Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: 2.1. Middle Infield (Post-Edgar)

So, it seems that the Braves’ starting middle infield situation is settled: Yunel Escobar will play short, and Kelly Johnson will play second, hopefully not in a platoon with the immortal Martin Prado. The backup situation, on the contrary, is unsettled. If Brent Lillibridge is in center, he probably won’t be used to back up shortstop, and if he’s in the minors, he definitely won’t be available to back up shortstop. Prado has played a little short in the minors. Peterson Thomas Gord Orr, should the Braves retain him, can’t play short, and neither can, should the Braves retain him and he stays out of custodial situations, Willy Aybar.

This leads to the disturbing possibility of a Chris Woodward sequel. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

207 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: 2.1. Middle Infield (Post-Edgar)”

  1. Ugh. Woodward. Good job ruining the warm fuzzy feeling we all had after the Renteria trade, Mac. Fortunately I expect Lillibridge will be on the roster, so it shouldn’t be an issue. They can always have Aybar or Prado learn shortstop in spring training if necessary and Kelly used to play shortstop too.

  2. I’m wondering who could possibly be of equal value to Chris Woodward. Eddie Gaedel? My best friend’s cardboard Chewbacca? Elvira, Mistress of the Dark? A 44-year old Andres Thomas?

  3. You forgot the obvious, AAR- Ex-Nepotism Boy! Seriously, is JS Jr. still drawing a paycheck in this organization?

  4. Brian J.

    No, I think Junior retired from baseball to go back to school and get his degree. At least he won a championship with Rome. ;P

  5. couple of thoughts…Yunel is much younger than Edgar, so barring a bad injury, you hopefully just do not need that many AB’s from your back-up SS.

    Didn’t Woodward get a lot of his AB’s as the 1B platoon partner, pre-Tex?

    If those 2 items are correct, I have no problem finding a salary minimum player for the 10 games at SS they will have to play. We have to save money somewhere (we are not only not the yankees; these days we aren’t even the Blue jays when it comes to $), and a stud back-up to a young player at SS doesn’t seem to be a prudent way to go.

  6. You’re right, Marc, but on the other hand, I think that the main reason Gaedel could draw walks would be a major drawback on defense. (I shudder to think of what his Ultimate Zone Rating would be as a full-season backup — he might even be worse than Derek Jeter.) Actually, the most surprising thing to me is that Andres Thomas is younger than Julio Franco. He hasn’t played in two decades!

  7. Some combination of Martin Prado and Willy Aybar will cover the ‘left game in the 6th after HBP. Listed as day-to-day,’ situations. Any extended absence I expect we’ll see Lillibridge.

  8. Wasn’t Aybar going to back up at SS before his troubles? I really hope he gets his act together, as he singlehandedly will improve the bench.
    The braves sucked last year at hitting late in games, and part of the problem was the horrid bench.

  9. Are we preparing a run at A-Rod?!?!
    Lots of cash and room without Andruw, and Renteria…
    Could it be possible?

  10. Well, if we (Bedard) include Johnson in a package (Bedard) to get a proven starter (Bedard), then that leaves SS to Lillibridge (Bedard) and 2B to Escobar (Bedard). That means (Bedard) Escobar can cover SS (Bedard) and we can carry Aybar/Prado (Bedard) as the backup.

    Backup SS problem solved (Bedard)! No need to mention Woodward ever again (Bedard) except when we hear (Bedard) that he has not been offered arbitration.

    (Bedard)

  11. #3

    How does trading one of the league’s best hitters create a warm fuzzy feeling. Even if it is better for the team, it still isn’t going to make me smile. Warm fuzzy feelings are for days when we trade for Tim Hudson, resign John Smoltz, don’t sign Andruw Jones, trade for Mark Teixiera, trade for Gary Sheffield, sign J.D. Drew, etc. Ugh…

  12. It’s like all of the trades that some here think were bad trades. Some say: “He’s a good hitter, and we aren’t paying all of his salary, so we should keep him.”

    Why he was traded is: The Braves got something of value for him this year, and would have received nothing in value next year, while not getting Escobar into the lineup every day.

    The end justifies the means.

  13. Now, now, a first round compensation pick plus a sandwich pick ain’t nothin. Though it’s certainly not an MLB-ready pitcher with a fresh arbitration clock. :-)

  14. Renteria was probably my second favorite Brave this past year, and so losing him, for nostalgic reasons, isn’t what I hoped for. But you have to trade value to get value (most of the time), and Renteria had tremendous value to the Tigers, enough so that they sent us two very good prospects for him. Jurrjens is pretty much a major league ready starting pitcher who will be cheap for several years, and Hernandez has the potential in the not-so-distant future to be an excellent center fielder for a long time. While we do have a glaring need still at CF, we have options there, and Schafer and Hernandez will be duking it on for the long-term need in CF. And by trading Renteria, you avoid wasting talent by keeping Escobar outside of an everyday role. So while I liked Renteria, we wouldn’t have $6-8M free on our payroll and Jurrjens and Hernandez in our organization if he were still here.

  15. #21, because the trade accomplished everything we were expecting it to (save money to be used on pitching/resigning Teixeira), open a spot for Escobar to play every day) AND got us some pretty good prospects plus it showed us Wren will move aggressively and creatively.

  16. #18 Doug, please dont mention Arod to Atl. Wont happen and we arent even close to having $30 mil available to sign Arod

  17. Could we be preparing to flip Hernandez for a more MLB-ready CF?

    I just don’t know if I like turning over the 3rd most important defensive position (behind SS and C) to a converted SS or two kids widely deemed not ready for the bigs.

    If we sign Glavine, we’ve got to assume we’re only going to get another year or two out of him and Smoltzie, so it doesn’t make sense to mortgage CF to bring along a young kid.

  18. I’m pretty sure that Boras will get his cut of the money saved by dealing Edgar. But, it will be his percentage of a Texieria extension rather than an ARod signing.

    (Nightmare scenario: Braves sign ARod, and after next year, move Chipper to 1B and let Tex walk. Ugh.)

  19. best case scenario: we sign Tex to an extension somehow

    worst case scenario: we dont resign Tex

    no case scenario: Arod ever coming to Atl, wont happen

  20. A list of free agent middle infielders

    Second basemen
    Luis Castillo (32)
    Damion Easley (38)
    Marcus Giles (30)
    Tadahito Iguchi (33)
    Mark Loretta (37)
    Kaz Matsui (32)
    Jose Valentin (38)

    Shortstops
    David Eckstein (33)
    Cesar Izturis (28) – $5.45MM club option for ’08
    Alexei Ramirez (26)
    Juan Uribe (29) – $5MM club option for ’08
    Omar Vizquel (41)

    Not really a large talent pool.

  21. Who are the free agent CFs and SPs? What I’ve read is that Hunter and Rowand will be far to expensive ($10M+). Among pitchers, I see Bartolo Colon and Livan Hernandez. I think those are the two biggest areas of need, and I don’t see much that is appealing.

