225 thoughts on “Shocker”

  1. I am very sad about JS – far more sad about JS leaving than freaking Andruw.

    That being said, thank goodness we have a smart, capable replacement well groomed in Frank Wren.

    I can’t help but think about the 10 minute chat I had at that DC Board of Trade event last week with Stan Kasten.

    Kasten was adament in telling me that JS won’t sit in a room with Boras anymore, whatsoever, and I honestly believe this is playing into his decision to step down today. He feels, JS that is, he’s doing this for the good of the franchise.

    I am not saying I agree w/ it, but the Braves organization and Braves fans wants Tex to re-sign – but Tex’s agent is still going to be Lucifer/Boras so that’s not going to change (unless Tex grows a conscience?).

    So, I think JS realizes the franchise maybe able to move forward better with a new GM that is willing to deal directly with Scott Boras.

    JS has ton a ton for this franchise, and I am definitely sad to lose him – he’s done amazing work – but I kind of believe that JS may feel he’s doing this for the good of the Braves if Kasten is right and the situation between Schuerholz and Boras is completely untenable.

  2. I don’t even know what to say. I was coming back from lunch and just heard the terrible news. I think of all the losses over the last few seasons this is the one that I was the most afraid of. He has done so much for this franchise and will be sorely missed. I know that Frank Wren has been the perceived successor for some time.

  3. Wow, this is a shocker. I’m not really sure what this means for this season and beyond. I wonder if this was his decision or if Liberty pushed him out…..

  4. Before Dayton Moore left for the Royals, who was seen as Schuerholz’s future replacement: Wren or Moore?

  5. #6 – good question, I know absolutely nothing about either one.

    Moore has done a decent job in KC so far

  6. We must give credit where it’s due. We can see John’s influenece on the game like few other front office people before or since.
    Thank you, JS!

  7. I would think you would have to say Moore. He has done the job Wren was doing and also has the experience as a GM. He has also been give a lot of credit by other GMs for the job he has done. The best credit is usually from your peers. All that being said Wren did a fantastic job working with our minor league system and as Assitant GM.

  8. Wow! A shocker indeed. He will be missed. Agree, Alex, what you wrote is the first thing that comes to mind. He just can’t deal with the Borasses anymore. I know nothing about Wren. Hope he listened and watched well the past eight years.

  9. This is a surprise, but not the end of the world. Shuerholz has done many great things as GM (McGriff, Maddux, Galaragga, Furcal, Giles, McCann, Johnson, Escobar, etc.), but also had his share of bad calls (Justice trade, Reitsma, Kolb, offering Maddux arbitration forcing Millwood to be traded, trading for Terry Pendleton in ’96, trying an outfield of Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi, Mark Redman, Chris Woodward, etc.). It’s possible this change could even help the Braves going forward if it makes it more possible for them to sign Scott Boras clients such as Teixeira. I thank Shuerholz for the great years he helped engineer for Braves fans and wish him well in his retirement, but I look forward to continued competitiveness by this team for years to come under the new GM.

  10. No question. Schuerholz has to be one of the greatest GMs to ever be in a front office. He’ll be missed. I hope Frank Wren can do a good job.

  11. will this have any affect on the Andruw deal? Would Wren possibly try to make Andruw a 5/75 offer that JS wouldnt make? I doubt it, but you never know.

  12. POLL:

    GO VOLS!

    Change is always a good thing. Let’s see what Frank can do. I hope he doesn’t leave Chipper at the airport.

  13. csg,

    I seriously doubt that. The GMs may change, but the budget doesn’t. I don’t believe there is any room for a Teixeira extension, Smoltz nad Hudson raises and an Andruw resigning.

  14. To Marc S, from the previous thread: I just find it hard to believe that Bobby would keep managing significantly beyond JS’s tenure with the team. They’re not joined at the waste, but I think they remind each other of their own mortality. I doubt Cox wants to manage till he’s 75 — and I’m not entirely sure he’d be permitted to, in any event. Better that he goes out on his own terms than simply having his contract not renewed and then sitting on the outside like Whitey Herzog.

  15. Yeah I really doubt this changes anything on Andruw. Even with $10-15 million more from Liberty, Wren will be hard pressed to upgrade the starting pitching. There isn’t enough money to go around to do that and throw a lot of money at a CF coming off his worst season. The chances of re-signing Tex after next year are looking brighter though.

  16. Hampton is def. off the books after this season, there should be plenty of money to resign Tex. However, I really hate the idea of possibly spending $20mil on any player

  17. Tex is great defensively and offensively, so $20 million sounds fair. I don’t see though how the Braves will be able to outbid teams like the Yankees and Mets who also might want to sign Tex. I guess a lot depends on whether this team is primed for another run of excellence or is a couple years away from entering rebuilding mode when Smoltz and Chipper retire.

  18. I see no way that losing the greatest GM in the history of the game could be a good thing. the Braves have been planning for this, but it still is a big loss for the orginazition when you lose someone with his unique skill set.

    I wonder if he will ever take a GM job again. He has been comparitively underpaid for some number of years.

  19. I just heard that JS may become the team president. This was just said on the radio station hear in Atlanta. Has anyone else heard this?

  20. This is sad in the sense it’s another piece of the dynasty going away, but I can’t say I’m really sad as I don’t think he’s been at the top of his game for several years.

    Trading your young, cheap and productive firstbaseman for a bullpen arm and handing the job to someone that had virtually no reasonable chance of handling it, then trading half the farm system to fill the hole you created. Not good. Betemit for nothing. Not good. Our recent putrid bench players. Not good. And of course his flat out refusal to deal with Boras clients handicaps the team.

    Bobby built this team and it looks like he’s going to be the only one around to ride it out to the bitter end.

    Wren maybe good or he may be bad but they sure left him in a tough spot with the farm system so depleted.

  21. John Schuerholz will hopefully be regarded as one of the great people of a great franchise. Sure he had some misses but most of his moves were hits. No matter what the results Schuerholz was always looking to win and keep winning. As fans we can ask no more of a GM than that. I agree with Mac, lets start the Hall of Fame countdown.

    I disagree that he stepped down becuase of Scott Boras or any other agent. I am guessing that his age and years of service had more to do with it than anything. It could also be that in the current state of baseball luck has so much more to do with ultimate success than it used to. A guy like Schuerholz, used to controlling destiny probably hates that.

