My Braves’ camp wrap (and finally, your questions)

For the last time, Chipper Jones is not fat. (David Justice in decent shape, too.) (Jason Getz/AJC)

For the last time, Chipper Jones is not fat. David Justice in decent shape, too. (Jason Getz/AJC)

First, an apology. Before heading down to spring training, I wrote that I would take your questions and give responses. But I kept putting it off and, before I knew it, my week at Camp Bravos was almost over. So rather than go back and answer questions on the original blog post, I figured I would just create a new one.

Below are some of your questions and my answers. If you have any other questions that you haven’t already thrown at David O’Brien, post them below and I’ll answer them as best as I can.

Overall, I liked the vibe in camp. Emotionally, the Braves don’t seem too hungover from last season’s collapse, and the best way I can describe the mood right now is cautious optimism.

But truth is, it’s really impossible to draw conclusions right now. This is spring training. Often you can’t even tell much from spring games, let alone batting practice and bullpen sessions, which is all I witnessed. My concerns haven’t changed: How does Jason Heyward bounce back? How long before the starting rotation is healthy? How strong will the bench be? How does manager Fredi Gonzalez react this time if the team goes into a tailspin? Is shortstop Tyler Pastornicky here too soon?

The biggest question: Is this a postseason team? Yes. Assuming everything doesn’t go wrong again. But there are too many uncertainties to really know right now.

One of the most positive signs is the players seem to have really taken to hitting coaches Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher.

Here’s a comment from Heyward, when I asked about Walker: “It’s more being able to have a relationship with him. You want to be able to go in there and talk and be able to understand each other, using the same terminology. Nobody has gotten in anybody’s way. It’s been a nice transition. We’ve had fun.”

Read into that what you like, as it pertains to last year’s hitting coach, Larry Parrish.

OK, here are your questions. Again, if I missed you, post it again below in the comments’ section.

Hankie Aron: Schultzie- What are they expecting or hoping to get offensively from Tyler Pastornicky?

Pastornicky hit. .365 at Gwinnett last season, but he was up there for only 27 games (117 plate appearances) so expectations can’t be too high. I’m sure he’ll be batting eighth. Braves hope mostly that he will be strong defensively. They’re not counting on him for offense.

George Stein: Will Fredi [Gonzalez] get over his obsession with bunting and other small-ball tactics? Also, will he use his closer in tie games in the 9th inning on the road this year?

I think we’ve covered this, George. My view is the Braves need to find ways to manufacture runs when the bats are cold, and that means aggressive base running, hit-and-runs, sacrifices, etc. They need to work on all of those things in spring games.

Stevie Zero: Hey Jeff, any info on Chipper’s [Jones] knees, overall health, and what he’s feeling he can contribute coming into spring.

Jones says his health is fine and he’s certainly in shape. But he’s almost 40 and we the knew aches, pains, etc., will start when the season begins.

Bob Gard: What are your predictions for the World Series match up and the playoffs leading up to the WS.

Bob, I’m not making any predictions yet, other than saying the Braves will be in the playoffs.

Steve: Jeff, will you be retiring soon so that I can take your place? Would love to be headed down to Braves spring training!

As soon as the bank says, “You’re house has been paid off,” I’ll inform you of my plans. If the right numbers come up this week, retirement will come sooner.

Vinny: Why is the Braves’ highest-paid player so fat?

Chipper Jones is not fat. That was a bad picture (which fooled me too).

Vinny: Why did Frank Wren trade for Dan Uggla when the team already had TWO All-Star second basemen on the team?

The Braves needed a run-producer in the lineup, particularly from the right side. We can debate whether Uggla’s contract was too big – he’ll make $13.2  million for the next four seasons – but not whether he filled a need. That said, Uggla can’t hit .173 for half the season again.

John: Hey Jeff – You should ask Fredi if he plans on Heyward playing against lefties and righties this year.

