Cards 6, FAIL 3

ESPN – Braves vs. Cardinals – Box Score – August 24, 2008

If it’s Sunday, then it must be time for another lethargic Braves loss! This team makes “playing out the string” an understatement. Most of the time, they don’t just look uninterested, but unconscious.

The Braves did lead, 3-1, going to the bottom of the second. Typically, it was 3-3 by the end of the inning and 6-3 by the time Jo-Jo the Dogfaced Pitcher got out of the game in the sixth. Reyes was lucky that all he gave up was six runs (five “earned”) as he allowed nine hits, including a homer by Guess Who, and two doubles, and walked four. But all he has to do is throw strikes!

Chipper was 1-3 while Pujols was going 2-2 with three walks, and both are now hitting .359. The only Brave who is hitting at all is Marvelous Martin Prado; the slugging first baseman was 2-4 and is hitting .339… Manny Atrosta was back, throwing two innings, in the second of he loaded the bases. He managed to not allow any runs, but of the 39 pitches he threw, only 19 were strikes. Yeah, that’s not going to work.

HATE.

148 thoughts on “Cards 6, FAIL 3”

  1. Hey, I love Andruw Jones as much as anybody.

    But c’mon.

    I voted for him, so at least he won’t get shutout.

  2. Aaron by far, then Maddux, then nothing for a long time. Chipper comes in next to last, just behind Glavine and way ahead of that former .222 hitter we employed.

  3. The voting is pathetic, btw. Kirby the greatest Twin of all time, ahead of Walter Johnson, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew? C’mon.

  4. That’s one helluva (helluvan?) all-time starting rotation. By contrast the Pirates’ would look something like:

    Jesse Tannehill
    Vic Willis
    Sam Leever
    Wilbur Cooper
    Bob Friend

  5. Mike, because he was supposed to tear up AAA again and force the Braves to play him. Instead, he already tore up AAA once and had a mediocre season this year, which John Sickels terms frustration syndrome. Speculation was that Brent Lillibridge may have faced a bit of the same, though he never was as good a hitter as Brandon.

  6. Now that the Olypmics are over, I’m guessing we get to endure Thorman instead of Prado at 1st. Which is kind of like having Redman starting for the Falcons last year instead of Harrington.

  7. If Prado stops playing we might never score at all. Sure he lets in just as many as he pushes across, but runs are fun.

  8. It’s Aaron, and then let the rest of the discussion begin.

    But the organization has had some great players, hasn’t it?

  9. Depends on how “Braves player” is defined, really. If it only includes seasons played for the Braves, yeah, Aaron is first by a lot. If not, I actually think Maddux is not far from Hank. Andruw really doesn’t belong on that list.

  10. I’m with Stu, Maddux and Aaron are really close in my mind for their career accomplishments.

  11. This thread would be much more lively if the discussion was about “Worst Atlanta Brave” in franchise history.

  12. I’m with Stu, Maddux and Aaron are really close in my mind for their career accomplishments.

    I assume Stu meant seasons played for the Atlanta Braves. Then it’s close. But the question is for the Braves in all their various forms, which would be most all of Hank’s career. In that case Hank wins by miles and miles.

  13. Actually, I meant something like “career performance of guys you think of primarily as Braves”…which may not make all that much sense. My point was (supposed to be) just that, what Aaron is to hitters, Maddux almost is to pitchers. They’re both pretty darn great.

  14. AAR, I think it stands for Ground Out/Air Out, because that can be tracked just by using a boxscore.

  15. 1. Hank Aaron
    2. Greg Maddux
    3. Warren Spahn
    4. Eddie Mathews
    5. Chipper Jones
    6. John Smoltz
    7. Tom Glavine
    8. Phil Niekro
    9. Dale Murphy
    10. Andruw Jones
    …..1,434,343,389,342,342,343,343,343,645. Jeff Francoeur

  16. Alex, I think it means Ground Out per All Outs. Not completely sure though.

    I’m glad that BBTN has that vote up, because it has made me do some quick research and find that Aaron is the greatest Brave offensive player, but that Chipper is closer than I thought. Outside of counting stats, they are very close. If Chipper had been a little healthier he could have closed the gap even more in those areas. He has been one of the top ten hitters in his era. He may be underrated even by Braves fans.

