Is it over?

The Official Site of The Atlanta Braves: News: Smoltz may be facing shoulder surgery

If John really has surgery… Well, it might be. If he doesn’t and is really in pain, it pretty much has to be. Recovery time varies between different surgeries, but any time they go into the shoulder it’s bad news. Smoltz is not under contract for next year (his option would have vested at 200 innings).

There’s going to be a lot of pressure on the Braves to make a move now. I’d be very reluctant to give up too much, especially since the rotation really hasn’t been a concern so far. At the same time, nobody’s really a good bet to go more than six innings and depth is a concern.

UPDATE: Well, I guess this is the game thread today. Here’s a video.

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398 thoughts on “Is it over?”

  1. I think its time to call San Diego, see if we can’t get the Maddog back in for the rest of the season. If we’d take his salary, we wont have to give up much. Our middle relief seems solid and we get Gonzo back soon.

  2. I like Mad Dog quite a bit, but he’s not the arm we need–we have quite a few 5 inning pitchers. We need a 7 inning horse or better, and as Mac notes we can’t pay too much for such a beast. And if not, we might just as well promote Charlie Morton and see what he can do.

    Personally, I’d rather go after a left fielder that can hit at this point and wait to see what fire sales emerge, if any.

  3. Somebody who can listen live, PLEASE post updates. Smoltz is the guy who I know will play if he can, so whatever he decides I’m going to respect it and hope him the best. I’d love to have him back, but also realize that at some point you’ve got to retire (though with how freaking GOOD the man is I could also see him pitching another 3-4 years before hanging it up if he can stay healthy). Let’s not forget that 41 may be old in baseball, but it’s not really that old in reality. If Randy Johnson can keep coming back Smoltz can too if he wants to.

  4. I think (and hope) that Wren will try to do more than get Maddux back. Of course, trading from weakness is a bad situation to be in but Mac is right–the rotation hasn’t been bad and there is no need to panic. Smoltz wasn’t going to be in the rotation anyway so we aren’t really any worse off than before.

  5. Maddux is actually one of the best pitchers on the market right now. The thing about bad teams is that they mostly have bad players. Unless the Reds are willing to trade Harang (and even Harang’s peripherals are down a little) there’s not much on the market but washouts and a few retreads having good years. Maddux is old, but he’s pitching pretty well, and while he’s a five or six inning guy he’s a reliable five or six inning guy, and Jurrjens is really the only one of those we have.

    The Braves have asked about Blanton, of course, but you know what that’s like. I’m guessing Beane started with Morton and Schaefer.

  6. I just signed on and they have Fredi Gonzalez on… not sure if it’s delayed (I live in Madison so I have no idea).

  7. I’d just go with what we have until late July. This may be a year to sell at the deadline rather than buy. It’d be foolish to trade away prospects such as Lillibridge now. Try playing what you’ve got and hope somebody steps up and surprises you like Jorge Sosa did a few years ago. If it doesn’t happen, trade Tex to some desperate contender in July for a boatload of prospects.

  8. They announced it before Fredi came on. Smoltz hasn’t spoken, but the sports report said he was having the surgery.

  9. Smoltz is having the surgery and they say he’s out for the season. Press conference later today and he’ll be on 790, but hasn’t been on yet.

  10. We’ve seen it before. The Braves, with Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson and the recent additions of Teixeira and Glavine, not to mention Bobby Cox as the manager, don’t see themselves as sellers. I don’t really want to see them sell the farm for Harang but the Braves have committed themselves to some guys and they probably won’t be dumping Teixeira at the deadline unless it’s absolutely hopeless. And it probably won’t be.

  11. Trading Teixeira is a non-starter. It was in the offseason and it is now.

    The Braves aren’t going to be so hopelessly out of contention that they’ll trade a middle-of-the-order bat in July.

  12. Well if the reports are he’s having the surgery, does that imply he intends to rehab rather than retire?

    Or might he have the surgery as a “quality of life” thing, and retire anyway?

  13. My understanding is that there’s little need for this kind of surgery if you’re not going to resume athletic activities (or something else that requires heavy use of the shoulder). It could just be golf, I guess, but I doubt it.

  14. I think it is wise to wait on pitching unless something falls in our lap, which apparently Blanton is not. The status quo is working, but it is likely to deteriorate as the summer drags on.

    We will need starting pitching unless:

    1. Charlie Morton does not miss a beat in a promotion to Atlanta.
    2. The Braves are not really in contention.
    3. Mike Hampton actually pitches and does it effectively.

    None of those are too likely.

    On the other hand, we are starting Greg Norton in left field. We definitely need a righty hitter out there. I would just be careful to not jump into the buyers market too soon.

  15. DOB:

    I think he’ll say he’s going to have surgery and try to come back from it. He certainly won’t announce he’s retiring, not today, not until surgery and they go in and see what’s damaged and how severe. If he can come back from it, I’d bet he will.

    Of course, that leads to the free agency thing.

  16. Would Smoltz really tarnish his legacy by becoming a free agent? Or is the problem the Braves themselves? Is there doubt that they would sign him again?

