Harris era probably not over

The Official Site of Atlanta Braves: News: Atlanta Braves News
Harris designated for assigment

Willie Harris was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man spot for the legendary Ohman/Infante tag team. In his case, he will probably clear waivers because he doesn’t have enough value for anyone to claim him, much less trade for him, and the odds are he will accept an assignment to Richmond.


There is also a chance that Diaz will be given the chance to play left field on an everyday basis.

Over the course of the past two seasons, the right-handed-hitting Diaz has compiled a .333 batting average. This past season, he hit .318 against right-handed pitchers and .356 against left-handers.

If Peanut is saying this, then there’s a good chance that the Braves are thinking this. Free Matt Diaz!

228 thoughts on “Harris era probably not over”

  1. I wonder if this indicates a willingness to include Brandon Jones in a deal…perhaps an Erik Bedard deal. I’m going to assume that’s the case.

  2. The Peanut article does mention B. Jones could platoon with Diaz. I don’t know what I’d do if the Braves didn’t feature at least one platoon.

  3. Hey Stu,

    Just curious who you think the Braves ought to be targeting. You’re all over the place lately.

  4. If those like minds are trying to acquire a Bedard or Haren type, I am not terrified. But generally, yes, it terrifies me.

  5. Stu, any word from Bruce Levine/Heyman on whether or not your lunch is digesting properly or not? haha.

  6. Yes, the full quote does indicate platoon. It’s just that this is the first sign I’ve seen that the Braves might actually let the .333 hitter play full time to see if he’ll continue to hit .333.

  7. Johnny, that issue isn’t unfolding at the Opryland Hotel, so those guys probably wouldn’t know. But here, a couple miles away in my office, I’m able to report that the tough times appear to be over.

  8. If the platoon is the best option, why would you not platoon? I mean, if Brandon Jones sucks give Diaz the chance, but if Jones rakes there’s no reason _not_ to platoon them.

  9. WFAN is on fire today with rumors reported directly from Nashville.

    Now I’m hearing Bedard to the Dodgers for a deal that involves Kemp.

  10. At 15: is the platoon the best option, though? Diaz hasn’t been given the chance to prove he can hit .330 playing full time. Why can’t he have the chance first?

  11. Peanut is Mark Bowman at the official Major League site for the Braves. Mac or some other more learned than I will have to give the reason.

  12. So long as Bedard/Haren/Blanton/Santana do not go to the Mets everything is okay in my book.

  13. I read Kemp & Broxton, ububba. They’re looking for a CF and a ML-ready closer, neither of which we have.

    I therefore choose to disbelieve this rumor.

  14. how does this make you feel???

    Braves Offer James For DeJesus
    According to the KC Star’s Bob Dutton, the Jose Guillen signing puts the Royals in a better position to trade David DeJesus or Joey Gathright. The Rangers and Braves are on DeJesus’ trail. Dutton believes the Braves offered up lefty Chuck James for him. It seems a little light, as I’m not sure James could be effective in the American League.

    Dutton says not only is Hiroki Kuroda looking for four years, he may want $48MM. The Royals could move on and spend the money on Andruw Jones instead, if he’ll take a one or two-year deal. The money could also be diverted to Carlos Silva if he’ll take 4/40. Otherwise the Royals will just chase rehab guys like Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Matt Clement.

  15. Sorry Bowman. Dang. Would anyone here trade Schafer whose value is now at an all time high, in a package for Haren or Bedard?

  16. i’d include schafer for an ace too.

    giving up james for dejesus seems a little too much to me… especially if we’re only looking for a stop gap in CF.

  17. You’d be crazy not to. Schafer hasn’t played above A-ball and is very clearly over-hyped right now.

  18. Wouldn’t hesitate to part with Schafer.

    And, yeah, the light side of that James/DeJesus deal seems to be on the Royals’ end…

  19. I guess they would hope that DeJesus performs very well here in Atl and has more value next offseason when there arent as many CF’rs on the market. Who knows what he’ll net a year from now. However, I dont want Gathright at all

  20. I have no inside sources, but the public statements (official and through the media) have made it clear that James is expendable; the Braves weren’t guaranteeing him a rotation spot in 2008.

    Remember, there are stopgaps (= one-year players who will be free agents) and stopgaps (= young players the team controls for several years and can deal after the season if the prospect develops). DeJesus would be the second type. It’s better to have this type of player, because if the prospect washes out or gets hurt, you don’t have to go out and find another stopgap or a long-term fix right away.

  21. Dodgers Close On Bedard?
    UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 2:16pm: There is growing buzz that the Dodgers may get Bedard. ESPN’s Amy Nelson has a source saying a deal may be close. Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton would be the main pieces of a trade. Readers are reporting in that WFAN is saying the same.

  22. Even by including Schafer, I still don’t think the Braves have the chips to acquire an ace. The Dodgers are reportedly offering Kemp and Broxton for Bedard. The Braves can’t come close to matching that package.

  23. Diaz hit .356/.384/.560 vs lefties last year with .318/.350/.406 vs righties. That’s a pretty steep dropoff in power. His OBP is almost all BA too. Matt walks less often than Francoeur. If those hits don’t fall in a .330 or higher clip, his value would plunge dramatically.

    A platoon makes more sense to me. Assuming Brandon Jones can hit major league pitching, you’ll get better production overall from platooning them. It’s something you’d like to find out anyway. If Jones shows himself to be another Thorman after a month or two of platooning, then he can be sent back to Richmond and Diaz can be given a chance to play fulltime.

    Bobby loves platoons so it’s all academic anyway.

  24. Why the heck would you trade your co-third starter for one year of Dejesus? Are the Braves really counting on Hampton, Bennett and Reyes to pitch AND be good?

  25. Last time I checked the Braves still have Smoltz and Hudson for a few more years. Why do we need to be trading our best young hitters for an ace starter again?

  26. Dan, it’s not one year. It’s one year, then you re-evaluate. If Schaefer is ready, you trade DeJesus. If he isn’t, you keep DeJesus. Wash, repeat.

  27. @ 38

    Because you can’t have enough pitching, plus who knows how overhyped this Schafer kid really is….is he another can’t miss gonna hit everything kid, ala Marte? Or will he be a Jermaine Dye? Better to get a known quantity (Bedard) and package James for a DeJesus than rely on kids.

