Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: 3. Starting Pitching

Unfortunately, there is no good rhyme for “Smoltz, Hudson, and pray for _____”. “Lightning bolts” really doesn’t work. At any event, for much of the year — especially after Chuck James got hurt and was first ineffective and then absent — that was basically the Braves’ situation. Smoltz had 26 quality starts this season, Hudson 25. James had 11; nobody else had more than six, and the various flotsam that floated through the back of the rotation totalled 19 in all. That’s a pretty accurate statement about the state of the Braves’ rotation: two aces, one decent guy, and a load of crap. Hudson and Smoltz both topped 200 innings; James threw 161; the next guy was Carlyle with 104 (as a starter).

While it would be nice if James came up with another pitch, what the Braves are getting from him is serviceable in the third spot (actually, it would be better if he pitched between Smoltz and Hudson) and would be excellent in the fourth. He’s not a workhorse, largely because he has trouble finishing batters off, but there should be a role in the rotation for him.

Of the incumbents, Jo-Jo Reyes did his best Horacio imitation, walking more than he struck out while giving up homers at nearly the same rate as James. He’s promising but needs more seasoning. Buddy Carlyle and Jeff Bennett are already sufficiently seasoned, and neither is more than a fifth starter. There is no amount of seasoning sufficient to cover up the stink of Lance Cormier. There’s also Mike Hampton, but come on.

So, since Reyes is the most advanced prospect around and he isn’t ready yet, the Braves will have to look outside the organization for a pitcher to shore up the middle of the rotation. The most prevalent suspect is Tom Glavine, of course. Glavine won’t be back with the Mets after his scapegoating, and while there’s been some talk of the Natspos it seems likely that if he pitches in 2008 it will be in a Braves uniform. I have no idea what his thought processes are, of course.

I should point out that Glavine was no more than an average pitcher in 2007. Now, what the Braves needed was an average pitcher who could give them a chance to win more often than not. However, realize that his 4.45 ERA was higher than Chuck James’, despite pitching in a friendlier ballpark, that he struck out only 89 men in 200 1/3 innings (well below the 4.5 K/9 dividing line below which most pitchers can’t be effective, and a big drop from 2006) and that he is 41 years old and will turn 42 in April.

Tom Glavine leads, necessarily, to Greg Maddux, who turns 42 three days earlier. Maddux was a slightly above-average starter in 2007. He’s just above the 4.5 K/9 line (104 in 198 innings) and got a huge break from his park, which cut down the home runs that have plagued him since he left Atlanta. His ERA was a run lower in San Diego than on the road (acknowledging that a lot of his road games were in Colorado or Arizona). And he seems to prefer to stay on the West Coast.

The free agent pool is very shallow this year, and the better free agent pitchers are going to get bid up. It seems more likely (if Glavine doesn’t come back) that the Braves will try to make a move in trade, which has always been Schuerholz’s preferred method anyway. There’s always talk of Javier Vazquez, of course. There’s some pie-in-the-sky thoughts of Dan Haren; it seems more likely that the A’s will trade Joe Blanton, which seems more reasonable.

To be honest, I expect Schuerholz will pull off something totally unexpected. It’s his style. Hopefully, this one won’t be another Hampton.

163 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: 3. Starting Pitching”

  1. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people think Carlyle is a serviceable 5th starter and Cormier is complete garbage. To me, it sure seems like the opposite is true.

  2. Still, still looking for that blue jeaned baby queen, prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. See her face on the movie screen, with Jimmy Dean, James Dean.

  3. Id like to get Glavine and make a move for another starter. It would be nice to have two horses and three decent guys. We know that someone will get hurt and miss a start. Hell, why not a six man rotation?

  4. Glavine had 24, I think, quality starts and threw over 200 innings. He’s the kind of pitcher the Braves need behind Smoltz and Hudson.

    Dan Haren is still not going to happen. It would be so great, but come on. Would Billy Beane even want to make another trade with Schuerholz? Beane kind of got burned on the Hudson trade.

  5. From the previous thread,

    ububba,

    I think Steinbrenner was jealous of Torre ever since he won the 4 World Series because he didn’t like Torre getting the credit. He has been trying to undermine Torre ever since. The only good thing if the Yankees had won the World Series would have been if Torre then had told Steinbrenner to shove this job up his ass.

    Re the pitching. I understand that James is serviceable but presumably he (and we)would like him to be better than that. I understand the days of the 90s rotation are gone, but it seems to me that, given Smoltz’s age and health and Hudson’s inconsistency, the Braves need something better from a number three. If they had Sabbathia and Carmona as one and two, they could probably survive with a league average number three, especially if the offense became more consistent. But they still need something from four and five.

    I guess this decision has been made with acquiring Teixera, but, IMO, the question is whether you go with a Glavine and have a rotation with two forty year olds. It’s obviously a win now strategy but I’m afraid that 2009 and after could be very dark days unless they find some solid young pitching.

  6. I have to ask if the starting pitcher situation has changed much since this season’s trading deadline.

    At that point, JS traded for an exceptional hitter and good relief pitching. He (and others)noted that there were no starting pitchers available that met the Brave’s requirements by the parameters he was using. Talent for value.

    Are there pitchers who meet those needs now?
    Are the parameters different with the resources available now?

    This may seem too analytical. I’d rather talk about getting Haren, too.
    But when Mac talks about JS doing something unexpected, I find that encouraging. I still appreciate the deadline trade and hope John is as active during the off-season.

  7. Whether Glavine is a good idea depends mainly on what salary he wants. $1 million? Sure. $10 million? Probably not. He just turned down a $13 million option, so I am guessing he’ll be too expensive for what he’s worth.

  8. Ok…here’s my DREAM scenario:

    Blue Jays trade Roy Halladay to the Braves for:

    Reyes, Gregor Blanco and James

    won’t happen, but man can a brotha’ dream

  9. Glavine can be had for less than $10 million for one year. That seems like the best solution to me. We get to keep all our good infield prospects and give James and Reyes more time to show whether they are for real or the next Horacio. Glavine was actually pretty solid until his last 3 starts. If we don’t expect him to be a #1 like he was 10 years ago, he should give us quality innings from the middle of the rotation. Just having somebody who doesn’t get hurt and pitches 6 innings a game will be a big improvement over the last 2 years. If we’re still in need of a starter at the trade deadline, then we could put together a package of an infielder + Reyes + something else to get somebody from Oakland or Chicago.

    The other similar option would be Curt Schilling but he’s not going to give us a hometown discount like Tommy so probably doesn’t fit our budget.

  10. Well, I think JS had the right idea last winter to try to create a dominant bullpen. It’s cheaper and easier than getting starting pitching and it might well have worked if (1) Gonzo hadn’t gotten hurt, (2) Wickman didn’t fall apart; and (3) Soriano didn’t have a mid-season meltdown. As Kevin suggests, it doesn’t look like there is any more SP available now than at the deadline (unless you include Santana who is pretty much out of the Braves reach). The young arms in the bullpen look promising and if Soriano can avoid the problems he had last year, this could be a very solid bullpen. I assume that James will be working on a third pitch this offseason and if he improves a little and they find a another decent starter (Glavine or someone else), they might be ok in a division that doesn’t have dominant pitching. If the Braves can pick up another five or six games, they have a shot.

