Vulture Era Over

The Official Site of Atlanta Braves: Official Info: Press Release:
Braves acquire outfielder Josh Anderson from Houston

I don’t really get this one. The Braves traded Villarreal straight-up for Anderson, who is your basic fourth-outfielder type, or what in my youth, before 13-man pitching staffs, was called a “fifth-outfielder”, or even “sixth-outfielder” type, comparable to DeWayne Wise, etc. What the release doesn’t mention is that Anderson didn’t hit a single home run in his 67 AB for the Astros last year, playing in a park where anyone is a home run hitter. He hit .358, so whoopee, but he’s not really a .358 hitter — who is? He’s going into his age 25 season (and an “old 25”, born in August) and has 15 career minor league homers and a career .290/.337/.373 line. I can’t imagine they’d want him to play regularly, though I don’t see much difference between him and Willie Harris as an outfielder.

What this does, I guess, is get something for Villarreal, who was likely going to be in a roster crunch with the acquisitions of Jurrjens and (presumably) Glavine. Also, the Braves evidently have decided that Villarreal is nothing more than a swingman, and don’t want to pay an arbitration award. Villarreal made $925K in 2007 and would be looking at, I dunno, $1.5 million in 2008? Even if the salary cap goes up, it’s hard to justify paying your eleventh pitcher anything much above the minimum.

UPDATE from DOB’s blog entry:

Just talked to Frank right after the release came out, and he made it clear to me that this kid will compete for the job, but isn’t “the” replacement. Braves wanted to get him now in case they can’t acquire another, more experienced guy this winter.

Again, this guy will compete for the job, and I’d guess he would be the favorite unless the Braves get another center fielder this winter.

They better get another centerfielder, or Schafer’s going to be up in May.

201 thoughts on “Vulture Era Over”

  1. Oscar was one of my favorites, which is pretty much the kiss of death at this point.

    I never thought that he was given a chance to be as useful to us as he could have been. It seems like we pretty much just gave him away, but I do understand the financials. Wouldn;t surprise me if he turns in a couple of fairly useful seasons for someone.

  2. from the last thread…

    “I would assume Wren did not want to pay Villarreal’s arbitration.”

    Yes and thats all this is, we dumped Paronto because we didnt want to pay him. This move here could actually be a move to free up a little extra cash to keep Mahay. It was either releasing him or getting something for him

  3. I think the one major difference between this kid and Willie is, Willie has a history in the major leagues.

    Which is to say, Willie could have a solid season, and still won’t gain any real value in trade. If this kid has a fairly solid big league season, he might gain value.

    Not much of a difference. But it’s something?

    Plus he probably costs $100,000 less.

  4. I never thought that he was given a chance to be as useful to us as he could have been. It seems like we pretty much just gave him away, but I do understand the financials. Wouldn;t surprise me if he turns in a couple of fairly useful seasons for someone.

    Completely agree.

  5. The Atlanta Braves offered Tom Glavine a contract Friday, the first attempt to reunite the free agent left-hander with the franchise he broke into the majors with 20 years ago.

    Glavine’s agent, Gregg Clifton, said Friday that Glavine would take less money to join the Braves. Clifton did not reveal terms of the contract. It is believed to be a one-year deal.

    “Now, our intention is to prepare a counter-offer that we will give them by tonight,” Clifton said.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3114107

  6. still think Oscar can be a useful #4-5 type starter, but not for us. $1.5-2 mil is a lot for a long inning reliever that only pitches when our starters cant get out of the 2nd or 3rd

  7. In 2006, Anderson had 560 ABs at AA and drew 27 walks. So he’s probably destined to become Francoeur’s new fishing buddy.

  8. Of course, we kind of needed a guy like that considering how often the starters got knocked out of the box. Villarreal was, arguably, the team’s second-most-valuable pitcher as recently as 2006. Seriously.

  9. Forget Harris, how is this guy any different than Blanco? Aside from being a better base-stealer and walking a helluva lot less, they’re exactly the same guy.

    The favorite? Shoot me now.

  10. I’ve always said that every fifth day you send James out for four innings, Oscar out for the next four and you’ve got yourself a cheap, effective starting pitcher who always goes deep into games.

    Choscer Jillareal

    Unfortunately baseball is allergic to this kind of thinking.

  11. I think Villareal is a pitcher who is better with more work. Coming in cold a bunch of times in 2007 didn’t help. That said, I am sure we were going to DFA one of Villareal or Cormier this winter. And if they can get some value for Villareal instead of a DFA, works for me.
    You can’t hold onto every player. Villareal can be useful, but not the way the Braves are set up.

    Difference between harris and Anderson. Anderson is cost controlled, and by the look of numbers, a better base stealer. And seems to have gotten some defensive hardware in the minors too. But his best stat, 66% GB!!

  12. I didn’t see the sense in this move either, but I guess I’ll be ultimately fine with it. The guy is just another outfield prospect to me.

  13. Anderson also has played Centerfield for most if not all of his career, whereas Willie has only ever been a 2 or three inning fill-in. Willie has never played outfield full time until this year. Anderson has a huge advantage over Willie defensively, so I’m guessing that if Brandon Jones shows he can platoon with Diaz, Willie could become supersub/baserunner.

  14. Oscar was good in ’06, pretty much average last year.

    He managed to look somewhat exceptional in ’06 because he pitched well in so many games when we were losing. It certainly colored my judgment of him. I got sick of seeing him, but more as a result of the circumstances.

    Having a 90-inning reliever who better than average (his ’06) is always valuable. (Ramiro Mendoza comes to mind.) Maybe he’ll do that again for Houston.

  15. Not that this is a definitive stat but I happen to agree with the conclusion it draws. Only Ledezma and Wickman were worse than the Vulture in WPA (win probability added).

  16. If we upgrade our starting pitching, we shouldn’t need a pitcher like Oscar and certainly not for more money. I’d be disturbed if the Braves seriously plan on using this guy they got back as the everyday CF, but I doubt it will come to that.

