Yunel: the splits

Yunel Escobar 2007 Batting Splits – Baseball-Reference PI

1. I criticized Escobar for being all batting average and nothing else earlier this year. That hasn’t been the case so much as the season has moved along. Over the last 28 days, he’s hit .343 — but with a .459 OBP and .543 SLG. I doubt that’s sustainable, but those are All-Star numbers.

2. He’s hit .358 against lefties, .303 against righties… but with just slightly more power and walks against normal people.

3. He has, however, hit much better in his games at second base (.388/.432/.513) than at short (.317/.380/.423 ), though the shortstop numbers aren’t bad and are a reasonable approximation of Renteria.

4. In 102 PA leading off innings, he’s hit .375, but with an OBP of .412. The low walk totals in this situation argue that he’d be better hitting second or sixth than at the top of the order. On the other hand, he’s hit much better in the leadoff spot (.362/.414/.493) than second (.270/.324/.365).

5. Has hit .545 when putting the first pitch in play.

6. 3-7 with 3 walks as a pinch-hitter.

7. Pretty terrible hitter with two strikes (.182/.272/.236 ), even in 2-2 and 3-2 counts.

133 thoughts on “Yunel: the splits”

  1. Yeah, Yutility has been pretty great this season. I was pretty sure he was being showcased early in the year, but I guess that was wrong and the braintrust really does like him this much since he is pretty much the only guy they kept.

    But I’m sure it’s all a fluke because Stu assured me he knew who Escobar was from his minor league numbers and he wouldn’t be that great.

    I voted ‘Leave As A Free Agent’ which – for me – sucks. I’ll have to pick out a new favorite player again.

  2. The Braves are in a no lose situation at shortstop pretty much. They can trade Renteria, Lillibridge, or Escobar for starting pitching or keep all of them. Yunel started off all BA, but he’s been a pretty complete hitter the last month. I doubt he’ll hit .330 every year, but he should be a pretty solid major league hitter. Lillibridge probably has better power and speed, but he hasn’t played in the majors yet.

    Oh and Andruw is leaving for free agency.

  3. From the previous threat complaining that Wright’s an MVP candidate even though Chipper’s numbers are comparable or better despite playing fewer games. First, as Mac has mentioned, playing those additional games is valuable in and of itself. Chipper wasn’t able to contribute at all in those games he missed. Second, traditionally MVP has not necessarily meant those with the absolute best stats. That’s why guys on last place teams don’t win even though their stats might be superior. The award is ostensibly not for the best player or the player with the best season but for the player who is deemed most valuable. While it’s a nebulous distintion, you can certainly make the case that the Mets wouldn’t be in first place without Wright while Chipper is not leading the Braves to the playoffs, in part due to the games he missed. Thus, the fact that Chipper might have better numbers does not necessarily change whether Wright is the MVP.

  4. Of all those splits, I’m most surprised by his performance with 2 strikes. He’s had several great at-bats this year where he’s fouled off several pitches in a row and he also is never afraid to go to right field which is what a lot of hitters do with 2 strikes. I would think that those numbers would improve as time went on.

    My opinion on Escobar is that he will be a very good player and I think his minor league numbers actually suggest that. In 2005 with Rome, he had a very good season (.313/.358/.470). He played great in 2007 with Richmond (.333/.379/.456). In between with Mississippi he was awful (.264/.358/.346). It’s been my opinion, and I’ve heard it elsewhere, that Escobar hit a wall in 2006 with Mississipi because his unique schedule with being a Cuban defector and all caused him to play a lot without much rest. Plus his bad relationship with Jeff Blauser didn’t help. So I’d say he’s no fluke, although he won’t always hit .330.

  5. I can only go by what I’ve seen of Escobar & what I’ve seen is pretty darn good.

    DOB said that the organization believes he’s a future star. Unlike Lillibridge (at this point), I know Esco can play the position in the majors. I’d like to keep him.

  6. To give you an idea of how unsustainable Escobar’s last 28 days are, they’re comparable to Derek Jeter’s best season (1999) and are probably a little better. But .300/.375/.450 seems doable, and would be very strong for a shortstop.

  7. Yeah, I hope Escobar continues to prove me wrong. He surely does look good and, as unsustainable as the trend may be, appears to be getting better all the time. I preach trusting JS all the time—perhaps I should do so in the case of Escobar, as well.

    As an aside, what’s the problem, Robert?

  8. I was skeptical of Escobar’s ability to produce at the major league level, but he has easily proven me wrong. As much as I hate to say it, trading Renteria seems to be the correct decision, though I would like to look into playing Escobar at 2nd and moving KJ back to left field.

  9. The best part about Escobar is how he looks in a pair of jeans – that is the true measure of how good a prospect is going to be.

