Brian McCann

Brian McCann Statistics –

Pretty impressive. Brian wasn’t quite as good as he was in 2006, but that’s largely a function of a few singles that didn’t drop in this time. His walk rate was slightly higher and his isolated power only a little bit lower (fewer homers but more doubles, seventh in the league) and he’s established that this is his true level, and that 2007 was an injury year. He’s the best catcher in the league, and the question of the best catcher in baseball is between him and Mauer.

The most worrisome thing is workload. Brian caught in 138 games last year (also playing in seven other games where he just pinch-hit). Six of those games were in “relief”, pinch-hitting for Corky Miller or Clint Sammons and staying in the game. Those names give the clue as to why Brian played so much; the reserves were so awful that the Braves were usually losing when they played, and if the game was close enough he’d eventually pinch-hit for them. The season wore on him; though his batting averages stayed constant, his power basically disappeared in the last two months of the season, when he hit just three homers in August and none in September or October. Competent reserve play is a must.

McCann is painfully slow, of course, but is one of the smartest baserunners on the team. In addition to his triple last year, he was 5-5 on stolen base attempts… Gets a lot of grief for his fielding that is probably not deserved. He’s not a great fielder, but he’s not a disaster, either, and while his throwing hasn’t been great, it’s not any worse than most catchers these days. He should do better, though.

Career extra base hits for a catcher through age 24:

1 Johnny Bench 308
2 Ivan Rodriguez 237
3 Ted Simmons 225
4 Joe Torre 196
5 Brian McCann 192
6 Fred Carroll 189
7 Gary Carter 165
8 Frankie Hayes 161
9 Butch Wynegar 148
10 Earl Williams 147

222 thoughts on “Brian McCann”

  1. here’s my contribution to the player analysis for Brian McCann:

    Brian McCann, unlike Jake Peavy, is not a little girl.

  2. Seeing Butch Wynegar on that list takes me back to my days as a burgeoning young baseball card entrepreneur. Did you know that Wynegar’s 1977 Topps rookie card was the most valuable card in the set for a couple of years? I had, like, five of them, and they were among the very first cards in my collection that went into plastic sleeves. He was going to be a star. And then he wasn’t. My empire lay in ruins. Until 1979, when the Bob Horner rookie card took the universe by storm!

  3. Tell me again why we don’t groom McCann for some serious time at 1B.

    Somewhat related, I saw where Saltalamachia hit a walk-off in some Caribbean league game yesterday. Gotta love those unis.

  4. Thankfully baseball has a rule of one player per position or the persistent “move Chipper/McCann to first” crowd would be suggesting moving them both there simultaneously.

    It is beyond time to accept that neither Chipper Jones nor Brian McCann is moving to first base anytime in the foreseeable future.

  5. Actually, there’s no such rule. You have to have a pitcher and you have to have a catcher, but the other seven guys can go pretty much wherever they want as long as it’s in fair territory.

  6. McCann will be dead if he catches 140 games this year.

    If he has to play 10 games a year at first base, I am fine with it. He should DH more in the interleage games.

    He really isn’t that great behind the plate and it does matter. He is getting better though, which is a good sign.

  7. Adam M — if you ever happen to run into Rick Court (one of many assistant professors, I’m sure) you should bring up the Braves just to hear him spout off about “Satan’s Team.” He’s a Dodgers fan.

  8. ububba — ahh, the Kevin Maas upper deck rookie card. A friend of mine with no interest in card collecting had one and I couldn’t pry it away from him (he figured it must be valuable if I was trying so hard). Joke’s on both of us considering the cards from when I was a kid aren’t worth squat anymore.

  9. The only problem with DHing McCann is that we need the backup catcher to bat. Chipper usually needs to DH every so often.

  10. I paid a pretty penny for a Jose Cruz, Jr. rookie card at one point in my youth. Also, my Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, and Mark McGwire rookie cards were looking pretty sweet for a while.

  11. I also had 7 or 8 Rickey Henderson rookie cards, which managed to hold their value quite well. Unfortunately, after my freshman year in college I had to sell my entire collection at bargain basement prices to my best friend in order to pay the exorbitant phone bill I had amassed calling my girlfriend back home.

    I caught up with him not long ago — he bought a house last year that’s worth about 3.5x what mine is. Lest ye think the lessons of youth are not echoed through history….

  12. My “Classic” Bo Jackson in Auburn pads and a bat was worth a bit at one time.

    I think I’ve still got a ton of Juan Gonzalez’s upper deck rookie. heh heh.

  13. I built a collection of Barry Sanders rookie cards. I’ve still got it, but have no idea what they’re worth. Football cards, what was I thinking?

  14. Cool, four of those catchers played for Atlanta. Some at more effective points in their career than others.

    I was a HUGE card collector between ’79 and ’89. I have boxes full of notebooks, plastic/glass sleeves, and unopened sets in my closet. I am patiently waiting for the next Golden Era when a new generation of mothers throw out their sons’ collections.

