63 thoughts on “Say it ain’t so, John”

  1. If he wants to try, I’m sure one of the big boys will give him something. The big spenders have shown a willingness to just throw some money at somebody with hope they will show up at mid-season to provide something.

    For the Braves, I hope the Glavine debacle has made it clear that sentimental signings are usually not smart. Time to cut the cord and start building for 2011 and beyond.

    Everybody plays within their division. Arguably, only division games should count for the division title.

    That would certainly make more sense than what they do now.

  2. I certainly think we should offer John something; it’s not like he’s a Boras client who will instantly turn down a lowball offer. But we can’t offer him much in the way of guaranteed cash. Best of all worlds, as far as I’m concerned, is an incentive-laden deal based on innings pitched (or games started) benchmarks.

  3. “Make no mistake,” he said a few minutes later. “I am absolutely, 100 percent committed to playing the rest of my career for the Atlanta Braves. But this can’t be my only option … I may not be in the [Braves’] plans. It’s no given right, where I’ve spent 21 years here and [so] they owe me whatever I want.”……

    they dont owe him anything and everything, but they owe it to him to at least give him a final shot and one more season. Give the man (if he’s able to go) “fair market value” by all means he’s earned it. If he looks as if he’s not ready in late February, then move on

  4. I’m watching Yanks/Angels & a graphic came up about A-Rod: In 162 career games vs. the Angels, A-Rod has hit 61 HRs.

    Re: Smoltz
    No problem with Smoltz’s “stance” there and, yes, sad to say, I can see him pitching in a major northeastern city. As long as it’s not the Mets…

    Robert,
    Let me get this straight: Previously, you tried to make a point that SEC teams don’t play enough big out-of-conference games, and now you say that these schools (in a 12-team league) don’t play each other enough.

    OK, fine…

    Dunno about the rest of the SEC people, but I love the SEC championship game. Unlike the BCS title, which relies on subjective ca-ca, this is a championship that’s undisputed and undisputable.

    Judging by the conference’s success—anybody notice that enormo-deal it just signed with ESPN?— the SEC got it right.

  5. If my memory serves me correct, Smoltzie always said something similar during his contract year and he always ended up staying with the Braves.

    Usually the guys who claim wanting to stay will end up signing somewhere else.

  6. Nice win for Mississippi in the first game of the playoff. Apparently Kala hit a monster shot…

    Unfortunately, the Pelicans were shut out by Luis Atilano–the same ex-Pelican that we traded to get Darryl Ward…

  7. My initial reaction was “holy s**t!”… and then I read it, and have to respect that Smoltz realizes that the Braves may not have a place for him in the future (though if they’re going to bring back one of Glavine, Smoltz, or Hampton… it damn well better be Smoltz). I think with the realities of the market and team make-up it makes sense to bring back one of them for ’09 while you wait for guys to mature. 09 doesn’t have to be a total write-off, but you also can’t expect to go into it as a favorite, and to that end signing Smoltz for a year is probably good enough stop-gap while your young guys mature.

    And then I read Mac’s joke and wished I’d had some coffee to spit on my monitor… That was very good bad joke.

  8. None other than Mike Hessman (now with Detroit) is now co-holder of one of the most unbreakable records in baseball. He was hit by a pitch twice in one inning by the same pitcher. I’ll go out on a limb and say that will never happen three times in an inning. Glückwünsche, Herr Hessman!

  9. Let’s wait and see if he can actually pitch before we say they should or should not bring him back. Smoltz is being a bit contradictory: on the one hand, he says he wants to finish his career with the Braves; on teh other, he says his goal is to pitch once more in the playoffs. If Smoltz wants to pitch one more time in the playoffs, he is probably better off going somewhere else because it’s likely to be a while before the Braves get back.

    On another note, the more I see, the more I think Bobby is not coming back. The other day, Jo Jo Reyes mentioned that he was going to “stop thinking so much” on the mound and when the reported mentioned this to Cox, he had no reaction. That doesn’t sound like Cox. I have a feeling he is fed up with these young guys that have no clue and may not want to go through the rebuilding process.

  10. ububba,

    I agree about the SEC championship. It’s decided on the field in a very rigid structure. There’s no campaigning for your team and voters to sway. Now, the only problem I’ve seen is when, like last year, a truly better team (Georgia) doesn’t get to the game because another team (Tennessee), lost their games out-of-conference inside of in.

  11. I will be very sad if Smoltz signs with someone else.

    Now, the only problem I’ve seen is when, like last year, a truly better team (Georgia) doesn’t get to the game because another team (Tennessee), lost their games out-of-conference inside of in.

    Really? Why should non-conference games have anything to do with settling a conference championship? No conference in the country counts non-conference games in its standings.

    And if UGA was the “truly better team,” you’d think they’d have found a way to avoid losing to UT by three touchdowns when they played each other.