  22. Mac should open a separate thread for whoever wants to go on with this ARod to Atl nonsense. And another one for that Bedard to Atl nonsense. How silly would the Orioles have to be to let their best player go? What do we have to offer in return?

    And read it here first: Texeira will never, ever re-sign with the Braves. Boras will sure as hell shop him around and bill him as the second best player in the game (which, thinking about it, he is not, but he’s not too far away either). Someone, probably the Yankees, will bite for, say, 6 yrs/150 mil. The Braves can hardly afford to spend half of that, even in the life after Hampton.

  23. Bedard….nonsense? Bedard? Can’t a guy dream? I mean this is Baltimore we’re talking about. Maybe they want to forget about that Glen Davis trade by making another franchise-crippling decision.

  24. Jason, follow your dream. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s a dream, and nothing but a dream.

    Unfortunately, I will add.

  25. Tom,

    I agree with you about A-Rod but I think the O’s are going to trade Bedard (or at least try)from what I hear up here (the DC area). The thinking is that the O’s are so far from contention that they need much more help than just one pitcher. By the time the O’s are anywhere near contention, Bedard will be too expensive for them and/or will want to leave anyway. I mean, they can win 60 games without Bedard. The farm system is extremely weak and if they could get a good package of prospects, it makes sense to trade him. As the team is currently structured, Bedard isn’t going to help them that much.

  26. Could people PLEASE POST THE WORDS, “New Thread”?

    Geez!

    Anyway, I have to say that I also don’t get the same “warm, fuzzy, feeling” trading Rentaria even if it helps the team financially and in other areas.

    Yes, trading for Hudson and Tex and losing Andruw – those things gave me “warm, fuzzy feelings”, but Rentaria was a class act and a terrific player for us for 2 seasons so I don’t feel great about it – but I get why it needed to happen.

    I live in the DC area and I have heard nothing about Bedard being dealt; but then again, I really couldn’t care less about the O’s nor do I pay any attention to them.

  27. Kyle, I really feel indifferent about it. It was becoming obvious that Davies wasnt going to be a reliable option for us. He may thrive somewhere else, but not in Atlanta. We needed another bullpen arm at the time and Dotel was the best of what was available. In the end it didnt matter because we didnt stay in the race and Dotel got injured. My only regret in the Davies trade is that it didnt get us someone better, or that we didnt try to package him with others for a better deal.

  28. I’m not going to say that Bedard won’t be traded to Atlanta, but why would the O’s want KJ unless they are moving Brian Roberts as well. I think with the Edgar trade there is no way that KJ will be traded.

  29. I didnt like the Davies deal then and I still dont like it now. We traded a young, controllable, SP (in which we had no depth already) for an injured, and we knew he was injured, reliever. Dotel has a $5 million option for next year and there is no way we pay a setup guy that much money. We had nothing to gain by getting Dotel and giving them Davies. With that said, Davies was terrible for us and Im sure he’ll be terrible in KC, but I hated that trade from the start

  30. I dont see us trading KJ primarily because of the offensive guys that we’ve lost already. We cant afford to lose Andruw, KJ, and Edgar in one offseason. Esp, since we have no clue how Lillibridge will be against MLB SP

  31. Some are saying that the Marlins are looking at trading Willis for a young useful player. Can this guy be straightened out? Willis earns $7M this year but his Era is rising and has looked terrible over the last 2 years. Would you make an offer?

  32. The trading may not be over. These guys may get flipped for a SP somewhere. Trades for players that are ripe for extensions seems to be be our style. Is Bedard in that category?

    Wherever A-Rod goes, it may shuffle that team to give up some of their decent vets. It’s like dominoes falling.

    Also, I keep hearing about the possibility of Mike Cameron coming to Atlanta to play CF. Anybody else hearing this?

  33. What I’ve heard about Dontrelle is that there’s a big push to get him in Philly. Word is he was schoolmates with Rowand.

    While his numbers have dropped, it could be because he just flat out doesn’t care to be there. You know, they’re famous for building a winner and then dumping players. I’d love to see Dontrelle back on his game with us. With a team that cares about pitching and coaching their pitchers to get the most from them.

  34. Willis scares me and, nothing against McDowell but I don’t have confidence that he is the guy to turn Willis around. On the other hand, Don Sutton said during a Nats-Marlins game that Willis’ problem was mechanical so maybe he could be fixed. If it was the Yanks or Red Sox, maybe but I don’t think the Braves can gamble like that.

  35. csg,

    I don’t think he is finished, or that he is regressing to an average pitcher. I think a lot of it has to do with playing on a team that isn’t built to compete. But is it a gamble worth paying $7 million, and young valuable players for?

  36. well would you rather take the gamble on trading for Willis or signing Glavine for next year? Im guessing Glavine

  37. would much rather have Glavine – Cary’s stats from the previous thread about quality starts shows exactly why Glavine would be better.

    At this point, Willis has shown me to be a complete “feast or famine” pitcher who will either pitch a 3 hitter or get roasted. I want a guy who most times out, could give me a quality start.

  38. I’m guessing we’d sign Glavine. When you add his salary to the risk, it just is not worth the price.

  39. mlb rumors says that the Yanks will probably offer Hughes and Melky for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera will be around the $11-13 range next season

  40. it sure is funny how the Yanks wouldnt trade Hughes for anything, but now he’s in every Yanks rumor. How things change…

  41. Would you make an offer?

    I would. It would be nice to buy low for a change. His mechanics are just screwed up, and although I have no faith in anyone in this organization to fix him, it could happen. Obviously he was very good not that long ago…

  42. I’m with Jeremy. ‘God no’ is right.

    Are the Yanks really gonna try to land both Santana and Cabrera?

  43. Let’s sign Schilling instead.

    I always wondered how much he would get for his bloody sock if he put it on ebay.

  44. My all-time favorite comment on minorleagueball.com, regarding the Renteria trade (in the context of a discussion of Edgar’s defense):

    RZR

    Not so sure this is the best stat. It should be, but the “plain” zone ratings on ESPN seem to agree better with scouts and other systems.

    The thing is the Braves seem to always wreck the other team in a trade. I would be scared shitless to trade with them.

    by elricsi on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 10:53:34 AM CDT

  45. Oops — that should be:

    RZR

    Not so sure this is the best stat. It should be, but the “plain” zone ratings on ESPN seem to agree better with scouts and other systems.

    The thing is the Braves seem to always wreck the other team in a trade. I would be scared shitless to trade with them.

    by elricsi on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 10:53:34 AM CDT

  46. csg do your homework on A-Rod!

    Renteria made $10 million in 2007.
    Andruw Jones, who’s becoming a free agent, made $14 million.
    Bob Wickman won’t be back, shaving another $6.5 million.
    That looks like $30.5 million to me!
    Then the Braves would get rid of Hampton’s $14.5 million salary in ’08

  47. Man, the apparent unanimous disdain for Schilling surprises me. He’ll definitely pitch better than Glavine in 2008, and his own teammates never dislike him. I’d definitely go for it.

