SEC Picks, Week 9

Home teams in green because that’s the only color nobody uses.

Florida 27, Georgia 16
Kentucky 35, Miss. St. 13
Arkansas 40, Fla. International 20
South Carolina 30, Tennessee 20
Vandy 31, Miami Ohio 10
Auburn 42, Mississippi 6

UPDATE: Just to be clear, this is what I hope happens:

Georgia 72, Florida -16

180 thoughts on “SEC Picks, Week 9”

  1. any updates on the Willy Aybar situation? Will we ever see him again?

    I sure am glad he was the reason why we made that deal for him and Baez.

  2. I know it’s Mississippi, but Auburn should be on major upset alert this weekend. There had to be a significant letdown and loss of focus this week.

    And I like Georgia. Which – if history means anything – probably means they are going down.

    Ducks-Trojans should be a lot of fun.

  3. At the time there was no way of knowing Aybar would have so many problems. If he can get his life back on track, we still win that trade. He’s like a poor man’s Kevin Youkilis in my opinion.

  4. I can’t believe VT last night. I checked in and with about 6:00 left Tech had the ball somewhere around the BC 30 yd line and were up 10-0. So I went back to baseball and didn’t check back. I still think that BC would get crushed in the championship game, unless they get Ohio State.

  5. I took UGA and the points, and also took UK. Mac is feeling extraordinarily nice with UT. After seeing Fulmer coach the last game so miserably, and being so conservative I don’t see how the beat USC.

    I still think BC will lose at some point this season, probably to Clemson, but that was awful at the end of the game. Their OL stepped up at the end, but VT has to take some sort of gamble there. I am already tired of hearing the Tom Brady/Matt Ryan comparisons. I cannot see any way that he is higher than the 3rd overall QB taken.

  6. I’m going to go ahead and say the VT’s ‘rush three men and give Matt Ryan 20 minutes per play to find an open man’ strategy was a mistake.

  7. Robert,

    I don’t disagree, but earlier in the game they were actually getting a lot of pressure with only 3 and 4 man fronts. That being said, you cannot continue to do the same thing and let BC score 14 points in 4 minutes. VT absolutely dominated that game for 56 minutes. Their offense is absolutely abysmal.

  8. From the other thread, I don’t see where anybody said anything about one of my favorite projects / prospects : Phil Stockman.

    Apparently (based on a report in Minpr League Baseball.com) Stockman has been released to the Australian Olympic Baseball Team for next year’s Olympics. I have seen nothing else about it. However, it is consistent with him not coming to Atlanta with the Braves still on the fringe of a pennant race and him already on the 40 man roster.

    I will leave it to the gurus here to confirm that and to point out how this affects his status (I think it is like the year didn’t exist and he returns to his same status the next year. And, I think that status is that he has to go on the 25 man roster or be released by the end of spring training.

  9. Mac,

    I will remember your pick in the UGA/UF score. Believe me – I will remember this.

    To add insult to injury, you still think we are the only team in the SEC who can’t perform well off a BYE week. I am not saying I am sure we will win, but you’re obvious lack of respcect for Georgia will be remembered.

  10. Will any team make it though the SEC East with only 2 losses? Every team has at least two tough games left.

  11. mac,

    And Georgia plays better against everybody in red, OTHER THAN AUBURN. It is a strange series in that the road team has been about a .750 record since the late 70’s (both ways similar, with Auburn a couple of games up overall).

  12. #2
    Willy Aybar is playing third base for Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League and is batting .625 after two games.

  13. When I was in school, we once beat Florida 44-0. We were passing around a fifth of Jack, smoking cigars & getting kisses from coeds in the 3rd quarter. But that was a long time ago.

    Since the Goff Era, this is easily been my least-favorite football weekend of the year. As always I’m rooting like hell for the Dogs, but I have no idea how this bunch is going to stop them.

    If Willie Martinez has some crazy scheme he’s been hiding, time to break it out. If I’m in Vegas, I don’t go near this game.

    We’re gonna need a lotta Knowshon (a real heroic effort) & a break or two (a fumbled punt, Percy Harvin spontaneously combusting) to rock their world tomorrow.

    But glutton for punishment that I may be, I moved my flight to Minneapolis to 10:45 tomorrow morning so that I can tune in. If things break right, I can’t miss it. Nothing worse than flying (unless it’s JetBlue) while your team is playing.

    Go Dogs, sic ’em.

  14. Auburn should not be on major letdown alert.

    They are facing the gar fisherman.

    He’s to worried about his recipe for gar balls than to come up with a game plan to stop Brad Lester or block Quentin Groves.

  15. I partially agree with Jorgbacca- Auburn will win, but not by 36 points.

    Similarly, I’d take Arkansas and give the points against FIU.

  16. I wonder how Youkilis feels about being benched in favor of Lowell and Big Papi for the NL games. He and Pedroia have been the catalyst for their offense this postseason.

  17. mlb rumors on relievers…

    Ron Mahay (37) – Mahay was part of the Teixeira deal, and he pitched well for both clubs. Like a lot of these guys, his control is poor. But he only allowed 4 HR in 67 innings and posted a 2.55 ERA (again on the strength of a low hit rate). He made $1.2MM this year.

