147 thoughts on “I’m not silent”

  1. Mac, if he gets to the All Star break with no injuries will you change your tune on him?

    Congrats to the RedSox for the 1st win in 2008 season. Sorry to Houston Street who got lit up

  2. Mac,

    I am pulling for Hampton, not just because of how much that helps the Braves. No, more because I know every time he has a successful start, you will twist just a little tighter.

    csg, Mac won’t let up on Hampton until the last day of the Braves’ season.

  3. So, are we having a pool on which day Hampton goes on the DL?
    I’ll take April 8th. Should be his second start. The first start will allow Peanut to write “Hampton comes all the way back.”

  4. Yeah I’m starting to think – since this is Hampton we are talking about – it would be more Hamptionish for him to pitch a couple of games, get our hopes up, and then tear a hamstring fielding a bunt.

    Either way, he’s going down.

  5. As far as silencing critics….

    Was Sunday’s Hampton performance impressive? Yes

    Was it his second good start and he didn’t get hurt? YES

    Is it March and only earlier this month we were fearing another DL stint due to injured groins? YES

    Will the critics be silenced in October after Hampton has pitched ALL YEAR LONG and the Braves try on matching rings? Maybe.

    The point is, it’s nice that Hampton is healthy…for now. But I refuse to get my hopes up again until maybe August and even then, I’ll be a little nervous when he takes the mound.

    Check out my post on Hampton at BravesBlog.net

    Thanks y’all, Keep hope alive,
    JB in ATL

  6. I will take back any bad thoughts or comments I had/have about Hampton heading into this season if he pitches in the postseason, and pitches well.

    I will not take back anything I’ve said about him as they relate to the previous two seasons.

    Actually, I take back my take back. I will never take back the Bob Dole comparison. Not even if Hampton gets elected President one day.

  7. I want the Braves to be willing to spend money on the team payroll, but I do not think I would support that Nathan contract.

    It makes no sense to me. The Twins won’t pony up for the best starting pitcher in the game but are willing to give $12M per to guy who is likely to pitch 35% to 40% the number of innings a starter would in a given year.

  8. While I am certainly hoping for great things from Hampton, I am not counting on it in any way. Whatever we get from him is gravy in my book.

    Mac will ride him and rightly so after the last couple of seasons. The time for silencing critics is the last day of the season when he has a winning record and can point to several places where he helped the team this year (finally!)

  9. On another completely unrelated note who else got excited when they woke up and turned on ESPN2 this morning and regular season MLB baseball was on the tube! Can’t wait to watch Huddy toe the rubber this Sunday on crystal clear ESPN HD @ 8:05! The sooner Sports South and FSN get HD the happier I will be. This off season I haven’t watched a sporting even not in HD so going back to watching my favorite team on nonHD… well it’s going to be painful!

  10. Kyle,

    Some of us will be happy just to see the Braves every once in a while HD or no HD, so I really hope you enjoy your Braves HD experiences enough for the both of us. Maybe I can live vicariously through your experiences, you know if you are willing to share them on this journal.

  11. From the previous thread — Helms is under contract for $2.15 million this year with a $3.75 million club option for 2009. He wouldn’t cost us $5 million.

    Helms would be a valuable member of a professional bench, which would be a far cry from the scrap heap we’ve employed lately.

  12. ESPN has a new list of who they think the top 50 players over the next 5 years will be. The Braves don’t have a player on the list until #32, who is none other than Mark Texiera (whom we may not have after this year). The next player on the list isn’t until #42 (Brian McCann). And they are the only 2 on the list. I may be a bit biased, but you have to think we have a couple more that could make that list (and that BMac and Tex should be ranked higher) – ESPN sucks.

  13. It’s a list by Rob Neyer. In lieu of working, I read his chat online about division races, where he gave very short shrift to the Braves.

  14. “The Braves don’t have a player on the list until #32, who is none other than Mark Texiera”

    You missed Kelly at 28.

  15. Interesting that KJ is ahead of Tex.

    I took most offense at Wright being named the best player in the NL last year when he may have only been third best at his position in his own division.

    I am quickly becoming a Wright hater. Not only is he a Met, but he is consistently overrated by everyone with a pen.

  16. I’m not a Wright hater, but I’m quickly becoming a Neyer hater. I read close to everything he puts on the internet, but, as I’ve mentioned on here before, I strongly suspect he hates the Braves. I’m not sure why—maybe he resents Schuerholz for leaving the Royals after screwing them up a bit?—he hardly ever talks about them, and when he does, it’s rarely positive. His writing style sort of irks me, too.

    Wright is overrated, as are most NY-based stars, but he’s an awfully good player and he seems to be a pretty good guy. I’d love to have him on my team.

  17. The Neyer list is interesting, but it’s easy to nit-pick.

    Jimmy Rollins is too high, and Jhonny Peralta probably is too. So’s Beltran. It’s hard to say why Russell Martin is 9 spots ahead of McCann despite being older, when Curtis Granderson is 8 spots behind Grady Sizemore because he’s older.

    And the bottom of the list is a bit hard to swallow. Asdrubal Cabrera? Melky Cabrera? Dan Uggla?

    Longoria violates his own “no prospects” rule, which makes the methodology a little suspect. (Yes, I know he says “with one exception,” but “one exception” means 2% of the entire study. Trying to rank 50 of anything means you’re going to be inherently subjective, so pick rules and stick to them.) I mean, wouldn’t you rather have Jay Bruce or Colby Rasmus over the next five years than Ass-dribble Cabrera?

  18. I think he ranked Martin ahead of McCann because of the stolen bases potential, for what it’s worth.

  19. …because of the stolen bases potential, for what it’s worth.

    Not much, after a couple more years of catching.

  20. Stu – I used to feel as you do about Wright, but a couple of years of having the media shove him down by throat has helped me develop a distaste for him.

    AAR – I noted the inclusion of Longoria as well. Adam Jones might be a violation as well, based on Neyer’s explanation.