    In the long-run, they have to do a better job of developing or acquiring young starters but that’s a different story.

  11. While it would be nice to have Glavine back, Jeremy Affeldt is probably of equal value, much younger and would come cheaper on the FA market.

    Our we could get Glavine, Kenny Rogers and David Wells and go for an all over 40 rotation.

  12. #15, I doubt the Braves have $30 million lying around to spend on 3 months of a broken down, needs to retire pitcher.

  13. #9,

    Where did that figure come from? Glavine would be nuts to ask for $15 million for 2 years. 1 year, $6-7 I’ve heard will suffice.

  14. if he turns down 13…

    7.5 is peanuts

    i say give him 2 years and fire mcdowell when glavine retires and hire him as our pitching coach…

  15. On a complete side note.

    I watched the Yankees Indians game last night. I can understand some of the complaints about Caray, I guess I’m just used to him after all these years.

    However, I will say that I was very surprised to find myself thorughly enjoying Tony Gwynn’s commentary. Even in the high pitch whine I think he is the most interesting baseball color man I’ve heard in years.

  16. From DOB’s blog last week, I thought I saw that Glavine was still due something like $2.5 to 3 Mil from the Mets. Wouldn’t that allow the Braves to come in with a lower number, with or without “hometown discount”?

    Marc,
    Re: #5.

    Bingo. And Steinbrenner has been more petty than usual when it comes to Torre.

    Steinbrenner is someone who always covets those who beat him (from stars like Giambi to underwhelming lifers like Womack), and often doesn’t appreciate what he has (Pettitte, Torre).

  17. @19
    Better than Joe Morgan? Come on now!

    Mixed feelings on Glavine. 6 or 7 million why not. 10 no way.

    I am guessing that Haren and Blanton are talked about because they still have some years before FA and are therefore hot commmdities. If Beane dangles these guys on the market I think that he’d ask for too much from us. They need hitting desperately. Trade Texieria? Just wondering.

  18. Mac and I just argued about Glavine vs. Chuck James but the fact remains, Galvine threw a lot more innings – and Mac – one thing I forgot to mention is that even though James had a slightly better ERA, keep in mind that if James had TRIED to pitch the 6th and 7th inning in most of his starts, his ERA would have likely been above 5.00.

    Bobby had no choice but to pull Chuckie out after 5 in most starts which of course also taxed the hell out of the bullpen.

    So, on paper, the numbers maybe a wash or slightly favoring Chuck, but Glavine had at least 40 more innings and that’s the key difference right there. Glavine would be fine as a 3rd starter at about 7 mill. and wouldn’t cost us any offense to get him.

    To answer an earlier question, Glavine turned down $13 mill. in NY because he doesn’t want to pitch there and his last start was effectively a bridge burner to returning there anyway. He clearly wants to be back in Atlanta so daddy can be home more. Plus, he has millions in the bank – he’s at the point where it’s not about the $ at all. He’s 42 and wants to pitch at home, 1-2 more seasons.

  19. Re: Blanton, Haren

    I can’t remotely imagine any scenario where Beane would trade one of those young aces unless he’s getting a LOT of offense in return.

    But if we could trade KJ, James and 2 prospects to get either of these Oakland pitchers, HELL YES – I would absolutely do that in a nanosecond.

  20. Glavine averaged 5.89 innings a start. James averaged 5.37. In other words, about half an inning less. Is that a bigger deal than James’ ERA advantage and youth?

  21. Agreed, Glavine pitched significantly more innings. Glavine also had nearly as many quality starts as Smoltz too; he just happened to have a few really bad starts. It was also mentioned that Glavine pitched in a pitcher’s park, which is true. That being said I don’t think anyone will ever mistake Turner Field for the old Launching Pad. If we have it in the payroll I think it would be a steal to get someone like Glavine.

    I do not agree that we should stop there as far as pitching goes. Obviously none of us know what pitchers will be available, but if a young top of the rotation pitcher could be had I think we have to look into that too. The Braves have a lot of youth on the team, unfortunately not nearly enough is in the starting pitching.

  22. James is a flyball pitcher who gives up a lot of homeruns and supposedly has bad mechanics that make him prone to injury plus he was on the DL for several weeks this year. So yes, Mac, I would take Glavine as a #3 over James to start the season. If James breaks out an improved curveball or slider, keeps the ball in the park better, and becomes more efficient and thus able to go deeper in games, then perhaps by the end of the year he could be the #3 instead of Tommy. That would be great, but I wouldn’t bet the season on it happening.

  23. I am with you Kenny.

    A rotation of Smoltz-Hudson-Glavine-new 3rd/4th starter-James would be the best.

    If dealing James in a package with KJ and other pieces nets us Blanton or Haren, WOW. I just can’t believe Beane would be that stupid to do that.

    But if the rotation ends up being Smoltz-Hudson-Glavine-Blanton-Cormier or Reyes, I would be FINE with that. I have a sneaking suspicion the rotation may end up looking like that.

    You can survive a mediocre young pitcher like Cormier or Reyes in the 5th slot – none of us will really care if we have guys like Glavine and Blanton at 3-4.

    And though I would rather keep KJ, I would rathe rupgrade the rotation a LOT more and Blanton or Haren is an enormous upgrade over James. Enormous.

    Mac, your infatuation with James is completely unjustified because you seem to ignore the fact that his ERA probably ends up around 5.80 if he pitches 7 innings every time. The proof was there.

    Plus, we can easily handle the loss of KJ with the clear emergence of Escobar – it just means we need to hang onto Edgar Rentaria which I think we’d all be just fine with.

  24. Blanton’s not in Haren’s league, Alex. He’d be a very nice addition to our rotation, but he’s no ace. He could be had with fewer prospects, too. (FWIW, I would trade neither KJ nor James for him.)

  25. Then what would Glavine’s ERA be if he pitched seven innings? He didn’t go much longer than James (just about what James did before he got hurt) and he’s over 40 years old and doesn’t have a strikeout pitch.

  26. I could be wrong, but I think Cox soured a little on James. He just doesn’t seem like a typical Braves pitcher. I wouldn’t be surprised to see James and someone else traded for a #3 starter with #1/#2 potential and Glavine signed. I also wouldn’t be shocked if we got another prospect – so our rotation would be:
    Hudson, Smoltz, Glavine (the sequel), new guy, new guy.

  27. Let me amend my statement.

    I’d trade James for Blanton straight up or with a live-arm throw-in, but I don’t think Beane will be looking to make that type of trade. I think he’ll want at least two known commodities for Blanton, and I don’t think the upgrade from James to Blanton is significant enough to warrant including another player of real value in the deal.

    And I would hang up the phone if he asked for KJ for Blanton.

  28. Chuck James is a 24 year old lefthanded pitcher with a 109 career ERA+.

    Joe Blanton is a 26 year old lefthanded pitcher with a 108 career ERA+.

    Blanton was better in 2007, but I don’t know that the difference is really that great.

  29. I’m more sanguine on James than some, because he’s still a young guy, very cheap, and strikes more people out than your average lefty soft-tosser. His peripheral trends aren’t terrible. His K/IP trended slightly down from 2006 (from 6.9 K/9 to 6.5), which isn’t great, but his walk rate decreased and so his K/BB increased slightly, which is good. Of course, his HR rate increased, and that needs to stop happening. If he can cut down on his homers, he may last longer into games, which will be to everyone’s benefit.