    I thought Mahay had pretty good control, am I wrong?

  18. His stats from atlanta:

    30 0 1 0 0 0 0 28.0 19 8 7 1 16 23 2.25 1.25 .194

    16 walks in 30 innings, eh, it could be a problem

    but the whip @ 1.25, thats not too shabby

  19. AAR,
    Thanks, but the real dedication comes from the fact that I’m going to a rock show tonight & I’m going to feel like a bucket of death tomorrow morning.

    That flight ain’t gonna be pretty, but I can’t miss my Dawgs.

  20. for 1.2MM I’d say he’s good enough, I wished we had enough flexibility to keep him around. I’m guessing with the Paronto dump we arent willing to spend our finances on relievers this year. I’m also thinking Dotel wont be back

  21. Going to the AFL rising stars game tonight, Jordan Schafer and Charlie Morton will be the Braves’ representatives. I’ve seen a lot of talk about Schafer on this board, but not much mention of Morton- anybody know anything about him?

  22. Wow, nevermind- just checked him out on baseball cube and he doesn’t look like someone who should be in this game. He’s 23, in AA, and wasn’t real impressive from what I can see. Control issues, decent K rate but not spectacular, hittable. Not sure why he’s here, but oh well. Back in 2005 baseball america did say he had the best curveball in the organization, for what that’s worth.

  23. Just noticed that the Padres have requested unconditional release waivers on our old pal Marcus Giles.

  24. Rufino,

    The pitchers in AFL are frequently mediocre to bad. Most teams have pitch and / or innings limits on young pitchers. So, the guys you get are usually the ones who are hurt.

    Therefore, you really have to watch relying on the stats for prediction. However, RANK may be a decent predictor (best hitter is pretty good as Escobar showed last year).

  25. That’s what I’ve noticed too, Cliff. It’s almost like a bloated game of MVP Baseball. It’s a severe hitters’ environment, so the .300 BA isn’t nearly as impressive because you have guys hitting .400, .500, and sometimes .600. And on the flip side, the guy with the ERA in the 5s may not be half bad.

  26. You guys been paying attention to the MLB transactions?

    LOL@ this one:

    San Diego Padres
    Claimed RHP Mauro Zarate off waivers from the Florida Marlins; Requested unconditional release waivers on INF Marcus Giles.

    Atlanta Braves:

    Claimed RHP Chris Resop off waivers from the Angels and designated RHP Chad Paronto for assignment.

  27. Watching Dennis Dixon play against USC–his future looks beter in the NFL than it does with the Braves….

  28. Giles is yet another example of one of Shuerholz lesser mentioned talents: knowing when to give up on players. See also: Jeff Blauser, Javier Lopez, and perhaps Adam Laroche.

  29. ron, you must’ve forgot that adam had a pretty remarkable 2nd half after a lackluster 1st. he ended the year with pretty decent #’s and something to build on. i dont see how adam can even fit in with the other 3. 2 were on steroids and the other one was washed up. putting laroche, after 4 full seasons in the bigs, is completely unfair. i guess that’s why you said “perhaps”.

  30. The Rockies aren’t making the NL look good because the NL ain’t good. But hopefully, after this, the rest of basebally – or the fans, anyway – will turn on Boston and start giving them the Yankee-like hate they so richly deserve.

    Oregon and Ohio State both looked good yesterday… and I’m thrilled about the Dawgs!

  31. World Series results from the last 10 years:

    1997 – Marlins – NL
    1998 – Yankees – AL
    1999 – Yankees – AL
    2000 – Yankees – AL
    2001 – D’backs – NL
    2002 – Angels – AL
    2003 – Marlins – NL
    2004 – Red Sox – AL
    2005 – White Sox – AL
    2006 – Cardinals – NL
    2007 – Red Sox – AL (assumedly)

    That doesn’t really look like massive domination to me. The AL gets the advantage of having the Yankees and the Yankees II in their league. Otherwise, it seems pretty standard.

  32. And the only owners who couldn’t man up were Bud Selig’s daughter and Marge Schott, and now they’re not even in the league any more.

    God, baseball owners are a bunch of weenies. Reading the Boras article just convinces me more that, yes, he’s an asshole, but baseball management deserves to be hoodwinked if they can’t stand up to him. Signing a star to a huge contract they don’t deserve hurts the team. If they can’t understand opportunity cost, they deserve to lose in the economics of baseball so that the free market can find someone who’s able to win.

    Billy Beane doesn’t need to pay too many Boras clients to win. Neither did Schuerholz.

  33. Well, yeah… if you have the best two teams in baseball, then that means your league is going to win more World Series and All-Star games, and have more revenues, and better competition, and more stupid ESPN coverage.

    If every team in the NL is just jockeying for third place and a chance for the crapshoot that is the interminable playoffs, then the senior circuit will never get the respect it deserves.

  34. the senior circuit will never get the respect it deserves until:

    a.) there is a salary cap in baseball, ala football, to promote parity

    and

    b.) there is profit sharing from large market teams to small market teams to allow for said parity

    until that time, it’s gonna be “money talks” and most of the money is in the yankees (thanks cabelvision), boston, anehiem and the white sox.

