Keltner List: Fred McGriff

The Keltner List was developed by Bill James as a device to evaluate a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. In The Politics of Glory James says that it is probably his favorite tool to do that. (You can read about the background in that book, or do a Google search, for further information.) So let’s run it for Fred McGriff…

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

No. In 1989, he was the best hitter in the American League, but some of the NL hitters were better, and when defense is taken into account he falls behind some other guys.

2. Was he the best player on his team?

There are two periods when he was. From 1988-1991, with the Blue Jays and (for the last year) with the Padres, he was certainly the best hitter and probably the most productive all-around player; he was passed by Sheffield in 1992. He was the best player — really, the only productive player — on the Devil Rays for their first three and a half years of existence, 1998-2001, but this is hardly high praise. He was the best hitter on the Braves from their acquisition of him in 1993 to the strike in late 1994, but Maddux was the clear star of the team.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

McGriff was the All-Star starter at first base in 1992 and 1995-96, and won the Silver Slugger in 1989 and 1992-93. I would say that he was the best first baseman in baseball, except when Will Clark was healthy, from 1989 to Bagwell’s emergence in 1994, the best in the AL from 1988-1991 and in the NL 1992-93.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

The obvious example here is 1993. When he played his first game for the Braves, on July 20, the team trailed the Giants by nine games with 67 to play. With McGriff filling a gaping hole at first base and hitting .310/.392/.612, the Braves made up the gap and clinched the division on the last day of the regular season. That’s a pretty big impact.

His impact was fairly large in 1989, when he was (as I said above) the best hitter in the American League and the Blue Jays, who spent much of the year in the second division and were as much as eight games back at times, only took the division lead in September and won by two games. It’s clear that in 1989 and 1993 his teams would not have won without him. He also played on division champions with the Braves in 1995-97, but those teams weren’t pushed. He and Dave Justice essentially were the Braves’ entire offense in 1994, and together with Maddux kept the team in contention, but the pennant race was cancelled.

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

In his case, for ten seasons past his prime. His time as an elite hitter ended suddenly with the strike in 1994, though he had a couple of good late-career seasons. He wound up playing until 2004 and was productive in 2002, when he was 38.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

The best eligible player not in the Hall of Fame is Bert Blyleven. I think that McGriff is a better candidate than any hitter currently on the ballot, but you can certainly make an argument for Mark McGwire (see below, no. 10). However, he’d rank behind Tim Raines (entering in this, the 2008 cycle) and probably Barry Larkin (entering in 2010, same as McGriff).

7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

Most of the retired and eligible players are. The most-similar hitter to McGriff is, unsurprisingly, Willie McCovey, to whom he was often compared. A close second is Gary Sheffield (still playing). Four others in McGriff’s top ten (Willie Stargell, Billy Williams, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks) are in; three others (Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, and Andres Galarraga) aren’t yet eligible. Bagwell and Thomas should make the Hall easily, and there are good reasons to rank McGriff ahead of Sheffield and Galarraga, as well as Chili Davis, the only eligible player on the list rejected by the voters.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

McGriff meets 47.9 percent on the Hall of Fame Standards Test, which is a pretty good total, just slightly below the average (more below the first base average). He scores at exactly 100 on the Hall of Fame Career Monitor, on which anything over 100 is supposed to signal a likely Hall of Famer. There is a tendency to hold contemporary players to a higher standard than that, but this probably shouldn’t hold to players like McGriff whose career is centered pre-1993.

His Black Ink (9) and Grey Ink (105) scores are poor for a Hall of Fame candidate at an offensive position, as he had relatively few league-leading seasons or seasons among the league leaders. He won two home run titles, but his only other official league-leading season was in games played in the strike-shortened 1995 season.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

Here’s the key point. McGriff, for whatever reason, was unable to take advantage of the elevated offensive environment of the mid-to-late-nineties, and in fact his raw numbers declined dramatically, especially his power numbers. After seven years of 30 homers or more, capped by 34 in an 113 game season in 1994, he hit 27, 28, 22, and 19 the following four seasons, a period in which home runs were up dramatically.

Now, a lot of people think that this period of home-run hitting was caused by a dramatic surge in steroid use. A lot of people don’t. If McGriff’s fading is due, at least in part, to playing clean (nobody ever accused him of cheating, and he didn’t look like a steroid abuser) then it may be a point in his favor, or at least a mitigating factor.

In his post-strike Atlanta seasons, McGriff had a problem with grounding into double plays, leading the league in 1997. His traditional stats in this period are already the least impressive of his career, but have to be discounted somewhat for this as well.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

Noting that he’s not yet eligible… There is one eligible first baseman who has a legitimate argument here, Mark McGwire. McGwire is widely considered to be a cheater, but he hit ninety more home runs than McGriff, and for most of their respective careers was probably considered a greater player. On the other hand, McGwire had only 1626 hits in his career, which would be a remarkably low total for a Hall of Fame hitter; McGriff had 2490. McGriff, though he never had a giant RBI season, had more than a hundred more RBI and nearly 200 more runs scored. His career batting average is 20 points higher. The knee-jerk assumption is that if you think McGwire is clean/that he cheated but it doesn’t matter, that he was greater than McGriff. That’s not necessarily the case, at least in career value.