  22. Robert,

    The Gonzalez deal was not a bad one and you know it. That screwed up because every part of that plan went wrong and none of it was his doing.

    Betemit would only replace Woodward. I hardly think that’s a bench-breaker. The bench would have been better with Betemit, but not game-breaker better.

    I seriously doubt that he would trade for Teixeira knowing that he wasn’t going to deal with him. That’s just stupid.

  23. I was on the elliptical in mid stride when they announced it on espn first take. I had to stop and leave the gym. This makes me sad. Apparently there are some GM openings elsewhere, hopefully he just retires. :(

  24. From the previous thread on Boras

    Marc,

    When Boras interviews prospective clients he tells them that he goes for top dollar. He explains to them that he does not have to represent them.

    If players don’t agree with that, they can go elsewhere.

    It does allow him to be consistent. Except for the Maddux arb acceptance, I can’t remember one single time Boras did not take somebody to free agency and I don’t remeber one time he didn’t take them to the top dollar.

  25. never knew that Wren has been a GM for a total of 9 seasons….per ESPN

    Wren was an assistant GM for the Braves for seven seasons. Prior to that, he was the general manager for the Baltimore Orioles in 1999. He was also an assistant GM with the Florida Marlins for eight seasons.

  26. I think he was only a GM for that one season in 1999. I’m sad to see JS gone, but I’m excited to see what Frank Wren can do. And if JS is on as team president, then that’s really cool, and I hope that’s true.

  27. I didn’t realize he was 67.

    He and Cox are getting old. It really put in perspective how long the run of excellence has gone on.

    I hope that Wrenn is able to put together enough pitching to give Bobby a chance to go out on top.

    What they did with this organization, which was in shambles when they took it over, is truly amazing.

  28. This has got to help some with potentially signing Tex. There was no way it was going to work with JS. For one thing, he had the policy of not giving no-trade clauses, which apparently caused us to lose A-Rod. Wren will not be tied to that policy.

    I don’t understand Robert’s distress over the LaRoche deal–it’s not like he traded a young Carlos Delgado. And Gonzalez would have been a great deal if he hadn’t gotten hurt.

  29. Whew, I thought he was out for good until they posted it on the atlantabraves.com website. whew!!

  30. In the last 10 minuted ESPNews has changed from
    John Schuerholz quitting to
    John Schuerholz resigning to
    John Schuerholz retiring

    Espn is horrendous…
    President Schuerholz, I like it.

  31. Marc,

    I don’t understand his distress either. I hardly think our farm system is “barren” now either. It’s possible that someone else could break out or rebound.

  32. Maybe Wren will be more flexible when it comes to No-trade clauses, but it seemed like it was a organizational policy, and even if it was just JS’s personal policy, he may try to influence Wren as team President to keep it in place. I guess only time will tell.

    Also the farm system is far from depleted, there is still a lot of talent in the lower levels. The trade did hurt the upper level, but not the whole system.

  33. DOB is supposed to be on 790 in Atl in moments to discuss how all this transpired.

    If someone can listen, I would love to know what he says.

  34. What can you say?

    JS immediately brought a winning plan & a winning attitude to the team. It was a helluva run and, as a Braves fan going back to the Luman Harris Era, I will be forever grateful for his efforts.

    Simply, he was a primary reason why the Atlanta Braves became winners.

  35. I hate to say this, but could this be Glavine-related? Doesn’t Glavine not like Schuerholz because of his book back in 2006?

  36. Is club president a ceremonial position or does it actually do anything? Was there a previous president who Shuerholz is replacing?

  37. “Schuerholz out as GM, in as team president”

    Well, at least he’s not going to another team if nothing else.

  38. @34,
    What about when Andruw re-signed with the Braves? Boras did not take Andruw to Free Agency and most would say Andruw did not get top dollar (in fact he gave us a pretty good discount as I recall). It is possible to be a client of Boras and not end up where the top dollar is offered.

  39. So this opens the door to: no-trade clauses, Teixeira, other Boras clients and Glavine?

    I still wish Schuerholz waited one more year.

  40. Hap,

    Apparently, that’s not the case anymore. ;P I will say this: Although Teixeira is a very good player, one of Boras’s patented books probably can’t convince anyone that he’s an all-time great.

  41. I was just listening to DOB on 790. He was very supportive of Wren. He mentioned that Wren had been doing all of the contract negotiations and handling a lot of the day-to-day operations already. I thought that was interesting since people had been mentioning Tex/Boras negotiations with JS. Though, DOB did mention that JS would not talk with Boras, and that it would help negotiating with Glavine’s agent too.

    DOB also mentioned about all of Wren’s background. Wren seems to have a very impressive background. He has worked in Latin America and worked in pretty much every major position in the minors. He also is apparently very detailed in the minutia of contract negotiations.

    He also mentioned that Terry Pindelton will probably stay with the Braves with the idea of eventually becoming the manager.

  42. @ 53,

    Boras released Andruw as a client prior to the negotiation. I am not sure of the degree of formality. At minimum, a good lawyer would do that to make it clear he was not responsible for the result.

    Boras resumed the representation either to review the contract or just after it was signed.

  43. @55,

    Sam, Teixeira is an all time great related to his current “number of years in big leagues” in terms of home runs and rbi’s. It has been referenced on many broadcasts that Teixeira’s first 4 years are basically up with Pujols, Eddie Mathews, and a few others that have great early career stats.

  44. I dont think you can say that the LaRoche deal was that bad even after this past season. LaRoche was horrible for the 1st part of the year and if he was in Atl teams wouldnt have been able to see Salty play on a reg. basis. I dont think Tex would have been traded for if Roach was still here. Also keep in mind we still have Lillibridge from that trade and he could become a good trade piece or our SS for many years. Gonzo will be back and if healthy he’s lights out. Still a good trade in my opinion

  45. Look, it’s been talked about enough on this thread, but now I am even more convinced that one of the reasons JS is moving over to President (and someone asked if we had a president previously and we did – his name was Stan Kasten) is because Wren is willing to do some of the things that JS wouldn’t – no trade clauses, dealing w/ Boras/Lucifer, etc.

    Look, no one hates Scott Boras more than I do – the world would be a better place if Scott Boras didn’t exsist.

    However, this is a reality we all have to face. Boras/Lucifer not only exsists, but he controls the majority of Baseball’s best players.