    I think Chuckie regressed a bit this year, but there’s no reason he can’t bounce back to a 110-115 ERA+ level again, which is great for a #3 starter. As long as he keeps missing bats and keeping them in the ballpark, he’ll be a productive pitcher. In this market, that’s easily worth the $10 million we’re prepared to give Glavine.

  30. Without having any factual basis for this, it appears that Glavine had more “quality” starts than James but also more real awful outings (and obviously, his overall ERA was hurt badly by the last two starts). It seems that when Glavine is on, he is still a quality pitcher and probably better than James but that he has even less margin for error than he used to and that his bad outings are really, really bad. That’s a little like Horam, who had some good outings but whose bad outings were terrible. I do think half an inning is significant; it’s the difference between making it through the sixth and having to come out in the middle. Over the course of a year, adding those half innings probably makes a difference with the bullpen.

    However, the unknown here is whether Glavine has anything left. If he is the Glavine of 2007, that’s one thing. But it might be difficult for him to replicate even last year at age 42. James obviously has more upside simply because of his age in that he can get better while Glavine certainly will not.

    I would not necessarily be averse to bringing Glavine back if they don’t have to pay too much (and I would love to see Glavine retire in a Braves uniform)and if it doesn’t keep them from making other moves but I am skeptical about adding a 42 year old pitcher to a pitching staff headed by another 40-year old.

  31. Is there anyone worthwhile in KC that Moore would be wiling to part with? I’m assuming he’d want too much for Greinke.

  32. Mac,

    The main difference is IP. Blanton’s a workhorse, just what this rotation needs. Whether all those innings are a harbinger of injuries to come is the real question.

  33. I would not necessarily be averse to bringing Glavine back if they don’t have to pay too much (and I would love to see Glavine retire in a Braves uniform)and if it doesn’t keep them from making other moves but I am skeptical about adding a 42 year old pitcher to a pitching staff headed by another 40-year old.

    Pretty much my thoughts, too, Marc.

  34. Is there anyone worthwhile in KC that Moore would be wiling to part with? I’m assuming he’d want too much for Greinke.

    Kyle Davies.

    Kidding!

  35. Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine, Blanton, Reyes/James/Bennett/Carlyle/Cormier or whoever else you want to try is fine by me

    I dont see the A’s trading either Haren or Blanton, but I’ve been wrong before

  36. I can’t put any faith in Chuckie. 32 HR’s in 30 starts. 32 HR’s in just over 161 innings. Can you even do an evaluation of Chukie from the 6th inning on? The sample size is so small!

    Saying he ain’t all that bad is damning him with faint praise. A championship level team can’t exist with their #3 starter putting the ball on a tee once a game!

  37. To say there’s a difference betwween James and Blanton is the understatement of the year – Stu, I am not sure why you don’t love Blanton that much, but he looks like a huge upgrade from James.

    I just lost all confidence in Chuck. Too many homers, too many 5 inning starts – it really hurt the Braves tremendously and I could live with it from the #4 spot, be very content from the #5 spot, but if James is the #3 starter again, we can forget any hope of the Post Season.

    I would take Joe Blanton in a heartbeat and yes, KJ and James for him is very justifiable. Look, I really like KJ but he disappeared completely in the stretch run.

  38. I would take Joe Blanton in a heartbeat and yes, KJ and James for him is very justifiable.

    Billy Beane is the only GM in baseball who would support that statement, Alex.

  39. Alex, you’re suffering from a serious case of grass-is-always-greener syndrome. Blanton’s an okay pitcher, but he’s no more than an average #2 or above-average #3. That’s useful, but not worth giving up two major leaguers for.

    I don’t know that the A’s would want Chuck anyway. They have a lot of young pitching, and their offense is awful. I’d bet that considering the complete and utter ineptitude of Bobby Crosby they’d be interested in Lillibridge. Kendall is even worse, though I think they have a replacement in place there. Still, Lillibridge, Pena, and Jo-Jo for Blanton?

  40. Hamilton thought that he was in line to get the primary Cubs broadcasting job (he was already on staff) when Jack Brickhouse retired. Instead, Tribune brought in Harry Caray. Hamilton hated Harry ever after, though he may have all along; they worked briefly together with the Cards, and some say Hamilton blamed Harry for getting him fired.

    Anyway, after Harry died Hamilton was quoted as saying some nasty things about him, and apparently in his autobiography has continued to say nasty things. Skip (who of course succeeded Hamilton with the Braves) was understandably upset.

  41. They need hitting desperately. Trade Texieria? Just wondering.

    Teixeira doesn’t seem like a Billy Beane type player. And by that I mean he’s really expensive.

    Haren is way better than Blanton, but Blanton is probably the only one you can get from the A’s. Trading Haren would be pretty stupid, plus the Braves no-doubt wouldn’t offer the best package of players and prospects if every baseball GM hears Haren is available.

    I think everyone here is down on James, but he is still a keeper in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean bringing back Glavine is a bad idea. I think Glavine right now is more of a third starter than James. And a third starter is all the Braves REALLY need to be in contention.

  42. Braves 2007 Win Shares

    A few notes… Chipper, obviously, was the most valuable player on the team, but second was, surprisingly, Francoeur. KJ and Hudson tied for third.

    Andruw, despite his awful offense, winds up tied for sixth with Smoltz, largely due to defense. Smoltz pitched almost as valuably as Hudson but takes a big penalty as a hitter.

    Mark Redman: negative-3. Enough said.

  43. The assumption that people here seem to be making is that James cannot get any better than he is. He very well could improve by adding another pitch or improving what he has. Whether McDowell is the person to do this is another story. Of course, I was reluctant to give up on Kyle Davies so my opinion might not be the best. I think Glavine is a better option than what the Braves have now at 4 and 5 (not saying much)assuming that he is not too expensive. But you aren’t doing anything for the future and you are really gambling on having two 40+ year olds remain healthy and productive. What really worries me about Glavine, though, is, unless you win the World Series next year,you are in pretty bad shape for 2009. (You are in bad shape even if you win the World Series but we wouldn’t care as much!)

  44. Mac,

    Kendall’s been with the Cubs for a few months. Kurt Suzuki is the A’s catcher, and he’s good/young/cheap.

  45. Oh, well. Maybe they need a backup? Were the Cubs drunk at the time?

    I still think that the A’s would look offense, considering that they were terrible at several positions. I think they’d be interested in Diaz, and if the Braves don’t think he’s a regular trading him would probably maximize his value.

  46. I agree, Mac. As much as it would pain me to get rid of Diaz, I think I’d rather do something like Lillibridge/Diaz than your proposal. I don’t want to get rid of Reyes. Not yet, anyway.

  47. If Glavine slots as 3, then James as 4, then Reyes as 5, or maybe Hampton as 4 or 5, HMM.

    Seems like a lot of less than overpowering lefty stuff going on there. So, you have to call Hudson your #2, but slot him third or else you get eaten alive as hitters remember what they hit against the night before.

    If Blanton is a lefty, as indicated, then we don’t need to add him in, even if he comes in with Reyes or James going out. And, I am inclined to think heis better than James now, but the margin is not very great.

