Your attention, please: Braves have a new second sacker

You know dumb ol’ Bobby Cox? The manager who never changes his mind? The one who wouldn’t give up on Kelly Johnson as his second baseman no matter how little he hit?

Bobby Cox announced Tuesday night he has a new second baseman.

After Martin Prado had four hits (two singles, a double and a homer) and four RBIs (three to tie the game on three separate occasions, the fourth to win it in the 10th), Cox said: “Every time he’s in there, he does something good.”

So an enterprising journalist (blush) asked the manager: Is Prado your starting second baseman?

Should Martin Prado start at 2B the rest of the season?

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Said Cox: “Right now, yes. He’s too hot to take out, unless his groin flares up.”

Contrary to popular belief, Cox isn’t the world’s biggest idiot. (As we know, this enterprising journalist is the world’s biggest idiot.) He has seen his team not hit for what seems like forever, and he has seen the nudge Prado has provided. Sometimes a nudge is all an idling team needs, especially one that pitches like this.

Kelly Johnson is hitting .216. Martin Prado is hitting .299. There’s no comparison, at least not at the moment. Cox had to make this change, and he has. This doesn’t mean Johnson will never play again. But I wouldn’t expect him to be in the lineup again this week, or maybe even this month.

See, as much as Bobby Cox loves his players, he loves something else, too. He loves to win.

299 comments Add your comment

MatthewH

July 1st, 2009
10:56 am

This is an excellent choice. After seeing Kelly Johnson try to turn a routine double-play into a rundown on Sunday, he certainly needed to be benched!

All I'm Saying Is...

July 1st, 2009
11:04 am

About darn time KJ was removed. And Kotchman ought to be nervous cuz he should be on the clock. Further, Francoeur better keep it going at the plate the rest of the year whatever the cause. You can make all the wise cracks you want about Garrett not hustling enough for your taste or Escobar throwing his helmet etc. but the bottom line is that THE LACK OF HITTING FROM 2B, 1B, AND RF AND THE THREE HUGE HOLES THEY HAVE COLLECTIVELY REPRESENTED IN THE LINEUP EACH AND EVERY GAME IS WHAT HAS BEEN KILLING OUR BALL CLUB PREVENTING US FROM CONSISTENTLY SCORING RUNS.

mike

July 1st, 2009
11:15 am

“He has seen his team not hit for what seems like forever”

Exactly. He waits way too long to do anything about anything. He should have been playing around with this lineup weeks ago.

Go Braves.

mountain_jim

July 1st, 2009
11:21 am

I could not believe how many bonehead plays Kelly made on Sunday.

Bob

July 1st, 2009
11:21 am

Love the way Prado plays: he hustles, does the little things it takes to win, and he’s a natural infielder, which KJ never has been. Bravo.

Blackberry Cobbler

July 1st, 2009
11:22 am

Booby Cox is still an idiot. It took him a month to realize and finally do what fans have been screaming about………. get KJ out of the lineup.

See ya Kelly (aka Trade-Bait Johnson). Been nice knowing ya.

Ed

July 1st, 2009
11:23 am

I want to personally thank you all for stopping suggesting that Vazquez be traded.

Leigh

July 1st, 2009
11:28 am

At our house we call Prado “The Museum,” because he’s world-class like The Prado in Madrid.

Don

July 1st, 2009
11:31 am

And it only takes him 10 times as long as any intelligent person to grasp the obvious.

benchwarmer

July 1st, 2009
11:31 am

Vazquez is pitching great! Why would anyone trade him?

Jamaaliver

July 1st, 2009
11:31 am

Mark,

Do we have any highly regarded 2B prospects in the pipeline? Is there a long term solution on the horizon?

Vince

July 1st, 2009
11:34 am

I’ve been begging for Prado to be in the starting lineup all year. It’s about time and he should stay in there whether it be at first, second, third, or right. And the same when Infante comes back. Play him anywhere but somewhere! Let Kotchman & Francouer beware. There are enough tools in the chest but Bobby Cox sticks with slumping players way too long. If Philly can bench Rollins why can’t Bobby Cox bench Francouer, Johnson, Kotchman? He should bench all of his consistent “first pitch swingers” to send a message. Even Chipper’s swinging at more first pitches than he ever has. You don’t see the Red Sox and other disciplined teams doing that. And it’s not just a Pendleton problem, Bobby Cox who has benching authority should be all over his “first pitch swingers.” I am still wondering if someone other than Prado(Ross, Diaz) could play first base. It would improve the hitting if Ross could, he’d probably hit 20-25 homers. Either way, we have enough hitters, Bobby Cox just needs to play the motivated and hot hitters daily and change when necessary.