    The bottomline is this – if JS moving to a ceremonial position and Wren becoming GM helps the Braves better work out deals w/ certain Boras clients, than I am for it.

    I love JS and he did a great job (and yes, had his share of bingles like the Millwood thing) but he is 66, and why not promote talented & intelligent Frank Wren, age 49, now.

    I do think both the Glavine and Teixeira situations are connected to this and I do think Wren becoming GM nets us both players. I also think that Tex will be worth the $20 million – he’s an all around stud, offensively and defensively and the linchpin to this lineup now. Yes, I hate his evil agent, but I would pony up to Boras to keep Teixiera because his presence changes our entire lineup. Schuerholz and Wren know it.

    #27

    Robert, I couldn’t disagree with you more.

    Most of us liked what we saw in the 2nd half of the ’06 season from LaRoche, but it’s not like he’d shown a history of hitting like that and Gonzalez, prior to the injury, was one of the best relief pitchers in Baseball – something the Braves needed.

    And maybe we moved some kids to get Tex, but his 17 homers in a short stint, more than showed he was worth the price and no offense, but Mark Teixiera is a far superior player all around vs. LaRoche.

  46. useless stat of the day…

    over 8,000 tickets are still available for the AZ/Col game tonight. You can still order up to 25 tickets all together and in the same row.

    I remember I went to the AZ/Atl game when Owings and Carlyle were pitching against each other. We needed 8 tickets together, but we could only order 4 together. That was a full week before the game even started also, unbelievable…

  47. Alex,

    As someone said above, I was pretty sure the no-no-trade-clause policy was the team’s, not just Schuerholz’s.

    Even if it was just Schuerholz’s, don’t you think, as President, he’ll still get to enforce that policy if he so desires?

  48. #72

    I imagine Bud Selig is having sleepless nights and horrible nightmares about how low rated this NLCS maybe.

    Rockies/D’Backs? Yuck – the ratings may in fact reach Hockey-esque proportions.

  49. Stu-

    That policy may have been the case under Ted and then AOL-Time Warner, but who’s to say Liberty wants to keep that policy?

  50. FWIW, I generally disagree with Robert about JS’s final years being bad ones, but people keep acting like we had no idea Gonzalez would get hurt, so JS gets a pass on that trade.

    Um, we knew that Gonzo was shut down at the end of last season with elbow inflamation of some sort. We had to know a serious elbow injury was a possibility when we traded for him.

    That said, I still don’t think that trade was all that bad. First, we also got Lillibridge, and we can’t really judge his value yet. Second, we had to trade away a lot to fill the 1B hole, but (a) our system, though somewhat depleted, is not barren (that is, we probably could afford to trade a bunch of prospects more than your average MLB club could, because our system is deep), and (b) we did more than fill the hole—Teixeira is a significant upgrade over even LaRoche.

  51. DOB made a point of stating that JS would be taking over Terry McGuirk’s position. The president in most teams is a baseball guy, and that is what the Braves wanted to do. It sounds like McGuirk will just be repositioned somewhere else. He was seen as more of a “Money Guy.” I am sure he will still be useful somewhere.

  52. @72

    Was that the game where Michah Owings went 4 for 5 with 2 home runs? I was at that game. It was brutal. Plus it was really hot. That wasn’t the best time I’ve had at Turner Field.

    In retrospect, hopefully we can still put together some winning seasons. We still have Bobby Cox at the helm for now, hopefully he can stick around for another 2 years, but I’m not holding my breath. We have some options for center field for the time being until that outfielding prospect comes around. Blah Blah Blah, we will still handle business at the end of the day.

  53. Kenny,

    Thanks. That’s what I figured was going on. Sounds like DOB just knew that was happening and started referring to McGuirk by his new title in the article.

  54. If you want to take JS last couple of years and break it down into the Laroche trade you are missing a lot. He also traded HoRam for Sorian. That was obviously a plus. It was only 3 years ago that we stole Hudson for next to nothing. He got Wickman who was effective for 1 1/2 + seasons, and only gave up a minor league catcher that has since been traded again. It is impossible to judge JS career in a vacuum. He has made some mistakes, but the positives way outweigh the negatives.

    I agree with Stu on the no trade clause. I think that is a Brave’s philosophy. I also don’t understand why this is such a big deal to people. A no-trade clause is simply an option in a contract that has x amount of value. It has never seemingly stopped the Braves from acquiring the people we needed.

    I also do not see JS taking this position to be a figure head. I have never seen anything in his character to suggest he would not compete to do his best at his job.

  55. I think McGuirk’s role was/is as the loco owneris, to coin a pseudo-latin phrase. With the absentee corporate ownership of the post-Ted era, someone has to stand in as their representative in front of the other owners. (During the Ted era, Bill Bartholomay had to be around to reassure the owners that someone sane was involved.)

  56. #83 – it was, and yes I think its was over 100 degrees at the start of the game. The bomb Owings hit to center was one of the longest I’ve seen at all the games I’ve been to there. Was not a pleasant evening. Of course, Frenchy and Andruw hit meaningless Hr’s in the final innings

  57. “He has made some mistakes, but the positives way outweigh the negatives.”

    very true – dont forget about Renteria for Marte, thats one of the best in my opinion

  58. Look, no one hates Scott Boras more than I do – the world would be a better place if Scott Boras didn’t exsist

    Damn, dude – dial it back a bit. Boras does what he gets paid to do, and better than anybody else. I guess I just don’t get the level of personal investment in someone else’s pay scale. There are no guns held to anyones head here – there are two signatures on every contract. What exactly is the source of your bitterness?

  59. I believe no one has more singlehandedly helped RUIN Baseball than one Scott Boras. The reason the whole sport is in such a financial mess, is largely due to the tactics of a pig like Boras.

    No, when it comes to this man, I won’t dial it down – I hate his frakking guts.

    But it’s a reality we HAVE to deal with this evil slug in order to keep a gjy like Tex.

  60. Great call csg. That was an absolute steal for Renteria. Not only do we get him for Marte, but the Red Sox paided nearly half of his contract.

  61. his recent FA signings havent been that strong though

    Woodward, Sturtze, Wilson (should’ve been better), Pratt, missing anyone?

    Ward was a good sign at the deadline, Franco was the first time around

    Farnsworth was also a good trade, I always forget about that one

  62. Alex,

    Come on.

