Angels 2, Braves 0

ESPN – Braves vs. Angels – Box Score – June 15, 2008

Well, back to the suckage. Jorge Campillo threw his first career complete game, allowing two runs on seven hits, and earned a spot in the Tim Hudson “I Hate The Offense” Club as the Braves couldn’t score and managed only a couple of threats. Casey Kotchman hit a two-run homer in the fifth for the game’s only runs, and it wasn’t all that great of a homer and almost stayed in the park. Campillo struck out seven, walked nobody, and allowed seven hits; other than the fifth, the Angels didn’t do a whole lot. But the Braves didn’t do anything.

The Braves had only six hits, all singles. Basically, Escobar had a good day (2-3 with a walk, the only one the Braves would get) and everyone else might as well have stayed home. Chipper was 0-4 and is down to .402.

91 thoughts on “Angels 2, Braves 0”

  1. Suckage–for the season yes–but I am pretty happy that the Braves took 2 out of 3 on the road–let alone from the Angels….

  2. Yes, but the Braves are at a point where they can’t be happy to just win series. Nothing frustrates me more than watching a great pitching effort go to the waste bin.

  3. Disappointing game. But they were against a young lefty (who is evidently pretty good after all) and without McCann. So not too surprising.

    Great outing from Campillo, though. Aside from Guerrerro’s double and the pop-up/HR by Kotchman, almost everything was on the ground.

  4. From the previous thread:

    Rohrbough was injured. That is why he was shut down and then held in extended ST. He came back at pretty much the earliest he could without pitching much in Orlando.

    I want to believe he is just rusty, and that seems plausible, but he should be coming out of it now.

  5. If the Braves can’t figure out how to hit a lefty, or acquire one or two guys who can, they’re done. It’s really simple.

  6. I was listening to the home run call by the Angels announcer on XM radio this morning. The Angels announcer was surprised that Frenchy didn’t get to the ball. He said Frenchy should probably have caught it or at least have kept it in play.

    I didn’t see the play, only heard it on radio and the replay of the Angels’ call. Neither Pete nor Mark made a big deal about Jeff not chasing the ball. Anyway, there’s not much difference between losing two-zip or one-zip I guess.

    The worst thing that could have happened would have been that Frenchy had hustled, caught the ball, and it would still be love-all in the 43rd inning.

  7. I’ve now come to the conclusion that the worst thing that can happen to this team is to go on a little mini-run. For a few years this team has thought it was a player away. And, as a fan, I have often liked deals that traded away prospects for vets. But, I think it’s time to retool some. I’m all for dumping overrated prospects, but in hindsight the Tex deal was a bad move. Tex has played well, but the team hasn’t gotten over the hump. I’d much rather have Salty and Harrison in the organization. Just thinking of McCann at first and Salty catching makes me sad. I just don’t want to see any more prospects going out for short-term veteran help.

  8. I was listening to ESPN radio. Thorne didn’t think Kotchman’s ball was any big deal — until it went out. This is the sort of thing that happens to us this year.

  9. I think Frenchy could have caught it if he would have went for it. He was just jogging over… I would have at least liked to see him really try.

  10. From previous thread…

    “Sweep was unrealistic”. I don’t understand that at all. Here is Joe Saunders line his last time out:

    4.2 innings 9 hits, 8 ER against the Rays at home.

    Let’s not make Saunders Johan Santana b/c he is not. Just looked at his stats, and he is 27 y/o going on 28 and has not been all that good previously. Bottomline against any lefty the Braves suck. The reason: Mark Texieria, Jeff Francouer.

    Why is Brandon Jones being compared to Andy Marte? From what I can remember…Marte did nothing at all when he was called up. And they play two different positions.

  11. Kotchman’s home run was down right flukey. Still can’t figure out how it flew so far with that stupid swing he took.

    Saunders looked like Sandy freaking Koufax against us. Dang.

    We played well in this series. Especially pitched well. I still have some hope that we can get some bats going. Even Francouer. Ok thats more than someone should hope for but…..

  12. JC, I agree. The team should not mortgage any more of our young talent. But you are right again. Lets say that we get above .500 and go on a little win streak. Wren will probably start looking for a corner outfield bat.

    When you look at this season so far unemotionally we aren’t doing too bad considering how many injuries and bad things have happened. Lets face it a lot of success in baseball is just plain dumb luck.

