Cincinnati 8 Atlanta 5

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Braves at Reds

What do Bobby and Leo see in Horacio Ramirez? Sure, he’s had some good games, but then he also has stinkers like this. I guess they concentrate on the good and block out the bad, and that’s a healthy attitude, but the whole isn’t very good.

Ramirez stunk up the joint tonight, big time. How does five innings, six hits, a homer, four walks, one strikeout, eight runs (all earned) and 44 balls/43 strikes sound to you? Okay, it’s a small park, but the homer would have been out almost anywhere, and it’s not like throwing more balls than strikes has ever worked anywhere. A couple of the runs were inherited by Jim Brower, who came in after Ramirez had loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, then allowed a two-run double without getting an out in the sixth. After that, the bullpen (Foster and Kolb) was pretty good.

Francoeur had a three-hit night, but grounded out to end the game on a 3-2 pitch with Andruw representing the tying run on deck. Yes, with Chipper out Francoeur hit third. He also threw out two runners on the basepaths, including one at the plate. Andruw was 1-2 with an RBI and was hit by pitches twice. If I’m right, that means he’s about to get locked in. The first six hitters in the lineup all had at least one hit and all reached base at least twice, but the only hit from the bottom third of the order was a pinch-hit single by Kelly Johnson.

Marlins and Natspos winning, Phillies and Mets tied (not with each other). Davies versus Aaron Harang tomorrow on TBS. Harang is the Reds’ only good pitcher.

98 thoughts on “Cincinnati 8 Atlanta 5”

  1. Horacio has yet to give up an unearned run all year, so it’s not like the other eight guys on the field aren’t backing him up.

  2. My equation for HoHo:

    (Bad Control + Propensity for Gopher Balls) x Overly Long Leash = Big Deficit

    I don’t care what the 9-7 record says. Wins and losses are too much dependent on other factors. This guy’s ERA is over 5.00 and the number of home runs he gives up is harmful to the team. You can’t defend against home runs. And when you couple that with the fact that he has more walks than strikeouts and thus people are on base before he gives up the bomb, you can see why something has to give. I don’t buy the 5th starter argument. How is it a good thing that he’s decent relative to other crappy starters?

    We should have traded him, in my opinion. Everyone knows I’m the quickest one here to the “Dump him” trigger but I really think he should have gone some place for an outfielder. Of course, I haven’t given us 13 division titles, and it’s easy to second-guess in hindsight, but I wish we’d just gone ahead and done it. Colon was pretty darned good as a starter.

    Does HoHo give anyone else Travis Smith flashbacks?

  3. Marte has hit a homerun the last 2 nights. Nowhere to put him but I have finally come around to the idea of(during off-season) trading LaRoche
    and putting him or Jones at 1b. Salty still tearing up league. Could they be keeping him at Myrtle Beach to keep him off 40 man roster?

  4. Francoeur batting 3rd isn’t astounding. Cox had Kelly Johnson slotted there shortly after he came up.

  5. Thanks Mac, I just read after 3 pro seasons you are elgible for the Rule 5 draft if not on 40 man roster. Jarrod Saltalamacchia played in 03. Would that first year of rookie ball count making him elgible for rule 5 this year?

  6. I don’t think that’s the rule, exactly. I believe it’s three years if you’re drafted from college, longer for players out of high school or JUCO. But I’m not sure about that.

  7. I used to hear the term “six-year minor leaguer” applied to Rule 5 guys — maybe that’s the number for high school players. I really don’t know, but I’m sure the Braves do.

    By the way, the other day on 96Rock Stu Klitenic attempted to pronounce “Saltalamacchia” for the first time. He came out with “salta…mockee”. Lemke corrected him twice, and he still couldn’t get it. Moron.

  8. “Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons. ” BA

    Chuck James yes Salty No

  9. It may be four years. The top guys from the 2001 draft (McBride, Davies, Lerew) were already on the 40-man entering this season. Some of the top guys from 2002 — including Francoeur and McCann — weren’t.