Jeff Bagwell, meanwhile, has to rate a lot higher than McGriff, as does Frank Thomas if considered a first baseman and not a DH.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

1989 is the one year when he had a serious MVP case, though it went to Robin Yount, who was almost as good of a hitter at a more important defensive position. Still, McGriff was the best hitter in the league on a team that won the division, which seems like an MVP to me, but he finished sixth. McGriff’s teammate George Bell finished fourth, even though he hit half as many homers (18 to 36) and had far lower on-base and slugging percentages. Guess who had more RBI, though.

McGriff has a weird sort of case in 1993. He didn’t play that well in San Diego, but was awesome in Atlanta, for just 68 games. Nobody was beating Bonds that year anyway; McGriff finished fourth, one spot behind Justice and one ahead of Gant.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go into the Hall of Fame?

McGriff was chosen to five All-Star teams, three as a starter, which is a lowish total. It’s harder for contemporary players to make lots of All-Star teams unless they’re the perennially-voted-in-by-the-fans type because of the sheer number of teams that have to be represented.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

The Jays won the division in 1989, and the Braves in 1993, so I’d say yes.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

Nothing to say here, unless you’re a big fan of those instructional videos. The Braves’ success in 1993 probably encouraged teams to make a bigger effort to make stretch-run trades.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

I’ve never heard any serious personal criticism. I’m reluctant to give anyone extra points for not using steroids until all the facts are in.


Using traditional Hall of Fame standards, Fred McGriff should be an inductee. However, his stats don’t jump out at you compared with players a few years younger than him. His best season, 1989, doesn’t look all that impressive by today’s standards — .269/.399/.525, 36 homers — but it was in fact a big year, a home run title, second in the league in slugging, fourth in on-base. His other home run title year, 1992, he was third in slugging, fourth in on-base. He had big years in 1988, 1990, and 1993-94, but never hit 40 homers (despite winning two home run titles). 1994, which could have been that big year (on pace for 49 homers, 135 RBI) was interrupted by the strike and overshadowed by Bagwell and Williams. He’s probably not helped by playing most of his best years off the beaten path in Toronto and San Diego.

I think that if Fred can stay on the ballot after his first season, he will eventually get in. It’s hard to tell, but the voters (both the writers and the players) are a conservative lot, and are likely to reward players they consider to be clean.

ADDENDUM TO #6: I left out Rickey Henderson, who should enter on the 2009 ballot and make it on the first try without a throw. I guess this is because I still half expect Rickey to make another comeback. Anyway, I rate the ballot entries of the 2008-10 cycle:

1. Henderson
2. Raines
3. Larkin
4. McGriff
5. Robby Alomar

Nobody else really makes the cut.

169 thoughts on “Keltner List: Fred McGriff”

  1. interesting…

    2005-07: Jones vs. Hunter
    Here’s a look at what each has done with the bat over the past three seasons.

    Andruw Jones .249 285 118 351
    Torii Hunter .279 243 73 261

  2. Mets could trade star SS Reyes?

    Speculation in MLB circles swirled Wednesday that the Mets, who desperately need to obtain a frontline starter this winter, were considering parting with Jose Reyes to obtain Johan Santana. The two-time All-Star faltered during the Mets’ historic late-season collapse this past season, finishing with 12 HRs, 57 RBI and a .280 average while drawing the ire of fans and manager Willie Randolph for his lack of hustle. — NY Daily News

    —-I would love to see the Mets trade Reyes and others for Santana. Then to only watch Santana leave after the first year to join the Yanks. You cant put a value on what Reyes does for their offense

  3. I can’t imagine Fred getting in. The voters aren’t really taken with the ‘piled up the raw numbers but was never really an MVP level player’ types anymore.

  4. csg – throw in the the OBP/SLG and OPS+ numbers, and Andruw looks a whole lot better.

    And Santana would be an absolute beast in the NL and pitching at Shea. The Mets have the money and would pay him was necessary to keep him.

  5. Any trade for Santana would seemingly have to include a contract extension. I’d hate to see Santana with the Mets. My guess is he goes to the Yankees, though the Red Sox have a more attractive offer if they include Ellsbury. The Dodgers have the best talent to offer: Kemp and Kershaw.

    Mac, great job on Crime Dogg’s Keltner list. I’d love to see Fred make it into the hall. Most people I talk with seem to forget his years with the Blue Jays.

  6. Firstly as Hate King has said any trade of Santana will only go through if he is able to reach a contract extension with the team he is going to, otherwise he just vetos the deal. Second, I would put the Yankees in the lead, since Hank Steinbrenner appears to be trying to make a name for himself now, and sounds like he will do about anything possible to land Santana.

  7. Nice job Mac, I enjoyed that. I don’t see McGriff getting voted in though unless he is made the poster-boy for an anti-steriods crowd of voters.