  13. Well, the Angels are one of the best teams in baseball and Saunders does have 9 wins (10 now). Just because he had a bad game the last time out doesn’t mean he is a bad pitcher. All I was saying is that you can’t generally expect to sweep good teams on the road, especially since the Braves can’t hit any lefties. The old Braves might have done it, but this is not that team.

    Interesting, though, that the Braves are 3-0 against pitchers named Santana.

    Bethany,

    I disagree that the Braves need more than series wins. There is plenty of time left in the season so that they don’t need to be desparate. Obviously, you want to win every game and it is frustrating to waste a good pitching performance but if they could keep winning two out of three, especially on the road, they would be right back in the race. I doubt they can do that but time is not really a factor at this point. And, frankly, this was a lot less frustrating than the games they let slip away in earlier series–the guy pitched a great game, the Angels have a great bullpen and you just have to tip your hat. These are the kinds of games the old Braves won–dominant starting pitching and just enough offense.

    I think JC is right. The front office is in denial about how good this team really is. I know I keep beating a dead horse, but in the last nearly 400 games, the Braves are .500. It’s time to face reality. I don’t think they need to dump players but, unless they can make a deal that strengthens the team for the future, I don’t think they need to be making any more win now deals. I thought it was completely appropriate to do the deal with Tex last year because it seemed likely that they had enough to win with just a little push. But with Smoltz out,Francouer regressing and the problems in the bullpen, it is unlikely that this team can make the playoffs.

  14. Frenchy had no chance of getting to that ball. Even is he hustles he doesnt have a shot. The biggest problem with his defense is people actually believe that he has range. He’s not that fast and doesnt get a good jump on any fly balls. His only good defensive skill is a strong arm

  15. lets face it. We were a .500 team with Scott Thorman at 1st and we sell the farm to stay at .500 and get Teixiera. Has he always looked lost at the plate on off spead pitches? If we are more than 3 or 4 back at the break, i would love to see what he could fetch. If we cant get anything, hold onto him and collect the draft picks. There is no way this team should try and keep him

  16. Frank Wren is correct when he states the problem has not been the pitching, but the offense.

  17. Marc,
    .500 for the last 400 games? I didn’t realize that. I don’t blame the Braves for the WIN NOW approach.
    Weak NL
    Aging stars
    Anything can happen in the playoffs
    All the above makes the win now appropriate. I am also in the camp that the Texieria trade was a good idea. Again the luck factor. Just about everyone was predicting a monster walk year from him this season.

    A lot has gone wrong this season. But a lot has gone right too. Retrospectively I am sure that most of us knew that a major confluence of good events had to happen for us to contend. That the confluence of events has been negative and we are NOT where the Nationals are says a lot about the young talent and Chipper on this team.

    I am liking the young core. I don’t know if there are any Chipper Jones’ , Glavines’ or Smoltz’s in this group but it looks pretty good. We shouldn’t trade any of it for a short term fix.

  18. Good if not spectacular kids up the middle IF Shaeffer’s the real deal, B. Jones might actually be a player in left, and Franco Spaghetti O’s is still a relative papoose who might grow up; the baby pitchers show promise. If they all end up as solid two, three and four starters, that’s not the worst thing that could happen.

    Yeah, Johnny, these kids need to be hoarded, not spent chasing short-term rainbows.

  19. I agree. The Braves will not catch the Phils for two reasons: Cole Hamels and JC Romero. Chipper is a singles hitter against righties, Tex is and automatic out and Francouer at this point in his career is laughable. As the Phils proved in that big series last year…they know how to beat the Braves.

    I have a question…when will KJ live up to the expectation that so many of us have of him on here? Or is he the .276(last year) or .282 that he is showing us now? I think move KJ out of the number 2 spot immediately. He is 26 and should be at his best right now. I am starting to worry a little.

  20. As has been stated many times on here before by others, it is going to take a change in the whole organizational mindset to fix this team. I know Mac despises the “trading outs for runs” strategy, and I hate it as well. That’s one thing. Another is this bunting tactic that Bobby seems to employ at odd times that works back to the above strategy.

