174 thoughts on “De-Gravatarization”

  1. Just some FYI here from florida: The sports talk stations here are all abuzz about Saban leaving for ‘Bama. He’s catching alot of crap for the Culpepper deal, and for 2 straight seasons of no playoffs. Its kind of gotten the the level of how things were when Wanstadt was here….wouldnt be suprised to see him bolt for ‘Bama and Mike Mularkey (best name in coaching) to take over for the Dolphins at the end of the season

  2. Thanks for getting rid of the annoying text bleed, I was just going to go sign up for an avatar to just get rid of them, but their site is down for a couple of weeks… Thanks!

  3. Great – I had been starting up Internet Explorer solely to read this site because Mozilla messed up the avatars and I couldn’t read the posts.

  4. I’m heartbroken. thanks.

    Do we do anything during the winter meetings or not? predictions asked for. I say not. Or maybe I hope not if doing something is throwing 750,000 dollars at Tanyon Sturtze. Can you imagine sucking at your job for 11 years and still getting 750,000 dollars?

  5. It does seem like the Braves are a dull team to follow each offseason, but from what I can recall, there has been at least one huge trade each offseason that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Last year it was Marte/Renteria, the year before that it was Hudson (For…wow, not much), in other recent offseasons we had the Hampton and Sheffield trades. I know there’s nothing burning right now (Unless you count the Giles/Linebrink dead horse), but I am certain we’ll be debating something radical by the end of December, if not this week.

  6. My theory on tanyon: JS just wants to add to the number of pitchers we have who will be returning to the mound after surgery.

  7. we should try and see if we can get the heaviest bullpen….Wickman, Parronto, we need some more….

    anyone 750K guaranteed, 350K more for 1 appearance, possibly another 400K for # of appearances. I dont like the 750K much less the other bonuses. Maybe he’s our K@*B/R#^tsm! this year. ST$@*z@ sucks! I’m predicting it now

  8. Posted in the other thread:

    I doubt, however, that JS believes Tanyon Sturtze is an impactful signing. I’m sure he HOPES that’s the case, just like he did with Mondesi/Jordan. It’s more likely this was another arm to bring in some depth in March. This team isn’t budgeted down to the dollar, so I have to believe that this is a minor risk worth taking.

    Personally, I’d be much more upset if we were all fed some BS about this guy being a missing piece. Something similar to: “Our #1 priority this winter was to strengthen our staff, and Sturtze has been successful in the past, so we feel like we’re better off now than we were at the end of the season.” That’s completely insulting because the guy is dogsh*t and everyone knows it.

    Bottom line: It’s disappointing now, but let’s see what else happens—especially this week.

  9. wow..thanks Mac.

    I was using Internet Explorer as well just to read here cuz Firefox was making this very awkward.

    Looks much better.

  10. Thanks, Mac, for fixing the hiccup. And thanks for showing that Maddux/Glavine clip a couple of threads back. I’d never seen it before.

  11. Mac,

    Yeah, that gravitar thing was making me nuts. Thanks.


    C’mon, dude. Van Halen III is “Women & Children First.” Everybody knows that! ;)

  12. I agree with hoboken_wood. I think JS’s approach to a limited budget is to buy 10 cheap players, seven of whom you know will disappoint you… you just don’t know which seven. Some years, you get Chris Hammond and John Burkitt. Some years you get Raul Modesi. Note that from this standpoint coming off an injury is a doubly good thing… it costs you little, and maybe some adjustment tSturze makes turns hi9m into an actual ML pitcher.

  13. Thanks x1million for removing that damn avatar stuff. It was just killing me trying to read with “gravatar” running all over the place.

  14. But the thing about signing 10 players to pan out 3 surprises, is that if they all make around what someone like Sturtze makes, then you have about $7.5M tied up in three players plus the seven failures, and they will all probably be relievers. That’s an expense middle relief and set-up crew.

  15. Here’s a rumor that has been going in the Dominican Republic:

    Some players and coaches have been betting in their own baseball games and the league’s president is trying to get the names of the players and coaches who bet to ban them from playing baseball in the D.R.

  16. From Seattlepi.com

    “The Braves would have no trouble trading Tim Hudson. The right-hander was a stud in Oakland, but he’s been nothing but mediocre in Atlanta. The Braves would need little inducement to move him, but it’s buyer beware. His contract is heavily back-loaded, so the Mariners almost certainly would want the Braves to send some money Seattle’s way to mitigate the impact on the Mariners’ payroll.”

    They are talking about sending Hudson and cash to the M’s for Sexton…I think someone mentioned this potential deal a couple of threads ago…

  17. Sexson’s contract was four years, $50 million, with two years — at $14 million per — left to run. I don’t think that the Braves would have to send any money the Mariners’ way. This deal makes so little sense (what, is Sexson going to play left field?) that I assume that there actually is something to it.

  18. Maybe Sexon in 1B and Laroche in the bullpen. Still doesn’t make sense, but hey!, the Braves have been doing things that don’t make sense for the last 3 years.

  19. If we were to make this deal, then I would assume that we would trade LaRoche for pitching. Sexton would play first and we would still have that hole to fill in left. If you don’t mind have a leftfield by committee(Langy, Diaz, Thorman)

  20. Or maybe Sexson would play first base and LaRoche would be traded to the Pirates for some young starters to replace Tim Hudson who was traded for Sexson as has been rumored.

