Dave Ross

Dave Ross Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

So, who is this guy? Ross is a Georgia native, from Bainbridge, who went to high school in Tallahassee and went to college at both Auburn and Florida. (Freak.) He never did anything at Auburn (he was there for Tim Hudson’s last year, and may have caught him) but had a big year in Gainesville, and the Dodgers drafted him in the seventh round in 1998. He sort of meandered up the chain, not doing anything to draw attention to himself either way, until he put up typically inflated numbers at Las Vegas in 2002, getting himself a callup to the big club.

Ross hit ten homers as Lo Duca’s backup in 2003, easily outperforming the Dodgers’ “all-star”. But he went Corky in 2004, hitting .170/.253/.291, and before the 2005 season was sold — not traded, sold — to the Pirates. Ross played 2005 for the Pirates and Padres, then was traded to the Reds before the 2006 season. He had a career year, hitting .255/.353/.579 with 21 homers in 247 AB. The Reds, being the Reds, signed him to a two-year deal for $4.54 million and made him the regular. He hit 17 homers in 2007 but also hit .202, and was released in midseason of 2008. The Red Sox, desperate for anything resembling a catcher, signed him, but he went 1-8 in limited duty.

Ross’ career batting average is .222. Batting average is overrated, but you simply aren’t going to be productive hitting .222, not in today’s game. He does have power, and he will take a walk, and if he hits .250 he’s a very valuable reserve player whom you could play regularly if you’re not too particular. On the other hand, I could have said some of the same things about Corky Miller, who played for some of the same teams (the Reds, the Red Sox) and look what happened there… I’m sure that Ross has a good defensive reputation. Catchers who hit .222 always do. He does have a pretty good arm, or at least has thrown out 38 percent of basestealers (87 of 228) and threw out 42 percent the two years he was a semi-regular for Cincinnati. Has three career triples, no career stolen bases, rarely grounds into a double play, looks to be a good bunter. Basically, there’s evidence that he’s a good “little things” player, and real power, but that .222 is a great big bad thing.

The Braves at some point in the nineties apparently decided that the one thing that they don’t want in a backup catcher is a half-decent batting average. Career batting averages for Braves catchers, min. 50 PA, since the strike:

PLAYER AVG PA
1 Brian McCann .297 1821
2 Johnny Estrada .291 939
3 Javier Lopez .289 4032
4 Jarrod Saltalamacchia .284 153
5 Eddie Perez .251 1151
6 Charlie O’Brien .227 233
7 Brayan Pena .221 116
8 Greg Myers .210 96
9 Todd Pratt .207 152
10 Paul Bako .205 220
11 Henry Blanco .202 415
12 Fernando Lunar .185 60
13 Clint Sammons .175 62
14 Corky Miller .138 96

Ross will fit right in.

291 thoughts on “Dave Ross”

  1. one thing Ross DID do at Auburn was return to Tallahassee and hit a game winning homer to knock the Seminoles out of the regional playoffs. thanks, Dave.

  2. #1 – I wonder if Jay Jacobs called Ross and interviewed him for the head coaching position?? might as well have

  3. Interesting post on mlbtraderumors.com about how the Peavy trade went bust. Seems as though they agreed on Hernandez and Escobar, but Towers wanted Morton instead of Reyes, and wanted Jeff Locke as well. I wonder what it would take now…

  4. It seems a bit harsh to say Ross “went Corky.” Corky can only dream about 170/.253/.291 and that was Ross’s worst year. Ross is not great or even good, but I think the signing is an upgrade. I hope it means McCann will get normal rest for a catcher instead of being spent by July 4. Even though he probably wouldn’t/won’t amount to anything special, I don’t think Sammons ever really got a chance.

  5. We signed Ross for 2 years????? Kinda cool how a guy can leverage 1 decent year in the majors for a 10 year career …… paying 6 figures or better.

    I dunno. Does Towers have more leverage or less now that Burnett and Sabathia are off the market? That no trade clause is coming back to haunt him big time.

  6. I haven’t seen much mention of the horror from the mlbtr thing on Kawakami when it says:

    Failing to sign Burnett is certainly one motivating factor, but O’Brien also mentions the increasing chance that John Smoltz does not return to the Braves in 2009.

    I know they’ve said it’s unlikely, but an “increasing chance” made my stomach drop.

  7. I mentioned it a couple of days ago, Charles. I still don’t think he’ll leave, but DOB’s reference to the increasing likelihood that he will is unsettling.

  8. Glad somebody made note Stu (I’ve been tending to sick kids since last Thursday and haven’t caught all the posts.) Detroit is the only team I wouldn’t be devastated if he went to… maybe… but even THAT would be rough (not as rough as Boston or Mets mind you).

  9. I dont think Wren can take the chance on letting him leave. If the Braves dont offer him a deal and he goes on to have just an average Smoltz year, while we have a rotation of JJ, Vasquez, Campillo, Japan guy, Morton, it could get pretty ugly. Its not a risk Wren can take in his 2nd yr as GM for the Braves in my opinion. Most people would rather give John a $6-8 mil deal and watch him sit on the bench rather than play for another team

  10. There really is no excuse for letting Smoltz go. Even if he is armless, he means too much to the team and the fan base to allow him to leave. If Smoltz is at all willing to sign a one year deal then you must ink him to it because the chances are that money won’t be spent this offseason, or if it is spent, it certainly won’t be spent any more wisely than on a dominant oft-injured face of the franchise player.

    Hell, Smoltz is in Ben Sheets territory for me right now. I’d be fine signing him to a 2 year $80 million dollar deal, just to make sure that in 2011 there is plenty of cash to reinvest in new players once the farm system matriculates to the big club.

  11. Eddie Perez was the best back up catcher we had.

    I think Ross will be twice as good as Corky, which still makes him not good.

  12. Re Smoltz–wonder if they can make a spot in the broadcast booth upon retirement a part of keeping him. He was ok in the games he did last year–certainly better than anyone not named Skip or Pete.

  13. It’s sad that a system so deep in catching prospects could not produce a backup to McCann. I do not think it was time to punt on Sammons yet and would have rather seen him fill the role in 2009.

    Is this another unfortunate bi-product of staying with Corky too long last year?

  14. Parish-

    Salty, Max Ramirez, and maybe even Flowers would’ve been fine backups to McCann, but they’re far more valuable as trade chips.

    As a general thing, while Braves backup Cs have had particularly brutal BAs (is .250 really that much to ask for??), I would imagine that most Cs who play decent defense and hit .270-.280 have starting gigs somewhere.

  15. I do not think it was time to punt on Sammons yet and would have rather seen him fill the role in 2009.

    I agree. The Ross money seems like a waste to me.

  16. I think there’s a problem with continuing to bring back an old player who’s past the point of effectiveness and give him a starting job, like the Astros did with Biggio. They did their team no favors by letting him take at-bats away from better hitters and fielders. It would have been much more worth it for them if they could have kept him around as a backup rather than a starter.

    Smoltz is different. There are pretty much two likely outcomes. Either 1) he won’t pitch or 2) he’ll pitch well. It doesn’t seem too likely that he’ll pitch poorly. So he’ll either be a mascot or he’ll be useful, and either way he’s worth a $6-8 million deal.

    If we were willing to give A.J. Burnett $80 million, a guy who’s gonna get injured at some point and who isn’t likely to pitch as well as Smoltz, we ought to give some of that money to Smoltzie. He deserves to retire on his own terms, and he deserves to retire a Brave.

    I’m not a fan of throwing money away, but this isn’t throwing money away. There are some guys you should do right by. He’s one of them.

  17. the roundtable is reporting that Jacobs had a deal ready for Gary Patterson, Gouge wanted Turner Gill, but Pat Dye and Bobby Lowder nixed those deals to bring in Chizik

    they have reports saying that TCU was already getting together a short list

    sucks to be an Aubbie today

  18. “He deserves to retire on his own terms, and he deserves to retire a Brave.”

