Braves’ Frank Wren needs to fix good, but not great, team

Michael Bourn may have played his last game for the Braves, who have some big decisions to make this offseason. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Center fielder Michael Bourn may have played his last game for the Braves, who have some big decisions to make this offseason. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Once you get past the fact that the Braves waited until game No. 163 to resemble baseball’s all-thumbs team, and that a major league umpiring crew just made the NFL’s replacement referees look fit to be air traffic controllers, this is what the 2012 season really comes down to: The Braves’ margin for error this season was just too narrow.

They won 94 games. That’s impressive. They went 20-9 down the stretch after it looked again like they were circling the drain. That’s really impressive. But what really pushed this team into the postseason were two unexpected occurrences: 1) A 40-year-old (Chipper Jones) unexpectedly hit .300 for most of this season, had two walk-off homers against Philadelphia (the second when the club looked comatose on Sept. 2), and finished second in game-winning RBIs (12) and third in go-ahead RBIs (18) despite missing 50 games; 2) Kris Medlen went from middle reliever to emergency starter to channeling Cy Young.

Unexpected occurrences can make a good team look like a great team. But it’s not something anybody should count on.

The Braves’ lineup still is a bit heavy on “could be” and “should be.”

Some questioned whether general manager Frank Wren should have brought back predominantly the same roster after the team’s unraveling in 2011. But it was an understandable risk. He could make the case that one horrific finish was an aberration. There is no case now.

The Braves are losing Chipper Jones. There’s a good chance they’re going to lose center fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn to free agency. Catcher Brian McCann just suffered through the most miserable season of his career, and health issues are an increasing concern. If Martin Prado is viewed as a comforting backup plan at third base, that leaves left field open.

That’s four of eight positions.

When the 2011 season ended, the heat was on manager Fredi Gonzalez and his staff (hitting coach Larry Parrish was fired). That’s not the case after Friday’s Wild Card game loss to St. Louis. The onus now is on Wren. He needs to improve a lineup that too often struggled to score runs, even during a hot September.

Wren said Saturday he’s “very optimistic about where we sit as a franchise.” He referenced the team’s young core (Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons), the late-season bounce back of Dan Uggla and pitching. That’s a good start. But these aren’t minor issues that need addressing.

“I think they need some pieces,”  the outgoing Jones said. “But Frank will have a good time with all the money he’s going to have this offseason to try to get those pieces.”

There’s potentially $36.345 million coming off the books for just four players: Jones ($14 million), Derek Lowe ($10 million of dead money), Bourn ($6.845 million) and Jair Jurrjens ($5.5 million). The assumption is Wren will exercise club options for both McCann ($12 million) and Tim Hudson ($9 million).

How might payroll flexibility change the dynamic in the Braves’ offseason? Wren, handcuffed by budgetary constraints in the past, joked, “We may shop in a different store.”

So not Wal-mart?

“We may go up the street to Target,” he said.

When told that, Jones — who remembers when payroll size wasn’t an issue like now — cracked, “I guess that’s good to hear. Maybe one day we’ll get back to Macy’s and Dillard’s.”

Wren said it won’t be a great free-agent group (one reason why Bourn is expected to land an astronomical contract). The Braves more likely will need to acquire talent through trades. The other issue will be leadership, particularly with the loss of Jones. Heyward and Freeman will be expected to take on expanded roles. The Braves have gone through several transitions over the past decade, but this one might be the most difficult.

It’s also something nobody in the organization wanted to be focusing on so soon — one game — into the postseason.

“Anytime you get this close, you want to take advantage of it because you don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” Gonzalez said. “Chipper’s not going to be here. We’ve got to sign [Bourn]. You don’t know if you’re going to be healthy next year. We may not have had the sexiest team out there, but we were good.”

Not great, just good.

By Jeff Schultz

263 comments Add your comment

stew

October 6th, 2012
8:32 pm

Try to acquire the two Uptons.

