Redskins 15, Falcons 6

ESPN – Nationals vs. Braves – Box Score – July 20, 2008

Okay, I’m there.

Sell.

The Braves actually led 1-0 after one, Teixeira driving in Blanco with a single. But Reyes had nothing (he wasn’t helped by a small and random strike zone by yet another umpire who thinks he’s the game — once again, it’s time MLB laid the hammer down on the bozos in blue again) and wound up getting charged with six runs in 2 1/3. Buddy Carlyle walked in a run with two out (I thought the umpire made a good call — the pitch was off the plate — but I don’t mind a small strike zone if it’s consistent, which this one wasn’t) and the umpire got pissy and wound up running Bobby. Carlyle got smacked around in the fourth, and got charged with six runs. How often does a reliever get charged with six runs?

The only Braves pitcher who had a good game was Papa Julian, who went a scoreless eighth. The Braves had enough runs to win with even ordinarily bad pitching, but were never really in it. Teixeira upped his value with two homers. Prado had a pinch homer with the Hamster aboard in the fourth, as we finally found out that Miller can hit when the team’s already down ten runs. Defensive specialist Corky and Gold Glover Francoeur once again proved hopeless defensively.

On to Florida. We’re going to get swept.

123 thoughts on “Redskins 15, Falcons 6”

  1. Its so sad, we could have swept these guys, and gotten some momentum.

    Maybe the guys want to sell too?

    I would rather have langerhans right now more than Frenchy, and thats saying something, Willie Harris would be a huge upgrade as well!

    I say deal anyone worth any value and start over. There is a decent group that you could build around.

    Perhaps Frenchy could be traded and get us a nice piece too.

  2. It’s nice of the team to take the suspense out of the next 2 weeks and not string us along. Now we can just sit back and wait for the sell off. Jeffy needs to go to a team with a short porch in left where he can put up 35 homers, 200 Ks, 120 RBI, and a .300 OBP year after year and be endlessly praised as a run producer by whatever idiots his new team has as broadcasters.

  3. I doubt the Braves could get much for Frenchy at this point. I wouldn’t mind him being gone, but it would definitely be selling low. I’m thinking somewhere around what the Braves gave up to get Kerry Lightenberg.

    Really, the only players with value are probably the guys you don’t want to be trading – the young and the cheap. And Tex, who is as good as gone now, I would have to think.

  4. You don’t win in baseball by selling Frenchy at this point. You don’t win at anything when you sell at its lowest point. Honestly, who is going to give up much for Jeff Francouer right now? Last year, probably. But we’d be foolish to give up on him at this point.

    I’m losing a lot of confidence (the little I had left) in this team. I’m trying not to pull the plug on the season based on these last two games, because I know how emotionally deflating embarrassing losses like these can be. So I’ll see how I feel in the morning. I can’t imagine there not being an attractive enough trade for Teixera, so we wouldn’t be just “trading Teixera just to trade” as was feared in the game thread.

    I said about a week ago that regardless of whether we were “buyers” or “sellers”, I thought trading Teixera was a good idea, especially if we got someone like Casey Kotchman and a decent pitcher. The drop-off in production from Teixera to Kotchman won’t be what will keep us from being competitive.

  5. I’d like to see what we could get for Tim Hudson. It’s not like we are suddenly going to be great next season. There are no short term answers for having no outfielders.

  6. Yeah, sell already. There’s nothing at AAA or AA to help out, and frankly not much left in the trade market that wouldn’t be too expensive (nevermind the fact that it wouldn’t help anyway as there are too many holes to plug). So, see what can be gotten for veterans like Tex and Ohman. I also agee with Robert; dangle Hudson and see if there are any major suckers out there (not that he’s bad, but I wouldn’t trade him unless someone wanted to cough up a fortune and such a person is the sucker). I’d also dangle spare parts like Kotsay, Prado, and other bullpen arms like Ring and Carlyle to teams that don’t have huge holes to fix.

  7. Actually, there are. Left field is probably the easiest spot on the field to fill, and right isn’t far behind. This team’s problems are not hard to fix.

  8. This team’s problems are not hard to fix.

    Maybe they shouldn’t be, but for this management team they obviously are. Their solutions the last few seasons have been Willie Harris, Mark Kotsay, Greg White, and hoping for Frenchy to grow a brain. I’m not impressed or hopeful.

  9. Just trade for Bay. His line this season is .283/.383/.520 and 19 homeruns.

    Will it help the Braves enough this season? Likely not. But they could use him in 2009, especially to replace Teixeira.

    Teixeira…I see no problems just keeping him. Reportedly the offers aren’t as good as the draft picks. Why not just take the draft picks for Teixeira and Ohman unless someone overpays?

  10. What are these reported offers?

    I don’t understand the infatuation over draft picks. Check out the Braves’ top picks the last ten years. Adam Wainwright is the only solid ML contributor of the bunch, and it took him 7 years after he was drafted to get to that point.

  11. chief nocahoma,

    here’s the post that you continuously call me out about. notice, nowhere in the post do i say anything about winning the division or running away with the division.

    “Earlier this year when I said this team sucks, I was right. It’s not just injured, it sucks too.”

    if you said it earlier, is it worth repeating OVER and OVER?! we ALL know your standpoint on this team. it’s a long season and we are about 1/3 of the way through. this team does not suck and we can only hope they will put it together soon and become a .500 ballclub on the road and an above .500 ballclub at home. btw, your “opinion” seems to disappear when the braves rattle out 4-5 wins in a row.

  12. To be accurate, the Braves do not suck. They are, in fact, relentlessly mediocre.

    A team that sucks never really gives you hope. A mediocre team leads you to believe that, real soon now, things will improve and they’ll be in contention.

  13. Get a list of the 2001 draft if you want to see some carnage. We had three supplemental picks plus all of the team’s original picks. Macay McBride, Kyle Davies, Anthony Lerew, Kevin Berry…good Lord.

    I too would rather do a deal.

  14. How about Ben Sheets? He is a free agent at the end of the year. The only bad thing is he is injury prone.

  15. The only player I wouldn’t mind seeing us trade for would be Jason Bay, and that’s only for a package centered around Lillibridge and Brandon Jones. I wouldn’t mind doing this because I’ve come around to the view point that Lillibridge is most likely Omar Infante two years ago. Brandon Jones most likely won’t be better than league-average, but he should be at least adequate in LF. So not bad for the Pirates, but player that if you lose you’re devestated. Those two plus a pitcher or two not named Hanson or Teheran and it’s an okay deal because we get to keep Bay around for a while at a reasonable price. Basically, it’s a deal I wouldn’t mind doing this off-season, either, so why not do it now if we can.

    But other than that, I don’t really see anything particularly appetizing (Nady gets a big No Thanks from me). Hell, sell Tex and Ohman and use the proceeds to bring in Bay for all I care. That’s not a bad deal right there, IMO.