    Oh, heck, I’ll Google… Okay, here:

    Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.

    Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.

  10. I would like someone to talk about the other real culprit for tonight’s loss:

    JOHNNY ESTRADA

    Yes, Horacio is dog shit. I 100% agree with Mac. Nuff said…I would rather have 5 quality righties then 4 righties and one piece of shit lefty. Horacio has to go.

    But, we had a real comeback chance in the 8th with one on and no one out the momentum, after scoring three in the 7th, and Estrada comes up and he has become the REAL rally killer and hits into a weak Double Play. ASSHOLE.

    I wish he had STAYED SUSPENDED and that Brian McCann was the everyday catcher already. Enough of little Johnny Estrada.

  11. Coming into this game Horacio was doing a good job of being a league average inning eater which has value (ERA before tonight 4.36, league average 4.33). Of course after tonight debacle, he’s has some work to do to get back to league average. It does not appear he’ll ever be more than that however, so we should look to move him whenever we can make a clear upgrade. At this time it’s not clear we have anybody that would be an upgrade.

    His ability to work deep into games this season has been a welcome break for a bullpen that is routinely getting involved early during the Sosa and Davies games. So let’s not pretend he’s been a disaster out there because that’s not the case.

  12. Honestly, it’s hard to see anything salvagable in Ramirez. He gives up a LOT of home runs, and he hardly strikes anyone out. He’s among the bottom of the league in both homerun and strikeout rate, and his walk rate is below average. It sickens me that he has the second highest number of innings logged of any Braves pitcher this year. By any measure besides W-L, he’s just bad.

    It’s important to have a lefty in the rotation, but a guy with an 2.26 ERA in AA could probably do better at this point.

    As for Estrada, it’s easy to forget when he’s at the plate that he’s a catcher. For a catcher, he’s still a pretty good hitter. We’ve been a bit spoiled by his prior performance and McCann’s hot streak. Even if McCann becomes the “everyday” catcher, which I support, it’s still best for him to only work 3/5 or 4/5, and Estrada might still have gotten the start on a day like today.

    With the prospects in the system, though, there has to be serious consideration given to trading Estrada in the offseason. Especially with him being eligible for arbitration this year.

  13. Both Ramirez and Estrada should be traded in the offseason. I might even get rid of Ramirez before that, because if he’s out on the mound during a playoff game, the team is in big trouble. But I think we could get something of value for him, given that there STILL seems to be a perception, even among some of our own fans, that he’s good. Perceived value > actual value. Therefore it might be silly to risk sticking him on waivers, because it’s not like he’s any real sort of salary dump. But I don’t buy the lefty or the 5th starter argument. The walks and home runs make me sick. To have a K/BB ratio less than 1 at this point in the season is repulsive and I’d rather we just stash him in some dark corner of the bullpen for long relief for the rest of the year, then trade him in the offseason.

    As for Estrada, we have enough viable backups at the position that we can well afford to lose him. I’m beginning to think last year was a fluke, and while I’m very grateful for what he did then, it’s now 2005. His failure to hit is actually less bothersome to me than his failure to BLOCK HOME PLATE EVER. I know he had that collision, but if he’s so gun-shy, he shouldn’t be out there. Several teams have very bad catchers, they’d probably take him. But I wouldn’t trade him until the off-season.

  14. The most frustrating thing about Estrada is how unbelievably slow he is. Lopez made a great play, but I think any other human being with functioning legs would have beat it out at first. I’m telling you… there is a 9-3 putout in his future. Overall, he’s hit pretty good for a catcher. I didn’t see the putout at the plate because I was kinda out of it last night. How did that look for him? Did he have to block the plate or anything? It seems like a good sign, but I know those things don’t always involved really putting your body on the line.

