Open thread

Suggested topic: What area should Wren put the most effort into improving during the Winter Meetings, the outfield, starting pitching, or relief?

189 thoughts on “Open thread”

  1. The area that might cost the least without coming back to bite us is relief pitching.

    I’m convinced that he’ll do nothing to improve the starting pitching unless something REALLY great falls in Wren’s lap.

    As for the center fielder problem, I’m not sure that there’s anything that he can do to get a one-year bridge outside of Mr. PED Cameron.

  2. I agree with Sam- the starting pitching that’s out there is ridiculously expensive, and three to six months of stopgaps for CF shouldn’t be a primary focus.

  3. My mind is still on football, and now that the whole BCS detailed rankings were out…wow we (VT) got completely screwed by the human voters. Compleeeetely screwed.

  4. My Personal Winter Wish/Checklist
    1. i believe that we should spend absolutely no prospects on getting a center fielder.
    2. i do hope that our starting rotation is set with smoltz, hudson, glavine, chuck, and one of the chosen few to fill the 5th starter role.
    3. i do wish that we can re-sign mahay and get extensions for tex and francoeur before the beginning of the ’08 season.
    4. buy cheap on a veteran center field free agent that bobby wont and feel guilty benching if he sucks.
    5. trade thorman and prado for relief help (thorman because he sucks and prado so bobby doesnt platoon him with kj).
    6. keep willy aybar off of drugs and in the wings in case chipper goes gimp.
    7. have an open spot on the roster for lillibridge to prove his worth (not a none-dimensional player like orr or woodward).

  5. Didn’t see a new thread, my post from the last one:

    Mac, you really think so ?? I think it will be a pretty close game. CU’s offense isn’t all that great and didn’t really put up any points (except for Nebraska, which was very sweet, but everybody put up points on Nebraska this year). CU started the most freshman they ever have this year and have the LB that should (but won’t) win the Butkus award in Jordan Dizon. I know Bama didn’t exactly finish the year on a roll, but neither did CU.

    I know it’s a crappy bowl game, but after you see your once proud university go 2-10 and lose to a IAA opponent last year, it’s pretty exciting to go to a bowl, even if it is a crappy one. CU is definately headed in the right direction.

  6. Also wanted to suggest this, because I don’t know if it had been before but I think Brad Wilkerson might be a good, cheap option to put out in center. He might take a one year deal to reestablish his value and he could start in center until Schafer is ready and then move to left and platoon with Diaz if things don’t work out with Brandon Jones.

  7. My mind is still on football, and now that the whole BCS detailed rankings were out…wow we (VT) got completely screwed by the human voters. Compleeeetely screwed.

    Kind of expected though. Voters didn’t want them beating out LSU for the title shot considering the head-to-head matchup.

    Not that it matters of course, but I continue to chuckle that the computers rank USC behind Arizona State when the we just beat the stuffing out of them two weeks ago.

    That is one sucky lineup of BCS bowls. It’s like they were trying to minimize fan interest.

  8. This team can win next year. It can win with the requisite amount of luck (read: good health and a surprise career year from an unexpected source). The question for me is how to best improve those chances? Obviously a replacement level CF would be great after last year. After that isn’t it really depth in the pen? that and hope the starting pitching and Chipper hold up.

  9. Wilkerson = absolutely no

    This guy continues to get worse. He hasnt hit over .250 in the last 3 seasons, his strikeout numbers are worse every year, and not to mention his injuries.

  10. I know he has been injured the last couple of years, that’s why I wouldn’t go crazy and give him multiple years, but get him back in the NL, I think he would make a good buy low stopgap with a little bit of upside if Wren chooses to go that route. I prefer that he doesn’t, but I’d rather have him at a cheap salary, compared to Mike Cameron or trading prospects for DeJesus or Crisp.

  11. Wow, really csg ??? I don’t want to sound like the president of the Wilkerson fan club, which I am not, but he has a lifetime OBP of .352, not great I know and has hit 32 homers in a year, which is far more than Willie has ever accomplished.

  12. I don’t want us to trade much for a relief pitcher or a centerfielder. The only trades I think we should make are “change of scenery” type trades. I also think Cox wants a veteran backup catcher – I’m not sure if he’s confident in Sammons. Some guys that I think the organization may be looking to part with:

    Brayan Pena (we’ve given up on him as a catcher)
    Prado (he’s done too well in AAA not to get a chance. If the Braves don’t use him (see Aybar above), look for a trade. I see him as a typical 4A player.

    Below are some guys that we may lose to a trade for comparable players.

    James (the 3 LHP thing + I don’t think he’s Cox’s type of pitcher – not enough endurance)
    Devine (why did we show no confidence in him at all last year?)
    Kelly Johnson (Please no! It just scares me that Cox seems to want to platoon him at every opportunity)
    Matt Diaz (I wonder if Cox will use the platoon thing indefinitely with him. Again, please don’t let him go.)
    Stockman (why didn’t he get a chance last year? He’s done everything possible in the minors. Once again – No trade please!)

  13. You’re probably right, JJ, Wilkerson’s stock has probably fallen about as low as it can fall, but still… the guy had trouble hitting in Texas. That ain’t exactly a hard park to hit in. And it won’t be easy to sell replacing Andruw with a guy who will have trouble hitting for a higher average than he did last year.

    But you’re right, he’s not a terrible hitter — basically a better Ryan Langerhans, a low-average high-walk guy with a little bit of power — and in terms of bang for the buck, he might pay off. Then again, I’m not sure he’ll outproduce Brandon Jones.

  14. maybe his last two seasons really worry me

    2006 – 320AB’s 15HR 116K .222AVG .306OBP
    2007 – 338AB’s 20HR 107K .234AVG .319OBP

    $4.35 mil last year and he really has become more of a corner OF/1B. I dont think he could hold up for more than a half season

  15. I like Clint Sammons in the backup catcher role inasmuch as he was named by Baseball America’s survey of Southern League managers as the best defensive catcher.

    I know I saw somewhere that he threw out over 40 percent of opposing basestealers as well. That he hits like a catcher if fine with me, if he can handle things defensively. He’ll be a perfect backup for McCann.

  16. What I think Wren will do is solidify the pen and lay the groundwork for a CF deal. What I want is for him to be on the market for a #3 starter. And if he trades James then I would not be happy unless it was for another starter.

    You know, there are so many teams in the NL that could use a starting pitcher right now and be competitive in their division – like, say, the Reds, where Krivsky is already on record saying they’re not done looking for pitching – that Beane must be very excited going into the meetings. I would be surprised if Blanton doesn’t get dealt over the next few weeks.

    Also, remember, if Wren is like JS, he wouldn’t be giving anything away anyway. Whereas I have no reason to disbelieve him that he’s done with the starting rotation, I have no reason to believe him either.

  17. Missouri is the only team that got a raw deal with the BCS. They just beat Kansas and have only been beaten by another BCS team (Oklahoma)! They also have a victory over another BCS team (Illinois). WTF?

    Missouri (#6) even finished higher than Kansas (#8) in the final BCS standings.

    I don’t understand why the Orange Bowl selected Kansas over Missouri. Clearly, Missouri is more deserving.