    Doug in Redondo,

    If you did your homework, you’d realize that Smoltz is due a raise of $6MM and Hudson is due a raise of $7MM. And that several players (Soriano and, I believe, Matt Diaz, for example) are due arbitration raises. Also, Renteria may have made that much, but the Braves only paid 60% of that figure.

  48. Am I the only one that thinks bringing Glavine back is among the worst moves they could make (other than the Betemit trade, of course)?

    This reeks of a Veeck-like Nostalgia Night promotion.

    He’s gonna get shelled. Again.

    Besides, we don’t need a #3 pitcher, we need a #1 pitcher.

  49. Do your homework Stu. The numbers work out and more deals are coming. Insider information from the Braves says something BIG is definitely brewing. I hate to say I told you so, but………..

  50. Doug,

    Teixeria is here now. Smoltz is going from eight million to 14 million. Hudson is going from six million to 13 million. Players like Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Diaz, etc. are due arbitration increases. Hampton will be making however many million assuming he doesn’t get hurt yet again. The Braves are probably going to sign or trade for a pitcher that costs money.

    I know there was an editorial on ESPN today saying A-Rod would be a good fit in Atlanta, but they just like messing with Braves fans’ heads. It’s not happening, ever.

  51. The numbers work out and more deals are coming.

    No they don’t. The Braves don’t have 30-35 million in freed payroll available. And even if they did, they’d be complete idiots to give it all to Alex Rodriguez. This team’s payroll will be what next season? 90 million? The Braves are going to have over a third of their payroll invested in one guy?

    Insider information from the Braves says something BIG is definitely brewing.

    What insider information?

  52. What insider information?

    He has none. He’s just trying desparately to get us to take his crazy idea seriously. We shouldn’t.

  53. I can imagine a fair amount of eye-rolling in the clubhouse at some of Schilling’s rah rah stuff. I don’t like him — I think he’s a tough competitor on the field but a big phony off of it, and doesn’t get called on it in the media the way ARod does. I root against him more vehemently than anyone this side of Bonds, and I’d be happy to see him with the Mets so I can continue to do so. (end rant)

  54. hankonly @69: I wish Tommy would retire. I loved him as a Brave, but I don’t want him back either. We need a #1 or #2, not Glavine.

  55. Unlike Glav, Schilling got better as the games got bigger. I’d rather have him than Glavine but would prefer Bedard or Haren to either or both of them.

  56. Schilling isn’t taking a hometown discount to play for the Braves like Glavine will, so he’s not even a consideration. Some large payroll team will throw an absurd 1 year deal with an option at him anyway that the Braves won’t be able to match.

  57. Besides, we don’t need a #3 pitcher, we need a #1 pitcher.

    Well yes, it’d be nice if the Braves had five #1’s, but it’s not happening. I think everyone would prefer Snell, Haren, Bedard or someone like that over Tom Glavine.

    Glavine is a free agent. He wouldn’t cost any talent to obtain. He’d come to the Braves for under ten million on a low risk, one-year-long deal. He had 23 quality starts in 34 starts in 2007, good for fifth in the NL. He’d give the Braves a better chance to win in 2008, he was better than anyone on the team aside from Smoltz, Hudson and maybe, though I don’t think so, James. Glavine also stays off the DL and pitches 200+ innings.

    Signing Glavine to be the #3 or #4 starter behind Smoltz, Hudson and maybe someone else makes all the sense in the world.

  58. He’ll definitely pitch better than Glavine in 2008

    Probably, but he’s a hell of a lot less durable. He has been hurt two of the last three seasons, he’ll be 41, he’s fat and an obnoxious blowhard.

    In the last ten years, Glavine has pitched less than 198 innings a grand total of once.

  59. Schilling has helped the Red Sox win 2 championships. I’d be shocked if they don’t pay him what he wants to come back for one more year.

  60. Just listening to him speak, he strikes me as someone intent on burnishing his legacy, but it doesn’t seem like enough to him to just do so via good play. To ensure that his legend is being properly inscribed, he embarks on gestures such as (but hardly limited to) writing letters to his teammates and then telling everyone he did so without anyone asking.

    I think he thinks he’s in a movie, and this is the scene where David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Terry Francona wake up by the campfire to find Schilling gone, and a letter addressed to each of them in his place.

    They exchange quizzical looks, then the camera pans slowly across each face as they read to themselves. Schilling (John Wayne) narrates in a voiceover accompanied by fife and drum. Afterward,

    Ortiz: There goes a helluva ballplayer.

    Lowell: There goes a helluva teammate.

    (The music begins to swell…)

    Francona: Fellas, there goes a helluva man.

    Crescendo. A faraway horse’s neigh. They look to the nearest ridge, and there’s Curt Schilling, atop his trusty steed and framed by the sunset. He waves once, just once, and then he’s gone.

    The End

    (OR IS IT?!?!?!?!)

  61. I have 0 doubt that we will sign Glavine and I’m fine with that (especially with him taking Chuck James under his wing). The thing I wonder is who will play center, I don’t think it will be Lillibridge although I guess that would be ok.

  62. the funniest thing to me is that schilling and j.d. drew are now team mates on a championship team. the first time i ever took note of schilling was when he blasted drew long and loud when the phillies drafted j.d. (after being warned not to if they didnt want to pay the price) shilling howled as if drew had just announced plans to form the taliban. i’m a lifelong sox fan so i’ve been cutting ol’ curt some slack but hes a genuine ass.

  63. he’ll be 41, he’s fat and an obnoxious blowhard.

    And we have a winner!

    I can’t see him coming here. He pretty much lives for media attention and we aren’t exactly leading off SportsCenter every night.

  64. i’m not completely against signing glavine, for a reasonible (read low) cost, he would be a great mentor for chuck. i still don’t have a great feeling that mcdowell is gonna help the staff much, and lillibridge just doesn’t excite me at all. i’m not sure why, but i hope we find someone else. i would love to see him packaged for a real CF or starter.
    @8
    john jr. retired before the end of the season.

  65. It could be Lillibridge at SS, Escobar at Second, Prado backup infielder, KJ in Left platooning with Diaz. CF? we get one on the open market.

    There’s been a lot of press about how the Braves won’t play Frenchy in center. I don’t understand that. I think that while he won’t make anyone forget Andruw he could play the position. If he was just decent out there his offense looks good for a center fielder. But for a corner outfielder his power numbers are pretty light.

  66. whatever happened to the coco crisp talk for CF?

    count me in on the side of those who can’t possibly believe Bedard’s coming to ATL. Sure would be glorious if he did though — so I understand why some of you are dreaming…

  67. Tell you what, we sign Glavine this year and he transitions to pitching coach in 2009 or 2010.

    Then I buy the Braves from Liberty Media and employ Alex R.’s idea of multiple pitching coaches, allowing Smoltz to transition when he’s ready and, hell, bring back Greg Maddux to boot. Different styles for different pitchers.

    Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux still get to pull a nice check and stay around the game. We still get to see them in a Braves uni. Everybody wins.

    I don’t know who would know more about pitching than the combined might of those three.

    Now I’m off to get some cash. Wish me luck.

  68. Francoeur doesn’t need to focus on learning a new defensive position. He has a lot to learn at the plate.

    I’m down with Mike Cameron holding the CF spot for a year or two until Schafer proves himself ready or Lillibridge makes the move to CF. I could also see Schafer or Gorkys getting packaged to land a legitimate, proven CF. I would like to see Schafer and Gorkys play this next year for the Braves, allowing the team’s talent evaluator’s to determine who is the better long term option.

  69. It occurs to me that the Mets are almost certainly going to offer Glavine arbitration, which means we’ll likely be sending over a draft pick to the Mets.

    Which makes me really question whether we should be willing to spend very much money on him at all.

  70. It’s hard to argue with the quality start statistic that Glavine-supporters are using to justify us signing him. I’d love to see him in a Braves uniform again, but that could be my nostalgia talking.

    Any way you slice it, if Glavine, Hampton, and Smoltz are on the same team come opening day (a big if in itself), it is extremely unlikely all three will stay healthy and succeed. That puts a lot of pressure on Huddy and James/new pitcher via free agency.

    Smoltz and Hampton (MAINLY Hampton) are getting fragile as is. We gotta get someone more durable.

  71. I’d always heard & read that Schilling’s Philadelphia teammates detested him. In fact, I saw a bit on ESPN a year or two ago about the ’93 team & he was definitely seen as a man apart from the Mulletude.

    But yeah, if he ever became a Brave, I guess we could look forward to him posting on this site.

  72. A-Rod bashing is in! That said, he put up the numbers that carried the Yanks to the playoffs in 2007. In addition, A-Rod has been an incredibly productive player even when he has had ‘down’ years (like 2006).

    Nonetheless, teams with A-Rod have consistently underperformed. Seattle and the Yankees had loads of talent and could not win (at least not enough for the Yanks) with him. In retropsect, the Yanks were a more dangerous team before they traded for him. Obviously, it is not all his fault.

    Mr. Scribbs has it right: when A-Rod joins a team it causes a big ripple effect–and I am guessing that it is almost inevitably a negative one.

    I don’t think the Braves would be stupid enough to shell out 30 million to sign A-Rod (even if they had the means). The team that signs A-Rod can count on his productivity and star power; they can also count on watching the World Series as spectators.

    I hope that if Doug is right with his “insider information” and something big is cooking it is the announcement that the Braves have signed Tex to an extension….

  73. LA rumored to be interested in Andruw.

    Is it just me, or do the Dodgers buy all our old players and hope no one notices…

  74. Good piece by Chass.

    I don’t believe there is anything illegal going on. Boras’ philosophy has always been to have his clients hit the open market, where he can maximize monetary value by having multiple teams in on the bidding. There’s a reason he structures his clients’ contracts with these opt-out clauses.

    It’s disconcerting because the Braves need to extend Tex before he hits the market, but Boras won’t allow it. We’ll have to out-bid everyone else. I don’t like our odds. Frankly, I’m already dreading it.

  75. More on the fat, phony , 41-year old blowhard from Chopnation:

    Schilling To Consider Atlanta

    Posted by: Bryce Sumida in Baseball, Bryce Sumida, Braves, News

    “On his official blog, Curt Schilling has a few thoughts on the first free agency experience of his long and impressive career. He also mentions a list of teams that he’d be willing to sign with this coming winter, and the Braves are on his list.

    ‘The list of teams that our family has talked over, that we think would be a fit for next year, should we not come back, are pretty much teams in cities we agree would be ok for our last year, and teams I think have a legitimate shot at being in the post season and/or World Series. Teams we didn’t include aren’t for any one reason. There are a million little things that go into this from stadiums to school districts to travel to spring training to etc. etc. etc. but the list represents the teams after Boston that have some of the off the field things that are big to us, plus the potential to go into October next year.

    Cleveland, Detroit, Anaheim, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A., S.D., Arizona, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Milwaukee.’

    While this may be a marketing ploy for his upcoming free agency, a rotation featuring a top three of John Smoltz, Tim Hudson and Curt Schilling would definitely be something special.”

  76. This fine trade by Wren (Big Bird) gives us all good reason to speculate and to dream.
    But if I’m dreaming, it’s for Bedard or Haren. I think signing Glavine or Schilling are seconday concerns that can wait until next year.
    Somewhere in this organization a person proposed trading for Tim Hudson and building a superior rotation.
    I hope Big Bird was that guy and I hope he acts on that.

  77. @102,

    I don’t think either the Yankees or Seattle underperformed with A-Rod unless you only consider the playoffs. The Yankees had a lot of problems–A-Rod wasn’t one of them. They were not a better team before A-Rod. You might as well say the Braves underperformed with Chipper Jones because they kept losing in the playoffs.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t spend $30 million on one player and the Braves certainly won’t. The Braves already have a dysfunctional payroll because of the big salaries they have. It makes sense, perhaps, to spend that kind of money on, say, Michael Jordan, because in basketball you could count on him to dominate night after night. You can’t do that in baseball. You can talk about taking payroll off the books but you can’t replace four or five players with one; some of those salaries have to be replaced unless A-Rod can play more than one position at the same time.

    I’d take Schilling. The Sox won two WS with him, who cares if his teammates don’t like him. Even now,his stuff is probably better than Glavine’s and he knows how to pitch. If I only rooted for players that I liked, I probably wouldn’t follow sports. Look at Deion Sanders; he was a jerk but I sure cheered when he helped the Braves win. But I would like to see Tommy retire as a Brave.

  78. If it was $8 million for one year for either Glavine or Schilling, I could see taking Schilling.

    But it’s probably going to be $13 million for Schilling, so I’d rather Smoltz get his golf buddy back.

    And Sansho’s bit was a riot. Well done.

  79. I could see andruw going to LA. a big market that already has proven that it’d waste a ton of money on juan pierre, so i’m sure they could throw some money his way. plus, if torre does go there — andruw’d have another “player’s manager” to play for. seems like it may be a good fit for him. wonder if furcal’s lighting up his cell phone. who knows?

  80. If the Braves were the Rockies who had just made it to the World Series, then they might consider signing Schilling for $13 million for one year. But instead the Braves are a team that has missed the playoffs for 2 straight years in large part due to injuries to the starting rotation. $13 million is too much to pay for a pitcher who has been injured a lot the last 3 years.

  81. Why not? That’s a pretty reasonable price for one of the best postseason pitchers of all time for a large market team that already is positioned to make the playoffs such as the Sawx, Yankees, Cubs, Phillies, Angels, etc.

