Okay, here are the picks

Home teams in bold.

Alabama 32, MSU 12
Georgia 27, Auburn 15
Vandy 21, Kentucky 14
LSU 37, Troy 17
Florida 38, South Carolina 20
Ole Miss 30, ULM 10

520 thoughts on “Okay, here are the picks”

  1. From previous thread:

    I saw a stat the other day that, since 1982, Vandy is 0-17 in games that would make them bowl-eligible. Of course, a good chunk of that has come this year.

    BTW, that new Kentucky QB isn’t bad. Should be an entertaining game, actually.

    Do we have any Auburn people out there anymore?

  2. That’s because Auburn won last week – just kidding. What are the chances of Tuberville returning next year?

  3. People are calling for his head, though for the life of me I don’t understand why. I’d say his chances of returning are extremely slim.

  4. BTW, that new Kentucky QB isn’t bad.

    We’ll see if it lasts. I know Vanderbilt never offered him a scholarship, and if we did, it would have been as a defensive back. Maybe the coaches were wrong, but they’ve proven to be top-notch talent evaluators in their 7 years in Nashville.

    I mean, Chris Nickson even looked like a potential superstar as a sophomore, so there’s plenty of time for Cobb to come back to earth.

  5. From the previous thread:

    Stephen – I think the knock on Diory Hernandez is defense. That would probably mean that short is not the spot for him. I was thinking he had enough bat and versatility to make it on someone’s bench, but that’s about it.

    Escobar = Jair as a trading chip?

    I disagree with this. Obviously, the reason to get Peavy is to build up our starting pitching rotation. Sending our best starter away to get Peavy is a ridiculous thought.

    Yesco obviously has value, but we have the option to replace his offense at other positions and find a match for him (even internally) defensively at short. I am happy not to trade him for Peavy, but to put him on par with Jair as far as “untouchability” is a massive reach.

    Further, the fact that I think we are looking at 2010 before we are truly competitive would make an Escobar centered trade for Peavy more palatable. I believe Jake Peavy will have great value for the length of his contract. Escobar’s value is in part tied to his cheapness which begins to go away after 2010. And, it is possible that Brandon Hicks (or more unlikely, Lillibridge) will be better.

  6. I personally like the idea of signing Furcal, he would bring the speed that we need back to the top of the lineup, and it sounds like there aren’t that many teams going after him. I love Yescobar, but he is our best trade piece right now, and he is probably already miffed about the fact that he is on the block.

  7. It’s a sorry slate of games over all of college football this week. I actually cannot remember a worse week, especially so late in the season.

  8. And it looks like we’ve finally reached a limit on what I would give up to get Peavy. There is zero chance I would even think of giving up Jurrjens in that deal. I have no idea what kind of idiots the Padres take us for, especially since we have the upper hand, given that we’re the only team in with a serious offer at the moment.

  9. Dammit, CJ, you beat my joke to the punch.

    There was a hilarious second comment in Tony Barnhart’s weekly picks column on the AJC from a TN fan who predicted that “open week” would punch it in the end zone for a 7-0 victory over Tennessee.

    I would gladly take that bet.

    The Kentucky Quarterback is for real, or at least he appeared to be after Willie Martinez’s brilliant defensive coaching let Kentucky and their unknown Freshmen offense score at will on us last week.

    Yes, I am one Georgia fan screaming at the top of his “internet lungs” for the University to go over Willie’s old college roommate’s (Richt) head to fire Willie Martinez. Enough is enough. No way the talent on our defense should have given up 38 to UK.

    If we give up more than 11-14 points tomorrow to Auburn, than any Georgia fans at the game have the right to walk down to the field, gang tackle Martinez, and stuff him in a potato sack and take him to an “undisclosed location” somewhere near Guantanamo.

  10. I’m not going to go crazy about Martinez. I think the blame is shared. Given the injuries to the D-line & Ellerbe missing those games (& returning a step slow), our pass rush has been lacking. Obviously, this isn’t a great defense, but it should be better.

    They were a big-play defense last year—a pass rush always helps—but they still gave up plenty of points to the good teams in ’07. This year, they’ve had their moments (the last stop in the USC game, the last 3 stops in the Kentucky game), but they haven’t been the same kind of defense this year.

    That said, I agree that Auburn shouldn’t score too many points tomorrow.

  11. With all due my respect the Auburn fans on Bravesjournal, Auburn is really bad this year and you have what would seem to be a ‘lame duck’ head coach, even if it’s not official.

    Not to mention that Mark Richt teams typically are better and more focused on the road, got ’embarrassed’ in victory last week at Kentucky with the way the defense performed, and we still have one of the best offensive “trios” in college football with Stafford/Moreno/Green.

    The recipe is there for this to be a blowout. We’re talking 38-7 type game. If that doesn’t happen and it’s a lot closer, then someone will have some blame.

  12. Parish–I don’t remember that Hernandez’s glove was suspect, but to be fair I do not recall anybody saying that he could play defense. I still wonder about his glove.

    I think that the previous thread’s discussion of the possible Peavy trade aptly illustrates that the Braves should not trade Escobar unless the reward is great. At this point, there is no evidence that Lillibridge, Hernandez or Brandon Hicks can be a quality major league SS….

  13. If we trade Escobar, I say we just plug Lili and his really good, cheap defense in at SS and put the Furcal money towards two really big bats for the OF.

  14. #18

    Of course, coming off the ACTUALLY embarrassing Florida loss, the recipe was there for a blowout last week too. But UGAs offensive line is decimated, and the defense lacks playmakers. The famous guys are doing well, yes, but it’s ugly in the trenches. UGA by 7.

  15. I have a weird feeling about the Auburn game, too. Maybe it has to do with motivation. Not sure, really.

    As Tucker’s AJC preview points out, the UGA/Auburn series has been crazy close and fairly unpredictable.

    The good news: The visiting team always seems to win.

  16. Stephen, the problem is there aren’t really any big outfield bats out there that we can just throw money at and lure in, or at least none that make that much sense for us. Here’s a list:

    Moises Alou (42) – Type B
    Garret Anderson (37) – Type B
    Milton Bradley (31) – Type B
    Emil Brown (34)
    Pat Burrell (32) – Type A
    Adam Dunn (29) – Type A
    Cliff Floyd (36)
    Luis Gonzalez (41) – Type B
    Jerry Hairston Jr. (33)
    Raul Ibanez (37) – Type A
    Gabe Kapler (33)
    Kevin Mench (31)
    Jason Michaels (33)
    Craig Monroe (32)
    Greg Norton (36)
    Jay Payton (36)
    Manny Ramirez (37) – Type A
    Juan Rivera (30)
    So Taguchi (39)

    Center fielders
    Rocco Baldelli (27)
    Willie Bloomquist (31)
    Jim Edmonds (39)
    Jerry Hairston Jr. (33)
    Gabe Kapler (33)
    Mark Kotsay (33)
    Corey Patterson (29)
    Scott Podsednik (33)
    So Taguchi (39)

    Right fielders
    Bobby Abreu (35) – Type A
    Casey Blake (35) – Type B
    Emil Brown (34)
    Cliff Floyd (36)
    Ken Griffey Jr. (39) – Type B
    Gabe Kapler (33)
    Jason Michaels (33)
    Trot Nixon (35)
    Brad Wilkerson (32)

    Milton Bradley (31) – Type B

    How many of those guys really make sense for our roster ? you’ve got lots of guys who are going to get 200 ABs a year.

  17. Peavy would be a great reward for trading Escobar.

    Jason says in post 20 what I am kind of thinking: Get one of our light hitting good gloves in at short and find our offense elsewhere. We should be able to find a good combination in the next 15 months.

  18. Most of the best options on that list are aging lefties like Clifford Floyd, Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez and Junior Griffey. I would say the best players of the entire crop are Adam Dunn, who’s going to cost us a pretty penny and bats from the wrong side for our purposes, Pat Burell who is Adam Dunn from the right side with a bad OBP and miserable defense and then of course Milton Bradley who would require us to sign a bellhop in addition to handle the extra baggage. The most intriguing player to me is Rocco Baldelli who may actually be able to stay healthy now that his mitochondrial disorder has been diagnosed and treated. He plays good defense, is entering his prime years, may sign for a reasonably low price and has alot of offensive upside, then again he could be another Jeff Francoeur.

  19. Stu, I gotta give props to Vanderbilt for hosting the Jermain Taylor vs. Jeff Lacy fight and all the excellent undercards this weekend at the Vanderbilt Memorial Gymnasium. The undercard is sick with at least five good fights I would pay to see. Allen Green is talented and will put on a show (let’s hope he physically appears for the fight). Deontay Wilder is the only U.S. medal winner from Beijing. There is even a suprisingly decent heavyweight fight with Chazz Witherspoon. Not to mention the two eliminators with Cintron vs. N’Dou and Taylor vs. Lacy.

    Also the weigh-in is at the student rec center. How sweet is that?

  20. I wouldn’t call Burrell’s OBP “bad”. He’s a career .367 and in 2007 he posted an even .400.

    And handedness wouldn’t prevent me from signing Adam Dunn.

  21. Yeah, I think Baldelli is the one I would target in that group. I wouldn’t mind kicking the tires on Juan Rivera as a potential one-year stopgap.

  22. Jason, I was just about to correct myself on the Burrell OBP comment, for some reason I was thinking he was a career 330-350 guy. His numbers are actually very similar to Dunns overall, low averages, good OBPs and good powers numbers across the board.

    I have some interest in Rivera, but he doesn’t really make too much sense for us, since we have a very similar player in Matt Diaz. I’d love for us to get a legitimate five tool outfield stud and then we could fill in the spaces around him but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

  23. Oh yeah, forgot about Diaz. Well, after we trade Frenchy, Rivera can come try out for the RF job. Clearly, I don’t give a crap about 2009….

  24. I’m down with Rivera. Let’s see:

    Peavy trade – adds 9 mil
    Lilly at short
    Sign Burrell – guess 15 mil
    Sign Rivera – guess 5 mil
    Trade Frenchy+ for Greinke – guess Greinke pulls 5 mil in arb.

    That adds 34 mil to payroll leaving enough for Smoltz or Hampton or a midseason acquisition. Or *maybe* Baldelli. Maybe.

  25. I too would like us to take a flier on Rocco. Not that I’m particularly high on him; rather, everyone else seems like a far worse way to go. Or left-handed.

  26. Sorry I’m late but there are some Auburn fans still here. I’m usually just lurking though. All my Auburn friends want Tuberville’s head on a platter and I agree with them. Seems like he’s just given up. Or can’t coach offense.

  27. Guys, its one thing not to get + offense out of a position like shortstop. You do NOT want Pete Orr style offense out of any lineup spot though. Frenchy + Lillibridge + Pitcher basically means we give up 9 outs per game. That leaves us with 6 innings of offense per game to outscore the opponent.

    I say that is a terrible idea.

    Also, Auburn is NOT Southern Cal or Florida. The people who feel that Auburn essentially has a right to SEC titles by virtue of being Auburn are off base. With Saban accross the state things have become much harder for Auburn. An SEC title here and there coupled with being competitive for that title year in and year out are about all Auburn realistically should expect. I think Tuberville has done as well with Auburn as anyone else could or would have. He made a huge mistake in hiring that offensive coordinator this year and then not allowing him to run his offense, but I think he has earned the right to make that mistake based on his track record with the school. Down years like this one are not all that uncommon, even among the elite football programs.

  28. Yea Jason, but Frenchy is already a problem. You don’t really fix that problem if you just move it from RF to SS. They idea is to have nobody on the team that is a free out, certainly not two!

  29. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a lot easier to find a RF that hits than finding a SS who hits.

  30. …it’s a lot easier to find a RF that hits than finding a SS who hits.

    Not when you start with a good hitter at SS and a poor hitter in RF, it isn’t…

  31. I’d be interested to see how much Adam Dunn gets.

    John Donovan at si.com speculated $33/3 years, which I’d snap up on the spot.

  32. DOB’s been talking Burnett for a while, guys. We’ll still have to beat the Yankees for him, which will cost at least 4 years, $68 million, if I had to guess.

  33. If you get Peavy, then you start with a no-hit SS and a no-hit RF. Which is easier/cheaper to find?

  34. I’ve got no issues paying Burnett 17 MM for four; problems arise if he goes Mike Hampton on us. The thing to consider is that Ben Sheets would probably be sitting exactly where Burnett is right now with out that last month of the season. Now look at how he’s viewed.

    In the end though, sometimes you have to roll the dice, and no one can argue the ability. Plus, supposedly he loves Bobby and that can only help with both his clubhouse attitude and possibly the contract.

    Go for it.

  35. The problem with Frenchy is NOT finding someone to replace him. It is getting him out of the picture. If he had been replaced last year by B. Jones / Blanco / whoever we would have scored 30 extra runs. A Juan Rivera maybe 50 runs. Commitment ot a change is more important for improvement there than who we change in.

    In left, we need to be careful. IF Diaz can still move fairly well, then a Diaz platoon with a second tier lefthander could produce fair offense. So, to upgrade there, the Juan Riveras, etc. are a waste of money and roster space.

    Baldelli is intriguing, depending on what you have to pay. He could be Schafer’s right handed platoon partner
    agaomnst lefties and start in left or right the rest of the time.

    I know he is not a Bobby Cox guy (which is a futher source of my irritaion with keeping Cox) but to me, Milton Bradley could be just the guy. The Braves need some fire. He hits very well from the right side. The main thing on “handedness” is that we would be grouping so many lefthanders and left tilted switch htiters (Chipper is WAY lower SLG from the right side) together in the middle that we could get LOOGY’d over and over.

    I want the Braves to VORP somebody.

  36. I think the worst case scenario will play out with Francoeur next season: he won’t suck enough to get booted off the team like he should have been in 2008, but he won’t be good enough to actually be a positive for the team.

    He’ll probably put up a batting average over .280, but an OBP again around .300, hit maybe 15 homeruns, have a high RBI total and about a .730 OPS. And the Atlanta sports’ media will declare that: “FRENCHY’S BACK!”

  37. I challenge Stu to an honor du-el.

    Weapon of choice?

    Limericks. I’ll go first:

    “A word on the women of Vandy:
    Well-read, small-chested and randy
    Not as feral as Duke
    But to poke is to puke
    It’s why the fellows at Vandy are handy.”

    Your serve, Stu.

  38. Re: Burnett
    Though it’s tough to forget his injury history, I think he would kick major ass back in the NL.

    I keep hearing that the Yanks will only sign him if Sabathia says no to The Bronx. Nobody here thinks that’s going to happen. All the talk is that Hank & Hal are going to blow CC away with an offer.

    Re: Auburn
    Having Auburn stumble never breaks my heart, but I’m with Dix in that I believe Auburn should write off this year & let Tuberville return.

    He’s beaten Alabama all these consecutive years, he has a winning bowl record, his teams have been good. This year has been a disaster. They probably won’t go bowling, but (if it’s me) I give him another year.

    And Dix, the main reason Auburn may have delusions of “being Florida” is because:

    1) Florida wasn’t always Florida. I remember going to a game at Jordan-Hare back in 1979 when the Gators finished 0-10-1. By ’84, they were undefeated in the league. Things can turn around in a hurry & Auburn rarely has dry spells of talent.

    2) Auburn did go undefeated relatively recently. When you have success like that, it’s frustrating to go backward (sez a guy who endured Ray Goff).

  39. Q&A from the B-Pro chat going on right now:

    Q): Yunel Escobar, Gorkys Hernandez, Charles Morton and a lefty reliever for Jake Peavy seems basicaly to me like giving Escobar for Peavy who is a very cheap superace for 4-5 years. Is it a good or bad deal for the Braves?

    Steven Goldman: I think you’re being a little too harsh on Morton, and Gorkys, um… has a great name and could be, er, sort of a fourth OF. It’s not a great return, you’re right. It was a more exciting deal with Tommy Hanson as part of it. It’s a good deal for the Braves. I’ve written elsewhere (tho’ I’m not the only one) to suggest that Peavy’s H/R splits suggest he is overvalued to some degree, and no doubt that figures in.

  40. From Keith Law’s chat just now, about Nick Swisher: “I’ve gotten a bunch of questions along these lines … hitter BABIP isn’t entirely luck. A drop in BABIP could also reflect erosion of skills. Swisher is young for that, of course, but we can’t just discount the possibility. When I saw him this year, his bat was absolutely slower than in the past.”

    Now, Jeff Francoeur had a precipitous plummet in his BABIP this year… hmm…

  41. #56,

    Yes, and we were told by Rob Neyer that it was just bad luck. I believe in statistical analysis but sometimes there are things to be gained by physical observation. Anyone watching Frenchy hit knows why he sucks.

  42. Ububba, what I really meant with the reference to Florida was the almost infinitely fertile recruiting ground that provides more than enough top flight talent to fill all three major Florida schools. I don’t think Alabama (the state) has even half the top level talent that Florida (the state) produces, and it is probably only the second most desirable school to play for in the state.