    But Alex, what if his own terms don’t necessarily include retiring as a Brave? He’s the one out shopping, after all.

    I don’t expect loyalty from multi-millionaires, and I’ve learned not to hope for it. He’s had a helluva run here, but there’s almost no chance of him ever contributing again to a winning Braves team. So why let him hold us over a barrel? If he wants to take the biggest payday, or sign with the best team he can interest, that’s fine with me. See you in Cooperstown.

  19. It’s worth $8 million just for Smoltz to sit next to Jurrjens, Hanson and Morton next year.. the pitching is a bonus!

    I’m being half-serious, but Smoltz is immeasurably more valuable than our remaining pitching options available via free agency or trade.

  20. Re: Smoltz, I’m all for giving him whatever he wants to stay in Atlanta, except probably a two-year deal. $4 million, $6 million, $10 million, whatever. Hell, give him $20 million next year if you think he’s going to be healthy enough to give 150-200 innings.

    I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think I might prefer to lose with Smoltz than to win with other guys. Not that I think those would be the outcomes, but that’s just my line of thinking here.

  21. Smoltz has to pay for 2 wives now. I suspect that getting divorced, with presumably a big alimony payment, could influence Smoltz’ need to collect another big payday, and reduce his willingness to play for the Braves at a discount to what he could get elsewhere.

  22. Bowman:

    Or in the end, Wren might decide that it makes more sense to acquire two mid-level free-agent starting pitchers (Oliver Perez, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, etc.) to strengthen the depth of a rotation that may not have a true ace, unless John Smoltz is able to once again prove to be a medical marvel.

    Using Perez and Wolf as acquired examples, let’s look at a projected rotation of: Javier Vazquez, Perez, Jair Jurrjens, Wolf, Smoltz or Tom Glavine. The wild card here is obviously Smoltz, who could certainly serve as an ace if he’s able to make a full recovery from shoulder surgery. With Peavy, the rotation could be: Peavy, Vazquez, Jurrjens, Jorge Campillo, Smoltz or Glavine.

    There’s obviously a chance that Smoltz and Glavine both might prove healthy enough to be part of the rotation. Either way, both of them could prove to be valuable rotation pieces.

    But without any certainty about their future or about how they might perform, there’s at least reason to argue that an ace-less rotation could prove to be as strong, as a whole, as one that would be anchored by Peavy.

    http://tinyurl.com/6qkzxp

    I cannot believe the Braves are seemingly going into next season with Javier Vasquez as their ace. I hope they don’t expect to compete like that.

    They still have 30+ million they want to spend (and seemingly no one will take it), why not just load up on offense? Rick Ankiel alone ain’t fixing the outfield…but Ankiel in center and Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn in left would.

  23. Loyalty begets diminishing returns. I wasn’t so nostalgic for Glavine that his performance last year wasn’t painful to watch.

  24. Unless you guys know something I don’t, the Braves have not offered John a contract (yet). Who can blame him for seeing if another team will? And who can blame the Braves for waiting to see if he’s healthy enough to pitch next year?

    Like a lot of folks here (and it seems Braves management over the recent past), I’m not a big one for handing out “one last hoorah” contracts. I would love to have him back on a one-year contract if the team’s doctors believe he can make 15-20 starts. But we should not be signing him to a player contract just to sit on the bench. If he isn’t able to pitch, then he should retire and sign as a coach with us.

  25. If we sign someone like Wolf and NOT Smoltz…I don’t know if I can watch next season.

    Seriously. How can this team want to waste ten million on Randy Wolf (Bowman today listing him and Garland and Perez as possibilities) while so-far refusing to give John Smoltz anything?

  26. How about this for a reason: The Braves can reasonably expect Wolf to start 30 or so games, pitch 180-200 innings, and win 10-12 games next year. Can anyone say the same of John now?

  27. I like the phrase “went Corky”…That said, I wish the Braves had kept their money and given Sammons half a chance. I guess in Sammons they see another Kremers…..

  28. SAN DIEGO —- Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren said he would only re-open trade talks for Jake Peavy if the Padres were to approach him, according to mlb.com.

    Wren and the Braves had been interested in signing free agent A.J. Burnett, who agreed to terms with the New York Yankees on Friday. Wren also noted that shortstop Yunel Escobar would not be part of any deal after the Braves traded shortstop Brent Lillibridge to the Chicago White Sox.

    Without Escobar, the Braves might have to alter their position on not trading top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson to complete a deal for Peavy, according to one Padres source. The Padres also might have interest in Double-A pitcher Kris Medlen and Single-A pitcher Jeffrey Locke.

    http://tinyurl.com/5epncg

    I believe Wren already told Hanson personally that he was trading him, and I doubt he’d tell him that face-to-face if he didn’t mean it.

  29. #33 – how can they expect 28-30 starts or 180-200 IP from Randy Wolf??

    here are his inning totals

    2004 – 23GS 5W 136IP
    2005 – 13GS 6W 80IP
    2006 – 12GS 4W 56IP
    2007 – 18GS 9W 102IP
    2008 – 33GS 12W 180IP

    he also put up a 4.74 era in his last 21 starts for SD last year

    I’d say its reasonably safe to say that you are more likely to get more good innings out of Smoltz than Wolf next year

  30. #37 – Dan, we wouldnt move Hanson over Esco the 1st time and I would bet money that we wouldnt do it now either

  31. I think it’s imperative to add another arm in order to let the young guys like Hanson have more time in the minors. I worry though about a big mistake or risk that could hurt 2010 or beyond. (Contending this year would be nice but I think 2010 or 2011 is more realistic.) Wolf is mediocre and doesn’t eat innings (<6 IP/start). Perez will be expensive and long-term. So I’d try Garland or Braden Looper if they could be had for 1-2 yrs at $6-8m/yr. It seems like a lot for a so-so pitcher but I think they’d be a better gamble than a bad trade for Peavy.

    That’d give a rotation of:

    Vazquez
    Jurrjens
    Campillo
    Looper or Garland
    Smoltz/Morton/Reyes/Hanson

    Not great, probably not even good enough for playoff contention. Maybe some good luck–something that seemed absent last year–plus an offensive upgrade in LF could make it interesting.

  32. meanwhile for Smoltz

    2005 – 33GS 14W 229IP
    2006 – 35GS 16W 232IP
    2007 – 32GS 14W 205IP
    2008 – 5GS 3W 28IP

    Im not saying that Smoltz will put up 2005-2007 #’s this year. If it came down to it, I would rather give Smoltz a 1 year deal at $10 mil and find out a few starts in that he cant pitch than to tie up $10-12 mil for 2-3 years in Randy Wolf.

  33. I have to wonder if the Braves don’t do something to get back into contention soon if that will make Chipper think about either retiring or going to another team. After years of winning, it must be hard playing on a bad team. At this point, the Braves would be hard pressed to have a winning record, much less contend for the playoffs.

  34. I’m sure Wren will offer something to Smoltzy, and I think in general the concern that he won’t is blown out of proportion. But I’m definitely all for paying him whatever we need to. I think the only way it bites us is if he’s injured, and if that happens, c’est la vie.

    I don’t want to sign any of these FAs to a deal longer than 3 years (well, I guess Lowe would be fine), and 2 years is preferable. If Ollie Perez wants 4, we don’t need him. I might be willing to go three on Sheets, but I’d prefer two and higher money.

    Oh, and let’s make sure to get Dunn or Burrell or (preferably) Abreu on a short-ish, cheap-ish deal. Please.

  35. mraver,

    Why “preferably” Abreu. He is half of the offensive player that Dunn is. He is 60% of the offensive player that Burrell is (and Abreu is from what, to the Braves, is the wrong side of the plate).

    Plus, he has been just about as bad in the OF as either and is (I think) 1 year older than Burrell and 6 years older than Dunn.

    IF, as part of getting Abreu, making him comfortable in right was necessary and moving Francoeur happened, then Abreu is clearly better than Burrell or Dunn.