  10. I’m excited that Detroit might have interest in Edgar. If we could pry away Jair Jurrjens (a longshot, but possible) he would fill the Curacao-void on the roster once Andruw moves on. He’s a sharp young (21) righty, great control, gets the radar up to 97, shades of Smoltzy’s pitching style- just what we need. It would be a great fit for Edgar, having the chance to play with Leyland again. Sounds like a win-win, if the Tigers are willing to give up Jurrjens, of course.

  11. There is no chance that we will get anything resembling an upper-tier pitching prospect for Edgar.

    And is it official that Detroit has interest in Edgar? I thought that was just speculation by somone on here.

  12. Escobar at 2b, KJ/Diaz LF, Frenchy RF? Some schmo in CF? or KJ Frenchy Diaz Left to Right. Everyone is saying trade Renteria but Escobar might be the better trade bait. I’m sure someone has already pointed that out. Where do you put Brandon Jones who has nothing to prove in AAA?

    KJ has fallen off the face of the earth this past month.

  13. It’s just a rumor (DOB mentioned it on his blog and I’ve seen it a few other places), but Guillen is talking about moving to first base because he’s getting slow, and he said he’d love to have Edgar replace him at SS. If he’s talking publicly about moving, there might just be something to the rumor.

    I don’t know how Edgar isn’t worth a nice pitching prospect. The guy is one of the top 4 SS’s in the NL. He’s a top-tier position player.

  14. @17,

    KJ has been thrown off the map, he hasn’t fallen there.

    He has 6 hits and 4 walks in his last 10 games (which includes some incomplete games). Moving him to the outfield would be crazy. Let him play second.

  15. Escobar might be better trade bait but he holds far to much value in Atlanta as our future SS to trade. Renteria is great but we were only expecting about one more year out of him anyways. I happen to think that Renteria could bring something very valuable in return. I know he’s a couple of years older but he fetched a #1 prospect (Andy Marte) after his worst year. This is a career year so surely he could fetch a reasonable bounty.

  16. I don’t know how Edgar isn’t worth a nice pitching prospect.

    Because Renteria isn’t cheap and will be 32? Because pitching is so much more valuable than hitting in the current market?

  17. He’s in his prime. 32 isn’t old at all. He’s still got 4-5 productive years minimum. And Detroit has a wealth of young pitching prospects with a pretty good rotation already. Who knows if they’d be willing, but I think Rent is worth much more than a mediocre, +4.00 ERA pitcher like many suggest.

  18. @19
    Just repeating an article in AJC that intimated that the Braves would like Ecobar’s bat and defense at 2b and would move KJ to make that happen.

    Escobar is better trade bait IMHO for 10 million reasons.
    KJ last 28 days .216 .306 .324

    Question is can Francouer play center? Probably been discussed here already.

  19. Well, KJ is what he is. A very streaky player who will probably have just as many incredible months as he does bad months. In spite of his patience he may be better suited at bottom of the lineup that at the top of it.

  20. I am beginning to think Andruw will be back next year b/c it’s in both his and the Braves interest. He obviously isn’t going to get the huge contract that he would have if he had had a big year. I wouldn’t expect the Braves to give him a long-term contract unless there is a substantial discount because long contracts given to guys entering their thirties don’t seem like good investments anyway and even if Andruw snaps back, what is he going to be doing at 35? A lot depends on if they think they can keep Teixera and, obviously, on whether Liberty increases the payroll.

  21. @26,

    And, whether they can have the money to keep Texeira, add pitching, AND keep Andruw.

    I think they will make Boras and Texeira turn down a long term deal after they know where they stand with Andruw and pitching. Waiting a year isn’t quite as risky for a position player (as it would be for a pitcher) but still, that might set Texeira thinking.

  22. I don’t think that even at a huge discount that the Braves can keep Andruw and Teixeira at the same time, especially since we will be paying Hampton next year if he pitches.

  23. A 5 year $75 million deal wouldn’t be too bad. That is $15 million a year and he is making like $14.5 this year. Maybe the 5th year being a mutaul option. Who knows?

  24. Renteria’s an old 32, though. He’s had back problems for a long time and missed a month with injuries this year. If I were the Braves, I’d just hang on to him: when he’s been in the lineup for us he’s just mashed the ball, and we can always use Yunel at third for Chipper’s inevitable injuries and to spell KJ at 2nd every once in a while. Once Edgar leaves, Yunel’s the full-time SS.

    Beautiful back-and-forth between Smoltz and Andruw in the AJC article:

    “He is probably, for the longest time, been the most taken-for-granted player,” Smoltz said. “He may not have had some of the [offensive] numbers that he’d like of late, but I don’t know of anybody who could replace him in center field, ever. He’s history’s best all-time center fielder.”