    And it’s not like Missouri’s fans would be like “oh no, another BCS game, let’s not travel.” Won’t Kansas fans be firmly wrapped up in college hoops by then anyway? Mario Chalmers and all that?

    Kansas vs. Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl & Missouri vs. Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl would be much better games.

    Anybody have a clue why Kansas would get the nod?? It just baffles me. Bueller?

  18. JJ – Did you say Colorado was the only team to face 4 teams ranked in the top 10 during the season? I feel it is my duty to inform that I believe Vanderbilt did as well.

    Also, count me, someone who considers UGA as one of my favorite college football teams, among those who believe the right teams are in the championship game.

  19. I would really like to see a starting pitcher, a CF, and then a left hand reliever–and in that order.

    The Renteria trade was good for the organization, but at this point I am not sure that the team we would put on field is better than the 2007 Braves.

    Add a quality starter (to make James our #5) and a decent CF (we really don’t have one right now)and then the Braves will be a very strong team. It would be good if the Braves could trade for Blanton–but the cost would be high. If they could get Blanton and a CF (I don’t want them to go get Kotsay), it might be worth it.

    I don’t think the Braves have the resources to trade for such a players–without creating other weaknesses. More likely is Thorman and a prospect for a left hand reliever….

  20. “Prado (he’s done too well in AAA not to get a chance. If the Braves don’t use him (see Aybar above), look for a trade. I see him as a typical 4A player.”

    I like Prado a little better than that. He’s 23, he’s a lifetime .300 hitter in the minors, had a .374 OBP in Richmond last year, and made only two errors at second base. That strikes me as someone who can play. I’m not predicting All-Star games, but he should have a career. Probably not here, though.

  21. Sansho1–I agree–Prado has a good glove and was secnond in the International League in hitting….the best case scenario is that he becomes a Manny Trillo type….more likely he will be a solid infielder…

  22. Why do the Braves need a lefty reliever? They have Ring and Gonzalez already.

    I hope Wren does nothing (unless it’s trade for Johan Santana — yeah, right) because what he is most likely to do if anything is bring in one or more “proven veteran”, can’t hit players to play CF, backup Escobar, or backup McCann. I’m fine with using Anderson/Blanco/Shaeffer in CF, teaching Prado and Aybar to play SS in spring training, and letting Pena and Sammons backup McCann.

  23. gonzalez can’t be counted on for much this year (tj recoverers are funny their first year back) and ring is not a proven mlb’er.

  24. Ron,

    Gonzalez’ projected return date is in June. That could move back. When he returns, the usual expectancy is that control is a little off for a while. Therefore, even when he gets back, you are not going to see the “shut down closer” that Pittsburgh sent out to the mound in 2006.

    Ring is awfully inexperienced. They need one more lefty.

  25. I would rather let Harris play CF

    I can’t think of a situation where Willie Harris would be the best option. Maybe if it was a choice between him and Scott Thorman. Harris has never played CF regularly at any level. Yes, he is fast, but he’s a converted middle infielder who has only ever played LF otherwise, completely without power and unlikely to outproduce Martin Prado next year. I’d run Prado out as the starting CF before Harris. Harris is a 30 year old journeyman, nothing more. The idea of him as your starting CF is absurd. If Shafer or Lillibridge isn’t ready in April you _must_ get a real player somewhere. Willie Harris would make replacement level look like a dream.

  26. Also, if you and I know that Scott Thorman is mostly worthless I assure you other organizations know as much too. You’re not going to get a useful pitcher for Scott Thorman, kids.

  27. Unless thh Braves can get a real 2 or 3 (say Haren–Santana is beyond fantasy), which is unlikely, I would focus on centerfield and the bullpen. While the rotation is likely to be better, it’s still going to be innings short with Glavine basically being a six inning pitcher and James. I wouldn’t mind getting another reliever at all with the present rotation. I want a shutdown bullpen that can shorten games–which we had at times last year.

    As for the BCS, it’s totally screwed. They probably got the right teams (at least in terms of LSU). I root for UGA but I can’t see putting them in the championship game under the current system when they didn’t get in the SEC championship and lost badly to one of the teams that did. I’m sure UGA is better now and surely better than UT but I don’t see how they have a better case than LSU. But it’s hard to get excited about any of the possible matchups given that it’s so arbitrary. As far as the actual best teams right now, it’s probably USC and Georgia. I would have liked to have seen Georgia in the Rose Bowl or almost anyone rather than Illinois. Illinois-USC? Blah. It comes down to whose fans will travel farthest I guess. I liked it better before the BCS when you would have classic matchups in the bowl games; now, with these stupid bowl tie-ins, you get a lot of crappy games. Interestingly, Maryland at 6-6 gets to go to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco rather than the Something Bowl in Boise. Hmm, San Francisco or Boise in January–tough choice, huh?

    I find the NFL more compelling than college for a number of reasons, but, especially, because of the playoffs.

  28. Right now we have 9 ML ready potential relievers on our 40 man (not injured. Bennett may not be, but I think he’s out of options). The guys below could make a pretty decent bullpen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we make a trade for 1 more lefty. Waiting until the spring is okay with me.

    Manny Acosta R
    Jose Ascanio R
    Jeff Bennett R
    Royce Ring L
    Rafael Soriano R
    Phil Stockman R
    Tyler Yates R
    Joey Devine R
    Peter Moylan R

    Others on 40 man
    Chris Resop R
    Blaine Boyer R
    Buddy Carlyle L
    Jairo Cuevas R
    Anthony Lerew L
    Charlie Morton R
    Zach Schreiber R

  29. Wren should get another SP. I honestly think our bullpen is fine as it is, and though CF is a question mark, I believe the team needs another good starter more. I think that CF is Wren’s actual priority, though.


    Vanderbilt played at least 4 teams that were ranked in the top 10 at one point or other this season (South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida), but they weren’t all in the top 10 when we played them and they didn’t all finish in the top 10. I suspect Colorado’s 4 were ranked in the top 10 when they played them, although I think it would be tough to argue that the Buffs’ schedule was tougher.

    (Also, I’m pretty sure Tennessee was never in the top 10 this season, but was Auburn? I can’t recall. If so, that’s 5 of Vandy’s opponents.)

  30. I want DeJesus solely for the Big Lebowski references. I’d love to have a better CF out there, but I think we’re just about good to go. If Aybar can figure out what his deal is, we’ve got the utility IF spot done, plus we’ve still got Lillibridge.

    I really like this team so far. My opening day line-up:

    SS – Yuney (we’re trying this one)
    2B – KJ
    3B – Chip
    1B – Tex
    RF – Frenchy
    C – BMac
    LF – Diaz (just let him have the damn job already)
    CF – Harris/Anderson/Shaffer/Lillibridge

    With this rotation:
    Smoltzie, Huddy, Tommy, Chucky, Jurrjens

    Soriano, Gonzalez, Ring, Moylan, Acosta, and Stockman in the pen

    That’s gotta be just as good as what the Rockies took to the world series

  31. The answer to Mac’s question — all 3.

    If the organization is truly committed to winning a championship this year or in the next couple of years (or whatever they honestly believe the window is with this core), then don’t all 3 situations need to be addressed?

    To win a championship another lefty in the pen will be necessary, a solid CF will be necessary, and another starter would be next to necessary as well.