    Southern Cal and Florida have advantages that, if capitalized on, allow them to be in the national title hunt every year. Auburn has to do more with less.

  43. ububba……great point about Florida not always being Florida. hell, back when the Sugar Bowl was the crown jewel of the SEC, FSU won it before the Gators did. being humbled always sucks but is there one school that hasnt been humbled in the last dozen years? Tubberville should be given a chance to right the ship . provided of course hes not sick of dealing with the Montgomery money mafia that runs things around there.

  44. Does anybody know anything about Adam Dunn’s defense? I remember when he was first emerging baseball people always said that he moved extraordinarily well for such a large man. I haven’t really seen him play in some time, but if he’s really expected to get something like 11-14MM a year with a paltry 3-4 year commitment, I’d probably bite. If we got him and Baldelli (on the relative cheap; 4-7MM a year?) to supplement our current outfield (minus Frenchy) we may have something. You’d be looking at Diaz, Dunn and Baldelli having guaranteed roster spots and then spring training would determine which two of the lefty speed and defense guys you’d throw out there out of Brandon Jones, Josh Anderson, Gregor Blanco and Jordan Schafer.

  45. …is there one school that hasnt been humbled in the last dozen years?

    Assuming one has to have success before being able to be humbled, I know at least one.

  46. I wonder what it would take to bring Delmon Young over here, the Twins are shopping him, then again they got reamed by the Rays in his acquisition, giving up a young number two starter in Matt Garza and a solid starting shortstop in Bartlett.

  47. Yup, lotsa talent in Florida. Always been like that, even back in the Doug Dickey/Charlie Pell Eras. Just seems like Gainsville now gets the biggest share, compared to Coral Gables or Tallahassee.

    Auburn has always gotten great talent from the state of Georgia—Ben Thomas comes to mind–but one small thing that’s changed in the Richt Era is that Auburn doesn’t get as many blue-chippers as the past. Auburn has more than 20 Georgia residents on their roster; Georgia has 2 guys from Alabama.

    I swear I just heard this on WFAN. A Jet fan & the host are discussing last night’s NYJ-NE game and the Jets blowing a 24-6 lead. Mr. Gang Green offers this nugget:

    “Y’know Mike, when you’ve got a team down, you’ve really gotta go for the juggernaut!”


    Whenever folks up here offer critiques of the South, I have several of these moments sitting in my back pocket.

  48. I thought it was funny, hank. Crude and horribly inaccurate (not unexpected from a Wildcat), but it got a grin and a chuckle out of this husband of a ridiculously hot Vandy woman.

    I bet that guy went to UK.

  49. Right, Florida has always had the advantages, but hasn’t always capitalized on them. Urban Meyer is capitalizing like crazy on them now though, and there really isn’t a talent pool in the SEC right now that isn’t being guarded jealously by a very capable head coach. That’s why Auburn is doing the best it can (this year notwithstanding), because almost all of the powerful SEC teams are doing the best they can, and Auburn doesn’t have the same advantages.

  50. “Wren says that the team will continue to pursue starting pitching, its main off-season goal.”

    You’re giving that guy too much credit, unless there’s a UK in Canarsie.

  51. I think either
    1. Towers misunderstands Peavy’s value (his CONTRACT is GOOD not great and he is “worth” a return of $17 million, more or less)or
    2. He doesn’t want to take the PR black eye of trading Peavy for lesser PLAYERS desite the net value of their contract status being graeater; or
    3. He wants Peavy to think long and hard about playing 4 years for a stripped down Padres team to see if he won’t approve another destination.

    I am happy that the Padres pulled this deal.

    Now Wren, go jump on a real pitcher or two and, despite the fact that I like KJ, if Ludwick is out there, go get him.

  52. Is this Greinke’s final season under team control or does he have an arbitration year in 2010?

  53. Per Peanut:

    The Braves have always put an emphasis on building their big league roster internally. As this week progressed, they began to feel more uncomfortable about the package they were offering the Padres. Yunel Escobar, Gorkys Hernandez, and either Charlie Morton or Jo-Jo Reyes were believed to be among the players the Braves offered.

    “A deal like that would have taken away too many of our internal assets,” Wren said. “It doesn’t make sense based on the way we think about building from withing our organization.”

    It was the Braves, not the Pads, who pulled out.

    Greinke becomes a FA after the 2010 season.

  54. Whew.

    And I say that fully cognizant that it might have worked out for us. But it might not have, and I’m too invested in the promise of Escobar, who has a decent chance to be the best SS we’ve ever had.

  55. Now Peavy will go to the Mets and light us up 8 times a year.

    Escobar will keep trying to go first to third on a bunt.

    AJ Burnet will fill the Mike Hampton slot on the team.


  56. Ya while I’m surprised I find myself happy the Peavy deal is done for the time being, that could easily change if somehow the Mets get him.

  57. Wow, I think we could get Greinke, who would offer us Tim Hudson like production for two years with a softer package than that offered for Peavy. Perhaps, and I know this is a pipe dream, an offer built around Jeff Francouer, I’d probably throw in a Flowers, Medlen, Gorkys or Schafer.

  58. In truth, I have no business denigrating the women of the Volunteer state inasmuch as I married a UT grad. (And chased a Harpeth Hall alum in college.)

    Must have broken a taboo, as our son is a barking, Tech-hating Dawg fan.

    Sigh …

  59. I say address our needs through free agency to whatever extent possible.

    Secondarily, any needs addressed through trade should be done by dealing the highest prospects in our system that are blocked either by better minor leaguers or current major leaguers. Schafer is not blocked, so I’d hold on to him. I’d trade any pitcher not named Hanson, assuming we sign at least one free agent pitcher.

  60. I really don’t think this is completely off. There’s a decent chance that in a week or two Towers will come crawling back, realizing that he let the best deal he’s going to get walk away, and at that point why would we not still do the deal?

    In the meantime, I am not at all happy about this. We now have almost no shot at competing next year, and our only shot at competing in 2010 is a) if we’re willing to trade prospects (apparently not freaking likely) or b) if all of our prospects blossom into great Major Leaguers (even less likely).

  61. With no Peavy, we have to get one of Burnett/Lowe/Dempster.
    In addition we then either go with:
    1) Cheap LF (Ludwick) + another top starter via FA
    2) Cheap SP (Greinke) + expensive outfielder (Ordonez?)

    Both probably involve giving up KJ and prospects, but both also probably involve a lot less of a package than Peavy.

  62. #89,

    With $40 million to spend and a lot of attractive prospects to dangle, I’m not ready to write off 2009 or 10. Of course, Wren has his work cut out for him. But I applaud him for not caving and giving the entire farm system to Towers. Maybe if we were one piece away from contending, but we’re definitely not.

  63. Salary-wise, we could afford to add Burnett, Greinke, Ludwick, and someone as expensive as Dye (or Dunn, if he really only costs $11 million a year) or as cheap as Rivera, and still probably have enough to retain both Smoltz and Hampton.

  64. Who would have thought last year that we’d be waiting to see if Hampton would give us a hometown discount this season? Times have changed.

  65. Getting Ludwick and Greinke will cost more in talent than just Peavy would.

    I think you’re wrong. (I know you’re wrong if the Pads were insisting on Yunel and either Jurrjens or Hanson, as the guy from Yahoo reported.)

    Ludwick costs KJ and maybe an insignificant minor leaguer.

    I’m guessing Greinke could be had for something very close to the rumored Peavy package minus Jurrjens/Hanson and with Francoeur replacing Yunel.

    OK, so, technically, yeah, that would cost more than Peavy, but I’d much rather give up KJ and Francoer to get two very good parts than give up Yunel and only get one.

  66. Stu,
    Salary wise that’s true, but prospects wise it’s overly ambitious to think we could trade for a Greinke, Ludwick and Dye . Also, if we were to trade for even two of those guys, we’d probably lose some guys who are already at the major league level who might cost us a few more million to replace.

  67. Losing Johnson or Escobar seems pretty much like a wash to me and I don’t know where anyone gets this idea that the Braves can get the Royals’ ace for Francoeur. I know Dayton Moore allegedly loves Francoeur but he ain’t making that trade, even with these two vague (obviously not anyone good like Hanson or Heyward) prospects thrown in.

    The Royals would probably value two more years of their ace over that package.

  68. Also, Wren had better be prepared to improve upon any offer, otherwise he won’t get any of those three pitchers. They are not gonna take a discount of any kind, and if we’re not willing to overpay in prospects, we’d damn well better be ready to overpay in money.

  69. I find it dubious to think we could get Greinke, if he’s even on the block, for a package built around Frenchy. I’d like to believe it, but I can’t. With that said, I think we could build a package of good prospects from the lower reaches of our system. The Royals would probably be interested in some players who are more than one year from the bigs, but that may mean Heyward and Locke/Rohrbrough, but I think it would be worth it, especially if we can negotiate an extension for Greinke.

  70. (1) The Royals said they’d put Greinke on the block if they couldn’t sign him to a long-term deal. Greinke has said he wants to go year-to-year; ergo, Greinke is or will be on the block.

    (2) What part of “The Royals still love Francoeur” don’t you guys understand? We obviously couldn’t do a 1-for-1 and get Greinke, I have trouble believing that Francoeur + Morton/Reyes + Hernandez + Locke isn’t a really good start.

    PS: Heyward, like Hanson, is untouchable. Any trade that requires one of those guys to be included is a trade that won’t be made. Wren has been very clear about that.

  71. Who says the Royals “still love francoeur”? I mean has that been said more than once by more than one beat writer or by someone with their ear to the floor in the KC front office? I would love to see us ship JoJo, Francoeur and Morton to KC. They’d have a rotation of Davies, Morton and Reyes with Francoeur stinking it up in the outfield… how many runs would they give up? They’d have to be approaching some kind of records.

  72. Package Francoeur, trade him straight-up for a crazy man, do something.

    Of course, if we ever do deal Francoeur, I get the feeling the return won’t be anything to shout about.

    And if we hang onto him & he’s our starting RF in ’09, there’s a good chance that we’ll never be able to deal him for anything at all.

    Ohhh…just thinking about him makes my head hurt.

  73. My prediction: We’ll get one “top FA SP” and Hampton, and we’ll trade for an OF. I’d like to see us get Baldelli, but I don’t have faith that the Braves’ll outbid the field there.

  74. Would we be willing to part with Heyward or Freeman in one of these trades? I mean those guys seem to be pretty low in the minors to be deemed untouchable. Look at Elvis Andrus and Eric Campbell.

  75. Goddamn, never mind, andrus is still only 19 and he’s stealing a lot of bases and coming along nicely.

  76. mraver,
    According to DOB, Wren has said that he wouldn’t count any of the Smoltz/Hampton/Glavine group as one of the two additional pitchers he vowed to acquire this offseason. He also said Tazawa would not constitute one of the two additions, either.

  77. So am I the only person skeptical of Johnson/Escobar for Ludwick? Ludwick is over 30 and has had exactly one real good year in his career.

    (What is Dreamland? Sounds like a video game or a bad amusement park.)

  78. Don’t worry Dan, it sounds like the Cardinals are going to sign Felipe Lopez to play second base, which makes that trade downright nonsensical.

  79. Dan, its the best place to get Ribs in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery. Basically its Ribs, Bread, and Sweet Tea. They have other items, but there not needed

  80. There’s risk, Dan, but Ludwick’s always had that kind of ability and just hasn’t stayed healthy. Besides, cheap 30+ HR potential isn’t exactly easy to find.

    Of course, I’d be totally against it if it’s for Yunel.

  81. I am also skeptical, and would prefer to go after Ordonez, who won’t require major league players.

    On Francoeur, DOB mentioned during the GM meetings that the Royals asked him about Francoeur and had him near the top of their list. I think that the trade of Jacobs and the backlash about his OBP may kill that though.

  82. See, my thing is that signing two FA SPs IN ADDITION to one of Hampton/Glavine/Smoltz for the rotation really seems kinda dumb. At least spending big money to do so does. ‘Cause here’s the thing: you’ve got Hanson and Jurrjens are virtual locks for the rotation (I don’t think the Braves would have been as reluctant on Hanson had they not believed him capable of pitching in the bigs next year), and Campillo as a clear incumbent. Add two FA SPs to that, and the rotation is full. Okay, that’s fine. But then you’ve still got your one from Smoltz/Glavine/Hampton, and if it’s not Smoltz, then that guy’s gotta start. And while I may be alone, I’m still a believer in Morton, so I think he’s another guy that you’ve got to put out there on the mound. Maybe you move Reyes to the ‘pen, I guess that’s okay. But then you’ve got Hudson coming back at some point towards the end of the year…. That leaves you with 8 starters.

    I guess I’m just wondering if spending big money on a guy who might easily be redundant is really the best move here. You don’t build a winning ballclub by blocking your young guys (Morton, Hanson) with high-priced FAs.

    On the other hand, I guess it could all work out, or Morton/Reyes could get moved in a deal for an OF or something, and I guess if you get your two guys, then you don’t need to risk money on Hampton or whatever. I’m just skeptical about multiple long-term commitments to these guys, especially if it would, say, preclude us from extending Huddy next off-season.

  83. For what it’s worth, I expect the second starter to come via trade. A Greinke or Snell or even Bannister or Edwin Jackson. Plus the big FA and Hampton.

  84. I wouldn’t call Campillo a clear incumbent. He struggled at the end of last year and it was unclear as to whether he’d been worked out or was just fatigued.

    Hanson will start in AAA as well, using the benefits of Gwinnett being so close to call him up easily in May/June.

  85. And after the Attrition March of 2008, we may NEED 8 starters to make it htrough 2009. (I hope not, but still, it’s better to have too many than not enough.)

  86. Good job Wren. Peavy’s contract is not cheap to begin with. Getting Peavy wouldn’t really save too much money.

  87. You know, Ive been thinking of why the Braves didnt complete a deal for Peavy. How could they turn down a package of Yunel and Gorkys when they absolutely have to get rid of his contract. Looking at Wren’s statement from earlier in the thread, I dont believe Yunel was ever offered. There was a lot of talk, but its all speculation. How could they build long term from within, when they are considering trading a potential allstar SS under team control that cost nothing with no replacement. I dont see the Braves offering him, just like Hanson or JJ, in any offer. Could very well be wrong though

  88. Campillo may be in the rotation come April, but I’m doubtful he will be come August. Those gaudy August/September numbers were almost certainly a bit high; just don’t be surprised to see a below-average starter in him next season.

    On the breakdown of the Peavy talks: I’m thrilled. Wren is playing it smart, and I feel encouraged.

  89. I really wish we could include Campillo in a trade. I have very little confidence that he’ll come close to the success that he had earlier in the season.

  90. I definitely second Stu’s earlier statements at #92 and #102.

    First, If Mac is calling “Dayton Moore an idiot” considering how much we all USED to love him, than Mac is only saying that because Moore and the Royals are the ONE place that is interested in Francouer.

    The fear I have is that Wren hasn’t figured out (yet) that Francouer is always going to suck and we make demands too high.

    Now I am trying to figure out all this Bravesjournal love fest for Zack Greinke. Isn’t this the same guy who lost his mind a few years ago? Mac?

    Second, the thought that we could keep Yunel now is music to my ears and trading KJ for Ludwick I could live with…even though like Greinke and Dempster, Ludwick has really only proven himself great ONE time.

    (Burnett may have an injury history but when healthy, he has nasty stuff).

    I’d love Jake Peavy as much as anyone and I was excited when I was first hearing a few years ago about Peavy’s friendship with Chipper at the World Baseball Classic, which is when I found out that Jake grew up a Braves fan in Alabama. I mean, the perfect guy to team up with Hudson to take the reigns of the staff.

    However, Kevin Towers was being ludicrous with his demands and I too am proud of Wren for not decimating the organization for Peavy, even if Peavy would have been the perfect guy to get. It’s a damn shame but this is all on Towers being completely unreasonable to deal with.

  91. Campillo cost us nothing, he’s worth the risk of him not producing. We wouldnt get anything other than an low A reliever for him anyways. Might as well give him the #5 man slot, he earned that last season

  92. I agree that Campillo might be a below-average starter next year. That said, the best rotation in the league usually has at least one “below average” starter on it. I think there’s also a decent chance that Campillo was just tiring after throwing more ML innings than he ever has in the past. I don’t think he was a fluke. His stuff is good, and I think he’ll continue to be a viable rotation option into the future. And what I meant about having 8 starters earlier was more like having 8 guys who should all really be in the rotation based on how much they’re being paid, how much talent they have, and what they need to continue developing. There’s always random guys like Parr or whatever that you can just throw out there if you have a huge meltdown like we did this year. But I think adding two FAs plus Hampton without trading JoJo and/or Morton would be a pretty poor allocation of resources. I guess Jo Jo could move to the ‘pen (he is a lefty, after all), but Morton needs to be starting at the ML level if we want to have any shot at reaching his potential.

  93. Also, I’d really like to see us take a run at Jermaine Dye. Assuming he wouldn’t cost a ton in prospects, I think he’d be a very good fit for the club.