  15. As bad as HR looked last night, we really aren’t in a position to trade any starters. He has pitched well in the past and a few times this season. This winter we are going to loose Thompson, so who else are we going to put in the rotation? Sosa is gone and I am not sure anyone else is ready to be in the rotation. Davies needs to be the #5 guys next season and while Sosa has been our second most consistant pitcher this year, I think he is more suited for the bull pen right now until he can better grasp his control. I think Sosa might be our closer in the future. Farnsworth is basically a non racist John Rocker and will eventually wear out his welcome.

  16. creynolds, Francoeur’s throw had the guy beat by about six feet. It bounced just far enough in front of the plate the Softy Estrada could go get it and make an easy swipe tag. For the catcher we have, it was about as close to a perfect thrown as could be made. Francoeur may need to come out of the bull pen too!

  17. I think Estrada’s back hurts him when he hits left handed and I think McCann is going to start against right handers and Estrada vs. south paws. Just a thought.

  18. Now that we have McCann, I strongly believe we can trade Estrada after this season before everybody knows his shortcoming. A lot of team in the major will want a cheap catcher (I think Estrada will make between $1-2 million), like the Padres, Giants, Astros, Mariners, etc. I would prefer to free up more money to keep Furcal.

  19. WE lose Thompson, Kolb (yay!),and I am sure we will move someone else. Maybe we can use this money to sign Furcal and Farnsowrth. I think Furcal is comming back for sure. I wouldn’t be shocked to see us move Giles and let WB play second. But if we didn’t trade Giles beofre, we may not now either. He is going to get expensive sooner or later though.

  20. Smitty, I think we will let Furcal go before we consider trading Marcus. This is just my gut feeling on the Braves’ attitude toward Giles and Furcal. Why are we losing Thomson? Even if he doesn’t get enough inning this season, his $5M salary next year is still very cheap.

    Besides, if we trade Thomson, it means we are keeping Ramirez for sure, and I don’t want the Braves to keep Ramirez beyond this season.

  21. I thought Thompson was a free agent, sorry. I say we give Furcal what he is making now plus and add what Kolb is making to his salery. Plus, we add in his contract that every stolen base and every walk count as an hour of community service!

  22. I believe that the only salaries that go next year are Furcal, Kolb and Perez. If that’s true and we give Furcal all of Kolb’s money to stay, that only leaves Eddie’s $2 million to get a backup catcher, give Giles a raise and put together a bullpen of some sort (which we usually do on the cheap, but is likely to include something for Farnsworth now). I don’t see it adding up, but then again this front office has become masters of the budget. Unfortunately, though, that does mean hard choices sometimes.

  23. didnt Chipper want to redo his contract earlier this year. I thought I rememeber him stating “I’ve made my money and lets get some ball players in here” does anyone remember this…

  24. I think I thought he offered to restructure in order to get Smoltz re-signed. But Smoltz was flexible enough that it wasn’t necessary. I’m not sure if he said anything beyond that, but it sure wouldn’t surprise me. It seems like he would do it, but I don’t think the Braves like deferred money very much (and I don’t either).

  25. The union has to approve any contract restructuring, and they basically will nix anything that represents a real decline in overall value of the contract. You can give up option years, and manipulate scheduling of payments, but you can’t really take a pay cut. It’s nice of him to say “I’ve made my money”, but it’s empty because it could never happen.

  26. Further confounding the catcher issue is the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia in Myrtle Beach, who is absolutely crushing the ball. He’s hitting .326/.395/.543 in perhaps the toughest pitcher’s park in professional baseball – his numbers there dwarf those that Marte, McCann, or Francoeur put up (who have all played there either last year or the year before). I have no idea what we’re going to do with both him and McCann in a few years, let alone Estrada. So I will go ahead and echo the calls to trade Johnny in the offseason. His only positive attribute as a catcher is his offense, and we sure aren’t hard-up for offensive catchers :)

    Frankly, Johnny’s “offense” has been, well, offensive this year. He and McCann have the same number of home runs at the major league level, despite Estrada having over 230 more plate appearances than Brian. The one thing he’s good at, hitting for average, he’s not doing. Cox refuses to hit him 8th where he belongs, so his presence further inhibits our ability to score runs.

