Braves 9, Dodgers 3

ESPN – Braves vs. Dodgers – Box Score – July 08, 2008

So eventually the hits came, and the runs followed. A lot of runs. The Braves were no-hit through the first four innings, but KJ led off the fifth with a single, followed by Kotsay. With one out, Blanco walked to load the bases, and Escobar brought them all home with a double. Runs! And a lead! McCann led off the sixth with a homer, and with two out Blanco singled in KJ and Kotsay to make it 6-0.

Jair Jurrjens wasn’t especially sharp, but was more than good enough, and got the benefit of two double plays turned behind him, and the Dodgers were just hitting singles. When they finally got an extra-base hit, a double, in the sixth, it brought in a run. Jurrjens went six and struck out a man an inning, but walked three. His pitches may have been moving a little too much for easy control.

Prado singled in KJ in the eighth, and in the ninth Teixeira hit a two-run homer, which McCann followed with his second solo shot of the night. And then Bobby decided to bring in new acquisition Julian Tavarez, who promptly showed why he wasn’t good enough for the Red Sox or Brewers to keep around. After two walks, two singles, and two runs, and only one out, Bobby wound up bringing in his closer to finish a 9-3 game. Gonzalez struck out the two men he faced. Luckily, he’s not coming off of surgery or anything.

Nine runs, and Chipper was 0-4 with a walk. Francoeur was 1-5, so normal, but did double a runner off at first.

145 thoughts on “Braves 9, Dodgers 3”

  1. by the way, I think its safe to say Gonzalez is a man-beast. How many years does he have left on his contract? I’d sell high…

  2. My cable went out in the top of the 8th, so I missed the Tavarez freakshow. Was it that bad?

  3. Jurrjens wasn’t especially sharp and still held the opposition to a mere run. For such a young pitcher that’s extremely impressive.

    It’s also the definition of an Ace. We are witnessing the passing of the baton from Smoltz to Jurrjens. Outside of a couple blister-affected starts, Jurrjens has been lights out this year.

  4. Why are we keep wanting to trade away our best players? The team can’t win without good players you know…

    …Bobby better be more careful in using Gonzo. Using him with a six-run lead is not the best of idea…

  5. Cary, I feel like we have receiving x’mas gift from the Tigers once every 20 years!

  6. …and I can not believe Mac stayed up the whole night for the game. I guess he really had a good time watching the game.

  7. After sitting through four more no-hit innings, I was seriously considering bailing on tomorrow night’s series finale. Fortunately that won’t have to happen.

    In person I’m really impressed with Blanco. He is obviously very limited talent-wise, but he knows what he can do to be valuable (take pitches, work the count, steal a base) and executes his plan.

  8. Julian Tavarez!
    Under Frank Wren, the Braves have become the “team of a Thousand Surprises!”

    (Thanks to Terry Pratchett)

  9. Mac did not stay up for the whole thing. Mac was awoken at 11 PM CT by his upstairs neighbors, who are apparently practicing their clog dancing.

  10. Was supposed to be in bed by the time this thing started, but ended up staying up till the 8th inning (couldn’t sleep). However, I didn’t get to see more than one Frenchy at bat… how did he look? know he got a hit, but wasn’t sure how flaily he was in his at bats.

    I was shocked to see Andruw in the line-up as I hadn’t heard he was back from surgery yet. I caught that Frenchy was talking to reporters before the game, but didn’t get to see what was said. I’m hoping that Andruw can get some meaningless hits off us (and meaningful ones off anybody else), and Frenchy can go silence the critics (myself included) over the next couple weeks.

    My son (who at 11 is just starting to “get” watching the game) asked me who my favorite Brave was, and I had to hem and haw a bit. It’s Smoltz, but can I count Smoltz right now? Chipper was who I settled on, but I honestly wasn’t sure because, while I feel better about our chances any time he’s at bat (and without Smoltz around he’s got the most nostalgia attached to him), I’m more excited to see some of the younger guys do well (Yesco, KJ, BMac, JJ).

  11. OK, in this series we’ve lost handily – going down without a fight – and won easily.

    Let’s show some heart and win a close one on the road.

  12. by the way, I think its safe to say Gonzalez is a man-beast. How many years does he have left on his contract? I’d sell high

    Wait, what? You want to trade him? And watch…Boyer (?) close for the rest of the season?

    Gonzalez doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2009 season. I’d keep him even if the Braves fall out of it, so he can be the team’s closer next season. Can’t count on Soriano or the Braves’ to get one in the offseason (see: 2005 offseason, where the Braves swore they looked and looked, and couldn’t find anything and decided to give Reitsma the closer’s job to start the 2006 season).

  13. Who was it that said something to the effect that the physics of baseball state that every team wins a third of their games, loses a third of their games and has their season determined by what they do with that last third?

    Maybe that’s where the heart is.

  14. @14,

    No, that’s where the talent is. The better teams win the majority of those games. When two teams play, how do you know who has more heart; what if both teams have equal amount of heart–does that mean the game should be an infinite scoreless tie?

