Hi, did I miss anything? (And a few names for the Braves)

Not to much happens when I go on vacation. Damon Evans gets arrested ...

When I go on vacation, Damon Evans gets arrested and fired ...

The summer is almost over. That’s fortunate. I figure if I take another week off, there will be a three-car pileup in a Kroger parking lot involving Matt Ryan, Jason Heyward and A.J. Green and I’ll be off somewhere, sipping a drink out of a smoking coconut,  thinking, “It’s a good thing I only take my vacation in the summer when nothing happens.”

I try to plan my time off carefully. I generally take it in the summer because: 1) That’s when my family can take it; 2) The other three seasons generally are filled with football, football, football, NBA playoffs, trade deadlines, drafts

... and Chipper Jones suffers a torn ACL, possibly ending his career. That's all.

... and Chipper Jones suffers a torn ACL. But that's pretty much it.

and recruiting. So what happens? The last two times I closed my laptop for time off, Damon Evans blew up his career and Chipper Jones tore his ACL.

I wasn’t supposed to return until Sunday. But with Georgia naming Greg McGarity its new athletic director later today and Jones meeting with the media, I figured I would come back a little early. (On a related note, I have a week of vacation time remaining. I’m supposed to take that soon. So take cover. Some readers have suggested I hold off until LeBron James comes to town, hoping he gets caught in the aftershocks. But I’m soliciting suggestions.)

OK, so let’s get to an abbreviated catchup session here. I’ll be in Athens later today for the McGarity press conference. I hope to post a column before the press conference and update it later. But a few bullet points first . . .

THE CHIPPER JONES AFTERMATH: I have no feel for what general manager Frank Wren will do. He might do nothing and Spackle the roster internally. Here’s my only hope: That money is not a determining factor in whether the Braves try to strengthen the roster down the stretch.

We all know how tight Liberty Media has been since taking over, but this season has a chance to be a special one and it would be unfortunate if budget concerns got in the way of that. Here are a few names the Braves can look at (understanding that these players would have to pass through waivers before being dealt).

1. Ty Wigginton: He has played mostly third base in his career and is in the last year of his contract ($3.5 million) with Baltimore. He’s hitting only .260 (with 18 home runs) but he’s actually batting .286 since the All-Star break and .311 with two homers and two doubles in 11 games in August.

2. Chone Figgins: The Braves would have to convince themselves Figgins is part of their plans for the future because he’s in only the first year of a four-year, $36 million contract with Seattle. I’m not sure they’ll do that. The upside is, he plays third base and center field. He also has speed. He can be their leadoff guy next season. He’s hitting only .253 now but he’s actually at .310 since the All-Star break and .405 in August.

3. Melvin Mora: I know. He’s old (38). But he would be a solid utility player off the bench and can play almost any position. He comes cheap (the remainder of his $1.275 million contract) and he’s hitting .275 (.317 since the All-Star break).

Any thoughts on those names, or do you have one of your own?

McGARITY TO GEORGIA: It was the logical hire. It’s worth noting — I’ll get into this more later — that he is stepping into a much easier situation than Damon Evans stepped into in 2004. Georgia athletics (unlike the rest of the university) is flush with cash, facility expansion projects are either completed or well underway and even the basketball program is taking off. Come back later and I’ll also let you know just how significant a role Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley played in McGarity’s hiring.

FALCON TO WATCH: WEATHERSPOON: When I spoke to Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weathersoon a week ago, he mentioned the game that he was most looking forward to was the exhibition against Kansas City. Why? Because it was the first game. It’s dangerous to draw conclusions from preseason games. But tonight’s game against the Chiefs should provide a nice sneak preview for what we can expect from Weatherspoon this season. It’s also significant that coach Mike Smith is starting him in the game because it means he wants to see Weatherspoon in all situations and against the Chiefs’ starting offense. He alone makes the game worth watching tonight.

That’s it for now. I’ll check in later from Athens.

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

143 comments Add your comment

Tami

August 13th, 2010
11:17 am

Thanks, Jeff! Sorry you had cut your vacay short. What a sports week this has been, though!!