  17. I’d guess they wait to see what the exact damage/surgery/rehab time will be. And then they sign him accordingly. If he’s going to miss all of next season, I can’t see them signing him for 10+ million to not pitch. If he needs this year and part of next (returning in June ala Mike Gonzalez) I have to think something gets done, and soon

  18. Says it’s a pain issue. Can’t sleep. Can’t recover. Hurting quality of life. Knew something was wrong on the mound.

  19. Someone may want to talk me back from the brink, but I’m starting to come around on Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo’s walks are kind of high, but his strikeout rate is still very good. His Fielding-Independent ERA 4.59 (versus “Real” ERA of 5.61) and he’d get another break on that by moving out of Tiny American Bandbox.

    NL Pitchers, difference between FIP and ERA.

    A raid on the Colorado staff might also pay dividends, but weird things happen to those guys and we don’t want to get Hamptoned again.

  20. I just feel bad; it’ll kill Smoltz if we make the postseason and he’s not able to go.

    Though I don’t feel as good about that as I did when I got up this morning.

  21. Not to bring up negative aspects, but I bet Smoltz does not retire. If he does, he will loose almost $9M remaining on this year’s salary. Bravos should be able to pick up maybe 60% on insurance.

  22. He cant join the Champions Tour until age 50. Form the sound of that interview, I think he’s going to come back if its physically possible.

  23. MGL – I think the insurance is dependent on him not pitching at all during the year. If there is any recovery for the Braves, I believe it will be greatly reduced from the amount you estimate.

  24. I’d like to wait another couple weeks before we start acquiring pitching help. If Jo Jo remains solid and Jurrjens stops having those nasty big innings, I think we’ll be okay, or at least as okay as we can get short of getting some 200+ IP horse.

    So maybe Arroyo wouldn’t be a bad idea, although I doubt the Reds are planning to be sellers.

  25. The only question is if the Big Three have separate ceremonies or they’re retired together. Since Smoltz seems to want to pitch next year while Maddux has all but announced his retirement, I’m guessing they won’t go up as a group.

  26. We knew Smoltz wasn’t going to be in the rotation the rest of the year for weeks. I’m not seeing why his surgery increases our urgency to improve the rotation. The team really needs some extra offense in the outfield now more than anything.

  27. Well, that’s a bummer. If he can’t make it back, Smoltzie’s next stop will be Cooperstown. He’s quite simply one of the greatest Atlanta Braves we’ve ever had. Too many thoughts right now…

    I agree that we could use another decent starter, but I’m not sure how we acquire one without giving up the farm.

    From the other thread, several people mentioned that if Joba Chamberlain didn’t wear pinstripes his start wouldn’t be such a story. Um, no kidding.

    In reporting sports, you try to cover subjects that attract the biggest audiences. And if you hadn’t noticed, the Yankees are about as big as it gets in baseball. It’s a one-day story; Chipper is an ongoing story. If you’re an ESPN producer or any national sports talk, it’s a no-brainer.

    But complaining about the size of another team’s fanbase—and that’s what you’re doing, really—is like getting mad at the weather. It’s a fact of (sporting) life.

  28. You would think though, with Smoltz @14MM, Hampton @15MM, and Glavine @7.5, if the Braves want Teixeira, they should be ablt to sign him.

    Part of me thinks though, they might be better served to spend it on a Sabathia.

    It’s been awhile since this team has had 30MM+ to play with. BIG offseason for Wren.

  29. If Smoltz is gone, we might actually be able to sign both Sabathia and Teixeira. (Keep in mind that Teixeira’s $13 million salary is added to the salaries of the 3 pitchers when you’re talking about having funds to play with.) If the Indians continue to struggle, we might actually have a shot at trading for Sabathia and then signing him to a long-term deal. Yes, we’d have to give up the farm, but I’d be all for it.

    I’d rather have Smoltz, though.

  30. We knew Smoltz wasn’t going to be in the rotation the rest of the year for weeks. I’m not seeing why his surgery increases our urgency to improve the rotation. The team really needs some extra offense in the outfield now more than anything.

    Exactly. Pitching is just too scarce, go get an outfielder. Stick Xavier Nady behind McCann in the lineup and I like my chances with JJ, JoJo, Jorge and the rest hanging in there.

  31. It does, however, shorten the bullpen. Soriano is the closer, and before last night he’d looked shaky. Who knows how effective Gonzalez will be? Acosta is clearly more comfortable in middle relief, and Boyer was breaking down before he hurt his knee. Ohman’s already been forced out of the LOOGY role into setup.

    I’d like Nady or another righthanded hitting outfielder, but the Braves were already shopping for starting pitching.

  32. Stu,

    I thought the same thing 5 minutes ago, and then I checked out the Yankees….

    With Giambi (17MM), Abreu (16MM), Pettite (16MM), Mussina (11MM), Pavano (11MM) (still makes me smile), Farnsworth (5MM), and Hawkins (3.75) coming off the books, it’s damn near close to 80MM.

    They might resign Abreu and possibly Pettite, but even with that theyhave at least 50MM to spend and gaping holes in both the rotation and at 1st base. Plus, when one looks at how the, “don’t trade for Santana and let the young kids play” idea has worked for them this year….

    About Sabathia, if the Braves traded for him this year, there might be the hope that they could negotiate an extension before he hit the market.