    This team can’t play like it only needs one or two runs and then let one of the aces shut the other guys down. That was the old Braves. These Braves are totally different. The way the bullpen is employed has given me headaches these last few years. I have sat and wondered why Bobby would take a guy out who just pitched a 1-2-3 7th or 8th inning while looking loose and sharp, only to have the next guy (who looks nervous and tight) blow the game wide open. Bobby’s mentality seems to be “If it ain’t broke, then let’s try to break it.” Things like putting Ring in for one freaking batter when we had a pretty good lead the other night just adds to the insanity that seems to be his style now.

    Lastly, the Braves seem to keep relying on people who keep screwing them, or who seemingly hang around for no apparent reason other than Bobby likes them or they are a good clubhouse presense (the photos come to mind here)…people like Chris Woodward, Pete Orr, Keith Lockhart, Corky Miller, Manny Acosta, and many others. And how can I forget when he pitched Avery in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series in a critical situation, even after Avery had been critical in the media and basically said he didn’t like pitching for Atlanta anymore. Of course, Avery proceeded to walk in the go-ahead run.

    Some of you may disagree, but those are my gripes.

  21. Did you guys see the stat that said that we lead MLB in in-game pitching changes? It’s lke 240.

  22. Going to be an interesting season in the Rookie League. Danville has only 3 infielders and 2 outfielders. Gulf Coast team has only 1 infielder. Guess he’s going to be quite busy.

  23. I can understand why the Braves took a win now approach; first, a team with an iffy fan base can’t really afford to throw in the towel; second, it’s difficult to admit that the glory days are over.

    But I think the “weak NL and anything can happen in the playoffs” mantra is really self-defeating. It leads to a lot of short-term decision making. I think teams should not base their decisions on how weak the league is in a given year or how the St. Louis Cardinals caught lightning in a bottle.

    Actually, though, other than the Teixera trade and signing Glavine, I don’t think the Braves have gone overboard in trying to win now. They do have a core of young players; unfortunately, one of them is not very good. To me, the problem is and always has been, roster construction. As Ben and others have pointed out, the Braves always seem to have a number of players on the roster that do not contribute. The Braves have always seemed to struggle with the composition of the bench and the bullpen; whether this is because of Cox or the front office I don’t know. But having Corky Miller on the team is simply a sign that you don’t know what the hell you are doing.

  24. The problem with the Tex deal, then and now, is that we overpaid. I feel pretty sure that Texas was not going to get a better deal from anyone else. I sure don’t know of anyone else that had the prospects to deal and needed a first baseman last year. I am pretty sure we could have at least kept Feliz or Harrison and still gotten the deal done.

    Some people have said that we should hold onto Tex for the draft picks. If it makes sense to trade him at the deadline, we should. We will get a better package than we will from the draft. Our highest possible compensation pick would be #16, and we are more likely to get a supplemental comp (30+).

    The real reason I would hold onto Tex is if it is needed to protect Chipper and allow him to earnestly pursue .400 or the batting title.

  25. I have a question…when will KJ live up to the expectation that so many of us have of him on here? Or is he the .276(last year) or .282 that he is showing us now? I think move KJ out of the number 2 spot immediately. He is 26 and should be at his best right now. I am starting to worry a little.

    FWIW…
    Kelly Johnson — 116 OPS+
    Yunel Escobar — 11 OPS+

    Kelly’s not quite as bad as you think he is (he hits for pretty darn good power for a middle infielder), but his OBP has dipped this year for some reason. He’d be really good if he could bump that back up.

  26. I didn’t and don’t have a problem with the Tex deal, even though he is sucking it up right now. You had two top of the line starters in Huddy and Smoltz. Two premiere hitters in the game in Chipper and Tex, McCann and everyone else…why not go for it? Colorado and Arizona came out of nowhere to win it last year.

    I agree with the comment about the mentality of the organization. I believe we touched on this a few threads ago…when we talked about plate discipline. And how teams like Oakland, the Yankees, and Red Sox teach it throughout the organization. And then the bunting, giving away outs, terrible approaches at the plate.

    Yes Rob, I did see where the Braves have made more pitching changes than any team in the majors. Also I heard how Mike Sciosia held a closed door meeting with his players after Saturday night’s game b/c he didn’t like their approaches at the plate.

  27. A random stat: the Braves’ record for 2006, 2007, and up to yesterday in 2008 is 197-197. I looked it up just to see how close to .500 the Braves have been relatively recently, but that’s just weird.

