Giants 5, Braves Present

ESPN – Giants vs. Braves – Box Score – August 18, 2008

HATE.

I hate this team. I hate writing about this team. I hate the sheer number of times — it has to be at least eight this month — when I’ve had to say that the pitcher gave up two or three runs in the first inning and the Braves never really came close to coming back. And I hate Francoeur, of course.

The Braves just got embarrassed by Barry Zito, the same Barry Zito who entered the day with a 5.73 ERA and has inspired serious discussion of if he’s the worst free agent signing in history. He gave up five hits in seven innings.

Jorge Campillo is a fine-line pitcher; he has terrific control, and did again today (one walk, late in his game at about the 100 pitch mark) but if he’s not deceiving guys he’s going to get hit. He only had two strikeouts. Every pitcher needs some strikeouts, and if you’re not striking out at least one batter every two innings you’re going to be killed, but it’s particularly clear with Campillo. When he has 5 or 6 Ks, he does well; when he doesn’t, he struggles. He gave up three runs in the first, only one of which was really his fault; the other two scored after a Prado by the man himself. He kept it at 3-0 for awhile, but gave up a homer in the sixth to make it 4-0. The fifth run scored on what had to be the most embarrassing play in Brian McCann’s career, as he threw to third base to cut down a runner — who was entitled to the base, as Campillo walked the bases loaded on the pitch — only to see the ball go into left field.

It didn’t really matter. What does? As has been pointed out, even draft position doesn’t, because the Braves will just draft a high school pitcher from Georgia. Trade Kotsay. I kind of like him, and he really deserves better than this crap.

90 thoughts on “Giants 5, Braves Present”

  1. Hey Mac, look at the bright side…if the Braves played in the NL Central they would already be 20 games out. At 11.5 out going into today, they still have a shot! (snark)

  2. Serious question, couldn’t they just, you know, improve him? Turn Glenn Hubbard loose on him all offseason and see what happens? It’s seems like if they really made it a priority for the organization they could at least make him passable. I bet if he were a first round draft pick from a southern state this would have happened already. He hits enough to play.

    Edit: Obviously I’m talking about Prado.

    What’s the point? You got not one, but two better candidates for the starting second base job in Kelly Johnson and Omar Infante.

    Also, I’m with csg. Blancon/Kotsay/Anderson in center is fine, but two of them should not be everyday outfielders next season, or you’re again looking at the worst, much powerless outfield in the NL. Sign Burrell or Dunn, let one of those three or Schafer have center and accept the fact that Francoeur is going to be trotted out in right again next season.

  3. Mac, breathe.

    Realistically, I’m ready for a near-total teardown after this season. Chipper, B-Mac, Jurrjens and Gonzalez are safe in their roles. Kotchman is, too — I think he’s being dragged down by the vortex of suck that is Jeff Francoeur, and I can’t blame him for not having his head in things after being dealt from the best team in baseball to the worst. I’d like to bring back Ohman, and I’m looking forward to getting Moylan back in the ‘pen.

    That’s seven slots.

    Everyone else — you’re playing for a job between now and the end of September.

  4. I appreciate the anger. If only the fan base was more critical, and angry, and caring, perhaps management wouldn’t be saying things like ‘if we demote Francoeur then we’ll have to endure a backlash.’ If this was New York or Philadelphia, Francoeur would be demoted if only to prevent his being shot. I can’t stand this crap either.

  5. Mac, this might be my favorite recap you’ve ever offered. Strangely, it really cheered me up. So despondent. So hilarious.

  6. I don’t see why. Yeah, I know he doesn’t throw hard, but he also doesn’t walk people and doesn’t allow a lot of homers. His stats are very nearly as good as his ERA.

    Stu, I think I write better angry.

  7. Like you stated earlier, he is hittable, and I am bitter and a bit sleep deprived.( we had a baby girl last week, three hour naps aint working well for me)

  8. The management wants to win as much as the fans. They don’t need anger to know the team sucks. If anger was all that was necessary, don’t you think the Phillies would have one more than 1 World Series in 100 years? And look at the Mets–it’s not like they have been the model franchise.

    I hate to be fatalistic about all this but, unless you are the Yankees or Red Sox, these things run in cycles. The Braves had a great run–in some measure due to Ted Turner’s purse strings and the rise of CNN. It’s over now and things are going wrong. The Braves had a lot of things go right during the 14 years and now a lot of things are going wrong. This is the culmination of trends that started after 04 I guess when management slashed the payroll. The Braves were stuck with a payroll that was poorly structured for their budget. I’m not saying they don’t need a lot of changes but unless Liberty decides to increase payroll by $20 or 30 million, it’s not going to happen overnight.