    Who knows, maybe someone will think him worthy of a middle reliever or something. Otherwise, he gets non-tendered.

  27. You can’t hit him eighth because he simply cannot be bunted over. Sometimes I’m surprised he manages to make it to second on hard hit balls to the OF. Maybe he’ll be thrown out 8-6 someday too :)

  28. For anyone questioning who should be our starting catcher…

    The Braves have gone 13-3 in the 16 games started by rookie catcher Brian McCann

  29. I think we’ll keep Giles long term over Furcal. I think it would be nice if we could figure out a way to keep Furcal for a couple more seasons, but he is going to want a 5 or 6 year deal and someone will give it to him.
    I believe we’ll end up dropping Estrada, Furcal, and Kolb from the budget. The money we save with them will probably bring back Farnsworth, handle a raise for Giles, and patch up the bullpen. With the tight budget around here we’ll probably see Betemit or a veteran who can hold down ss for a couple seasons.
    As for the rotation and what to do with HoRam, I think he is gone in some kind of trade this offseason. If we keep Thomson, then Davies is the 5th guy. If we let Thomson go it will be so that we can put someone like Chuck James in the rotation.

  30. I’d rather see Davis in the 5th spot when Thomson and Hampton comback, but that isn’t going to happen. The fact of the matter is that Sosa will probably move to the bullpen as soon as possible because he is more valuable in that position.

  31. Yeah but he’s also Smoltz’s personal catcher. Change that to “we’re 13-3 when Smoltz pitches” and it sounds a lot less impressive.

  32. Actually, McCann’s losses came at the hands of Davies (twice) and HoRam (once). In games that Smoltz started, he’s 9-0 with a couple of Smoltz NDs in there. With Hudson, 2-0, with an ND or two in there as well. And with Sosa, also 2-0.

    Interesting of note: any game that he has come in to pinch-hit or replace Estrada has been a game that the Braves ended up losing except for the 3-2 win over Arizona on July 23rd. While it may be nice to come up with the 13-3 stat, you can also come up with something negative as well, unfortunately.

  33. For all those LaRoche downers (which I am not one) when CHipper moves to first and Marte to third I could see trading LaRoche and HR for a good pen guy and then using the money to lock up Furcal with tha money and the Kolb stuff. Or we could make the trade throw in WB and get a good left fielder

  34. Furcal’s good, but he’ll likely be too expensive for what he brings to the team. The difference between him and Betemit isn’t worth the kind of contract Rollins just got, and Furcal will probably demand more.

    There is no way Furcal is with this club next year. There’s no way to manage it.

  35. Who’s going to man SS next year then? Although he filled in admirably for Chipper at 3rd, I certainly don’t trust Betemit at SS, offensively or defensively. For Rollins money, I say resign Furcal. We should be able to afford him with his current salary plus Kolb’s (as has been mentioned a few times already>)

  36. It’s not that simple. That money has to go a lot of places. Thomson, for one, is too valuable to let go. 4.75 M for Thomson next year is dirt cheap considering the numbers he puts up.

    A lot depends on what the Braves do with Hampton. Although his salary isn’t that different, the Braves go from paying only 1.5 M of it to paying 11.5 M of it. That TEN MILLION has to come from somewhere, unless he’s traded to a team that will pay the whole thing.

    Kolb’s salary could be 3.5 M of the ten. That doesn’t even come close to covering it. Bye-bye Furcal.

  37. Braves should use Kolb’s money to resign Farnsworth. I believe KOlb is at 3.4 mil and Farns is 1.9 mil, but will require more next year.

    Maybe Furcal wont ask for something outrageous…

  38. The Hampton money is a non-issue. The way the Braves claim they have been budgeting it Hampton has affected the payroll the same amount (around 8 mil i think) every year.