  28. Also I heard how Mike Sciosia held a closed door meeting with his players after Saturday night’s game b/c he didn’t like their approaches at the plate.

    They then proceeded to go out and get pwned by Jorge Campillo. It’s too early to say whether the meeting did any good, I think.

  29. The problem with KJ’s numbers is that he is so streaky…and his numbers overall wouldn’t be bad for a normal middle infielder, but on this club…the infield is the offense. I say move Kelly down, and let him be as aggressive as he wants. There is no reason why this guy should not have 20 to 25 HRs this year. We need to get that missing power from somewhere.

    With Escobar, I believe like Hanley Ramirez, that as they get order, they will be middle of the line-up hitters. Approach is too good and the power is certainly there.

  30. The Angels aren’t much of an offensive team anyway. They are sort of the 21st century version of the 1990s Braves but with less power.

    The Braves are in a transitional state but they don’t really want to acknowledge it. I’m as guilty as anyone of being impatient, but they do have a relatively young team and seem to be developing some young pitchers. I think the tendency is to think that this particular team is better than it is, but maybe we need to wait on this team to grow.

    As for KJ, I think everyone wants him to be the next Chase Utley and those expectations might not be realistic. Utley casts a long shadow over other second basemen in the NL, especially in the East.

  31. Teix deal is great if you win the division with your core; terrible if you don’t, because at least 4 of the 5 prospects you gave up are doing pretty darn well and tracking for MLB careers. Cannot figure what is wrong with teix, as an average MLB has an OPS of .858; a good one, .952 (I got these numbers from some source such as BP), so Teix’s .815 just doesn’t cut it, at all. We got himt o be great, and he has been below-average, this year.

    Funny how everyone assumes teix will take over for Giambi on the yankees next year. Giambi’s OPS is .962 right now, way, way above teix’s. why would the yankees want to take a huge step back?

    The answer forme, for the Braves offense, is that Teix has to hit as he is capable of hitting; and something has to be done about getting zero offense from the OF.

  32. chase utley is a HGH scandal waiting to happen…

    i don’t know anything for sure, but the guy’s not human

  33. wait…that means he’s not a HGH scandal (seeing that is HUMAN growth hormone, and as I have said, he’s not human)…he’s more of a cyborg…

    the first generation of Skynet Technology.

  34. Approach is too good and the power is certainly there.

    Escobar is slugging .408 this season. That’s not middle-of-the-order power, although I guess it’s possible that could improve. It would have to improve pretty significantly, though.

    I think he’s just an ideal #2 hitter.

  35. I think the Angels have only scored a handful of runs more than their opponents this year, sort of the way the Diamondbacks were last year.

    The Yankees need Teixeira’s glove as much as his bat. With Tex at first, Giambi would become the permanent DH.

  36. Tex and Mahay were absolutely worth trading for. We didn’t know when we made the trade that Chuck James was about to get hurt. If he stayed healthy, the Braves could have been right there with the Phillies and Mets. Even with all the injuries, they weren’t eliminated until like game 158. None of the players we traded except Salty has done anything in the majors yet, and Salty isn’t going to win a silver slugger or gold glove this year either.

    Likewise, the Braves would be competing with the Phils and Marlins this year except for injuries to all of the following:

    Smoltz
    Hampton (well that was predictable at least)
    Glavine
    Moylan
    Soriano
    Diaz
    Prado
    Kotsay (also somewhat predictable)

    Tex’s history is he starts off the season slow then heats up with the weather. By the end of the year (or hopefully by the end of July if the Braves can’t fight back into it so we can get a deal trading him), he’ll have great numbers.

    Oddly the team’s pitching still might be good enough to compete for a playoff berth if Jurrjens, Reyes, Campillo, and Morton can keep it up, but it needs at least one more solid bat in the outfield and/or for Jeff Francoeur to figure everything out finally and for Mike Gonzalez to be very good.

  37. Was KJ better when he was down in the order because it took the leadoff pressure off of him or was he just going through one of his good streaks? My instinct would be to put him lower also, but I’m not sure if that will solve his inconsistencies.

  38. Stu, your terminology for Jorge is interesting, because I just checked my trusty Oxford Spanish-English dictionary, and it turns out that Campillo is Spanish for “pwn,” while Teixeira is Portuguese for “sux0r.”