If Jason Heyward is not the Braves’ everyday right fielder, it means something has gone wrong and the Braves are in trouble.

Herschel Talker: Please find out when they’re planning on firing Fredi Gonzalez. Many thanks for your hard work.

Tell me what you really think. (And you’re welcome.)

Whopper Dawg: Please ask about the health of the staff with the stalwarts coming off injury and surgeries.

Health at the start of the season will be an issue. Jair Jurrjens is coming off knee problems, as you know, but he has looked good in the spring and my guess is, at this point, he might start the season opened by default. Tim Hudson could miss the first month. Tommy Hanson is a little behind the curve because of his car accident/concussion and he’s coming off shoulder problems, but it’s too early to tell. All of the young guys, including Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor, look good.

MatthewH: Please make sure you do a Digi-Blog. I always enjoy those. Found your one from last year and the “We Bare All” sign.

Thanks for the comments on Digi-Blogs. They’re fun to do but I couldn’t find enough new material this trip. (“We Bare All” signs still everywhere, of course.)

Ace: Is anyone else a bit skeptical about the blown tire? Was Tommy texting while driving or nodding off (not used to being up that early)?

Are some people skeptical? Probably. But it’s a one-car accident with no witnesses and no police report, so it’s all conjecture. Also, at this point, it really doesn’t matter. There was no injuries to anybody else and no damage to public property.

Extremus: So, Mr. Schultz:

1) From what you can see is Chipper physically ready or not?

Yes.

2) We know the new hitting coaches (and Chipper) have been working with Heyward during the offseason, which is great. A) Is Heyward indeed looking better? B) What about Uggla, Prado, and McCann, whose numbers all also fell off substantially last year (albeit after injuries to Prado and McCann primarily)?

I didn’t even see a spring training game. Only watched him hit in batting practice. Impossible to make a judgement.

3) Do you get the sense that Hanson will have no lingering effects from the concussion, or could this be one of those things that really derails a season for him?

He’ll be fine.

4) Will O’Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel be scaled back on their appearances this year to save their arms for the pennant race/playoffs?

A manager’s hope is to never overuse a bullpen. But that’s dictated by starting pitching.

5) How do you feel about Freddie Freeman’s chances of avoiding a “sophomore drop-off”?

Don’t know, but his knee injury doesn’t help.

6) A lot of “experts” suggest that Tyler Pastornicky is NOT ready for the Major League level just yet, and perhaps never as an everyday starter at his position (doesn’t that fill you with confidence going in, by the way?). What’s the Braves’ “backup plan” if he falters?

I share the “experts” concerns, even if I’m not an expert. For now the backup plan is Jack Wilson. If Wilson fails, then Frank Wren will need to make a move. But again, this is about defense, not offense.

Sonny Clusters: Do you like seafood as much as us and do you have a favorite seafood restaurant?

Mrs. Paul makes a mean fishstick. But I also love Atlantic Seafood in Alpharetta and Atlanta Fish Market in Buckhead.

Sonny Clusters: How much cap tipping is too much?

It’s like asking, “How much garlic is too much?” No such thing.

P-Man: Can you find out when the Braves are going to get some real fans, instead of all these whiny-hinies on this board?

I think Braves Nation is as “balanced” in that department as any other group of sports fans.

Trapper John: Here, Jeff, in a nut shell is my question from a huge majority of die hard Brave fans. Why is Fredi Gonzales managing the Braves — if not for the “good ‘ole boy” reason? He is not a Major League caliber manager. He has never proved himself to be a Major League caliber manager on any team.

As far as not being a major league caliber manager, he was Manager of the Year with Florida in 2008. The Braves hired him because: 1) He was respected; 2) The Braves were familiar with him because of his time here; 3) It was thought he would do a good job.

FL Jacket: Jeff, are you and Bradley going to lay off the Braves for standing pat this offseason when it was pretty clear that slumps and injuries are what held them back?