  35. a couple of things, too…

    from mlbtraderumors.com

    “Nick Cafardo expects the Orioles to shop Miguel Tejada this winter, which would surprise no one. But he’s also hearing that Erik Bedard could be available. Trades of either might be unpopular with the fanbase. The trade market for starters could be hopping if Johan Santana, Bedard, and C.C. Sabathia are made available.”

    JESUS H. CHRIST…Beddard? What do they want? If it’s reasonable…go get ’em Wrenny boy…

    actually, the richest owner in Baseball is the guy who owns the Twins Carl Pohland, but it would be interesting to see the discrepancy (if any) between the owners of the two leagues and their net worths.

  36. ryan c,
    Let’s not pretend that home attendance is the only source of revenue. A team like the Yankees makes so much more money off of YES than most teams do with their media deals it is obscene, and the Red Sox and the Yankees have tickets and concessions/parking and all that that are more expensive than anyone else’s in MLB so even with attendance revenue it is not strictly a head count. The AL teams also have a combination of recent winners and optimistic owners (white sox, angels, tigers) which led to inflated payrolls for overvalued players. The AL teams also must compete against one another and have the perceived superiority that leads to a lot of overspending. Several of the bottom NL teams are looking to move or get a new stadium(FLA and WAS) and several others just aren’t big spenders traditionally or wisely believed that they did not need to pay for overvalued and overrated starting pitchers or superstar hitters to compete. There is a reason the Rockies, Dbacks, Padres and Indians did so well this season and it has little to do with spending a lot of money.

  37. you’re right. but, i still believe that the nl owners are sitting on some bank. many times i am wrong and my research goes to shit, but i just found it interesting.

  38. Does anyone know what is the collective record of NL vs. AL teams in interleague play? I would think that, and not the results of the All Star Game or World Series, is a good indicator of league superiority. I’m just curious.

  39. Searching…

    The AL has the 1,387-1,317 advantage in interleague play and they have won all the All-Star games in the Interleague era.

  40. Well, Alex Rodriguez and Scott Boras just couldn’t wait for the Series to be over. He’s opting out of his contract with the Yankees, which is incredibly stupid, if you ask me. I think Cashman will probably be true to his word and refuse to negotiate, because they’ll lose out on all the money Tom Hicks will be paying them for the final years of his contract.

    So who the hell’s gonna pay him? I would love to see him and Boras fall on their asses, and I know Alex R. agrees. Realistically, is there anyone who could pay what the Yankees would? What the hell is A-Rod smoking?

  41. DENVER (AP) – Alex Rodriguez opted out of his $252 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees on Sunday in what appears to be the end of his career with New York.

    Rodriguez’s decision, announced by agent Scott Boras during Game 4 of the World Series, makes him eligible to become a free agent. Rodriguez loses the final $72 million in guaranteed salary in the contract, of which $21.3 million was to be covered by payments from the Texas Rangers to the Yankees.

  42. ARod’s expecting a repeat of last year’s money madness, which is a reasonable expectation. I expect him to stay in the Bronx and get even more of Steinbrenner’s money to keep an otherwise .500 team competitive.

  43. People thought Boras was crazy for having Drew opt out last year, and look what happened. Say what you will about the man, but he has shown a heck of an ability to read the market.

  44. I’m just throwing an idea out here…

    Could Kelly Johnson play center field?

    Escobar would take over everyday at second.

    Thoughts?

  45. I would love to see ARod staying with the Yankees to keep them away from winning any World Series.

    Btw, any idea of moving KJ to outfield must have forgotten how “well” KJ handled LF two seasons ago…I honestly don’t want to see him playing outside of infield ever again.

  46. The Yanks will be fine without A-Rod. Their starting staff looks very promising next year, so they’d win whether he’s on the team or not (assuming they re-sign #42).

    And as unreal as A-Rod was for the Yankees during the regular season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger pinstriped choker in the post-season. And sad to say, that will be his legacy in The Bronx, not his 2 MVPs.

    It’s harsh, but I get that. I believe that the best players should play their best when the season is on the line and Alex Rodriguez did not do that for the New York Yankees. In fact, in the vast majority of those situations he played poorly.

    I’m not going to bother you with the numbers other than to say, “You can look it up.”

    Still, I believe he should leave New York. It’s not a town for everyone. He should go to a place with less expectation and more patience for their best players (Chicago? Anaheim?). New York is not that city.

    Speaking for myself, I will miss the A-Rod soap opera, but I can’t say I’ll miss him. I appreciated his talent, but I never liked him, to be honest. I think he’s more full of more toro caca than even anyone currently running for president. He’s a great, great ballplayer, but he’s a hopeless phony.

  47. ububba–I have enjoyed your A-Rod commentary for awhile–I liked it in the Spring when you compared his tenure in NY to a reality tv program.

    The Yankees would probably not have made the playoffs without A-Rod, but their overall chances will be better without him. A-Rod was also surrounded by lots of talent in Seattle and his team couldn’t win. Sure, it was not all his fault, but when you look at his career there maybe something of a pattern emerging….and yes he is not a clutch player.