  8. McGriff was a very good player but probably not a Hall of Famer. The only way I see him getting in is if voters want to thumb their noses at first basemen like McGwire and Palmeiro who came after Fred but who are tainted by ‘roids.

    I took great comfort in MLB Trade Rumors analysis of the Mets’ chances of landing Santana. It sounds like they won’t be able to match what other teams can offer the Twins.

  9. McGriff in just about any other era would qualify and get in, but not with the offense that we have seen the last 20 years.

  10. I liked McGriff, but I think he belongs in the hall of the very good. Just not enough of a star factor to qualify IMO. If not for the steroid issue, McGwire would be much more likely to make it that McGriff.

  11. I enjoyed reading those criteria. I was a McGriff fan and would love to see him get in the Hall as I am just about willing to support any player, within reason, who spent considerable time with the Braves; however, I don’t believe he will get in. It seems to me that Fred stopped hitting when he went to that exagerated high-finish swing sometime around the ’96-’97 season. It used to drive me nuts seeing him strike out and having his bat end up somewhere around his head being held by only his right hand. Anyway, Good Luck Crime Dog (I wonder which hat he would wear on his plaque?).

  12. As I tried to make clear, McGriff’s basic problem is that his prime years were in the period just before the offensive explosion. I could throw in that he didn’t play regularly in 1997 (he was platooned, and hit 20 homers in 297 PA) so he missed the “preview” year of the explosion.

    HBO is making a movie based on Game of Shadows. Who plays Bonds? I say Omar Epps with a prosthetic head, though Epps’ head is already quite large.

  13. Mac, thanks a lot for that list. I’m a big fan of the yearly Keltner, and was one of the many who voted for you to do McGriff this year. I’m still on the fence about him as a Hall candidate. It strikes me that, like Dale Murphy, he had enough great years to make the case, but not enough good years to amass the counting stats to make it. Plus, he plays an offensive position, not a defensive position. And the way his power collapsed after he turned 30 is really bizarre. In the midst of the biggest power-hitting boom in baseball history, his slugging percentage decreased about 50 points, after he managed to have his best years in the neo-dead ball era.

    I think he’ll end up being a tweener. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I can see myself agreeing with Mac on advocating a big Hall, because there are enough undeserving people in there to counter any argument that it should only be the elite of the elite. But McGriff was pretty clearly inferior to Bagwell and Thomas, the guys he’ll be compared to, and also to McCovey, whose peak as an elite hitter lasted a lot longer. If McGriff gets in, I’ll be happy for him. If he doesn’t, I won’t be heartbroken. I think Murphy deserves to go in first, and Blyleven and Raines as well.

  14. Also… I broke out Win Shares to work on this, and found that James ranks as the best player on the Braves in 1993 not Maddux, but a tie between Justice and… Blauser. (McGriff’s per-game WS is higher — prorated to a full season it’s about 38 or 39.) Blauser did have a .401 OBP that year, and missed only one game. Note also that this was not a free agency year.

  15. It’s really tough for a starting pitcher to lead his team in Win Shares. So tough that it makes me question the methodology.

  16. Just realized I left Rickey Henderson off the ballot entries, though I figure he’s an easy first ballot pick and won’t be there for McGriff to compete with a year later. Anyway, I added a little addendum there.

  17. Man, I wish I had known about Win Shares and bought it… now I can’t find it anywhere where it isn’t insanely expensive.

  18. I have to say no to Fred and to Murph as well. I realize there are lots of undeserving guys in the Hall but the solution isn’t to add more undeserving guys. Like Murph, McGriff had several very good to great years in a less offensive era, but the short span of his dominant years puts him out IMO. Murphy was a better player but also didn’t have enough great years.

  19. Two notes on McGriff vs. McGwire…

    1. I don’t have much doubt that McGwire was a better hitter per PA than McGriff, but McGriff had 10174 career PA, McGwire 7660. This isn’t primarily a function of career length (McGriff’s is somewhat longer, 19 seasons to 16) but of McGwire’s inability to stay in the lineup.

    2. McGriff’s career postseason stats are a lot better — .303 .385 .532 versus .217 .320 .349, both in ten postseason series. In two World Series, Fred hit .279 .385 .605. In three, Mark hit .188 .278 .271.

  20. I wonder how much of his decline has to do with the switch from the old Atlanta Fulton Co. stadium to the Ted?

  21. As promised:

    My barber says the Braves are in a three way with

    ATL: gets Kotsay, Lenny DiNardo and Juan Uribe
    A’s gets: Mike McDougal and Chuck James
    Chi gets: Jose Garcia, Brian Pena, and Lerew

  22. IF (big if) there ever is a movement to go back and reevaluate the players whose numbers don’t look as good now because of the rise in numbers in the “steroid era”, then I sure hope Murphy and Fred will still be around. My guess is that they will no longer be on the ballot.

  23. Smitty,

    That looks like a terrible deal. We give up at least one valuable trading piece and get garbage in return.