    Approximately an hour before he threw his first pitch against the Brewers on Saturday afternoon, Smoltz found Jones asking him if he was going to pitch Geoff Jenkins in the same manner that he had in Milwaukee back in May.

    “I don’t think he’s given enough credit for being as smart as he is,” Smoltz said. “The guy knows where everybody is swinging and where it’s going.”

  25. Yeah, not only did he flip out but he tore his ACL and will even have to miss a good portion of next season too. His own coach was holding him back and ended up tackling him, tearing his ACL. Crazy

  26. I’m willing to wait & see what the real budget is before offering an opinion on re-signing Andruw. I can’t imagine he’ll be this bad again next year.

    I may be wrong here and it might be a pointless observation, but I can’t help but think that, if Andruw had any kind of offensive year at all, the Braves would’ve at least won a handful more games.

    Before he got the late-inning single yesterday, WTBS had a “2-out RISP” stat for Andruw. First half: .207; second half: .097. Any way you slice it, it’s awful.

    And that Milton Bradley thing was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

  27. Just a notion, if the Braves sweep the Phillies, they are very much alive in the WC IF the Rox and Pods continue to fall.

    However, my question is this. If the Braves lose the first game to the Phillies, and are mathematically out of it, do they roll over in games 2 and 3? Or is keeping Philadelphia out of the playoffs (like they did to the 98 Mets) enough to keep them interested?

    I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts.

  28. With Huddy and Smoltz pitching, there’s no way in the world they lay down. I think they’re going to play their guts out until the final game. I hope they do. I feel good about going up against Moyer tomorrow. We have the pitching edge for the whole series.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if SD loses out (Granted, they’re playing the Giants, so they might win 1 or 2). Their offense was suspect as it is and they lost their best bat over the past few months in Bradley. They’re just going to have a hard time winning with just pitching. If we sweep the Phils, we’re right there.

  29. It’s criminal how easy the Mets schedule has been over the final three weeks. Ridiculous. Could you imagine how bad the collapse would have been if they had to play ANYBODY besides the Fish and Nats the last few weeks?

  30. I know we blew it when we had our chance, but I was just commenting on the schedulers putting the bulk of the Mets’ games vs.the perennial division bottom-feeders at the end of the season. In a pennant race, it’s a clear advantage to have your easiest games at the end of the season.

  31. Not worth worrying about, IMO. It all evens out. Win your games & you don’t have to sweat the sked at the end.

    The only problem with this is the interleague schedule, which doesn’t actually even out. Nothing we can do about it, obviously, but it still stinks, IMO.

  32. Why should Mike Winters be suspended? I saw a bit of Bradley flipping out and getting hurt but I didn’t see Winters’s call that set him off.

    Re trading Renteria–it’s not all (Miller) or nothing (no value). He can probably get a decent player in return but not a prospect as highly-regarded as Miller.

  33. Why should Mike Winters be suspended?

    Winters was goading Bradley, something that was confirmed by the first base coach. Buster Olney reported this morning that Winters called him a piece of shit while he was standing on first base.

  34. per Druw…

    “If the Braves came and offered me a five-year deal in that [$75 million] range, I would be happy and I would stay,” Jones said. “I want to stay with one team. That’s my main thing. If they don’t have me in their plan, I understand that. I just have to move on.”

  35. Stu,
    I agree that the IL schedule isn’t even and ours turned out to be the toughest, but we still couldn’t do better than 4-11.

    I can’t go crazy about the schedule. We’re not going to make the post-season for the same reason that most teams don’t: We aren’t good enough.

  36. I hear you, ububba, but the Cardinals weren’t good enough to make it last year, either, and they ended up getting another championship banner to hang out of it. Just irks me is all.

  37. I wonder what Boras thought when he read Andruw’s quote saying he’d take a 5/75 deal.

    He was probably busy trying to get the Cubs brass to give the team to A-Rod.

  38. Stu,
    I’ve resigned myself to the odious notion that baseball has made it easier for teams that are not in any way exceptional to even have a chance at winning a World Series.

    The MLB post-season is one step away from being the Stanley Cup playoffs (8 teams vs. 16). And the Cards won’t be the only 80- to 85-win team to win it all.

    Divisional play and the Wild Card make MLB more money, but MLB’s not interested in sorting out the best team. You’d think 162 games would do that just fine.

    But that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

  39. Thoughts on the schedule:

    It evens out, and people thought the Fish were going to be okay this year. The Interterleague schedule this year was BS for the Braves, but it was almost as bad for the Mets, so we don’t have a huge beef there. We lost this season by barely playing above .500 against the NL Central, MLB’s worst division.