    Everyone – no comments about Nathan? Really, I am quite perplexed. The Twins could replace Nathan internally with Neshak, but passed on the opportunity to keep the best pitcher they may see for a quarter of a century?

  21. He said something about Martin’s “wheels,” so I’m going with stolen bases, which seems kind of silly anyway.

  22. I don’t think Neyer “hates” the Braves. But I don’t think he thinks highly of their approach to player development; the Braves have never really placed a premium on OBP for example. But three players in the top 50 (well, probably only two) isn’t so bad.

    I agree that Neyer’s style is annoying; he’s like a kid in school trying to show everyone how cool he is and how uncool everyone else is. Plus, his photo is goofy. And, as AAR points out, he is often inconsistent. He will typically belittle intangibles except when he doesn’t. In this article, it’s odd the way that he rates players but then seems to qualify the ratings so you wonder why he rated that player so high.

    As to David Wright, the point is not whether he was the best player last year, it’s judging how good he will be over the next 5 years. Met or not, Wright’s a hell of a player.

  23. Playing around in the atlantabraves.com archives, other people who have silenced their critics include Kelly Johnson, Tim Hudson, and Jeff Francoeur, but also Horacio Ramirez. Here’s a good one:

    Reitsma ready to roll.

    “Chris Reitsma is ready for a second chance — ready for a chance to prove his potential and ready to silence his critics.”

    Yeah, how’d that work out? Peanut is oddly obsessed with this formula.

  24. I dont know what you mean by real games…
    If people can be cut, make a team or be released by a team for their performance in spring training games I think it’s a real enough game..
    If it weren’t a reflection of “real” baseball, why even have spring training games.. And the truth is, it doesn’t matter how many critics Hampton has. If anything a “brave fan” should be supportive, and it seems like every time I look on this site, the headlines are all negative (which I guess negativity should be expected from “media” or whatever you are Mac.
    Hampton pitches as a career, not to feed the negative masses of people putting him and his efforts down. And you act like he’s never pitched a major league game in his life. He’s logged over 2,000 innings in a 13 year major league career (and has pitched pretty well I’d say).
    If Hampton pitches in 1 game or 30 games this year, it won’t change my opinion. My thoughts on a player are based on what he does on the field when he gets on the field. And if the guy is injury prone, thats what he is.. I mean, we didn’t “have” to sign him..

  25. J.B. (Dunmore, PA): So glad to see the Braves not being mentioned in the NL East. They may have the best overall rotation and a very good lineup but all of the focus seems to be on the aging Mets and pitching-poor Phillies. Where do you see the Braves for 2008?

    Rob Neyer: (1:15 PM ET ) Neck-and-neck with the Phillies for second place, because that’s what the numbers say. When I look at their roster I can’t figure out how they win 87 games, but if I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s to trust the numbers.

  26. I think Neyer (and myself to a much lesser extent) are a bit confounded by the Braves success in the Schuerholz era. It seems a bit counterintuitive, and easy to dismiss as luck, although I certainly wouldn’t. I think Neyer, and others, hate “luck” from teams that use old school methods, but seem to embrace it when discussing why other clubs don’t have success in specific areas, like playoff wins. In short, it’s bad luck when the A’s win, and sound management when they do, and the opposite for Atlanta. Neyer wrote quite the scathing article about JS years ago while he was at KC for his risk averse style of management, and the Johnny has the nerve to go win a bunch of pennants and a WS.

  27. edit

    In short, it’s bad luck when the A’s LOSE, and sound management when they do

  28. I don’t think Neyer is confounded by the success in the 90s–they had historically great pitching and, generally, solid defense. It was the success after, say, 2002 that he couldn’t figure out.

    I don’t think he is that far off about the Braves this year. They have a chance to win 90+ games and even win the division but, only, as Mac has pointed out, everything goes right (which includes, of course, good health). I would be a lot more excited if the Braves had gotten one of the established pitchers. As it is, they are relying on a couple of 40 year olds, a guy that hasn’t pitched in three years, and a kid. Generally, I think you pick the team for which everything doesn’t have to go right–and that appears to be the Mets although they are far from a great team.

  29. Do ya’ll think Toronto would consider at Thorman/Blanco/RP for Matt Stairs? Perhaps that ‘s too much to give up for a 40-year old due to make 2.25m this year. However, it could possbily help both teams:

    Thorman would provide the possibility to replace Overbay at 1B and Frank Thomas at DH when they need a day off? Plus, he’s from Canada. Blanco would give them speed in a L/R platoon with Shannon Stewart which they currently have in mind with Stairs/Stewart after releasing Reed Johnson. Thorman and Blanco are still relatively young, a plus for TOR.

    Stairs would 1) provide a left-handed bat threat off the bench late in games 2) could fill in for Diaz in LF at times 3) same for Teixiera at 1st when he needs a day off.

    Again, just an idea…meanwhile, I’m still in favor of Blanco over Anderson, fwiw.

  30. Actually, Parish, I hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right — the money they paid Nathan really oughta have gone to Santana. It reminds me of the way the Phillies spent like drunken sailors on Burrell and Abreu after being turned down by Rolen, who complained that they hadn’t proven they cared about building a good team (which was absolutely valid). Then they had to shed the Abreu contract a couple years later, trading him to the Yankees for, essentially, nothing.

    Basically, most teams suck at spending money.

  31. Marc,

    I don’t understand why you would say the Mets aren’t a team for which everything has to go right to win? They have just as many if not more questions on their team as the Braves, why can’t anyone see this? Santana alone does not erase all their flaws. I can’t scream this loud enough! Whoever wins the East between Atlanta, Philly and the Mets will have done so because either everything for them went right, or everything for the other teams went wrong.

  32. Agreed, Justin. People see shiny Johan Santana and ignore all the flaws in the team. For example, who’s going to play the corner OF spots for them?

    What’s strange is that Rob Neyer, after Alou predictably went down, noted that he’d perhaps not given enough credence to the injury/decline possibility with the Mets in making his prediction about them dominating the East. Of course, a couple weeks later, it looks like he’s back to believing the Phils and Braves don’t stand a chance.