Let's Go

October 6th, 2012
8:35 pm

Good Article Jeff. Starting Pitching needs to be addressed with the addition of at least 1 top level starter to go along with Hudson, Medlen, and Minor. Mahlom is a 5th starter and a good one but if the right offer was out there Paul cold be traded. Hanson is never going to get any better and if he stays on the roster the bullpen is the only place for him. Beachy will be back but I don’t expect the Braves to over use him and possibly not bring him around until 1 June to keep his innings down. People can scream all they want but Uggla is not going anywhere and even if the Braves were to trade him they would have to take in return another over paid under performing player with a bad contract and like him or not Dan Uggla is a good teammate and does not damage the clubhouse. The Braves need to resign Reed Johnson, a very good pinch hitter and utility outfielder. Players the Braves should have available as trade material: Hanson, Teheran, Martinez, Pastornicky and maybe Jonny Venters. If the Braves are to make a trade that brings back a power hitter they will have to give up someone good and Venters might be the piece needed to make a really good trade.

Dum-Bass

October 6th, 2012
8:36 pm

Mine disappears and STEWS is in “triplet”. This site needs fixing badly. I saw a post yesterday post about 7 times in a row.

VinceVanGo

October 6th, 2012
8:42 pm

You don’t just let McCann walk, you sign him and ship him. Exercise the option, then trade him to an A.L. team as a designated hitter, telling prospective buyers that after shoulder surgery he’ll be fine. Get the best you can for him. He is no longer an everyday catcher, and is a poor defensive one when in the game. Let Bourne go, I think that his second half was the real Bourne, plus he wants a long term contract and will soon be pushing 30, not a great age for a base stealer. Send Ernesto Meija to the winter league to re-learn the outfield and give him a shot at left field. Then go out and get the best center fielder you can in free agency or trade. Resign David Ross and let him teach Betancourt and them share the catching. As far as Uggla you eat the contract for 3 more years and hope he regains his Miami form. Prado moves to third. Leave the pitching alone after dumping Hanson & Jurrgens, and strengthen the bench. Give Fredi a one year contract, I think he learned from 2011, but he hasn’t earned a long term contract yet.

Caseyatthebat

October 6th, 2012
8:43 pm

Does anyone here think as I do that Fredi Gonzalez insistence upon using Uggla, McCann and Hanson for months thru their struggles cost us the division? I contend that 5-6 games could have swung our way and gained us the division, thereby avoiding entirely the one game choke we all witnessed. I think Wren’s moves this year were admirable and wish he would continue using good judgement by releasing a very mediocre manager perhaps to Bobby Cox farm. I applaud the Braves for limiting our anguish, taking us only 3 hours into the post season rather than 3 games. I wish they would stop reminding us of successes 17 years in the past and change the mindset of habitually losing when it really matters. If I didn’t have this dysfunctional love affair with them I could make a fortune from the bookies. This is a heart break team with something inherently wrong with their psyche. “Good but not great”, BOY Schultzie, you said it!

JoeFan

October 6th, 2012
8:47 pm

Would not be surprise for Wren to find a stop gap solution for cf, if it looks like Cunningham will be ready sometime during 2013. 3B is liekly Prado’s, so LF is where Wren will try to find a top shelf player. Catcher is a big question mark especially with possible surgery for McCann but if Betancourt can make progress, then maybe he and Ross can handle the job if the Braves don’t exercise McCann’s option.

Bravesfan54

October 6th, 2012
8:49 pm

Jeff – I trust your insight when you say “the assumption is that Braves will exercise their 13M option on McCann”. I don’t see BMac as anywere close to a 13M balllplaye, and he is going to want a multi-year deal, which simply increases the risk of signing him. I think the wiser course is to let someone else overpay him and spread that 13M around other players. I think the option on Hudson should be picked up. I think we should let someone else vastly overpay Michael Bourn. I believe Hanson to have little value, and I would not pursue him unless he comes cheap, but admit tht I am not current on his contractual situation. (Hinske, of course, should not be re-signed – so there’s another million to spend!)

Of course, I like Andrellton,

superiorblogman

October 6th, 2012
8:50 pm

Martin 3B
Jason RF
Freddie 1B
Simmons SS

Look to upgrade everywhere else. Trade Uggla, B-Mac, and some more of your 25 year old promising rookies to fill out the roster with high level players.

Maybe pick up Nick Swisher to play the LF position.

This team is not very good. A bunch of 25 year old rookie pitchers who have never shown anything in the big leagues and there two highest paid players of B-Mac and Uggla are not worth there pay. Plus the team does not want to spend any money. I don’t see why the ATL fans have the passion that they do have. On the other hand, I can see why they sit at home until the playoffs.

Bravesfan54

October 6th, 2012
8:50 pm

…meant to say spread that 13M around FOR other players!