  82. Andy,

    That’s a very predictable thing to say, because apparently Chipper is one of the worst-fielding third basemen in baseball history. Of course, that’s easier said than done, because:

    1. The Braves obviously don’t have the money for Rodriguez.
    2. Jones can only play left field, and where does that leave Matt Diaz?

    It’s just a bunch of speculation.

  83. Well, Marc, I don’t know that I’d call him an idiot, but he clearly doesn’t follow the Braves too closely. That won’t happen.

    Still, I admit that I would welcome that move, even accounting for the increased likelihood of injury to Chipper.

    Sam,

    With respect to your second point…um, I think we’d be fine without Diaz if Alex Rodriguez were in our lineup.

  84. I agree that there is 0 chance of the Braves signing ARod. I just thought it was funny because BP has been wanting Chipper back to LF for years. I remember Mac complaining about that many times.

  85. Why would you send Chipper back to the outfield when he was terrible there before and his hitting declined and he is more likely to get hurt? And, if his 3d base defense is so bad, how did the Braves survive for ten years with a pitching-dominated team? If nothing else, I think Chipper has earned the right to stay at third.

  86. Heard Chipper interviewed recently where he openly discussed his dislike of playing LF and how happy he was with his improving defense at 3B.

    Having watched hundreds of Braves games every year for a few decades, I must agree with him.

    He was superb at the plate and very good in the field this year – darn near MVP if the Braves would have made the playoffs.

  87. Marc,

    Generally, I agree with you. But this is Alex Rodriguez. I bet even Chipper would be amenable to the move to bring someone of that caliber on board.

    Of course, this is all in fantasyworld, anyway, since we don’t have the money.

  88. Stu,

    I agree and Chipper would probably agree to catch if it was A-Rod (although it seems to me that A-Rod was always considered a very good shortstop. Maybe he can’t play there anymore but why wouldn’t you play him there rather than at third?)

    But Silver’s point is that you should get A-Rod so that Chipper can move to the outfield. That’s like saying you should look at Eva Longoria so you can meet Tony Parker.

  89. #67 – Doug do your homework!!

    “csg do your homework on A-Rod!

    Renteria made $10 million in 2007.
    Andruw Jones, who’s becoming a free agent, made $14 million.
    Bob Wickman won’t be back, shaving another $6.5 million.
    That looks like $30.5 million to me!
    Then the Braves would get rid of Hampton’s $14.5 million salary in ‘08”

    So I guess that the increases to Smoltz and Huddy dont count in your imaginary situation. I guess the $11 million that we have to pay to Teixiera doesnt count either. Smoltz goes from $8 to $14 mil and Huddy goes from $7 to $13 next year. Wow, that looks like Andruws salary. Imagine that

  90. That’s a good point, Stu. Why wouldn’t a team make a play for A-Rod with the intention of putting him back at SS?

    My dad made a comment last night that hade me thinking. We know it goes against everything stands for, but what if A-Rod opted out of NY because he hated it there and had enough of it all. I know this is insane, but what if he’s willing to take the same money he makes now, just so he can play somewhere else?

    I’m sure he’s starting to be aware of his legacy. Maybe he realizes that his oversize contract cripples his team and is willing to work a deal where he gets on a winner, and can make the home team proud of his offensive records.

    Didn’t Chipper do something like this a few years ago? Didn’t he defer his salary so we could continue to pay for a competitive team. Isn’t that team first attitude what makes us love Chipper so and dislike Glavine?

    Maybe A-Rod is looking for a place he can call home. Who’s looking for a poster boy?

  91. #93 – whatever happened to the coco crisp talk for CF?

    Its out there, but they want KJ. I’ll take Harris out there if thats what his cost is. Plus that’ll be a wasted cost for Crisp

    #97 – Hate King, I would too like to have Cameron in center for two years. I just dont think he’ll fit in financially. They said they have plenty of internal options for center and our focus is pitching….(Doug, thats another reason why Arod wont be here) I like Cameron, but I really think the Braves will try Brandon Jones, Willie Harris, or Lillibridge out there and hope for the best

  92. Scribbs,
    As it relates to A-Rod, I encourage you to read Murray Chass’ column from the NY Times (posted above). I share some of his thoughts.

    My take: There was never a chance that A-Rod wasn’t going to maximize his earning potential. And, in the column, Chass implies that A-Rod/Boras may already have a suitor in the bag.

    BTW, can we stop the A-Rod lust? He ain’t coming to Atlanta anymore than Elvis is rising from the grave tonight.

    Attn: Mike Cameron Lovers
    Just heard on the radio that he’s tested positive for a banned substance & has been suspended for the first 25 games of the ’08 season.

  93. “Attn: Mike Cameron Lovers
    Just heard on the radio that he’s tested positive for a banned substance & has been suspended for the first 25 games of the ‘08 season.”

    I dont want him anymore

  94. Why would the Red Sox want KJ? He’d be blocked by Pedroia at 2B and he certainly isn’t going to take over for Ortiz at DH, Manny Being Manny in LF, or be the lefty part of a RF platoon with Drew.

    I assume they could package him in a deal for a pitcher, but why wouldn’t they just trade Crisp for a pitcher? I expect they’ll try to swap Crisp for a proven reliever. (I wonder if we can tempt them with The Vulture or Kali?)

  95. From the article on Cameron I see also that the fear that Neifi Perez could be our Woodward is unfounded. He is suspended 80 games from approx August 3 (meaning about 55 games into next year).

  96. mlb rumors…

    Mike Cameron Suspended For Stimulant
    Mike Cameron recently appeared on XX Sports Radio in San Diego today and stated that he will receive a 25-game suspension for a banned substance, but not a steroid. That implies a stimulant, for which the penalty is 25 games for a second positive test (example: Neifi Perez). Actually Neifi tested positive a third time and snagged an 80 game ban. Here’s the press release for Cameron.

    This should knock his price down a bit, knowing that Cameron can only play 137 games next season. The Braves are considered a strong contender for him.

  97. That’s a very predictable thing to say, because apparently Chipper is one of the worst-fielding third basemen in baseball history.

    Only if you trust BP’s defensive rankings, which no one who follows defensive rankings does. BP drastically overstates Chipper’s defensive shortcomings because their metric is flawed, but they’re deeply invested in their metric — it’s what they make their money off of — so they can’t just come out and admit they’re wrong.

    If you’re playing with ARod to Atlanta scenarios the obvious move would be ARod to SS, Escobar to 2B, KJ to LF, Diaz to the bench.

  98. I’m just wondering how long I’d et to look at Eva Longoria before I met Tony Parker.
    I’m in no hurry!

  99. I just came up here to post the Cameron story. Maybe it lowers his value. I still think Wren will creative with the CF spot, something unexpected.

  100. If you’re playing with A-Rod to Atlanta Scenarios, the obvious move would be A-Rod to 3B; Chipper to 1B; Teix to the Yankees for Cabrera and Hughes; James, Lillibridge & Brandon Jones to the O’s for Bedard.