    Make one up for Haren and Blanton.

  24. these Saban to LSU rumors are heating up, I believe that would be a media/recruiting suicide. Any credibility, if there is any, that he has left would be gone

  25. How about this one?

    NYM gets: Noah Lowry, Fred Lewis, Brayan Pena
    SF gets: Ambiorix Burgos, Johnny Estrada
    ATL gets: Dan Haren
    OAK gets: Philip Humber, Charlie Morton, Brent Lillibridge, Anthony Lerew

  26. Mac,
    Thanks for the Keltner on the Crime Dog. I think that I agree about a big Hall. There are enough very good but not great guys already in the hall to justify the McGriffs, Murphys, Rices etc. In the end its just a who the baseball writers like contest anyway.

  27. Essentially Dan Haren for Morton, Lillibridge, Lerew and Pena. Ehhh… that’s an awful lot. The trade doesn’t make sense for SF though.

  28. Two suspect pitching prospects, a blocked catcher who apparently can’t play any other positions, and a SS who will be blocked unless he goes to Center is not a lot to give up for a young frontline starter like Haren, who is under control for the next three years for less than $17 million.

  29. You know what? I’d rather have Blanton than Haren. They’re the same age, and here are their 2007 stats:

    222 2/3 IP
    137 ERA+
    1.21 WHIP
    7.76 K/9
    3.49 K/BB
    0.97 HR/9

    230 IP
    106 ERA+
    1.22 WHIP
    5.48 K/BB
    0.63 HR/9

    Yes, Haren strikes out a lot more and has the better ERA (no doubt a result of the relative strikeouts). But I get the sense that his reputation is better, at least relative to Blanton, than is warranted. Blanton’s good and valuable and could likely be had for significantly less than Haren.

    Not that we’ll get either. I’m just sayin’.

  30. @29: no, it’s not. I’ll be surprised if Morton or Lerew ever become effective major leaguers. And that’s why Oakland would be crazy to do that and Wren wouldn’t be able to say ‘yes’ fast enough (or stop himself from saying ‘are you sure?’). Haren is under contract, as Justin says, for another three years, so Beane would be dealing from a position of strength. He doesn’t have to unload Haren. If he’s getting back a prospect-type player, he’ll probably demand a guy who projects to be capable of becoming a frontline starter, and I don’t think Humber fills that role.

  31. Stu, I’m pretty sure you’re not utterly insane, so you probably mean you would rather trade for Blanton, because he’s cheaper. Only a crazy person would rather have Blanton than Haren.

  32. Yeah, but Blanton was also worse than league average in 2006. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to love Blanton’s HR rate and control, but his inability to strike guys out, coupled with that ugly 2006 season, puts Haren – with that wonderful contract – above him on the pecking order.

  33. Yeah, to clarify:

    Haren is the better pitcher. I suspect that Blanton’s Pitching-Quality-to-Acquisition-Cost ratio is more favorable to the Braves, however.

  34. Interesting poll- do we go with the consistent day in, day out futility of Woodward or Andruw, or the spectacular occasional suckitude of Redman or Davies? Or the guys we told to get lost?

  35. Tubderville’s move makes sense. I can understand wanting to escape Auburn.

    Tonight, we must pray to Bud Selig that when the MLB Network starts up, he doesn’t screw up in the way the NFL has.

  36. @40, it’ll be a shame when we lose him to LSU along with Saban…(eyes roll out of back of head).. Ha!

    @25, Do you live in Tennessee or Louisiana or within a short distance from cow dung? I wonder where those rumors are originating during recruiting season?? Things that make you go hmmmm..

    csg, thanks, very happy to hear we landed Man/Mountain Terrance Cody.. now I’m going to to check it out… happy, happy, happy

  37. Cary, nope in B’ham and I believe Al Del Greco got all of it started this morning. Then the Roundtable had it all day, followed up with a little Finebaum. It really has no legs anyways, LSU doesnt have an open position at this time

  38. The Saban thing is ridiculous – just some made up thing. But according to an article Mac and Cary sent me, the rumor about Tuberville to Auburn, that would mean the following scenarios have happened:

    Ole Miss fires Orgeron.

    Nutt leaves Arkansas immediately for Ole Miss (step down in west)

    Tuberville now rumored to leave Auburn for Arkansas (also a step down in the west)

    So, what, does that mean Auburn should now hire Orgeron for a little “ring around the coaches”?

    That would be hilarious!!!!!!!!!!

    In all seriousness, why in God’s name would you leave Auburn for Arkansas? That really makes no sense.

    But if that happens, Auburn will go after Petrino.

  39. I also don’t see the Tuberville to Arkansas rumors.

    Auburn is a better job and that would be a step and a half down in my opinion. Besides, didn’t Tubby just sign an extension?

