It would be an incredible surprise if Furcal isn’t signed now

Furcal acquisition could trigger trade for pitcher |

So I’ll formalize it and say that Rafael Furcal, prodigal infielder, is back. They should at least sign Marcus Giles to a minor league deal to keep him company or something. At any rate, Furcal’s deal is apparently three years, with an option year he should attain if he’s able to play at all. Furcal will, if he plays as well as he did in 2004-05, wind up the deal as the best middle infielder in Atlanta history, which right now could be him, Giles, or Jeff Blauser. I ranked Giles highest when I did my Top 44, but I can’t really state with any conviction that those rankings are justified.

Peanut is currently claiming that the Braves are planning to use Furcal at second and KJ in left field. This is such a poor use of resources that I can’t quite buy it, but this is the team that gave the lion’s share of the corner outfield ABs last year to Jeff Francoeur and Gregor Blanco, so you never know.

However, it seems more likely that Yunel Escobar is on the trading block, either for a putative ace starting pitcher or a slugging corner outfielder.

398 thoughts on “It would be an incredible surprise if Furcal isn’t signed now”

  1. I give the Furcal signing a ‘B’ because I’ll like it if we can use the signing to land Peavy. (it turns into an ‘A’ if we trade KJ instead of Yunel to San Diego).

    Of course, it turns into a ‘C’ if KJ goes to left and we don’t get Peavy or any really good ace.

  2. Gotta be a precursor to another move. Pitching-wise, who besides Peavy makes sense? Greinke? Other?

  3. Furcal, especially with the offer he accepted, was clearly better than any of the options out there in the outfield. I like the signing even if we don’t work a decent trade. We’ve needed a leadoff hitter ever since he left, and Yunel has always looked more comfortable in the 2 spot. If we don’t move either Esco or KJ we’d have amazing versatility… KJ could move back to 2B and everyone could shift to the right to spell Chipper, Fookie or Esco.

    As long as this isn’t a sign that we’re going to go crawling back to throw a deal like we offered before at the Padres, I really like the move.

  4. Then again, I’m wondering if Wren hasn’t found a loophole and is planning on eating a portion of Fookie’s contract to ship him to the Royals for the inimitable Jairo Cuevas.

  5. Considering the way Kevin Towers does business, this prick will probably demand Chipper, McCann, Shaefer, and Gorkys to be “thrown in” with Hanson and Yunel.

    Kevin Towers is a jerk.

  6. From the San Diego Union Tribune (yesterday), Sandy Alderson expects Peavy to now stick w/ Padres:

    Of course, this was before the Rafy signing.

    And here’s one the second Padre blogger had to say:

    The Braves signed Furcal to a multi-year deal this morning, which leaves them with three major-league proven middle infielders (Escobar, Furcal, Kelly Johnson). I think the Jake to the Braves deal will be back on in short order (those rumors about the Braves signing Kenshin Kawakami made no sense given the other pitchers they had been pursuing.

    My guess would be the Padres deal Jake to the Braves for Escobar, Morton, Hernandez and Locke.

    Hmmm, maybe some Padre fans do get that we aint dealing Hanson.

  7. escobar, morton, hernandez, and locke is what they wanted originally. no way we’d give them exactly what they wanted, theyll have to come down off that slightly i’d think.

  8. @8 & 11: You guys obviously missed the joke. I know you can’t trade a FA right after signing, though I don’t know the exact rules (anyone?)… I just know the Braves would love to acquire Jairo Cuevas for the third time this year, if not only to be able to ship him back to the Royals.

  9. #5–Absolutely right….I like the signing and as improbable as it sounds I think it would be great if the Braves can keep Yunel and KJ….

  10. How can Andruw be any hungrier? I hear they ran out of food at Spago thanks to his recent lunch appearance.

  11. I’ve always had faith in Andruw to turn it around, I understood though too that we couldn’t afford the money or time it would take to give him the chance. I wish we could get him back but I don’t think the finances are ever going to align.

  12. Greinke is 26 this year, and his ERA+ since he has been back for the 2 tyears is 125. Hudson’s ERA+ in his 4 years in Atlanta is 118. How can you not want Greinke on the staff? His missed time is non-arm related; shoot-his arm has no wear and tear on it, because of the other issues which are, by all accounts, past him. Greinke for Yunel? In a heartbeat I would make that trade.

  13. from the last thread:

    Nevin, the defensive metrics on KJ in LF are the most incongruous stats I’ve ever seen. He played 10 feet from the warning track, and didn’t look at all comfortable. I think he just got lucky in terms of the types of balls hit to him, or something.

    Now, that said, I don’t particularly care whether he’s a good left fielder or not. There aren’t a lot of great fielding LFs — those guys end up in RF or CF. What matters is whether he’ll hit like a LF (if this is indeed the plan).

    I also think the criticism of “wasting” Furcal’s arm at 2B is entirely overblown. His range and arm still matter on plays up the middle — and since having a “plus” fielder at 2B will allow Escobar to move a step or two to his right, Furcal will get more such opportunities. Or vice versa, if they go the other way with it.

    I’m a fan of this move as is. Furcal replacing KJ at 2B is, all things considered, a slight upgrade. KJ replacing Blanco in LF is a large upgrade, with Diaz returning to the role he should have kept all along — lefty-masher.

  14. It’s the lack of team control that kills a Yunel-Greinke deal.

    I noted the Cuevas dig. Loved it.

    I also read the endless paragraphs from the previous thread which Nevin posted about KJ’s LF D. I agree that he would not be that bad out there, but we do lose some of the value of his bat when it occupies a corner outfield spot rather than middle infield.

  15. Do you think KC would sweeten a Greinke-Escobar deal with a high ceiling, Hi-A arm or infielder coming the other way?

    Might make the mere 2 years of Greinke for 5 of Escobar more palatable.

  16. sansho,
    I agree with you completely. I’m actually quite intrigued by this deal if we’re keeping all three guys.

    What I’ve read is that Yunel alone would not be enough to get Greinke.

  17. This is a strange move, but it’s apparently not costing us all that much, so I’m going to cautiously support it assuming it doesn’t lead to us trading eithe KJ or Esco.

  18. I saw an interview with Kelly last year when he talked about his various position changes.

    He was moved to left field so that he could concentrate solely on hitting, but it didn’t really work. Since he moved to second he felt far more involved with the game and felt that helped his hitting.

    That was the interview where he said he’d changed his stance to the one he used in the low minors as it was far more comfortable, and he then went on his tear.

    Doesn’t seem to me like moving him back to left is the best idea though.

  19. From the Rosenthal updated report:

    “I told him to sleep on it, and that we would talk about it today,” Kinzer told “I didn’t want him to make an emotional decision.

    “Obviously, he’s excited about the Braves. But I don’t want him to make a decision that he is not comfortable with and that he will regret later.”

    You know, he isn’t a power OF bat, and he has a not-insignificant DUI history, but after the Peavy and Burnett stuff, it’s awfully nice to read about a player who seems genuinely excited about the possibility of being a Brave.

  20. Stu – Do you really think 5 years of a starting major league shortstop for two years of arb-eligible 1/2 starter is equitable?

    I think KC would be getting the better end of that deal and would rather keep all three players.

  21. I probably think the two are closer in value than you do, Parish, but no, I wouldn’t really be in favor of such a deal. I was just telling you what all the reports have said.

  22. #22 – I’d do Escobar/Morton/Locke
    I’d prefer Escobar/Reyes/Boyer
    Likely: Escobar/Hernandez/Morton or Locke/Boyer

  23. A leaner, hungrier Andruw who will listen to a real batting coach or even McCann and Chipper’s dads is welcome to play on my team. Kotsay did okay, but Andruw gave us a decade worth of better than pretty damn good. Andruw healed, healthy and slim sounds like a comeback player of the year about to happen.

  24. The Yankees will come in and sign Furcal and use him as the back up bench coach–just because the Yankees cannot allow other teams (except the Red Sox) to sign free agents. :)

  25. #34

    Stu, I will say this again: Peavy is also excited about “being a Brave”.

    He simply didn’t want to come here with nobody at SS, that’s all. And just because the Cubs were on his short list doesn’t mean he only wanted to go to Chicago.

    He only opened his heart to the Cubs because he assumed the Braves deal was dead.

    The dude is from Alabama, a lifelong Braves fan (always dreamed of playing for us), kept his home in Alabama despite playing in San Diego and is best friends with Chipper.

    If he suddenly didn’t want to play for the Braves, I think it would be news to all of us.

  26. Dix and CharlesP, it’s an honor and a privilege to be your euphemism.

    I was working on my paper for a few solid hours this morning and checked in to find news of a Furcal signing. Maybe the expected other shoe will drop if I put in some more time. I won’t vote on the Furcal signing until then, since I don’t think KJ and Escobar are sticking around.

  27. Alex,

    you just can’t know what Peavy thinks. If I had to play Professor X on this one, I’d say that Peavy initially thought coming to the Braves would be a good idea but didn’t want them to cripple themselves to get him. Then, that fell through and I think he got on board with the notion of being a Cub and having a great shot at the world series without having to carry the team. That probably excited him a lot more than the Braves did and when that fell through, coming to Atlanta is depressing by comparison.

  28. I just don’t get the Andruw-love. The last two years at the plate he has resembled Francouer on a bad day.

    And he’s FAT. We need lean and hungry.

  29. Yes, living and playing in San Diego is a pretty nice gig. The Padres suck and will lose but have no expectations only we’ll fail to meet expectations. Peavy can coast with the Padres.

    If I’m Peavy and I have to choose between being depressed by the Braves or being depressed by the Padres, I’m choosing Padres 100%

  30. I may sound like a jerk, but I don’t get why it’s so hard for athletes to at least stay out of obesity. I mean, you’re a professional athlete where all you do is physical activity. What are they eating that they’re receiving more calories than they’re expending. I don’t get it.

  31. @64 Absolutely.

    San Diego is lovely and I imagine it’s especially so if you have money, which Peavy does. And it’s not as if the Braves are ‘a winner.’ Even if Peavy comes the Braves are no better than a 3rd place team–they’d still be a starter and outfield short of Perhaps I’m being ‘pessimistic,’ but then I’m not sure how pessimism and prescience are any different when the team is consistently mediocre.

  32. Well, let’s face it, baseball isn’t like basketball or swimming. It’s a relatively sedentary sport. A centerfielder can go all game without getting a ball and, in a lot of cases, the only real exercise is running the bases–which in Andruw’s case doesn’t eat up a lot of calories any more.

    In general, players spend a lot of time on the road and are probably bored much of the time so they eat. And the fact that they are athletes probably makes them assume they don’t need to watch their calories and they fail to notice the changes in metabolism as they get older.

  33. Just got another call from Smitty’s barber. Says the Brewers deal is off, but he’s heard that Lowe is interested in signing for 4 years at $60 million, and that the Tigers have offered Magglio Ordonez for Francoeur, Soriano, Gorkys, and Jo-Jo. So, that’s what we’re gonna do, and the team’s gonna look like this:


    Furcal (2B)
    Escobar (SS)
    Chipper (3B)
    Maggs (RF)
    McCann (C)
    Kotchman (1B)
    KJ/Diaz (LF)
    Anderson/Blanco/Schafer (CF)

  34. The biggest problem for Andruw is that his bat speed is the same as a car on a busy Atlanta highway (not driven by Furcal).