Let's Go

October 6th, 2012
8:52 pm

The Braves will most likely offer Michael Bourn arbitration but look for him to end up back with the Phillies who will probably pay him 12 to 14 mil a year on a 5 year contract and I like him but he’s not worth that amount of money. If the Braves go after a CF in free agency there will be Victorino, BJ Upton, Pagan available. If the Yankees don’t pick up the option on Granderson then Bourn all of the sudden isn’t the top dog on the market and then his price could come down.

Think some more

October 6th, 2012
8:53 pm

I am not here to defend Uggla but….let’s recognize that he led the league in walks, his on-base average was third best on the team. And 26th best in the league. Sounds like the type of player the A’s fool everybody by taking bc they look at more than batting average. Yes, he strikes out too often and his fielding isn’t great, but it is possible he is a better offensive player than we may think

chilidawg

October 6th, 2012
8:55 pm

We should dump Ugla as a start. The guy can’t hit consistently. Based on his toe tapping in the batter’s box , maybe he can tap dance for a living.

Let's Go

October 6th, 2012
8:59 pm

If the Braves go crazy for one player in Free Agency then let it be Zack Grinke or Brandon McCarthy, 2 under 30 stud pitchers. Heck sign them both and then offer up Minor since his value will probably never be higher for a power hitter.

BravesFanInNashville

October 6th, 2012
9:00 pm

The Braves have a great opportunity to strengthen a good team and move them closer to being a great team. If you just take emotion and attachment out of it you could do the following:

Trade Uggla to a team that has an extra outfielder or 3B. Solve the LF or 3B problem with that trade.
We may need to give up a pitching prospect or trade Hanson in this deal to get someone to take on Uggla’s salary. Do not eat salary to trade Uggla. If you have to eat salary then I say keep him because he could have a huge bounce back year and paying 1/2 his salary and then having to pay another 2B $6 or $7 million is the same as keeping him. Anyone we get at $6 million or less won’t be a big improvement over Uggla so it only works if we get rid of his salary and get to move Martin back to 2B. Best move is a salary trade for a LF or 3B.

Move Prado back to his best position 2B and let him bring maximum value buy playing solid defense and let him be a 2-Hole hitter or move him back to leadoff if we don’t resign Bourn or get a legit leadoff hitter. Martin had almost 200 hits as leadoff hitter for the Braves the year before we traded for Bourn.

Use the money coming off the books from Chipper $14Mil to sign a LF or 3B that you didn’t pick up in the Uggla trade. This let’s you sign a great player. This may have to come in the form of a trade by a team that needs to dump salary and we give up a prospect and take on the salary to get a really good addition.

Pick up Tim Hudson’s option. He’s a stabilizing force to the pitching staff and entire team. We need his leadership and competitiveness.

Pick up McCann’s option and then trade him. He could bring us a 3B or LF or CF prospect or established player. There are several teams in the AL that could us a catcher/DH that has Brian’s upsides. You know he’s going to have to get in great shape this winter because he’ll be playing for a contract next year. Other teams will know he’ll have incentive to have a big year to get a pay day. The Braves should leverage that and get maximum value for him now. He’s not worth signing longterm because the Braves are in the NL so no DH and he’s not strong defensively. Championship teams are strong up the middle C, SS, 2B and CF we need to work towards that end.

Either way trading McCann either brings us a great player now or get us prospects and removes $13million in salary that we can add to the $14 Million coming off with Chipper the $10 Million we save from D Lowe and the $5.5 Million from JJ. It looks like after arbitration raises the Braves will have between $22 and $26 Million to spend even if we pick up Hudson’s contract. This number looks even better if we trade Uggla for a 3B or LF even up because we don’t have to use any of that money to fix 3B or LF. We now have all of that money to use towards CF and the remaining position. If these things all happen we should have a solid outlook for 2013.

Go Braves.

Spud Webb

October 6th, 2012
9:01 pm

Unless they can get the dodgers to take another bad salary Uggla isn’t going anywhere. Prado won’t be playing 3B….they’ll need to sign someone for that. Bourn will get a GIANT contract from someone, not worth it….lots of money, Hope wren uses it wisely!

Mitchell

October 6th, 2012
9:02 pm

When told that, Jones — who remembers when payroll size wasn’t an issue like now — cracked, “I guess that’s good to hear. Maybe one day we’ll get back to Macy’s and Dillard’s.”