    Even if the concept of “heart” exists, there is no way of telling which team has it, except by assuming the team that wins has more heart. People are saying that the Braves had no heart during the division streak because they lost in the playoffs. Yet, the Braves apparently managed to win close to 100 games every year without having any heart. Apparently, therefore, they had so much talent they were able to win without having any heart. But they must have had heart in 1995 or did the Indians just have less heart? Did they then lose heart in 1996? How does that happen? And what about those series that went the distance–the Braves had heart in the games they won but not in the games they lost?

    I don’t really believe that getting a hit with runners in scoring position is a matter of who has more heart.

  15. Ok. Good points.

    Does “clutch” exist? I think it does, but I would have a hard time quantifying it.

  16. Once again, 5 games out and I can’t believe it. I think the Phillies would much rather play us because they are sucking against everyone else lately. They definitely don’t play like a first place team most of the time. Of course, that can be said about all of the teams in the East and West right now. If the team can somehow make it to the break with a 3 to 5 game deficit, a move needs to be made to try to make a run right out of the gate in the second half.

  17. we looked pretty good last night. billingsly was pretty decent until the 5th. jeff took those first 2 counts to 2-0. at least he wasn’t swinging at terrible pitches.

  18. yeah, i dont really buy into the heart thing. These guys are all trying, sometimes you slump, sometimes you press and get tight. Hell, sometimes you think too much.
    This team has obvious holes, was hit by injuries, and when the pressure hit them they squeeze real hard instead of trying to relax, its natural and goes through phases. A couple wins can break all tension, but a few losses can make it mount.

  19. This is the worst thing that can happen and it’s sort of what I expected. The Braves suck but so does everyone else so they stay on the fringes of the race and, therefore, are inhibited from making moves (ie, trade Teixera) that might help next year.

  20. Nice win!

    I will say that I don’t think anyone should really get that excited about Jurrjens. He’s probably not going to improve much on what he’s done thus far (which has been fantastic). If he keeps going like this, he could be in the mold of Tim Hudson, but Smoltz or Glavine or Maddux he will not be.

    Still, I’ll take the “low walks, low HRs, pitch to contact” success that Jurrjens has been living off of thus far. Having Yunel Escobar behind him at SS won’t hurt at all.

  21. I just fell out of my chair laughing…

    “Playing for the first time since being sent to Double-A Mississippi to get his head and swing right this past weekend, Jeff Francoeur looked good in three of his five at-bats.”

  22. The Good:

    JJ is a stud. I just love his make up. He is definitely the future ace, as a matter of fact, he may be the #1 currently. Yunel came up with the big hit, McCann showing why he is better than Martin. But what I really liked about last night, is Kotsay finally had his best night since coming off the DL. I sort of like KJ and Kotsay at the back end of the line-up. I think Francouer will be okay. (I hope)

    The Phillies lost again.

    The Bad:

    Has Chipper ever hit well in LA? The thing about Chipper struggling lately, if we want to call it struggling, is we know he will get red-hot again.

    The Ugly:

    Bobby Cox. Why is he trying to kill Blaine Boyer? What did Boyer ever do to Bobby Cox? Is there any coach or higher-up that can whisper to Bobby that he is using Boyer way too much?. This is criminal.

    All of sudden the Mets are red-hot.

  23. I’ve been critical of Bobby’s use of Boyer (and before he went lame, Bennett) but there’s some justification for it. I figure that any pitching staff is going to have injuries, and this usage pattern tends to shift the injuries from the rotation to the bullpen. With rare exceptions (like Gonzalez, who is, in my opinion, the best reliever in the National League when healthy) relievers are pretty fungible, and it’s a lot better that they get hurt than your starters do.

  24. I agree with mraver about Jurrjens. I don’t think Jurrjens is a number 1. He is a more than solid middle of the rotation pitcher. If you look at the typical dominant ace, Jurrjens isn’t it. That’s not to take anything away from him–he’s a great asset to the staff but not an ace, at least not on a real good team.

  25. The Braves have every incentive to ride Boyer. The person who should be upset is Boyer, who is a long way from free agency. If I were his agent, I’d advise him to pull a Soriano (or a hamstring) and get some rest.

  26. 22 Landogarner // Jul 9, 2008 at 8:50 am

    What, no mention of Frenchy’s nice outfield assist?

    LOL. You can count on a Lando post every single time Francoeur does something productive. Which should mean roughly 35 posts per season, if my math is correct.

    PS: Where ya been, Lando? Just general busy-ness and coincidental stopping by once again? Or were you in Mississippi over the weekend?

  27. Don’t the Braves feel they have a chance to win every time they go out there? Is he saying they don’t have a chance to win when other guys pitch? And wouldn’t they feel they have an even better chance to win if it was Smoltz?

  28. We finally have a legitimate closer for the first time in God knows how long and you wanna trade him? I swear, I think some people here would rather be operating a corner store than a baseball team.

  29. Marc,

    C’mon Marc you know what he is saying. He is basically saying w/o being mean to the other starters that the team feels very confident they are going to win when Jurrens takes the mound. Why are you comparing Jurrens to Smoltz? Smoltz is a HOF, Jurrens is a 22 y/o rookie pitcher.

  30. @31,

    And guess who is #2: Ohman.

    And 2 tied for #32, Bennett and Acosta (both injured).