  36. I was wondering when we would first see Hanson ranked ahead of Heyward. Seems like a good call to me.

    I would have gone Freeman before Gorkys and I do not see Gorkys in a corner outfield spot in our future.

  37. Okay, now find me some statistics of backup catchers that have batting averages over .250, and can play defense and call a game half as good as some of the Braves backups over the last decade.

    I’m willing to bet you can’t, cause they don’t exist. For all the crap people around here throw Corky’s way, I loved watching that guy throw the ball… Now sadly I’m outside of local TV broadcast range, so I wasn’t able to watch him call a game this year, so I won’t defend him anymore than that (and his offensive production is awful at best)… but Henry Blanco and Clint Sammons are in the same boat (much better arms that McCann.) Guys like Eddie Perez and Charlie O’Brien more than made up for their lack of offense by calling a great game behind the dish. Catcher is not an offensive position, certainly not backup catcher. I wouldn’t trade any of these guys for Mike Piazza (from 4 years ago) and his noodle of an arm… I used to LOVE watching the Braves play the Mets cause we would steal half our yearly quota in one afternoon.

  38. If we could sign a big 1B bat this year or next to complete a stellar offensive infield (better than average to elite at each position), we could carry Schafer in CF and Gorkys in LF and have a stellar defensive outfield (with above average offense among Heyward-Schafer-G.Hernandez).

    For 2010 or 2011, I mean. Heyward and Gorkys need another year or two.

  39. A) Phils gave Moyer two years?!?!? he’s going to be 70 when that contract finishes right? Though I don’t know why they wouldn’t as he was effective last year and it wasn’t because he was so dominant and strong.

    B) 3 years for Pettite? I too hope that’s not us

  40. Cliff- where are you getting your ratios from? Abreu’s at least as good as Dunn or Burrell, especially when you note that Burrell is useless in the field.

  41. csg – Wolf commonly started 30-33 games and pitched 160-210 innings in the years prior to the incorrect (according to Baseball Reference) and injury-influenced stats you cite. He had the shoulder fixed in 2007 and bounced back to 33 GS/190 IP last year. Also, he finished 08 with Houston (not SD) and he was strong down the stretch starting 12 games, going 6-2, with an ERA+ of 119. He’s never pitched a lot of IPS, but we can’t expect that either of Smoltz now.

    I’m not saying that Wolf is the best SP option out there for us. I just think it makes sense for the Braves to consider him if they’re not convinced Smoltz has recovered from the shoulder surgery. I also think it is CRAZY to bank on Smoltz getting more starts and more (and better) innings than Wolf.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/wolfra02.shtml

  42. The only memorable thing Ross has done in his career is hit his first career home run. That came off of Mark Grace, pitching in a blowout for the DBacks. One of my favorite baseball moments ever.

  43. #50

    You’re right — there aren’t many. I’d say the list is comprised of Mike Redmond and Javier Valentin. That’s why I’m fine with Ross, even for two years. He’s actually one of the better-hitting backup catchers in the game.

  44. mraver,

    Have you seen Abreu play defense recently? I was always an Abreu fan and thus was shocked to see how much his speed and range have diminished.

    The Abreu of 5 years ago would be the perfect answer for us right now, but, sadly that player no longer exists.

  45. Is the Bobby Lowder Omnipresence just a myth or do he and Pat Dye really have that much sway over the program?

  46. @56: I’ll definitely give you Mike Redmond, that bastard kept Joe Mauer on my fantasy bench way too often this last year. He calls a great game, throws out ~35% of steal attempts, and has a quality approach at the plate. (Tom Glavine, Al Leiter, CC Sabathia, and pretty much any LHP would agree.) He’s a steal for the ~$1 million a year the Twins have him signed for.

    Valentin has some above-average hitting (for a backup C): lifetime .251/.310/.402 (pretty much the same as his numbers from last year,) but his ability to hold baserunners might be questionable. In ’07 he only caught 5 of 45 attempts. Ross, playing for the same Cincy squad that year, caught 25 of 61, and is over 38% for his career. (Valentin is just under 30%, he’s no Henry Blanco, but at least he’s not Piazza-like…)

  47. Loyalty begets diminishing returns. I wasn’t so nostalgic for Glavine that his performance last year wasn’t painful to watch.

    Glavine was pitching bad innings in 2007. Smoltz hasn’t pitched any bad innings. IMO, he’s at high risk for injury, but not at high risk for pitching terribly.

    Also, interesting point at the end of that Baseball America prospect list: we just signed two Taiwanese prospects, RHP Wei Cheng Huang and C Meng Hsiu Tsai.

  48. In the ’70s & ’80s, Skip had a unique ability to make broadcasts for a hopeless team entertaining. Let’s hope we’re not that brutal.

    Chinese guys? Why not? If they can play, bring ’em.

    Mandarin Lesson #1:
    good = hao
    bad = boo hao

  49. I dunno, man. I was around in the 70s and all this sure feels familiar – baseball and everything else …

  50. Why isn’t Texeira to the Yankees a done deal?

    Makes perfect sense. And the trains to Baltimore run every day.

  51. I am rooting for the Yankees to sign Teix and Manny. There really isn’t any reason for them not to.

  52. If Brad Penny’s shoulder is doing well, and we get him to agree to a personal trainer, we should see if we can get him on a 2 year, $25 mil deal. 2010 rotation of Hudson, Penny, Vazquez, Jurrjens, Hanson is one I can live with. Try to get Smoltz in on a similar deal, call it 2 for $20 mil to hold down the bullpen and just be part of things.

    Red Sox, sadly, make a lot of sense for John. They can give him a big contract, give him a better chance to go for another ring and pitch in the Series one last time, they have the depth to let him work his way back slowly and to take stretches off so that he’s got something in September and October. Beckett / Lester / Smoltz / Daisuke could be beautiful, to see them wreck shop, man after man. And if he breaks down, they could afford to eat a short years overpaid contract. Work something out where they trade him back to Atlanta for nothing, makes a last appearance and hangs um up.

    If he cares most about getting the best chance to win before he’s done, the Sox are it. If he cares most about giving it all to one city, one organization, then staying with Atlanta on a high paid bullpen gig and slipping into the rotation if he can handle it works.

  53. I don’t think the Yanks are serious about Tex. I believe they’re just attempting to annoy the Sox & perhaps drive up the price.

  54. per mlb rumors…

    1. “Bobby Abreu seeks a three-year, $48MM deal” – yeah, mark him off the list, if he was ever on it

    2. “The market for Lowe seems to be shrinking, as Scott Boras sticks to demands for four or five years at $16.5MM per (similar to A.J. Burnett’s deal). ” – see #1

  55. Tex seems like a perfect fit for what the Yankees need – slugging, switch-hitting 1B you can pencil in the for the next 8 years.

    He’s a Boras client and the Yanks seem to get a perverse pleasure out of justifying that weasel’s existence.

    And, best of all, he doesn’t end up in Boston.

    If he does, do we want Yuke?

  56. I’m definitely up for splurging on 2 year deals.

    Some guy called Brandon Webb is a free agent in 2 years.

  57. From what I’ve been hearing, if the Red Sox get Teixeira they’ll still keep Youkilis and move him over to third.

  58. #74, you think a team that was too scared to offer Adam Dunn arbitration will work out an extension in the next year?

    I’m guessing they have no idea where they have to be payroll wise in 2011.

  59. Interesting comment from Bill Ballew in the BA chat today:

    Q: Kevin from Bakersfield, CA asks:
    Bill, The most interesting aspect of the Braves Top 10 this year is Jeff Francouer’s omission from the Braves projected 2012 lineup. Has Francouer’s stock fallen that much?

    A: Bill Ballew: It just seems at this point that Francoeur has felt a sense of being let down by the fans and vice versa. Some of the comments directed at Francoeur last year were uncalled for. Some people in the organization wonder if the SI article referring to him as “the Natural” might have gone to his head, but Francoeur is no Andres Thomas, a Brave shortstop in the late 1980s who thought he had it made once he reached the big leagues and stopped working. Francoeur will be in the big leagues in 2012, but there could be a parting of the ways with Atlanta if the atmosphere at Turner Field fails to improve. Then again, he could return to his all-star form with the Braves if he makes the necessary adjustments at the plate.