  35. Peavy has stated publicly that while he likes San Diego, he’s a small town southern boy and maintained his Alabama home. He lives there every winter.

    I am unsure why everyone is suddenly so convinced that Peavy wouldn’t want to pitch in Atlanta. He’s legit about it.

  36. Remember that one time when Andruw listened to somebody? And hit 50 homeruns?

    Of course, it took Willie Mays, but maybe if we got Willie, Frank Robinson, Don Baylor and Mike Schmidt to do an intervention …

  37. There’s so many words in my vernacular that I could use to describe this deal, but the best I could come up with is, “Huh?”

    Only twice in the past 8 seasons (excluding the small sample size from this year) has Furcal had an OPS in the same range as KJ. If you believe the story to move Furcal to 2B and KJ to LF, are you telling me we couldn’t justify signing Adam Dunn, who will have a better OBP and hit for more power than Furcal.

    “Hand ME the keys, you ____ _____. WTF!” Fenster

  38. While Furcal does not fill our need for a power-hitting outfielder, he still fills a glaring need that we have been missing since his absense – A true leadoff hitter. That will be invaluable to this club. It will allow KJ to return to his comfort zone and put Esco in the spot that is best-suited for him – the 2 hole. Our lineup takes alot of shape with Furcal in there. We still need a power-hitting outfielder. Hmmmm…maybe we can get rid of that Frenchy guy and get a real hitter in there…

  39. I think we are questioning whether or not Peavy wants to go to Atlanta because 2 beat writers, O’Brien and Krasovic, both seem to indicate this is a likely probability. I’m confused by it as well…it stands to reason he’d want to pitch in Atlanta and, well, we were on his list of 5 teams he’d like to pitch for. But every indication since then is that Peavy, much like Burnett, is not as confident about an Atlanta revival as we’d like to think. Heck, he was openly lobbying to become a Cub.

    I don’t think KJ is going to play LF, I don’t care what anyone says. Furcal was going to make a decision, so Wren had to move on him sooner than he’d like. He has no leverage if he says “We’re going to trade one of these guys.” So they feed everyone within earshot some nonsense about Kelly playing LF, which contradicts all previous statements. Wren is posturing and letting potential Escobar deals marinate. If he can convince other teams he’s willing to play Furcal at 2b and Kelly in LF, he regains some hand.

    Alex R…are you as excited as I am about what’s transpiring in San Antonio?

  40. @ #74

    Maybe having Furcal at the top of the order will put an end to all that bunting? (Except by him, of course.)

  41. Mel Kiper Jr. on Percy Harvin’s draft potential:

    “He’s not that big, and he’s taken a lot of hits. But his explosiveness after the run is explosive.”

    -From Matt Hinton’s college football blog

  42. I’ve convinced myself Dunn would be a nice fit at a corner spot.


    If we are going to insist on playing a corner OF that hits .250 or worse, why not pick one that hits 40+ HR’s and lead the NL in BB’s. With that 1-3 lineup and his good eye, he’s bound to get more balls thrown over the plate and generate more RBI’s and fewer K’s.

  43. @79 – It seems that Ludwick is now unlikely to be dealt. The Cards now want to trade Ankiel, who is a Boras client with one year left of club control.

    @80 – You can still bunt him over to third…

  44. If this was to be a precursor to another move, which it has to be, the scenario must have been:

    We get a framework for a deal in place centred on KJ or Escobar with the remainder to be hammered out, providing we can get a replacement in (Furcal).

    Now, assuming that to be true, I’d have to assume it can’t be for Peavy, otherwise Towers would have told everyone by now.

    #66, I think we have to hope that Peavy takes the long term view and realises that while in 2009 contention may be a long shot, adding Hudson to the rotation in 2010 and Heyward, Hanson, Freeman and Schafer etc. thereafter makes us a solid long term play.

  45. Stu hit on something that I think we’ve forgotten: we have a lot of bullpen depth. I know you can never have too much relief pitching, but with Soriano, Moylan, Gonzalez, potentially Smoltz, Boyer, etc., I think we could potentially deal from that area of strength to fill our holes.

  46. I think Dunn makes a lot of sense as well. The rest of our lineup is painfully light on power hitting, and Dunn brings about 125%-200% of the power that anyone else on the roster can bring. His HR’s are desperately needed.

    What we do not need are his strikeouts, especially with Francoeur in the lineup. However, Dunn’s strikeouts can be mitigated somewhat by McCann, a very good hitter, batting behind him in the lineup. McCann can protect Dunn, but also clean up his mess. If Dunn K’s with Chipper on first, McCann has the power to get him home.

    The walks then tips the scale for me towards signing him. If he is walking behind Chipper half as often as he strikes out behind Chipper, then McCann, our second best hitter, still comes to the plate with tons of RBI opportunities.

    We have the money and the need, and a lineup tailor made to mitigate the downsides of his skill set but desperately in need of the upsides.

  47. Well, the lineup is desparately in need of a right-handed Adam Dunn. Someone’s going to sign Pat Burrell for, like, 2 years and $20 million. And it won’t be us. :(

  48. I’m glad to hear more folks on the Dunn wagon. We can survive his 160K’s if they come with 120 BB’s. Not to mention 40HR’s.

  49. Burell adds power to the lineup for sure, but Dunn adds more than you average power hitter does. I’d be happy with either one.

  50. Is Dunn the kind of hitter that really benefits from “protection” (if anyone does)? I have the impression that his strikeouts are more a fuinction of watching called strikes like KJ does. Don’t forget, he has taked a lot of walks.

  51. I’d be much happier with Burrell – the defense would make them about the same to me, but it would make the pitching staff (which right now doesn’t seem all that good) that much happier.

  52. Dunn would obviously help. Unfortunately for me, I can’t stand him. He may be un-“root”-able for me….

  53. At least if we got Dunn, I’d be able to sit back and say I told you so as we get killed by every left-handed pitcher in the league.

  54. So, as it stands (subject to change) the lineup looks like..

    1. 2B-Rafael Furcal
    2. SS-Yunel Escobar
    3. 3B-Chipper Jones
    4. C-Brian McCann
    5. 1B-Casey Kotchman
    6. LF-Kelly Johnson
    7. RF-Jeff Francoeur
    8. CF-Jordan Schafer
    9. PITCHER

  55. We are still way too lefty heavy. Cole Hamels. Johan Santana. It’s the elephant in the room. We need someone right-handed who can hit the ball over the fence.

  56. The lineup surely wouldn’t look like that Cary. Bobby would never let 3 lefties hit in a row. He’d have to stick Frenchy in there behind McCann again just like last year. Simply another reason we need another RIGHT-handed bat in the lineup – so that Bobby doesn’t get the urge to move Frenchy up in the lineup.

  57. You could feasibly move KJ to the #2 hole and put Esco in the #5 hole. It would split up the lefties a bit and Frenchy can stay where he belongs. But I still say Esco is better fit for the #2 spot – so I’m still vying for another right-handed bat.

  58. What free agent right-handed bats are out there aside from Burrell? What does the front office have against him anyway?

  59. jea,
    ManRam, Milton Bradley (switch), and Juan Rivera. And Rivera doesn’t really have a place as long as we have Diaz and Francoeur.

  60. I hadn’t even thought of Ramirez. That would be nice. It’s a pipe dream, but it would be nice. Bradley seems to be in the same boat, but I wouldn’t mind the Braves signing him.

  61. Since it ain’t my money, let’s get Manny. With a bat in his hand, he’s pick of the litter.

    Jea, you are the whoa man.

  62. I don’t think Burrell would be such a bad signing. He will hit well enough that you should be able to move him to an AL team to DH.

    With Bradley, besides the Cox factor, I just don’t believe he can stay healthy enough to play if he can’t DH. But he hits lefties well enough to help as well.

    I think we could make a move for Ludwick with pitching. Whether it would be the kind of pitching the Cards would want, I don’t know.

  63. Furcal was my favorite player before he left so obviously I love this move. It makes a hell of a lot of sense because if you can’t add pitching the next best thing is to make all of your pitchers perform better by improving the defense. Escobar and Furcal would have to unquestionably be the best defensive double play combo in baseball.
    I think the fears of wasting Johnson in LF are overblown. Even average production in the OF would put us leaps and bounds above what we had last year and Kelly can do that cheaply.

  64. Manny’s cost is rather prohibitive. He takes up not only 2/3 of our remaining budget at least, but also is demanding about 4 years. We can’t afford that long of a commitment, even if we wanted to meet his annual asking price of $25mil.

  65. I don’t mind moving Johnson to the OF, but we still need a SP. We should be pursuing Lowe on a two or three year deal — but we’re not.

  66. Budget-wise, I think we could afford to sign Manny and trade either Yunel/Diaz+ or KJ/Francoeur+ for Greinke. I’d do either.

  67. What did Greinke make last year?

    Without knowing, I am guessing he would command $6M and then $10M over two one year “avoid arbitration” deals.

  68. We should just arrange for Bobby Bowden & Joe Paterno to meet in the middle of some Enormo Dome with Whiffleball bats & let ’em have at it. Loser must retire.

  69. So, like, I don’t have a link for this because I heard it on SportsCenter just now, but apparently Buster Olney is saying that the Furcal deal is not a done deal and that the Dodgers are still in pursuit.

  70. As long as Paterno wins, he should be able to stay as long as he wants. Bobby Bowden, well, that guy needs to go…

  71. #120, nothing we didn’t know already really. Unhittable curve, Braves think he’ll be a #2, in better shape than Macay McBride.

    I doubt the Dodgers will match the offer. It’s a bit of a leap to go from refusing to offer more than 2 years to go to what could be a 4 year deal.

  72. This is why I usually wait for official confirmation before writing these posts, but the agent doesn’t want to poison the waters with the Braves any more than he does with the Dodgers.

  73. Neyer seems to like the Kelly Johnson to left field idea.

    Adding Furcal step in right direction for Braves

    It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Furcal play second base, and we haven’t seen enough of Escobar there to have a good idea about how he would fare. But it seems to me that a competent organization (the jury’s still out on that one) would be able to figure out who belongs where.

    Kelly Johnson isn’t anyone’s idea of a prototypical left fielder, but he’ll do in a pinch. Last year National League left fielders combined for an .802 OPS: .350 on-base, .452 slugging. And Atlanta’s left fielders? Thanks mostly to Gregor Blanco and a cast of dozens (well, three), they on-based .330 and slugged .352 (gack). Meanwhile, Kelly Johnson’s career numbers are .356 and .440, and we probably haven’t seen his best yet.

    If the Braves sign Furcal and send Johnson to left field, the Braves will still have a big hole in center field, and another in right field if Jeff Francoeur doesn’t come around. But at least they can start to dream a little.