Get your facts straight, Skippy. I never criticized the Braves for standing pat this year. In fact, I’ve written it was the right thing to do.

Dave: Could you explain how the AJC actually covers the Braves among your staff. I’ve never quite understood you, the other opinion people, DOB and Carroll. Who does what and when? Thanks, assuming you answer.

David O’Brien is the primary “beat writer,” which means he covers the games, writes blogs, notes, etc. Carroll Rogers and Chris Vivlamore provide backup with sidebars and covering the team when David is off. Mark Bradley and I write columns, basically whenever we choose to.

AtlantaDude: Any chance that Fredi will change his approach to relief pitching? Maybe he should go back to how they did it 30 years ago, where you bring them in when trouble starts, rather than for some pre-assigned 8th or 9th inning.

It’s hard for me to comment on this without a specific example. But obviously there’s a lot more attention paid to the starter’s pitch count now than there was 30 years ago.

Coach Joe: Why isn’t Kris Medlan on the possible 4th 5th starters? He can pitch.

It’s a possibility. But the fact he’s versatile and also can pitch out of the bullpen plays a role.

Detroit Braves: Jeff, could you ask someone, Frank Wren presumably, if the Braves see Arodys Vizcaino as a reliever or starter in the long-term? Thanks.

Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to ask this. But since Vizcaino might not even make the roster this season, it’s a not a factor yet.

By Jeff Schultz

Recent Braves blogs

Wagner told Kimbrel: Learn from last sesson’s ending

Braves pan Bud Selig’s latest gem — a one-game playoff

Needed reminder: Jason Heyward isn’t a finished product

Braves will be better off if they’re more aggressive on base

Chipper takes shot at drug cheaters (though he considered it)

Hanson ready to move on with new delivery (and new car)

Braves convinced everything can’t go wrong again

Braves spring warmup: 5 concerns, starting with Heyward

Off to spring training, and I’ll take your questions

186 comments Add your comment

Amos Magliocco

March 4th, 2012
1:54 pm

Frank Wren likes to remind us the Braves had a good record on August 29. Do you have a sense of what day this season we should pick as the measure for if the season was a success or failure?

JSS

March 4th, 2012
1:57 pm

It’s going to be a LONG summer!

P-Man

March 4th, 2012
2:03 pm

Thanks for answering my question. It was tongue-in-cheek, obviously, but still fun to see my “name” in print.

Larry

March 4th, 2012
2:07 pm

The Braves hired him (Gonzalez) because: 1) He was respected; 2) The Braves were familiar with him because of his time here; 3) It was thought he would do a good job.

Well, #1 and #3 have proven to be a fallacy so I guess he’s still here because of #2. How utterly absurd!

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
2:13 pm

Amos — I’ve always thought after the last game was a good measuring stick.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
2:14 pm

JSS — Actually, I figured 3 months, as usual.

iTiSi

March 4th, 2012
2:16 pm

Well, the Braves are on fire again today. Looks like the veterans have shown the rookies how it’s done. 6-0 after 3 innings. Only good thing is 3 hits, whoop-dee-doo! If this keeps up I may have to become a Phillies fan after all these years. I’m thinking maybe “reverse psychology” might work for me.

bulldogbubba

March 4th, 2012
2:26 pm

11-0 IN THE 3RD. WOW!!!

DetroitBraves

March 4th, 2012
2:27 pm

Jeff, thanks for taking my question. If Vizcaino doesn’t make the big league club then we’ll see what they do with him in the minors. I actually think this is a good sign that they will keep him stretched out there starting games but I guess we’ll have answer enough when the season starts.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
2:34 pm

DetroitBraves — Agree. If he’s in the minors, the idea is to get him as many innings as possible.

Larry

March 4th, 2012
2:42 pm

Jeff,

Do you truly believe the players are confident in their manager? I have a couple of well connected sources and the general feeling is “nice guy, means well, but short on aptitude, courage to change, and logical resaoning.”