  94. If there’s one that that we should have learned this year, it’s that you can never have enough starting pitching. If that means acquiring Burnett, Tazawa AND Peavy while holding onto Smoltz/Hampton, so be it. Spots in the rotation shouldn’t be given away to nearly any pitcher that will be active for the start of next season… Assuming that those moves are made, the list you have competing for starting rotation slots would be:

    Jurrjens, Burnett, Peavy, Tazawa, Hanson, Jo-Jo Reyes, Morton, Campillo, Smoltz/Hampton

    I would assume that it would shape up that the rotation would look like:
    1. Peavy
    2. Burnett
    3. Jurrjens
    4. Smoltz/Hampton
    5. Hanson

    With the number of injuries that the Braves saw in 2008 to their starting pitching, what’s wrong with stockpiling options and then seeing how things pan out? If you have a plethora of pitching, you can always trade away extra players in the rotation. It’s much harder to acquire quality starting pitching mid-season than in the offseason, so I see absolutely nothing wrong with that plan. HOWEVER, it shouldn’t be at the cost of assessing the other needs of the ballclub. But, if they’re able to pick up some outfield help as well, let’s do it and see what happens.

  95. I think we should try to get Burnett quickly now, and then wait to get the second SP.

    Free agent prices will come down in January, and if Peavy stays the course with his 5 teams only then he’ll still be available then and maybe for a lesser package. Likewise, the Royals will have figured out what they plan to do with Greinke.

  96. Ya’ll will be happy to hear that on Oct 14, Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Gonzalo Lopez, 2B Jonathan Schuerholz.

    We now have that insurance at 2nd in case KJ gets traded.

  97. Gillespie really seems to suck: I can’t believe that I am waiting for UK fans to mourn the departure of Tubby….It is one thing not to go deep into the NCAA tourney, but being embarassed by the likes of VMI and Gardner-Webb is beyond the pale.

  98. IMO, planning to have a rotation that can still be near the top of the league despite having 4/5ths of it get hurt is silly. No one in baseball can win when that happens. It means that you’re spending extra money/resources on SPs that you should be spending elsewhere, say SS and the OF. And I’m not just talking about next year. I think it’d be good to sign Huddy to an extension. But if you get two FA SPs (or 1 FA and trade for another guy you’ll have long-term control over at not-cheap prices), that pretty much can’t happen. The issue, IMO, is that it feels like we’ve already got some quality pitching under team control for the next few years (Hanson, Jurrjens, Campillo), and I’d like to keep Hudson around, too. And maybe Morton will, who knows. But if we commit $30+ million to other guys, it’ll kind of tie our hands. I think one FA would be good, but I’m skeptical that trading position players like Escobar or KJ to address this need is at all the right way to go.

  99. @105

    Package Francoeur, trade him straight-up for a crazy man, do something.

    ububba, as was mentioned earlier in the thread, I’d love to see a Francouer for Delmon Young swap. They don’t like Delmon’s lack of present power and whatever else. Francouer has present power… when he connects. Trade problem chil’rens. ;-)

    Classic change of scenery swap for both.

  100. #1:

    we sign AJ Burnett for 5 years/90 million. while the guy gets hurt alot, when he’s motivated and he is healthy, he has some of the best stuff for a starter in the majors. yet, getting him motivated has been, well, hard. however, if bobby can’t do it, nobody can.


    we trade KJ for Ludwick. straight up. i like KJ, and think that Ludwick could be a flash in a pan. but if the guy hits .260/20/80 it makes our OF THAT much better (seeing that it sucks right now).


    trade Escobar, B. Jones, and Locke to San Fransisco for Matt Cain. That might be over-paying, but Cain is gonna explode like Lincecum has the past two years.


    sign Furcal for 3 years/45 million.


    sign tazawa and place him at AAA. if he does as well as people think he can, then bring him up ASAP.

    we get much younger in the rotation and our lineup is:

    He who shall not be named/Blanco
    2B (Prado?)

  101. Hey, I have no issue with Campillo at the back of the rotation. It’s just that him, Hampton, and possibly one of the kids are all back-of-the-rotation starters. Quantity does not make for quality, and the Braves have had too many backups and low-end starters getting too many starts and innings in recent years. There is always value in league-average guys–lord knows we could use one in RF–but too many of them does not a good staff make.

  102. I hope we’ll revisit the Peavy talks. I don’t particularly want to give up Escobar, but I’d be ok with it IF we can get a couple of other significant bats. Just feel like we’re going to need an ace to compete in 2010 (and I don’t see Hudson as that guy, even pre-injury).

    To respond to Alex R from before… yes, Greinke has had mental issues. I was hoping that we’d get him last year with the emotional trouble bringing a discount. Kid’s still got a great arm and seemed (what do I know?) from reports to be doing better.

  103. IthacaBraves–I agree, but I will go a bit further and add that beyond a few key players (such as Burnett or Sabbathia) there are few free agents available that I would like to see the Braves invest in. I would hate to see the Braves tie up lots of money in mediocre players.

    Increasingly, I just hope that in 2009 the Braves will let their young talent develop so that we can be competitive not only in 2010, but for a long time beyond…

  104. According to my Greinke source, he’s a good guy who in the past has had a propensity to get very down on himself. He’s uncomfortable being interviewed, which can lead some to get the wrong impression of him.

    Depression and social anxiety are problems a lot of people can identify with — the mere act of having a camera or microphone (or 12) pointed at you can trigger a fight-or-flight response that results in some pretty erratic behavior. I remember thinking Chris Sabo was a likely sufferer — he gave interviews like someone facing a firing squad.

    The good news (as Greinke has shown) is that pitching in the bigs, although being witnessed by thousands, isn’t really a social activity. Seems counter-intuitive to think someone labeled as “anxious” can perform in such a pressurized environment (even in KC), but it’s a completely different animal.

  105. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a punt-return team rough the kicker and and fumble the punt on the same play. And from the opponent’s end zone, no less. That’s a new one.

  106. I have a slight problem with anyone that puts Smoltz in the #4 spot. I’m willing to bet even a 41-year-old-70%-healthy Smoltz can still put up quality starts

  107. I thought I read that, if and when Smoltz returns, he could go to the bullpen.

    What’s the over/under on Georgia penalties in the second half? I’ll say 5 for 45 yards.

  108. Since I’m calling for people’s heads, I should probably say that someone at Georgia should get fired for this. It’s ridiculous that this team continues to commit personal fouls. Obvious ones.

  109. Here’s a thought: if Zack Greinke can get his head right from a pretty dark place — he was so depressed that he simply couldn’t pitch for a year — and become one of the best young pitchers in the AL, why couldn’t Charlie Morton?

  110. Quantum was entertaining but not great as a Bond movie. It was like a Jason Statham movie only with Daniel Craig. Too many loose ends not tied up and the conflict in the story was kind of weak. If the good guys lost, the worst that could happen wouldn’t really have been that bad.

  111. Not a well-played (or well-officiated) game, really, but another Georgia-Auburn thriller.

    See what happens when you get a pass rush, even for one play? Whew.

    Going to see the Bond flick later tonight.

  112. Is SC choaking hard in this game or what? Their defense has been playing really, really well, but their offense/special teams is so inept that it doesn’t matter.

  113. Trade talks between the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres over pitcher Jake Peavy have hit the wall, and according to Braves general manager Frank Wren, the Braves have “moved on.”

    The Padres, in the midst of dumping payroll, have been seeking a trade partner for Peavy, their 2007 Cy Young Award winner. Wren said he called off the talks with the Padres after the two sides could not agree on the final pieces.

    “We had our last discussion with San Diego yesterday [Thursday] and let them know that if the final names we were discussing wouldn’t get it done, we would move on to other opportunities, other possibilities,” Wren said Friday, according to FoxSports.com.

    Wren told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Padres’ price for Peavy was too high, though he would not reveal who specifically was packaged in the Braves’ offer. Shortstop Yunel Escobar and minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez have been named in multiple media reports as being part of the deal.

    According to CBSSports.com, the Braves also were offering pitchers Blaine Boyer and Charlie Morton.

    “I think there were a lot of names that were discussed, and we felt like at the end of the day, it was a little more than we were willing to give up, as it would impact the future,” he said, according to the Journal-Constitution.

    Wren has not ruled out the possibility of talks with the Padres reopening.

    “I don’t take anything at face value this time of year,” Peavy’s agent, Barry Axelrod, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “If I hear Frank Wren say that he’s not interested any longer, I take it with a grain of salt.”

    Peavy, who is 27, went 10-11 with a 2.85 ERA in 2008. He is signed through 2013, and currently, he has a full no-trade clause and the right to veto any proposal. He indicated he would be amenable to a trade to Atlanta, St. Louis, the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.

    And while he would prefer to be moved to a National League team, the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees also have popped up in media reports.

    The Cubs are still in the Peavy sweepstakes, according to FoxSports.com.

    “Chicago didn’t give us any deadline,” Padres general manager Kevin Towers told the Union-Tribune. “I imagine we’ll continue to talk to them, but it’s going to definitely take a third team to get something done there.”

  114. trade Escobar, B. Jones, and Locke to San Fransisco for Matt Cain.

    That would be the dumbest trade in recent history.

  115. The Giants consider Matt Cain untouchable, they are looking to add a veteran starter to their staff and acquire some offensive fire power. They have no impetus to ship off a young starter as they see themselves one good starter and a couple bats away from being a division winner.

  116. That would be a huge price to pay for Matt Cain. I think I would pass on him.

    I don’t see this Peavy thing being done. I like Wren sticking to his guns and making Towers agree to his deal. If not, move on because we’re not saving much money, if any at all, if we lose Escobar, Hernandez, et al.

  117. “…they see themselves one good starter and a couple bats away from being a division winner.”

    I don’t dispute the claim. It’s just that I think they’re idiots. Well, Sabean is an idiot, anyway.

  118. braves14’s updated SEC bowl projections:

    MNC: Florida 12-1
    Sugar: Bama 12-1
    Capital One: UGA 10-2
    Cotton: LSU 9-3
    Outback: USC 8-4
    Peach: Ole Miss 7-5
    Music City: Vandy 7-5
    Liberty: Kentucky 7-5

  119. Nobody would want them, only the home city would take them. I think the only way Vandy doesn’t end up there is if they win against both UT and Wake and finish with 8 wins.

  120. Care to put any money on that, braves14? A couple of points:

    (1) A national alumni base that hasn’t had a bowl game to attend in over a quarter-century will travel very well.

    (2) I have very good inside knowledge of the situation and can assure you that a Vandy-MCB matchup is very unlikely.

  121. Congrats, Vandy peeps.

    Although it may be viewed as somewhat disappointing for both schools, a Georgia-Ohio State bowl might make for an entertaining game.

    In bowl games, Georgia has never lost to a Big 10 team (6-0) & Ohio State has never beaten an SEC team (0-9).

  122. If Georgia plays Ohio State they should win easily and shoud be fun to watch. That said, I just hope that Richt has his team ready to play on that day….

  123. yep…….two average teams can be just as good of a game as two great teams. i havent seen anything from the Buckeyes or the Dawgs to make me think that they’re anything other that fair to middlin’ teams.

  124. Hah. That game would be fun because I’m sure someone out there had that matchup penciled in for the BCS title game. :-)

    Unfortunately, it’d mean I’d have to find a way to be conciliatory to my friends who root for the Big Ten (never an easy task).

  125. http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=atl
    winter league update:
    tyler flowers hit another homer sometime in the past few days. schafer’s power is still absent, diory hernandez is having breakout numbers, hanson is averaging about 1.5 strikeouts an inning, matt young is also putting up impressive numbers (looking at his numbers, i dont know why he doesnt get more recognition), and our pitching prospects look like feast or famine (with marek, medlen, rouwenhurst, and venters doing very well).

  126. i think the key to the offseason is getting burnett to be honest. i’d go as high as 5/90. if we do that, i then try hard to acquire ludwick (shouldnt be much more than KJ). If we’ve accomplished this, i target Greinke with a package of Francouer/Gorkys/Reyes/medlin/filler…if i was convinced by the previous moves, i might even consider flowers (but only if we got a window to sign greinke)….if greinke is truly unattainable, vasquez is the other trade target i would consider. If we’ve acquired burnett/ludwick/greinke…we would still have plenty of cash to make an offer to smoltz and hampton, incentive based, although the hampton offer isnt as necessary if we have burnett/greinke/jurrjens/campillo/morton (or hanson, eventually)…we could resign ohman or add another lefty like affeldt if we want another reliable arm in the pen.

    ok, so adding burnett/ludwick/greinke/smoltz/affeldt and subtracting KJ and francouer, should leave us with money to play with considering hudson insurance and smoltz’s deal being incentive based, bringing me to the final piece…milton bradley. all he wants is multiple years, and i think 3 would get it done. i know i know, bradley and ludwick are injury risks, but we do have a potential diaz/jones platoon to use in case of injury. such a scenario leaves us with:

    CF – Schafer
    SS – Escobar
    3B – Jones
    LF – Ludwick
    C – Mccann
    RF – Bradley
    1B – Kotchman
    2B – Prado

    Morton (one of campillo/morton loses spot to Hanson in June)

    Affeldt/Ohman (might not be necessary, could save 3-4 mil here)

    Diaz (could be DFA’s to save $ as well)
    Jones/Blanco/Anderson (at least one is probably traded)
    Norton (again might not be resigned, canizares or someone else–ideally flowers in june–could be available)

    this seems like a reasonable team for 100 million, and when chipper goes down, while 3B would still be a black hole (unless maybe, MAYBE eric campbell finally puts it all together to at least be serviceable) we still have enough bats to be solid in his absence, and we seem to have reasonable depth everywhere.

    what do you guys think, unrealistic or?

  127. You guys are so funny to read sometimes…

    This vitriolic hatred of all things Francoeur is silly, but not anywhere near as silly as people suggesting replacing him with Delmon Young, or Milton Bradley.

    Jeff has certainly had some production problems, no doubt, but these two are as cancerous as you can get. On top of that Bradley couldn’t come near covering for Frenchy defensively, and even though he’s 5 years older, with 5 more seasons of experience, last year was the first season that comes close to as good as Frenchy’s ’07 campaign. (If you want to project MB’s ’03 or ’07, there’s a discussion, but that shows you the depth of his problems.) I’d rather have the Parker Brothers… I’m sure Dave can still swing. But seriously, just look at everything Bradley did before he turned 25, and tell me you wouldn’t rather have Frenchy.

    Now if we could get Greinke I’m wouldn’t shed a tear at Jeffy’s departure, but I just don’t see that happening.

  128. Did you just, in a comparison of Frenchy against Bradley, say you’d take Frenchy??? You absolutely cannot compare the two. If you want to argue injuries or attitude, I will go along with you (because he is a risk and cancer in both areas). But to say Frency is better than Bradley b/c of their early careers is nonsensical. Frenchy will never reach the level he did 2-3 years ago (which wasn’t even good) b/c of his moronic approach to the game – speaking of attitude. It seems almost that he absolutely refuses to change his approach to hitting – the exact same thing I was saying about Andruw the last 3 years. When pitchers figure out that you have as big a hole as Frenchy does in his swing, you have to make adjustments, and I don’t see Frenchy ever doing that.

    And Bradley, btw, can be an EXCELLENT hitter. Not saying I’d prefer to have him, but if it meant having him over Frenchy, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  129. Braves14, I’m not familiar with what “MNC” stands for, though I assume it is for the BCS National Championship Game. What is the “M?” Do you mean “Miami National Championship” since that is where it will be played?

  130. I think Matt Young might get a little more press if we didn’t have so many outfield prospects that are better than him. That said, I think he is going to hold down a 4th OF position for some team in the bigs. He can play center in a pinch and he is not a bad hitter.

  131. If anyone on here us watching the Falcons’ game, how did the Broncos get their first TD? They had hardly any offense at the half.

  132. I wouldn’t say that UGA & OSU are exactly “fair to middlin’.” I’d say they’re good teams that missed out on their lofty goals this year.

    I mean, I know a lotta schools that wouldn’t mind being 9-2 with a chance of going 11-2. “Fair to middlin'” sounds like 7-5 to me.

    I won’t speak for OSU because I’ve only seen 3 or 4 of their games, but in the case of UGA, I’d say they’re a very talented team that has played remarkably stupid, and amazingly so in several big spots.

    But they’re also a team with injury issues that have impacted both lines of scrimmage. The squad that was projected to be #1 in the country is not the roster that’s been trotted out all year.

    If you want proof about talent, there are plenty of draft projections that say Stafford, Massaquoi, Green & possibly Moreno would be first-round NFL picks right now. (I think Rennie Curran could be there, too.) Green could turn out to be the best in the bunch—Stafford-to-Green certainly saved our ass the past 2 weeks.

    This season gets evaluated differently from other years & I understand that. Again, you can call it disappointing, but you can’t call it bad. Even though we just beat Auburn for the 3rd consecutive season & we have a chance to beat Tech 8 times in a row, I don’t think you’ll find too many in the Bulldog Nation terribly thrilled to go 11-2 this year—and that’s a good thing.

