52 thoughts on “More moves”

  1. The announcers on TV said that Estrada had been cleared to play tomorrow. He apparently wanted to play yesterday.

  2. Boyer’S stats are not overly impressive so I wouldn’t worry too much about him being a slump buster. This seems more for the long term future than anything this season.

  3. I’m surprised that they sent Pena down first rather than McCann. I wonder how long they’re planning on keeping him up?

  4. I imagine that they want McCann up for the next few games at least to give us some flexibility at DH.

  5. Maybe they’re planning to trade Estrada for Preston Wilson. Along with Kelly Johnson, Chuck James and Rafael Furcal, of course.

  6. Since I refuse to give FB the satisfaction of trying to eke out a life, I’ve been thinking a lot about this and wondering if it doesn’t make a lot of sense to give this kid a shot for a bit. Not for the rest of the season, certainly, but maybe they’ll play him for a couple of weeks. Estrada is likely to be up for arbitration this year (he played a lot that one year in Philly when Lieberthal went down, so being a “super two” guy would make a lot of sense). He would probably command a pretty healthy salary and the budget is tight. He could probably eat up most of the Furcal savings all on his own.

  7. I’m no big fan of Estrada – he’s a very poor defensive catcher. I wouldn’t have thought McCann would have been ready by now before this weekend, but maybe, just maybe…

  8. I don’t think Estrada’s that bad. I do think that because of the high average he hit for last year that he’s more valuable as trade bait than in the lineup, and he is going to get expensive soon. At the same time, McCann’s only played in a couple of games so far, and with Pena looking overwhelmed by major league pitching (he isn’t even making good contact) our insurance policy looks pretty poor.

  9. It’s definitely premature e… uh… speculation (yeah, that’s it!), but it’s really hard not to get excited about this kid. And Estrada does have “big arbitration payday” written all over him.

  10. So are the Braves buyers or sellers in this year’s trade deadline sweepstakes?

    Although they held first for while, they never looked that good. They were what they put together, a good pitching team with limited hitting and holes in the pen.

    The Kolb signing was a disaster financially, and the way the offence was put together, everything had to fall into place.

    With Chipper in the lineup, and Andru on a good streak, they looked . . . well ok enough to back up the pitching.

    But with Jones on the DL along with Thompson and Hampton, its hard to make the argument that this team really good enough to compete?

    So, I’m on the side of them being sellers. That said, who do they sell, and what do they look to get back? Hitting obviously . . . but should they try to shore up the pen, or should they wait until the offseason and try to rebuild it with scaps.

    Here’s my list of players I think they could trade without hurting next year’s club and still actually get someone back for.

    1. LaRoche – A good guy, but probably not a long-term solution at first, and it seems like they might need the position for Chipper when he gets back (or Betemit if he keeps hitting).

    2. Reitsma – The sucking sound will be the enormous vacuum at Turner field whenever the starter wears out. Weirdly enough, trading Reitsma really means giving up on the season (who ever thought). But the guy can eat innings effectively and that has value to a contending club.

    3. Smoltz – I can’t imagine he’d accept a trade (5 and 10), and I have a hard time imagining the Braves trading him, but he has real value as a front line starter (i.e. good bring something substantial back), is old, and is expensive.

    4. Estrada – Not really that good, and its hard to see a ton of interest in him, but a young catcher with a good season of hitting has got to bring something back.

    5. Furcal – Gahhh . . . if Furcal could hit, just a little, he’d have value to a stupid club.

    6. Jordan – to the right team he might be worth a bag of old toenail clippings.

  11. I’ve been as gripy as the next guy, but I don’t think this team becomes a seller. There are problems, no doubt. There are problems in the bullpen and in the rotation. But these don’t necessarily require the kinds of deals that mortgage your future. I just have to think there are guys out there that this team could trade and get help. The Braves are not as bad as they’ve looked lately. The offense could still come around pretty much as is. I’m just not anywhere near there yet.

    Besides, I don’t think there’s an awful lot to sell that won’t be around in the offseason when trades for more immediate impact can be made. LaRoche isn’t going anywhere, Estrada isn’t going anywhere, Furcal is gone but not worth much anyway. I’d put Jordan in the same category as Furcal. The big veterans aren’t going to be traded (I strongly disagree about Smoltz, for instance), so I don’t think it makes much sense. Even if we do get to a point somehwere down the road where the season is lost , I still don’t think they become sellers. I just don’t see it fitting.