    With Teixeira, unless the Yankees offer him A-Rod money, the Braves should be able to compete; (unless Lucifer weaves some magic) I think it’ll come down to where he wants to play. The Braves should have a chance.

  33. Lotsa talk in NYC about the Yanks acquiring Tex (FA in the off-season) and Sabathia this season (for Kennedy and a farm-bound pitching package).

  34. The only chance the Braves have to sign big ticket players is to do what they did with Hudson, trade for him and sign him to an extension before he hits the open market. Since we have failed to get Tex’s signature on anything – he is gone. If you are waiting for the Braves to win a bidding war for a high profile player, you are going to be waiting a long time.

  35. Unfortunately, this is still going to be about giving too much of the payroll to any one player. The Braves will not pay anyone $20M per or more and Tex (and Sabathia) will get that on the FA market.

    The Braves payroll will not exceed $100M next year.

  36. I have said it many times, the Braves better sign Tex or never trade top prospects again.

  37. I agree with Robert. The window to sign Tex has passed. With Hampton, Glavine, and possibly Smoltz gone next year, there is a much greater need to upgrade the rotation than to re-sign Tex if the Braves want to compete for the playoffs in the near term (barring Jojo and Jair turning out to be the next Avery and Smoltz by the end of the year).

  38. Robert,

    I don’t agree. When taking into account Smotz, Hampton, and Glavine, plus the 13MM Teixeira is already making, the Braves has 45MM that they could potentially spend on free agents. Will they spend all of that on Teixeira? Of course not. But they assuredly have the resources to compete.

    This does not take into consideration any payroll increases (the Braves were sixth in operating income last year @ 28MM).

    They’ve been a position of not being able to compete for top tier free agents for so long because of a) Hampton’s albatross and b) those resources were already allocated toward keeping the all-stars we had (i.e: Smoltz, AJ).
    That will not be an issue this offseason and they should be able to be players.

  39. Sure, he’d cost a good deal. He would also go a long way towards ending the vulnerability to LHP and push the offense into elite territory.

    It would also keep him away from the Mets. Wouldn’t want to disrupt that Endy Chavez-Fernando Tatis platoon they’ve got going.

  40. Will they spend all of that on Teixeira? Of course not. But they assuredly have the resources to compete.

    I don’t doubt this at all. I just don’t believe it’s in the organization’s belief system that acquiring players by out bidding the Yankees for them is good business. I happen to agree.

  41. I’m for trying to keep Teixeira- it’s probably a better idea to spend $20MM on one great player than spread it out to five decent guys at $4MM each.

  42. I tend to agree that a good rotation is much more important than re-signing Tex. Really, after this season, all we will have for established starting pitching will be Hudson. I’m enamored with Jurjjens, but he’s young, and not overpowering. I’d spend the money on Sabathia, or someone like that, a legit #1 or #2…JMHO

  43. Robert is right. Tex is gone to New York. He will be either playing in the New Citifield in Queens, or the New Yankee stadium in the Bronx. Tex has already stated how he likes the big cities being raised in Bmore and all.

    XNady is a very good option for this year. I still think we need an ace. Hudson is good, but shaky as an ace at this point in his career…

    But the outfield is still the most pressing need. Despite Norton’s hit last night…the Braves line-up consisted of only 4 hitters pitchers needed to be concerned with.

  44. I’m not sure Tex is worth that kind of money. He’s a very good player and he was fabulous after he came over last week, but I’m not sure he is worth breaking the bank for. Of course, everything is relative; if you can afford a Mercedes, it’s worth the price so he might be worth if for the Yankees. Frankly, Tex’s struggles so far, especially against lefties, have given me some pause; I know he is traditionally a slow starter but the first half of the season counts too. This is not a Chipper Jones Hall of Fame-type player. I tend to agree with Robert; getting into a bidding war with the Yankees doesn’t seem like a wise way to spend resources unless Liberty really is going to jack up the payroll substantially, which I don’t expect. I do think they need to be a player in the market but I think there might be better ways to spend the money than shoveling it to Tex. And I would like to see them take the Red Sox approach to the draft–start spending on guys that slip down and getting the best guys.

    For this year, no way they trade Tex. They won’t get nearly as much as they would want for a half year; they might be just as well off taking the draft picks. And, with the mediocrity of the division, it’s hard to see them being so far out of it by July that they would become sellers. Of course, if they don’t pick it up on the road soon, that could change.

  45. Spitter –
    I would almost agree, but with no Tex, we have no lineup. We REALLY need that power hitting first baseman – if not, we really need a power hitting corner outfielder that can make up for us losing our cleanup hitter. It’s not really easy to replace a cleanup hitter.

  46. if mac had a nickle for every wild speculation about Tex’ future posted here, he could donate the money to the braves and they could sign him easy.

  47. Tex is worth the 20 mill if he hits his average numbers, he changes an entire lineup.
    We are losing alot of salary the next couple years and we will not be able to sign any top FA pitchers, they wont cme here over NY, but if Tex likes it here, we have a headstart anyway.

  48. I agree that Tex is likely gone. Sabathia, while a fine pitcher, is a very poorly conditioned athlete who I would be leery of signing to a long-term contract.