    On the pitching side for me its Maddux and then everyone else.

  17. Mac,
    Sometimes I’m slow to get a joke.

    Does Marvelous Martin Prado, Braves equal Marvelous Marv Throneberry, ’62 Mets?

  18. I meant one of those fancy, newfangled boxscores with play-by-play attached. IOW, no batted-ball-tracker required.

  19. Thank you so much for lightening my day with a Throneberry reference.
    He was so bad that his outstanding contribution to baseball was a decent Miller Lite commercial describing how bad he was!
    You can find numerous stories of his ’62 exploits, even if you misspell his name Thornberry.

    It got so bad that Mutts fans started printing t-shirts with VRAM (Marv backwards.)

    I don’t think NITRAM is too far off!

  20. I’m not advocating this, but assuming that Prado could learn how to play first (a big assumption I know) and that his BA/OPS falls to a more realistic .290/.800 (From .339/.895), what exactly does Kotchman offer us over Prado? Kotchman’s carreer BA/OPS is .267/.746.

  21. Just wanted to note that if you haven’t read Joe Posnanski’s The Soul of Baseball, about the year+ he spent with Buck O’Neil, you’re missing out.

    I bought it Saturday evening and finished it last night. It’s funny and moving, and, obviously, it’s a quick, easy read. I believe I shed tears in just about every other chapter.

    Anyway, you should strongly consider picking up a copy if you’ve not yet read it. It will be well worth your time.

  22. A few weeks ago on ESPN.com, they had a vote for greatest Brave and a number of people picked Spahn. As great a pitcher as he was, he isn’t even considered in the top ten for greatest post-WW II pitcher. Aaron is one of the top 5-10 players of all time. I think Maddux is the only other Brave that you could plausibly say is in the top twenty of all time (as a pitcher obviously). It shouldn’t be close between Hank and anyone else although Francoeur might win if the vote was among teenage girls for “Cutest Brave of all time.”

  23. As great a pitcher as he was, he isn’t even considered in the top ten for greatest post-WW II pitcher.

    By whom?

  24. Considering that Spahn is the winningest pitcher since World War II, indeed since World War I, not considering him would be mindblowingly stupid.

  25. And there’s that matter of Spahn missing 3 seasons to WW2, where he saw combat & earned a battlefield commission.

    Like Bob Feller & a couple others, you could begin Spahn’s bio by saying that he distinguished himself for Uncle Sam—and he was a pretty good ballplayer.

    Even if you bristle at the notion of counting numbers, here’s some for you: 13 20-win seasons.

  26. MANY, MANY ball players lost time to World War II and a pretty good number to Korea (Willie Mays although I don’t think he saw combat).

    I rank Braves (for production as Braves):

    1. Aaron

    2. Spahn

    3. Mathews

    4. Niekro

    5. Chipper

    6. Smoltz

    Chipper could make it to 3 before he is through.

  27. good list, Cliff……….at least we agree on the top three…Spahn never won a game until he was 25 (thanks to WW Deuce)and at age 42, he was 23-7 with 22 complete games.he was ome of the better hitting pitchers ever(35 lifetime homers) and kicked in 29 saves along the way. i’ll never bad-mouth Maddux but his 11 seasons dont match up to Spahnie. and maybe not to Niekro.

  28. Cliff, based on the way he’s been playing lately, Chipper is through. If he’s not through, he’s no more than a very good part time player.

    This is only what I see and not holy writ.

  29. Spahn is the winningest lefthander of all time.

    Spahn is sixth on the career shutout list — nobody ahead of him played after 1930.

    Spahn received MVP votes in 14 out of 15 years from 1947-1961, and in 15 different seasons overall, both records for a pitcher by a large margin.

    Spahn was selected to 14 All-Star games.

    After his service, he won more games than anyone from age-25 onward except for Cy Young.

    The aforementioned 13 20-win seasons, also second to Cy Young.

    The aforementioned most wins since World War I.

    He won 23 games at age 42 in 1963 — no pitcher over the age of 38 has won as many games in a season in the history of the game (and only one 38-year-old — Randy Johnson in 2002).

  30. the best example of missing time due to wars is, of course Ted Williams……almost 5 full seasons and we can only guess about what mind-boggling numbers he’d have without the missed time. he went happily to WW2, but was pissed when he was called back for the Asian War Games Part1 …………i guess thats what he gets for having a valuable military skill.