    1) Baseball is not ruined.

    2) He works for his clients! They’re more to blame than he is, IMO.

  63. if we trade Renteria can we keep Boston’s $$$ and make the new team fully responsible for the whole contract, or will Bostons pay go to the new team also

  64. I should amend 2) to read:

    …If anyone is to blame—and I don’t know that you can rightfully blame someone for taking money willingly given to them—it has to be the players as much or more than Boras.

  65. whoa…the tex extension will be AFTER the raises to smoltz happen and hampton will be OFF the books…

    tex extension WILL happen.

    mark it down.

  66. Alex makes a good point. Boras and Steinbrenner have been the two most responsible individuals for the escalating salaries that players have received. I think we all know what this has in turn done to baseball franchises.

    Boras pretty much cause the restructuring of the MLB draft by himself. Yes, Boras does a good job of working for his clients. He is also not above lying, cheating, and intimidating anyone he can to do it. I am not judging the morality of what he does, but it is out there and everyone knows it.

  67. And hell, let me add, I would sit in a room with Lucifer if it meant keeping Tex.

    I would just have to take about 5 showers afterwards.

  68. What does that make fair?

    I kill somebody.

    You say, “Stu, you shouldn’t have killed that guy.”

    I respond, “To be fair, Ted Bundy killed people as well.”

    That doesn’t make sense. I don’t think someone else agreeing with you or doing the same thing you do constitutes proof that it is the right opinion/decision.

  69. AMEN, Kenny.

    Boras is did try to lie to everyone in Baseball about what A-Rod would make – and yes, Hicks was an idiot and way overpaid, but Boras was the one responsible for setting that up.

    And everything has filtered down from that – how about the Kevin Brown contract with the Dodgers, among others?

    No, I won’t amend my feelings about Scott Boras in the slightest. No one is generally more open to different points of views than me (re: changing my view on Harang) but not on Boras.

    He’s lying, scum sucking, phony, money grubbing weasel.

  70. Kenny,

    To the extent that he does those things—lie, cheat, and intimidate—he does them with authorization of those for whom he works, his clients.

    I think pinning the blame for all that on just Boras is ridiculous.

  71. Stu, odd comparison but I’ll bite.

    No one is talking of killing anyone.

    John Schuerholz is a pretty beloved leader for most of us Braves fans.

    Schuerholz won’t sit in a room with him. The only point I am making is that most people were shocked by my strong words against Boras, but a leader for the Braves pretty much feels like I do – so I am obviously not alone in my hatred of Boras.

    That was all.

  72. The Gonzalez deal was not a bad one and you know it. That screwed up because every part of that plan went wrong and none of it was his doing.

    Uh…no I don’t. I posted I hated the deal when it was a rumor, I posted I hated the deal when it became fact, and I posted I hate the deal now. I’ve been very consistent, not sure why you think otherwise. Cheap, controlled, productive young players are the most valuable property in baseball. Trading him for a guy who – best case – will give you 70 good innings is dumb. Making the deal with no replacement on hand is, well, something greater then dumb. Gonz getting hurt didn’t help of course, but that doesn’t change that it was a bad idea anyway.

    I seriously doubt that he would trade for Teixeira knowing that he wasn’t going to deal with him. That’s just stupid.

    We’ll see I guess. Let’s just say I’m skeptical of any big money FA signing with the Bravos.

  73. Stu-

    Boras is the straw that stirs the drink.

    And many of these players do not even have a college degree. I am not saying they are all morons (many are very smart) but a lot of these guys just want to get paid so they see that boras is the biggest agent, hire him, and then they end up miserable in some other uniform because Scott held out for $20 million with the new team when they could have had $18 million say to stay with a team they loved.

    I am not saying the players are innocent – I am saying that Boras is probably smarter than his entire client base, COMBINED and there is a lot of buyer remorse after Boras pulls one of his snaky deals.

  74. I’m with Stu re: Boras. He can ‘lie, cheat and intimidate’ all day long, which I don’t think he does anyway, but at the end of the day, don’t the owners (Tom Hicks) agree to such exorbitant salaries? He gets maximum money for his clients using the legal rules of the current system. I don’t know why that’s such a problem.

  75. Who are these miserable $20MM-per-year-earning players? If they’re miserable, why do they not fire Boras? If they fire Boras, is it not still their fault for hiring him to negotiate this contract that has made them miserable?

  76. If Scott Boras didn’t exist, some other agent would do the same thing. He’s an effect, not a cause.

    The reasons for baseball’s escalating salary structure have almost nothing to do with agents, and everything to do with the original negotiations between the union and the owners after the Messersmith decision. The owners screwed up big-time by:

    1. Agreeing to the arbitration system, which basically allows the dumbest owner to set payroll for the other teams;

    2. Being so insistent on “controlling” their “property” — the players — that they allowed Miller to bluff them into creating artificial scarcity on the market, releasing only a few free agents a year so that salaries will get bid up;

    3. Forcing in a “no collusion” clause, intended to keep players from negotiating contracts in groups, which would later keep the owners from cooperating to keep salaries down;

    4. Just generally being stupid, and letting the players know how much money they were really worth.

    Baseball salaries are not, really, all that high. I mean, they’re enormous, but they’re in the range of basketball salaries and the salaries of elite football players. Baseball’s problem is a lack of revenue sharing (since the big teams get the bulk of their money in local TV contracts), not how much the players make.

  77. I was not blaming Boras for everything. I was simply pointing out the fact that he is one of the people most responsible for the escalating salaries in baseball. If you think that is a plus or a negative that is your decision.

    If you also want to look at what Boras did as if there is no problem with it because he did it with the consent of his client, again that is your decision. I do think a person’s morality should play a part in whatever decisions they make in life.

  78. If you also want to look at what Boras did as if there is no problem with it because he did it with the consent of his client, again that is your decision.

    I hope this isn’t addressed at me. Once again, blame should be spread, not focused solely on Scott Boras. That doesn’t mean there’s no blame.

    I do think a person’s morality should play a part in whatever decisions they make in life.

    I think it’s impossible for this not to be the case.

  79. Robert,

    Thorman was SUPPOSED to be the replacement. That was the plan. It wasn’t a good plan, but improving the pen was a top priority. It still should be.

