Blowing up the team (II)

Three more players possibly for trade are John Smoltz, Rafael Furcal, and Eli Marrero. These guys aren’t unburdened for future seasons like the others. Furcal’s probably more valuable for this, the other two less.

Smoltz: His contract would be up after the season, but there’s an option that vests if he finishes a certain number of games. A team that traded for him as a closer would have to worry about that. (And I doubt he could hold up starting, and even if he did there’s no guarantee he’d be effective.) Also, he’s a 10-and-5 man and would have to agree to a trade. (He’s indicated he’d be amenable.) His contract is probably too pricey for most of the teams looking for a closer. Just speculating, but the Cubs seem a likely destination. He’d certainly be among familiar faces. Other possibilities would be the Mets and Rangers. Less likely (because of financial reasons) would be the White Sox (anyone know how he got along with Guillen?) or the Giants. Or a really big-market team like the Red Sox or Yankees might take a gamble on him as a six-inning starter, possibly moving to the pen in October.

Furcal: 2005 will be his last arbitration year. He’s making a reasonable $3.7 million this season and would probably be in the mid-fours next year. And if it doesn’t work out, the team could always non-tender him. The Yankees still need a second baseman, and could amuse themselves by having the 2003 NL All-Star shortstop playing second, the 2003 AL All-Star shortstop playing third, and a guy with the range of Verne Troyer playing short. The Dodgers need a shortstop, as usual. Actually, most of the contenders (except the Rangers and Chisox, and maybe the Red Sox) could use him. (UPDATE: Forgot to mention… The Braves don’t really have a shortstop candidate to replace him, so would be reluctant unless they got an infielder in exchange.)

Marrero: Obviously of a lower stature than the other two, but could be worth a pitching prospect or something. The Braves, bizarrely, gave him an extension before the season. There’s a good chance that the Cardinals, his old team, could want him back in his old part-time catcher/backup outfielder role. He’d be useful, if healthy, for pretty much anyone, and his salary isn’t prohibitive or anything.

(Note: I’ve given this entry a date of tomorrow. There’s a reason for it which I won’t go into, but it’s being written in the afternoon of June 24. Next time, the hard cases.)

14 thoughts on “Blowing up the team (II)”

  1. Well it’s been nice. I grew up and live in Orlando, FL. I’ve been a fan long enough that my favorite player growing up was Bob Horner. I just cannot stand the chintzy way this team is being run. I really wish that the suits over at AOL/TimeWarner, or whatever the Hell they are calling themselves this week would read some of the postings on the Beat. I am separating from the Braves and starting an affair with the D-Rays. They are closer to my hometown, are on TV more often (gee 12 whole games on TBS), get more local coverage, and seem to care more about playing hard. It has nothing to do with the recent winning streak – I’ve been giving this some thought for awhile. By the way, if you’re going to dump one of these guys, you might as well dump the whole lot – either piss or get off the pot.

  2. Hmmm, I’m guessing that C.J. needs a refresher in just how crappy the Braves were in the early and late Bob Horner years. Please, this is one year and you’re going to abandon this team for an expansion club that is hot? I can understand liking two teams but to say that you are “separating” yourself…anyway, I won’t go off on a “with fans like you” post.

    By the way, Mac, DeRo could always take over at SS for Furcal. Maybe a change of position would do him good.

  3. I have to say I am a bit more optimistic than most. Yes, it does stink to watch these guys flail at the ball, but this team is by no means awful. Would anyone rather have the D-Rays roster than our current line-up? Injuries are so very key this year, and those injuries have a good chance of keeping the Braves out of the post-season. But I don’t think it’s time to give up hope, despite my desire to do so. Chipper will get better, Andruw will get better, Giles will come back, we can have Nick Green instead of Jesse Garcia as a PH. Whenever I get down about the Bravos I think back to that season in (was it ’91?) where we fell down 6 in the first inning to the Reds. I listened to it on the radio anyway (I didn’t have TBS at the time). That comeback to win in such an ordinary game was somehow special. I can’t forget that, and that’s why I won’t give up.