  31. Agreed, Cliff. But, to my point, if it’s numbers that impress, Spahn might’ve won 400 games if he’d had those 3 years.

    Like Feller, though, Spahn never obsessed about any “lost” numbers, and he has said that his time in the service made him more mature and, to his thinking, a better ballplayer.

    ALSO: When our team sucks out loud, at least we can discuss our club’s storied history. We’ll always have Aaron, Spahn, Maddux, etc.

  32. And do you think his extraordinary durability might, just possibly, have had something to do with him getting three years off at a time when most pitchers are getting their arms shredded?

  33. FYI from MLBTR: “The Brewers and Red Sox are both showing interest in Kotsay. The Brewers would only pursue a trade if Ryan Braun’s ribcage injury worsens, and so far he looks more than fine. The Sox made a play for lefty-hitting Brian Giles before Giles vetoed the deal, so it makes sense that they’d exert similar effort toward Kotsay. Even more so now that J.D. Drew has a herniated disc.”

  34. OK, upon rethinking it was probably silly for me to say Spahn wasn’t one of the 10 greatest post-WW II pitchers. The point I was trying to make is that, as good as he was, I just don’t see how you could pick Spahn over Aaron as the greatest Brave, especially since it’s arguable that Spahn wasn’t even the greatest Braves pitcher (although obviously he was a Brave much longer than Maddux).

  35. Marc,

    I think part of it is the distinction “Braves pitcher.” When Mac did his greatest ATlanta Braves he allowed accomplishments when not a Brave to count.

    My definition here does not count performance for teams other than the Braves. Maddux has 11 years. Niekro has 21 or so and Spahn has 18 or so. If yu grade the entire career, then I think Maddux 1, Spahn 2, Niekro 3 is o.k.

  36. Actually, I didn’t. I only counted Braves accomplishments. The main thing is that I was ranking Atlanta Braves — players got on the list for what they did in Atlanta — but the rankings within the list were for what they did with the franchise both in Atlanta and in Milwaukee. That only affected a few players — Aaron, Torre, Carty.

  37. yet another rainy day here in north florida(27 inches since friday and still counting). while we were kicking around the greatest players, i noticed there werent any middle infielders on the list. whats the concensus pick for best ss/2b?

  38. There haven’t been many, really. Other than Aaron, the Braves’ great players have been centerfielders, third basemen, and pitchers. We voted a few years ago and I think we came up with Hubbard at second and Maranville at short.

  39. hmmmmmmm……thats a short list allright. maybe they should’ve left Aaron at second. Maranville was before my time and i was thinking of guys who played after they stopped filling the balls with sand.

  40. #60 – DeRosa’s last year with Atlanta was Francoeuresque. With a lower SLG %. Year before wasn’t much better. He did not become quite good until his second year with the Rangers at age 30.

  41. Well, the ESPN voting is for the franchise, not just the Atlanta Braves. But, Cliff, even if you just include the Braves years, you can make a case for Maddux on everything except, obviously, total wins. Maddux won three Cy Youngs with the Braves. I don’t know if Spahn ever won a Cy Young, although to be fair, the award didn’t begin until 1956. If you look at Maddux’ 1994-1995, I suspect they were better, in the context of the times, than any of Spahn’s years. And the Braves were obviously more successful while Maddux was here than during Spahn’s career. In short, I think Maddux was the best pitcher the Braves ever had, albeit in a shorter time, and Spahn is second.

    Re Spahn: he was at the Battle of the Bulge. Saying that he benefitted from not wearing out his arm is a little like saying being in that POW camp in Hanoi kept John McCain from puttting on too much weight. :)

  42. Spahn won a Cy Young Award & finished second in the voting on 3 occasions, all during the time that only one award was given.

    I love Maddux, but I’d have a hard time saying that his complete body of work as a Brave was better than Spahn’s.

    Re: DeRosa
    He blew out his knee on his last weekend as a Brave. His contract was up & we let him slide. At the time, it was the right thing to do.

  43. I’ll give DeRosa this, though — even though he was having a terrible season already, on May 11, 2004 DeRosa (along with Chipper, but DeRosa was more strident IIRC) publicly called out JD Drew for being a wuss and missing 8 of the first 30 games. Drew played in all but five of the next 119 games (he got a few days off once we clinched), and had his best year.