  12. This team won’t be a seller because they don’t need any prospects. They have a log jam in a lot of positions, evidenced by the number of guys they called up so far. How many teams have two good catcher prospects, let alone one. They might trade to move salaries around or reunite Hudson with his best buddy, who obviously is not liking being all by himself.

  13. One more thing. They won’t trade the best pitcher and most popular player on their staff in Smoltz. You think they can’t fill the stadium now? There would be quiet protests (we suburbanites aren’t much for loud protests, unless someone is trying to build another subdivision within 10 miles of us) all over the north side of town, in addition, all of our kids go to school with those guys’ kids, so we’d stop going to the game and the only thing that wouldn’t stop selling would be the 24 oz. Milwaulkee’s Best (sense a little bit of sarcasm before attacking please).

  14. I’d say the Braves should be willing to listen to any offers, but I wouldn’t expect anything to happen. If the Yankees actually had any prospects, you might be able to trade Andruw, but there’s no point in giving him away. Likewise for any of the other players being mentioned – Estrada and LaRoche certainly shouldn’t be considered untouchable, but what are you going to get for them?

  15. Well, I don’t know about Furcal. He’s the kind of guy they *could* dump to free up salary for another deal. That I could see, I guess. I would think that there are a couple of teams that might take him and his salary for very little in terms of talent. But that would still be something that would just enable the team to be improved overall, not really a dump deal. It’s interesting. Still not the kind of thing I would normally expect the Braves to do. But, like I said before, they’ve been doing a lot of things I wouldn’t have expected in the past.

  16. I don’t want to hear any of this Estrada is not that good, Laroche will never be… Crapola! Johnny will hit .300 before it’s over. How many switch hitting, solid defensive catchers are there? What’s Johnny’s caught stealing %? Over 33%. Laroche is 25 and is a Gold Glove contender in his second year. He also has a good chance for 100 rbi with our crappy leadoff man. I’ll take my chances with these two so-so players. Furcal will not be around next year. Let’s do it now.

  17. Estrada is at 42.1 CS% this season.

    I’d also like to mention the fact that Austin Kearns was sent down to the minors yesterday. So much for having a good season like so many of you were convinced he was going to have. :D

    If you need a refresher, check out my post on Kearns here:

    http://www.bravesbeat.com/bravesjournal/archives/2005/01/has_anyone_hear.html#comments

    Oh yeah, and his OPS the last four seasons are:
    Year OPS
    2002 907 — rookie season.
    2003 819 — pitchers starting to adjust
    2004 740 — injured? or true hitter showing?
    2005 700 — this year = Triple A.

    He has walked 18 times in 170 at-bats this year with FIFTY strikeouts already. That’s once every 3.4 ABs. I suppose strikeouts don’t exactly tell the whole story but they do tell part of it when there’s a sudden jump and a player’s stats start to suffer. Here is a link on espn.com to his stats for those interested:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?statsId=6851

  18. Kearns hasn’t played well, no doubt about it. Maybe we can trade Furcal for him :)

  19. C. Strickland – I have to admit that I’m in the camp that doesn’t really believe in Estrada. But he was a good bit better than I would have ever expected with the bat last year. And his CS% this year is very impressive. He’s a catcher, so that has to temper expectations some since there just aren’t a lot of those around with any kind of bat. He’s been pretty good against righties this year. So maybe it’s time to admit there’s more there than a lot of us saw. I’d be ok with that. But IF McCann is for real and ready (and that’s a HUGE if), Estrada looks like a decent candidate to trade. But not until the offseason.

    I really like LaRoche myself. He has a very nice left-handed swing, and it *looks* like there has to be some more power and a higher BA in there. It’s just that it’s starting to look like a decision between him and Marte. And I just don’t think that’s a very hard decision to make. But, who knows, maybe one of them can play OF. Or maybe Marte will show that he’s not ready yet. Again, though, I think this is an offseason thing.

  20. A link to rumor central on ESPN.com says “Rumor Central: Braves eyeing D-Rays’ Huff?” I can’t read it because I am not an ‘insider’ but I’ve seen Huff mentioned in discussions here too. But why should the Braves want him? We don’t need any more guys who are underperforming right now.
    Huff’s line: .250 .327 .364

  21. It’s also no secret that the Reds really jerked him around. I still beleive he’s a legitimate corner outfielder with great defense.