    I would not be surprised to see him wind up with the Cubs; but I would be surprised to see them win the World Series with A-Rod….

  48. Player A Postseason Career .309 .377 .469

    Player B Postseason Career .279 .361 .483

    Derek Jeter, meet Alex Rodriguez. You sure can see why one is considered a clutch god and the other is Mr. April. It’s like Ruth versus Mendoza here.

  49. Career postseason numbers:

    Alex Rodriguez — .844 OPS
    Derek Jeter — .846 OPS

    Yeah, both of their reputations are well deserved.

  50. Re the competitiveness of the WS: it’s a lot worse than it looks when you consider that 3 or the last 4 have been sweeps (by the AL) and 5 of the past 10. Plus, if you go back to 1990, the AL has won 11. That’s much more dominance by one league than you traditionally had. And it’s not so much that the AL is dominant as it is that recent Series have been so uncompetitive. From about the mid-fifties to the late-80s, almost half the WS went seven games, but since 1990, there have only been 4 seven-game series. I would argue there were only two truly great WS in that period–1991 and 2001. And, the playoffs in general this year were just awful in both leagues. It used to be you could count on the baseball playoffs to be pretty compelling but something seems to have happened.

  51. Spike,

    Sorry for what looks like a double-post. I guess yours was being moderated or something, because it wasn’t on my screen when I put the comparison.

    But yeah, apparently .002 of OPS is the difference between being a legendary clutch player and the greatest choker in the history of the game.

  52. No worries.

    Apropos of nothing, Singapore is still the craziest place in the world. If ever there was an analog to Sodom and Gomorrah, this is it.

    I wonder who the odds on favorite is to sign Rodriguez is now – if the Yankees were a competently run organization, it never would have come to this, but now you have to like the Red Sox or Angels.

  53. My feeling is that it will be between the Red Sox and Giants. And the Red Sox have over $40MM worth of salaries coming off the books (and a pending hole at 3B), so I’d honestly be surprised if he signs anywhere else.

  54. Spike, Stu, I’m with y’all on the “clutch” thing. Ububba, perhaps ARod has not performed well in the postseason, but the fact that so many have lambasted him while at the same time making Jeter into a God is what makes this all so ridiculous. The Yankees WILL NOT be fine without ARod. The only positive from this would be if they use that money to bring in Santana, which is very plausible, but I still think this is a team that suffers mightily from losing the best hitter in the game.

    Oh, and ARod hit .463 in the 9th inning this year. I guess he choked.

  55. Also, did ARod run over Buster Olney’s dog or something? I mean, I don’t like the guy either, and I don’t care for his ‘agent’ or lawyer or whatever the hell Boras calls himself, but Olney’s work has gotten progressively worse over the past year or two. We get it Buster, you love Torre but hate ARod. But if you actually think ARod is putting himself above the game, ignore him and write about the World Series instead… why is this so hard?

  56. It’s definitely possible, though I don’t know how probable it is. Glavine, Green, Castillo, Alou, and Valentin all come off the books, and there’s talk of moving Beltran.

    I sure hope they don’t get A-Rod and/or Santana, of course, but I think Minaya will be looking to make a big splash this offseason.

  57. What feightens me is that both the Sox and the Yankees, while spending gobfuls of cash on major leaguers, are now also developing young studs through their farm systems to complement the free agents. Look at these lists:

    NYY: Chamberlain, Hughes, Cabrera, and Cano.

    BOS: Ellsbury, Pedroia, Pappelbon, Lester, Bucholz, and DelCarmen. (You could also toss in Okajima and Matsuzaka here, as they are technically rookies and the Sox hold their rights for the next five years).

    Of course, the Yankees have to deal with the ARod fiasco (and you’ll never convince me that Boras didn’t have a secret deal in place already.), hiring a new manager, and transistioning to a new generation of Steinbrenners. But, still….

    With all that young talent, AND ownership willing to spend Whatever It Takes, I’m worried (esp. about BOS) that we’re in for another decade of Yanks-Sawx talk on PTI and Sportscenter.

    Oh well, maybe we can grab the NL WC next year.

  58. Oh yeah, lets just crown the Mets the 2008 NL East Champs now. That was VERY smart by everyone that did it before this year. ;P

  59. #89, They actually would have won the NL East if not for their amazing and highly enjoyable collapse. But there’s no reason to think that it won’t be another hotly contested 3 team race in the East next year.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what moves Wren makes in his first offseason as Braves GM. It would seem like the Braves are only the addition of a player or two away from being the best team in the NL, but then so are the Mets, Phillies, D-backs, Rockies, Brewers, Padres, Dodgers, and Cubs.

  60. Player A Postseason Career .309 .377 .469

    Player B Postseason Career .279 .361 .483

    Derek Jeter, meet Alex Rodriguez. You sure can see why one is considered a clutch god and the other is Mr. April. It’s like Ruth versus Mendoza here.

