As always, “pending a physical”

Braves trade for Javier Vazquez | ajc.com

I’m sure Frank Wren is happy that he finally did something Schuerholz couldn’t. Of course, Vazquez is no more than an “innings eater”, in DOB’s words, at this point. Coming over with him apparently is something called a “Boone Logan”, which is a LOOGY who in three major league seasons has never had an ERA better than the league and who combines being hittable with giving up lots of homers, so he’ll fit right in.

I am not particularly upset by the trade of Tyler Flowers, because I did not see where he fit in with the Braves and I have real concerns that he will struggle to make contact in the majors. However, I thought he had a little more value than this. Li’lbridge is a utility infielder in making and presumably will fight Wilson Betemit for playing time, which should provide hours of entertainment. The Braves might also be sending Joseph Reyes to Chicago, where if he stays in the rotation, which he won’t, he will give up 50 homers next season. Peanut says that Reyes is not in the deal. He also defends Logan on the grounds that he was “fatigued”, what with the whole 55 appearances and 42 innings he pitched.

373 thoughts on “As always, “pending a physical””

  1. Shanks apparently* says it’s Morton, Lillibridge, and Flowers. If true—and, considering the source, it very well may not be—that’s really a lot for Vazquez and really cuts into our ability to make other trades.

    *I say “apparently” because it was referenced on DOB’s blog, but I can’t find it anywhere on the ‘net, including at Shanks’ site.

  2. Re last thread–if the deal was the ChiSox picking Lilli as one of 3 from a group of 5, it does make you wonder who the other players are. It’s especially odd since the Sox have decent middle infield depth.

    Stu from last thread–yeah, I’m not keen on paying Ohman $12m over 3 years.

    Edit–Bowman says no Reyes but 4 players going to chicago. Not another expanding trade a la Tex …

  3. So, we lost out on Peavy and gave up a bunch of young talent for a now mediocre Javy Vazquez.

    I fully accept now being a 70 win team next year – again. Ugggggg.

  4. I don’t think Vazquez is a stiff but Flowers plus Morton plus others is starting to sound stiff. And watch out for the mystery 4th player …

  5. Logan, 23, has a 5.89 career ERA, 144 appearances, wow, what a great throw in, what a find, had to search high and low for a crappy lefthanded pitcher like that.
    Fire Wren now.

  6. Vazquez did have a good strikeout rate, and he was (according to THT) the third-unluckiest pitcher in the majors last year, with a fielding-independent ERA of 3.81.

  7. If Burnett is signed then i will buy into this deal because we are then trying to win now without giving up the farm, and of course alot os speculation right now, but i just dont like Vasquez at all.

  8. I figured it out. They forgot to mention the deal was for Vasquez AND Dye. It all makes sense now.

  9. Latest update from DOB:

    Now I’m hearing no Reyes in deal, but Flowers is in it.

    Lillibridge, Flowers, 3B prospect Jon Gilmore and possibly a fourth player, a low-level minor league lefty.

  10. Posted this in the last thread, as I didn’t notice a new one had started, but it’s Gilmore, not Morton.

    That makes the deal more acceptable.

    But, yeah, Burnett is a must now.

  11. I wonder if the low level minor league lefty is the same one that held up the Peavy deal. Slippery fellow.

    Part of me wants to overpay a bit for Burnett now just to see how Towers reacts.

  12. Latest from DOB – again:

    Don’t know where that Morton stuff’s coming from, but it’s not what I’m hearing.

    I think I’ve got it nailed down now: Flowers, Lillibridge, Jon Gilmore and Santos Rodriguez, a Gulf Coast League lefty, for Vazquez and Logan.

  13. DOB now says no Morton–Flowers, Lilli, Jon Gilmore (ok in Danville but crummy in Rome this year) and a GCL LHP named Santos Rodriguez.

  14. I’d much rather give up Gilmore and Rodriguez, whoever that guy is, than Morton or even Reyes. I was briefly terrified that the low-level lefty being Locke or Rohrbough.

    Interestingly, we can probably now afford to deal both Morton and Reyes for Peavy, which I’m guessing would pique the Pads’ interest.

  15. I hate to see Flowers go and I am not thrilled by Jon Gilmore’s inclusion. Gilmore has a good bat and a weak glove, but it would not surprise me to see him in LF one day.

    I am also glad that we got rid of Lillibridge….

    Vasquez is a solid pitcher and while the price was high, it may prove to be a good deal.

    The problem with trading Flowers is that he was at peak value. I am not surprised that the Braves moved him, but I had hoped that they would get more.

    I guess we can expect that Boone Logan will make us forget about Jeff Ridgeway….

  16. I posted this on the last thread.

    I was cool with the Flowers, Reyes, and Lilibridge deal, but I do not like to see Gilmore and another low level lefty pitcher substituted for Reyes. I know Gilmore is young, but he was a high pick. I don’t ever see Reyes and Lilibridge helping the braves, but I don’t like giving up a proven prospect in Flowers and a high upside guy like Gilmore.

    Gilmore is young, so he is a long way from the majors.

    Hopefully Reyes is included in a future deal.

  17. Reyes probably is a good piece for a deal involving Peavy.

    One thing I do like about this deal is that it may give the Braves more leverage in dealing with the Padres….

  18. If 23 is right, I’m happy with that trade. Gilmore’s a random low-level bat with upside, and I don’t know who Rodriguez is, so probably a random low-level arm with upside. Those guys you can trade, whatever. Lillibridge is a good guy to trade at this point, but I think it commits us to Escobar, which I am happy with. Flowers was gonna get traded this off-season. He’s old for his level, and he’s got the crap blocked out of him.

  19. I was so much happier when it looked like being Reyes, Lillibridge and one other. Almost like solving 3 problems at once.

  20. As I said, I like Vazquez, but giving up both Flowers AND Gilmore seems to be too much…I guess that’s why Logan is part of the deal…

  21. The Braves are loaded with pitching in the lower minors, but they don’t have many quality position players–which is why losing Gilmore may hurt.

    However, we have picked up a quality starter and as we saw last winter that is nothing to take for granted….

  22. Yeah — Gilmore’s not exactly a random low-level bat with upside, as, Van Pope aside, he also represents half of our organizational depth at 3B. (Eric Campbell is the other half, which doesn’t exactly make me rest easy either.)

    I don’t mind trading Flowers, for the reasons stated above, but Vazquez had better start living up to his peripherals. I mean, he strikes out 200 guys and pitches 200 innings a year, walks 50 or 60, and gives up about 25 homers — he oughta be a lot better than he usually turns out to be. Maybe a return to the NL East, and the careful attention of the Second Spitter, will be what the doctor ordered.

    I’m not displeased by this trade. Wish we hadn’t included Flowers in this particular one, but peak value’s when you sell a guy. Maybe this’ll tell Kevin Towers he’d better poop or get off the pot.

  23. Yeah — Gilmore’s not exactly a random low-level bat with upside, as, Van Pope aside, he also represents nearly all of our organizational depth at 3B.

    I still have high hopes for Eric Campbell.

  24. AAR, much of Vazquez’s problems are in his head more than his talent. I am not expecting great thing from him, but he is a lock for 200+ innnings, which is quite hard to find nowadays I guess. I still think we have over-paid…or at least we should have gotten a better second player than Logan…

  25. Stu, I actually like Campbell much more than Gilmore. I think Campbell will have a monstor season in 2009 with the M-Braves.

  26. Good deal. I like it. Javy will save us from having to go to the pen as often. He has a good strike out rate. A solid 3-4 guy.

  27. I would not be surprised to see the Braves use their high first round draft pick to select a 3B….I had hoped that Adam Coe would live up to the potential which he showed in the GCL, but so far it hasn’t happened….

    Maybe the fact that the Brave parted with Gilmore means that they are really high on Hanson

  28. From DOB, “Flowers just called me, confirmed he’s in the deal, pending physicals.”

    I guess it’s pretty much final…

  29. A single A guy with an outstanding AFL resume for a real live major league pitcher? Sure. Wren did good selling high and using organizational depth. Note to Kevin Towers…. dude put down the crack pipe and deal. Vasquez isn’t a stud but this news is better than the daily Peavey rumor.

  30. I love the deal. Vazquez is a good starter with a reasonable contract, and Logan is a decent reliever who is young. The Braves didn’t give up any major-league talent (Lilli ain’t major league) to upgrade the team. Flowers schmowers, see Andy Marte.

  31. I think that Flowers had a more favorable trajectory than Andy Marte–but, in any event, Wren at least traded while his value was high….

    I am happy that we picked up a quality starter…

  32. Err guys..Eric Campbell has been exposed in the Rule V draft. Chances that we see him in the Braves system next year are slimmish.

    Trade is good IMO. People get too worked up about prospects. We really gave up only Flowers, and thats fine, as you are getting someone who is going to soak up 200 innings at atleast a league average rate. And if you don’t think that has value, just look at the Braves’ pitching for the past few years.
    Lillibridge has no shot in atlanta, Gilmore is ways away, and still ahs to show any kind of power..and a generic ultra low level hard throwing lefty. Me thinks Wren did well.

  33. JC, in what way are you able to see the similarities between Flowers and Marte? Of course I wish you are right, and I like Vazquez much more than Edgar.

  34. I’m cool with this. I’ve always liked Vazquez, and he seems to be very much the pitcher he was in Montreal. As Will Carroll at BP says (even though I can’t stand Will Carroll’s writing), durability is a talent. If we can sign him to an extension to cover the years when we’ll actually be good, it can work.

    As for Boone Logan, he shall be “Logan Boone” to me until he proves otherwise.

  35. I think you either trade Flowers this offseason or keep him in the organization with the expectation that he makes a big impact in the league. If you have much question at all as to his big league prospects, it makes sense to deal him IMO.

  36. Flowers is three years older than Marte was when he played in MB. Flowers isn’t a bad player and he’s not too old for his level. But Marte was quite young for his level before he stalled out around the time he was traded.