  74. That’s weird that he’s got two people working on deals on two coasts. Smart, Furkey, smart…

  75. Didn’t Escobar sulk in the minors about playing 2nd? Something about not liking turning double plays when he can’t see the runner making him think he’d get injured.

  76. If Furcal goes to LA we’ll see just how true the moving Kelly to LF part was.

    If they’re set on going that route, which I doubt they are, they could conceivably go after Hudson to play 2b. He seems to be Furcal without the steals, with a bit lower OBP. I would think he’s going to be in the same price range as Furcal.

    Not endorsing this plan, just a thought.

  77. This doesn’t make sense to me. The infield particularly up the middle is the team’s strength. KJ’s so dang red hot or ice cold. If the kid would play just hot or something he could be a star with a bat justifiable at any position.

    I have to guess that Escobar must be a hot commodity. That can be the only reason to throw 30 mil at Furcal. Personally while I like Escobar a lot if someone were interested enough to provide a good bat or a decent starter then I would leverage that interest.

  78. Furcal at $30M is a pretty reasonable deal when it comes down to it. If it wasn’t for the health issues, he’d be right up there with Reyes and Hanley Ramirez as the best in baseball. So this is partially a bet that he’s healthy. But $30M over 3 years and no draft picks? That’s a signing with huge upside and reasonably small downside.

    Anyhow, it gives us flexibility. It’s not a bad signing, it doesn’t hamstring us long-term, and if find a suitor for KJ or Escobar, we can move one this off-season, during the 2009 season, or whenever. Furcal at SS, Escobar at 2B, and KJ in LF isn’t an ideal setup, but it’s also not a bad deal for the Braves.

  79. I like the signing. Whether we deal KJ or Escobar or not, he will help our offense and defense. He’s signed to a reasonable deal, and also like mraver said, he gives us flexibility. Good stuff, if true.

  80. Oh, AJC… The banner headline on (not linking but they’ll probably fix it), referencing a story about how John Abraham was robbed of a Pro Bowl spot, currently reads, and I kid you not: “IS ABRAHAM BE ALL-PRO?”

  81. Fighting Stus take down a Big East beast – well, a member of the Big East Conference, anyway. I’ll take it.

    Mike Mercer looks the same, doesn’t he?

  82. Now let’s see if Tennessee can recover from that egg they laid on Saturday against another Big East beast.

  83. a lot of people in DOB’s blog are stating that Gammons just went on ESPN and said Furcal and the Dodgers are close to completing a deal. Heard anything?

  84. If we lose Furcal, Wren starts deserving blame for some of this BTW. This would be the third calamity that wasn’t necessarily his fault in about a month. At some point, it has to fall back on him. This would be ridiculously embarrassing.

  85. I’ve never heard of so many media outlets reporting it as fact and then it ended up being blatantly wrong.

  86. But it was from the Braves. DOB said numerous Braves sources said the Furcal deal was agreed to.

    Plus, I’m sorry. Three people you supposedly want, with two of them supposedly locked up, cannot all slip through your fingers if you’re a competent GM. You just can’t let it happen. I just can’t believe that all of these were happenstance and that he could do nothing about any of them.

  87. This whole thing smacks of Furcal giving the Braves a gentlemen’s agreement, and Tellem and Kinzer trying their best to figure out some way to preserve some leverage for negotiations.

    Furcal tells the Braves, ‘yeah, you’ve shown the right interest and I love the team,’ and his agents say ‘wait a minute, you still gotta bid.’

  88. Gammons’ thing on ESPN is on their website, and I don’t see him saying anything is close with the Dodgers. In fact, those people on DOB’s blog who said Gammons said that wrote that hours ago. Would have come out by now. Doubt it is true.

  89. I still stand by my guns and say trade francoeur+others for a #1 or #2 starter and throw 8 mil to smoltz. then fill the void in right with abreu at 2 yr/28-30mil. imo, with the injuries popping up like wildfire in the past for furcal and chipper, it’s not the worst idea in the world to convert kelly into a “super-utility” type, such as derosa (look what its done to his stock). keeping kelly around when furcal or chipper goes down to fill the void at 2nd, and plugging in diaz in left is much better than asking prado to do the same because it keeps prado’s role where it should be: as a bench player.

    here’s some rosterbation for you:

    furcal- 10 mil
    abreu- 15 mil

    greinke (pipedream, but someone like him otherwise)-5 mil
    smoltz- 8 mil
    vazquez-11 mil



    this team competes, and does it in the 45 mil. budget set aside from the first of the offseason. it cuts ties with our biggest weakness (francoeur) and makes our injury plagued team stronger with strong role players.

  90. btw, i did suggest earlier that we would move kelly back to left if we acquired furcal, but i said it had to be countered by trading francoeur. hopefully, kelly will be a chone figgins lite and give rest to players throughout the year by altering between 2nd and left (furcal would periodically have to rotate back to short and escobar to 3rd). this would do wonders for their fantasy value.

  91. There’s no one else “like” Greinke, really. He’s the only top-of-the-rotation starter with a salary that low who’s been listed as available.

    Of course, there’s no way Abreu commands $15 million per, and I seriously doubt Smoltz signs for that much guaranteed money, so you might afford a little more expensive pitcher—say, Aaron Harang—and still have room for all those other guys.

  92. This is insane. Did he report that on TV or something? Did he indicate that they’re the frontrunners, or is this just another way of saying they’re still negotiating?

  93. Ill say Cameron is better than anyone we have, but he is old and getting slower and his glove aint what it was. He has some pop, but come on.

    KJ is the most over rated player on the team not named Jeff.

    Greinke was a #3 in KC last year, and you think he will be our 1? Kansas City blows, that is reality

  94. I would shrug off the Furcal thing. I think we are so far from making the playoffs (with Francoeur on the field and Hudson on the DL) that I just don’t want us to waste any more future assets on short term solutions.

    My biggest wish for the offseason is that we ensure that Smoltz goes out as a Brave.

  95. I just am posting to say that the sudden realization that we still have Jeff Francoeur has made me depressed.

  96. Smitty, you honestly think that Greinke was a #3 in KC last year?

    did you watch the kid pitch?

    i doubt it.

    KJ may be overrated, but our most overrated player not named Jeff is named Casey.

  97. smitty,
    greinke was #3 on the depth chart, but most definitely the ace of that staff. it’s not his fault he’s the youngest and that they chose to list him as their 3rd starter. he is a legitimate ace on paper, especially coming to the nl.

    do you have the “available” list, stu? that’s got to be pretty valuable. greinke was never really listed as available. any team in rebuilding mode with a player potentially making a few extra bones in the next year or so could be available. so, that’s what i meant by a “greinke” type.

    bobby abreu could demand that type of money. he hit 20 hr’s, stole 20 bases, and drove in 100 and scored 100 last year. why couldnt he get a 3/42-45 mil. offer? ibanez got 3/31.5 and abreu is 2 years younger and has a superior track record, and plays a tougher position.

    if smoltz is serious about maintaining his health, and we are serious about keeping him a brave, i bet it would take about 8 mil. to keep away the big dogs. nothing in my statement is far fetched.

  98. I would do what I could to get Greinke, regardless of whatever happens with Furcal. He’s exactly the type of pitcher that the Braves should be trying to trade for. Under control for a couple of more years, and then hope to extend before they hit FA.

    If you take out Greinke’s one year where very clearly he wasn’t right mentally:

    Greinke career ERA+ is 120
    Peavy career ERA+ is 121
    Matt Cain career ERA + is 118

    I think we’d all be thrilled if we got the two guys on the bottom, and Greinke is every bit as good, and will benefit from the league move.

    Give Dayton Frenchy, KJ, Brandon Jones, whatever other failed prospects that he still likes.

    This needs to happen.

  99. How can Casey be overated when no one really rates him at all?

    Greinke is attractive, but if I had my choice I would rather build around Peavy….

  100. @167

    I’ve only talked to one person about Casey Kotchman, and he’s an Angels fan. He just gushed about all this power potential the guy has. I look at the stats and I see a lesser Brian McCann. That’s the only “overrated” experience I’ve had regarding Kotchman.

  101. Furcal at $30M is a pretty reasonable deal when it comes down to it. If it wasn’t for the health issues, he’d be right up there with Reyes and Hanley Ramirez as the best in baseball.

    I agree that this is a reasonable deal, particularly in light of JC’s analysis. But I don’t agree that health is all that’s keeping Furcal from being up there with Reyes and Hanley Ramirez. I just don’t think he has the power to hang with those guys, and I don’t see him as being substantially better (or substantially different) offensively or defensively than Yunel. Is there something I’m missing?

  102. Mraver, I totally agree that Ramirez is giving back plenty of runs on defense, though when you hit like that you pretty much can be a statue and still be a net positive. I was just surprised that you considered Furcal in Tier A of shortstops when I see him as being about the same player as Yunel, and wanted to ask whether you a) agreed with me that Yunel and Furcal are pretty similar offensively and defensively, and b) whether that means that Yunel is also in Tier A of shortstops.

  103. Neither Furcal nor Escobar are Tier A shortstops. In any event, Furcal may be going to the Dodgers.

    Aren’t outfielders gonna be ‘cheap’ this offseason? I wonder how cheap… and I wonder why Dunn isn’t on Wren’s radar.

    Having Francoeur also makes me sad.

  104. I really don’t think Dunn is going to be cheap. Once Teix is off the board Dunn will become the consolation prize in some team’s eyes.

  105. ryan c.,
    Why so defensive? Sorry if my post seemed like an attack.

    Re: Smoltz, I said I’d be surprised, not that it wouldn’t happen. I know he might end up commanding $8 million in base salary, but I just don’t see that as likely.

    Re: Abreu, I just don’t see how he ends up making $3-5 million more per season than Burrell, Dunn, and Bradley, who are all expected to sign somewhere for $10-12 million per season, and who are all roughly comparable to Abreu. The market’s flooded with good-offense, bad-defense corner OFs.

    Re: Greinke, no comment as to whether I have such a list, but it has been made abundantly clear that Moore will listen to offers for him; therefore, he’s available. The closest pitcher I can think of would be Matt Cain, who’s also young and cheap and top-of-the-rotation quality, but he’s also not really “like” Greinke, because his GM doesn’t have an irrational affinity for non-elite Braves players and prospects, meaning he’d cost a lot more to get.

    You’re the one who implied that there are other Greinkes out there—to whom were you referring?

  106. The Brewers have lost Sabathia and Sheets this offseason, and you think they’re open to trading Gallardo? Maybe if we include Hanson and Heyward.

  107. No, I didn’t mean he’s similar in that he’s available. I just meant similar in age, cost, talent, and track record.

    There are not a lot of young cost controlled pitchers out there who have proven they have top of the rotation quality stuff and that they can get MLB hitters out consistently.

    I’m disappointed for the Brewers. They were putting together quite the team. I’m disappointed that they couldn’t keep it together.

    Fielder, Braun, Hart, Sheets, Sabathia, Gallardo would have been an excellent core to make a WS run with.

  108. I’d sign Steve Avery to a 2 year $50 million dollar deal if we’re not going to spend the money on anything else useful.