  33. Exactly, the Mets are destined to be world-beaters by any means, sure they have Santana, Wright, and Reyes. But many of the rest of their “core” players are very likely to see declines in production due to age, as well as increased injury concern…here are just some of their ages:

    Carlos Delgado (35)
    Moises Alou (41) already on DL
    Pedro Martinez (36) 28 IP last year
    Billy Wagner (36)
    Orlando Hernandez (38)

    Castillo, Church, and Chavez are nothing to write home about in their lineup. The Braves are better at every spot in the lineup except SS and CF, with 3B being close to call. Neither team has a great bench. Both have a couple stars on the staff but a few question marks. The race for the East is definitely going to come down to the health of each team, including the Phillies.

  34. Without factoring in defense, is it crazy to think Escobar might be better than Jose Reyes this season? I can easily see Escobar with a higher OBP at the end of the season….not to mention Jose Reyes will probably lead the league again in caught-stealings.

  35. And was it my imagination or were David Wright’s critical fielding errors late in the year part of the reason the Mets were home in October with one of the biggest division choke jobs of all time.

    Just asking.

  36. And is it my imagination or were David Wright’s critical fielding errors late in the year part of the reason the Mets were home in October with one of the biggest division choke jobs of all time.

    Just asking.

  37. but you have to understand that he only made those errors because he forgot to take off his waterwalking shoes

  38. Mets fan here. I am reasonably certain that we can extrapolate today’s results to indicate the Mets will win the division. As well, Brian Neise (sp?) for Cy Young.

  39. Since nobody else will have a go on Nathan and the Twins, I will jump in.

    The Twins offered Santana 5 years at 20 a year. Main difference with the Mets extension is 2 extra years. A little bit more per year (21. something?). They were scared he would break down and they couldn’t field a team with a commitment like that. (Plus, they REALLY thought he might break down, get it, Braves fans?).

    Several observers noted that with the trade of Santana and the non signing of Torii Hunter that the Twins had about 20 milllion in freed up payroll. This was true even after they did the long term deals on Morneau and the catcher (my mind draws a blank).

    My thought was they should have taken the dollars and bought down future years on people under guaranteed contracts. Like pay Morneau an extra 5 mill this year and take 2 a year off the last 3 years of his deal. That way, they would be freeing up future payroll for a run.

    The Nathan deal is dead dumb. They are paying him like Mariano and they have 1/3 the revenue (or less) as compared to the Yankess to pay a closer. Plus, if you aren’t in the postseason hunt, what good is a closer?

  40. Also, in truth, David Wright is a guy I generally like who plays for the team I root for, but if I actually knew the guy, he would almost certainly be on my “huge d-bag” list. He’s just so…”aww, shucks.” Gimme a break.

  41. And was it my imagination or were David Wright’s critical fielding errors late in the year part of the reason the Mets were home in October with one of the biggest division choke jobs of all time.

    No. David Wright, August/September/October 2007: 207 AB, 12 HR, 41 RBI, 10 SB, 3 CS, .372/.474/.628. He raked so much down the stretch it was literally ridiculous.

  42. Yeah, I agree. I don’t find Miguel Cabrera all that palatable, but I definitely don’t mind him on my fantasy team.

  43. I find it real difficult to hate someone because of their politics (unless they are a politician). I have plenty of friends who I definitely disagree with about politics but we still are friends. I have met Smoltz on a number of occasions (including once on the side of the road) and he always seems like a nice guy to me.

  44. 32 — RelaxSome, you just need to read more of the posts. Lots of guys on here think Hampton is going to pull through this year. A good number think he’ll pull muscles. Mac fits into the category of not believing it until he sees it (consistently) — and that’s an understatement. Doesn’t mean he’s any less of a fan of the Braves. Anybody looking at the situation can’t expect much from Hampton after the past couple of years. Any lift he provides is extra.

    That’s probably all understood, which may be why it hasn’t been commented on yet.

  45. Oh yeah….
    I remember Jon Schuerholz. Whatever happened to him?

    yeah, c.shorter, I’m pulling for Hampton too. I just think we take what we can get and keep the expectations low.

    From what I hear Bobby will split Hampton up between Glavine and Jair so the lefties are staggered. Anyone else hear that?

    JB in ATL


  46. 62 — I think Hampton’s a good pitcher when he plays. I’ve got low expectations for him so I’m in the anything we get is gravy camp. That’s just my personality, though. If he does well, I’ll be elated.

  47. “From what I hear Bobby will split Hampton up between Glavine and Jair so the lefties are staggered. Anyone else hear that?”


  48. Just got an email from Jonah Keri (espn.com). Say what you will (and we do) about guys who write at espn, but I like Keri. Maybe it’s because he laughed at my suggestion that Antonio Alfonseca could lend Smoltz a pinky last year when he was having trouble. Anyway… he sees the Bravos as a sleeper this year with as good of a shot as anybody at the WC. But he thinks the Mets will win the division through strong performances of their rotation. ugh.

  49. Have we forgotten that, if he’s healthy, Hampton could provide some help on the bench?

  50. I’d rather have Hampton as a hitter on the bench than Thorman. Surely a pitcher can be nimble enough to cover first base. If he cannot handle a full workload, a Kieschnick-style emergency pitcher/ pinch-hitter role would be the next best thing.

  51. C-Shorter
    I know mostly everyone is positive on here, and I wasn’t at all referring to the responses, it was more to the headlines..(which don’t really scream “I love the braves”)
    And to whomever has problems with Smoltz..wow, goodluck with winning the argument that he is anything less than a great guy

  52. Okay, I’m going to take off my “Braves glasses” for a second, and try to look at the reality of the division race. Well, at least the Mets vs. Braves perspective.