  44. I was at a bar last night and some drunk girl approached my group of friends and said she was from Atlanta. When my friends told her I was a Braves fan, she yelled “Go Braves!!!” When I said, “Not this year,” she gave me the finger and called me a “fair-weather fan.”

    Moral of the story? No moral. Except maybe don’t try to argue about baseball with a 250-pound drunk chick while your buddy’s onstage singing “I Believe I Can Fly” (something my mother told me all the time).

  45. If only she knew what kind of first inning we had to sit through last week at Shea…

    And, no doubt, Rob luvs him sum karaoke.

  46. I’ve been looking at this website for a while, and it seems everyone is a little spoiled, some more than others.

    So what if the Braves are in rebuilding mode? The Nats have been rebuilding ever since they got to Washington, and further than that. In fact, much further than that.

    Jeff Francoeur is pretty bad, but hey, I’d swap him for Elijah Dukes or Austin Kearns. He’s young, he’s a great fielder, and he could turn it around. Whether you like or not, he still has a shot at being good.
    Just wait.

    The Braves have a better record than four other teams, the same record as the Reds, and are not that far behind the Pirates and A’s. The Nats have the worst record in baseball.

    Just because the Braves were so good for so many years doesn’t mean you have to *HATE* them so much now in rebuilding mode. McCann is the best catcher in baseball, and he’s 24. Yunel Escobar is a possible future all-star. Jair Jurrjens will be an ace in years to come. And you just got a solid first basemen in Kotchman.

    Chipper won’t get another ring, but if you wait awhile, say, 3-6 years, the Braves will be good again. I can’t say the same for the Nats, Padres, and Mariners.

  47. Well, we are definitely spoiled. There is probably no way to avoid becoming spoiled when you win 13 divisions in a row.

    It’s true we have some nice pieces, but almost everybody can say that. My money is on an extended run of mediocrity until there are changes in the front office.

  48. I think the hatred this year comes from a combination of three things: 1) the ridiculous amount of injuries, 2) all the one-run losses (it stops being “bad luck” after a while), and 3) a lack of heart and fire on the field. Several reports I’ve read recently say that Bobby has lost the club.

    I can watch a team that’s bad if they’re playing their guts out. Instead, we have to listen to Francouer gripe and threaten the franchise.

    And yes, FOURTEEN divisions will spoil anyone a little.

  49. Apparently, we’re supposed to take comfort in the fact that we’re not quite as bad as the 3 most hopeless franchises in MLB. Oddly, that does not reassure me.

  50. Oh, c’mon Robert, you’ll always have the Trojans.

    BTW, how’s that SEC-transfer QB coming along? Will he be taking the snaps on Sept. 13?

  51. Stu:

    Padres have Peavy, Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez.

    They just got some bad breaks (injuries to Peavy and Young)

  52. I’m aware. You’re the one who put them in the Bottom 3. I don’t care which teams you consider the worst 3 in MLB—if the argument is that, hey, at least the Braves are in better shape than the worst 3 teams in baseball…that’s not strong.

  53. Braves/Nats fan,

    I agree about Austin Kearns–he is even worse than Jeffy–but not Elijah Dukes who, if he can control himself, has some real talent.

    Certainly, the Braves are better off than a lot of teams but I have to be concerned about this consistent inability to produce pitching. It looks like Jo Jo is going the way of Kyle Davies. Everyone talks about the young arms coming up but what reason is there to think they won’t be like Davies and Reyes. The historty is not encouraging.

    As for Maddux, he was easily the best pitcher in baseball for at least four years and probably no worse than number two for several more. I don’t think the fact that they gave two awards really had much effect on Maddux’ Cy Youngs. And, frankly, it was more difficult to pitch when Maddux pitched than when Spahn pitched and it was more difficult to hit when Aaron hit. Spahn didn’t have to deal with middle infielders that could hit the ball 400 feet the opposite way or with juiced balls (or hitters). He pitched off higher mounds and I would bet that the lights were not nearly as good as they are now.

    This is not to take anything away from Spahn who was obviously a truly great pitcher. But Maddux was better IMO and I think the only real argument for Spahn is that he played longer for the Braves. I will grant that Spahn was a better pitcher in his forties than Maddux.