  17. That’s all we could get for Villarreal?

    I just lost some faith in Wren and this concerns me about moves down the road.

  18. The move is obviously based on defense. From the DOB blog:

    in 2005 he was rated as the best defensive outfielder and the fastest base runner by Baseball America.

  19. I seriously doubt we plan on using him as our every day center fielder. If we do, then yeah, it’s not smart. We have too many good bullpen arms for Villarreal to be taking up space in the bullpen and on the payroll to the tune of over $1 million. As a salary dump, I like it. If Wren views Anderson as anything more than a 4th/5th OF’er, I don’t like it.

  20. “I’ve always said that every fifth day you send James out for four innings, Oscar out for the next four and you’ve got yourself a cheap, effective starting pitcher who always goes deep into games.

    Choscer Jillareal

    Unfortunately baseball is allergic to this kind of thinking.”

    You only get to carry 25 guys on your roster.. If 2 of them are guaranteed to only play on the 4th day you’re wasting a roster spot.

  21. With seven- or eight-man bullpens, we’re wasting the roster spot already on someone who’d only pitch every fifth day.

  22. Meh. Deal sounds fine. Villareal is probably more valuable, but when you factor in that it’s one year of arbitration Villareal vs. three cost-controlled years of Anderson (plus whatever we want in his arb years) it’s not so bad.

    Also, this virtually guarantees no Orr on the roster, like, ever, since Anderson will be the designated pinch runner guy. He’ll be crap offensively (although the speed will be nice off the bench) but his defense should be strong.

    Assuming the Braves don’t sign another (better) CF, what I see is an OF consisting of Anderson starting games CF when a righty is on the mound and Frenchy being in CF with a lefty out there. Diaz and Jones will split LF and both will play when Frenchy is in Center. The only caviat is that you’ll probably want Anderson in for James’ starts.

    Oh, and no reason to keep Harris around now, either. Hopefully he’ll be gone. Giving two roster spots to speedy guys with no power or OBP is just a bad, bad idea, especially when they play a similar position.

  23. This looks to be basically an insurance policy. Wren will go shopping for someone better now, but if he can’t land anyone, he figures he can at least bat this guy 8th and have him be a vacuum in CF. Also, if he is that fast, I’m sure he can bunt the heck out of the ball, which will make him Bobby’s go-to guy in that role (along with Mr. Glavine).

  24. One of the most intriguing subplots of 2008 spring training is who will prevail in what has become an open casting call for the role of “Matt Diaz’s Glove”. I wonder what the record is for most consecutive seasons starting over half a team’s games and never qualifying for the batting title….

  25. I was wondering if he could bunt. If he keeps Orr off the roster this trade is a win. I do wish Oscar the best and expect him to be valuable but Atlanta never seemed like the right fit for him.

  26. I was never a fan of the vulture, always putting runners on or allowing inherited runners to score; we have several guys in the farm (like Ring or Stockman or Bennett) I’d rather see up and yeah, if we can re-sign Mahay, even better.

    Anderson w/ terrific speed, a center fielder, who hit .358 – of course you would find fault w/ this guy Mac. Looks like a nice pickup as a 4th outfielder. Good move, Wren.

  27. THis is basically a salary dump, and I believe the Braves would have DFA Oscar anyway. My guess is that Anderson will only be useful if the Braves are moving Lillibrigde to CF and they need Anderson as a late inning replacement…or we are getting an outfielder version of Pete Orr…oh wait, we still have Orr in the roster…

  28. But then what’s the difference between Anderson and Gregor Blanco? This is basically just a salary dump…thanks Ed Wade for taking the salary!

  29. According to AJC they didn’t trade Villareal for salary reasons. As DOB put it sort of Anderson is Gregor Blanco with 21 games in the majors. I thought Villareal was a useful pitcher too. I never did figure out why they kept trotting out Cormier, Redman et al when they could have sent the Vulture out for 5 innings and gotten something….anything.

    Well at least the Braves are trying to find someone that can catch the ball out there. BTW Wren is a hell of a lot easier for me to type than Schuerholz.

  30. “He’ll be crap offensively (although the speed will be nice off the bench) but his defense should be strong.” -mraver

    I don’t know about the defense being strong, he carries a .972 fielding percentage as an OF and for a fast guy has never had a zone rating that jumps out at me but the BR minors data I just looked at doesn’t give a per 9 innings rating or any sorts of league averages. I don’t know what kind of arm he’s got but his assist numbers seem decent. All in all he seems to be an average at best defensive center fielder.

  31. Re: Rogers firing Boras

    I love it; Lucifer is having a terrible week and many of us can only hope it gets worse for a guy who’s a big part of where Baseball is today financially.

    God, please let Teixeira fire him next.

  32. Tom Glavine is close to a deal with the Braves. Glavine’s agent said it is close. It was just updated on the AJC.

  33. “One of the most intriguing subplots of 2008 spring training is who will prevail in what has become an open casting call for the role of ‘Matt Diaz’s Glove’. ”

    According to David Pinto’s PMR ratings, Matt doesn’t need a replacement glove. In fact, he was the best defensive left fielder in the majors, turning about 9% more batted balls into outs than would have been predicted. Much better than Willie, who was about average. Seems hard to believe. Link:

    http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/023979.php

  34. Alex, he hit .358 in 21 games, 67 AB. He’s not a .358 hitter. He’s not a .300 hitter. He’s a career minor league .290 hitter, who doesn’t walk and has no power. Major league pitchers will chew him up; you simply can’t exist on the major league level with isolated power below .050. Even if he were to hit .290, he’d be less valuable than Andruw if Andruw hit .180. I thought I’d pretty much argued batting-average-centrism out of you. He’s a pinch-runner.

    “A poor man’s Jason Tyner?” The real Jason Tyner sucks hard enough. As for Blanco, he at least has walked on the minor league level, and his OBP (in tougher parks) is 34 points higher, and he has a smidge more power (29 career homers versus Anderson’s 15) though that’s like saying Ralph Friedgen is skinnier than Mark Mangino.

