Why?

Jordan returning to Braves | Sports | Braves | ajc.com

It had better be to platoon with Langerhans. If he gets the full-time left field job (the AJC says he’s going to have “a chance to win the leftfield job”) the Braves will essentially be throwing ballgames. Jordan was never that good to begin with and now simply can’t hit righthanded pitching. Since leaving Atlanta, he’s hit .260/.315/.386 against righthanders, numbers that would be bad for a catcher or shortstop. Against lefties, he’s a more useful .310/.373/.552. Last season, he was pretty bad even against lefties, but sub-Mendoza against righties. Injuries, schminjuries, he’s a very limited player.

Slugging percentage by year, this millenium:

2001: .496
2002: .469
2003: .420
2004: .363

The argument for Jordan will be that he’s probably going to be cheap, and it’s only one year. This is a fallacy. The monetary cost is indeed likely to be slight, but the true cost is the roster spot, and the opportunities for young players who might actually be good to get spring at-bats. And that’s assuming he doesn’t luck into a full-time role, which will cost the team ballgames until they figure out he’s not worth it. Plus we all get to hear Terrence Moore crow about it.

38 thoughts on “Why?”

  1. Based on what JS said before any of these moves, his attitude was that they were going bring in a bunch of people compete for outfield spots in the spring. I can only hope that if McCarthy outplays Jordan, or if Langer”hans” proves he can go “solo” (badum-ching), then Jordan won’t make the team. I don’t have a problem with the best man getting the job, assuming the choose the best man.

  2. I don’t see this as that bad. You can’t extrapolate performance from injury riddled seasons, no matter how colorfully you word it. This brings up that image of his knee turning back…*shudders*.

    Anyone, he should definitely be platooned either evenly or as the backup. Assuming he is, I don’t have a problem with this.

  3. My problem with having people compete in Spring is that the number of at bats in Spring are so small that it barely tells you anything. (Travis Wilson anyone?) The key is to trust that Bobby can see if he has the bat speed and eye to get it done and if not, ship him out quickly and quietly.

  4. As a lefty-masher, either off the bench or as part of a platoon, I like this fine. It’s the “he has a chance to start” that makes me a bit more worried. If Bobby goes with Brian Jordan just because he’s all heart-and-soul I’ll be upset.

    But, I guess, so long as the best bat gets the most playing time in left, I’ll be happy whoever that is.

  5. At least, this is insurance. We’re all hoping Langerhans, McCarthy and/or Marte will be awesome in the outfield this spring.

    But if only one of them is, that left us with no backup outfielder. Jordan can fill any role — platoon, starter til Langerhans/Marte take over, or backup for any of the above.

    And the guy did win some big games for us. Hopefully coming back to the Braves can do to his career what it has done to so many, and we can glean decent seasons from him and Mondesi, thus patiently bringing the rookies along.

    Think about last year. If LaRoche was all we had at first from the start, we would have been sucking it up by mid-season. Instead, we had some veteran help, and the platoon/lineup shuffling throughout the season brought him along slowly. Jordan affords us the option to do the same thing for Langerhans or Marte.

  6. Bad, bad, bad move. He will be 38 in a few weeks, has always been somewhat fragile, was never that good to begin with, and has a history of bitching and moaning when things don’t go his way. This is like the return trip of Otis Nixon in ’99 or Terry Pendleton in ’96 – driven by memories of what was, not expectations of what will be.

  7. My greatest fear at this point is Jordan hitting lights out during spring training, winning a job, and hitting .270 with little power and no plate discipline but an adequate number of RBI during the first two months. At that point, he’s hurting us offensively and defensively, though neither are apparent, and would be very difficult to displace even if he went into a slump. Langerhans probably won’t hit like gangbusters from the get-go, so I worry that Jordan’s presence will make him nervous about any slip-up costing him a starting role.

  8. I hope BJ is cheap. It’s interesting that the financial details still are not out. Jordan made $1.25 mil with the Rangers last year so I assume he’s getting less than $1 mil. I was surprised to see that in LA he had higher OPS+s than he had when he was with Atlanta. I’ve got to think he’s only going to see lefties. Ho hum. It’s clear JS and BC are taking the shotgun approach. Out of Langerhans, McCarthy, Marte, Jordan, and Mondesi something good has to happen….Right?

  9. I like the move. I don’t subscribe to the theory of veterans blocking young talent from necessary at bats. If the rookies earn ’em, they’ll get ’em.