  28. Win Shares (from THT)

    DeJesus 16 in 2007, 15 in 2006
    James 17 in 2007, 9 in 2006

    Seems pretty even to me. The Braves obviously aren’t confident in James; the Royals have soured on DeJesus.

  29. The idea is that you can — which is why I used them, because you can’t compare simple stats or even most complex ones. The argument I could make, if so inclined, is that pitchers are harder to find than outfielders, so an average pitcher is more valuable than an average outfielder. I think it’s a fairly even trade.

  30. braves14, if you’re the biggest Chuck James fan, then I might be second, met him in Colorado earlier in the year, got a picture with him, couldn’t have been nicer.

    With that being said, Chuckies peripherals have not ever been all that good and I really don’t see him turning out to be anything more than league average 4/5 starter. I think JoJo Reyes, for example has a higher ceiling and will end up being a lot better pitcher.

    If the Braves can get DeJesus until Schafer is ready, I’m all for it. How many OFs have successfully made the jump from Single-A straight to the majors. I would like to hear some names, because I’d be willing to bet the list is pretty short. Ideally, what you hope happens is DeJesus has a great one year, or two years, then you spin him when Schafer is ready, similar to what the Red Sox are doing with Crisp.

  31. Diaz hasn’t been given the chance to prove he can hit .330 playing full time. Why can’t he have the chance first?

    Ron @36 pretty much sums up my take on the situation with Diaz. I like Matt Diaz a lot, but I don’t think he’s show the breakout performance that demands he play every day. Sure, he should have played every day back in the Langerhans days, and only Willie Harris’ alien possession routine made it worthwhile to platoon him after that (and that drug on far too long after Harris’ alien had left the building), but if Brandon Jones shows the ability to hit in the bigs I don’t think Matt Diaz is the kind of player you refuse to sit down. He’s not Chipper Jones out there.

  32. I think the “pitchers are harder to find” argument is valid, for what it’s worth, but considering that both sides of fans seem to think their guys are getting jobbed, it’s probably a pretty even deal.

  33. Also, if it’s one thing that I have learned being a Braves fan over the years, it’s that the Braves do a damn good job of evaluating their own prosepcts/players and especially their pitchers. Chuckie strikes me as Damian Moss 2.0. Anyway, other than Jason Schmidt (and I don’t think that was all that bad of a trade anyway), which pitchers have the Braves traded that have turned out to be all that great ?

  34. So reports are that CF Josh Hamilton of the Reds may be available.

    I would be very interested in kicking the tires on that one, to say the least.

    Between he and Francouer no baserunner would ever take an extra base… and you can do a lot worse than a .900 OPS from CF ;)

  35. At 46: well, of course he’s not Chipper Jones out there. I wasn’t suggesting that whatsoever. I didn’t look at the numbers, but would just like to see him get the chance to play every day, and see if he “breaks out.” And if Brandon Jones hits, then I say trade Diaz and put in Jones, as Diaz will probably start getting expensive.

  36. 2007 VORP:

    James 28.7
    DeJesus 12.0

    Granted, VORP doesn’t factor in defense like Win Shares do, but I doubt DeJesus’ defense is good enough to make up the difference. VORP does factor in position.

    The question becomes, what’s the bigger drop in value: James to Reyes, or DeJesus to Blanco/Anderson?

  37. The thing about the trade is that Chuck James will not do well in the AL. He will get killed. DeJesus might become a slightly better hitter on the senior circuit, because it seems to be an inferior league. But Chuck James will get treated like the BoSox treated Jeff Francis in the World Series.

    So we can’t maximize Chuck’s trade value by trading him to the AL, because being a soft-tossing lefty means he pretty much has to stay in the NL in order to have success. (Unless we can make another trade with Bill Bavasi.) DeJesus is a nice player, but I would much prefer keeping Chuck and rolling the dice with Schafer. Now, if we could get Alex Rios in a package, I’d be all ears, but I think that price will be a great deal higher.

  38. Can someone explain the logic behind the Brewers interest in Scott Rolen? Ryan Braun is a defensive butcher at third, but his bat is gold. Where would Braun go if the Brewers got Rolen? LF?

  39. JJ, actually James’ peripherals are pretty decent other than home runs allowed. I posted the other day that he had a 1.21 WHIP in the second half last year.

  40. More fun WFAN rumors (via Jon Heyman, who’s a regular contributor now):

    Deep talks concerning Dontrelle & Cabrera to Detroit for Miller & other prospects.

    Sox may have to cough up 5 players for Santana now.

  41. Another option for centerfield popping-up?

    “The Pirates are aggressively shopping Nate McLouth, who is a popular target for teams looking for left-handed hitters and/or center fielders. McLouth could be a lesser option for the Cubs if they fail to land Kosuke Fukudome, and the Padres, Phillies and Braves also are expressing varying degrees of interest.”


  42. Jeremy, VORP gives me more of what I expect when I look at the relative value of these players.

    The reason I did not think win shares work in this case (and it may come from a misunderstanding of the statistic) is that I did not think they are pro rated to account for appearances.

    A starting pitcher plays every fifth day, while a regular may play close to every day. You might use win shares to show that a regular is worth the same amount of wins to the team, but you still have to have someone in that SP slot who gets only one fifth of the opportunity to contribute to the win total. That is, a below average regular may compare favorably to an above average starting pitcher when looking at win shares alone.

    Does this make sense?

  43. 4:03 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick
    • Chris Capuano isn’t the only left-handed starter on the Cardinals’ shopping list. St. Louis has talked to Cleveland about Cliff Lee, with Anthony Reyes and/or catching prospect Bryan Anderson mentioned as possibilities to return to the Indians.

    Um, could we get in on Reyes? Reyes plus a solid prospect for Cliff Lee??? Let’s go buy low.

  44. Nate McLouth 2007

    Season 137 329 62 85 21 3 13 38
    22 .258 .351 .459

  45. braves14, upon further review of James’ minor league statistics, his HR ratio was better than I thought it was and his K/BB ratio was also better than I thought. However his minor league numbers outline his main problem, in 69 career minor league starts, he averaged just about 5.1 IP per start. I know he may have been on a pitch count some of those starts, but he hasn’t shown anything in the minors and the big leagues that would lead me to believe he is going to be more than a 5, maybe 6 inning pitcher, thus wearing out your bullpen every single time he pitches.

