Chuck James

A #3 starter is the middle of the rotation, so an average #3 starter should be average. Chuck was essentially average last year — a 4.24 ERA in a 4.26 context — so why is everyone giving him a hard time? One thing is that we’re spoiled. Another is that Chuck’s ERA slightly understates his effectiveness, since more of a fly-ball pitcher’s runs are scored as earned than for average or ground-ball pitchers; his “runs average” was clearly better than the league. He wasn’t the problem last year; see yesterday’s Glavine comment for the problem.

The important things, however, are that he’s not progressing, but apparently going backward, and that he averaged only 5.38 innings a start. In the first category, not only did his ERA go up but his home run rate did as well, and his strikeout rate went from 6.88/9 to 6.47; a troubling trend in a pitcher in his second season, when most pitchers’ strikeout rates rise.

The second can be somewhat overblown, but it’s a problem. James relies upon deception, and deception only works for so long. Batters hit .244/.306/.409 against him the first time they saw him, striking out 58 times in 254 AB. The second time, they hit .239/.303/.447, striking out 42 times in 226 AB. The third time and after, they pounded him, .345/.405/.647, with just 16 strikeouts in 139 AB.

James probably isn’t going to get moved to the bullpen, because he has a very small platoon split; basically lefties hit him for a lower average but with slightly more power. The diagnosis, with which I agree, is that he needs another pitch, a breaking ball, but he’s been unable to develop one and seems unconcerned… In his defense, he had some injuries, which dragged down his performance in the second half. Lacking great velocity, he’s a fine-line pitcher, and if he’s off he’s going to get pounded.

Chuck James Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

151 thoughts on “Chuck James”

  1. Great analysis Mac, not much I can add. I think the only other thing I would like to see improved, is his stamina. It seemed like whenever he got near 80+ pitches he would lose velocity and get sloppy with his mechanics.

    When we signed Glavine earlier in the offseason there were a lot of people who said that he was no better than Chuck James. There is definitely some merit to this, but the thing that always stood out in my mind were the differences in the number of quality starts. I think Glavine had 23 last year and Chuck James only had 12. Hopefully with improved stamina and another pitch James will be able to go deeper into games, and make the necessary progress.

  2. i hope to see a bounce back year for chuck. i would like to see him provide more innings with a high 3 era. i think he’s capable of that kind of production. wasnt there word on the street that he was going to work on another pitch this offseason?

  3. That is what people have been saying, hopefully he will. I am sure we will learn a lot more once they get down to Orlando.

  4. @4. Exactly…at least Glavine can try to teach him the utility of having one. That’s a huge, generally unspoken benefit to bringing Glavine back.

  5. Can we just trade James to Seattle for another quality reliever before it’s too late? I hope the acquisition of Jurrjens is an indicator that the Braves have realized soft tossing lefties who throw up in the strike zone are not the way to go to rebuild the rotation.

  6. I thought it was really frustrating and tough to watch games in which James pitched. He was usually cruising through the first three innings and then anything could happen. Maybe he would actually be best used in the bullpen.

  7. It is pretty hard to develop a major league breaking ball from scratch. I would be surprised if he adds a third pitch this off-season.

  8. He really does need a third pitch because his control is not exceptional like Glavine. He doesn’t have to develop a third out pitch, just a show me kind of pitch. I think a cutter or sinker are two pitches he could try that he could learn fairly quickly.

  9. Dix, that’s not actually true — Glavine has been throwing a curveball a fair amount since he turned 40. He basically developed it while he was with the Mets.

    Also, Chuck has stated that he’s working on his slider, which is below-average, realizing that he needs another pitch. He also claims not to be at all happy with his performance last year, and says that he was pitching through injury much of the year, which would contribute to the lack of stamina (and, I imagine, the awful stats on the 3rd time seeing a batter).

    And, yes, James is talented. Have you SEEN his minor league stats? Just to remind you, overall he pitched 379 1/3 innings on the farm, 443 strikeouts, 109 walks, 2.09 ERA, 0.95. He’s a plenty good pitcher. He may be country stupid, but that never prevented anyone from developing a third pitch with Tom Glavine sitting next to them on the bench.

  10. Maybe I’m making too big a thing of this, but one thing that bothers me about James is that he seems not to be a “student” of the game. I hope that he picks Glavine’s ear but I’m not sure he will. Soft tossing lefties need to be smart and understand their craft. But let’s face it, all of the Braves pitchers (other than Smoltz and Glavine obviously) labor under the burden of being Braves post-90s pitchers. They are never going to satisfy us as fans because the standards were set so high. How do you follow up a rotation with three Hall of Famers? It’s like being the coach that followed John Wooden.