    If the organization isn’t all out going for a championship now — then I wouldn’t spend money or prospects on any of those situations unless a really good opportunity appears for young, cheap players that could play for years.

    Of course, the ideal is to play for both right now and tomorrow (we all hope). But doing so means we’ll again be putting a team out there that has young, cheap players with significant roles (has been the blueprint lately)… which, despite all of the potential on the field, inevitably ends in a lot of crossed fingers. So I’m assuming Fields (or whoever) will be a stop gap in CF with the HOPE that the phenom will be ready enough (can we really expect him to be ready?) to play soon… and we’ll shop for a cheap lefty bullpen option, and not make any moves for a starter. That’s what I expect will happen — and we’ll have to hope for a lot of good health and good luck that will get us to the playoffs where anything can happen.

    IFFFFFFFFF we are going to go into it with the hope of good health, then I think a lefty in the pen would be what Wren should be looking into.

  32. It seems to me the team already has a solid bullpen in place with Ring as the designated LOOGY until Gonzalez returns. I’d rather go with good right handed relievers than trade for some mediocre lefty who may have poor control and not even do well vs left handed batters (see also: Ledezma).

  33. Sam, if Thorman was completely useless he would have been DFA’d instead of Julio during the stretch run last year. If he was packaged with another player i could certainly see him bringing us a lefty reliever as someone already suggested.

    I think a lefty reliever, for depth and insurance against Ring/Gonzalez is the biggest need, but I wouldn’t overpay for Mahay in FA I’d only go the trade route. As for CF, I’m 110% content to go into the year with Anderson/Blanco (only 1 of the two, whoever wins the job in spring) until Schafer is ready knowing that Wren thinks that might only be till June (which would be excellent since it will set his Arb clock back as well). We can get by with defense and speed in center and the #8 hole, at least for half a year, hell Andruw barely gave us more last year.

    I agree that SP should be Wren’s priority, and I’m hoping his comments were to strengthen his position that “we don’t HAVE to do anything with our rotation” but that he will strike and bring in a stud that will be Smoltz’s eventual replacement. But if he doesn’t all is not lost, I still like both the rotation and bullpen as they are without any upgrades.

    More than anything I don’t want to see Paul Bako or Woodward or anything of that nature on our bench this year. if clint sammons, the young, cheap, georgia born, IDEAL backup catcher with at least some upside does not get that role because “we need a vet” I wil be downright pissed. And I think it is 99.9% certain that Diaz platoons with B. Jones (which I certianly agree with, Diaz vs. RH is nothing to write home about, why mess up a good thing, It doesn’t have to be a straight platoon in the lefty/righty sense, you could start them both 81 times for all i care, just I’d prefer not a full season counting on Diaz to be a reliable everyday player when he also have no proven CF and a below-avg RF), and IF Jones somehow doesn’t, he will be traded since he doesn’t have anything left to prove at AAA and we can’t carry 5 outfielders knowing he can’t play CF.

  34. If 2008 is going to be a last hurrah for the Old Gang, this is what Wren’s order of business should be.

    1. Get a solid young starting pitcher. I’m not sure what “too high a price” for a Blanton, Bedard or Haren would be. I’d be willing to give up a lot to get any of the three in our rotation.

    2. As far as the bullpen situation, I agree with Stu @ 36 (I honestly think our bullpen is fine as it is) and Ron @ 40 (I’d rather go with good right handed relievers than trade for some mediocre lefty ). I think the bullpen’s fine.

    3. Concerning centerfield, let the kids (Anderson/Shaffer/Lillibridge but not Harris)fight it out in spring training. If none of the three grabs the job, try Frenchy there until he shows he can’t do it. Consider external options only as a last resort and then only as a stop-gap solution.

    4. Let Lillibridge be the super-sub. He’s sure to be a marked improvement over what Orr and Woodward gave us last year.

    In summary. getting a good young starter would best enhance our 2008 playoff chances. Other fixes should be secondary considerations.

  35. wondering if this would work:

    Hernandez (allows the brewers to move bill hall to his more natural infield inclinations) and James to Milwaukee for:

    Ben Sheets.

    Would the Brewers do it? Could we sign big Ben to an extension???

    The problem would be that James is, at best, a #3, and Mill would want someone with the capacity to be AT LEAST a #2.

  36. 35–Lerew and Carlyle are both RHP, though they’d probably be just as effective throwing left handed.

    Re backup infield–keep Prado and Aybar even if neither is comfortable at SS. If Escobar gets hurt bring up Lillibridge.

  37. Stu,

    That’s how I interpreted the comments about Colorado and upon reviewing their schedule my assumption appears correct.

    Of course, with the merry-go-round in the top ten this year, I find it unlikely that it is that rare to have faced four teams that were ranked in the top ten at one point this year.

  38. I find it unlikely that it is that rare to have faced four teams that were ranked in the top ten at one point this year.

    USC, ASU, Oregon, and Cal were all in the Top 5 at some point this year, so the other six teams in the conference can all say they played at least four teams that were in the top 5 at some point.

    The point being that it’s not rare.

  39. Just wondering … would it make sense to move James back to the pen if (and this is a big if) another pitcher could be found for the rotation? James is a lefty which wouldn’t be bad for the pen, he’s not great at going deep into games as a starter but would easily do 2 innings out of the pen, and (unlike a rotation where his turn comes around every 5th day) he could be used less in bandbox parks and more in big parks.

    BTW, I’m not a James-hater. Although I’d like him to average another inning per start, I think he deserves more credit than some folks give him.

  40. “I can’t think of a situation where Willie Harris would be the best option.” “Harris is a 30 year old journeyman, nothing more. The idea of him as your starting CF is absurd.”

    I didnt say I wanted him, I just said if it came down to him and Wilkerson it really wouldnt matter. Both options are bad in my opinion

  41. James needs a change of scenery.

    Sheets IS expensive…


    Hernandez, James, Prado and Acosta


    Roy Halladay.

    OH YES.

  42. #49 – so they want Lillibridge, Reyes/Jurrjens, and maybe even Acosta for Fuentes and Carrol/Barmes…..ummmm, hell no!!!

  43. Sam, if Thorman was completely useless he would have been DFA’d instead of Julio during the stretch run last year.

    Disagree. He could have been utterly useless and still have been a better keep than Julio, who was useless AND 78. You hold the young guy and DFA the grandfather who was just DFA’d by the Mets a month earlier, just to play the odds.

    I think a lefty reliever, for depth and insurance against Ring/Gonzalez is the biggest need, but I wouldn’t overpay for Mahay in FA I’d only go the trade route.

    I think you have it excatly backwards. I’d much rather pay a cash premium for Ron Mahay than I would further deplete the farm by trading for a fungible LH reliever or a stop-gap CF. Prospects, even low grade B level prospects, are more valuable than cash.

    Also, it’s insanity to bat Frency ahead of McCann (another post up there.)

  44. BTW, I’m not a James-hater. Although I’d like him to average another inning per start, I think he deserves more credit than some folks give him.

    James needs a change of scenery.