  9. 9—that would be an appropriate season recap video title. “Three-Hour Naps: The 2008 Atlanta Braves.”

  10. congrats oldtimer!

    I somewhat agree with Marc in #11. We’d have to have a lot of things go right AND a shrewd FO to continue to compete regularly at the current payroll. It can be done (not sure it will, though). As someone posted a couple of days ago — I’d really like to have a glimpse at what Wren’s plans are…

  11. January 12:

    I wouldn’t have taken this loser for free. Giving up Joey Devine and paying him whatever the Braves wind up paying — even if it’s “just” $2.5 million or whatever — is just excrement icing on the crap cake…

    Our only hope is that he fails his physical. Anyone want to pull a Gilooly on him? Get one Braves fan (with any sense) on the jury, and you’ll never be convicted.

    August 18:

    Trade Kotsay. I kind of like him, and he really deserves better than this crap.

  12. Campillo is the Yahoo box score player of the game for the Braves, and I think it’s only for his offense.

  13. Mac,

    He only looks like a good hitter, as you said, because he’s on the 2008 Braves, aka the Greasy String Gang. As in they couldn’t pull a greasy string out of a cat’s ass.

    NO POWER= NO WINS.

  14. Getting on base is the more important skill, and Kotsay is only decent at that. But he actually has more power than Blanco, Escobar, or Francoeur, or than Kotchman has showed as a Brave. So he’s above the median, whether KJ is in a slump or not.

  15. looks like acosta is up to his old tricks; loading the bases but getting out of it, deceiving those who put too much stock in era.

  16. Thanks ryan c. Your links saved me a lot of time.

    I have been quite surprised by james parr’s success with richmond…

  17. As bad as most of the 80’s were, I actually enjoyed watching the Braves in September when they had no shot at the playoffs (“enjoyed” may be a strong word – maybe “didn’t despise” would be better). During those times we at least got a chance to see a few Braves of the future.

    There are only two players on the 40 man roster that we haven’t seen time in Atlanta this year. They are Anthony Lerew (AAA – 0-3, 5.31 ERA in 20 innings) and Jairo Cuevas (AA – 0-2, 7.50 ERA in 12 innings). Schafer and Hanson are not on the 40 man and I would be surprised if either are added. As bad as the Braves are playing now, I don’t see things getting any better in September. I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if we ended up over 20 games below .500. A 95 loss season is not out of the question.

  18. Lerew has actually made 6 starts since the All Star break and has logged 20.1 innings (about 3 1/3 innings per start). He’s made Chuck James look like an iron man.

  19. Mac, didn’t mean to shame you publicly or anything — we all get predictions wrong, and I tend to take yours much more seriously than most prognosticators’. I was just struck by the degree to which our lowered expectations have allowed Kotsay to shine, relatively speaking. Of course, considering how long he was out, necessitating weeks of a truly awful outfield, he still hasn’t been a net positive for the team this year.

    By the way, ububba, you’re probably not around any more, but I emailed you — don’t know if I have your email address right, but if you get it I’d love to have your advice.

  20. Glad I missed most of this one (caught the last inning on the way home from work), though I think I smelled the stench emanating (sp?) from the ballpark 70 miles away.

  21. It won’t last much longer, but the Braves have still scored more runs than they’ve allowed–566 to 561. I wonder what the worst record is for a team with a positive run diff.

    @23–thanks for the updates–2010 can’t get here soon enough (not that all the good farmhands will pan out or pan out by then)

  22. could you imagine how much better Jurrjens and Campillo would be if the defense behind them was decent. Both of these guys pitch to contact, but they also seem to have about 3 Prado’s behind them every outing.

  23. it’s been a long time since i posted. especially with the team in the downward spiral the past couple of months, it’s been hard to watch. but after they got dominated by zito today, i HAD to see what was written here. Mac, you really need to calm down a little. Your hatred of basically anything and everything to do with the braves right now makes this site a lot harder to palate. honestly, how many times can we write about how much Francoeur sucks? (even when he has 4 hits? c’mon.) back on topic though, i expect to see a pretty drastic overhaul by the time spring cleaning… err, training rolls around.

  24. Kotsay has done exactly what he was brought here to do and his contributions would look a lot better if this season would have gone the way the Braves wanted it to. It looked like a bad trade at the time and a for the future, but if the Braves were contending this year it would have provided exactly what they were looking for. It was definitely a gamble and would have payed off for a contending team.