    ETA: I’m surprised anyone bothers to read anything Chief Nochawhatever says. He’s been screaming the same thing for over three months now and has managed to never once sound like anything but a shrill chicken little. At least, he didn’t for the first month; I haven’t read a post of his since.

  16. Bay makes me a little leery, because during his awful 2007 he looked like his best years were already behind him, but one good half-season in 2008 has jacked his trade price as high as it ever was. I’m worried he’d be good for a few more of those 2007’s before all was said and done — of course, if we had 2007 Jason Bay in right field this year, we might be a .500 team.

  17. I’m not going to argue anymore with you ryanc, but this is a blog to discuss the Braves, and hence when I see posts saying that this is a good team that is one player away from making a run at this division, when we’re basically half a roster away from being even competitive, with AA and A outfielders, I’m going to have to call it as I see it.

    It’s not difficult to see that this franchise is veering off course.

  18. Well I damn sure wouldn’t be considering anything other than being sellers, right now that’s for sure.

    And I wouldn’t have gone into a season with my outfield as Diaz, Kotsay and Francouer either. Or kept Corky Miller over well anyone that is a catcher in the ML.

  19. Not to be annoying about it, but I kind of agree with the naysayers. I think we have more to do than people realize. Jo-Jo needs some serious work on controlling that fastball, and I’m not just saying that because of today. And with Morton and Campillo…I think it’s very likely that our SP gets exposed in a major way post-ASB.

    In Bay, you get 282 / 377 / 517 for his major league career. That’s a huge upgrade for our outfield, but that’s more the sort of move we make if we’re rebuilding for contention next season. The thing is, we probably aren’t. Or shouldn’t be. Next year, Chipper probably misses more games, no replacement for Tex, and more Frenchy…even putting pitching aside, I think we’re going to have a ways to go.

    EDIT: I dunno. I can see how any GM would’ve been fine with Diaz and Francoeur based on last season. It’s not a total shocker, but the way they’ve performed is still fairly surprising.

  20. Diaz doesn’t have the power for a corner outfielder and is a 4th outfielder for a contender and a starter for a non-contender.

    Frenchy is Frenchy. They love him, the fans love him, the team likes him(although I think there are cracks in that now too) but he’s just a below average ML RF and that’s a fact, not negativity.

  21. Chief, the problem is that you overstated your case. This team has most of the good parts of a good team. Even after today’s disaster, they have some of the strongest starting pitching in the majors (seriously, nobody in the NL except the D-Backs has had two starters as strong as Hudson and Jurrjens, and the bottom of the rotation is much improved). The infield is, or was before Escobar hurt his shoulder, probably the best in the NL, certainly the best if you include the catching in the equation. A competent front office could build a winner with those parts already set, because they are the hard parts. The problem, as you say in your post above, is that the outfield is horrible. They combine a bad centerfield, a woefully inadequate leftfield, and an utter disaster in rightfield. And, as you indicate, only a moron would think that Corky Miller has any business on a major league roster.

    But, as I’ve said, this is fixable. I am coming to the conclusion, however, that the current organization can’t fix it. I doubt that it’s all Wren’s fault, but he certainly doesn’t seem like he’s very good. I don’t think he is the be-all and end-all of the problem, and I suspect that he has at least one too many masters to serve. (Certainly the Francoeur Fiasco indicates that.) But right now, this team isn’t capable of competing because of front office incompetence.

  22. You could compete with Diaz in left. Every champion has a player no better than Diaz who plays regularly, because nobody is above-average in all phases of the game. You could compete with Blanco or Kotsay in center, even though neither is really very good offensively or defensively. You could even compete with Francoeur ’08 in right field, though that’s more difficult. But you can’t compete with two of these, much less all three.

    One thing that hasn’t been noted enough, I feel, is that the outfield is also horrible defensively. The only plus defender is Blanco when he’s in left, and as noted he doesn’t hit nearly enough for left. Kotsay has been a disaster, he just can’t run anymore, and Blanco isn’t much better and can’t throw. Francoeur is awful defensively as he is in all things. I am starting to think that our best bet would be to play Blanco in left, Kotsay in right, and call up Anderson in center. The offense would still be terrible but at least that configuration could field.

  23. Your second paragraph in #25 is the main reason I’m so despondent over this team, I have little confidence that the current braintrust can get us out of this hole.

    In all seriousness, I trade Tex for a positive VORP outfielder that can at least hit .270 and hit 18-20 HR and knock in 70-80 runs and a high level prospect and a low level prospect with tools but without a proven track record. He’s too old, but someone like Jayson Werth(but younger) who would be a star OF on this team.

    Now this is where I differ from you all but I would investigate dangling Hudson for an outfielder and a AA prospect(not a suspect like Lillibridge but a prospect on the come). I just think he’s 33 and is not a long term building block. I punt the rest of this year and go with Morton et al, Bennett, Chuck James, whoever’s healthy at SP, vying for that starting spot.

  24. My feeling, as I’ve said before, is that I see no reason to destroy a team and any reason not to, because it’s much harder to build than to destroy. This team is not far away, and I think it’s much more likely that the current management will find one or two good players to fix holes than that it will find fifteen or twenty good young players to build a new team from scratch.

  25. I just don’t see a couple players getting us where we need to go. Our best players for the most part outside of Escobar and McCann and Jurrjens are old. If we stand pat, or add maybe 1 guy we will see more of this mediocrity next year.

    I’m more of a chess guy. I’d rather be so so again next year if that meant having a chance at being great in 2 years. I’d rather do that than be .500 or hovering thereabouts for the next 3-5 years.

    But that’s just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure after watching this team for the last 25+ years that it needs major, major changes.

  26. The ‘one or two players away’ is like a drug that that the organization is hooked on. It just takes you down the road to mediocrity, where we’ve had our RV parked for the last three seasons.

    The Astros front office has the same delusion. Maybe Carlos Lee will do it! Nope. Let’s get Tejada and Valverde! Nope, still average.

    All you’ve really got here is McCann, KJ, Esco, JJ to build on. Chip could be done anytime, Hudson is on the wrong side of 30, Tex of course is gone, everybody else is marginal (not including the prospects). It’s a strong base but it takes more than one or two more players to build a championship level team from that.

  27. Sorry to jump in on the conversation a little late (I needed a break from writing my dissertation), but Mac, your comments #26 and #28 are paradoxical — you’re going to have to completely overhaul either the team on the field or the team in the front office (and that includes the coaching staff). It’s always easier short-term to get rid of management, since they don’t command as much money as the players do, but that really affects the team in the long term.

    You’re correct that statistically speaking, we have some really good to above-average parts. But the fact of the matter is, and Chipper has opined about this several times already this season, this team sucks at the fundamentals of baseball, whether it’s offensively or defensively. There’s not a ton of statistics you can use to measure this, but it’s something that’s glaringly obvious to anyone who follows the Braves on a regular basis.

    So unless the 1 or 2 players you bring in has some fairy dust he can sprinkle on the rest of the team to keep them from making mental mistakes and failing to execute, this team is going nowhere. Blow it up.