  39. These guys are way too smart not to have set money aside for Hampton’s huge increase. I’m expecting that to be a non-issue… although I know that, again, is more optimism than analysis. It would still kick ass to trade him and get some of the money back. But does he have a no-trade inherited from his Colorado deal?

  40. Giles and Reitsma are arbitration eligible and will get new deals.

    Farnsworth and Furcal are free-agents.

    Thomson and Smoltz have raises.

    Even if Hampton was “budgeted”, there’s a lot of places to put the Kolb money. I’m not sure Furcal’s a priority with a viable major-league alternative on the roster.

  41. Jimmy Rollins got the deal he did because the Phillies have nobody to take his place if he leaves. Furcal’s agent can use that deal as a barometer. It’s probably what a team with no reasonable shortstop option (e.g. the Cubs) will pay to have him around.

    With that kind of money out there, why would he re-up with the Braves?

  42. TimeWarner (AOL) just posted a Q2 loss – Don’t count on the same payroll in 2006. It’s likely to decrease further… About Furcal. It’s not only the question who is replacing him at SS. If he’s gone – who will hit leadoff? Johnson, Betemit… I don’t think so. Furcal needs to be resigned.

  43. Wow…I didn’t realize we have to pay $10 Million more next year for Hampton. And I doubt anyone would be that stupid to take him from us…we ought to place him on waivers to see if anyone claims him.

  44. Nobody would claim him, but if the Braves exposure is truly only about $8mil/yr now he just might be tradeable if he’s healthy. But he does have health issues… minor things just keep adding up with this guy. It seems unlikely, but not altogether impossible.

    I wonder how much the AOL thing really impacts the Braves budget. It’s possible that there could be a budget cut, but it’s almost impossible to get in much of one because something like 80%(guessing) of the expected payroll is committed to guaranteed contracts. You can cut something to the point where you no longer have a viable business entity, and the Braves would be very close to that. The only truly tradeable contract, if you value getting anything in return and unloading all of the dollars (and if you don’t, then you are significantly devaluing your business), are Andruw’s and Hudson’s. So I suppose that is within the realm of possibility.

    These people don’t much care about baseball, but they do care about business. Baseball is an equity investment these days, and you don’t just go tearing those down, especially if you have ideas of selling them off in the future. Some teams make money by paying out next to nothing, and that would be a possibility for this team if it weren’t for the significant broadcast revenues – which factor heavily in the team’s value – and the fact that so much of the payroll is committed (you can’t lay off a ballplayer).

  45. World’s Finest Chocolat bars.

    (Do High School kids still sell those? Am I showing my age?)

  46. Well, if the profit per bar is still something like $.25 (hey, I just noticed there’s no “cents” symbol on the keyboard), then it shouldn’t take very many at all.

  47. I wish we’d lock up Marcus for a few years in the offseason. He hasn’t been quite as good offensively since 2003, and that shoulder injury seemed to take a lot of his power, but he’s a good hitter, he’s pretty fast, he’s actually very good defensively, and he brings a lot to the team in terms of intangibles, not to mention that he’s a huge fan favorite. I’d hate to see him go anywhere, but if we’re not careful he might well wind up in San Diego. He’s the best thing we’ve had at 2B for awhile now, and I think it would be smart to lock him up for a bit when we can still keep costs lower, because if he has more years like he had in 2003, his price is going to shoot through the roof.

    And I hope we at least try to resign Furcal. Maybe it’s just because I like him, but his first-half slump appears to be well over, his defense has been unbelievable, and boy can he run! If he demands too much that’s okay, but I want us to try. Don’t just let him walk like JD Drew.

  48. Jenny, you damn with faint praise. Marcus is the best second baseman in Atlanta history, and it’s not close. (The only other candidates are Lemke, Hubbard, and Millan, none of whom were very good.) Actually, he’s probably the best second baseman the franchise has ever had, except for guys who were only around for a year or two.

  49. What the hell do you expect them to do with a leage average pitcher during a season in which we had 3 starters down? It’s not like they have much choice here. He’s an acceptable #5, especially with the situation we are in, quit making a big deal about it.