  25. I think the tone in Mac’s writing makes it easier to digest this season. It is basically the anger and dissapointment we all feel in a tangible format.

  26. I have enjoyed Mac’s summaries as well–howver, at this point I am not angry about the Braves. My anger came during the offseason when it became obvious that management would do little (the Kotsay trade, signing Glavine) to improve his team.

    In any event, to let you know the current level of incompetence in the Braves’ organization, I am posting the list of Draft signings which was edited yesterday:

    http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/team/draft.jsp?c_id=atl

    Now, the Braves just signed Hoover ( a good move) and Thompson a couple of weeks ago (potentially a great move) and, yet, they cannot even post the information correctly on their own website. Sure, this is trivial, but I really think that it is consistent with an increasingly inept management.

    For the record, Thompson pitched 2 scoreless innings in his debut with the Danville Braves….

  27. A good night on the farm–Parr was great and I think we will soon see him in Atlanta; however, Carlos Rivas was even better at the Beach. His numbers may not be impressive, but they actually reflect a comeback from injuries. No one will confuse him with Tommy Hanson, but it appears that the Braves may have another arm….

  28. I never thought I would say this, but if Maddux is really headed back to the Dodgers, I’ll root for them from now on. I’d love to see him win another World Series to end his career, esp. after all the tough luck he’s had this year.

  29. Stephen, they did not even bother to update that the Braves signed Hanson in the 2005 draft. I wonder who is ultimately responsible for the page…is it the Braves or MLB?

    The last offseason was disappointing in the fact that the Braves had so little money to spend. I honestly wonder how much money they can spend this winter. We always seem to think the Braves have more money to spend than they actually do.

  30. KC–Actually I liked your point about Frenchy and AAA–the Braves managed to put him exactly where he does not belong. I also think that half a season at AAA in 2005 might have made him a better player today.

    Otherwise, what bothered me the most about the offseason was what the Braves did with Tex. They should have either traded him during the winter OR decided that since they would have him for just a year to go all out and build a great team in 2008. Obviously, they did neither: Tex is gone and the Braves are a disaster. Sure, injuries played a big role, but with one year of Tex, the Braves managed to be complacent–instead of capitalizing on the blockbuster trade they made to bring Tex to Atlanta.

    At least we do have significant talent on the farm….

  31. #44 good point.

    And just to dredge up old wounds (though I like Kotsay), Joey Devine has a 0.94 ERA in 25 starts with the A’s this year… granted he missed June and July hurt, but he hasn’t allowed a run since he’s been back.

    I think Rockhound in Armageddon sums up the 08 Braves season best: “Wow, this is a goddamn Greek tragedy”
    (no, it’s not a GOOD movie, but my wife inexplicably loves it so I’ve seen it a couple times)

  32. free E. Mejia NOW!!!!!!!!!

    if that guy could learn how to walk…jesus…he’d be hitting .340 now and be top-10 in ALL the minors…

    his swing is pretty and he’s a big kid…

    let’s see if they give him a call-up…

    Hayward, Schafer, Hernandez, Freeman, Jones, Anderson, M. Young, Mejia, Gorecki, Freeman, Flowers, Johnson and Hicks are a nice nucleus to build from in terms of positional players.

    and our arms seems quite nice…

    (side note…the Braves site says that Jacob Thompson has NOT signed with us. Yet, he made his debut in Danville (or will). So, what gives?

    it’s just going to be a few lean years before they’re all ready…

    1987 here we come

  33. No one can predict the outcome of a trade. I’d actually like to see Kotsay back next season. I mean who else do we have to play the outfield?

  34. But Johnny @46,

    (If somebody thinks I am miscalculating or misremembering this, I am sure they will let me know).

    Kotsay’s current contract is at 7 million per year. If the Braves do not ofer him arb, then they cannot sign him before May 1. If they do offer him arb, the lowest applicable number is 80% of his previous salary or 5.6 million.

    We don’t need to spend 5.6 million on Kotsay.

    If we could do it for 2 with incentives, maybe.

  35. What the hell is the matter with BJ Upton? How hard is it to hustle?

    It’s such a privilege to be in the majors that you could at least be grateful enough to run hard.

  36. If the guys really like playing for Bobby, they’re sure showing it in an odd way.

    It’s time, coach.

  37. Does anyone think that we’ll call up anyone who is not currently on the 40 man roster? If putting them on starts their arbitration clock, I doubt we’ll see anybody besides the usual supects (Jones, Anderson, Lillibridge, …). Any other thoughts on this.