  15. With McCann, I can at least understand the reasoning of some people, although their persistence in the face of reality is still a little bit bemusing. It’s not as if he’s gonna take a few ground balls during batting practice and then all of a sudden be able to play the position. Shouldn’t he be working on his defensive catching ability? Besides, playing him at first on days he’s not catching wouldn’t really be a day off now, would it?

    Moving Chipper has never made any sense and never will on any level. He’s currently one of the best fielding third basemen in the league. Why in the hell would you move him? So that you could bring in a guy who is almost certainly going to be worse there, and move Chipper to a strange position, thereby ruining his defensive value? It’s non-sensical. Signing Pendleton and Castilla and moving him were both incredibly awful moves, so why in the hell would we even think about doing it again??? I’m almost glad that we gave up half the farm system for Tex for the sole reason that we didn’t have to hear any of that silliness for the last year and a half. It was very refreshing.

  16. My dad got a ball autographed by Eddie Mathews when he was a kid. But then one day he and his brother didnt have a ball to play catch with, so they used that ball. He was only like 10 at the time so you can’t blame him too much. Its pretty scratched up, but you can still make out the signature.

  17. I know those of you on the other side of hearing from us supposed idiots on this, but can you pay attention?

    The “move Chipper to first” thing is mostly driven by his penchant for injury, and secondarily by the apprearnce that other decent options for 3rd base might be appearing in the upper minors (first, Marte, then Eric that was at MB last year). Chipper is NOT an elite fielder. He is about average, maybe just under, for a 3rd baseman. However the stupidity of the “move Chipper” now is that there are no decent options, he doesn’t have many years left, his injuries mostly occur in running the bases or swinging the bat, not fieldering, and his surplus offensive value is greater at 3rd.

    “Move McCann” does not have to result in
    permanent movement. Trading Flowers makes the mechanics of that difficult. however, it “could” have made sense to have a “one day catch, one day first” arrangement with Flowers and McCann. That way, each player could approach 150 games a year and keep their bats active.

  18. One thing that Mac’s table on the opening shows is just how great Bench was, particularly early in his career.

  19. Bench was unreal.

    “I’m drunk. I’m raising hell. That’s what I do.”

    I haven’t been an autograph guy in a long time, but I do own some of Dominique Wilkins’ collegiate record collection, complete with his signature on each LP: Dominique Jacques Wilkins. (Lotsa Gap Band & Lakeside.)

    Why? Similar to Sansho1’s story, it involves a phone bill, a girlfriend & a broke-ass student.

  20. On the “tertiary options” for a starting pitcher (Wolf, Garland, WTF, What’s his name, etc.)

    Frank Wren,

    “Your and idiot” (populr phrase from DOB’s blog) if you want one of these guys.

    1. You currently have (in order of ability and likelihood as of first game in April) Charlie Morton, Tommy Hanson, Chuck James, Jo Jo Reyes all under team control to fill the back of the rotation. If James is healthy, he is as good as any of “the tertiaries”. Reyes, I am less certain. Hanson is o.k. for that level (of “the tertiaries”) now (Braves may want to hold him down until June to not “burn a year”) and Morton is already as good as that crowd.

    2. You have Vazques and Jurrjens who CLEARLY are better than any of “the tertiaries”, so they would only slot 3, 4, or 5.

    3. You have Glavine that you could take a flyer on (2 M incentives to 8) that probably has a 50 % chance of being as good as the average of “the tertiaries” but on an incentive laden deal that only pays big money if you get useful production and with better fan reaction and attendance.

    4. You have Smoltz who COULD be close to his old self, (but who knows there) He will probably expect the Braves to compete [AND I DON’T BLAME HIM] but he could still be on a one year deal. But, the the big money clubs might just take a flyer.

    6. You have Bennett, Carlyle, Parr, Todd Richmond etc. at least one of whom might be as good as the tertiaries).

    7. You have Medlin and Marek (who hasn’t started and maybe shouldn’t start) who just posted sub 1 WHIP’s in AFL.

    If we can’t get a pitcher at a reasonable price, and if the Phillies and other idiots don’t ruin the OF / DH market, then go for offense: Short contract offers for Burrell and maybe Giambi. Then, extend the “younguns” you want to extend, and hope for lightning in a bottle in 2009, but plan for 2010.

    Do not let the “dregs of pitchanity” use up chunks of money that can actually help the team.

  21. Use the money not wasted on Garland or Wolf to sign Smoltz. Wouldn’t that be much more preferable? Than, say, the Braves signing Wolf, not having enough money to sign Smoltz, and him being a Red Sox? Does Wren really want to be the GM to let Smoltz leave?

  22. @34, Dan,

    Without getting into the “bearded icon” stuff (or sentimantality, just hard common sense), even though signing Smoltz has more risk for 2009, it is no more risk than signing the “dregs of pitchanity”. And, none of the “dregs” is coming on less than a 3 year contract.