  54. BTW, how’s that SEC-transfer QB coming along? Will he be taking the snaps on Sept. 13?

    Only if something additionally bad happens to Sanchez between now and then, looks like he’ll be ready to go. Mustain is being pushed pretty hard by Aaron Corp for the number 2 QB spot, but he’ll probably keep it because of his game experience. Corp can actually run a little bit which would be useful behind this inexperienced offensive line.

    It’s not clear when or if Mustain will actually get to play here. I’m more excited about the receiver he brought with him Damian Williams. The SC receivers underachieved last year so he has a chance to step right in and contribute.

    I’m ready for the real games. The SC offense has looked pretty crappy all spring and summer, but that could be they are facing an extremely deep and talented SC defense. Still, -20 for the game at Virginia seems a little steep.

  55. Everybody, the 14 division titles are history. That was a great run that will probably never be matched. The probem, as I see it, is that Braves’ management spent too much (in terms of prospects) to add one more last division title. The strategy of counting on the magic in old arms (Smoltz and Glavine)with the help of one additional star player in Teixiera hasn’t worked. Unfortunately the cost was high and the minor league cupboard is depleted. The upside is that the salary budget looks good and there are some prospects like Tom Hanson that have potential. Rebuilding can be interesting. Look at the Marlins. They’re doing it all the time with a much smaller budget than Atlanta, and they field competitive teams.

  56. Robert,
    Let’s just say that Virginia should have plenty of trouble scoring that day.

    Marc,
    I’m with you on a lot of that. But also consider this:

    Maddux, 35 career shutouts
    Spahn, 63 career shutouts

    Maddux, 109 career complete games
    Spahn, 382 career complete games

    In 20 complete seasons, Maddux threw over 260 innings three times.

    In 17 complete seasons, Spahn threw less than 260 innings three times.

    And then there’s the little matter of Maddux taking himself out of games after 6 innings with the lead.

    I’m sure that’s helped his longevity & I can’t really get on him too much for it. But when comparing him to Spahn, it’s not really fair to Spahn, especially when you consider that 200-pitch/16-inning, 0-0 duel he had with Juan Marichal when he was 42-years old.

    Greg Maddux is a genius, but Warren Spahn was a bad-ass.

  57. Ububba, agreed completely. But it was a different game then. With the specialization of the bullpen (and better understanding of how to treat pitchers’ arms), 7-inning pitchers have a lot more value today than they did then. Spahn viewed it as more or less a moral failure when he didn’t finish what he started; Maddux didn’t have to. The wonderful thing about baseball is that you can look across 130 years of history and ask serious questions about who was better.

    In their respective eras, you could make serious — albeit not airtight — arguments that Spahn and Maddux really were the best pitchers in baseball over the long arc of their respective two-decade careers, making serious allowances for length. But Maddux was more absolutely dominant at his peak than Spahn, who turned in an astonishing number of very good years but few mindblowing ones other than 1953.

    Spahn’s consistency, though, is truly remarkable, and not entirely dissimilar with that of Hank. Still, Hank’s better.

  58. Ububba,

    I don’t disagree with you at all. I frankly liked the game as it was when pitchers actually stayed in the entire game and I miss it. But it’s also a matter of context. If Maddux had pitched in the fifties, I suspect he would have pitched as many innings as Spahn. I grant that Spahn was better for the Braves over a longer period of time and that he aged incredibly well. He truly was a bad ass (maybe being at the Battle of the Bulge helped).

  59. To put it another way, go to Baseball Reference for both Maddux and Spahn, and neutralize their stats. In his entire career, Spahn had two years with neutralized ERAs below 3, 1947 and 1953, with 2.37 over 304 innings and 2.14 over 273 innings.

    Maddux, as a Brave, had two years with a neutralized ERA over 3, and his 1994 neutralizes to an ERA of 1.46 over 289 innings.

    It is my belief that Maddux’s 1994 and 1995 are the best two-year peak of any pitcher ever; it is just somewhat hidden by the fact that they were strike years. Maddux, in addition to his ridiculous ERAs those years, was also averaging 8 IP a game.

