This season is going over like… game thread: Aug. 16, Giants at Braves

Total medals won by the nation of Georgia, which has otherwise had a bad week, in the last seven days: 3
Total games won by the baseball team from the state of Georgia, which sucks, especially its right fielder, in the last seven days: 1

UPDATE: The reason that the game thread is up so early is that for some reason I thought this was a day game. I agree, this team should only play under the cover of darkness.

57 thoughts on “This season is going over like… game thread: Aug. 16, Giants at Braves”

  1. The Braves have given up on 2008, and so will I. No more about Frenchie and Kotchie not hitting like MLB players; here is hoping for a legitimate contender in 2010, when all those players at Mississippi; Myrtle Beach; and (hopefully) Rome. Until then, we founder around, and I just am not interested.

    True story though; Thursday night I am at a sports bar at dinner at 7:45 with 9 TV’s in my view; none had the Braves on, and no one was asking for a channel switch. I think the fans have also said good-bye for the year.

  2. A request: If you’re going to mention trading Chipper in a post, please list it first so I’ll know I can skip on down.

    By my count, two weeks until this becomes just another SEC blog.

    Don’t you wish you knew what the plan Wren is working on? How will he spend the extra money? I think this season’s Braves Journal has been the best ever for telling us who’s doing well down on the farm teams. I hope the Braves are as dilligent, capable, and brutally honest as our farm watchers have been.

    Go Braves!

  3. Kevin, I am going to mention trading Chipper (not necessarily advocate it). You really don’t need to skip on down.

    As to Chipper, the management OWES him an honest discussion after the season is over. That is because his restructurings have been done with an eye to heloping the team be competitive. Despite that, we obviously aren’t compettive.

    A SENSIBLE honest discussion would be that we will have to get lucky to be competitive next year. We are willing to spend the $ ____ we have to bring in free agents, but that will only get us ____. We (are / aren’t) inclined to do that because _____.

    If the result of the discussion is that Chipper can play for 1 to 2 sub 500 Braves teams over the next 2 years, then they need to ask him what he wants to do. If he wants to move on, then they need to put him on the market. If he doesn’t, then say, o.k., this is where we are headed.

    As to production for dollar cost, Chipper is worth keeping. IF he could bring us good young cheaper talent, then I would consider moving him, but only after the above.

  4. My understanding is that Chipper does not want to be traded and, as braves14 says, cannot be traded without his consent. I have been saying for a while now that if you are really going to “blow up” the team as some advocate, then you need to start with Chipper. The fact is, he is a wasting asset on a rebuilding team (if that’s what the Braves are), especially given his propensity to get hurt. At the same time,he would make an ideal DH and could bring back some really good pieces/prospects.

    I give chief nocahoma credit for consistently saying this team sucks. (On the other hand, constantly saying “I told you so” isn’t a particularly attractive trait.) I was more optimistic about the future until recently and what has made me less optimistic is the play of Escobar and Johnson. At this point, they seem like decent players but no more and if you aren’t going to get production from the outfield, you need more than solid play from the infield.

  5. Re@3
    Cliff, I respect your comments and look forward to your posts. You have Chipper’s feelings and wishes in mind and that’s great.

    Rather eat a sack of nails than see him in another uniform, though.

  6. I agree with Cliff in the sense that Chipper could possibly fetch something young and talented. However, it’s really Chipper’s call, so I’m not going to strain my brain over it until it becomes a genuine conversation.

    I know Aaron & Murphy were also dealt, but I’ll dip Kevin’s sack of nails in BBQ sauce if I ever see Chipper facing an Atlanta pitcher.

    When it comes to the “we-shoulda-blown-up-the-team” conversation, I usually hit the page-down button. But I’ll add this & be done with it:

    This team was trying to win this year. The team’s upside looked to be relatively high. It didn’t work out. We had a ton of injuries and some underperformance from spots that needed to produce. That’s the way it goes. Sucks to be us, etc.

    We are where we are and, IMO, it’s pointless to go back to the early season & discuss things we didn’t do or should’ve done. I’ll take my medicine & move forward, thanks.