    Having said that, I’ll go counter-intuitive and say we should pursue Sheets instead. Even though he’s gotten hurt a few times, I think he’s a better bet than Sabathia going forward.

  49. Tex just looks like a Yankee.

    Did you guys here that McCann took ground balls at first yesterday? Could they be planning to convert him and bring up Sammons?

  50. Tex just looks like a Yankee.

    LOL He really does — he looks like a neat freak. Probably makes Chipper wipe his shoes off before getting into his truck.

  51. barrycuda,
    LOL. So true.

    sansho1,
    I tend to also be leery of Sabathia’s health, but he’s proven remarkably durable so far. I guess Bartolo Colon fell off a cliff pretty quickly, though. I just want an ace-caliber pitcher now that ours appears to be done.

    Joshua,
    That’s my thinking. Teix is worth a lot to us just because what he is—a slugger—is not easily replaceable. Plus, he’s pretty young and, unlike Sabathia, keeps himself in outstanding physical condition.

  52. Francouer is really screwing up the Braves overall plan. I’m pretty sure management thought he would be able to bat clean-up or at least be a steady power-hitting 5 hole hitter at this point and along with McCann would make a great young core.

  53. If “outstanding physical condition” were a pre-requisite for playing in the Majors, there would be no Jon Kruk, no Babe Ruth, and certainly, no Terry Foyster.

    I’m going to stick to my guns and say I would rather have top-notch starting pitching than keep Tex, if thats the option. If we can do both, do it. I’m not a Tex hater, not by any means, I just think solid, legit front-line starting pitching is a more important piece to a winning team than a slugging first baseman.

  54. As for Sabathia, it’s less about him being grossly overweight and more about him throwing a ton of pitches at a young age. The spike in his walk rate this year is a sign of elbow trouble.

  55. TSS…add Lance Berkman, Tony Gywnn and Andruw Jones to that list…OOOPS!! My bad take AJ off the list.

  56. Hope no one had a big lunch, today’s offering:

    Yesco SS
    Kelly 2B
    Franceour RF
    Tex 1B
    Norton LF
    McCann C
    Infante 3B
    Anderson CF

    Norton hitting fifth against a lefty. I’m not sure it gets any lower than this.

  57. Wait, what??? An ash bat exploded and nearly killed somebody??? I thought that was impossible. Clearly ash bats are indestructible.

  58. Does anyone think Cox has a thing for Infante playing? I think he does.

    He’s getting more playing time than any utility infielder I can remember.

  59. The only good thing I see out of that lineup is Anderson in CF, I’d like to see what he can do. It would be nice to have a speedy, pesky leadoff hitter again….

  60. No Chipper? Francouer batting 3rd? Well at least Anderson gets to play….Wait who is throwing for the Marlins?

  61. Tony,

    Mark Hendrickson. THey gave Uggla the day off too, so we’re about even as far as big hitters not playing.

  62. It’s almost hilarious. With Chipper getting the day off, we have a perfect opportunity to start Norton in a place where he should be started and what do we do? Why we leave him in left, start Infante at third and give Blanco the day off, of course.

  63. Repeat after me–Anderson playing is not good. Blanco is better, though you might a case for Anderson over Norton against a LHP.

    I’m not sure it gets any lower than this.

    Sure it does–Corky Miller.

  64. In fact, I proclaim this Bobby’s stupidest lineup of the year. I’ll just assume that he spent so much of the day worrying about Smoltz that he just threw the lineup card together in five minutes without thinking about it.

    It’s not even that he gave Chipper the day off. I have no problem with that whatsoever. But hell, even if you want to start both Norton and Infante (a stretch, I know…but just play along), any reasonable person would start Norton at third and Infante in left in that situation. After all, Infante freaking played center field in a game earlier this year. He at least must have range and be able to run around without falling over. And the batting order is borderline retarded.

  65. Norton ahead of McCann is particularly stupid because McCann currently hits lefties better than any other left-handed hitter in baseball.

  66. Glavine can’t overcome first inning in his career?
    By the way, I like sushi. Lets go fishing.

  67. And yes, that absolutely happened exactly as you just described it, Mac. He was actually late on it and the pitch was right down the middle.

  68. Gameday is prone to errors… it just said Norton got a hit, that can’t be right.

    Here’s hoping Tommy settles down and finds the strike zone (though if Gameday is to be believed on pitch placement the strike zone is a bit funky today).

  69. Norton continues to contribute…

    I certainly agree that in the short term the rotation is not what needs help. The Braves starters have not been the problem and by this point in the season the team may even be used to not counting on Smoltz.

    I think we will see him in 2009–but that is as much a hope as a prediction….

  70. I wonder how many more career wins Tommy would have…if he didn’t have 1st innings issues.

  71. Does it seem a little counterproductive to anyone that we keep hitting our fastest players eighth when the pitcher’s just going to bunt if they get on?

  72. I liked the idea of that bunt and run on the first attempt… Anderson might have beat Ramirez to third… at least, it’d be a real tough play to catch and tag on the run.

  73. Another question… Why don’t pitchers use the heaviest (and hence largest) legal bats to bunt with? They’re using the same bats everyone else is. Why not get one of those Babe Ruth 44-ounce jobs?