  60. Peanut sounds the gong of doom for TP:

    “Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is at least one change to the coaching staff and I get a sense that the coaches share this belief. But I definitely would be shocked if pitching coach Roger McDowell doesn’t return. His tremendous work ethic has remained the same despite the fact that injuries have forced him to do his job in the face of constant adversity.”

    http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080825&content_id=3365430&vkey=news_atl&fext=.jsp&c_id=atl

  61. It wouldn’t surprise me if everyone BUT Roger got the axe. Well, Bobby would leave on his own terms, but TP and Snitker definitely have to go. I’d keep Hubbard, I guess.

  62. The only way TP is back is if he is the manager, which could happen if Cox leaves.
    I like the work Mcdowell has done.

  63. Before providing an annual salary that exceeds $20 million, you first must determine if the benefactor is a player you consider to be a “difference maker”. I never got the sense the Braves considered him to fit this description and they never gained any reason that they could enter this offseason with confidence that he wouldn’t accept a greater contract offer elsewhere.

    How I hate the talking points.

  64. Exhibit A of why Peanut is an idiot:

    If Schafer isn’t the starting center fielder next season, I’d like to see Josh Anderson provided more of an opportunity than he’s received this season. Although, he lost his Spring Training battle with Gregor Blanco, I think he’d be capable of being every bit as productive, while also being a much better basestealing threat.

    Josh Anderson has been pretty bad at Richmond this year.

    EDIT: Just checked Anderson’s numbers…actually been playing well lately, getting up to a .318 BA. His .773 OPS says however that he is not the answer.

  65. Wow, I just saw where Philly beat LA 5-0, and LA had 13 hits–3 more than the Phillies. A 13-hit shutout. When’s the last time that happened? I know the Braves pitched a shutout several years ago where they gave up a ton of hits. How can you not score and get 13 hits in a game?

    Interestingly enough, I found this information about teams with the most hits that were shutout:

    The all-time record is 15 by the Boston Braves on July 10, 1901 against Pittsburgh in 12 innings and the Boston Red Sox on July 3, 1913 against Washington in 15 innings.

    For a 9-inning game, the record is 14 by the following teams:

    New York Giants on September 14, 1913 against Chicago and the Cleveland Indians on July 10, 1928 against Washington.

  66. Ah, yes. I thought I recalled Dennis Martinez being involved in that game, but I forgot that he went the whole way. Wasn’t that victory involved in him either tying or breaking the record for most victories by a Latin pitcher?

  67. josh anderson should at least be considered for the center field job next year. blanco’s power numbers havent been any better, and their obp, as of this year, have been pretty similar (except for the fact that one is facing AAA pitching and one is facing major league pitching). if you were to add anderson’s steals (assuming that most of his steals are of the 2nd base variety) to his doubles, then that would put him at 66 doubles for the year. if you do that, of course you have to take away 7 singles (that’s how many times he got caught), which would lower his obp to around .350.
    i would take a .350 obp from our leadoff hitter if he can get to 2nd on his own 75+ times a year.

    also, isnt anderson a far superior defensive center fielder than blanco?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=453923

    http://tinyurl.com/5h8jp4

  68. Anderson wouldnt kill you in CF. He could give you good defense, decent leadoff hitter, and well above average speed. However, combine him with Frenchy and Blanco, then yes it’d be a problem. Add Jason Bay and Nady to Anderson and yes he’d be quite valuable

    Edit: Ryan C, Anderson’s arm cant be any worse than Blanco’s I wouldnt imagine.

  69. TP has the pictures??

    who’s the AAA hitting coach? When, even he can get Corky Miller to have 17 hits in 48 Ab’s, TP, you must be bad.

    Five other cases where players figured things out on there own or with someone other than TP, these are the only one’s we’ve heard of. Im sure there is more

    1. Chipper, we all know his dad

    2. BMac, his dad also

    3. Blanco, his girlfriend showed him something from videos of this ST.

    4. Francoeur, had more success in 3 games at AA than here all season

    5. Kotchman, hit 3 HR’s in his last 4 games as an Angel. Comes here and TP tells him his stride is too long. Now look

    The thing I’m worried about is that this may make us move KJ this offseason. I would really like us to go get a different hitting coach and see if any players make any drastic improvements next season. Someone posted this on DOB’s blog today

    “Just saw this on MLB.com from Jim Molony:

    Look for the Braves to trade Kelly Johnson this winter as Martin Prado has impressed the coaching staff to the extent that the Braves may be ready to give Prado a chance to be the regular second baseman in 2009. Even if Prado isn’t the guy, expect Johnson to be gone. Offensively, he’s actually proven to be too selective and his power totals have been disappointing.”

    from Peanut today…

    “At the same time, he could be looking to upgrade at second base, while potentially fielding trade offers for Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar, who both could draw interest from other teams that could compensate with players that will satisfy some of the Braves needs. “

  70. The hitting coach at Richmond is Chris Chambliss; he’s probably a managerial candidate too.

    Anyone else want Florida? How about Alabama Polytechnic?