    Also, I didn’t mention Marte because I consider the players to be similar players. I was only making the point that prospects rarely pan out.

  37. Okay nevermind $11.5 this year and next, so not too bad. Still leaves plenty of money, allegedly.

  38. Err guys..Eric Campbell has been exposed in the Rule V draft. Chances that we see him in the Braves system next year are slimmish.

    You think a team’s going to carry him on its major-league roster? Even I’m not that high on him.

  39. Look we all knew Flowers was one of our best trade chips. He’s blocked, isn’t versatile defensively and very well might be at peak value. He was going to be moved, but I’ve gotta believe he’s worth more on the open market than Javy Vazquez.

  40. I think the Braves are the best at hyping up their prospects and making them out to be Future All Stars and then turning around and trading them, then watch them suck.

    It really is great propaganda. Good for us!

  41. Stu, Im with you, I think Campbell may get picked by somebody and brought into Spring Training, but I can’t believe somebody is going to keep him on the roster the whole year.

    Flowers, I can’t imagine could do much more to increase his value that he already has. I still think if Lil’Bridge gets a shot, he may have a rough first year, but will adjust and be an above average SS, but may be more suited to a super utility role. It doesn’t seem he was ever going to get a shot with the Braves to do either, so he had no value.

    Moving parks and league should help Vasquez, you have to give something to get something, I’m just fine with the deal, but only if there is more to come. If this is it, it’s pointless. I was hoping Dye was going to be included with Vasquez when rumors of a trade started. I’m still waiting for an outfielder with power.

  42. I’m ok with the deal. I think Vazquez will be fine.

    Someone previously suggested (sorry, I’m too lazy to go back and look) that moving Lilli may commit us to Yunel. Not necessarily. I don’t think the FO thought Lilli was a solid option for an everyday job anyway. I assume Mr. Furcal will be heading back to Atlanta… with a price tag that’s a bit too high.

    Who knows, maybe if everyone waits on FA’s then the price tags will fall a bit. But I just don’t believe teams (in general) can resist spending on the open market even if they don’t project MLB will sell as many tickets next summer.

  43. I’d like to think this deal makes it less likely that we’ll move Escobar and sign Furcal, because that would basically mean we’re taking on three $10M+ contracts all at once (Vazquez, Furcal, and whoever we trade Esco for), and still have a crap outfield in ’09. Unless we sign yet another high-dollar guy like Dunn or Burrell, in which case we’re looking at over $50M in new ’09 contracts — the only scenario IMO which gets us into the playoffs next year. I’ll pass on that.

  44. I think Lillibridge was just a product of the Braves prop. machine.

    I don’t think the organization ever had real plans to use him at the big league level long term. As soon as we got him we started the “great range, lots of power” stuff. Then guys like DOB started writing how he had a great future for some reason or another. Remember when he even said we were thinking about using him in center? wow.

  45. I love this quote from Flowers.

    I know it’s probably good for me, considering there’s a designated hitter [in the American League]. That’s another position I can possibly play. That’s definitely a plus.

    Possibly play DH? I know what he meant, it just made me laugh.

  46. Do other teams read our beat writers when considering trades? Or do they use their own scouts? I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m curious. Does every team have scouts out on every other team’s farm?

  47. Smitty, the Lillibridge hype began before we acquired him. Sickels, I believe, had him as the Pirates’ 3rd-best prospect at the time of the trade, and he really looked like he might be something. He still might, but jj3bagger’s right that it probably wouldn’t have ever been with the Braves.

  48. When I thought we were giving up Morton in addition to Lillibridge and Flowers, I was against the trade. Somehow, replacing him with Gilmore and Santos whoever completely changed my outlook. Giving up Flowers still sucks, but overall, I’m starting to think Wren did a pretty good job.

    I’m also starting to think that we DO perhaps overvalue our prospects to a certain extent.

  49. He was going to be moved, but I’ve gotta believe he’s worth more on the open market than Javy Vazquez.

    Goldstein had Flowers #8 on his Braves list and a 3-star prospect. Is that really worth more than a good mid rotation starting pitcher?

  50. This is a decent deal as long as we get either Peavy or Burnett. None of the potential players in the Peavy deal were included in this one, so it looks to me like we’re still leaving that open (the Peavy deal was to include either Reyes or Morton, and it was gonna be the Padres’ choice…and let’s just say that if they wouldn’t pick Morton, I question their sanity). But getting one of those two is a must. If Vazquez is the highest caliber pitcher we pick up this offseason, we are going to suck like you wouldn’t believe next year. But, if we do get one of them, the rotation is:

    Peavy/Burnett
    Jurrjens
    Vazquez
    Smoltz/Glavine
    Glavine/Smoltz/Campillo/whoever

    That’s a rotation I could definitely live with, and would turn into a damn good rotation when Hudson gets back. It would at least be a start.

    Frankly, I’m just kind of happy we finally did something. All this doing nothing was making me nervous. Now, again, as long as this isn’t the only thing we do…

    And none of those prospects mean very much to me. The best of them is Flowers, but I agree with JC. I would be kind of surprised if he panned out to be worth much of anything. People tend to forget that the vast majority of prospects do not pan out. The Gilmores and Flowers of the world are just not that likely to be Major League players.

  51. Vazquez for Flowers/Gilmore/Lillibridge/Rodriguez (ordered by how much I care about losing them) is a fine deal for the Braves. I was hoping we’d get Dye, too, but I’ll take Vazquez and a short, not-too-expensive deal where we don’t give up talent that could have impacted the ML roster in the next 3 years. Still need to get that bat, though.

  52. Do we overvalue our prospects? I think we do have that tendancy, at least I know I do, but I usually adjust myself in my analysis.

    I am just thinking…Vazquez has a career ERA of 4.32 and a career record of .500…I know those are not good indicators in analyzing a pitcher’s ability, but on surface I don’t think Vazquez should cost us FOUR prospects.

    At the same time, I am just being too critical…and I didn’t realize Logan Boone (whoever suggested that, I love it) had such a good first half last season.

  53. kc, its 4 prospects but two that are very very far away, one that cant hit, and then Flowers. Gilmore has no power esp for his position. Rodriguez has good K numbers and could possibly be a setup/clower guy in about 3-4 years, Lillibridge might be another Tony Pena Jr (sub .300 OBP guy).

    I like the deal. It hurts losing Flowers, but you have to move him for a reasonably priced #2-3 pitcher. Im not going to lose sleep over losing Lilli/Santos/Gilmore

  54. He averages 210 innings per year, his park adjusted career ERA is 3.84 and his WHIP is 1.18. I have much more confidence that these numbers will continue that a waste of money like Garland, Ollie Perez, etc. $11.5MM is the going rate for those types of pitchers, that’s just the way it is.

  55. csg, I don’t hate the deal at all, but I guess I had been spoiled by those Nieves+Elliott+Moore/McGriff, Meyer+Cruz+Thomas/Hudson and Ron Wright+???+???/Neagle kind of deals.

  56. You think a team’s going to carry him on its major-league roster? Even I’m not that high on him.

    While I would generally agree with you, this year might be different. Campbell’s potential is obvious. Whats to stop the Giants, who are sucking anyway and have no infield, to take a flyer on him. Or the Royals or the White Sox or the As or the Blue Jays.
    This year is a wide open mrket for 3Bs, and given that your best options are Blake/Crede, I think lots of teams will be willing to take cost-effective flyer on Campbell.

    And for what we gave up in this deal. Lillibridge is behind Infante and Prado in Bobby’s depth chart, Gilmore has to dominate yet at any level, and Santos Rodriguez type arms are available all over. Hell, if you worried about him, you might be a nervous wreck losing Sencion in the Rule V.

  57. 79 — sweet, I’ll get to see him if he’s with the big boys. heh heh.

    80 — if we could “grow” a Burnett and Peavy, now that would be awesome. We really haven’t done that in a while, though. Maybe Hanson will be great.

  58. If you guys want a laugh you should look through the comments on DOB’s blog. It’s as if we traded Yunel and Jurrjens for Gil Meche over there.

    If Towers’ comment to the press the other day about the Peavy no-trade thing was an attempt to get Wren to call him, then Wren is a true hardass.

    Instead of calling Towers he acquires a pitcher while keeping the package (albeit a somewhat questionable one to me) offered for Peavy intact.

  59. I will say, I do think this closes the door on a Peavy trade. I’m sure the Pads wanted Flowers. It could still happen without Flowers of course, but I think the bank will be broken for Burnett, Escobar is kept, KJ is traded for Ludwick, and (hopefully) another OF bat is added, but I’m not holding my breath on the last one. Not saying its right, just saying that’s what I think will happen.

  60. Flowers was never mentioned in a Peavy deal….

    As for “growing a Peavy or Burnett”, well, lets see what Tommy Hanson looks like in 4 years.

  61. It might be just me, but after looking at Logan Boone’s splits last year, I think he is the prime candidate for this year’s “Bobby Cox’s bullpen guy who is handled astoundingly bad and completely implodes midway through the season”

  62. Stu, you have to factor in that Neagle was eventually dealt in what Mac always refers to as “The Mike Remlinger trade” which also included pre-roids Bret Boone. For what Neagle and Remlinger accomplished as Braves, I would do that trade again, no question.

  63. Oh, I agree. My point was only that you can’t exactly lump the Neagle deal in with the group of poopie-for-an-all-star deals the Braves’ FO has been able to pull off over the past decade and a half.

  64. I like the deal as stated, as many have said, including Morton would have been disastrous. If we can get Burnett and 1 to 2 outfielders and hold onto Esco, I think we’ll have a good chance to make some waves next year. I have to think KJ will be gone, but overall I think we’re on the right track, but with a long way to go.

  65. @89: I actually see Logan Boone along the lines of a guy who makes the team out of Spring Training only to succumb to an unexplainable injury, and sit out a month. Then, struggling through the minors while the good folks at the website continue to tought him as the final piece of the bullpen puzzle, one that never quite gets around to pitching for the team, until maybe a couple mop-up jobs in September. Cough cough Sturtze cough cough.