    I think I’ve heard this before. Like, 1990-something, when LA was sure Pedro Martinez was too small, too frail and too brittle to be a solid starter. I’m not saying Chuck James has a shot in hell at being Pedro, but the kid has been successful at every level and was successful in the bigs last year. Why is it just blanketly assumed he won’t get better again and go deeper into games?

  45. If trading Yates and a minor league scrub nets us a decent young left than I’m all for it….but not sure that’ll net more than a Ledezma type, which is not what we need.

  46. Keeping James is the smartest option right now. The “can’t have three lefties” argument doesn’t carry much weight when Hampton is one of those 3. Also, if, and this is a big if, Hampton is healthy enough, there will be times when the five spot is skipped, to keep the top of the rotation on schedule. If James is your #4 starter, then you already have a leg up on practically 28 other teams. I feel safe that the Atlanta management team is smart enough to know how valuable James is.

  47. Agreed, Sam. Chuck James is a perfectly good #3/#4 starter, and that should be his role this year. That’s why I say the rotation isn’t the big problem right now, since we’ve got Smoltz, Glavine, Hudson, James, Jurrjens, whatever bits of Hampton are healthy, and Reyes/Bennett in reserve.

    Frankly, it looks like the Villareal trade was a mistake- we can definitely use a good long reliever, even if we have to pay a bit more for his services.

  48. AAR,

    Game 3 (three) (III) not game 4. I couldn’t figure out how your version of THT had that out and mine didn’t.

  49. @59

    I think Bennett will be that long reliever/spot starter this year. Just from what has been written about him and how well he did in a short amount of time it just seems to be going towards him.

  50. The Villareal trade was not a mistake, he was about to be paid three times his value. Bennett will be as valuable in the same role, for a third of the cost of Villareal. The Vulture would have been non-tendered, so getting Anderson in return represents a value trade, however little value Anderson is.

  51. The “never want to see them with the Atlanta Braves ever again” trio: Cormier, Carlyle and Bennett.

    One down, two to go.

  52. I’m pretty sure Carlyle is a minor league free agent so he’s likely off to another team next year. As for Villareal, flipping him for a marginally useful player at a need position (and I’m being kind to Anderson, I know) is exactly the right move for a team right up against its payroll threshhold. You don’t pay Oscar Villereal three mil for the same services you can get from Bennett for league min.

    And that’s really why you don’t worry about the pen too much. The Braves have a lot of reasonable options for long relief. They have 8 or 9 guys fighting for 5 starting spots. Some of those guys will go to the pen and be the long relievers. I’m guessing Bennet and Reyes, unless Jo-Jo goes to Richmond and starts there.

  53. Carlyle helped quite a bit for a while. I think it’s a little ungenerous to completely denigrate him. I remember after his first few starts people were annointing him a diamond in the rough. It was pretty predictable that he would regress, but it’s only fair to give him credit for helping the Braves immensely for his first few starts.

  54. 64–make that 2 down and 2 to go–Orr has left the house.

    I’ll leave it for others to quibble about including Bennett on your list.

  55. Also, for the record, I think of Glavine as the #4 and James as the #3. Not that it matters, but I expect James, who is young, to improve a bit on last year, and I expect Glavine, who is the opposite of young, not to.

  56. If you were going to make one of your starters a lefty reliever, I would say look at Reyes. He has dominated AAA hitters and wouldn’t gain much from going there. He has a good enough fastball and curve to pitch as a 6th inning guy (at least better than the miscellaenous LOOGY crap out there). All that it costs is by NOT putting him in minors, he may reach free agency one year sooner.

  57. Marc, that’s a good point. Carlyle did great for us for a while. Sadly, we needed him to give us a lot more than he ever could. He was a hell of a lot better than Kyle Davies, though.

  58. MLBTradeRumors:

    UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 1:04pm: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick says the Dodgers have a two-year, $32MM offer on the table for Andruw Jones.

  59. Offseason’s biggest loser: Scott Boras.

    So much for 350-400 million for Alex Rodriguez.

    So much for a 5 year contract with at least 15 million per season for Andruw Jones after the season he just had.

    So much for not being fired by Kenny Rogers.

  60. That’s frankly remarkable. I would be shocked and awed if Andruw couldn’t do better than that. Hell, if that’s all it costs, WE should pay him $32 mill for 2 years, then Schafer can play in 2010 at the ripe old age of 24.

  61. Dude, I don’t think Scott Boras has “lost” anything. He’s already made millions for himself just this offseason, and I’m not entirely convinced that he truly thinks A-Rod was going to get $400M. It’s easy for us to say “HA! Scott Boras didn’t get his asking price!” while he still got the largest contract in the history of professional sports, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank. Same thing for Andruw. He’s had a huge asking price for Andruw, but even if he gets half of that, Boras is still a big winner considering he gets 10% of the contract.

  62. James does not need a change of scenery – James needs another pitch. This 2 pitch crap will only last for so long. I am a big James supporter, and I think he has a bright future, but he really needs to add another pitch to his arsenal for him to be successful at this level (although, I wouldn’t say he hasn’t been successful – probably a bit better than league average). Also, James will not go to the bullpen. If he is not a starter by the beginning of next year for us, he will be for someone else (I think you know where I’m going with that one).

    As far as Andruw is concerned, maybe he’ll come back for 10 mil, one year just to prove he still has it then hit the free agent market….NAH!!!!!

  63. With Wickman gone and Gonzalez out until May, we’re a Soriano injury away from the 2006 bullpen. So, uh, the bullpen.

  64. Stu, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to reopen an old wound. But even with Carlyle’s stinky end to the season he had a higher ERA+ (82 to 74) and had a stretch of a couple months where he was pretty reliably consistent at going 5 innings and giving up around 3 runs. That’s certainly no one’s idea of good. But neither was Davies.

  65. Yeah, my response was too strong; I knew as soon as I clicked “Submit”…but I don’t think it was any more out of line with reality than your claim.

    FWIW, it’s not exactly an “old wound,” either. It’s not like I was even a Davies fan. I just think the tendency around here is to make Kyle out to be much worse/less valuable than he actually was.

    Agreed that he certainly wasn’t good, though. Although he showed some consistency in making around every third start or so a good one. ;)

  66. So what is the best possible ERA+/OPS+?

    I know that 100 is supposed to be average, but it doesn’t say how high it can go (or how low for that matter). Anyone know?

  67. AAR, you got me curious.

    3 ERA+ figures I looked up:

    Chris Hammond (2002) — 76 innings of 439 ERA+

    Greg Maddux (1994) — 202 innings of 271 ERA+

    Pedro Martinez (2000) — 217 innings of 291 ERA+

    Which is most impressive? I say Maddux, mainly because he pitched 202 innings while only making 25 starts. (Which really has nothing to do with ERA+, actually…) That’s over 8 innings per start!!! Take note, Chuck James.

  68. Wouldn’t an infinity ERA+ require that no other pitcher in baseball had recorded a single out all year? Since that’s impossible—if nobody records outs, games never end and stats never get reported—wouldn’t the ERA+ maximum bound be lower?

    Or am I missing something? (Probable.)

  69. Just one mildly interesting Braves rumor. That’s all I want. Is this too much to ask? I’ve been trolling the internet way too much today.

  70. I get the feeling the Braves aren’t going to do squat. And Bowman’s article talking about discussing trades now and making them in spring training only reinforces that.