    OK, I think I’m ready to get back to working on my dissertation now. Thanks for the forum you provide, Mac — it’s always much appreciated.

  28. But that’s just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure after watching this team for the last 25+ years that it needs major, major changes

    If you’ve really been watching for 25+ years, then you should know that your way doesn’t work. It’s what the Braves tried for first 15 years or so that Ted owned them. Every year, start over. Trade whatever, in the hopes that you’ll get the right mix next year. Sign whoever is the biggest name. (Claudell Washington?!?)

    The Braves have been much worse than this before. And if they start blowing up the team, they’ll be much worse again, and soon.

    But the most important thing is for the front office to recognize that this year is over, and start the process of getting ready for next year.

  29. Wow, mraver beat me to it. I essentially think that Teixera and Bay are pretty similar players. And he beat me to it by saying that if Teixera and Bay are looking at similar trade offers, then I’d like to trade Teixera and, shoot, send the same package to the Bucs for Bay. I’ve always liked Bay, and he’d give similar production and he’d be financially controlled for a few years. It’s amazing how much more popular Teixera is over Bay.

  30. Trading Frenchy away now is not selling low. His salary is still cheap and there is still “hope” that he can turn his career around. If he has another season like this one (which is quite likely considering his maturity, intelligence, etc), then the team will definitely not get anything in return to him.

  31. 26–I don’t think you put Diaz in LF and Blanco in CF–I think you platoon them in LF then use available funds from expiring contracts to get a free agent CF. Mike Cameron would have been a nice fit and he’ll be available this winter if the Brewers decline his $10m option for next year. I don’t think he’s worth $10m but I would have given him the $7m the Brewers are paying him this year.

    One other thought Mac–this pitching has been pretty good, especially considering the injuries, but I think you’re a whisker too positive about the rotation. Huddy and JJ are good and the other 3 are an improvement over last year’s dog chow, but I don’t think the back end has completely proven it is ML quality. That’s something we’ll find out over the last two+ months of this season. The pen should be ok with the return of Moylan, Acosta (pitching low leverage of course), and Bennett.

  32. Even Mac is calling to sell, which is saying something.

    Bay’s defense in leftfield is beyond terrible…even worse than KJ when he was our leftfielder…

    …Mac, my feeling is that this team actually needs new leadership. This team has absolutely no life and no heart. The easy target is Bobby, but I am not convinced that he is the problem…

  33. I agree with Mac and all those saying this team is not fundamentally sound. YOu would think a team that bunts as much as the Braves could lay one down, but time after time they can’t.

    Everyone know with runners on the corners you don’t throw home unless it is Corky Miller running. That moron is going to kill someone when he throws a ball from right field into the Gold Moon Casino Level.

    I don’t think Blanco has been bad with the bat, he has done all he can. I vote this team in the offseason find a first baseman with some pop (if they can’t get Tex)and look for a leadoff hitter. I wonder if Furcal would want to play center? This team plays for the three run bomb and we need a team who plays for big innings.

  34. Bobby may not be the problem, but he’s no longer the solution.

    And TP is also not the solution and is a big part of the problem.

    We’re past fin d’cycle. We’re toast.

    It’s time for new leadership from the top down.

  35. We are not going to sell. We will take the draft picks. The injuries have hurt, but the no one thought the outfield would be this bad.

  36. If no one in the front office thought an outfield of Diaz, Kotsay and Frenchy would be a negative VORP or thereabouts, they should all be fired.

    How could you have thought that OF would be good?

  37. Mac the Braves have carried 2 horrible outfielders before, Jordan and Mondesi but you are right you can’t carry 3. I have to disagree that it is ‘easy’ to fix the outfield. I am sure that if it were easy we would have done it. As someone has pointed out Wren and the Braves leadership seem to have taken the ‘were one or two players away’ drug which leads to inaction and stagnation. But here sort of contradicting myself I cannot blame Wren et al. No one could have foreseen the scope and number of injuries and the magnitude of the drop off that Francouer has had this year. So I am writing off this season but outside of Texieria I wouldn’t trade any of the core players. Chipper, Escobar, KJ, McCann, Hudson, Jurrjens, Reyes, Gonzales make for a pretty solid core of players. But maybe thats the problem. Outside of Chipper and maybe McCann our core consists of only good players and not great ones.

  38. But the point is, you don’t necessarily need a great outfield to win. Teams have won with less than spectacular outfields; the Orioles in the 70s/80s (post-Frank Robinson) went to and won World Series with guys like John Shelby, Gary Roeneke, and John Lowenstein. It was not necessarily outrageous to think that Frenchy might have a break out season or that at least he would continue to improve. Given that the Braves infield is well above average, if Frenchy had been even adequate, the season would look much different.

    On the other hand, I never thought this was more than and 88-90 win team at best that could perhaps make the playoffs because of the weakness of the division and the NL in general. And it bothers me that this organization seems willing to settle for what it considers “just good enough”. I bet they will do the same next year.

    I do not think the team needs to be blown up because teams that do that typically have old, high-priced players with no core around which to build. That’s not the case with the Braves but they clearly need significant improvement. I would not necessarily be averse to trading Hudson if the haul was large enough but you better recognize that means that 2009 and maybe 2010 will be rebuilding years.

  39. Johnny, they did carry them — but they ditched them around midseason and brought up Francoeur and KJ. Francoeur was good that year, KJ and Langerhans weak but serviceable. This year, they seem completely unable to realize that it’s not just Francoeur that’s the problem, that they’re not getting enough offense from left or defense from center.

    Marc, the thing is that Weaver was able to use a lot of those players in platoons and as pinch-hitters. You can’t do that today because the benches are too short — plus the Braves are completely unable to come up with an outfielder as good as Gary Roenicke, much less Ken Singleton. Take a look at the bench of the 1979 AL Champs — it might be the best bench of all-time.

    I disagree that the team’s best players are old. Chipper is the team’s best player, and he’s old; Hudson is on the downside of his prime but pitching basically the same as he did in 2007, and in 2004-05. And everyone else is young.

    Braves Win Shares. The problem is that the team basically has seven good players — five hitters and two pitchers — and not much else. The Braves’ sixth-best position player is Blanco, whose faults are well-known; he can’t really play center and he has no power at all. Their third-best pitcher is Campillo, and I like everyone else have my doubts about his long-term success. Going into next year expecting Campillo to be your third starter would be like the time we went into the year expecting Jorge Sosa to be our third starter. We all remember how that worked out. But there’s enough pitching depth that if he fails that’s not such a big deal… if you have Hudson. If you trade Hudson, you can’t compete in 2009, and there are enough pieces here that I just can’t give up on next year.

  40. I listened to the game on radio and have to say that Skip’s still got it. The line of the day – around the 4th inning:

    “The bases are loaded, they’ve been loaded all day; I wish I was loaded”

  41. I don’t really see how the Braves minus Teixeira will be a better team next year. Who the hell is going to play first base?