  74. Do they even have those available in the bat rack? Perhaps when Julio Franco was on the team…

  75. I don’t know the physics of the heavier bat, it might make it harder to deaden the ball… But I agree there should certainly be a bunting-bat for obvious bunt situations…. A longer barrel, thicker handle, less angular, give you a little wiggle room if you don’t bunt it just right.

  76. I know the Marlins are a game ahead of us still, but I was trying to figure out which of their players would play with us, and I just came up with Uggla and Ramirez — and Uggla would be in left and Ramirez in center.

  77. Maybe there should be a statistic like unearned runs but for when it came off of a Prado and not an error. Because that was one of them right there.

  78. You could also soften the wood — in contrast to the lacquered everyday bat, which is hardened. Use, say, pine. I can’t believe nobody’s though of this, so there must be some reason.

  79. What are the rules, and where are they written, about the specifics of a bat, anyway?

    There has to be a rule against using a square bat, but I wonder what the verbage is?

  80. Why not go all out in obvious bunt situations?

    Tubular soft-pine 44 ounce bat, mask on your helmet to ensure against Francoeur-style accidents… Oven mitts to soften your hands?

  81. Rule 1.10:

    1.10
    (a) The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 23/4 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood.
    NOTE: No laminated or experimental bats shall be used in a professional game (either championship season or exhibition games) until the manufacturer has secured approval from the Rules Committee of his design and methods of manufacture.
    (b) Cupped Bats. An indentation in the end of the bat up to one inch in depth is permitted and may be no wider than two inches and no less than one inch in diameter. The indentation must be curved with no foreign substance added.
    (c) The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance, which extends past the 18 inch limitation, shall cause the bat to be removed from the game.
    NOTE: If the umpire discovers that the bat does not conform to (c) above until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out, or ejected from the game.
    (d) No colored bat may be used in a professional game unless approved by the Rules Committee.

  82. Bennett got burned yesterday. Who’s the long man today? I’m not even sure who is out there anymore.

  83. Though it’s not in the rulebook (a lot of stuff isn’t) I think there’s a maximum weight as well, but no minimums. I don’t know what the impact of the Note to 1.10(a) is.

  84. I was just pondering… since Smoltz’s option won’t vest due to lack of innings, the Braves need to hash out a deal with him for next year, contingent upon rehab or something, as a coach, however they need to do it to make it work. Something to show John (and the fans) that they’re going to bring him back if he can come back. Not that I think Wren and crew would be foolish enough to quibble with Smoltz, but it would be nice PR (maybe around mid/late season when it becomes apparent to them that Tex won’t be back and can have this “good news” come out before the Tex “bad news”).

  85. Acosta and Soriano will finish it off if we have a lead. If we don’t have a lead, you’ll still see Acosta for about 2-3 innings.

  86. The Braves have swung at, and made an out on, the first pitch of every inning so far.

    Somehow I doubt that ever happens to the A’s or Red Sox.

  87. Stockman? I thought there was a delay of some kind for calling a player up from the minors after you sent them down.

  88. “Geez, that’s too many innings for Gonzo”

    It’s been since his rehab started, not all at once.

    Gonzalez has thrown one inning, two innings and one inning in his three apparences with the Mississippi Braves.

  89. What’s the deal with Boyer? I haven’t seen anything in awhile. They never put him on the DL, right? Is he just kind of hanging out to make sure the knee’s OK or something?

  90. Smoltz is talking about staying on with the club as an adviser if he can’t pitch.

  91. Just wondering–is there a good reason for giving McCann last night’s game off then have him catch today on a hot afternoon? Seems like the other way around would have made more sense–let Corky today instead of McCann. Probably not a big deal.

  92. I’ve watched the game with breathless interest. I’ve never expected this 4 or 5 innings veteran. Ouch!!!the Pen!!!

  93. #169 – Well, Bobby probably wanted to give both McCann and Chipper one of these games off – but not the same one. Chipper gets the most protection.

  94. Sure, but he’s not as good of a hitter as Uggla and I’m assuming they’d keep Francoeur. The Marlins have about six guys better than the left field monstrosity.

  95. I really wish Joe would shut up. I checked out Frenchy’s RBI single video on Gameday, and Joe said it occurred because he wasn’t trying to pull the ball. Really, Joe? Is Francoeur so skilled a hitter that he can make such a determination. It looks to me that he just swings at everything and it’s pretty much random where it goes when he makes contact.

  96. Yeah… Back when all the games were on TBS i didn’t mind him so much, but nowadays he really gets to me

  97. JC – last year Frenchy did take the approach of trying to hit some pitches to the opposite field. However, I do agree with you that at the moment Frenchy has no heavenly idea where the ball is going to go.

  98. Kind of funny to think that Hermida’s looking like a best-case scenario for Jeff at this point. I mean, I wish Jeff could become a league-average corner outfielder at this point.

  99. Joe’s really dependent upon his partner. He’s very good with Skip, and okay with Jon, but he and Chip reinforce each other’s worst tendencies.

  100. #177 – by far my favorite player of all time.

    Ditto. Probably can’t be topped in my book unless I have a child play in the majors.

  101. Kind of funny to think that Hermida’s looking like a best-case scenario for Jeff at this point. I mean, I wish Jeff could become a league-average corner outfielder at this point.

