Live from the ballyard: The stars keep aligning for the Braves

Six days ago the Braves learned they’d lost their cornerstone for the duration. The trade deadline was already gone, meaning any Braves’ trade target would have to clear waivers. And, these being the Braves, any trade target would need to come cheap.

On Wednesday the Braves traded for Derrek Lee, who’d cleared waivers before Chipper Jones had gotten hurt and therefore couldn’t be blocked by, say, the Phillies. They traded for a first baseman with a great glove who hits in the middle of the lineup and who just happens to be a free agent at season’s end, meaning the Braves are only on the hook for a pittance of his salary before Lee leaves to make room for Freddie Freeman.

All of which leads us to say: This is the Braves’ year.

Said Frank Wren, the general manager: “There have been a lot of things that have happened that have gone well for us. I can’t deny that.”

Chipper Jones gets hurt in mid-August, and that’s one of the worst breaks a team could have. But this particular team had an All-Star second baseman (Martin Prado) about to come off the disabled list and an All-Star utility man (Omar Infante) capable of holding down second while Prado moved to third. And now it gets a true first baseman and a real power hitter for three marginal prospects, and just like that a tattered infield becomes a shiny new creation.

Said Chipper, ambling freely about the clubhouse four days after surgery: “You’ve got to applaud Frank for being pro-active. This was the only A-plus move you could make, and the players really, really appreciate it.”

Smiling, Chipper also offered this: “It kind of makes me upset that it took me getting hurt for this to happen. D-Lee is a guy I’d love to have in the lineup with me.”

Five years ago D-Lee hit 46 homers and flirted with a Triple Crown. He’s no longer that guy, but he’s a clear upgrade on poor creaking Troy Glaus, who’d given this team all he had and now goes on the disabled list and then to Gwinnett to see if he can re-learn third base. (Said Wren, referring to Glaus’ bravura May: “We’re not here in position to make a trade like this if not for Troy Glaus.”)

A clubhouse that has seen 20 victories in the final at-bat has been handed another tangible reason to believe. The deal made at the deadline for Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel was one of those a GM makes just to show his team he’s trying. The deal for D-Lee is one that could make the difference between a September fizzle and a banner October. If Wren wasn’t already the executive of the year, he is now.

“We’re all competitors, whether we’re in uniform or in the office,” Wren said. “When you’ve got a group of guys who’ve put in the effort these have, you want to do everything you can possibly do … We want to win this thing.”

They just might. The timing of this deal’s development was uncanny. Wren called Jim Hendry, his Cubs’ counterpart, on Sunday to inquire about Lee, who went out and hit two home runs. (Then he tweaked his back and left the game.) Lee, who’d vetoed a trade to Anaheim in July, agreed to this one. And there was nothing the Phillies or anyone else could do to stop it.

Chipper: “If a third baseman comes up on waivers after I get hurt, he’d have been blocked.”

Wren: “That’s why I was vague with you [reporters] last week about what we were looking for. I didn’t want to tip our hand.”

Skill was involved in this maneuver, and so was serendipity. When those two concepts collide … well, that’s what we in the astronomy business call a harmonic convergence.

Said Wren: “Four or five days ago I didn’t know if we could get to this point. You don’t find many 3-4-5 hitters.”

But Wren did. He found one who plays the absolute right position with the absolute perfect contract. When it’s your year, it’s your year. And this year is the Braves’.

And with that, we’ll open the floor — a bit belatedly, but things have been hopping at the ballyard — for your comments, questions and reactions to the D-Lee deal. I thank you in retrospect for your patience, and I thank you in advance for your participation.

458 comments Add your comment

Blue Fox

August 18th, 2010
7:02 pm

Absolute prime move and it cost very little, Wren is obvioiusly growing on the job, let’s hope Lee’s back hold out through OCT.

HOG IN DOUGLAS

August 18th, 2010
7:04 pm

hudson tonite

HOG IN DOUGLAS

August 18th, 2010
7:05 pm

VA Bravo

August 18th, 2010
7:05 pm

Adding some power and playoff experience to a line-up that hits for a high average is a great move. Especially when you can put that bat in the middle of the order and upgrade your defense at one of the hot corners. I was worried when I heard the Aramis Ramirez rumors a couple days ago but excited to see the Derrek Lee talk blowup today. I have a good feeling this goes well and the Braves make a deep run into the playoffs and hopefully to the Series.

Ashley

August 18th, 2010
7:06 pm

This is so awesome. We needed a bat and we certainly got one! I’ve always loved Derek Lee. He’s a class act. Will fit in well with the team.

shawn

August 18th, 2010
7:07 pm

An excellent trade now let’s hear it from wren haters

Herschel Talker

August 18th, 2010
7:08 pm

MB:

Who is Derrick Lee? I am, however, jacked about getting Derrek Lee. World Series here we come.

HT

NCBravesFan

August 18th, 2010
7:10 pm

Mark: did Glaus meet with reporters before the game or was he in the locker room? Did you folks hear anything from him? I hope the DL stint gets him right and he can contribute later this year.

Nice going, Frank Wren!

George

August 18th, 2010
7:10 pm

Let’s hope this works out for the good and that he doesn’t bring any bad mojo to the clubhouse.

POAD

August 18th, 2010
7:11 pm

Get Hudson some runs early I need to go to bed early Please.

Mark Bradley

August 18th, 2010
7:11 pm

Glaus met with reporters, NCBravesFan. I was talking to Chipper at the time. Ms. Carroll Rogers should have all the details of the Glaus briefing.

Mark Bradley

August 18th, 2010
7:12 pm

Herschel, that’s what happens when you trying to bat out a column in 40 minutes to beat the start of the game. Thanks for catching it.