Jim Hertel

August 13th, 2010
11:21 am

Here’s my suggestion for the Braves (for what that is worth!). Liberty Media needs to use this crisis as the moment to pony us big-time, and reward the team and fans for this remarkable season by going out and bringing in a big stick like Aramas Ramirez. He would be a right-handed bat in the middle of our lineup, and our 3rd base problems would be covered for the next couple of years. The lineup needs this kind of bat, because whenever Freeman (I hope sooner rather than later) takes over at 1b, the batting lineup will become even more left-handed.

Liberty Media could take a giant step in gaining fans acceptance and support going forward by taking bold action, and this move just might salvage the season and send Bobby riding off into the sunset with a WS ring.

BRAVO TACO

August 13th, 2010
11:23 am

Jeff – What a trooper!

MLB Trade Rumors saying the Ms may be interested in taking Kawakami off our hands for Figgins. Is that worth taking on Chone’s expense? No power, but switch hitting and speed.

Jeff Schultz

August 13th, 2010
11:24 am

Best new suggestion from @Lowcountrydawg, via Twitter: “Could you go on vacation during November elections?”

chattadawg

August 13th, 2010
11:25 am

McGarity is a great hire. UGA should not miss a beat. The Braves should play Prado at 3rd, Infante at 2nd and try to bolster the bench with a quality utility man. Someone who can pinch hit and spell multiple positions like Infante. Going out and signing a long term 3B is ill advised until the off season assuming Chipper hangs ‘em up.

athensdawg

August 13th, 2010
11:25 am

will mcgarity turn us from trembling chiuahahs into junkyard dawgs?????
only time will tell…..

Ted M

August 13th, 2010
11:25 am

What about Wilson Betemit?

Jeff Schultz

August 13th, 2010
11:25 am

Tami — Thanks, good to be back. I hate being gone when news breaks.

boots

August 13th, 2010
11:26 am

We could also deal for a LF and just shuffle the infield around. By the way, thanks to the Dodgers for blowing a huge lead. Bums. Jeff, take vacation maybe the week of the World Series, the week of GA – FL game or around the GA – GA Tech game. Not much going on those weeks. Glad your back.

PMC

August 13th, 2010
11:27 am

It’s just good to know you’re missed isn’t it Jeff?

Matt

August 13th, 2010
11:27 am

Just at the outset here, STOP SUGGESTING THESE BIG NAMES!! NONE OF THESE PLAYERS IS MAKING IT THROUGH WAIVERS!!!! Aramis Ramirez. Good Lord. Of the players you suggest, Jeff, I could stomach Wigington, but not the other two due to age (Mora ) and cost (Figgins).

Jeff Schultz

August 13th, 2010
11:28 am

Jim Hertel — I didn’t include Ramirez because he’s owed A LOT of money and isn’t performing. His contract: 2010:$15.75M, 2011:$14.6M player option, 2012:$16M club option ($2M buyout) …. He’s batting .228 (although .287 since the All-Star break).

Matt

August 13th, 2010
11:28 am

Now, if the M’s took KK off our hands, maybe Figgins might be worth the cost.

Ted M

August 13th, 2010
11:28 am

Aramas Ramirez makes over $16 mil and yrs left on his contract and he’s hitting what .200?

Jeff Schultz

August 13th, 2010
11:29 am

Bravo Taco — If Braves are convinced Figgins is part of their future beyond this season, he’s worth the money in my opinion because he can play third or center field (which could be open again next season) and bat leadoff.

Hollywould

August 13th, 2010
11:29 am

I am waiting for the first idiot to say Glaus can play 3rd.

Brian

August 13th, 2010
11:30 am

It should be noted that if Ramirez is traded, that 2012 $16 mil option becomes guaranteed.

Yeah, not gonna happen.

Kentavo

August 13th, 2010
11:30 am

There’s no way we’re getting Figgins.

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:31 am

All interesting names to replace Chipper, especially with the 2nd half numbers you provided. I just don’t think Figgins will fit into the Braves’ plans, though. If this was the NBA, we’d trade KK and McClouth’s expiring contracts. But with those two on the payroll, I just don’t see us adding an expensive CF, especially if there’s a possibility Chipper will be returning. I think the only salary we will be clearing next year will be Glaus’. I don’t know how much the front office was budgeting for him with his incentives, but I doubt it’s enough to take on Figgins’ salary.