  66. I’m pleased that “Logan Boone” seems to be catching on. I admit it’s rather obvious, but I am a simple man given to simple pleasures.

  67. Smitty, Peavy and Burnett carry the same injury risk. That’s why I prefer Burnett…at least we don’t have to trade away prospects to get him.

  68. I think the only way the Braves get Burnett is $17-18MM per and fully guarantee the fifth year. I’m not sure 4 yrs with the 5th being a team option/innings pitched option getting it done. I agree with kc, it’s “just money” and it’s not my money, so I don’t care, we’ll see how serious this team is about contending if it gets done or not, I’m still obviously very suspicious. This team still needs Burnett/Lowe plus two outfielders to contend in ’09.

  69. By the way, am I the only one that feels like I need to take a shower after typing “I hope Burnett signs for $17-18MM per.” The times, they are a changin’.

  70. Mac, I think it was just watching the “Dennis Franchione’s Greatest Games DVD” that you have that caused the acid reflux.

  71. Like the deal a lot.
    I am with Smitty. The Braves are doing a great job overhyping their prospects. Flowers would have had no position on the team and as someone already wrote, we traded four minor leaugue players for one very solid starter and a young lefty major league reliever.
    Nice going, Mr. Wren!

  72. ESPN is STILL reporting Reyes/Lilli/Unknown. Are they just that far behind or do they know something we don’t?

  73. I know I’m late to the party, but I’ll chime in. I think this is a good trade. Vasquez is a good, reliable pitcher and those don’t grow on trees. $23 mil over 2 years is very reasonable money for 200IP with solid peripherals.

    Flowers looks like he can hit, but he was blocked and probably won’t stick at C. Lilli can’t hit, and I’ve already forgotten the names of the other two guys. We needed pitching and we got it. Good trade.

    Now, where do we go from here? My guess is we will overpay for Burnett in dollars and years, because we have to. I’ve been calling him Hampton II for weeks now, but if healthy, that gives us a very good rotation: Burnett, Jurjens, Vasquez, Morton/Reyes/Campillo with Hudson, Hanson, James and maybe Smoltz available at midseason.

    11.5 for Javy, say 17 for Burnett, assuming $40 mil to spend, that leaves 11.5 for the OF and most importantly, we still have our farm.

  74. “Sickels, I believe, had him as the Pirates’ 3rd-best prospect at the time of the trade”

    That’s not exactly high praise considering the organization. I like this deal and have always been a Vazquez fan. If Peavy can be had, our rotation suddenly looks pretty good for the next few years.

  75. ububba,

    the New Age Underground Railroad stands ready to assist.

    Come home. Come home before you start saying things like, “Hal Steinbrenner has all the good qualities of his Dad and none of the bad.”

    Besides, your parking ticket bill will bankrupt you.

    PS: Michael Bloomberg is the Jonah Jameson of American mayors.

  76. This trade rates a solid 6 on the Seat Painter trade scale. We needed a pitcher like J.V. (can that be his nickname, Mac, please? The J.V.???), and we gave up nothing that we were counting on to do it. Flowers might be able to rake at the ML level, or he might not, and the other 3 players are filler.

    The J.V. doesn’t excite me like Peavy would, but I’m not fighting down the utge to vomit either.

  77. I aprove of the Vazquez deal unless something else is going on.

    I think with a very little more sugar. we could have gotten Dye (if we didn’t go get Boone).

    I think the Braves need Herman Boone. Somebody to affix foot / cleat marks to posteriors. I was happy (for him) and sad when I saw Don Baylor was being brought in as hitting coach somewhere. I think he was the best hitting coach we have had in “the run” and “the fall” but also he was a guy that kicked butts.

  78. The Lillibridge hype did start before he joined the Braves’ organization–in fact, JS probably bought into it. However, it intensified by his second half in 2007, when he was promoted to Richmond and actually played better than he had at Mississippi. However, he continued to have a high strikeout rate.

    I think the Braves are happy to see his backside for another reason. Apparently, they wanted to have him play Winter ball and despite putting up the numbers that he had in 2008, he refused…

  79. they wanted to have him play Winter ball and despite putting up the numbers that he had in 2008, he refused…

    Well, I know what would happen to me if my boss “asked” me to do something and I refused. Especially if I haven’t proven myself to be very good at my job.

  80. Pretty good trade as reported. You can always complain about giving up this or that prospect but starting pitching doesn’t come cheap, even if it isn’t great starting pitching. Ozzie Guillen was sick of Vazquez and thought he was a loser in big games but the Braves don’t need to worry about that just yet. Hopefully, Vazquez’s return to the NL will help but he certainly is not ace material anymore. I still think the Peavey deal will happen unless the Braves get Burnett; it makes too much sense not to.

    #61,

    Teams scout other teams’ farms extensively. Generally, I think they know who is who just for situations where a trade might arise.

  81. You know, assuming the payroll is $100 million, financially, we could afford to add Burnett and Peavy, and still add, say, Ludwick and Rivera. Which would be pretty awesome, if you could avoid including Yunel in the Peavy deal.

    Or you could afford Burnett and, say, Magglio Ordonez.

    That’s not exactly high praise considering the organization.

    Maybe not in the abstract, but in the real world, he was highly regarded at the time of the LaRoche trade.

  82. I don’t really post very often (mostly read the comments every day) but I would like to go on record with the following:

    A.J. Burnett is fool’s gold.

    Thank you.

  83. He’s more like silver to this fool. I understand there’s great risk. But, after 3 years of not making the playoffs and not being able to add any FAs, I’m far less risk-averse than I normally am, so someone with his upside is appealing to me.

  84. Just looking at Lilli’s minor league stats. His 2006 in A and A+ ball are out of step with what he has done since. He walked 87 times (outstanding) and struck out 104 times (not so good) in 585 PAs. After he is traded to the Braves he splits the next season between Mississippi and Richmond. He walks only 40 times and strikes out 119 times in 592 PAs. In 2008 he walked 33 times and struck out 90 times in 403 PAs in 2007. The walks are way down and his strikeout problems persist. That’s a bad sign.

    I’d say his prospect status has fallen quite a bit since the LaRoche trade.

  85. I’m not real big on Burnett either, so just for fun I did this:

    Age W L IP K BB HR RA ERA ERA+

    A 30 94 75 1460 1032 475 137 704 4.06 106
    B 31 87 76 1376 1278 568 122 645 3.81 111

    B is Burnett. Not that I really want him, but A is Brad Penny. I don’t see a real big difference there.

  86. JC,
    I’m aware. The reference to his former prospect status was in the context of Smitty saying the Braves overhype their prospects. All I was saying was that Lillibridge was being hyped before he was a Brave.

  87. Stu,

    I actually wasn’t responding to you or anyone. Just a random observation, and didn’t realize you’d staked out a position. I just hadn’t realized how much his game had changed since that one season. Sorry for the confusion.

  88. My mistake, JC.

    Jason,
    The main difference between Penny and Burnett is that Penny is just now coming off a major injury, and nobody’s seen him pitch effectively since he was injured. Burnett was one of the best pitchers in the AL last year.

  89. That 5th year for Burnett is steep, but a top 3 of AJ, JJ & JV looks appealing.

    hankonly,
    Well, I am a Yankee season ticket holder, so I have slid toward the dark side…

    But don’t worry. Only the most delusional Yankee fan would say something like that. Reasonable Yankee folk know that Hank plays that “chip off the ol’ block” character. He’s a clown & everyone knows it. Hal really runs things anyway.

    BTW, in my neighborhood, if you know where to go, there’s free parking.

  90. Well, I overstated Burnett’s case at 123. (Note to self: Research prior to making declarative statements.) He wasn’t really one of the best in the AL in 2008, unless “best” includes 25-30 pitchers, but he was a very solid #2, which he is almost every year when healthy.

  91. Jason,
    I don’t think anyone really believes Burnett’s an ideal ace, either. But he’d be the best pitcher on this staff (assuming Smoltz can’t pitch as a starter), and in 2010, when you add Hudson and Hanson to the mix, even without a true ace, the Braves would have a pretty deep staff, one of the best in the league.

    PS: Have I commented enough for you yet, Dix?

  92. The problem I see with Burnett is that his upside is just high enough that some front office richer and dumber than the Braves will probably outbid us for him. If he can be had though, I would be in favor of it. I just don’t see the Braves as “that club” that gives him $XX,000,000 for X yrs.

    As for the Lili comment, earlier, I understood the context it was in, I just wanted to take a cheap shot at the Pirates.

  93. Burnett has pitched over 200 innings only 3 times in 8.5 years. He is coming off his best season (wins wise)

    I think he is a good pitcher when healthy, but I don’t think I would give him a five year deal. This smells of Hampton.

  94. I’m with JC. I think this is pretty darn good trade. We get two years of a guy with no injury history, 200 or so innings and 200 or so Ks, who can on occassion be dominant, at a reasonable pay rate. Its exactly what we need. His HR rate is higher than elite and he’s on the wrong end of 30, but not by much, and he’s played alot of games in hitters parks (the BOB, the Cell), and I think he’ll be generally more comfortable playing in a lower-key market like Atlanta, with easy regular short flights from Hartfield to his family in San Juan (well documented history of being mentally off-put when easy flights to family aren’t available). We give up Flowers, who may or may not pan out; he could be the second coming of Salty– big body, big power, some questions about contact rate and defensive position at the higher levels, already blocked by McCann. Lillibridge looked better when he came over, the bloom is off the rose, and there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have more value than now, when his minimum contract makes him valuable, but he’s a bench guy for us. Gilmore’s replacable and far away. Rodriguez appears to be a rookie league power arm, might work out, might flame out. So really this is Flowers, cash and pieces for Vazquez and a feh LOOGY throw-in. Sure we had to give up something to get something, and Flowers could go on to have a nice career, but this is expendable pieces for a very valuable commodity that we desperately needed (healthy effective starting pitching). He’ll struggle some, but I think we’ll look back after he’s gone and think this was a good trade.