    At this point, I could look forward to a Uga/Brutus matchup—after we break out our annual can of Raid, of course.

  133. Mac,

    The Vols have also contacted Butch Davis and Mike Leach. I think they had to contact Gruden and Smith because of their ties to the program. I think they know they would say ‘no,’ but if they didn’t ask, the fan base would bitch.

  134. “CF – Schafer
    SS – Escobar
    3B – Jones
    LF – Ludwick
    C – Mccann
    RF – Bradley
    1B – Kotchman
    2B – Prado”

    This line-up makes me want to cry.

  135. If Smoltz is really going to be back and coming out of the bullpen then I wouldn’t be surprised to see us deal Soriano or Gonzalez. Lots of teams out there need a closer or at least late inning relief and we would be trading from a position of strength. In regards to Jorge Campillo, I think many of us are forgetting how effective he was as a relief pitcher before he was making starts. If he does get edged out of the rotation by some combination of guys we trade for, free agent starters and youngsters, he will still be a valuable asset for us out of the pen. I see him as a suitable 7th or 8th inning guy if not a spot closer in a pinch.

  136. No, I think UT would look for an NFl guy regardless of what Bama did. There have been people calling for Gruden here for a long time, just beacuse he coached here as a GA and his wife is from here.

  137. #199 – man, that lineup sucks big time. I actually think we should trade Kotchman to get a first baseman with more power. Or we can explore about trading for Dye and Vazquez.

  138. My sister interviewed Tim Hudson at his home for her show. She said he was a pretty cool guy and that you wouldn’t know from his home that he was making $10million a year.

    She also got him to sign a baseball for me too. Based on that I’m going to vote Not Douche.

  139. Dix, he is earning more than $10M a year, that’s why!

    Rob, based on what I can gather, maybe Atlanta is just too small of a market for a Boras’s client.

  140. We re-signed several. I don’t know if Maddux was a Boras client in 1993. At any rate, the Braves haven’t signed very many highly-rated free agents since Schuerholz took over in 1991. I think JS preferred to deal with his peers rather than agents, so most acquisitions were through trade; that’s been the case so far with Wren as well.

  141. FWIW, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl is looking at 4 schools in the SEC: Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt.

    Not that this is the determining factor, but guess which of those teams is 3-0 against the other three.

  142. Parish–I think the other reason why Matt Young remains under the radar is his size. If he were a 2B, I don’t think it would be held against him, but gut feeling is that he is just not taken seriously because of his height. The great thing is that he is one of those players who make their presence felt.

    I am really rooting for him to make it somewhere….

  143. Maddux was with Boras back then, and Maddux preferred to stay in NL rather than signing with the Yankees, and he had the gut to instruct Boras to take less money rather than the other way around. The other big FAs JS ever signed (which I can remember) were the Big Cat, Walt Weiss, and Jordan. I believe JS did try to sign ARod…

  144. We have too many light-hitting and speedy outfielders. When did the BRaves change their drafting philosophy?

  145. @188: If I was fielding a team to play one game, tomorrow, without financial considerations, I’d take Milton Bradley. If I’m willing to mortgage the future in order to make one more run at a WS title then maybe MB makes sense (in LF or DH,) but if I’m building a franchise to compete year after year, Frenchy is by far a more valuable commodity.

    There is a reason MB has played for 6 different organizations since 2000.

    If you could guarantee that I’ll get ’08 production out of MB I probably change my mind, but Turner Field just isn’t the Ballpark at Arlington, and his career has been marred with ups and downs (both on and off the field.) If I’m certain to get ’08 production out of Frenchy I’d trade him heads-up for a new Mouse Trap game, but I’d bet the farm that Frenchy’s ’09 will be closer to his ’07 than ’08.

    At the bargain price we’re still getting Jeffy at, and with realistic expectations for next year, he is well worth keeping around and giving him a chance to redeem himself. Even if he turns out as bullheaded as you seem to think he is, there’s just no way his value could drop lower, and it could certainly increase dramatically if he turns out a season better than ’07. MB on the other hand could easily turn into a real liability, and with the contract he’s likely to command, he’d be one that would be much harder to part with.

  146. No matter how you slice it, I don’t want Milton Bradley. He does not worth his trouble unless he slugs like Manny.

  147. @217 – any year for Bradley is better than Frenchy’s ’08. What argument are you trying to make exactly?

  148. @215: I was surprised that you came up with so few FA signees… thinking that you must have missed a bunch I tried to recall as many as I could…

    Add Vinny Castilla, Rico Brogna, John Thomson, and Raul Mondesi to the list, and I think you’ve just about covered the entirety of Braves FA-starter signees this decade. Of course there were a few more if you add relievers into the mix, and a few that turned themselves into starters, but all in all it is pretty safe to say that JS prefered to develop or trade, and you can’t blame him, he’s pulled off some of the biggest coups in ML history (see McGriff, Hudson, etc.)

  149. KC–the Braves never drafted Matt Young–if memory serves me correctly he was signed as a free agent out of New Mexico State….

  150. Stephen,

    Young has been playing some 2b in the AFL. At least, he was playing there the day that Wren was in attendance.

    Mac, I do think the lack of power is why he is way down the list of OF prospects. We do have plenty of guys with power in the outfield.

    Schafer, Gorkys, Brandon Jones, Heyward, Kody are clearly more highly regarded. And then there’s Cabrera, Owings, Gorecki and now Sumoza to name a few others that show more power.

  151. @219: 1st off, EVERY year of MB’s before he turned 25 was as bad as Frenchy’s 2008. 2nd, MB’s only near-full season before last year (’04,) was arguably worse than Frenchy’s ’07. In 6 fewer years Jeff has had as many seasons of 100+ games as MB.

    There are plenty of reasons to prefer Frenchy to MB, and we haven’t even begun to talk economics.

    My main point though is that unless we can pull off a real deal for Jeff, like one involving Greinke (which ain’t happening,) we might as well put him back out there and see if he can turn things around. If he continues to flounder, we’ll still be able to get the same mid-level prospect in compensation from Dayton Moore that we could actually get today. If he returns to ’07 levels and we decide that isn’t enough we’ll get much better compensation, and if he actually begins to fulfill the promise that he’s shown in his athletic career then we’ve got ourselves a gem. Unless you’re making the argument that we’re one bat away from a WS ring, and we don’t have time to be patient with a very talented athlete, I don’t see how you can argue against this logic.

  152. Remember, “very talented athlete” & “good ML baseball player” are not always the same thing. In Francoeur’s case, I’d say they definitely aren’t.

  153. Gadfly, I believe you have missed the word “big” in my message. Those other ones are simply forgettable. I guess you can count Thomson and Byrd as the two biggies I have forgotten.

    Also, using Frenchy as a benchmark is like using the Detroit Lions as a benchmark for any football team. Nevertheless, I also believe we should keep Frenchy. There is no reason to give up on him just yet…even though I am looking forward to seeing Heyward replacing him at right field.

    Stephen, thanks for informing me about how Young was signed. I guess I should not expect much out of him.

  154. @225: I think you’re right, I missed “big,” but you can’t argue that Weiss or Jordan was any bigger than Castilla, and Brogna and Mondesi were both signed and basically handed starting jobs, so I would consider putting them under big too despite the results. Of course I didn’t mean my comment as a slight in any way, I was just intrigued by how few even mid-level names JS ponied up for. I also agree about both your points, but just being in the same conversation as Frenchy’s ’08 stats should make anyone think twice about endorsing a replacement. I can’t wait to see Heyward out there, but I do wonder if he isn’t a better fit at 1B or LF… we’ll see… its way too early to tell.

    @224: Absolutely agreed, that is why I used the term “very talented athlete,” because Frenchy has yet to prove himself as a “good ML player.” However, there are plenty of examples of late-blooming “very talented athletes” and I would be ashamed if we give up on Frenchy too early. If we were serious contenders from day one next year I might have a different mindset, but I think our best move here is to wait and see what develops… we can always trade Frenchy mid-season, or at the end of the year… his value really can’t get any lower.

  155. If we have to stick Flowers at first base because of McCann, Freddie Freeman will have to be another “Klesko”…So, right field is really Heyward’s future position.

  156. I guess when I said “big”, I meant multi-year commitments to FAs. It’s just purely definition issue. If you talk about big, Jaret Wright is pretty big too.

  157. KC–Matt Young has never been a heralded prospect, but I suspect that he is one of the hard-nosed tough outs who will be a combination utility player/pinch hitter. Again, it might not be with Atlanta and he might be useful as a throw in to complete a trade….

    We have at least two years to worry about where Freeman will play–if he plays anywhere. I try not to get too excited about position prospects until they show that they can thrive at the Beach….

  158. #230–Thats an interesting formulation: would it apply to some of the Braves’ teams as well?

  159. Congratulations to the Fighting Stus. If you beat UT (and you should), you could end up in Atlanta, correct?

    Apparently someone found the Bill Curry Handbook of Ridiculously Suicidal Plays and broke that sucker out.

    (For those who didn’t see it, UK committed three (yes, that’s 3) roughing the punter penalties.

  160. Mac @ 212—USC will probably be in the Outback.

    Thanks! Yeah, if we beat UT, our chances at the Chick-Fil-A are very good. We still have a shot at the Outback if we beat UT and Wake and Clemson beats USC.

  161. Back to baseball, ladies and gents. I saw this posted in response to AAR’s article on Chop-n-Change. What do you think?

    “Given my druthers, I’d druther sign Lowe for four years and Ben Sheets to three with a series of vesting options. Then I’d trade Francouer, Morton, Reyes and a touchable prospect for Greinke, swap a Prado package for Ludwick to play right, and trade Soriano to Chicago for Dye or to Detroit for Maggs.

    Young men have visions. Old men dream dreams.”

  162. I doubt a Prado package could get Ludwick. I also doubt Ben Sheets is going to sign a 3 year deal with options. The dude is injury prone but he’s damn good and someone will take a gamble on a long term deal.

    Trading Soriano would be a pretty good move, especially if we get Smoltz signed with the intention that he comes back in the pen and becomes a rotating closer with Gonzalez.

  163. Re Quantum of Solace–It was ok but, maybe I’m an old fart or something. They seem to have taken all the cool stuff out of the Bond personna that I liked, the humor and wit, his debonair demeanor, and just made him an action here that anyone could play. The Bond movies are starting to take themselves way too seriously. Daniel Craig could be a great Bond if they would add some humor and reduce the mind-numbing violence in the movies. but I guess that’s where we are today.


    Congrats on Vandy. I was afraid they were going to blow it at the end. Much more interesting to see Vandy get in a bowl that to see Florida run up the score on another hapless opponent and watch Tebow’s self-satisfied smirk.

  164. Marc,

    You have to understand where it’s at in the story. This is before Dr. No and all the original movies. James Bond is young and hasn’t developed into the person you “eventually” see in Connery, Lazenby, Moore, et al.

    And seriously, you have to like Daniel Craig more than the mostly campy Roger Moore films, right?

  165. #234

    In short, trade all young, cheap players for old, very expensive players. Would be fine if you could pull off a series of Prado-for-Ludwick and Soriano-for-Ordonez swaps, sure.

    Being new on the job, I hope that Wren is a little more focused on the long-term than this example.

  166. Like I said, Quantum was basically a Jason Statham movie with Daniel Craig as the lead instead.

    Way too much violence, Bond isn’t Rambo or Bourne. And the villain/conflict was laughable. There are worse things happening in the real world today than the worst case scenario of Quantum.

    Bond is all about the cool gadgets, dream cars, hot Bond girls, (who he actually has sex with, or at least tries to), insane bad guys and being cool under pressure. He is not a soul searching action hero wielding a machine gun, driving a Ford, ignoring the hottest girl around.

  167. Saw the Bond flick. Liked it fine. A crazy, screen-filling thrill ride for sure. Dug “Casino Royale” more. Felt much more connected to the characters in that one.

    The Connery Era Bond remains my fave. But I understand that change is alright with 007. He’s not exactly a spiffy toff anymore, but he’s also dangerously close to being a Schwarzenegger-like action figure.

    I also got a small kick out of the pair of moments “Quantum” stole from other movies–namely, “Chinatown” & “True Romance.”

    Your definition seems related to expectations; mine is rooted in the results. Again, ask any of the 100+ schools with worse records if they’ll take your definition if it means 9-2 for them.

  168. A 6-6 Vandy goes to Music City, Shrevport or Liberty Bowl

    7-5 PEACH Bowl, Liberty or Music City

    8-4 PEACH or Outback

  169. Yeah, “Quantum” is kinda the big stupid brother of “Casino Royale,” which I thought was so smart and intense. No real heart pounding moments in “Quantum.” Plus, it’s a horrible title. Sure, it’s the name of the source material but…come on, something else?

    Realm of Contentment?
    Prism of Philanthropy?

  170. The movie was entertaining and I enjoyed it, but there was nothing uniquely Bond about it at all. No Q. No Moneypenny. A non-modified Aston Martin. No sexual tension with the Bond girl. No cool hide-out for the villain.

    There was nothing in this movie that Austin Powers could spoof

  171. I haven’t seen the film yet (though I still remain excited about it), but I think it’d be fun to throw out some spoof names for it like Rob did above.

    How about:

    Modicum of Ambivalence


    Pittance of Morbidity

  172. how about

    007: We Didn’t Even Try To Come Up With A Good Bond Girl Name And The Best We Could Do Was ‘Camille’ Which Rhymes With Squeal But We Didn’t Think Of That In Time To Incorporate It Into The Movie

  173. Agree with Ububba — good but not as good as Casino Royale — though I missed the part where they ripped off True Romance and Chinatown. (Honestly, I thought the desert installation ripped off “Sahara,” but who’s counting? It’s a fun movie.)

    Also, I know I’m treading dangerously close to the line here, but I agree with what this guy said about college football:

    I think any sensible person would say that if you’ve got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses, there’s no clear decisive winner that we should be creating a playoff system.

    Eight teams. That would be three rounds, to determine a national champion. It would it would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I’m gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it’s the right thing to do.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

  174. how many bowl games are there right now? 30? Thats 60 teams that currently play in post-season games and generate money for their conferences. Think about how much money the conferences would be giving up if they agree to a playoff that cuts 52 of those teams out.

    I want a playoff as much as the next guy, but its gonna be hard to get it in place. Maybe they can set something up where the playoffs still are the major BCS bowls.

    For instance, with 8 teams, thats 4 first round games. Have each of the first round games be played in the Fiesta, Rose, Sugar, and Orange bowls.

    Or, have the first round be non-bowl affiliated, and then have the semi final games, the final, and a game between the two semi-final losers rotate between the 4 major bowls.

    While also allowing all the remaining lower tier bowls to keep their conference affiliations and take place as usual among the teams not qualified for the tourney.

  175. One view of “Quantum of Solace”.

    I think they left too much of the movie on the cutting room floor trying to make it shorter. Run time was less than 2 hours (and I am used to 2.5). With just a little more explanation, several scenes would have been more enjoyable.

    Example (It is only one scene, so surely this won’t spoil it). James piloting a DC-3 (amazing, there are only a very few of those still around now). Plane chasing. James keeps pulling back on the throttle. Slowing air speed. A little, a little. No explanation of the other plane’s stall speed (a DC 3 will fly at something like 67 MPH.) The “Bond Girl could have asked him. But, you lose why the other plane got unstable and crashed.

    Also, I think the next episode is going after the big group of bad guys beyond this one, but they don’t leave that obvious.

    Also, I don’t like the “whirling action” fight scenes. Keep normal camera angles and use slow motion every once and a while and if you “whirl”, only do it when they are wearing such different colors that you can’t get the fighters confused.

  176. Agree with Smitty.

    1 plays 4. 3 plays 2. Winners play each other for the championship. (5 bitches, but hey you’re 5, not 3)

    Rest of the bowls do and be what they’ve always done and been.

  177. Re: Div. 1 CFB Championship
    Four, six or eight teams—figure it out. There are many methods. But the way it’s been done for all these years (BCS Era included) is no way to crown a “champ.”

    Re: 007
    Wasn’t Gemma Arterton’s character named Strawberry Fields? Not Pussy Galore, but they’re trying, I guess.

    The “True Romance” moment came when Olga Kurylenko was doing hand-to-hand with the corrupt general guy. Parts of that scene reminded me of Patricia Arquette & James Gandolfini duking it out in “True Romance.”

    And the “Chinatown” thievery was the “water-supply” plot device. Plus, that villain strangely resembled Roman Polanski, anyway.

  178. Quantum will be the new Spectre from now on. Also, how did Bond get to Italy when they cut off his credit cards?

    I liked the Pierce Brosnan movies. They maintained his cool and had humor without going Roger Moore over the top.

    Also, does Bond now have to be a disaffected agent every time now, with both MI6 and the CIA chasing him. He is becoming like Jack Bauer.

  179. I haven’t seen “Quantum” yet but I have to say it will be disappointing to not see Q or Moneypenny or not see him hook up with a beautiful woman or say, “Bond…James Bond”.