    If you’ve ever seen even a minute of ESPN you know that if it doesn’t happen with the Yankees or Red Sox it didn’t really happen. ARod’s Yankee post season numbers:

    .245/.343/.437/.780
    vs career (as a Yankee of course)
    .302/.394/.573/.967

    Now Jeter:
    Playoffs:
    .309/.377/.469/.846
    Career:
    .317/.388/.462/.850

    So as you can see, against the best pitchers when the pressure is highest, Jeter stays Jeter – God among men. ARod on the other hand is, as ububba wisely said, a “pinstriped choker”.

  61. What feightens me is that both the Sox and the Yankees, while spending gobfuls of cash on major leaguers, are now also developing young studs through their farm systems to complement the free agents.

    Under the current financial system, the Yankees and Red Sox should always be among the five best teams every year. They have just a staggering financial advantage in this sport under this system. Having them in the same division is just unfair to the Blue Jays, Orioles and D-Rays until Bud further perverts the game with another wildcard.

    Now we are safely over in the NL so it’s not a huge deal for us, but I would say something like it’s bad for baseball if I didn’t know that all Bud cares about is TV ratings and the Yanks and Sox deliver those better than anyone.

  62. ESPN’s dream:

    put the Yankees and Red Sox in their own division and have them play each other 162 times a year with the one with the best record automatically getting to the World Series

  63. Robert,

    Are you being completely serious? I can’t tell.

    Anyway, I’m sure you understand that sample size is important. Rodriguez has had 94 postseason ABs with the Yankees. I know I’d rather my team have to face Jeter than A-Rod in any situation, postseason or not.

  64. AFL update. I went to the Rising Stars game on Friday night. Both Jordan Schafer and Charlie Morton played in the game. If- and sadly this is a big, dealbreaking if- Charlie was three years younger the Braves would really have something there. Easily the most dominant inning in the entire game- struck out two, both looking if I remember correctly, on NASTY hooks. One of the strikeout victims was a lefty and his knees STILL buckled. And these were 76mph hooks following gas that topped out at 97mph. Now, I don’t know how accurate the gun was- but nobody else I saw topped 95 all night, and only one other guy did that. He was absolutely dominant- BUT, he’s 26, and facing mostly 22-23 year olds, some younger. That said- if you had to make a call based on his performance Friday, you’d say he could help the Braves’ bullpen next year. Until you look up his minor-league stats and see that’s he has been mediocre-to-bad just about everywhere he’s pitched, and consistently mediocre-to-bad to boot.

    Schafer, I only saw one at-bat. He hit a long, loud foul ball on a swing where he seemed fooled. Ultimately stuck out. Only thing I could observe- and I am clearly no scout- is that he has a quick bat, and he seems to do things effortlessly; just has the feel of a natural athlete. He did, however, show poor plate discipline- when he came to the plate, he swung and missed at the first pitch- which was in the dirt. Nothing too bad about that except the pitcher had just thrown seven straight balls. It was, though, an exhibition game, so this was a meaningless at-bat and obviously a meaningless analysis, based on the smallest possible sample size!

  65. Oh- one other thing. John Mayberry, Jr, is a giant, giant man. He didn’t look too great at the plate- reminded me a LOT of Russell Branyan- but it was pretty impressive to see a guy who must be 6’6″, 225 or so, stride up there.

  66. FYI from TSN.com:

    KEY DATES
    Oct. 29-Nov. 12: Free-agent filing period

    Nov. 6-9: General managers’ meetings

    Dec. 1: Last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to their players who became free agents

    Dec. 3-6: Winter meetings

    Dec. 6: Rule 5 draft

    Dec. 7: Last day for free agents offered salary arbitration to accept the offers

    Dec. 12: Last day for teams to offer 2008 contracts to unsigned players

  67. I don’t see why the Red Sox would sign A-rod other than to piss off the Yankees. Forgetting about his post-season performance, it’s not as if A-Rod would put the Sox over the top. What, they would win 100 games instead of 96? To me, it’s just wasting money, especially with their farm system becoming increasingly productive. I think he ends up somewhere where the owner needs to make a big splash to please disgruntled fans. The Red Sox fans are pretty gruntled now.

    The NL is pretty much at equilibrium. The Mets, Braves, and Phillies are the same team–strong lineups, questionable pitching. The Mets have the resources to get anyone they want but unless they trade for Santana (or decide to bolster their offense by getting A-Rod), I don’t think they will be much different than this year. I think the NL will largely be a matter of who gets the breaks; if the Braves get more timely hitting and a little better starting pitching, they could certainly win the East.

    Re the Yankees and Red Sox. It’s tempting to say it’s bad for baseball but the fact is those are the most popular teams in baseball. And it’s not as if they win the World Series every year. Yes, it would be nice to have things like the NFL but is it really any better to have the NFC playing to see who loses the Super Bowl?

  68. #101, he’s one of the top 5 players in baseball and when it’s all said and done will be in the conversation for best all time. Why wouldn’t they want him? Lowell is a free agent and their shortstop is Julio Lugo. Arod could take over either of those positions nicely. The Sawx have a chance to win several more championships over the next few years. If they can afford Arod, it would seem like a no brainer to me.

  69. Agreed, Ron. It’s not like he represents a downgrade. Improving one’s team, if one can afford to do so, always seems like a good idea to me.