    If we’re going to suck this year then I’m focusing my concerns on having ridiculous cash in the 2010 off season when Hudson and Vazquez come off the books. Hopefully that year the Yankees won’t have had $80million free up and they’ll be handcuffed by aging Burnett and worrying about extending Sabathia.

    I’d like to see our core of Escobar, KJ, McCann and (hopefully Francoeur if he’s a viable MLB hitter by then) be supplemented with the youngsters like Schafer and Heyward.

    And a core rotation of Jurrjens, Hanson, and (hopefully this year’s pitching acquisition) be supplemented with free agents acquired to replace Vazquez and Hudson, or even to resign Hudson. That team might be sweet.

  109. If the rumor is true that Furcal is thinking twice about the Braves’ offer, I wonder if it might not be because he was told he’d be moved to second. Seems odd for the dollars/years to be the issue since the bidders have had their cards on the table for a while.

  110. so we’ll probably miss out on Peavy, Burnett, and Furcal. We have no interest in Lowe, Burnett, or Dunn, but yet we dont have a decent rotation and we have no power. Good thing we have money to spend on players we arent interested in, at least there is always Randy Wolf.

    seriously, how much falls on the GM if you always fall short in acquiring FA’s

  111. If that’s the case, I’d guess he’s betting wrong. One thing Wren has started to show, right or wrong he doesn’t seem to blink at the 11th hour. I don’t see that as a train wreck, if that’s what you guys meant. I think it’s pretty important for a GM to establish a track record of not blinking.

  112. csg,
    I saw yesterday where Heyman said the Braves are on Lowe’s radar, whatever that means. Not sure that implies any actual interest from the Braves, but it’s the first time I’ve seen us linked to him in any way. Faint hope…

    Jeff K,
    I actually don’t fault Wren for anything that’s happened (other than leaking the Furcal signing before it was actually a signing). At least not yet. I just meant that almost none of his apparently reasonable (even aggressive) attempts to improve the Braves are working.

  113. Not having any interest in Bradley, Burrell, Abreu, Dunn or Lowe is what is causing me to question my faith in the Braves’ management team.

    Losing out on Burrnett, and maybe Furcal, and failing to complete the Peavy trade are all acceptable results to me. Each “failure” was a result of some external forces outside the Braves’ control but they showed the Braves were at least thinking and trying.

    Not having interest in the above named players makes me think that the Braves either aren’t thinking, aren’t thinking clearly, or are just plain stupid/stubborn. Those players are all there for the taking, and all would fill our most glaring, pennant-hope-crushing holes with the only cost being available dollars within the budget. Those dollars cannot be any more wisely spent than on Bradley, Lowe, Burrell, or Dunn in my opinion (with the possible exception if some were to be used to lock up KJ, Escobar, and Jurrjens to 6 year deals)

  114. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster so far, unlike the John S. years when it seemed like no one heard a peep until the spring training roster was filled out. But I like what (it appears to me as a semi-educated observer with no inside knowledge) Wren is doing. I never thought the Braves were going to be serious contenders this year against the Phillies and Mets unless something dramatic happened, like getting Peavy, keeping Esco, and Smoltz returning to form. So kudos to Wren for not turning desperate when the wish list begins not to pan out.

  115. The thing is, csg, arbitration was not offered to Burrell, Dunn, or Abreu. We could sign any of those guys without losing a pick. It just makes no sense not to be in on any of them.

    I suspect that’s the main reason we’re targeting guys like Kawakami and Wolf over Lowe and Perez, though.

  116. On the dollars in the budget issue, plenty has been said about a number of players, including Peavy, who if not in new homes by spring are likely to be available and cheaper come the trade deadline. No harm in my view with Wren banking on that, especially since Towers might be burned at the stake this winter for not trading Peavy when he had a chance.

  117. Alex,

    As someone who has had two family members receive “misdiagnosis” news only to have the hope reversed (my uncle was dead within three months of his “good news”), I think it’s a bit premature to be celebrating. This type of thing happens a lot. Whatever Baldelli has, it’s rare, serious, and they haven’t been able to fix it. Until multiple doctors concur on the new diagnosis, we probably shouldn’t get too excited. It is very frustrating to deal with ultra-rare diseases, because even the best doctors in the world don’t know what is going on. I had a friend whose father died from what they thought was ALS. However, during his autopsy they determined he had a completely different ultra-rare disease (PSP).

  118. I would also be in favor of signing some of these guys to front loaded contracts, especially if we really need to suck up the available cash.

    Trade them if their replacement rises in the system in the next year or two or build around them with more available budget dollars if they are worth the cost.

  119. That is the problem, Parish. We do need to suck up the available cash. Just standing pat is not an option, because the money will not be available next year. Anyone who knows anything about business knows this. If your department is given a budget and you come in way underneath the limit, your budget for the next year shrinks by the difference between the limit and what you spent. That’s how it works. And that’s how it’s going to work this time too, especially in this economy.

  120. Nick — “This year” includes all of the 2009 baseball season, not just December 2008. I strongly suspect Wren understands the Braves organization budget politics far better than we do.

  121. DOB:

    OK, I just got a call from someone who’s been talking to the agent out there — Tellem, not Kinzer, the agent who lives in Atlanta. Anyway, it really sounds like they think Furcal is going to the Dodgers.

    Just wow. Anything else going to go wrong this offseason?

  122. Furcal to the Dodgers only stings because we thought we had him, not because he’s a player we needed to bring in to be competitive. That we thought we had him when we didn’t is not on Wren I don’t think.

    Maybe we need to buy a bunch of copiers and chairs, but I don’t think so. As far as the budget, baseball is not a typical business. There are goals in baseball that are non aligned with a normal business. Namely, winning. Winning in baseball doesn’t mean turning a profit. It might result in turning one, but they don’t go hand in hand.

    When determining a baseball teams budget, you have to look at what it will take to be competitive. If we do not spend all our money, and we suck horribly, then that can be used as an argument that in order to be competitive, we need to spend at least $100mil. It won’t really change the economic environment in which the game is played and it’s that balance between desire to win and desire to make money that the team will strike.

    I doubt the Braves get their budget cut by the amount of their surplus like a mid level northeastern paper supply company would.

  123. Olney blogging that he thinks Furcal’s “indecision” could be because he really wanted to return to the Dodgers and hoped that they would beat the Braves’ 3/$30M, OR it could be that the Dodgers were the soft landing in case the Atlanta doctors did not like what they saw.

  124. Once again: Three people he wanted (whether or not you wanted them is kind of irrelevant here). Three people that most people in the know thought we had. All three slipped through our fingers. At some point, blame has to start falling back on Wren. Hilariously, if this were JS, everyone would be going absolutely crazy, but no one seems to want to jump on Wren, who is a far inferior GM and I think we would all admit that. Why is that?

  125. The baseball “department” of Liberty doesn’t merely accrue expenses — it also generates revenue. They didn’t buy the team just to watch it soak up resources, so viewing payroll solely by that measure fails to address the overall dynamic. They wish it to be a profitable aspect of their overall enterprise. Which makes me think we may indeed be able to slash payroll in a season in which we’re not likely to be competitive, and still have the $$ available down the line.

  126. The Braves website continues to proclaim the probable signing of Furcal….

    Obviously, this is a public relations disaster in the making–but its nothing compared to the last two seasons….Nonetheless, assuming that Furcal continues to wear Dodger blue, it does raise more questions about overall competence of the Braves front office.

  127. Nick – Wren wanted these players at a price, which price was rejected (Peavy), exceeded (Burnett), and exceeded (Furcal, possibly).

  128. Nick,

    How did we ever have Burnett or Peavy or Furcal in the bag? The only reason you feel that way is because you bought into the internet rumors and reporting that we were close to deals.

    I, for one, never once thought we were going to come away with Burnett EVEN if we made the highest dollar offer. As far as Peavy, I remain convinced that we have made the best offer the Padres have seen thus far for Peavy. Peavy didn’t slip through our fingers. We made the best offer and the Padres didn’t accept. Peavy then was clearly never within our grasp.

    There is no blame to be placed on Wren for making runs at three good players who all might help our team, but coming up short due to things outside of his control. The only way Wren could overcome those outside influences (Burnett’s wife, Peavy’s vag, Towers’ idiot brain, Furcal’s agent) would be to throw more money/prospects on top of the pile, above and beyond what he thinks those players are worth. Not doing that is far from failing, it’s being a good GM.

    Wren’s failings thus far lie in other aspects of this off season I think.

  129. I’m fairly indifferent about Furcal’s decision as it affects the Braves’ on-field performance, but, man, it’s kind of embarrassing to keep having these almost-deals fall apart at the last second. As Stephen says, a PR nightmare.

  130. Sometimes it’s just not there. It’s a test of Wren’s character to suffer the slings and arrows without doing something long-term stupid.

    Keep chopping wood (as the Rutgers coach would say) and the right things will happen.

    The problem with patience is that Chipper and (especially) Smoltz are not getting any younger.

    I fear that it may make undeniable sense to trade Chipper to an AL contender sometime in June (assuming he wants to go).

    2010, sadly, looks like the goal.

    Ya know what? I’m not getting any younger either and I sure miss the recent glory days. Screw it! Trade the entire farm! (j/k)

  131. The thing that concerns me about not signing Furcal (if we don’t sign him) is that it may have put the kabosh on a package for Peavy or Greinke.

  132. One good thing to come out of all this mess: We now have more rumors which we can confidently disbelieve in the future. If you see Wren connected to anything involving Kevin Towers or Kinzer/Tellem, it probably isn’t true.

  133. The Los Angeles Dodgers have moved into the lead for free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal one day after it seemed he was on the brink of signing with the Braves.

    “Right now things have swung back to the Dodgers,” agent Paul Kinzer said today at Shea Stadium.

    Kinzer said he expects Furcal, who played sparingly for the Dodgers last year due to injuries, to make a decision later today.

    Multiple reports Tuesday had Furcal set to return to Atlanta, where he played prior to L.A., to play second base. However, Kinzer denied a deal was reached.

    “At no point did I ever say it was a completed deal,” Kinzer said.

    Kinzer also said that the switch to second base was an issue that gave Furcal pause and that it wasn’t a strict monetary decision or else Furcal would have taken the four-year deal from Oakland on the table.

  134. I’d be perfectly OK if the Furcal deal falls through. Adding him at 10m soaks up our budget and doesn’t even address a team need. We need pitching and OF help. Raffy is neither.

    Rumor is, Milton Bradley is seeking a deal in the neighborhood of 3/30. Why not just sign him, plop him in LF and call the offense upgraded? The dude absolutely crushes LHP. And if Gary Sheffield can thrive here, I have no doubt that Bobby can handle Bradley.

    Adding Furcal just seems to be running in circles. And he has a bad back. Pass.

  135. What I don’t understand is why we are insisting on moving Furcal to 2nd? Shouldn’t the younger, cheaper player be the one who has to make concessions? I understand Furcal has injury concerns, but jeez, if he wants to play short so badly, let him!!!