  71. Or am I missing something? (Probable.)

    If you (or I) had a season of 250 IP with 1 ER, your ERA would be 0.036. If the LgERA (park adjusted, all that) were 4.50, your ERA+ would be 12500. Infinity happens if you don’t allow a run all year, since it’s LgERA/ERA.

    OPS+ is different though since the highest OBP you can have is 1.000 and the highest slugging is 4.000. Your max value there depends on what your league does. A weaker hitting league will get you a higher OPS+ (obviously). The limit is about a thousand for a typical offensive envirnoment.

  72. Robert,

    Thanks for the clarification. So if you only pitch a third of an inning in a year and don’t give up any runs, would you have an infinite ERA+? Or is there some threshold?

  73. My barber called and said:

    ATL gets: Crisp, Alex Cora and Pat Neshek, Carmen Cali
    Boston gets: Santana and, Boyer,and Pardo
    MInnesota gets: Lilibridge, Bucholtz and Lerew

  74. Let me clarify my comments about Colorado, I read that as of Nov 18, those four teams were in the top 10, my point being that close to the end of the year they were the only one who played four top 10 teams, but that was before Arizona St lost to USC.

    In any event, if you want to use the current BCS standings, they have played 4 of the top 11. I haven’t looked it up, but I’m pretty sure nobody else has played four of the top 15 as it stands currently. So I would say that is more impressive than Vandys schedule.

  75. jj3bagger,

    The toughest opponents CU faced may be better than the toughest opponents we faced. (I personally disagree, but I think that aspect of your claim is at least reasonable.) However, I am quite sure, as a Vanderbilt fan, that I’d much rather have played Colorado’s schedule than ours. I don’t think there’s any chance we’d have won fewer games with your schedule.

  76. Bowie Kuhn just got elected to the Hall of Fame. I’m unhappy about this. I don’t like Bowie Kuhn. (He instituted the DH and snubbed Hank Aaron, which would be enough to make me hate Mother Theresa — also, he was kind of a jerk.)

  77. Ugh. Well, Bud, I guess you’re sure to make it now. Actually, I’d vote Selig in ahead of Kuhn in a heartbeat.

    On the other hand, Walter O’Malley should have been in long ago, as should the two managers (Dick Williams and Billy Southworth). As for Barney Dreyfuss, the line for early 20th century owners from Pennsylvania should start with Ben Shibe. Shibe invented the two things — the cork-center baseball and the concrete-and-steel ballpark — that made the Babe Ruth revolution possible.

  78. rumors

    The White Sox are very reluctant to go over Andruw Jones, because of Scott Boras. They’d offer three years and less than $30MM, which would result in a dial tone. Unless it was a cell phone.
    The Braves need a lefty reliever, and might turn to the Pirates for Damaso Marte. That’d be easier to pull off if the Yankees opt to sign Ron Mahay or Jeremy Affeldt for their lefty reliever.
    O’Brien suggests the Braves have collected a starting pitching surplus, which is a dangerous thought. What do you want to bet there’d be no surplus six months from now, if the current group is maintained? O’Brien believes some team might push hard for Chuck James, anyway.
    Matt Diaz may be available, if Brandon Jones proves MLB-ready. First baseman Scott Thorman may also be on the market.

  79. I’m just baffled that folks here believe the Braves starting rotation, as currently constructed, can win a World Series. I fear that the Cardinals’ winning it all two seasons ago has done a lot of damage to National League teams on the cusp.

    Obviously the Braves want to build for the future while simultaneously playing for now. I get that, and it’s clear that the two very different moves made so far – Glavine and Jurrjens/Hernandez – are an attempt to do both. But IMO the failure to land a legit #3 starter makes the combination of those two moves nonsensical (even with the acquisition of a CF and LOOGY).

    I also don’t think there’s much in the Braves system that is untouchable, so like Stu and a few others, I would love to see the Braves make a move for Haren or Blanton.

    And no way is Haren “beyond fantasy.” The asking price may be more than most folks here are comfortable to give up, but count me as someone who would willingly pay a steap price for him.

  80. Thanks for the clarification. So if you only pitch a third of an inning in a year and don’t give up any runs, would you have an infinite ERA+? Or is there some threshold?

    In this scenario, mathematically, you would have an infinite ERA+.

  81. From Rotoworld:

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien believes the Braves could make Chuck James available in trade talks.

    It’d make more sense if the Braves thought they could count on Mike Hampton. James was involved in rumors with the Rays last year, with Tampa Bay potentially giving up Rocco Baldelli. The Braves have a hole in center field now, but Baldelli, the Mike Hampton of outfielders, probably isn’t on their list of potential replacements. James would be a nice fit for a team in a big ballpark, like the Padres or Mariners.

  82. The asking price may be more than most folks here are comfortable to give up, but count me as someone who would willingly pay a steap price for him.

    I’m with you, obviously, although my main target would be Bedard. As for untouchables, the only guy in our system I would absolutely refuse to trade isn’t even able to be traded until June.


    I get the math. I know that anything divided by zero is infinity…I honestly just hadn’t realized that ERA+ was so straightforward, especially with AAR saying Joba’s was the highest ever this past season. Have there not been cup-of-coffee guys who haven’t given up any runs in whatever limited duty they had?

  83. Stu,

    My initial point was just to say to Alabama fans that I feel they are better than just some 6-6 team.

    Looking at both schedules, I think you’re probably correct in that you could have flipped them and had similar results.

    I think that CU’s best victory (over current #3 Oklahoma) is better than Vandy’s best victory (road win vs 6-6 South Carolina?).

    However, I don’t think Vandy would have lost to Iowa State either.

    As far as common opponents, Vandy beat Miami Oh 24-13 at home, CU beat them 42-0 at home.
    We’ll see how Alabama works out.

  84. …Baldelli, the Mike Hampton of outfielders…

    Made me laugh, but Rocco’s got a long way (and a lot of dollars committed to him) to go before reaching Hampton status.

  85. I think that CU’s best victory (over current #3 Oklahoma) is better than Vandy’s best victory (road win vs 6-6 South Carolina?).

    Not much question about that. And I didn’t mean to imply that Vanderbilt had a better team than Colorado this year, only that I didn’t think your schedule was quite as tough as you were making it out to be.

  86. Anybody read that Bill James article on clutch hitting over on Probably I already missed the discussion on it, but in case I didn’t I thought I would throw it out there. It’s not the most earth-shattering study ever, and I don’t think he intended it to be conclusive by any stretch of the imagination, but I am glad to see the possibility that clutch hitting may actually exist resurface.

  87. I am agreeing with yu Sam Hutch..All in all it isn’t the end of the world if the atlanta braves break camp with a rotation of smoltz, hudson, glavine, hampton, james.. or if they break with smoltz, hudson, glavine, james, jurrjens..or whatever they decide. Players earn their spots on a team out of spring training, so its hard to put too much in all this speculation. The truth is that no one knows what the pitching staff is going to look like 2 weeks into the season. And stop knocking chuck james. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve seen the same people who hype up guys so hard, knock the player after they have one “mediocre year” Now people are requesting a change of scenery for chuck?!??! And to Rufino Linares, 24 year old morton was younger than 25 players on his own team in the fall league, unfortunately proving the mistaken comment that Morton is some old fart..He also had been ranked in the top 25 for acouple years and was ranked with the best curve ball in the organization several years in a row..just a late bloomer i guess, it happens

  88. CU’s schedule was probably tougher than Vandy’s. Vandy would have had an extra loss in non-conference play, more than likely. In conference it might have had three wins, with losses against OU, KSU, Kansas, Missouri and Texas Tech. It would have beaten Baylor and probably ISU, with Nebraska being the wild card in the final record.