    And yes, Kevin, beware the creeping college-football blog (can’t leave out our Pac-10/Big-10 peeps, can we?). But, at least our forum friends can string together more than two coherent sentences.

  7. oh, you mean its almost college football season??…..the local team here has booted all the media from practices and scrimages so theres mostly an errie silence comming from them. lots of unanswered questons.

  8. Thanks Schneider,

    I contend that if we didn’t have one single injury this season, that we still wouldn’t be winning this division, with this outfield, and with Escobar and Johnson(who are league average or even below).

    We would undoubtedly be much better, probably 2-5 games over .500, but still not really a contender.

    Since my loyalty is with the Braves, and not to Chipper, I would have and would continue to approach him with seeing if he would name some teams that he would agree to be traded to.

    We simply have NO power and if you haven’t noticed, the teams with power, with the exception of the Rays and Angels, do well in today’s baseball.

  9. See, this is what bugs me. Johnson and Escobar are not “league average or a little below”. Johnson’s an average hitter for the league, and in the top third of second basemen. You simply can’t compare second basemen to the league as a whole, because someone who hits league-average and plays a good second base (he’s in the top ten in that) is immensely valuable.

    And one of the key injuries of this season was when Escobar hurt his shoulder. Everyone seems to forget what he was doing before that. On June 20, he was hitting .300/.377/.404 — well above the league in on-base, the most important statistic, and not too bad in slugging. And he’s been the best defensive shortstop, possibly the best defensive player, in the league.

    Yeah, with this outfield competing would be difficult, but there was no way to know coming into this season that both the starting left fielder and the starting right fielder would utterly collapse. I still don’t understand why that happened.

  10. Is the phrase “keystone combination” an anachronism?

    I’d love to Johnson/Escobar play together for ten years. If the other old saw about “strong up the middle” applies, then we’ve got the great catcher and two strong infielders. Now we need somebody who can go get the ball and hit a bunch in CF.

    We’ve talked about VORP this summer and I get the term but am not quite sold on it.
    If it’s valid, then aren’t quality corner players easier to obtain than someone of Johnson & Escobar’s abilities?

  11. I’m sorry but I would just not agree with the fact that we are strong up the middle with Johnson and Escobar. Johnson’s defense is poor and Escobar has no power, almost even relative to his position.

  12. Name 10 second basemen you’d rather have. Demonstrate why they’re better than KJ. Name 10 shortstops you’d rather have. Demonstrate why they’re better than Escobar.

    Good luck.

  13. People say that KJ’s defense is poor, but there’s just no evidence for it. As I’ve mentioned, he’s in the top ten in the league in the Fielding Bible stats, and his range factor is well above the league. And Escobar was hitting for power before he got hurt; he had six homers in the first three months, none since. Twelve homers a year isn’t bad at all for a shortstop. Only eight major league shortstops are in double-digits right now. Some of the guys who don’t have names like Jeter, Rollins, and Renteria.

  14. i dont get to watch enough games(again, thanks TBS)to judge KJ so i’ll have to believe the numbers. i think the thing about him is that somehow he just doesnt LOOK like a second baseman.

  15. Chief,

    Maybe it was unrealistic, but if the injury to Smoltz doesn’t happen and he starts 32 to 35 games at an average outing of 6 to a little over at an average era of 2.5, THAT ALONE is a whopping improvement in this team.

    Escobar may be the best fielding SS in MLB right now. He is close. His injury is real.

    We know you don’t like KJ. But, if this team trades him, they better decide how it would feel to have traded Utley and be comfortable with that.

  16. Using your own eyes you can see that KJ does not turn the DP that well. His range also goes one way. And there’s that small matter of pop ups, which he’s had trouble with on more than that one memorable occasion vs. Philly.

    I don’t care how his defensive stats fare relative to the league this year, he’s not my idea of a good defensive 2B.

    That said, he’s not a problem on this team.