    As for developing new pitches, it’s not really fair to use John Smoltz as a model. The guy is extraordinary–who else could develop a knuckleball when his arm was hurting?

    From a previous threat, I partly agree with Alex about Bobby Cox being overrated in some respects but I think his flaws are common to most managers and certainly those of his generation. Everyone tends to pick at moves by their favorite team; I suspect you could go through all 30 teams, including the Red Sox, and find player moves that seem baffling. (And the idea that Anderson would platoon with Diaz truly is.) Bobby’s strength has always been handling players and establishing the clubhouse and that is probably the most important thing; I think that baseball strategy is vastly overrated. He has also had great players, both here and in Toronto and that helps a lot too. Having said that, anyone can stay around too long and can become too set in their ways; it was true of Casey Stengel and maybe it’s true with Bobby as well. I certainly think he deserves to go out on his own terms, but I would think another year or two at the most should be the max.

  11. Leo, isn’t a savior. Leo was only as good as Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux. He had his fair share of non-improvers also.

    As for James, I dont see him developing another pitch this offseason. Doesnt he have a torn rotator cuff or something??

  12. No, I do not think that is true csg. I have not heard that anywhere. As far as I know he is healthy and was supposedly going to be putting more emphasis on his offseason routine.

  13. Marc,

    I completely agree with you – the “aww shucks i work at lowes and i just pitch like i pitch without thinking” charm has worn off . . . the hitters definitely know chuck now and its time chuck got to know the hitters a little better

  14. I am not looking forward to the day that Cox is no longer on the bench. I understand how some fans have an apathy when someone has been there as long as Cox has, and it is true he has had some great players and teams. He has also had some teams that were not as talented that he has kept in continued contention. I think he does a good job of usually putting his players in the best place to succeed. I have not yet seen anything that would lead me to believe that those skills have diminished.

  15. In other tennis news, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanoviv made it to the Australian Open finals. You know who wins that match-up? Everyone who watches, that’s who.

  16. I thought I had read somewhere (how’s that for credibility?) that Chuck did have a partial tear and that he hadn’t thrown all winter. Tough to develop another pitch that way. Can anyone confirm or deny?

  17. On Bobby. Every manager will say that the key to their success is having good players. I’ve seen Bobby quoted many times saying that. But one of the biggest differences between Bobby and say Larry Bowa is that Bobby’s players want to play for him. They know that no matter how bad they are sucking it up that he’ll stand by them and give them a chance. That being said there are limits to his patience and the players know that too. Game management is a small part of winning in baseball. I rue the day Bobby retires. Yeah, the platoons and the bunting and all that stuff drives me crazy but you can’t argue with the results.

    Mac’s analysis tells us that James is an average MLB pitcher. I agree with everyone that the hell of it is thats all he may ever be. Yes Braves fans we are spoiled rotten.

  18. This year, we certainly need an improvement from Chucky because last season was sort of like “Spahn & Sain, pray for James.” He may have been average, but (as has been mentioned) this team needed way more than average from its #3.

    I hope he’s been on the treadmill this off-season. Rarely do you see a guy run out of gas so quickly, so dramatically and, well, so expectedly.

    At this point in his career, Chucky is one of those classic “Grade C” pitchers in APBA (sim baseball)—he can win you a game as easily as he can get bombed. I’m not holding my breath, but I’d love to see Chucky approach Grade B status.

  19. I am not going to ever say that Chuck James will be a number 1 type starter, but when he is on he has one of the best changeups in the NL. I would honestly put that pitch up with anyone including Cole Hamels. Of course with that said we all agree that James cannot be better than an average starter unless he develops that 3rd pitch.

  20. Dix,

    Chuck’s interview either on Peanut’s blog or in ajc said he had not thrown at all because of the parial tear (as of around mid December). The article was negative on much progress on that before spring training.

    On somebody’s Glavine one pitch comment, Glavine was basically like James has been so far (not too fast of a fastball with a devastating changeup) through most of Glavine’s career. He had a “show me” slider / curve that he used every once and a while. Glavine’s increased use of that since he has been in NY saved his effectiveness.