  40. “Auburn is a better job and that would be a step and a half down in my opinion. Besides, didn’t Tubby just sign an extension?”

    they agreed to salary extension, but as for other specifics the talks have not moved forward. Earlier today it was mentioned that Tommy wanted the buy out to be removed from the new contract and Auburn didnt

  41. Does anyone know if a person can but the MLB package on DSS for next season at this time?
    I got caught up in phone tree Hell yesterday as I tried to answer this question.
    We’ve always thought it too expensive but if I want to see Braves games next year it’s my best option.
    I thought I’d catch my spouse in a holiday mood and try to get this by her.

  42. I think the only way Tub “ears” leaves Auburn is if he still does not trust the board, after they stabbed him in the back. It would be interesting to see what Petrino would do, of course he said that he has not even thought about it. I think we all know never to believe any coach speak.

  43. Yeah, but even if Tuberville leaves Auburn, why would he take a lesser SEC West job at Arkansas, rather than say take a similar level job at the Big 12 with say Nebraska, which is a far easier place to win with a similarly rabid fan base to Auburn?

  44. According to the AJC this morning:

    Yeah, and Saban also planned to be back w/ the Dolphins – but the Bama job came calling; if Auburn comes calling, or even a good job like Nebraska with the right money, Petrino would be smart to go back to college.

    Speaking of Saban, while I realize there are many who don’t like him, the Dolphins 2007 season/performance is proof positive just how good a coach Saban can be.

    It also shows that Cam Cameron, like so many coordinators before him from Gunther Cunningham to Norv Turner to Dick LeBeau, should stay being coordinators and not head coaches.

  45. I love it when bammers make fun of us for being an ag school. It’s true, Auburn produces famers, engineers, and pharmacists. bammer produces lawyers. I’d trust a farmer every day of the week over a lawyer.

    The Alabama media has done a collective “you’re so fulla ****” this morning to the Arkansas outlet that reported this. We’ll see what happens. I like Tubby, but if they’re willing to pay us 6 million dollars and give him more money…more power to ’em.

    On topic, I’d love to see Fred in the Hall, but it’s just because he’s one of the guys I grew up with. He, the Big Three, and Chipper have all been the guys during my formative years as a fan. If he never played for the Braves, I doubt that I’d think he deserved it though.

  46. “Fine, so we get Will Muschamp, Jimbo Fisher, Bobby Petrino, somebody like that.

    No big deal..”

    I dont care who Auburn gets, but it is a big deal for them. Recruiting will take a hit because the staff will be destroyed. Tommy has gone 11-2 against top 10 teams and beaten Bama 6 straight times. You can say no big deal, but no one will come in and do what he has done the last 4-5 years

  47. Well, he’s not a terrible player at $5 million per year. The Fielding Bible has him at +12 for the year defensively, and his hitting isn’t that bad for a second sacker, especially if he has his confidence back. And while Minute Maid park isn’t quite Coors Field level, it will still allow him to put up gaudier (as a relative term) stats than he could in Shea.

    I don’t hate the deal.

  48. Kaz had to high profile of a year last year to be the next woodward for us. We need to wait until he is so washed up and stiff, that he can’t even catch up to changeups. Then he can be our next Woodward. I think we are looking at a Mark Loretta sighting soon.

  49. Matsui is like signing Giles to a 3/15 deal, you can find better and cheaper options.

    The roundtable is reporting that Jimmy Sexton is saying there is no Ark/Tubby deal in place. Take it for what its worth

  50. I love how Wryn, who basically worships Tommy Tuberville, is trying to act like he wouldn’t be devastated if he left. So cute.


    I think Minute Maid is a much worse hitter’s park for a guy like Kaz than Coors is. Kaz thrived in Coors because it was so spacious, not because of the HR rate. Minute Maid is tiny, which is good for sluggers, but not great for guys who bump up their SLG primarily with doubles and triples. Unless he finds a way to consistently hit it up on that hill, I guess.


    Saw an amazing show last night at the Ryman. Nickel Creek’s final performance. They played for over 3 hours and featured several guests, including Tim O’Brien, Benmont Tench, Bela Fleck, David Rawlings & Gillian Welch. (And Chris Thile’s dad, Scott, on bass for one song.) Covers included “The Weight” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Probably the best I’ve ever seen.

  51. david rawlings and gillian welcn are freakin amazing live

    saw them do a cover of purple haze and it was jesusly good

    and i can’t stand country music

    (i’m a chapel hill indie rock/jazz snob)

  52. Just talked to a friend who’s an Arkansas booster. Tuberville in meetings today with Arkansas boosters, he’s gone.

    Dern it.

  53. They don’t play country music, chris. They play bluegrass. That’s probably why you like them. And I’d greatly appreciate any abstention from sacrilege you’d be willing to provide.

  54. Wryn,

    If the Rich Rodriquez situation should have taught us anything it is wait until the ink is signed and dry. I am still not sold on that especially with the buyout that is in his contract.

  55. Wryn,

    Not that I disbelieve you, but is this the same source that assured you Brad Lester was leaving/being kicked off of the team?

  56. No. That source was shot.

    Actually, the Lester source was some sort of team manager who was no longer affiliated with the team. Turned out to be a worthless source.