Yeah, maybe one day you’ll actually win a playoff game.

Is there a correlation here somewhere?

Jesus Christ.

You’re not owed anything.

This whole organization, front office, Chipper Jones, etc. think they deserves things they haven’t earned.

Like respect. Like the right to not have to play one game for their entire season.

You didn’t win your division.

You’re lucky they even decided to create a wild card in the first place or you would have just gone seven full seasons without making the playoffs once.

If you didn’t want to have to play this game, you should have won more games than the Nationals.

Could you possibly be more delusional?

What more does Frank Wren need to see.

Play meaningful baseball, the fans will turn out.

Win a playoff series.

God forbid you win the World Series.

Wild guess is you’re not going to have to cry yourself to sleep at night about quite as many payroll constraints.

Aspire to be better than just good enough or don’t even bother trying.

moboman

October 6th, 2012
9:05 pm

Cant go with Bettancourt unless he can hit. BMac will be back. Uggla goin nowhere. Braves wont overpay for Bourn, doesnt mean they wont spend for someone else. Look for two FA acquisitions this offseason, or a trade for one and a sign of a FA. Theres always someone willing to trade for a potential pitcher. (See Derek Lowe)

Bravesfan54

October 6th, 2012
9:06 pm

I am not a McCann hater but I don’t understand the logic of those folks who want to resign BMAC, an injured, poor defensive player for 13M, when that is the pro-rated salary of a healthy Uggla, who is at least good defensively. Both have had a bad last couple of years. I remember those who harped on getting rid of Gonzalez, our slick-fielding, poor hitting 2nd baseman, with 14 HR when he played for us – for 2M. I oft thought of those misguided souls when contemplating the 65M contract we gave Uggla, who doubled Gonzalez HR total last year, but cost 13M. This season, Uggla only hit more HR’s, had the same BA (.220), but again cost us 13M.

Tell me, again, why BMAC is considered to have some BB life in him – oh, I see, he was injured this season, well, sorry to say his decline goes back to mid-2011. Lowe, Uggla, Kawakami – need I say more. (Oh, I know, he’s a “local area” boy and popular.)

Outfield fly rule

October 6th, 2012
9:06 pm

….. And bud selig needs to fix horrible but not good one game playofff

Bravesfan54

October 6th, 2012
9:08 pm

For all you Fredi haters: Braves won 94 games with Fredi running the club. Fredi was in the dugout when the 3 errors ended our season. Stop this.

BravesFanInNashville

October 6th, 2012
9:16 pm

Caseyatthebat….

I agree that Fredi cost us a lot this year. The problem is the best manager prospect just signed with the Indian’s. I felt like the Braves should have fired Fredi last year and gone after Francona then.

In Fredi’s defense it seems like he started to turn a corner and learn from last year and even early in this season. To his credit he didn’t burn out O’Ventbril this year and our bullpen was much better for it. He did sit down Uggla for a spell even though he’s really close to him after the years in Miami. It’s a hard call because a guy like Uggla can suddenly break out and carry a team for two weeks if he gets hot. Last year was evidence that he can be bad enough to send down to the minors and then have a 3 game hitting streak with power. His OBP is good and he commands enough fear that he still gets walked a lot.

I didn’t like the safety squeeze call last night especially with Freeman at 3B. It would have taken a perfect bunt to score him and Ross just surprised them with a bunt the play before. It would have been really really hard to pull that off right then. In my opinion we had a better chance to get a Sac Fly out of Simmons then to get Freeman home on a bunt. Poor in game decision I felt.

Those things are feel for the game issues that I don’t see in Fredi. Maybe he’ll continue learning like he did handling the bullpen better this year.

Who would be available as manager that would be a better choice than Fredi? I like John Farrell in Toronto but he seems locked down for a while.

wins-by-a-link

October 6th, 2012
9:17 pm

The Braves will never win another championship again as long as Liberty Media owns the team, Budget constraints and a GM who signs players like Dan Uggla to huge contracts along with holding onto players like Tim Hudson and Brian Mccann will only result in more of the same, Bourn will sign with the Phillies and who plays third is anyone guess, Not a very promising outlook for this organization.

We wuz robbed

October 6th, 2012
9:19 pm

I don’t think the Braves won because fg was running the club. I think they won in spite of him running the team.

BravesFanInNashville

October 6th, 2012
9:19 pm

33 game hitting streak on Uggla 2011 not 3… sorry.