    Thoughts on Andruw:

    I voted “accept arbitration”. I think Atlanta will be willing to do this and would only trade for a pitcher if they were moving Renteria and getting back someone relatively cheap. So this may leave some cash open to bring Druw back for one year, which is all it will be. We need someone to play there until Schafer’s ready, and I’d be just fine if it was Andruw. Also makes sense for him since he can sign a bigger deal (in a weaker CF market, no less) if he has a bounce-back year. But if there’s a big offer from somewhere, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him walk.

    Thoughts on the middle-infield:

    I, too, will say I underestimated Escobar. Although I never thought he was an “all BA” type (he displayed some discipline and doubles power in the minors, and the transition from Cuba makes everything a little less reliable than with typical prospects), I didn’t see him becoming an above-average regular, which is about where I see him now. Prolly not as good as Furcal, and not as good as the Renteria of this year, but still above-average.

    As for KJ, there’s no need to move him. He’s had a down month after an absolutly torid August. That’s just him. Hot streak then cold streak. Might not be bad to hit him further down in the lineup, but I don’t think Escobar is particularly suited to lead off, either. Also, it would be dumb to move him to LF. We’ve got Brandon Jones on the way, and if KJ can hack it at 2B, there’s no good reason to move his bat to a place where it’ll be worth less.

  40. I’m on the side of those who want to suspend Winters. Bradley will probably have to pay for his outburst – his history makes it inevitable – and I’m not excusing it, but it really looked like Winters was looking for a fight from a guy he knew would fight. The 1st base coach said he hadn’t seen anything like it in 26 years. If everyone recalls, Chipper and others have had some choice comments about umpires this season. I truly wish all the major leagues – basketball, football, and baseball – would take a stand and start holding their officials up to the microscope the way their athletes are. I’m so tired of hearing that it’s ‘just part of the game.’ Ridiculous.

  41. The same people saying “Andruw won’t be as bad next season” are the same Baghdad Bobs who were telling us earlier in this season that “Andruw can’t slump all year, he’ll put up about a .260 batting average and 40+ homeruns”.

    No to bringing Andruw Jones back for 10+ million. The Braves need as much salary room as possible to deal with their starting rotation.

  42. ububba – I’m completely with you on the playoffs. It’s almost disgusting to me that the Braves are still mathematically in the race. Of course, I want them to get in, but I also feel something approximating anger whenever last year’s Cardinals team – led by Jeff Weaver, Anthony Reyes, and Jeff Suppan; hey, what are those three’s totals this year? – gets mentioned. That was no championship team, I’m sorry.

  43. 2-1 Washington in the 4th, after Moises Alou made an error to let in the go-ahead run.

    Because laughing at the Mets never goes out of style.

  44. I would certainly take 75/5 for Andruw. We’re not going to realize his value at defense until he’s gone, and there’s no way he bats .220 for the rest of his career. He’s played incredibly hard and I see no reason for that to change in the future. Tex’s contract could easily be double that, is there really a chance we can afford that?

  45. Five back, mraver. The Mets would have to go 1-5 for us to tie them (the Phillies would also be involved if they sweep Washington after we sweep them).

  46. I’m not worried about Andruw blowing the budget with a $15M contract next year. I’m worried about the last two years of that commitment.

    I agree. We’ll miss him a lot on defense. But I’d rather spend that money on Teixeira. And it’s just absurd to think he’ll cost $30M a year as someone suggested earlier. $20M maybe, but 30? no way.

  47. Teixeira > Andruw Jones

    Not ever debateable at this stage in their respective careers. I’d take Mark Teixeira at Scott Boras’ price over Andruw Jones’ at Scott Boras’ price.

  48. Giants clobbering the Padres 7-2. We’re 3 back of Philly and San Diego for the WC if that score holds.

  49. The last couple years of every mutli year contract are worrisome, that’s just the gamble. Andruw would only be 35 at the end of the contract, its not near as bad as Soriano’s 8 year concluding when he’s 38.

  50. I think the worry though, is that Andruw will have an early decline, based on how much baseball he’s played over the last ten years, and the fact that people with his batting approach tend not to age well.

  51. Three back. Giants up 9-4. Wow. We have to sweep those Phils. I don’t care. I’m not giving up until our E # is up. SD is playing bad enough to give one hope.

  52. One last bit of delusional hope!

    Let’s sweep the Phillies (who are now tied for the wildcard) and ruin their postseason hopes!

  53. If the Braves brought Glavine back this season, they’d probably be the division winners.

    But that said, I think he’s about done. No to Glavine.

    Also, I really hope he retires at season’s end. I don’t want to go through that soap opera again this offseason.

  54. mraver Says:

    Might not be bad to hit (KJ) further down in the lineup.