  101. Subjectively as somebody who watched a lot of Braves baseball this year, I saw Chipper’s defense this year as being very good. Defense is not a reason to move him to the outfield. If moving him opened a position for Arod and reduced the chance of Chipper getting injured (not at all clear if that would be the case), then those would be arguments worth considering. The Braves can’t afford to re-sign Andruw or Teixeira let alone sign Arod to a $30+ million/year 10 year contract, so it’s all academic.

  102. Stu, if you replace Tex’s bat with Arod and move Chipper to first, it’s not at all clear to me that’s a net positive offensively and defensively for the club.

  103. This suspension might really open the door for us signing Cameron, because, in my opinion, his price just went way down. Maybe he would even accept a 1 year contract.

  104. While it is possible A-Rod would take a lesser salary for the good of an organization, he wouldn’t have hired Scott Boras if that was ARod’s intent. Boras is there to squeeze every last nickel out of a big market city who can pay ARod and keep a reasonably funded roster of 24 other players. An LA team; a Chicago team; a New York team; or Philly. Big time cities.

  105. But do we want a 35 year-old player who’s been using stimulants—and presumably won’t be, going forward—to put up the mediocre numbers he’s put up?

  106. Parish, I’m with you. I think Cameron’s cheap enough for us to grab. Only question is, who plays CF till Mike comes back? And if they establish themselves, what do we do with them then?

    This comes back to what to do with Lillibridge. He’s mostly ready, but he might be able to use another season at AAA, especially because his walk rate was cut in half last year while the K rate was basically constant. Maybe we could play Brandon Jones in CF until Cameron came back? Then use Lillibridge in CF in 2009? (Or, if we don’t resign Tex, we could move Chipper to 1B because he’ll be 37 with bad feet, and move Yunel to third and Lillibridge to SS.)

  107. I don’t know. Do you use Gregor Blanco or Willie Harris? Maybe one of those guys if you know Cameron is on the way.

    As I said, I think his value has gone way down. I was thinking 2-yr $10M originally. I am thinking at most he gets $2.5M and 1 year and I would try for less than that.

    Not that this should be the guideline policy, but we made several worse gambles than that in 2007.

  108. Nate Silver at BP suggests that the Braves are 16th most likely to sign ARod – because Chipper needs to move back to the outfield.

    And BP add to their reputation of being functionally retarded when evaluating Chipper Jones! Excellent!

    Cleveland, Detroit, Anaheim, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A., S.D., Arizona, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Milwaukee.’

    Yeah, Schilling is going to Milwaukee. Riiiiight.

  109. At this point I like the idea of giving Blanco a shot….

    As for A-Rod: he is not coming to Atlanta and I think the idea of Chipper moving to the outfield to accommdate him borders on being insulting. Also, #111 Chipper played on a team which won the World Series…A-Rod, despite all of the talent which has surrounded him, has never even been to the World Series.

    I think the Chass article has it right: Boras has probably already found a home for A-Rod and I would not be surprised if he rejoins Pinella in Chicago….

  110. A-Rod: He’s not coming to the Braves – that has to be the most unrealistic scenario that people on here have ever given credence too. Good lord.

    Schilling: I don’t love him as much as Stu, and I don’t dislike him the way most of BravesJournal does, that being said, my main issue is age & health. Unless we can get him for cheaper than Glavine, at least we know Tommy can stay healthy and give us a lot of quality starts.

    The numbers don’t lie.

    As for Schill’s opinions, I don’t mind that the guy speaks his mind. And for all the bashing he gets in here, he’s won 2 WS and he would be interested in playing for our team so I can’t bash that.

    Cameron: Yeah, I was about to come on here and talk about the ban, but I assumed ububba and others would beat me to it. Oh well.

    Of course, with 25 games off his playing schedule, maybe we could bring him in at a reduced rate since he would start his Braves career in May rather than April?

  111. Chipper played on a team which won the World Series…A-Rod, despite all of the talent which has surrounded him, has never even been to the World Series.

    Single players do not send teams to the World Series or not. ARod didn’t make Texas spend $80+ mil on Chan Ho Park. ARod didn’t tell NYY that Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens or Mike Mussina were good bets past 40 years old. More so than most players you can say he affects team construction due to his own salary and trickle-down economics but the Yankees didn’t miss the WS the last few years because of ARod. They failed despite ARod. ARod did everything he was paid to do.

  112. at least we know Tommy can stay healthy and give us a lot of quality starts.

    The numbers don’t lie.

    Actually, the numbers very well may lie. Your assumptions are 1) that “quality starts” are a useful measuring stick and 2) Glavine’s 2007 performance in that regard is a useful predictor of his likely 2008 performance. Assuming for the sake of argument that 1 is the case (and I’m probably willing to assume that anyway in this specific case), it’s not clear that 2 is true at all. If we were talking about a 30 year old, or even a 32-35 year old, the assumption would be relatively sound, but a 41 year old junk-baller is no safe bet to repeat even his most recent, limited success. Old guys who nibble the edges collapse hard and fast — see Mike Mussina for instance — and it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Glavine’s last three starts were indicative of his current level.

  113. Actually, Mussina isn’t 40 yet. He’s 38, coming off a pretty great year. But his 2004 and 2005 were really mediocre, so it was certainly predictable he’d fall off.

    But you’re right, the contract the Yankees gave him was (in the words of Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men) “galactically stupid.”

  114. I generally agree with Sam Hutcheson’s argument that Glavine is somewhat of a gamble at 41 but the analogy to Mussina is not accurate. Mussina was a power pitcher that lost his power and then tried to nibble. Glavine has never been a power pitcher and is basically pitching the way he always has. But, yes, at his age, you can’t necessarily project the previous year’s performance. But, given the alternatives, it’s probably a decent gamble at the right price.

    I don’t want a guy who can’t play until May. Twenty five games is 15% of the season. You can be blown out of the water in the first 25 games. I suspect Cameron will have to wait until he comes off suspension to find a job unless he really is willing to cut his price.

  115. Alex,

    I don’t love Schilling, I just think he’s a better pitcher than Glavine. And nobody outside of Crazy Doug from yesterday is giving credence to the A-Rod rumors.

  116. Marc-

    I was being sarcastic about Cameron.

    If Willie Harris is the opening day centerfielder, then Frank Wren is lying to Braves fans – I don’t believe this is the case.

  117. Stu,

    Let me say this – if Schilling and Glavine pitch 32-35 starts in 2008, I think Schill will be better because it will mean he’ll be healthy and he’s still a power pitcher.

    That being said, I don’t think Schill will pitch that much – I think maybe 20 starts at best whereas I think Tommy would still get 32-35 starts.

    I guess the question would be this – do you want a more expensive Schill for 18-20 starts with one of last year’s bad starters filling the rest, or Glavine for a full season? I would go w/ Glavine. Plus, I think the price will be lower.

    Especially because Schill has put a bunch of teams out there, and everyone at this point accepts that either Glavine will be a Brave or retire. Tommy has no leverage.