  70. … I’ve just heard this for the first time. Is it true that Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t sign a $180/8 year contract with the Braves before 2001 because of the abscene of a no-trade clause?

  71. What a piece of work Hank Steinbrenner is. He sounds more arrogant and delusional than his dad, if you can imagine that.

  72. I don’t think it’s because of the “choking” thing. I think the focus is on his choking because people look for additional reasons to bash him.

    And I think a lot of the reason he’s disliked isn’t necessarily because he’s paid so much—though that’s part of it—but because he took all that money to play for a bad team and then forced that team to trade him to a winner.

  73. Is it true that Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t sign a $180/8 year contract with the Braves before 2001 because of the abscene of a no-trade clause?

    It’s true that those terms were offered and not accepted. I think that was probably the result of the $252MM Tom Hicks offered him, not the no-trade clause.

  74. In the recent post-season, A-Rod is zero for his last 18 with RISP. A-Rod has hit .136 in his previous 4 post-season series.

    You can talk sample size all you like, but those are cold, hard facts. A-Rod failed in a big way in the big games. The fact that the Yankees lost all four doesn’t help A-Rod’s case.

  75. Spike, #80, Singapore sounds absolutely nuts. It’s Sodom and Gomorrah… except with a repressive autocratic government, eh?

    They must have some pretty wild underground parties. I hope you’ll tell us some of them when you’re no longer under their jurisdiction.

  76. Sam,

    I don’t recall hearing a specific dollar amount, but the no-trade clause thing came straight from A-Rod in an interview. The Braves were definitely in the mix, then Tom Hicks lost his mind and that was that.

  77. Stu,

    The guy I heard this from claimed that Rodriguez would have signed the deal if there was a no-trade clause and Hicks would have never been able to offer his $252 mil/10 year deal.

  78. A-Rod failed in a big way in the big games.

    This surely wasn’t true when he was in Seattle. But that doesn’t matter, right? It’s only a big game if the Yankees are involved.

    If I thought Yankees’ fans were capable of understanding the lesson, I’d hope for A-Rod to sign with the Sox just to whip up on the Yankees for years (and postseasons) to come.

  79. My point is that having the “best” player in baseball doesn’t necessarily make you the best team. I understand the temptation to say, if we are good now, adding such and such a guy will make us even better, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. If you bring in A-Rod, you change the chemistry of the team and, apparently, he isn’t the most popular of teammates. I generally like A-Rod but adding $25-$35 million a year for one player to marginally improve a championship team doesn’t make much sense to me. It might have made sense after they won in 2004 when the farm system was rather dry but, now I think there are better ways to spend that money. I’d go after Santana before I would go after A-Rod.

  80. Lowell, Clement, Gagne and Hinske, making a combined ~$26MM, come off the books this year.

    A-Rod at $30MM, then, adds $4MM and does more than marginally improve the team.

  81. Well, as I look at it, almost $3MM of Hinske’s salary is paid by the Blue Jays. But the contracts of guys like Kielty and Clayton also come off, so I think it balances out. And the point stands, anyway, even if it’s $7MM extra for A-Rod.

  82. Are you being completely serious? I can’t tell.

    No not really. But it’s 110 post season PAs. It’s not nothing. He hasn’t been good. I was just saying that the ‘ARod has been a choking dog as a Yankee’ people are pretty right.

  83. Edgar Renteria traded to Tigers for top two Detroit prospects….

    DETROIT TIGERS, INC. 2100 Woodward Ave.
    Detroit, Michigan 48201-3474

    Phone (313) 471-2000
    Fax (313) 471-2138

    Press Release
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: MEDIA RELATIONS
    MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2007 313-471-2000
    http://www.tigers.com

    TIGERS ACQUIRE EDGAR RENTERIA FROM ATLANTA BRAVES

    DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers announced today that the club has acquired shortstop Edgar Renteria from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for righthanded pitcher Jair Jurrjens and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez.

    “We are excited to add an all-star caliber shortstop in Edgar Renteria to the Tigers organization,” Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said. “Edgar is a quality player, proven winner and tremendous leader that solidifies our infield.”

    Renteria batted .332 (164×494) in 124 games with the Braves in 2007, scoring 87 runs and collecting 30 doubles, 12 home runs and 57 RBI. He tied for third in the National League with a .332 batting average.

    A veteran of 12 seasons at the major league level with the Florida Marlins (1996-98), St. Louis Cardinals (1999-2004), Boston Red Sox (2005) and Braves (2006-07), Renteria has compiled a .291 batting average (1934×6637) in 1,722 games during his career. He has scored 1,021 runs during his major league career, while he has collected 370 doubles, 24 triples, 117 home runs, 762 RBI and 274 stolen bases.

    “Edgar is a premier major league player that is a great fit for our club,” Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said. “I have a great history with him and I’m looking forward to being reunited with him.”

    Renteria has been named to the National League’s all-star squad five times during his career (1998, 2000, 2003-04, 2006). Additionally, he has won the Silver Slugger Award for National League shortstops three times (2000, 2002-03) and the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for league shortstops twice (2002-03).