    KJ has 77 walks this season which is just 2 behind Chipper in only 16 more at bats. He’s definitely the best option we have to lead off. I think the main reason he’s slumped as of late is due to the fact that it’s basically his 2nd season in the majors. I can only see him getting more consistent as time goes on.

  55. Few random thoughts:

    1) I actually want Tommy back because his performance this season is exactly what the Braves need. Also, he will not commend a long-term contract and will not cost the Braves any prospect.

    2) This season, it would either be Hudson or Glavine. So, I am glad the Braves kept Hudson.

    3) Why did the Braves lose to Mike Pelfrey but the Natspos completely destroyed him?

    4) The more we talk about a sweep against the Phillies, the more likely the Braves will BE SWEPT instead. So, if you want good things to happen, please hope for the Braves to be swept. Please refer to the Mets series for past experience!

  56. I don’t think an extension for Andruw is out of the question–I think that it will be either arbitration or an extension and Andruw will be a Brave in 2008.

    However, JS needs to find out ASAP whether he can ink Teixera and then do it. It would be great if JS can sign Tex, but if not, then I am afraid that Tex needs to go on the trading block. Trading Escobar or Renteria is not likely to bring the calibre of starter which we might get for Tex.

    Without significantly improving the rotation, it will hardly matter how good a season Tex has in 2008, because the Braves will fare no better than they did in 2006 and 2007.

  57. No way, no how Schuerholz trades Teixeira this offseason after all the talent he gave up to acquire him for at least 2007 and 2008.

    I think Andruw Jones is gone. Maybe I’m just biased. But Schuerholz usually knows when to move on.

  58. Trading four prospects for a guy you’ll only keep for two months and with no replacement as good as him. Do you realize what you’re saying, kc?

  59. I don’t have a lot of hope about making the playoffs, but I do want to spoil the Phillies’ chances this week. That would provide a little entertainment to get me through the week.

  60. JoshQ-

    I agree – I HATE the Phillies and as everyone here knows, Mac and I would PREFER the Mets over the Phillies – we hate Philly more.

    If the Braves could win 2 of the next 3 against them, or even better sweep – that would be fan-freaking-tastic.

  61. Alex, what about Hampton? They’re going to be paying him 14.5 million next season, I think he pretty much has to be in the rotation (as the #5 guy, don’t count on him like this season, please).

    And no one suggest trading Hampton. No team is that stupid.

    All together now:

    Just one more year, just one more year……

  62. Dan,

    Where has Hampton been the past 2 seasons? The same place he’s likely to be next season. I think Alex is right to assume the rotation will consist of 5 guys not named Mike Hampton.

    If only we had the money for your proposal, Alex…that would be awesome.

  63. Stu,

    If there is a way to work it out, yes, it would be great. And Stu, of course is a 100% right – I neglected to mention Hampton because he won’t be healthy enough (again, sigh*) to pitch. That was not an accident, Dan.

    Glavine can still pitch at a resonably high level so he will cost about 12-14 mill. OK.

    But Maddux’s stuff has gone way down so I think his price tag is not what it used to be. But Mad Dog, back in a Braves uni as a 4th starter, for one last ride to glory?

    Kind of brings a tear to my eye at the thought of getting the band back together. This may sound crazy but if we end up trading Chuck James this offseason, I would even welcome Kevin Millwood back as the 5th starter.

    If that happens, Huddy will look around at the other members of the Braves rotation and thinks he stepped back in a time warp. And I am serious when I say that if we brought Glavine and Mad Dog back to Atlanta for their respective final seasons (and you can likely expect the “trio” to retire together at the end of 2008 and head to the Hall together) I am DEAD serious = that’s the stuff of a movie script.

    Instead of Hollywood recycling endless sequels, a reuiniting of 3 pitching legends for one last ride into Playoff glory – Kevin Costner would be crying at that.

  64. I would be willing to go 2-3 years for AJ, but 5 just seems too much of a risk. Of course, given the inflation of the market, 5/75 would be ok IF the Braves payroll at least keeps up with inflation. The problem with Andruw, IMO, is that, even if he has a comeback season, what does that mean. I look at this like figure skating–throw out the high (2005) and low (2007) marks and see what you get. His production is good but not great–lots of power, moderate OBP. At this state in his career, this is Andruw, he isn’t going to improve. His defense, while still good, is likely to decline at least some–if it hasn’t already. I think overall I would come down against an extension although I wouldn’t object to bringing him back for next year. Having both Andruw and Frenchy in the lineup means an awful lot of horrible at bats.

    I’d love to see the Mets blow it and I would rather see the Phillies win, but I can’t root against the Braves. I hold out no hope for the playoffs–that’s my way of dealing with the situation–but I want the Braves to win as many games as they can.