  10. Really like the other minor league contracts they signed: Adam Bernero and John Barnes especially. Bernero is exactly the kind of guy Mazzone continually works magic with, and Barnes could be a legit bat off the bench. Nice.

  11. Bobby is known for giving rookies a chance but he is also like every other manager in that if the rookie and the vet are close in the spring training competition he’ll go with the vet. This move blocks some not just Langerhans and McCarthy but has a ripple effect on Jurries, Kelly Johnson, Duran and Onil Joseph too. Also I wonder if it will really be a competition. If Jordan is being paid 800,000 or so they might feel compelled to play him. I could see this if Jordan were any good but even when he was playing his best he was just above league average.

  12. Last year they brought in Gary Matthews Jr. Cut him and Wise and Thomas played well. Jordan could turn out to be another Matthews.

  13. According to espn, the deal is $600k with a $100k bonus for making the Opening Day roster and $50k bonuses for reaching certain plate appearance plateaus. So basically, it’s a $700k deal that could go up to $1m if Jordan is our everyday LF. On the bright side, maybe the plate appearance incentives will motivate us to limit him to platoon duty against lefties (yeah, i know i’m stretching to find a silver lining).

  14. Now they have a grouser in left AND right. On the other hand, it would be pretty cool if each could live up to his best capability. Look at it this way: he’ll only last half the season before getting hurt, at which time a youngster (a la 2004’s Charles Thomas) will be called up to take over.

  15. I guess that I should read before I post. braves.com says that the contract is for around a mil. Shoot old ball players never fade away they just continue to make a million dollars for someone to find out that they suck. The article also intimates that while there will be a competition for the position he seems to think that its his and the competition is for 4th outfielder.

    I can’t for the life of me fathom this. I can almost accept Mondesi. He has had some outstanding years and he is only 33. But Jordan? Sorry Mark Grogan, but the size of the contract says to me that this signing will block a couple of deserving rookies. Here is a million bucks that they could have used towards Hudson’s contract. Hey John Schuerholz, you gambled on Drew and won. You got lucky with Estrada and Wright. It will be interesting how much more of that Brave pixie dust you have left in the old vial.

  16. Lucky on estrada and wright? Luck had nothing to do with it. There’s still a game being played, talent is still something you can recognize. In todays market, $1m is nothing. There is no obligation to play him and I don’t think Bobby will if he sucks. What’s the problem? He’s not taking a spot away from deserving youngsters because most of them, frankly, haven’t really convinced management they are ready. There was a lot of hope that enough would be ready because we needed them and had no choice. Now we can actually be smart and get the one or two who are definitely ready and not rush things.

  17. I really hope that Langerhans gets a chance. Maybe signing Jordan is meant to provide a fall back if Mondesi cannot be the player JS hopes that he can be. That said, I think that it could pave the way to make players like Langerhans and McCarthy (or even Kelly Johnson)available for subsequent trades. Jordan may well make a good contribution and so I don’t think signing him is an inherently bad move. Nonetheless, I really wonder if we would have been worse off keeping Marrero and giving Langerhans/McCarthy a chance.

  18. Grst, I agree that Wright and Estrada must have shown something for the Braves to take a chance on them but luck has a lot to do with it. With the exception of Wrights rookie season and Estrada’s AAA season nothing in their history showed they were capable of the level of play they displayed last year. Hopefully especially for Estrada last year wasn’t a statistical outlier also known as a career year.
    As for the 1mil, it is a lot of money for a 38 year old often injured outfielder that wasn’t that good to begin with. I agree that McCarthy and Langerhans haven’t been minor league superstars but then again neither was LaRoche. I guess that for the combined salary of 660000 or whatever the minimum is you could see if 1 or both of those young guys could be league average.
    Steven the point is that Jordan, despite all of the commentary about competing for LF, is automatically the favorite for the position. He blocks either Langerhans or McCarthy or worse both from proving themselves to be tradeable commodities. As for keeping Marrero, his salary is more than the combined base salaries of Mondesi, Jordan ,Langerhans and McCarthy. Thats a lot of money to pay for his career year last year.

  19. $1 million is not a lot of money for a 38 year old often injured outfielder. The demand for outfielders has been very high in this year’s market, and the supply has been low. Someone would have paid $1 million for him, and the Braves needed an outfielder. Who else would the Braves went out and got?