    We still need a young 3 / future 1 or 1a kind of guy that is in arb or earlier to allow us to still have them when the next generation gets to the big time.

  48. Sigh… this again. Look, Dan, Beane’s philosophy is not “draw walks” or even “have a high OBP.” In fact, it’s probably less so than it was for Sandy Alderson. Beane’s philosophy is to focus on undervalued talent. That was OBP several years ago, but that’s not so any more. For awhile, they were focusing heavily on defense as something they thought they could measure better than others and thus could value better. I think they’ve run up against the limits of that strategy.

    Diaz doesn’t walk much at all, but he’s an undervalued talent, a guy who has hit on every level and yet is now heading into his age 30 season with only 837 career major league plate appearances. He’s exactly the kind of guy that Beane has picked up in the past, a guy who still has a few years left in the tank but can be jettisoned when he gets expensive. Think Matt Stairs.

  49. Dan,

    Gee, are you reading blogs from 6 months ago??? I have posted NUMEROUS times that I was wrong about Aaron Harang – he absolutely showed me how good he is and I would definitely give up a lot to get him.

    I am on board with Mac, Stu, AAR, YOU, and everyone else about him.

    But I like Blanton – not as much as I like Harang or Haren, but the bottom line is Blanton could be had for a lot less.

    And yes, I like Blanton a lot more than Chuck James and his 5 inning starts and gopher balls. it’s not even close.

    But Dan, I am with you 100% about Harang and have openly admitted I was dead wrong about him.

  50. By the way, D.O.B. mentioned Noah Lowry and I am honestly torn about him.

    Lowry has shown to have the potential in the past to be a very good lefthander – but last year, he had almost as many walks as strikeouts.

    If he could be had cheaply, it’s worth the risk, but I would definitely prefer Blanton.

  51. Actually, he had exactly as many walks as strikeouts, 86 of both. Too few of the good, too many of the bad. And the strikeouts actually collapsed in the 2006 season, not last year. And he was shut down at the end of August with a bone spur in his elbow. And has has the nightmare comp list headed by Odalis Perez and Horacio Ramirez. Pass.

  52. But Dan, I am with you 100% about Harang and have openly admitted I was dead wrong about him.

    I never saw that. My mistake.

  53. I wouldn’t give up anything of significance for him. He’s arbitation-eligible and will (because of his showy ERA) make a bunch of money in 2008 — at least as much as the $2.65 million Horacio got for this past season, possibly more. (Horacio will probably be a prime comp for the arb case if it goes that far.) Perez made $3.4 million for his Age 26 season. For a chance that he could return to his 04-05 form? Which wasn’t that great — ERAs in the high threes in a pitchers’ park. No thanks.

  54. Win Shares:

    Chuck James – 8
    Tom Glavine – 11

    I thing every 3 WS is worth one win. I just don’t see Glavine as much of an upgrade over James.

  55. Interesting:

    Blanton (age 25)
    191.3 IP
    31 GS
    6.17 IP/GS
    1.76 K/BB
    4.8 K/9
    92 ERA+
    1.54 WHIP
    0.8 HR/9

    Chuck James (age 25)
    161.3 IP
    30 GS
    5.38 IP/GS
    2.0 K/BB
    6.47 K/9
    103 ERA+
    1.38 WHIP
    1.79 HR/9

    Blanton (age 26)
    230 IP
    34 GS
    6.76 IP/GS
    3.5 K/BB
    5.48 K/9
    111 ERA+
    1.22 WHIP
    0.63 HR/9

    What I draw from this (please correct me if I’m wrong):

    Blanton was obviously superior to James this past year, with James only having an advantage in K/9.

    However, Blanton’s age-25 stats were not better than Chuck’s. Blanton still gave his team more innings and depressed HR at a much better rate, but everything else favors Age-25 Chuck.

    Blanton’s age-26 season was much better than his age-25 season, showing significant improvement in every single peripheral.

    It’s quite possible that Chuck’s age-26 season will be significantly better than this past one was.

  56. Stu,

    Your numbers make my argument right there; plus, I don’t see a guy who can’t last past the 5th inning and is a home run pitcher, changing his stripes – do yuo really believe James can improve those things?

    If you do, great, I love the optimism, but otherwise, I just don’t see it and see Blanton as an upgrade.

  57. Alex,

    Did you read all of the numbers?

    Compare Blanton as a 25 year-old with James as a 25 year-old.

    Besides, I never argued that Blanton wouldn’t be an upgrade—I just don’t believe he’s enough of an upgrade to warrant trading Chuck and the second-best 2B in the NL this past season.

  58. Blanton’s a good innings-eater now. But the low K rate worries me. It seems like at best he’s Livan Hernandez: useful, but exactly the kind of guy who tends to command a higher price than he’s worth.

    (Also, on his comparables list through age 25 are the following notables: 1) Jeff D’Amico, 4) Adam Eaton, 5) Alan Benes, and 8) Odalis Perez. Yikes.)

  59. That low K-rate drastically improved this year, though. It’s still not high, but if he keeps walking only 40 batters every 230 innings, he’ll be just fine.

  60. My biggest problem with C. James is his inability to get past the 5th inning far too often. If you could hide him in the 5th spot, then he would be great. I just think that he is what we saw this year and now is the time to decide if he has more value as a trade asset or a 4/5 starter. Personally I would lean toward trading him because I think he could be more valuable to us as a trade asset.

  61. JoshQ,

    Blanton added 0.59 innings per start to his average as a 26 year-old. If Chuck were to do that, he’d average 6 innings per start, which would be very good.

    I have no idea whether doing that is very common (I doubt it) or whether Chuck is himself capable of doing that (I also doubt it), but I think it’s worth noting that he wouldn’t be the first to improve in that area at his age.

  62. Stu, I agree it is possible. In order for it to happen he has to add another pitch. Right now I wouldn’t trade him for Blanton. I don’t see the that as a big enough upgrade for the risk. I would only include him in a trade that netted a #2 type starter.

  63. this article states that the braves have apprx. 7.5 million more to spend than what was previously thought due to the “amortization” of mike hampton’s contract. can anyone vouch for this? if so, then there’s the 7.5 for glavine. that’s good news. also, i guess it means the backloaded contracts that we always gripe about are actually not as troublesome as once thought (unless this is an isolated incident).

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/10/braves-notes-ha.html#comments

  64. Wow! On the Baseball America chat on Southern League prospects, the moderator said that one scout had Brandon Jones ranked AHEAD of Evan Longoria.

    Sure, that’s just one guy’s opinion, but still.

  65. I love Tom Glavine. He was a heck of a pitcher for a long time. For 2008 and forward, I’ll take Chuck James every time.

    Get a young live arm, not an over-the-hill Hall of Fame lefty.

  66. Any thoughts on the 2 LC series?

    FWIW, I’m rooting for the 2 teams that I believe will lose.

    I think anyone outside of Arizona who cares about the NLCS is rooting for Colorado. I’ll root for the Rocks, but I think Webb will win both his games & ‘Zona takes it. Of course, this could be Matt Holliday’s moment of great national exposure. But this one reminds me of the ’02 ALCS (Twins/Angels): Nobody’s gonna really care or watch it.

    D-Backs in 6.