    I need a bridge to jump off.

  136. Because Esco appears to be in our team plan for years to come and Furcal is a shorter-term fix, older and has injury concerns.

  137. I always thought Furcal would not want to move to 2nd. Shortstop is more of a glamour position and I don’t think many shortstops would be happy moving to 2nd. I’m not all that surprised that he decided go go back to somewhere he could play short.

    As for Wren, it’s ridiculous to say thise guys “slipped through his fingers.” These aren’t Strat-O-Matic cards. He can’t make them sign; he couldn’t move Atlanta closer to Maryland. It’s just one of those things that indicates as DOB said that Atlanta is not a particularly attractive option for players anymore.

  138. JC, I’m sorry for your loss, and thank you for the correction. You’re right, it is premature to celebrate. I don’t think Baldelli’s someone we should target, and I’m glad we didn’t pull off a deal for him a couple years ago when we had the chance, but I hope his condition ends up being treatable.

    I’m still rooting for Furcal to go to the Dodgers and for Wren to come to his freaking senses and get us a slugger.

  139. maybe we can up our offer, or tell him to go drink a 6er and drive on the LA freeway, either way…

  140. 215,

    Good points. Furcal wants to play SS for a contender. We can’t just assume that he loves Atlanta so much that he’ll magically change positions like Kelly Johnson. I don’t know who to blame for making it sound like a Furcal-to-Atlanta signing was imminent, but it’s not Wren. Blaming him for not getting the players we’ve been in on thus far is asinine. If you’re looking for people to grumble about, grumble about Towers being an incompetent ass and the Yankees reaching new depths of desperation.

  141. I played SS in high school and always hated playing 2B. I still hate 2B even in slow pitch softball games. When one is your natural position the other just requires more concentration in the field. The movements become less automatic and your reflexes aren’t as quick because your brain is in the way.

  142. I don’t consider Peavy and Burnett to be failings on the part of Wren. Actually, I think he offered too much for them so I’m glad they “slipped away.”

    The Furcal issue looks like double dealing on the part of Furcal and his agent, though I’m not sure any of us are in a position to know for sure what, if any, “gentlemen’s agreement” the Braves had with him.

  143. I played third base through high school but I played second base summer after junior year and I loved it. Don’t really know why, but I did.

  144. I dont think it has anything to do with the possitions. We all think we may flip Escobar. This is about money and length of the contract, just like every baseball deal is.

  145. Wasn’t trying to be a downer with that post Alex or correct you. But thanks for your concern. :-) I’m at peace with what transpired. I just wanted to point out to those not familiar with these situations that mistakes are common.

  146. Well I don’t think that people who come to this site on a regular basis would have believed that Furcal was about to become a Brave, if it were not proclaimed as a probability on the team’s website.

    I certainly did not have my heart set on seeing Furcal return (nor for that matter Tom Glavine) but I did like the prospect of a trade for Peavy or some ohter significant player.

    More than anything else, this offseason reminds me of the early and mid 1980s–when the Braves could and did chase free agents without too much success. It makes me wonder just how far the Braves have fallen in the last few years….

  147. I never believed for one second that Furcal and Esco would be DP partners. Not for a second. I definitely think Wren was just trying not to telegraph who’s available in case something didn’t go through (now look at us). Esco can help get us an ace and KJ probably can’t. Furcal is a SS. It makes sense.

    Hopefully Wren will have a chance to make his intentions clear, because as Mac said, moving him to 2nd and KJ to left is a terrible use of resources.

  148. No need to wonder, the organization has fallen a few notches. Not making the playoffs is just a start. We’re owned by an interim owner and Bobby is a year maybe two from retirement. That kind of uncertainty must cause players to think twice.

  149. Stephen is right. We are going to have to rebuild our farm system and grow from with in again like we did in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

    I think our farm system is okay, but way over rated. There are som good players there we can build around like Heyward and Hanson. I think we have had trouble developing talent as Mac has pointed out several times.

    Maybe we need to jsut settle on taking our lumps for a few years and build it all back up again. I mean hell, we were awesome for about 15 years in a row.

    I say we call maddux and get him to come back one more year and plug him in with Smotlz and Glavine for a reunion tour. We can talk about the past and wait for football season.

    Think of all the fun we can have with our families this summer!

    Who knows, maybe Frenchy turns it around ans some of these young pitchers wow the league.

  150. I think this is Wren’s screw-up. I think he never intended Furcal to play second and was hoping to dupe other owners into giving us more for Escobar, as if we wouldn’t’ve had another starting SS on the roster after Furcal signed…well, it looks like Furcal didn’t intend to play second either.

    If you’re going to pull a fast one like that, Furcal and his agent need to be in on the take.

  151. 234,

    If 2nd base is Furcal’s only hang up (the A’s deal proves it’s not money), hopefully Wren will let him in on the secret before he signs with LA.

  152. 231 – I guess we’ll never know for sure, but given the fact that we know Wren and Moore have been talking about possible trades, that Moore is looking for a second baseman after Grudz declined arbitration, that Wren is looking for an SP like Greinke, and Furcal’s agent said that Furcal had been asked to play second base, I think it’s a decent guess that KJ plus someone (Francoeur?) would have been packaged for Greinke.

  153. Oh well, this allows us to go a different direction. We are in the same boat we were 48 hours ago. No biggie

  154. Yes–its a Cluster**** and the Braves website still leads with “expecting to re-sign Furcal….

    If Furcal remains a Dodger, I will certainly thank Mac for the Heading and remember this thread for awhile…

  155. Remember when the orgainizations line about something like this over the last few days would have been,
    “We don’t comment or specualte on things like this, some times deals go through at the last second.”

  156. Dix, maybe, but not signing Furcal certainly changes Wren’s calculus. Bobby would have lost KJ’s offense and Wren would not have replaced it with Furcal’s. He’d have to go with Prado or Infante at second, both lesser options. That would also affect the attractiveness of the infield defense to SP like Peavy (remember, no trade clause), Lowe, and others we might be interested in.

  157. I just fail to believe that the sky is falling like many on here seem to think. Wren may turn out to be a total bust, but it’s way too early to tell. It looks like he made a solid deal in getting Vazquez and he did the right thing to tell Towers no on the Peavy deal after he wasn’t satisfied with the world. Losing Burnett may or may not have anything to do with Wren’s skills or the Braves’ “brand” losing its luster.

    I think the reality is that we’re going to lose 9 times out of 10 when we try to compete with the Yankees or Red Sox. We still don’t know anything definite on Furcal, but even if this is totally the fault of Wren and his associates, what he does after this is what will prove his worth.

    I agree that our focus has got to be in developing players from within the organization (this applies to just about every team outside of NY and Boston). We developed from within and were able to add a few free agents to fit the pieces of the puzzle together over about 12 of the last 16 years and it worked well for us. Unfortunately we have more holes to fill than normal and we may not be able to do it all this year.

  158. Mets are after Lowe, Im sure he’ll end up there. We are slowly becoming the Nats, im guessing Smoltz wont resign either

  159. I’m surprised more people aren’t excited about letting Furcal get away. You can interpret Wren’s role in this however you like; the fact of the matter is that unless he was going to flip Esco/KJ for a power outfield bat or frontline SP, this signing didn’t address a glaring need.

    I don’t see how the Braves will be able to fill those two needs in the offseason, unless they’re willing to sell themselves on signing someone with some warts (either injury concerns or personality issues). Granted, you have the extra money in the budget to spend on players; why not try to sign several questionable FA’s (like Rivera, Baldelli, Penny, Wolf, etc.) and see if some of them stick? Worst-case scenario, you blew some money on parts that didn’t work; best-case scenario, you have some good pieces for trade-deadline deals and/or a playoff run in 2010.

    And Dix @ #210, with “Peavy’s vag” — that’s VAG-TASTIC!

  160. There is not much difference between the Braves and about 15 other teams with similar payrolls/budgets. There’s nothing unique about us. There was when we had Glavine Maddux and Smoltz but that team was unique on the all-time spectrum. With the demise of that rotation, that ownership group, the nationwide footprint of TBS and the ever expanding gap between teams at the extremes of the financial spectrum, the Braves are firmly lumped in with the rest of the pack.

  161. My absolute favorite in a long line of sky-is-falling posts on DOB’s blog:

    The Braves need to go ahead and use Hanson this year so that he can blow out his elbow and have TJ surgery so that he will be ready to be the ace in 3 years. Why wait? We know he will blow it out. Lets not put off the inevitable.

  162. With all the conjecture on these possible missteps & almost-signings, I think the only winning entity here is the traffic on Mac’s site.

    I’ve been trying to reserve judgment on all this and, I must admit, I’ve become pretty reserved.

  163. Mets are after Lowe, Im sure he’ll end up there.

    Does it matter? I mean, in the sense of the Braves not getting Lowe? The Braves have made it clear a lot now that they’ve got no interest in signing that old Boras client.

    The Braves have 35 million burning a hole in their pocket and seemingly no player is interested in taking it off their hands.

  164. Only players with big question marks sign 2 year deals. Given that I don’t think we can win anyway these next 2 seasons, I’m all for throwing money at some question marks with upside, like Sheets. Worst case scenario is we reboot in 2011 with a core of young talent that we hopefully locked up, and an influx of younger talent breaking into the bigs, and a lot of cash free to fill the gaps.

    I don’t think Bradley will take a 2 year deal after the 1 year deal he was just on. Of the OF I would like the Braves to go after though, I think he’s the most likely to take a 2 year deal. Of course, I’d think signing him would be a good move overall and I’m not concerned with committing money to him longer term.

  165. I think that Sheets will require a three year deal, but that would not bother me. After all, he has an impressive upside; in fact, I am not sure that 3 years of Sheets would be all that different from Burnett.

  166. Maybe Liberty Media really did cut payroll and the inability to find somewhere to spend it is just an act to avoid the bad PR of actually announcing a payroll cut?

  167. If nothing else, if we let Furcal go back to the Dodgers, it signifies that we did not have a deal in place for Escobar that would make it worthwhile to up the money to Furcal.

    I think if it were Furcal and Peavy that were on the line, Wren would spend what it took to make sure Furcal signed with us.

  168. What a weird turn of events. I always thought it would have been silly to move either Furcal or Escobar to 2B (and still do), but I thought that was just posturing on the part of the Braves. Either Furcal took the papers too seriously or Wren was going to do something silly. Either way, I’ll be a bit disappointed if this deal doesn’t happen, just because I was looking for another win after the Burnett stuff. At the same time,

    I’m sure the FO is getting pretty frustrated. They thought they were going to get Peavy, but Kevin Towers dicked around too much. Then they thought they’d get Burnett, but geography intervened. Then they thought the Furcal deal was done, only to have this happen. Gotta be disspiriting to Wren and co.

  169. @233 – Smitty, I am curious as to which players in our farm system are overrated and why.

    Not saying that we are not. Internet conventional wisdon has us among the top 5 systems in baseball and many have us higher.