  95. he was a very solid #2, which he is almost every year when healthy.

    Years A.J. Burnett has started 29 games:
    2002: 29 starts, 12-9, 204 1/3 IP, 203 K, 90 BB, 12 HR, 3.30 ERA, 122 ERA+.
    2005: 32 starts, 12-12, 209 IP, 198 K, 79 BB, 12 HR, 3.44 ERA, 115 ERA+.
    2008: 34 starts, 18-10, 221 1/3 IP, 231 K, 86 BB, 19 HR, 4.07 ERA, 105 ERA+.

    See the pattern? In 2003, he pitched 23 innings, and 120 innings in 2004. After his great year in 2005, he pitched 135 2/3 in 2006 and 165 2/3 in 2007. Whaddaya wanna bet he won’t be totally healthy after setting career highs in IP, batters faced, and strikeouts?

  96. Now we need another pitcher, a corner outfielder, preferrably an improvement at 1B and/or infield defense, general team health, and we’re looking pretty competitive, at least in the NL.

  97. With this, I think it’s pretty clear now that we won’t be getting both Peavy and Burnett. The likelihood is that we never were, but it was possible. But with two of the top three slots in our rotation already filled now, we only need one of them.

  98. Smitty,
    Look, Burnett is not Hampton. He’s not incredibly durable, but he doesn’t miss full years. And he’s good. Really good. (Wins are irrelevant.)

    Since 2001, and not including 2003, the season in which he blew out his elbow—that was 5 years ago—he has averaged 175 IP/year and 8.5 K/9, and his ERA has been better than the league average every single year. His peripherals haven’t slipped (yet).

    He’ll be overpaid, and he might be really overpaid by the end of a 5-year deal, but he’s a good pitcher and he can help this team. And he won’t cost any prospects or our starting shortstop to get.

  99. AAR, you misunderstood me. I meant that he’s a solid #2 every single season, in whatever number of innings he contributes that season. I didn’t mean that he only pitches well when he’s healthy for most of a season.

    (1) He will no doubt miss time with injury over his next contract. (2) He will no doubt pitch very well when he’s not injured.

    That’s what I’m saying, and the risk I’m willing to take is that he doesn’t miss too much time with injury.

  100. Burnett with Escobar > Peavy less Escobar

    The additional salary that will have to be put out for a SS makes Peavy’s cost a lot higher. The elbow issues that Peavy had last year are also a concern. I think their injury risks are about equal.

  101. Which is why we need to trade for Peavy without giving up Escobar.

    I think any pitcher we sign to a 5 year deal will miss time due to injury at some point over the course of the contract. Burnett would be our best pitcher and we’d have two guys with high strikeout capabilities which would be a nice change for this team.

    And Stu, you’re off to a good start.

  102. yeah, td, i like that.

    BUT…what happens if we get Burnett AND Peavy and sign Furcal?

    then sign Rivera for LF?

    we have a rotation of:

    1- Peavy
    2- Burnett
    3- Vasquez
    4- Jair
    5- Reyes/James (say it aint so)

    gives time Hanson to develop and gives us some flexibility in possible future trade scenarios (Vasquez to a team in desperate need of pitching NEXT trade deadline) and bring up Hanson.

    My ONLY concern is the lack of a solid Lefty (which, against the Mets and Phillies, is pretty dangerous).

    We could also try and sign a lefty pitcher to eat up innings and not trade for Peavy…

    i sort of like what wren’s doing right now.

  103. The Braves don’t have the budget room for Peavy, Burnett, Furcal, and Rivera. The only way they have room for both Peavy and Burnett is if they keep Yunel and avoid having to spend anything on a replacement SS.

  104. Stu, no, you’re right — I just quoted you slightly out of context. My point is that he’s only been a fully healthy #2 three times in his career, each separated by 3 years, and in a five-year deal that means he ain’t gonna be healthy too often.

  105. I would love for us to trade for Peavy w/o giving up Escobar. I’m just afraid the only possible way to do that would be to overpay even more and make a deal that would handcuff us in trying to fill our OF voids.

  106. Which is why we need to trade for Peavy without giving up Escobar.

    I’d also like Megan Fox to show up at my door and sit on my face.

  107. td, as I alluded to yesterday, I do wonder if we might not be able to get around losing Yunel by including both Morton and Reyes in a Peavy deal.

    Of course, (a) I don’t think the Braves are as worried about losing Yunel as I am, and (b) it seems that Wren really has decided to stop trying for Peavy.

  108. Towers isn’t that desperate. He’s banking on the idea that there will be a market for Peavy once Sabathia, Burnett and Lowe sign. And he’s probably right.

  109. Whatever the market for Peavy may turn out to be, we can still probably offer him the best overall package without trading Escobar.

  110. 139, I love the idea of having Peavy and Burnett; potentially grooming them to be the stud duo of the organization for the next few years. I don’t know if MLB (let alone the Braves!) will ever see another group like Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux in their prime, but if Jair continues to mature and Burnett and Peavy stayed healthy, I’d be a fan.

    Of course, Towers would have to be sweating it REALLY bad to even consider a trade minus Escobar. So what would get it done?

    Probably Morton AND Reyes for starters (if they’re after young pitching, why not offer them both?). We would also have Schafer, Gorkys, Boyer (assuming there is still interest), and Blanco to supplement it (I’m sure I’m missing a few notables). Will it happen? Probably not. But I think it’s great that Frank Wren is making waves and showing Towers he doesn’t need him (even if he secretly does.)

  111. Perhaps the only way to get Peavy minus Esco is to dangle Hanson. That would almost definitely get it done, but I don’t think Wren would budge.

  112. F Towers man. Make him trade us Peavy without giving him Schafer, Hanson, Heyward, or Escobar. That’s what JS would do. I’d let him take whatever else he wanted though.

    JS in his prime would probably get him to take Francoeur too. That’s what I’m hoping for.

  113. OK, haven’t posted much about this. I like it. However, ESPN is STILL reporting JoJo is a part of the trade. False, correct?

  114. We won’t dangle Hanson. DOB says the Braves won’t go after both Peavy and Burnett, although it sounds more like educated guessing on his part than anything that came directly from the Braves. I do love the idea of signing Burnett soon, though, and just sitting back and waiting for Towers to return with his tail between his legs.

  115. Rob, different versions of the trade in different places. But Peanut is reporting that Reyes is NOT part of the deal. He is usually right. Right?

  116. If we got Peavy and Burnett, could we win with our offense, not really being able to take on much more payroll? I don’t know if we can.

  117. 156,

    It’s a good question, Rob. I’d love to see us pick up Magglio or Dye. I have mixed thoughts about Dunn…

  118. Rob,
    We’d have to get Peavy without giving up Yunel, for starters. We couldn’t afford to add a shortstop and OF help. But if we kept Yunel and didn’t spend any money on Ohman (and maybe Norton), we could afford to add both Ludwick and a guy like Juan Rivera.

    Other Rob,
    I like the Dye idea, too, but I think that ship has sailed. Surely, we would have just gotten him when we got Vazquez if it were going to happen.

  119. How do you figure, Stu?

    $11.5 million for the Vaz
    $12 million for Peavy
    $16 million Burnett (which is a conservative guess at this point.)

    That’ $41.5 million and that’s roughly what Wren has to work with. Am I missing something?

  120. RobB,
    Well, I don’t pay much attention to the $40-50 million figure that’s been floated. Instead, I just assume a ML payroll of $100 million plus ~$5.5 million in insurance money for Hudson. (DOB has said insurance would cover 40-50% of his 2008 salary.)

    So, the breakdown goes like this:
    $17M – Burnett
    $13M – Hudson
    $11.5M – Vazquez
    $11M – Chipper, Peavy
    $6.1M – Soriano
    $5M – Smoltz
    $4M – Gonzalez, Rivera
    $3.5M – McCann
    $2.75M – Kotchman
    $2.5M – Ludwick
    $2.25M – Infante, Francoeur
    $2M – KJ, Diaz
    $0.5M – Anderson, Blanco, Escobar, Prado, Sammons, Jurrjens, Campillo, Moylan, Bennett, Carlyle, Logan

    That’s 27 guys, including Hudson and Smoltz, for $99.85M. If my FA contract or arb guesses are off—I think they’re pretty close, at least in the aggregate—or if we have a total payroll more like $95M, or if the Braves aren’t contributing Hudson’s insurance money toward the payroll, you could, for example, non-tender or trade Diaz and replace him with B. Jones, or include KJ in one of the trades, and save some money.

  121. For what its worth, in reference to Stu @ 135 saying Burnett’s having an 8.5 K/9 and 175 IP per year since 2001, provided you remove his injury year in 2003: Javier Vazquez (1 year older than Burnett) over the same period has had a K/9 just under 8.2, and ERA+ between 105 and 110 (where Burnett’s has been 110 – 115, again this doesn’t include his injury, which is relevant), no injury history, has averaged 216 innings over those 8 years (Burnett at 175 excluding 2003, fewer if you count 2003 like with Vazquez). And Vazquez has a slightly better WHIP.

    Most of the crowd here seems very high on Burnett, and I think seem willing to offer him upwards of 11 mil or more per year. But in Vazquez, we essentially just got the same guy, maybe 5 runs difference, without the injury history, able to pitch more innings, and on a shorter term contract, giving us flexibility.

    Just an exercise in appreciating what Wren’s acquired here. I don’t love giving up Flowers, but we basically just got a more reliable Burnett, with maybe a less competitive, though less selfish, makeup.

  122. 161,

    Yes. I wrote $18 for Burnett originally and changed it, forgetting to change the total.

    162,

    Forgot about potential insurance money from Hudson. I’m optimistic.