    I think Cle/Bos could be very entertaining, easily the 2 best teams left. After seeing Carmona in the ALDS, I believe the Tribe can win. But IMO, everything has to break right for them. The back of their rotation ain’t great & neither is their closer.

    Byrd survived last night, but I don’t think he’ll be that lucky again. I don’t think Byrd or Westbrook win their games. I also see Papelbon as a huge factor. And then there’s the matter of Manny/Ortiz…

    BoSox in 7.

  67. Cleveland and Colorado in the series would make Fox the least money so I’m pulling for that.

  68. I’m in favor of getting Glavine. He’s an extremely durable pitcher who should put up 200 innings of around league-average ball and be a good mentor to James and Reyes.

    Plus I’d love to see him retire as a Brave.

  69. I’ve gotta go with Colorado and the Sawx. Run differential makes them the best teams in their leagues. Coors provides the Rockies with a big home-field advantage (kinda like the ’87 and ’91 Twins, although the Rockies are better on the road). As fot the Sox, even if I didn’t have family in New England, their offense is just too good and the pitching is better than the Yankees’ was.

  70. And put me down for getting Glavine if the price is at all reasonable (less than $10 million, say). We need something for one year as a stopgap until Reyes and other pitchers develop, and Glavine’s as good as we’re likely to find.

    While I don’t really have anything to back this up, I’d like to keep Bennett as a swingman just to see what he can do.

  71. I assume we’ll go after another starter via trade if we acquire Glavine. With Glavine, our rotation is:

    Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine, James, Hampton

    With Hampton’s fat contract, he’s pretty much guaranteed a spot (a point of contention in an earlier thread, but unfortunately true). If we acquire this other starter (Vazquez, Lowry, or others mentioned before), does James get the boot? Do we use him as a trade chip to get that extra pitcher or a decent center fielder?

    OR does James go back to AAA to develop a third pitch and come back up when one of the top three or Hampton hurt themselves?

  72. Adam,
    Yeah, I’m excited about the Radiohead record, too. Always a bit of an event, even though I was a little underwhelmed by the last one. Good title, though.

    Also, kinda psyched to see the new movie about Joy Division (“Control,” directed by famous photog Anton Corbijn.) Their story is just too damn good & mythic. Hope it works.

  73. ububba,

    I assume you’ve seen “24 Hour Party People.” If not, I would highly recommend it.

  74. Rob,
    Yeah, I really I liked that flick. (Y’know, the real Tony Wilson just died a few weeks ago.)

    And I gotta say, Manchester is one of the bleakest towns I’ve ever visited—fascinating, but dire. It’s old, industrial, cobblestone & not charming at all. They speak English, of course, but you can’t understand what anyone is saying (imagine Oasis’ Gallagher brothers with their mouths full of marbles).

    And the beverage intake is off the charts—I’ve never seen so much vomit & broken glass in the street in my life. Walk around between 11 pm & midnight (when the pubs let out) and you’ll see some craziness.

    The moody, often melancholy music from that town made a whole lot more sense after that visit.

  75. The Braves off-season plan should be simple:

    Sign Glavine.

    Sign Mike Cameron.

    Lineup falls into place thusly…

    SS Escobar
    2B KJ
    3B Chipper
    1B Tex
    C McCann
    RF Frenchy
    LF Diaz
    CF Cameron

    –trade Renteria for best offer, preferably a starter

    Rotation:

    Smoltz
    Hudson
    James
    Glavine
    –Choose from: Carlyle, Cormier (still could produce in my opinion), Hampton, Reyes, Bennett. One of them will come through.

    Bullpen:

    Soriano
    Gonzo (after July 1)
    Moylan
    Ring
    Mahay
    Dotel
    Ascanio
    Acosta
    Yates/Paronto/Vulture
    and/or whoever doesn’t get the fifth starter slot

  76. #98, we talked about that some during the season. I don’t think Soriano has enough different quality pitches to be an effective starter. He was dominant as our closer the last month of the season, so I’d just leave him there given how hard it is to find an affordable, overpowering closer.

    Acosta on the other hand would seem to have the kind of arsenal of pitches that would translate well to starting. I don’t know if he has an injury history that might make the Braves reluctant to try it, but if Reyes doesn’t pan out this year, it could be something to think about for ’09.

  77. I just downloaded Radiohead this morning. I listened to the 1st two songs on the drive to work. First time I’ve heard Radiohead – I’m not sure I’m into it.

  78. I think Glavine, James and Hampton all in the same rotation is a bad idea. They are too similar.

  79. 97–I’d bet against Dotel’s being signed. Mahay is more likely but not a lock. I assume the SP you’d get for Renteria would be part of the scrum for the last rotation spot.

    I’m not as sold on signing Glavine–I think the rotation needs something other than another soft tossing lefty. James, Reyes, and Hampton (if miraculously he’s healthy) are enough. Perhaps Glavine would be better than some of them but, even with an ATL discount, he’d also be much more expensive (Hampton’s a sunk cost). Although neither is great, I think Josh Fogg or Kyle Lohse might be preferable to Glavine. Both averaged approx 6 innings per start and both have ERA+ around 100. Each earns about $4m this year (Fogg a bit below; Lohse a bit more). I don’t know how much they’d command as FA this year.

  80. C. James will start going deeper than the 5th inning when he starts using his brain. He was quoted some time in the past saying something like I don’t really know who I’m pitching to, I just pitch. That was in response to a question about planning for the batter he is facing (I think it was either before or after he had to face B. Bonds). The statement floored me. I could not believe a major league pitcher would not study his opponents and try to have a plan. I know Smoltz, Maddox and others have said they have a plan for at least the first two times they face a batter in the rotation during a game. James has no plan for the first time through the order much less subsequent times. Personally I am hoping we get Glavine just so maybe he can teach James how to pitch with his head instead of just chucking (sorry for that pun) the ball up there.

  81. I don’t think sending James back to AAA is a good idea. He’s already been up here a while, and I doubt the minor leagues are the right place for him.

    I agree with Ububba that Hail to the Thief wasn’t my favorite Radiohead album. Stoked for this one, and downloading now. Man, they’re a real good band, though.

  82. I would like us to keep Dotel and Mahay, sign them both to one year contracts, Our starting pitchers will be old and probably not that strong so we better keep as many arms as possible.
    I like signing Glavine to a one year deal too. He is better than what we have as a four and it will not hurt our long term goals or budget.

  83. I don’t care about Dotel either way since he’s shown he cannot stay healthy.

    Rob – no way Hampton pitches. Anyone from BravesJournal who keeps “penciling him in” – keep dreaming. He’s given me no reason to believe at all he’ll be healthy and ready to pitch in April – or ever again. We need to simply pretend that he doesn’t exsist and build the rotation accordingly.

    Again, I am with the majority on here that Glavine at 7-8 mill is a solid purchase; plus, add me to the list of people that would like to see him (and Maddux for that matter) retire as a Brave. But beyond Glavine, I would much rather have Blanton than James – I just simply have no patience left for a pitcher who is a gopher ball machine and can’t go past the 5th.

    Really, Chuck shouldn’t be above 5th starter status.

    Mahay – I hope we keep him and I hope we give a slot to Royce Ring. The ‘pen needs to have 2 lefties. And both are solid.