    This isn’t definite, of course, but Vandy didn’t play a team outside its own conference as tough as either team CU lost to.

  89. My take on The State of the Braves:

    Right now, the team is almost fine as-constituted. There are no gaping holes like there have been in the past, when guys like Cormier or Carlyle were asked to either start regularly or play major roles in the bullpen. The things we add now are more like luxuries than needs. Would an established lefty for the start of the year be nice? Sure. But Ring’s gonna be good and Gonzo will be back for the stretch run. And the right-handed side of the pen is looking really, really nice.

    Would a vet at CF be nice? Sure. But we’ll survive with what we’ve got if we need to. The offense will score runs even if the number 8 hole is an offensive vacuum.

    A backup SS is, I guess, necessary. But we should just sign some Neifi and play him twice a month. Shouldn’t be tough to do; let’s just make sure he’s good with the glove this time.

    We totally don’t need more SPs. Earlier I saw someone mention trying to get one of Blanton, Haren, and Bedard. Well… one of those names is clearly different from the other two. :-) Blanton we might be able to afford, but I just don’t think he’s a huge improvement over James. Chucky is fine. He’s young, he’s cheap, and he’s a lefty. He pitched 162 innings last year, which is pretty darn good for his first full year in the majors.

    All that said, I wouldn’t be completely averse to trading him for the right deal. Perhaps that stop-gap CF and a couple of minor-league arms? But probably best to just hold on for the time being.

    And one quick thing on Willie Harris:

    Harris is NOT a CF. He is worse defensively than Matt Diaz in LF. What’s the logic here? Good foot speed plus no bat = CF? No, sir! Man can’t run routes and has no arm. Anderson or Blanco will start in CF before Harris, and frankly, I see no reason to keep him around at all next season.

  90. Robert,

    I get the math. I know that anything divided by zero is infinity…I honestly just hadn’t realized that ERA+ was so straightforward, especially with AAR saying Joba’s was the highest ever this past season. Have there not been cup-of-coffee guys who haven’t given up any runs in whatever limited duty they had?

    The Joba comment can only mean “highest OPS+ for a guy who pitched as many innings as he did”. I’m not sure if that’s true but that’s really all that could mean since Joba didn’t pitch enough to qualify for the ERA title or anything.

    Brent Mayne’s career ERA+ is infinity for that one fateful outing he had against us. Maybe the comment meant that Joba had the highest ERA+ ever that wasn’t infinity.

    ERA+ is easy to calculate if you are prepared to do the park adjustment. OPS+ is much harder since OBP and SLG are addressed separately and the park adjustment is pretty tricky (quadratic formula, blah blah blah).

  91. Meanwhile, someone even dumber than the posters on “Braves Vent” on the AJC site has been found, in the “Sports Soundoff” in the Mobile Press-Register:

    Time for Bobby Cox to retire — Anybody know when Bobby Cox is going to retire? I’m sick and tired of the Braves falling short, and they didn’t even make the dang playoffs this year. Ted Turner needs to spend some money.

    Editor’s note: The Atlanta Braves are owned by Liberty Media Group, not Ted Turner.

  92. WFAN radio in New York reports that “there’s news floating around that the Mets are close on Erik Bedard.”

    The Bedard rumors have picked up steam since he reportedly told the Orioles that he’s not interested in working out a long-term contract extension. There’s some speculation that the Orioles could ask the Mets to take Miguel Tejada and his contract back in a Bedard trade, but it’s unclear where Tejada would play in New York. It remains to be seen if the Mets have the pieces to pull off a trade for Bedard even after dealing Lastings Milledge

    Hope this does not go down…

  93. I know we could win with the starters we have but having one more proven pitcher would only solidify the rotation more. I just don’t trust two 40 yr. old pitchers to stay healthy for the whole season without some sorta trip on the DL. I do think Chucky could be a good one to hold onto though, unless he is packaged with Lilli’/Hernandez to get Bedard, which is a pipe dream at best…… I don’t think, as mraver stated that there is much difference between James vs. Blanton to add a couple more prospects and weaken our system. Bedard yes, Haren probably, Blanton not so much.

  94. Honestly, at this point, it feels like if the Mets do one more big trade that their farm is done for the foreseeable future. Bedard would be bad, just because he’s under control for awhile, but one has to imagine that Gomez, F. Martinez, and at least one young pitcher (humber, pelfrey) would be going to Baltimore in any deal.
    On the other hand, Angelos seems keen on not trading Bedard, and Omar has shown himself less than adept recently, so who knows.

  95. Johnny, if Glavine hasn’t made a trip to the DL except for when he was in a car accident, what makes you think that he’s going to get injured in 2007? Just because he’s 42?

  96. Well that felt like a totally fixed game. I guess the NFL wasn’t ready to give up the “will they go undefeated?” storyline just yet.

  97. Wren has never publicly stated the team’s payroll and he isn’t giving any clear indication that he’s already neared the threshold of his budget. But one Braves official said he didn’t know if the club would even be able to afford Finley, who definitely isn’t in position to ask for more than $2 million.

    There is a belief that the Braves have the flexibility of spending approximately $4 million in their search for a left-handed reliever, center fielder and two bench players (catcher and shortstop). Wren hasn’t prioritized these needs and is hopeful to simply fill as many of them as possible via moves that would likely come in the trade market.

    “I really don’t think we have a priority,” Wren said. “I guess if you had to really press me, it would be the left-handed reliever. This would give Bobby a little more leeway managing the game late.”

    Minus the financial element, the Braves would like to sign Jeremy Affeldt to fill their desire for a left-handed reliever. But with Affeldt and Ron Mahay both likely to get three-year deals worth at least $12 million, they find themselves potentially in a position where they would have to part ways with some Minor Leaguers in a trade to get a left-handed reliever.

    If they are going to gain a more experienced center fielder than Anderson and Schafer, the Braves will do so via trade. But it doesn’t seem like they are willing to deal Matt Diaz, Chuck James or Scott Thorman, who despite a rocky rookie season still has plenty of supporters within the organization.

  98. I really hope that the Braves do not see their work as done. The talk about 8 starters is not plausible to me either: Hampton? Reyes/Jurrjens (are they both or either really ready?)? That leaves Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine and James–two of whom are over 40 and one who has trouble going deep into games. Is Bennett the eighth?

    The Braves need another quality starter…I am with those who want to trade for Bedard or Haren; the price would be high, but so should the return…

    It is wishful thinking to believe that the Braves have a solid solution in Center…Anderson has 21 games, Blanco 0 and Schafer has 0 games above High A. Lillibridge has not played the position in years and I don’t think that Brandon Jones is realistic possibility. Lets remember, as well, that Schafer is prospect–a hot prospect based upon his tools and 2007 season–just like Andy Marte once was. He may star in CF for the Braves as early as 2008–but there is a real possibility that he will not get there until 2009 and a chance that he will never make it at all. Therefore, I don’t see how people can think that the Braves will be fine in CF. Maybe they will, but its asking alot….