  42. Rob Cope, I was going to say that you’re crazy if you think Bay is in the same ballpark as Tex, but I looked up the numbers and I was stunned how similar they are. I’m just not sure trading for him is the answer. It would help, anything is better than the crap the Braves have now in the outfield.

    Johnny, as I’ve said before, I don’t place all the blame on Wren for the injuries, but you can’t exactly be shocked that two of your over 40 starters got hurt, your starting center fielder with a history of back problems hurt his back, and your closer with a history of elbow problems hurt his elbow. I’ll even give Wren a pass for not making the same mistake again this year and relying upon Hampton. Moylan’s injury to me, along with Diaz are the only ones that maybe you could not have saw coming, but Moylan had 128 IP in the minors, and Bobby did ride him pretty hard last year, so that wasn’t exactly shocking either.

    Anyway, trade Tex for a 1B (Kotchman, Loney) who is a placeholder and get a young arm. Trade Ohman for what you can.

    If Wren does that, this may be crazy talk, but I actually think the Braves are in a better position to contend next year than they were at this point last year, or the year before. Limit JJ’s innings the rest of the year, but otherwise keep running JoJo & Morton out there and let them take their lumps. Hell keep running Campillo back out there, maybe he can be an above average 4-5 next year. I think the rotation at the major league level and at the minor league levels is better than it has been in a while, and certainly you have to be pleased with how Hanson, Heyward and Freeman have continued to develop.

  43. Trading Hudson means giving up 2009. It’s as simple as that. What’s the point of trading him if we have to find replacement of him?

    …on the other hand, do we actually have enough pieces to compete next year? We have the entire outfield to fix as well as Tex, Smoltzie, and Glavine to replace. There may not be enough money to fix all these…the contracts of Tex, Smoltzie, Glavine, and Hampton sum up to about $40M…do we have resources to fix all the holes for 2009?

  44. i still wont beat on Wren, he inherited this team. he was given a budget and had no real maneuverability. What could he have done to improve the OF this past offseason? Kotsay has been okay, But that blackhole in RF, Diaz being completely worthless has really screwed this team. After next year I think we can really evaluate Wren.
    My 2 cents anyway.

  45. I think I mentioned above that Wren hasn’t impressed me but that I’m not sure how much is his fault. The biggest thing he’s had to deal with this year is the Francoeur situation, and he utterly botched it and basically derailed both this season and any chance of taming the enormous whiny baby. But from all evidence he wasn’t allowed to proceed on that on his own.

  46. That’s right oldtimer. Once all those large contracts are coming off the books in this offseasons, we will have a better picture of Wren’s ability.

  47. kc, I’ll make the argument that Glavine and Hampton have already been replaced. Smoltzie, I feel has been replaced about as good as he’s going to be with JJ.

    As far as Tex goes, what is going to put this team in a better spot, trading him and getting a placeholder 1B type, and maybe a young OF or SP, or signing him long term for even close to the amount of money he wants ?? I’d rather trade him, use the talent to somewhat replace him, and use the money to spend elsewhere, namely on the OF. See how Schafer does the rest of the year, and pencil him in for one spot, and use the money for another outfielder on a shorter term deal.

  48. jj3bagger, what I have in mind is that we need to sign one proven starting pitcher, one proven corner outfielder, and one proven first baseman. Doing all that (if there are enough resources) and we still have to live with the whiny baby…sigh…

    …honestly, the whiny baby’s reaction to his demotion is way more disappointing than the lack of production…at least from my perspective…

  49. Well, Wren spent some potential OF money (and our first-rounder) on Glavine, although that deal was probably happening no matter who was in charge.

  50. I still think signing Glavine was the right move, it just hasn’t worked out. Glavine’s health record is as good as you can get.

  51. Freddie Freeman continues to rip it up tonight: 2-4 with another homer. (Heyward also went 2-5 with a 2b.) Freeman’s even younger and is putting up 80 points higher in OPS. That duo is lookin fierce.

  52. The problem is that the team basically has seven good players — five hitters and two pitchers — and not much else.

    Organizational depth is a real problem. A team like the Angels is how it’s done. They lose Lackey and Escobar before the season, but plug in Saunders and Santana and keep on truckin’. They easily could have traded those two guys for the ‘one more player’ to push them into the World Series but wisely didn’t. Remember when we had major league ready guys like Mercker, Marquis, Odalis Perez, even Pete Smith who couldn’t get on the field? That’s a good organization. These days if you are a stone’s throw from major league ready, you are starting tomorrow.

    That’s one reason I like a fire sale at this point. Allows you to fill a bunch of holes quickly – if you do it right.

  53. On the other hand, if you screw it up (which is far more likely), then you can be awful for a loooong time.

  54. Haven’t been around in a while, but just wanted to chime in and say that I can’t place too much blame at Wren’s feet. His biggest holes to fill coming into the season appeared to be Starting picthing depth and replacing Andruw. With the production from the infield and catcher being so far above average there wasn’t a need to do a whole lot in the outfield just get the same production as last year. Outside of power and defense who could argue that Kotsay hasn’t been better than Andruw.

    The starting pitching has actually turned into a strong point, while the bullpen though still good lost its biggest weapons. Still everyone went in feeling good about the pen. The injuries are unfortunate, but depth was built up and they haven’t killed us in pitching.

    The problem has really been that the outfielders that were coming back were supposed to help us most against lefties and niether has performed even when not injured. I don’t think it was out of the question to expect Diaz and Francoeur to perform as well as they had last year.

    So Wren filled the obvious gaping holes we had and I don’t think he should be accountable for not knowing that Francoeur would turn into the worst Right Fielder in the game.

    He flunked the demotion deal, but like Mac I think he had too much outside pressure to leave him there. The next two weeks will be his make or break time.

  55. On the other hand, if you screw it up (which is far more likely), then you can be awful for a loooong time.

    I’m not sure it’s more likely. I depends on just how incompetent you think the front office is. But honestly, what’s the difference between being truly lousy and this? Between winning 80 games and 65? If you are not first, you might as well be last.

    You’ve got to try something at some point. Trending water like we have the last three years is just wasting everyone’s time.

  56. kc, if you get a 1B back who’s under control for at least next year or a couple of more years back for Tex like a Kotchman type, then you don’t need to use FA $$ to sign one. Also, if Hudson is still around, which hopefully he is, I don’t think the need for a veteran SP is all that great. If you pencil in Huddy, JJ, then pick whoever you want from the JoJo-Morton-Campillo-James-Hanson-Lerew-whoever group. Maybe you take a flier on one or two cheap “rebuild your value on a one year deal” guys, but nothing more than that.

    The only hole I see that can’t be filled either internally or by a trade of Tex or Ohman is one outfield spot. Granted, that’s a big hole, but in my opinion that’s where the money should be spent on a FA for a two or three year Jose Guillen type deal.
    Schafer, Freeman, and Heyward should be ready by ’10, so I wouldn’t lock anybody up for too long. Looking at the FA list for next year’s OFs, nothing really strikes me as too appealing though.