    Separate from the pitching stuff, here’s a poll posted recently on AJC:

    http://www.ajc.com/braves/content/sports/braves/index.html

    I voted without hesitation for Torii Hunter.

  84. 2008 Braves – Hunter, Blanton, Glavine

    2007 Braves – Andruw, James, CarlyleCormierReyes

    the ’08 team definitely looks like an upgrade….

  85. Count me against Glavine. I cant imagine him signing for less than 7 million. At that, I still think you don’t pull the trigger.

    With his veteran status and relationship with BC, he will definitely be the three or maybe even 2 starter. In practical terms, him pitching between Smoltz and Hudson would make sense to separate him from Hampton, Reyes, or James. And that kind of status would carry over to modifying starts on off days (like around the all star break) and in postseason (I know we need to get to postseason before that is a problem, but let me explain).

    I feel the biggest reason (other than that the American League and / or the Yankees were better) that the Braves seemed to underperform in postseason from 1991 to 2000 was the styles of Maddux and Glavine. Each of them succeed in the regular season by taking advantage of hitters trying to kill the ball and pad stats.

    In the postseason (and in Glavine’s unglorious All-Star start) good hitters will back off, take a walk, hit the other way and not always try to hit the long ball. Therefore, Glavine loses a large part of his pitching advantage.

    The added pitcher needs to be a power pitcher, not a finesse pitcher.

  86. Cliff,

    I agree somewhat about Glavine’s style having failed him in many post seasons (but lest we forget his greatness in Game 6 of the 95 Series) and certainly, his last start of the regular season for the Mets was dreadful (and a reminder of his last post season w/ the Braves in 2002).

    But that being said, he’s a major innings eater, was unhittable at times for the Mets and I am also beating the war drums for adding another starter along with Glavine so that if we are back in the post season, we have the arms this time.

    Plus, had we brought Glavine back last winter, we’d have made the Playoffs – add in his quality starts in place of all those bad starts by Carlyle or Cormier, would have been enough to overcome even the dreadful 2007 season of the now departed, Andruw Jones.

    By the way, someone had mentioned Mike Cameron earlier and in their 2008 faux potential lineup, had listed him batting 8th – that would make sense to most logical people, but c’mon, we ALL know that if Cameron is indeed the new center fielder next season, Bobby will stupidly bat him leadoff, strikeouts and OBP be damned. He has speed – and Bobby’s old school. (Bobby would of course be wrong but hey, this is what Bobby does…)

  87. Stu,

    We were prepared to offer Andruw a big, fat contract – it’s a shame his agent wanted the moon along with the sun.

    I don’t see why the contract offer we would have offered Andruw, can’t be offered instead to Hunter?

    I agree that he may see more $ thrown at him by the Yankees, but I would think JS would at least make an attempt?

    But considering Andruw’s .222 average last year, I would be perfectly happy with Cameron instead at this point.

  88. I don’t think we were prepared to offer Andruw a big, fat contract at all. We might have been last December, when the negotiations allegedly were cut off, but we’ve since picked up Teixeira and realized that we need to spend some more money on an SP.

    Our 2008 CF will almost certainly not be expensive. He will be a pre-arb player, either one already on our roster or from somewhere else. Even Cameron would cost too much, assuming we’re actually spending any money on the starting rotation.

  89. We are on starting pitching, but I don’t see us signing or needing to sign any free agent centerfielder unless the market is a lot weaker than Boras and most commentators think. The problem is that all of the ones at 15 million or more have flaws and the possible 10 million ones have way too many flaws. I don’t know how to get PECOTA numbers, but I am sure that Brandon Jones’s projected numbers will look almost as good as any free agent in center Maybe Rowand will be better, but I can’t imagine gettinghim less than 10 million for each of 5 years).

    Unless Bobby and JS decide Diaz is an everyday left (or possibly right) fielder, he is gone if he has, in fact, “super 2’d”. Can this team pay $2 million or so to a half time or less player?

    Frandoeur can handle center well enough to get us by. Use Diaz and Brandon Jones in the corners. Experiment with Lillibridge in center in spring training. Maybe even offer arb to Willie Harris for back up protection. That will gap you over to Schaffer. Then, you move Francoeur back to right and keep going.

    Spend more money on pitching. Let the position players work it out in house.

  90. Stu,

    If you really don’t believe we’re going to go after either Hunter or Cameron (or both) then who do you suggest or think we will go after?

    I do think we’ll look at signing both – whether we do or not, is yet to be known – but I think JS will contact both players and work hard on getting us a good center fielder who can actually hit above .222.

    And yes – couldn’t agree with you more that considering Jones’ performance, Boras asking for $20 mill a year is beyond laughable. Good luck, Scott, finding someone to actually give you that for “Mr. Double Play”.

  91. Scott won’t get Andruw $20 mil a year, but he’ll almost certainly get Andruw a 6 or 7 year contract, which is far more than he ought to be given, and he’ll get Andruw something in the range of $18 per year, which is also probably more than he’s worth. It’s certainly more than he’ll be worth in 4 years, though inflation will ameliorate that slightly.

    He’s a master negotiator who has learned the skill of asking for the moon so that he can bargain down to an arm and a leg.

  92. I think the Braves will non-tender Diaz (he’ll cost too much for a player who doesn’t have many pluses other than batting average) and bring back Harris then have a platoon of Thorman and Brandon Jones in left, Harris in center, and Francoeur in right. That could be a pretty bad outfield. I hope I’m wrong and they don’t bring back Harris who is barely a replacement level player and instead go with Lillibridge or Blanco in CF or trade for a relatively cheap stopgap outfielder such as Coco Crisp.

  93. AAR is right. Boras may be a jerk but he knows his job and that’s to get the most for his client. The idea that Boras hurts his clients by his contentious relationships with teams is naive–if he wasn’t effective, people wouldn’t hire him. Now, of course, I don’t know how Boras’ style would work with some marginal middle infielder but the fact is, he has elite clients–either star players or, at least, guys that are in high demand, such as starting pitchers. I’m sure Andruw’s year will reduce what he ultimately gets but it will still be a lot more than he is making now.

  94. Alex,

    I don’t think we will sniff either of those names in center at $10 mill/per for 3 or 4 (in hunters case 5 or 6) when schafer could be ready next year.

    i think its much more likely we try to make a trade (please Dayton, give us Dejesus for some package, involving Thorman + prospect)

    Dejesus for example is signed cheaply through all arb eligible years i believe, hits lefthanded, can leadoff, has a solid career obp, and plays a solid CF, plus is undervalued right now because of a below average year this year based on his career numbers.

    i think its much more likely the club will use any money to work on a teixiera extension, and trading renteria for a veteran arm (again, please give me vasquez) will require us to pay the difference on the veteran arm and not gain any salary space back.

    a dream rotation next year would be:

    Smoltz
    Hudson
    Glavine
    Vasquez
    James

    although i dont know if wed have enough to sign glavine, acquire vasquez and still extend teixiera even if we trade edgar. (let alone signing a mahay, etc.)

    but a rotation of that nature (even with say Lohse/Fogg instead of Vasquez) would allow us to not count on hampton for anything while also allowing reyes another year in AAA. Hampton, if remarkably healthy could start in the bullpen to work back, and were bound to have an injury. the dream lineup would be:

    Dejesus CF
    Johnson 2B
    Jones 3B
    Teixiera 1B
    Francoeur RF
    McCann C
    Diaz/Jones LF
    Escobar SS

    a diaz/jones platoon i think will be extremely productive for us if we manage to keep diaz (i have us trading thorman, renteria), and we could do worse than escobar hitting 8th. that lineup with one of the potential rotations (even with a lohse/fogg that we would acquire, i know theyre free agents but im speaking comparatively) and our young, deep bullpen and maybe one veteran bat with prado/aybar/sammons/jones or diaz would make a very world series caliber team IMO.

    so therefore, trading renteria for veteran innings eater, (MUST be a righty), trading thorman + prospect for Dejesus, signing glavine, signing veteran bench piece/maybe mahay, would make us excellent next year. signing teixeira long term would be the icing on the cake, but not necessary for success at least next year.

    ok, im done.