  35. Considering that Boras got a deal from the Yankees that could ultimately top out at $314 Mil, I think he’s doing OK without Rogers. We should all be so shamed.

  36. By the way, the career 15 homers in the minors actually overstates Anderson’s power. In the last three seasons, in AA, AAA, and the majors, he’s hit 6 homers total. In AAA this year, 132 games, he hit .273/.325/.341. To give you some idea, our old friend Jesse Garcia slugged .407 as Round Rock’s everyday shortstop. If Jesse Garcia can slug .407 and you slug .341, you have a severe problem.

    He’s crap.

  37. I love it; Lucifer is having a terrible week and many of us can only hope it gets worse for a guy who’s a big part of where Baseball is today financially.

    All negotiating strategy. Boras clients get the best deals out there. Stu told me so.

  38. I couldn’t agree with Mac more, I saw this guy play quite a bit when Round Rock came into Albuquerque this year. He is certainly nothing special, and to underline Mac’s point about Anderson slugging .341, that’s slugging .341 in the Pacific Coast League where he plays alot of his games at altitude between Colorado Springs and Albuquerque.

    Anyway, he is no more than your random TJ Bohn
    AAA roster filler in my opinion. Right now, this tells me that they’re not real confident in Lillibridge as a CF option for the time being and will try and trade for somebody else to start and view Blanco/Anderson as a last resort/AAA roster filler/callup due to injury.

    Could we have gotten more for Oscar ?? Maybe, and as Mac pointed out, I believe he was second in Win Shares (for pitchers) in ’06. They just didn’t want to pay him, so they got somebody they think that if all else fails can play CF and steal some bases.

  39. OK so he is an average outfielder and a no pop singles hitter dependent on ba for offensive value and we gave up a pitcher that could give you 4 or 5 good innings a game when he is going good with a 41 year old ace, a 34 year old number 2 and soon to have 42 year old number 3 and they say it is NOT a salary issue, does this long run on sentence summarize this curious trade?

  40. #41

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying Diaz needs a defensive replacement — just that he’s likely to have one. I thought his defense was fine last year.

    That said, I think there’s something going on with how the advanced defensive metrics are measuring Brave LFs. In 2005 Kelly Johnson rated very highly, but I remember him playing the deepest LF I’d ever seen. He was camped no more than 15 feet from the warning track, and looked anything but sure of himself. I think there’s something not being taken into account.

  41. The main thing I just DON’T understand is why Matt Diaz can’t get 550 ABs. He doesn’t have much power, but he can flat out rake.

    I also think his bad defense is overrated. True when he screws up he REALLY screws up and looks comical, but the statistics show he doesn’t screw up disproportionally.

    I just think there’s a place every day for some one that will bat at worst .295 given that many ABs.

  42. If we have to drop a useful player who might make 1.5M next season for salary reasons that doesn’t say very positive things to me about this teams championship aspirations.

  43. Kirk, wow, that’s a surprise. I never would have guessed Diaz would rate so high defensively. I guess he has “ugly” defence, cuz it sure can be ugly to watch.

  44. I liked Oscar, but there’s really nothing here to worry about. We’ve got at least 10 guys fighting over four or five roster spots without having to pay an average pitcher 4x the minimum to mop up in the fourth inning. Who cares who we got for him? Good luck and God speed to the Vulture.

  45. Whatever you think about Anderson, we can disagree, agree – doesn’t matter.

    My feeling is Oscar is a very mediocre pitcher and considering what he did, we can better pitchers, cheaper, in our own farm system!

    Had we not even kept Oscar and just let him go, I would have been fine w/ that but we actually got a solid 25 year old back.

    I am w/ Wren all the way on a move like that.

    Re: Diaz

    I am definitely on board with both him getting 550 AB’s (the guy has MORE than earned it) and his so called bad defense is highly overrated.

    Diaz definitely deserves a shot as an everyday left fielder already.

  46. Oscar was a streaky pitcher, but he definitely went above and beyond at times. Certainly not a bad option for long relief. I wasn’t sold on him as a starter, but he may be given another shot in Houston.

    I’ll be happy if Diaz and Brandon Jones share time in left. Harris has officially turned back into a pumpkin.

  47. Oscar most certainly has value and we leveraged that value to get a serviceable guy in return. Houston sees him as a 7th, 8th inning guy (according to the article linked above) and he is capable of filling that role for them. I’m guessing they were the ones to choose him from a list of relievers we had available.

    his so called bad defense is highly overrated.

    OK, I’m tempted to quote Inigo Montoya here.

  48. Let me back up a bit. We got a guy in return that is serviceable if we are unable to do anything else to shore up CF. Again, if he keeps Petey off the roster this trade is a win.

  49. Ho hum–nothing to get too excited about or too agitated about. The Vulture is probably more valuable but there’s lots of depth in the pen.

    Re comments that it is a salary dump. That line doesn’t seem right to me b/c it was just a day or two ago that there were reports that Liberty would increase the Braves payroll, the Braves had plenty of money to spend, …

  50. Blanco gets on base a little more often, which is something. But he’s been a poor percentage basestealer and Anderson is from all accounts a very good defensive outfielder. Since neither has any power, Blanco’s advantage is basically the ability to reach first base one extra time per 30 PAs.

    If you’re choosing which of the two you’d prefer as an everyday CF, you might pick Blanco (or hang yourself). But as a pinch-runner/late inning defensive OF, which is the role one of them would be most likely to fill, it’s not that simple. Anderson’s speed and defense appear to be “plus” talents — what can Blanco hang his hat on?

  51. You guys are funny sometimes. This was not a salary dump as in “OMG, we are 1.5 million over budget”. This was a salary dump in that “We don’t need to pay an average middle reliever 4 times the minimum salary when we can spend that extra money elsewhere”. I like the move, and it just may put us in the running to keep Mahay, which would be a fantastic aquisition for us.