  57. So the now disemvowelled Frncr is going to hit 5th or 6th for the next two weeks.

    Great.

  58. Robert, from a front office standpoint, the difference between winning 65 to winning 80 is huge, millions of dollars in attendance. That, I think is the main reason why teams don’t have fire sales (rightly or wrongly. I can’t see Liberty, who as we know only owns the team for tax purposes, having a fire sale and risking the bottom line, just as I can’t see them adding much payroll in order to win. I think Liberty is happy with being “competitive enough,” which is what concerns me the most.

  59. I figure Liberty sets the budget and then lets the baseball people do what they know best. I mean, if you want a tax dump then why not tank the team. Oh, wait an minute there, Lou…

    I’m kidding, of course. It’s just bad executive decisions, probably.

  60. I agree with Robert. There’s nothing worse in sport than being mediocre. I’d rather be lousy. At least then the organization wouldn’t be so delusional to think they’re still in it. Or maybe not. Does everyone realize that we’re currently tied with the Astros for the 10th best winning pct in the NL?

    It’s time to turn the page.

  61. jj3bagger, your way to build the pitching rotation is what they did last year and two years ago. I don’t want the team to rely on too many unknown quality ever again. Putting too much faith in JJ, JoJo, and Charlie is far too dangerous.

  62. Don’t misunderstand my point, I also agree with the “if you not first, you’re last” mentality. I was just saying that I think the Liberty suits are of the “let’s be competitive, but we’re just here to turn a profit” mentality. I was just saying that I don’t see them doing anything to mess that up either way. To truly tear it down and start over, that would mean trading Hudson and Chipper, which I would certainly never advocate, and hope doesn’t happen. At this point, I think you have to just add a few more pieces at the deadline and in the offseason and see what happens next year.

  63. I have a feeling its going to be a painful second half here in Braves Land. We all seem to be as cranky as the team.
    It sure is difficult to watch a group of players continually underperform and unlike our teams of the 90’s, we know not much is going to happen during the season to change it.
    I do feel we are in a mediocrity spell now and will be in one for a while(2-3 years), i just hope when it ends, we go up and not down.

  64. “If you aren’t first, you’re last” is fine until you really are last. Ask Royals fans how they feel about being last all the time. In today’s baseball, there is no reason to have to tear a team down unless you just have no resources like the Marlins. An intelligent front office ought to be able to leverage the assets the Braves do have to improve. Whether this is the front office to do that I don’t know. But why waste guys like McCann, Escobar, Jurrjens, and Chipper, by tearing the team down and being terrible? Making trades out of frustration isn’t going to do any good.

    Mac,

    I agree that the O’s had much better outfielders than the Braves have. But none of them were all stars. The point is, you don’t need to have an all star at every position; it’s not as if you have to populate the outfield with Aaron, Mays, and Mantle.

  65. The difference between 80 wins and 65 wins is that it’s a lot easier to get a few fluke victories and go from 80 to 85, which will put you in contention.

    I don’t think a massive overhaul is in order, but I agree that Bobby should be kicked upstairs to be John Schuerholz’s executive assistant or something. We need a younger manager. And we need a hitting coach who can teach the players to work the count with the bases loaded.

    Say one thing for Jim Bowden: he can assemble a mediocre team on the cheap. He’s much better on the waiver wire than we are, and he’s better at stocking positions with replacement-level players. He’s not good at stocking them with good players, but that’s not what we’re talking about. The Nats’ entire projected starting outfield entering this year — Pena, Milledge, and Dukes — was injured for this past series, and their replacements, Harris, Kearns, and Langerhans, still far outperformed our starters. Thy have three catchers better than Corky Miller, Lo Duca, Estrada, and Jesus Flores, who was a Rule 5 pick.

    (Of course, 3 of the guys I just mentioned are ex-Braves, so that may have something to do with their success in exploiting our weaknesses. Still, Willie Harris is genuinely a better player than Jeff Francoeur at this point, let alone Greg Norton, who is essentially his equivalent on our roster, and Estrada is just as genuinely a better player than Miller.)

    Wren could learn a thing or two from Bowden. Not too many things, of course — Bowden’s not good at winning, just at assembling a team on the cheap.

  66. I don’t totaly blame Wren if JS had ben GM we would still be in the same place. The Renteria deal was great! The club was going to give Diaz the chance to start in left and then platoon him with Brandon Jones if it didn’t work out. It didn’t and Brandon Jones sucks. No one saw that coming.

    The Kotsay move was risky, but before he got hurt, he was playing well. The other thought was Lillibrigde or Schaffer would be ready to play center by midseason if needed. That too was wrong.

    While many people didn’t like Jeffy, no one thought he would be this bad. Usually you get better, but he has regressed.

    Blanco hasn’t been that bad. He has played better than I thought he would, but he isn’t a world beater. Anderson was never given a shot, but all the playing time he got, he didn’t look good.

    It is kind of a fluky thing. there are people who thought this was a bad outfield, but not THIS bad.

  67. Right now, Jeffy’s Plus/Minus defensive rating is 9 plays below average which ranks him 29th among right fielders.

  68. At this point, I think that Francoeur is one of the worst players in the majors. But I bet the Braves will be talking about how his hit yesterday was a good sign. I just can’t get over how bad he looks at the plate. Don Sutton kept talking about how he is a “read and react” hitter–whatever that means–and that he will never be a “Rod Carew” type (ie, a guy that is very selective)but that he needs to learn what pitches he can hit and which ones he can’t. I think that’s a good point. Granted, he will never be an OBP machine but this guy has no clue up there. If he at least knew what to look for, he wouldn’t seemingly be fooled by every pitch he sees.

    As a counterpoint to Frenchy, I watched Kevin Youkilis on Saturday. He has a 2-0 count and the pitcher throws a perfect change on the outside corner. Frenchy would undoubtedly have swung and hit a weak ground ball to second. Youk took the pitch and on the next pitch hit a home run. This is how you hit.

  69. I’m just really confused about Frenchy. There were talks about him being able to convert over to a CF. He’s probably got to have the worst range of all RF’s (minus Vlad) and I dont see how he could ever manage to be a capable CF. Are we still blaming this on his ankle problems or is he just slow? That 4.5sec 40 from college is no where near

  70. Well, if we were wondering why the organization privately didn’t think he could fill in at CF for a year, I guess we’re seeing why.

    I wonder if he wishes he took the Braves’ long-term contract offer?

  71. I think Bowden is a pretty good GM. I see no need to qualify it. He’s done great with what he has and is simultaneously making them competitive while building for the longterm. I think the Nats, who already are looking better at the lower level, will have a much more stocked system within the next two seasons.

    “The problem is that the team basically has seven good players — five hitters and two pitchers — and not much else.”