  4. I don’t place too much blame on AOL/TW; this team still has enough payroll to compete, and had the team gotten even average performances so far from Chipper and Andruw (with RISP) and Hampton, along with Andruw’s not barreling down Giles, we’d likely be talking right now about whom to add, not subtract.

  5. I seem to remember from two years ago a quote from JS that this would be a difficult year. Throw in the injuries and you have a really difficult year.

    Ortiz needs to go now. He doesn’t throw strikes, which must eat up Leo and Bobby. We won’t be able to resign him at market value, and he will never bring more in a trade than now.

    Furcal and Andruw fit the same mold. Young guys who have failed to reach their potential and many fans are tired of waiting. Both are cheap by today standards and I’d keep them both.

    The real problem is first and third. Dero was a miserable failure and Laroche never reminded anyone of Olerud before he got hurt. We have to wait for Marte at third and hope for help at first in the Ortiz deal.

    Mac said it best a few days ago. We need our MVP back. Marcus, how’s it feeling?

  6. I agree with Mark. You can only hold management and ownership accountable to a point when your top two pitchers have pitched awful at times and worse at others, your true best pitcher gets no run support then is beset by shoulder tendonitis, you never get two good starts in row from your rotation, your highly-touted setup man implodes in key situations, your best hitter gets knocked out for two months by your best defensive player, your team leader gets a nagging injury and suddenly forgets how to hit, and you get no production whatsoever from the corners.

    There’s been some bad mismanagement of pitching at times because Bobby refuses to think outside of his “every pitcher does one job and that’s it” mentality and play the hot hand when necessary. I’ve never believed for a second that any owner this team could have is going to go deep into debt to field a winning team. Not even Ted. Steinbrenner can spend $200 million because his team makes the money to do so. Have you seen the “crowds” at Turner Field the past few years?

    This ship can be righted but it may take a couple of years. If anybody wants to jump off in the meantime to follow the new feel-good baseball story it’s your perogative. Just don’t think about picking up that Braves banner again when your new team returns to reality and the Braves are back on top.

  7. Have you seen the “crowds” at Turner Field the past few years?

    Yeah, I have seen the fucking crowds at Turner Field for the last couple of years. The Mets fans who run Time Warner should be thankful that anyone spends their hard-earned money to support a franchise that they are obviously hell bent on destroying.

    Maybe you apologists haven’t noticed, but the Braves are in a top-ten media market, own their stadium, have their own regional cable network, have a large fan base in surrounding states, and their own superstation. If the Braves are losing money with all of these things working for them, they have the most incompetent owners in baseball.

    And does anyone think that JS would have traded Millwood for Estrada or a top pitching prospect for a one year rental if the Braves had owners that were actually interested in winning? Can you blame JS or Bobby Cox for the fact that this team has no true ace? If this team had owners that were interested in winning, would Julio Franco be our starting first baseman? Would Mark Derosa have been our opening-day starter at third base?

    All of you Time-Warner apologists need to understand the suits in New York don’t give a damn about you or your team. The Braves will be cellar dwellers as long the vermin in New York set the payroll. But, if you want to continue to defend the bastards that are tearing this once-great franchise apart, more power to you. You will get the pathetic team that you deserve.

  8. Alabama Politics,

    Gee, I love populist politics applied to baseball. You must be a Michael Moore fan. AOL is no great shakes, but do you really think anyone is going to come in and spend like George Steinbrenner?

    As for ruining the franchise, last I saw the Braves were working on a streak of 12 consecutive division titles and the fans still won’t show up. I think a few cities would be willing to take that kind of running into the ground. Atlanta is a lousy sports town–I don’t care who the hell owns the team. And, if you remember, Ted Turner got rid of Gant and Justice for money reasons.

    No one is defending these “bastards.” All anyone said is that AOL is not all to blame. That’s defending? I really don’t like people like you that have to resort to insults to make your point. And calling people “bastards” and “vermin” is really uncalled for. Go enjoy Fahrenheit 9/11; you are perfect for that sort of garbage.