  52. “Braves Offer $7MM To Glavine
    According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves have made a one-year, $7MM offer to free agent starter Tom Glavine. Glavine has already come back with a counterproposal, and O’Brien expects a deal shortly.

    If Braves GM Frank Wren is to be taken for his word, the Braves may be done acquiring pitching after Glavine. He says they would have eight starter for five spots:

    John Smoltz
    Tim Hudson
    Tom Glavine
    Chuck James
    Mike Hampton
    Jair Jurrjens
    Jo-Jo Reyes
    Buddy Carlyle

    I have to admit, that looks like decent depth to start the ’08 season. What would be next? One emailer speculated the Braves might go after Bill Hall. Are there enough center fielders already? Thoughts?”

    Thats from MLB rumors and it should really say we have 7 pitchers for 2 spots….

    Hampton, James, Reyes, Carlyle, Bennett, Jurrjens, and even Cormier possibly. We have developed some depth. I would still like one more #3-4 guy. Thoughts on Bill Hall?

  53. also keep in mind that the Vulture would become an FA in 2009, I like getting something that may be useful for these guys. We have gotten rid of two guys in their final year of their contracts and picked up some decent talent in return.

  54. Here’s some food for thought:

    Over at baseballmusings.com David Pinto posted his probabilistic model results for LF, and guess who topped the list? Matt Diaz, according to this metric, was the best LF in the game last year, at least as far as getting to balls. Diaz has been very valuable to the club over the past two years, and I’d really like to see him start to get more playing time. That seems unlikely, however, with Brandon Jones set to become his platoon partner next year.

    Interestingly, Willie Harris was in the middle of the pack, a bit below average.

  55. I really don’t like this deal–my first reaction is that speaks volumes about what the Braves thought about Gregor Blanco. As others have pointed out there is no real difference between Blanco and Anderson. I think the only good thing is the salary dump–which is not enough.

    In fact, the Braves never seemed to believe in either Blanco or the Vulture. The latter was never a great pitcher for the Braves–but he gave Cox some flexibility: he could be a long man or even a spot starter. On the whole he was a relatively useful player. Like others on the list, I wondered why he was not given a chance to start every time Kyle Davies trotted out to the mound….

    The Astros traded from a position of strength (they did not meed Anderson) and probably helped their team. I fear that we dumped salary just to finish off the Glavine signing….

  56. I’m not unhappy about this deal. Oscar was nothing to Bobby but a long-relief innings-eater. If we had kept him, he would’ve been a long-relief innings-eater. While every team can use one of thoseout of the ‘pen, I don’t see where Oscar would be any better than Carlyle or Cormier or some other failed starter.

    In return we get a young late inning defensive replacement who can steal a base for you, and shave about $1M in salary. I’m not excited about this, I’m not angry about this. In my opinion, this trade rates a good solid “Meh.”

  57. Keep in mind that the Braves will have many cheaper candidates to replace Oscar:

    Cormier
    Bennett
    Carlyle
    Jurjens
    Morton
    Ascanio
    Reyes
    Lerew

  58. Just to kick off college football Saturday with some sour grapes — Oregon’s loss means that UGA is now one dropped TD pass from controlling their own destiny for the national championship.

    I went back through the week-by-week rankings as if Georgia had beaten South Carolina (yes, this was a futile exercise by an obsessed fan). Anyhoo, had everything else remained the same, including getting blitzed by Tennessee, I can state conservatively that we’d be in the scrum with West Virginia and Mizzou for #5 in the BCS right now. The SEC jingoist in me says we’d absolutely be #5.

    Oregon’s loss would put us at #4, which would essentially set up the SEC championship and Big 12 championship as national championship semifinals.

    OK, technically the pass to Tony Wilson vs South Carolina would only have tied the score. And a half a dozen other teams likely could say something similar. And not even the most ardent Dawg fan foresaw a national championship this year. But it’s a measure of how wacky this season has been that a case can be made that Georgia could’ve been that close.

  59. Now that I think about it, if Georgia wins out and:

    West Virginia loses to Cincinnati, UConn, or Pitt
    Ohio State loses to Michigan
    Arizona State loses to USC or Arizona

    …they still have a shot…..

  60. Somebody in that chat on Thursday asked Frank Wren if the Braves will ever let Matt Diaz play everyday. He responded: “I’ll leave it up to Bobby.”

    Which, of course, means no.

  61. Great, a singles hitter whose career minor league average is under .300. While Oscar wasn’t one of my favorites, I think he would bring more in excess value beyond his salary to the Braves than Anderson. Now, maybe the Braves see something wrong and expect him to break down, but I don’t see any info here to make me like this deal. The fact that he didn’t start once last year leads me to believe that Bobby had no confidence in him.

  62. If your “eight starters for five slots” includes Carlyle, then really it’s seven.

    I haven’t seen Jurrjens pitch, but his statistical profile suggests some time in AAA might not hurt his development. He could be in the bigs, but he might not have to be.

    Reyes is the trickiest. He needs time to develop in the majors, but Glavine, for now, pushes him out of a starting slot. Unless Hampton isn’t ready to start, which is entirely possible given how much time he’s been out, I’m not sure what they’ll do about him.

  63. Maybe Anderson is such a defensive plus, the runs he saves makes up for his lack of power, getting on base, or otherwise contributing offensively.

    More likely he’s an emergency last resort CF in case none of the other plans come to fruition. He’ll probably find his role as a late inning defensive replacement for half a season. As Mac said in his intro, he definately has that “fifth outfielder” profile.

  64. If your “eight starters for five slots” includes Carlyle, then really it’s seven.

    Agreed. Carlyle should not be a consideration. Cormier should be, IMO, although I know some—I’m looking at you, Dan—feel strongly that he shouldn’t be.

    I love it; Lucifer is having a terrible week and many of us can only hope it gets worse for a guy who’s a big part of where Baseball is today financially.

    You mean the sport that just announced over $6 billion in revenues this past year? Yeah, what a financial mess that baseball sport is.