    What would have been the best way to improve the horrendous bullpen from 2006?

  80. I should point out, in the other argument, that the LaRoche-Gonzalez trade was made before the Soriano-HoRam trade. When Schuerholz made the first deal, Gonzalez instantly became the team’s best reliever by far.

    I also think it’s likely that Lillibridge will be the best player from the deal, possibly as soon as midseason of 2008. (Though if that’s the case, not with the Braves.)

  81. Sam,

    I’m not really fully behind Robert on this, but you’re asking questions that are very easy to answer.

    How to improve on the ’06 ‘pen:

    1) Trade Horacio Ramirez for Rafael Soriano.
    2) Count on a full season of Peter Moylan.
    3) Get surprisingly good stretches from Tyler Yates.
    4) Trade for Ron Mahay at the deadline.

    All this happened without Mike Gonzalez. It was also without Adam LaRoche and didn’t have to be.

  82. Mac,

    Excellent point, that is exactly why I threw Steinbrenner’s name in there. You may be right in the fact that if not Boras someone else would play the same role, but the fact is Boras did do this. Again, I am not saying what he is doing is wrong. I have never blamed someone for trying to make the most money for themselves as they can. I think that Boras has a done tremendous job of exploiting inequities in the salary system.

    It is a pretty proven fact in professional sports that the only way to succeed is through revenue sharing. It always struck me as odd that the best thing for a sport as whole is to create a Socialist type system where everyone shares in the money. This same system also tends to push more teams to mediocrity, and have fewer superior teams. This runs entirely counterintuitive to everything we know on how to run a successful business.

  83. I was sure it was the other way, but you’re right, it was Soriano, then Gonzalez. So never mind! I think I was confused because the LaRoche trade rumors went on for so long before they happened.

  84. Oh, and Kenny, you’re right about that. Just because someone else could do what Boras does, and would do it if Boras didn’t, doesn’t excuse his actions. I find him unethical beyond the norm for a fairly unethical field. What hasn’t been discussed are his attempts to bring down the draft system — which the players he represents have approved through collective bargaining.

  85. Yeah, the LaRoche/Gonzalez rumors were going on (including Melky Cabrera and Scott Proctor scenarios) long before the Soriano deal, which came gloriously out of nowhere.

  86. Stu,

    The Soriano trade did go down first. That was in December, and the Gonzalez trade was in January. I GUESS that Gonzalez trade didn’t HAVE to be done, but I have no qualms about it. After all, Lillibridge could be our new centerfielder if that goes well enough.

  87. The Soriano trade was at the winter meetings in December and the LaRoche-Gonzalez trade was in mid-January.

    I still like the deal with Lillibridge. Plus Gonzalez will come back eventually.

  88. I don’t have qualms—well, not many—about it either, Sam. I was just trying to point out that it wasn’t ridiculous to have been against the trade, as Robert has been all along.

  89. LaRoche is just doing his thing in Pittsburgh. His doubles increased, but his homers dropped. I thought PNC was supposed to be a big homer park for him.

  90. Ububba,

    I love the Reggie Bush story – it further shows the despicable double standard living in the NCAA offices.

    SEC Schools get slapped with penalties for ANY infraction – small or large.

    That’s fine. I have no issue with that per say.

    But if you are going to bully the SEC with every penalty in the book, how in God’s name does Ohio State, USC, Colorado and several other schools, guilty of blatant MASSIVE rules violations, not get a single infraction – but schools like Bama and Auburn get ripped up.

    It’s complete and utter BS.

  91. I think the NCAA’s power ended with that Alabama lawsuit. I don’t think you will ever see those types of penalties again. The NCAA has made it a point that if you report what goes on yourself there will be a lot less problems.

  92. Alex,
    Not to excuse any of it, but I believe the big football schools are all guilty to some degree. (I’ve seen it up close & it’s not pretty.)

    As for how the NCAA polices this stuff, I don’t even try to understand it.

  93. As for baseball salaries, players were screwed royally for a 100 years until Miller and the Messersmith decision. Read Ball Four to see how owners lied to and cheated players to keep salaries down. Now, that doesn’t justify unethical behavior forty years later but you need to keep it in perspective. I see people talking about the good old days in baseball back in the fifties–yeah when the owners controlled everything, paid no attention to the welfare of the players, and, in a lot of cases, milked their franchises at the expense of the fans. If the owners had been even half-way decent to the players, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in now. And, oh yeah, all the talk about the problems these franchises are having is just crap. Most of these franchises are escalating in value and the ones that aren’t are simply poorly run.

    Players and agents are indeed greedy. As are owners, many CEOs of corporations, etc., etc. The only things about baseball is that fans think that somehow we are owed loyalty. Boras pushes the envelope and I don’t like him. But he’s not to blame for the way the world is. And, by the way, it’s the Cleveland Indians playing in the ALCS, not the New York Yankees.

  94. What are the payrolls of the three non-Sox teams still playing – and where do they rank in the league?

    As per the Gonzo-LaRoche trade, it’s still too early, in my opinion, to make a decision on it, but early returns are not as promising as many here had hoped. Personally, I was and remain against it; especially in light of the Soriano deal. But Lillibridge was a nice player to land and makes it, perhaps, salvageable.

    Also, I think it’s unfair and ridiculous to compare LaRoche and Teixeira considering their salaries. That is, you can’t just say Gonzalez/Teixeria/Lillibridge vs. LaRoche/Salty/Andrus and the prospects traded. The difference in money suggests that it should really be Gonzalez/Tex vs. LaRoche/Salty/Andrus/some eight-figure-salary player. And of course Gonzalez had done little while having, unfortunately, a future in doubt.

    It’s a sad day for the Braves… though we all knew this would come sooner rather than later.

  95. From the “Where do we go from here: Starting pitching” post:

    To be honest, I expect Schuerholz will pull off something totally unexpected. It’s his style.

  96. My reaction to the JS news can best be summed up by this Chevey Chase quote from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:

    “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now”

  97. I haven’t read the book. The 1966 situation still pisses me off, and I was born in 1971. Alabama, the two-time defending AP champions, finishes 10-0, the only major unbeaten and untied team in the country, and winds up third behind a couple of pussy teams from the midwest who played to a tie. After Parseghian’s little play-for-a-tie decision, ND shouldn’t have been in the top twenty.