    The Mets are good. David Wright probably IS the best player in baseball. And it’s not because he steals bases (although that, combined with his excellent rate, was a boon for his team last year). He plays nearly every game, and when he does, he rakes. He hits for power, he hits for average, and he takes walks. He doesn’t strike out. He’s Chipper Jones 10 years ago. I take that back; last year was a bit better than Chipper’s age 24 year. To be honest, I don’t know why they don’t get compared more. I guess people tend to forget what Chipper was like 10 years ago. Oh, and Wright is better defensively (although the GG for last year should clearly have gone to the guy the Philly’s just signed).

    And then there’s Santana. Yeah, he could break down, but who would you rather bet on to stay healthy? A guy in his late 20s or a guy in his early 40s? Not saying Smoltz is a huge injury risk, I’m just saying that he’s a bigger one than Santana, and Santana’s a better pitcher at this stage to boot. 5 years from now Johan’s may be a bad contract, but it sure isn’t this year.

    Reyes will most likely bounce back. He got tired last year and it showed. But he’ll return to “amazing leadoff guy and excite everyone a lot” form. Sure, steals are overrated, but 70+ at an 80%+ success rate IS helpful for your team. Beltran is still a stud, and a very good CF to boot. Speaking of the OF, Alou is a stud for the 400 ABs he’ll play, and Endy Chavez and Ryan Church will combine with Beltran to be an amazing defensive OF. The bats aren’t ideal, but they’ll be sufficient to give the Mets an above-average offense. Castillo is a fine 2B, and Delgado is likely to bounce back and be at least average offensively. The catcher sucks, but whatever, at least he’s not batting 2nd like the crappy catcher was last year.

    The starting pitching is the best in the league. Beyond Johan, there’s Maine, who despite tiring at the end of last year pitched nearly 200 innings above league-average. He was better than Glavine and is more than likely to be that this year. Ollie Perez may be inconsistent, but he really seems to have turned a corner. Last year was much more like his 2004 than any other season he’s had. He’s got a legit shot at finally harnassing his stuff consistently, which would make him an elite pitcher. Heck, if he maintains his numbers from last year, he’ll probably be better than everyone on the Braves except Hudson.

    And then there’s Pedro. Martinez was excellent in his return. He no longer has the velocity he once had, but he’s made adjustments a la Smoltz and they’ve proven to be effective. This is not a rotation to be trifled with.

    In the 5th spot, there’s the old, oft-injured guy and the young, oft-crappy guy. Not much different from what the Braves are going to have in that spot.

    On the Braves side, we’ve got a LF due for a BA regression whose game doesn’t consist of much else, a RF who may make a major stride and may not, instead languishing in mediocrity, and a CF who, well, I guess we’ve covered CF on this board enough.

    Chipper will do well to play 140 games, and even if he hits better than Wright in those games, the 20 he’ll miss will almost certainly make Wright more valuable over the course of the season. Escobar is unproven, and while I’m starting to come around on him, he’ll be hard-pressed to match Renteria’s production last year. KJ struggled down the stretch and has proven to be as streaky as Andruw Jones, which isn’t what you want at the top of your lineup. Tex is a stud, but expectations are a bit unrealistic after last year’s torrid two months. McCann should improve on last year, but I doubt he’s the stud we were hoping for after 2006. A bench of Thorman, Miller, Prado, etc. isn’t really a lot better than what the Mets have, either.

    Smoltz should still be a stud, but unless Glavine can change something once again, he’s not going to fair as well as he did last year. An ERA below 5.00 would be pretty good. Hampton won’t be particularly useful, and allofasudden, we’re back where we were in 2007. Unless Jurrjens really turns out well this year and James can go 180+, it could get ugly as the Buddy Carlyle’s and Jo Jo Reyes’s of the world are asked to pitch many innings.

    I like the Mets to get 800 innings out of their top 4 starters next year much more than the Braves. And let’s be realistic on Jurrjens: he’s not going to go 200. 150IP would frankly be a lot for his rookie year. So right there are some innings Bennett and co are going to need to cover. A lot of how well the Braves do will depend on how spot starters like Bennett do. If their collective ERA is over 6 like it was last year, it’ll be bad.

    The bullpen edge goes to the Braves. Wagner is the best of the lot, but the Braves have a lot of depth, even looking down into the minors a bit. If Donier Navarro returns to elite status, the Mets could have something special, but there’s a lot of risk in that ‘pen and not much corresponding depth.

    Oh, and outside of Jurrjens, the biggest rookie impact either of these clubs could be Fernando Martinez, who could blossom if pushed into corner OF service by the Mets. (OTOH, he’s really young and could flop….)

    Anyhow, the Mets have a lot less risk pitching-wise than the Braves, say what you will about Pedro and El Duque (that’s his name!). They’ve got 3 pitchers who are almost certain to combine for 600+ innings of very good pitching, and while Hudson is good, Smoltz may not go 200, and Glavine’s innings probably won’t be “very good”.

    The offense is about a wash, with the Braves having a more balanced lineup while the Mets have more top-end talent. Wright is clearly the most valuable of the bunch, and Beltran is probably 2nd or 3rd (taking position into account). The Mets have better starting pitching (and incidently, probably a better post-season rotation) as well as less rotation risk, and while they have fewer “backup options”, that’s at least in part because they’re less likely to need them. The Braves have the edge in the ‘pen, mostly because of depth and minor league options.

    I really think the Mets are the favorite here. I’d give odds for the division at something like:

    Mets 39.5%
    Philes 30%
    Braves 30%
    other .5%

    So it’s nothing near a sure thing. But it only makes sense that people are going to focus on the favorites and last years’ division winner. I think Chipper’s health and Glavine’s ERA are going to be two of the major predictors of how the Braves do this year.

  53. Smoltz is very low on the list of Braves I would like to have a beer with.

    The current top three, in no particular order, would probably be B-Mac, Hampton and Moylan.

  54. I still will believe that Hampton will be productive when I see it. I’ve upgraded my prediction that he will never pitch again, but I’ll have to be shown that he can actually be productive.

    I’m just still not sold.

    I’m thinking 6-9 and a 4.70 ERA.