    As for his major league numbers, they are actually far worse than I thought, his K/BB ratio is not even (but close) 2:1, 52 hrs in 286 IP. 108 walks in 286 IP.

    Like I said, I like James, but like I said, I don’t see him ever being anything better than a league average 4/5 starter, which I’ll agree with you, that it’s not like the Braves have those growing on trees, but if Schafer is not ready, I’d rather have DeJesus and either Jurrjens/Reyes to fill Chuckie’s spot than Chuckie and Josh Anderson/Blanco in CF.

  46. Stu. I don’t mean to burst your bubble here, but I don’t think the Braves are looking for another starting pitcher.

  47. DeJesus 2007 salary – $2,000,000
    .260 .351 .372
    McLouth 2007 salary – $392,000
    .258 .351 .451

    Not sure either one of these guys is worth a #3 / #4 young, left-handed pitcher in this market. (Look at what we got for Ramariz last year.) But if your talking about giving up James for a one year CF option, McLouth compares well to DeJesus ……… and would be a lot cheaper. If Pittsburg would want James is a question.

  48. Frank, yes, he goes to LF. Braun’s a butcher at third, and the Brewers have already acknowledged that they may have to make the move no matter what.

  49. Sam, you may be right, but I’m with Stu. Reyes is clearly a guy who needs a change of scenery, but he’s a top-flight talent, and if he could be had inexpensively (for someone like Eric Campbell, say, who may never make anything of himself in a Braves uniform), I’d say go for it.

  50. Sure, if you can get another meaningful arm for Eric Campbell, well, why the hell not. But I don’t see the Braves going around Nashville asking the other 29 teams “Hey, you got any marginal failed pitching prospects you want to flip for a marginal, failed infield prospect?”

  51. I vote for McLouth over DeJesus (assuming relatively equal defense). McLouth does not suffer when facing lefties (three yer average OPS is almost identical) and is two years younger in baseball money ways (upcoming is year 3, then arb for 3). He will be cheap and decent for 4 years.

    Also, McLouth’s power has increased (ISO .200 last year) as steroids are being tested for and at his age he still has about 2 to 3 more years of rise to come in ISO.

  52. The other thing about trading with Pittsburgh is that if they really wanted Ohman and we included him and got Damaso Marte back then I think you equalize the James for McLouth a little better.

  53. I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea that the Braves would trade their #3.5 starter for a mediocre hitting one year stopgap centerfielder. Doing so would be putting a hell of a lot of confidence in Hampton being healthy and at least one of Reyes, Bennett, and Jurrjens being respectable. That’s a bad gamble in my book. I don’t see Dejesus giving us much more than we could get out of Blanco or Anderson. The only way this makes sense is if James has pulled a Betemit and pissed off Bobby.

  54. @79

    Or the Braves have another starter on their radar that they are close to acquiring that we might not know about.

  55. FWIW, from DOB:

    With addition of Infante, Braves’ other utility job doesn’t necessarily have to be an infielder, because Infante can play almost everywhere.

    Wren said the important thing is bat off the bench for that other job, whether it’s primarily an outfield, primarily an infielder, or something in the organization now or someone they might get later. He said they’re open on that one.

    Still having discussions with teams about CF, but most of available guys have “strings attached” from Braves’ perspective, whether that’s too much money or years on contract (Coco Crisp, for instance) or other team wants too much in return (perhaps McLouth?), Frank obviously wouldn’t specify names on that one.

    They’re not in talks with Royals about DeJesus. Royals aren’t looking to trade him as of now, because they have him penciled in at center unless they get Andruw.

    Royals are getting Guillen and then hope to get either Andruw or the Japanese pitcher, too. They’ve got the money to spend on one of those guys in addition to Guillen.

    Also, I’m told by someone with Royals that they view Chuck James as a “breakdown waiting to happen” because of his size, delivery, etc. They’re not interested it trading anything valuable for him, if interested in him at all….

  56. I wonder if that last paragraph is (a) true, and (b) a common sentiment among other organizations.

  57. It’s nice to see the Royals being active in the winter for once. I’m not a Royals fan, but it’s nice to see a team that has been dreadful actually putting up a fight. I have been watching closely to see if Dayton Moore can make something happen. At least they are spending money, which is more than can be said for some teams.

  58. @83 – That might mean it’s a view the Braves have too, considering where Moore came from…

    Are the Red Sox really gonna land Santana? If that happens, are they a shoe-in to win the WS?

  59. They’re not a shoo-in, but if the defending World Champions, who had the best record in baseball, acquire the best pitcher in baseball, they have to be considered a strong favorite.

  60. Josh, I agree — I’m rooting for the Royals from afar, because I like Dayton, I like a competitive field, and every fan base deserves a team that looks like it gives a crap and wins every once in a while. I’m rooting for Huntington to do the same thing in Pittsburgh, especially if they can beat the Cardinals.

  61. If the Braves trade James, then their rotation will be something akin to the Giants lineup. Is there a 38-year old pitcher we can land? Someone, anyone?

    Yes, I like “strong favorite.” If the Red Sox land Santana, then I’d say that’s Hank Steinbrenner’s first major mistake. I’m already a big fan of the Hank era.

  62. I just find it depressing that they might trot out a rotation of Santana, Beckett, Schilling, and Matsuzaka. Lester, if they deal Ellsbury instead, could the 5th starter. My goodness.

    Of course, if it was the Braves buying up the league, I’d be very happy. You know, as much as I root for parity and all.

  63. An interesting tidbit-

    Cy Young award winner Johan Santana was chosen by the Florida Marlins four years before winning the award, when the Houston Astros declined to put him on their 40-man roster. The Marlins chose Santana in the 1999 rule 5 draft, and traded him to the Minnesota Twins who kept him on their roster for the 2000 season, in which he toiled to a 6.49 earned run average at only 21 years of age. Two years later, he legitimized himself as a Major League pitcher, with an ERA under 3.00, and two years after that, he was recognized as the best pitcher in the league. Had he not been chosen in the rule 5 draft, he likely would not have made his major-league debut until the 2001 or the 2002 season with the Astros.