  170. #255 –

    Dan, I’d say it matters. We have way to many glaring holes and the two teams in front of us are continuing to improve. We need Lowe and it doesnt make any sense of why we arent interested, unless, we are avoiding Boras all together. Seems like “PRIDE” may be getting in the way of our interest

  171. I say our number one priority is to make sure smoltz doesn’t walk. Lets just keep the farm system intact, save the surplus for next year and go hog wild out of the gate. Maybe sell again at the deadline and have the pieces in place to be absolutely sick in the year 2010.

  172. I never believed for one second that Furcal and Esco would be DP partners.

    ewwww! Besides, I think latins frown on that sort of thing in general.

  173. By David O’Brien

    December 17, 2008 1:40 PM | Link to this

    Someone asked about a Lowe rumor: As I said at Winter Meetings, one of Boras’ assistants said the Braves had called about Lowe a while back. I think the Braves’ only problem with him at all was that he was/is a Boras guy who’d probably take a while to sign.

    But with others falling by the wayside, Braves have little if any options if they still have any hope of landing an ace (one who’s not a huge injury risk).

  174. Parish,

    Over the last few season we have been hearing how great some of these guys in our system are and they have flopped or really didn’t live up anywhere near the hype. Marte, Brandon Jones, Chuck James, Frenchy, Reyes, Salty, and several others. Numerous people were talking about how these guys wre the second coming of somthing.

    I know some of those guys still could turn it around. I think Schafer is over vauled. I have seen him play a few times and he didn’t really impress me that much. He had one really solid season and then everyone fell in love with him.

  175. 233 + 263–Did you notice on Sickels’ blog that there was a poll as to the best farm system (Oakland or Texas)? Texas won (at least the last time I looked) and they listed 3 former Brave farmhands (Feliz, Andrus and Ramirez). While I believe that these questions are poorly defined (what they are really asking is who has the best talent–not who has the best organization)it does merit attention that if Texas now has the best talent in the minors, it is at least in part because there are three former Brave farmhands in their system.

    The prospects the Braves chose to hold onto really need to deliver….

  176. I have seen him play a few times and he didn’t really impress me that much.

    Parish, keep in mind that Zack Greinke, Kelly Johnson, and Mike Cameron—all of whom are, to varying degrees, above major-league-average at their respective positions—don’t impress Smitty that much, either.

  177. Well Stu, they don’t and a lot of people are on board with me. I’d like to have Greinke, but I don’t think he is as good as you think he is.

  178. Growing our farm system is always a good idea, but 2 fundamental parts of our long run of success were:

    getting Chipper Jones (Maybe the best 3B ever) in the #1 overall draft choice (and I hope we aren’t earning that #1 slot any time soon).

    Being the successful bidder of the #1 free agent on the market one year, and getting a guy by the name of Greg Maddux (who turns out to be the best pitcher of his generation). Pick the #1 FA of any given year; I just do not see us in the bidding at that level any more.

  179. With this embarrassing Furcal situation, how are we not seeing a trend here…first the Towers deal, then the Burnett failure, and now this Furcal embarrassment.

    What is the common denominator? FRANK WREN.

    Seeing how this Furcal thing is playing out, I’m firmly of the belief that Frank Wren is a know nothing fool and not capable of being a General Manager.

    One thing going on you can forgive. Two thing going wrong is a bad coincidence. But this Furcal mess shows that Wren is not a competent Major League GM.

    For all of JS’s faults, he had balls and he had cache and usually, even when we became a mid market team during JS’s reign, JS got most people he went after because he’s JS and people respected him.

    I bet that evil SOB BorA$$ likes Wren better because he sees this fool as easier to manipulate. Whether I wanted Furcal or not, I am truly disheartened at how embarrassed the Braves are on a weekly basis this offseason.

    We really are the Nats. Thanks, Frank.

  180. Smitty,

    What would be your ideal scenario to have play out for Atlanta over the rest of this offseason?

    And Alex at 273,

    Come on man. Those are three isolated incidents. Wren is not a relevant common denominator. The relevant common denominator is that things outside Wren’s control led to the result going against us.

    Not getting Burnett was not an embarrassment, everyone in baseball knows the Yankees get their man. Not getting Peavy was not an embarrassment, everyone in baseball knows the Braves made the best offer. Not getting Furcal, that remains to be seen, but I blame media more than anything else.

    Last offseason Kirk Herbstreit, an OSU fanboy announced that Les Miles was bolting LSU for Michigan. Turns out that wasn’t a done deal and Miles still had a game to play with LSU and got pissed off signed an extension with LSU. Deals are not done until they’re done and announced officially by the team. Whoever reported on the near deal was not a Braves official.

  181. Dix,

    With Wren, it’s becoming the ‘Boy who cried wolf’ scenario. Nothing is his fault, we all keep saying (or some of us), yet mostly bad keeps happening under his watch.

  182. But Alex, you define “bad” as (a) not having to give up more than Yunel, Gorkys, Reyes, and Boyer for Peavy; and (b) not having to guarantee $85+ million to AJ Burnett?

  183. `Whoever reported on the near deal was not a Braves official’–maybe–but then the Braves have had the near deal on their website much of the day….

  184. With a good GM it’s often not how “Plan A” works out, it’s what happens when he goes to Plans B and C. Admittedly, Wren is moving down the alphabet, but I’m still reserving judgment until I see his overall body of work by the February/March timeframe.

  185. Alex,

    Look at the facts though, not the big picture for a minute and you’ll see what I mean.

    In the big picture, Wrens mistakes are not targeting free agents who’s contributions to the team are precisely what the team currently lacks. We never “cried wolf”. Shame on us for buying into the Furcal deal before it was official. Shame on us for thinking Peavy was in the bag when we weren’t on the phone with Towers, and even more shame on us for thinking Wren is at fault for that deal going sour. If we had Peavy right now it would be because Wren caved and gave more than he believed Peavy was worth in trade. We’d all be thrilled to have Peavy, and we’d also know we overpaid. It wouldn’t make the Braves any more of a contender.

    If we had Burnett right now we’d all be happy to have another pitcher, and we’d all be terrified of the impact his cost and injury history will have on the teams near future.

    Wren has not made a single major offseason mistake yet. He has made a fairly decent move in acquiring Vazquez.

    I am not a Wren apologist, I think he’s making major errors in judgment this offseason, but I do not think the Peavy, Burnett, or imminent Furcal results are among those errors in judgment.

  186. We really are the Nats. Thanks, Frank.

    My sentiments are more displayed by this Penn & Teller video (3:07-3:15).

  187. #274

    Not that I disagree with you, but that’s the first time I’ve ever heard the “three isolated incidents” defense. :)

  188. On Burnett, if we wanted him and we knew the Yankees were competing, we could have upped the offer a bit and closed the deal. (in truth, I am not entirely unhappy we didn’t get him because he’s injury prone, but it’s the continual egg on the face for the Braves I’m most unhappy about).

    And yeah, on Peavy, we should not be dealing Escobar unless we have Furcal back in the fold.

    But it’s the larger issue I’m seeing here and not the specific players per say – it’s that I don’t think the agents nor the players respect Wren. He’s been seen as kind of a ‘bumbler’ type. We may not have all love JS at all times, but JS was tough and serious and when he walked in the room, agents and players knew he was the man.

    The issue I was getting at was not about Peavy or Burnett or Furcal, but a perception that seems to exist about Wren, and it’s why these slip ups keep happening.

    I can’t believe I’m the only one on here who sees this?

  189. Stephen,

    Was there anything untrue about that deal? We were near an agreement with him. We were also near a deal with Burnett probably. These deals don’t go down in isolation. We may have an offer a player is willing to accept, only to have another team make a more desirable offer we can’t or won’t match. That’s not Wren’s fault. It would have been better not to leak any info on the Furcal situation at all, but if that’s the worst thing the Braves do this offseason then we’re in luck.

  190. I suppose I take this perception issue very seriously because I work in Sales/Business Development.

    Every job and everything we all do in life is sales related in a way. And when Frank Wren talks to people or constantly has eggo on his face or all these near misses, he’s now “selling” the Braves as an also ran team with minimal budget that agents don’t respect.

    People respected Schuerholz. Schuerholz was tough but fair and even when Turner sold the team and the budget was cut, people always respected the Braves front office because JS ruled it with a lot of steel in his spine.

    My perception of Wren is the guy who’s the bumbler and these PR mishaps keep happening, over & over.

  191. Alex,

    On Burnett, if we wanted him and we knew the Yankees were competing, we could have upped the offer a bit and closed the deal. (in truth, I am not entirely unhappy we didn’t get him because he’s injury prone, but it’s the continual egg on the face for the Braves I’m most unhappy about).

    We could have upped the offer to Burnett, and maybe got him, but would it have been worth it to do so? I say no, therefore, good move by Wren. At least he was trying to make a move that made some sense. I see no egg there, other than the same egg every team has when the Yankees spend to get their man. Other teams wanted Burnett too.

    And yeah, on Peavy, we should not be dealing Escobar unless we have Furcal back in the fold.

    so you agree not meeting Towers’ demand for Peavy was a good move?

    I cannot believe I’m the only one who sees this.

    I cannot believe you’re upset about what you perceive to be baseball insiders’ perceptions of Wren. Maybe Towers wouldn’t have hardballed JS and would have himself caved in and traded Peavy to us. Maybe not. That’s far too speculative to pin on Wren at this juncture.

  192. Dix,

    I actually agree to a certain extent because really, this is just a perception/feeling I have when I watch Frank Wren ‘do business’ vs. the way I saw JS ‘do business’.

    So, I can’t necessarily say there’s factual evidence that Wren is awful at his job, that’s fair.

    But it’s how these two – to me – present the team from a PR perspective and our franchise looks like an also ran right now.

  193. Alex, I don’t view anything that’s happened this offseason to be egg on Wren’s face. Failure to land Peavy is all on Towers. From what I’ve seen, we had the best deal on the table he’s seen.

    Failure to land Burnett (which is blessing in my book) is because the Yankees threw more money at him. Yeah, Frank looks bad because the Yanks have more money to spend.

    And the Furcal deal falling through? That’s because the Dogs upped their offer. These things happen. Besides, Raffy doesn’t fit our team needs very well. And Peavy/Grienke was not the next step. More likely it was Yunel to Oakland for one year of Holliday and hope of an extension.

    I’m reserving judgement on Frank until the final product is revealed.

  194. Dix,

    I am sure that Wren believed that he had Furcal in the bag–but it is another matter about making deal public. The Braves continue to represent Furcal as likely to sign (and for all we know he still might) with Atlanta and it is their decision to use the event for public relations.

    Whlle I agree with much of what you have said (particularly in post #250)about the Braves and Wren (I think that it is too early to tell and he is working with significant limitations), one of the things which does separate him from JS is the way in which the latter maintained silence and then announced some stunning trades. Maybe this is not always possible, but I think in this instance Wren (or someone who works for him) has been very careless.

  195. Like I said before, we’re just another team in the middle of the pack. That’s reality though, not Wren’s doing.

    I really am displeased with Wrens reluctance to target these UFA outfielders. I think we have the worst outfield in baseball. There are good players available and the only cost is cash, which have to spend (and have to spend).