    Poor wittle Jeffy.

    Ridiculous comment from Ballew:

    Q: Todd from Halterman asks:
    How far off the map did Brandon Jones fall? He certainly had an extremely disapointing year!

    A: Bill Ballew: Jones was not eligible for the list with 135 major league at-bats. He would have been in the teens, probably in the 13-15 range, if he had been eligible. He still has ptoential, but I see him being a fourth outfielder more than an everyday guy, particularly with Atlanta.

    Particularly with Atlanta? We have the worst OF in baseball!

  60. per 43, Billy Ripkin comes clean.

    link

    Other thoughts:

    1. Still buy lots of vinyl, new and used. Not so many CD’s.

    2. Our Asian scouting seems to have taken a step up. Good thing my wife has been studying Mandarin.

    3. Say no to Lowe.

    4. Yeah, it’s totally the fans’ fault Franchise sucks.

  61. @83

    Yeah, but if you assume that we sign an LF and that Schafer/Hernandez, potentially both I guess (although it would still be borderline idiotic not to trade one of them), has one spot, and you assume that Francoeur has the other, and you assume that in a couple years, Heyward has a spot, it’s difficult to see where Jones fits in, even now.

  62. Francouer “return to his all-star form”? Hah, hah, hah, hah, … Hope I’m not contributing to the atmosphere at Turner Field.

    What’s Ballew been smoking?

  63. And it says he may play second. That would be a bad ass infield. Maybw KJ could get us an outfield bat.

  64. I think we can say goodbye to Escobar.

    Seems Wren identified him as his best trade chip and is going to flip him for the best OF or SP he can. He wanted Furcal to replace him, and Furcal wasn’t willing to wait around forever, so…

    I just can’t see Furcal agreeing to play 2nd or Kelly Johnson playing LF.

  65. IF (I don’t really believe it) Furcal were to play 2nd, we’d probably have a strong enough IF for a ground ball pitcher like Lowe. But would we have enough money?

    I would just assume that it means Escobar is gone. But shouldn’t he go first?

  66. I’m trying to wrap my head around this. I don’t think it makes sense to acquire Furcal in order to trade Escobar. The value of Escobar, other than being a better player than Furcal at this point, is that he’s cheap. He’s a guy you surround with expensive players, not a guy you use to trade for expensive players. Even if they do trade him, they STILL have a crap outfield.

    Signing Furcal to play second, and trading KJ for an OF or putting him in the outfield makes more sense. I’d prefer he stay and play LF, but he seems to have a bit of Gloomy Gus about him and might not want to do it.

  67. I can only assume that the Pads have agreed to include Adrian Gonzalez if we’ll include Yunel and Kotchman. Otherwise, this just seems crazy.

    (I’d be OK with moving KJ to LF, too, but I seriously doubt that’s what’s happening.)

  68. Oh, for Pete’s sake, Bill Ballew. Name one comment that wasn’t warranted by Jeff’s performance or his preening, entitled behavior. He feels he’s been let down by the fans? He and Jake Peavy should get together to discuss their baseball disappointments.

    Ballew’s been a big Frenchy guy for a while now. In 2003: “He reminds me of former Brave Dale Murphy. That includes his makeup and all-around abilities. Compared to today’s players, Francoeur might be a Jim Edmonds type of player, hopefully healthier.”

    In February, on Talking Chop: “I feel that Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann are the best draft picks since Chipper, but Heyward has a chance to be in that same category.”

    I don’t know Ballew from Adam, but something tells me he has a blind spot when it comes to Jeffy.

  69. We knew we’d lose either KJ or Escobar at some point this off-season. I’m all for signing Furcal, but definitely hoping we flip KJ and not Esco.

  70. Jeffy lost big points by moping about his AA stint. Any player with a brain in his head would have seen that it was best for the team and that he only looks like a jackass by complaining.

  71. Furcal has been playing second in winter ball.

    KJ playing left was like watching Lt. Dan falling out of his wheel chair after the hookers call Forrest stupid.

  72. If we sign Furcal and he agrees to play 2nd, it would be great. But I don’t think there is any chance he agrees to switch to 2nd base.

  73. 103,

    The fact he’s playing second in winter ball is promising. Maybe second would be easier physically?

  74. Weren’t Furcal and Miguel Tejada a double play combination in the Dominican Republic a few years back?

  75. Furcal is 31 and will be signing a 3 or 4 year deal. If I’m him, I’m thinking I can sign this contract and probably one more before I retire. With my arm, I am more valuable at SS than I am at 2nd base.

    In the Winter League, where no one is playing for money, I’m sure it doesn’t matter to him where he plays. Probably even easier and more fun to play a different position.

    But in the Majors? It makes no sense for him, from a financial standpoint, to move to 2nd base. If he does, he’ll have to prove he can play SS all over again later in his career. If he stays at SS now, he can still market himself as a SS later.

  76. The more I think about it, the more it’s obvious that if Wren signs Furcal, he’s trading Escobar.

  77. Wow…how on earth will Wren be able to fit Furcal’s salary into the payroll? If Wren has a plan in his head, I am really looking forward to see the end result.

  78. I don’t care where Furcal will play, but having him at the top of the lineup is awesome. We haven’t been in the playoff since he left.

  79. DOB:

    You know, whenever I saw “mystery team” next to the other four in pursuit of Furcal, I had a funny feeling that I should’ve called his agent Kinzer earlier today.

    But I didn’t.

    Just saw Rosenthal’s note an hour or so ago, and I can tell you it’s not bogus. I’m hearing Braves are indeed, said “mystery team” in the pursuit. Still trying to get in confirmed with a person who’ll absolutely know. But just the fact that Ken quoted Kinzer in the story was a pretty sure sign it was accurate. Kinzer wouldn’t make that up and use the Braves’ name like that if they weren’t in it.

    So folks, hang on to your seats. As I’ve said all along, I never bought the Braves being entirely out of the Peavy thing, no looking back, etc.

    Them going after Furcal tells me they’re ready to trade either Kelly or Escobar as the centerpiece in a deal for a starting pitcher. Could be Peavy, could be Greinke, could be another. But know it’s got to be a very good one if they’re doing this.

    http://tinyurl.com/5fncog

  80. Playing either Furcal or Escobar at 2B would be retarded. They’ve both got ridiculous arms; putting that at 2B would just be silly.

    If we get Furcal (weird that we want him, although maybe Wren is desperate for FAs who want to play for the Braves at this point!), we’ll very much try to move Escobar.

  81. If Furcal is signed, then I hope that means KJ is moved to left field instead of traded for a pile of crap like Ludwick.

  82. If the Braves are in fact serious about contending in ’09 (which, by all indications, is the plan), I’m surprised to not hear Randy Johnson’s name bandied about more often.

    Sure, he’s not young (45, as of opening day), and he did have a flare-up with his back in 2007, but he was healthy last year and has been largely so his entire career (162-game-average of 33 games started). Most importantly, he’s still effective: in 2008, he posted a 3.76 FIP and 1.24 WHIP, with 8.46 K/9 and 3.9 K/BB in 30 games; Bill James projects 28 GS with a 3.51 FIP and 9.42 K/9 in 2009.

    Plus, he’s only five wins from 300, which should provide a nice PR boost — a boost which might be necessary, if Francoeur takes another step backwards — and would likely come fairly cheaply, on a one- or two-year deal, to boot.

  83. jj3bagger, I believe you mean offensive production, but KJ’s defense in leftfield is worse than Klesko…if that’s possible.

  84. If we could sign Johnson on the cheap, it could give Hanson another year to develop. But 45 is pretty damn old. I don’t know if we need Smoltz AND Johnson on the same bench.