    Ken Rosenthal:

    The Braves can’t get Mike Gonzalez for Adam LaRoche, so the teams might not have a match on a trade.


    I say forget the whole thing if the Braves cannot get Gonzalez too.

  21. The most sensible signing for the Braves in my mind is Barry Bonds. While of course many fans will hate seeing Bonds in Atlanta, He actually fits in perfectly with the Braves and is a relatively low risk signing (because it will only be a one year deal). Bonds can play a position of need for Atlanta and provide a big bat in the middle of the order (his second half numbers were excellent last year) plus with Andruw and Jeff we can make up for his defensive short comings. Lastly we have the perfect defensive replacement/day-off guy in Ryan.

  22. Sexson has only had 1 season cut short because of injury. Before going to Arizona he averaged about 158 or so games a year and around 30 HRs and 115 RBIs. In his last two seasons with Seattle he’s played in 156 and 158, averaged 35 Hrs 110 RBIs…..I would take it…IF we could somehow get Gonzalez from Pitt for LaRoche.

    * those were rough estimates


  23. “As for the Stoops-manipulation, I had never read that, so I probably can’t pass it off as fact. It would seem like the logical thing to do, and I don’t have the BCS rankings for 2004, but I doubt that it “wasn’t close. You don’t run the table in a major conference, no matter what kind of year (up or down), and not even get close to making it to the title game.”

    Rob, even though your absurd accusation has been mathematically disproven in the prior thread, I must address your apparent belief that the coaches’ poll was the sole determinant of the BCS standings in 2004. OU was much closer to USC in the final BCS poll than Auburn was to OU. It wasn’t close. The computers had OU number 1 all year long, and both human polls had OU a solid number 2. It would have been ridiculous for Bob and Mike Stoops to team up in such fraud when both knew beyond a doubt it was unnecessary. Throw in the fact that Bob Stoops was the first (or close to it) coach to argue for transparency in the coaches’ poll and it’s even more ridiculous. It’s an extraordinarily dumb thing to charge.

  24. It would make cosmic sense for the current ownership to pay up for Bonds in order to see him make a mockery of Hank while wearing an Atlanta uniform (they’d probably even go retro uniforms on the days approaching the record) since it’s clear they don’t give a rat’s *ss for the Braves. And only in such a bizarro world would Bonds be signed (though money and annoyance aside, he probably would be a good fit for a year).

  25. Never been a huge fan of Dick Sexson—so many Ks. And for Hudson? I don’t see this one happening either, unless LaRoche can fetch a proven power arm somewhere.

    If Bonds goes anywhere, I hear, it’ll be an AL team (like Oakland or Texas) where he can DH. He’d need a golfcart to play LF.

  26. IF we could somehow get Gonzalez from Pitt for LaRoche.

    To me trading a young, quite-productive-when-he’s-on-his-meds everyday player for a reliever, any reliever, is a real bad move. That it seems it was the Pirates who balked at this deal, makes me question the sanity of everyone involved.

    Hey, look there! I made a baseball-related post!

  27. Well, at least the Sooners made lemons out of lemonade that year, eh, 15? Can’t say they deserved the chance now…

    Baseball, baseball…

    Sturtze + Ward very well may > 3 million dollars. Would that money not be better served on either an everyday player or a solid pitcher? Use it to get prospects in deals? I see very little chance of either making a significant impact on the Braves’ season (positive or negative). May as well spend it on someone who could.

    JMO, and Ward isn’t signed yet, but I expect him to be sometime. Not a bad guy to have, but I’d rather focus first on the lineup, and even then, he’s a (cheap) luxury that we may not be able to really afford.

  28. I know I’m dating myself here, but I remember an old SNL skit (~1975/76) with Garrett Morris as a Latin American baseball player (Chico Escuela). He made a big deal about Pete Rose getting 1.2 million dollars – “Charlie Hustle, you bet.” We have come a long way when a pitcher the caliber of Tanyon Sturtze makes over $1 mil – or maybe not.

  29. Is Sexon even an upgrade over LaRoche? If he is, it’s not enough to justify the huge difference in cost, and he’s certainly not as good defensively. LaRoche is too cheap to trade, that would make no sense.

  30. For a team on a budget that is trying to win now, the two stupidest things the Braves could possibly do are:

    1) Trading Brian McCann
    2) Trading Adam LaRoche

    There is no possible way, NO POSSIBLE WAY, to both improve the team and stay within budget by trading Adam LaRoche. Absolutely none.

  31. Robert,

    We agree on something!

    Awesome! BFF!

    Just happy to be alive. I awoke this morning with my house shaking pretty good. Turned out to be a pretty small quake, link, but the location is about one mile from my house. My wife naturally assumed that the world was ending.

  32. I am not a fan of the LaRoche for Gonzalez trade, but I do want to see what Thorman could do full time.

  33. As much as everyone hated LaRoche last year, I think that to contend next year, LaRoche needs to stay, and I agree that Sexson is a terrible trade.

  34. I also forgot to mention that the whole point of moving Hudson is to free up money, which wouldn’t be accomplished by paying Sexson and sending more money, a completely idiotic idea if you ask me

  35. The major rumors I’m hearing re: Sexson all involve Manny Ramirez. He (Sexson) can’t be traded to 2 teams at once, fortunately. Bringing him to Atlanta is a horrible idea.