    Oops. This one is a guy I’ve known since I was a young child, owns the hunting land, an old guy who I’ve seen Tuberville with before..

  57. Stu, that’s a good point, but remember that Kaz actually used to be a home run hitter in Japan. Don’t know where all that power went, but he hit 20-30 a year over there.

  58. Mets Trade Milledge To Nats For Schneider And Church.

    Top prospect….the way to Santana or Haren, huh?

  59. Wow, I agree that’s a pretty dumb trade. Even if Milledge’s actual value isn’t too high, his perceived value should have gotten a little bit more, I’d say.

  60. Church is a good player. Hit .287/.360/.506 against righties last year, he just needs a platoon partner. So it’s not like they gave Milledge away, but there’s still probably more to the story here.

  61. Rob,

    Thankfully, no matter what the Mets do and move around, they simply will not have the pieces to get Johann Santana – as long as we keep Johann out of the NL East (unless he came to Atlanta), I can sleep @ night.

    The best the Mets will likely do via trade at this point is Dontrelle Willis, and that’s not saying much. The Braves OWN Dontrelle and he’s crappy too often to be considered a legit frontline starter anymore.

    Re: Auburn

    Despite the recruiting class situation for next year, it’s still a very good, plum job for a candidate like Petrino, Fisher, Pellini, Muschamp, etc. to take.

    Another darkhorse candidate to possibly watch out for is Charlie Strong.

  62. I do think Milledge still has some perceived value,l a little, but it’s gone way down. The Mets rolled the dice badly on Milledge – they should have traded him 1 1/2 to 2 years ago when his value was an A++.

  63. disgruntledfan-

    If I were Tuberville, I’d only leave for say Nebraska if it was a higher salary; but I see no upside for him to going to Arkansas so my assumption is that he’ll stay w/ Auburn.

    On toehr coaching fronts, Mac emailed me an article abnout the legion of morons apparently at Southern Miss.

    They fired Jeff Bowers who had brought a wonderful and winning tradition to So. Miss for 17 years. Firing him was the most asinine move of them all.

    Here’s the article:

    Suddenly, a school like So. Florida and Kansas does well, and every school thinks they should be the next LSU or USC or Georgia. Silly.

  64. Just curious, based on what Wryn’s saying. If he did agree to the job while in Ark., they’d be stupid to let him go back to Auburn (see Alabama and Rich Rodriguez).

  65. Bower was great. So Miss is out of their mind for letting him go. They always won and produced some NFL talent. This one I really don’t understand. I always thought Bower would move on.

    I love the Mets getting rid of Milledge. Hahaha. This has made my day.

  66. I just texted by best friend (huge mets fan) and he replied “this is not the way i like to hear about this shit.” ahahaha.

  67. Heard Tuberville to Ark yesterday. He’s buddies with a couple of trusties and goes hunting up there every so often. It’s just a rumor. He probably chose to go up there just to make the Auburn’s AD pucker up and give him what he wants. Tuberville knows he’s got Auburn by the short hairs.

    Mac, you mentioned Galarraga in your McGriff briefing. Thinking back, I truly believe he used HGH to come back so quickly from cancer. See Wade Wilson, Paul Byrd for other examples. I don’t think any differently about him because of it, but would not be suprised in the least if that ever came out.

  68. Hey Stu, is the Tim O’Brien you mentioned at the Nickel Creek concert the writer?
    I’m very surprised at the Mets’ trade. It looks like Minaya is getting a bit wild, but Church may be a good platoon partner with Alou, if they choose to go that way.

  69. Al Wilson is going to be at the SEC Championship game Saturday. This will get the VOls fired up to destroy LSU.

  70. Wryn,

    My sourcess tell me that Tubby has an offer on the table from Arkansas, and it’s up to Auburn to respond with what he wants, including more control and the removal of certain individuals from the Athletic Department.

  71. A Church Alou platoon would be nice, but what happens when Alou inevitably hurts his groin? Church, Beltran, and Endy Chavez. I guess Minaya needed a replacement for Shawn Green.

  72. Thanks, Stu: the writer didn’t make sense to me, and I had forgotten about this particular O’Brien.

  73. Any word yet on what Tuberville had for lunch today? My sources say egg salad. That figures. Stupid Auburn!!

  74. i’ve always thought that the HOF should be reservedfor great players, not very good players so i doubt if i’d vote for fred but i wouldnt mind seeing him get in. the interesting thing to me about the list is that its the best argument for pete rose NOT getting in. i always thought he was a jerk but assumed he should get in just because of his numbers. but, he was never the best player on his team or at his position. hell, he didnt even have a position.(sorry about your luck, frank thomas) pete also comes up way short in a couple other catagories. bill james is a freakin genius.

  75. Wryn, watching planes? dont do it to yourself

    More important news….Mets fans are livid about the Lastings thread. I mean the got cant-hit Schneider and injured Church what else can you ask for???? I love it

    maybe they’ll trade Pelfrey and Gomez to us for Orr and Woodward, seems about right

  76. Stu,
    I’ve heard varied accounts, including Tuberville was handed a note by Auburn trustee Bobby Lowder, saying “One of these four names will be your offensive coordinator: pick one.”