  17. and with Escobar and Johnson(who are league average or even below)

    And that’s where you lost me. Another common mistake: blaming your best players for a bad team. Because if they were really that good, the team wouldn’t be so bad right? Yesco and KJ are good players to have – certainly not superstars – but productive and cheap, a good combination.

    I’m sorry but I would just not agree with the fact that we are strong up the middle with Johnson and Escobar. Johnson’s defense is poor and Escobar has no power, almost even relative to his position.

    Yup, they have weakness. They also have some useful strengths.

    Yeah, with this outfield competing would be difficult, but there was no way to know coming into this season that both the starting left fielder and the starting right fielder would utterly collapse. I still don’t understand why that happened.

    Coming into the year we didn’t have a player on the roster with even a single full productive season as a corner outfielder (excluding Chipper). We will finish the season with no player on the roster with a full productive season as a corner outfielder. This is not something most would find surprising, I know I don’t. Diaz and Francoeur have certainly been worse than you would expect, although that’s tempered a bit by Kotsay and Blanco exceeding most expectations.

    Bottomline is the outfield looked to be a major problem before the season, it’s been a major problem during the season, and it’s a major problem going forward. That’s what happens when you don’t actively do anything to address a situation.

  18. Francoeur, who sucks, was coming off of a year in which he hit .293 .338 .444, which isn’t great but is well above replacement-level, and many people thought he was making progress. Diaz had two straight seasons of about 3/5 playing time in which he’d hit in the .330s with a little power; even against righthanders, he had been useful. And they both collapsed, for no apparent reason, both offensively and defensively.

  19. Glavine is out for the year, and in all likelihood his career is done. What a depressing, ridiculous year.

  20. Heh. I read on the AJC that Kyle Davies was just demoted by KC. We didn’t get a whole lot out of Dotel after that trade, but I’m glad we don’t still have Davies around stinking it up in our rotation.

  21. Glavine would like to come back if it’s just a tendon problem. Would the FO bring him back? I would assume that they would… but at what price?

  22. We’re facing a guy making his major league debut. I’m guessing we’ll be shut out through at least the first five innings.

  23. Francoeur 2-2.

    If he has a good last six weeks, he will certainly be coronated the Braves’ 2009 right fielder.

    Oh goodie…

  24. The last time Francoeur had two multi-hit games in three was June 12-13, which was actually the last time he had two multihit games in a row, which I missed yesterday, sorry. He still sucks.

  25. So apparently John Smoltz is the color commentator tonight.

    Would you all love it if we traded KJ, and then he turned into Utley next year? We’d have spent all of this time developing him for someone elses’ benefit.

  26. Lemke just said the Mets have taken over the division lead. I hadn’t realized that. If they win the division, it will just make this season that much worse.

  27. Well in some good news, the Braves (11.0 GB) are almost as close to first place in their respective division as the Yankees (10.0 GB).

  28. And they both collapsed, for no apparent reason, both offensively and defensively.

    They were both marginally useful, batting average-fueled players. When the hits aren’t dropping – well – usually it’s not this bad, but it’s bad. Not surprising.

  29. A couple things. I philosophically disagree with most on here that see things through the eyes of a mathemetician, and not what they see on the field. KJ is not a good fielding 2B, I don’t care what Bill James, or Pete Palmer or Rob Neyer tells you.

    Another things that makes me shake my head continually on here is how I always see these comments about players being “under control” or “cheap”. We are NOT going to be competetive or challenge for a division or WS until we stop focusing on being ‘thrifty’ and get out in the market and be willing to pay for ‘star’ players that are proven commodities at a high level of performance.

    Oh, and if any of you really think that KJ may turn into Utley if we traded him, then maybe your vaunted sabermetrics are as good for humor as they are for player evaluation.

    I enjoy posting on this board, but the ‘every player we have is great’ contingent is not realistic, since most of our players wouldn’t start for any of the contending teams.

    Trade Chipper this offseason for 2 MLBs and 1 top prospect. Do it if he’ll agree.

  30. Plus/minus is an objective scouting metric based on video analysis by a team of scouts. It involves the objective mapping of the speed and location of hit balls. Bill James has nothing to do with it, it just happens to be available to subscribers to his site.