  31. Mraver,

    I just read your post on Jurrens. It’s amazing how you figured out that the 22y/o pitcher will not improve much more than this. Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux, Martinez, Webb, …all reached their peak at 22 y/o. Didn’t they? Wow.

  32. I’m not complaining about Jurrjens at all. But there are different levels of pitchers and different confidence levels. He might well improve but he was generally forecast as a middle of the rotation type. Nothing wrong with that at all but it just seems premature to designate him as an (or the) ace. We have been disappointed enough in recent years with players that were good but hit a plateua.

  33. Jurrjens has been great, but he hasn’t shown a consistent ability to get strikeouts, which is something that almost all ace pitchers have.

  34. Robert,

    Have you gotten to see much of Angels 1B Casey Kotchman? I know of him (scouting reports, stats, etc.), but I haven’t seen much of him. What do you think of him?

    Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll is reporting that a potential Braves-Angels trade could involve Teixeira for Kotchman (and some parts maybe).

    Anyone else feel free to share your opinion of Kotchman as well. I just know that Robert’s out there in So-Cal.

  35. I dont watch Kotchman play very much, but he’s light years ahead of every possible 1B player in our system. He’ll hit for average and has a very good glove, but not a whole lot of power there. We all know Tex wont be back and I dont think Kotchman would kill all hopes of a decent playoff push for this year. I would make the deal, if we got one more solid piece in return. If its just Kotchman, I would hold off for the picks

  36. Marc,

    Of course it’s premature to designate him as an ace. The same way it’s premature to say Francouer will be a failure, but we do when we talk about sports. Right?

    Anyway I just felt it was odd to put a ceiling on a palyer’s potential at this point in his career.

  37. Kotchman’s under team control for a few years, though, isn’t he? I wouldn’t be averse to the idea of a straight-up trade, since it will fix a need the Braves will have after this year.

  38. #43 – the Angels gave him a one year deal for $1.5 mil this season. I dont know how many arb. years he has remaining and what his cost will go up to

  39. Jurrjens doesn’t have to be an ace anytime soon (although it’s way premature to conclude he won’t become one eventually). We still have Tim Hudson, remember? Jair makes a very nice #2 though.

  40. Kotchman’s got three more years of arbitration. Won’t be a FA until 2012.

    Teixeira for Kotchman & Rivera would be pretty tempting. That would pretty much negate the need for Nady.

  41. I love Beane’s “get back” on Harden. He sacrificed some top side at starting pitcher for two years Sean Gallagher will probably never be more than a 3, but is likely to now be a 4 and probably get a little better) but he got two pieces, that for his team, help big time in Murton and Patterson. Giving Gaudin was probably not as good.

    Basically, even if Harden stays healthy, the A’s didn’t throw away value. If he stumbles, Beane did good.

    The point as it relates to the Braves. “Second half Teix” is probably 2 games at most over “reasonable expected Kotchman”. They really don’t have any other offensive pieces (that they would consider trading) that I would want to put in front of our healthy starters. Figgins has value as the “upper middle class man’s” version of Infante. Therefore the “extra piece(s)” should probably be minor league pitcher and see if they will throw in Brandon Wood (many strikeouts, much power. He just “might” turn into something).

  42. Whether Tex is here for the end of the year or not, it is highly unlikely he will be here next year. With that in mind, who will play 1B in 2009 if the farm system is bare at this position. Is McCann a possibilty in the near future, or does this simply leave a void at C. It is tough to lose his bat every 5th day, and deal with possible wear down late into the season by playing a tough position on so many hot days. I just fear we will have to go with some retread guy at 1B next year, which might be ok if we could get better production from the corner OF spots.

    Regarding Jurrjens…he is crafty and looks like a #2 to me. As Mac says, he doesn’t have the finish pitches to get K’s like a real ace typically has. I love his makeup though. He is a battler who gets a lot from his stuff.

  43. If we got Rivera and Kotchman that would be very nice. I would still trade Lilli for Nady even if we got Rivera

  44. How about Rivera and Kotchman for Teixiera and Taveras? That’s my kind of unrealistic trade.

  45. I would still trade Lilli for Nady even if we got Rivera.

    Not me. Nady’s not free, and we’d have too many decent-valuable right-handed corner OFs who’d never play.

  46. Only if they throw in K-Rod, jea. We need a pitcher to fill in for the departed (in that scenario) Tavarez.

  47. here’s the info from Carroll

    The Braves could be both buyers and sellers at the deadline, with team frustration about Mark Teixeira making it more likely he could be dealt. Casey Kotchman is one possibility that’s been discussed, but nothing seems imminent. On the buying side, the team is looking for another bat and some bullpen help, but once again, nothing seems imminent. One FOT thinks the Braves will largely stand pat due to injury and uncertainty

  48. I don’t know why so many people think a C can play 1b. I think McCann is a catcher and that is it.

  49. yeah, I dont see him moving to first.

    Jake, any rumblings of Tex going anywhere or the Braves trying to acquire a decent hitter?

  50. jake… you correctly predicted the team would be ready to go last night. any thoughts for tonight?