    Borges, who Tubby’s always fiercely loyal to, as he is all assistants, would be safe presumably if Tuberville stays. But from my understanding, Tuberville wants to keep certain individuals in the Athletic Department instead of vice versa..

  77. There is a small part of me that wishes Tuberville would go to Arkansas, thereby eliminating all chances of Alabama ever winning an SEC West game again.*

    *Okay, so maybe they could beat Nutt at Ole Miss. Maybe..

  78. On Chipper,

    About 4 years ago a Cardinals scout that has roots in this south Georgia area spoke at our Kiwanis club. He remembered in about 1989 seeing a high school ball player play in North Florida. He called his regional people above him and said “I have just seen the best high school player I have ever seen. I have never seen anything like this guy.” The guy was Larry Wayne Jones, Jr.

    About 3 years later, he was in South Florida watching a high school player play. He called his regional people and said “I have just seen the best high school player I have ever seen.” He reminded them of who he had said that about before (L. W. drafted #1 overall by the Braves). This guy’s name was Alex Rodriguez.

  79. As I’m said before, I could give a rat’s ass about the SEC, but the plane watching has to crack me up.

    Anyway, Milledge for Schneider and Church is just an awful trade anyway you slice it. I know they have wanted a catcher who can “call a good game, and is a good clubhouse presence” blah blah blah but you have to be able to at least hit a little bit, I would think. And I think we Braves fans are probably higher on him than most because seemingly every one of the Braves announcers over the years have “loved” Schneider despite very little statistical evidence to back it up. Church is a bit underrated but he’s reached his peak of what he’s ever going to be and it’s not like he’s going to a bandbox

    Just makes me as a Braves fan appreciate the Marte-Renteria trade even more.

  80. ABC 33/40 said Saban was on the plane and was then taken to an undisclosed location? Recruiting? doubt it…anyway plane tracking is stupid, but if Saban goes back to LSU then Mal Moore has to step down immediately. Thats what we get for not having a buy out in place. However, I dont believe any of it

  81. All that is wrong with this story is that:

    1. LSU still has a head coach and is preparing for the SEC championship game, and isn’t going to undermine Miles while he’s still there;
    2. LSU fans spent the last year vilifying Saban, to the degree that he probably needs police protection in Louisiana;
    3. Saban makes so much money that LSU would be hard-pressed to match.

    Other than that, it makes perfect sense.

  82. 4. Also the AD said they have and will not have interest in Saban if the job becomes available.

    5. Saban could never make a comeback from the PR hit he would take for leaving another job in a 3 yr span.

    Other than that, it makes perfect sense

  83. I didn’t mean for that to be mean. Sorry, Wryn, if it sounded mean. I was just kidding. Watch the planes…

  84. I think it’s pretty telling that Wryn and his fellow AU brethren, in a day where THEIR head coach was in another state talking about leaving and taking another job, is tracking (literally) what’s going on at Alabama.
    AU fans: please, get over us. Enjoy your victory. Worry about YOUR coach. Worry about YOUR championships and YOUR accomplishments.

  85. Not offering arb to Andruw proves the Braves front office, for all its history of making great moves, still has huge blind spots. I _wish_ we could sign Andruw to a 1 year, 15 million dollar deal. *sigh*

  86. Kyle,
    Why? Which high dollar player that we are keeping would you trade or non tender to make room for Andruw’s salary?


    “Alabama football coach Nick Saban made an appearance in Baton Rouge, Lousiana Wednesday night according to Louisiana State University’s official student newspaper, the Daily Reveille.

    The paper says Saban was escorted by Louisiana State Troopers to an undisclosed location.

    Saban was reportedly on a recruiting trip in Monroe earlier in the week.”

    Which is funnier, paragraph 1, 2, or 3?

  88. I would offer Arb to him if there is any way of fitting it in the current payroll. Why not? Most likely someone will offer him a multiyear offer anyways. If he doesnt fit, then dont worry about it

  89. disgruntledfan, don’t patronize. It is possible to follow multiple news stories at once. Half the fun of sports is ranting about your rivals, other conferences, other teams, etc. etc.

    wryn, paragraph two is the funniest.

  90. Random Thought:

    John Schuerholz’s last big mistake was not trading Andruw Jones at the deadline in 2006.

    He suddenly became a mediocrity when granted 10/5 status and the Braves will get nothing in return for him because of no arbitration offered.

  91. Or it could be that Bama is seriously in on 3 of the top 10 recruits in the state of Louisiana (#2, #5 & #7) and #5 lives in Monroe.

    Oh, and because LSU’s head coach and defensive coordinator are leaving for Michigan and Nebraska, respectively, it’s time to put on the full court press before Monday’s announcements.

    The LA state troopers are obligated to protect the man given that he probably has received a death threat or three from the delusional and disappointed Corndogs.