    Seriously, though, I’ll also be quite happy if Boras loses his mojo. It will of course take more than a 40-something reputed a-hole pitcher dropping him as his agent for me to believe that’s actually happening.

  65. I thought that Carlyle was a free agent–so I always assumed that it was Cormier and then I thought it might even be Jeff Bennett.

    In any case, adding Glavine means that we would have a #1 and a #2 starter and then 6 guys who would make a #5 starter.

    I really like J-Man and Reyes, but they need time to develop.

    Therefore, what I found troubling about Wren’s comment was the idea that once the Braves picked up Glavine, they would have 8 possible staters and look at other areas of the team for improvement…..

  66. Jordan Schaffer continues to impress most people.

    I like the fact that Keith Law (a/k/a KLaw) is willing to run counter to the current, but he seems to be the only one not high on Schaffer.

    From Baseball America #8 on best prospects listfor AFL. He was one of the youngest players and at a lower classification level than 90% or so of the players.

    In the last day or two I saw somewhere a reason most think his hitting improvement last year will stick. He was mostly looked at as a pitcher when the Braves drafted him. Apparently somebody has been able to instruct or develop him well (and wouldn’t that be great).

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/265219.html

  67. If Bennett, Carlyle or Cormier starts for the Atlanta Braves next season before the rosters expand in September, it means something has gone really wrong and there will be no postseason for the Braves in 2008.

    I think Cormier is likely to be non-tendered or traded though.

    Also, I know James has sort of fallen out of favor, but is he really a #5? Same with Glavine and his 23 quality starts last season.

  68. James is better than a #5, but if we can slot him in the 5th slot in our rotation this year, we’ll be in great shape. I’d consider James our #4 until Hampton proves he’s healthy though.

  69. James just didn’t go far enough into games to make me think that he is not much more than a 5th starter; Glavine had a pretty strong season, but I think by the end his limits were exposed and I would not count on him to pitch as effectively in 2008 as he did in 2007….

  70. Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution hears that the Braves are “close” to a deal with
    Tom Glavine. His agent, Gregg Clifton, thinks “it’s a good possibility” that a deal gets done today.

  71. It pains me to discuss the relative merits of Buddy Carlyle (5.98 lifetime ERA/161 IP)& Lance Cormier (5.96/244).

    I agree that, if we’re still entertaining this who’s-better debate next year, we’re in trouble because they just ain’t no good.

    Go Dawgs, sic ’em.

  72. @75 and 78: I’m on board with y’all as well.

    It boggles my mind that folks – either professionals or lay people – would ever consider Carlyle as a viable starter. In fact, the same goes for Cormier and Bennett. I’m with Dan. If any of those three guys is getting starts the Braves’ aspirations for the postseason is just a figment of our collective imagination. So far this offseason, from the Major League Roster, we have seen Andruw, Renteria, and Villarreal all gone – for Glavine, and potentially Jurrjens and/or Anderson.

    I know you have to build for the future, but with Glavine, Hampton, Smoltz, and Hudson in the rotation, as well as Chipper and Tex being the big bats in the lineup, it seems that there is really one year to go for it. Different moves suggest different philosophies. And while I do understand that you have to build for the future while playing for the present, I’m not too sure that is what is happening here.

    So yes… it seems that, once again, the brass is relying heavily on Mike Hampton to contribute in 2008; the only thing more surprising than that is that more people on this blog aren’t more vocally upset about it. I truly hope he has something left.

  73. Personally, I think anyone counting on anything from Mike Hampton is nuts. I don’t have anything against the guy and I don’t blame the guy for his injuries, but how anyone can count on him for any pitching is just completely beyond me.

    The only thing I count on with Hampton is that his contract must surely end at some point, though even that I’m loathe to count on.

  74. #91, I feel it doesn’t matter if they pitch well and could even be a plus if other teams struggle vs lefties like the Braves did this year.

  75. Wouldn’t you have to eventually break up Smoltz and Hudson, so we don’t have 3 straight leftys going? I know I know, Hampton won’t be healthy yadayada

  76. Langerhans might actually be better.

    #88 I agree wholeheartedly. The teams best players are still productive but either old or around for just one year (Texieria) We should be building to win now.

    With the state of the NL a bold move or two with this team’s core could separate us from the pack.

  77. Ron, I agree. If the 3 lefties pitch well, then I don’t care.

    It would probably be
    RHP Smoltz
    LHP Glavine
    RHP Hudson
    LHP James
    LHP Hampton

    The top 4 would be split up, while James and Hampton aren’t real similar in style.

  78. #96, When we sign Glavine, we’ll immediately be the NL favorites. Our Pythagorean record was the 2nd best in the league last year, and I think the Rockies were a fluke.

  79. And I’m sure the Braves will be great when I get my APBA ’07 edition. But that & $2 will get me on the subway.

    Keep it up, Commodores, 24-9 now.

  80. Quick note – at the hospital as the newest Braves fan should be here in a few hours (thank god for my blackberry).

    Great game (acc. To my blackberry) for the Dawgs and go Vandy – beat the big pumpkin!

  81. On a related note, I just have consoled our security guard at work (huge Bama fan) and have gotten him to put down the gun.

    Row tied Row!

    Saban is God!

  82. The answer is that everything in that city is win-at-all-costs and its what differentiates spuat from most other civilized places in the US.

  83. Well, I went to The Game today, and no amount of drunkenness could have made it fun. We lost 37-6 — we missed the extra point on our only touchdown, which basically sums up the game right there.

    Basically, our football team makes the 2007 Fightin’ Irish look like the 1979 Crimson Tide. I never thought I’d say this, but today’s game is making me seriously consider tequila.

  84. @99 – Um, no. I don’t think Glavine makes the Braves favorites to win the NL. I’ll repeat what I said: so far, the Braves’ moves this offseason, whether dictated by restrictive finances or philosophy or whatever, has not really made them better. There still may be some moves coming – for a CF, namely – but the larger body of work leaves me feeling no better about this team than I did in August.

    As for that Bama loss… ouch.

    And I just saw this on gameday.