Mmmmm, Erin Andrews

July 1st, 2009
11:35 am

Don

July 1st, 2009
11:35 am

To the contrary Mr. Bradley, this adds additional proof as to his incompetence — taking such a long, long, long time to make the change. Not even talking about a permanent change you may wnat to make; Cox has never used the hot hand – or even adjusted his batting order to take advantage of the hot hand.

DeWayne

July 1st, 2009
11:35 am

Bout time they made some kind of change on offense, heck trade for mike hampton back since he can hit better than half the everyday players.

Cletus

July 1st, 2009
11:35 am

Mark Bradley likes to make self-deprecating remarks about his intelligence, but don’t be fooled by his coyness. He really is an idiot.

And since it took Cox (aka “greatest manager [Bradley has] ever seen”) only 3 months to see Prado is a better defensively AND offensively, I guess he’s an idiot too.

Cox has never shown the ability to manage games. He has merely shown the ability to make players get along with him and each other reasonably well. Almost any baseball manager could win a string of divisions with the players Cox had.

Now, along with not managing games particularly well, Cox has also lost the ability to manage a game according to his available talent. Even Earl Weaver would have had the Braves playing small ball by now.

Space Monkey

July 1st, 2009
11:36 am

I have to agree with Bench Warmer. It’s been clear since the first of May that KJ was a liability. He was the worst leadoff choice Bobby could find. Yet, game after game, we had to suffer through him. I’m betting that at the end of the season, two of those games where KJ played instant out in the leadoff spot will cost us a shot at the post-season. And with our pitching, the post-season could have been interesting.

John

July 1st, 2009
11:38 am

Brooks Conrad plays 2B for AAA Gwinnett. He is probably the 2B of the future. Looked pretty good in Spring Training too..

Robby

July 1st, 2009
11:39 am

I think KJ’s streaky hitting has much to do with Cox trying to make him a 2nd Baseman, a lead off hitter, then a middle of the order hitter. I would move him back to the OF as a platoon type player and challenge Frechy for the RF spot.

Mike lump

July 1st, 2009
11:41 am

“Right now, yes. He’s too hot to take out, unless his groin flares up.” Thats what she said..

Curtis Jones

July 1st, 2009
11:44 am

Agreed with Don at 11:35. With the right players penciled in the starting lineup this season, we would be in 1st place by 10 games. Unlike last year, we have starting pitchers who go deep into games, and Cox has set them up for failure most nights with his banjo-hitting, slow-footed lineup…while impact players like Prado, Infante, Ross and Diaz languished on the bench. Let’s put a starting lineup out there with some hustle, some speed, and some bats. Give our terrific starting pitchers a chance to win!

leggomyego

July 1st, 2009
11:47 am

One thing Bobby has always taken knocks for is his willingness to give players every benefit of the doubt. I remember when KJ came up and he stuggled so mightily; Bobby rode the bad streak out with KJ, saying things like ‘he’s putting good swings on the ball, he’s just not getting any breaks..” and things like that. This is why players love Bobby. He understands baseball. He understands guys sometimes need the time to get themselves straight. Baseball isn’t a fast-food sport. It’s not like football where you only have 16 games to get things right. It’s a 162 game marathon, and Bobby has always managed as such. Indeed, it was time for Prado, he earned the spot and KJ did everything possible to lose it. But now that there has been a change, there can be no ill will, no dark sentiment reflected by a player who thinks he didn’t get every chance to keep his job. There will be no one in that clubhouse who feels that way either. The clubhouse mentality will only improve with this decision, and no inklings of dissension will come from it because of the way it was done. Every player in that clubhouse now has been re-affirmed of two things: Bobby will give you every chance to keep your spot on this ball club, and Bobby will pull the trigger on a move when it’s time. Expertly managed in my opinion. Watch the Braves pick up steam from this.

Mac

July 1st, 2009
11:49 am

Thank goodness. Is Infante out for the season?