    I get updatuing the franchise to fit more into 2008 with a better actor in the lead and a better script – everyone who saw “Casino Royale” loved it. But “Royale” mixed perfectly taut action and great writing and acting with the usual Bond goodies.

    I have to agree that I will not appreciate seeing the usual Bond stuff cut out. I hope for the next one they listen to the wide fan base and allow Daniel Craig to fun while chasing the baddies. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    I enjoyed the Brosnan films a lot, but also liked “Casino”. I’ve met a lot of people who have a spot in their hearts for both styles of franchise.

    And for the record, loved Roger Moore…for me, personally, he’s always who I think of first.

    Stu, I really have to say I don’t get the logic about why Vandy wouldn’t be in the Music City Bowl??? It makes perfect sense to me, especially considering what they’re record might be.

  180. Part of the issue with the plot for Quantum of Solace was that the script was one of those that were rushed to completion before the writers’ strike. In fact, I read something that said they finished it two hours before the strike deadline. If they had had more time to work on it, I’m guessing it would’ve been better. To compensate for the thin script, they filmed it like a Bourne movie, with 75% of it being chase sequences with shaky camera cuts and so forth. I think they did the best they could with it, under the circumstances. It was definitely watchable and I did enjoy it, although it wasn’t nearly as good as Casino Royale, in my opinion. I still liked it better than all the Brosnan ones except GoldenEye.

    I’m in my 20s, so I can’t really speak to all the cultural things going on at the time of the Connery movies. The first Bond movie that came out when I was old enough for it to mean anything to me was GoldenEye (and that’s also the first Bond movie I saw). I really liked GoldenEye, but the rest of the Brosnan movies I thought were kind of silly. They weren’t horrible, and they were certainly watchable, but they were all kind of throwaway to me. I like the Daniel Craig character much better.

    Going back and watching some of the earlier ones, though, I find the Roger Moore ones to be really awful (worse then Brosnan, as a whole). The Connery ones I’ve seen are all pretty good, but I still think Casino Royale and GoldenEye are my two favorites.

  181. Stu, I really have to say I don’t get the logic about why Vandy wouldn’t be in the Music City Bowl??? It makes perfect sense to me, especially considering what they’re record might be.

    You don’t see why (a) Vanderbilt’s coaches and players would want to travel for their bowl game, and (b) the Music City Bowl and host city might want to attract lots of out-of-town tourists?

  182. Nashville probably wants to attract out-of-town tourists, and I’m sure that the game’s sponsor does too, what with being a hotel company. But if you can sell out for Vandy versus getting 75 percent full for Kentucky…

  183. Haven’t seen Quantum yet, but I really enjoyed Casino Royale. I couldn’t stand that Bond was driving a Ford (even if for a moment) and that Daniel Craig didn’t know how to drive a stick shift (really?). According to the extra info on the DVD, that was apparently a big deal when it leaked that he would be chosen as the next Bond… and I agree, just doesn’t seem to jive for Bond. However, I liked Craig in Royale. We’ll see how it goes in Quantum.

  184. I’m not sure why people keep arguing this with someone who is very well connected and absolutely knows what he’s talking about here, but…

    Kentucky would sell out the MCB, as it has for the past two seasons. Kentucky travels very well, especially to Nashville. Everyone knows this.

    FWIW, Vanderbilt will sell out for whichever bowl it attends. The fans may or may not show up to fill all the seats—I think they would, but no one knows for sure—but the university will buy the full allotment from whichever bowl selects us.

    Again, it is possible that VU ends up in the Music City Bowl, but it is highly unlikely, no matter what our final record ends up being.

  185. Yeah, I agree with Mac on this one. Several years ago, Tennessee got left out of the Outback Bowl and pushed to the Peach Bowl for the same reason. The Outback took a less-deserving Florida team because they thought it would guarantee a sellout. The ability to sell out the game itself means more to the bowl game than the tourist money (which means more to the city at-large). If Vandy is still there when the Music City Bowl picks, I’m guessing that’s where they’ll go. I understand that Vandy fans would want to travel somewhere and that it would kind of suck to play your first bowl game in 26 years in your home city, but I think your only hope is to beat either Tennessee or Wake Forest (or both) and hope that the Peach Bowl notices and takes you.

    EDIT: However, if you know for a fact that we’re wrong, well then, I guess we’re wrong. It just makes more sense to me that that’s the way it would go. Also, Kentucky might sell-out their allotment, but would they then buy up all the extra tickets, too? It seems to me that Vandy would be more likely to do that, so while they might be equally likely to sell-out their allotment, it seems more likely that the game itself would be a sellout with Vandy than Kentucky.

  186. Memphis, Mac. Shreveport’s almost certainly not in play.

    I still think we’ll be in Atlanta or Tampa, though, so it’s moot.

  187. Actually, by my interpretation the Liberty, Music City, and Independence bowls will get to fight it out. They’re all listed as SEC 6/7/8, but that assumes that the SEC gets only one BCS bid and it will certainly get two. The SEC is probably only going to have eight teams qualify (unless Auburn can upset Alabama or Arkansas can win out against MSU and LSU — the latter is more likely). So someone’s going to get stuck with a Conference USA team or something. The ESPN.com guys have Shreveport as the odd man out.

    The poor Birmingham game is screwed.

  188. While I agree with Stu’s notion that the Vandy fan base is so hungry for a Bowl, they could sell out anywhere, the flipside to that argument is they don’t have the year to year track record of Bowls like Georgia, Florida, Bama, Tennessee, Auburn, etc. or even the more recent track record in the last few of even a Kentucky.

    Personally, I know damn well the Georgia fan base would travel in droves to Dallas and would LOVE to see the Dawgs in a different Bowl and do Cotton instead of Cap. One. But it aint happening. Cap. One has first pick and will gladly take Georgia and LSU will go to Cotton where they’ve been many times.

    The Vandy thing is more of an unknown because they’re newbies, but c’mon, the BCS mavens KNOW they will have a jacked up, packed stadium for a Music City Bowl with Vandy playing a home game.

    And c’mon, if Vandy play in the MC Bowl and wins, what a great thing for Vandy fans to celebrate in person?

    I get that you know and are connected, I am not, I just was making the point that the BCS people have to be looking hard at Vandy IN Nashville. Whether that’s what you want or not.

  189. You’d better hope Georgia makes the BCS to have a prayer at Tampa. (Again, this is my own common sense talking. If you have insider knowledge otherwise, I’m fully willing to admit I’m wrong.)

  190. Mac’s completely unknowledgeable bowl projections:

    BCS: Alabama
    Sugar: Florida
    Cap One: Georgia
    Cotton: Ole Miss
    Outback: LSU
    Peach: USC
    Memphis: Vandy
    MSC: Kentucky

  191. Yeah, I meant to say Florida or Georgia. I’m still not entirely convinced that Florida won’t stub their toe against Florida State.

  192. Alex,

    (1) The same Vandy fans that would attend the MCB would attend a game in Memphis or Atlanta, so they’ll be there in person regardless. (Remember, we are not a regional school, either, so that most Vanderbilt fans are coming from all corners of the country, anyway, no matter where the bowl is.)

    (2) The BCS has nothing to do with any of the bowls for which Vanderbilt might qualify. It’s up to the bowls themselves and, to a lesser extent, the schools.

    Vanderbilt needs to win out and have South Carolina lose to Clemson to get the Outback bid. We’d have a shot, too, if we were both 8-4, given the head-to-head victory, but most assume it would to go the Gamecocks.

  193. Yeah, Mac, if Ole Miss wins out, which they’d have to do to land in the Cotton Bowl, that would not be good for VU.

  194. Speaking of LSU, kudos to Troy for continuing to pass when all that they needed to do to assure themselves of victory was to kneel the ball on every single snap from midway through the third quarter on. I know that their “system” is a spread passing system, but for God’s sake! If a running team gets behind by 17 points, do you see them continue to pound the ball into the line pointlessly, or do they spread it out and start passing? Perhaps the Troy coach should be less of a jackass about his system and do what is necessary to win the freaking football game.

  195. I consider myself to be a huge Bond fan, and I’ve read so much of Bond that I feel like I’ve come to realize what Ian Fleming had in mind when he created this character. I also read a ton of review of QoS before I went to see it, so I knew what to expect before I watched it.

    QoS definitely wasn’t as good as Casino Royale, but in my opinion, except for a couple of the Connery movies, there hasn’t been a movie better than Casino Royale. So comparing Quantum of Solace to Casino Royale is pretty unfair. It’s definitely not the best Bond ever, but I would rate it ahead of most of the Brosnan and Dalton movies (Goldeneye being the exception), almost all of the Moore movies, and a couple of the Connery movies (Diamonds are Forever was pretty bad). For as great as Connery was, you can’t sit here and tell me that Diamonds are Forever or even You Only Live Twice were better movies than Quantum of Solace. Same thing with the Roger Moore movies. The Man With a Golden Gun and A View to a Kill were just BAD, and Moonraker and Octopussy weren’t that much better. Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, and The Spy Who Loved Me were really the only Moore movies to do well at the box office.

    People say it didn’t have the little “Bondisms” like “shaken not stirred” or “Bond, James Bond” or whatever. But it definitely had a sweet car in the beginning, it had its chicks, and Daniel Craig is still the same quick witted, suave 007 that Connery introduced and other actors have tried to put their spin on.

    This movie reminds me a lot of License to Kill both in plot and in context. In 1989, Dalton is coming off The Living Daylights, which was a rejuvenation of the Bond franchise. Moore had pretty much ran it into the ground by staying on one movie too long (A View to a Kill). The movie tanked at the box office, and so they brought in a tough, serious, stage-trained Bond (Dalton) to replace him. The Living Daylights was a serious movie and it did well. License to Kill was a revenge story, much like Quantum of Solace, that showed that Bond has convictions and is willing to even disobey Her Majesty’s Secret Service to see justice served.

    If you add in the fact that Quantum of Solace had some of the best action scenes in the whole franchise, and that Daniel Craig is an incredible actor, then you have a pretty darn good James Bond movie. Not the best, but that’s just a testament to how good Casino Royale was and not a slight to Quantum of Solace.

  196. I too consider myself to be a huge Bond fan. Read a couple of Fleming’s books and have seen every movie at least three times, but have yet to see QoS.

    I still think Connery is the best, and I am one of the few who really liked Dalton as Bond. Interestingly, Dalton was earmarked to play Bond after Connery left the franchise following Diamonds are Forever (the worst of Connery’s efforts) but he felt he was too young at the time to be seriously considered.

    I think Craig makes a great 007, but I do miss a little of the campiness of the Roger Moore films.

    In preference I’d go with:
    1) Connery
    2) Craig
    3) Dalton
    4) Moore
    5) Lazenby
    6) Brosnan

  197. That’s right, CJ. Dalton was actually meant to play James Bond at a couple intervals (also after Octopussy). Same thing with Brosnan. They wanted him to play Bond after A View to a Kill, but he was still doing Remington Steele.

    Connery has said Diamonds are Forever was his least favorite Bond, and the only reason he did it was because they paid him a lot of money after the Lazenby fiasco. I guess people were so stubborn that they wouldn’t accept a Connery-less James Bond movie, because I really liked On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

    In preference I’d probably go with:
    1) Connery
    2) Craig
    3) Lazenby
    4) Brosnan
    5) Dalton
    6) Moore

    I’m pretty negotiable on 3-5. I really like Lazenby, but Brosnan or Dalton were almost just as good. Brosnan was really good, but he just had some bad movies to work with (come on, an invisible car???).

  198. I really liked Casino Royale and I like Craig. I think he could be a great Bond. My point is that this movie, to me, lacked the humor, wit,and plain fun of the other Bond movies. Nick, re the early Bond movies, during the early sixties, when the first movies came out, “cool” was in–cool in the sense that Bond had a sort of detached attitude to his job; in a sense,getting laid and having a good martini was as important as the mission. They couldn’t make those movies today because of the attitude toward women–who were really just sexual props for Bond. But, in this movie, Bond was grimfaced the entire movies, there was no humor at all, and no relationship with the woman. I didn’t not like it; it was very entertaining but I am disappointed that, at least here, they took all the things out that made Bond cool.

  199. An invisible car is at least something different.

    Part of the difficulty with the Bond franchise today is that, back when Bond movies were first made, the gadgets and ideas were futuristic and far fetched. Today, technology is such that you can’t really give Bond a gadget that stretches reality, so Q and that aspect of the Bond franchise is more or less obsolete and it’s ok that they have gone away from it.

    That being said, there is no real good reason to get rid of his awesome cars. The one scene with the bad ass car was just that, one scene, and that had nothing to do with the actual story line really. It was just a regular car not a spy car.

    And really, whats the point of casting exotic and attractive Bond girls to play opposite the world’s greatest ladies man if he’s not even going to show the slightest bit of interest in bedding her?

  200. One of the reasons I like Casino Royale is because they didn’t have some of those ridiculous gadgets. Sure, they could have had a few good ones in there, but I was fine without an invisible car. And in this movie, he did hook up with Ms. Fields, so theres that. And her name was Strawberry.

    The major disappointment for me in this movie was the fact that he didn’t say “Bond, James Bond.” I was a little upset about that.

    Also, I thought the opening credit sequence was kinda retarded.

  201. The opening credit sequence was pretty retarded. I was also disappointed at him not saying, “Bond, James Bond.” I also thought it was odd to put the gun barrel opening at the end of the movie. Random….

  202. My guess as to how the bowl bids’ll shake out:

    BCS — UF
    Sugar — Bama
    Capital One — UGA
    Cotton — LSU
    Outback — USCe
    Chick-Fil-A — VU
    Music City — Ole Miss
    Liberty — UK

  203. @228: I might be a little late to the punch here, but Jaret Wright wasn’t a FA signee, he was a waiver claim from San Diego the August before he really started to pay dividends. He came in and impressed in the bullpen, and worked his way into some pretty critical playing time.

  204. As far as I can tell, the only Type A free agents whom Schuerholz signed were:

    Terry Pendleton
    Greg Maddux
    Brian Jordan
    Andres Galarraga

    Wren has signed one Type A free agent:

    The Desiccated Remains of Tom Glavine

  205. This free agent signing period has been extremely boring so far. When do the big names usually start coming off the board?

  206. From BaseballProspectus:

    What Do They Have? An extremely underrated young double-play combination is developing in shortstop Yunel Escobar and second baseman Kelly Johnson. The inimitable Chipper Jones, one of the greatest hitting machines of all time, is coming off of a season in which he set career-highs in average and OBP at age 36. Brian McCann is arguably the best offensive catcher in the majors and already on a Hall of Fame career trajectory at age 24. They have a promising 22-year-old starter in Jurrjens, who anchored the rotation after the veterans went down. Top-notch outfield prospects Jordan Schafer and Jason Heyward are a duo which should be ready to take over in the next couple of years.


    I still don’t get why the Braves are seemingly so hell-bent on trading one of Johnson or Escobar. Why settle for a big downgrade with Prado or Lillibridge?

  207. #298 – not sure. I understand that by trading KJ you might be able to fill another need (LF) and that Prado can somewhat fill that position, but in no way can I understand moving Yunel.

  208. here’s the Bowman thing

    The Braves have said they are interested in re-signing Will Ohman and they further proved this on Monday, when they provided the left-handed reliever a contract offer. While terms of the offer weren’t revealed, Ohman viewed it as a sign that he’s wanted in Atlanta.

    “It was a strong offer intended to show me that they’d like to have me back,” said Ohman, who made a career-high 83 appearances for the Braves this past season. “I’ve talked to my agent and we’ve agreed that once you file for free agency, you just have to let everything run its course. I think I’d be remiss not to listen to what else is out there.”

    With at least 10 teams having already expressed interest, Ohman is hoping to receive a contract similar to the ones fellow left-handed relievers, Jeremy Affeldt and Damaso Marte, have signed over the past week. Marte gained a three-year, $12 million contract from the Yankees and Affeldt signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Giants.

  209. The irrational attachment grows:

    Hanson – 5IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 10SO (49SO in 28.2IP)

    And for good measure:

    Flowers – 3-for-4 with a HR and 3RBI, BB (12th HR this fall)

  210. is it too early to pencil him in for the #5 slot? Seriously, move Flowers to 1st and lets get him ready over there

  211. From what I’ve heard, Flowers’ defense at catcher is fine, minus the throws to 2nd. FWIW, he has been complimented by various coaches on his game calling.

    That is, he at least has the potential to be as good as McCann behind the plate.

  212. Let’s trade a stud catcher prospect plus four other prospect for a great-hitting first baseman who will leave in a year. Oh wait, I’ve heard this song before…

  213. Plus, it’s not like the catcher has turned into a stud yet anyway. Really, the only player that I’m really upset we lost (assuming we don’t trade Escobar) is Feliz. That kid looks like a BAMF. I really wish we could have him back

  214. I’m with Mac. Flowers’ biggest value to the Braves, unlike Hanson and Heyward, seems to be in trade. Flowers is not going to be the Braves’ future catcher (the Braves aren’t moving Chipper nor McCann to first, let it go already) and his value is as a catcher.