Cecil34

October 6th, 2012
9:40 pm

Of course this season will be portrayed as a great success by Wren and Liberty Media as well as DOB, but we know better.

Obviously the National League is in pretty poor shape for the Braves to win 94 games with their lineup.

It was no secret that once they faced above-500 teams they would fail.

It’s as if they play for wild-card, and everything is rosey if they get it.

Liberty Media is of course pleased.

There are about four players that should be retained – the rest can get lost.

Cecil34

October 6th, 2012
9:44 pm

Oh and do not sign McCann – let’s bank on Bethancourt for the future – McCann has had it.

Caseyatthebat

October 6th, 2012
9:46 pm

BravesFaninNashville…………I understand and agree that Fredi did appear later in he season to demonstrate some judgement. But, last year it was pitchers, this year it’s Uggla, McCann and Hanson. What next? I have always been frustrated by the continual use of a player in a protracted slump. Cox did the same thing with Johnson at second. Prado had to hit like Baba Ruth before he finally was awarded second. It seems to me that a main responsibility of a manager is to field the most effective team regardless of name recognition or salary. In the case of Uggla, he should have worked with the hitting coach for 4 games and played on the 5th to view his progress. Until his effectiveness returned Gonzalez should have had Prado at second and Reed Johnson (a 300 hitter) in left. I like McCann and am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt to injury. But the bottom line is what’s important and REAL and he wasn’t effective. There’s simply no room in the pitching line for Hanson, in my opinion. As for other managers, I agree with you about Francona and am sorry to hear he’s going to Cleveland. I think his personality would have worked w ell here. As to others, I’m not aware of those available but I think Bucky Showalter would be great. Of course, Baltimore would never let him go.

We wuz robbed

October 6th, 2012
9:53 pm

We all know in our heart of hearts that they will keep freddi. As useless as he is, what else is there to do? They let Francona get away, so we are pretty much stuck again. I don’t think he has the players backs, he shows no emotion at all, and is way over his head in this position. He has to call Bobby Cox before he can make any decision. He is over managed by every other manager, and it shows.

sburk

October 6th, 2012
9:55 pm

Braves fans as long as Liberty Media is the owner of the Braves Walmart is the best you can hope for.I do think, most of the time it will be a yard sale or second hand stores looking for cheap players that have one more good year left.

Caseyatthebat

October 6th, 2012
10:00 pm

We Wuz Robbed………very sadly, I think your right!

Sonny Clusters

October 6th, 2012
10:00 pm

Lately, when we have expressed our opinion on here some little fella has jumped on us personally for doing so – on a baseball blog, no less! We decided it wasn’t much fun being stalked all the time and backed away for a few days only to have this fiasco of a play-in game reaffirm our beliefs and perhaps even vindicate those beliefs. Let us share some thoughts with you . . . baseball itself is the culprit and the inane “culture” of this professional baseball organization known as the Atlanta Braves. To wit, MLB sells out. The extra wild card makes no sense. Purists will tell you that. MLB has no respect for the fans. A 5:07 start time, in Atlanta rush hour traffic, with fans fighting to get to their seats is disrespectful. The game has disrespected itself. Barry Bonds, Melky Cabrera and Ryan Braun come to mind. Melky was going to be batting champion but for the indignation that finally arose. Braun’s indiscretions were swept under the rug. Mark McGwire was in the other dugout last night. Shameful. And then, the call. The fortuitous call as it turned out. That was wrong and everybody in the Ted knew it was wrong except that umpiring crew. Then MLB said, “never mind” to the fans. We disregard you. We’re sticking with the call and by the way, that was a classless display of emotion and anger by you fans. They called it a “hostile” environment. Well, probably so but it was hostility brought on by incompetence and disregard and maybe the fans have finally had enough. It would seem so.