  92. actually, Stu

    gillian welch and david rawlings would be considered “Alt. Country” along the lines of Wilco and Son Volt


    with folk (ala. Nick Drake, etc.)

    but NOT bluegrass when they play by themselves.

    Nickel Creek is bluegrass, but NOT WELCH and RAWLINGS.

    and, dude, you really don’t want to get into a music debate with me.

  93. I agree with not trading Andruw in hindsight. That would have been nice, I believe it was Coco and Lester, but JS wanted more, but now it would be nice just to have those two.

    I don’t agree with not offering Andruw arbitration one bit. Even if Boras/Andruw pulled a Maddux and accepted arb and the Braves were “stuck” with him for a year, you’re telling me, that Bobby Cox couldn’t have sat Andruw down and told him “Andruw, I love you, but your time here is done, we will do our best to put you in a good situation (San Diego) but you need to accept a trade for the betterment of your career.

  94. That first part of my last post was confusing a little bit, let me clarify, I think in hindsight, that JS should have traded Andruw but it’s kind of hard to tell that they weren’t going to make the playoffs either year and that Andruw’s offense was going to fall of the face of the earth, so in retrospect it would be nice to have Lester and Crisp for this last year and this next couple of years.

  95. If Andruw had his ‘regular’ type of season last year, then we probably would have made the playoffs, but probably would not have made the Teixiera trade. So we’d be left with Salty, Harrison, Andrus, et al.

    Heck, we might have been in the Santana sweepstakes with that…. ;)

  96. The Braves could still be in the Santana sweepstakes if they wanted to as far as having prospects to trade, but they don’t have the payroll to pay a starting pitcher $20 mil/year.

  97. general question…what could we offer to beat the Yanks’ Hughes, Cabrera, and another top arm? Plus why would we trade that much and just keep Santana for one year? I would hate to think about trading away Salty, Andrus, Harrison, then probably Schafer, Hanson, and Lillibridge/whoever else for 1.5 yrs of Tex and 1 yr of Santana…

  98. plane watching…JS and Wren are in Minnesota oh wait thats just another plane out of ATL. However, many sources this morning are saying that Tuberville is in 3 different planes all at this same time. One is in Ark, the other in Michigan, and the other is well nevermind. I love watching planes!!!

  99. BTW, if LSU loses that should put LSU/Michigan in the capital one bowl game. That would be interesting!

  100. Wish we could have gotten in on some of that Milledge action – a cheap, quality CF would be useful around here, and the price was definitely right.

  101. He’ll start in center for Wash (,
    and his natural position is reputed to be there (
    The minor league numbers I checked just had OF for the most part. He took over for Beltran when he was hurt last year. I would respectfully disagree with this assertion.

  102. I bet Herbstreit feels foolish for being the one to “break the Miles to Michigan” story. However I doubt it’ll get past his ego to even realize it.

  103. From Buster Olney today:

    “There could be more moves to come for the Nationals. Have heard that the Nats are pushing to trade Chad Cordero, and it makes sense for the Braves to be involved in conversations for a reliever.”

    But it doesn’t really make sense for the Braves to spend (money or prospects) on a reliever like Cordero, does it? Especially since he’s not left handed. No doubt, you can never have a bullpen that’s TOO steady… but, this doesn’t make too much sense to me.

    As noted before, Cormier’s out. I don’t think anyone lost sleep over that decision.

  104. also… looks like the Rangers are planning on Saltalamacchia being their full time catcher next season.

  105. Spike,

    Here are his numbers for games played per position from

    LF: 11, CF: 14, RF: 28, PH: 9, PR: 1

    It was making an observation, dont want to get into a peeing match.

  106. That’s because he was on the same team as one of the two best defensive CFs in the NL. For comparison, here are Andruw Jones’ games played by position in his first two seasons:

    1996: RF 20 CF 12 PH 4
    1997: RF 95 CF 57 LF 2 PH 29 PR 4

    Since then, he hasn’t played a game in another defensive position, though he’s DHed in a few interleague games.

  107. I’m now of the belief that the following things need to happen in order for UGA to make the championship game:

    Okla over Mizzou
    Pitt over WVU
    BC over VT
    Tenn over LSU

    I think the voters will leapfrog VT or LSU over UGA if either becomes a 2-loss conference championship. And neither is too far behind UGA in the computer standings — one more quality win might bump them, if not over UGA, then close enough for the voters to tip the balance.

    It’s not going to matter, as I don’t see any way that Pitt beats WVU. But if it did happen (and OKLA wins), prepare for some howling by Bulldog fans.

  108. I’m surprised at the reactions to the Mets- Nationals trade. I think the Mets made a good deal. Think of Milledge as a potential Marte. The Mets had some needs and filled them. Church is a pretty nice player and Schneider gives them a defensive catcher with a decent bat. I think they are stronger after this trade.
    Milledge may work out, but then again….

  109. I once saw Rickey Henderson in a mall…and his eyes said “I am better than you”…while his eyes pleaded for me to help them escape.

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