  22. Andy – the “rumor” on ESPN is, as usualy, pure speculation. The specualtion is basically that because Chuck LaMar used to work for the Braves, they have the upper hand in dealing for him. Huff has not been very good this year, but he has been in the past… especially in the second half. Kyle, I think, has noted that he’s a poor defensive outfieler though. Not that we haven’t had a few of those in the past, but it probably lessens his appeal to the Braves. That and they probably can’t afford his contract without making some other moves.

  23. This is my sadness.
    After watching the pathetic game on Sunday, none of my family will accompany me to the Braves game in Cincinnati next Sunday. And it’s Father’s Day!

    I’m hoping for a trade between three teams where we lose Furcal and Estrada to somebody, who trades them for somebody, who trades us a reliever and a corner outfielder. But I doubt it.

    This is my sadness.

  24. Kevin, I really think you have the makings of a fantastic haiku there. I’m not very creative, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I think the middle needs some work.

    This is my sadness
    My kin won’t go to a game
    Why can’t we win more?

    This is my sadness
    Won’t someone take Rafael?
    He is of no use

    This is my sadness
    The Braves have ruined father’s day
    Please make a trade soon

  25. Dammit! “The Braves have ruined father’s day” is 8 syllables. Oh well. I think there’s something to this.

  26. Thanks creynolds. As for trading Furcal or Estrada, the dilemma I see is that for either of them to bring something useful, they have to start hitting. In which case, can we afford to trade them?

    unrelated question: How are Betemit and Marte pronounced? I’ve been watching with the sound off lately. When the Braves are actually on TV, that is.

  27. The point I guess of my earlier post was that you need to trade something someone would want to get something useful back.

    I tried to list players that might be worth something to other teams, but that wouldn’t kill the Braves next season to lose.

  28. How about this then:

    This is my sadness
    The Braves have ruined Dad’s day
    Please make a trade soon

    Pronounciations, “marTAY” & “BET-eh-mit”, from what I can tell. :)

    I’m looking forward to seeing Sosa start, I’ve been using him in my MVP 2005 dynasty as a starter (I lost Hudson for 50+ games), and he’s been pretty effective.

    I think Atlanta will probably be a buyer at the trade deadline if they are still within 4 games of the top of the division. JS & Cox have a lot of confidence in being able to win the division, and really, they are probably one impact reliever away from being a much better team.

  29. Marte’s last name doesn’t have an ‘e accento’ from what I’ve seen, which would mark the second syllable as stressed. Unless they’ve just not been including this online (and on his jersey), in Spanish, the second-to-last syllable is usually stressed. I have heard the guys on TBS calling him marTAY but I assumed they were wrong :) Maybe I’m incorrect.

  30. I don’t get all this worry. The Braves are still the best team in the division.

    They’re below .500 in one run games, which points to them being a better team than their record.

    They’re right there with FL in Runs Against, and they score a lot more than the Marlins.

    Other than Philly, which has terrible, terrible pitching, they’re right there in Runs Scored.

    That Bill James pythagorean thingy, which is usually a good indicator of future performance, has them underperforming and the teams ahead of them overperforming.

    They’re only 4 1/2 games out. That’s not very much.

    They STILL have a winning record. A lot of people are saying the Yanks will make a run. They’re 6 games out and losing more than they win.

    The Braves will still win the division. They’ve had poor clustering of run scoring, both for and against them. There’s every reason to think that will even out. Barring some really flukey clustering the rest of the way, I don’t see the Braves in much trouble.

    A trade to improve the team would be icing. It isn’t really necessary.

  31. Thanks to those who responded about pronunciations. I’m glad I asked, because I was wrong on both names – I was thinking MART (as in K-Mart) and buh-TEA-mit. I know nothing about Spanish.

  32. I still believe! But I think there may need to be something a little more than icing. The pitching has me worried. Even if we do have the arms in the system to fill out the bullpen (although I’m guessing that Jay Powell isn’t an answer since he only has 7IP so far), the starting pitching has now started to worry me. I never thought Horacio was anywhere near as good as advertised, but he’s not even looking passable anymore. I’m not convinced that Kyle Davies is there quite yet, although you can’t argue with the results so far, and while I like Sosa as a reliever I’m worried about whether or not he has it all together enough to start. Hampton has been to Birmingham, and that’s never good. Hudson hasn’t been Hudson, although you have to figure he’ll snap out of it.