Have we tried sending those 2 through waivers, just to see if anyone will bite? I know it’s a long shot, but there’d be dancing in the streets if someone did.

Tucker T

August 13th, 2010
11:33 am

Good to have you back Jeff. I was wondering where you were. I like your suggestion of Mora. He would fill Infante’s role of utility player after he moves into the everyday lineup.

VaBravo

August 13th, 2010
11:34 am

Had a friend suggest trying to get Beltre from the Sawx. Not sure what his status is, but he would be a very nice acquisition, and it looks like Boston is done.

Brian

August 13th, 2010
11:35 am

Bravo Taco — If Braves are convinced Figgins is part of their future beyond this season, he’s worth the money in my opinion because he can play third or center field (which could be open again next season) and bat leadoff.

But what if he doesn’t play well in third or center field, or doesn’t hit well at leadoff, which his numbers and age suggest will be the case? Then worth the money? Is Kawakami worth his money just because he can start games?

Mike Hampton Owes Me Money

August 13th, 2010
11:36 am

Bring Gordon Beckham back home

Howard

August 13th, 2010
11:36 am

Jeff…at least Lane Kiffin didn’t do anything stupid while you were gone

Kentavo

August 13th, 2010
11:37 am

YOu know, I like that Beltre idea; I mean the Sox can get something for him rather than rolling the free agency/arbitration/draft pick compensation dice.

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:37 am

Bravo Taco, if they’ll take KK, I’d do that trade in heartbeat. Figgins could potentially contribute to this club, could potentially contribute significantly. And with Schafer struggling as much as Ankiel and McLouth have, we don’t seem to have any solution for CF for next year or the near future. Plus, he gives us even more of the flexibility that the Braves love having.

KK, on the other hand, appears destined to spend the rest of the year and next year either buried at the back of the ‘pen or in AAA, which means the only value he’ll provide if the Braves keep him is throwing BP.

Leon "Pooch-Kick" Trotsky

August 13th, 2010
11:38 am

Jeff, while you away Coach finally kick that idiot Stalin off the team for always missing the snap count. But now Coach went missing.

Ted M

August 13th, 2010
11:40 am

Howard – I’m sure Lane Kiffin did do something stupid. We just don’t know what it is yet.

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:40 am

I doubt Betemit ever makes it through waivers.

retired on the lake ......and broke

August 13th, 2010
11:41 am

welcome back… no suggestions from me just welcome back

Ted M

August 13th, 2010
11:42 am

Well I guess I’m the only one who thinks Betemit would really strengthen our bench while Infante starts.

Kentavo

August 13th, 2010
11:43 am

But is Philly really going to let anyone of good value slip by without making a waiver claim?

mudcat

August 13th, 2010
11:44 am

You mean, you’ve been gone?

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:44 am

Hollywould, you obviously haven’t been reading the Braves blog or Bradley’s blogs on the subject. Otherwise, you would’ve already seen plenty of those idiots.

Paddy O

August 13th, 2010
11:44 am

Boston is NOT done. With Lowell, and Pedroia coming back soon, we should catch at least the Rays. FYI – was at New Shea a week ago, watched the Mets get smoked 14-1, my friend, a big Mets fan stated that Manuel was screwing the Mets by not playing Francoer – as he was the emotional leader of the team – how did you folks like losing to Frenchy on the HR?

Jim Hertel

August 13th, 2010
11:45 am

Jeff, you are right — Aramis Ramirez is owed a lot of money and he is not having a good year. Those are the reasons why he might make it through waivers, and we would be buying low from the Cubs who need to move some contracts. Ramirez is a gamble (aren’t all players), but he hit .317 just last year. I think he is worth it for the Braves to try to take a chance. This move would energize the fan base and turn a negative into a positive — something Liberty Media should care about.

Don

August 13th, 2010
11:47 am

Why do the Braves not give Freeman a chance at First Base – even if it is only for a week or so – to see what happens – instead of playing Glaus (not producing) on and on and on. What do they have to lose?
Who knows – he could start hitting – get hot and really produce for the remainder of the season or at least until the pitchers adjust to him.
If not, they could go back to Glaus. There is nothing to lose and everything possibly to gain by doing this.
But this is the same old story for Cox — For needed changes obvious to most everyone, it takes Cox weeks, sometimes months, sometimes never to do them

Don

August 13th, 2010
11:48 am

The big question is – Can the Braves maintain their Division lead in spite of Bobby Cox’s blunders and lack of flexability.