Enough slights by MLB. Enough tributes to Chipper Jones during the final days of what should have been the division race. Focus should have been on winning baseball games not on kissing Chipper’s sliding pants. Now, we will have people tell us how much Chipper has meant and how we are unworthy to be a fan but we really think the organization needs to set its course to win the pennant every season – not the wild card, not the division. That should be the only focus and especially in the final days when distractions like the Chipperfest are so not needed. Enough of Dan Uggla, too, and his wasted at-bats and never-know-where-it’s-going throws. There was a time character counted in this organization and that was a time in the past. Now, they look the other way too often. Enough of not trying to win every game. Games on the front end count the same as games at the end. When this organization finds itself in a must win situation – it does not win. Count on it. Book it. The Braves do not win the big games. How many celebrations have they watched on their own field after they’ve been eliminated by a “lesser” team? There is a culture here and it is not a good one. Sure, they won 94 games. The Nats won 98, so 94 wasn’t enough. 94 got them a one-game shot. Know what they do with one-game shots? They lose. Always have. Perhaps they will get a Participation Award this year for the outfield wall. They really didn’t “win” anything (again) but the chance to compete for the wild card. That silly celebration and Playoffs caps and shirts (and injury to our All-Star second baseman hurt while celebrating) fools no one except the people who call themselves “true” fans and tell those of us who want and expect more that we are unworthy to follow this team.

The fans must demand more. More must be expected of the organization, the manager, the players, and MLB in general. Joe Simpson castigated the fans last night. Find another job in another town, Joe. We lost respect for Joe this season as he told us about “hot-hitting” Dan Uggla again and again. Joe is a homer. A shameless homer – until last night when he became even more a shill. Joe Torre used to work in this town. He was invited to leave because it was a time when character really did count. We thought he’d cleaned up and now was a man of integrity. Then, we heard him justifying MLB’s actions last night on television. Shameful. Shameful. They say Fredi called for a safety squeeze. When the player responded everyone was shocked. The guys on TV said it was a “rookie’ mistake and flawed in every way. Then, it was determined Fredi called for it. Instead of saying Fredi was deficient in strategy, no one could believe it! They reasoned that Fredi was taking one for the rookie. Bullfeathers! More flawed baseball. Can’t throw to the base. Can’t execute the bunt. Can’t hit behind a runner. Won’t play team ball (Uggla) in favor of personal stats. It is time to do something different or better. Say they won 94 games and that’s good enough. Go ahead and say it. Schuerholz apologized for the fans’ behavior last night. He should apologize to the fans. The EPIC collapse happened on his watch as team president. Epic failure, really. He should apologize for the 5:00 start time and for the sloppy play and for how expensive it is to go to the games and how hard it is to park and then have to listen to Country Boy playing while the deer hunters roam the infield. JS should apologize to the fans for pretending he and his organization won something this time or really, won something ever. If they are winning why are they going home early each year?

We are one pizza’d off Clusters right now and we may not get over it for awhile. We’ll have more to say we are sure. Let us rest a little while first. Before we go, though, let’s marvel again at the character of this organization and at the people in this organization described often as “Class Act”. Class must mean different things to different people. Where’s the clutch play? Where’s the will to win? Where’s the force of your presence? And, in truth . . . where’s the class off the field? And to those that are “leaving it all on the field” like Uggla is said to do (to excuse his horrid play) – he left one throw last night somewhere between first and the plate up against the screen and it bounced over to the third base side of the plate before Ross could chase it down. When insisting that this is a professional and classy organization we think that may be self aggrandizement. St. Louis comes to mind as a really successful group – if you measure success in results and many people do. Atlanta does not exude success though they tell us they do. Look at all the little signs erected in the outfield while other teams are still in the playoffs. One more thing, the NY Yankees were smirking in the dugout counting all the “pennants” on the outfield wall – a joke to them and it should be to us, as well. Take down those silly little signs until you win something. Just because JS wears suspenders don’t be fooled. Smoltz wasn’t fooled. Smoltz called him homeboy. Smoltz also called out Chipper for dogging it and not playing. They let Smoltz go and kept the wrong ones. Big sissies. We will cool off in time and the Braves will remain our team but can’t they please make a change or two and get some different results? Here’s an irony . . . Nate McLouth will probably get a ring before any of the Braves. Clusters out.

Rafael

October 6th, 2012
10:04 pm

KNOWING Frank “Skinflint” Wren and Liberty CHEAPA as we do, our STARTING OF lineup in 2013 will be Matt “Double Play” Diaz in LF, Reed “NO upside” Johnson in CF, and Jason Heyward in RF.

You think I’m kidding, this WILL be the BRAVE’S starting OF, and quoting Brad Childress “that’s a fact!!!!!!!” Scarier thought than any horror movie.

We wuz robbed

October 6th, 2012
10:06 pm

Thanks Caseyatthebat . I hate to say it, and it is very sad. The fans and the players deserve better. If that umps call would have happened on Bobby’s watch, he would have had a stroke. This guy at the podium interview could barely put a sentence together. That was sad.