  85. The last thing the Braves need is another aging pitcher–no matter how good.

    Signing Furcal would be weird–but the reality is that it would be nice to add Peavy. The Burnett saga aptly illustrates the appeal of trades…

  86. kc, worse than Klesko ?? W0w, that’s a bold statement. I can’t exactly recall many KJ left field games, but I remember them being at least equal to Klesko. Maybe it’s just me. I’m
    just not sure what to make of this whole Furcal information.

  87. @86: He said all-star form, not all-star status… If you project out Frenchy’s 2005 stats they’re undoubtedly all-star caliber. That said, you’ve also got to pay attention to the IF in his quote.

    @97: I’m not going to defend Jeff’s putrid offensive performance last year, but the only things that depressed me more than that this season were the many injuries and the widespread ignorance being spouted by Braves fans on this site and elsewhere when it comes to Jeff. I have no problem with criticism, and there was certainly plenty to criticize, but many of you guys have been downright ugly in your personal attacks on a kid who is clearly still putting effort into playing. As for comparisons with Murphy, here’s one for ya, compare Jeff’s 2008 with Dale’s 1981. Let’s hope the similarities don’t end there.

    As for Rosenthal, I can’t wait to see Furcal at SS, he’ll definitely fill that hole left when we traded Escobar for Peavy a month ago… oh wait that report turned out to be completely bogus… I’d love to see Fookie back in Braves blue, but I seriously doubt it will happen. Kinzer is just trying to drum up more interest in his client. My guess is the Yankees will sign him to be their 7th inning man.

  88. Oh, and quite bad-mouthing Klesko. The guy was a 1B who selflessly moved to left and worked his ass off everyday to be a better ballplayer. I’ll admit his defense was a bit hard to stomach at first, but he eventually became a decent defender, and if nothing else he was the most entertaining fielder this side of Manny Ramirez. The day he was traded is still one of my darkest memories as a Braves fan.

  89. Damn, sorry for the triple post, but I had to respond to one last thing, if not only to show my open-mindedness to criticism. @118: There is no room for Frenchy to take a “step back” he either starts moving forward, or he takes a step down.

  90. Gadfly, it’s a fact that Klesko’s defense is not good. We all know he was a first baseman who was asked to play leftfield. Kelly was also an infielder who was asked to play outfield. My point is that neither case is desirable and should be avoid at all costs.

    I think you have misread the tone of my message.

  91. Gadfly, and what makes most of us (including me) mad about Frenchy is his inability to see what’s wrong with himself. The kid has all the talent in the world but is not smart enough to utilize it. I would love to see Frenchy turning his career around because the Braves aren’t going anywhere without a good season from him, but I just don’t see it in him…of course, I hope I am wrong.

  92. Wow, Rosenthal is reporting it as a done deal. I’m not sure what to think about this until as the chips have fallen.

  93. So, I wouldn’t really have a problem if the reports are true of sending Escobar to the Dodgers for Kemp or Either. Or to the Royals as part of a Greinke package.

  94. everyone ready for a prado/infante left side of the infield for about 30 games this year? sounds exciting, huh?

  95. @124–I know Ballew said “form” not status–I put it in quote marks. I still say hah, hah, hah, ……..

    Calling two hot months “all-star form” is just ridiculous.

    Signing Furcal and trading Esco–doesn’t sound smart to me. I guess it depends on the terms of the signing and the trade.

  96. No reason I see for Wren to sign Furcal unless he’s trading Esco plus for Peavy or KJ plus for Greinke. I also hope that the follow-on deal is already done, just not announced, because if it’s Peavy Wren is after Towers is stupid enough to screw it up again.

  97. We must be keeping Escobar. Can you imagine what it would be like if Furcal went down with an injury again?

    They’d also be great as the top two in the order.

  98. well, Im happy to have Furcal back. I would love to see him at 2nd and us keep Yunel. That would be an awesome up the middle defense with Schafer in CF

  99. Yup, figured Bravesjournal was already buzzing…

    I would much rather keep Yunel and deal KJ, but I think it means Yunel is a goner and it means Wren’s already got something in place for Peavy.

    I’m actually surprised DOB thinks it maybe a deal for Greinke – I sure hope we don’t trade Yunel for a guy with issues like Greinke who’s never really proven anything.

    Peavy could help this team turn around.

  100. What an odd signing. I look forward to seeing what Wren does next. I’d certainly prefer to keep Escobar, but it does seem a waste to put one of them at second.

  101. It’s not odd at all if he’s trading KJ for Greinke or Yunel for Peavy. He has to have a good player to replace one of those guys.

  102. With Furcal’s injury problems I don’t see any problem with him moving to second. I wouldn’t even mind seeing KJ move back to left, but I don’t think it’s very likely. It will be nice to have Furcal back to give us a threat on the bases again.

  103. jea! Where ya been?

    I will say, if Furcal is only being paid $9 million per year, and if it leads to Francoeur also being shipped out, I might be OK with trading Escobar.

  104. Hey, Stu! I changed jobs and have mostly been reading instead of posting. Alex R., I agree that it’s not odd at all under those scenarios. I guess, even with all the rumors, I never figured the Braves would resign Furcal. Depending on what they can get in trade for Johnson or Escobar, it will make sense. And I suppose with Furcal’s injury history, he may end up at second at some point.

  105. I’m going to reserve judgement until the other shoe (and there’s almost certainly another shoe here) drops. It sounds like we’ve still got $20 million to spend on whatever trade target comes plus whatever we can get afterwards. Ya know, if they hadn’t just signed Renteria, I would’ve thought we were about to get Matt Cain.

  106. I don’t like this. Furcal wouldn’t come back to play 2nd and it would be a waste of his arm. This has to mean Wren is going to trade Escobar for a “top of the rotation” pitcher but who the hell is that going to be. So, he is going to trade one of the best young shortstops in baseball, replace him with a guy who is years older, with a bad back, drinking issues, and a history of erratic play, plug a pitcher in and expect to beat the Phillies and Mets. And, I agree with Alex, it had better be Peavey they trade for because if they are trading Yunel for Greinke, that is really stupid. This has the earmarks of trying to win now for Bobby Cox because he won’t be here much longer.

  107. Yes, I think everyone on here can universally agree that trading Yunel for Greinke would be horrendous. If it is Greinke, it should be KJ.

    Then again, I hope to God it’s Peavy because I don’t think it was worth bringing Furcal back just to land Greinke. Not sure why everyone’s in love with this guy.

    Please, let it be Peavy.

  108. I’m so confused… If this means a Yunel & Frenchy for Greinke trade I’m not sure what to make of it. I like Furcal, but also like Yunel (and Yunel is CHEAP)… On the one hand it’s probably a financially better deal than if we were doing the yunel + prospects for Peavy deal, it’s just a bigger question mark long term. I’m really just confused and shouldn’t ponder this until we KNOW what’s happening (my GUESS is that Yunel and Francouer are going to KC for Greinke, and hopefully we’ll gamble on Dunn/Burrell to fill frenchy’s spot).

  109. I’m in love with Greinke because he’s young, cheap, awesome, and without the present injury concern Peavy has.

    That said, I still wouldn’t want to give up Yunel for him.

  110. CharlesP,

    I am curious, where has there been any evidence that we would be stupid enough to trade Yunel for Greinke? If wren trades Yunel for Greinke, he should be fired immediately, taken out by security, and transferred to Guantanamo.

    Just sayin.

    Yunel is arguably the best young SS in all of Baseball. You do NOT trade that for a guy with mental issues (Greinke). You DO trade that for a top 3 (in all of Baseball) starting pitcher (Peavy) at a reasonable rate after you’ve landed Furcal back.

    I cannot fathom Wren to be so effing stupid to trade Yunel for Greinke. That would be utterly insane.

  111. Stu, I haven’t seen enough evidence that Greinke is ‘awesome’. To be fair, you were very much against the Braves trading Kyle Davies and Davies has been a gigantic dud we don’t miss at all.