    As far as Bonds goes, this BP Premium article speculates that the lack of interest in him may stem from the fact that GMs think he’s going to wind up in jail, either for violating the Controlled Substance Act or for tax evasion. Apparently it’s not such a remote possibility. The odds of him being indicted are very strong, and per this August analysis, the fact that he wasn’t indicted by the first grand jury means nothing.

    Pass on both. What is JS doing down there, anyway? Has anybody checked Epcot?

  36. Simply put, the only reason to trade LaRoche would be if the team believed that Thorman would be capable of replacing him (or at least coming close), while obtaining help at another position. In doing so, one could free up a small amount of money (a couple of million, which these days is but a pittance) and fill a need. The thing is that I don’t see how anybody could be convinced that Thorman would be every bit as good as LaRoche (he might be, he might not). And it isn’t a given that we’d get a big return for LaRoche. A star sure-fire closer would be worth it (but then why did we sign Wickman?). A #2 or good #3 starting pitcher might also be worth such a deal. But, I don’t think Gonzalez alone would make this trade worthwhile, though clearly he is a good reliever. And Sexton, please. For 5 extra homeruns and 35 extra rbi’s we are going to trade a cheap first baseman, an inning eater in Hudson, and we’re going to get squat in salary relief? Please. If JS were to do such a deal, he could be committed involuntarily!

  37. We should just forget Bonds. If JS and company wouldn’t put up with Rocker in the clubhouse, there is no way they could put up with Bonds.

    Also, I realize few will agree with me on this one, but I’m not big on spending lots of money on relievers. Take Bob Wickman for example. Would you rather pay 6 million dollars for 70 innings or pay 6 million dollars for 200 innings? It’s true, we were one of the weakest teams in the late innings last year. I’m glad we kept wickmania although I felt he was a bit pricey. But JS doesn’t have much $$ to work with anyways. Heh, sad to say this but we are just going to have to hope that a few of our nobodys come out of nowhere to have great seasons.

  38. David15, are you STILL talking about that? I told you that I’m not saying it’s fact, and before the math proved it wrong, all I said was that it was a logical thing. Are you a USC fan or something? Sheesh.

  39. The braves offense is set, last year the braves led the NL in HR was second in runs scored and only lacked speed in all of the major offensive categories. I’m confident that we have a playoff worthy offense, and it wouldn’t take career years from fringe players. A healthy Chipper and a healthy starting rotation will take us right back to the playoffs, even if it is a wild card. I think a healthy rotation of Smoltz, Hudson, James, Hampton and Davies will be one of the better rotations in the NL and will easily outdo last year’s pathetic effort.

  40. Vicente Padilla re-signs with the rangers for a 3 year 34 mil contract. I’d rather have a GM that doesn’t do anything than try to grab spare parts in a market frenzy.

  41. Some real interesting rumors starting to fly involving AJ to the Angels for Chone Figgins and Ervin Santana. The deal could possibly expand to include Laroche and or HoRam with the Angels including Scott Shields.

    Also talked about, AJ and a mix of players to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Jonathan Broxton and Chad Billinglsy…

    Thoughts anyone?

  42. http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/braves/stories/2006/12/04/1205braveswinter.html

    When general manager John Schuerholz says the Braves are trying to make moves to improve their pitching, he’s talking about more than Tanyon Sturtze, the middling middle reliever they signed Sunday.

    On the first full day of baseball’s winter meetings Monday at Disney World, the Braves and at least five teams discussed trades that could bring Atlanta an elite setup man and a left-handed reliever, with second baseman Marcus Giles and possibly first baseman Adam LaRoche among those who could be involved.

    The Los Angeles Angels have strong interest in LaRoche, and the Braves might listen if the Angels are willing to part with a package that includes utility man Chone Figgins and a pitcher. However, the Angels consider 23-year-old starter Ervin Santana and top setup man Scot Shields nearly untouchable.

    “A healthy Sturtze is a plus for our pitching staff,” Schuerholz said of the former Yankees right-hander, who the Braves hope will rebound from rotator cuff surgery to help their bullpen by May. “But we’re looking beyond that.

  43. All I’ve heard is LaRoche to the Angels for Figgins and Kotchman.


    It seems like LaRoche is in high demand and will get dealt for a reliever and/or leadoff man that no one on this board will like. Depending on the reliever and replacement first baseman, obviously, I’m not as against this as some. True LaRoche is cheap and had a good year, but I don’t know, the new meds turned it around? Is that reliable? JS and Cox must think he is as good as he is ever going to get right now, so they are exploring the market for him. I think we can’t judge any one deal until this winter is over….seems like one deal will lead into another and lead into another.

  44. I thought Broxton and Billingsley were untouchable? Sexson should never happen, and I think Thorman could adequatley replace LaRoche. If JS trades LaRoche he should hang on to Druw unless he can get two legitimate starting pitching prospects back, but it seems the Dodgers aren’t interested.

  45. “We like [Aybar] in the role he’s in, which is a Wilson Betemit role,” Schuerholz said, “a super-utility player, switch-hitter, who can play more at second and third [if starters are injured].”

    Wait, what?