  98. Baseball is a big money business. In a way that’s a good thing because it causes more people to want to play baseball which increases the available talent pool and thus the level of play. If MLB is going to take in a huge sum of money, I’d much rather see the lion’s share go the players over the owners because that’s who I invest my time and money to support. The ownner’s can go jump in a lake. I shed no tears for any money that Boras extracts from them.

  99. #143
    Another example showing the built-in stupidity of college football’s “national championship.” First, they vote on it, which is bad enough; secondly, they vote for the wrong team. Hard to get worse than that.

    My high-school football coach, the late Nathan Rustin, played on that ’66 Bama team. He wore #74. Probably the toughest man I’ve ever known.

  100. I wrote a quick “Thanks, John” piece on my Huffington Post blog. I ended it by saying, “Many will write more eloquently than I can about his gifts and flaws.” Of course, I had Mac in mind. I’m looking forward eagerly to the JS postmortem, which Mac is better able to write than just about anyone in the business.

  101. From a AJC column:

    The Braves took great glee in noting that early-in-the-day reports of Schuerholz’s retirement were not just premature but incorrect. He’ll stay with the team. He’ll be the president. Asked repeatedly what being president will entail, nobody could say for sure. “Terry and I will continue to flesh it out,” Schuerholz said. “I will be Terry’s No. 1 man.”

  102. So what exactly was the cause of that? Do people want Schuerholz to go away or something? Or were they expecting him to retire so much that they immediately assumed it?

  103. I’m sure it was nothing more than reporting an incomplete story from a source. I highly doubt there was any malicious intent.

  104. As for the Hall of Fame, anyone over 65 is eligible six months after retirement (the “Casey Stengel Rule”). I don’t know how Schuerholz’s position as president effects his status. For that matter, we don’t know how executives (or managers, for that matter — Bobby will fall under the same rule when he retires) will be treated by the new version of the Veterans’ Committee.

  105. mac, is that julio’s goal? to play ’til he’s 65 so he doesnt have to wait to get in the hall?

  106. I just got up and got the shock….I doubt that this had anything to do with Boras–at least I hope not…

    In any case, over the last 17 years JS has set the standards for what a GM can and should do. For at least a decade (though after Time-Warner cut his budget) the Braves were held up as a model organization. Not only did they win divisions and frequently appear in the World Series, but under JS they created a smart organization–which could seemingly renew itself with ease. The organization worked effectively enough that Braves fans could complain about his roster moves, trades and signings with the assumption that they would always be a baeball power.

    Having watched the Braves in the 1970s and 1980s (especially the late 70s and late 80s), I have always appreciated the full value of JS’s contribution. In the late 1980s the team was awful and within about 6 years they were baseball’s ‘model organization’.

    Clearly, then, there will be a strong case for JS to go to Cooperstown.

    I cannot help but wonder how much longer Bobby will stay at the helm….

  107. I’ve skimmed through most of these comments but I haven’t found any theories as to why JS called it quits so suddenly. Obviously he’s not going anywhere (we don’t have to miss him quite yet), but it’s still quite a shock. I wonder if the trouble he encountered trying to get a starter via trade this year has anything to do with it. Do other GMs resent JS? Was there a feeling that the franchise needed a new face in the head office to start fresh with the other organizations?

  108. PS: Last year, everyone was dogging on JS for doing book signings of “Built To Win” while we were 10 games out of first. Now that he’s leaving, everyone is singing a different tune. I realize a lot of that is frustration. I’m not calling anyone a hypocrite, but it’s interesting nevertheless.

  109. I remember visiting Mac’s site round about 2001 or 2002 and being scared to death by a blue demon-lurking character that was meant to represent JS. The only other JS I can recall was the notorious Lil Johnny. Does this mean Jonny is done? Sorry of Lil Jon has already been discussed here…

  110. Thanks ububba–a nice article even if Dayn Perry cannot spell John Schuerholz’s name consistently in it….

  111. I think they realize that they have to get the people in place before someone else takes them. The same will go for Bobby. If Pendleton is the heir apparent, then they’ll make a move to keep him before too many others come calling, although they may have already done that and he is going through the motions with these other suitors.

    Isn’t Andruw #1 or 2 in children outside of wedlock for the Braves, along with #1 for most money spent at the Gold Club?

    Told you Hurdle should Manager of the Year. They may never lose another game for 3-4 years. Arizona is done, because after Webb, they got squat.

  112. 168 — ha! lil johnny. i love it when he comes up. so does sam. just talk about him a lot and see how sam reacts. good times.

  113. The only other JS I can recall was the notorious Lil Johnny. Does this mean Jonny is done? Sorry of Lil Jon has already been discussed here…

    “Lil’ Johnny” quit baseball a couple of months ago.

    I wonder if Dayton Moore is kicking himself.

  114. Maybe at 67, JS just figured it was time. Being a GM today is pretty much a 24/7 job. And I think as bwarrend said, the Braves figured they needed to get the younger people in place before the split.

    And, btw, I hope no one seriously looks at Wren’s experience in his one year in Baltimore as an indication of his ability. Working for Angelos is worse than working for Steinbrenner; at least Steinbrenner will spend money and make decisisions.

    As for the Alabama 1966 season, I haven’t read the book, but my impression is that, with the civil rights movement in full bloom, a lot of writers didn’t think a lily-white team in a lily-white conference should be national champions. Of course, that didn’t stop them from voting for Bama the year before. I suspect that had a lot to do with it.

  115. On the Dayn Perry article.

    Wow, trashing Cox for the Esasky deal. Gosh, I can’t believe he didn’t see the vertigo coming. And that is really Cox’s legacy as the GM, right? Not drafting Chipper Jones or creating and managing a farm system that Schuerholz would continue.

    Shuerholz and the Braves won with high payrolls and they won with low payrolls.

    How many seasons did the Braves have a payroll below the league average during Schuerholz’s tenure? One, 1991—the one that GM Cox had the biggest imprint on—convenient it’s the only year Perry remembers. The Braves averaged a payroll of 31% above the league average during his tenure with the Braves. And when his payroll begin to disappear, so did the Braves post-season appearances.

    Look, I think Schuerholz was a good GM—no matter how much money you have you can still produce a loser—but this is quite a rosy caricature.

  116. On John Sickels’ minorleagueball.com, a couple of the posters pointed out that Wren signed Albert Belle to Baltimore. Apparently, according to omambiyick,

    “He also traded for BJ Ryan.