    Not that funny. They were contemporaries and Hermida was taken several spots ahead of Francoeur. Hermida was considered Francoeur – athleticism + walks. Not all that surprising how it’s turned out (so far).

  102. Yes – John and Joe – the game has indeed been ruined because each umpire can no longer just invent his own strike zone and is instead actually being held to a consistent standard. Couldn’t agree more.

    That’s why I was so in favor of the NBA removing the three point lines from the floor and allowing each official to determine – on the fly – whether a shot was far enough away to be a three.

  103. I think I see us in hibernation mode again, huh Mac. It is unbelievable how ineffective our offense can be in the middle innings. Nothing but early and late innings.

  104. Yeah, but Hermida has never been as good as he was supposed to be either. Last year, he looked like he’d made a step forward, but he’s right back to being mediocre.

  105. “My only regret, and it’s tongue-in-cheek, is that I with this manager I know I could have played center field for an inning, and I really wanted to do that.”

  106. Good observation Mac.

    Jon and Joe I’m actually warming too. I think they’ve been ok this season.

    But with Skip it takes Smoltz in the booth, who is just awesome, even today, to make me want to listen.

  107. Yeah, but Hermida has never been as good as he was supposed to be either.

    Right, but he’s still better than Francoeur. And if you’d been made to guess which would become the better player when they were drafted, you’d have picked Hermida and been right.

  108. Surgery next Tuesday for Smoltz.

    Talking about being a basketball coach and a golfer. The possibility that this is the end seems to still exist though he “is open” to going a little longer.

  109. Smoltz is now saying that he wouldn’t want to join a coaching staff to stay in baseball after retirement, because he feels he would owe his time to his family.

  110. Glavine survived that one, though Sportsline has shown Ring warming up since the beginning of the fifth.

  111. Left-handed junkballers are like serve-and-volleyers in tennis — thanks to technology, they’re becoming a dying species, and they’re not appreciated like they used to be, but they’re awfully fun to watch.

  112. Thanks Dan, I had forgot how awful Joe Simpson was as a player…at least Sutton had some numbers to back him up….

  113. Just heard the news about Smoltz. If he never throws another pitch…thanks for the memories and remarkable HOF career.

  114. Chip is now trying to convince everybody that closers are more valuable than starting pitchers. Gotta love it!

  115. We should aly off our announcers, they aren’t sooooooo bad. Remember Tobore and Rathburn?

  116. Nobody is worse than the B-list FSN color guys: Paciorek, Torborg, Gant, etc.

    But I think Chip is so annoying largely for the same reasons Francoeur is: the organization sort of makes him the focal point of the future, he’s good looking and smooth…and he just isn’t any good at what he does.

  117. I hope to God none of our games with the Cubs this year are on Peachtree TV. There’s nothing more gag-inducing than listening him slobber all over the freaking Cubs, the team that FIRED HIM FOR DOING HIS JOB!!!

    And I just now find out that Peachtree TV is doing two of the games with the Cubs next week. It’s probably because I opened my big mouth.

  118. Yes – like Francoeur, I can tell Chip has potential, but right now he annoys the crap outta me.

  119. See, I thought that Rathbun was okay with Paciorek and 715 Dowling (both of whom were awful) but he was godawful with Torborg, because (like Chip and Joe) they reinforced each other’s weaknesses. Rathbun not only wouldn’t make Torborg (who wasn’t really that bad on Fox national games) shut up about the Dodgers of the 1960s, he encouraged it.

  120. Anyone else remember Fredi walking Langerhans when he was in the middle of that unreal slump?

  121. told you all that we should play anderson – a great play in the field and an rbi single

  122. The Marlins are playing this series like the Braves played against the Reds. And, of course, the Reds now can’t do crap against the Phillies to help us get closer to first place.

  123. Glorious our rookies!

    I’m sleepy. Hope a win.
    Yours in haste. 3=3=3=3=3=3=3=3=3=3=3=3

  124. ” alt=”Jacque” align = “left”>”Hi, I’m Jacque Jones. Yes, I’m missing an “S” in my first name. Last winter, I was traded even-up for Omar Infante. I am making $6,333,333 this year, the Tigers released me, and I can’t even play regularly for the Marlins. But, again, $6,333,333.”

  125. Maple bats are gonna ruin the game of baseball. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

  126. Enough with the maple bat BS.

    You know what’s more dangerous? Standing sixty feet and six inches away from a batter trying to hit a baseball as hard as he can. Why no mention of that?

    Or how about just hitting? Ray Chapman anyone?

    I’m sick of all the recent maple bat bashing. It’s just not that big of a deal.

  127. Hanley Ramirez reminds me of Jose Reyes. Both of them are really pesky against the Braves and hard to get out.

  128. Are maple and ash the only two types of wood that are used to make bats? I’d like to see one made out of pine, cedar, or even osage orange :).

  129. I actually agree with Joe about the maple bats. It’s not just that they’re dangerous, it’s also that they’re hard and add to the home run explosion. Why baseball doesn’t have standard, league-issued bats to go with the standard, league-issued balls is beyond me.