Curtis Jones

July 1st, 2009
11:50 am

If indeed the Braves pick up steam from Cox’s long-overdue moves, let’s be honest. If the Mets and Phillies weren’t so inept and injury-riddled, they would already be leading the Braves by 10-15 games. Cox is lucky he’s in a weak division, which doesn’t make his inept managing so obvious in the standings.

FireCox

July 1st, 2009
11:51 am

Why in the world did this not happen at least two years ago? Prado has been the better player all along. KJ cannot hit and is not outstanding defensively.

It makes no sense that KJ has been starting at second for years except that Cox simply likes the kid. There is no other rational reason.

Yet 40% of this city still thinks Cox should be managing the Braves. Unreal.

Ralph

July 1st, 2009
11:51 am

Now, if we could get Infante back and playing right field and put either Ross or McCann on first we might go somewhere, Kotchman would do a good job as a bench hitter and Frenchy and Kelly could be traded for a couple of prospects.

Robert

July 1st, 2009
11:53 am

IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! Booby Cox messed this one up! It took him a month to realize and finally get KJ out of the lineup. He is way too streaky! i hope prado is the 2B the rest of the yearIf the braves are going to make a push for the division which is still very possible because the rest of the division kinda sucks then all the clowns have to go!!! KJ was the ring leader of the clowns!!!! he didnt hit, didnt play good defense, and make boneheaded plays!!! kotchman, francoeur, bennett, Pendleton are the next clowns to go but at least kotch and french play defense and are hitting better recently! Bennett punched a wall so he took care of that himself! and i think its funny that everyone because a worst hitter around TP!!! fire him and maybe, just maybe we can make a move in this division!!!! GO BRAVES!!!!

CS

July 1st, 2009
11:54 am

I said spring of 2008 this guy was ready but Bobby had to stay with the Kelly (outfielder) Johnson experiment when it was obvious Prado was better. This is much deserved and hopefully not too late.
Congratulations to the best 2nd baseman on the team.

mike

July 1st, 2009
11:54 am

Duh. Duh. Duh. What was he thinking?

JeanE

July 1st, 2009
11:55 am

I have to agree with the other posters…it took way too long to make what was an obvious move. We all know Kelly is a great guy, so what? Cox stuck with him as he does all his players whether they are producing or not until he had no choice but to bench them. Now, what about platooning Francoeur with Diaz in right????? Diaz deserves to play alot more than he does, D Ross, too.

Rich W

July 1st, 2009
11:56 am

As good as I feel about having Prado at 2B everyday, I am concerned about having a good back up infielder like Infante or Prado available. Who plays 3B or 1B when Chipper or Kotchman go down? Not Hernandez. Chris Burke (utility guy) was signed and has some ABs at Gwinnett. Will they bring him up? Who else?

Kenneth Simpson

July 1st, 2009
11:57 am

After watching Johnson on Sunday and Escobar’s attitude it is about time that the braves found someone who wants to play and let them play. It is such a shame that the braves gave away Elvis Andrus to Texas when they could really use him and his hustle now. The giveaway of all those players to Texas rates the worse trade the braves ever made. All they have to show for this bummer is Kotchman and look what he is doing. Play Prado and try to find someone else to play shortstop if the farm has anything left after all these bum trades in the past.

bird

July 1st, 2009
11:58 am

Bravo Prado!

NC Braves Fan

July 1st, 2009
12:01 pm

I disagree about Bobby taking too long to make the call – if I was in KJ’s shoes, I’d want every opportunity to work things out at the plate. He’s earned the right and Bobby showed some loyalty. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

Kelly has only himself to blame for riding the pines now. Hopefully Martin can continue to provide a spark. Getting Infante back in a few weeks will help, too.

Frustrated Braves Fan

July 1st, 2009
12:01 pm

About Da*n time. This should have happened at the end of spring training.

Turkey Underpants

July 1st, 2009
12:04 pm

I’m glad Prado is in the lineup as much for his defense as his offense. He has been solid defensively all year, even when he was playing first base. I don’t expect Prado to hit as well as he did last night every night, but I am anxious to see what he can do now that he has the chance to play every day.

Also, please stop killing Francouer. He is having a very solid homestand and I have been increasingly pleased with his approach at the plate. Plus, his range and arm in right field make him a valuable asset even if his power numbers don’t turn around.

I have to keep telling myself that last night was only one game, but it sure would be nice to go on a winning streak and really get back in the thick of the division race.