  95. I think Boras can hurt young players he reps because some teams won’t draft them, certainly not in high spots.

    But it seems like he squeezes out every nickel for his veteran clients.

  96. We will not non-tender Diaz. There is a 0% chance of that happening. Whatever his arbitration salary will be—assuming he’s a Super 2 and even gets to arbitration—he will easily be worth it, and some team would be willing to trade for him.

  97. ububba,

    The thing about those young guys that fall in the draft is that they still get paid as if they were top picks. They just fall to the teams (Tigers/Yankees) that are able to pay them the salary for which they’re looking. Those teams go way above slot to sign their guys.

  98. completely agree Stu, Diaz has more value than a lot of people on here think, and I for one hope we get good value if we trade him, or better yet keep him because I love the idea of that Jones/Diaz platoon next year batting 7th or 8th.

  99. I would like to see our budget and see where it stands. After arbitration and after trading Renteria for a starter.

    Alex, I dont think the Braves can afford any FA CF’r. After acquiring Tex the Braves dont look to have any flexibility in the payroll, unless (and its very unlikely) we can get our payroll increased to $95 mil or so. Attendance was way up this year after the break and that may help the cause.

  100. new radiohead album is awesome

    not nearly as good as kid a or ok computer

    but a good rock album with definite experimental piano leanings…

    the most important band in the world and have been for 10 years.

  101. What do we have to lose by Signing Glavine to a one year deal? I see no reason not to. There will not be many FA starting pitchers to go after, its one year, it is the next year we will need the cash for Tex and he will be gone along with Hampton.

  102. What do we have to lose by Signing Glavine to a one year deal? I see no reason not to.

    Money. It might be better spent somewhere else.

  103. Hmm. Somehow I had thought Harris and Jones were switch hitters, but I guess not.

    You’re probably right that Diaz will be given arbitration then traded if the Braves feel he isn’t worth the money rather than non-tendered.

    I’m sure they’ll bring in some veteran outfielder or bring back Harris at least as protection in case Jones like Thorman last year proves not ready to face major league pitching on an everyday basis.

    Stu, well if you can find another starting pitcher who is never injured, goes 6 innings almost every start, is a Braves legend and first ballot Hall of Famer playing probably his last season, will sign for under $10 million, and by signing him we weaken one of our top division rival’s rotations, then by all means let’s get him instead of Glavine.

  104. “new radiohead album is awesome”

    I’ve listened to a few more songs and I like them better than the first two, but I still can’t understand a word.

  105. Add me to the chorus that my jaw will hit the floor if we non tender Diaz after the kind of year he put up. You may see the kind of negative outcry from Braves fans if that happened that you didn’t see (and we are justified) about not bothering with Andruw anymore.

    I am definitely of the mindset to do whatever it takes to KEEP Mark Teixeira. Yes, it means trying work a deal out w/ Lucifer/Boras, but he’s the central piece of this lineup now and he earned every penny with his performance – the ANTI Andruw.

  106. Great little story:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7316734

    Stu, well if you can find another starting pitcher who is never injured, goes 6 innings almost every start, is a Braves legend and first ballot Hall of Famer playing probably his last season, will sign for under $10 million, and by signing him we weaken one of our top division rival’s rotations, then by all means let’s get him instead of Glavine.

    I hadn’t realized it was possible to pack this many straw men into one smallish paragraph.

    First, and most importantly, I said “might.” (I even italicized it.) As I’ve made abundantly clear on here, I’m not sure where I stand on bringing Glavine back. Could work, could bust. I was just throwing out a possible reason not to sign him, answering the question posed by oldtimer. (You understand that on a team with limited resources, several million dollars is kind of a big deal, right?)

    The fact that he’s a Braves legend and a sure-fire HOFer is nice, and it’s part of the reason the decision would be so tough if I were the one having to make it, but that’s not actually relevant to determining whether he’ll help the Braves in 2008. He’s going to be, what 42? I can guarantee that his statistics next year—the only ones that should matter in this equation—would not make him a Braves legend or sure-fire HOFer if they were his career averages.

    Glavine won’t be with the Mets, even if he doesn’t sign with us. So we’re not weakening them by signing him. We’re weakening our budgetary flexibility.

  107. Ok I know ESPN sucks and all, but have any of you guys heard Stephen A. Smith’s show? He’s the most arrogant ass I think I’ve heard on radio in my life and I want to punch him. Dan Patrick was miles ahead, and I like Mike Tirico but Smith is just terrible.

  108. @129
    Where would we spend the money elsewhere? Is there another starting pitcher worth a one year contract who might help?

    I know you said might, but we have to jump on pitching if we can get it. If Glavine was in our rotation this year we win the division. If he bombs, he is gone in a short time anyway.

  109. #135
    I travel a lot & I gotta say that the only sports radio I find entertaining at all is WFAN in New York. The rest are just pretenders.

    Stu,
    I love the Byrd story. When Olerud played for the Mets, he took the subway “to work” everyday.

  110. Sounds like the Brooklyn Dodgers circa 1955 when ballplayers were just working stiffs. Nice story.

  111. i didn’t want to trade for him and i hope we don’t sign dotel. would be a waste of good money to pay a guy to be hurt.

    if we’re still guessing for CF… maybe Coco Crisp. My wife would love that since she thinks his name is just ridiculous. I think it’s cool.

  112. 139 — All Braves fans can attest to the importance of a good bullpen. But I personally don’t think closers are worth the kind of money that Mo is going to make… especially at his age (despite how dominant he can still be).

  113. Speaking of Braves legends, I found the source of that Dale Murphy quote I was talking about some months ago. It was actually in Scout’s Honor, not Tomahawked! like I originally thought. It could be quoted from somewhere else, but this is what Shanks wrote:

    But as the 1980’s ended and as Murphy moed into his mid-30’s, he started to wonder how long he could last as a Braves. In the middle of the 1990 season, with his contract up at the end of the second, Murphy made the decision that he would not re-sign with the Braves for 1991.

    “I told Bobby that I was going to be a free agent and I had decided I was going to move on next winter,” Murphy says, “and if there’s a trade that you think could work or that you wanted to do and I think I could go to that team and it would be a good tema for us then we’d look at it. We felt it was time to move on. We had probably felt like that for a while. I think probably since the trade talks to New York (The trade proposal was Murphy for Lenny Dykstra, Howard Johnson and some top pitching prospect named David West. Man, what a steal that would have been.) I had been thinking about the possibility that I might not end my career here. They had talked about trading me, so it was something that they had thought about. I just dcided it was time to move on.”