  51. Two things about Jurrjens…
    Last night during the game they put up some stats comparing Smoltz, Glavine and Jurrjens at the same point in their careers and Jurrjens compares pretty favorably. In addition Smoltz was asked about Jurrjens and said he was better then he or Glavine were… way better. Now, if Smoltz had just said that about himself then it might not have struck me as so meaningful but for Smoltz to say Jurrjens is better than Glavine, to me, takes some real conviction about it.

  52. I would say that Jurrjens right now is a #2-3 pitcher, but at the same age Smoltz and Glavine were probably #4-5’s. Jurrjens has a lot of life on his fastball and changeup. When he starts throwing the slider with confidence and more control the strikeouts will come. He’ll be our ace one day

  53. As I mentioned last night, the biggest concern with Jurrjens is will he be healthy going forward. He’s had issues with his shoulder the past two years, and is logging a lot of innings thus far. The Braves need to be careful with him.

  54. If the Braves stand pat, this is going to be one wasted season and maybe next year will be wasted as well.

  55. I blame you Scott Thorman. If you hadn’t sucked so bad last year we would not have had to give up the farm to get Tex. That Matt Harrison’s looks good. A big, strong, lefty. Oh well…

    Tex for Kotchman? A 1st baseman with no pop? Please don’t do it Atlanta. Can McCann play first?

  56. I never said McCann could play 1B. I just mentioned it as a possibility considering we don’t have a replacement for Tex, and McCann has to sit and rest every 5th day or so, losing his highly effective bat. I realize it would take some work to move him there, but it is not unprecedented.

  57. Just ran across this Frenchy quote that, for some reason, didn’t make it into the AJC.

    From the AP:

    “Not one thing that I said do I regret,” Francoeur said. “Obviously, a lot of it’s emotion, but a lot of it is how I felt. Was it right to sent me down? I didn’t think so, and that was my opinion.”

    He’s flaunting his crossing of the Lockhart Line.

  58. 66: That quote is unfortunately unsurprising. I still don’t understand why he was so surprised, like the thought of sending him down was never an option. That just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  59. Hey, a win with a chock full o’ runs!

    Alright, a win tonight, then 2/3 in SD and we can quietly limp into the all-star break, having taken 3 consecutive series after the Philly debacle.

    Trying to be optimistic here. I was hoping for .500, but obviously that can’t happen yet.

    Re: Francoeur
    Frenchy, Frenchy—all vigor & no grace…

  60. I was asking does anyone know if McCann can play first base? If Tex leaves he and Chipper are the only legitimate HR threats…and Chipper will be 37. Kotchman is not a HR threat.

  61. I was willing to give Francoeur a pass for those comments made immediately after he found out he was getting sit down. But his refusal to come out and issue a fully apology for his comments and admit that he fully deserved to be sent down is what pushed him across the Lockhart line.

  62. It seems to me that if Tex leaves, the Braves are going to have to find some more power somewhere to go along with Chipper and McCann, whether the latter plays first or not. I’d think they like him behind the plate too much to move him, but I don’t know. Kotchman is a solid player, and if the Braves can get him, I think they should and then find some power for the outfield.

  63. That Matt Harrison’s looks good. A big, strong, lefty. Oh well…

    He throws his fastball in the upper 80s. He’s not that strong. And give him time, he’ll look underwhelming soon enough. If we come to really regret the Teix trade down the road, I highly doubt it’s going to be because of Matt Harrison.

  64. I dont really care how Francoeur feels, but wouldnt you be pissed off also. He gets to watch Miller, Gotay, Norton, and others continue to be completely useless and stay on the team. Im glad he wasnt happy about getting sent down and it really doesnt bother me if he cant see the value in it. He should, however, shut his mouth and issue a full apology to the organization no matter how bad Frank Wren made everyone look. Lets move on past this and hope that he can find his power stroke again

  65. That’s the key. If they get Kotchman, then they must find an outfielder with some pop. I think KJ and Esco could possibly hit more homers, but the outfield to the primary focus. Is there anyone out there besides Nady? Do they give BJones another shot.

    After reading the comments from Frenchy. I’m done.

    While everyone focuses on the Cubs and Brewers…don’t sleep on the Cardinals. Mulder comes back today(although who knows what to expect) and he is still only 30. Carpenter and Wainwright are progressing. Watch out.

  66. I dont really care how Francoeur feels, but wouldnt you be pissed off also.

    No, I’d be more embarrassed about being one of the worst players in baseball. Whatever, it’s mainly the Braves fault for coddling and supporting his wretched approach, but the fact that he doesn’t realize how bad he sucks is quite disturbing.

  67. I dunno, maybe Jurrjens still has some growing to do. But scouts were calling him a #4-5, 3 at best coming into the year. And his doing way better than that thus far. I’m just saying I don’t ever really see him as a top 10 pitcher in the league. Especially not on a year-in, year-out basis. And if anything, he’s been out-pitching his components this year. A 2:1 K:BB rate isn’t “Ace”-caliber by any stretch, and while good, his 50% GB rate is a step short of Hudson-esque.

    So while I think he’ll have a good future, hoping for much more than what he’s doing this year may be asking for a letdown.

  68. From Rosenthal

    Those who know Jeff Francoeur say that some “healing” will be required in his relationship with Braves general manager Frank Wren, who demoted the right fielder to Class AA, then summoned him back after three games.