    By the way, I am sure it’s already been talked about in here, but bravo to the Braves for not offering James a contract. I wish we had “traded high” when he had perceived value, but I am thrilled Chuckie’s gone. He’s not good.

  112. Furcal – LF
    Escobar – SS
    Chipper – 3B
    McCann – C
    Kotchman – 1B
    CF – CF
    KJ – 2B
    Francouer – RF

    Pitcher

    Getting there. Scotty, we need more power!

    Get Dunn. Put him at first.

  113. There are a lot of young pitchers (not yet elite top of the rotation guys) such as Snell, Greinke, et al. that I think the Braves could get without trading Yunel and that I would prefer the Braves explore rather than trading Yunel and bringing Furcal back. They probably wouldn’t make the playoffs this year but they would be positioning themselves for the future. Let’s face it, Peavey is good, probably very good, but pitchers are always a risk. Look at Hudson who was an ace in Oakland but, except for 2007, has been either so-so or hurt in Atlanta. Peavey’s splits were also very bad on the road last year and while that may be an aberration, what if it’s not? I like the Vazquex trade because you didn’t give up that much but I’m skeptical about (if that’s the plan) of replacing a young, upcoming shortstop with Furcal.

  114. How about:

    Peavy and Gonzalez for Escobar, Kotchman, Gorkys, Locke, Morton.

    Basically the same deal they wanted for just Peavy, with Kotchman and Gonzo added in. That way they are getting their package, but we aren’t exactly giving in. I would add in Reyes/Boyer/B. Jones to get it done as well. We could live with Frenchy’s bat in RF hitting 8th if we sign someone to play LF and have Gonzo in the middle too. something like:

    Furcal
    Schafer
    Jones
    Gonzo
    LF
    Mccann
    Johnson
    Frenchy

    wouldn’t be too shabby, and the rotation would be:

    Peavy
    Jurrjens
    Vasquez
    Campillo
    Reyes (if not traded)/Smoltz/Parr/Hanson/random veteran pickup

  115. There hasn’t been evidence that we would trade Yunel for Greinke, but I believe that’s what Moore said it would take (Francour & Yunel) IF we were going that route. We may still be going the Peavy route, but it seems the scuttlebut on that front is that it’s more likely Peavy won’t be traded this off-season now.

    Like I said, I’m really more confused than anything because it seems that Peavy won’t be moving this off season, and yet not many other scenarios seem to make sense for us to have done this deal with Furcal.

  116. I’d rather trade Yunel for Greinke than KJ for Paul Maholm.

    FWIW, everything I’ve read says it would take Yunel+ to land Greinke, so I’m not sure where the KJ-for-Greinke rumors are coming from.

  117. ESPN saying its not a done deal. I guess Ill still take Rosenthal’s word for it

    I dont understand how people dont like the idea of Furcal at 2nd. Who cares how strong his arm is. If it means we keep Yunel and are moving KJ, Im all for Raffy at 2nd. His arm isnt any stronger than Yunel’s. Still with Raffy, Yunel, and Schafer we are solid up the middle for a long time. Raffy would still be better defensively than KJ and we finally get a leadoff hitter again.

  118. Stu,

    I think you may be right, and while I don’t have an issue trading Escobar for Greinke (he has averaged an ERA+ of 125 over the past two seasons, has no history of injury, and should entering his prime), adding Guillen to the deal is horrible. I think it solves your pitching issue, but that makes Guillen by default, your big bat acquisition.

    Adding Guillen (12MM) to Vasquez (11.5 MM), Ross (1.5 MM), and Furcal (10 MM) will make the total offseason spending around 35 MMM. Greinke is in in his second arb year and made 1.4 MM last year. That figures to bump to around 5 MM and there goes the 40 MM of play money.

    The big issue is that even by expanding either of the potential Peavy or Greinke deals neither team has the impact type bat that the Braves need.

    That puts the team in the same boat that we were in when we started. To have a realistic chance of being competitive, we need another pitcher AT LEAST as good as Javier Vasquez and an outfielder AT LEAST as good as Andre Ethier.

    To get it we have 15-20 MM, an (at minimum) above average SS or 2B to trade, and a fairly deep farm system.

    If the Braves won’t sign Burrell, Dunn, or Lowe, there is really no free agent solution either of those two issues. Therefore, they must be acquired through a trade. The main problem that I see is that Yunel or KJ will only be able to (at best) pick up one of those needs. That leaves me, at least, at a quandary as to how we are going to acquire the other one without completely gutting the farm system.

  119. Stu, I’m certainly not trying to be ‘old school’ here and pick a fight with you. But you were very upset when the Braves dealt Davies and he has sucked. I’m wrong all the time, BELIEVE ME, and I am probably off the mark in my criticisms of Greinke. I am probably wrong more than anyone on here.

    But all I wanted to say is that though you are usually right in your analysis, you were incorrect about Davies (we’re all allowed occassional misfires) and I was merely just trying to say Greinke could be another Davies.

    And he concerns me because of all the mental issues he’s had. I would have a hard time trusting a guy who wasn’t mentally tough.

    I mean look at Greg Maddux…never the best stuff but he was mentally the toughest pitcher in Baseball in the 90’s and that’s why he has 300+ wins. Greinke may have great talent but if he has a fragile psyche/ego, he concerns me. Id’ rather have Peavy whom we all know is a proven winner and a proven ace.

  120. Just to clarify, I don’t want to trade Yunel for anybody really, though I can see that it might happen. Neither am I real hep on trading KJ as I think he’s more likely to be productive… and BOTH of them are still cheap. I would LIKE us to give them both contracts like McCann’s (not exact amounts, just in the same spirit), and throw JJ into that mix as well.

    That said, I realize we’ll be in a tough spot to fill our other holes at this point, and we may have to trade somebody to get an SP.

  121. I agree with CharlesP that I’d rather KEEP Yunel than trade him. But with Furcal back, I’d be OK with trading Yunel for Peavy.

    But I will turn in my Braves gear if Wren stupidly trades Yunel for a guy like Greinke.

  122. I would be surprised if Furcal moves to 2B. I think it far more likely that Yunel gets shipped off, as he obviously has more value in trade than KJ does and we’re looking to make a rather huge trade.

    However, if we trade Escobar we really should not be sweetening the deal with high level prospects for anyone buy Peavy. Anyone that goes with Escobar should be filler material.

    How about we trade Francoeur for Andruw Jones and then Escobar for Peavy. Give whatever we have left to Smoltz.

  123. Ethan,
    I’m with you all the way. To be clear, I don’t actually want Guillen (although getting rid of Jeffy would be nice). FWIW, I do think the Pads have an impact bat (Gonzalez), but I don’t think there’s any chance they’re trading him.

    Alex,
    I was not wrong about Davies. (1) Recall my argument, which was not that Davies was great, but that he had (and would have) more value than 3 months of Octavio Dotel. (2) Look at Davies’ stats from last year—he was much better than you appear to realize.

    PS: Why are we talking about Kyle Davies?

  124. I still disagree with yuo about the Dotel-Davies deal because even though we only had Dotel for a few months and he was nothing special, Davies stunk and that was a clear cut case of “addition by subtraction” whereas at least Dotel was added to attempt to solidify a damaged bullpen for the stretch run.

    Yes, the mission failed, but Davies is completely useless. The pitching equivalent of Francouer. The Braves would be better off GIVING AWAY Frenchy, because he sucks the life force out of the team being on it.

  125. Well, Alex, if you’re going to ignore the facts, there’s not much to be accomplished here. 2008 happened. Davies was solid and Greinke was outstanding.

  126. What if they do something REALLY crazy and move KJ to first and include Kotchman in a deal. I would laugh.

  127. At least the Hot Stove is hot again. The AJ speculation, with the suspicion of how it was going to turn out, was depressing. I think the deal is with Pittsburgh or KC. The SD thing is dead.

  128. Maybe Furcal can play center. I think it is a great move. It gives us a leadoff hitter, something we haven’t had since, Furcal.