  71. #102: Hmm, interesting.

    Let me be frank; if the Braves trade Kelly Johnson this offseason because “he hasn’t lived up to his potential” while simultaneously keeping Francoeur to be the team’s 2009 right fielder, I will have a very hard time watching this team any more.

    This level of stupidity cannot be what the Braves’ front office honestly and truly believes. It just can’t be. No way they want to ditch Johnson and keep Francoeur….it has to be a “we can’t trade Frenchy, the fans will turn on us” type of thing.

  72. Marvelous Marv Throneberry actually legally changed his name so that “Marvelous” was part of his legal name. Marvelous Martin, for now, remains no more than a nickname.

    Anyone prepared to put some money into a kitty to see if we can’t induce our favorite defense-challenged backup infielder to get his ass to the county clerk and legally improve the name his momma gave him?

  73. Dan, I know what you mean, but right now it’s going to be awfully hard for the Braves to trade Frenchy. He’s at the absolute nadir of his value. KJ is not — he’s had a disappointing year, but he’s at least a somewhat useful, productive and cheap middle infielder, the sort of player who can help another team. Francoeur is a disaster, a fixer-upper project on the order of the house in The Money Pit.

  74. I don’t mind if the Braves trade any player. I do mind if they are trading them because they think he hasn’t lived up to expectations.

    There will be no trade of Jeffy. We were told he was promoted because he had fixed his problems. Nothing is fixed and he’s still here. It’s clear that Jeffy doesn’t work for Frank Wren, Wren works for Jeffy.

    I really do hope the Braves are smart enough to ignore the small samples of success from Infante and Prado. They have been smart enough to do so in the past. But I don’t like it when the talking points have these rumors from several sources.

  75. I just saw a story where a kid was banned from pitching in a little league because he was too fast. Maybe the Braves could get the league to prohibit certain pitchers–who are too good–from pitching against them. We could probably get Francoeur’s mother to start a petition. :)

  76. I just hope we trade KJ to a team like the A’s or Red Sox that appropriately values him and will therefore give us something worthwhile in return.

  77. The problem is the Braves seem to hit good pitchers fairly well (in context with the rest of the league.)

    My view from watching the Braves over these past few seasons is that they hit good pitchers okay, average pitchers great and bad pitchers poorly (compared to the rest of the league.)

    I think the Braves are good and ready to trade Johnson. That I don’t completely mind as long as they get good value back. I just hope Wren/Bowman/DOB/Cox/etc. spare us this “we think Prado and/or Infante are great hitters and would make all-star-level (/Cox) everyday players” garbage.

  78. I know there was some earlier Olympic discussion about the judged sports… did anybody see this bit on yahoo?
    http://tinyurl.com/realmedal

    They basically re-did the medal counts by throwing out the sports where judges were a factor… obviously intended to stir up the pot and get hits, but interesting nevertheless.

  79. I disagree witht the negatives coming from Braves management on KJ, but I at least understand that based on his performance this year a sane person could believe that Prado at $400,000 would be about as good as KJ at $2,000,000 (or wherever he arbs at).

    However, there seem to be many comments coming in from peanut and some from DOB to the effect of trading Escobar. This, I do not understand.

    Escobar may be as good of a defensive SS as there is in NL. All of the services have him as plus.

    I did not believe Escobar would hit this year like last year, but figured he would at least be acceptable. If his drop off is injury related and that heals, he is also a plus offensive player. he is locked for next year at minimum and only arbs the next year if he makes “Super 2” (which would probably require him to bring his offense back up).

    Infante has enough track record to establish that his offense is unlikely to be better, his defense is likely to be worse, and he will cost at least 3 to 5 times more next year.

    Lillibridge is probably not any better defensively and is a potential offensive black hole.