  55. That Hampton thing is kind of ironic, isn’t it? But then, I started out making fun of Rafael Belliard, who by all accounts is about the nicest man to ever wear a baseball uniform.

  56. “On the Braves side, we’ve got a LF due for a BA regression whose game doesn’t consist of much else”

    How is Diaz “due” for a batting average regression?

    Can no one have a high batting average any longer without it just being luck?

  57. Hampton seems like he has a great sense of humor, from what I’ve read. That “standing on his wallet to reach the top of his locker” story says a lot. He’d better be able to laugh at life after all he’s been through.

    As an addendum, I’d probably include Buddy Carlyle on that list. With Soriano right behind him.

  58. I’m a little suprised at how close that poll is. I view Anderson like I would Pete Orr – a pinch runner.

  59. I think I’d have a beer with Chipper. Not saying he is the most likable guy, but I think he’d be a riot. Then Smoltz. But I’ll tell you who I’d rather take time with more than anyone else – Greg Maddux.

  60. I’m with you, Hap, on the relationship between likeability and politics—namely, there is no relationship. Besides, is Smoltz even all that vocal about politics?

    I strongly suspect that any personal dislike, real or anticipated, aimed at Smoltz has nothing to do with his politics and everything to do with the other forbidden discussion topic on this site, about which Smoltz is quite (and honorably) vocal.

    He’s my favorite baseball player ever, and I have no doubt that I’d love to know him personally.

  61. Not a drinker either, but I’d down some IBC with any of the guys on the team if I had the chance. Smoltz would probably top my list, though.

  62. Dan-

    Sure they can. The things that best predict BA are K-rate and HR rate, and there’s plenty of guy who strike out rarely enough (eg, Ichiro, Pierre) and/or hit enough home runs to keep their BA’s consistently high. The conventional knock on Diaz is that his periferral statistics don’t support his observed BA. People often quote BABIP to support this, and to some extent, they’re right; Diaz has had an extraordinarily high BABIP the past couple years, and it’s doubtful it’ll remain quite so high. That said, I sitll think he’ll hit like .315-.320 next year, so it’s not like it’ll be horrible. He also hits for enough power that he’ll be productive despite a .340 OBP.

    But who knows. Maybe he just does hit the ball extraordinarily well when he makes contact and he’ll sustain his .340 BA into the future. Stranger things have most certainly happened. :-)

  63. You’re right on Hampton Mac. If Spring Training success came close to guaranteeing anything than Cormier would be the Braves #2 starter by now or something. I’m expecting Hampton a couple starts and a couple of bullpen attempts max. Sure it would be nice if Hampton became a 20 game winner. It would also be nice if I got paid millions to twiddle my fingers. However, I’m not getting my hopes up on either and if things go bad, realistic expectations make things better.

  64. Beer Depth Chart:

    1. Moylan
    2. Diaz
    3. McCann
    4. Francoeur
    5. Kotsay

    1 and 2 because I believe they’d kick back and have a couple. 3 and 4 because I remember my first beer. 5 because he might bring his wife along.

    24. Hudson
    25. Teixeira

    I’m happy to root for them, but I just don’t think I’d enjoy their company.

  65. @ 83

    My lack of desire to have a beer with Smoltzie has little to do with the “other” thing. I have numerous friends that have way, way, waaaaaay different ideas about things than I do, on all ends of the spectrum. They are still my friends. That’s how it is when you live in the rural South.

    He just seems like a toolbag when I hear him on TV. I generally don’t like being around toolbags, especially when imbibing adult beverages.

    And he’s one of my favorite pitchers evarrrr, too.

  66. sansho1,

    Ya, I didn’t put Matty in there because he’s had a kid recently and wouldn’t be much fun on the bar rail. :-)

  67. adult beverages

    That reminds me of the promos that ran one year of a silhouette showing fans how to do various “signals”, as a third base coach might do. One of the signals meant “Vendor, another adult beverage please.” That always cracked me up.

  68. I’d go with Moylan to have a drink with. For some reason, I think Bennett looks like a guy who would be most likely to get into a bar fight. Don’t actually know anything about him, just has that ‘look’.

  69. Mraver, very good analysis, though I think you put a little too much effort into taking off your Braves-tinted glasses.

    First of all, Fernando Martinez isn’t ready. He’s not a possible rookie candidate. He’s 3 years younger than Carlos Gomez, who wasn’t ready to play in the majors last year. Martinez has never slugged .400 above A-ball. He won’t turn 20 until after the season. He’ll probably be good some day soon, but he’s at least 2 and a half years off. The Mets have next to nothing left in their farm system that could provide immediate help. The team they got on the field is pretty much it.

    And that team is a bit ragged, despite your good analysis of their strengths. I’d take the under on Alou getting 400 ABs. And there’s no way their top 4 starters are pitching 200 innings. Pedro doesn’t have that in him any more, and John Maine and Oliver Perez have never pitched 200 innings before in their lives.

    I like Maine a lot, but last year he flagged tremendously down the stretch; I don’t think he’s as good as he was in the first half or as bad as he was in the second half. He’s a good #3, not a #2. Oliver Perez, on the other hand, is much more mercurial. 2004 was pretty clearly a fluke year, regardless of how good he was in 2007. I’m not convinced that he can put two good seasons together in a row. He hasn’t pitched 30 starts since 2004, and time will tell if he’ll ever manage that feat again.

    I agree with you that the Mets have a better rotation on paper. There’s just no way to find a guy who matches up with Santana. But I definitely disagree that they have “less rotation risk.”

    Similarly, offensively, disregard “streaky” for a moment and just look at the hitters in the lineup. I prefer our top six (Escobar, Johnson, Chipper, Teixeira, McCann, Francoeur) to theirs (Reyes, Castillo, Wright, Beltran, Alou, Delgado). Castillo, Alou, and Delgado are all breaking down; Chipper is the only guy in our top 6 over 30. Their 7/8 hitters, Brian Schneider and Ryan Church/Endy Chavez, are automatic outs; ours are a career .320 hitter and an automatic out.