    The hard view is that if you guaranteed Smoltz 8 million right now, he would be more likely to produce 180 or so innings of well above league average pitching than any of the “dregs”. And next year, you are open to move in a youngster or to bring Smoltz back.

  23. I accept that I was wrong about history from last thread. Oh well. When I wrote that post, there was a thought in my head suggesting that I look it up, and then I made an executive decision not to. I stand by that choice.

    Also, yes, Brian McCann makes me squeal with glee just because I know that he’s on my team.

  24. 2:45pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post says both teams have guaranteed five years. The Yankees are offering “just beyond” $80MM and the Braves at least that amount. Sherman believes those to be the best and final offers and expects Burnett to choose sometime between today and Monday.

    so what are we pulling for??

  25. @33 – if we can’t get Burnett or Sheets, I can understand your point, but I still think we need another pitcher that is major league ready to start the year and to take us into next year. I would prefer someone with a similar upside to Jurrjens and defintely don’t want Wolf or Garland. Your plan is to start the year in similar fashion to last year (with the same injury risks (exept Hampton) and a little less depth (no Hudson this year)). Maybe it will work, but I’m not too confident.

  26. td @ 42,

    No, my proposal is not a PLAN to go into next year on that basis, but a willingness to do so to avoid something worse.

    I fully believe that Burnett is good enough to justify paying real money. Also, Peavy (although I don’t want to pay Towers’ price). Sheets, however, only on a VERY incentive driven deal. He has been VERY limited in innings every year since about 2004. He is a better pitcher, when healthy, than Burnett or Peavy. But, the Braves acnnot afford to waste payroll.


    Several posts on differenet sites the past few days have put out the number of 85 over 5 as Yankeees’ offer for Burnett. If ours is 80 million over 5, it is actually more net money to him (state and local income tax adjusted, only). We should offer an extra 50,000 each year to equalize his agent (because he gets his on the “gross” rather than net of tax and that would about get him equal) and call their bluff.

    Then, if all he wants to do is stay in AL or if he strongly prefers the Yankees, he can go.

    BUT THEN, if he goes, don’t sign the “dregs of pitchanity”. How is it better to spend 10 million to win 73 games instead of 70? Or maybe get two of them for $20 million and win 76?

    If we pitch Morton, Hanson, James,and Reyes we will find out which ones are not “keepers.” Then, next offseason, we go after another pitcher.

  27. I’m very ambivalent. Somehow, Burnett worries me because I’m not sure he has the cojones to be an ace. Last year he pitched behind Halladay; in NY he would pitch behind CC. He might be better off doing that even though pitching in NY is no picnic regardless. He certainly has the talent but I really worry about paying big money after a career year. (True, the Braves in a sense did that with Maddux but he was younger and clearly on the incline.) I almost think the Braves would be better off making due with a lesser, cheaper pitcher and hope that they young arms (Hanson and Jurrjens) keep developing. Winning in 2009 seems like a longshot anyway.

  28. I would kind of rather do the Sheets-Abreu plan forwarded in the last thread, but I still think Burnett will be a grand acquisition for whoever lands him. I think he might actually be better than Peavy next year, if Jake gets to move out of Petco and the NL West.

  29. MLBTR is saying that Burnett just signed with the Yankees. According to ESPN 5/$82.5. Let’s go for Sheets.

  30. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Yankees have signed A.J. Burnett to a five-year, $82.5MM deal.

    Oh well. Thank God it is over though.

  31. Re Burnett–YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Far too big a risk for the Braves to give 5 yrs/$82.5m. The Yanks have a different budget constraint …

  32. Actually, I am a little bummed about Burnett. I hope it does not lead to panic moves. If we do not get the top of the rotation starter, though, I fear we will have totally wasted Tyler Flowers.

  33. Can’t say I’m terribly disappointed. Now that the Cubs are out of the equation for Peavy, I think the Pads and Braves both desperately need to get something done. If we get Peavy w/o giving up Escobar, I will be as happy as R Kelly at a Hannah Montana show.

  34. Parish we traded Flowers for a #2/3 guy, it couldnt have gotten better

    I dont know how I should feel right now

  35. csg – It could have gotten better if the #2/3 guy only improves us from a 70 win team to a 75 win team. I would rather save our trade chips for something that matters.

  36. 54 — ha!

    I’m glad we’re not paying that much for him, though I do fear the panic move(s)…

    Let’s buy some outfielders.

  37. Parish,
    The innings Vazquez will give us will be very valuable. I think that was a good trade whether or not we make additional moves.

    I just hope we don’t sign Randy Wolf for $10 million a year or trade Yunel for Greinke.

    I think I want Ollie Perez. What’s wrong with me?

  38. Why does Brian Cashman get away with all his bad signings?

    I really hope this doesn’t lead to a Randy Wolf sighting. Sad organization the Braves are now I guess. They’re begging all these free agents to take these millions of dollars and no one is doing it.