  50. I guess you include this guy as someone who was only around for a year or two, but he has to qualify as the best 2b ever to play for the organization. He had a 200 OPS+ in his one season with us. Too bad the idiots traded him for a sack of doorknobs and $200 grand.

  51. Marcus career stat update, because I’m bored… This season he’s moved into the franchise (not Atlanta, but all-time) top fifty in homers, doubles, strikeouts (he just passed Andres Thomas!), sacrifice flies. If he qualified (BR uses a 2000 PA minimum he reached just this week) his career BA would rank 17th or 18th, his career OBP 15th-17th, his career SLG 17th or 18th — right next to Ron Gant. These percentages are all easily the best for any qualifying Braves second baseman.

  52. We don’t know that Detroit would’ve taken Horacio instead of Colon. Ramirez is frustrating as all hell, and I hope they never tie up any money in him, but he’s ok for this team at this time. It’s tough to give up even a semi-veteran guy in the middle of a pennant race. I’m not convinced that Colon had any less of a homer issue than Horacio does. That was still him in the bullpen earlier in the year, so he certainly has it in him. He’s probably got a higher ceiling (although he is now 26), but even if there was a choice between the two, I can’t see much fault in the one that was made.

  53. Actually, Mac, I wanted to say that, but since I’m not old enough to remember the rest of the franchise (I remember maybe a year or two of Lemke), I assumed somebody would jump on me with someone better.

    Just being cautious!

  54. Yeah, I mentioned Hornsby (and Schoendienst) in my player report for Marcus this year. At the time, I said that Marcus needed three more seasons to pass Millan and Hubbard, but I’ve changed my mind. He’s just a far superior player. A few years of genuine All-Star-level performance is a lot more valuable than a lot of years of average performance. Bobby Lowe still has a case as the best 2B in Braves history, but that was a long time ago.

  55. If I’m Detroit, there is no chance I take Ramirez over Colon. I’m trading for a prospect, and Ramirez, if anything, looks like his skills are declining instead of improving. Colon has nothing but upside.

  56. HR is left handed and can get it over the plate somewhat. If we want to move him we can.

  57. That’s right, being the best shortstop or second baseman in Atlanta history isn’t saying much

  58. Anybody know any specifics on Thomson’s start last night? I know he only lasted 3.2 innings, but I haven’t see any report on whether that was because of injury issues or just performance/pitch count.

  59. doh! I realized I hadn’t checked everywhere yet. It’s in the current “notes” on the mlb.com site. Apparently, he felt fine, just threw too many picthes.

  60. That Furcal is better than Blauser is not clear. I know Blauser isn’t especially popular, but he hit .268/.355/.415 as a Brave. Furcal has hit .282/.345/.405. Blauser hit just about twice as many homers, 109 to 54 (to date). Slight advantage, Blauser. Furcal probably gets the nod for defense, certainly for baserunning. I would probably go with Blauser because he had about 500 more PA and if Furcal walks after this season will end up with 300 or so more. On the other hand, Furcal has probably played more actual shortstop; Blauser is listed with about 970 games there for the Braves but many were part-games. Could go either way. If Furcal returns he’s clearly the leader.

  61. Everyone keeps stating that Colon is better than Ramirez, but his numbers aren’t that good either. Colon gave up 10 HR’s in only 44 innings and Ramirez has given up 21 in 137 innings. As a starter or reliever he is going to give up a lot of HR’s just like Ramirez.

    I would have traded either one of these guys for Farnsworth. Who knows maybe Farnsworth will throw at Guillen next time they come to town. Wouldnt it be great to see Guillen charge the mound and then get body slammed by Farnsworth!!!

  62. Farnsworth will do something nuts by the end of September. I wonder if he wil try to fight Julio? I’ll take Julio in the 2nd round.