    More news:

    Braves interest pleases Furcal

    With their pursuit of Jake Peavy put on hold, the Braves don’t know if they’ll have a need to find a shortstop. But if they eventually opt to deal shortstop Yunel Escobar, who was at the forefront of the Peavy negotiations, they’ll likely attempt to lure Rafael Furcal back to Atlanta.

    That’s the sense agent Paul Kinzer has gained through the multiple conversations he’s had with the Braves about Furcal over the past week. When he told his client about his initial contact with the Braves, Kinzer said Furcal was “shocked and excited.” The 31-year-old shortstop, who played for the Braves from 2000-2005, has maintained a residence in Atlanta and he’s always considered manager Bobby Cox to be a fatherly figure.

    Kinzer said Furcal has already received a three-year, $39 million offer — matching the contract the Dodgers provided him three years ago — from one Major League team. At the same time, the agent indicated that it will likely be a few more weeks before Furcal agrees to any deal.


  215. From reading Peanut’s last article, it still seems as if they are trying to trade Escobar for a pitcher. Should that be the case, I still think that Cain and the Giants match up fairly well. They have a huge hole at shortstop and Cain’s contract would mitigate the costs of paying for a Furcal

  216. While I would love to see Furcal coming back, I just don’t see how we can fit a $13M shortstop into the payroll.

  217. We cannot. Also, we should not, seeing as we have as good or better of a shortstop for much much cheaper.

  218. This doesn’t matter as much if we don’t trade Escobar, but does anyone know what happened to Lillibridge? He consistently hit .280-.300 in the minors until last year, when he seemed to fall off a cliff. I guess he shuttled between Richmond and Atlanta a little bit. That’s the only explanation I’ve got.

  219. Maybe Wren is selling high on Escobar? Maybe he thinks he won’t be a future all-star after all and considers him his best trade bait to land someone like Jake Peavy or whoever? Or maybe he just likes Hanson and Heyward better and would rather let Escobar go than them? I don’t know, but I’m sure Wren has at least a decent reason.

  220. Peter Gammons, November 17:

    “• The Braves’ deal for Jake Peavy is not dead. Sending Jose Ceda to Florida lessened the Cubs’ chances. The Yankees are not in the running at all. Frank Wren still believes the Braves will get this trade done.”

    November 17 notes column

  221. Yep, Baseball Reference has transaction histories as well as the stats.

    Sheff was first traded by the Brewers (AL) for Ricky Bones, Jose Valentin, and Matt Mieske after hitting under .200 in 50 games – due to injury, I guess. His first season with the Padres, he hit .330 and finished 3rd in the MVP vote. That’s what financial advisors like to call “selling low”.

  222. No thanks on Furcal, even if he stays off the highways. Why get in a bidding war with other teams for a guy when you already have a comparable SS who is cost controlled for the next 5 seasons? Plus plunking down $40m or more for a guy with some back problems is a bit dicey. Just keep Esco and plunk down $15m for a starter.

  223. I don’t get all the hating on Furcal. AB for AB, he was probably the best SS in MLB last year, and health aside, he’ll almost certainly be more productive than Escobar.

    If the Braves move Escobar, then I hope Furcal is the guy they bring in.

  224. The Furcal thing clearly all depends on what they can get for Escobar.

    So far, nothing we’ve heard makes any sense in the short or long-term for the Braves.

  225. I don’t think it’s necessarily that people are down on Furcal as much as it is that we need an outfield bat (or two) and a pitcher (or two) more. And there just isn’t enough money to go around.

  226. Best case scenario: Towers comes crawling back with his tail between his legs and we make a deal that does not include Escobar since he’s desperate to unload Peavy’s salary. How about Prado, Sammons, and a collectible foam hat for Peavy?

  227. Merde.

    “The Yankees, according to several industry insiders, spent yesterday preparing an offer – perhaps a five-year deal worth about $80 million – for Toronto righty A.J. Burnett. This would come after they offered Milwaukee lefty CC Sabathia a six-year contract worth between $140 million and $145 million. And the word on the MLB street is the Yankees have the glue for both. Furthermore, baseball decision-makers believe the Yankees will eventually go after Dodger free-agent righty Derek Lowe.”

    New York Post

  228. from yesterday…………ububba, i really wasnt trying to insult you or your team. i agree that 9-2 is a good or great season for most schools. i’m fairly impartial when it comes to the Dawgs( well, except for a longtime grudge against the coach)and i’ve been watching them this year and i’m wondering exactly which of the nine wins do they hang their hats on? a one pointer vs. S. Carolina? a ‘hang on for dear life’ win against punchless Auburn? they’ve had two chances to show they belong with the big boys and failed miserably both times. they may well beat G. Tech, but they’d better step it up a bit if they expect to do that.

  229. Random Georgia basketball observation:

    Albert Jackson begins each season as the worst player in college basketball. It’s like he has a reset button. The only question is how much he’ll learn (not remember — he remembers nothing) over the course of the year.

  230. #335 Let the Yankees sign all the them and they get hurt all at once. Seems like Hank has not learned much from his dad.

  231. hank,
    You should know that I always take shots at UK Basketball when I can, regardless of what’s going on in Vanderbilt’s world. Our recent triumph on the football field has nothing to do with it.

    As for the Burnett news, it looks to me like that could just be the author’s guess. I’d be pretty surprised if anyone, even the Yankees, offered Burnett 5 years right off the bat like that. That said, do y’all think Burnett would prefer 5 years / $80 million to 4 years / $70 million (the mental limit I’ve set above which I’d be uncomfortable)?

  232. When you’re a 31 year old power pitcher with arm problems, you may be signing your last long term contract. That said though, its probably not your last contract, as at 35-36 you can probably land a 1-2 year deal with some options still at around $10mil if you’re Burnett. Assuming his arm doesn’t fall off, 4 years at a higher yearly rate ought to be more desirable. He should be able to clear that $10mil difference with his next contract pretty easily and end up with well over $80mil for the rest of his career.

  233. I went and saw the Vols play basketball the other night. They might be better than they were last year.

  234. barrycuda,
    I’m probably in the minority, but I’m not big on style points. A win’s a win, a loss is a loss. They’ve got 9 of them on one side, 2 on the other.

    As for the wins, they pulled out some games they could’ve lost, and they made a few games closer than they should’ve been.

    They won on the road at Arizona St. (27-10), LSU (52-38) & Auburn (17-13). (FWIW, they won at USC 14-7 and at UK 42-38.) Those 3 teams turned out to be more flawed than we realized at the beginning of the season, but Georgia did win those games & they’re not going to apologize for it, even if some folks aren’t impressed.

    I recall in ’06, people were saying that Florida’s wins “weren’t impressive enough” because they beat South Carolina 17-16, beat UGA 21-14, etc. I mean, they didn’t have a big blowout win against a good team until they played Ohio State.

    And this year, what good are all of Florida’s blowouts if they lose to Alabama, even by a point? Gotta win the games in front of you & let other people worry about the style points.

  235. As I said the other day, we have to be willing to do what it takes to get Burnett. If that means outbidding the Yankees for him, so be it. We put ourselves in this situation by not getting Peavy. I think we have to match, and even better, whatever the Yankees offer him, personally, and if that means overpaying ridiculously, well then, suck it up and do it. At the very least, we need one of Burnett and Lowe. It’s going to cost more than we think it should, and I really don’t give a damn. We have to do whatever it takes to get one of them. That said, that article was from the New York Post. I have no doubt that the Yankees will offer Burnett a contract and that it will be a little ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure that they just pulled that number out of their rear ends.

  236. Or Dawgbones.

    BTW, saw a great Centro-Matic show last night at the Mercury Lounge.

    For their encores, they called up Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices guitar player) and performed The English Beat’s “Save It For Later” and a very swampy version of “All Night Long”—yes, the Lionel Richie song.

  237. Smitty I was there too (I am a grad of UTC) and the Vols looked scary good. The upside for that team is tremendous as it seems they now have guys who can create their own shot and not rely on the three for all of their offense. LOVE the new point guard. Hopefully my Mocs will improve enough to give Davidson a run for their money in the SoCon but it didn’t look good.

  238. Nick @346 (and others),

    Because of state and city income tax and the fact of the way they determine residency by job, anybody going to the Yankees has to come out about 10% ahead of Atlanta to be even.

    I remember on Farnsworth that the Braves offered 15.5 and the Yankee’s contracted him at 17. However, the net money was almost the same.

    Mainly, this is to indicate that we have to “meet” the Yankees, but not necessarily beat them. I think the “they might not be a contender” premium would be covered in the tax differential.

    One of the ESPN blogs this a.m. has Toronto offer at 52 to 54 over 4 (14 to 14.5 a year) and asking whether Yankee’s will go a 5th year. Is the 90 mill over 5 by the Yankee’s for real?

  239. The Braves aren’t a contender now, but we would be if players like Burnett came on board. Hell, we could have been in the race last year if every single pitcher’s arm didn’t assplode.

  240. It’s alright. I have this horrible feeling that we’re not gonna even touch Burnett and Lowe. Instead, we’re gonna go sign Dempster at best, maybe even someone lesser than that, and then tell everyone that we’ve upgraded our pitching through free agency just like we said. And it’s really going to piss me off when it happens.

  241. I don’t think the Braves really deserve that kind of cynicism yet. We don’t often go full press after top flight free agents, so missing out on them wouldn’t just be typical Braves offseason. Usually we don’t even go after them, and the money spends the same regardless of where it comes from. Players really have very little incentive to do anything other than take the highest offer. If we don’t make the best offer, that isn’t necessarily our fault. Look at the Brewers and CC, they think the Yankees are overpaying by about 33%. How do you compete with that?

  242. seriously, if you were wren, what would you do? free agent pitchers, worth a damn, are about to sign multi-year deals for 14 mil+ per year. we cant win a bidding war with our payroll.

    i hope he goes after noone named burnett, dempster, or lowe and tries to better this team’s pitching staff via trade. if escobar is the needed sacrifice, so be it. sign furcal, keep kelly, and pick up a right-handed bat to play left. then sit….. and wait for a diamond in the rough. bidding wars are stupid and we just dont have the financial power to win them.

  243. Well, Nick, per Rosenthal, Dempster’s on the verge of re-signing with the Cubs for 4 years / $50+ million, so at least we don’t have to worry about him!

    ryan c.,
    We need at least one of the FA pitchers. We can win a bidding war on at least one of them. We have the money to spend—it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice major league starters if you don’t have to.

  244. Yeah, all these Escobar rumors are making me wonder if the Braves know something that nobody else does.

  245. Um…you overpay by 34%. Now, maybe the Brewers don’t have the payroll to overpay by 34%, I don’t know, but that’s how you compete with it. You don’t whine about how the market is unfair because the Yankees are overpaying like everybody always does, you shut the hell up and you outbid the Yankees if you really want someone that bad. And if you have the payroll to get into a bidding war with the Yankees (which we do…at least on one of Burnett and Lowe), it is your fault if you don’t make the highest offer. Now, if you make the highest offer and the player decides he wants to be a front-running schmuck and picks the Yankees anyway, well then that’s something else.

    And oh goodie, someone worse than Dempster then.

  246. Who does everyone here think will win the AL MVP award today? Think Pedroia pulls it out just cause hes in Boston?

  247. Stu..I can’t say much, I secretly (not so secret now) root for UT in basketball over UTC even though I would certainly not mind a UTC upset. Watching the Mocs go to the Sweet Sixteen and almost the Elite Eight is the highlight of my sports-going life. (Excluding 1995 WS of course).

    How is Vandy’s BB team going to do this year?

  248. Wow, I just noticed the comment count. That may be the saddest story I’ve ever seen or heard—and it’s about me. I might need to chill out for a while, folks.

    But the hot stove just keeps calling my name….

  249. And I get no help from Dusty, who asks me direct questions about my One True Love…

    Hard to say, Dusty. We’ve got boatloads of talent—I daresay the most we’ve had since the ’60s—but no seniors and only two juniors. Lots of youth = lots of unpredictability. We’ll probably lose some games we shouldn’t and win some games nobody expects us to.

    The SEC looks really down to me this year, though, and I think we’ve got a real shot at 2nd in the East, if the kids adjust quickly. If I had to guess, I’d say we’ll sneak into the NCAA Tourney, but we’ll be on the bubble late in the season and need strong play down the stretch to do it.

  250. Nick,

    What you’ve described as “competing” with the Yankees is tantamount to ruining the teams chances to compete with the rest of the league for a playoff spot for the foreseeable future.

    Obviously if you really want someone badly enough to overpay by 34% then you’d do it instead of complaining about the Yankees. The obvious point you’re missing is that the Brewers don’t want CC to the tune of 34% above the offer they already made. It’s not their fault the Yankees place a higher value on Sabathia than they do, or that the Yankees put less of a value on each dollar than other teams do.

  251. CC had a great year and all, but does anyone else think it’s ludicrous to pay a 290 pound man that much money to play professional sports for the next five years?

  252. As far as bidding for Burnett goes, I like Stu’s four years, $70 million number. Lead with that offer and we might have a chance, I think. It would let Burnett know that we really want him, and is actually more per year than the Yankees reported five-year, $80 million offer. We might still have to adjust upward a bit, but that offer would be an excellent start. If we come in low, like we tend to do in this situation, I’m not sure we have a chance. At least unlike with Tex, we won’t be expecting/hoping that he’ll take a hometown discount, and I guess to be fair, we don’t know what the offer to Tex actually was. It could have been perfectly reasonable and he just wanted to go to free agency.

    RobBroad4th is right on this one, though. If we can’t outbid the Yankees for either Burnett or Lowe, we then need to go get Peavy, and I don’t really see that there’s a choice in the matter unless a)we don’t want to compete next year or b)we can find several other trades to make. But as far as that goes, the Peavy deal is right in front of us and we’re gonna have to give up Escobar (or worse) to get anything good anyway, probably, so…

  253. A true confession follows: I have no inside information and cannot even guess at where the Braves might try to find starting pitching should the Yankees sign Sabathia, Burnett and Lowe. However, …

    There are cheaper, less accomplished pitchers than Peavy that could become trade targets, e.g., Greinke, Bonderman, the other Santana. You don’t strip your minor league system for one guy, even if he is a Jake Peavy. Sometimes a younger guy with upside is a better buy than a proven stud.

    Glavine, Avery and Smoltz weren’t the Big Three their first couple of years. They were just kids with promise taking their lumps while learning to win. Trade from organizational strength for some of the Pirates’ or some other team’s kid pitchers, just don’t sell the farm.

  254. The proposed trade for Peavy did not strip our minor league system. You would wind up having to give up all of those players and maybe more to get two of Greinke, Bonderman and Santana. The deal didn’t include Hanson. It didn’t include Heyward or Freeman or Flowers or both of Schafer and Hernandez. Escobar is not a part of the farm system any longer. And if we wind up having to throw a Locke or whoever else in to get the deal done, so be it. It would still be nowhere near as detrimental to the farm system as the Tex deal was. If you weren’t willing to make that trade from a farm system standpoint, well then I think you’ll be surprised at how little you’ll be in favor of trading for two of those three you mentioned when what it will take to actually get them comes out, assuming we go that route. The Royals are not going to be taking Francoeur and a crappy minor leaguer or two for Greinke, despite some of the pipe dreams on here. They’re not stupid. From the farm system standpoint, we were trading from a position of strength. We were trading one of our two CFs, and pitching, which we have a ton of. Now, if you were against the Peavy deal because of Escobar, that’s something else, I guess, although I obviously still think people are overvaluing Escobar.

  255. @376 – we would not be stripping our farm system for Peavy. We would be stripping our major league roster with one of Reyes/Morton and Esco. Of course Gorkys is in there too, but we have another CF in the minors that is closer to being ready. I would only go for this trade if we could sign Furcal on top of it. And yes, I like Furcal because I think he is just as good or better Esco, and he can hit leadoff. We haven’t had a true leadoff hitter since he left.

  256. Also, keep in mind that the offer on the table was something very similar to Escobar, Gorkys, Morton, and Locke—and that wasn’t enough for the Padres. If it’s Wren that comes back to Towers with his tail between his legs instead of the other way around, that’s the *minimum* we’ll be giving up to get Peavy. I’d much rather punt 2009 than suffer through the results of the we-have-to-acquire-Peavy-at-all-costs way of thinking.

    I will say that I’m pretty confident that, even if Burnett is snatched up quickly by the Yanks or someone else, Wren won’t be as stupid as some here seem to expect.

  257. @381 – I agree. However, I believe that it will be Towers that comes running to Wren when he finds that he doesn’t have a good fit elsewhere.

  258. @336: Good job conveniently forgetting UGA’s blowout win at LSU. There isn’t another two-loss team in the country that has had as impressive a season as Georgia.

    SEC football is different than the Big 10, or the PAC 10, we don’t have any schools from Washington or Indiana to fatten records.

  259. Apparently Rob Neyer is free again over at ESPN. Since I’m notoriously cheap, I haven’t read him in years. This is the best news of the day.