  129. Yunel+Schafer+Reyes++ for Maholm+McLouth

    I’d hate it, but does anyone else have a nagging feeling that’s the type of thing we’re about to see?

  130. I’m convinced that there’s something in the water in Pittsburgh that causes players to completely lose their ability after one good year. It keeps happening.

  131. That deal, Stu, would be even more insane than the Greinke one.

    I’ll say it again, the only way we should trade a big time stud like Yunel is if we get a big time stud like Peavy back.

    Wren cannot possibly be that stupid do that horrible Pirates trade.

  132. jorge,
    I really don’t think so. I think much of his value would be lost at 2B, and I’d honestly rather trade him for a good pitcher than move him off of short. And I don’t want to trade him for a good pitcher.

  133. Alex,

    I agree that while he was here, Davies stunk. That being said, he looked really good last September. Sometimes it takes longer. I just think the Braves ran out of patience; obviously, the Royals are in a different position and have the ability to go through some growing pains. Whether Davies can turn that into anything real next year, who knows? But he did look good.

    RE: Greinke vs. Davies

    After seeing them both live numerous times, its not even close. Greinke has much, much better stuff and has been a significantly better pitcher the past two years. While not saying that either of them have these types of ceilings, I’d equate the difference between Davies and Greinke at the top of their games to to difference between Kevin Millwood and John Smoltz at the top of theirs.

  134. Ok here goes:

    Trade Escobar + prospects for Peavy.

    Sign Smoltz to a deal guaranteeing $5million and pray he signs.

    That sorts out the rotation.

    Onto the infield: Do nothing, it’s fine.

    On to the outfield: Sign Barry Bonds to a 1 year deal at the league minimum with some playing time incentives. Trade Francoeur for Andruw and have the Dodgers eat half of Andruw’s salary. Call up Schafer to play RF.

  135. I’d be willing to let Smoltz go elsewhere if the $ doesn’t work and we can add Peavy, Burrell and say keep Glavine as the 5th starter.

    Yeah, I’d rather have Smoltz back than Glavine, but Glavine back once more as the #5 starter and we add Burrell, that’s the best case scenario.

  136. When did Yunel Escobar become the best young SS in baseball? He’s a good player, and I’d like the Braves to keep him. But the plan to keep him and sign a FA pitcher apparently didn’t work. So signing a FA SS who is just as good as Escobar and trading Yunel for a pitcher sounds like a good back up plan. Escobar for Peavy or Grienke is a good deal in my opinion.

  137. I keep seeing that this was done so that Escobar or Johnson can be traded for a good young pitcher. Than I see the possible names: Peavy, Zack Greinke, Paul Maholm….

    Is it just me, or is Paul Maholm NOT a good enough young pitcher to be signing an expensive veteran and dumping Johnson/Escobar?

  138. Wasn’t it while KJ was in LF that he had his TJ surgery? I thought he originally was moved to 2nd to ease the load on his repaired arm while it recovered. I wonder if arm troubles at the time were a factor in his apparent bad defense in LF and now that his arm is fully recovered (maybe?) he will be better in LF than before. I’m not saying he will be good or anything, just better now that his arm works correctly.

  139. The reason I would trade Escobar for Peavy and not Greinke are the years we would have the pitcher.

    I like the 5 years of Peavy for the 5 years of Escobar, even though he costs more. We need an ace long term. It may take that long for Hanson or Teheran to take over the spot.

  140. Mac, what are the rules about how long you have to keep a signed FA before you can include him in a deal? I have to admit, one of my first thoughts after seeing we got him (other than unprintables) was that he’s clearly below-market, and that below-market contracts always have value.

    Interesting to see just how far below value he is. I’m not objecting to the dollars — clearly, he’s a bargain at the price we got him — I’m objecting to the fact that he’s totally blocked and that we will have to trade a guy I like more to make room for him.

    Moving him to 2b is a total waste: SS cost more than 2b. Yunel is a more valuable trade chip than KJ. It would be foolish not to trade Yunel now. That’s why I hate the deal.

  141. And even though I have less faith in Greinke than Stu or most of you have, I would support trading KJ for Greinke simply because I am not a big KJ fan, he’s had his chance and he simply disappears in too big a stretches for my taste.

    If they would take Francouer as well and give us a hitter back, that would be a good deal.

    And I’ll say this for Greinke…he is cheap so it would afford us a lot more money to add a big outfield bat and keep Smoltz.

  142. #198……………..personally, i’d rather see the Braves go 0-162 for five straight years than ever see Bonds in a Braves uni.i know it almost happened once, but i only hated Bonds half as much back then.

  143. I like everything about Greinke other than the team-controlled years. I don’t want a guy for just two years. That reminds me too much of Teixeira. And I doubt we’d be able to extend him on the cheap, since it looks like he’s not doing KC any favors even though they stuck with him during his year in the wilderness.

  144. AAR – Exactly.

    Now if we got rid of Francouer with Yunel (or KJ) to get Greinke and another bat we would actually want, the trade might be superior to one for Peavy.

  145. I’d be shocked if it is not Escobar who is traded. The Braves likely would have just let Prado play second base at league minimum rather than have signed Furcal if it was Johnson being traded.

    That, or all the stuff Bowman wrote about the Braves “believing in Prado” was a complete lie.

  146. DOB:

    (But just so you know, his surgery was a procedure similar to the one that Mark Kotsay had in March 2007, and we saw Kotsay play very well early last season for the Braves before going on the DL for more than a month due to a recurrence of back issues.)

    Boy, that’s a bit unnerving, isn’t it? I’m scared.

  147. So we’re holier-than-Bonds but welcoming Furcal back with open arms (depending on his price).

    Bond’s perjury and cheating and overall negative attitude never put anyone’s lives at risk. A DUI in my opinion is far more deplorable than anything Bonds has been accused of (that I am aware of)

  148. A DUI is deplorable but Bonds is not remotely sorry for the way he’s acted.

    I’m sorry, I find Bonds more hateable than anyone in Baseball, because he’s completely cheated at the game and in life and not remotely sorry about it, and treats everyone, including his family and friends, like garbage.

    I find Bonds’ “righteous indignation” despite a mountain of evidence of wrongdoing to remind us of a certain Illinois Governor who we’d all like to see go to jail.

  149. Stu,

    Tony LaRussa’s face. You got me there :-)

    And I think LaRussa is a worse drunk than Furcal because again, I’ve never heard Furcal treating people badly or being a jerk towards anyone else. yes, he puts people at risk, but LaRussa does that and smack talks in a nasty way about Bobby.

  150. Bowman says Kelly Johnson to left field:

    ATLANTA — The Braves are looking forward to the opportunity to once again place Rafael Furcal at the top of their lineup. At the same time, they’re looking forward to having both Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar in that same lineup.

    Where Furcal would be positioned defensively remains to be seen. But the Braves have no intention to trade either Johnson or Escobar. Instead, they are planning to move Johnson back to left field, a position he played before moving to second base before the start of the 2007 season.

    The opportunity to have both Furcal and Johnson in their lineup proved more appealing to the Braves than any of the options they were evaluating in their search to find a power-hitting outfielder.

    With Johnson, they feel they have a player capable of hitting 15-20 homers. Matt Diaz could also see some time in left field.

    http://tinyurl.com/5myd3j

  151. That’s BS aimed at other GMs. The Braves just don’t want to seem like they’re forced into a trade.

    Unless it’s not.

  152. “At the same time, they’re looking forward to having both Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar in that same lineup.”

    Jesus. Peanut, my friend, you’re…you’re not a very good writer.

    I’ll be very confused if we move Kelly to LF. That basically means that Furcal was the “run producing outfield bat” we were looking for.

  153. If we made this move and don’t use either Escobar or Johnson to trade for a pitcher, it is among the stupidest things I’ve ever seen.

    And yes, trading Escobar would make far more sense than trading Johnson and playing Furcal there. If you play Furcal at second, you are wasting his best defensive attribute.