    I don’t think there is any way Glavine is coming back to Atlanta as long as JS is here. I think that relationship has soured and he seems to like the Mets. I suspect if the Mets win the WS, he would retire but he has said he enjoys pitching with the Mets. Apparently, his family is ok with him playing another year for the Mets.

  65. Just a thought about the whole Milton Bradley thing…

    This could be the break that the Braves need to squeak into the playoffs! Why? Because without Bradley the Padres stink.

    If the Braves can take both games from Philly and get a little help from Arizona and LA to take care of Colorado, we could end up with the wildcard after all. The Braves would probably have to win out, but the whole Bradley situation has made it far more likely that we will be there.

    Go Braves, and FUCK THE HATERS!

  66. By the way, I should note that, like Mac, I way underestimated how good Yunel would be. Of course, he’s not quite this good, but he’s clearly plenty good enough. Never thought I’d say this, but I apologize to Tony.

    I’d go 5/75 on Andruw, because, as crazy as it seems, for his offense and defense that’s below-market. No matter how horrible his year at the dish was, he was still pretty great in the field this year. He’s gonna begin to break down, sure, but he’ll be pretty solid for at least 2-3 more years, and likely a fourth. He’ll need to start resting 10-15 games a year, and that’ll help too.

  67. csg,

    Sorry. I would be far more offended if the Phillies go to the WS. FAR MORE.

    Seriously, Philadelphia sports fans are scum, only one step removed from being Georgia Tech fans ;-)

  68. AAR,

    It may be below market, but from the Braves’ POV, aren’t those resources better spent on pitching?

  69. I don’t think that 15 per year is outrageous for Andruw. But 5 years of it is. Lets face it. Even if he produced his career avg offensive numbers for the length of the contract he isn’t going to be playing CF at the back end of the contract. At least not the CF that we are used to seeing. And 15 per is too much for a corner outfielder with Andruw’s career averages.

    On Glavine, fearless prediction. He goes back to NY for 13.

  70. That senior reunion tour rotation looks sexy on paper, but I see it being a nightmare as the season progresses. We would have three players in their retirement years (if Smoltz decides to hang it up) and a guy who has been hurt for 2 seasons (I bet Hampton makes at least 15 starts next year. Now will he be effective? Who knows). Lots of injury concerns with a rotation that old.

    We need to go out and get a young, good arm who can take the mantle from John. We need to get young and skilled in the rotation now, and not wait until Smoltzy hangs it up. We have some attractive pieces for some clubs and the Giants and Tigers are both intriguing trading partners (Matt Cain and Jurrjens come to mind).

  71. Sam, when did I say the Braves should trade Tex? We have to keep the guy. If the Braves are handing out big contract, it should go to Tex and not to Andruw.

    Alex, I would love to see Maddux coming back also, but he is NOT a free agent. Maddux has a player option and is expected to be exercised by him. Besides, I believe the Braves have enough money to bring only one back…

  72. SomeYahoo, please remember the names of Tommy Hanson, Cole Rohrbough, Jeff Locke, and Steven Evarts. They are one to three years away, and they will be better than Davies, James, Lerew, and Reyes.

  73. Stu, you’re absolutely right, it should be spent on pitching. But what pitching do you spend it on? I would love to keep Ron Mahay if we could, but it probably will cost a bit much. But there’s nothing more expensive than a number 3 starter these days, and that’s what we need — just look at what the Giants gave Barry Zito!

  74. Here’s an encouraging stat for those believers. The Braves chance of winning the WC: 0.85%. Talk about a miracle if it happens. It would be the greatest playoff surge in the history of baseball. I think I read somewhere that no team has ever gained more than 2.5 games on any leader in the final week.

  75. I’m cool with those names kc, but if we’re talking about playing the market for another SP, I want to bring in somebody young and talented, not some twilight, short-term fix.

  76. AAR,

    If we’ve got a spare $15MM, I’d much rather spend it on Javier Vazquez than Andruw Jones. Heck, you’d have enough left over to re-sign Mahay, too.


    Why do you think these clubs are itching to trade their young, cheap, high-upside pitchers to the Braves? Whom do we have to offer in return? There is no more valuable commodity in baseball than someone like Matt Cain. There is NO way we will be able to acquire someone like that.

  77. I would surely prefer getting somebody young and talented, but where do you find that guy and how to get him? Andrew Miller? I don’t think the Tigers will ever consider trading him away. Who else? The Mets have been extremely fortunate to land Perez and Maine without giving up anything (if you consider Kris Benson as “something”, I am fine with that).

    I want Glavine back because 1) he should be a Brave, and 2) he is exactly what the Braves need right now: a short term fix as a bridge to the names I mentioned.