    Top to bottom, IMHO, we have a better lineup. And once the injury bell starts ringing, we’ll both be hit hard, but they will be far less able to sustain the losses.

  70. I agree with AAR on all but that Kotsay is an automatic out the way Church/Chavez is, especially Chavez. At least Kotsay has a track record. Otherwise, spot on.

  71. As I said before, the Mets had to acquire Santana to have any chance. Otherwise, they are not even as good as the Phillies. Sorry, I still can’t take the Phillies seriously even after last year. Their rotation beyond Hamels and Myers is a joke, and I don’t trust Lidge in pressured situation until he proves he can handle it again. The Phillies are not as good as the Braves and the Mets IMOH. The Braves and the Mets are pretty evenly match before the injury factor kicks in.

  72. I’m surprised that the Nationals aren’t starting Brave killer Jason Bergmann against us opening day.

  73. #11

    Sorry, Kyle…Baseball should start on a Sunday night (like it will with us) or Monday. Plus, it shouldn’t count if it’s starting in Japan. Plus, it’s the Red Sox and most of us in here HATE the Red Sox. I am never happy to see the overexposed Bosox on my TV.

    You know when I’ll be happy? This Sunday night when me and my buddy Greg are sitting near the field at the new Nats stadium, watching Tim Hudson shut down a bunch of ex-Braves!


    I agre w/ you Stu. David Wright is a terrific player and a good guy – a shame he’s a Met but I absolutely can’t say a bad word about the guy. He also seems to have nothing but kind words and respect to say about the Braves & Phils so he respects his rivals.

    Just can’t bash the guy.


    Sorry, Marc, I have seena consistent pattern of “Anti Brave Activity” from Neyer. He may even be setting up Fundamentalist schools and madrasa’s teahcing ‘Braves hate’.

  74. Alex R’s worst NIGHTMARE EVER come true:


    Yes, folks, KEITH LOCKHART, my least favorite Brave EVER, has SPAWNED a male heir.

    This male child apparently THINKS he can PLAY Baseball. It appears the man upstairs is toying with me and messing with my head, because now I have to fear a 1 in 30 chance that another Lockhart may end up a Brave, Bobby Cox will somehow keep managing for many more years, which of course would mean Keith’s old naughty photos would be back out, and Lockhart Jr. would disgrace the Atlanta uniform the way his father did.

    I was hoping to spare my young son, little Jake R., from the “Lockhart experience”, but with the lingering possibility he ends up a Brave, I may not be able to dodge that – YET.

  75. DOB, about an hour ago: “One final thought: I’m thinking Tyler Yates might not be a Brave at the end of the day.”

    Oh yeah!

  76. Alex R — you can’t live your life in fear. You’re going to have to come up with some pictures of your own. ha…

  77. Alex,

    It’s part of growing up–learning to deal with your fears. Little Jake R will have to deal with the dreaded “Lockhart syndrome.” It will toughen him up for life. :)

    Don’t get me wrong, Alex, I’m not a big Neyer fan, although it’s more because he comes across as a snarky jerk (although I’ve heard he is a nice guy). I think he does tend to underrate the Braves but I don’t think it’s some sort of personal animus. I just think he doesn’t like the way they do business; they are still pretty much of a traditional, scouting-influenced organization.

    The guy I would like to have a drink with is Glavine. He always struck me as a more interesting fellow than other players (and he is closer to my age than anyone other than Smoltz.) I don’t dislike Smoltz but I am uncomfortable with his overt, public religiosity and, I suspect, with some of his views on issues. Obviously, everyone here doesn’t agree with me and that’s fine and Smoltz doesn’t have to and shouldn’t live his life to please every Braves fan. If players’ or movie stars’ politics influenced who I rooted for or went to see, I probably wouldn’t watch games or go to movies.

    As for the Mets/Braves, I agree with BOTH mraver and AAR. I think the Mets have more potential to be a very good team (ie, a better chance to win 95+ games)but they have plenty of issues themselves. But I think Santana adds more to the Mets than Jurrgens and Glavine add to the Braves.

    As for David Wright, the Mets lost, not because Wright or Glavine or anyone else choked, but because the pitching, especially the bullpen was horrendous down the stretch. You can always pull out times when this guy hit into a double play or popped up or made an error, but if the bullpen had been even mediocre, the Mets would have won the division. The Nats swept them in a three game series, coming from behind all three times against the bullpen.

  78. Anyone know anything about Redmond? His stats seem decent.

    “22-21 with a 3.30 in 70 games, 69 of which were starts.”

  79. But I think Santana adds more to the Mets than Jurrgens and Glavine add to the Braves.

    I dunno. In a short playoff series, I’m sure this is true. Over the course of a 162-game season, I think Glavine+Jurrjens (replacing Bud-Jo Redavier) improves on the 2007 Braves more than Santana (replacing Glavine) improves on the 2007 Mets.

  80. Re: New Guy—

    Sickels lists him as a C prospect, although just last year, he had him as a C+, the 7th-best prospect in a terrible system. So, he’s worth something, which may be more than you can say for Yates after Bobby killed his career last year.

  81. Redmond has an extraordinary number of hit batsmen, especially for someone with evidently very good control. He may be a serial killer.

  82. Furman Bisher hates opening the season in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess why:

    “Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don’t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I’ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.”

    You know, I’d have a long memory too, if I were 867 years old. Also, we’ve opened the season in Mexico, with whom we also fought wars. Also, the Atlanta Braves moved from Boston, seat of the Revolutionary War, to Milwaukee, to Atlanta, one of the capitals of the CSA.

    But then, Furman Bisher was only 300 years old during the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. They’re understandable oversights.

  83. The talk about “adult beverages” reminds me of what Skip Carey said after the Braves got the last out in Game 6; something like “it’s time to raise a cocktail to the Braves, whether it’s fruit or the other kind.” Great line! I’m sure with Skip it was the other kind.