    Wren, though, obviously agonized over the decision, calling it the toughest of his career. And the move would not have been necessary at all if Francoeur had been hitting better than .234-.287-.374.

    Francoeur, 24, plays when banged up, gives maximum effort and remains highly popular in Atlanta, but he still needs to grow as a player. If anything, his demotion should further motivate him to succeed.

    “He’s a great competitor, a great athlete,” one rival executive says. “He’s not a skilled baseball player, never has been. The only thing he does somewhat naturally is track a baseball — and that’s probably because he played football.

    “It was never a pretty swing. He doesn’t have an easy arm action. He’s not a gliding-type runner. He’s just a hard-charging, aggressive competitor who happens to be playing baseball.”


  69. I understand the concerns about wearing McCann down and ultimately destroying his offense to some extent by keeping him as a catcher, but moving him to first seems like the sort of move that would guarantee the Braves continue to be a mediocre team. His value would be downgraded substantially by moving that far over on the defensive spectrum; it is going to be much harder to find a catcher with his production than a first baseman. The better solution, as Mac and others consistently point out, is to find a backup catcher that can actually allow him to get a real day off with reasonable frequency.

  70. Wow, that’s one of the best summaries I’ve ever read on Francoeur. Good stuff.

  71. As to Smoltz’s comment about Jurrjens vs. Glavine and himself, while I buy that Jurrjens looks better than Glavine at the same age, I’ll respectfully disagree with his other conclusion:

    Smoltz, Age 22
    124 ERA+
    1.115 WHIP
    7.27 K/9
    2.33 K/BB
    0.65 HR/9

    Jurrjens, Age 22
    136 ERA+
    1.32 WHIP
    5.84 K/9
    1.98 K/BB
    0.65 HR/9

    Jurrjens has been a bit luckier, but the peripherals show Smoltz, a true ace, as a notch (or more) above.

    Jair’s a #2 and without increasing his K totals, that’s his ceiling. Like Jeremy and mraver, I just hope the Braves protect his arm.

  72. 76: I know the outfielder who hits for power I’d like the Braves to acquire, but a lot of folks don’t care for Mr. Dunn’s strikeouts.
    Thanks for posting that article, JC.

  73. The Braves can pay Teix $20 million next year and would still have $20 million more to spend on an OF slugger and some pitching without the payroll moving upward at all. I’ve previously suggested Dunn & Sheets for a combined $30 million per season, which would require a $10 million payroll increase but would immediately make the Braves the best team in the National League.

  74. I’d also like to echo JC’s comment about Boyer. Relievers are, for the most part, very inconsistent from year to year. So when you get a guy having a good run (like Boyer did early on), the tendency is to ride them and ride them hard. If they get hurt, well, chances were like as not that they were going to suck the next year, anyways.

    Of course, if you’re Blaine Boyer, this kind of usage pattern sucks balls for you; you might be out of baseball before arbitration, let alone your big pay-day of free agency.

    So the incentives for the Braves and for the relief pitcher are clearly at odds in these cases. Frankly, I’m surprised we don’t see players (pitchers especially) try to negotiate their usage patterns into something more conducive to long careers when teams over-use them. But then again, this would probably run largely against the culture of the game, so maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised after all.

  75. Let’s just let Jair be Jair. Protect his arm.

    He has definitely shown he can be a #2. Hudson is at least a 1-A. The “other guys standing” (Reyes, Morton, Chuck James, maybe Campillo, maybe Bennett, maybe Carlyle) all project from solid 5 to, with Reyes and Morton, possibly a 2.

    We need (IF we are going for a stretch run) a right handed or switch hitting outfielder with good hitting fundamentals and power. And, even now, a competent back up catcher (although I think Sammons would be o.k., but not “the Hamster”).

  76. That sounds like a good plan to me, Stu. It will be very interesting to see what Wren actually does in the off-season, aside from giving Francoeur a huge contract.

  77. 85 — i third stu’s plan… but if they don’t want to add payroll (probably more definite than hypothetical) then I’d understand moving Tex to get a 1B back (plus change) and adding those pieces.

  78. Just imagine…

    1. Escobar – SS
    2. KJ – 2B
    3. Chipper – 3B
    4. Teix – 1B
    5. Dunn – LF
    6. McCann – C
    7. Francoeur – RF
    8. Schafer – CF

    1. Sheets
    2. Hudson
    3. Jurrjens
    4. Reyes
    5. Campillo



    Other options

  79. Agreed, c. shorter. They could even add a bullpen arm or another stop-gap CF (perhaps Kotsay again) with the savings from the Teix/Kotchman (for example) exchange.

  80. “I’m not sitting here holding any bitter feelings — at least trying not to. I know fans were surprised at some of my comments. But at the same time, for so long, I’ve kept my mouth shut.”

    Um, when exactly did he keep his mouth shut?

  81. “Let’s just let Jair be Jair. Protect his arm.”

    Thanks Cliff. I tend to listen to major league players, when it comes to talking about other major league players. Stats are not always the final answer.

    The executive was right on target with Francouer. As hard as he runs, he is definitely a candidate for leg problems when he gets older. He is no Andruw, and Mr Late Jump himself Jim Edmonds.

    Can Tex prove he is worth $20 million first?