    Nowadays, it is critical to develop internal pitching talent. Our current round of pitching talant in Davies, James, Lerew, and Reyes have not worked out well. So, the team needs short term fix to bridge the gap between now and future.

    That’s just my personal opinion….

  78. I’m talking about a Matt Cain or a Jair Jurrjens from Detroit. Those are the guys on my radar. Who knows if they’d give them up, but if they’re even remotely available, I say we go after them. They’re both sort of Second fiddle young rotation guys for the Giants and Tigers and aren’t as untouchable as Lincecum and Miller. Miller isn’t an option.

  79. Maddux isn’t likely to give the Braves a discount like Glavine is plus he reportedly prefers to play for a west coast team since he lives in Vegas. I don’t see any chance he’ll come back to Atlanta.

    Now Tommy if he really wants to play his final season with the Braves absolutely could come back. Money would seem to not be an issue this time around. The Braves would appear to have the payroll to match whatever the Mets offer Glavine. He has a home in Atlanta. The team with him added would be a strong playoff if not championship contender. If he doesn’t come back this time, we’ll know conclusively it was all about money and a feud between him and Shuerholz last year.

  80. The Giants would never give up Cain, and may you tell me what is so special about Jair Jurrjens? I don’t know much about him…

  81. If we’ve got a spare $15MM, I’d much rather spend it on Javier Vazquez than Andruw Jones.

    Stuff like this kills me. 2004-2006 Vasquez puts up ERA+ numbers of 92, 99, and 96. This year he has essentially the same rate stats but has gotten significantly hit-lucky, and so – logically – he’s worth $15 mil a year and is a more valuable player than Andruw Jones. Buy high, sell low I guess.

  82. Ah, yes, because having Andruw in CF and Buddy Carlyle as our #4 has been such a winning combination this year.

    As referenced, BTW, Vazquez makes less than $15MM. I think it’s $11MM, but I’ll have to check.

  83. Indeed. And this year has been totally representative of what you get out of Andruw Jones and is exactly what should be expected going forward.

  84. You honestly believe Andruw—even typical Andruw—at $15MM is better for the Braves than a league-average (at worst) starter at $11MM next season? I don’t disagree that, all esle equal, Andruw will be a “better” player in 2008 than Javy Vazquez or someone like him will be. But I think on this team, a guy like Vazquez would be more valuable, because we already have bats and are sorely lacking in arms.

  85. The dirty little secret about this team is that the pitching isn’t that bad. We are sixth in the NL at 4.12, while Arizona is third at 4.11. Only the Cubs and Padres can be said to have truly better pitching (and maybe Arizona, park effects, blah blah). Our pitching isn’t tremendous like it used to be but it’s not so bad that it would prevent us from going places.

  86. That’s true. If we’d had Vazquez and Replacement-Level CF this year, we’d have made the playoffs, but if we’d had this roster only with Typical Andruw, we probably would have, too.

    While I don’t think Andruw will continue to be a gaping black hole where all rallies go to die, I’m not as confident as you apparently are that he’ll be some big plus offensively anymore, either.

    I still think the safer investment would be Vazquez.

    All that said, I think we’re throwing around imaginary money, anyway. I’m quite skeptical as to whether the Braves will have this spare $15MM.

  87. Yeah, but Smoltz and Hudson skew that a little, don’t you think? I mean, if two starters have 0.00 ERAs and the other three have 7.00 ERAs, the team ERA would look good but you’d still have trouble winning more than you lose.

  88. Robert,
    But I’m sure you agree that our pitching isn’t good enough and that ERA number is very top-heavy (Hudson/Smoltz).

    I’m not going to weigh in on the Andruw question if I don’t know the budget. If we have a bigger budget, I’d love to keep him. If we don’t, we can’t. The notion that we need another starting pitcher should be a given.

  89. All that said, I think we’re throwing around imaginary money, anyway. I’m quite skeptical as to whether the Braves will have this spare $15MM.

    Agree with that. I don’t think they buy anything of significance this off season. They will make the customary below market offer to the departing FA (this year it’s Andruw’s turn to be low balled), wave goodbye to him, and then hit the bargin bin.

    Personally I hope the Angels sign Andruw. He’d be a good fit there and I’d still get to follow him fairly closely.

  90. I mean, if two starters have 0.00 ERAs and the other three have 7.00 ERAs, the team ERA would look good but you’d still have trouble winning more than you lose.

    Sure. At extremes things rarely hold together. We have two good guys, one average guy, and two question marks. We are in better shape than most because finding the two good guys is the hardest part. We just need to scare up another average guy. I don’t think you pass on signing a plus offensive player so you can commit your resources to finding another average SP. But we obviously disagree on that.

  91. I don’t think you pass on signing a plus offensive player so you can commit your resources to finding another average SP. But we obviously disagree on that.