  118. As I’ve already said, if there’s that big of a difference in cost, I go for Glavine. If they were roughly the same, I’d take Schilling, increased injury risk and all, before Glavine.

  119. That’s fair – if they both cost us say $7.5 million for 1 year, I actually agree with you it maybe better to go “higher risk but higher reward” and pick Schill.

    The fact is, IF healthy, he’s definitely a better possible post season pitcher and a true power pitcher.

    Maybe like my Spurs do with Robert Horry, we could just “ice” Schill until about June, July and then roll him out?

  120. Sam,

    A-Rod had plenty to do with the Yankees failing to advance to the World Series. He was a remarkably lousy post-season performer for them.

    When your best player suddenly becomes one of your worst when you need him most, the notion of re-assigning blame strikes me as quaint.

  121. I’m with stu on this one. Especially because Schilling’s main value is in the postseason. With Reyes and Jurrjens, I think we’re reasonably well equipped to deal with Schilling being out for a month. Glavine on the other hand, gives me the impression he would be rocked in the postseason, even if he was healthy throughout the regular one. I mean can you imagine what would happen to him if he were starting vs. the Red Sox in this WS. Just remember the last 3-4 playoffs the Braves were in. (especially that Giants series).

    If the prices were relatively even, I would take Schlling for 5 months and the postseason over a healthy Glavine all year. Wouldn’t even think twice.

  122. Schilling had some very good starts in the postseason against very bad offensive teams. The Angels couldn’t hit a lick without Gary Matthews (Gary Matthews!) in the lineup, and the Rockies couldn’t hit all October, 7 straight victories notwithstanding.

    The Indians clubbed him pretty good, and he’ll be a year older next year. He’s not a power pitcher any more, he’s a control pitcher — his fastball’s 89 miles an hour and he doesn’t walk anybody. Of course, it’s a lot easier to pitch in the Senior Circuit these days, so maybe he’ll be able to prolong his career by jumping leagues. I’m not sure he’d be worth the money he’d command, though. He’ll want at least $10 million a year. That’s serious money.

  123. I’m one of those that doesn’t want Tommy back if we can help it. I’m all for him being back in Atlanta, but as a coach or something. He may have a decent year left, but he’s definatly in the twilight of a great career. If we can get a younger, sevicable guy for the same or a slightly higher price, we need to go that way. Nothing against Tommy and all he’s done with the Braves, I just think it’d be better for us as far as making the rotation a bit younger.

    That being said, I think we’ll have him pitching anyway next season, and that upgrades the rotation. With the hometown discount, that works out okay enough. Heck, we might even get 200 innings and 13 to 15 wins out of him. But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking of the fact that the older a pitcher gets, the harder and faster they fall when they do fall (think Warren Spahn).

    On A-Rod, I gave that only one semi-serous thought last night, and the answer is NO. I’m not saying that as if I’d like that hack to play on the Braves, but even if the Braves had more than enough money to get him, NO. A resounding NO. Let the Mets have that bastard, they can have that cancer. Because wherever he goes, it’s all about A-Rod, and the last time I checked, there’s 24 other guys that make contributions, ya know, baseball is a team sport. All this crazy talk about moving Chipper to the outfield to accomodate the “best player in the bigs” is making me think that a lot of people are due for thier shock treatments.

    Read: We’re not getting A-Rod. If we got A-Rod, it would be the first time I would ever straight out hate an Atlanta Braves player, Woodward not withstanding. Just the thought of it pisses me off.

    I’m finished now.

  124. Keep in mind Glavine would be signed to be our #3 and depending on how the season played out James or Hampton might have passed him by the time the postseason came around. You could do worse than having a former World Series MVP as your 3rd or 4th starter. Glavine should give us innings, something we sorely lacked from the back end of the rotation, and won’t cost us either our best prospects or a lot of money to acquire. There’s no way Schilling is coming to Atlanta for less than $10 million and the ’07-’08 version of Schilling isn’t worth that much money to the Atlanta Braves.

  125. You could do worse than having a former World Series MVP as your 3rd or 4th starter.

    Then let’s sign Bret Saberhagen.

    The relevant issue is whether he’ll be good in 2008.

  126. Jim Callis had a nice chat on ESPN today. There were a lot of questions about the Renteria trade and some Braves prospect talk. Callis likes Schafer better than Gorkys.

  127. stimulants or no… Cameron would give great defense and lousy to mediocre offense. i bet we could find that for cheaper than he’ll come (unless the suspension drastically changes his value).

  128. Cameron’s offense isn’t lousy. It is at worst mediocre. It’s probably about average for CF. He’s basically Reggie Sanders with slightly worse offense and better defense.

  129. @173,

    Bringing Glavine into Bobby Cox’s clubhouse is a further problem. IM non HO, he will NEVER be dropped in the rotation below three. Therefore, he is your #3 post season pitcher too.

    I would rather have Chuck James, Jo Jo Reyes, or Jair Jurrjens in that slot (and really, by then I bet I would say the same about Hampton).

    For all the good Bobby brings, our GM needs to remember the bad he brings (loyalty that extends TOO far, among those things).

  130. I miss Andruw already, even if we can’t afford him and he’s not worth what we’d be paying if we could. Andruw can still play centerfield with the best.

  131. Read: We’re not getting A-Rod. If we got A-Rod, it would be the first time I would ever straight out hate an Atlanta Braves player, Woodward not withstanding. Just the thought of it pisses me off.

    What you’re saying is you didn’t hate Lofton, Kolbb or Albie Lopez?

  132. @180,

    Cameron’s offense last year was OPS .759. Career OPS .789. He is 34 years old. He won’t exceed last year again, let alone his career average. Last year he was, offensively, the improved 2007 Willie Harris without the speed (which, might not be such a bad thing, considering Willie’s bonehead running decisions). Plus, he has had breakdowns several times recently (the worst one on a hustle play running into Beltran), but, he is much more likely to break down than our bevy (like that one?) of young players.

    I am not crazy about Willie Harris, but Harris will give you almost equal offensive and defensive production to Cameron at maybe 1 million in arb with only one year committed instead of 2 years at 5 to 7 million each. Plus, Cameron would cost draft choices (maybe only as a type B, but I don’t know how that works), and “re-upping” Willie might bring back a low end draft pick the next year.

    The really sensible thing for next year is to put the French man in center (I am not sure why the Braves are so reluctant to do that), Brandon Jones in right, with Lillibridge and or Schafer in center once they prove themselves and Frenchy moving back to right. Then, Diaz in left almost full time. Brandon Jones can pick up a few games there once one of the centerfielders hold the position. (Maybe arb Willie Harris to make sure you are covered). Then spend the money sved on not isgning Cameron extend whichever of our “Baby Braves” we want to keep and to get pitching.

  133. Frenchy does not need to spend anytime in the off season and spring training learning a new position. That time is better spent working on his plate discipline and hitting approach.