  82. @46

    Stu, Kotchman and Rivera was what I had in mind as well.

    Rivera is a good player with no room in the Angels OF due to contracts and would be an ideal upgrade for us.

    Kotchman seems to me to be better than any 1B we’ve had since ’91 except Fred McGriff and Teixeira (am I forgetting someone obvious? probably). He also seems light-years ahead of other 1B prospects in our system.

    In fact, if we give Teixeira for Kotchman and Rivera, I’m not sure we won’t improve our chances THIS year AND for the future.

  83. I tend to listen to major league players, when it comes to talking about other major league players. Stats are not always the final answer.

    Might I suggest Joe Morgan’s analysis for you, Tony? He’s a HOFer who likes to talk about other major league players and doesn’t believe in statistics.

  84. From watching Francouer these last several years, it’s been pretty obvious he is an athlete but not a baseball player. Why couldn’t the Braves scouts have seen that? It’s not as if his swing has changed since high school. I thought part of what a scout was supposed to do was project how guys will develop as baseball players. It appears that the Braves drafted a good football player with a hometown pedigree. Maybe the Falcons have some good baseball players and they could trade. Unfortunately, teams are not anxious to acknowledge that they screwed up on first round draft picks so I suspect that Francouer will be given chance after chance to prove he really is a baseball player.

  85. Good call, JC. Kelly knew Jeff wanted that popsicle, too, and purple just isn’t the same.

  86. Does anyone have an idea of (or a link identifying) the available free agent Outfielders this winter?

  87. Stu…

    There is a reason why former major leaguers are baseball analysts, but of course you know this. Some are better than others…but I still tend to listen to them rather than Mario from the Bronx. And I definitely will listen to John Smoltz. Stats in baseball are definitely not the final answer. Too many different ones to examine. I never said I don’t believe in stats, but people tend to over analyze the numbers on here.

  88. Next time Frenchy stumbles into a hot streak, we should trade his self-absorbed ass for all we can get.

  89. What about free agent-to-be Pat Burrell? From a cursory look at his numbers, he’s hitting on the road both this year and for his career, so he’s not just piling up good numbers in their home park.

  90. @103,

    What makes you think other teams are as deluded about Francouer as the Braves are?

  91. And I definitely will listen to John Smoltz. Stats in baseball are definitely not the final answer. Too many different ones to examine. I never said I don’t believe in stats, but people tend to over analyze the numbers on here.

    I think your last point is probably true—I know I’ve been guilty of it.

    This, though, isn’t a case of looking at Jair’s minor league numbers or current projection and saying, “his ceiling is X; here’s the kind of career he’s going to have.” (I’ve done that, of course, saying his ceiling is as a #2, but that’s a separate issue.)

    This is about Smoltz saying Jair is better than Smoltz was at the same age. This involves no projection based on statistics; it only involves comparing statistics that have already been compiled. Comparing their respective age-22 seasons, there’s simply no way to conclude that Smoltz is correct when he says Jair is better.

    Also, would it totally surprise you if Smoltz were just being modest and overly complimentary of his friend/teammate?

  92. “Francoeur say that some “healing” will be required in his relationship with Braves general manager Frank Wren”

    That is crap. Francoeur is an “employee” of the Atlanta Braves and he answers to Wren and Bobby Cox. Wren has a much higher baseball IQ than does Francoeur and has a mission for this orgainization that requires a level of production from Francoeur that he wasn’t meeting. It is Bobby Cox’s job to put Francoeur in a possition so he can meet these requirements. Very few people are better baseball men than Bobby Cox and in his assessment Francoeur wasn’t going to met Wren’s expectations at that time. It is Francoeur’s right to be mad, hurt, dissapointed, whatever; everyone wants him to be a great baseball player and it was in his best interest to go down to AA (which they gave him a choice) to try to work on some things. For him not to be able to take construtive critisim in the form of a temporary demotion is very immature of him. This move may have saved his career and may make him a better player as soon as today.

    If I felt like this towards my boss, I probably would be looking for a new job. He doesn’t know how lucky he has it. Many orgainizations would have sent him down a lot sooner and may have never given him the opportunities the Braves gave him. Hell, he PLAYS a game for a living and should thank a higher power everyday for the chance.

    It is time for him to grow up and be a man and quit being the spoiled rich kid who has everything handded to him.

  93. AAR,
    It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Because it was this big Cruefest thing—there were 3 or 4 other bands—they only played 13 songs. I’ve never bought a Crue record, but I knew 11 of them.

    Lotsa fire, smoke, flashpots—a Beavis & Butthead Spectacular.

    And as Barrycuda joked yesterday, it’s a good thing booze was off-limits. The crowd wasn’t rowdy at all. It was a lotta paunchy 35- to 50-year-old former (and current) mulletheads. Big night out for them, re-embracing the glory of their flaming youth.

    And I know the board has been discussing the notion of “heart,” so I gotta give it up for the Crue’s guitar player. This guy has a chronic joint disease. Hip replaced. He’s almost 60. He can barely walk. When he moves at all, he ambles around the stage like Tim Conway dressed like Cousin It, but he didn’t miss a note. Talk about playing with pain.

    Aside from the audience, that was the most intriguing part of the show for me. Well-done, Mr. Mars.