  38. I agree, td, and I would be upset if they did prematurely start the arb clocks of any of our younger prospects.

  39. #48 – its kind of like I said yesterday…I wouldnt mind having Kotsay come back either, but I dont want him and Blanco/Anderson in the OF at the same time. When you really think about how much someone will probably pay him this offseason, CF crop is awful, we’ll probably be better off letting him go somewhere else and letting Blanco/Anderson/Schafer hold down center for us. If we have any two of these out there at the same time, once again, we’ll have the most powerless OF in the majors

  40. I’d like us to release Greg Norton and bring up Barbaro Canizares — not because I think Canizares will be any good, but if anyone deserves a cup of coffee it’s the guy who escaped from Cuba on his fourth attempt. And there’s no point in keeping Norton around.

  41. I think that a post September call up does not start an arb clock the first time. Other times of the season and/ or a second September call up do.

    I would like to see Bobby start chewing on some butts. We have had players playing in dufus land. Getting doubled off on fly balls, throwing to bases when there is a fourth ball. Treating the second out like the third out.

    He needs to publicly humiliate them. Warn them in the clubhouse ahead of the game, but then, if they dufus, they come out. If they don’t reasonably hustle, they are out.

    Also, he needs to reinstitute infield practice at least once each series. Further, start mandatory conditioning work. This team’s head is not on straight and he is the one whose job it is to fix that.

  42. I wouldnt mind having Norton back next year, he’s useful when used properly. I would def. release Gotay and sure why not call up Canizares

    Cliff, could you imagine Guillen or Pinella being our manager?

  43. csg,

    If either Ozzie or Lou were in our clubhouse, we would have 5 more wins. But even more important, we as fans would get to see someone take out our frustrations.

    A positive approach is not always the approach to deal with sub standard behavior.

  44. Kotchman has been so bad that I’d kind of like to see Mighty Thor play some games at first in September.

    I see no reason whatsoever to re-sign Kotsay for multiple millions of dollars. Spend the millions on a real outfielder to play left and let Blanco/Anderson/Shaeffer/Hernandez play center.

    If the Braves hold onto Francoeur, they need to platoon him with Brandon Jones next year.

  45. Maybe Bobby needs to start heckling the players that don’t hustle.

    Seriously, we’ve got a bunch of young players. Two years ago when a bunch of guys like McCann and co. came up, there was more veteran presence. Today, you have those guys that are still young plus a boatload more. Young guys make more mistakes, that’s how they gain experience.

    I’ll give Wren a pass until I see what he does this offseason. He was handcuffed by Hampton and Teixiera’s salaries, so he couldn’t sign a front-line pitcher and a very good outfielder and keep the payroll where Liberty wanted it. He’ll have a lot to work with this offseason, so we’ll find out what he is really made of.

  46. About maintaining focus — it can’t help to have so many injured older players hanging around with nothing to do. Having Smoltz, Glavine, and Hudson milling about in country club mode — giving interviews, playing pranks, whatever — probably doesn’t do much for anyone’s focus. I’m not blaming them or anything — just saying the atmosphere probably isn’t conducive to concentration.

  47. If we wanted to keep Kotsay, could we get around the arbitration issue by offering him a contract extension now? Would any such extension also have to comply with the 80% rule? Has some deadline by which extensions must be signed already passed?

    (NOTE: I’m not necessarily saying we should try to extend Kotsay, I’m just wondering what the options are in a situation like this.)

  48. I would like to see Bobby start chewing on some butts.

    Two of your snot-nosed jockeys did a fly-by on my tower at over 400 knots. I want somebody’s butt, I want it now. I’ve had it!

    Damn it, that’s twice. I want some butts!

  49. Stu, wouldnt it be better to not offer arb and then wait until May 1st to start negotiations? I wouldnt offer him more than about $2-3 mil for next year though. Im sure someone would give more

  50. It would be easy to say “I sure would concentrate if I were playing” … and yet, here I am less than a week away from what promises to be a tough prelim exam and I’m on Braves Journal. heh heh.

    I’m sure it’s difficult to keep their focus when it’s a lost season. I still expect them to. But I can imagine that it’s difficult.

    I’m pretty sure Bobby isn’t going to be chewing butts. At least not publicly. I don’t think his m.o. is going to change at this point… especially after having so much success. He is who we thought he was.

  51. He will have already signed somewhere else by May 1, csg. What I’m suggesting is a possible way to get around the arbitration and penalty process.