  12. “And if UGA was the “truly better team,” you’d think they’d have found a way to avoid losing to UT by three touchdowns when they played each other.”

    Stu, do you really believe that? That one game determines who is ‘better’ than the other? Really? Because by that logic, every team that upsets another is actually not winning in an upset, but is better. I say this as a relatively nonpartisan fan of the game: Georgia was a much better team than Tennessee and it only served to bring controversy to the NCAA and BCS (yet again) that after October, Georgia did not end up having a path to the championship game. Of course, if you hate college football, that’s a dream scenario.

  13. 1) I love college football, which may seem paradoxical, as I am a Vanderbilt fan.

    2) I guess I’m just not sympathetic to the concept of “better,” whatever that means, when games and championships are actually able to be decided on the field. Yeah, I guess it screwed up the BCS, but for conference purposes, it’s pretty clear what you have to do to play for a championship, and Georgia didn’t do it. Maybe they were “better” than Tennessee last year, but they certainly weren’t more deserving of playing in Atlanta.

    3) Early season games count, too, and they should. If Georgia wanted a post-October path to an SEC championship, they should have won that October game.

  14. Georgia lost to Tennessee (and South Carolina). Whether it was by 1 point or 5 touchdowns, doesn’t matter. They had their chance to advance to the SEC title game. They didn’t & I’m fine with that.

    All the BCS speculation & rankings games are just more heaps of ca-ca. Unless we had a genuine playoff last year, there was no way of knowing if Georgia was “the best team at the end of the season.”

    (I’m still amazed by Tennessee’s Houdini act that put them in the title game—three wins by 6 total points, including 5 OTs & much gaggage by the other 3 schools’ kickers. Really bizarre, actually.)

    Now, do I think we coulda beaten LSU in the title game? Yeah, I kinda do, especially with their 2nd QB playing. But that’s not the point. We knew the rules & found a way to lose 2 games. For not getting to the Georgia Dome, it’s nobody’s fault but ours.

    We’ll try to fix that this year, starting Saturday afternoon in Columbia. Go Dawgs.

  15. How crazy will it be if Mississippi wins the Southern League championship after the start they had?

    Also, what do people think about Ka’aihue? I had given up on him early in the year, but now I think he is looking increasingly like Adam Dunn.

  16. I should also say that I am in favor of retaining both Smoltz and Hampton at low guaranteed cost deals with generous incentives.

  17. Smitty,

    I don’t see how you can say, without qualification or limitation, that “Wren is a fool if he lets Smoltz go” if you don’t know what the circumstances are.

    First step up is whether to elect the option at $12 million. I think the fool label is better applied if Wren elects that option.

    Then, whether to offer arb (I think that is still permitted if an option is declined, but I may be wrong). With the minimum being 80% of 2008 salary and that being 9.6 million minimum for 09, then, in my opinion, again the FOOL will offer arb.

    Further, until you have something to go on about the shoulder condition, how can you offer even moderate money (3 to 4 million) guaranteed? If you offer minimum guaranteed (even with big incentives) Smoltz will be supremely insulted.

    The problem with offeeing incentive laden deals is that they are liabilities against the payroll budget at the time the contract is booked. That is, because I might have to pay them, I better know where the money is coming from. So, a team can’t budget for those to 2 or 3 pitchers and have any certainty that they might not owe all, yet, they could owe none. If you bundled the guaranteed money on say Smoltz, Glavine and Hampton you could probably get one year of Derek Lowe, which would ake oodles more sense. And then the “top end risk” money could be applied effectively to work on another problem.

    Smoltz coming back to the Braves just doesn’t make sense, for him, or the Braves.

  18. I think it’s pretty obvious that Georgia was better than Tennessee last year. But that’s just my opinion. The point was not to degrade the SEC championship. That was just one issue I had with it. But that’s the way it is, and it’s still probably the best championship to have in college football, because it’s really decided on the field.

  19. Smitty, really? I missed that box score. In all seriousness, I think that was an upset, and over the course of, say, 10 games, Georgia would win more against Tennessee than they would lose.

  20. I am totally fine with leaving incentive money in the budget for Smoltz and Hampton because I do not think the Braves should commit all of their excess budget long term this year.
    I still think they are at least another year away from contending. If they feel they have to fill all holes this year, they run the risk of overpaying and eliminate the benefit of solving these problems internally or on the cheap over the next 12 months.

  21. Of course, in 2006, Auburn beat Florida, Arkansas beat Auburn, Florida beat Arkansas, and then won the national championship. So what does that tell ya? Was Auburn better than Florida even though Florida beat Arkansas, a team that Auburn lost to? Or was Arkansas better than Florida because they beat Auburn, a team Florida lost to? When you look at the whole of the season, I think we could agree that Florida was probably better than Auburn and Arkansas… oh, and Ohio State too. :)

  22. I think it’s pretty obvious that Georgia was better than Tennessee last year.

    At the end of the year, sure. Not when they played each other, though, and those early games count just as much in the standings.