    But what’s out there? Kip Wells (too many BBs), Joe Kennedy (don’t know), Jason Schmidt (is he hurt?), Jason Johnson (ugh!). Who knows. I guess the trade market really hasn’t shaped up yet. But there aren’t a lot of starters out there. And I’m not convinced that the Braves think they need one as much as I’m beginning to anyway. I guess this is just my worry of the week.

  33. Is it just me or am I the only one who constantly thinks that the message poster’s name appears above the message rather than below it. Perhaps it is that line between the message and the poster’s name. Either way, it is something I have not been able to get used to since the new format was introduced. Now honestly, how many of you initially thought that Andy posted this?

  34. To creynolds and John in Austin:
    You’ve made my day!
    Bet on JS getting pitching. Evidence shows he believes that to be the key.
    Has anyone seen the book on Braves scouting that the announcers were touting yesterday?

  35. Is there any reason to believe that Francour could get the call up to replace Johnson? As much as I love a guy who can draw a bb it might be time to give the kid a ticket back down to the minors. Who would be the better fit for the Braves – Huff or Kearns?

  36. Jimmy Rollins agreed to a five-year, $40-million contract extension that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2010 season.

    Rollins Career # 143 SB, .269 avg, .323 OBP
    Furcals Career # 166 SB .278 avg .342 OBP

    Anyone think Rafael Furcal will be a Brave next year?

  37. The bottom line is the Braves are going to sit on their collective ASSES unless they have a chance to DUMP salary.

    Did anyone notice how in the span of a WEEK, 3/5 of our DIVISION all made moves…whether you like the moves or not, the Nats, Mets & Phils all made the EFFORT.

    Now I am sure Mac will attck me for mentioning the Tomo Ohka for Junior Spiney deal (which has surprisingly already helped the Nats) plus their pick up of Ryan Drese off waivers. Then there’s the Mets taking a flyer on Danny Graves; or the Phils trading UNECESSARY Placido Polanco for Ugy Urbina.

    Now Mac of course in all his wisdom says the Polanco deal is terrible. MAYBE The way it looks to me? The Phils didn’t need Polanco because of Chase Utley, David Bell & Jimmy Rollins and USED him to strengthen an already better-the-the-Braves bullpen.

    The Mets maybe didn’t too much but they, not the Braves (both teams have horrendous bullpens) took an inexpensive FLYER on Graves.

    The Nats, they made the most noise with the Ohka deal and have trmporarily solved 2nd Base, not to mention the STEAL of Marlon Byrd (who’s still only 23) from Philly; plus why not take a chance on Drese in the worst HITTERS park in Baseball, RFK Stadium. (Having witnessed several games there now, fly balls only live there to die young).

    here’s the point: the only team not doing a DAMNED thing at the MAJOR LEAGUE LEVEL TO FIX THEIR PROBLEMS IS THE FREAKING BRAVES, MY TEAM. Sure, they have called up 100 guys from Richmond & Mississippi but if they were really trying to win this year and not JUST STAY WITHIN A BUDGET, we’d already have Preston Wilson or Todd Helton or Aubrey Huff or Mike Sweeney, and we’d have been first in line to GRAB Urbina.

    You can all say I am on a crazy rant and Mac will sit and say statiscally, these were bad moves but I don’t see it…I see division rivals leaving us in the dust while we sit on our collective asses emptying out our farm system.

    What’s the point in having such a ridiculously DEEP farm system if we can’t trade some of these guys to be contenders NOW? A couple of power guys in the middle of the order, a couple of relievers…and it’s a DIFFERENT DAMNED TEAM. That’s the point.

  38. The pattern so far this year has been internal moves instead of external moves. With payroll restrictions the Braves are just going to call up players to replace struggling/injured players and make the best out of it. Like someone posted earlier we are kinda forced to bring in a clean slate of players.

  39. Alex –

    The reason that the Polanco/Urbina trade was not so smart in my eyes is that Polanco was NOT unnecessary. David Bell is unnecessary, yet they refused to see that. Given that they were blind to that obvious fact, however, the deal wasn’t so bad. They needed bullpen help, and Urbina could give it to them. He also could’ve helped Atlanta. I’m sure they were in out it. Betemit was suddenly playing second base the night before the deal went down. And hasn’t returned since.

    Byrd was a steal.

    Drese has a history of Steve Blass disease and is quite risky on a two year deal that isn’t insignificant in terms of dollars. He’s had real problems that can’t be blamed on that ballpark.

    Do you really Spivey is better than Giles? I don’t.