  260. [PRE-EMPTIVE]Okay, let’s limit the Neyer-bashing, shall we? When I started blogging (dear God, more than ten years ago) I was basically ripping him off.[/PRE-EMPTIVE]

  261. I always found his pages interesting to read even if I didn’t agree with him. Of course, I haven’t read him in years and I do have ESPN Insider

  262. Whoa, didn’t know I was opening a can of worms. I figured everybody would be excited over free baseball content.

  263. There is a certain subset of people who believe that any national sports commentator is biased against their team. Neyer seems to come in for a lot of that for some reason. He’s admittedly an AL guy, a fan of an AL West team (if you can call the Royals a “team) and lives in the northwest, so he doesn’t see the Braves much.

  264. Well he’s from Kansas City (AL Central) so you can’t blame him too much. And he does have a generally well composed point of view.

    Though he has been fairly anti-braves over the years

  265. I’ve always wondered whether he just hates Schuerholz for leaving the Royals in the state he did.

    I still enjoy reading his work, though.

  266. #385

    Rob’s not the greatest writer in the world, but I’ve always liked him. Braves Journal supplanted his old message board for me several years ago when he went behind the subscription firewall, and I resisted paying until about a year ago. Off to cancel….

  267. That’s not really more on Peavy, so much as it is additional regurgitation of the same old shit.

    That’s no intention to bash you either RobBroad4th if that’s how my post would sound. I’m just ready for us to actually do something so we can talk about some fresh material.

  268. This just in from a reliable source:

    “Dale murphy the mvp favorite. would win for the second year in a row.”

  269. The way it looks now, are we even going to use all the amount of cash we have?

    You mean, the way it looks now…4 days after the start of free agency? There is still plenty of time to spend $50 million dollars.

  270. 397,

    Yeah, it’s really just more confirmation of what everyone suspected. I’m starting to see Oliver Perez’s name thrown around, so seeing the words “Peavy” and “Braves” in the same sentence is a welcome sight.

  271. Getting Burnett or Lowe might be the key to getting Peavy in a weird kind of way.

    If we get one of those two then we don’t have a need for Peavy and, as has been mentioned above, we don’t have to trade for him now. That gives us the upper hand over Towers.

    Given Furcal’s reaction to our interest, I’d bet that we could get him to wait until after the winter meetings to commit to someone in case we trade for Peavy.

  272. Brilliant!

    Let’s sign Burnett so that we don’t need Peavy. Then let’s trade our valuable SS away to get Peavy anyway. Then lets throw away the one year’s worth of cost savings Peavy’s contract affords us by overpaying for Furcal for 3 years. Then let’s not be able to address any other problems ever.

  273. I’m not against acquiring Peavy. I’d love nothing more than to have him on the team, and I’d be excited as hell if we got him.

    If we do trade him, and if Escobar and Schafer go the other way, I won’t let that stop me from enjoying it. Once the water is under the bridge I’ll be celebrating having Peavy as much as everyone else.

    However, before we pull the trigger, my position is that I think that any trade we make should make more sense than the alternative moves we could make. In this case, I think trading Escobar and Schafer for Peavy and then replacing Escobar with Furcal makes less sense than simply signing a free agent pitcher like Burnett and hanging onto Escobar and Schafer.

  274. #410 – yeah I was being sarcastic. Im with you on the idea and agree 100%. You dont trade a player that creates a bigger hole than what you started out with. $30 mil for 1 ace and a leadoff hitter seems a bit much

    By David O’Brien

    November 18, 2008 6:52 PM | Link to this

    Just learned that Schafer hurt a finger in winter ball, got hit by a pitch, and he’s come home. Not broken, but it’s banged up and he’s supposed to rest it three weeks and then rehab it a few weeks.

    He’s done for the winter, but he did himself a favor by going to play down there, left a good impression with the bosses. Wren told me Schafer played well while he was in Mexico.

    Personally, I’ve just got a feeling he’ll win the CF job this spring. I could be wrong, for sure, but I’ve got that feeling.

  275. I doubt we’d have to trade Escobar and Schafer. The added benefit of acquiring Burnett would mean our package could be reduced from before.

    So we’d then have Burnett $16m, Peavy $11m, Furcal $11m. That gives us $8m or so to get an outfielder by free agency or more likely trade and any other holes we feel we have.

    I doubt that $8m would make us unable to address any other problems ever.

    If we acquire Burnett and keep Escobar, we’re essentially the same as we were before Hudson went down, which wasn’t a winner and wasn’t a big bat away from competing. We add Peavy and Burnett and we are much better.

  276. Acquiring Burnett only still allows us to spend another $20mil plus to improve the rest of the team.

    $8mil will not solve our OF issues. Also, Hudson will be back in 2010.

  277. stu,
    imo, getting into a bidding war with the yankees would be the last thing a new braves gm would do. making some moves from strengths to improve weaknesses could be equally as effective.

    45 million helps the rosterbating situation:
    trade escobar and package for peavy (looks like our only chance to get a bonafide ace): 11 million
    sign smoltz and hampton: 10 mil+incentives
    trade francoeur and package for greinke or other cheap #2
    trade kj for ludwick
    re-sign ohman for 3/12 mil
    sign griffey jr to play right field (i’ve wanted him in a braves uni since i was in middle school)- 8 mil
    sign furcal for 4/48 mil





    that looks and feels strong to me. what do you guys think? too perfect?

  278. I don’t think he’s saying anyone did, but that he should have. I can see that, but I can also see him being so frustrated after a bad season that he just wanted to go home and have some time off.

  279. Considering Griffey’s age, history of injuries, and potential price tag, I think he’d possibly be a downgrade to Francouer (if that’s possible anymore).

    Sentimental signings (ie: Glavine) get us nowhere.

  280. It’s possible that they didn’t ask him. I don’t think there’s actually that much doubt about Li’lbridge’s skills. He needs strength training a lot more than he needs to play baseball over the winter.

  281. Let’s just forget about Greinke. Dayton will not be stupid enough to trade away such young pitching talent while his payroll is going up at the same time.

  282. …if Dayton is crazy enough to think Frenchy is the next Murphy, then maybe we may get Greinke after all, but I doubt he is that crazy…

  283. @415

    1. Whether or not his season was a fluke, it will cost more than KJ to get Ludwick

    2. Regardless of any affinity Dayton may have for Francoeur, Greinke was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year. Francoeur could not possible measure up as the centerpiece of a deal for him.

    As a point of reference, Greinke had a significantly better ERA+, K/9 rate, and WHIP than Matt Cain, while probably facing better overall competition.

    This then raises the question as to the overall depletion of the farm system that would be caused by both dealing for Peavy and Greinke. A best case scenario is having Heyward, Hanson and probably nothing else

    3. Griffey is washed up and a significant injury risk. I would much rather take a flyer on a Juan Rivera or an equivalent.

    I don’t have a problem of trading for Jake Peavy and signing Furcal. I also don’t have any issues signing AJ Burnett for 4 years at 70MM. However, the issue is that only doing one of those doesn’t make the Braves a contender.

    Hell, even doing both probably won’t make them a legitimate contender unless someone steps up, OR if Smoltz comes back and looks like himself. What engaging in both of those steps does do though is eliminate almost all of the financial flexibility that the Braves have.

    I don’t know. Part of me thinks that the Braves should keep their prospects , do what it takes to sign Tazawa, and maybe make a few low risk moves (ie. signing Juan Rivera, locking up Mike Gonzalez,etc). This allows for the “next wave” to develop and, going into 2010, makes for a team with less holes to fill and the financial ability to fill them

    On the other hand though, Chipper’s time is running out, Smoltz/Glavine maybe have one year left, and Bobby may not have much more than that. With that being the case, doesn’t it at least make sense to try to go for it this year?

    Again, I don’t know. I can see legitimate arguments for both sides; I guess we’ll just have to see.

  284. I could translate into Italian the official team statements and the PR guide for them. Sign me up.

  285. Francoeur for Greinke: never happening.

    People, do y’all have amnesia about Francoeur’s 2008 and career stats? And he is now arbitration eligible too. Francoeur has no trade value whatsoever. No team except the Braves wants him as their starting 2009 everyday right fielder.

  286. @430,

    We’re due one after the Davies for Dotel trade. I’m expecting Kyle to have a very good 2009.

    Plus, it won’t be a straight-up swap, obv. I’m sure there are lots of guys on the farm that Dayton has, let’s say, an affinity for.

  287. @430

    Regarding Francoeur you said “And he is now arbitration eligible too.”

    When I glanced at it, I thought it said abortion instead of arbitration, and I almost sneezed my drink out my nose.

  288. Haven’t been able to comment lately, have been reading as much as I can. Mac, we need a new thread and I’d like it to be entitled, “Whatever you do Wren, for the love of God, please no Jon Garland.”

  289. “csg-

    When did anyone ask Lillibridge to play winter ball?”

    I was never saying that anyone asked, but I just keep reading that everyone likes the fact that Schafer decided to play after his poor season. I figured Lillibridge might want to do the same and I also understand that he may have wanted time away from everything. I see both sides. This came from Peanut on 11/13 and I assume that he might have heard something…

    “If the Braves need to find a shortstop, they are confident they can find one outside their organization. They don’t seem too interested in providing an opportunity for Brent Lillibridge, who disappointed at Triple-A Richmond this year and then upset management by choosing not to play in any winter leagues.”


  290. Shoot, that’s not even reading between the lines, csg. When Peanut is using language like “disappointed,” “upset,” and “choosing not to play,” I think you can surmise that mgmt is not happy with his off-season plans.

  291. Personally, I don’t think any team should ever go into a season with the goal of punting on it and not competing until the year after. And I mean ever.

  292. That should always be the case, 438, but you still have to run the organization with a long view towards a Liberty-free future, IMHO.

  293. If the Braves are giving up on the season, I would ask Chipper and McCann to take the season off to avoid long term injuries and tell Smoltz to rest one year before coming back…but I would still run Frenchy out there for 162 games.

  294. I have never really seen the attraction of Lillibridge. At best, he was going to be a late bloomer who struck out too much–and, of course, he will probably now fall short of that. Unfortunately, I don’t think that he will be that easy to move, but I hope that Braves find a way….

  295. I really wonder what did the Braves and the Pirates agreed on that Bay trade proposal…what were the other two prospects on top of Brandon Jones and lillibrige?!

  296. I think its becoming Obvious that we need to pursue Peavy again, for two reasons.

    1. The FA market is going to dry up pretty soon, at least for the top tier pitchers. The Yankmee’s are going to set the tone for offers, and I dont think we can go dollar for dollar with them, or the BoSox for that matter.

    2. All of Towers other good options are fading away. I would have to think we are in a better negotiating position than we were before.

  297. I don’t know how close the Braves actually came to getting Bay–but I could not quite believe that the Pirates would want Lillibridge back. But if it were Brandon Jones and Lillibridge and two other prospects at least one of them must have been pretty good….

  298. I think the chances of the Braves getting one of the big FA pitchers are pretty low. (Although, if the Yankees get Sabbathia, they might not bother with Burnett.) The Braves don’t play in that league. It’s Peavey or no one. I, like DOB, think the deal will eventually get done. The other alternative is to write off 2009 and hope the Hansons, Heywards, etc. are ready for 2010.

  299. So it looks like on Thursday at 3 EST you can chat with Frank Wren on the Braves official site. This would be a clutch time to let him know how this board really feels about Francoeur.

  300. I’m writing off 2009 anyway, even if we get Peavy. Anything could happen, obviously, but this year the most important thing for us to do is develop our youngsters, sign the middle infield and Jair Jurrjens to long-term deals, and stay competitive without mortgaging the future. Too many things would have to break right for us to have a serious shot.

  301. I, like DOB, think the deal will eventually get done.

    I agree, and I also, like DOB, think we’ll get one of our FA targets.

  302. I have to believe we’ll get at lease one FA target, otherwise, being a Braves fan sucks as much in the offseason as it does during the regular.

  303. Although we don’t know how good it is to have Wren, it is appearing that we dodged a bullet in losing Dayton Moore.

    The Royals seem to have no sense of what is really going on. They did a good “take a chance” moving Dotel for Davies. It still may be a very good move for them. Otherwise, they seem like lunatics.

  304. Crisp is a clear upgrade over The Car Jumper. As Ethan says, they gave up a middle reliever. This was actually a good trade for Dayton, IMO.

    On another note, it’s going to make me very sad when Adam Dunn signs for 3 years / $36 million somewhere, knowing the Braves never even considered him.

  305. The thing with the Royals now is that they have what seems to amount to a lot of spare parts, especially at the outfield and 1B positions. A lot of Major League players/fringe players but very few legitimate impact players.

    OF: Joey Gathright, David DeJesus, Mark Teahen, Jose Guillen, Coco Crisp, and maybe Mitch Maier

    1B: Ryan Shealy, Ross Gload, Kala Ka’aihue, Billy Butler, Mike Jacobs

    Their bullpen, one of the strengths of the ballclub last year has lost two of the better parts in the Crisp, and Jacobs deal.

    I like Dayton, but I’m really not sure where he’s going with this.

  306. @455 – Though I like Dunn, I don’t think he fits the mold of what we need right now. Yes, we need a power hitting outfielder, but that outfielder almost certainly needs to be right-handed (unless his splits are negligible). Our offense was absolutely horrid last year, but never worse than against left-handed pitchers. We must get a good right-handed hitter (especially with all those good south paws in our division).

  307. Joshua,
    I know, I’ve said all that repeatedly. Still, if he’s going for that much less than he’s actually worth, we should jump all over him.

  308. “We must get a good right-handed hitter (especially with all those good south paws in our division).”

    another reason why Frenchy needs to go. He’s the reason why we are getting specific on the type of hitter that we need

  309. Pedrioa vs. Utley
    I’ve beating myself up over my NL bias. Before this week, I’d have taken Chutley 10 times out of ten.

    Now the kid (5 years younger) wins an MVP for Boston. His stats are amazing, although Chutley beats him in my favorite stats: RC and RC/G.

    What do you folks think? ububba, do the Yankee fans whine, “I hate that guy…”?

  310. THT:

    According to the new Bill James Handbook:

    In the section on team efficiency – which measures: (1) how many runs did the team score compared to the number we would expect them to score based on their hitting stats? (2) how many runs did the team allow compared to the number we would have expected them to allow? and (3) how many games did the team win based on the number of runs they scored and allowed? – James writes:

    The most efficient team in the majors in 2008, by far, was the Angels. The least efficient teams were the Braves and the Padres.

    Like we needed Bill James to know that

  311. Somebody had to win the AL MVP. The best player in the league was still A-Rod, but they weren’t going to give it to him. The best hitter in the league was Milton Bradley, and they’d give A-Rod a hundred MVPs before they gave one to Bradley. I probably would have picked Youkilis.


    1 Grady Sizemore 131
    2 Josh Hamilton 126
    3 Dustin Pedroia 123
    4 Nick Markakis 121
    5 Aubrey Huff 120
    6 Kevin Youkilis 118
    7 Alex Rodriguez 115
    8 Justin Morneau 113
    T9 Brian Roberts 112
    T9 Miguel Cabrera 112

    1 Milton Bradley 9.36
    2 Alex Rodriguez 8.17
    3 Kevin Youkilis 8.07
    4 Carlos Quentin 7.94
    5 J.D. Drew 7.76
    6 Nick Markakis 7.58
    7 Josh Hamilton 7.53
    8 Aubrey Huff 7.50
    9 Grady Sizemore 7.43
    10 Ian Kinsler 7.37

  312. Thanks,Mac. Pedroia doesn’t make the top ten in RC/G. Can’t argue his Gold Glove. Can’t rationally argue Gold Gloves at all, lately.

    Some are calling him the next Pete Rose, which is not going over well here in Reds country.

    Is he a “face of the franchise” player?

  313. The AL MVP should have been Josh Hamilton. Or Kevin Youkilis if you want Boston guy (better numbers than Pedroia everywhere! and superior defense). Or Joe Mauer if you want to consider value relative to position.

    Pedroia as MVP is a joke. His numbers are merely pretty good. .376 obp.. nice enough, not quite a .500 slg.. unspectacular for non-midgets.

    When people continually note that you brought a lot of energy to the team.. and it’s a BASEBALL TEAM.. then it’s a bogus selection.

  314. 2008 Stats:

    Pedroia .326/.376/.493
    Prado .320/.377/.461

    Obviously Prado was just a third of a season, but MVP for Pedroia, Really?

  315. BTW, I know the Cubs made the playoffs, but did you guys see that Soto finished 13th of 27 receiving votes and McCann received zero votes?

  316. Dude, those are huge numbers for 162 games at second base. He’s a really good and really valuable player. I don’t think he should have won, but I can at least recognize that he’s pretty dang good.

  317. I thought that Josh Hamilton had a shot. More to the point, if anyone on Tampa Bay had had a dominant year, then I think they would have won….