    Ideally, the two “best” teams would never lose and would be playing their best football at the end of the season when they match up for the championship. But that never happens (and it’s never going to), and I don’t think there’s a better way to decide the thing than the way the SEC and other conferences with championship games do it.

    A playoff system is badly needed for a national championship to have any real meaning, though.

  23. I prefer not to look at college football seasons in chunks. People say that this team or that team was better at the beginning of the season or the end of the season, but I tend to just make the decision on the team after observing its whole body of work. The 2008 Georgia Bulldogs were better than the 2008 Tennessee Volunteers. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t break it into the 2008 First Half Georgia Bulldogs vs. the 2008 First Half Tennessee Volunteers. At the end of the day, Georgia was the better team. I’m not quite sure how that’s disputable, considering their end results.

  24. All this talk of the BCS is depressing me!

    I’m not sure you can say that one team is better than the other unless they beat them in a head to head match up. If you can’t win the games that matter, then how good are you, really? Just like the Patriots last year in the NFL. Does that perfect season really matter if you can’t win the Super Bowl? Can you really call them the best team?

  25. I prefer not to look at college football seasons in chunks. People say that this team or that team was better at the beginning of the season or the end of the season, but I tend to just make the decision on the team after observing its whole body of work. The 2008 Georgia Bulldogs were better than the 2008 Tennessee Volunteers. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t break it into the 2008 First Half Georgia Bulldogs vs. the 2008 First Half Tennessee Volunteers.

    Me either. You’re apparently missing my point.

    At the end of the day, Georgia was the better team.

    Not at the end of October 6, 2007, which was the day that mattered most to these two teams in deciding who got to play for a championship.

    I’m not quite sure how that’s disputable, considering their end results.

    I’m not disputing that UGA was the better 2007 team, overall, than UT was. I am disputing the notion that that matters in any real way apart from their in-conference records in determining who the SEC Eastern Division Champion was.

    I think you’re disagreeing with something I’m not saying.

  26. Smoltz wants to stay. I hope Frank Wren and the Braves do all they can to make sure he is with this team in 2009.

  27. im thinking it’s closer than people think it will be. USC’s got talent EVERYWHERE, but their weakness is the inexperience of their WRs. OSU likes to bump and run and could get the Sanchez to whomever (Hamilton was a beast coming out of HS in NJ) timing off.

    but OSU ain’t scoring at all (maybe their defense can get them some field position and two FGs).

    i’ll say:

    USC-31
    OSU-6

  28. im thinking it’s closer than people think it will be.

    * * *

    i’ll say:

    USC-31
    OSU-6

    ??? What’s the line on this game?

  29. If we knew Smoltz would be healthy and could pitch next year, then it would make sense to try to bring him back. But it sounds like it will be a long time before we’ll know for sure how his shoulder is. If Wren wants to build a contender for next year, he can’t put $10 million or so aside until spring training in the hopes that Smoltz will show he can earn it. That money needs to be spent in free agency to land pitchers and hitters who we know are healthy and can help the team for the next several years. In short, it’s time to move on.

  30. I think it’s about 12 and rising, but a lot of predictions are out there of scores like 52-3. OSU looked really bad against Ohio and USC looked really good against Virginia, and they’re at home, and they had a week off.

  31. Yeah, but that may be deceptive. OSU may well have gotten a wake-up call with that debacle against Ohio. Of course, you’d have thought they would be less confident after getting smacked for two consecutive championship games, so who knows? Maybe they’re simply mediocre. I’m hoping for a competitive game all the same.

    How do the UGA fans feel about the South Carolina game? I hope Richt has them ready for a SC team that just got embarrassed and will be looking for redemption.

  32. Unless UGA turns the ball over, they shouldn’t have much trouble, IMO. South Carolina’s defense is pretty strong, but their offense is weak.

  33. I meant 2007, not 2008. I’m sure you know that. But yeah, I see what you’re saying. I like the system, I just think that sometimes the valid system puts in a team that isn’t better than the other team. That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

  34. what do people think about Ka’aihue?

    I think he would be more productive than Kotchman next year, if given the chance. More SO and a lower batting average, but more walks and more HR’s for a team that will starve for walks and power.

    Since Wren gave up Teix for Kotchman, Bobby is going to be pushed to insert Kotchman at 1B every day. However, I could take or leave Kotchan’s line next year; 285/345/400, out of a 1B. Those are the stas of a bad team’s 1B.

  35. I didn’t even notice you’d said 2008, Rob. And I think that the system frequently fails to put in the “best” two teams—like I said, I just don’t see a better way of doing things.