  123. I still think Peavy can be had for a elsser package, I actually agree w/ Marc Schneider, because the Yankees aren’t going to give up the package the Padres want (since they’ll likely get Sabathia) and the Cubs simply don’t have the players the Pads want.

    Kevin Towers can whine and moan all day but at the end of the day, he’ll get the most from us, even if it’s not the package he wants.

    On paper, it may seem more appealing to sign Burnett for a few more million a year since we don’t have to trade prospects but I agree with the sentiment that he’s been an injury prone pitcher his entire career and committing to him for 5 years after what we just went through with Hampton wreaks of a bad idea.

  124. Why not just tack on 2 more prospects to keep KJ.

    5 for 1 when you’re getting a Cy Young quality ace is acceptable, especially if none of the 5 are the top 3 prospects and if all of them are more or less blocked.

    It wouldn’t be like the Teix deal where we shipped off 5 guys for 1.2 years of expected awesomeness with little hope for anything beyond that. I’d be happy sending 5 blocked prospects for 5 years of Peavy.

    I think the real issue is Towers needing to save face. Walking away from the Peavy deal without one of our top three guys is going to be a harder sell to the fan base, even if our 4th and 5th are as good as some teams’ top 3 guys. That’s why you should give them Francoeur. He’s a likeable enough guy with a big enough profile that it will feel to SD fans like they got one of our future stars.

    Hell, I’d even sell it to Towers based on that. “Yea I know Francoeur sucks, and you know Francoeur sucks, but how many casual baseball fans realize he’s the worst OF in the bigs? The ladies will think he’s cute and Atlanta has treated him like a star so you can go back and tell your fans that you pried loose one of our future cornerstone players. We’ll keep our snickering behind closed doors”

  125. Just heard a fun interview on WFAN with Bob Gibson, who was asked which hitter he most hated to face.

    With a tad of incredulity, he answered: “Hank Aaron!”

  126. Rosenthal says the Braves are in on Dunn.

    The market for free-agent outfielder Adam Dunn is starting to take shape.

    The Braves, Mariners and Nationals are among the teams interested in Dunn, major-league sources say, and his list of suitors could grow quickly.

    http://tinyurl.com/62adx8

  127. I hope we really are “in” on Dunn. Opinions vary on 3 true outcome players, and I respect that. But to continue to beat the drum that Stu’s been working on… shouldn’t we be in on it if it looks like we can get a relative deal on him?

  128. Burnett at $15 or 16M per, Vazquez at 11, Dunn at $8-10 million per year… That’s our $40M!

    That said, and maybe I’m getting a bit platoon-happy, but if we sign Burnett and Dunn, that gives us a very RH-heavy rotation (in a division with a lot of good LH bats) and a very LH-heavy lineup. That said, I find it weird that we’d be in on Dunn but not Burrell, whose RH bat would be a better fit to the lineup.

  129. Kj for Ludwick is better than signing Dunn. We still need help on the right side. Dunn is difficult in left. Ludwick could survive a double switch to center (say, if Diaz pinch hits late) and plays left well. I am not sure if his arm would let him take right, but probably so. Then the Diaz / B. Jones platoon can taka left and we forget about Francoeur.

    But, if Dunn is cheap enough, he is worth going to get. I am just glad we are showing some aggressivnesss. Maybe that will keep Towers guessing.

    I think Towers is now thinking he will trade Peavy at the deadline to a contender and get his package. I think he better watch messing around with “no trade” Peavy. Do you think?

  130. That said, and maybe I’m getting a bit platoon-happy, but if we sign Burnett and Dunn, that gives us a very RH-heavy rotation (in a division with a lot of good LH bats) and a very LH-heavy lineup.

    You’re clearly forgetting about Logan Boone and Jeff Francoeur.

  131. I still say we need a right-handed bat (which Dunn is not). You can say it doesn’t matter b/c a good hitter will help the team no matter what side he hits from – but you won’t be saying that when we face all those lefties next year. I can see it now – “Hamels is pitching, might as well throw in the towel”. We have faced a crap load of lefties the past 2 years, and I think that trend is likely to continue. We don’t want a right-handed hitter – we NEED one.

  132. …and I would take Dunn – only if we could get rid of Frenchy and get a real right-handed bat in his place. Otherwise, leave Dunn alone and get a right-handed bat.

  133. Kj for Ludwick is better than signing Dunn.

    No, no it isn’t. Johnson for a flash in the pan guy who is over 30 years old is not a good deal. Signing a good free agent slugging left fielder like Adam Dunn is a much better route: Dunn will be better than Ludwick and the team won’t lose Johnson or Escobar.

  134. Would a Braves offer for Peavy sans Escobar still be better than what the Cubs AND Orioles can offer together? I don’t know much about the Orioles prospects.

  135. I’d be surprised if the Braves are really interested in Dunn. DOB has said that the Braves would not sign Dunn.

  136. $23 million for two years of an innings-eater? Save the money and put Carlyle in the rotation.

  137. But contrary on Burrell.

    The Phillies have some money. They must really have a problem with Burrell. They didn’t offer arb. That would have been 1 year at 14 to 16. And, maybe, they are looking at trading for Dye (not a whole lot of difference at this point in them. Dye’s days as a good all around athlete have been clobbered by injuries) at 12 million.

    That seeming contempt for Burrell makes me much warier than I was before.

  138. Wren on lefty-righty:

    We would prefer a right-handed bat, because of our left-handed hitters we already have. And the vast majority of our kids coming are left-handed hitters. But if you look at our key returning guys, McCann, Kelly Johnson and Kotchman, they all hit left-handed pitchers as well or better than they hit right-handers. We can go either way, really.

  139. Dan,

    Yes, Ludwick may be a flash in the pan. However, his minor league numbers and PrOPS and “batted ball” data all say that although he slightly overachieved in 2008, it wasn’t that much.

    He actually so far has a reverse platoon split (not big, but consistent). But even with that, as a right hander playing everyday, he probably will improve against lefties as he ages and offset age decline. Plus, I think Ludwick has 3 non guaranteed ar years ahead of him. And Heyward will be up no later than 2011.

    And, I am a guy that likes KJ. I STILL think as a batter he is a “near Utley.” As a fielder, if he is ever above average, his team needs to be happy.

  140. but AAR,

    What about Chipper who hits right handers much better? And what about the fact that the Braves have been a marginal playoff team against right handers the last two years and a “near Nats” against left handers. Somebody isn’t producing offense against lefthanders.

  141. Better to have good left-handed bats than no good bats. The list of good right-handed free agent outfielders doesn’t go much farther than Pat Burrell, and the Braves don’t want him.

  142. MLBTR says the Giants and Marlins are considering a J. Sanchez for Cantu swap. If that’s all it takes for Sanchez we should get in on that.

  143. @191 – I guess Wren didn’t look at his team’s splits before he opened his mouth on that one. Sure those left-handed hitters hit lefties well, but our righties can’t hit a lick off of them (ahem – Frenchy) (and neither do our other lefties). The splits show everything – we suck against lefties…

  144. Well, I don’t know – are Dunn’s splits decent, or is he vastly better against righties? I wouldn’t mind getting him at all if the splits are close. It’s if they are severely lopsided that I would watch out for. A lefty wouldn’t be bad if he hits lefties well.

  145. I think we can solve our right-handed hitting needs by trading a combination of Jeff Francouer, Corky Miller, and Blaine Boyer for Albert Pujols. Of course, that would push Kotchman out, so I guess we can’t do it.

  146. No doubt about that, ububba. I was more concerned about his slugging against lefties vs. righties…

  147. Here’s baseball references most similar players for Burnett and Vazquez:

    Burnett-
    1. Juan Guzman (958)
    2. Ben Sheets (951)
    3. Ben McDonald (950)
    4. Randy Wolf (947)
    5. John Lackey (946)
    6. Ernie Broglio (946)
    7. Larry Christenson (945)
    8. Orlando Hernandez (945)
    9. Josh Beckett (943)
    10. Jose Guzman (943)

    Vazquez-
    1. Pedro Astacio (940)
    2. Jon Lieber (938)
    3. Esteban Loaiza (935)
    4. Kevin Tapani (934)
    5. Dick Ruthven (928)
    6. Woody Williams (927)
    7. Jeff Suppan (927)
    8. Todd Stottlemyre (923)
    9. Mark Gubicza (923)
    10. Mike Krukow (920)

    what gives?

  148. Joshua, I’m quite sure Wren knows the splits. I was actually interested that he noted that it was possible for a lefty to hit lefties well, something Bobby Cox doesn’t appear to be aware of. Obviously as a team we hit righties better than lefties — it’s right there in the splits — but that’s mostly because of a crappy supporting cast around McCann, Kelly, and Chipper, not just because the three of them like to bat left-handed.

    As always, Frenchy delenda est.

  149. Adam Dunn
    Career vs RHP: 3,243 PA, 252/392/539
    Career vs LHP: 1,254 PA, 235/359/474

    2008 vs RHP: 457 PA, 253/400/551
    2008 vs LHP: 194 PA, 195/351/422

  150. This team needs to acquire talent first and worry about who plays where and hits with which hand second. Personally, I’d love to see the team do as much as possible in the FA market (it’s just money they would blow anyway) as a bridge to The Next Good Braves Team – one I’d like to see with KJ and Escobar on it. The target for next year should be competence and avoiding doing anything stupid.

  151. @ 164, Nevin

    So, if DOB calls Burnett an ‘ace’ and Vazquez a middle-of-rotation guy, then he’s an idiot, right? I agree with you: Burnett is a more injury prone, slightly better version of Vazquez who will cost more. And from the sound of it, we’re about to offer him $15-$16 million over five years, guaranteed.

    Burnett-Jurrjens-Vazquez is not good enough at the top of the rotation to win the division. That’s fine by me, so long as we’re not expecting to win the division and blow the system in order to do so. But make no mistake about it: those are three guys slotted a spot above where each of them should be. We still would need a genuine ace to become–again–a good team.