  64. Boston’s rotation could be unreal…Of course if every rumor went down, then the mets would have a rotation of Santana, Haren, Bedard, Pedro, and Harang.

  65. i have to side with the “acquire another SP” especially with all of these young, stud arms supposedly available. And at the same time I have to disagree with those who say we cannot put together a good enough package. We may not have the singular stud prospects to match an offer like Kemp/Broxton, but some teams are looking to fill multiple holes and want 3, 4, 5 players in return, and no team is going to give up 3+ A+ prospects for one player, look at the Santana offers.

    If we really want to keep schafer and don’t acquire a multi-year stop-gap lke dejesus or crisp, than we could package: lillibridge/james or reyes/devine/hanson or locke or rohrbrough for a 4 player deal, or even thorman or hernandez in a 5 player swap.

    while none of those guys is as good as Hughes/Kemp, (i dont like lester or ellsbury, broxton is a reliever also) James at least has major league experience and our low level arms are excellent. lillibridge is a terrific SS prospect and devine a great relief prospect. a package like that fills multiple needs with multiple players who are MLB READY, with only the low-level, potentially ace projectable starter not being ready.

    we could certainly make a 4 for 1 offer, and upgrade it to 5 for 1 if we really wanted to make a deal without hurting any area of this year’s team. lillibridge ain’t gonna back up shortstop, devine will be in the bullpen but he will be behind acosta/moylan/soriano, plus the lefties are there and so are bennett/yates/stockman, he is expendable. james is replaced by the arm we get back.

    and also, if you want to include schafer, you would then make a separate trade for one of the longer term stop gaps to hold down the fort for 2-3 years until Gorkys is ready.

  66. we could certainly make a 4 for 1 offer, and upgrade it to 5 for 1 if we really wanted to make a deal without hurting any area of this year’s team.

    I can’t think of a 4- or 5-1 deal that makes sense and helps the Braves long term.

  67. The A’s are asking for Detroits top two prospects in Miller and Maybin, for Haren, and won’t even discuss it without both of them in the deal. The Braves don’t have two prospects that close to the bigs with the profile of Miller and Maybin, so I can’t see how the A’s would even discuss him with Atlanta. I think Wren was serious when he said they were done on the rotation.

  68. If the Braves had Salty, Andrus, and the other prospects they gave up for Tex, then perhaps they could make a solid run at Bedard or Haren, but I would say the system is too thin right now compared to the others than are in the running for Bedard or Haren.

  69. I can’t think of a 4- or 5-1 deal that makes sense and helps the Braves long term.

    Well Mahay is gone so how about Teixeira for Saltalamacchia, Jones, Andrus, Harrison, and Feliz?

  70. Any “approach” the Braves might make would be laughed down and all the “attempt” would accomplish would be to sour relations between the organizations going forward. Generally, that’s not how the Braves operate. If there is a fit they will call. There is no fit for Bedard or Haren, and just because the Mets are fishing doesn’t mean Atlanta should too.

  71. Well Mahay is gone so how about Teixeira for Saltalamacchia, Jones, Andrus, Harrison, and Feliz?

    Interestingly enough, Ron Mahay did actually exist, and he did actually pitch for Atlanta in 2007, so it’s a bit disingenuous to act as if he never contributed anything to the club. The Tex deal was a solid deal as far as I’m concerned. I’d make it again in a heartbeat. And if I could flip that same package for Santana or Bedard I’d give it deep consideration. But you can’t do back to back deals like that unless you have a perfect storm develop where you have the perfect excess parts that the other team needs. That isn’t the case this winter. The Braves quite simply do not have the sorts of players the A’s and Orioles are demanding in return for their pitchers. As such, there is no point in trying to cobble some Frankenstienian monster together and pretending it’s going to smile coyly and make Billy Beane forget what he was thinking of just long enough to get Haren.

  72. It’s going to get mighty quiet on here if we can’t dream, and dream up some of these trades, though. What’s the harm?

  73. As such, there is no point in trying to cobble some Frankenstienian monster together and pretending it’s going to smile coyly and make Billy Beane forget what he was thinking of just long enough to get Haren.

    Speaking of disingenuous…

    Nobody here is suggesting that we pull one over on the A’s or O’s. The idea is that you find out if a deal could be reached. The earlier Bedard-to-Mets rumor, for example, gives me reason to believe we might in fact be able to line up with the O’s.

    You may disagree as to whether we do in fact line up, but you don’t have to be an asshole—as you’ve seemingly been making every attempt to be all day—about it.

  74. ububba,

    Thoughts? It’s a lot for Detroit to give up…but I think that’s a great trade for them.

  75. Wow, that is a great trade for Detroit! Cabrera is essentially a Pujols, A-Rod, MVP caliber player. That lineup is going to be extraordinarily dangerous.

    I know that Maybin and Miller have star potential, but this gives Detroit a World Series team. I think these trades are making the upper AL completely untouchable.

  76. And yes, it’s for Maybin, Miller, plus at least 2 more prospects.

    Yes, it’s a lot, but I think the Tigers are looking to roar in ’08.

    I’m not one to fret about giving up prospects, no matter how good they are, for proven stars (Cabrera being the star here). It can bite you, sure, but I don’t go crazy about it if my team is ready to win.

    If I’m a Tiger fan, I’ve got a skip in my step today. And I only know one Marlin fan, so…pencil them in for 2012 World Champs, I guess. Cue Geddy Lee & Co…

  77. Cabrera is only 24 so its a great trade for Detroit I think. A lot to give up but very exciting for Tigers fans (me)

  78. I think these trades are making the upper AL completely untouchable.

    Yeah. That aspect is fairly depressing.

  79. Great trade, and I’m with ububba: I’d trade prospects every day of the week for proven guys, especially Cabrera. It will be interesting to see how Willis does in the AL, too.

  80. great trade for Detroit and I guess the Marlins have completely lost all aspects of keeping around franchise guys. However, this is what they do

  81. I think this cannot be said enough. You are not only trading for a proven MLB player. You are trading for a superstar who is only 24!

    I also think that getting Willis thrown in was a great move. He may never be as great as he was, but he provides you a lot of innings.