    I’m still not going to blast him for it though, because it doesn’t seem like the market for those players is developing yet, which means everyone is waiting for Teix to sign.

    After Teix, I think Dunn becomes the consolation prize and ends up out of our price range. I think we can definitely get Burrell or Bradley if we go after them.

  196. #290

    Here’s where we have solid agreement, Dix.

    I think we should absolutely be targeting a slugging outfielder and that’s far more necessary than Furcal.

    The main reason to get Furcal is not to put mediocre hitting KJ in left, but to trade KJ or Yunel to get Peavy.

    But the outfield, yes, was the worst in Baseball last year and as long as Jeff Francouer lives & breathes, it will stay that way.

  197. Let’s also not forget how much deeper the internet’s roots are and how much more attention is paid by communities like ours into the inner workings and behind the scenes activity.

    My family still had AOL on a telephone modem when I was in high school (mid to late 90s). The internet culture makes these rumors and press releases a lot more frequent and the opportunity to screw it up is much greater.

    Nevertheless, JS was better at it than Wren.

    It might have been easier for JS to keep the lid on things. I think it is or was inevitable that eventually all teams would need to embrace the internet to remain relevant. Of course, I think that the people attempting to use the internet to serve their best interests are also people who grew up in a world without the internet, and thus are prone to bungling it completely.

  198. Dix, good point about the web and thank goodness for high speed now. I shudder at the though of ever having to go back to Dial Up. I mean, we’re a civilized society.

  199. From what I understand, we actually offered Burnett more than the Yankees did, but his wife is scared of flying from where she lives.

  200. Doesn’t really matter, if the dollars are that close, he nets more in Atlanta anyway. His reason’s for choosing the Yankees are vaginal in nature. Either he’s a puss who is afraid to hit, a puss who is afraid to be the number one starter on a team, or afraid of losing his wife’s puss over something that upsets her.

  201. @268 – Smitty, you may be expecting a little too much from “prospects.” If you really believe any of these guys are sure things, you are certainly mistaken. But, it’s not just the Braves. Look at Phil Hughes or Homer Bailey. Remember Alex Escobar?

    I would guess that 80% of ML top 10 prospects become above average major leaguers (Marte was one.). 50% or so of the top 50 (includes Salty, Frenchy, Schafer and McCann). Jones and James were fringe top 100 and Reyes did not make it onto the National prospect radar, really.

    Of course, prospects are ranked according to ceiling and the likelihood they will reach it. Those with a higher ceiling may get ranked higher at lower levels (Julio Teheran) but much more stands in the way of an eventual major league contribution for them than for the equally ranked AAA guy who projects to be okay but not an All-star.

    I guess I think that the Braves have been underrated as a farm system for the most part. It seems like we have no more or less success than other systems when you look at the top guys but the guys that are mostly off the prospect radar come up and make a contribution more (Maybe this is a familiarity thing.)

  202. Dix, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to have use “vaginal in nature” whenever I can when explaining behavior.

  203. DOB, responding to a commenter who asked about the accuracy of the reports that Wren & Co. are furious:

    Mark, yes, they are quite upset. “Unbelievable” is one word that has come up a couple of times today with Braves people.

  204. I just don’t get the man-love for JS. He did a great job in the 90s, but after 2001 (or was it 2002) when Glavine went to the Mets, Schuerholz had a real mixed bag on all GM fronts (draft, trades, and FA signings). A couple of his really good trades were for Renteria and Hudson. On the other hand, a couple of the stinkers were the Kolb trade, along with (and to me, this is the unforgivable one, b/c we gave up a cost-controlled league-average 1B which necessitated the Texeira trade after foolishly thinking that Thorman would put up similar numbers) the Laroche trade.

    And what awesome FA signings did JS make his last six years? Vinny Castilla? John Burkett? John Thomson? Rag on Wren all you want for striking out on the Peavy, Burnett, and (perhaps) Furcal, but at least he’s attempting to make some signings and keeping most of our core prospects. I’d have to agree with others who reserve judgement on Wren until spring training. You gotta remember, it’s still only December, and the lion’s share of free agents are still out there.

  205. Dix,
    There’s a helluva lot more day-to-day pressure being a high-priced Yankee starter than anything he’d experience in Atlanta or Toronto.

    He may do well here. He may fail. But if he’s coming to pitch in New York, he ain’t afraid.

  206. I get the feeling that if Furcal does sign with the Dodgers, we’re going to see a pretty good rant by Frank Wren quoted in the papers.

  207. Ububba,

    There is a lot of truth to that but I didn’t say he’s afraid of the spotlight or the pressure of pitching in New York, just afraid to be the ace. I’m splitting hairs to make my post stay valid.

  208. The idea that none of this is Wren’s fault is hogwash. You can’t tell me JS wouldn’t have found a way to get the Peavy deal done.

    I’m not losing any sleep over losing Fook. It was a puzzling and unnecessary move from the beginning.

  209. One recalls the Tim Hudson negotiations, where the A’s kept asking and asking about a Braves starting infielder (Marcus Giles) and kept getting turned down, and wound up trading him for a journeyman pitcher who had never lived up to his potential, an outfielder who had a career year, and a pitching prospect.

  210. We still haven’t done anything stupid this off-season, and I think that’s what I set out as my criteria for a successful off-season going in. So I guess I would say it’s been alright thus far. Burnett had serious “disaster” potential, the Peavy deal less so, and Furcal was a pretty low-risk signing.

    The only “failure” that I really put at Wren’s feet is the Furcal thing. Someone clearly bungled that, probably within the Braves organization.

    But on the whole, the offseason has hardly been disasterous. Indeed, we may have been saved from some bad deals. No Furcal is a bummer, but who knows. Maybe this pushes us to throw 2/$20 at Dunn or something.

  211. Jeremy,

    Are you really blaming the Peavy deal on Wren? Of all the moves this offseason, that one is on him the least.

  212. John Schuerholz was great. When something was as “close” and big as the Peavy and Furcal things; they happened. And usually for a good price. But not with Frank Wren. He’s not closing out the deals.

    And yes, I blame him. Who else can be blamed? Wren is, as Alex R. wrote, the common denominator here.

    Also: the Braves’ official site finally took down that “Braves expecting to ink Furcal” story.

  213. “Are you really blaming the Peavy deal on Wren?”

    Who deserves the blame? Kevin Towers for wanting Jeff Locke?

    Yes, I’m blaming Frank Wren. This offseason has been a clusterfuck.

  214. Of the three deals we’re all talking about here’s how I rank them on Wren’s biggest fault to least:

    1. Furcal
    2. Burnett
    3. Peavy

    I would give Frank the biggest break about Peavy because Kevin Towers is an unrealistic tool.

  215. I’m gonna jump in a little bit here. I’ve been gone all day.

    Frank Wren ‘do business’ vs. the way I saw JS ‘do business’.

    You’re speculating as to what has happened with Wren, while saying that the three incidents you’re pissed about were all, in fact, pretty freaking smart. And then you bring in JS? If anything, the offering-Maddux-arbitration-to-get-a-draft-pick-then-having-to-sell-Kevin-Millwood-for-a-bag-of-balls “egg on his face” for JS is far worse than anything that has happened with Wren. You’re drawing for straws to find fault with Wren because your pissed the Braves aren’t the Yankees, then you compare him to someone who has had a blatant display of “egg on face”. Brilliant.

  216. Wren deserves credit not blame for handling the Peavy deal. Since everyone seems so intent on finding common denominators, I submit that the common denominator among all the failed Peavy deals is Kevin Towers. You can’t characterize anything less than acquiring Peavy in trade a failure. Trading too much for Peavy is a bigger mistake than not trading for him at all. We made the best offer out there, better than any offer Towers has seen yet. Wren would be a colossal fool to bid against himself when no one else was offering a better package.

    Moreover, further credit to Wren for realizing that his offer for Peavy was probably too high and not in the team’s best long term interests. I agree with him on that completely. I am glad that offer is off the table.

    The only aspect of the Peavy negotiations I blame Wren for is ever offering that high of a package in the first place. That may be the reason we won’t get a Peavy deal done, because Towers will have a hard time accepting less from us than we offered before. That kind of butthurt doesn’t sit well with high powered execs full of pride and ego.

    Also, JS adamantly refused to negotiate with Boras clients. In this baseball world, where Boras’s influence runs deep and is widespread, that position can be crippling.

  217. I can’t remember anything like this Furcal deal ever happening. Can anyone else refresh my memory? Has it ever happened that the major sports networks and newspapers have reported a deal, and then the player gone and signed with someone else?

    It’s like Florida in 2000!

  218. Les Miles to Michigan, last year around this time. It’s not that uncommon.

    It also happens regularly in college football recruiting.

    If it has happened in baseball to other teams we probably aren’t likely to be on top of it. I best most baseball fans who aren’t Braves or Dodgers fans, have just glossed over this and not spent any time thinking about what happened.

  219. Thank you, Rob — my point exactly. Neither Wren nor Schuerholz have been the perfect GMs. I just think some people give JS a pass because he was at the helm throughout the run. Just remember, he was also at the helm for the end of the run.

  220. Dix,

    You are calling Burnett a pussy because he took his wife’s feelings into account? Are you married? Everyone complains about players ostensibly worrying only about the money.

    As for Wren, I don’t see anything that he has done wrong. All I see is people with vague ideas of what JS would have done but nothing specific that Wren has done. As for his perception within baseball, I have never heard anyone say they didn’t want to deal with Wren as they have with other GMs. Sometimes, things just happen (or don’t happen).

  221. And Frank Wren’s first year produced a Braves team that was the worst since the 1990 Braves; before the 14-year run.

    Thanks Frank for trading five years of Joey “0.59 ERA in 2008 and the new A’s closer” Devine for a few months of .700 OPS Mark Kotsay and Luis Sumoza (the guy the Braves got for Kotsay when they traded him to the Red Sox.)

  222. The daily pressure of starting 30+ games in NYC trumps the pressure of being considered an ace in most places, especially Atlanta.

    I mean, there is very little daily pressure of playing in Atlanta at all. Here, they’re taking your temperature every start. It’s crazy & ridiculous, I know, but that’s the way it is.

  223. Seems like an awful lot of blame is being passed out here by a bunch of folks who know nothing more about how these deals went down than I do. I think a lot more can be determined about a GM from deals that get done than can be said from deals that don’t get done. I can say from 13 years experience (in the legal profession, not the baseball profession) that agreements fall apart or don’t progress for a myriad of reasons, some of which even the business principals themselves don’t know about at the time.

    I’m more interested in what Wren and co. do next and whether the near-misses distract them in a way that prevents them from pursuing other options. We’ll see I guess.

  224. Towers has proved he knows how to botch a Peavy trade with the Braves ordeal that was followed up by the Cubs failure.