  21. from Fox Sports player profile…

    News: James was diagnosed with a slight tear in his rotator cuff after the end of the 2007 season and is rehabbing the injury this offseason, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The injury was considered minor and didn’t require surgery. [ – ]
    Impact: James struggled in the second half last season when his shoulder became fatigued. While a diagnosis of the problem could mean an improvement for 2008, be sure to watch his health in spring training just in case this becomes more than a minor issue. (RotoWire – Mon. Jan 14, 2008)

    Even though its a minor injury, I’m sure the training staff doesnt want him throwing that much

  22. which makes me feel like, that tired arm issue was a far worse injury than they led on. Sounds like he was pitching with a slight tear at the end of last year. I believe he was put on the DL in July or August with the shoulder problems

  23. A #3 starter is the middle of the rotation, so an average #3 starter should be average. Chuck was essentially average last year — a 4.24 ERA in a 4.26 context — so why is everyone giving him a hard time?

    Could be because his lack of stamina makes him below average. If a guy went four innings a start at league average ERA, would you still say he’s average? I hope not.

    There were 77 full time starters in the NL last year that made at least 10 starts. In innings/start Chuck James finished…wait for it…69th or 77.

    He did beat out this illustrious group:
    Anthony Reyes
    Scott Olsen
    Buddy Carlyle
    Freddy Garcia
    Jo-Jo Reyes
    Kyle Davies
    Rick VandenHurk
    Joel Hanrahan

    Anybody notice a trend in that list?

  24. It’s not really fair to compare James to Glavine since for most of his career Tommy pitched with a wide strike zone which allowed him to get away with having only 2 quality pitches, only throwing to one side of the plate, and throwing a high pitch count per batter.

  25. Another good reason not to compare Glavine and James is that Tommy was a much, much better pitcher than Chuck is right now. Miles and miles apart.

  26. Well, for one thing, Robert, I covered that in the next two paragraphs. Duh.

    Every lefthander gets compared to Glavine, of course, but Glavine didn’t become a good pitcher until his fifth year in the league.

  27. No, I’m a South Carolina fan. He just left to be the Falcons’ DC a few weeks after taking the DC job at South Carolina, and right before Signing Day too.

  28. I just saw the article on Van Gorder. I can’t say I blame him. The difference in salaries for NFL coordinators and college coordinators is drastic, especially now thanks to Jason Garrett. I am sure every coordinator loves the Cowboys for that

  29. I think Chuck James will improve this year barring injury. Last year was only his first full MLB season. I’m generally a big Chuck fan.

  30. Maybe so, but he’s a proven liar after what he has said to the press. I mean, he just said that he was at SC to stay just a few weeks after taking the job!

  31. I must have missed something but when did Van Gorder say he was already looking to leave South Carolina? If that’s the case, he’s now clearly in Bobby Petrino territory.

    He did a fantasic job for my Dawgs for 4 years as D.C. and it seems like it’s been downhill ever since for Brian.

    re: James

    He claims to have gotten himself in better shape this winter to fight fatigue better. Who knows. He may in fact be a lefthander who should be in the bullpen.

    I know I just want to see him go past the 5th a few times.

  32. Van Gorder is certainly in Petrino territory. I don’t mind seeing this happen to Spurrier, though.

  33. kenny-

    Seriously?

    I am actually (in all seriousness) wondering if Brian has an actual mental condition. This is CRAZY if it’s true.

    He almost seems like he either has a split personality or maybe is clinically depressed. If so, very sad, but maybe he needs to sort his life out. wow.

  34. Wow…just went to the AJC.

    There appears to be something wrong with Van Gorder. That’s just insane how many times this guy keeps changing his mind.

  35. I honestly do not know too much about him, but there is no doubt he is getting a bad rap. I am a little surprised it has not hurt him more than it has. I will say though, in his defense the money is going to be a lot more. I think the average coordinator in the NFL is making over 500K now. I don’t know what they were paying at South Carolina, but I would guess it was near the 200K mark.

  36. Kenny,

    That’s a fair point to make about the money, but at some point, you need to show some sense of self respect.

    Let me put it this way, if he fails as the Falcons DC and is out within a year or two, he’s going to have a hard time getting even a linebacker coach’s job in Division II.

    At this point, no University nor any other NFL team is going to trust BVG.

    And I won’t speak for the rest of BravesJournal, but $200,000 a year is still a lot of money to live on & support a family.