  114. I can’t imagine us getting Rivera – my guess is one of the 5-6 biggest market teams will throw a ton of $ at him.

    The most likely scenario would be Rivera to the Mets-

    1. He’ll get to stay in New York
    2. Their bullpen sucks hard
    3. Omar Minaya is always more compelling to any major Latin free agents

    But yeah, I would love to have Mariano. We know he could pitch in the post season!

  115. The Yanks’ll pay Rivera. Braves wouldn’t be in the ballpark in that conversation anyway.

    Rivera’s sticking it to the team now because he can. He didn’t like the Bernie Williams episode. He didn’t like how the team blew him off about a contract this past off-season. He doesn’t like what they’re doing to Torre now.

    But nobody’s going to offer him a fortune that the Yanks can’t handle. Rivera & Posada are the 2 Yanks that they’ll re-sign at relatively high numbers. There’ll be some brinksmanship, but the Yanks don’t have options at those positions (assuming Chamberlain will be a starter next year).

    A-Rod…it’s not going to be their call on that one. If he bails, look for the Yanks to make an attempt to sign Mike Lowell.

  116. If Torre is fired, Rivera might sign with the Red Sox just to screw Steinbrenner. Actually, that might kill Steinbrenner.

    So of course I’m in favor.

  117. mlb rumors….The Cubs are expected to bring Daryle Ward back at $1.2MM

    I say we go 1.5-1.75M for him. We need a good power hitter off the bench, Thorman doesnt count. If we would stop signing crap like Woodward and Sturtze that would cover that salary

  118. Here’s what I kind of see happening IF the Yanks fire Torre:

    A-Rod to Cubs.
    Posada & Rivera to Mets.
    At least 1-2 prominent current Yankees to Bosox.
    Clemens retires

    The bottomline is, this team (outside of former Yankee Gary Sheffield) is VERY loyal to Torre (understandably – as much as I dislike the Yanks, the guy is a total class act and I just can’t say anything bad about the guy) and my guess is this, if the Boss pushes Cashman to axe Torre, you’re going to see the “house of cards” fall.

    Jeter will be back because he’s the face of the franchise and I think he really wants to retire a Yankee at this point. But you’re going to see a ton of departures if Torre is canned. I really believe it.

    Plus, keep in mind that all the teams I have mentioned as signing various Yankees, all can afford to compete.

    Again, keep in mind about Omar Minaya and his love of big name Latin ballplayers (and both Rivera and Posada are) and most people in Met land would like to see Paul Lo Duca replaced.

    I also really think A-Rid to the Cubs is destined at this point.

  119. Alex,

    Even if A-Rod leaves, the team in the Bronx is still too talented & too rich to fall apart. I think the Mets will make a run for Posada, but I don’t see him going there. He’s gonna get paid by the Yanks.

    I find the LaRussa-to-NY rumors amusing. Tony LaRussa & the NY media would be a YES Network daily reality show worth watching.

    But it looks like it’s going to be Mattingly at the helm.

  120. ububba,

    I should have probably added that while I see several current Yankees leaving, they obviously have a ton of $ to throw at their problems and they will bring in a wave of new free agents anyway who don’t necessarily have any loyalty to Torre, the way a Posada and Rivera might.

    I think the Mets can match the Yanks on Posada. And if the $ is even and Torre is gone, not to mention the fact that Posada is also pals with Willie Randolph, I think he bolts for the NL.

  121. Alex,

    No chance, if the money’s even (which it won’t be). Posada is a Yankee and not a Met. Up here that means something.

  122. Well, Damon was a Red Sox and not a Yankee too. The problem with Posada as I see it is that he is a 36 year old catcher. Granted, he is a very good player and had a great season but at that age catchers can fall off very quickly. I suspect Posada is more valuable to the Yankees than to anyone else.

  123. Braves welcome Ichiro, M’s in ’08

    Ichiro Suzuki and the Mariners are scheduled to make their first visit to Turner Field next year.

    Suzuki’s initial visit to Atlanta is one of the highlights on the tentative 2008 schedule the Braves released on Wednesday. They’ll open the season with a six-game homestand against the Pirates and Mets, hosting Pittsburgh for their Opening Day game on March 31.

    The portion of next year’s Interleague schedule includes home series against the A’s (May 16-18) and the Mariners (June 20-22). The Braves will travel to play the Angels (June 13-15), Rangers (June 17-19) and Blue Jays (June 27-29).

    With the Mariners scheduled to come to Turner Field next year, the only Major League team that hasn’t played a regular season game in Atlanta is the Twins. Next season will also mark the first time the Braves have played the Angels in Anaheim.

    While the Braves won’t be playing the Red Sox in 2008, the home portion of the schedule provides multiple series that will draw increased interest.

    http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071010&content_id=2259877&vkey=news_atl&fext=.jsp&c_id=atl

  124. Marc, I agree with you a hundred percent. If I were any other team I would be terrified to sign Posada to a multiyear deal, with visions of Javy Lopez in an O’s cap dancing in my head.

  125. Where would we spend the money elsewhere?

    We could spend it on a Mark Teixeira extension, which, in my opinion at least, should be an even higher priority than finding another SP this offseason.

    Or we could trade for another SP who makes less than that or who makes that much and is likely to pitch better. (See yesterday’s discussion of Joe Blanton, who I firmly believe could be had and without giving up any of our core players.)

    Maybe Blanton isn’t available and a Teixeira extension isn’t possible. Maybe Glavine is the best we can do with that money. (Depending on just how much “that money” is, the idea that he’s the best we can do for it could range from quite possible to no freaking way.) I’m just saying there are some potentially valid reasons not to use that money on Glavine, and you don’t have to look very far to find them.

  126. Whoops. Screwy italics. Pretend I closed them after the first line and reopened them after “Blanton” in the final paragraph.

  127. “i think the Braves will non-tender Diaz (he’ll cost too much for a player who doesn’t have many pluses other than batting average)”

    why? that doesn’t make a lick of sense. if given the full time nod in left field, diaz could easily be a 25 hr, 100rbi ,.300 ba guy with average/above average defense. diaz’s pluses:
    1. cheap
    2. drives the ball in the gap
    3. contact hitter
    4. hits for power
    5. plays the best awkward defense in the majors (other candidates were manny, burrell, and x. nady).
    6. doesnt bitch about being a part-time player.
    to say he has only average is madness!!!

  128. No way the Braves non-tender Matt Diaz. The only players deserving of that are Willie Harris and Lance Cormier.

  129. Diaz will be back, after losing Andruw we dont need to lose two OF’s this offseason. Harris we can do without.

  130. “Rob – no way Hampton pitches. Anyone from BravesJournal who keeps “penciling him in” – keep dreaming. He’s given me no reason to believe at all he’ll be healthy and ready to pitch in April – or ever again. We need to simply pretend that he doesn’t exsist and build the rotation accordingly.”

    I’m not optimistic about Hampton being effective in April, but he’s going to get a rotation spot as long as his arm’s attached to his body. I don’t like it and God knows he doesn’t really deserve it, but I would be VERY surprised if JS did otherwise. I can’t think of one BravesJournal member who thinks he’s going to be any good next year, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be on the Opening Day roster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.