  130. I think many agree about the maple bats, it’s just pretty annoying to have to listen to it every game.

  131. If half of the outrage that has been expended on this maple bat issue had been expended on the steroid issue, perhaps we wouldn’t have had to go through the horrible five years we just went through, and perhaps we wouldn’t have a complete fraud holding the most storied record in sports, and perhaps baseball wouldn’t have to pretend that it never happened.

  132. Stockman, Ring? This might be a tough inning for Boyer, he was starting to leave balls up last two hitters and really shouldn’t go three imo.

  133. Thanks for that link, Mac. I was trying to read all the postings to get caught up and totally missed where you were discussing bat construction. I do think that MLB is going to have to do something about the bats. I keep hearing two major concerns are “good wood” and “enough wood” to make either just maple or just ash. Apparently, there isn’t enough ash to keep maple out of the game.

  134. Related to last night’s discussion, has there been a worse match-up of no. 3 hitters this (or any) season than Francoeur vs. Helms?

  135. Oh, and I have no problem with using Boyer to pitch three innings, or trying to — you’d have to be ready in case he tired. But pitching three innings won’t damage anyone’s arm and probably won’t exacerbate preexisting damage. I’m more concerned with not giving him days off.

  136. Can someone explain why we should pay this Tex fellow $20M+? 4AB, 0 Hits, 3 SO, 4LOB. It’s gettin late for this “slow start Excuse”

  137. I was really talking more about the reaction from MLB with that steroids comment. Fans were upset about it, but baseball wasn’t concerned at all until very recently and ESPN et al were constantly creating excuses for using it.

    That having been said, I do kind of wish I hadn’t brought it up. The general point though is that baseball spends way too much time getting worked up over things that, in the long run, are way less important than some things that they don’t ever bother with.

  138. But pitching three innings won’t damage anyone’s arm and probably won’t exacerbate preexisting damage. I’m more concerned with not giving him days off.

    I agree that lack of days off is most troublesome, but where’s the research which shows that lots of innings at once on a rebuilt shoulder don’t affect said shoulder in a negative way?

  139. I actually think I have felt good about most of Bobby’s in game decisions lately. It’s just the lineups, which seem to have worked out anyway.

    I like the use of the double switch here, too.

  140. That call was almost as bad as the one made on Escobar earlier this year. That was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen.

  141. What’s the delay now?

    Anyway, the core problem with bats is not materials but construction. They’re practically teardrop-shaped now with all the weight in the barrel. They break because their handles are too thin to support the inertia of the barrel.

  142. That was awful. That was the kind of call that as an umpire, should keep you up at night.

  143. 162 game avg
    40 doubles
    36 hrs
    120 rbi
    285 avg

    2 gold gloves
    28 years old

    compars to Willie McCovey, fred mcgriff by age and position.

  144. KJ barehanded a softly hit ball, threw across his body…Mike Jacobs was easily safe, by about a step and a half…umpire called him out.

  145. Mac, Kelly picked it up and tossed to Tex. Jacobs was already passed the bag but was called out.
    Looks like the ump got caught in between calls and went ahead and punched him out.

  146. Slow grounder to KJ, who was playing deep. He barehanded and made a nice play, but Jacobs was clearly safe. Then Jacobs gets pushed out of the way by the first base coach, who gets pushed out of the way by Fredi, who gets tossed and immediately (unlike Bobby) walks off the field.

  147. Slow roller near second base. Kelly got to it and threw to first but Jacobs was clearly safe, even without replay it didn’t look close.

  148. Can someone explain why we should pay this Tex fellow $20M+? 4AB, 0 Hits, 3 SO, 4LOB. It’s gettin late for this “slow start Excuse”

    That excuse isn’t being used anymore. But he hasn’t been near as terrible recently as he had been early on. Just chalk it up to a bad game and move on. Chipper just went 0-5 with 2 late errors a few days back. Tex can have one too.

  149. If the call was as bad as all that… Well, I don’t blame Fredi. Here he is on the verge of losing his fourth in a row, seventh of his last eight, and falling from first place all the way to a tie for second. I’d want to punch someone.

  150. Brewers are annihilating the DBacks. I think I just saw Corey Hart hit an inside-the-park grand slam, which is maybe the first time I have ever seen that… Can’t happen too often!

  151. Here in FL, Extra Innings doesn’t block out Marlins games, it just only lets me see it on the Marlins tv network… Which is weird.

    But anyway. Tommy Hutton was as unprofessional after that call as I’ve ever heard an announcer:

    “This guy’s a fill-in ump and the Marlins have been stuck with him three times.. THREE TIMES the Marlins have been stuck with him.”

    And the next inning:

    “What’s really scary is, this guy is going to be behind the plate tomorrow night. So that’s going to be a lot of fun.”

  152. I’d like to see Anderson in left tomorrow against the rightie, he’s looked decent at the plate and isn’t a complete muppet out there on defense.

  153. Fredi was justified, all right. But after watching Bobby all these years, I know what “getting your money’s worth” looks like, and that wasn’t it.

  154. When they are right…the Brewers offense can be scary…with Braun, Fielder, Hart….oh to have young hitter who hit for power and avg.

  155. I don’t know, I think he at least sufficiently pissed off the umpire. After Fredi turned and walked away, the umpire followed after him, yelling angrily at him. The home-plate umpire had to come and send the first-base umpire back to his spot.