    I think the race really comes down to which team gets more out of the middle of the rotation. For most of last year, Maine and Perez
    (especially Maine)were better than the Braves 3 and 4s although they both faded. I think Santana gives the Mets the potential to be a dominant team IF Pedro is healthy and IF Maine and Perez are consistent and IF the old guys in the lineup remain healthy and productive. Those are big ifs.

    But I just can’t help feeling uncomfortable with the Braves rotation. As much of a warrior as Smoltz is, he is 41 and has had arm problems over the years. Hudson had a good, but perhaps somewhat lucky year, and the rest of the rotation is old and/or injured and/or untested. It could turn out to be a very good rotation or not.

    Re Neyer again, I think every fan of every team at some time or another has accused Neyer or another ESPN anaylst of systematically hating their team. If you are looking for anti-Braves bias you will find it, just as if you are looking for, say, anti-White Sox bias, you will find it. If you read the comments, he either loves the Yankees and hates the Red Sox or vice versa. I know Alex won’t agree with this, but I suspect that if you did a content analysis (as opposed to just remembering stuff you don’t like) of Neyer’s work, you would find no systematic bias for or against any particular team.

  84. #102

    That is true, Marc, about Neyer.

    Also, I echo your sentiments on Glavine since I have discussed before that he’s the Brave I have spent the most amount of time talking to, and that experience in ’95 is why I could never root against him during his Mets time.

    I kinda grew to like Tyler (remember in ’06 when we called him ‘Tyra Yates’?) and he’s a solid reliever. Shame to lose him, but I guess we have a pretty deep pen now which is a good problem to have.

  85. #111

    Marc, let’s be honest…the Neyer argument is a subjective one, because whether you are a defender or a detractor, no one on here is going to scour every column or radio talk Neyer’s ever done to analyze the data on whether he’s anti Brave or neutral.

    It’s ALL subjective. Subjectively, I think he’s a YUTZ who doesn’t like the Braves. Just one man’s opinion.

  86. Going back to the beer thing, I think I’d like to have a beer with Kotsay. At least then we could talk baseball without being bothered by anyone wanting to talk to him or get his autograph. I personally think we have signed the least recognizable center fielder in all of baseball.

  87. I have Hampton on most of my fantasy teams, thats how I’m attempting to be optimistic about him. I badly want the Braves to get quality starts out of him in the playoffs this season.

    I think if I was having a beer with any Brave it’d be Frenchy, and it’d probably be a keg stand at a frat party but whats wrong with that? If i had to have a beer at a bar it’d be at Hooters with Chipper in 2004 (before I was married). If I was having drinks with a Brave’s player at their home, it’d be Glavine, I have a feeling he’d be a cool guy to just chill with.

    Which Braves player of all time would you most want to have a beer with to have the most fun? John Rocker? Deion Sanders? David Justice at his place when he was married to Halle Berry? Any other ideas?

  88. Point of reference: if I was having a beer with Tommy Glavine, I’d be drinking a Killian’s – it’s my favorite beer.

  89. @109,

    How long is the AJC going to let Bisher write embarrassing columns? Shirley Povich wrote columns for the Washington Post until he was in his 90s but he was actually rational (and a lot more intelligent anyway).

    I wonder if Bisher thinks African-Americans should hold slavery against Southerners today. And I bet Hank Aaron could say some things about the Jim Crow South when he was starting in the Braves organization.

  90. I am actually glad to see it is Yates who got traded away. I think we have seen his peak. I personally think Boyer will have a very good season.

  91. kc,

    Wishful thinking, indeed.

    I suppose next your going to assume 35 healthy, quality starts from Mike Hampton? ;-)

  92. Someone earlier was commenting about how much Hampton has been through. Uh, he is making $15 million this year for playing (or not playing baseball). Although I sympathize with his frustrations, I actually think his life is tolerably decent.

  93. Alex, seriously, what’s with the disdain for Boyer? I referenced this yesterday; I don’t know whether you didn’t see it or just didn’t feel like responding. He’s 26. He had a shoulder injury, which could linger (I know shoulder injuries are worse news than elbow injuries), but he’s given no reason not to be optimistic. He’s pitched very well, both in the past and this Spring.

  94. Which Braves player of all time would you most want to have a beer with to have the most fun?

    Certainly not Rafael Furcal, unless you define “fun” as a jail stint and the great potential for a vehicular homicide charge.

  95. Alex, I certainly hope so! However, like Mac, I don’t believe it until I see it. Since Boyer is much younger than Hampton, I believe the chance of Boyer having a good season is much better than Hampton.

  96. They said he should be able to laugh at life with all he’s been through. The Millions of dollars make it easier for him to laugh about it. What else about his life is there to find humorous other than the fact that the guy is in his mid-30’s and has been paid over one hundred million dollars despite being one of the least valuable people at his job over the course of his contract, which I should point out, at several times has been paid by teams for which he was not even playing, and even once by a team who never even had him on the roster.

    That’s amusing from a certain standpoint. No one with his money could really elicit sympathy from not being able to play ball.

    Baseball Reference says Smoltz has earned $116,095,446 in his career. Hampton has earned $106,575,086.

  97. From earlier…”David Wright probably IS the best player in baseball.” Disagree, I’ll take the disliked Arod over him.

    Yates for anyone is a good trade in my opinion. Resop and Boyer look a whole lot better than him right now. He’s Reitsma with a more powerful arm, too streaky

  98. #121

    Stu, I don’t DISLIKE Boyer, au contraire mon frere…I like his stuff fine. I just think he’s constantly finding new ways to make it onto the DL (3 straight years of this) and I am over it at this point.

    He’s never going to stay healthy. I’ve given up hope.

  99. Well, the thing with Yates is that he simply wasn’t going to make this team—and this is a team that is likely to have 8 relievers on its Opening Day (Night) roster—and he’s out of options, so getting something is better than getting nothing. Frankly, Redmond appears to be more than I would even expect to get for a guy like Yates.