  152. But make no mistake about it: those are three guys slotted a spot above where each of them should be.

    I don’t know about that. I see them more like a 2, 2.5, and 3 than a 2, 3, and 4. Still not a championship rotation, but not quite a full ace short, either, IMO.

  153. @208 – it isn’t required to have an ace on the staff (though it is something I have advocated as a requirement for a long time – but just because I didn’t think we would have a DEEP staff to compensate for not having one). You can have a rotation of all 2s, 3s, and maybe a 4 and still get by. The Rays did it last year – but their rotation was deep enough to counter. We can’t counter with Morton and Reyes and expect to not have an ace.

  154. I’d lean towards us needing an “ace” to be championship contenders. Not saying that we have to be in 2009… but that we would need one to have serious WS aspirations. It’s just hard to win a short series without one. I know, I know… I remember well losing a number of short series in which we had the best pitching on the planet…

  155. Adam @ 207:

    I’m not calling DOB an idiot. But I do see Burnett and Vazquez both as #2 guys who can pitch like #1s at times. Burnett’s got the higher ceiling, but can’t take the ball as often, and seems motivated by new contracts more than just beating you. Vazquez more like a true #2, but very durable, and maybe mentally isn’t locked in some times. Hopefully being closer to his family in Puerto Rico– he’s admitted this weighs on him sometimes, and maybe quick regular flights from Hartsfield will aid him here.

    I’m surprised you’d think Burnett / Vazquez / Jurrjens / Morton / Hanson wouldn’t be enough to win the division. I don’t think anyone else stacks up, even if Brett Myers bounces back.

    From what Buster Olney said on the 11/19, Toronto was offering Burnett around 13.5 per year for 4. Yankees were said to be a bit higher, same length. If we’re going 5, hopefully we’re staying around 14 – 15. Not sure which I prefer: 5 years of 31 year old Burnett at 70 – 75 and keeping Yunel and others, or 5 years of 28 year old Peavy at $81 mil, losing Yunel, probably Morton and Rohrbough, others; but leaning toward Burnett.

    Now if we could find a RH LF with some pop… too bad “Games” Bradley has so many warts, he’d be about right (of course, wouldn’t mesh with Cox).

  156. The very deep staff comprised of twos and threes can counter the lack of an ace, but, in order to win with such a rotation, you’ve got to have a lineup that can hit another team’s ace. We do not have that, not even close.

    We are a team that is highly susceptible to being utterly dominated and completely shut down by aces.

  157. Burnett-Jurrjens-Vazquez definitely beats a rotation of:

    Hampton
    Jurrjens
    Campillo
    Morton
    Reyes/ Bennett/ Carlyle

    Somehow we put up with this for about half of last year.

  158. I mean, what do you call Josh Beckett? As great as he’s been in big spots, he’s only done 200 IP twice. Like Burnett, he’s been injured plenty. Is he Boston’s ace? Does it matter?

    With a guy like Burnett, you hope you can get him to the post-season & blow people away like Beckett did in ’03 and ’07. (Beckett, BTW, was 9–8 in ’03.)

    The Red Sox are certainly in a different situation from Atlanta, but I don’t think their fans get caught up in the semantics of whether or not ol’ Josh is a No. 1 or a No. 2.

  159. Yeah, the Braves won 101 games in 2003 when their ace was…Mike Hampton, maybe? Or Russ Ortiz?

    I want the Braves to get Burnett, but he is not a true #1. But he is pretty solid.

  160. I’d rather have Peavy than Burnett, but it is painfully obvious now that Peavy ain’t happening. Burnett is the next best thing, even if he is not a real ace.

    Plus, in 2010, you got: Hudson, Burnett, Jurrjens, Vazquez and Hanson.

  161. @206, Spike,

    Then what the Braves need to do is acquire Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer and Furcal and not pay attention to the fact that their best positions are now covered by Chipper, BMac, and Esco, right?

    Fundamentlly, Free Agent Talent is expensive. Theoretically, it goes to :the greatest fool” (the team that values that talent the most adjusted for the fact that cost means less for some franchises. Therefore no team other than maybe the Yankees should EVER sign a Free Agent of any type just to aggregate talent. You look at your major and minor league rosters and fill holes.

    The Braves have a hole in terms of need of a right handed bat. If I knew Diaz’ mobility wasn’t messed up by his recurring knee injury, that is one small step forward. I am afraid it is unlikely Francoeur will step forward, although his traditional split as being better against lefties may return. If we keep KJ maybe a platoon with Prado or using him for double switches will help every once in a while.

    But all that taken together does not solve the need for a right handed bat. And the only right handed bat in our minor league system that looks to be a strong possibility of a plus offensive player just took the train to the Southside.

    Dunn, Burrell, Dye, Ludwick. Any could help. All have limitations. But they will help us against left handers.

    Further on Ludwick, he might be able to platoon partner in center on days against lefties and let Diaz play right and Schafer sit. Then, against right handers, let him play right and sit Francoeur and play either Diaz or B. Jones in left.

  162. I should add that there is value even to a struggling team to having an innings eater. Last year, the Braves were forced to overuse Jurrjens and overexpose Morton just to make it through the season.

  163. I hate thinking about ’03. Stinking Cubs. I do like thinking of the Yankees losing. But then I remember that Mark Redman got a ring and I get confused.

    We still had Greggy in ’03, didn’t we? One last Hurrah.

  164. Maddux was still pretty good in 2003. Also, that team knocked the shit out of the ball night after night–Sheffield was a slightly more productive right fielder than Frenchy as I recall. He had more home runs by himself than last years outfield combined.

  165. Yeah, ’03 was a great opportunity for Atlanta, but remember, Smoltz wouldn’t have been able to pitch after the NLDS. You could tell he was in near-agony trying to close that Game 4 vs the Cubs.

    Alright Aubies, who’s next?

  166. Then what the Braves need to do is acquire Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer and Furcal and not pay attention to the fact that their best positions are now covered by Chipper, BMac, and Esco, right?

    Oh, don’t be obtuse. I’m not advocating reckless FA signings and you know it. If those guys were available at the FA prices we are talking about, yeah, I’d do that in a minute, and figure out a place to play them or trade them for what I need midyear. We do not have a credible power offense, outside of two guys who for various reasons, will only play in 80% of the games. The entire outfield is a black hole. We can A: trade for quality players, requiring money and prospects, or B: invest in a guy like Dunn or two to restore credibility to the team for next year, who cost just money. Team stays competitive, minor league OF’s grow up (or not) in 2010, and we go from there.

  167. *sigh* Oh well.

    Do you guys really think Diaz can return to good form? I’m not sure if I think this year was a fluke, or if he’s just been figured out. Seems like he’s got some pretty obvious issues in his swing.

  168. LOL@ Clemson. Do you think its too late for them to pull the rug out from under that WR coach they promoted?

  169. @225..

    Our enemies Tennessee (29-9) and Auburn (36-0) lie in smoking ruin..

    Recent nemesis LSU has slipped off the rails and looks shakier by the day..

    The SEC Championship Game and potentially the BCS Championship await..

    Good freakin’ year.

    Roll Tide!!

  170. @225

    They’ve been waiting to do that for a long time, but Tuberville wouldn’t cooperate by losing to Bama. Finally they have the political cover they needed. Stupid, petty Auburn.

  171. LSU looks to me like they lost their highly regarded starting QB to brainlessness and are going to be just fine once their legs grow back.

    Auburn, yikes I think the road back was already going to be a long one, and now its going to be even worse.

    Tennesee – yea the rest of the SEC truly has laid waste to that program.

  172. #216, if Beckett were on this year’s free agent market at Burnett prices, I think you’d call him an Expensive Question Mark, the sort of thing only two or three teams in the sport can even think about affording. The Braves are very far from poor, but we can really only afford an Expensive Proven Commodity or a Cheap Question Mark.

    Then again, take a look at Beckett’s contract: 3 years, $30 million, $12 million club option for 2010. That’s almost inordinately reasonable. If the Braves could have Burnett for that kind of money, I’d say yes in a heartbeat. But Burnett’s looking at getting a great deal more.

  173. This is slightly off topic, but…

    Does anyone think Mark Mangino’s wife still has sex with him or is she just sticking around for the money at this point?

    It’d probably be like straddling an innertube with the intake valve pointing up while floating on Lake Lanier (if you’ve ever done this, it’s unpleasant).

  174. @233, Dix, in a rational world, you’d be right, but LSU is about 1.5 losses to Nick Saban from the fans turning on the Head Coach and Les Miles fleeing north to rescue Michigan from the disaster of RichRod.

    Then it’s all up to who the new boss will be and that can go any number of ways… Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Shula.. ugh

  175. @238

    We were talking about college coaches.

    @239

    And I don’t really think Les Miles would net out more wins over his career at Michigan than Rich Rod will end up with. If you switched Rich Rod and Paul Johnson, I think Michigan and GT’s records remain unchanged. Rich Rod has a proven track record for taking his teams forward out the mess he gets them into when he first comes on board. I think he will have little trouble doing so at Michigan.

  176. I agree with those who believe we should sign Adam Dunn at a relative bargain and worry about the lineup’s left-handedness later.

    Let’s just start by hitting well enough to beat righthanders first and then we can make in-season trades to address the need for righthanded batting. How about that?

  177. David Ross? All our problems are solved!

    Seriously, maybe McCann will still be useful when he’s 30.

  178. I don’t mind it. Ross is a significant upgrade over Miller in my opinion. He may not hit for a high average but his career average is still about 50 points better than Corky. The real question is what could Sammons have done as a full time backup? Seems like the Braves didn’t have enough confidence in him to find out.

  179. David Ross… hits right-handed… throws out runners at a 38-percent rate (as opposed to B-Mac’s 22-percent)… has a positively Frenchy-like career OPS (744 to JF’s 746)… was born in Georgia.

    Sounds like a Brave to me.