    I’m not sure how much he had to do with the drafts, but in 1999 the team drafted Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard. Plus, Daniel Cabrera was a INTL FA signee.”

    Not a bad record at all, for 1 season!

  117. Julio can play til he’s 70 and he wouldn’t get in the hall.

    Even though we’re not speaking about a remotely realistic situation, anyone who played in the major leagues until he was 70 years old would be a lock, wouldn’t he? You wouldn’t even have to look at his numbers—the simple fact that he was able to stay on a ML roster for, like, 45 years would get him in.

  118. Random question:

    Why does it take 3 “-“s to make a dash in WordPress? Why not 2, like a typical word processor?

  119. Three-dash is the LaTex standard for a m-dash, two for the n-dash, and one for a hyphen. I assume it derives from the same coding origins.

  120. JC,

    I have no idea what any of that means, other than “hyphen”. I think I’ve found my problem.

  121. gross….Is this bad for Baseball?

    “Could Alex Rodriguez’s next contract be a twelve-year pact, running through 2019? Scott Boras won’t deny it, as he’s talking about taking his superstar through the end of his career. A 12-year, $380MM deal doesn’t seem out of the question. Has a baseball player ever signed for more than a decade?

    Of course, Boras is a master negotiator. So over the coming weeks, he’ll probably casually talk about A-Rod as a $35-40MM player getting 13 years. Unless some team loses its mind entirely, he should settle at 10-11 years and the low $30MM range annually.”

    – I would like to see contracts having caps on them based on service time. Then allowing the players to earn more based on production. Makes everything incentive based and keeps teams like us stuck with big contracts like Hampton’s who hasnt pitched in 2 years. Is baseball the only sport in which contracts are guaranteed?

    I would use italics but dont know how

  122. Brian Fuentes on the Arizona fans’ display last night:

    “I was shocked because I’ve never seen anything like that from these fans,” said Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes, who said it was equally bad in right field, where his team’s bullpen is. “It didn’t show very much class. … Usually, I would expect that out of Shea [Stadium] or Philly.”

    Yes! Another reason to cheer on the Rockies—Brian Fuentes takes random shots at Mets and Phillies fans.

  123. I’ve seen those kinds of displays at Yankee Stadium & Fenway, too. I don’t remember the play, but I do recall the ’99 ALCS got ugly up there in Boston.

  124. csg,

    no, contracts are guaranteed in almost every major sport with the exception of the NFL, where (obviously) portions such as signing bonuses are guaranteed, as well as roster bonuses once they have been paid. the NFL guarantees a veterans salary for a particular season if they are on the roster when the season starts, but base salaries from year to year are not locked in until this point.

    the new nhl system has a feature to option to the minors and reduce salaries, but im not sure of the entire workings of it yet.

    but baseball and basketball for sure are 100% guaranteed, which is why in the nba teams are always looking to acquire “expiring” contract players in order to clear salary cap room (you only get space back when a player on your roster has their contract expire, or you trade salary.

    if baseball was to go to a salary cap system the nfl model is by far the best IMO (even being a canadian nhl fan) but the union would never go for non-guaranteed contracts and the big market teams would never go for (mostly) equalized revenue sharing.

  125. From the Perry article:
    “Atlanta was understandably gun-shy about signing premium, high-dollar free agents after the disastrous contract Cox tendered to Nick Esasky.”

    I don’t see how this is trashing Cox. It was pretty clearly a disastrous deal for the Braves, whatever the cause.

  126. No, Li’l Jon doesn’t faze me anymore because there’s no “threat” to him making the major leagues. What a shame. ;P

    Esasky wasn’t a bad idea for a signing, but if he was healthy, he probably wouldn’t have put the numbers up in Atlanta that he did in 1989 because he was a lefty who played in Fenway.

  127. Well, Esasky was a righty, but Fenway is good for righties, so the point stands.

    Still, he was coming to the Launching Pad…

  128. I hope A-rod does get some ridiculous deal because whoever gives him that will be one less team the Braves have to compete with to re-sign Teixeira.

  129. Supposedly, A-Rod was set to come to the Braves but JS wouldn’t give him a no-trade. I wonder how that would have worked out. While I understand the reluctance to tie the organization’s hands, I think you need to be pragmatic in these things. That seems to be Christina Kahrl’s point, although she comes across as a bit churlish about JS and others not paying proper obeisance to statistical analysis. I do think it’s fair to argue the Braves do not seem to place as much value on things like OBP as some teams and, IMO, this has hurt them. I don’t know where Wren comes down on things like that, but, while JS was a great GM, I’m not that unhappy to see a change. Seventeen years is a long time. And, frankly, as great as I do think Bobby Cox is, it might be time for a change there too. The Braves are in some danger of becoming something of a dinosaur, weighted down to old methods by their past success.

  130. Marc,

    IMO, most managers are similar to Bobby Cox in tactics, and that we wouldn’t see a change in general strategy.

  131. Supposedly, A-Rod was set to come to the Braves but JS wouldn’t give him a no-trade. I wonder how that would have worked out.

    I don’t think anyone knows whether the failure to give a no-trade clause mattered or not. The Braves’ offer to A-Rod was blown out of the water by Tom Hicks, and that sort of finalized everything right then and there.

  132. most managers are similar to Bobby Cox in tactics, and that we wouldn’t see a change in general strategy.

    I don’t think the first part is true, but I think you’re right that we Braves fans woudln’t see much of a change, because whoever the Braves actually replace Cox with will almost certainly be a Cox protege.

  133. I was thinking in terms of platoons, lefty-righty, and bunting. I remembered that Cox doesn’t hit and run or steal often. Maybe Pendleton would be a better bullpen manager. ;)

  134. Not too many managers pinch-bunt. Not too many managers would have given Diaz so few ABs. And, yeah, I don’t think it’s possible to be a worse bullpen tactician.

  135. I mostly agree with Sam. Most current major league managers are hung up on lefty-righty matchups regardless of what the actual splits are, overuse platoons, save their best relievers for pitching in the ninth inning with 3 run leads, and prefer to have “veterans” like Chris Woodward in the 23rd-25th spots on the roster instead of players who actually have even average major league ability just like Bobby.