    Lou Holtz: “I can’t say why, but Kentucky just plays better at home. They’re a better home team than road team.”

    The rest of the nation: “That’s because they’re at home. You did coach division I football, right?”

  85. If the Braves had Glavine last year they would have won the division. Of course, he’ll be 42 next year, so there are no guarantees. But the Braves are as good as anyone in the NL with his addition.

  86. I just don’t agree. I think losing Andruw and Renteria will matter, even if Escobar produces, and the rotation has major question marks. Let’s not forget, Hudson pitched much better this past season than he had since getting to Atlanta; even with that boon, the Braves rotation was bad. Smoltz is a year older, Hudson may regress a bit, and we have NO idea what to expect with James, Glavine, or Hampton, let alone any of the kids. Sure, somebody has to work out, but as we saw last year, just because you have bodies to throw out there every 5th day doesn’t mean you can even be league average doing it.

    I’d love to be wrong. I really would. I love Tom Glavine and am excited he could finish his career a Brave. It may even motivate him to excel… so we’ll see what happens.

  87. #130–I think having Tex for an entire year will help. I also think KJ will develop into a better hitter. I can’t guess how Francoeur and McCann will progress, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

    I think there’s a fairly good chance Chuck James will improve. The bullpen should be fine. Smoltz hasn’t shown signs of aging yet. If Hudson and Glavine pitch reasonably well I think we have an excellent chance.

  88. 137 — not sure. but my son was fixated on a braves game at just a few weeks old. i showed alex r the picture of him staring at huddy this summer. good times.

  89. Alex, congrats to you & mommy!

    Mac, condolences.

    Stu, coulda used the help, my man.

    Smitty, you get one-week grace period. Thank your lucky starts for roughing the kicker.

    Saw the new Coen Bros. flick, “No Country for Old Men.” Loved it. If there’s ever been the human equivalent of the shark in “Jaws,” this film has it—one of the creepiest movie characters I’ve ever seen.

  90. Adam M,

    It’s November. Relax. The Hot Stove season is barely underway, and these deals will only make perfect sense in the context of the entire offseason.

    The Braves didn’t trade Oscar Villarreal and Edgar Renteria because they either had better replacements or because the players weren’t good enough. I think most can agree that Escobar will probably not be as good as Renteria will be in 2008. That’s not the reason for the trade. Renteria opens things up financially. Trading Villarreal opens things up financially.

    When/if the Braves sign Glavine, that will make our team much better. People are screaming, “But he’s just league average! We don’t need league average!” Uhhhhhh… yes we do. If we had league average production from our 4th and 5th spots of the rotation, we win the division. We forget that 2.5/5 of our rotation sucked last year. Glavine will be a good 3rd starter for us, and will make a league average 3rd starter (James) a good 4th starter. And as a result of that, there’s a lot less pressure on Hampton. And if Hampton doesn’t go it done, we also have this guy named Jurrjens. How did we get him? OH YEAH! We traded Renteria for him. What? And we got salary relief? So we could sign Glavine and have a shot at re-signing Teixera? NO WAY! What a great trade! Of course…

    Also, like I said, the offseason is very young. We have no idea what we’ll do with center field. We definitely can’t say we’re not in great shape in the future with getting Hernandez to add to Schafer and even Lillibridge.

    Oh, and Renteria. By trading him, you utilize the full-time use of Escobar, instead of A) platooning him with Johnson or B) putting him on the bench. Also, he makes about 1/10 of what Renteria makes. Amazing.

    Even only a month into the offseason, I’m very encouraged by Wren’s moved. I didn’t even address the fact that we also picked up a back-up outfielder and Pete-Orr-Remover in Anderson, and all we had to do was give up a pitcher who didn’t have a place on our roster and was going to be non-tendered anyway. Pretty good if you ask me…

  91. I dont really like the fact that Hall was suppose to be suspended for the game, but we brought him in during the second half. I also didnt like seeing Hall jumping up and down on the sideline with a smile on his face. You would think that he would be a little upset knowing he wasnt suppose to be playing. Worst loss for the tide that I can remember

  92. Here’s some perspective on the ULM win. They lost to North Texas, who is 1-9.

    Good thing Alabama didn’t schedule Troy or Appalachin State this year.

    Goodbye Cotton bowl, hello Obscure Bowl.

  93. Vandy’s loss probably means that Bama will go to a bowl, since (a) the Commodores probably won’t qualify, and (b) Georgia will probably finish 10-2 without an SEC Championship bid, and play in the Sugar Bowl. So the Tide is looking at the same situation last year — 6-6, losing streak to end the year, and a visit to glamourous Shreveport for a game against a similarly mediocre Big 12 school, quite possibly… ugh… Texas A&M. It’s going to be delightful.

  94. Mac,
    Haven been there, let me say the locals will not be backing Bama at all should they play in Shreveport. It’d almost be as bad as playing in Baton Rouge..

    ..also probably doesn’t help that it’s less than 100 miles between Shreveport and Monroe.

    Anyway, I really think this is the worst loss in the history of Alabama football.

    (copied from rollbamaroll.com preview)

    “Yes the Crimson Tide has unfortunately experienced a handful of embarrassing losses in the past decade, but those all came against no-name schools that happened to field pretty good teams that beat us. Louisiana Tech was 9-2 in 1997, and 8-3 in 1999. Central Florida was 7-4 in 2000, and Northern Illinois was 9-2 in 2003. Louisiana-Monroe is nothing like those schools, and these guys are just bad. They’ve gotten four wins, but they’ve come over Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, and Grambling State. Not even a single one of those wins came over a team that could be even considered good by mid-major standards, and beyond that most were close victories at that. All told, the Warhawks have not beaten a BCS conference opponent since knocking off Mississippi State in Starkville in 1995. A loss here by the Crimson Tide would be of epically embarrassing proportions that would make the other embarrassing losses pale in comparison.”