  9. Gant was released from his contract after having a motorcycle crash which broke his leg. From BaseballLibrary.com, “In February 1994, the outfielder broke his right leg in a motorcycle accident, and when spring training rolled around, the Braves cut him to avoid paying his multi-million dollar salary.”

  10. Politics have nothing to with this. If George Soros or Teresa Heinz Kerry owned this team right now I would be saying the same things. I wouldn’t care if Richard Mellon Scaife or the Reverend Moon owned the Braves if they made a commitment to winning championships.

    And the last time I checked, the Braves got rid of Gant because he broke his leg riding a dirt bike and they traded Justice because he was injury plagued. I have no problem with getting rid of players for money reasons if they are liabilities to the team.

    I also think you are underestimating Atlanta sports fans. They will support a team if the owner reaches out to the fans and also shows that he is dedicated to winning championships (see Arthur Blank and the Falcons). Los Angeles is one of the worst sports towns in America, but the Angels have already sold out thirty games this season because Moreno invested in the team and made a concerted effort to reach out to the fans in Southern California. Time Warner is capable of doing the same thing, but they won’t because they are incompetent and don’t really care.

  11. Yeah. Trading for Gary Sheffield, one of the most feared hitters in the game sure filled a lot of seats didn’t it? The Braves even hired a new public relations head this year to deal with the problem of declining attendance. What more do you want? And Arthur Blank does not create interest in the Falcons as much as Michael Vick does.

    The “Mets fans” at Time Warner pay John Schuerholz to care if this team wins, but they still have to make money from it for the whole system to work. And if you weren’t aware, it’s in TW’s interest for this team to be successful. They’re not going to intentionally sabotage the team. spout your conspiracy theories all you want. The bottom line is that that Braves signed a lot of big contracts to keep this winning franchise going and now the well is drying up so it’s back to square one. Get over it or raise $700 million dollars to buy the team yourself so that you can pump all the money you don’t have into it just so you can see it win because you care so much.

    Oh no! Fiscal reality has set in and I don’t have a championship caliber team to watch anymore! BLAME, BLAME, BLAME! We never had a bad season under Ted. Never!

    Stick to politics, Bama. And clean up your language.

  12. Bama, for cripes sake dude, lighten up. If you happen to be in a bookstore one day read the section about the Braves in Baseball Prospectus. You could probably apply that analysis to every Atlanta professional sports team. Really, its enlightening. As for TW’s ownership, why in the name of George Stienbrenner should they spend insane money on players when the last two World Champions had 50 million dollar payrolls. The Braves are in transition. Noone can say that they are a ‘Moneyball’ team but the days of being in the top 5 in payroll are over. A lot of money is tied up in Chip, Andruw, Hampton (I’ve heard that they are trying to spread his future salary by prorating it to themselves) and Smoltz. A lot. Thus DeRo and LaRoche. I get just as frustrated as the next true Braves fan (CJ?) who has enjoyed a decade of success but remembers the very lean DECADES (with a couple of good years mixed in) before that. In a different thread I just posed a simple question of whether you try to start to rebuild completely by trading all of your tradeable players or do you try to build on the core of the team.

  13. The idea that AOL doesn’t want the Braves to win because they are Mets fans is laughable. They’re business people–they make money from the Braves (i.e. TBS), not the Mets. No, they don’t have a burning passion to win the World Series like Ted did or Steinbrenner does. But Ted was spending money when they were drawing 3 million and TBS and CNN were booming. Even then, he didn’t spend recklessly. If you recall, Maddux was offered more by the Yankees but didn’t want to play in New York. And the attendence has been falling for seven years, even though the Braves have won over 100 games in five of those years. I understand the frustration of losing in the playoffs every year-God knows I’m frustrated. But the Braves don’t even outdraw the Orioles,who have finished below .500 for six years in a row and have made the playoffs twice in 21 years. The fact is no one is going to spend money on a franchise that can’t draw even when they are winning.

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