305 thoughts on “There’s been a Sixto Lezcano sighting!”

  1. I am foolishly going to be flying into Rochester NY on Christmas day… with the wife and three kids. I am not a cold weather person… this doesn’t bode well for the next week for me. I hope Wren gives me some good news by the time I get back to reliable internet connections.

  2. On trading for Swisher, I’m all for it, but what exactly do we have that we’ll give up and the Yankees need?

  3. Merry Christmas from Warm and Sunny Fla…..here’s to Mark Texeria, Raffy Furcal, AJ Burnett and Jake Peavy all having Francouer like suck-ass year….

  4. Merry Christmas! Here in Indiana it is a balmy 37 degrees with 6-8 inches of snow. I say balmy because the last two days didn’t get out of single digits. Brrrr!

  5. ESPN First Take just announced that the Mets are in the hunt for Derek Lowe. :( WE WILL BE EPIC FAIL again this season.

  6. Let’s get Manny- pay 25 for a year, and he can go back out and try again next year when the free agent pool is thinner than this year.

  7. If for no other reason than to aggravate the Mets, Braves should get in on Lowe.

    For 3 year max at 13 or so, Lowe is o.k. For 2 years at 14.5 or so, he would help. That gives us time to sort Reyes and Morton and bring up and work in Hanson and Medlin and whoever.

    Question, is there an easy list of who is “out of options” as of next spring in MLB? Santa is checking his list twice, maybe we need to do the same.

  8. Merry Christmas everyone! The weather says it’ll be 77 in my part of Florida. I’m gonna go to the beach!

  9. Merry Christmas from Sopchoppy, Fl. i’m here with a housefull of yankees(Phillies fans). wish me luck.

  10. “At the rate the Yankees are going, I’m not sure anyone can compete with them,” Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio told Bloomberg News via e-mail. “Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap.”

    keep spending Yanks. keep spending.

  11. Merry Christmas from Charlotte, where we’ve officially busted 50 degrees! Here’s to hoping for a last minute stocking stuffer from Frank and Co.

  12. I fully agree that Swisher was much better than Francoeur last year – who wasn’t? I still believe though that bringing him into our outfield is not enough of an upgrade for us if we keep our other regulars (Anderson or Blanco, Francoeur, Diaz). Swisher will probably hit better next year, but his best BA has been .264. The 35 HRs he hit in 2006 look like an outlier. I would bet his line for next year will be something like .240/.450/.775 with about 25 HRs. I would take it, but I still think we need better.

    I also want to point out (at the risk of being flamed) that Swisher’s OPS was .769 in ’04 and .768 in ’05 at age 23 and 24 (and .743 in 08). Compare this to Francoeur’s .742 in ’06 and .782 in ’07 at age 22 and 23 and I think it’s pretty close. I still agree that Swisher is much better given what we know about the ’08 season of doom for Francoeur (.653 OPS), but it’s like comparing a Geo to a Yugo. We need to at least be looking for a Honda.

  13. Re the Reserve clause:

    The Yankees dominated for many years under the reserve clause. Most of their championships came during the reserve clause era. The Yanks still had more resources; the only difference is that the money went to the owners, not the players. It certainly didn’t make the playing field more even. It allowed the owners to screw the players but didn’t really do much for fans. It should have been eliminated many years before it was.

  14. Import Christmas info:

    Nice list-
    Chipper Jones

    Naughty list-
    Rafael Furcal
    Tellem & Kinzer
    The Yankees
    Jeff Francoeur

    I know, the naughty list is much longer.

  15. #16……….thats like being between a rock and a hard spot, isnt it?………..just kidding, i grew up in south dade county and even lived in broward for awhile. now i’m well hidden about 35 miles sw of Tallahassee.

  16. From the last thread, I was comparing Swisher’s OPS last season (742) to Frenchy’s career OPS (746).

    Do I believe Swisher will improve to career levels? I have no idea.

    Do I believe Francoeur will continue his slide? I shouldn’t ask questions to which I don’t want to know the answer.

    Happy & Merry to all in BraveLand.

  17. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all–and especially to Mac and those who help to make Braves Journal a lively site.

    Merry Christmas!

  18. According to Blain Boyer, Nacho Libre is Jeff Francoeur’s favorite movie.

    Nacho Libre? Seriously, Jeff? That’s your favorite movie? I hate you.

    Happy Holidays y’all!

  19. oh, and oldtimer, I don’t remember a Mr. Burke. I think most of my teachers were from the old regime before there was a big staff turnover at RMHS. I was cool with Mr. Krausher, Ms. Arcuri, Mr. Levine, Mr. MacDonald, MacDonald’s wife (the art teacher – forget her name), Ms. Brown, Mr. Manto, etc.

    Sorry guys just weird to “run into” a guy who teaches at my old high school in a little Jersey town on an Atlanta Braves blog. Not too many Braves fans around those parts.

  20. Rehab,

    I was born in Tallahassee and lived there for 8 years, grew up in Keystone Heights (NE of Gainesville), and now go to college in Clearwater. Kinda pulling a little triangle…

  21. Merry Christmas to all.

    Hiawatha, I teach Social Studies there so Mr. Manto is my boss, great man. I Just left Mr. Crociatas house a couple minutes ago, our families do Christmas Eve together every year. He was probably Dean of Students when you were there.