  318. @467

    That’s probably what makes Wren think KJ is expendable. Although Prado will never sniff a gold glove. Well, I used to think that about Micheal Young, too. Oh well…

  319. Apologize if any of this duplicates thoughts put out elsewhere here; I can’t keep up with all the comments, my job and my toddler. But I’ve been playing with these ideas in my head a few weeks and wanted to put them out there. This is what I think Braves should do:

    Personally, I think the haul that we’re talking about giving up for Jake Peavy is unwarranted. His K rate is slightly declining, he’s had some arm trouble if not serious injury the last couple of years, so worry that serious injury could be coming, has some flyball tendencies that will be less supressed away from Petco, and will cost $81 mil over the next 5 years (assuming we have to pick up his $22 mil option for 2013 to get him to waive the no trade clause). And its sounding more that we won’t get him without including Yunel Escobar, an energetic inexpensive athletic SS with quite good D, increasing power, good contact skills, who seems to like leading off.
    Let’s assume that the $40 mil that Dave O’Brien claims the Braves have to play with is accurate. And that the rumors that Kenny Williams is willing to move Javier Vazquez and Jermaine Dye are also accurate (maybe less so, now that they’ve moved Swisher). I would much rather see if I can get Williams to bite on something like Kelly Johnson, Tyler Flowers, either JoJo Reyes or Charlie Morton (would prefer to keep Morton but have to assume that Williams would need Morton; maybe I’m wrong, Reyes is LH and hits 94+; Morton’s in the same range, RH and has better polish on secondary pitches, but seems less focused), and an A-level arm like Eric Cordier who has great control and command, heavy groundball tendencies, middling velocity, coming back from Tommy John. Let them teach him the cut fastball over the next two years in the minors to work with his already good changeup and sinker to make his avg fastball play better. Braves get Javier Vazquez for 2 years and 11.5 per, and 1 year of Jermaine Day at 11.5 and mutual option for 2010 at $12 mil. So that’s 23 mil gone, 17 left. Play Dye in LF, use him to spell Francoeur when he’s tired or pressing, or to replace Francoeur if you find a trade you can live with. Use the 17 left to sign either Penny or Lowe, something like a back-loaded 3 years at 33 – 35, maybe a mutual option year, and Smoltz to a 2 year deal to pitch out of the bullpen. Prado is primary 2B, but spells Chipper at 3 alot, with Yunel and Lillibridge balancing between SS and 2B when Prado’s not there. Rotation becomes Vazquez, Penny or Lowe, Jurrjens, Morton or Reyes, and whomever we plug in at the back (Campillo, maybe Tommy Hanson, Parr, other). Hopefully gives Hanson a chance to either break in in the Pen, or to get a little more polish at AAA, but if he’s great in Spring, play him. And do what it takes to win on Tazawa, start him in the minors or see if he wins the back end job. Bullpen becomes Smoltz, Soriano, Gonzalez, Boyer, others. Vazquez gives Hanson, Jurrjens, Tazawa and whomever we keep between Morton and Reyes two years to develop into the solid tier of players they appear to be heading towards, and another two years for Heyward, Rohrbough, DeVall, Spruill, Freeman, et al to come along. 2010, Hudson is back and you make the real play for the crown. Vazquez, Hudson, Penny, Jurrjens and Hanson, with Morton/Reyes the first up, Parr the long man or a piece you’ve used with Gorkys Hernandez along the way to get something you need. Tazawa in the pen with Smoltz, Rohrbough, Craig Kimbrel, others. Heyward breaking in either off the bench or maybe full time somewhere, if the spot’s there. Then when 2011 rolls around, Vazquez, Dye, Smoltz and Chipper are gone, maybe Hudson too. Maybe even McCann. Loads of money freeing up when someone like Jon Lester will be becoming a free agent. Or Felix Hernandez. And you have the core or Hanson, Jurrjens, Tazawa, Heyward, Rohrbough, Yunel, McCann to build around.

    Basically, I don’t think the Braves can really compete until 2010, and that they have a better chance of doing it and having a flexible farm-driven resurgence to a multi-year window of competitiveness by not locking into Peavy and choosing instead solid high-ceiling shorter term contracts like Vazquez, Dye and Penny while the good players you have between Rome and Mississippi develop responsibly. And after 2010, Bobby calls it a day, Smoltz is done, let Chipper move on or retire, and McCann is the last man standing to open the door for the next era.

  320. Kevin,
    When you get Yankee fans or Red Sox fans alone, they’ll offer respect for certain players from the other side. Jeter is one. Beckett is another.

    But for the most part, YankeeHate & Red SoxHate among fans of each side can often venture into the Land of Non-Rational. About Varitek, I once heard a Yankee fan say, “I hate that guy. I hate… I hate the way he runs.”

    Aside from just being Red Sox players, Pedroia & Youkilis are hated by Yankee fans for different reasons. Pedroia is viewed as cocky and, let’s face it, losing to a poison dwarf is annoying.

    Youkilis, I think, is hated a little more because he’s more vocal & demonstrative on the field, and he seems to stir things up more between the 2 teams. Yankee fans think he’s cheaply playing to the peanut gallery. In pro wrestlingspeak, he’d be the perfect heel.

    So when Joba Chamberlain takes every chance he can to brush him back or actually drill him, Youk gets all-indignant, like the “bad guy” wrestler finally getting his come-uppance. I have no dog in the hunt, but that I find funny.

  321. I’ll add I think KJ would be an astounding fit for the White Sox; his power will play up a little bit in their park, they’ve got an OBP problem from Alexei Ramirez already, and a hole at 2B if Ramirez is moving to SS, which is the rumor.

  322. Vazquez-Penny-Jurrjens in 09 or Hudson-Vazquez-Penny in 2010 is not a bad rotation. It’s not going to win any playoff series either though.

  323. But guys, options under which the Braves hold onto Hanson need to be taking into account him starting no later than beginning of 2010 (and maybe earlier). I can see holding him back to June of this year to avoid counting the year toward Free Agency (and probably holdign a 40 man spot open) if he looks close to James / Jo Jo / Morton / Campillo / Carlyle / Bennett (whoever is around). Then, WHEN somebody gets hurt, if it is after June 10, 2009 and if Hanson is smoking AA or AAA, then plug him in 4.

    Campillo has the best ability to swing from spot 5 back to long relief from time to time when you don’t need 5 starters. So that would leave (after Jurrjens) Morton, James, Jo Jo, whoever holding down 2 spots (minus 1 if we get a FA).

    So, sign Burnette and hold our cards. If we can trade KJ for Ludwick, make that our right handed bat. If we want Vazquez, you have enough to get him.

  324. I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with the assertion that we can’t try to win next year without ruining the future and that getting Peavy would cause our future to be ruined. I also do not buy the assertion that Yunel Escobar is irreplaceable. I absolutely think that we’re better off with Peavy and with having to plug someone into shortstop than with Escobar and having to plug someone into the ace rotation slot. Now, if we get Burnett, I’ll be a little more placated in this regard, but I don’t think Lowe will do it (although I obviously wouldn’t mind signing him as our No. 2). That’s just where I’m at. It’ll take something coming from totally off the radar dealwise for me to think that this offseason is anything less than a failure if we don’t get either Peavy or Burnett. Nothing being discussed currently will convince me otherwise.

    And something I haven’t really discussed much with all the Peavy and Burnett stuff, but I am absolutely steadfastly against trading KJ if it means turning second base over to Prado. Prado has one-year wonder written all over him, and his winter ball numbers aren’t reassuring me very much. All his hits last year seemed to come on pitches that were up and away that he could shoot into the gap. You don’t think pitchers will stop pitching him there, do you? I would much rather trade Escobar and figure out short than trade KJ and deal with Prado next year. He does not belong in a Major League starting lineup IMO. At least not for a team that thinks it can cotend.

  325. Nick, Yunel may not be irreplaceable, but he’ll be awfully hard to replace, and any possible replacement is going to be a step backward either offensively, defensively, salarywise, or all three. His combination of offensive and defensive production at a rock-bottom cost is going to be impossible to find outside the organization, and there’s no one within the organization who can step in the way he did when we traded Edgar.

  326. I’ve had the opportunity of playing against Billy Butler in HS and watching Ryan Shealy all through HS when he played for Florida, and it’d be cool to see them in Atlanta. They both have more upside than Casey Kotchman, and would probably much his production this year anyway. Shoot, the only reason Shealy made it to Kansas City was because of this guy named Todd Helton.

    I wonder what it would take to get a Shealy-Greinke deal in place? Also, if you got Butler instead, he could work out in the OF as well. They worked him out there with less than great results, but he’s definitely athletic enough to succeed out there if he got enough work in.

  327. I’d still try to get Teahen. Solid ballplayer who is expendable by the Royals and can back up Chipper at third for the inevitable 35 games that Chipper misses.

    Plus, might be a replacement in a few years as the system isn’t exactly teeming with high quality 3B prospects.

  328. @461,

    But an important distinction on how good or bad this team is. That is, if it is “stupid Bobby Ball” costing us the difference between components and runs and the difference between runs and wins, then we know how to get better.

    If it is luck, then this team (even at the end of the season without Tex and Huddy) may be a 70 win team.

  329. Having an ace in the rotation is more important to me than having a cost-effective shortstop, or a cost-effective anything, for that matter. I’m not really worried about being cost-effective here, and I think that’s where I differ from everyone here, and frankly get kind of frustrated. I don’t really understand why everyone’s so worried about being cost-effective. Sports franchises aren’t really supposed to be cost-effective, in my opinion. You do what it takes to win.

    I’m worried about winning. I realize there is a budget, but this doesn’t break it. I would rather have my team be better than have all my players be cost-effective. In fact, I would argue that you’re going to have an extremely difficult time winning if you’re worried about cost-effectiveness in every deal you pursue. That’s why we haven’t signed any type A free agents since Brian Jordan. Free agency isn’t cost effective, and trading for proven players isn’t cost effective. Is five years, $80 million for Burnett cost effective? Of course it isn’t. Should we do it anyway? Absolutely.

  330. Nick @478,

    Who has said Yunel is not replaceable? Nobody.

    The problem is not that Peavy isn’t worth more than Yunel. The problem is that you are losing a shortstop that you will pay 20 million to over the next 5 years (unless he is a bum and then you can RELEASE him or if he is REALLY GOOD you pay 30 million) that will take 50 million to replace in FA (or more) and whatever amount to the FA is GUARANTEED.

    If Braves management was saying they were comfortable with Infante / Lillibridge (even acknowledging the downgrade of 100 OPS points and the slight downgrade defensively) I wouldn’t be so negative on the Escobar (and whoever) for Peavy. I would be willing to accept the downgrade in a 1 for 1 deal for Peavy. But trading Escobar does not solve problems, it causes them.

  331. I’ve learned over the years to not get too excited about Hot Stove League, especially as a Braves fan. For us, usually trades that you’d expect don’t happen, and ones that do happen come out of nowhere.

  332. On the contrary, it solves one problem and replaces it with a less severe problem. And they may not be saying it, but I will: I would rather have Peavy and have Infante/Lillibridge at short for a whole year than I would keep Escobar and have the same rotation problem we’ve had the last two years. I realize those aren’t our only two choices, there is free agency for the pitching and we could get another shortstop, but if those were the only two choices, and we were guaranteed to be stuck for the whole year with Infante/Lillibridge at short if we did this deal, I would still do it.

  333. Nick at 485,

    Cost effectiveness is essential UNLESS YOU ARE THE YANKEES. The Red Sox show by their moves that they are concerned with cost effectiveness. They could have had Santana last year. No question. But, they didn’t want to keep adding talent to the pile to get him. Everybody (even to some extent the Yankees) is concrned with cost effectiveness.

    Cost effectiveness comes back to How many Wins Shares, Runs Created Above Average, Runs Saved Above Average, and Win Porbability Added, and VORP and similar things you generate. Braves have somewhere between 90 and 100 million to spend (after taking out guaranteed money to the non pitching Hudson, net of insurance back) and have commitments on players of about 50. So, the Braves need the most win shares with that available money (45 million or so).

    If cost effectiveness isn’t important, just offer 25 million to whichever of Texeira or Sabathia you think is better (either is better than Peavy). Then you are getting the most talent, right? Isn’t getting the best talent what you value? Don’t factor in how much you pay for it, right?

    We get more net Runs Created and Runs Saved with Escobar plus (Burnette, Lowe, healthy Sheets) than we get from Peavy alone. Then, when we add the money to equalize the talent by getting a FA shortstop, lo and behold, we are spending more money, but with no net improvement in the club.

  334. Nick at 489,

    Replaces the problem with a less severe problem. 2009 owe Peavy extra 11 milllion. Available 34. Then sign equal shortstop (I think the back risk makes him too questionable and would be GUARANTEED [REMEMBER MIKE HAMPTON], but all of the rest are barely better than who we have) Furcal, already offered 13 over 3 years (still have to cover two more years later, but we won’t worry with that).
    So, “mythical GM Nick”, you just spent 24 million, thus leaving around 21 million. And, the team is only better to the extent that Peavy is better than miscellaenous #5.

    But if “mythical GM Cliff” signs Burnette and pays him 16 a year, then you have 29 million and you are better by the difference of Burnette. So, maybe Peavy is 3 games better (probably not). So, can you buy 9 Win Shares (3 per win) for 8 million? 8 million would buy 2 to 3 Ohmans. It would buy a long term commitment into FA years from either KJ or Esco. It would allow you to still get two FA’s. It would allow you to make incentive laden offers to Hampton and Smoltz. But, since we aren’t cost conscious, we don’t need that money, do we?

  335. Wow Nick,

    You obviously have no idea what it means to have a budget. Your comment that sports franchises are not intended to be cost effective is moronic. These things are not just entities hemorrhaging money for the enjoyment of owners who treat MLB like their own personal fantasy baseball leagues.

    The reason the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox have so much more money to spend on payroll is because they make so much more money than everyone else in revenue. They are still cost effective businesses. The Yankees, despite their bloated budget, are still capable of turning a profit. Their budget is a function of the revenue they bring in, as is the Braves’ budget.

    If we do as you say and throw caution to the wind and overspend on an ace just so you have the security blanket that comes with sending Jake Peavy to the mound every 5th game, then within 5 years the Braves will have a budget half the size of todays. That will happen because the team will suck so hard that no one will pay to see them play. Baseball is not like the NBA and Jake Peavy is not Lebron James, or even Arod or Barry Bonds. His presence alone will not put butts in the seats.

    The Braves must above all else consider the cost and value of every player on the roster. Otherwise, they will fail to remain competitive and will fall farther and farther behind the leaders. Understanding this fact is the difference between a good GM and a fired GM.

  336. I don’t want to lose Escobar either, but it isn’t a black and white issue. So what makes us a stronger team?

    Acquiring Peavy and Furcal to replace Escobar?
    Or picking up a lesser FA like Randy Wolf and keeping Escobar?

  337. Cost-effectiveness-wise, for 2009:

    Burnett/Lowe + Escobar > Peavy + Furcal > Wolf/Garland + Escobar

    But 2009 isn’t the only year we should be worried about.

  338. Burrnett + Escobar also leaves more $$ for more +

    Peavy + Furcal uses up at least half of our money.

    I’d rather have Burrnett + Escobar + whatever we can get with the $13mil we would spend on Furcal, than simply have Peavy and Furcal.

  339. I don’t think that “selling low” is a concept that applies to Jeff Francouer. It’s like having a drum of radioactive waste in your kitchen. Do you wait for the radioactive waste market to
    turn around so that you might make a profit or do you get rid of it as quickly as possible before your whole family gets cancer?

  340. I’d rather have Burnett + Furcal + Peavy. Then trade KJ for Ludwick (if that is possible). So you have Burnett + Furcal + Peavy + Ludwick.

  341. I’d actually like to pull Esco out of the deal and put Flowers in his place (and I think that might be possible – they have expressed interest). Then you don’t have to worry about losing the money to Furcal.

  342. I saw that. I don’t even think the Yankees would give that to him. I like him, but the thought of paying a 37 year old Burnett 18 million is not a pleasant one.

  343. btw, Burnett is only listening to 5 yr offers. Does that help or hurt our chances? What are your thoughts on a 5/85 type offer? is it good enough? bad decision?

  344. Furcal was never a great fielder, but he had a great arm, a Furcal-Prado DP is a horrible thought.
    The fact that Furcal will miss 20-40 games does not help either.

  345. I think 2009 is the least of our worries. It should not be a year we try too hard to contend. That is, we should not limit our opportunities to field the best team in 2010 to try to bridge too much of a gap in 2009.

    That’s why I am not totally opposed to trading Escobar for Peavy. But, I would not be excited about replacing Escobar with Furcal and his bad back on a multi-year deal. I think we have a better chance of finding a replacement for Escobar in the next few years than we have of finding a replacement for Peavy.

    Plus, we can use more than one ace pitcher in our rotation if another comes along. There is only one shortstop on the field.

  346. Mac, any chance of starting a new thread, as a general guideline when we get to 400+ posts?

    At that point, I can no longer view these pages on my mobile as they are too big to load. I am guessing I am not the only one with this limitation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.