  37. Well, for one thing, Robert, I covered that in the next two paragraphs. Duh.

    You sure did, but you still argue he’s average and not a problem. But he’s not and he is.

    Other than that we agree completely.

    Every lefthander gets compared to Glavine, of course, but Glavine didn’t become a good pitcher until his fifth year in the league.

    Yeah at age 25 Glav won the Cy. James just completed his age 25 season. -Insert snarky comment about how ridiculous it is to mention these guys in the same breath-

  38. VanGorder has failed at every job he has held for the last couple years and each year he still somehow ends up getting a promotion…

    @ GSU he rid them of their succesful triple option offense that sent them to several national championship games and subsequently steered them to their worst record in years…

    So obviously, the falcons hire him as their LB’s coach. Falcons defense sucks the big one…

    So, of course, lets give him a promotion for a job well done.

    This guy must have some dirt on Arthur Blank. Some dirty dirt.

  39. Alex,

    I am definitely not trying to pull a Sprewell here and say how I have to feed my family. I was simply trying to think what his reasoning would be. We are definitely in agreement though, this is another serious hit on his credibility.

  40. -Insert snarky comment about how ridiculous it is to mention these guys in the same breath-

    Robert, if you’re looking for someone to fight you on that statement, I don’t think you’ll find too many takers. No one disagrees that they’re utterly different — and that Chuck James is, um, not quite as good as one of the best left-handed pitchers ever to play baseball.

  41. AAR,

    I think you can make a convinving argument that Chuck James will be the much better pitcher than Glavine. Of course, it helps to be high and drunk.

  42. Your right of course AAR. It’s just statements like this from #37:

    Glavine was basically like James has been so far (not too fast of a fastball with a devastating changeup) through most of Glavine’s career.

    are so crazy it makes me get a little dramatic. I mean, Chuck James doesn’t have a devastating anything. Most nights he seems fortunate to get anyone out. His best case scenario is make it through five without getting killed and pray Bobby is smart enough to get him out of there before things turn ugly.

  43. #68

    Amen, AAR.

    #67

    Kenny-

    Oh, I definitely know you weren’t trying to Sprewell the situation – you simply made a very accurate statement as to why BVG “suddenly” decided the NFL was for him again.

    My criticism over BVG’s obvious money grab (or obvious insanity – it has to be 1 of the 2) was more about how he’s making himself look, publicly at this point.

    For all intensive purposes, BVG better damn well be successful coaching the Atlanta Falcons defense (good luck with that, Brian…you’ll need it). Because (as I stated) if he fails, he’s toast on the hiring circuit.

    As much as I despise Steve Spurrier as a Georgia fan, Van Gorder would have been a LOT smarter to take the Gamecocks DC job and stick with that commitment for a good 3 years or so.

    It would have not only helped re-establishe a now tarnished defensive legacy, but it would have also show he’s capable again of job stability.

    Now he’s backed himself into a deep, deep hole. This is a likely fail scenario – it’s the Falcons defense & this team is likely to stink badly for the next 3 years. Once Brian and this staff are ultimately canned after 2 straight losing seasons, he pretty much won’t have anyone offering him a job.

  44. And I won’t speak for the rest of BravesJournal, but $200,000 a year is still a lot of money to live on & support a family.

    Alex,

    Agreed, but everything is relative and the difference in lifestyle between 200k and 500k is significant. (Granted, living in Atlanta will be more expensive than Columbia, SC, but not that much.) It’s not like going from $10 million to $15 million. In this case, I think he can legitimately claim that his family will be better off. However, if he really has been as opportunistic as people here are saying, he should consider the consequences if he ever needs another job. As the saying goes, the same people you step on on your way up will be there on your way down.

    As for James, I do think he is becoming more serious about his career. He has quit the window installation business apparently. I think he is beginning to realize that, for the money he can make in baseball, he needs to focus on that. I think a Randy Johnson can get away with not knowing who Albert Pujols is; a Chuck James cannot. I really hope that Glavine will be a good influence.

    Glavine won the Cy Young at age 25 but he had been in the majors for 5 years and had gone through some very rough patches himself. I doubt too many people in 1990 would have predicted Glavine would win the Cy Young in 1991.

  45. @70 – Robert,
    James did not get fortunate to not get killed in most of his outings. He was VERY dependable in the early innings. The guy has good poise, but no stamina. And yes, that changeup is pretty darn good. Anytime you can get major league hitters out with just 2 pitches, one of them is going to be really good. That being said, he REALLY needs to learn a third pitch to keep guys off balance – changing speeds can only get you so far.