  134. I wouldn’t worry about Glavine’s ego. If he can pitch, he’ll pitch.

    I was down on Glav for a long time after he left but time has softened my feelings. Now after that Mets-fans-soul-crushing outing in Game 162 this season, the past is the past. Welcome back to the family Tommy, all is forgiven.

    Bringing Glavine into Bobby Cox’s clubhouse is a further problem. IM non HO, he will NEVER be dropped in the rotation below three. Therefore, he is your #3 post season pitcher too.

    I don’t know about this. I’m pretty sure Bobby wants to win as much as anyone. Say JJ finishes 14-7 3.45 and Glavine is 12-13 4.70. I think Bobby would do the right thing. If they were close he would probably go with Glavine, but I’m pretty sure that’s what most would do.

  135. That time is better spent working on his plate discipline and hitting approach.

    This is obviously true, does anyone have any info on whether this is actually happening? Is he playing winter ball anywhere? Getting any actual instruction?

  136. At a minimum they should hire a guy follow him around all offseason imploring him to be more selective.

    At dinner: “No Jeff, send that steak back. You are looking for medium rare and that’s clearly more medium well. Don’t just take whatever they give you. Stay here all night if you have to get the right pitch – uh, I mean steak.”

  137. No to Schilling. He should just hurry up and resign with the Red Sox and stop looking for even more media attention.

    I would rather have Chuck James, Jo Jo Reyes, or Jair Jurrjens in that slot

    Which of those are you 100% confident that they’d pitch better in 2008 than Glavine.

  138. I’m undecided about whether I want Glavine to return to Atlanta, but I do know this: He knows how to bunt.

  139. Well, with Glavine, we know we’ll get up and down valleys. With James, we get short up and BIG down valleys. We don’t know what we have yet in Reyes or Jurrjens, so my money’s on Glavine.

  140. ARod was definitely not one of the Yankees worst hitters this past postseason. That title goes to Jeter, Posada, or Giambi. Now, if you want to understand exactly why the Yankees dropped the series to Cleveland, I believe Wang’s two abominable performances are the first place I’d look. I’d also list the aforementioned hitters, especially Derek Jeter’s timely double plays, as well as the fact that, um, Cleveland was actually the better team than the Yankees, even when Rodriguez was hitting at his MVP clip all season.

    Look, of course it’s silly to argue that A-Rod produced the same in the postseason as he did during the regular season. He hasn’t, and in this sense it’s a disappointment. But there are four areas that come immediately to mind where the ‘A-Rod’ chokes breaks down:

    (1) It ignores how mediocre other ‘clutch’ players have been for the Yankees, especially Derek Jeter, during recent years. Even David Ortiz, who so many see as clutch, mailed it in during Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS in 2004, the postseason where he solidified that reputation.

    (2) While the bar should be set higher for A-Rod, it does merit mentioning that his being the best hitter in baseball was the primary reason the Yankees were in the postseason at all. If he is not setting that bar incredibly high – and yes, a .645 SLG is setting a high bar – there can’t even be a conversation in which his postseason performance is called into question.

    (3) It is simply not A-Rod’s fault the Yankees have ignored pitching for the past few years. They lost this year because of pitching. Actually, they lost because Wang was terrible in two games in a 5-game series, and because Carmona was unhittable (by any hitter in the game) in Game 2. Those are your three games right there.

    (4) It ignores the fact that A-Rod hit exceptionally well for the Mariners in the postseason. Of course, nothing counts unless it happens in Boston or New York, so I’m crazy for suggesting it, but I’ll leave it up there anyway.

  141. I’m not against Glavine’s return (as a one-year deal only), but it depends on who else is available and at what cost.

    I think #47 can help us, but I wouldn’t go after him because I was sentimental (and I am).

    FWIW, for some crazy reason, I broke out the ’95 WS video last night (yes, a VHS tape) & few things struck me:

    1) It’s amazing how much Bobby has aged.
    2) I’d forgotten just how nail-biting competitive those 6 games were. (5 one-run games & the other one was a shaky Braves win with a Pedro Borbon save.)
    3) As great as he was back then, Kenny Lofton still did some moronic things on the basepaths.
    4) Marquis Grissom was outstanding in that series.
    5) Near-immortal performances from Maddux (Game 1) and Glavine (Game 6).

  142. p.s. It’s ridiculous to think A-Rod would come to Atlanta. I simply posted that because, of course, I can’t resist these conversations… sigh.

    Someone posted earlier that Glavine may get offered arbitration. Is that true? If so, I’d actually probably oppose signing him if it meant giving up a high draft pick.

  143. Agreed, Adam. Giving the Mets our first-round pick would make me almost completely against signing Glavine at all, no matter the “discount”.

  144. Well, with Glavine, we know we’ll get up and down valleys. With James, we get short up and BIG down valleys. We don’t know what we have yet in Reyes or Jurrjens, so my money’s on Glavine.

    I’d take that bet on James or Jurrjens. Not on Reyes. I’ll go on record right now saying Chuck James will outpitch Tom Glavine in 2008. They were the same pitcher in 2007 and one of them is going to get better while one is going to turn 42.

  145. They were the same pitcher in 2007

    One had 23 quality starts and over 200 innings. The other is 25 years old and had to go on the DL with “dead arm”.

  146. @202,

    I agree that Chuck is a better bet for next year.

    However, what I was pointing out is that with roster spots and payroll and options, we can easily keep all three of those. See which one is pitching better in spring and rank them accordingly. Move people back and forth to Richmond if Hampton comes on strong.

    THEN, the big issue is that whichever one of those 3 has pitched the best in the regular season, certainly should be clearly set to start in front of Glavine in the post season.

    And no, I don’t think Bobby will be rational about not pitching Glavine #3 UNLESS he is bad enough to disprove the notion of why the team wants to sign him. That is, if he puts up 180 innings of 4.7 ERA then he is only a 4-5 on a winning team and that production could be met by my three challengers. And maybe then, Bobby won’t start him in a short series.

    It is only if Glavine gets to around 200 innings of around 4.00 when the whole notion of signing him even makes sense in the first place. AND, if he is that good, and none of the lower guys are clearly better, and you start him in the postseason, you still will not be happy. He will get shelled.

  147. @203,

    James lost quite a few quality starts coming out in the fifth and sixth innings having pitched very well, but having run up his pitch count. That is something he could improve at his age.

    James COULD learn another ptich this winter. Glavine probably won’t.

    James is where the age statistics say pitchers get better. Glavine is where those statistics say they get worse.

    James COULD start using his brain this winter. Glavine is already using his as much as he can.

    James COULD do more off season conditioning and stop putting in windows for Lowe’s. I doubt Glavine can do any more to condition himself better in the offseason.

    Yes, Glavine COULD be the better pitcher next year, but the odds are less than 50 / 50.

  148. Don’t we already have a left-handed starter that can’t go past the fifth inning?

    Save the Glavine money and move heaven and earth to get Bedard.

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