    Jurrjens started seven games for the Tigers in 2007, compiling a 3-1 record and 4.70 ERA (30.2IP/16ER). In 19 starts with Double A Erie last season, Jurrjens finished 7-5 with a 3.20 ERA (112.2IP/40ER).

    Hernandez spent the entire 2007 season with Single A West Michigan and he batted .293 (141×481) with 84 runs scored, 25 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 50 RBI and 54 stolen bases in 124 games.

    –TIGERS–

  84. That appears to be a great trade. I will miss Edgar, but we got some serious talent in return. Jurrjens and Hernandez were the Tigers’ 4th- and 7th-ranked prospects, respectively, headed into this past season, according to Baseball America.

    And I guess Wren is doing his best to maintain Curacaoan interest in the Braves.

  85. And Edgar was only one year away from free agency — very, very nice prospect haul for a guy who was about to walk. I wonder how much cash we had to give away to make it worth the Tigers’ while?

  86. Wow! I never heard of either of these guys but I will take your word for it that they are great prospects. If so, I think it’s a good trade because you weren’t going to get more than a number three if you traded Renteria for an established pitcher. This way, you have some real upside potential. And it’s a good trade for the Tigers, too, given their pitching depth assuming that Edgar can overcome being a “National League” ballplayer.

  87. Great trade. The little I saw of Jurrjens with the Tigers was quite impressive. And, Stu, I immediately thought of the Braves’ Curacao quotient as well.

  88. Baseball America has Jurrjens at #4 and Gorkys Hernandez at #7 on their Tigers Top 10 2007 Prospects list. Not bad at all! :)

  89. I like Frank Wren already.

    BA ranked Hernandez as the 4th best prospect in the Midwest League this year. Hit .293/.344/.391 with 54 SBs.

  90. Jurrjens instantly becomes our best high-minors pitching prospect. Frankly, I’m shocked we were able to get that much, especially after hearing all the Garland talks.

    jea,

    Congrats on passing the bar. Meant to email you earlier. Huge relief, eh?

  91. Jeremy, worth mentioning that he did all that at the age of 19. So, he’s definitely what you’d call “projectible.”

    Thank God for this — it’s almost like caffeine. Just one day removed from the baseball season and I’m already starting to go through withdrawal. This’ll make the offseason go a little quicker.

  92. Jurrjens was the pitcher who won a Sunday game that pushed my fantasy baseball team into the finals. I like him already.

  93. I’ve been hearing forever that Jair Jurrjens is a great pitching prospect.

    Escobar at SS and Johnson at 2B works for me.

  94. Wow, v. nice deal there. Hate giving up Edgar, since he seemed to be such a mensch, but I’m glad that we got excellent return and that he’s going to a contender rather than some place like Kansas City.

  95. anyone know anything about what portion of Renteria’s salary the braves have to pick up?

    Isn’t it zero?

  96. I’m speechless this went down so fast. It sounds like we came away with some very nice prospects from this, saved some money that will go towards pitching (Glavine), and opened a full time position for Escobar or Lillibridge. Very nice!

  97. My buddy broke this trade to me. I need some time to research, but I like the positive reactions from the journal thus far! I will miss Renty, though.

  98. I think it’s a good deal, especially in light of the fact that money dictated this deal getting done. I also don’t think it’s a bad deal for Detroit, who desperately need another bat.

  99. Will Lillibridge be ready to play SS this year? I thought he was more likely a 2009 option. If he is ready, we may see KJ traded for pitching and a middle infield of Escobar/Lillibridge.

  100. I’m pretty sure Lillibridge is ready to play… he’s 24 years old and played more than half the season in Richmond. He could stay down for a little while, but at this point they’re saying he’s “blocked” by Escobar and Johnson, who are both, obviously, already proven major league talent.

  101. Another good thing about the trade is that Renteria gets to play with Leyland again. Thanks for two good years, Edgar. Best of luck!

  102. My feeling is this was done so quickly to free up salary space for Glavine, who the Braves are free to sign in, I think ten days.

  103. It’s been a busy offseason already – and the WS only ended yesterday. Andruw gone, JS out and Wren in, and now Renteria traded.

  104. Man, oh man! Good work Wren. Jurrjens is a fantastic trade! I think I was laughed at by several here on the blog for mentioning his name a month or two ago in trade for Rent, but it looks like Wren took care of business. Great move. He could be a top of the rotation guy.

    Brilliant, brilliant move.

  105. Wether I like the trade or not depends on how much money is involved. Are the Braves responsible for ALL of his salary? Or one million? Any details?

  106. @148,

    The cash could have been the transfer of Boston’s cash, or even part of it.

    Rent has an option for next year at 10 million.

    Gorkys looks like Gregor Blanco with a better arm and 3 to 4 years to develop more power.

    @147,

    The “Middle Infield Situation” is also potentially muddied by Willy Aybar. I feel that Cox may not want him for undependability (Furcal may have had an alcohol problem, but he showed up and played fairly well every day, so that is different).

    I know it shows both small sample and low league, but Aybar is hitting .600 after three games and OPS around 1.400. IF the Braves are going to utilize Aybar and think he cango, then a KJ or Escobar (well, not so likely as the apparent shortstop) or Lillibridge trade may happen.