Translated, he wants to be liked and popular with the players and the press but a natural leader who commands respect he is not!

Hillbilly D

March 4th, 2012
3:02 pm

I’m not really one of the skeptical ones but no police report? Thought you needed one of those to collect insurance.

JSS

March 4th, 2012
3:03 pm

3 months of crazy Sabermatic bloggers + 3 months of Chipper on the IR + 3 months of oppressive heat = 2 years in dog years!

dawgsfan1990

March 4th, 2012
3:06 pm

Jeff, what is the must-have entree at Atlanta Fish Market?

Marteen is a Ballplayer

March 4th, 2012
3:06 pm

Jeff:

I too am ashamed to say that I am very concerned with Fredi. I am generally one of the posters on here that tries to be positive with the Braves and I do like our team again this year. The only real issue I took throughout the year last year was Fredi G. I was excited by the hire initially, but terribly disappointed as the season played out. Some of the exact details from last year have faded, but they revolved around the following:

1. Not standing up for McCann. McCann almost got thrown out (he didn’t), and Fredi just stayed in the dugout and watched.
2. Hinske on 3rd, Hanson at bat, 1 out. 1 – 0 game. Prado on deck. Two strikes. Calls a suicide squeeze. I don’t know how much speed comes into the equation, but Hinske doesn’t have it. While do a suicide squeeze with one out when you have Prado on deck (resulted in a double play).
3. Can’t recall which reliever had to come in the 2nd or 3rd inning, but the guy did a lights out job. There was a terrible call against Freeman at the plate. Fredit doesn’t argue it. An inning later, the Phillies have the same pitch thrown to them for a ball. Fredi lets it go. Next pitch is a go ahead 2-run single. If Fredi had argued, we aren’t going to get the pitch overturned against Freeman, but it may have been a called 3rd strike against the Phillies and ballgame. The reliever ended up losing a game after pitching a gem and getting a double for an RBI at his first at bat. The umps don’t fear Fredi like they did Bobby.
4. Fredi left a reliever in and waited until five runs had scored in the inning before pulling him. We won the game in extra innings, but not until the opponent tied it up with five runs in an inning.

There are a myriad of other examples and I understand baseball is a bit of luck and a gamble at time…but Fredi does not play the book when he should and tends to get creative (suicide squeeze) at the worst possible moments. Like they say in football…sometimes it is okay if the opponent knows you are going to run it up the middle. On 4th and inches, it is still the best call. Fredi doesn’t seem to get the ABC’s of baseball and he certainly did not learn as the year went on.

Marteen is a Ballplayer

March 4th, 2012
3:08 pm

Dawgsfan…I recommend Steamhouse over Atlanta Fish Market. It is a bit of a hole in the wall, but they have the best Bisque I have ever had, stiff drinks, and I have never been disappointed by their seafood skillets.

JSS

March 4th, 2012
3:12 pm

@ Hillbilly D (Because he is a knowledgeable in old school baseball)…
What is your gut feeling about this team?

DoughBrave

March 4th, 2012
3:32 pm

Jeff, you and DOB are solid, but man, does anyone ever edit your stuff!?` Didn’t realize you are house is up for sale.

Sonny Clusters

March 4th, 2012
3:34 pm

It’s good to see some seafood talk on here. A blogger needs to be versatile. We was mostly thinking seafood restaurants in Florida but there’s nothing wrong with Jeff liking Atlanta seafood restaurants best. One thing to watch for in a seafood restaurant is them using venison in the chowder instead of fish. With all the deer hunting going on deer meat is plentiful and goes pretty cheap. Another thing is substituting for red snapper . . . if your seafood restaurant brings you out a red snapper that is not red then you are probably eating deer molded into a fish shape. You would think the Atlanta Braves or Liberty Media was running the restaurant.