  39. I defend both the Tex and J.D. Drew deals because I like the idea of winning, and I like a GM who is willing to improve the club midseason to make a push. Sometimes that push isn’t enough, and it’s inevitably a short-sighted move, but it makes for an exciting year. It sends a message to the players that the guys upstairs have their backs, and to the fans that the team is committed to doing its damnedest not to put off till tomorrow what they could try to win today.

    Yes, you have to give up future value in order to receive that. But I remember JC shedding tears after we traded Marte for Renteria, and no one’s shedding those tears now. I think it’s very likely that some of the players that we gave up in the Tex deal will turn into valuable major leaguers, just as Wainwright has, but it’s not a sure thing. The expected value of Teixeira for a year and a half to a team on the cusp of contention in a very evenly balanced division was, in my opinion, worth the cost of prospects, even though it was a very steep price. (Jon Daniels really annoyed me by prying away Beau Jones after it was basically a done deal, but I guess he sensed that Schuerholz was willing to make the trade at almost any price.)

    At this point, though, we know the team is more flawed than we hoped it would be. I still don’t think we’re hopelessly out of contention, but it’ll be awfully hard for us to catch the Phillies. The Wild Card’s also a possibility, although we’ll need to catch serious fire at the end of the season to hold off the inevitable second-half dark horse. I like our young core, though, offensive and pitching, and I like our farm system. I think we’re well-positioned for the future, if not to dominate, then at least to compete and contend. That’s really all we can ask for.

  40. Totally agree with you, AAR. Deals like that bring fans to the games and give the clubhouse a boost. If our pitching hadn’t fallen apart late last year, we might have had a shot.

    Even if we fall out this year, I’ll still watch just to see the young talent develop, especially the pitchers.

  41. I dunno. KJ has pretty much met my expectations. Last time I looked using OPS as my measure (I know not a good measure but I don’t know how to calculate WS) 5th best in NL and 7th best in MLB. He is all in all a pretty good player.

    Angels and Diamondbacks doing it the old fashion way. Pitching and defense. Heck D-backs outfield OPS+ are 75 85 104…. awful. Almost Braves like.

    Escobar is pretty good at bat and afield but no power. At 25 he isn’t going to ‘fill out’ to get more power. At least the odds are that he won’t

  42. Stu,

    If you watch Escobar, you will notice his approach is to hit the ball the right. Not try to hit it out, but go to right. Every now and then, he might try to jack one…and we have seen he can do that to right center and right field. I believe he is one of the few Braves who goes up to the plate with an idea of what he wants to do.

    Another reason why I would move KJ down is to hide his bad streaks. KJ has been streaky since he was called up. Everyone remembers that horrific streak he had in ’05. And yes Utley does cast a long shadow over 2nd basemen in the league and especially the east and unfortunately he is still only 29 y/o.

  43. On the surface the Tex and Drew deals were good, they were aggressive, and that is okay, the problem lies with the long term plan with those types of deals. If we can not sign Tex, it was not worth it. The one draft pick, if we get one, makes it a near waste. If we can sign him, i like the deal alot.
    As a team in a shrinking market, we need to develop our youth, if we trade them, we need to retain our returns.

  44. only the Braves can get beat by a one-handed, off balance swing on a nasty low-outside pitch that appeared to go about 250 feet. Frenchy was jogging over to get in position to play a carom in the corner and the damn thing goes out. even Joe Morgan was surprised. he knows some baeball even if he does say “antidote” when he means “anecdote”.

  45. It pisses me off that someone can get a Doctorate for starting a scholarship. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

  46. Went and saw the M-Braves this weekend. Schaefer’s either not playing as well without the stuff or still not back into playing shape from the lay off. Got pulled halfway through Saturday’s game after two bad at bats (o-2 with a K) without a reported injury and didn’t play Sunday. Average sits at .207.

  47. AAR I agree totally. To get value you have to give (percieved) value. A roll of the dice to win now. I’m cool with that. That we have come up snake eyes so far doesn’t bother me especially when you can’t undo any of the trades. The Braves built their success in the 90’s by doing trades just like Texieria and Drew.

  48. Or he’s a player with about 50 at bats above A ball.

    He needs half a season in AA at least before we bring him up. We don’t want him to turn into Frenchy, trying to cover all the holes in his swing on the fly.