  46. Hate King,

    I’d like to think you’re right, but I can’t imagine Thorman walking in & putting up anything approaching LaRoche’s ’06 numbers.

  47. Aram,
    I won’t speak for the others on this board (and they’d yell if I did), but I think I could like several people that LaRoche might be traded for. I mean I would come to terms with losing LaRoche if Johann Santana came for him (or heck, just a body part). I’d also happily take Pujols or the reigning NL MVP (who deserves proper respect of my remembering his name, but oh well), and probably about 2 dozen other players quite easily. I might miss LaRoche’s occasional unmedicated brain farts, but I’d get over it. So, don’t imply that all of the people on this board will rant negatively about every trade that might involve LaRoche. That said, if JS trades LaRoche for a dozen bats and six dozen balls (or a crappy middle reliever / lead off hitter with barely a .300 on base percentage), I do reserve the right to rant a bit. Thanks in advance for understanding :).

  48. Completely underrated, but I was in the upper deck in the end-zone. I thought I was about to die, 4 rows from the top.

  49. Please note that in the following post I do not intend “old school baseball” or “stat head baseball” to be derogatory terms.

    Jeff M.,

    You are correct in that a blanket statement on my part was incorrect. However, it seems to me that JS and the Braves front office staff generally evaluate hitters by way of “old school baseball” (Avg., HR, RBI, perceived speed, and the naked eye test) and sprinkle in a lot of the stat head stuff (OPS, K rate, defensive range stats, etc) as periphery tools to help sway a decision one way or the other. Most of the posters here, on the other hand, evaluate players the stat head way, and sprinkle in some old school baseball player evaluation as a periphery tool to help sway their decisions one way or the other.

    I’m not saying one way is right and the other way is wrong, and really one approach always incorporates the other, but I’m just saying JS goes about evaluating talent amongst position players a little differently (more traditionally?) than most of the people here.

  50. Per Rotoworld..

    Sources told MLB.com that the Nationals are involved in talks with the Red Sox and Giants about a three-team Manny Ramirez deal.
    The Boston Globe also repeats the rumor, in which the Nationals would likely send Chad Cordero to the Red Sox. The Nationals could get Noah Lowry in return from the Giants. If the Nationals moved Cordero, they’d likely make Jon Rauch their new closer

    The Red Sox, Mariners and Giants have discussed a deal that would send Manny Ramirez to Seattle, Richie Sexson to San Francisco and J.J. Putz to Boston, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
    The Red Sox would also receive Adam Jones and Noah Lowry could go to Seattle in one permutation. The Post-Intelligencer believes there’s little chance of anything getting done. Still, it’s fun to think about, right?

  51. I like the idea of trading Adam when his value is high. Adam gave us hope with a strong second half in his rookie season, and nobody is sure which Adam will show up next season. With Thorman being available, I really like the idea if Adam can get us good return in pitching.

  52. I’d immediately trade Adam for a quality 4 or 5 SP or a quality setup man, each with 2-3 years left on a reasonable contract. That basically means I’d immediately trade Adam for about 106 different options.

  53. Really smart. In the current market for pitching, the Braves simply can’t afford to sign a decent FA pitcher (note the use of “decent,” thus not referring to Sturtz). Adam would be a very, very small price to pay for a bottom-of-the rotation guy or a setup man with a couple of years left on the contract. We can find another 1B just about anywhere, including the bench.

  54. I don’t know if I like this option, or if it is even plausible, but a LaRoche trade could initiate moving Chipper from third to first and Aybar taking over at third.

    Thorman would not produce at LaRoche’s level, but if JS could get a quality set-up man and another bullpen arm in return the trade-off would at least be visible in the bullpen.

  55. I don’t see how LaRoche can have the same value as a 4th or 5th starter. His production last year, along with his low salary, make him a very attractive commodity. Besides, we already hve a gaggle of 4th or 5th SP’s (Hampton, HoRam, Davies, Lerew…some would say Hudson) and dealing one of our most productive bats for another pitcher of similiar quality creates a logjam in the back of the rotation while creating a brand-new hole to plug in the lineup.

    If LaRoche is to be dealt, at this point, he would have to fetch a solid 1B in return (Thorman *may* be the answer, but the Braves cannot afford another black hole OPS at 1B), as well as an *upgrade* to the rotation or bullpen.

    At this point, I don’t want to see LaRoche or Giles dealt. Is it terminally dull to just say I like the team as it is?

  56. I still think Chipper at first is a good idea. Aybar was servicable at 3rd, and I think it would prolong Larry Wayne’s career, and it probably wouldnt be so hard on him during the season, I.E. better production.

    However, if Laroche doesnt net us a LF, or a set up guy, future closer or a 4-5 Starter type, dont deal him. .290 30 100 first basemen dont grow on trees…..not here florida anyway…we grow oranges :)

  57. LaRoche is still young enough to improve, I don’t see any reason to get rid of him for a bottom of the rotation guy, like say a Padilla or Adam Eaton, but I could live with a Peavy or Willis for him. Also, the only type of reliever they should trade him for is a bonafide setupman who would be ready to take over the closer role after Wickman is gone. I would rather they keep Adam and let James, Davies, Horrible Ramirez battle for the bottom spots of the rotation.