    It’s not really that we disagree on. What we really disagree on is our expectations of these two players’ respective levels of production going forward. I think Vazquez is better than league-average (NL-average, anyway), and like I said, I’m not confident Andruw’s going to be a plus offensive player anymore.

  92. The question of Andruw’s future offensive abilities will be the great debate among forum people & baseball people.

    My gut says he can’t be this bad again next year. But is he worth a 5-year/$75-Mil gamble? Who the hell knows?

  93. Robert,

    This year, Andruw Jones has been a less productive offensive player than Willie Harris and Corky Miller. he has been barely better than Prado and Thorman.

    Either his body is breaking down, or he is not sufficiently dedicated to get into shape. We will have Boras and Andruw’s idea of which of those it is if they accept arbitration. That is, if he can get into better shape and have a better year, then there is bigger money in his future by waiting a year. He also lacks the ability to get the home run sufficiently out of his head to have even mediocre swings.

    The chance he is even equal to his three year offensive average is unlikely.

    He may still be a plus centerfielder, but that will not last.

    If he is not around, then his lineup spot would be filled by either Matt Diaz, Brandon Jones, or Willie Harris Or NEW GUY). The first two will significantly outperform Andruw offensively next year. The third one will out field him (and actually bettered Andruw offensively this year).

    Branch Rickey is, I believe the first to say it, “Better to let them go one year too soon than one year too late.” We need to offer arb, “maybe” throw a low ball offer of 40 million for 4 years (but probably not) and let that be it.

  94. I would love to keep Druw, but the priority this off season should be securing a capable third starter and finding a way to resign Teixeira.

  95. The question of Andruw’s future offensive abilities will be the great debate among forum people & baseball people.

    Cliff seems to already know the answer:

    If he is not around, then his lineup spot would be filled by either Matt Diaz, Brandon Jones, or Willie Harris Or NEW GUY). The first two will significantly outperform Andruw offensively next year.

    Hey, I love Matt Diaz. He’s great to have around but even in what looks like his career year and being shielded from most of the tough righty pitchers out there Andruw had a higher OPS+ than Diaz’s ’07 just last year. Brandon Jones – who knows? Willie Harris is, of course, terrible.

    The question is – as ubbuba alludes to – is Andruw done? We are all just guessing.

  96. I was looking up Braves team stats from 1966 to around 2004 last night. I took a look at some of the game logs and I realize what the main thing was. If you happen to check the ’69 and ’91 Braves, you’ll see that they played at a ridiculous pace during the second half, particularly the last 10 or 12 games of the season I think 10-1 over the last 11 for BOTH teams. Both of those were division winning teams.

    Then 1993, we killed in the second half, played .700 baseball. There were similar streaks throughout the early 2000’s

    We USED to know how to put together a winning streak, which hasn’t happened the last two years, at least when it really mattered.

    As far as the Mets and the Phillies, I’d rather see the Phillies make it and then go 3 and out in the first round than see that “you gotta believe” and “Jose Jose Jose” crap yet again. If they can’t beat a team like the Nats in crucial games this late in the season, then they deserve to sit at home during the playoffs, just like us. I mean, even Langerhans knocked one out in the ninth last night. That should eliminate them right there on principle.

    But, I’d rather the Mets and Phillies lose all the rest of thier games, and the Braves almost unknowingly end up in the playoffs, get hot, and bring home another championship, “the one we never saw coming”.

    Sigh, a man can always dream.

  97. Sigh, a man can always dream.

    I will confess to firing up extra innings to watch some of the Padres game last night. Hope is a tough thing to stamp out.

  98. I saw Patti Smith give a concert a few years ago, and she dragged Steve Earle out for a duet. It was neat.

    He’s also on one of my random favorite duets, “Bible and a Gun” with Jason Ringenberg (formerly of Jason and the Scorchers). It’s about John Brown, and it’s just gorgeous. Of course, I dig just about everything Jason does, including his Farmer Jason kids’ albums. Check out “Punk Rock Skunk” on Rockin’ in the Forest and see if you don’t tap your feet.

  99. AAR,

    I have some stories about Jason & The Nashville Scorchers. They were one of the greatest bar bands ever. (Think Hank Williams backed by the Circle Jerks.) Used to come to Athens all the time in the very early 1980s. Did a bunch of stories on them.

    When we grab that beer, I’ll tell you all about ’em.

  100. The one thing that troubles me more than Andruw’s low BA and plethora of ailments is his apparent lack of dedication. I’m just speculating here, but it seems that his hustle and killer instinct have been non-existent. That and his refusal to listen to Terry Pendleton (that “I’m a pull hitter, and that’s that” quote earlier this year made me furious) is enough for me to be fine with letting him go.

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