  95. david15 @124,

    Alabama was missing 4 offensive starters (3 OL and #1 RB) to suspension. Also missed #1 WR for 1st half to suspension, so it wasn’t quite the “true” team that had built up the above average record in SEC play.

    Still, it’s just a pathetic and sickening loss, of “epically embarrassing proportions,” right Wryn?

    Luckily all those players will be back next week for the Iron Bowl.

  96. I just cant believe that the football season is this close to being over. However, the way the tide is playing spring training cant get here soon enough!!

  97. I’m just glad that Georgia Tech has a 13th consecutive .500 or better season. With the kind of players the Jackets get, I’ll take it.

    Now for Georgia next week… you know, Georgia Tech hasn’t allowed more than 28 points to anyone all season, even when the wheels come off for stretches. That’s not too shabby.

  98. Thank you everyone!!! :-)

    Jake R. is 7 LBS, 6.9 ounces, 19 inches long, and I am already teaching him, “Gooooooo Dawgs!!!!” and the chop ;-) Baby and mom are doing great and he’s adorable.

    Since it’s Sunday and there’s a TV in the hospital room, Jake will get to spend his first full day watching football w/ dad. Good times.

    Oh – and it looks like a ‘welcome back, Glavine’ will be in order soon.

  99. Congrats, Alex! Although it’s too bad you didn’t name him after both of us, I wish you, Mrs. R, and the youngest R the best of luck, happiness, and success. L’chaim, brother.

  100. Buster Olney at ESPN.com (insider blog) reports on the 2008 projected Braves. Assuming Glavine in and evrybody’s roster as is right now, he says we are division favorite.

    So, all is not yet lost.

  101. Congratulations, Alex, and all the best to your wife and Jake. “Go, Dawgs” and the chop are important first steps. Don’t forget to teach him to say “Mets and Gators suck.”

    Ububba, “No Country for Old Men” was an intense book. I don’t know if I can handle the visual portrayal.

    Mac, beat Auburn and all will be right with the world.

  102. Congrats Alex!

    The Big 12, in spite of itself, may play itself out of the Championship Game. That’s pretty good news for West Virginia.

    Also, that ARod story is kind of incredible, the more of it that comes out. Warren Buffett? Goldman Sachs? I love the Scott Boras era, it just gets better and better.

    And Rob – I’m relaxed, thanks. Disagreement does not always imply hysterics. Like I said, I’m thrilled Glavine is coming back to finish as a Brave, but his ‘league-average’ numbers this past season are no guarantee that he will be league-average again. Only time will tell. If he’s league average, great; if he’s not, that’s $8 million and a 1st round pick gone. It could go either way.

  103. Yes, a hearty congratulations to the entire R. clan on the birth of yet another Braves fan (and Spurs fan, too)!

  104. Alex,

    I thought we had agreed that your child would be named Willie Harris R. See the Game Thread of August 9th. You’ve let me down.

    Congratulations, dude.

  105. Some interesting stuff I just read from Baseball America-

    Apparently, Brandon Jones has been starting in CF a lot in his winter league assignment. Blanco has also been playing and hitting pretty well. What I see developing is something of a “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” kind of approach to CF for next year. Jones certainly doesn’t have the range/arm to be there full-time, but I think he might be okay for a few games out of the year (especially when, say, Hudson is starting). I don’t have his minor league splits, but apparently he can hit lefties just fine.

    My prediction is that, barring a FA signing (particularly AJ back on an arbitration deal) we’ll see some form of a platoon in CF, with Frenchy getting starts, Blanco and/or Anderson getting starts, and maybe even Brandon Jones getting starts. And of course, eventually maybe even Schafer.

    Basically, you’d see Anderson/Blanco in CF against the RHPs and Frenchy/Jones in against the LHPs. I realize Jones is a lefty (just like Anderson and Blanco), but he’d certainly do better against LHPs than the others two would. And FWIW, BA doesn’t think Jones is cut out for CF; I’m just speculating that maybe the Braves will try to give him a couple starts out there when they think they can get away with it in order to get his superior bat into the lineup.

    So anyhow, that’s how I see the OF picture shaping up for us next year. It’ll be an interesting spring training, that’s for sure.

  106. As this sports weekends fades a couple of comments: Personally it was possibly the worst college football weekend in recent memory:

    Alabama–a humilating defeat;
    Notre Dame won;
    Vandy lost a game which is too difficult to contemplate–easily the worst of the bunch (Vandy lost the chance to go to a bowl for the first time in about a generation;
    the team AAR and I support was humilated by our arch rival…

    With respect to Glavine, I am glad that the Braves are signing him and I will be happy if he can pitch as a ‘league average’ pitcher. But it is hardly ridiculous to think that at 42 he might be less than a league average’ pitcher and suitable for the back end of the rotation….

    Obviously, I hope that we see the return of the ‘great Glavine’…

  107. Alex R, congratulations. I like the name too. It has worked well for me!

    Mac couldn’t even favorably compare Anderson to Jesse Garcia. Anderson is clearly not the answer.

  108. How Georgia could win the national championship

    Not like I have anything else to root for. Georgia is currently sixth, the top two-loss team.

    1. Tennessee loses to Kentucky, putting UGA into the SEC Championship.
    2. Georgia beats Tech.
    3. Missouri beats Kansas.
    4. West Virginia loses to UConn or Pitt (this is the unlikely one).
    5. Missouri loses to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship.
    6. Georgia beats LSU.
    7. Georgia beats Ohio State in the national championship game.
    8. Everybody starts arguing for a playoff, even more than before.

    Could happen! #4 is really unlikely, but everything else is reasonable. I’d even say that 2, 3, and 5 are probable.

  109. Us old Dawgs just want to win out first.

    I can’t believe Vandy didn’t finish off Tennessee, but que sera, sera.

  110. I think you could eliminate step 3, have Kansas lose to Oklahoma in step 5 and it would still work. There are probably enough ‘SEC is God’ voters out there (especially after being proved right with Florida last season) that Georgia would get the nod.