  58. If all the Braves are going to get is a set up man, lefty reliever, and Chone Figgins for Giles and LaRoche, I don’t like it. Clearly, they need bullpen help, but this will kill their offense unless you assume LaRoche’s second half was a fluke, which I don’t. You have to at least get a starting pitcher. I agree with some others here that I am skeptical about trading position players for middle relievers, no matter how successful they have been. This seems to be another case of JS playing for the short run (unless the Braves really think they have someone better than LaRoche for first base). It seems that JS thinks that this is the last year they can really go for it, with Smoltz and Andruw. But I would rather get a couple of hot prospects and struggle for a couple of years than keep doing this patchwork deals to stay marginally in contention. And, if you trade LaRoche, you are really saying that Jeff Francoeur is going to step up; if he doesn’t, uh oh. I’m not saying don’t trade LaRoche, but if this is all they are going to get, I will not be happy.

  59. Well, the team as it is didn’t really compete last year. So, you’d have to be counting on a bounce-back from Tim Hudson, the successful return of Mike Hampton, and some as yet unseen version of Tanyon Sturtze.

    Something has to be done, and it needs to be done to benefit the pitching staff. That’s probably going to have to come at the expense of the offense. (We need to improve our pitching, so we don’t want to get rid of the valuable pitching commodities we have. And it wasn’t a great year for the Braves on the farm last year.)

    Giles being dealt is a virtual certainty — we have, like, 3 dozen significantly cheaper second basemen who can reasonably approximate his production.

    I’m on record as saying I don’t want LaRoche dealt for relief pitching, unless that relief pitching starts with a “J” and ends with an “oe Nathan.” Now, if a young middle-of-the-rotation-type starter were also included, I could get on that bandwagon.

    Also, on an unrelated note — why the heck did we trade Betemit if Aybar is just going to serve as the poor man’s Betemit? We were told at the time that Aybar was the centerpiece of the deal from the Braves’ perspective, but I can’t believe that’s the case if his second base ability isn’t planned on being used. The way it looks, we gave Betemit up for a month of Unibrow Baez and the hole where his appendix used to be. That’s upsetting.

  60. Crawford might be available:

    “The recent contracts for outfielders Gary Matthews Jr. (five years, $50 million from the Los Angeles Angels) and Juan Pierre (five years, $44 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers) have convinced the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that their two young outfielders – Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli – might bring dramatic help for their starting rotation. Second baseman Jorge Cantu could also be had.”

    Tim Hudson to the D-Rays, maybe HoRam as well for Crawford? Leadoff hitting would be nice. Or get Baldelli, that way we have a center fielder when Andruw leaves next July/next winter.

  61. Are you guys all sure which Adam will show up next season? Remember his strong second half rookie season, and what kind of season he ended up having in 2005? If Adam can bring something valuable in return, I have no problem seeing him being traded.

  62. Maybe I have an inflated opinion of Giles, but who do the Braves have in-house that can reasonably be assumed to aproximate his producion? Given that he struggled as a leadoff hitter last season, he was still a very strong number 2 hitter. If the Braves allow him to hit second in the lineup all next season, I think we can expect to see an .850-.900 OPS along with the same level of hustle, enthusiam and steller defense we have come to know and love.

    As for LaRoche, I think the Braves would be foolish to deal him right now unless we are blown away. Along with McCann and possibly Franceour, LaRoche should be a cornerstone player for a few more years of strong, inexpensive production.

  63. I’m thinking Aybar/Prado can come close enough to warrant spending the 6 million you’ll have to spend on Giles somewhere else.

  64. I just don’t understand the fascination for dealing proven players for spare pitching parts for the back of the rotation. Getting Hampton back and full years of Chuck James and Wickamania is good enough for me. The biggest problem with last year’s staff was the back end of the bullpen and the rotation wasn’t healthy, which can change dramatically. Giles and Salty for Jennings would have to be one of the biggest boneheaded trades ever.

  65. Wait, on the part of the Rockies or Braves? The Braves would likely have to give up another player, probably someone like Horacio. Jennings is very good.

  66. the backend of the bullpen wasnt the problem, it was the bullpen from start to finish. Not really one reliable reliever. Oh yeah and if we trade Hudson we have to get another starter. There is no way
    Smoltz, Hampton, James, Davies, and Horam will be good enough. Too many question marks

  67. Actually, in checking the stats, my perception of Jennings seems to have been better than the actual product. Still, groundball pitchers are good.

  68. Oh, sorry I think I was thinking about a different Rockies pitcher, but I still don’t want to trade Salty

  69. I’m to the point where I hope we trade for Carl Crawford so I can stop reading about how the Braves can/should trade for him. This goes for Chone Figgins, too. ;-)

  70. The only active players the Braves should be actively shopping right now are Hudson, HoRam and Hampton. Their levels of production do not match up with their salaries, and if Atlanta can find trading partners that will provide financial relief along with useable players in return, they should go for it.

    Why deal players who perform well at a low cost? The Braves have enough financial albatrosses right now, and the aforementioned pitchers are the guys who should be jettisoned–not LaRoche and Giles.

  71. I just want SOMETHING to happen. when’s the last time we got excited about our team? If we give up Laroche then fine, but only if we get a Figgins+Santana or Penn+Roberts type deal, obviously meaning we would have to include some junkyard parts like Giles, Ramirez or possibly Davies. I would do the Gonzales deal just because that dude is the real deal. Just do something JS! Please!