  39. Yunel for Greinke would be a lot worse than Yunel for Peavy, a pitcher who could be with us for five years.

  40. Id take Smoltz, Perez, and Hanson to round out the rotation. I dont want Perez at 5yr/70 mil though. I also think we should have some interest in Abreu, Bradley, manny, and Lowe now

  41. I know he was hesitant to be our ace, but as far as pressure goes, I think being a #2 pitcher in NY is worse than being a #1 for most ball clubs.

    I don’t hate the Yankees like I used to, but I really hope to see them lose a lot of games next year. This is getting ridiculous.

  42. Parish-

    Na, I hear he’s pretty dumb. :-)

    Also, DOB reports that Chucky was non-tendered today.

    So, all in all, a banner day for the Braves!

  43. It also says James is the only Brave non-tendered.

    I guess we don’t want any lefty pitchers or any righty bats.

    I would have liked to have kept Chuckie, but I guess they are worried about what he would get in arb.

  44. Part of me thinks that the Braves should just play the kids this year, overbid on every international prospect, and ignore the slotting system in this years draft.

    However, the Vasquez trade kinda commits you. I just don’t know what to do.

    I’ve heard only bad things about Sheets health. Maybe the Peavy trade, but you are giving up an awful lot, and if Yunel is included, you still have to sign Furcal. That means you probably can’t afford a big name free agent outfielder and have to deplete the farm system even more to get one. It just doesn’t seem to be a model for long term success.

    They won’t sign Dunn or Burrell.

    I just don’t see the path to a WS for this year.

    Now would definitely be the time for Wren to channel some vintage JS and pull out a rabbit.

  45. It’s not losing Burnett that bothers me, but the chance that this means the Braves will sign Randy Wolf, Oliver Perez, Jon Garland or Ben Sheets; which I’d really rather not see happen.

  46. A good year from Wolf would be surprising.

    I thinking more in terms of someone who can both win and give us innings, like Derek Lowe. But that doesn’t seem like such a possibility.

  47. HoRam and Chucky in the same rotation. The folks in KC’s bleacher seats better wear cather’s gear.

    Kidding aside, I liked Chucky–esp healthy Chucky–ok.

  48. I think we have to go do that Peavy deal now, even if it means trading Escobar. If we do that, this offseason will still be a success. If not, and barring any rabbits pulled out of the hat, we are talking about an abject disaster on our hands. Having $40 million to spend and not spending any of it is not acceptable, and it will not be available next year, especially given the economy. If we stand pat and the prospects don’t pan out, we are utterly screwed for 10 years, and I’m not willing to take that chance. And why people think Peavy and Burnett are injury risks, but are willing to sign Sheets is really beyond me.

    Also, if the Yankees offer was five years, $82.5 million, why in the hell were we not willing to add another $3 million to get him? It was $3 million!!! What in the hell is $3 million when you’re talking about $80 million??? I’ve been attempting to give Wren the benefit of the doubt, and I don’t think the Peavy thing was his fault (although it will be his fault if he doesn’t call Towers now), but this is totally on him. We offer Burnett more, he comes. Period. If we had wanted him, we had to be prepared to have the best offer on the table. I’ve been saying that from the beginning. If the Yankees had come in at $90 million or something, that would be one thing, but getting turned away because your offer was $2.5 million less is unbelievably retarded!

  49. So where we at?

    Jo-Jo or Glavine

    Meh. Good news is the only “wishing” involved in that list is for Smoltz to be healthy enough to start all year. Could be wrong, but I bet he’s our horse again.

    Better score a lot with that rotation. To that end:

    McCann (sure wish we could bat him 5th)
    I Can’t Make Myself Type It

    Put Adam Dunn at cleanup and that lineup looks a good deal more dangerous.

    Put Peavy at the top of that rotation with Hudson returning in August and we may truly have something.

    And to really make us contenders, do the above and add a + outfielder and move Dunn to 1B.

  50. Nick,
    You don’t see the difference between committing 2 years to Ben Sheets and 5 years to Burnett or 5 years and a starting shortstop to Peavy? Really?

    As for the money, I just hope some of it’s used for long-term contracts for Yunel, KJ, and Jurrjens.

  51. I mean, I see the difference, but with Burnett and especially with Peavy, it’s all just speculation. There was something specific on Sheets’ MRI that has made us not want to even think about going in that direction. That’s not speculation. There is no particular reason to think that either Burnett or Peavy wouldn’t have pitched more or less all year for us. There is a very particular reason to think that Ben Sheets won’t. People comparing A.J. Burnett to the Mike Hampton deal were being a little bit melodramatic. Comparing Ben Sheets to it would not be IMO.

    In any event, the rotation as currently constituted is just not good enough, flat out. We need an ace. Without one, it doesn’t matter who we sign to play left field (and I’m not particularly impressed with any of the options that we appear to be looking at so far BTW), we will not be a good team next year. With an ace, we can probably sign a serviceable left fielder and/or play with a mediocre shortstop and be OK lineup-wise. At least good enough to stay in contention. In my opinion, at least.