  156. My bad, I only glanced at the TV and didn’t catch the whole thing. Oh well. Rough day in the outfield for Upton, I think he has two errors plus he totally misplayed that inside-the-park HR.

  157. Three days ago: “SORIANO AND SMOLTZ! NO MORE ASCOSTA!”

    Now here he is closing (and blowing) again.

  158. Carlyle and Ring, and one of them had better be coming in real soon, because Acosta is throwing up meatballs.

  159. Well, this game is over. I should have known. Damn Hanley Ramirez. I hate him and Jose Reyes! Death to peskiness!

  160. Wow. We almost survived an 0-for-4 3 strikeout performance from Tex without Chipper in the lineup.

    Oh, well.

  161. With Smoltz out for the season, the team really could have used a win as a pick-up. Thanks Acosta.

  162. Acosta shouldn’t have been allowed to pitch to Ramirez. Bobby Cox is a fucking moron.

  163. Bobby should have pulled Acosta after the first bomb…he looked like he was throwing batting practice.

    I am already missing having Smoltz in the bullpen…

  164. “Look on the bright side, at least it won’t be a one-run loss”
    dont be so sure. chipper’s on the bench so he could most definitely make it the 17th 1-run loss of the season.

  165. I wish I could at least believe that this will mean Acosta is removed from the closer’s role once and for all. I’m unable to believe that, however.

  166. Marlins: “See, we just tied it so now you will have to win it in the bottom of the ninth or we go to extra innings.”

    Bobby (with help from Manny): “Who needs extras? I’m gonna give you guys the game now. I’m ready to go home.

  167. Yeah looking at the slots coming up, hes the best bat to replace… but with your only bench power, I don’t think you can use him when a homerun does you nothing

  168. No way…got to rest our best hitter. It’s not like we’re in 3rd place.
    That’s EXACTLY what I thought KJ and Francoeur would do.

  169. jjschiller, you need baserunners in that situation. Chipper gets on base 50% of the time. He should’ve hit for Blanco.

    But he really should have hit for Francoeur. WTF.

  170. That was one of the most demoralizing and deflating losses in recent memory…like, the last 4 or 5 days.

  171. We die with our best hitter and team leader sitting on the bench, unhurt.
    Gutless, Bobby.

  172. That is a very bad loss. More terrible managing from Bobby. Coupled with the Smoltz news, today is not a good day to be a Braves fan.

  173. Now that I can understand, but I think he was trying to say for having Acosta in the game. Chipper not batting for Blanco didn’t lose the game – Acosta not pitching effectively cost us the game.

  174. “Sometimes your guys have to do their jobs.”

    Right. It was patently obvious that Manny didn’t have it today. He surrendered a 2 run lead and then allowed a double. You don’t then let him pitch to one of the best hitters in the NL. Cox blew it, as usual.

  175. I’m sorry Joshua…but if Mike Rabelo homers off of your pitcher…you are going to allow that same pitcher to face the other team’s best hitter. That’s dumb.

  176. Joshua, I’ll tell you exactly what I was trying to say. Bobby was terrible in three respects in the 9th inning alone:

    (1) Leaving Acosta in to face Ramirez;
    (2) Not hitting Chipper for Blanco;
    (3) Not hitting Chipper for Francoeur.

    It’s not even arguable, is it?

  177. And Bobby did fine. I don’t think you can bring in Carlyle in that situation and you aren’t going to use Ring to pitch to a righthander with the go-ahead run on second. This is all on Acosta’s brain.

  178. It is often hard to fathom Bobby’s thinking. Of course, I can predict what his comment will be, “Acosta had good stuff; he just left a couple of pitches up. Otherwise, he pitched great.” Or alternatively, “Those home runs really weren’t hit that well. The wind blew them.” Or “It was just a bad break that they happened to swing where Acosta was throwing the ball.”

    I’m becoming pretty fatalistic about this team. The fact is, this has been basically a .500 team for the last 380+ games. You can talk about all the bad breaks or bad managing or whatever, but it is what it is. Good teams win and bad teams don’t. It’s been three years since the Braves put together any kind of sustained run. The players talk about how much talent they have and so forth, but it’s basically bullshit. They just aren’t that good.

  179. He probably should have hit for Blanco, but knowing Bobby he was thinking that Blanco is a leadoff type, we need baserunners, yadda yadda yadda. It’s flawed thinking, but that was probably the thought process.

    As for Francoeur, it’s easy for us to say Chipper should have batted for him, and we’re right in saying it, but I’m not sure there is a manager in baseball that makes that move.

  180. He probably should have hit for Blanco, but knowing Bobby he was thinking that Blanco is a leadoff type, we need baserunners, yadda yadda yadda. It’s flawed thinking, but that was probably the thought process.

    Oh, I know exactly what he was thinking, and you’re right. It’s just really frustratingly stupid.

    As for Francoeur, it’s easy for us to say Chipper should have batted for him, and we’re right in saying it, but I’m not sure there is a manager in baseball that makes that move.

    LaRussa would. Francona probably would.

  181. Blanco’s a high OBP guy. I’m fine with leaving him in. Not batting for the Atlanta Out Machine is criminally negligent. But of course, we’re just running the team to try to develop Francouer.

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