    Where would you play Mike Sweeney? He’s been out of the lineup for a week anyway, (and helping to sink my roto team in the process). Plus he’s ridiculously expensive.

    Todd Helton isn’t even having an impressive year in Denver, and he’s ridiculously expensive. Also, he’s not available.

    I’ll lay off the Preston Wilson thing this time.

    dewlake –

    I think that they’re in no hurry to rush Francouer. That’s just my guess, but this is the the new Larry in their eyes: the franchise guy for the next decade or so. He’s got tons of promise, but is still pretty raw. He will be allowed to take all the time he needs to develop.

    The Huff/Kearns debate is probably going to get a lot of feedback. Kearns is a stathead darling from way back (there is not one ounce of insult in there, the only reason I’m not a “stathead” is because I’m not smart enough to be one). But even statheads are prone to emotion since they are, despite reports to the contrary, baseball fans. And it will take a while for a guy with the promise of Kearns to fall out of favor. Personally, I don’t think it’s anywhere near time to give up on him at all, but he’s building a track record of injuries and declining performance that isn’t all that impressive. What I wonder is if his ceiling for the immediate future is truly higher than either Langerhans or Johnson. If not, then what’s the point really? On the flip side, he does hit right-handed and is much better than Jordan. If he could be had for cheap, then it would be pretty stupid to pass up on him. Cincy has sent his value right into the toilet by demoting him, so it wouldn’t seem that hard to get a hold of the guy.

    I like Aubrey Huff. But he’s expensive and Chuck LaMar now thinks he’s Donald Trump after that trade he pulled off with the Mets last year. They would won’t serious prospects like Marte or McCann (hell, maybe both) and probably wouldn’t pay one penny of the contract. Their demands would have to come down to earth and somehow Furcal and his salary would almost certainly have to be sent out somewhere to make up for the money. He’s also a bit risky in my eyes. He’s not having a good year so far. He’s a slow starter, so that makes you think he’ll heat up soon. But it also makes you wonder if he won’t be slow to gear up after the league change. Plus his defense is sub-par in the outfiel. That doesn’t bother me much, but it’s probably a factor.

  40. Alex, you are on a crazy rant. :)

    Seriously, from what I’ve read so far, the old timers say RFK is actually a hitter’s park once the weather warms up. And balls are already flying out of it this week. Drese’s sinker isn’t sinking right now, he has always had a weak K/BB ratio, and he’s likely to get hammered.

    And Polanco for Urbina was a bad trade because (a) Polanco was a valuable chip and (b) they need help in the rotation, not the bullpen. They could have done a lot better to get a starter, even a #3 or #4 guy. Graves wanted a lot of money for next year, more than the Braves would be interested in unless they knew for certain his arm could bounce back. As a Braves fan, we should be happy he’s a Met.

  41. We should all be thrilled that the Phillies are getting worse by dropping Polanco and Marlon Byrd. UUU looks great because of his sterling ERA this year, but history has proven time and again how difficult a task is finding a good middle reliever. Guys who do well one year fail the next, over and over again. Look at Tim Worrell on the Phillies as an example.

  42. CR, I consider myself a stat guy and I’m down on Kearns – he’s just too fragile and has been on a downward spiral for two or three years now. He’d have to have one injury-free season before I’d be interested in him again.

  43. Back to the Marte pronunciation thing for second:

    I hate to admit this, but I was watching BBTN (in my defense, everyone else is talking about Michael Jacson AND the Braves game is about to be on). The host was clearly pronouncing it “MAR tay”. I won’t give ESPN credit for much, but they’re pretty conscientious about these things. So I’d say that Kyle is right (although I already suspsected that), and the usually reliable Pete Van Wieren is wrong.

  44. Don’t know – that is how Damaso Marte of the ChiSox pronounces his name (the ESPN way). That doesn’t mean Andy pronounces his that way, and I was trusting Pete to have asked him. Perhaps that’s misplaced. :)

  45. My opinion is that Furcal should sit and let Betemit play short and Marte play third. When Chipper comes back you have decision to make if Marte is playing well. As far as Franceour goes, I would rather see him playing right field than 200 year old, .230 hitter Brian Jordan. But if the Braves brass wants to leave Franceour in MS then sit Jordan and let Kelly Johnson and Ryan Langerhans play the corner outfield spots. I agree the bullpen is terrible and of late the starting pitching has been crappy as well (Hudson last night).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.