    Ok Mac, so how do you reconcile that with “This team has most of the good parts of a good team”? Perhaps the latter statement is true for this season, but we know Tex will be gone next season and there is no way we can depend on the likes of Campillo or Reyes to keep the Braves starting pitching at the top of the league. If anything, the fact that the pitching has overachieved and the team still hovers below .500 suggests the problems are deeper than a quick fix. The outfield situation is terrible, the bench is terrible, and let’s not overlook managerial misuses of both the lineup (Prado-KJ platoon?) and bullpen (using Acosta repeatedly in high leverage situations).

    The argument I’ve seen here Against ‘blowing it up’ – and I’ll note once again that blowing it up isn’t always the same thing; being sellers does not necessitate mortgaging even the near term – is actually a variation on the argument For blowing it up. No one is confident that this management can get the job done, that Wren won’t botch the project. Well folks, if that’s the case, then we’re screwed no matter what, because we’re not going to succeed now with this roster construction. Someone needs to do something right to succeed either tomorrow or the next day, and Wren is eventually going to have to make a great move or series of moves. If he’s bad, then we’ll be bad regardless of how we move now.

  72. Frenchy does deserve a partial pass on the ankle thing. The way he runs, it still doesn’t look right. And, further, it may never be right now. It probably should have been surgically fixed from the start.

    AAR, good point on the Nats outfielders, but bad comparisons. Willie Harris is a better fielding, less on base percentage version of Gregor Blanco. He is nothing like Norton. They may have similar aggregated worth, but they come from completely different directions.

    Also, AAR, good point on our inability to get mediocre to just below players that are useful. I think, however, that it is easier when you don’t have much upper minors talent that needs rule 5 protection.

    The gut wrenching problem with this team isn’t the fact that projections have been missed. I also think many of them and the aggregate of them were reasonable. The real gut wrenching problem is that, despite the inability of many to fully define “heart” and “clutch” that this group doesn’t have it.

    We come out of the All Star break facing a decidedly bad team further hobbled by injuries. We start what are now our best 3 starters (maybe Campillo in front of Reyes, but otherwise). We have had as our major bright spot for 6 weeks, starting pitching. We get 3 straight horrible starting performances. Whenever one part is on, another part of the team is sufficiently off to spoil it.

    Another one. Buddy Carlyle has been stellar all year. Friday, he bends big time. Then Sunday (probably after the game was gone, but not really) he explodes.

    Why does SOMEBODY on this team always seem to play bad enough to assure we don’t win?

  73. It didn’t and Brandon Jones sucks.

    A 106 OPS+ from a corner OF isn’t great, but I think it’s a bit ridiculous to say he sucks.

    Re: trading Hudson,
    I don’t really want to, mainly because I don’t have Beane-level confidence in Wren & Co., but trading Hudson would not necessarily mean we’d be punting ’09. Look at all the pitching the A’s got back for Haren and Harden. Also, we’d free up 13 million more FA dollars.

    So, you could trade Hudson for prospects, re-sign Teixeira at $20 million per, and sign Dunn and Sheets at $15 million per each, raise payroll by roughly $2 million, and have this roster:

    Rotation:
    Sheets
    Jurrjens
    [Young pitcher acquired in Hudson deal]
    [2 more out of Campillo/Reyes/James/Morton/Hanson]

    Bullpen:
    Gonzalez
    Soriano
    Moylan
    Boyer
    Ring
    Acosta
    Long man (Carlyle or one of the above guys who doesn’t make the rotation)

    Lineup:
    Yunel – SS
    KJ – 2B
    Chipper – 3B
    Teix – 1B
    Dunn – LF
    McCann – C
    Francoeur – RF
    Schafer – CF

    Bench:
    Diaz
    Blanco
    Infante
    Prado
    Sammons

    Will all (or any) of that happen? Almost certainly not. But I do think the offseason (and perhaps even the trading deadline) are going to be pretty interesting, because we should have a fair amount of money to spend, and we do have some pretty good pieces in place already.

    Also, I wish I had confidence in our organization to monitor/limit JJ’s innings this year. I worry very much about them just continuing to run him out there and Steve Avery-ing him.

  74. In many ways, the Braves’ handling of Frenchy is a litmus test for everything else. I think this is why folks have always been so hard on him, and why folks reacted so badly when he complained, when the team relented, and when he continued to suck. How Wren deals with Frenchy will tell a lot about the prospects of success going forward.

  75. @46
    Remember that the Braves were in win now mode at the beginning of the season AND that Smoltz and Glavine had produced major innings in recent years. Wren could not have foreseen their injuries. Hell you don’t have to be 40 to tear a rotator cuff or hurt your elbow just ask Moylan.

    I like our core. I wouldn’t trade any of them outside of Texieria unless we got top level prospects. But none of our tradeables are worth top level prospects so we stand pat and hope that the Braves can acquire 3 outfielders and some decent bench help for next season. Its maddening to think that it may be just that. 3 league average outfielders for crying out loud.

  76. Adam, the thing is that getting good players — in particular, good players at key defensive positions — is the hard part. Two top starters, a big-time slugger, the best catcher in baseball, a strong middle infield… that’s the cornerstone of a top team. It’s just that the Braves, having done the hard part, have failed to do the easy part, which is finding okay players at the spots where it’s easy to find okay players.

  77. Stu you are counting on Schafer?

    I agree with most. Trading Hudson should be a non starter. I guess I have the were this close to contention disease too.

  78. I wouldn’t say I’m counting on Schafer. I mean, he’d be an immediate upgrade defensively, and in the above lineup, he wouldn’t be asked to do very much batting 8th.

    And I miscalculated…the above hypothetical roster would actually cost $3 million less than the current roster.

    Wouldn’t you love to know what the front office’s plan going into the offseason is? They have so much money to spend. It’s been a while.

  79. I have always been a Bobby Cox supporter, and will probably continue to be so as long as he is here. However, I am disturbed by some of the lineup decisions this past weekend. I think that it is important to field the best possible team for every game right now. This is not Little League where it is important to get every player his turn.

    Prado and Norton should not be starting. If Johnson and Kotsay had started Saturday, We might have won that game. In spite of hitting left handed, Kelly is much better against LHP than Prado. Even though Norton is a switch hitter, Kotsay is still better.

    A win Saturday makes a big mental difference going into Sunday. Unless McCann says he is too tired to go in the day after night game, he should have been in instead of Corky. I don’t think he over-exerted himself at the ASG, and there is an off-day Thursday.

    Let’s play to win!!

  80. fully agree with the KJ/Prado platoon criticism but even though it was only a few days after the ASG, a legit day off for McCann was overdue–afternoon games are good choices to keep him out of the heat

  81. McCann needs to be rested, but he also needs a real backup, and until he gets one will keep playing on all his “off days” if the games are at all close.

  82. Couple of points…on Frenchie-he has not merely below average-in the detailed numbers put up on BBThink factory last week, he was the 3rd worst regularin the NL, and the worst RF by a comfortable margin. His season basically counter-balances Chipper. Think of that-Frenchie’s season sucks the life out of Chippers (and Frenchie is in the line-up every day to make outs for us).