  82. Stu,
    I’m with you & the idea of a souped-up AL has me looking for the Braves ’08 IL sked.

    It looks like this:

    Not horrible, but it’s hard to do worse than we did last year. I actually prefer to play the big-time teams, but I gotta admit that last year was ridiculous.

  83. Unfortunately, ESPN’s Jayson Stark is reporting that the Braves are “kicking the tires” on veteran catcher Damian Moss as the next backup.

  84. Detroit lineup

    Jacque Jones

    that is ridiculous

  85. jea,

    It’s all right. That mistake is easy to make for a Braves fan. ;)

    “Wow, Damian Moss could catch too?” :D Hee hee.

  86. notes from MLB rumors

    WEEI reported today that Jon Lester fired his agent and hired Scott Boras. Jacoby Ellsbury signed on with him earlier.

    The Braves are looking at adding Damian Miller as their backup catcher. The Nats are known to have interest and more playing time for Miller.

  87. interesting

    Braves Offer James For DeJesus?
    UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 4:21pm: Debunked! David O’Brien says the Braves aren’t in talks about DeJesus, and the Royals have a negative opinion of James anyway.

  88. csg,

    Yep, something about him being a “breakdown waiting to happen”. He was injured before, in 2005 I believe, but I don’t remember what it was about.

  89. if he learns another pitch he can be effective in my opinion…never a top of the rotation guy, but #3-4 I’ll take him while he’s cheap

  90. I’m not necessarily unhappy with the moves the Braves have made but it seems that their focus is pretty much limited to being good enough to make the playoffs in the NL and hope to get hot. They aren’t trying to be an excellent team like they used to. If you look at the rotation, they have two forty-somethings pitching, a somewhat overrated Tim Hudson, and a couple of hope they develops. Given how weak the NL is, the Braves could well be good enough to make the playoffs but it distresses me that they don’t appear to have enough or don’t have the desire to get in on one of the stud pitchers. I’m not expecting Santana but I would really like to see one more good arm in this rotation. Of course, if Jurrjens (no idea how to spell it) or Reyes develops, maybe this is moot. But it looks to me like the Braves have decided they have enough payroll to shoot for 88-92 wins but not much more. Meanwhile, the top AL teams are becoming monsters. I guess I’m spoiled, but I’m a little discouraged even though I think the Braves will have a pretty good team. The Tigers certainly aren’t a huge market team (no one lives in Detroit anymore) but they seem to be aggressively trying to win–of course, they have to be great to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. In the NL, you don’t have to be great and that seems to be how the NL teams approach things; just be good enough to get in the playoffs.

  91. Marc, if that is the Braves plan of attack, I don’t exactly disagree with it.

    The Braves can’t compete year to year against the Yankees and Red Sox’s of the world unless they have have more money to spend on the Santana’s of the world.

    I guess what I’m saying is to a certain extent, let the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, etc., sign the big money free agents and beat themselves up in the playoffs. The Braves don’t have to be able to beat all of those teams, last time I checked, they only have to beat one. I think it’s fine to try and build a team that’s good enough to make the World Series, and then see if you can “get hot” like the Cardinals did, and presto, there’s your World Series title.

  92. Who’s for becoming like the Marlins after the Braves’ old guard retires? If they can pull crazy trades like this, but still remain competitive, why can’t the Braves do the same thing? The fan base that goes to games is eroding anyway; what’s a few seasons of losing going to mean when it brings periods of TOP success, something the Braves haven’t had in over a decade?

  93. Who’s for becoming like the Marlins after the Braves’ old guard retires?

    Count me out. The Marlins have gotten lucky with their WS wins, nothing more, nothing less. I’m actually quite happy with the Braves being what they are now, a mid-tier payroll with a front office smart enough to make it competitive. If they suddenly started spending Dodger/Met money again, well, that wouldn’t suck, but as long as they don’t go all 80’s on us again I’m happy.

  94. I think Willis sucks personally so I am actually going to miss facing him in the NL East.

    This helps the Braves not to have to worry about Miguel Cabrera, but conversely, hurts us because we don’t get to face Willis who we own essentially.

    A good trade for the Tigers from the standpoint that they now have the best lineup in the AL plus Cabrera is a beast of a hitter at a young age.

    But I agree with above comments that Willis will get waxed in the AL.

  95. Has there been any word on where they expect Cabrera to play? Is he for sure going to play 3B?

    Brandon Inge was in my little league so I’d like to see him keep a job. Plus, I do think he’s a good fielder. I wonder if they would consider (and if Cabrera would consider) moving miggy to LF. I think it’s been brought up before.

  96. they traded for Jacque Jones this offseason also, so I guess he’s their LF’r. Cabrera will play 3rd

  97. Yeah, I read where they plan on playing Cabrera at third, Inge is on the block, wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up with the Phillies if they can’t come up with something else.

  98. from MLB rumors earlier today

    The big fish are still out there in Johan Santana, Erik Bedard, and Dan Haren. The Mets won’t include Jose Reyes, David Wright, or Carlos Beltran in any deal. It’s been said that a Carlos Gomez/Aaron Heilman/Philip Humber package was offered for Bedard and rejected.

  99. I was just putting that idea out there. I wouldn’t trade our 15 years of success and one year of World Series victory of for 10+ years of ultimate failure and two World Series victories for anything.

    Besides, the Marlins have a unique situation: less than 2 million fans nearly every year and a payroll practically less than $20 million.

  100. The Mets have no shjot to land an ace if they don’t trade a player like Reyes or Beltran.

    I’m looking forward to facing the Mets rotation next year.

    My guess is the best pitcher the Mets are likely to land is Ian Snell. Now Snell is a solid starter but he’s not going to make them unstoppable & I am not buying John Maine being that good again next year.

    As for the Bosox, if they get Johann Santana, they are unstoppable.

    Also, Carl Pohlad should be removed by Major League Baseball as owner of the Twins. Everyone knows he has gazillions and refuses to spend it on keeping the best pitcher in Baseball? Asinine.

  101. interesting

    Braves Talk To Angels About Willits
    According to David O’Brien of the AJC, the Braves have talked to the Angels about outfielder Reggie Willits. The Braves could plug Willits into their center field spot for a few years. But what could they offer the Angels?