  52. Yanks are, apparently, no longer interested in Derek Lowe.

    They’ve offered Pettitte $10M. If he signs, they can make Hughes #5 in the rotation & move Joba to the bullpen.

  53. By David O’Brien

    December 12, 2008 5:04 PM | Link to this

    Chuck James non-tendered today, only Braves player non-tendered….

    d-rock, I’ll go out on a limb and say most teams don’t care much, if at all, about Ankiel’s HGH use years ago when it comes to trade value. You think it hurt Mike Cameron’s trade value (25-game amphetamine suspenion) or Tyler Flowers’ (50-game ‘roids suspension in 2006). Teams don’t cite that when discussing Andy Pettitte (HGH), etc.

    huh, never new Flowers was suspended for HGH

  54. Wonder what happens to the market for Lowe, now that the Yanks are out. Wonder if Wren might now be interested in him. Looks like it might be a battle between NL East teams for his services.

  55. Shouldn’t we be happy? Burnett sucks. He’s not the answer to anything other than, “Where can I spend a lot of money on a guy who is a #2/3 pitcher.”

    Why doesn’t anyone consider the fact that players don’t perform the same every year? Did anyone have the Rays going to the series? Maybe the Braves will get lucky and some random people will turn the corner.

  56. Seriously, if the Braves get surprise years out of Hanson and Schafer and Smoltz is healthy, they could win the East. There’s like 1% chance of that happening, but even now, they’re not “out of it”. Baseball is a crazy game. :-)

  57. Red Sox friend of mine (pretty knowledgeable guy) says that the Yankees are committing sepuku with CC. Says his mechanics are such that he’ll definitely break down sooner or later.

    The fact that the Boston dog is not barking makes me think he may be right and that Theo just doesn’t want to disturb the process.

  58. I dont understand our lack of interest with Lowe. He averages 15 wins per, he’s a groundball guy, he stays healhty

  59. So DOB basically says the Braves lost out on Burnett because his wife is afraid of flying and wanted Burnett to play for a team close enough to their Maryland home in which to drive (three hour car drive from their home to Yankee stadium.)

  60. It clearly wasn’t money with Burnett because, as people have pointed out, he would net out better in Atlanta. It seems to be two things (1) he doesn’t want to hit and run bases, and (2) he thinks the Yankees are more likely to win.

    But this just shows that, unless you are the Yankees or Red Sox, chasing pitching is a losing proposition. You have to develop your own. I’m not saying to give up on the season but the options out there are not that great. The Braves have to focus on developing pitching internally, starting, hopefully, with Hanson.

    As for the path to the WS, I think we have to start setting our sights a lot lower; just getting to the playoffs (or even winning 85+ games) would be a success at this point. I wonder what John Schuerholz thinks about that “bump in the road” now?

  61. It’s also interesting to note that C.C. Sabathia has thrown 500 innings in the past 2 years. But, of course, that signing wasn’t only about getting a big pitcher. It’s about creating big excitement for the Yankee brand at the gate and on TV. They gotta move those unsold luxury boxes.

    Bronx to Maryland in three hours?

    If you left in the middle of the night and you’re driving a Formula 1 car.

  62. Dangit, I liked Chucky and his window/door hanging story. I had hoped now that they bothered to have a doc look at him that he would end up pitching for us again. *sigh* And no Burnett… Well… I think we’re going to GET the “punt” year weather we had hoped to or not. Give some $$ to Smoltz and Tommy and if you feel ballsy give some to Sheets for a couple years. Burrell and Dunn are both still on the market right? maybe now’s the time to snag one of them so we don’t have to deal with an outfield bat need again next year.

  63. Drive, no. Acela, yes.

    I really, really doubt that CCS is going to be usable as a starting pitcher in three years. He’s thrown a lot of innings at a young age.

  64. I’m actually relieved that the Yankees got Burnett. I kept on seeing Hampton redux. It may be time for Wren to see one salient fact. That maybe we aren’t just a bat and 2 pitchers from contention. Close but no cigar. I mean a lot has to go right for us to be able to be considered in the mix:
    Find another plus starter.
    Find a good bat for left field.
    Francouer has to at least not suck next season.
    Johnson and Escobar have to progress.
    Jurrjens has to avoid the sophomore slump.
    Morton or Reyes, or Campillo or Hanson still needs to step up.
    The list could go on but its a pretty tall order to fill.

    Now that Burnett is off the table I wonder where Kevin Towers brain is. He clearly over reached with the Braves and the Cubs but now does he have more or less leverage? I dunno

  65. sorry for the double post.
    But if you take the glass is half full point of view:
    We do have an above average on offense starting infield if Kotchman hits.
    A potentially good bullpen.
    A couple of young pitchers in Morton, Reyes??? or even Hanson that could at least contribute.
    A big wild card in whether Smoltz and to a much lesser extent Glavine can pitch.
    At least a snowflakes chance in hell that last season was an outlier for Francouer and he can go back to being league average.
    So what do you do with 40 million to spend and a couple of prospects to trade?