  46. If you think that a league-average pitcher with slightly less than league-average innings a start was the problem, in a year in which the various losers who paraded through the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation put up an 18-30 record with a collective ERA around 6.00, you have a problem.

  47. @73,

    I’m not so sure you can’t get by just with changing speeds. But you have to make good pitches. When James makes good pitches, he gets guys out. Of course, he runs up high pitch counts and gets tired and maybe that’s related to not having a third pitch, but Glavine won for a long time with basically a fastball and change up. It’s a matter of command; if you put the ball where you want it, in most cases, you will get the hitter out even if he is expecting the pitch. Obviously, the difference between great pitchers like Glavine and Maddux (or Randy Johnson for that matter)and ordinary pitchers is that they have extraordinary command. It’s like football; it’s not so much what play you run as how you execute it.

  48. Hitting is timing. Pitching is doing everything to throw that timing off. Pararphrased from Warren Spahn

    James does need a 3rd pitch. It doesn’t need to be necessarily an out pitch but just something to throw hitters off balance. Changing speeds works, changing locations works.
    see Glavine, Tom if you can control the location of the ball, see Maddux, Greg. James doesn’t have that level of talent. But if he actually had a game plan and tried to adhere to it over the course of a game I think that he would be more effective. Yeah he should work out. I mean this is a 6 or 7 figure profession. If stamina was an issue last season then shame on him. Hopefully we will James will make the next steps in his professional development.

  49. I should add that there are lots of guys who have added a pitch while in the majors. I don’t know that Chuck James can, given his past unwillingness to work on his game and my suspicion that he’s dumb.

  50. 64, 72 — I won’t even mention how few peanuts the UW-Mad pays me to teach while I’m a grad student. For the same job I got paid almost 50% more at UVa. Still, very few peanuts, but significantly more than the peanut rationing I now receive (and neither amount is sufficient for a family — it takes some strategy and a lot of dividing needs and wants). The difference between 200k and 500k (or whatever our guesses were) IS significant. But if you’re already comfortable then I’m sure other factors come into play than just the peanuts.

    Really, I’m not sure why I’m rambling about this.

    As for Chuck, is a partial tear in a rotator cuff common for a pitcher of his age at the end of a season? Or is this a really bad sign?

  51. I think is big problem is that he uses his arm more than his legs and starts to get tired in the 5th inning, thus getting his pitches up in the zone and starts getting hit.

  52. I doubt that being dumb has anything to do with someone’s ability to develop a pitch — being dumb hasn’t prevented Chuck from having a phenomenal changeup. When it comes to teaching one of the basic pitches, or, in Horacio’s case, getting him to please for the love of God please NOT throw one of the basic pitches, with a good enough teacher anyone ought to at the very least be able to learn the grip and get a show-me feel.

    For Chuck to take his crappy breaking ball and move it to at least an average pitch, that’ll just depend on how good an athlete he is.

  53. Just piping up to agree that James needs a third pitch and greater stamina. I can’t get worked up about him — he’s average. He could become somewhat better than average. He will never be significantly better than average.

    I don’t consider the fact that he is approximately equal to the typical #3 starter to be either praise or condemnation — I’ll just say that a team full of players who perform to the median of their established roles will be a .500 team. And a .500 team is something you have to complain about.

  54. #77 – its not a suspicion, he’s dumb or at least plays dumb. This should give us some insight on Chuck James…

    “He has no clue who he is facing,” Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson said. “He doesn’t know a name. He doesn’t know anything. He just throws it. … To him, everybody is just a batter.

    It’s James’ aloofness that some believe has allowed him to taste so much early success. After issuing a walk to begin his Major League career on Sept. 25, 2005, teammates had to explain to him that he was smart to have carefully pitched to Colorado’s Todd Helton.

    His response was, “Why, is he a good hitter or something?”

    When James saw Mike Gonzalez throwing batting practice during the early days of camp a few weeks ago, he asked Johnson, “Who is that?” As Johnson recalls, “I had to go through the whole thing.”
    Not even recognizing Gonzalez by name, Johnson had to explain that the club’s new left-handed reliever had been acquired a month earlier in a much-publicized trade that sent Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh. “

  55. You’re dumb if you don’t work at it. Conditioning and the constant repetition needed to learn a new pitch require a lot of off season work. Hopefully James is doing all that. If not then he is dumb.