  72. Hmpton and Hudson aren’t going anywhere. Hudson’s return will be too low and Hampton has a no trade clause

  73. What kind of Pitcher are we really going to get for Laroche? A front end starter is what we need, we will not get it for him so why bother.
    I still do not believe in trading starting players for relief pitchers(because no one is in NY is trading Rivera for anyone). Minor leaguers, fine, but not a 290+ hitting first baseman who can hit well over 30 hr’s and 100 RBI’s and play solid first base for a million bucks.
    Wait maybe we should trade him then, ugh, confusing myself.

  74. No one is questioning Laroche’s good year, what is in question here is his ability to repeat that year, I love Laroche, but I trust Bobby’s judgement. If he gave JS the go ahead to trade him, then that mean’s Bobby feels like he is expendable

  75. Hampton doesn’t have a no-trade clause, does he? Wasn’t that voided when he came to the Braves?

    The reason Hampton won’t be traded is that he makes 15 million dollars and hasn’t pitched in a year and a half.

  76. I guess the first question to ask is: Which team needs a LaRoche?

    I’m not nuts about dealing him, but if we can improve overall, esp. pitching, I guess I’d have to be for it. His value may not ever be higher.

  77. Jim Duquette, quoted by Jayson Stark:

    “You know what? We didn’t set that market. We weren’t the first to overpay for relief pitching. But unfortunately, when that market gets set, we’re affected just like anybody else. It’s no different than the starting-pitching market or the every-day-player market.

    Our feeling was, we wanted to be aggressive on the relief front to try and upgrade middle relief. We had the [second-] worst bullpen ERA in the league last year. And the only way to address that was to be aggressive.”

    I honestly don’t know how I feel about this: I HATE the idea of overpaying, but I hate the idea of doing less than nothing (which is the definition of Mr. Sturtze) possibly even more. What do you guys think? Would you rather we paid $40 million for Danys Baez, Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker? Or $750,000 for Tanyon?

    Please, I need some help to figure out whether I hate Schuerholz or agree with him right now.

  78. Pitching, Pitching, Pitching…… Carl Crawford and Chone Figgins are not pitchers. The Braves scored the second most runs in the damn league last year with that sucky leadoff guy Marcus Giles. If LaRoche gets us a PITCHER and another player, deal him because if he reverts to his career averages he is at best a league average 1b. Remember it was a wayyyyyyyy above average section of the season from the allstar break up to late August that propelled his season numbers. I don’t advocate trading him unless we get like value but I also don’t expect him to hit .360 either like he did for an extended stretch last season.
    I still don’t get the Crawford lust. He is a good player but he isn’t much better offensively if at all than Giles. I just know someone is going to point out those 52 SB’s to which I say ‘so what’

  79. From Foxsports:

    According to several industry sources, the Orioles have had serious discussions about a deal that would send second baseman Brian Roberts and pitching prospect Hayden Penn to the Atlanta Braves for power-hitting first baseman Adam LaRoche and second baseman Marcus Giles. The deal has “several hurdles,” according to a source familiar with the trade talks, with a major one being Peter Angelos’ preference to keep Roberts, who has long been a favorite of the Orioles’ owner. As of late last night, a club source said it’s very unlikely that the deal would get approved.

  80. AAR you should admire his discipline. As JC pointed out over at Sabernomics, the Orioles are in a different situation. They had to overpay to address a glaring need because, well they are the Orioles and no one wants to play for Team Angelos unless the jack is right. The O’s had to do something to get the fan base stirring again. Overpaying or trading just to be trading spells desperation which is the precursor to many consecutive seasons of losing like hell becuase you blew your roster up for a short term fix. Remember the old axiom sometimes the best trade is the one you didn’t do. Now I for the life of me cannot explain Tanyon Sturtze unless he somehow acquired the pictures.

  81. I would prefer the figgins-santana deal to the penn-roberts deal, but it would be something. I just feel like we don’t get enough in return there. What has Penn done to show anyone he is worth it? Laroche and Giles are both big leaugers and have enjyed at least moderate success here.

  82. I love that one of the major obstacles to a trade of Players A and B for Players C and D is that Player A’s team doesn’t want to trade him.

    Ya think?

    Also, is Hayden Penn even any better than Kyle Davies? I don’t want to give up LaRoche for him and a “true” leadoff hitting second baseman.


    An obstacle in our quest to trade for Albert Pujols is that the Cardinals organization has expressed a reluctance to trade him to us.

  84. I think it’d be cheaper to perfect cloning and accelerated aging and just field a team of Mickey Mantles and Bob Gibsons

  85. I think JS is in somewhat of the situation the O’s are in, although obviously not as severe. If attendence isn’t great with the team winning, what’s going to happen if they start losing. The park will be empty. Right now, I don’t think anyone is excited about the Braves because, as presently constituted, they seem, at best, a marginal playoff contender–unless some of the pitchers step up big time. So, while we commend JS for not overspending–though he really doesn’t have much choice–I am concerned that he is looking to fill particular needs at the expense of giving away more talent. I don’t know if LaRoche is as good as he played in the second half last year, but it’s not like the Braves have some great alternative in the wings. It’s obvious, now, that the Betemit deal was, despite what was said about Aybar being the centerpiece, was really about getting Baez to make some last ditch run at the playoffs. If the Braves think that trading Betemit to get Aybar (who has much less power)to be a backup was a good trade, then I have to be worried about the front office.Ultimately, I think it boils down to the fact that, whatever JS says publicly, he is having a hard time putting a championship-caliber team on the field under the payroll constaints the Braves have. And, with all the talk about all the investment in the farm system, it sure isn’t paying off in pitching.