  49. Moving KJ down? Why? You put your best hitters at the top of the lineup to get them the most at bats. Would you rather give Gregor Blanco 5 at bats or Kelly Johnson? Personally I don’t expect Utleyian levels of performance from KJ. His established level of performance while not superstar quality is championship player level quality and thats pretty dang good.

  50. “But I think the “weak NL and anything can happen in the playoffs” mantra is really self-defeating. It leads to a lot of short-term decision making. I think teams should not base their decisions on how weak the league is in a given year or how the St. Louis Cardinals caught lightning in a bottle.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Nothing has annoyed me more over the past two seasons than this mentality, which, as we’re seeing, is no longer viable in the increasingly competitive NL. The Cubs and Phillies and, to a lesser extent, Diamondbacks are all good teams that won’t back into the playoffs (the D’Backs will get hot again).

    “Actually, though, other than the Teixera trade and signing Glavine, I don’t think the Braves have gone overboard in trying to win now.”

    And that’s ultimately the problem. The Braves have no committed to either retooling/rebuilding or ‘win now’ mode, which has left them in a nether-land of mediocrity. If all they could afford in the win-now mode was Glavine and the prayers that Kotsay was healthy and Jurrjens was ready (still my favorite move of the offseason), then it was basically pointless to be ‘win now,’ because they couldn’t and won’t. On the other hand, why sign Glavine and lose both the money and the draft pick if you weren’t going for it?

    The point is that the Braves never really committed to spending a year in transition and making a move in 2009–when Chipper will still be hitting well–and it has cost them. They never really improved enough to ‘win now’ and they have, in effect, harmed (not killed) their ability to win over the next three years, when Chipper and Huddy will still be productive. If they’re serious about winning in 2009, they need to add a 1B and a corner outfielder and a solid-to-elite starter; if they can’t, some realistic expectations would be nice.

  51. Two reasons to move KJ down would be to have a #6 hitter who can drive in the guys getting on base in front of him, which Frenchy hasn’t really done. Another would be to avoid having one of your best power hitters bunt every third or fourth at bat (though there’s no reason to think Bobby wouldn’t have KJ bunt Teixeira or McCann over to be stranded by Francoeur… wow does this year make me feel nauseous ).

  52. I agree Bethany.

    I think last night we just ran into a hot pitcher. That guy was awesome.

  53. Well, Adam, one positive way to look at that is that KJ can actually bunt. Not that he should be bunting, but it’s nice to know he can.

  54. Frenchy was jogging to get in position for a carom doesn’t make sense to me at all as a defense. He should have been busting his ass to get to that ball. It looked to me like he gave up on it thinking it was going foul. He was 10 feet from the wall and jogging when the ball fell into the stands.

  55. Adam and Marc, good points. In short what y’all are saying is that our win now moves were half assed. To truly go for it would have been to throw the kitchen sink at the O’s for Bedard or the A’s for Haren. I think that we didn’t because we:
    a. didn’t have enough talent make an all or nothing trade for a all or nothing effort.
    b. our young core was just good enough to seduce us to think that we could be long term contenders. Therefore to sell the whole farm was wasteful.
    c. the fickle Atlanta fan base wouldn’t stomach a replay of the 80’s.

    BTW it wasn’t just the Cardinals. The Angels, Dbacks, White Sox and the Marlins along with the Cards showed a trend of the hot team taking advantage of the playoff scenario. In the last few years only the Red Sox were considered pre season to be favored WS winners that actually won. So while I don’t disagree with you, I can actually see where the Braves management was coming from.

  56. Adam if you put KJ at 6 who do you put at 2? You try to give your best hitters the most at bats period. If there were someone in the lower 3rd out hitting KJ I could somewhat agree with you but there isn’t.

  57. Adam M-#55–I agree with the last two paragraphs.

    Whatever we may think of the trade for Tex (and Mahay–as KC reminded us last week), the Braves inability to commit to an intelligent plan in the offseason was even more frustrating. After a very smart trade for JJ and Gorky, the Braves ceased to make the kind of moves which might have made the team significantly stronger.