  94. Burrell looks good, jea. He’s older, of course, so there’s probably more risk in a long-term deal than with Dunn, but even in sharp decline, he’d probably represent a huge, huge improvement over our in-house options.

    New idea: Trade Teix for pitching, sign Dunn to play first, Burrell to play LF and Sheets for the rotation. Payroll wouldn’t go up by as much, and we’d still be the NL team to beat. :)

  95. My comment on 104 should say “hitting better on the road.” Even with an edit function, I miss things.

  96. Oops! I doubled up on that link with Stu.

    For what it’s worth I would like to see the Braves go after one of Dunn, Burrell, or Ibanez. I think Dunn is a long shot because of money as well as the fact the Braves may not like that he doesn’t hit for average. But that’s another story for another day.

  97. 111 — the phils might be in a spot where they’re going to want to resign him (hard to tell at this point). but shouldn’t pat the bat want out of philly? in ATL the fans will love him and he won’t get trashed in the media (relatively speaking, compared to Philly).

  98. if dunn were hitting just in front of francoeur, would he break the walk record?

  99. No thanks on Ibanez. He’s the sort of guy I’d like to acquire in a trade with a season left on his deal (like we did with Kotsay), but not one I’d be interested in signing to a multi-year free-agent deal. He turns 37 next season.

  100. Why is Francouer still talking? I agree with Hankonly…the next time Frenchy gets hot (or lucky) get rid of him. I can’t remember an Atlanta Brave being this self absorbed since Gary Sheffield. But at least Sheffield could hit.

    I’m not too keen on the minor leaguers, but how far are Schaffer and Heyward away from the big leagues.

    Burrell? Not bad, but Philly will probably resign him. Sheets will demand 15 to 20mil.

    Wow how did the Braves get in such a terrible situation? Jeff Francouer.

  101. Nobody will give Sheets $20 million. Given his injury history, I’ll be surprised if his per-year salary gets above $15 million.

  102. Smitty,

    No offense, but you are being a bit naive here. Ballplayers aren’t “employees” in teh sense that you and I are. Most employees aren’t in the position that ballplayers are–having a skill that is in relatively short supply and in high demand. They are, in effect, independent contractors. If Francouer is offended, he can eventually tell the Braves to go screw themselves and go somewhere. Of course, if he sucks, it won’t matter but the Braves do have to worry about whether they have harmed the relationship to the extent that they think he is a player they want to keep over the long run. Of course, if they decide, like we have, that he sucks and who cares if he leaves, they don’t have to worry about it.

  103. Ok, for the multiple people who post about McCann possibly playing 1st in the future here is your answer, 100% correct.

    McCann AND the Braves do not want him to play 1b and will not consider it. Mac is 24 years old and made his 3rd straight all star game this year.

    It makes no sense to move him there. His best value is behind the plate. Again, it would make no sense for Mac to do this from an individual standpoint as it would cost him serious money over his career. It also makes no sense for the Braves to want to do this as he is one of the best catchers (offensively) in the game and you will not replace him. The best thing is to resign Tex (which is a better possibility then most think) or find someone else.

    Think about this, Mac is on pace to hit 30 hrs this year and he is just getting stronger. Expect those totals to stay around there or even go up until he is in his 30’s. Catcher is a position that you are not expecting those numbers, it makes up for any lack of power you might have at a “power position” like 1B, RF, 3B. The key is to make sure you have SOME power at those places. This is where Frenchy needs to come in and play better.

  104. @Stu #107…
    That’s why it struck me a little more strongly when Smoltz included Glavine in his comments. I could have dismissed it as Smoltz being modest if he had not included Glavine. One other thing, you listed some stats which seem to indicate Smoltz was better at the same age as Jair but maybe Smoltz is talking about something besides stats? I think it quite possible maybe Smoltz is talking about Jair’s mental game, poise on the mound, pitch selection… it seems there are several things which could be considered when making a statement like “he is WAY better than I was at that age”.

  105. Stu, are you forgetting that teams are very desperate for pitching. ALWAYS!!

    $1 to Zito and Hampton. I bet many teams will be pushing the 20 million dollar range for a guy like Sheets, if he stays healthy this year.

  106. Aren’t teams desperate to appear like they’re not throwing money away, too? Like not giving giant contracts to injury-plagued pitchers? Zito got huge money a few years ago, but isn’t that the high water mark? I honestly don’t know: Santana got a big deal, but he has little injury history.

  107. That’s why it struck me a little more strongly when Smoltz included Glavine in his comments. I could have dismissed it as Smoltz being modest if he had not included Glavine.

    Yeah, but it’s pretty obvious that Jurrjens is pitching better than Glavine did at that age.

    I think it quite possible maybe Smoltz is talking about Jair’s mental game, poise on the mound, pitch selection…

    That’s a fair point, I guess, and maybe Smoltz means Jair’s in a better position to improve going forward than Smoltz was at 22. Still, though, the K differential kind of a big deal—I guess I don’t really understand what’s so great about “being a better pitcher,” if that doesn’t mean “having better production.”

  108. jea, teams are desperate to win and will do what it takes. If they think a pitcher like Ben sheets can get them to the top I wouldn’t be suprised to see him get $20 million a year.