  86. ON the other hand, however, about relief pitching. A very good bullpen can cover up a lot of flaws in other areas, at least in the short term. The 2002 Braves were a good example; there were plenty of problems with that team (e.g., Vinny Castilla at third base) but they were able to win 100 games because of the bullpen. And it is sort of a cheap way to shore up the team. Obviously, the Braves can’t go out and get Barry Zito into the rotation; maybe JS’ thinking is that you can compensate for a relatively weak rotation by having a strong bullpen. So, in the short-run, this strategy probably makes sense–assuming, of course, that you really can put together a real strong bullpen.

  87. #66

    If Shields is so untouchable, why did the Angels just sign Justin Speier to add to righty relievers Shields, Donnelly, Carrasco, AND FRod? I think we should try to pry him away.

  88. Adam Laroche started to show his capabilities last year. In the second half of the season his plate discipline improved dramatically and he started getting good pitches to hit. Guess what? He hit them. Chipper has been preaching this to him and finally (with the necessary medication) it sunk in. Mac maybe you have some OBP, BB after July figures to back this up. Don’t trade this guy. He’s just getting in the groove.

    I’m also surprised that JS made the comments about Aybar equating him with Betemit. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that Betemit could have been a lot more in ATL than a super sub last year. My guess is that Aybar has more to offer also. It’s nice to have a talent wasting away on the bench when your line up is loaded. But that ain’t the case no more. If the guy can play, get him off the bench and on the field.

  89. I find it funny as anything that all of you guys are on the LaRoche band wagon now. I remember having to argue with almost half of you during the spring to stop saying we should acquire a 1b with more power. Anyone else remember that?

    Personally I don’t think we should give up LaRoche. Let’s just trade Giles for Roberts. Or throw in Scott Thorman as well. But keep LaRoche.

  90. I’m not against trading LaRoche, but the deal that’s getting most of the attention right now (him and Marcus for Roberts and Penn) looks atrocious. There is precious little evidence that Roberts is superior to Giles even in the latter’s reduced state; last season, Marcus’ OBP was all of six points lower than Roberts’, and his SLG was 23 points lower. I think they’re basically equal players, and Marcus is a few months younger. So basically you’re trading LaRoche for a pitching prospect and a few more stolen bases. No thank you.

    LaRoche for Gonzalez is more like it; Gonzalez is really good.

  91. With all the LaRoche to the Pirates/Angels/Orioles rumors, it’s becoming obvious that the Braves are shopping LaRoche. I kind of don’t want to trade him unless the return is very high, and Penn is not that.

  92. Dan, I agree 100%. Jay 10, Amen to that, JustinP, thank you for the clarification. Iremembered Sheffield, but I hadn’t read a thing on Hampton

  93. Most similar players to Marcus Giles through Age 28:

    1. Brian Roberts (940)
    2. Adam Kennedy (928)
    3. Michael Young (919)
    4. Jeff Blauser (919)
    5. Todd Walker (918)
    6. Orlando Hudson (918)
    7. Johnny Ray (918)
    8. Alfonso Soriano (917)
    9. Jeff Kent (917)
    10. Gil McDougald (915)

    So, what’s the point?

  94. “Crawford might be available:

    Tim Hudson to the D-Rays, maybe HoRam as well for Crawford?”

    Is this a joke? Trade a soon to be very expensive starting pitcher coming off the worst year of his career to the low-budget Devil Rays for a young star who is extremely affordable? Does that really sound like a trade the Devil Rays would do?

  95. I’m on board with Marc Schneider’s first of the two posts. This team is put together in the offseason with bubble gum and paper clips. JS is saying nothing different this year than he did when he traded Millwood or signed Mondesi/Jordan: the goals are to come in under payroll budget and improve the team.

    Anything done with this team will have to be completed via trade, and I don’t know that what we can get will equal what we really want. That’s a very real possibility.

  96. Giles made $3,850,000 last year, Roberts made $3,075,000. Is Roberts under contract or likley to make less than Giles in arbitration?

  97. Dan,

    I think that its the other way around with all those teams being really interested in LaRoche, and testing the Braves to see if they are willing to trade him. But then again, I could be totally wrong.

  98. If LaRoche is truly available, you’re suddenly making a trade out of necessity rather than strength. Who wouldn’t want a cheap LH first baseman in his mid-20s, hitting 25-30 HRs, including the Braves? There’s no way Atlanta wants to trade him.

  99. Roberts is eligible for arbitration this year — it looks like he’ll probably make $5 – $5.5 million this year. I agree w/ Mac — it’s treading water. I’d prefer the in-house alternatives.

  100. hoboken, I hope you’re right.

    Trade an average, expensive 2B for a good reliever? Yes.

    Trade an above-average, inexpensive 1B for a good reliever? No thanks.