    On the torn rotater cuff. There are about a million pieces of human being that are generically called the rotater cuff. The shoulder may be an even more complex piece of machinery than the knee. If a James had a sprain or ‘tear’ as they are called now in that area it surely reduced his ablility to pitch. I’m not sure that anything can be done to prevent such injuries.

  56. Rickey’s response:

    “Rickey dont want to meet Chuck. Rickey only wants to steal bases. Rickey likes coaching”

  57. If Chucky wins 20 games this year, everyone will rave about his “relaxed” approach to the game. If he gets bombed, everyone (including me) will talk about how he needs to be more intense. Eli Manning was a weak leader when the Giants were losing, now he’s a quiet leader. It’s just the way things work.

  58. “Rickey doesn’t understand why Omar makes every terrible mistake possible as a GM except for signing Rickey to play”

    Re: Canseco

    I not at all surprised that he resorted to extortion and blackmail to get money. What a douche.

  59. Eli goes three games without throwing a soul crushing interception and suddenly everyone thinks he’s a brand new player.

    Granted, not throwing soul crushing picks is a drastic change in his profile. I’m playing the small sample size card on this one.

  60. From DOB:

    By David O’Brien
    January 24, 2008 4:11 PM

    Soriano signed a two-year contract. No arb-eligibles left unsigned, and no closer concerns a year from now, provided he stays healthy.

    Braves bought out a year of Soriano’s free agency, and they’ll have Gonzalez under control in 2009, too. It’ll be Gonzalez’s last year of arbitration in ‘09.

  61. Eli has played extremely well. That end-of-the-half TD drive vs. Dallas was pretty eye-opening.

    Thing about Eli is that he’s like a great relief pitcher: A bad day, a bad series or a bad pick doesn’t seem to faze him. He’s always dangerous at the end of the game.

    In my pool, I’m taking the 13.5 points, but covering the spread is about all I’m expecting out of this Supe.

    IMO, the only way the Giants can win is if their pass rush has a really big day. Eli & Co. playing well has to be a given.

    Everyone talks about Eli, but nobody (in NYC anyway) is talking about the biggest problem the Giants face—stopping or slowing down the Pats’ offense.

    I mean, it’s only the greatest offense in the history of the league.

  62. If you think that a league-average pitcher with slightly less than league-average innings a start was the problem, in a year in which the various losers who paraded through the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation put up an 18-30 record with a collective ERA around 6.00, you have a problem.

    This seems to imply there was only one problem. But yeah, if Chuck James is your number 3 then it’s a problem. Because he’s not going to give you the kind of innings you need from that spot and you’ll spend three straight days emptying the bullpen which is what we did all year.

    It’s not really his fault or whatever. He’s a swingman stuck into an important spot in the rotation because this organization can no longer development starting pitchers.

  63. #94 – awesome, wonder what the financial terms are. I have one concern and thats Gonzo. I wonder if he’ll be okay being the set up guy, provided he stays healthy

  64. Gonzo doesn’t have much choice. Coming off arm surgery, he’s not exactly going to attract a lot of interest as a closer. It’s actually an ideal situation b/c if he proves he is healthy and effective as a set up man, he either increases his value to the Braves or becomes a closer option for other teams.

  65. Before we crucify Van Gorder, here are some mitigating factors.

    (1) Van Gorder is widely know to be a huge a-hole, so is Steve Spurrier. Not a relationship that is going to work.

    (2) Van Gorder was on the ground floor with Richt in returning UGA to greatness and his son is playing for UGA right now. Steve Spurrier hates UGA more than any other school in the country.

    (3) Van Gorder got dumped in the cold like the rest of petrino’s staff. He wasn’t going to have a paycheck come January, so taking the SC job may have been a knee jerk decision given the shock of your head coach leaving 13 games into the season.

    (4) Jacksonville was all about getting pro experience to build up to a head coach job. GSU taught him that head coach wasnt so great. Especially when you like to chew ass rather than answer questions cordially. So, this means the new pinnacle of his career became a pro DC job. I’m sure he thought the LB job was a step towards that until..(see #3).

    So, when your dream job comes open, it pays 250% more, you wont have to move, you wont have to learn to hate your former team, coaches and friends, and you wont have to put up with Steve Spurriers crap, you take the job. He was “at USC” for about 30 days. Its not going to set them back that much. Besides, they can hire Tenutta and blitz their way into an 0-8 streak against UGA.