    And come on, we’re having a hissy fit because Langerhans and McCarthy aren’t gonna get their at-bats. The people that were seeing their development every day aren’t convinced their ready. If they were convinced they had major league-quality outfielders, Jordan and Mondesi would not have been signed. If Langerhans and McCarthy are good enough, they would get the opportunity. It’s that simple.

  20. I like this move just fine. Give Bobby some credit, he’ll distribute the at bats appropriately. This isn’t exactly his first rodeo.

    I have no faith that Langerhans or McCarthy will ever become anything (Francouer is another story), so it makes sense to buy an low cost insurance policy. Kinda of an overreaction by Mac here.

  21. This thread restores my confidence in this board. It seemed to be leaning into the fantasyland of the Baseball Think Factory. When I hear names bandied about like McCarthy, guys who have never seen a major league pitch, nor demonstated the ability to hit said pitch, it scares me. Is McCarthy the next Thomas? Maybe, but I’m not even convinced about Thomas. Give Jordan a break, if he’s a bust, we’ve got about a dozen Onil Josephs waiting in the wings.

  22. I’m not sold on Langerhans, but I don’t really like this move either.

    He might add some veteran presence to a woefully (at this point) inadequate bench. I don’t see him as an answer to the question being asked.

    Cue the booing machine, but I thought Burnitz might have been the best choice at a million.

  23. Not that I’m a big Burnitz fan myself, but I’d rather have him than Jordan even if the cost is somewhat higher. In the history of the game, how many players at age 38 come back from two seasons playing in only 1/3 of the games, particularly with the last being as incredibly horrible as Jordan’s 04, to be able to play even 2/3 of the games at a league (not position) average offensive level?

  24. Langerhans is as ready as he’ll ever be, and the Braves have to either put him on the 25-man or let him walk because he’s out of options. I don’t think he’ll be a star, but he’s certain to outhit Jordan against righthanded pitching.

  25. I agree, Langerhans isn’t going to be a star but theres a good chance he’ll be a decent LF. How about Frank Catallanato for a model? I havent’ done a lick of statistical comparison to say that he is a comparable. I just know that Catallanoto is a decent OBP moderate power outfielder that plays good defense and is a left handed hitter. I hope that they give him every chance in the world to be the every day LF.

    The heck of it is that I think that Jordan would have still been available in May had Langerhans not worked out.

  26. News I read said $600,000, so yeah, maybe if he plays regularly all year he makes enough incentives to make a million. 700,000+ seems more likely. My worry is the same as others here, that it takes time away from Langerhans or others, and that he or they would outperform Jordan, especially against righties. But let’s assume BJ really has lost a step and some batspeed; he’s not likely to be an everyday OF, even if say he does tear up Spring Training and start on Opening Day. He’s much better suited as a spot starter, insurance policy, clubhouse leader contributing to the tone of professionalism Bobby tries to bring, and as a bat on the bench against left-handers. I wish we had something better too, and with his diminishing never-great power and OBP, I don’t see how he’d be much better than a replacement player, but a replacement player would cost 300,000, minimum; at least we’re getting some veteran presence who won’t make rookie mistakes on or off the field, one who will want to win every day, all for almost certainly under a million. As long as he isn’t the everyday guy (barring a serious rejuventation on his part of a big flop by the kids), or prevent us from using his contract money on help somewhere else (like the bullpen), its really not that bad a deal. I don’t feel great about it, but not woe is me either.

  27. “Grst, I agree that Wright and Estrada must have shown something for the Braves to take a chance on them but luck has a lot to do with it. With the exception of Wrights rookie season and Estrada’s AAA season nothing in their history showed they were capable of the level of play they displayed last year. Hopefully especially for Estrada last year wasn’t a statistical outlier also known as a career year. ”

    Your thinking in numbers only. Numbers are great, they aren’t the end all be all method for recognizing talent. The Braves still use their eyes, and it serves them well.

    “As for the 1mil, it is a lot of money for a 38 year old often injured outfielder that wasn’t that good to begin with. I agree that McCarthy and Langerhans haven’t been minor league superstars but then again neither was LaRoche. I guess that for the combined salary of 660000 or whatever the minimum is you could see if 1 or both of those young guys could be league average.”

    Nothing here I disagree with really. Except I don’t think it’s accurate to say Jordan wasn’t good to begin with. He was good, just not superstar good. The young guys should definitely be given a shot, but what this deal does is frees them up from having to succeed. Management doesn’t have to depend on them quite as much as they would have before.