NCBravesFan

August 18th, 2010
7:13 pm

Thanks, Mark! I appreciate all Glaus did back in May – him meeting with reporters on what had to be a tough day is classy. Good on him.

Raider Fan

August 18th, 2010
7:13 pm

Saw the Glaus interview, he looks pretty happy, actually.

Ashley

August 18th, 2010
7:14 pm

I love the fact that the Phillies couldn’t block this trade.

nola braves fan

August 18th, 2010
7:16 pm

glaus gave the braves the month that got them in first… so thanks Troy. But he is body is wrecked. So makes this move perfect IMO.

Mark – please tell me you’ll run now infamous Glaus signing photo one more time for me… maybe when he comes off the DL to take the right handed bat on the bench spot.

Jim in Ga

August 18th, 2010
7:17 pm

I must have missed it, but what did the Braves give up to get Lee?

Jedi Falcon

August 18th, 2010
7:17 pm

Mark You are going to jinx this team with your positive articles. You do realize that, right?

Everytime you write stuff like this, about any Atlanta team, they go on a losing streak.

Bob Horners texting while driving issues

August 18th, 2010
7:18 pm

the bloggers is slow tonite-crap im talkin like Sonny- WS or not, this team is fun-

Ashley

August 18th, 2010
7:18 pm

The audio went out on Chip Caray! It is indeed a lucky night for Braves fans!
:)

Darryl Blackberry

August 18th, 2010
7:20 pm

I love the fact that our defense will improve. Sure, Glaus was no slouch over there at first, all things considered, but this will likely take some pressure off the rest of the infield.

Blue Fox

August 18th, 2010
7:21 pm

Another obvious positive for the Braves is that Lee adds a second African-American to the starting lineup, a great role model and inspiration for ATL/GA youth joining the Jay-Hey Kid.

Ashley

August 18th, 2010
7:21 pm

I’m glad Chipper will be in the booth later in the game. It’ll be nice to hear from him.

Matt

August 18th, 2010
7:23 pm

Settle down, fox. He’s going to be here for about 6 weeks.

Bob Horners texting while driving issues

August 18th, 2010
7:23 pm

I wanna be happy w/ a nice playoff run-but I cant -we need WS- Sure we are a few players short, so is almost everbody else-we got a shot.

Vinnny3

August 18th, 2010
7:23 pm

Mark, what’s your take on why Bobby never lets a pitcher finish a ballgame. I just checked, not a single Atlanta starter has thrown a complete, 9 inning game this season. Even in situations when a starter has under 100 pitches, Bobby pulls him after the 8th. Especially with Wagner somewhat struggling the past 2-3 weeks, could you see this as a potential problem?

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 18th, 2010
7:24 pm

Always a Lee fan.

Mark, pie for all!!!!

Ashley

August 18th, 2010
7:25 pm

I see neither Joe nor Chip are interrupting Frank while he is talking.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 18th, 2010
7:26 pm

Mark, where can we find Lee’s number’s at the Ted? It had to be a factor….

John

August 18th, 2010
7:26 pm

Mark, why do the Braves want to put Glaus at third instead of Infante?

Mark Bradley

August 18th, 2010
7:27 pm

Frank was very good today, Ashley. The best-ever Wren briefing.

Mark Bradley

August 18th, 2010
7:28 pm

They don’t, John. They want Prado at third and Infante at second and Glaus as an option off the bench.

Ashley

August 18th, 2010
7:29 pm

Mark, if the interview in the booth is any indication of how your briefing went, I can see that. It’s easier on TV anyway. You don’t need quite as much play-by-play.

John

August 18th, 2010
7:30 pm

I was misinformed…my fault Mark!

Mark Bradley

August 18th, 2010
7:30 pm

One of those Hudson DPs. (Turning to the game itself.)

Daddy Tuck

August 18th, 2010
7:32 pm

Whod they bring up to take Glaus’ place? Or is it no one was sent down when Prado came back? Looks like Freddy won’t get a September call up now. Dam I wanted to see what he could do in a pennant race. Remember Andruw Jones in 96?

kurula

August 18th, 2010
7:33 pm

so…glaus may play 3rd after all?

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 18th, 2010
7:34 pm

See folks, this why we’re not GM’s.

This is a GREAT TRADE after the deadline through waivers.

There had to be some GM’s caught with their pants down on this one.

NCBravesFan

August 18th, 2010
7:35 pm

If Glaus heals up nicely, he gives the Braves an extra option at 1B or 3B – and if we are so fortunate to get to the World Series could DH.

Jeremiah

August 18th, 2010
7:35 pm

If Glaus’ knees don’t fall off in Gwinnett

Matt

August 18th, 2010
7:36 pm

Why wouldn’t Freddie get a September call-up?

Jeremiah

August 18th, 2010
7:36 pm

Jeremiah

August 18th, 2010
7:37 pm

They don’t wanna start arbitration clock on Freeman yet.

Jeremiah

August 18th, 2010
7:37 pm

That and we needed another vet after losing Chip, not 20 year old rook…

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 18th, 2010
7:38 pm

good stuff, hope this game doesn’t drag on like last night. offense, come up early!!! please. like the trade, looks like we gave up nothing really special from the minors.

Matt

August 18th, 2010
7:38 pm

I believe in the Braves!!!

NCBravesFan

August 18th, 2010
7:38 pm

And if they wanted to give Freeman a lot of ABs in the pennant race, he would already be here.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 18th, 2010
7:38 pm

Freeman is not NOW.

The Kid is.

He’ll get his cup next month.

Maybe more.

Jeremiah

August 18th, 2010
7:38 pm

I think people are too tough on Chip Carey…He is not that awful…all the time…

Daniel Buck

August 18th, 2010
7:38 pm

Question Mark???… Are the Braves done with Lee or is Barmes or Encarnacion someone we can still get for better bench depth???