The Real GM

October 6th, 2012
10:10 pm

The one free agent outfielder that will make everyone forget about Michael Bourne leaving and cost alot less…Delmon Young !!!!

CHICKEN wren STINKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 6th, 2012
10:17 pm

Well addition by subtracting, FIRING wren would be the BEST STEP forward, he STINKS Period, needs to GO Away !

Then DUMP uggla, he is a Disaster, way overpaid and does NOTHING, another wren special !

Resign Bourne, a couple pitchers, and a solid 3rd baseman, and outfielder who can hit.

But this needs to be done by another GM, NOT Chicken wren ! He is a complete LOSER !!!!!

Hillbilly D

October 6th, 2012
10:18 pm

Nate McLouth will probably get a ring before any of the Braves. Clusters out.

Have to give Nate credit, he’s played pretty well in his stint in Baltimore.

Heartbroke Brave

October 6th, 2012
10:18 pm

I agree Fri. was probably Bourn’s last game. I can’t see Hamilton coming here. Trade for Jose Batista from Toronto for any two pitcher(s) they want.

My starting rotation would be Medlen, Minor, Maholm, Delgado, and Tehran next year. I’m on the fence about Huddy, but I’m leaning towards letting him go. We get Beachy back next season, I’ll worry bout that he is off the DL.

Relief core, other than Kimbrel being the closer and O’Flaherty and Venters coming back, it needs Durbin to be brought back. I liked Avalian, he’ll stay. Let Moylan go (reluctantly). Martinez comes back as does Gearrin.

Infield… (1st to 3rd) Freeman, Uggla, Simmons, Prado
Outfiled: (right to left) Heyward,
Catchers: McCann, Ross
Reserves: Pastornicky, Constanza, Johnson, Francisco

Release Hinske, Baker, Boscan, Moylan, Huddy, Diaz, Janish, Overbay, Bourn (to FA)

I’m kinda jumping on the release McCann train too. Not so sure I’m ready for the kid catcher to come up. That’s next year.

Of those last 2: bring in 2 World Series veterans who know the score. You need a Chipper Jones type player.

I’d go ahead and pencil Batista in the lineup (RF), move Heyward to CF. Find a LF or 3rd and put Prado in either.

We wuz robbed

October 6th, 2012
10:18 pm

Sonny; I read every word of your post and was very impressed indeed. You make me proud, Sonny Clusters, the Braves? Not so much. Everything you said was true.

Charles

October 6th, 2012
10:25 pm

Having moved to DC 12 years ago after 30+ loyal years as a Braves fan, I am now officially a Nats fan after enduring last night’s episode in the continuing saga of consistently inconsistent play by the Braves. But a few parting shots: 1) forget about a change in ownership, unless it’s the A’s owner buying the Braves. They screwed up their TV contract so no big buck type is likely to be on the horizon given the anemic attendance, even when the team wins games. 2) Keep McCann and see how he does next year. He’s the closest thing to a Chipper left — he can be the guy who plays hurt but plays well. 3) don’t feel hurt if Bourn takes the big bucks — a leadoff man who is in the top 10 in strikeouts, including a big one last night with the bases loaded, ain’t worth what someone else will pay. 3) since a change in ownership isn’t likely to occur, the only realistic hope, albeit remote, is a change the front office persona of this team from the corporate mode to a team with fire. I’ve been a Braves fan for over 30 years and quite candidly the most fun times for me was the Knucksie/Murph/Horner teams with Torre at the helm. That team had fire in its belly — Bobby Cox got by with talent but when the ducks were on the pond seldom produced, just like this year’s team which posted the most anemic 94 wins in history. Jeff,you’re spot on with noting that Chipper’s career year and Medlen are not likely to be duplicated next year. Best thing that can happen is that the muffed infield fly allows the Braves to dwell in the cellar for a couple of years, and then build the team with Strasbourg and Harper #1 picks with a more agressive and exciting orgnaization, as have the Nats. Remember the last time the Braves had a #1 pick!. But such optimism must be misplaced with the more likely scenario that the muffed infield fly call will be the payback for Sid Sliding Home — the Braves are doomed to a Pirate-like future for the rest of my life, maybe longer.