  102. Willits has good OBP (if I remember correctly) and hustles… but is he really that good? I’m asking because I’ve never really seen him play.

  103. Well, considering he wasn’t particularly special in the minors or majors except for his speed, I wouldn’t think it would take too much to get him. He has no power to speak of, but he can take a walk.

    Maybe he could be had for something that isn’t too expensive.

  104. Crasnick suggested that Milwaukee might be a good fit for Inge since the Rollen talks didn’t work out. That would be sweet… I could go see him play this summer.

  105. Stu, #123, I know you may be being facetious, but that question actually came up on minorleagueball.com today, and it turns out that Rick Porcello isn’t eligible to be a PTBNL or trade bait of any kind — PTBNLs have to be named within 6 months of the trade being made, and players can’t be traded until a year after they’ve been drafted as amateurs (the 2007 draft was on June 7).

    So Porcello’s definitely a Tiger for now.

  106. AAR,

    Thanks. I wasn’t actually being facetious. I knew players couldn’t be traded until a year after they’re drafted, but I didn’t know about the 6-month rule.

  107. Marc Schnieder, I am guessing that the Braves know that
    a. In a weak NL they have enough to compete
    b. Now a days its not the best team but the hottest team in October that wins it all.
    c. The foundation is old but there is enough of a mixture of talent so that the team won’t have to go through a drought period like the Marlins.
    d. Prospects, who cares? The Tigers got the best hitter(besides A-Rod) available and an arm with potential to re bound to at least very goodness if not greatness. In a division with the equally talented Indians I have to commend them for their aggressiveness.
    e. Everyone is essentially correct. Even adding Schafer in the mix doesn’t make Chuck James and Brent Lillibridge look good enough to get a first tier starter like Haren or Bedard. Or for that matter Blanton since pitching is so way over valued now.
    f. While I wanted Wren to be more aggressive this off season he simply cannot without creating a hole bigger than the ones he has.

  108. DOB says the Braves have talked to Anaheim about Reggie Willits. Had a .391 OBP with 27 SB for the Angels last year. Intriguing option, although I’m not sure what his defensive rep is.

  109. I really don’t see a way the Braves could field a better team than what they’re currently doing except to increase payroll substantially. And that’s not up to anyone but the parent company. And no, becoming the Marlins would absolutely suck. I love that Chipper and Smoltzy have been here their entire careers and that it’s a big deal that Andruw won’t be playing here for the first time in his career. With the Marlins, you get 6 years (if you’re lucky) and then they’re gone. Hard to root for that.

    Willits could be nice (and cheap since the Angles just signed Hunter) provided he’s cheap. If the difference in cost is substantial, I’d rather have him than DeJesus. That said, he looks like a more-proven Blanco to me: high OBA, decent average, good SBs. My only thing is, wouldn’t be be a bit redundant at this point? I mean, how many mediocre CFs are we going to bring in only to have to cut or trade them come spring?

  110. Why can’t the Braves do the same thing [as the Marlins]? The fan base that goes to games is eroding anyway;

    FYI – The Braves’ attendance actually increased this past year.

  111. Yes, I KNOW that, but what I meant is that fans stop coming when they’re convinced that the Braves will lose, and fans from other teams like the Cubs and Red Sox regularly turn Turner Field into a road game.

  112. Lillibridge update: Tuesday’s acquisition of Infante likely ensures Brent Lillibridge will have an opportunity to gain some more seasoning in the Minors at the beginning of the 2008 season. But the 24-year-old shortstop has definitely caught the attention of Cox, who said again on Tuesday that he “really likes him.”

    Had he not been bothered by a sore wrist, Lillibridge would have been sent to play winter ball to get acquainted with the outfield and prepare to compete for the starting center-field spot. His wrist is seemingly healthy and he’s scheduled to begin hitting exercises again next week.

  113. @160

    how many mediocre CFs are we going to bring in only to have to cut or trade them come spring?

    In understand your point, but really Anderson is the only guy, and I think it’s better to get something for the Vulture than just non-tender him.

    As for Willits, I’m a big fan. I saw him in St. Louis at a Cardinals game during interleague this summer. Looked good in the outfield.

    His natural position is center field so he’d be a fit and also has some upside to him. Angels have six outfielders on their 25 man so something’s gotta give.

    Definitely take him over DeJesus, not even taking into accout the 4 MM you would save.

  114. why is this sooo funny to me

    UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 10:16pm: The Mets again offered Heilman, Gomez, and Humber for Bedard, perhaps thinking that offering it twice would be helpful. MLB.com’s Marty Noble says the Mets may reconfigure their offer, replacing Humber with Pelfrey or Mulvey.

    Minaya, is the 3rd time going to be the charm? Maybe you should offer it again and give them a Yankees type deadline to accept the offer!!

  115. To even have a shot, they’d need to have Pelfrey, Gomez, Martinez as the base. Bedard is cheaper than Haren and (last season) as good as Santana.

    That would gut the farm system completly and the Mutts don’t have the balls to pull that kind of trigger.

  116. csg, thanks for the Pimp C update, I hadn’t seen that, I think the new poll should be “do you know who Pimp C is”

  117. The guys on Baseball Tonight say Boras has indicated that Andruw Jones has a $100M deal on the table, though he won’t sau who it is with.

    At what point does he lose all credibility?

  118. We don’t have to win the World Series with the team that breaks Spring Training, just get to July. I think we can do that and then assess the market, as well as our strengths/weaknesses. Pitchers who are not available now are likely to be available then (Harang?).

    I like Wren’s stewardship thus far and am willing to trust him to do his due diligence exploring deals without chasing them unnecessarily. If there is a deal that suits us and we have the prospects to make, I’m sure he’ll be all over it.

  119. And to complete my post run, I just saw that Bob Stoops’ final Coaches poll vote went:

    1. Oklahoma

    6. LSU
    7. USC
    8. Georgia

    Interesting. The guys on ESPN’s College Football Live remarked that he tried his hardest to get the Sooners in the championship.

    I wonder who the other team in his top 7 would be besides the BCS conference champions. Hawaii?

    Also, Howard Schnellenberger (FAU) voted Florida #21. Ouch. Bitter much, Howie?