  63. Mac,…Blauser? Acouple good hitting years but Furcal takes away hits that Blauser would never get to or wouldn’t be able to throw out. He also is arguably the best lead off hitter that the braves have had. Grissom was very good but didn’t play long.

  64. Here’s another reason Marcus looks so good: he directly succeeded Keith Lockhart and Quilvio Veras. After those two, who wouldn’t look good? Not taking ANYTHING away from Marcus, of course, but it just elevates him further.

    And I’m sorry, Mac, but I just can’t see Jeff Blauser as the better shortstop. Home runs mean nothing to me, because in Furcal’s role, which he has filled admirably since he came, he’s not expected to have many anyway. His defense, especially taking this year into account, is far superior, he brings more to the team on the bases, and he’s half of the best DP combination we’ve had in awhile (plus I like him way better than Blauser ;-)

    But the pickings are admittedly slim.

  65. With the srrival of Francoeur, Johnson, and Langerhans this year who are the best outfield prospects in the minors?

  66. “A few years of genuine All-Star-level performance is a lot more valuable than a lot of years of average performance. ”

    Maybe, but let’s wait until Giles reaches that level before we annoint him. So far Giles has one year of near-MVP performance (.309, Eqa, 2003), a partial year of solidly above average (.287 Eqa, 2004) and two partial years of below average performace (.258, 2001; .249, 2002). This year he is back at the above-average level (.291 Eqa.). I think he is somewhat overrated by the sabermetric crowd, based on his 2003. Preseason, I saw several people mention him as a potential MVP of the league. Glenn Hubbard couldn’t hit like Giles, but played great defense. I’d rate him as the all-time Atlanta 2B until Giles can manage at least 3 full seasons.

  67. I don’t really keep up with most of the minors during the season. Matt Esquivel, maybe. Some of the shortstops in the low minors will probably wind up in the outfield like Johnson.

  68. Andy, I think you’re way off. Those two years of below-average performance — the first of which was probably above-average for a second baseman — all told work out to less than a full season’s worth of work because the Braves kept jerking him around to get Lockhart in the lineup. His numbers, outside 2003, wouldn’t be great for an outfielder, but for a second baseman they’re more than solid. Hubbard played ten years for the Braves, at a time when Fulton County was the best hitter’s park in the National League, and never put up an OPS+ of 100 or more. Marcus’s OPS+ was 140 in 2003 and 112 last year, and would probably be around 120 this year. Nothing against Hubbard, but the offensive difference is huge, and Marcus is a pretty good defensive player in his own right, if not at Hubbard’s level.

    I’m not a big Blauser fan either, though I’m not as dogmatic about it as say, Alex, who thinks he was a Lockhart prototype. But the fact is that in a longer career than Furcal’s, he put up similar but slightly better OBP and SLG, and his best years (92-93, 97) were far superior to Furcal’s, and he played in a slightly-lower offensive environment. Before this year, Furcal was not a standout defensive player, and his baserunning doesn’t help that much.

    If Furcal’s the best leadoff man the Braves have had in Atlanta, that’s largely because their leadoff men have sucked, which is why before he came along Bobby changed his every 18 months or so. And because of the Barker trade, of course.

  69. I’d still take Johnny Logan over Furcal, based mainly on longetivity, and I’d tilt towards Blauser as well, but only very slightly. Both were better overall offensive players than Furcal, and Logan appears to have been a very good glove. Bill James ranks Logan as th #39 best SS of all time, and Blauser is #70.

  70. Braves 2Bs in James’ rankings:

    3. Hornsby
    25. Johnny Evers
    28. Schoendienst
    46. Dave Johnson
    56. Bobby Lowe
    60. Felix Millan
    88. Glenn Hubbard

    As Mac mentioned, only the last 3 were primarily known as Braves. Not an impressive lot.

  71. I glanced at Logan, but discounted him because of a career .330 OBP/.378 SLG. but that’s not really fair. It was a different era, and Furcal’s numbers aren’t a whole lot better, and Logan’s peak was probably slightly higher.

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