  66. How? Bobby Cox won’t stand for signing Manny Ramirez and the Braves have this weird hatred of Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell.

  67. As I said before, the offense is so lacking even before they realize the team needs one big bat. The offense honestly needs two.

    I am actually glad Burnett is taking the Yankees offer.

  68. rosenthal is suggesting we move kj to left and sign furcal to play ss, and move escobar to 2nd.

    if we could deal francoeur + peeps for a legit starter and sign someone to power up in left, that would be some good offense.

  69. ryan, maybe you read something than I did, but Rosenthal suggested the Braves sign Furcal to play 2B(!) and move KJ to left.

  70. It would be nice to have a more natural fit for a leadoff hitter, but two big bats would probably work better. Why not sign Burrel and Dunn and go from the worst hitting OF to the worst fielding OF? Variety is fun.

    Either that, or buy Bobby a bunch of guys who can bunt.

  71. Well here’s my only plan for any type of contention for next season:

    1) Sign Burrell for 3/36-38
    2) Trade Yunel, Gorkys, Locke or Medlin, whatever random relief arm minors or majors for Peavy (no Reyes or Morton this time around)
    3) Sign Furcal for 3/35 or 4/40
    4a) Trade KJ for an outfield bat that can play center if Schafer isn’t ready, or if Schafer is ready can play right not named Ryan Ludwick, but somebody who is under control for more than one year (not Ankiel)

    4b) Trade Frenchy, JoJo Reyes, resign Belisle, find George Lombard & Bruce Chen and include them with Brandon Jones, Cody Johnson, Matt Young, etc for Grienke

    and I’m not even sure all that would get better than 3rd in the East.

    I, at this point would rather not spend the money, than waste it on Garland, Wolf types that block pitchers who may actually develop into something like JoJo & Morton.

  72. WHOOOOO !!! I’d be on board with that more than signing Garland/Wolf/whatever ‘proven (to suck)’ starter is out there.

  73. I wanted Sheets the most from the beginning. He doesn’t have as much mileage as some of the other guys.

  74. ububba Says:
    Bronx to Maryland in three hours?

    If you left in the middle of the night and you’re driving a Formula 1 car.

    I read a great post on Burnett’s possible commutes at, a really cool baseball blog that a former co-worker of mine, Alejandro Leal, writes for:

    According to Sarah, Burnett made the wrong choice. And, fwiw, Sarah is one of my top three favorite sports writers, along with Mac and Jon Bois.

  75. #128

    I’ve done that drive many a time and, with the usual clogged-up traffic, it takes 3 hours just to get to Exit 1 on the NJ Turnpike thru the GW Bridge.

    Up here, Mapquest is only good for directions. Ain’t about time.

  76. @ 100

    Most things I’ve heard about CC, is that he has good to excellent, but his condition is suspect (mostly because he’s a fatty). What evidence does your friend have that his mechanics are bad? It seems like he has a pretty efficient pitching action.

  77. You know, I think it’s for the best we didn’t get burnett, it would have been a mistake. I just hope we get greinke now.

  78. In addition, I think it would have been foolish to acquire AJ, it would have been like the high school cheerleader marrying the first able bodies gas station attendant who showed her any love or attention. Cheers to settling for better. We had the money to outbit the donkeys… but we showed restraint. Good for us,

  79. Count me amongst those who are glad Burnett chose New York. He would be a great arm to have in a short series, but we need more durable arms than his to get us to those short series.

    I think anyone not named Hanson, Heyward, Freeman or Teheran better hold onto their hats.

  80. Ithaca, the problem with your analogy is that you think the Braves are the ‘high school cheerleader and Burnett is the ‘able bodied gas station attendant,’ when it reality I think the Braves are closer to the ‘gas station attendant’ and Burnett is closer to the high school sweetheart.

    By the way googling “AJ Burnett’s wife is a bitch” turns up a surprisingly large amount of results, but I assure you I’m not bitter. The “doesn’t like to fly” excuse reminds me very much of the “schools are great in Denver” excuse.

  81. The Hampton treachery is turning out to be more of a problem than we thought.

    That’s how bad things are.

    Marc Schneider made a great point that can’t be repeated enough if you’re a Braves fan:

    (paraphrasing) – “Unless you are the Yankees or Red Sox, chasing pitching is a losing proposition. WE MUST DEVELOP OUR OWN.” (caps mine because I’m too stupid to italicize).

    That’s got to become a core belief of the $100 million or less payroll team. Just takes so damned long …

  82. Ty Wigginton would be a nice pick up for the Braves since the Astros let him go. He had an 870 or so OPS and can play 1B (platoon with or replace Kotchman if he stinks again this year), 3B (when Chip’s hurt), and–most importantly–LF (though I’d bet his defense isn’t the greatest). He’d give the lineup a RH batter with some pop.

  83. I wonder how AJ’s wife will like the commute when she is sitting in the stands when her husband has a bad game and is getting booed and cursed and she is having to dodge beer bottles.