    If tex leaves and we do not get a replacement 1B in trade, we will have terrible hitters at the 3 positions on the field that are supposed to be the best hitting positions on the roster (1B; RF; LF). Without immediate help in that trade, 2009 will be a disaster-there just isn’t enough in our plus positions (catcher and 3B) to make up for those 3 minuses.

    Freeman; Hayward are NOT going to be ready by 2010. I am as big a fan of them as anybody, but they are 2009 Myrtle Beach and 2010 Mississippi, at best, and that assumes they don’t run into the Kaalue trap of bombing at a stop and having to repeat it. I think mid-season 2011 is the best case scenario for them, and by then, we will have been out of the play-offs for 5 years, unless we do something great in signings in the off-season. Shaeffer? He really needs to hit better than .230 in AA before I am sold.

    I hope Soriano looks good; he would be the perfect trade bait, if he does, for a prospect or 2 (we aren’t going to need a great closer next year, I am afraid). Will people be shy of his injury? Why? We traded for Octavio Dotel (worse arm history than Soriano), and got 7 wonderful, league average innings from him.

  83. We traded for Octavio Dotel (worse arm history than Soriano), and got 7 wonderful, league average innings from him.

    That’s 7 2/3 innings of below-average innings (91 ERA+), thankyouverymuch.

  84. “A win Saturday makes a big mental difference going into Sunday. Unless McCann says he is too tired to go in the day after night game, he should have been in instead of Corky. I don’t think he over-exerted himself at the ASG, and there is an off-day Thursday.”

    The Braves need a mental to beat the Nationals? This is worse than I thought. Reyes get’s rocked by the Nationals? I say start over immediately with draft picks. No more Nick Esasky quick fixes.

    I agree. See what you can get for Hudson. As I said 3 weeks ago, sell, sell, sell. Also the Braves need to look at what type of pitchers they draft.

  85. Ooops! Ran out of edit time. But just b/c this team sucks, doesn’t mean Cox should kill McCann. And if it was as hot in Atlanta as it was in NYC yesterday, then the day off was definitely a gift.

  86. Did anyone see Will Ferrell accept Tiger’s award on the Espy’s last night? Classic….

  87. Stu,
    I really like your roster. The guys at FireJoeMorgan.com have defended Dunn the last few months, especially after the whole Toronto thing. The argument is basically that yes, he strikes out a ton, but his career OBP is the same as Jeter’s, and he has the most home runs of any NL outfielder (I’m not sure if this is still true with Braun – this was when the blog entry was posted).

    Anyway, I’m not sure of the math or Hudson’s salary, but is there anyway we can keep Hudson instead of Sheets. I really dislike him for his ownage of the Braves, and would like to see Hudson stay in uniform if possible. Other than that, it seems like a solid roster. Sad to see Smoltz go though.

  88. Starting over with draft picks just means consigning yourself to Nationals territory for years. The assumption seems to be that everyone can be the Marlins but they are a real exception. Most teams that rebuild do it for years. It’s a crapshoot for the best organizations and I’m not sure this is the best organization anymore. I don’t see the point in wasting the talent that you do have waiting for prospects to develop.

    On the other hand, the Braves, I think, have to be careful about making short-term moves that could set them back. Ben Sheets is a good example; he would be a prime free agent but he is iffy physically and would probably demand a long-term deal. I would rather resign Teixera if you are going to go that way because position players are more reliable.

    I do think they should at least explore the possibility of trading Hudson to see if they could get a couple of major-league ready players–one would obviously have to be a pitcher. It would be very hard to win next year–probably impossible–without him but it might be worthwhile if you could get some players that could help soon.

  89. I’m very hesitant about Sheets and big FA contracts in general. Since typical FA are roughly 28-30, they’re basically signed when a player is at his peak. And if one doesn’t work out–think Zito, Hampton, Pavano, …–then it takes away a lot of payroll flexiblity. I’d even be reluctant to commit too much to Tex even though he’s a very good player and, by all appearances, a decent guy in the clubhouse etc. Something like 3 years at 18m/yr or 5 at 15m/year would be my upper limit with him; Sheets would be lower b/c of his injury history.

  90. Yeah, Kyle, under the hypothetical, Sheets is making $15 million, whereas Huddy’s under contract for only $13 million next year. You could actually have both and raise the payroll by no more than $10 million. And if Smoltz does return, I have no idea what his contract would look like, so that’s something I didn’t take into account.

    As for Sheets, yeah, I’m kind of a sucker. I love him and am awed by his potential. I know he’s a big risk, I just figured the injury history might play into our hands a little bit (lower market for him, lower salary, etc.) A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that his best starts come against us.

    Marc,
    Note that in the hypothetical, we still have Teixeira.

  91. When you add quality and reliability and the fact that Braves are only obligated for 2 more years, why would you trade Hudson and think you make it up on ANY free agent pitcher.

    Any pitcher that signs for less than 5 years either (1) hs recently been hurt and is trying to build back value, (2) is getting a real premium for shortening the period (like Furcal), or (3) isn’t really any good.

    It might make sense to ADD a free agent pitcher with some of the Hampton / Glavine / Smoltz money. But, don’t let Hudson go first.

  92. I agree, Cliff. My points sort of got combined into a mess. They were originally intended to be separate.

    Point 1: Trading Hudson doesn’t necessarily mean we’d be punting ’09. See: recent A’s deals.

    Point 2: We have money to spend this offseason, and some of that can go toward pitching.

  93. PONTIFICATION ON THE PUNT OF THE FRANCHISE

    I have thought about this often over the last few years. The recent poll identifying the Braves as the 2nd most popular team has me itching to comment. ( I may have to do this in pieces).

    Whatever Liberty has done to this point pales in the comparison to what Time Warner did.

    THEY decided that it wasn’t worth their national channels carrying the Braves any more.

    THEY SAID MLB was pushing to stop national broadcasts by local clubs, but 4 years after TW started cuting back, I still see Cubs and White Sox games coming on WGN (and if we are second most popular, couldn’t we get just about as good of ratings?)

    THEY SOLD regional TV rights before selling the franchise, thus locking us into the absurdity of 2 REGIONAL and 1 LOCAL outlet for TV.

    IF TW had not impaled this franchise, it would be a lot easier to compete.

  94. Sheets would be another Mike Hampton. He’s not getting any younger. Don’t do it Atlanta. When I say trade for draft picks, I am mainly talking about restocking the farm system. The Braves have their core of Chipper for at least 2 more years, McCann, Escobar and KJ (Although I am really starting to wonder if the Braves really believe KJ is the future, with all the sitting against lefties), HGH Schaffer and Heyward coming soon. I pray Reyes doesn’t pull a HoRam, but Jurrens should be ok. That’s brings me to the next question, how highly thought of was Prado by scouts?