    With respect to the bullpen, it is in much better shape than CF and it might get better over the season–without a significant trade. Not only might Gonzalez return, but the their are a number of young relievers who should improve. Even without them, Soriano, Moylan, Ring, and Accosta form a reasonable base upon which to build. Therefore I agree with #33 Smitty(and his barber)that we can get additional relief help in the spring. Sure, I would like to see us get a left hand reliever, but I think there are greater priorities at this point.

  99. For those who think James is on the same level with Blanton, well, you’re not right.

    Blanton, 106 ERA+, 16 HR, 40 BB, 140 K in 230 IP

    James, 100 ERA+, 32 HR, 58 BB, 116 K in 161 IP

    Oh, and James made only four fewer starts that Blanton, yet managed to throw 69 fewer innings. That’s, um, a lot fewer innings.

    I’m not saying I think Blanton is the ultimate solution, but I am saying that he presents an affordable piece that the Braves must – MUST – address if they are serious about winning this year. And if they aren’t serious about winning this year, why did they give Glavine a contract? Look, I get it that Haren and Bedard are not in the same category (but thanks for the snarky comments, they were definitely helpful), I’m just listing guys whose names are being thrown around and who could help make the Brave a legitimate contender.

  100. As it stands right now, if the Braves get from James and Glavine exactly what those two provided last season – yes, James may improve, but Tommy will probably decline – James will provide league average innings, and not many of them, while Glavine will be slightly worse than league average. That to me is the definition of #4 and #5 starters, respectively. There’s still a gaping hole there, a need for someone to be ok-to-good.

  101. I don’t think anyone has said that the center field situation is “solid”. Only idiots believe that it is solid. No one here and including the Braves brass, are idiots.

    My guess is that the Braves may have to go to spring training with center field up for grabs between those players because there are little to no attractive one-year options.

  102. I really like how Wren is keeping things close to his vest right now. It’ll be interesting to see where he improves the team. Against reason I’m expecting a move for SP. *Something* will happen before the new year, if nothing else.

  103. Let me point out the obvious. You don’t have to fill every need before the season. You can start the season without a lefty reliever other than Ring, with Sammons as backup catcher, and with Anderson or Blanco in CF then improve yourself in June, July, and August by trades if you think it’s necessary.

  104. Bits from DOB’s Blog:

    Ownership has approved a increase in payroll for Wren to get a few things done this week if necessary.

    Dejesus/Gobble for James is picking up steam

  105. forgive me if this has been said before (the work thing is about to call my fan hood into question) but why are we not offering Mahay a two year contract with an option for 3?. he was solid and it was obvious Bobby likes the guy, because he ran him out there almost every night.

  106. @133 and 134: Right on.

    The lineup’s strong enough to carry a no-hit, good-field centerfielder, and the bullpen can be adjusted on the fly. If winning the World Series is the goal, we need a quasi-stud like Bedard or Haren to back up Smoltz and Hudson.

    For what it’s worth, Blanton > Chuck James and would strengthen the Braves immensely, maybe just enough to win the NL.

  107. It’s insane to trade James unless you get back a better starting pitcher. James is our co-#3 with Glavine and shouldn’t be traded for a short term outfielder we don’t really need.

  108. For all of you out there scraming to trade for Bedard or Haren, _who_ exactly would you be sending. It’s quite easy to sit around and say uttterly meaningless things like “the price may be high, but so is the return” and “if the price isn’t too high” or whatever. That’s just ducking the question though. Sure, the Braves’ rotation would be a hell of a lot better with either of those guys at the top, both now and into the future. But they’re not going to come for free, so you have to put together a package that might actually, you know, get them. What is that package? Who do you send out? How does that impact the team at other positions?

    We know roughly what Oakland and Baltimore are asking for these guys. Names like Elsbury and Chamberlain and Pelfrey, etc. The asking price seems to be the two or three highest ranked prospects in any given system, with at least one being a near-MLB ready starter with high upside.

    Who in the Braves system beats the offers on the table from other teams, and would you be willing to part with all of those players for one of the starters mentioned? If you’re all aglow to go get one of these guys, put some ideas on the table. Else you’re just dreamcasting, and honestly, that crap is better played on The Vent.

  109. CU’s schedule was probably tougher than Vandy’s. Vandy would have had an extra loss in non-conference play, more than likely. In conference it might have had three wins, with losses against OU, KSU, Kansas, Missouri and Texas Tech. It would have beaten Baylor and probably ISU, with Nebraska being the wild card in the final record.

    Let’s just say that I’m highly skeptical we’d have lost to Texas Tech. OU and Missouri are the only teams on that list that we aren’t at least reasonably capable of beating. (Seriously, look at Kansas’ schedule again. How many teams that they beat are better than Vanderbilt?)

    This isn’t definite, of course, but Vandy didn’t play a team outside its own conference as tough as either team CU lost to.

    Well, Wake Forest beat Florida State, so I’m not sure what you mean. I know people don’t think of Wake as being very good, but over the last couple of seasons, they really have been.

    * * *

    As for that proposed deal with KC, um, no thanks. I like DeJesus, but Gobble stinks, and good pitching—yes, James qualifies—is too valuable to give up that easily, IMO.

  110. In a pitching starved market James and a couple of prospects could for a young starter…say Blanton, Haren or Bedard would be a bold trade that would make the team better. Of course the quality of the prospects you’d have to give up would be comisserate with the pitcher you are trying to acquire. James for an outfielder depends on who you are talking about. Jordan Schafer has yet to prove anything except that he is a terrific 1A ballplayer. Yet in the Braves scouting and development department I believe because more often than not they have been right. The A’s are ready to trade. We should be talking to them.

  111. #134, Joe Blanton unquestionably had a better 2007 than Chuck James. But he’s also a year older. For fun, let’s compare their 2006 campaigns:

    Blanton, 92 ERA+, 17 HR, 58 BB, 107 K in 194.1 IP (1.54 WHIP)
    James, 118 ERA+, 20 HR, 47 BB, 91 K in 119 IP (1.24 WHIP)

    James has a too-high homer rate, unquestionably. But he has a much better K rate (6.5 compared to 5.5 per 9 this year) and Blanton kind of sucked in 2006. He’s given up 240 hits in two straight seasons, and that’s a ton. He’s a great #3 starter. But James isn’t a bad #3 starter either. He’s a year younger, which means that he pitched 2007 at the same age Blanton pitched his 2006 stinkbomb. And Chuck was better than Blanton in the minor leagues.

    I think chances are good that Chuck will have a fine 2008.

  112. He’s given up 240 hits in two straight seasons

    Well, that’s a bit misleading, since he also pitched 230 innings this past year. And he walks nobody. His WHIP was around 1.2, IIRC.

    That said, I tend to agree with your general opinion that Chuck will probably be around as valuable as Blanton this coming season.

    And I wouldn’t include Chuck in a deal for him, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still try to get him. If one of Glavine/Blanton/James is the worst pitcher in your rotation, you’re gonna be pretty solid.