Jordan, True Brave Fan

July 1st, 2009
12:04 pm

Finally after all this time, Martin Prado starts. I’ve been saying it for months and it finally will happen.
Now all the Braves need to do is get rid of Kelly and Bennett and get another bat before the trading deadline and they’ll be set.

PMC

July 1st, 2009
12:05 pm

Of course, all we need now is for him to stay healthy and for Infante to make it back healthy and keep tearing it up.

Also Francouer seems to be hitting much better.

All I can do from here is to hope bunt practice is in full effect and they start finding out how to score runs with RISP and less than 2 outs.

The 5 No votes

July 1st, 2009
12:05 pm

Should Martin Prado start at 2B the rest of the season?

* Yes. (98%, 237 Votes)
* No. (2%, 5 Votes)

Signed,

Kelly Johnson, Kelly Johnson’s mom, Kelly Johnson’s dad, Kelly Johnson’s wife, and Kelly Johnson’s mom one more time for good measure.

NC Braves Fan

July 1st, 2009
12:07 pm

Turkey – I agree with you on Francouer … I think Garrett is the guy who should be traded if anyone – he might bring a little return since he’s hitting better, and in the process we might be able to solve the LF offensive and defensive “issues” we’ve had all year.

BradInHuntsvegas

July 1st, 2009
12:08 pm

KJ in 07 and 08 had some of the better offensive years historically for an Atlanta second baseman – Lemke for example had only one comparable year. Baseball is weird in that occasionally an established and productive player just goes flat as a pancake for an extended period (Andruw). Hard to tell when to give up. Braves had to do that with Mark DeRosa, and he went on to have a very solid ML career.

owl hunter

July 1st, 2009
12:08 pm

I agree with leggomyego about the 162 game arguement. Also, please stop throwing Infante in with the “languishing on the bench” thing. He is INJURED! He will get his playing time when his broken hand heals. The clowns that think he should be playing right now, Ross should be playing 1st, or Lowe/Chipper are going to be traded are the same people who will turn on Prado the first time he makes an error, or goes 0 for 4.

Tjsorrow

July 1st, 2009
12:12 pm

now move anderson to right diaz in left bench francour as well

Wes

July 1st, 2009
12:13 pm

Mike and Heywood: don’t forget Prado has been banged up for a few weeks now and the groin is nothing to mess with. If he’d been healthy, he would have seen some more PT

Wes

July 1st, 2009
12:15 pm

NC Braves. Who in the hell would trade FOR Anderson??? No one would even sign the guy for 2 Mill when he was a FA. He has no trade value, therefore, will NOT be traded.

We should unload Francoeur now that he has a couple of hits. He may have actually put a tiny bit of value back in himself on the market for us.

perry

July 1st, 2009
12:16 pm

Bobby Cox should change his name to One Month Delay as it took him late July to remove A. Jones from cleanup batting below 200. He is getting faster making decisions on Prado as it is only 1st of July!!

Johnny Bravo

July 1st, 2009
12:16 pm

It’s about time Prado gets his shot. Heart goes out to KJ but you have to produce to play.

Ron E.

July 1st, 2009
12:18 pm

I refute you thus, Mark Bradley: Jeff Francoeur.

Tony

July 1st, 2009
12:20 pm

This is the perfect opportunity for a trade before the deadline. Kelly Johnson and Frenchy for a good hitting outfielder. Keep Escobar. The Braves would still have Hernandez and Infante, when he returns. The pitching staff is set as the Braves are 4th in ERA in the majors. We need a power hitter in this lineup.

Bravedawg

July 1st, 2009
12:20 pm

NC Braves Fan – who would you like to trade G. Anderson for? Remember that he’s hitting .284 and has been steadily improving all year.

I can’t get over how everyone just hates Kotchman and Anderson for no apparent reason. Kotchman has been hovering between .270 and .300 all year, and provides Gold Glove defense at 1B…the man hasn’t made an error since becoming a Brave almost a year ago. Anderson has been performing very well after a rough start – again, he’s hitting .284, which is HOF numbers compared to the rest of the anemic offense. Just because Anderson doesn’t run around the outfield with reckless abandon doesn’t mean we need to tar and feather him.

And Cox hasn’t played Prado as much because A. he’s had a lingering injury almost the entire season, and B. KJ has shown that he is a streaky hitter, and Cox was hoping he’d come out of this slump – he has in the past. I agree that I’d rather have Prado out there, but let’s not act like the answer has been so obvious all year long.