Sonny Clusters

March 4th, 2012
4:03 pm

Have to tip your cap to the Tigers today. 18-1 right now.

extremus

March 4th, 2012
4:20 pm

Thanks for taking the time to answer ALL my questions, Mr. Schultz; I honestly would have been happy with just one or two!

Bravefaninfla

March 4th, 2012
4:41 pm

Looks like the Braves are still in the slump from last year. Can’t hit, can’t get runs. Going to be a long summer.

Frank Wren snoozed at winter meetings

March 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

0-2 after Tigers whip us good thing Freddi is cap tippin again to Leyland maybe the white flag…I see forth place season folks and Ole Frank Wren Job on the Line too…sorry shultz freddie been found be fluke and a loser….while Miami is goin be one tryin beat Phillies out of east now….Good thing Wren will get see his team watch on Tv at there homes in Oct….Its spring Training and we playin like seattle Pilots of 69!

Adam

March 4th, 2012
4:53 pm

I’m usually not overly critical of management, but I just can’t stand Fredi Gonzalez. Seeing all of his cap tipping and “aww shucks” attitude towards everything just drives me nuts.

iTiSi

March 4th, 2012
5:06 pm

There’s no other word to describe the Braves but “pitiful”. I don’t care if it is spring training, there’s no excuse for what happened today. The Tigers should thank the Braves for pitching “batting practice” for them. Delgado’s ERA is now 36.00, wonder how long it’ll take to get that down to around 3 or so? The Tigers had 9 (that nine, N-I-N-E) and the Braves had 0, none, notta, zilch, nil. Guess the rookies are following in the veterans footsteps, and marching right over the cliff with them. I’ve changed my mind about using reverse psychology and going with the Phillies, think I like the Cards better. After all they did win the WS last year, and WILL be back in the playoffs this year. The BRAVES, not a chance!

iTiSi

March 4th, 2012
5:07 pm

That 9 would be HRs. Left that out. I know it sounds like hits, but it was HOMERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave Lambert

March 4th, 2012
5:08 pm

What’s so hard about the Braves getting lights in center field? Every year I’m embarrassed when someone loses a ball because there no lights behind the fielders to help see the ball.

Obviously this year's version......

March 4th, 2012
5:14 pm

Obviously this year’s version of Braves SUCK just as badly as last year’s version……going to be a long Summer…..somebody buy these sorry worth nothing Bravos and move them out of Atlanta.

War Damn Dawg!

March 4th, 2012
5:33 pm

Any chance that some of these stupid “doom and gloom” posts can be revisited in midseason when the Braves are, at the very least, a few games out of first or possibly even on top of the division? Please, go ahead and JUMP off the ledge…it will let the knowledgeable baseball fans have a better view.

Really? ....

March 4th, 2012
5:34 pm

Y’all are pulling the plug after two grapefruit league games?

kerryb

March 4th, 2012
5:45 pm

You can always count on Herschel Talker for the dumbest, most moronic post or question in a blog. He never disappoints.

kerryb

March 4th, 2012
5:46 pm

Obviously this year’s version……
March 4th, 2012
5:14 pm

Obviously this year’s version of Braves SUCK just as badly as last year’s version……going to be a long Summer…..somebody buy these sorry worth nothing Bravos and move them out of Atlanta.

____________________________________________________________________________—

Another person just as dumb as Herschel Talker.

kerryb

March 4th, 2012
5:57 pm

Trapper John: Here, Jeff, in a nut shell is my question from a huge majority of die hard Brave fans. Why is Fredi Gonzales managing the Braves — if not for the “good ‘ole boy” reason? He is not a Major League caliber manager. He has never proved himself to be a Major League caliber manager on any team.

As far as not being a major league caliber manager, he was Manager of the Year with Florida in 2008. The Braves hired him because: 1) He was respected; 2) The Braves were familiar with him because of his time here; 3) It was thought he would do a good job.