  84. I agree with Frank. Wigginton isn’t very exciting, and he enjoyed the home cooking in Houston a little too much, but he’d probably be okay. And maybe he’d stick around and be a utility guy when we get good.

  85. Refresh my memory, please.

    If we don’t do anything, what does our outfield look like coming out of Spring Training? (Talk about leading with your chin …)

  86. If we don’t do anything I actually think last place is a possibility, though not a probability. Our outfield may improve if Francoeur goes from ‘horrendous’ to ‘bad,’ but Gregor Blanco, Josh Anderson, and Matt Diaz does not a major league outfield make.

    I like bringing in guys like Abreu and Ankiel on the “cheap,” and going after another arm like Sheets. The important thing is to make yourself competitive in 2009 without sacrificing major pieces that will be needed for 2010 and beyond.

  87. Congratulations to Ibanez’s agent, by the way. I can’t believe he got that deal with so many other similar players on the market. I thought we might have been able to get him at around 2/$17 million.

  88. NickC, I agree. But we might be left with what we have.

    I’m fine with going after Sheets. Even if he isn’t 100% in 2009, maybe he would be by 2010… and we’d have the makings of a competitive rotation then.

  89. This team looks destined for fourth. Seriously the rotation Wren is assembling is a joke; a bunch of 3-5 spot of the rotation pitchers. Who is the opening day starter against Hamels? Bowman says Vasquez.

    I hope Wren looks to the trade market if he still wants a pitcher. The free agents are either always hurt (Sheets), a waste of time (Garland, Wolf) or an expensive waste of time (Perez).

  90. 144 — Yeah, it doesn’t help us get rock bottom deals on OFs when the Phillies are overpaying for Raul Ibanez. ugh.

  91. Orioles non-tendered Daniel Cabrera–wonder if there’s still a chance he could get sorted out in a new location.

  92. I have no problem settling for 4th this year if it means we’re competitive in 2010 and beyond. I had already punted on 2009 when I heard hudson needed surgery.

  93. #150 – according to Dan everything is Wren’s fault. Yep, Wrens fault we didnt give Burnett $90mil and Wrens fault that Jake Peavy doesnt want to come to Atl. I guess it was bad trading one decent prospect for a 200IP 200K pitcher also

    #148 – Leo already has his chance with him and didnt succeed. Why would Leo in Atl be any different than Leo in Balt??

  94. Sheets, Dunn, Bradley = instant credibility and a chance at the post season if things break right for <= 40M and no 5/6 year deals. If they all fail, so what. This of course means it won’t be done. This organization has been left so hidebound and risk averse from it’s glory years that it won’t be able to compete unless they get seriously lucky or they suck long enough to bring in new management. I’m not sure which one I am rooting for.

  95. DOB says we’re going hard after Kawakami (who, according to Keith Law, is a back-of-the-rotation starter on an NL team…) and that he’s gone from being 99% certain that Smoltz is coming back to only 80% certain. Good times.

  96. Turner Gill was so obviously the correct choice for them that it’s not even funny. What the hell are they thinking?

  97. #164 – I think he does and we’d have to beat that due to them having DiceK and Tazawa now….

    this is per mlb…

    Kawakami, who is 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, holds a 112-72 career record and a 3.22 ERA. He posted a 9-5 record this past season with a 2.30 ERA for the Dragons. He had his career-best strikeout rate in 2008, recording 113 strikeouts in 117 1/3 innings.

    A former Japanese Central League Rookie of the Year and a three-time Gold Glove winner, Kawakami was the ace of his staff in Japan, but scouts have said he’d likely fill a No. 2 or No. 3 spot in most Major League rotations.

    For this guy at 7-8 per, would you rather go after Lowe at $15 or Perez at $12-13??

  98. We’ll have the best collection of #3 starters around.

    I’d rather see us spend the money on outfielders and see how badly the Pads need to cut payroll as the offseason continues.

  99. 166 – I’ve been wondering myself why his name hasn’t come up much this winter. I can’t remember what his contract situation is.

  100. c. shorter, check out the cot’s baseball contracts link on the top right of this page, pretty useful

    Erik Bedard lhp
    1 year/$7M (2008)

    1 year/$7M (2008)
    acquired by Seattle in trade from Baltimore 2/8/08
    signed by Seattle 2/15/08 (avoided arbitration, $8M-$6M)

  101. Couldn’t really go wrong with any of the 3 (I think it should be 4) QB’s there. Networks have to love the additional story lines of Heisman vs. Heisman

  102. Hiring a coach is a crapshoot. That’s why it always makes me nervous when a rival hires a coach I’ve never heard of. Never heard of Chizik.

  103. Kawakami would be the Braves first ever Japanese player, correct ??? He sounds like he’s had some big game experience. If he will sign for something like 3/24, I think it’s worth it for a solid #4 guy. I also wonder if signing him would help pave the way for future Japanese imports in that maybe they would feel more comfortable, which would be an added bonus beyond what Kawakami would be able to provide just in numbers. By all accounts would be an upgrade on the Garlands and Wolfs of the world.