  111. Even if no “national championship” is at stake, I’d love to play Ohio State in a bowl game, any bowl game.

    I work closely with an Ohio State grad & often remind him that a) Ohio State has never in its history beaten an SEC team in a bowl game and b) UGA has never lost to a Big 10 team in a bowl game. (All told, it’s about 12 games.)

    At this point, however, it sounds more and more like Ohio State will go to Pasadena (facing ASU or USC) & UGA will get Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

    But more importantly: “And to hell with Georgia Tech!”

  112. I thik Matt Diaz is the Rodney Dangerfield of Major League Baseball players.

    I just roamed around a little on The Fielding Bible’s site (by link from JC’s site) as to +/- leaders. The original link was used by JC to illustrate Andruw Jones relative performance compared to Rowand and Torii Hunter. It is the 2005 through 2007 compilation.

    The list shows left fielders and the last few of the “upper” group have +2 and +3. Diaz had +12 for 2007 alone and I confirmed 2006 was +12 as well. He barely played in MLB in 2005, but it could have held him back seeing how, for baseball purposes, he was legally blind. But, he couldn’t have possibly been more than – 10.

    And it is not a “you had to be in there three years to count” thing. Troy Tulowitzki shows up in about 6th place at + 30 on shortstops (despite having only played one year).

    Bobby Cox and Frank Wren, show this guy the respect his performance shows he deserves.

  113. Sam,
    This is the week where the sarcasm be flowin’. Once a year ain’t so bad.

    And if Stafford has another week like this one, I’m not gonna be clucking so loud.

  114. Heh heh.

    Georgia Tech’s defense is really the only thing I can hang my hat on. I know it and you know it. I’m not ashamed to admit it. ;P

  115. I think if Josh Nesbitt is used right, and Gailey doesnt keep calling that annoying direct snap to Choice, they might have a chance. Maybe. Hopefully.

  116. #174 and #176

    Ballparking the odds:

    1. 1/2
    2. 3/4
    3 and 5. 1/2 (that Oklahoma beats winner of Mizzou/KU)
    4. 3/10
    6. 1/3

    = a 1.85% chance that we play for the national championship (and, since our opponent would be the Buckeyes, a 1.85% chance of winning the national champonship)!

  117. “How Georgia could win the national championship”

    Don’t forget, another step is definitely needed for that scenario to appear. USCal or Arizona would have to beat Arizona State for Georgia to pass the Sun Devils and play in the BCS National Championship Game.

    Arizona State is 9-1 vs. Georgia’s 8-2. If both teams win out ASU is the PAC-10 champ with one less loss than SEC Champ Georgia. Arizona State is currently one spot ahead of Georgia in the BCS as well.

    A team with one loss, on the road against Oregon 23-35 is more deserving than a team with two losses, one home, one road, to South Carolina 12-16 and to Tennessee 14-35, respectively. Oregon is also a better team than either UT or USCar.

    If ASU defeats USCal, they should move ahead of Ohio State too.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/rankingsindex?seasonYear=2007&weekNumber=12&seasonType=2

    I think this is what Robert was aluding to in his passive-agressive, East-coast bias cryin’ observation @176. ;)

  118. The very fact that we’re discussing all these goofy possibilities once again points up how ridiculous the process is.

    The only way to know if Arizona State is better than Georgia is if Arizona State actually plays & beats Georgia. (Incidentally, they do begin a home-and-home next year.) Same story for everyone else.

  119. ububba,

    We do the same thing for baseball. “For Atlanta to make the playoffs, Florida has to take 2 out of 3 from San Diego, the Mets have to lose 3 of 5, and the Phillies have to be swept by the Nationals,” or something to that effect. We don’t say that process is stupid.

    I know that this situation isn’t totally parallel, but how do we know that the Red Sox are better than the Diamondbacks? Because the Red Sox beat the Rockies, who beat the Diamondbacks. Now, I know this doesn’t always work. I go to school in Clearwater, FL and I had to hear it from all of my University of South Florida buddies when Florida lost to Auburn, who had lost to USF. They had the whole USF > Auburn > Florida deal going on. Would USF beat Florida even 3 out of 10 times? I doubt it. Back to my original point, you can sometimes tell if a team is better than another team by other means that the two teams themselves playing each other.

  120. USCal or Arizona would have to beat Arizona State for Georgia to pass the Sun Devils and play in the BCS National Championship Game.

    That’s true. I didn’t mention that because – obviously – the Trojans are going to eat Rudy Carpenter for dessert on Thanksgiving.

  121. Scoreboard watching is just part of the fun, whether it’s in service of a playoff system or a whacked out animal-by-committee like the BCS platypus. If the top eight made the playoffs and my team was 12th, I’d be doing the same thing. At this point in my sports fandom, I need to find a vested interest in order to take much notice of games like Arizona State/USC or West Virginia/UConn. Otherwise I wouldn’t care at all.

  122. Rob,
    Sorry, that analogy doesn’t work for me.

    Absent a legitamate playoff, where teams and not voters or computers actually determine who is “crowned champion,” the process of determining a “national championship” in college football is dumber than a bag of hammers.

    That’s what I’m saying.

  123. I believe the new definition of smug is a roomful of fantasy football owners who happened to draft Tom Brady this season….

  124. As a Tech grad, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I won’t be very disappointed if UGA wipes us off the field. I’m just so sick of the mediocrity of the Chan Gailey era that anything that helps hasten its conclusion is almost welcome at this point.

  125. Belichick has certainly got some Spurrier in him. I mean, even if I rooted for the Pats, I’d just as soon sit Brady down after, oh, 42 points.

    But Belichick is obviously trying to prove something this year. You don’t go for a 4th & 4 up 42-7 unless you’ve got your team’s legacy in mind.

    BTW, when was the last time an NFL team scored 60 points?

    Kirk,
    You can’t say Coach Gailey hasn’t been consistent.

  126. I could easily see this being really good to really bad or anywhere in between. That is, no matter what Glavine’s season is like next year, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    However, since it’s done, I really hope Tom’s got something left in the tank.

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