  120. If you look at the coaches’ votes they’re almost all indefensible. Stoops’s is no different. He basically did the same thing everyone else did and overrated his own conference, but having Va. Tech over LSU is his main crime. A few coaches had Kansas and Missouri both ranked ahead of OU, so it isn’t like Stoops is the only voter who should have his card taken away.

    Spurrier was the other coach to vote OU number one, incidentally, and his ballot was probably the most accurate of all the coaches. He had LSU at 2 and OSU at 5, which is about right.

    The problem is all these coaches are biased and they don’t watch a whole lot of teams they don’t play against.

    Schnellenberger is an asshole.

  121. hey!

    Cabrera and Willis to Detroit for

    Cameron Maybin, Miller and 4 others…


    wondering what it would take to get Miller from Florida???????

    or even Maybin…

  122. I was going to make a joke about Dontrelle being backed up by a 3B/SS combo of Cabrera/Edgar — then I remembered he just spent two years in front of Cabrera/Hanley Ramirez. Never mind.

    Did I hear someone say Pumpsie Green was found dead?

  123. #170 – why would he come say something like that. Its not like there are 5 or 6 teams willing to come make an offer for Druw. Boras/Andruw needs to take whatever offer they can get at this point. I bet the Red Sox just love that Boras just picked up Lester and Ellsbury.

  124. I don’t think the Red Sox care. They have basically an infinite payroll and at least one of those players will be playing for Minnesota next year anyway.

  125. That Mets package isn’t anywhere near as good as what some teams have reportedly been offering, or could be offering. Namely, I’m speaking of Seattle (Adam Jones and George Sherill) and Cincinnati (Joey Votto and Homer Bailey). If either of those two teams make that offer, I have to think it’s a done deal. But then, the Orioles are the Orioles, who who knows.

  126. forgot to finish that sentence…

    why would he come out and say something like that if it wasnt true? there aren’t that many teams interested in Druw at a $80-100 mil contract. If they have received an offer for that amount then take it. They say that Boras wants a contract like J.D.’s where Andruw can opt out in the middle if he wants

  127. Adam M, to bad they still have to get the okay from Angelos. He will stop any trades from taking place esp. for Bedard. That’s why he’s bad for the team and baseball. He wont let them rebuild, just continue to get worse

  128. Oh, and I would rather have Dejesus than Willits, who actually has a .339 SLG, which is so terrible that it boggles the mind. He’s a batting slum away from being one of the worst hitters in baseball. Dejesus is slightly above average for his career, Willits is well below. No thanks.

  129. would you rather trade for Willits or let Anderson/Schafer start there next season. Anderson and Willits look as if they could be very similar, all avg and no power

  130. mlb rumors….says that Beane could be asking for at least 6 solid prospects for Haren. This my friend is why Wren is wasting his time. People think he’s sitting on his hands, but the price for pitchers is just way too ridiculous right now

  131. James/Lillibridge/Jones/Acosta/Hernandez/Locke

    That’s 6 “solid” prospects, and I’d send ’em all for Haren.

  132. @174, I think voting Oklahoma #1 is defensible, but the reasons for doing so would seem to carry Georgia higher to me, unless Stoops put the conference champions AND Hawaii 1-7 and made UGA his highest ranked non-conference champion.

    That’s why I was wondering who Stoops’ other teams up there are. I wasn’t intending to say Stoops should be ridiculed. Even if Missoui is the other team, if you think Oklahoma is #1 and that’s the only team that beat Missouri, you could argue for Missouri as high as #2.

    I just thought it was interesting in a non-critical way. The ESPN guys seemed to think it was less than genuine, but I think a decent case could be made for it.

  133. Peter Angelos thinks he is a baseball genius since 1996 when he refused to trade vets for prospects and the O’s made the playoffs. Since then, he won’t make trades. It makes no sense not to trade Bedard since he has said he won’t resign after ’09 and the O’s are nowhere near competing for the playoffs considering the division they are in. This kind of idiotic management is why teams lose year after year; unfortunately, we here in the DC area seem to have this in spades.

    By the way, I love how managements will talk about the importance of “character” but when they have a chance to take talent, they do so even if the guy is pure evil; ie, Elijah Dukes to the Nats. This guy should be in jail, not playing baseball. Same thing in football; if Lawrence Phillips could play, he would still be in the NFL no matter how many women he beat up.

    I agree the Braves don’t have the assets or the money to go after the available pitching but I sure wish that they could get one more top arm, not a stop gap like Glavine (whom I like a lot). I would certainly rather be the Braves than the Marlins (or the Blue Jays)and the Tigers had to go through hell to get where they are now. Still, I can’t help feeling wistful when I see what the Tigers have done. Of course, the Braves real problem is they have been absolutely awful at developing pitching.

  134. I’m not sure how often it’s done anymore, but aren’t we all forgetting about 3 team trades, in which the Braves trade with Team A (where there is a match) and then the Braves take Team A’s players/prospects and trade them to Team B for Bedard/Haren, etc, thus creating a match? I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but those types of trades used to be done.

  135. We can’t afford to make a 6 prospect deal for Haren. I just don’t think the farm system is deep enough and that price is ridiculous. What would Pittsburgh want for Snell or could we revisit the Arroyo deal?

  136. Also, What about Burnett or Rich Harden? I’d rather take a chance on these guys than give up the farm.

  137. I’ve actually been living in Baltimore recently and am well aware of how crazy Angelos is. He’s a joke. I’d also ask why MacPhail is even in Nashville if he can’t make a real trade, but then that would assume a semblance of logic to anything going on in the Orioles organization.

    But for some unknown reason, I do think a trade could get done, and that it will merely take a lot. At the moment, Seattle has the lead, I’m reading, but those are just rumors and they would be giving up the farm for a guy who has never pitched 200 innings. Then again, even if Bedard provides those 182 innings he did for Baltimore last season, that’s 182 innings of 146 ERA+ and 221 Ks. Felix and Bedard would make them instantly competitive in the AL West.

    And that’s too bad about Dejesus.

  138. how do you think the Mets fans will feel if their only moves this offseason are

    1. trading for Estrada
    2. letting Glavine go
    3. signing Livan Hernandez
    4. trading their savior “Milledge” for garbage

  139. I know I’m on crack but…. what if the Braves dangled Yunel Escobar out there as part of a package for one of the number ones out there on the market? I mean we do have Lillibridge.