  36. Parish—I had a similar take on Kala as you did. I don’t see him as another Dunn, but he does have the chance to develop into a competent 1B with moderate power. While I doubt that he will ever have the ceiling of Freemen or Flowers (should the Braves move him back to 1B), he has the chance to become a useful player….

  37. Having watched both UGA games and both South Carolina games, I’ll say that UGA should win by at least 17 points, something like 31-14.

    I know all too well what an evil offensive genius Spurrier can be, but he has no scary players on that side of the ball—those QBs don’t offer a whole lot. He better hope his D forces some turnovers—not impossible because they’re pretty good. But I really don’t think his D can stop this bunch.

    I watched part of the USC/Virginia game & some of the Ohio/OSU game, so I’ll offer a best guess here:

    With Beanie Wells, I think Ohio State loses by at least 14 points, something like 28-14.

    Without Beanie Wells, I have a hard time believing OSU will score 2 TDs. With no running game to respect, USC should blitz Boeckman coming off the bus—and we’ve seen that movie before.

  38. Robert,
    Let me get this straight: Previously, you tried to make a point that SEC teams don’t play enough big out-of-conference games, and now you say that these schools (in a 12-team league) don’t play each other enough.

    OK, fine…

    Pick one. Stop playing the Sunbelt and the MAC. link

    but OSU ain’t scoring at all (maybe their defense can get them some field position and two FGs).

    i’ll say:

    USC-31
    OSU-6

    I think it will be fairly close, if for no other reason than it really doesn’t serve Pete’s purposes to beat OSU by 40 and then struggle to get the players attention the rest of the year. I’ll take SC 28, OSU 10.

  39. So Leo’s on his radio show this morning saying Bobby should coach until Bobby says it’s over.

    He also said he’d never seen Bobby make a bad tactical move. Guess he wasn’t here when Cox brought in Leibrant against Kirby Puckett – maybe the biggest bonehead move in World Series history.

  40. It amazes me that the preponderance of people at Braves Journal would re-sign Smoltz and kick Bobby out.

    I agree Bobby should retire; but if Smoltz has earned the right to go on his own terms, then Bobby Cox sure as heck has too.

  41. Can we give Bobby an incentive laden contract, like allowing him to manage as long as he doesn’t have the #2 hitter bunt in the first inning?

  42. I agree with Coop but I sure would like to see Bobby retire with dignity. I don’t think Bobby’s managing is the worst of the Braves’ problems by any means but there are problems and lots of coaches/players have stayed around too long.

  43. Robert,
    The SEC will do whatever it wants, thanks. Your input is duly noted & discarded.

    If you take a look at Georgia’s schedule this year, for example, the MAC opponent (FWIW, that conference’s champ) is not what a reasonable person would notice.

    Most folks would notice and be impressed by this part of the schedule instead:

    Alabama
    Tennessee
    @ LSU
    Florida (Jax)
    @ Auburn

    The out-of-conference games (@ Ariz. St, Georgia Tech) aren’t bad either.

    But I find it amusing that you spend so much time worried about our schedule. I wonder why that is…

  44. I hate to say this but I think UGA has no chance to win the National Championship with that ridiculous schedule whether or not they are the best team. They probably won’t even get to the SEC championship game. They system rewards beating the hell out of mediocre teams rather than playing a tough schedule. I normally get annoyed at SEC homerism, but in this case, I have to say it’s justified. By the end of the year, Georgia will be so beaten up they’ll probably be lucky to field a team. If Georgia can get through this schedule with even one loss, they will deserve not just the National Championship but a place in the NFL playoffs.

  45. I will do an “I told you so.” I was against the Glavine signing. Not because I didn’t think Glavine could put together a mediocre year that would justify an $8 million salary on the open market, but because I thought it was a bad use of resources. Tkae the 8 for Glav, the 2 for Kotsay, keep Devine, and get Lohse and we are better off.

    And as to you people who are worried about getting a really good free agent this year because that ties up money in the future, scan the literature. HBT, JC’s site, ESPN. Overwhelmingly, the most disappointing contracts have the SHORTEST length. Most of the time when a guy gets only 1 yer offers, there is a reason. If you keep a contract level (not back loaded) it should be possible to move almost any position player. The Reds finally moved Griffey.

    The Braves need about 3 PREMIUM free agents. Use the existing minor league crop and 40 man roster guys to fill out. Then, if the AA and High A guys come on strong by 2010, you are back in business.

  46. So, who is worth what they are likely to get paid this year?

    I might make a play at Tex, but not sure who else.

    I think we need to give the youngsters some time to develop and what better time than 2009 when we are unlikely to be competitive? No harm in giving “make good” contracts to Hampton and Smoltz in those circumstances.

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