  180. @208-12, basically

    I agree with Dix (when he was talking about, um, baseball) that the rotation in question could work if we had a much better lineup. As I see it, the Braves have just enough resources to be pretty good, but not even necessarily very good. Now, all of these prognostications could change immediately if Hanson emerges as a bona fide quality major leaguer this season, but that is an enormous, if not unlikely ‘if.’

    In the end the rotation will probably be decent but not great. I think folks here have a tendency to overvalue Jurrjens, who, while a nice young pitcher, may even regress a bit (I’d happily eat that remark next summer, of course). In any event, three quality pitchers–one injury prone–and a few kids does not a great rotation make. It would be an improvement over last year’s horrorshow, but that’s not saying much.

  181. David Ross (Bainbridge) would join the following roster of ATL Braves born south of the Macon-Dixon line (which runs from Columbus through Macon and to Augusta):

    JD Drew (Valdosta)
    Gary Cooper (Savannah)
    Don Collins (Lyons)
    Matt Childers (Douglas)
    Willie Harris (Cairo)
    Gerald Perry (Savannah)
    John Rocker (Statesboro)
    Jason Shiell (Savannah)
    Eddie “Buddy J” Solomon (Perry)

    Including the cities on the line, we can add Tim Hudson and Jeff Treadway (Columbus), Blue Moon Odom (Macon), and Macay McBride (Augusta).

    Can’t quite field a team. You can get closer by including Russell Branyan (Warner Robins) thanks to his 2-week stint in Richmond.

    C — David Ross
    1B — Gerald Perry
    2B — Jeff Treadway
    SS — Willie Harris
    3B — Russell Branyan
    LF — Gary Cooper
    CF — vacant
    RF — J.D. Drew
    SP — Tim Hudson
    SP — Blue Moon Odom
    CL — John Rocker

    eh. Took too long to get that result….

  182. He could do a passable Eddie Perez impression I suppose. On the other hand, his similar batters through age 31 include John Russell AND Ernie Whitt *shudder*

  183. I have warmed up to this trade since Morton was not included, not that I think he is great, but he showed some promise in a few starts. I thought we would hold onto Flowers longer and try to get a stud for him, but this isn’t bad.

    The Tigers catcher is intriguing, He cant be worse than Corky Miller, impossible to be worse than Corky.

  184. Your right, at this time no, but i was hoping he would be in a package for another top player, Maybe Flowers and Schafer headlining a trade for some other player, but Flowers is just an A ball hero so it is not a bad trade.
    I think its that I dont like Vasquez much, he was run out of NY (where I live) and it seems like he is just incredibly, consistently, average.

    He is an improvement for our rotation though, but that is not hard to be better than Campillo and Reyes.

  185. RE Vazquez–an innings eater is also valuable b/c he reduces wear and tear on the pen. Just think back to all the threads moaning and groaning about 5 inning outings from Chucky, Glavine, and others.

  186. Ross is no Hamster–he has a low BA but ok walk rate and power give him an OPS over 700–but 3.5m seems a bit rich. Especially b/c the power may have disappeared.

  187. Is there anyway that instead of Burnett, Sheets could be had on a 2 or 3 year deal for say $12-$13MM per ?? I’d much rather do that.

  188. i dont really understand why adam dunn vs. lefties is such a problem. in approximately 2 1/2 seasons facing lefties (about 1500 ab’s), he has had a .360 obp and averaged about 32 home runs and 80 rbi’s. for a lefty/lefty matchup, that is pretty solid considering our own kelly johnson and chipper jones numbers drop off dramatically. anyway, i guess it’s moot considering that we arent interested in dunn anyway.
    http://tinyurl.com/57ybwv

  189. 280 — I’ve been curious about what Sheets is planning on doing. Wonder if he’ll sign for a one year deal to show he can make it a full year or if he’ll take a bit of a lower rate because of his injuries.

  190. @282 – his slugging is about 50 points lower against lefties. We need more power against the lefties b/c our main power threat is Chipper (much more power from the left side).

  191. Wonder what Greg Olson is doing? He has to be better than these guys. Maybe Damond Berryhill? Hell, dig up Roy Campanella.

  192. IF we aren’t interested in Dunn, Wren is smoking crack and probably is considering signing Campy.

  193. FYI Corky Miller has batted .092 in the last five years in the majors. Gotta be a record of some kind for position players, wouldn’t you think?

    (And by “of some kind”, I’m thinking “lowest 5-year batting average for a position player”. In case that wasn’t clear.)

  194. Can somebody do an analysis on the seasons with the fewest amount of right handed hitting outfielders? It seems like right now almost everybody could use a right handed outfield bat. I understand that outfield tends to be more left handed because throwing handedness has little effect on outfield defense as opposed to infield(sans firstbase where it’s better to be a lefty) and catcher, but it seems like there’s an anomaly of a shortage of right handed hitting outfielder these days. As much as I like KJ, I almost think he’s wasting a spot that could be filled with a right handed bat, I just wish Prado could play defense, his bat isn’t great, but it’s above average. He had plenty of ABs this past year and seemed to me to be pretty productive.

  195. Let’s make sure one thing is clear: Kelly Johnson’s bat is emphatically NOT blocking some RH-hitting 2B who could come anywhere near his production. I’d be shocked if KJ was worse against LHP than Martin Prado is. Unless you want to shell out 8 digits for Orlando Hudson (and on some teams, he’s probably worth that), you’re not going to get a better option at 2B if you’re the Braves.

  196. Dunn is not the issue, but putting Dunn between Chipper and McCann will only mean the two will face lefties exclusively late in the game, which is not an ideal situation.

  197. Point taken. Forgive an early morning negative comment–but I am less than excited that we are closing in on Ross and saying no to Dunn.

  198. You know, it will never happen, but that Milton Bradley guy can hit a little bit from both sides of the plate. Career .303/.387/.504/.890 against LH, and he’s relatively inexpensive, He’s a Type B free agent which should drive the price down a bit, but a draft pick the Braves can certainly afford to give, and he can even do a CF impersonation in a pinch. Led the AL in OPS+ last year. What’s not to like?

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bradlmi01.shtml

  199. Injury history and defense are the main knocks, as I understand it. Personally, I’d be in favor of signing him, and I’d trust Bobby to make his “attitude” work. But there is a pretty serious injury risk. Would probably depend, as always, on the cost.

  200. I think that the Bobby will never go for Bradley because of his possible impact on the clubhouse–that is, his ‘attitude’.

    To go back to a previous point, the cost for a player like Ross is rather steep. I would rather have given Sammons a chance or go try to find Bryan Pena….

  201. AAR–I was surprised to learn that the Yale Daily News is under attack on the Talking Chop website….and not without some justification….

  202. The other issue with Bradley is that he wants a multi-year contract and is on the record as stating that he will retire rather than take another one year contract as he did last year.

    Other than that, he’d be a nice fit (offensively that is; I have no idea about the clubhouse) in our lineup…

  203. #294

    Correct that. He WAS crazy.

    Now he’s on meds (i joke, i think).

    but Bradley makes far too much sense for us. it’s either him or Manny or a trade.

    Manny will cost the moon and IS crazy.

    a trade? for whom? honestly? guillen? haha. who would be available? maggs? please. we could have included medlen or locke and gotten him or dye from the white sox in our recent trade if we were going down that road.

    delmon young? possibly. but that guy’s a superstar waiting to happen and the twins are gonna want escobar AND a pitcher for him. nope, pass.

    i would love to get Vernon Wells, but it would require at least Escobar and probably one of Medlen, Locke, or Roborough AND either Schafer or Herndandez.

  204. Francoeur and Soriano + a good prospect would probably get Maggs.

    Milton Bradley would be an excellent pick up. We’d be hurting when he and Chipper were on the DL together though.

  205. Anybody seen the yearly breakdown on the Ross contract? Is it $1.75M per year, or is it more in one year than the other?

  206. I would think being a bad team is a worse effect on the clubhouse, but then, I’m not a “gamer.” I guess losing with guys like Francoeur is preferable.

    And I suspect we would have to give up a LOT more than that to get Maggs.

  207. Oof. Yeah, YDN columns mostly sucked when I was there, but this one just hurt my eyes to read. I’m guessing he wrote it in about 15 minutes. Someone needs to tell this guy that the P is for the P in Pierson College, not for the quality of writing.

  208. I keep hearing we need an outfielder. Unless Jordan Schaefer is ready to start in 2009, don’t we actually need THREE outfielders?

  209. I’m not sure we would, Adam M. He’s owed $18 million next season, and the Tigers are looking to shed salary and acquire a closer, among other things. If they think Soriano’s healthy, I can see that being the sort of deal that would interest them.

  210. Yes, we do need 3 but we don’t need them all in 2009. One OF would be a good start while we wait for Schafer to become the second OF. And unfortunately, Francoeur is going to be the 3rd OF whether we like it or not.

  211. #301

    that’s an AWFUL lot for a 34 year old outfielder that is no more than a DH right now in terms of Defensive ability.

    #306

    if i remember correctly, the last year of his contract, he is owed something like 20 million.

    what about a deal like this:

    Marcus Thames
    Dontrelle Willis

    for

    G. Herndandez (send him back to them)
    B. Jones
    Morton
    Marek

    we get a LF in Thames who is Right-Handed and who hit 25 HRs last year and a LH pitcher who can eat some innings. Yes, I know it’s Willis and yes, I know he has been a bust…but his mechanics are all messy and I think that getting him in our system could provide benefits. Not to mention getting him out of the AL. The Tigers would have to eat some of his salary (say 4 million?) but three of those players COULD be on their opening day roster. Hernandez would allow them to move Granderson over to LF and putting Maggs in Right. Marek will be a good arm for them.

  212. Chris- Why would an established ML player on an expensive contract cost more than an established ML player who is cost-controlled for the next 5 years? Wells is a bit better with the bat than Escobar, but he also plays a more hitter-friendly defensive position and is on the wrong side of the age curve. He’s had one monster year, but for the most part, he seems to me like a guy who will OPS around .800 and .850, which isn’t all THAT much better than Escobar.