    Don’t get me wrong I know I’m hallucinating and it won’t happen but…..

    I guess the reason that I’m all for trying to get a Haren or Bedard is that the team is relatively young EXCEPT for our top of the rotation. We have infielders and outfielders and hitters but no really good pitching coming up.

  140. I can’t really understand why the Red Sox are giving up so much for Santana. I mean, he is obviously a great pitcher but the Sox aren’t exactly destitute in pitching and in desparate need to make a move to win the WS. I’ve been hearing five for one and that seems an awful lot to give up when you are already the defending champions. Of course, it keeps him away from the Yankees. I would think it would make more sense for a team like the Dodgers, a big market team that hasn’t won in a long time.

    I’m not sure I would give up six solid prospects for Haren. Is he THAT good? But I agree with Johnny, it’s not going to happen but the Braves really need a good young arm at the top of the rotation.

  141. #200 – the reason is they just dont have any budget restraints. they dont have a problem giving up their prospects for immediate needs because they can afford almost any FA out there.

    why is there so much hype around the Ellsbury kid? I really know nothing about him

  142. If I’m the BoSox & I can get Santana for Lester, Crisp & prospects, I go for it. They keep Ellsbury & Buchholz.

    The BoSox look at a Santana deal as if they’re acquiring Koufax to go with their Drysdale. You gotta admit that Beckett & Santana make a pretty nasty 1-2 in a short series, not to mention a 162-game season.

    If I’m the Twins, I take a good, hard look at those prospects before I turn down Phil Hughes (because Crisp is just a more expensive Melky Cabrera—they have almost identical career & ’07 OPS). He would seem to be the prize their looking for.

  143. I believe if Wren could do a deal for Haren or Bedard, then he would. If he had no payroll restrictions or if he had the near MLB ready talent that those teams are looking for, then I believe he would be aggressively pursuing those guys, but he doesn’t have either of those things, so he has no option.

  144. @202
    career minors: .313 .389 .425
    33 games in MLB .353 .394 .509
    Doesn’t look like he has much power despite the 500 slg but… small sample size.

    @200 Denying the Yankees as much as strengthing your rotation. Russia and the United States building one more ICBM.

  145. Don’t cry for the Yankees. Word is, once the Santana deal is done, they’re gunning for Haren. Oakland can expect an offer package that starts with Ian Kennedy, but probably not Hughes.

  146. mlb rumors

    UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 8:30am: The Yankees could’ve had Santana for Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Marquez, and Mitch Hilligoss. Brian Cashman, however, never wanted to sacrifice Hughes for Santana and convinced his bosses that the Yankees couldn’t afford him now that Andy Pettitte is in the fold. This near-trade won’t be forgotten by Yankees fans, unless Hughes takes off in ’08.

  147. #205 – I bet if KJ was in Boston or NY he would be the best thing we’ve ever seen

    what were his minor league #’s like?

  148. Scouts compare Jacoby Ellsbury to Johnny Damon with slightly less power. If that holds remotely true, he’ll be a hell of a leadoff hitter. Still, I doubt his value will ever be higher than it is right now, considering his playoff performance and his incredibly low price.

  149. from Fox Sports…

    Mets pitcher victim of an impostor?
    The Mets say pitcher John Maine is the victim of an impostor who has been asking women for their outfits. Thursday, a woman named Abby Cohen called the club Touch to get “John Maine” a table at their opening night. When the man arrived, he identified himself as the Mets pitcher and asked several young ladies if he could try on their dresses (even offering a reporter $200 for hers). Despite being “recognized” as Maine by doormen and publicists for Touch, the Mets insist that he has not been in New York since October and was in Virginia on the night of incident. — NY Daily News

  150. So, I’ll be attending a conference this afternoon at the Radisson Opryland, which is right across the street from the Opryland Hotel, where the Winter Meetings are taking place.

    If the Braves acquire Erik Bedard, you’ll have me to thank, since I plan to arrange a meeting between Wren and McPhail.

  151. Make it happen, Stu, and I’ll name my next dog after you. I’m too old to tackle fatherhood again, so that’s the best I can do.

  152. csg,

    I have been a huge fan of KJ for some time. He put up huge numbers at A+ and below. I think he had 25 HRs one year. He was on the top 100 list for Baseball America in ranking all minor league prospects. The next year at AA he struggled and did not have as good of year. I think he hit in the .265 range, though he still walked a lot. He then went to AAA, which would have been two years ago, and was on fire. He was actually one of the first “Baby Braves” called up that year. He was playing LF, and is playing time decreased that year because of Langerhans, huh?

    I really think that KJ will grow into a Chase Utley type player. I definitely see him making multiple all-star teams.

  153. Yeah, as a backup. Kelly Johnson may be a Chase Utley type, but as long as the real Chase Utley’s around, KJ isn’t getting into any All-Star games.

  154. Is it just me or is anyone else not a big fan of Philip Hughes? I look at him, and his mechanics do not look fluid. I would definitely give him up to Johan Santana. I think the one who is going to be a superstar, if he can stay healthy is Joba Chamberlain.

    All this is not to say that Hughes will not be a quality MLB player. I just do not see why he would be the hold up in a deal for Santana.

  155. Yeah, I normally view Cashman quite favorably as the sane person in the Bronx front office, but I don’t get the unwillingness to include Hughes for the biggest sure-thing out there, pitching-wise. Seems like a bad move.

  156. Sam,

    I agree. I do not think that he will get the starting nod over Utley any time soon. I think Utley is clearly the best 2nd baseman now, and easily the best player on the Phillies.

  157. Easily the best player on the Phillies? Really? It seems at least arguable that Howard or Rollins is better.

  158. Good Luck Stu! Yeah, I am not a big fan of Rollins. I would be willing to argue Howard, but I think Utley is clearly the better all-around player.

  159. Supposedly the Braves are interested in Sal Fasano now. If we’re going to get a no-hit veteran catcher, then it may as well be this guy. At least he’s fun to look at.

  160. Looks like the Jays are looking to trade Rios to San Fran for Matt Cain or Lincecum. I’d love to have him for Chuck James.

    Also, looks like someone might be able to offer Milton Bradley a one year deal – I’d be willing to do that too.

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