    The biggest issue for the Braves is Jeff Francouer.
    Sheets would be another Mike Hampton. He’s not getting any younger. Don’t do it Atlanta. When I say trade for draft picks, I am mainly talking about restocking the farm system. The Braves have their core of Chipper for at least 2 more years, McCann, Escobar and KJ (Although I am really starting to wonder if the Braves really believe KJ is the future, with all the sitting against lefties), HGH Schaffer and Heyward coming soon. I pray Reyes doesn’t pull a HoRam, but Jurrens should be ok. That’s brings me to the next question, how highly thought of was Prado by scouts?

    The biggest issue for the Braves is Jeff Francouer.

  95. ESPY’s suck.

    Not just as programming, but as an assault on sport.

    Justin Timberlake, my ass.

  96. I’d trade Jeffy because I don’t see any reason to believe he’s going to develop into a useful major league player for the Braves. He’s the Kyle Davies of position players. Let somebody else try to turn around his career. We have any number of scrubs and prospects who could do better in right field. This was supposed to be the year he put 2006 and 2007 together and hit 30+ homers, 100+ rbi, and got on base at a .330+ rate. Instead he’s regressed in every category and by a lot. He’s a dumb, undisciplined hitter who isn’t going to get any better until he hits rock bottom by being traded to some perennially bad franchise like Kansas City and is forced to change his entire approach and swing just to stay in the majors.

  97. Stu, I like your logic of targeting a guy who may be undervalued, but I don’t think the Braves will be the team to squeeze out Sheets’s extra value by keeping him healthy. I’m just not sure I trust our health personnel to figure out what the Brewers couldn’t figure out. Hell of a pitcher, but I don’t think he’ll be sufficiently undervalued to be worth the risk.

    Cliff, you’re right that Blanco and Harris are very similar players. I made the comparison I did because Blanco’s a starter and Harris is a backup — albeit a backup who outperformed all of our starters in this past series. Norton is our backup outfielder, Harris is theirs. (And so’s Kearns, who sure looked like the guy who had all that potential a few years ago.) Kinda makes you jealous, doesn’t it?

  98. From post 78 – Why does SOMEBODY on this team always seem to play bad enough to assure we don’t win?

    I really feel this way about this team. And, it’s almost always someone different screwing our chances. The good teams in the ’90’s could have a different hero every night. This is quite the opposite experience.

    I really think we have enough talent to be dangerous, even with the ridiculous plague of injuries. But, our continued underachievement says that this is not simply bad luck. Is it one of these reasons:

    1. The talent is not actually there.
    2. Our players are too young to provide the necessary consistency.
    3. We have a “loser mentality” on this team that somehow undermines all of the good efforts.
    4. The managerial decisions are so bad that they almost a,ways cause us to lose.

    Which is it?

  99. You forgot: Hampton is actually a deep-cover Mets operative who sabotages the team not only with his contract/not pitching but also by a combination of bad advice and drugging people’s food.

  100. 107 — I’d say 1, with a consistent dose of 4 (although I’m torn between the decisions being the problem and the lack of execution on those decisions), some 3, and a little bit of 2 on the side.

  101. I’ve brought it up before but,

    Anyone think the Dodgers would bite on a Teixeira/Hudson for a Loney/Kershaw deal?

    My roomate and I have argued this for a year.

  102. @107 It’s 1 and 4, mostly 1 but sadly some of 4. As for ‘loser mentality’ and ‘consistency,’ that’s for the sportswriters who don’t actually do any research to say. Personally, I think that’s mumbo jumbo. These are professional ballplayers who have been playing their whole lives. Not only do they want to win–have you ever met or seen anyone, other Vince Carter, who doesn’t care?–but almost all of them have, at some level. And ‘consistency’… that word needs to be retired.

  103. Rosenthal has some comments about a possible Ohman/Tex trade with the Angels, but its highly unlikely. The only name being mentioned in return is Kotchman.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8363904/

    I would like to add Kotchman to our ball club, but that’ll be 3 picks that well be giving up by making a trade with them. The package would have to be very impressive in my opinion

  104. Hampton is actually a deep-cover Mets operative who sabotages the team not only with his contract/not pitching but also by a combination of bad advice and drugging people’s food.

    So you’re saying that he does use MSG!

  105. can anyone explain to me what happened to Kotchman’s walk rate this year, and why we would want another 23 year old who has light-power and a poor OB percentage at one of the hitting positions in the line-up? Shoot; let’s hit Kotchman and Frenchie back to back and see if both can make 500+ outs in one season.

  106. Forget about Tex for Kotchman:

    “July, of course, heralds the season when fans wonder whether their Angels will trade for a big bat. They won’t. “I don’t see anyone that can come in here for two months and hand me a World Series trophy,” owner Arte Moreno said. They won’t trade for that big bat, not under this ownership, not if picking up Matt Holliday means giving up two good young pitchers, with no guarantee Holliday would stick around very long. “I think pitching wins,” Moreno said. “If your pitching can’t keep you in the game, I don’t think you can win a championship.” (Los Angeles Times)

  107. ok, let me get this straight……….we cant trade any of our tradable players because its too risky to trust Wren to not get snookered…….we cant afford any quick-fix, high dollar free agents…..we cant just blow the team up, cut payroll to the bone and re-invest in scouting and the minor leagues because that takes too long. i guess we might as well admit that we’re the NL’s version of the Seattle Mariners and get on with it……..everyone stop the whining and we’ll win 70-75 games a year and enjoy the hell out of each of them.

  108. Talent wins in baseball. Managererial decisions are highly overrated. Having said that, when you combine less than overwhelming talent with very questionable tactical and roster decisions, it makes for a pretty noxious combination. Let’s face it, if the manager was anyone other than Bobby Cox, he would have been gone by now. I don’t think the Braves are losing because of Bobby Cox per se but he has certainly contributed to the decline of the team. For one thing, I think his managerial style is contributing to what I think is the team playing not to lose. An example of this is playing for one run in the first inning against, not Brandon Webb, not Ben Sheets, but Odalis Perez. It seems to suggest a desparation to get on the board first because you may not score runs otherwise.

  109. To Marc’s point…Bobby Cox, may actually be the 4th best manager in his own division.

  110. #119 – Awesome. Thanks.

    On Cox: The thing about second guessing managerial decisions is one must assume that the opposite move would have been successful. This is most likely not the case, most of the time.

    We have also seen Bobby fail to make a move and it worked out anyway. Hard to know, but if he had pulled the trigger we wanted him to it might have cost him the game. The net effect of his unconventional in-game decisions probably have not cost us more than 2-3 games this year.

    His roster management (by this, I include the use of the bullpen pitchers) is what I think hads been the real problem.

  111. Man this baseballprospectus.com is tits! I just spent 50 minutes browsing, absolutely captivated by all the what not, and I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. I may have to subscribe.

  112. Let’s call it like it is…Bobby’s bullpen mgmt has been beyond dismal for some time now. He was never a great offensive manager, it was always starting pitching and fundamentals with BCox

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