  28. “Grst, I agree that Wright and Estrada must have shown something for the Braves to take a chance on them but luck has a lot to do with it. With the exception of Wrights rookie season and Estrada’s AAA season nothing in their history showed they were capable of the level of play they displayed last year. Hopefully especially for Estrada last year wasn’t a statistical outlier also known as a career year. ”

    Your thinking in numbers only. Numbers are great, they aren’t the end all be all method for recognizing talent. The Braves still use their eyes, and it serves them well.

    I recognize that the Braves scouts can and should take into account more than raw numbers. But to suggest that good luck didn’t come (significantly) into play with Wright and Estrada, means that the Braves must have done a very poor job and / or been very unlucky with Rico Brogna, Ken Caminitti, Shane Reynolds, Albie Lopez, Rey Sanchez, … and quite a number of other failures. All were players with a fairly lengthy track record, all had struggled in recent past, and all floped in Atlanta. Maybe a better comparator would perhaps be Travis Smith, a late 20s age player with, like Estrada and Wright, a “former prospect” label, but whom, upon reaching Atlanta, continued to suck.

    The Braves have conclusively proven since 1991 that they have far better than average eye for talent. But their non-front line position player acquisitions have been middling to poor. Yes, a McGriff, Sheffield or Drew can star here, but more often its been a Boone, Sanders, or Surhoff who has been fair at best. Jordan (and Mondesi too) is more of the later rather than the former.

  29. Even at his best, Jordan was no better than league-average against righthanders. He made up for it by pounding lefties and with his defense. At 38, he isn’t going to suddenly learn how to hit normal people (just a little levity there, lefties!) and it’s unlikely his speed survived the knee injuries.

    This isn’t a case of a Mondesi, a guy who had a bad year last year but who had been good the year before and adequate before that. This is a guy coming off of two years in which he missed about 100 games in each, whose production has slipped three seasons in a row, and who turns 38 on the eve of the season.

    I had a friend tell me that Jordan might just rebound one last time and hit 30 homers. I told him that would be a huge surprise because he’s never hit more than 25. He’s only slugged .500 once, and had to hit .316 to do it. More and more, Jordan’s 2001 season, his last with the Braves, looks like a fluke, completely out of line with the player he’s been in his thirties. Mondesi was a good, if overrated, player once. Jordan was an average, but overrated, player once. Now Mondesi might be average, and Jordan… Well, don’t bet on him helping the team.

  30. Whether or not you think Langerhans/McCarthy are ML outfielders (and Mac I totally agree about RL > BJ vs. RHP), are Jordan or Mondesi even replacement level at this point?
    I mean, if you are going to have below average corner outfielders anyway, why pay a couple of million to have the same subpar performance from two guys who used to be overrated and are now even worse?

    This team, much like Braves teams in the past, is going to get destroyed by good RHPs. Luckily we have a few of those ourselves. Hope you like 2-1 games cause you’ll be watching a lot of them.

  31. At 38, he isn’t going to suddenly learn how to hit normal people (just a little levity there, lefties!)

    I take that personally.

  32. The Braves aren’t afraid to take on reclamation projects and that’s what makes them successful. Their track record is better than most, if not all the other teams for getting something out of a washed-up or injury-prone player.

    I’m not convinced Jordan is the answer either, but I think they can get something out of Mondesi if his head is screwed on correctly (but not too tightly). He was an above-average player at his best and had a cannon for an arm when he played for the Dodgers.

    I still don’t think the Braves are done, but they have the makings of a very good team. The only team that will challenge the Braves will be the Mets, and if they don’t then the Braves might pick up a player or two from them by the trading deadline. The Marlins haven’t upgraded their pitching, the Phillies are the Phillies and who knows what will come from the Washington Nationals.

    Speaking of, does their name change if they change leagues?

  33. Speaking of, does their name change if they change leagues?

    Nah, this is just getting it right finally. Through two Senators franchises, they were frequently called the Nats even though they played in the AL. Walter Johnson, Joe Cronin, and Bucky Harris were Nats, not an Als.

  34. Through two Senators franchises, they were frequently called the Nats even though they played in the AL. Walter Johnson, Joe Cronin, and Bucky Harris were Nats, not an Als.

    Also, after the 1973 season it appeared that the San Diego Padres might move to D.C. The issue was still up in the air when Topps released its initial issue of 1974 cards, resulting in the rather cumbersome appellation ‘Washington “Nat’l Lea.”‘ appearing on some of the Padres player cards:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=60503&item=5158348118&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW#ebayphotohosting

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