_______________________________________________________________________

A classic example of the whiney-hiney Braves fans. I don’t care if it’s UGA, The Falcons, or the Braves. You always have an idiot fans who wants someone fired. Myself, I think Freddie did a pretty good job last year. The Braves were in contention all year. He couldn’t do anything about his top 2 starters all year going down the last month and a half of the season. He couldn’t help a veteran pitcher all of a sudden not being able to get anyone out. He couldn’t do anything about McCann, Heyward, Prado, and Alex Gonzales all of sudden forgetting how to hit (especially with RISP). Some out there want to dump everything on Freddie and give all the players who didn’t perform in the last month of the season a pass.

Zing

March 4th, 2012
6:02 pm

Here are a couple of Qs:

1. Given how poorly Delgado and Teheran performed this afternoon (and granted it’s one game in ST; a record-setting one, but still, one game), do you think there will be some second thoughts about ruling Medlen out of the competition for temporary 4th/5th starter (in place of Hudson)?

2. How long do you think Fredi will stick with Rev if he starts off poorly?

Thanks–keep up the good columns; I really enjoy reading them!

Tampa Fan

March 4th, 2012
6:02 pm

Is there anyone who can objectively believe this team will be a contender? Maybe a few Wren kool-aid drinkers. Are starting pitching is average, at best. Probably slightly below average once the inevitable injuries to Hanson and JJ occur. The backend of the bullpen is very good, but I see no way they will not be overworked again, given the fact that the starters cannot go deep into games and the front end of the pen is awful. Factor in average defense and what will surely be one of MLB’s worst offenses again, and we can expect .500 at best. I agree with most of the bloggers on Fredi. I really think he lacks the intellect to be effective. Sad to say, it looks like we will take a step back this year. Maybe Liberty will realize that FW and FG are in over their heads and care enough to make some changes. Hope the $ freed up in 2013 with Lowe off the books and Chipper hopefully retired is used wisely. I am still behind this team and always will be. Hope I’m wrong about this but I just have no confidence in the guys calling the shots and evaluating talent.

Tampa Fan

March 4th, 2012
6:03 pm

Meant Our starting pitching.

Zing

March 4th, 2012
6:10 pm

Have to disagree with you, Tampa. “At best,” our starting pitching is excellent, because that would mean Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrjens pitching at optimal levels and injury-free, the continued development of Beachy, and one of our rookies (2 of whom got blown up this afternoon) pitching lights-out. That would mean sub-3.00 ERA, which is what Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrjens have all achieved for long periods of time when they’ve been healthy and on their game. I really think the ceiling is high for this crew precisely BECAUSE of the starting pitching and strong bullpen.

But you’ve put your finger on the big, big issue facing the Braves– health of the starters. Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrjens have all three had major injury problems that could flare back up and scuttle their seasons. If one goes down, the Braves probably could sustain the loss and make the playoffs, but if two go down, I think we can expect to see the same thing that happened last year happen this year.

Larry

March 4th, 2012
6:19 pm

kerryb:

“Myself, I think Freddie did a pretty good job last year.”

“Myself, I” Which one of you is it?

Until you learn to write above Friuti’s reading level no one here with a triple digit IQ will take you very seriuosly, not to mention you pretty much absolved Fruiti from any responsibility for one of the worst choke jobs in the history of baseball. LOL!

Sam

March 4th, 2012
6:21 pm

Three questions:

1. Any chance the Braves kick the tires on Johnny Damon? There has always been talk of the Braves signing him in the past. If anything, it’d be exciting to see him get his 3,000 hit as a Brave.

2. Who is the best interview on the coaching staff and what player on the team? My guesses would be Eddie Perez and Peter Moylan

3. Any new uniforms coming this year?

Stinger2

March 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

Clusters never posts any of his analogies leading to something positive about the Braves organization. Today we got his fish story which he used to make fun of
those who like venison (obviously Chipper`s hunting), then he closes it out with a cut at the Braves organization. Next he comes back with a tip your hat
comment for Fredi. Typical Clusters day knocking the Braves.

kerryb

March 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

Larry
March 4th, 2012
6:19 pm

kerryb:

“Myself, I think Freddie did a pretty good job last year.”

