Just stop it already

Baseball Prospectus | Articles | Getting the Call

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve caught BP doing this…

Marte will be up soon and playing left field, a scenario that will help the club offensively, but would be a severe misallocation of resources. Chipper’s lead glove should be moved back to the outfield so Marte’s reign at third base can begin posthaste.

Yes, and then Chipper’s hamstrings will pop again, and they’ll be back to using Brian Jordan or somebody in left field, only their best hitter will have been replaced in the lineup by a 21-year-old rookie! Look, I like Marte more than anyone, but losing Chipper to the DL isn’t going to help the team.

22 thoughts on “Just stop it already”

  1. CHipper to first, Marte to third, LaRoach and Grybowski to the Tigers for Young and a lefty

  2. Not so much worried about Chipper’s hamstrings as his psyche. He is happy at 3rd and decidedly unhappy in left. I agree with BP that Marte has more value as a 3B. Miguel Cabrera has more value to the fish at 3b too. Before everyone says anything I realize that Lowell is a better defender than Cabrera but I was just making the point that a hitting 3b is more valuable than a hitting LF not named Barry. If the Braves do the right thing then sometime in May Marte will be playing Left. As I have said before its easier to get one guy to switch positions than 3 guys.
    I am going to guess that Jordan and Mondesi have until the end of May to establish a productive performance level. If not then the Braves have to crap or get off the pot. As potentially productive as the infield is offensively I don’t think that the Braves can compete if both corner outfielders are hitting below replacement level.

  3. Yes, and Arod should be playing SS instead of Jeter, but sometimes you have to take into consideration team “politics” and where the players are most comfortable. Chipper is going to be below average defensively at either position, so you might as well leave him where he is happiest and most productive (and healthy).

  4. Balderdash on team politics and psychology. Mac’s right. Chipper kept hurting his legs playing the outfield. That’s why he was so crappy early last season. That he put up an MVP-caliber second half upon moving back to third was no coincidence.

    And Chipper’s not really that bad at third base. He may not have had the hands of Castilla, but he’s certainly got more range.

    Other than the 2001 stretch run and postseason, Chipper’s never been a defensive liability at third. In both fielding percentage and range factor, he’s always been slightly, but not appreciably below average (I realize those two metrics are not exactly the Newton’s Laws of Physics of baseball stats, but they’re all we’ve got). By the same measures, Chipper has actually been very good since moving back there last year.

    I think Marte will be tolerable in left. He certainly couldn’t be any worse than Chipper or Klesko.

  5. And Chipper’s not really that bad at third base. He may not have had the hands of Castilla, but he’s certainly got more range.

    While I heartily agree with everything else you said, I have to counter this subjective judgement with one of my own. My eyes showed me that Castilla got to many more balls hit to his left than Chipper has ever gotten to. My mind’s eye easily recalls Vinny cutting off balls in the hole and making the play at first. I can’t seem to conjure a similar image of Chipper.


    How many times do I have to say that?

    You couldn’t get fair value for Marte unless you were willing to take on a big contract. And nobody’s going to trade an all-star outfielder in April.

  7. Sansho, I suppose we can argue Chipper’s range vs Castilla’s until we both pass out, but Chipper’s “problem” at third has never been his range. It’s clanks off the glove or bad throws. That’s what made Schuerholz/Cox think they had to sign Castilla and move Chipper.

    I’m perfectly content to live with Chipper’s defense at third if he keeps hitting like he has since last June. It’s not like he’s Butch Hobson or anything.

    Nate, as far as trading Chipper, as Mac said, it’s not going to happen. Even if Chipper wanted to go, there are only a handful of teams that could afford him at $16-million plus. Think the Yankees would deal Hideki Matsui or the Red Sox would come off Manny Ramirez? Not freakin’ likely.

    As far as trading Marte, if the Braves trade their best prospect since Andruw Jones for anybody (unless they could get Albert Pujols, which they woudn’t), I’ll walk to Atlanta and slap John Schuerholz in the face.

  8. Chipper should never have been moved to the outfield in the first place. We moved Chipper so we could make room for Vinny Castilla in the lineup? Chipper’s defense was never THAT bad. It just wasn’t!

    Why we didn’t go after a great LF bat instead of getting Vinny Castilla is beyond me.

    Chipper is at third. Leave him there. He is THE Braves hitter in our lineup. Everything revolves around him, now that Sheff is gone. Left, right and first are the only negotiable spots in the lineup…third ain’t one of them. I thought Chipper wouldn’t be so bad in left, but turns out he was pretty bad and the experience turned him into an injury risk. It would be foolish to try and force it again.

  9. Since when would the Red Sox not part with Manny Ramirez? Didn’t they place him on waivers before that last season with no takers? Yes, I know a lot has happened since then, especially with his popularity, but I think they would do a Chipper for Manny trade.

  10. Then there is the ‘Braves wouldn’t trade Chipper Jones for Manny Ramirez thing’.
    Good teams don’t trade their best hitter away to make room for a rookie. Period.

  11. http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/008307.php

    David Pinto’s PMR, which is better than any metric that Prospectus has ever used to evaluate defense (I think they just use some modified range factor), has Chipper rated as better than average for 2004. He rated better than both A-Rod and Castilla.

    The thing about Prospectus is that they should know better. Our understanding of defensive metrics is weak, and nobody should put much stock in any of these numbers (including PMR). The fact that BPro engages in this bizarre anti-Chipper group-think goes against everything they are supposed to stand for.

  12. What cinched it for me was when I found out that BP’s metrics showed Castilla as below-average defensively in his two years with the Braves when he’s always above average everywhere else he goes. That screams “context illusion”. And yes, they should know better.

  13. Chipper’s defense is good enough, and I stupid reason to move him, I agree with Mac. And in some regards, his defense is pretty good, he handles those slow rollers with the best of them in my book.

  14. I wish they would make Marte a firstbaseman. We haven’t had a real slugger at first since Galarraga’s comeback year. The best case scenario for LaRoche is slightly above average, and his inability to hit a good fastball makes me skeptical he will ever get there.

    So trade LaRoche to someone for an outfielder or bullpen help, move Marte to first and let’s score some runs.

  15. I like LaRoche; give him a chance. No way the Red Sox trade Manny for Chipper (even aside from the 10 and 5). I like Chipper, but Manny is a much better hitter and, while he is a pretty bad outfielder, he wasn’t bad enought to keep the Sox from winning the World Series. There is just no reason for the Red Sox to break up the team. First, they have a pretty good third basemen in Mueller, so why trade for Chipper to put him in left field? (not that he would go anyway.)

    Martie will come up when it’s time. It probably makes sense to break him in in the middle of the season rather than forcing him into the lineup and putting a lot of pressure on him. It’s two weeks into the season and it’s not like the Braves are 2-8. Patience is generally a virtue in baseball.

  16. I think Chipper will be at first base within the next couple of years, seems inevitable.

  17. Don’t know if this has been reported elsewhere, but Bravescenter is reporting that John Foster has been brough up and Tom Martin has been released.

  18. Rob, the Red Sox put Manny on waivers as a wake-up call, but mostly to get rid of his salary if they could. Bringing in Chipper’s $16-million salary wouldn’t help them in that regard.

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