Caseyatthebat

October 6th, 2012
10:35 pm

Sonny Clusters……….I am one of those who have taken a shot or two at you for your criticism of Chipper this season. I won’t apologize for them. But I do agree that this goodbye show has influenced the efforts to win at the end. I must admit I got tired of it and felt there were more important things to attend to. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of this team and your criticisms in general. I feel like this organization views itself primarily as a “business.” It produces a good product at an affordable cost to the organization and presents it to the public with skillfull advertising bravado who buys this bullshit and provides this “business” with a rewarding profit. GONE IS THE HEART THAT BEATS IN THE TRUE FANS OF BASEBALL!

ronaldh

October 6th, 2012
10:35 pm

I say get rid of wren and do it yesterday. Why? It is an easy 3 word answer; lowe, kamakazi and uggla.
Uggla, whose second half “surge” raised his average from .210 to .220
Uggla, who was the worst fielding second baseman in the game when we signed him

Frank, the bird, Wren has been shopping at walmart. Well, you know what, part of that is because of his own stupidity. In reality lowe, kamakazi and uggla make him look like he was shopping at a yard sale.

Ken in Alpharetta

October 6th, 2012
10:41 pm

Bourn is leaving, McCann should, Ugla needs to along with Hanson. The big question is, other than Bourn, how does Wren make it all happen in a way to benefit the club? I guess we will know by late December. Until then, we have these cool blog opinions to read.

Thomas Brown

October 6th, 2012
10:42 pm

____________________________________________________________________

LakeDawg June 17th, 2012 12:25 am

“I do not have faith in Richt as a coach. I don’t think were destined to underachieve”

_____________________________________________________________________

kingdaddy July 2nd, 2012 9:56 am

“ If UGA loses to S.C. this year but wins the rest of the scheduled games, then makes it to the SEC-CG and is not competitive, then I see a major shake-up in our staff by McGarrity. UGA has to beat someone ranked this year in my belief. I don’t think CMR & CMB get a free pass this year just for beating unranked teams. This team has the talent to win, but do they have the coaching? Its too late to do anything this year, but ride it out…”
_____________________________________________________________________

JB July 2nd, 2012 10:02 am

“I agree Kingdaddy. Beating up on weak foe and losing to good teams ( not even great teams) is a pattern for the Dawgs the Last three years, And it’s not a lack of talent. You can read a lot of thing into Richt’s new contract, and I’m reading McGarity is not sold. Here’s more rope, and we;ll see.”
______________________________________________________________________

Congratulations to South Carolina

Aaron Murray as Starting UGA QB 21-12
Connor Shaw as Starting USCe QB 13-1

Aaron Murray vs SEC teams who made winning SEC record 0-7
Aaron Murray vs teams who made any Top 25 poll 0-10

We wuz robbed

October 6th, 2012
10:45 pm

This is a Braves blog. Take it to the Dawgs blog.

BillEGoat

October 6th, 2012
10:46 pm

The Braves franchise has followed the SAME pattern for many years–have a good to excellent regular season record but then fall flat in post-season play YEAR AFTER YEAR. They are 5-16 in win-or-go-home games in front of the home fans. Something always happens, absurd errors, no clutch hitting, whatever. No player can get to the Major Leagues if he can’t play under pressure, but Atlanta’s players seem to have more trouble than normal in the clutch playoff situations. I think it has happened to the Braves so many times that they are expecting it. How many honest fans REALLY think the Braves would have won the game if the infield fly had not been called? SOMEBODY would have had to come through with a late-inning clutch hit in a playoff game, and the Braves don’t do that.

Thomas Brown

October 6th, 2012
10:49 pm

Braves are finished.

Thomas Brown

October 6th, 2012
10:50 pm

Exactly as I said the Braves would be finished and your post is not about the Braves, either.

Thomas Brown

October 6th, 2012
10:58 pm

No difference between the Braves and Georgia

Thomas DiNatale

October 6th, 2012
11:07 pm

Maybe we keep Bourne and see if another team wants a .220 avg 94 walk Uggla? Just a thought…

TN Jeff

October 6th, 2012
11:16 pm

Need to trade for Clutch players IF there are any known commodities in the market. Braves play without passion nor expectation to come through in the clutch. Thus they have horrible stats in RISP situations. Thus they have become completely anemic during the playoffs – both offensively and defensively. They play without confidence hoping not to lose. Sounds a lot like the Georgia Bullpuppies. A little fire from the manager & or head coach would be nice.