  154. Kelly Johnson is the defensive presence in left field that Adam Dunn isn’t?

    Wren isn’t that stupid. This has to be him blowing smoke.

  155. that only makes sense if we get after Lowe, Kenshin, and Smoltz. We dont have that in the budget, I dont think, and its still doesnt make much sense

  156. I agree…it’s blowing smoke time. It would make no sense to move KJ to LF and not trade for a top flight starter.

  157. Hmmm, We all want pitching but I think Wren will not deal with Towers and Peavy has hurt his value with his attitude.
    I want pitching, but a good OF for Esco is fine by me, sign Garland or someone like him, for 2 years as our youth gets to develop and see what we have, we can always go after a pitcher during the season.
    I am also thinking more about 2010 than 2009 as being in the race, so my mindset is probably different then Wren’s.

  158. And by the way, I’m guessing Peavy would deem Furcal an acceptable replacement for Escobar at short…and that would explain why we signed Furcal before making the trade for the pitcher.

  159. I also think they are using Peanut to tell everyone we will use KJ in left. IF that is the case, he is the one we are looking to move.

  160. I am shocked they haven’t had a story out there about how Frenchy is working really hard to get better. Then trade him

  161. Smitty, your barber just phoned me a tip:

    Kotchman, Reyes, Schafer, Medlen, and Locke

    to the Brewers for

    Cameron and Fielder.

    Also, he tells me we’re close on Kawakami.

    Rotation
    Smoltz
    Vazquez
    Jurrjens
    Kawakami
    Morton

    Lineup
    Furcal (2B)
    Escobar (SS)
    Jones (3B)
    Fielder (1B)
    McCann (C)
    Cameron (CF)
    KJ (LF)
    Francoeur (RF)

  162. If they are keeping all 3 of them, I would rather see Furcal moved to Center and still get a power bat for left. Then you could include Schafer in a deal for that hitter or a pitcher.

  163. #245

    Totally agree Nick. Peavy has stated repeatedly he wants to play for the Braves, the team he grew up rooting for. The only time I’ve seen Peavy balk was that it would take Escobar in return to have Peavy in Atlanta and he wants that great SS behind him.

    With Furcal behind him, that would satisfy Peavy’s (understandable) main grievance.

  164. #260

    Dix, I found your comment especially funny because Cameron is the name of the ‘Terminator’ on “The Sarah Connor Chronicles”.

  165. Man, if we trade for Fielder, and bring Andruw back next season, and then sign Sabathia to a long term deal in 3 years when he opts out, we might have the greatest up the middle lineup of fatties ever assembled.

  166. I find ESPN.com’s “current” (sans Furcal) projected ‘starters’ for us on both offense and pitching to be very frightening:

    POS PLAYER
    C Brian McCann
    1B Casey Kotchman
    2B Kelly Johnson
    3B Chipper Jones
    SS Yunel Escobar
    LF Brandon Jones
    CF Clint Sammons
    RF Jeff Francoeur

    POS PLAYER
    SP1 Javier Vazquez
    SP2 Jair Jurrjens
    SP3 Jorge Campillo
    SP4 Jo-Jo Reyes
    SP5 James Parr
    CL Mike Gonzalez

    They’re not taking even Smoltz and Glavine into account. And Clint Sammons, starting center fielder.

    If we field THAT rotation in 2009, the Nats will drop us into 5th place.

  167. Can I ask on what people are basing the idea that KJ is rough in left? Not saying he’s not, I remember some plays in ’05 looking more “exciting” than seemed warranted, but is there any metric that supports it? I remember an article on Hardball Times that had Kelly listed as the best Left Fielder in the NL. I’ve tracked it down. Its a two-parter, first an article by David Gassko about Mitchel Lichtman’s Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) stat moving out of the public sphere (note: last week, it moved back in), and his attempt to re-create something similar, where fielders’ success in creating an out based on the type of batted ball and the handedness of the batter is measured (http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/measuring-range/). A month later, he uses the system to evaluate the 2005 gold gloves, and finds Johnson as the best left fielder in the NL, and in only about half a season (http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/2005-gold-gloves/). He goes as far as suggesting the Braves trade Andruw and install Kelly in CF. And really, if he’s got the wheels still, he *could* be a reasonable backup plan in CF if Schafer flops. I looked at the UZR ratings for KJ on 2005, and in half a season he had a 4.1 (7.2 projected for a 150 game season). For perspective, in 2008 3 left fielders had a positive UZR: Carl Crawford (massively ahead of the crowd, in the 20s), and then Fred Lewis and Matt Holliday (7.0 and 4.3, respectively). Everyone else negative. 2007 is similar. So, by UZR (viewed so widely and accurately a measure that for several years it was bought out and removed from public consumption), KJ was one of the top LF’s in his limited action there (sample size, I know). Sure he’s older, may not be as good as he seemed and may be worse now. I don’t think I’d experiment with him out there. But I’ve never really seen any objective analysis showing KJ to really be a defensive liability in the outfield (Diaz is much more of an adventure, and has far less power, but we seem okay with him– and I like Matt, the whole weird “leaning back” thing, the mashing of lefties, the background of bad eyesight identfied after taking him from the Royals and the following .330+ avgs– the myopia of both the man and the Royals and Rays who owned him previously– all great stuff), yet there seems to be a prevailing opinion among some of the most attentive fans (read: Y’all) that Kelly is kinda stonehanded out there. I’m just honestly wondering if there’s basis to it?

  168. Oh wait, Zombie Puckett might offend the sensibilities of us Braves fans, what with his penchant for violence towards women. Though on the other hand, we will need someone to fill that void once Bobby retires.

  169. Dix,

    My bad…I didn’t realize you were actually referring to Cameron from that show and jyst thought it was an ironic use of words. My bad.

    As for Mike Cameron, I’d take him over Francouer.

  170. Well, if Mike Cameron moves back to town, I’ll only be able to sleep with his wife on road trips. I’m not prepared to give that up.

  171. fyi – Adam Dunn’s among the 3 – 5 worst left fielders in the Majors, as measured by UZR. His last three years: -10, -15, -11.
    So Kelly seems, by this measure at least, to be a much better fielder in left than is Dunn.
    I’m a Dunn fan, I think he’s *mostly* undervalued, but seems to be on the Kevin Millwood offseason plan of hunting, fishing and 12 oz curls, and would rather see us sign Milton Bradley.
    I’m still amazed that no one’s even talking about how well he and the Braves match up, as far as on-field needs at the very least.

  172. Auburn may have a better shot at winning an SEC game next year with Francouer but I digress.

    How does one lose all their games in the Big 12 when you don’t have Texas, Texas Tech or OKlahoma on the schedule AND lose to BAYLOR by 28.

    Good luck, War Eagles…

  173. interesting….

    By David O’Brien

    December 16, 2008 11:57 AM | Link to this

    Finally got it confirmed. Furcal might not be taking his physical today, might not be until tomorrow. Not sure about that yet.

    Sounds like Braves really are thinking of Furcal-Escobar as their DP combo and move Kelly J. back to left field, despite what team officials have said previously this winter. (Hey, desperate times call for ….)

    By David O’Brien

    December 16, 2008 12:07 PM | Link to this

    Also keep in mind, Braves won’t have to give up any draft picks if they do it this way, rather than sign a free agent.

    Hey, every little bit counts when you’re in their spot.

  174. @128: I totally agree with you kc, though I probably don’t see it as severe as you do. As I’ve said earlier on this thread I live outside of the local TV broadcast range, so maybe I benefit from not having watched his performance as much as some of you, but I think Jeff understands what’s wrong… he’s just never had to work so hard to fix something, so it took him a while… That being said, being mad at someone, and wishing they would work harder to improve their game, is a LOT different than calling them a “talentless hack” or suggesting that he be killed, released, or traded to some fast food joint, as I’ve seen on this site numerous times. That, my friends, is the behavior of a Mets or Phillies fan, and Atlanta shouldn’t stand for it.

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