  101. This won’t end well. LaRoche should be traded for Mike Gonzalez or a good young starting pitcher only. None of this Penn/Roberts crap.

  102. Wasn’t Roberts one of the guys listed by JAson Grimsley as a steroid user?…..Just for entertainment value

  103. There is no way JS can think Penn is a start to getting us back to an elite pitching level. I dont believe this crap

  104. Roberts only hit .286 last year with comparable Hr and RBI numbers to giles. He wont be that much cheaper either

  105. sansho, I said they don’t want to trade him…not that they wouldn’t. I hope they don’t either.

    DOB was just on AM 790 in Atlanta:

    He says that the Seattle and Baltimore rumors are/were way off.

    There are serious talks are going on with a NL team about LaRoche for what he called “a really good set-up guy who could step in after Wickman is gone.”

    Seemed pretty sure that Giles and LaRoche would both be moved this week (heard that one with Giles before).

  106. Also implied that Giles and LaRoche could now be a package, as Giles’ value slipped a great deal in ’06, and Adam is the guy that teams are calling about. And since the goal is to get rid of Giles……….

  107. LaRoche finished 10th in the NL in OPS last year. Here are the five guys in front of LaRoche, and the five behind:

    Nick Johnson
    Aramis Ramirez

    Somebody come get me when you find out that one of the players in this list can be had for a single relief pitcher or pitching prospect.

  108. I just think that’s the way this team has to operate now. There is no strength from which to trade and no available player seems to hold any semblance of leverage.

  109. “There are serious talks are going on with a NL team about LaRoche for what he called “a really good set-up guy who could step in after Wickman is gone.”

    An NL team? That takes out the Angels and the Orioles, and they weren’t offering anything good. So, what’s left? The Pirates? Mike Gonzalez fits that bill.

  110. Why not Gonzalez? Isn’t he young and my guess is that Wickmania will end after 07. So he could set up next year and then become the closer after 07.

  111. Linebrink maybe, but I don’t see him being a closer at all….It’s gotta be Gonzalez, he was a set-up guy when Mesa was there, so maybe they meant he could be a really good set-up guy until Wickman retires.

  112. Gonzalez has only pitched around 50 innings the past two years – was he hurt, or just not used often?

  113. To clarify: O’Brien specifically mentioned a reliever “who would be” a set-up guy here for Wickman. To explicitly make that statement might suggest that he’s currently a closer. I immediately thought Gonzalez too.

    Hope that helps. Sorry about any confusion.

  114. Thoughts on LaRoche. His improvement for the entire year last year is likely repeatable and structural. 1. Medication and 2. age curve (He SHOULD be better in his age 26 season than 25 and SHOULD be better or close to that good for about 3 more years) 3. enough at bats against lefties to get a plan and an approach. He will be one of the top offensive players in MLB for the next 5 years. Count it. That sounds like don’t move him no matter what.

    However, think further. Mac has already pointed out I was slightly wrong on comparing LaRoche and Thorman’s minor league stats. However, they are still awfully close. Thorman won’t get the med bounce that LaRoche got. But, if you give up .100 OPS points at one position that is only a ripple on your offense. Baserunning and fielding defense would be significantly improved with Thorman(LaRoche can’t move side to side effectively even on the med). Plus LaRoche is arb eligible and his salary will exceed Thorman’s by 4 to 5 million or more this year, same or more next year, and then where will the resigning money come from.

    An IMPACT player is worth LaRoche. By impact I mean a spectacular reliever or at least a 3 starter. However, I still say the Braves need a 1 starter worse than anything. They have 3’s and 4’s and 5’s everywhere except for Smoltz. (that’s why at this stage of his career, we don’t need Glavine). If they have to package LaRoche and Giles and Salty and HoRam to get a Peavy or comparable, pull the trigger. Think about Peavy, Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton in the post season. That is a murderer’s row even if Hudson and Hampton don’t quite come back to form.

  115. I’ll agree that Peavy is awesome and I’d be thrilled beyong belief to see him in a Braves uniform…but the Padres have absolutely no need for LaRoche with Adrian Gonzalez currently on the team. If they don’t even think Giles alone is worth a set-up guy like Linebrink, the two teams have nothing to talk about.

  116. Greetings and salutations….

    I would like to extend a hearty F-U to those who dogged my FLGators earlier this year (see SEC Football Post of 8-06, IBID.). I would also like to say thank you to all SEC fans who will be cheering on the Orange and Blue as they take on the Kirk Herbstreit Experience, AKA the Suckeyes.

    As many of you know, my growing fascination with sideline reporter Erin “My Phone Number is Unlisted” Andrews has caused me to post some rather bizarre rantings on this page. With that said, I trust that Erin’s recent facetime on primetime football coverage has swayed some of you non-Kirk Herbstreit flaming Moes over to my side. Given that Erin is herself a UF alum and former Gator-Dazzler dancer, there really was no doubt that her poise and professionalism would flourish on the sideline with the likes of the oft-drunk Pat Summerall and Dr. Jerry Punch. Here’s to a new year filled with a Braves Penant, a Murphy Hall of Fame nod, a Gator NC, and Erin Andrews acension to the pinnacle of journalism, a spot on The View!!!!!

    That is all….Friendship


    p.s. Dr. Phil rulez.

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