    I think Frank has done a pretty good job thus far. He stole Jair from the Tigers and picked up a valuable lefty for the ‘pen (Ohman) during the same offseason. I will give Wren credit for the Jurrjens trade even if it was Schuerholz last move. We don’t really know who pulled the trigger there. He also salvaged a starting firstbaseman and a potential bullpen arm for Tex, which is better than two the draft picks, IMO. I also liked the young latin prospect (Luis Sumoza) he received from Boston for Kotsay. I know he gave up Devine, but I couldn’t see him prospering in Atlanta after the grand slams and playoff homeruns. I like the Vazquez trade as well because the best prospect he gave up was a catcher, which is blocked in the organization, and Flowers may not even stay at that position due to defensive concerns.

    I’m glad Wren walked away from the Peavy trade and didn’t give up Yunel. This Furcal thing does look bad, but I won’t blame him 100%. It does seem like the Agent has had a lot to do with this.

  225. Come on, people! This is exciting. Who wants to start a pool on who the next player we miss out on is?

  226. We should start a pool on what Frank Wren is doing right now. Can you even imagine?

    My guess: Sitting in his desk chair, completely naked in his pitch-black office, sharpening one of the shards from the whiskey glass he threw against the door. And he’s been doing that for the past six and a half hours.

    Any other guesses?

  227. so we missed out on someone who only pitched 200IP 3 times in 10 years, but is lights out. we missed out on someone who hated ATL. we missed out on someone who just had back surgery and missed 150 games in two years. Are we really unlucky or should we be thankful.

  228. Im guessing he’s banging Angela, while Dwight and Andy just sit there and watch. We are offering “Schrute” bucks to all FA’s. maybe real money would work

    it does seem like Frank is throwing out our best offer 1st and then other teams top it and we dont do much after that

  229. Somebody in the Braves front office needs to vent to the press. Kinzer is ridiculous. Even if it is somehow not Kinzer’s fault, please make a media circus of it to make us feel better.

  230. I like your suggestion, stub. He might have a Dodgers hat on and a Burnett or Peavy Braves jersey on the floor next to him.

  231. csg – I agree that this may be a blessing in disguise. But this makes two times in a relatively short period where a player had a list of two teams, and both times picked the team that wasn’t the Braves when looking at competing offers.

    It just…looks bad. That’s all. For everyone. For Wren, for the organization, for ESPN, for Furcal, for his agent/tool.

  232. Will no one take our money?

    Plan D – Sign Parish for 1 year, $40M to be a super utility guy. And by that, I mean a guy who goes around and fixes things with a power drill.

    Do it, Wren, do it!

  233. The Braves’ vent figure, Mark “Peanut” Bowman:

    The Braves thought they had received a verbal agreement on Tuesday after extending Furcal a three-year contract with a vesting option for the 2012 season. In fact, at Kinzer’s request, the team had sent him a term sheet, which one Major League general manager said is only utilized after a verbal agreement has been reached.

    Gee, I wonder why the Braves are sore?

  234. Losing millions of dollars sucks, but it sucks more not to have millions to lose.

    Mac, do you think we’re better off without him?

  235. Apparently Wren was on the Bill Shanks Show steaming mad at Fook and his agents. Said he had a verbal agreement last night; got a call from the agents today asking for a revised offer; essentially told them no revised offer would be forthcoming, that they had a deal agreed upon already; called Furcal this afternoon and never got a call back; said Furcal to the Braves will not happen now, he’s pulled the offer.

  236. Bowman makes a good point in his article: The Braves weren’t given a chance to make a counter-offer in 2006 and were pretty annoyed at that, IIRC. Odd that the Dodgers would get the same chance here.

    This whole think is screwed up, and I just hope Wren doesn’t make another move because he’s pissed off at Kinzer.

  237. I like that Wren didn’t offer a new contract. No blinking. Furcal and his agents are a collective stain.

  238. I must say, while I’m uncertain about the direction of the franchise, I’m pretty impressed with Frank Wren the man.

  239. Since Mac mentioned him in the post, sad news that Marcus Giles is being sued by an ex-girlfriend who claims that Giles battered her and caused a miscarriage.

  240. I’m hoping that Wren will be so mortified that he crawls into the bottom of a bottle and emerges with a 5-day shadow, wearing pants that aren’t his, and holding a signed contract for Adam Dunn.

    Toss in Sheets and Bradley and we got us a 82 wins or better ballclub without doing anything else. It will keep folks in the seats until the cavalry comes up in 2010.

  241. All these near-misses aren’t tragic in and of themselves, but I fear that we may become frustrated and overpay for someone (either via trade or signing a FA) just to prove we’re doing something. If I was an agent or an opposing GM, I’d be looking to exploit our situation.

    I still think we should ditch ’09.

  242. Now don’t go ripping on Wren… He didn’t “lose out” on Sabathia, or Teixeira… he decided against pursuing them. He didn’t “lose out” on Peavy or AJ he decided they weren’t worth the price the Padres demanded or the Yanks were willing to pay (plus he couldn’t offer the geographic convenience of NY to AJ)… He lost out on Tazawa, but only because the Braves don’t have the same Japanese connections that the BoSox have, and Furcal clearly was against the A’s, and prefered to stay at SS… as I said initially Kinzer was just using the Braves to sweeten the pot elsewhere.

    Wren understands that he can’t sell the farm to setup what will be an improbable run at a Championship next year. Even if he added AJ and Fookie we’d still be projected third in the division. Wren is going to keep the organizational depth and integrity and put the best team on the field that he can responsibly put together. There’s a reason JS picked him as his successor, he knows what he’s doing, and he understands the Braves way of doing business… now for any of you who don’t like the Braves way of doing business, I hear the Mets bandwagon has a few seats left, but you can expect a pretty hefty seat license fee, and don’t get too attached to any players.

  243. Wren may not sign a single free agent, but I think his giant cajones could bat cleanup for this team.

  244. Need to practice our, “Drink, old man, drink!” chants for when the Dodgers come to town.

    Haven’t had a good reason to hate the Dodgers since the Jerry Royster days. It’ll feel good to despise that Dodger Blue once more …

  245. I certainly agree with the idea that while there is plenty to not like about the Frank Wren tenure, these three non-deals aren’t anything to cry about.

  246. I just want some juicy quotes to the media from Wren.


    Just talked to Frank Wren, and they are not happy with the agent. Said there was an agreement, to the point of the Braves sending over the term sheet on Tuesday for Kinzer/Furcal to sign after agreeing to all the points Monday night. They never returned the term sheet.

    “I think you have to be upset with the turn of events and the way,” Wren said. “We usually don’t do business this way. You don’t expect people you have to deal with to do business that way.”

    Also, Wren was on Shanks’ show late today and when Shanks asked him about Kinzer and “not wanting to burn bridges,” Wren said that the bridges are already gone.

  247. So when the Dodgers come to town, we can yell at Furcal. When the Astros come to town, we can yell at Hampton. Who else? I’m going to enjoy the 2009 season if it kills me.

  248. Furc him. Hopefully we can find something better to spend it on and Wren has moved on to looking at the FA OF bats he has ignored so far.

  249. So when the Dodgers come to town, we can yell at Furcal. When the Astros come to town, we can yell at Hampton. Who else? I’m going to enjoy the 2009 season if it kills me.

    I suggest Pads or Cubs games to yell at Miss Peavy.

  250. Per Rosenthal:

    “When people deal with you in this manner, they lose credibility,” Braves GM Frank Wren said Wednesday. “You don’t forget these things.”

    Each quote is a bit less reserved than the previous one. More, please.

  251. Pertintent comment from the Will Carroll B-Pro chat on Monday.

    Q): What are the chances that AJ Burnett makes 30 starts a year for the life of his new contract?

    Will Carroll: Each year? Almost none. Burnett is not a healthy pitcher. He’s talented, occasionally dominant, but has shown both physical and mental frailties.

  252. MLBTradeRumors (Yahoo article linked):

    5:43pm: Tim Brown reports that the Braves had sent Furcal a signed term sheet, according to “a club source.” Kinzer asked for the paperwork to be faxed to him on Monday night and Braves GM Frank Wren complied Tuesday morning:

    No member of the Braves’ front office – not Wren, not longtime former GM John Schuerholz – could recall a time when a signed term sheet was not the equivalent of a handshake agreement, ethically – if not legally – binding.

    Brown adds that the Braves believe Kinzer shopped the term sheet to the Dodgers, who had been reluctant to commit to a third year.

    That’s it Wren, let it all out. Kinzer clearly used the Braves.

  253. Braves fans are usually reserved at games, I think I might make it a point to show up at an LA game this year. Furcal needs some heckling and it might as well happen while Bobby Cox is managing.

  254. I agree with Stu…Wren is hammered right now. Except I don’t see him completely naked in his pitch black office. I see him standing on the mound at Turner field with no pants on – just a dress shirt, tie, boxers, black socks and cleats. He has a bag of balls and a bottle of Markers Mark, and he’s firing fastballs to Chino Cadahia, muttering expletives with each release.

  255. over at DOB’s place

    -“Could get just about anybody he wanted” with Heyward and Hanson. Not going to happen though.

    Also, Wren feels that KJ would be a better fit in LF than any FA, but there was only one FA inf good enough to move him out there

  256. By David O’Brien

    December 17, 2008 7:13 PM | Link to this

    Sorry, folks, been typing away on my story for state edition. Just filed it. Wren is peeved, to say the least.

    Term sheets are, as an official from another team put it, “golden” in baseball. You don’t change those, and once the details are negotiated and put on the term sheet, it’s seen as basically a formality to sign it. The negotiating is already done at that point.

    Wren said Braves were asked by Kinzer to send over a term sheet Tuesday to sign, after negotiating all the details Monday night, and the Braves never got the sheet back.


    “We were very surprised,” Wren said. “After reaching an agreement on Monday night, and being asked to produce a term sheet for signature on Tuesday morning, which we did, we were surprised that they didn’t return the term sheet…. All of a sudden, they said they needed to go back to the Dodgers.”

  257. More from David O’Brien:

    Sorry, folks, been typing away on my story for state edition. Just filed it. Wren is peeved, to say the least.

    Term sheets are, as an official from another team put it, “golden” in baseball. You don’t change those, and once the details are negotiated and put on the term sheet, it’s seen as basically a formality to sign it. The negotiating is already done at that point.

    Wren said Braves were asked by Kinzer to send over a term sheet Tuesday to sign, after negotiating all the details Monday night, and the Braves never got the sheet back.


    “We were very surprised,” Wren said. “After reaching an agreement on Monday night, and being asked to produce a term sheet for signature on Tuesday morning, which we did, we were surprised that they didn’t return the term sheet…. All of a sudden, they said they needed to go back to the Dodgers.”

  258. I really think it might have been the news that he would play second base. In which case, Wren did screw up.

  259. I say plunk the f—er the first time the Braves face the Dodgers this year. Maybe the second time too.

    All of the folks blaming Wren need to get real–it certainly looks like shady behavior by Furcal not a failure by Wren.

  260. Doesn’t matter, then Furcal will now get hurt again and we will have no feeling over it. Good luck Dodgers!

  261. This could very well be good news in disguise. Maybe we can go get a real corner outfielder and Furcal might wrench his back at any time.

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