    Knowing that Tex would probably be gone in a season, they should have traded him or done much more (than adding Kotsay and Glavine) to make the Braves stronger. Given the ages of many of the Braves’ key players, one last run would have made sense. It might have been lots of fun as well. But the Braves did not do that either; instead, Wren went to the winter meetings seeking a backup catcher (which admittedly looks ambitous in the age of Corky) and watched while other clubs did more to strengthen their teams. It was folly to think that adding Glavine and Kotsay (the Jurrjens trade was great) would make the Braves competitive. At best, the team had the talent to win 85-90 games–the worst is too horrible to contemplate.

    There is no shame in rebuilding and I would prefer to see the Braves develop their prospects, rather than trade them for players who temporarily make them slightly better for a short period of time.

    I am still hoping for a collapse on the part of the Phillies….

  58. There’s been some discussion at Bill James Online that the best lineup construction would be to have your three best hitters first, second, and fourth, with a low-OBP, high-SLG guy hitting third (since #3 hitters lead off the fewest innings). Of course, since Francoeur sucks, we don’t have a low-OBP, high-SLG hitter to bat third. If Francoeur wasn’t so terrible, you’d be looking at a lineup like:

    Escobar
    Chipper
    Out Machine
    Teixeira or McCann
    McCann or Teixeira
    KJ

    But that’s far too radical to expect from Bobby.

  59. Bethany,

    It’s an honary doctorate, not a real one lol….relax.

    No team should ever give up on a season. The only dominate team in baseball right now is the Red Sox. For example, the SF Giants are 10 games under .500 and only 7 out. The Detroit Tigers are now only 6 back after that horrible start.

    So I agree with the Tex trade, agreed with the Drew trade…b/c in the end prospects are just that. From what I here in Texas, Salty can’t beat Laird at the catcher position. He may be a man w/o a position.

  60. Yeah Tony, but I still don’t get it. Honorary or not, it just seems silly, and a slap in the face to people who really earned it.

    Wow, Detroit is only 6 out?

  61. Joe Morgan received an honorary Doctorate from Cal State East Bay, apparently because he donated a scholarship.

  62. I mean, it’s Cal State East Bay. A real doctorate from there can’t even be worth that much, can it?

  63. Some college gave Joe Morgan an honorary doctorate, apparently for being one of the worst baseball announcers in history. I guess his dissertation advisor was Chip Carey.

    Bethany,

    If you give enough money to an institution, you can get a building named after you or an honorary doctorate. It’s been going on for a long time. I don’t think it’s a slap because the people that earned them are really going to do something with them. It’s sort of like complaining that college athletes get easy courses and passed through. That’s true but irrelevant to the real students.

    Johnny,

    I used the Cardinals because they are the most egregious example; they shouldn’t have even been in the playoffs. The other teams you mentioned were pretty good teams all year. The Braves’ idea seemed to be to build a team to win 85 games and sneak in. I want to build teams that are dominant, that will win 95 games. It’s probably no longer realistic to expect excellence like 1991-2005 but that’s what, IMO, a team should strive for, not to be slightly better than mediocre and hope you get lucky.

  64. I agree with the discussion about that HR. It really was a pop-up off the end of the bat that went about 310 feet. I thought nothing off it coming off the bat, and it looked like it was just going to be a pot curving foul. Which is probably why Frenchy was just jogging over towards it. If he’d been going full-out and standing next to the foul pole, he probably would have caught it.

    I’m surprised JC would be so down on the team, given that they’ve still got the 3rd-best run differential in the league and have most of the team on the DL. Frankly, if they go on a run and make their record look more like their Pythag record, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be willing to make a move. Not a move like last year, but maybe something where you move Chuck James (or Morton?) and Brandon Jones (or one of our MI prospects) for a young, decent-hitting LF. Hell, let’s take Matt LaPorta off the Brewers’ hands.

    And how can anyone be bagging on KJ not “living up to expectations”? What, were you expecting him to be a super-star? Sure, when you put him next to Dan Uggla and Chase Utley he doesn’t come off looking great. But he’s a top 5 2B in the NL!

  65. To reiterate on KJ, the guy was like, “Yeah, this .280 BA just isn’t going to cut it!”

    Seriously, WTF? In what world is a .280 BA disappointing from a middle infielder who you’re paying league-minimum?