  136. Alex Rodriguez, like every other player, is not worth 10YRS/300M or more, regardless of what his evil agent says.

  137. Worse bullpen managers: Dusty Bakers… and, that’s it, as far as I can tell.

    Manny Acta, evidently, thinks bunting is antiquated in the high-scoring era and reads the BP guys. Plus, you know, his team overachieved this year with a roster full of AA guys.

    But seriously, the best the Braves can hope for in a manager is someone who won’t mess up, impede the team from winning. That and someone who keeps his guys under control and relatively happy. Of course, some may argue that Bobby has always been great at that because his teams are always winning (chicken or the egg?), or at least believed they ultimately would be winning. Such a feat in Baltimore would be more difficult, I imagine. The GM is ultimately more important. I do think it’s imperative to have a GM who is progressive and forward thinking in his approaches to the game. Hopefully Wren is that; or, like JS, a great evaluator of talent.

  138. Apparently, Ned Yost is an appallingly poor manager of bullpen arms… which tells you something, doesn’t it?

    That Kahrl article was awfully mean-spirited. As far as I can tell, according to her, all successful GMs who aren’t Billy Beane = bad. Billy Beane = good. The ending’s particularly hard to swallow:

    “Some might take that as a setback, and others might overstate matters and consider it the death rattle of the game’s old guard. In reality, it represents a much more up-to-date pragmatism — survival depends on success, and whether you rely on scouting, analysis, or have the good sense to use both, the best way to keep the job is to deliver. Jocketty, Ryan, and Schuerholz all haven’t of late, however much they were once lionized. Their successors will remember that.”

    You know, Walt Jocketty won the World Series last year. In the past four years, the three GMs she trashes have 1 World Series, 2 League Championships, and 7 division titles between them. That’s generally regarded as pretty good.

  139. Los Angeles Angels 94-68 .580
    Seattle Mariners 88-74 .543
    Oakland Athletics 76-86 .469
    Texas Rangers 75-87 .463

  140. I’m with AAR here. The tone of the article leads me to wonder whether it’s anything more than a writer pushing her agenda and minimizing some rather significant counterpoints that could be made.

    Anyway, I think it’s equally ludicrous to insinuate that Beane isn’t very good at his job. Why don’t you aslo list the payrolls for the teams in the AL West, Dan?

  141. Dan,

    What does it mean to be “worth” a particular amount of money? In the free market, it’s what someone is willing to pay. Scott Boras didn’t make up the law of supply and demand. And Michael Jordan was making $30 mm at the end of his career.

    I agree Kahrls took some cheap shots the the other GMs. But, as for Billy Beane, maybe the A’s haven’t won a pennant but,until this year have consistently been a contender and have been in the playoffs numerous times,despite playing in a very small market with few resources. Compare that to the Pirates, Reds, or Orioles. Beane’s a pretty damn good GM if you ask me. As for the others, Walt Jocketty won his WS because he was in an incredibly weak division and the team got hot.

  142. I read the JS/Kahrl thing & I’m not sure what the writer’s point was, because if she was trying to say that “the old guard” is no longer effective & their old ways are hastening their departures, she certainly doesn’t support it terribly well. The whole thing struck me as confused.

    And I thought the same thing about Jocketty. If you define “of late” as just this past year, um, OK. But the team he built won the WS in ’06 & did extremely well in the previous decade.

  143. I think most people are just jealous of the sucess the braves have had under JS. Who wouldnt the record we’ve had the last 16 years? I think the point she (whoever that bi$# is) was trying to make was that it was the ability of the Braves to spend the big bucks in the mid 90’s was the key to his sucess. Its sort of a back handed comment to Bobby, saying he was the reason why were so successful early on due to the prospects he had drafted and aquired. All that being said, I’m glad JS was here, I, as a Braves fan, am deeply gratified at what he and Bobby have brought us over the last 17 years. As a fan since the early 80’s, I cant tell you how nice it has become to be able to say proudly I’m a Braves fan…..

  144. But, as JC has pointed out, you can’t discount the fact that, in the early years at least, the Braves had a lot of money to spend. They also benefitted from the fact that in the pre-Torre years, a lot of players didn’t want to play for the Yankees (ie, Maddux) regardless of the money. And the fact is that a lot of the pieces were already in place when JS got here (Smoltz, Glavine, Avery, Gant, Justice)because of Bobby Cox. That’s not a knock on JS, but it puts his success in some perspective.

  145. for whatever its worth, two different articles

    Agent: GM Wren won’t help Braves keep Teixeira…
    Agent Scott Boras said Thursday that GM Frank Wren has “always been professional” in his dealings, but said Wren’s promotion alone wouldn’t be enough to affect the Braves’ chances of signing players such as Mark Teixeira. “As far as what the Braves are doing, they’re now 15th [in the majors] in payroll and heading south,” Boras said, referring to a payroll in the mid-$80 million range. “They have some great players there, both young and veteran, but they’re going to have to be aggressive in a number of ways to return to the status [the franchise] once held.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Wren will help Braves deal with agents…
    One thing that could change is the Braves’ relationship with player agents, most notably Scott Boras, who hadn’t spoken with John Schuerholz in more than a year. Boras represents stars, including Andruw Jones, whom Schuerholz announced last week would not be re-signed because of a high asking price, and Mark Teixeira, the first baseman the Braves hope to re-sign before he becomes a free agent after the 2008 season. Schuerholz also clashed with Gregg Clifton, agent for Tom Glavine, the former Braves pitcher the team might try to re-sign as a free agent this winter. “I’ve dealt with agents my whole career,” Frank Wren said. “It’s part of the job. It’s not something John enjoyed doing. The last eight years, I’ve done the bulk of that.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  146. Scott Boras is only 54 years old. He’ll be around for probably another decade before he goes away.

  147. @197 Atlanta offered 18 mil per year. I can’t remember for how long for sure but 5 years sticks in my mind. Hicks bid against himself right up to 220 million.

    I read the Christina Kahrl thing too. What was her point? Normally she is at least cogent.

    Schuerholz gets more credit than he deserves but then so do most leaders of anything. And when things go to hell they get more blame than they deserve. In my mind it sort of balances out. A GM has a lot of influence on the success of a sports franchise. Way more than say a pitching coach does. But lets face it for every Greg Maddux there is an Albie Lopez. Schuerholz gets high marks because there were more good moves than bad and the team flourished for 14 years.

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