    I will say that I don’t see a team giving him a 6 year 120 million dollar contract. I could see a 3 for 60 type of deal, or something like 4 for 70-75. Teams are scared of LONG term deals with top end pitchers, not yearly money.

  109. Aren’t teams desperate to appear like they’re not throwing money away, too? Like not giving giant contracts to injury-plagued pitchers? Zito got huge money a few years ago, but isn’t that the high water mark? I honestly don’t know: Santana got a big deal, but he has little injury history.

    Yup, all of the big deals being referenced are to not-nearly-as-injured-as-Sheets guys. Also, Hampton was 27 when Colorado signed him, and Zito and Santana were 28 when they signed their respective deals. Sheets—again, with a much longer injury history—turns 30 in 9 days.

    I know pitching is expensive and teams are desparate for it, but Ben Sheets won’t sniff $20 million per year.

  110. I could see the Dodgers giving Sheets a 3 for 60 type deal, since Colletti seems to be into that fewer years-load of money idea (Andruw, Furcal, Schmidt). Not that the Dodgers necessarily would go after him. But I don’t know if teams in general would do something like that. I’d think Sheets may want as long term a deal as he can get.

  111. Shorter contracts with starting pitchers makes more sense. All teams would LOVE to give those types of deals to starting pitchers. It’s just hard to find the player and more important the agent willing to do it.

  112. Just back from the Rome Braves game–they took a 3-2 lead in the 8th only to piss it away 4-3 in the 9th. Good outing by Beck and decent start by Rohrbough. KKKKKKody Johnson (he of the 120+ K’s) was 3-4 with a homer. Freddie Freeman also had a HR; Hayward had two walks. The team is playing better in the second half (9-11 record) but doesn’t have many position prospects beyond Hayward and Freeman.

    BTW, Erik Cordier–the TJ surgery pitcher we got in return for TP Jr–pitched for Rome yesterday.

  113. Stu,

    And Andruw would be lucky to get 8-9 million a year after last year. Yet he is sitting here with a short contract making 15 million a year. I’m telling you, teams have TONS of money to throw on short contracts. It’s find the players and agents who are willing to do it.

  114. Have you gotten to see much of Angels 1B Casey Kotchman? I know of him (scouting reports, stats, etc.), but I haven’t seen much of him. What do you think of him?

    Kotchman is a good hitter with a smooth swing but one that just isn’t conducive to hitting a lot of home runs – which is a problem if you are a firstbaseman. His Ground Ball/Fly Ball ratio for his career is 1.91 which is too high to be much of a power hitter. Compare to other power hitting 1B Howard (1.1), Teix (1.0), Delgado (0.94).

    Still, our options at first are pretty limited once Teix is gone. We could do a lot worse. He’ll be a .300/.350/.450 hitter during his prime which is fast approaching. I wouldn’t be opposed to a Teix-Kotch swap.

  115. I’d be interested in Ibanez if we could get him on a 1-year deal (plus a club option perhaps), and I’m sure some team will give him 2-3 guaranteed years. Landing Burrell or Dunn would be great but I agree that Philly will probably re-sign Burrell. So that leaves Dunn, a trade, or internal options. The latter would be a lot easier to swallow if the team knew it had solid offense from the other corner OF spot.

  116. Been outta town for a few days, but following the Frenchy saga/Bravesjournal from a far…

    …there are no longer words…

    Francoeur delenda est.

    We knew he sucked, but what a delusional asshole.

  117. I’ll say this about Frank Wren. the magic show continues. i don’t blame him for sending jeff down. but you look bad pulling him right back up. and signing tavarez. what in the hell has HE done that you’ve been impressed with? as bad as jeff has been this season he still has previous success. frank wren has egg on his face with everything he has done.

  118. Rosenthal is reporting that the Dodgers could have had Sabathia, Blake, and Carroll without even giving up Matt Kemp. I dont know what else it would have cost but the owner nixed the deal. He’s saying its impossible to trade with them right now

  119. The Dodgers were planning to trade Matt Kemp for Jack Wilson but the Pirates nixed it. That’s so insane I don’t know what to say, except that sometimes stupid can be contagious.

    Ben, Frank Wren pulled Jorge Campillo off the scrap heap and looks like a genius now, and the Ascanio for Ohman-and-Infante deal has also turned out to be terrific. I’m less happy about some of the others, but it’s hard to argue with those two.

  120. The Dodgers were planning to trade Matt Kemp for Jack Wilson but the Pirates nixed it. That’s so insane I don’t know what to say, except that sometimes stupid can be contagious.

    Really? I thought that was an unsubstantiated rumor. Another source (from the Pirates) had said the Dodgers never offered anyone currently on their 25-man. Where did you read differently? That would indeed be insane.

  121. Maybe it was unsubstantiated. I can’t remember where I heard it — probably MLB Trade Rumors. Now I’ve gone and spread it.

    I sure hope that ain’t true, because good sweet lord.

  122. why the love for Jack Wilson? he’s always in rumors, but seriously is he really any good?

    he has a good glove I know that, but he has a career .270 avg and .377SLG%. If they turned down Kemp for that, yes good sweet ……

  123. Infante, I must say, (other than injuries and a couple of errors) has been very impressive

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