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:51 am

VaBravo, I don’t see any way Beltre makes it through waivers.

Herschel Talker

August 13th, 2010
11:53 am

Schultzie:

What do you think about picking up Jose Guillen if he clears waivers and is formally released on Sunday? It’s not going to solve anything at 3B directly, but his bat is strong and that would take some pressure of the new 3B having to produce too much.

HT

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:53 am

Jim Hertel, and if he doesn’t come back, he becomes a bigger albatross than Mike Hampton or KK, McLouth and Lowe combined. I for one would be more stressed than energized by that move, even if the Braves didn’t have to give up anyone of significance.

Nope

August 13th, 2010
11:56 am

If you just looked at the pictures, and didn’t read the article, you would think that Schultzie wanted Evans to replace Chipper. Not a bad move. Damon is a former athlete. I think he would use the back pockets for red panties instead of batting gloves though.

GT Alum

August 13th, 2010
11:57 am

Jim Hertel, also, Ramirez is a 3B and a 3B only. Picking him up makes no sense unless we don’t expect Chipper to try to come back, and it sounds like most people are expecting Chipper to at least try.

Ric Flair

August 13th, 2010
12:04 pm

I like the idea of getting Figgins if Seattle eats some of his salary… Fills a hole either way next year and gives the Braves something they’ve needed since Furcal. I love Infante, but he’s more valuable to the Braves as a utility guy.

Jim Hertel

August 13th, 2010
12:09 pm

I don’t expect Chipper to play next year. He was already leaning toward retirement before this injury. I know he doesn’t want to go out this way, and I hate for this to happen to him. This is the way life is. Also, Chipper was very old to be playing 3rd base. He played there longer than any of the great 3rd basemen that I can remember.

Mikey in the SAV

August 13th, 2010
12:10 pm

Lets go with Darrell Reavis at the hot corner. I heard he plays corner…he has some time on his hands right now anyway…

Supes

August 13th, 2010
12:11 pm

The only way Figgins is an option for 3B or CF(next year) is if Seattle takes Kawakami in the trade and EATS some of Chone’s upcoming 4 year contract salary…no way will the Braves pay him all that he’s owed…maybe a Mike Hampton like deal?

keith

August 13th, 2010
12:12 pm

I can agree with your analysis, Jeff, but only as a bench player.

Infante/Prado is much better than any combo that would be out there assuming INfante would be benched. Infante has proved he is a good everday starter.

I doubt they will pay Figgins that much to be a bench player, so I guess Hicks will have to do for now. :(

But if I had my preference, they would pick up Figgins to keep their deeper bench and start Infante/Prado.

P Rose

August 13th, 2010
12:12 pm

Stop trading for journeymen – Gonzalez, Ankiel, Farnsworth – that isn’t helping. The solution is simple. Move Prado to third and let Infante start every day at second. Then we have already upgraded the lineup, because Infante is a better hitter than Chipper (no, not historically, but NOW he IS). We already have a stout bench, even without Infante on it – Hinske/Diaz, Conrad, Ross. Bring up Hernandez or whomever as an emergency utility infielder and we’re done. Let’s move on already.

Gene

August 13th, 2010
12:16 pm

There is a personal motive behind everything that Mike Adams does. Evans should never have been AD. That choice was to demonstrate Adams’ color blindness regarding race. Evans was also a puppet, which McGarity probably won’t be. McGarity might even squeeze Richt on player arrests. Adams has been campaigning for the last few years for the NCAA post. Now that the NCAA door (to the vault) is closed, Mike may be looking for another pot of gold. Also, Adams my be apprehensive about his present position since he is losing his sponsor, Sonny “Go Fish” Perdue, and maybe Regent Lebron as well. No doubt that McGarity is the best man for the job, but that has never been a consideration in Adams selection process for faculty, administrators, or coaches. Too bad about Chipper. He deserves another WS shot.