    Where is the “trade Escobar” coming from?

  80. The arguments in favor of Prado are almost exactly the same arguments as could and would have been made for Matt Diaz, everyday left fielder, before this season. How’d that work out?

  81. Well, we know that Bobby really likes Prado because “he has hit .300 everywhere he has been.” Unfortunately, the Braves, or at least Cox, have not exactly been in the forefront of advanced statistical analysis and I can’t really see that changing as long as Cox and JS are still around, although I don’t know what Wren’s view of this is. I would not be shocked to see Prado at least starting the year in 2009 as the second baseman because it seems pretty clear that KJ is not their type of player, ie, he is not “aggressive” enough.

  82. #117

    Not too well, but most of us agreed that Diaz had earned the chance. Prado obviously doesn’t have the history of success that Diaz had coming into this season, but unlike Diaz, Prado has yet to show much in the way of a platoon split. So the risk of his being “exposed” probably isn’t as great.

    None of this addresses his defense, which clearly needs a lot of work.

  83. Why would the Red Sox want KJ? They have a pretty good second baseman as it is.

    I didn’t say the Red Sox would want KJ. I used them as an example of a front office that would place the appropriate amount of value on KJ.

  84. I suggest someone do a Georgia Tech preview, if such a thing would be allowed. (Not me, because, like Rob, I’m no good at big previews like that)

  85. Tornado Warning Issued for Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton

    The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has issued a Tornado Warning for southeastern Cobb County, west central DeKalb County and central Fulton County.

    Other locations in the warning include but are not limited to Six Flags, Turner Field….

    http://tinyurl.com/6kvekj

    Tornado warning at Turner Field? I guess the Braves are back in town.

  86. Yea that was pretty crazy, had to drive through that to get to class this morning. Really surprised I made it on time.

  87. Mac,

    I could do Arkansas. My cousin goes there and my uncle is a professor. I’ve hit at least one game for the past 4 or 5 years. Plus, my cousin has given me a few first hand accounts of the Lucifer of football coaches in his new lair.

  88. Eh, I still don’t get it. I enjoy winning just as much as anyone, but I rarely feel the need to degrade our opponent.

    Where did the bad blood between UA and UT come from?

  89. But also because from 1920-1980 Tennessee was the team that came closest to challenging Alabama’s dominance in the conference. Also, remember Alabama and Auburn didn’t play from 1903-48; the Tennessee game (annually held in Birmingham back then) was Alabama’s big game.

    But mostly it’s the pure evil.

  90. Stu, I recognize the rivalry, obviously, but that doesn’t mean I understand it.

    I am fond of picking at UT if only because they always seem to be one of the most sloppy teams in the SEC. I have no idea how they made it to the conference game last year.

  91. They pulled 3 conference games out of their ass, that’s how.

    Three games decided by 6 total points including 5 OTs, plus a few major mistakes by their opponents—a roughing the punter here, a missed OT FG there.

    Yes, I was paying attention.

  92. Per Ken Rosenthal, the Phils and Red Sox are in on Kotsay , who would need to be dealt before sunday. I’m all for trading Kotsay, it says we would get a mid-level prospect in return. However, I dont really want to see him go to Philly.

  93. You want to talk lucky seasons. Last year Mississippi State managed big upsets of both Auburn and Alabama. In both games State’s defense outscored State’s offense. Kentucky had to turn the ball over six times and Ole Miss had to go for it stupidly on fourth down with the game virtually over.

    Yet they gave up 45 points to LSU, 45 to Auburn, 33 to Tennessee, and 38 to both West Virginia and South Carolina. They were a few turnovers not happening away from an 8 loss season since with Orgeron they still would have beaten Ole Miss.

  94. I’m not saying Tennessee was essentially lucky. They were in those games & they won—so, good for them.

    But yeah, they got some help.

  95. Bethany,

    Bama is still mad because they ran Richmond Flowers, Jr. out of the state and he came back and beat them twice.

    But I have to agree with them that it seems Phil Fulmer conspired with the NCAA to shift possible violations off of Tennessee and put them on Alabama. That is the kind of thing that takes ordinary rivalry hate to another level.

  96. If no one else will do the Kentucky (you know, the team that beat the National Champs last year) write up, I’ll try.

    Lemme know, Mac, if you want me to give it a go.

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