  100. from mlb rumors…

    Redmond, 23 in May, was ranked as the Pirates’ #27 prospect by Baseball America. They note his “outstanding control” but lack of dominant stuff. BA believes he profiles as a middle reliever in the long term.

  101. It was the same injury the whole time, though, Alex, it just took a while to finally decide on surgery. And then the recovery took a long time, as expected.

    Again, I’ll be surprised if he isn’t better than Yates going forward. (That may not be saying much, but when the choice is between Yates and him, that’s the relevant question.)

  102. I look at it this way…if Boyer wasn’t hurt in 2005, Devine would never been on the playoff roster to allow that Chris Burke home run, and the Braves have not made the playoff since then. Having a healthy Boyer on the team should bring some good luck to the team!

  103. Like Stu (and many others, I’m sure), I’m just glad the Braves got something for Yates. So do the Braves still have too many relievers that are out of options? Resop and Boyer are out of options, but is another one?

  104. Ring is out of options. I really don’t want to lose Ring.

    Because of Smoltz’s DL status to start the season, with the probable 8-man bullpen, I think we have enough room to keep all the guys for now. Of course, by April 6th, that will change, but it gives the team a bit more time to figure out which one won’t stick. I’m hoping it’s Resop that’s jettisoned, but I have a feeling it’s going to be Ring.

  105. On Neyer,

    It mostly is his snarky style. However, the big thing is that he lets his subjective biases in while acting like he is Mr. Stat / Analytical.

    Followgin up on his biases, yes, he ignores statistics that say the Braves are good and looks at those that say they aren’t. I would not have posted this (althought I thought it) before yesterday.

    Usually Neyer’s big stat is “Pythagorean Wins”. That basically compares runs scored to runs allowed. HE says it is the best predictor. O.K. then the Braves go into this off season as the best team in the NL EAST, 2 to 3 games better than the Mets.

    Braves add Glavine. Compared to the dregs: add 2 wins. Braves have whole year Tex: add 2 wins. Braves lose Andruw’s fielding, but lose him batting 4th for 2/3 of the year at a 720 ops: add 1 win. Braves lose Rent, add Esco: neutral (fielding improvement offsets probable offensive loss).

    Basically, the Mets need Pedro to equal Glavine and Santana to make up 8 (EIGHT) games.

    Next step, analyze the POSITIONS. Our OPS at 1b goes from 800 (blending Wilson / Thorman / Salty / Julio with a 1/3 part of Tex)) goes to 950 (conservative). 2b goes up 30 points (AGAIN, Neyer is big on illustrating the age curve. And Neyer says KJ is the 28th best MLB player over the next 5 years). SS goes down 100 (if Yunel is good, as I expect and as a REAL look at stats will show, but better if he is nearly spectacular, as his last year and spring stats say). 3b is even (because the BACK UPS are so much better that you can assume Chipper is off 50 points and make that back either by him playing more or by 30 games of much better back ups), LF is neutral. CF is neutral to better (we ACTUALLY scored 810 runs last year with Andruw’s 300 obp and 720 ops. What Andruw represents in POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENT this year has nothing to do with run production here. RF, slight up (again, Neyer is Mr. Age Curve.)

    Relief pitching, even (3rd best in league!) maybe better.

    Rotation. Even if Glavine is significantly warm bread (as in, not yet toast, but close) we still are better than last year in every respect except for possible injury to Smoltz. However, good Hampton isn’t in our 730 runs allowed last year, Bennett almost isn’t in that figure, Jair won’t do as bad as the back end and could match Chuck, and Chuck might be able to make a go in a few weeks to replace a toasted Glavine or a MacHampton (and, Chuck’s numbers would REPLACE their numbers).

    We score 850 to 880. We give up 700 to 720. No way you can project the Phillies anywhere near to that. The Mets have to hope all of their old guys hold together or find some help or they can’t get to those numbers.

    I think the Mets promoters really believe that Pedro can equal 2007 Glavine. I am highly disinclined to agree. Pedro has missed 2 to 3 starts or more over and over again for 5 years.

  106. Dix, nobody will know, but we all know Devine did allow that homer…or Bobby would not ask Farnsworth to pitch two innings…who knows…

    jea, Royce Ring is also out of option…but the Braves should be able to keep all three if they are sending both Bennett and Carlyle to Richmond.

  107. Bennett can stay up with the 8-man relief corps with which we’re likely to begin the season without losing any of the 3 OOO (out of options) guys:


  108. you folks must see something in Ring that I don’t–I think trading Startup for Ring will prove to be a poor trade

  109. I think one of Ring/Resop/Boyer will be traded. However with Smoltz starting the season on the DL, there is no need to do this for a little while. If Gonzo’s progress is truly what has been said, my guess would be Ring will be the odd man out. I think the Braves badly want a long reliever/spot starter given the injury issues of Smoltz and Hampton (and the others) and it looks like Bennett is the guy.

  110. #134

    (bad joke coming…)

    Stu…neither did Frodo.

    The best case scenario is that both Ohman and Ring are effective and Mike Gonzalez comes back fully healthy and we have too many lefty relievers which can be parlayed into a useful trade.

  111. Bennett is out of options and he looks to be the long relief and spot starter. Ring will be the next to go, because Ohman looks solid and Gonzo will be back.

  112. Redmond sounds like a very solid prospect. Getting him for a crap player like Yates from a team that won’t be in contention this decade is quite a steal. Good job by Wren.

  113. csg and all, Bennett has options. Carlyle has options.

    One issue on the options thing is that anybody sent down cannot be called back up for 10 days UNLESS the call up is timed with a move of someone off the 25 man roster onto the DL. I am not sure if that restriction applies to the first option at the beginnning of the regular season. That could be a reson that Bennett might break camp on the ML roster (untils Smoltz is ready to go and off the DL).

    And the pitching we are going to have at Richmond and Mississippi (and Myrtle and Rome) ought to be devastating.

  114. I like the Yates trade. I am not sorry to see Kali go and Redmond should still have some upside.

    I don’t want to give up Ring either….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.