    Moreover, the Jays need a CF way more than they need a SS. Why are we even discussing this?

    What the- … Now you want Marcus Thames and Dontrelle Willis? A 31-year-old platoon LF and a SP who hasn’t been good since 2006, both under contract for real money, and you want to give up anything of value? Yeesh. Thames is a useful bench/platoon guy, but what’s he going to do that Matt Diaz can’t approximate? And even then, that’s no reason to give up a projectable prospect like Gorkys Hernandez.

    As for Willis, well, given his contract, he’s clearly got negative value. :-)

  213. Seriously on Ross? This has to be some kind of joke.

    Does every team waste this kind of money on replacement level players?

  214. Maggs doesn’t strike out a lot does he?

    My point in giving up Francoeur and Soriano is to get rid of Francoeur and Soriano, the prospect is to distract them from the fact that they’re getting a black hole of suck and a damaged $6mil closer with a bad elbow.

    Francouer just has to go and Soriano costs $6mil that we probably don’t need to spend. Moylan, Gonzalez, Soriano and Smoltz is a bit of an overkill in the bullpen.

    Although, between the 4 of them you could probably find the parts to one good working elbow, so maybe we need all of them?

  215. Ordonez makes $18 million this year and then has club options for $15 million in the next two years (with buyouts of $3 million and $0, respectively).

    Thames/Willis…wow. Just wow. That would be awful.

  216. BTW – Apparently Khalil Greene was traded for two relief prospects. But, I haven’t seen any names.

  217. lets try this one more time. Rosenthal reporting that the Giants signed Renty. This time is $18.5 mil for 2 years

    dont really see how the Giants could offer CC a $100 mil contract now. Man this teams just gets older and slower every year

  218. I haven’t seen this posted on here. I might have missed it, though, so if this is old news, I apologize, but the final deal for Vazquez was:

    Braves get:
    Javier Vazquez
    Boone Logan

    White Sox get:
    Brent Lillibridge
    Tyler Flowers
    Santos Rodriguez
    Jon Gilmore

    I know there was some confusion the other day about which people we were including. We did not include Reyes.

    This is from Peanut’s write-up after the press conference:
    http://tinyurl.com/5cqdyu

  219. Also, I may have missed it since I have not been on the site much since the trade, but can we have one final homage to the Batboy?

  220. A modest proposal to Mac:

    Would you consider adding a link to Cot’s Baseball Contracts? There’s really no need to speculate on various players’ contract status in these discussions — it’s all right here in virtual black and white:

    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/

  221. I almost didn’t want to bring it to people’s attention — you can win a lot of arguments and push your own agenda when you have more useful facts at your immediate disposal. :)

  222. Per DOB,

    I asked Frank if Ohman was off the table now and he said no, but answer led me to believe Ohman is not a priority now that Braves have added two lefties, this Boone Logan cat they got in the Vazquez trade and the O’Flaherty kid they claimed off waivers recently.

  223. Oh, right, like none of you have spent countless hours on the Mangino thing.

    Just think Peter and Lois Griffin.

  224. Soriano’s problem wasn’t mysterious, except that the Braves think that the M in MRI stands for “magic” and that anything it doesn’t see isn’t real. Soriano had a displaced nerve, as was instantly visible when Dr. Andrews actually opened up his elbow. He should be fine, and there’s no reason to blame him for the Braves’ obtuseness.

  225. But do we need to carry Smoltz Soriano Gonzalez and Moylan? I realize that when healthy that would provide us with a pretty good 6,7,8,9 innings on a day the 5th starter goes 5 innings, but it seems like a bit of an overkill.

  226. Mac, you’re killing me with suspense as I await your pick for THE GAME. Are you going to Hotlanta?

  227. From Matt Hinton-

    “Tuberville was 85-40 over 10 years, had the 11th-highest win percentage in the country and third-best in the SEC in the eight years between his first season (1999) and his last, went undefeated in 2004, had a winning record against top-10 and top-25 teams and beat Alabama six straight times.”

  228. lol….

    By David O’Brien

    December 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Link to this

    By the way, forgot to mention the highlight of this morning’s press conference: When Frank introduced Vazquez as “Javy Lopez.” He immediately realized the mistake and everyone including Vazquez chuckled as Wren put his arm around him and explained that they had been talking about Javy Lopez that morning.

  229. This might be old, but did anyone see Lane Kiffin’s press conference a few days ago? I swear he looked like the kid who throws the party when his parents are out of town and uses it to try to get laid.

    Tennessee’s only hope is that Monte is coming with him to lay down the law

  230. If his $11mil isn’t comforting enough to him I’m sure he feels a little bit warmer and fuzzier knowing he is pitching in a city that won’t give a shit about his performance, or at least, if it does give a shit, won’t let him hear about it on a daily basis like the old job.

  231. Lane Kiffin… Well, there is a certain American political figure whom I won’t name but you can look up, who was described (when he, the commentator, and I were all a lot younger than we are now) as “An old person’s idea of what a young person should be”. That’s Lane Kiffin.

  232. Some love for the Braves scouting department in KLaws chat today:

    Nathan, KY: How would you rank the top 5 braves prospects? Hanson, Howard, Freeman, Shaefer, Hernandez? Where does their system rank leaguewide?

    Keith Law: Heyward, Hanson, Schafer, Freeman, Rohrbough, Hernandez, Locke. After that there’s a big dropoff. Roy Clark and his staff have done a pretty incredible job to end up with a top 7 like that after the Teixeira and Vazquez trades.

    It’s true. They do a helluva job.

    Though I didn’t think Medlin was that far behind the rest.

  233. DOB, in his blog, says that Smoltz intends to start next year if possible. Also, his timetable for recovery has apparently moved up.

  234. Leading the team in saves doesn’t really mean much if it’s only because you get the ball in the 9th. If Gonzo or Smoltz got the ball in the 9th, I bet they’d have any many saves as Soriano will get.

    I’ve got nothing against Soriano or having a deep pen with multiple guys who can pitch the 8th or 9th. I just wonder if it’s worth carrying 4 guys of that caliber and the expense that goes with them. If Smoltz is going to start though, I’m all for a 7th 8th 9th of Moylan, Gonzalez and Soriano.

    When does Moylan get back?

  235. Kris Medlen looks good, but I would not be surprised to see him challenged first by Heath and second by Diamond for the best pitching prospect in the upper reaches of the farm system.

    That said, I would take Evarts (if healthy) over all about Hanson and Rohrbough….

  236. Also from the DOB blog:

    Wren on the outfield bat pursuit: “Pitching’s most important, but we do need another run-producing bat. It may come down to something that happens even during spring training or during the season. We’re focused on trying to do something obviously before that and putting our team together, but we’re not going to do something just for the sake of doing something.”

    I would be really happy if we did not force a veteran acquisition just so we can have a right handed bat in lf.

  237. Mac,

    What’s you’re worry with Gonzalez? I always though the second year after Tommy John was when a pitcher reached pre-surgery form.

  238. Usually. But Gonzalez has always had injury problems. So has Soriano, of course, but I just have a better feeling about him. Heck, he was better than Gonzalez last year even though he was throwing with his arm tied up in knots.

  239. I don’t expect Smoltz to be healthy for a while, but I would like a rotation of the following pretty well:

    Smoltz
    Burnett
    Vazquez
    Jurrjens
    Campillo/Morton/Reyes (Hanson by June?)

    You’ve gotta’ think we’ll include at least one of the 5th starters in a trade soon.

  240. My ideal scenario at this point:

    We sign Burnett, re-sign Smoltz and Norton, and let Ohman walk. We trade something like Reyes and Prado for Ludwick. That’s less than $90 million.

    So we use what’s left to sign Jurrjens, Yunel, and KJ to long-term deals. (Maybe we also extend Gonzalez or Soriano, if they’re healthy.)

    We’re probably not a playoff team in ’09 without some really good breaks (Ludwick repeating his ’08, Smoltz being able to start, everyone staying mostly healthy, etc.), but we’re competitive, and we’re absolutely set up to make a run over the next few years.

  241. A Yankee fan to me: If you [the Braves] sign Burnett, you’re crazy!

    Me: If we do & you don’t sign Sabathia, then your rotation might be worse than ours.

  242. Thanks Marc L. Then I doubt that Jurrjens can be signed to a long term contract at this stage.

    That said, I hope that we sign Burnett and hang onto Soriano. I like the idea of a deep pen….

  243. By mid-August I expect us to be out of the race. And I think Hudson will be brought back extremely slowly if that’s the case. Rigid pitch count limits would be in order. There is no reason to force him back. I’d rather let him sit the entire year and then pitch in the offseason after about 14 months have passed since his surgery. Why rush him back unless we’re in the playoff hunt?

  244. if we had a healthy smoltz and if he was able to start, and if we were making strides to the playoffs, an august rotation of burnett, hudson, vazquez, smoltz, jurrjens is unbelievable. oh, the ever elusive pipedream that is the braves.

  245. Parish-

    At this point, LF is Brandon Jones/Matt Diaz/whichever of Blanco/Anderson isn’t in center. RF is Frenchy. This is the same OF that colossally sucked last year, and Frenchy not being historically bad next year (and I don’t think he’ll replicate his most recent performance) will only improve it so much. If they don’t add another corner OF bat, the only thing that could save the OF would be Schafer really taking off, and I tend to think he’ll struggle with the bat his first time (or two) around in the bigs.

  246. geez, if Smoltz can come back and start for us it would be huge. They said they should know by Christmas what the plans are for John.

    For some reason Im trying to convince myself of why he wouldnt be effective after this surgery, but then I just look at his performance with that damaged shoulder and it erases most of those doubts. Smoltz is too good of a competitor and he wont come back to be average. Until he puts up an ERA over 3.5, which hasnt been done since 1995, I wont doubt him

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