  104. It’s high time we became competitive for Japanese players. We’ve been behind the curve for a good while now.

  105. Meanwhile, the Hawks broke the Cavs’ 11-game win streak, and if the season ended today (1) we’d save a lot of time and (2) the Hawks would have home-court advantage in the first round.

  106. Incidentally, I went out with my brother, who’s an Auburn grad, for drinks tonight. I’ve seen him less distraught after losing games.

  107. Seeing Smoltz in a Red Sox uniform would break my heart. I’d rather watch a puppy get set on fire.

    If he HAD to leave for whatever reason, I could live with Smoltz in Detroit. Sorta brings his career full circle.

    But if he can stay healthy, I think Wren MUST sign him. Please no Wolf or Perez. I’m relieved I haven’t seen their names in rumors thus far.

  108. I’ve not met anyone who is happy with the hire, but honestly, who is going to come here now? I think I’ve given up on Auburn ever being good again, ever.

  109. Nice win for the Hawks tonight.

    Also, I would rather see the Braves re-sign Smoltz than any free agent pitcher out there.

  110. Kind of quiet in here today.

    Everyone trimming the tree?

    Or preparing for a grand Falcons’ victory?

  111. I ate at a great upscale Thai place several years ago in Atlanta. I can’t remember the name of the place. Can any of you guys help me out?

  112. The Tamarind Seed sounds right. Thanks ububba and spike. How far/long a taxi ride is that from the airport?

  113. Arts Center station N5 is two blocks away on 14th and W. Peachtree. It’s about 20 minutes from the airport

  114. Probably, but I think what they are trying to imply is that he’s sacrificing MPH. I know Roy Oswalt is the model of how it SHOULD be.

  115. Thank you, Falcons. That was almost the worst loss since the Bartkowski Era.

    Oh, no. I like all kinds of music, but I’m more of a DJ scribe. Click on my name & that’ll tell you where I work.

    Speaking of music…just got back from the Virgin Mega Store in Union Square and everything was on-sale. I wonder if that place’ll be open after New Years.

  116. Reminded me of the Chargers game — we made some big mistakes (turnovers), but survived thanks to many smaller mistakes (penalties) by the opponent, as well as a massive difference in converting third downs.

  117. I was at that Falcons game today. I’ve been alternating between not believing that we won and not believing that we didn’t win by three touchdowns.

  118. Speaking of music – does anybody even buy CD’s anymore? I have as massive a collection as anyone and I quit years ago. Too much available online, even for the most esoteric of interests.

  119. I’ve decided that I want to stop pretending like I understand sabermetrics, and actually TRY to understand sabermetrics. Can anyone recommend a beginners guide, a sabermetrics for dummies, or any other valuable resources to get started?

  120. Best Buy’s debating getting rid of their CD section, so that should tell you something about how much people are buying CDs. Seriously, that freaking section is like a quarter of the store, and it requires the most effort to keep maintained.

  121. I still buy CDs—hell, I still have vinyl—but I also use ’em to DJ.

    One of these days, I’ll convert to a laptop DJ system, but I’m old-school (i.e.—lazy).

    C’mon, Giants…do us Falcons fans a favor.

  122. #210. No idea. I got it from a post on

    One of the comments says Smoltz is not included and JJJ has an ERA higher than Campillo’s.

  123. If someone is able to give the Braves 3.86 ERA and 200+ innings, I don’t care if it comes from JJ or Jorge.

  124. Fun info on the now-dead Escobar plus for Peavy deal:
    “– As part of Jake Peavy trade talks in November, the Padres and Braves were far along on a 4-for-1 plan that included shortstop Yunel Escobar and center fielder prospect Gorkys Hernandez. The Padres wanted the Braves to include starting pitcher Charlie Morton instead of Jo-Jo Reyes and pushed hard for either pitching prospect Jeff Locke or catching prospect Tyler Flowers to be substituted for reliever Blaine Boyer. Talks regressed from there, and the Braves later traded Flowers to the White Sox. According to, the Braves now would be unwilling to deal Escobar, described by teammate Chipper Jones as the best shortstop in the National League. Whether Peavy would consent to a trade to Atlanta also remains in question, though if the Cubs are out of the picture, it can’t hurt those chances.”


    It’s interesting to see that what the Braves were willing to give up was basically about where I had set the limit (although I’d have done Esco/Hernandez/Flowers/JoJo at the time…. Though now it seems like it would’ve been a poor plan).

    With Escobar off the table, I don’t think a deal could get done unless the Pads want KJ or something (assuming Hanson and Heyward staying are put).

  125. I wonder if Towers would take basically the same package with KJ and either play him at 2B in case Antonelli or whoever doesn’t work out or flip him. KJ is cheap and that’s what they want. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but maybe that Pads come crawling back. I’m not sure unless he gets traded to the Angels that they are going to get better.

  126. Regardless of whether the Falcons will make the playoff or not, I am really proud to be a fan of that team.

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