  31. Sitting here in the stadium for my first game of the year, I’ve realized what Francoeur (and possibly the entire team) has been missing this season: me.

    Chief really doesn’t tire of the straw man, I see.

  32. Nobody said that KJ is going to turn into Utley if he is traded. But it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. I only asked how people would react if it happened.

    He’s not expensive. Unless we’re getting a very good OF in return, I don’t see how trading him would make us any better.

    Trading for the sake of trading does not serve a good purpose.

  33. Mac and JC. Would either of you at least agree that statistics i.e. Sabermetrics are only a piece of the puzzle and that there are innate ‘things’ for lack of a better term, that make a player a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’.

    I just believe that what I can perceive with my eyes is more efficient than contrived mathematical formulas that often are not a valid measurement of a player’s ability to contribute to a winning team.

    Someone said today that OBP is the most important statistic. I don’t agree. HR is the most important statistic, because it’s the one way that a batted ball cannot have a negative outcome because it has no ‘possibility of yielding outs and by its nature, it produces runs, often in multiples.

  34. When I say that OBP is the most important offensive stat, this is a simple statistical correlation; team OBP correlates to runs scored more than any other stat. Sure, a home run is a run, minimum, but a lot of those attempted homers wind up in outfielders’ gloves — or catchers’. It’s hardly just us nerds who think that OBP (or, rather, not making outs) is most important. Guys like Branch Rickey and Earl Weaver held the same opinion.

    And my observation doesn’t lead me to think that Johnson is a bad second baseman. It does lead me to think that Prado is. And gosh, so do the stats.

  35. Mac,

    I wasn’t calling you a nerd. I respect your blog and enjoy the site immensely. Reasonable people can disagree, and often do.

  36. Figures, Gotay hits a great ball and gets hurt running the bases.
    Exemplifies our season quite well.

  37. It’ll take a lot more than a 4 hit game tonight to convince me that Francoeur doens’t suck, but nice game Jeffy.

    Any reason Kotchman out tonight? Rest, injury, or …?

  38. Oh, and the last time Francoeur (who still sucks, but is having a good game) had four hits in one game was Aug. 7 of last year. If he’d done this sort of thing more often we wouldn’t be in this situation.

  39. Would it be to reactionary to insist that the entire Braves, strength, condition, and stretching program be set on fire and then pizzed out?

  40. Today’s Olympic observation: The marathon is essentially stupid. This is the sporting event based on, when you get down to it, doing something that can kill you.

  41. I am still waiting for Chief to name the 2nd baseman and SS’s he would take over ours. I know there’s a few.

  42. Francoeur 4-4. That is two good games in three games.

    If Francoeur keeps it up for another couple of games, we should get a landogarner sighting.

  43. Mac, just an observation, but runs actually correlate even stronger to team runs than OBP. Of course that doesn’t mean that OBP isn’t a VERY important stat to look at when projecting future production, but it isn’t the ONLY one that matters. (Not saying you made that point, but I think some sabermetricians fall into that trap.)

    And for everybody that says Jeff Francoeur sucks… I’m sorry but ANYONE that gets 4 hits in a Major League game does not suck… He might not be near the talent level you’d expect from the media attention he gets, and he has doubtless had a very disappointing season, but he does not suck, and he’s going to be on our team for a while longer, so lets get behind this guy and see if we can get something out of him.

    Now if only we could play the Giants every night…

  44. Chief, the reason why people repeatedly (myself included) use “under control” and “cheap” are because anybody who knows anything about baseball knows that good young players that are “under control” are the most valuable assets you can have these days as a ballclub, especially pitching. That’s how you build a great organization, not overspend on veterans. Overspending on “proven commodities,” that’s how you end up with a $200 million payroll, or end up being not very good. Having a surplus of young players with “cost certainty” (another term you probably don’t like) is valuable for trades as well as.

    If Escobar and Johnson are “not being strong up the middle” I would be curious to see how many teams are stronger up the middle.

  45. kidding… I wish him the best. He might not have too many gems like tonight. He should enjoy it.

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