  113. @ 127

    You can’t have enough pitching and if Jurrjens stays in AAA and Hampton does what he always does and gets injured, that our only “addition” to a struggling starting rotation was Glavine and the results of not having Davies/Redman/Cormier (which actually could be a lot, come to think of it! haha).


    I still disagree and say that Blanton is worth that much more than James considering their development path. I think Blanton > James, but I don’t think its enough of a gap to consider trading 2-3 legit prospects + James for. Blanton has pitched for three years in the starting roation with James just finishing his second (first full year). Blanton struggled to a 4.82 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, with 241 hits allowed in 194 innings in his second season…….We know what James did this year, but if were looking to unload James/Hernandez/Devine/etc., then we’d better be after a Haren or Bedard type pitcher (which is a pipe dream).

  114. I think chances are good that Chuck will have a fine 2008.

    Count me in with the James will be fine crowd too. Sure, if James plus Lillibridge gets you Bedard or Haren, a clear upgrade (bumping Smoltz and Hudson down to 2 and 3 respectively) you make that deal in a heartbeat, but if all you’re doing is flipping Chuck James east for Chuck James west, which is about what Joe Blanton is, I don’t see much of the point.

    As for the KC deal, it feels one sided to me. DeJesus isn’t enough to get back for a league average starter, but the Braves may be higher on Jurrjens and Reyes for 2008 than I am, which would make them more likely to flip James.


  115. I’ll say it again: I love pipe dreams.

    In all seriousness, if the rumored Bedard-to-Mets deal is true, how are we not getting involved? Tell me a James/Lillibridge/Acosta/Hernandez package isn’t more enticing than whatever the Mets could possibly offering and completely worth it on the Braves’ end?

  116. *could possibly be offering*

    And, of course, that second question mark should be a period. I want Mac’s ability to edit my posts.

  117. Tell me a James/Lillibridge/Acosta/Hernandez package isn’t more enticing than whatever the Mets could possibly offering and completely worth it on the Braves’ end?

    Pelfrey/Gomez/plus parts beats that package, IMHO.

  118. @144

    Sam, I think we are all just shooting our mouths off, but its for the fun of it, don’t take it too seriously. I am one of the ones that says I’d love the Braves to get a Haren/Bedard but there’s a better chance of the Kansas football coach looking good in a swimming suit that us getting either one of those pitchers due to the high asking price. I know its not going to happen, but oh well, its fun to write things done to pass time until something does happen.

    Oh, here is an example of something I’d throw out there for Bedard just for sh*ts and giggles…. (In no way am I saying this is a proposed trade, just writing it down to fill a person’s desire, aka Sam, to have someone put something down to discuss)

    Bedard – James/Heyward (Hernandez? O’s choice)/Lilli/Devine

  119. @150

    Sam, agree completely!


    I think James > Pelfrey, IMHO. Pelfrey hasn’t show anything in the majors yet while James, although he has struggled this year, has had brilliant starts (against TB “Rays”) as well as a few solid ones mixed in here or there that gives credence to the fact that he can at least pitch in the big leagues. Pelfrey has yet to show that and while he might have the more polished “stuff,” he also has a limited pitch selection like James and doesn’t have the success.

  120. According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Radio 1000, the Cubs have sent lefty reliever Will Ohman and infielder Omar Infante to the Braves for righty reliever Jose Ascanio.

    Per MLB Trade Rumors

  121. mlbtraderumors says we just traded Jose Ascanio to the Cubs for Will Ohman and Omar Infante.

    We fill two needs with this deal but Ascanio easily has more upside than either of those two players.

  122. Oh, man, a lefty!

    I like Ascanio, but I think this is a good trade, especially if it keeps us from trading Chuck James for Jimmy Freaking Gobble.

  123. Count me in on thinking that our CF isn’t completely settled.

    But I also believe that aquiring another quality SP (Blanton, Haren, Bedard) would be the priority. If we scored one of those guys, having a defensive-oriented CF with sub-Crisp-like numbers wouldn’t keep me up nights. Catch the ball, bat 8th & hope for the best.

    I also want to believe Chuckie will be better, but I don’t know that. I’d like to get more than 170 IP out of that spot in the rotation. I’m assuming that’s the number that concerns Wren, too.

    I’m actually really excited about the season. Given our “talent window,” it’s shaping up to have a very temporary, all-or-nothing feel to it. But what the hell, let’s give it a go & try to win it all.

  124. Infante has actually hit in the .270’s the last couple of years and his strength is defense. So he’s already better than Woodward in both areas and fills a big need right now, back-up shortstop.

    Like I said earlier. Ascanio is the best player in this deal but the Braves have a lot of power arms and filled to pressing needs with this deal. Makes a lot of sense to me.

  125. Not sure that I like flipping Ascansio for Ohman and a fungible middle backup MI. Would have rather seen Lillibridge as the MI.

  126. Infante’s definitely better than Woodward. (If that’s not damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is.) He’s actually pretty good defensively, isn’t he?

  127. “The deal was expected to be announced later Tuesday and will save the Cubs about $3 million in salary.”

  128. So, does this mean that with this move and filling two needs, all Wren is looking to do now, is to get a CF?

  129. Timo, I guess that’s where all those “millions” are gonna go…Ohman and Infante. Oh well, seems like a decent trade, better than having Woody woodhead back.

  130. Timo–I certainly hope that Wren is after another starter and a CF.

    That said, I like this trade–I was never convinced that Ascanio would ever pan out….

  131. Fill two needs for a pitcher with groud ball pitches.

    I bet Bobby Cox is in a corner crying about that, but then again try to figure away to platoon Infante with KJ.

  132. I like the trade. I was a big Ascanio supporter because of his ability not to give up Homeruns and strikeout batters in AA, but this trade fills two needs and based on Ohman’s home and away splits, relative youth, and lack of injury history it seems like a good trade. Cox won’t throw Ohman under the bus with comments like, “It’s kind of hard to win when your reliever is throwing 50 foot curveballs.”

  133. What would you trade for this guy who pitches in a band box and will turn 30 next season?

    2005 11 13 3.83 32 211.2 217 22 8 51 163
    2006 16 11 3.76 35 234.1 242 28 8 56 216
    2007 16 6 3.73 34 231.2 213 28 8 52 218

    Would the Reds take some combination of James, Gorkys, B. Jones, Lillibridge and/or Devine for Aaron Harang?

    Of this group, I’m most hesitant to part with Lillibridge and James, but I figure at least one would be required to get Harang on the Braves staff.

    Even then, I wouldn’t make this deal if I were the Reds. IMO Harang comes close to being a real number one, and they’re hard to come by.

    Is this pipe dream fleshed out enough for further discussion?

  134. What is the Hot Stove without pipe dreams?

    I would rather keep Jones and James. I think that the former could be a future LF for the Braves; more important, I think the idea of trading for a starter would be to make James our #5. The problem is that we might have to trade not only Lillibridge, Devine, Gorkys, but Rohrbough or Hanson. Still, I like the idea of Harang in a Braves uniform….

  135. Probably because Ryan Braun is a horrifically bad defensive 3B. He has LF written all over him.

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