“Myself, I” Which one of you is it?

Until you learn to write above Friuti’s reading level no one here with a triple digit IQ will take you very seriuosly, not to mention you pretty much absolved Fruiti from any responsibility for one of the worst choke jobs in the history of baseball. LOL!

_____________________________________________________—

Was Freddie pitching? Was Freddie hitting? Nimrod

Mister Frisky

March 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

Braves are just a middle of the road organization.Not really good but not really bad either.They will flounder around 500 if all goes well.Any significant injuries and this team will be worse than the Mets.It’s going to be a very long decade.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

Larry — “I have a couple of well-connected sources.” That’s pretty funny. OK, here’s what I think. When there’s 25 guys in a clubhouse, you’ll always find some happy guys, some unhappy guys, some guys who love coach, some who don’t. Now, would I say FG is flawless? Hardly. There were some questionable decisions in games, but that’s the case with every manager in baseball. But biggest issue was bottom line: When team went into tailspin, it couldn’t pull out, and some of that was on manager (injuries, notwithstanding). I believe FG is a good manager. I believe he showed it when he was managing with a bad hand in Florida. But I also think this team needs to make the playoffs, or that’s s reflection on him. As far as the concept of FG being too nice, I dunno about that. I mean, Bobby was known as a players’ manager. And remember, this isn’t football.

Marteen is a Ballplayer

March 4th, 2012
6:27 pm

Kerryb, I do not give all the players a pass, but slumps do happen. As for a manager, it is his job to right the ship, and most importantly, know the right calls to make in a game. A manager can not win a season for a team, but he most certainly can lose it. I’d posit that it is safe to assume a manager actually impacts maybe 15 to 20 games a year directly by making the right call at the right time. I gave a number of examples from last year in a very long post that no one has addressed.

I like this team the way it is built. I like our chances if we stay healthy and Heyward comes anywhere close to his debut season. Two losses in Grapefruit league games hardly concern me at all. What concerns me is Fredi. He does not take up for his players in the game. He is scared to pull a pitcher before the damage is done, and he does not know the ABC’s of baseball. Outside of a manager that loses control of his ballclub (Bobby Valentine comes to mind years ago with the Mets), I simply believe the Braves would have made the playoffs last year despite everything if Fredi was even a halfway decent game manager.

kerryb

March 4th, 2012
6:31 pm

Some good points Jeff. I put more of the blame for the collapse on the players than Freddie. You pay guys to hit and pitch. When they start failing to do that and the manager has the team he has been dealt with, there is not a whole lot else he can do. You can change the lineup around to mix things up, but doing that didn’t seem to help. The players have to do their jobs and they didn’t at the end of the season.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
6:31 pm

Dawgsfan1990 — Seriously, I’ve had four or five things there, all great. Off hand: Chilean sea bass, red fish, pecan-encrusted salmon trout, chowder. A lot of people like their surf-and-turf with fried lobster tail. … OK, I’m hungry. Going to make a grilled cheese.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
6:33 pm

Marteen is a ballplayer: I would’ve liked to see Fredi come out of the dugout a few more times. … The when to/when not to pull a pitcher debate is always the most debated regarding a manager.

kerryb

March 4th, 2012
6:34 pm

Marteen, afraid to pull a pitcher before the damage is done? I remember a manager who wore #6 doing that all the time. Especially in the playoffs and WS. Always one pitch too late. He managed to hang around a long time and there was never anything mentioned that much about firing him and whether he could make the right decisions.

George Stein

March 4th, 2012
6:35 pm

Freddie was hitting and playing first base, kerryb.

Fredi was busy mismanaging – in my opinion – the team in the dugout.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2012
6:36 pm

Zing — I’m not going to make any judgements based on early spring games.