  66. If Gonzo comes back healthy and re-establishes his status as solid closer material he may make for a good trade piece if we find ourselves out of the playoff race. There will always be a team willing to deal for a closer.

  67. As the saying goes, the same people you step on on your way up will be there on your way down.

    I stepped on Heath Ledger on my way up, so I should be OK, right?

  68. Then you better hope his autopsy doesn’t reveal the coke OD or the next time you pass him you may not like the surroundings…

  69. Whoa, Stu. Too soon, buddy. Too soon.

    (I learned this lesson the hard way at high school after making an Aaliyah joke something like 5 days after she died. This came in handy recently, as I haven’t even had the impulse to make a Brad Renfro joke and doubt I’ll want to for another two weeks at least.)

  70. @101, if Gonzo comes back healthy, wouldn’t we want to keep him and ship off Soriano? Don’t we have Gonzo wrapped up for a longer period, or am I mistaken?

  71. I’d actually keep both, but if we are outta the playoff picture as you said (I really doubt that will happen this year) and needed to trade one to get some decent pieces, then it would be Soriano.

  72. If Gonzo comes back healthy and re-establishes his status as solid closer material he may make for a good trade piece if we find ourselves out of the playoff race.

    If Gonzalez comes back and looks great, wouldn’t it be best to keep? I prefer the Braves keep both.

    Even if the Braves wanted to trade one, wouldn’t Soriano fetch more at the trading deadline? A healthy Gonzalez could make Soriano the one getting traded…

  73. If that makes you all happier then sure, let Soriano get traded. My point was just that we’d have one to trade.

  74. I think James gets too much venom here. I don’t know how he got the rotator cuff injury (perhaps because of his delivery), but I have no doubt that that’s why he had stamina problems. It was injury related.

    He’s 26 and likely to get better barring further injuries, and there’s a solid chance he’ll be the #3 starter this year, even ahead of Glavine (who’s likely to get worse) I think that’s the jist of the James/Glavine argument.

    Mac posted something in a game thread awhile back comparing James to #3 starters on some successful teams, and James compared favorably.

  75. AJC is reporting that the deal with Soriano is 2 year 9-million, with a 500,000 signing bonus, with 2.4 million this year and 6.1 million next year. A bit too much, or back-loaded for trade bait?

  76. You wouldn’t back-load if you were planning to trade him, because that limits your options. I like the deal.

    Chad Cordero got $6.1 million in his one year deal avoiding arbitration. Soriano doesn’t have the gaudy save totals, but I think he’s a better pitcher than Cordero. Soriano’s ex-teammate JJ Putz signed a three-year deal worth $13.1 million before last season, buying out his arb years.

  77. That’s a good bit of money that could have gone toward a Teix deal. I like Soriano, though, so I’ll reserve judgment.

  78. I’ve written up Soriano, Yates, Moylan, and Ohman, and now realize that that’s everyone I’m sure will be in the bullpen to start the year. I’m not sure I’d say anyone else is more than 50-50.

  79. I’d say Bennett is over 50-50.

    Boyer is out of options. Ring is too I believe. Acosta will be in the bullpen to start the season.

    Jeff Bennett, who is not a lock, is also out of options.

    Something has to give.

  80. On Eli. Watching the game Troy Aikman said that Eli was very accurate. He sure was. Plaxico Burris made him look good. Burris made Al Harris look like a girl. Give Manning credit he threw some great balls in a tough environment.

    Ububba, I live smack dab in the middle of Buckeye country. I am going to be mass emailing that link around. Very Very funny. You are right. If it is a scoring contest the Patriots win. Its that simple.

    I’m ok with the Soriano contract. Dang its cheap if Eric Gagne gets 10 mil to pitch one inning a game.

  81. Yes, Plax was bad-ass vs. the Pack and Eli’s usual thing is that he’s not accurate.

    I’m not big on rubbing it in, but my OSU office comrade gets all worked up about the Bucks, so I needle him when I can.

    His take on the LSU game: “I think we matched up with LSU, but if we hadn’t played such a soft schedule, things would’ve been different.”

    Me: “If that’s what you call ‘matching up’…”

  82. Sam, it’s actually a $6.1 million raise over the nothing we were slated to pay him. If it’s not spent on him, the money freed up by your projected release or retirement could otherwise be spent on Teixeira, right? Basically, I have no idea what your point is.