  52. #61 Acording to the 2007-2011 Player’s agreement, major league service time is defined as follows:

    One full day of Major League service will be credited for each day of the championship season a Player is on a Major League Club’s Active List. A total of 172 days of Major League credited service will constitute one full year of credited service. A Player may not be credited with more than one year of credited service, 172 days, in one championship season.

    I think #56 was thinking Rookie status, which does not include September call-up time.

  53. #69 – yeah, thats what I thought about after I typed it. Just couldnt edit my own thought there

  54. What if, magically, Jeff was gone, and Kotsay could play RF, with Burrel or Dunn in left and Blanco/Anderson in center? With Kotsay taking a drastically reduced salary, of course.

    Oh well.

  55. Kotsay doesn’t hit for nearly enough power to play at a corner position. He’s a valuable CF, but anywhere else he’s not very valuable at all. Of course, he’d still be more valuable than what we’ve been trotting out there…

  56. You’d still have a remarkably underpowered outfield, though it would be marginally better defensively.

    While, as I said, I kind of like Kotsay now, he’s really not good enough to be a starting outfielder anymore. He doesn’t hit enough to carry right, and his range has declined to the point that it’s a real problem in center. He’s a good fourth outfielder, and in Yankee Stadium (the Yanks really should try to get him if they intend to catch the Sox) he could probably carry off center.

  57. Whom could we expect to get for Kotsay? Something equivalent to Joey Devine or something less than that? (I know they won’t have Kotsay for very long, but unlike when we acquired him, they at least know he can still hit when healthy.)

  58. “The management wants to win as much as the fans. They don’t need anger to know the team sucks. If anger was all that was necessary, don’t you think the Phillies would have one more than 1 World Series in 100 years? And look at the Mets–it’s not like they have been the model franchise.”

    Since that is responding to a claim I never made–a straw man, if you will–I can’t respond to it. I just want Francoeur out of here, and at least someone is angry.

    Kotsay has surprised me too. The minor moves Wren made during the offseason–Jurrjens, Ohman/Infante, Kotsay–have come together nicely. If only he had made some similar adjustments during the season…

  59. Does anybody have any ideas of what is wrong with Baseball America? I am getting an “access denied” message from red hat (not from MicroSoft) (kind of like it is a subscription only site), but a lot of their stuff has been non subscription previously.

    Just curious if they are going subscription only.

  60. @64

    I’m curious too. Not just with Kotsay, but with Smoltz. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I think he made $12 mil this year. 80% of that is 9.6. Can we afford to offer him arbitration in the hopes that he rehabs and comes back effectively at some point next year?

    Is this where the old “gentlemen’s agreement” comes into play where we offer arb with the understanding that he will turn it down? Isn’t that when Maddux (Boras) bit us?

  61. I would sign Kotsay for next year if we don’t trade, but only because I hate next years FA OF crop.
    I am not super high on any of the guys out there, what it comes down too, we need to develop one or trade for one, then we can utilize the light hitting speed guys we have laying around.

    I think 2010 could be the year we come back, but 09 looks pretty bland.

  62. I don’t know if that many people have noticed, but we have a quartet of starting pitchers doing very well in the upper minors this year.

    Everyone knows about Hanson. James Parr has been outstanding since a promotion to Richmond outside of one start. Todd Redmond looks like a guy with excellent control. Kris Medlen has a very good K rate and has also been excellent since being converted to a starter.

  63. check this out..

    Paul Bush 11IP 6H 1BB 15K

    Schafer (last 10 games)
    .410 AVG 16H 5-2B 1-3B 4HR 13RBI (10K also, but Im being positive today)

    keep in mind that Redmond is the guy we got for Yates. That could end up being a great move for Wren

  64. Regarding the arbitration discussion. I believe that any team is free to negotiate any contract with any of it’s players before the Dec 1 deadline. Therefore the Braves and Smoltz, Kotsay, Glavine, Hampton can agree to anything that is mutually acceptable.

  65. Does anybody have any insight into whether John will be able to come back and pitch effectively?

  66. Smoltz has shown in the past he can make up new arm angles and pitches to overcome injuries. If he is able to throw at all, don’t count him out even if he is required to come back as a side arming knuckleballer.

  67. You’re right, it’s never a good idea to count out John Smoltz. But it sounded from the quotes that he was getting awfully philosophical about spending time away from his family. And as much as I love seeing him pitch, I hate seeing all the pain he’s been in the last few years. If there’s no way for him to pitch without pain — and I doubt he’ll ever be completely pain-free on a baseball field — I don’t know that he should make one more last-ditch effort at striding the mound.

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