  107. AAR,

    I agree with you. I almost don’t want to sign Glavine now, although I know that sentiment will be met with some hostility here.

  108. Escobar and Lillibridge are both shortstops. Johnson is a second baseman. Since the Braves appear so high or Escobar, wouldn’t Lillibridge be the one traded?

    They’ll probably just keep all three.

  109. I think it’s entirely possible that Jurrjens’ production as a starter in 2008 will not be worse than Glavine’s.

    Sounds like a gamble tantamount to counting on Mike Hampton to be the third starter in 2007.

  110. How is relying on a young guy instead of an old guy the equivalent to relying on an old guy? Seems to be a completely different situation to me.

  111. who would have thought that Andy Marte would have gotten us two years of Renteria, about $15 million from Boston, a potential #2-#4 starter, and a good looking outfielder with a ton of speed

    I was for trading Marte for Renteria, he’ll be missed, but I understand this move completely. Good deal

  112. Stu, I didn’t mean to step in that landmine! Just to clarify, I loved Glavine when he was a Brave. But he sucks now, and would not be worth the money that he’ll command on the free agent market as an aging Hall of Famer.

  113. I think it’s entirely possible that Jurrjens’ production as a starter in 2008 will not be worse than Glavine’s.

    Jurrjens has never pitched more than 143.1 innings in a season. In the last four years, Glavine has pitched less than 200 innings once — and that was 198 in 2006.

    I think you’re being a bit too optimistic here.

  114. How is relying on a young guy instead of an old guy the equivalent to relying on an old guy?

    If the goal is to win in 2008, than Glavine is the better bet.

    Old is not synonymous with bad. Plus Hampton was only 34 in spring training this year.

  115. It looks like I’m in the minority here, but I think the Braves are going to miss Renteria more than they realize right now. Not only did he bat .330+, I think he was valuable to the team in other, less obvious ways. And, I hate to say it, but Johnson-Escobar is not a championship caliber middle infield, which was always a strength of our better teams.

    Maybe I just don’t know enough of these “prospects”, but I’m kind of sick about the trade right now.

  116. Old is synonymous with decline, though, barring some form of cheating.

    Look, I agree that Glavine is a somewhat safer play in 2008 than Jurrjens, but I don’t think the probable difference is great enough to warrant spending the $8-10MM difference in their salaries on Glavine instead of on, say, a Teixeira extension.

  117. I like the deal a whole lot more than the other speculative deals I had heard (i.e. Garland). I hope our next two moves are to resign Tex and sign Glavine. Both these guys are still prospects. So lets not go into a season counting on Jurrjens to fill a whole in the rotation in 08. If he competes and wins the spot, then that is gravy. I’d just prefer we still get Glavine. We need all the pitching we can get.

  118. “I hate to say it, but Johnson-Escobar is not a championship caliber middle infield, which was always a strength of our better teams.”

    I might be in the minority here, but Yunel has better range and a better arm than Renteria. I think we miss his offense a little, but defensively we should be as good if not better next year

  119. WOW, way to go Frank!

    I’m thinking that our rotation next year is going to be:
    Smoltz
    Hudson
    James
    Jurrjens
    Glavine

    And that is an improvement over this year in a market that has nothing really available for starting pitching.

  120. @167,

    Todd,

    KJ was nearly as good as it gets at 2B offensively (in the “non-Utley division”)last year. His defense was good except going to his right. I think another winter of work will clean some of that up.

    Another thing, last year was Rent’s best offensive year. It is unlikely he will hit those numbers again. The Braves are once again doing what they failed to do in the 70s. Selling high and buying low.

    On Jurrjens, I am concerned about him being a rotation solution this coming year. He had good strikout totals in the minors, but scouts say he lacks an out pitch. K/9 in minors over 8, in 30 innings of MLB it was 3.8. Throws low 90’s. Sounds a lot like Buddy Carlyle and Jo Jo Reyes to me.

    Looking out 2 to 3 years, I think Jurrjens will exceed Carlyle and possibly Reyes. He just doesn’t look ready to hold down #4 on a pennant contending team.

  121. I think everybody needs to remember that Jurrjens is TWENTY ONE. The guy is going to get better. Wren (and Schuerholz) is thinking smart here: get a guy who can learn with the club and not kill us, but could also become a front-middle of the rotation guy when Smoltz hangs it up. We need to start adding good young arms to the rotation and this is a step in that direction. I never liked the Garland, Blanton talk because those guys are already in their late 20s and they’re not long-term rotation stalwarts. Jurrjens, if he continues to improve, can be that.

  122. I think Lillibridge is still in the mix for an IF spot. He has more speed and power than Escobar and I thought he was labeled a good glove when he first came over. I’ve never heard Escobar labeled a true SS.

    I think we spend money on pitching. Which means we will likely see an OF that includes Diaz, HArris, Frenchy, and B. Jones. So, our extra money will hopefully go towards Tex and perhaps towards glavine.

  123. Also, is there anyway we can make Hampton sign for the league minimum and go back to the minors to become and outfielder. His arm certainly cant handle pitching, so why not try to Ankiel it. He owes us that much.

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