ,LF Heyward, Center Infante/Blanco ,RF

Why not?

wawel78

July 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

It’s not Blanco, it’s Clevlen. They have to wait at least 4 days (I think) to bring Blanco up.

Good luck, Nate. I hope you can work out your issues.

Bob Horner

July 27th, 2010
5:43 pm

Paddy is genious…..he stole my words….

Oregon Brave

July 27th, 2010
5:44 pm

Perhaps there is a God. Now Frankie me boy. Take out KK and we will ROLL!

Ted M

July 27th, 2010
5:45 pm

I wasn’t sure if his money was guaranteed no matter what he did.

gt76

July 27th, 2010
5:45 pm

Option to AAA…just cut him loose and write it off…the game Sunday was brutal to watch..if we still had Blanco on the bench he would have been a vast improvement over McClouth

NCBravesFan

July 27th, 2010
5:46 pm

I feel bad for the guy and hope he puts it together in AAA. Best of luck, Nate.

Stockdog

July 27th, 2010
5:47 pm

Great column Jeff, very funny and to the point. I hate to see Nate fail, but he is a 5million dollar hat rack that talks, walks but don’t hit. Cleveland will be brought up to come off the bench until Blanco finishes his 10 day stint in the minors (4 more days). Cabrera and Blanco will play center.

Idot

July 27th, 2010
5:47 pm

I would like to see McLouth get his swing leveled out, and stop trying to hit HRs at almost every AB.

AmosM

July 27th, 2010
5:49 pm

He deserves credit? I think the demotion of McClouth is major defeat for Frank Wren. He tied up significant cash and time in a player who will probably never be productive in a Braves uniform. We have no centerfielder and few serious leads on a new one going into a heated pennant race. And the Phillies are *coming.* Give him credit??

Idot

July 27th, 2010
5:50 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if KK gets traded. He has pitched some pretty good games this year and there is usually a contender looking for pitching this time of year. He does have some value.

med

July 27th, 2010
5:53 pm

maybe McLouth gets his swing working again in AAA and returns next spring with a vengeance.

Idot

July 27th, 2010
5:54 pm

He could return when the teams activate the 40 man rosters this season.

[...] the rest of the story. Posted Jul 27 2010, 05:55 PM by Bob Smizik Filed under: Nate McLouth Online: Contact Us [...]

Idot

July 27th, 2010
5:57 pm

I don’t think that the Phillies are a juggernaut, yet.
But they were picked by all the experts to take the div.
I still believe that the Braves can win the East.

JohnSmith

July 27th, 2010
6:03 pm

All we are saaaaaaaaayin’…is give Blanco a chaaaaannnnnce…