  66. Going for the triple-post:

    I’ve always wondered why managers had no problem batting their worst hitters 8th in the AL and have a 2nd lead-off type 9th, but if you do that in the NL, you’re somehow going against the book. I mean, substitute the pitcher for Corky (and you really can’t tell the difference at the plate) and you’ve got a pitcher-8th lineup.

  67. Mraver, I think the one thing we won’t be able to do is pry LaPorta. I’d guess we’d have an easier chance of getting Fielder, who’s going to get expensive awfully soon (considering Ryan Howard’s haul in arbitration) and who’s already getting too damned massive for his own good. If they’re smart, they’ll sell high.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing if Capuano could be fixed, though.

  68. I would like to reiterate that my objection to the Tex deal is not that it was made, rather that JS was clearly willing to pay any price.

    Which trade would you have rather made?

    Tex and Mahay for Salty, Feliz, Andrus, Harrison (and Beau Jones)

    or

    Tex and Mahay for Salty, Andrus, Harrison (and Beau Jones)

  69. Parish–JS did overpay and I think that Wren overpaid for Kotsay and Ridgeway…

  70. No one is bagging on KJ…he’s just a very streaky hitter. And what are the expectations for KJ, since you put it out there? Why not expect him to be a Dan Uggla? Do we expect him to hit .280? or .300? Will he hit 20hr? Will someone let me know what the expectations are for KJ?

    And is 2nd base in the National League like 2nd Base when Glenn Hubbard played? Eight 2nd basemen with 7 or more homers?

    Again how do we know BJones is not a “decent hitting” LF? This amazing to me.

  71. By the way…it’s sad how Willie is being treated here in NYC. Why doesn’t he just quit? The ax is coming down any minute now with JManual to take over.

  72. The Mariners just fired Bill Bavasi. Unfortunately, this isn’t 2006, so they weren’t in time to keep Rafael Soriano, Adam Jones, or any of the other good players he gave away.

    It’s just too bad for all the other 29 teams — he’s been a meal ticket for all of us.

  73. not that there’s a ton to buy, but at least see what they’re asking for Bedard

  74. Marc, your point is well taken. But I don’t think that the Braves front office went at building an 85 win team. What I think the Braves front office did was use the most positive outlook on the players performance going forward and came to the conclusion that the team was a couple of pieces away. And why not? The evidence from last season suggested that the parts that Wren went shopping for would be enough to put the team into contentiion. That it hasn’t worked out thus far (and btw its not like we are in a free fall) is just plain bad luck.

  75. The Phillies are really tryin to get Erik Bedard. Now it’s the same GM that signed Adrian Beltre after he had that steroid induced “career” year? And the same one who acquired Richie Sexton?

  76. Just looked at the schedule. We have a good chance to pick up a couple of games this week, offensive power outs not withstanding.

    Phillies host the Red Sox and the Angels
    We play the Rockies, Rangers and Mariners.

  77. The problem with KJ’s numbers is that he is so streaky

    Honest question:

    Would you rather have a player who in 150 games played hit .300/.400/.500 and 30 homeruns but had prolonged hot and cold streaks or a player who in 150 games played hit .250/.350/.400 and 15 homeruns and was very consistent week to week?

  78. Johnny,

    I agree with you but I think the perception that the NL was weak colored the front office’s perception of what they needed to do. I think the Teixera deal was based on the idea that there was no pitching available but that if they added another bat, they could outslug teams enough to get in the playoffs. That wasn’t necessarily wrong (in fact, it made sense to me)but, given the problems with the pitching last year, it would work only to the extent that you wouldn’t need to win, say, 92 games to get in the playoffs. Similarly, the moves to improve pitching in the offseason were really designed, IMO, to improve the team marginally. Glavine was expected basically to eat some innings and keep the team in games, which for the most part,he has done. Jurrjens was clearly designed to improve the team for the future but I think he has been, until recently, a lot better than they expected. The point is that, unless things really fell into place unexpectedly, the team wasn’t likely to win more than 90 games at best and, more likely, 88 or so. Ironically, it looks like that might be good enough in the AL this year but no one would have thought so at the beginning of the year.

    I can’t really criticize what Wren has done. He is trying to carve a middle ground between rebuilding and mortgaging the future to win now and it is not an easy balancing trick. But if they were really trying to put together more than a marginal playoff team, they needed to go after more than Tom Glavine.

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