    Like I said, though, I like Soriano, so it’s not terrible.

    Dan, Peanut has been singing Bennett’s praises all winter–I think the organization’s mouthpiece is probably worth listening to re: projected roster composition.

  83. I’ve come to the realization that we have less than a 20% chance of keeping Tex. We could probably offer $18-20 for 4/5 years, but the Yanks, Mets, and Red Sox will offer more. I like the Soriano deal because I just dont think Tex stays

  84. Well, I viewed it in terms of the $2.4 milliion that we were going to pay him in 2008. So, therefore, Soriano gets a $3.7 million raise for 2009. That $3.7 on top of the $2.4 is something that could have been going to Teixeira instead. That is my point. I’m viewing it in terms of the 2008 budget, or at least trying to. If Teixeira were to sign something beyond 2008, I’d say that he’d be getting a raise of $X million for 2009. That’s a hackneyed way of looking at it, but that was my train of thought for that.

    It’s wrong, but that’s what I was thinking.

  85. #130 – this year there isnt, but who can say that they wont trade Lowell to make room. Its a long shot but it could happen

  86. Mac, wouldn’t you think that the Sox trade Youklis to make room for Tex?

    I’m a South Carolinian thats been living here in Columbus for 10 years and I haven’t drank the Buckeye Koolaid yet. Buckeye fever tends to be annoying. As a neutral observer I like to take my occasional shot now and then.

    Mac, thanks for the player evals. Great stuff to while away the days before pitchers and catchers report.

  87. Johnny,

    The only way the Red Sox would do that is if they KNEW that they’d be able to land Teixeira. If they do that and Teixeira doesn’t sign with them, they’re out of luck.

  88. I don’t think that the Sox will trade Youkilis, no. And I don’t think they’ll move him back to third base after winning the Gold Glove at first. They might jettison Lowell, but if so they’re going to go after a third baseman, not a first baseman.

  89. The Soriano deal is an excellent one, I think. I agree Tex is the A#1 priority, but if Soriano is a good closer (and I think he will be), they got him at a great price.

  90. Stu,

    Good point. Boy, I hope they’ll be selling Teixeira Braves t-shirts this season, because that’ll be the last time I’ll ever be able to buy one.

  91. I see everyone’s point. Still count me as very pessimistic. If Tex hits free agency then he is a goner. count it

  92. So, what do you think? I do writeups on the three guys who are out of options (Bennett, Boyer, Ring) and throw everyone else into a massive “Other Relief Possibilities” post?

    Normally I’d just let it lie, but come February I’m going to be pretty busy with “real” world stuff.

  93. I’m not big on rubbing it in,

    This from the guy who comments once a week during the regular season how much he loves to torment the Mets fans in his office. Ububba, I love ya, but it’s fair to say that you enjoy sticking in the knife on occasion, no?

    Mac, whatever you want to do with the relievers is fine. I’d especially like to see Bennett and Ring; if you think Boyer has a good chance of making a contribution within his career, I’d love to see it, because I think that would be a change from your last on-the-record statement.

  94. Good to see the Soriano deal get done. I’d put this one in the plus column right now. Love the way he brings it to the mound every time out and there’s no indication he is headed for a meltdown.

    On another note, one of my favorite live bootleg blogs posted the ’78 Atlanta Sex Pistols show the other day. I know it’s been talked about here a bit so here’s the link.

  95. AAR,
    I stick to my statement.

    I almost never bring up a team’s misfortune first to an “enemy” fan, which is my definition of rubbing it in.

    But the ammo’s in the back pocket. And, when needed, I don’t mind whipping it out. My thought is: They know they lost. They’re miserable enough.

    Funny thing about many Met fans up here, though, is that they seem to talk smack whether they win, lose or endure the greatest collapse in the history of baseball. That stain’s gonna be there until they win another trophy.

  96. A few million to Soriano isn’t going to affect the offer to Tex. And they can’t spend all their money on Tex anyway.

    Johnny,

    I’m not sure why Buckeye coolaid is any worse than SEC coolaid. It’s all the same.

  97. living in florida, i have the misfortune of meeting quite a few new yawk sports fans and even though i’m on shaky ground as a braves fan these days, i cant resist slipping the knife in and giving it a hard twist. since i’m also a life-long red sox fan,( hey, i had to choose an AL team too ) the yankee people make great sport lately. ububba, if you can live among those people and not be in a constant state of open warfare, my hats off to ya.

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