    And yes, sorry gang, but really weird to bump into someone here form a small town of Ridgefield NJ and a Braves fan.

  22. Merry X’mas to all.

    Ububba, if you don’t want to know the answer, that means you have your own answer in your mind, right??

  23. happy, errrr, merry christmas one and all.

    but this is per mlbtraderumors.com

    Rob Neyer’s latest post on ESPN.com discusses what Manny Ramirez’ chances are to claim himself a big contract. Neyer doesn’t like the odds. His guess is two years for $45MM.

    2/45? Why on Earth are we NOT in on this? That would free up approximately 18 million a year to work on finding 1 (preferably 2) starters. Smoltz for 2/18 (with incentives) and Ben Sheets for 2/20 million (with incentives)???

  24. Merry Christmas!

    I am pretty sure Manny gets three years from the winner of the bidding war. I would still pursue him, though. He is probably the single player that helps us the most.

  25. With the Yankees signing Teix, the Angels get the Yankees’ first round pick instead of the Brewers as compensation for Sabathia. That sucks.

  26. #39, almost as bad is the news that Lowe would consider 3 years with a vesting option yet still no sign of us being interested.

  27. Is everybody forgetting how Manny quit on the Red Sox? How long do you think it would take for him to quit on us if we fall out of contention?

    Maybe as a trade piece for the future?

  28. Manny quit on the Red Sox to the tune of .299/.398/.529 this year, OPS+ of 136. (As a Brave in 2008, Teixeira hit .283/.390/.512, OPS+ of 136.)

    Manny always dogs it on the bases and in the field and always raked. He’s not worth $25 mill a year, considering how many runs he gives back on defense, but he never ever quit on offense. Other than 2007, when he had an OPS+ of 126, he hasn’t had a season OPS+ below 150 since 1998, and hasn’t had a season OPS+ below 140 since 1994, his rookie year.

    He is an insanely good hitter.

  29. noone comments on the hiring of thr Georgia Peach?
    if he can’t turn around the Braves, it can’t be done. from the grave, no less.

    Trainer Ty Cobbs was added to the staff.

  30. Merry Christmas, I hope everyone got what they wanted. I hope Frenchy got a Oujia Board and summoned the spirit of Mickey Mantle.

  31. Merry Christmas from Winnipeg where it has warmed up to about -11C from -30’sC earlier in the week. In case you don’t care to look it up, that’s just cold.

    Also, here’s hoping for career years from our bit players, I think we may need ’em.

  32. AAR, I really believe Manny is every bit as good as a hitter as Bonds.

    Krugerindustrialsmoothing…-30’sC…I have never been to Winnipeg during winter, but do people still go out at that temperature?

    Bit players…they account for 80% of the Braves roster at the moment…

  33. kc, yeah, you still go out, you just don’t stay out. This am it’s up to -8 which is probably in the high teens, we’ll have some more turkey and then skate and/or sled. good times.

    Problem I have with Manny is envisioning a season where we’re out of it by mid July and on top of that being forced to put up with ‘out of the pennant race’ Manny. No question mashing manny would be nice to see. btw, I really hate not being able to be optimistic in December, that is sad.

  34. “Problem I have with Manny is envisioning a season where we’re out of it by mid July and on top of that being forced to put up with ‘out of the pennant race’ Manny. No question mashing manny would be nice to see. btw, I really hate not being able to be optimistic in December, that is sad.”

    if we were out of the pennant race, why would we care? the whole point of signing manny would be to try and compete. trading him to a team in need would be relatively easy. if he is putting up pretty decent numbers, some team would take on his contract. signing someone like manny would do great wonders for a stagnant braves organization, asshole or not. problems it would solve:
    1. boost attendance
    2. stir up the clubhouse
    3. push bobby toward retirement
    4. rh power from the outfield
    5. obp for the outfield

    if we could sign manny, trade francoeur +others for a decent#1 or sign a decent #1, and re-sign smoltz, this team could be good. hell, if we could sign glavine for 2-4 mil, he could be our lefty. i just hope some things start happening soon for sanity.

  35. I am all for signing Manny, but we all know how likely that will happen…as an alternative…I keep thinking if the Braves should take a chance with Shef…

  36. The real problem with getting Manny is that he would have to choose us as a FA.

    Do you think he would understand about our 3rd order W-L record?

  37. still dont understand possibly throwing $10-12 mil for 3 years to Kawakami and his bad back, but have no interest in Lowe at $15-16 for 3/4 yrs

  38. New York Post:

    The Yanks still – believe it or not – project a lower payroll in 2009 than 2008, and will now try to lower it further by trading at least one and possibly two from among Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher. They most want to protect the leadoff-hitting Damon and move the worst defender, Matsui. The Angels, after losing out on Teixeira, could use Matsui’s production, and so might Texas or Oakland. The Braves, shut out all over the place this offseason, are among the teams that like Nady and, especially, Swisher. In trades, the Yanks should now try to add multi-dimensional players who can help across the diamond such as the Angels’ Chone Figgins (who might even be able to start in center) and Atlanta’s Martin Prado. They also will want prospects to ease the loss of three high compensatory draft picks due to signing Type-A free agents.

    Prado for Swisher/Nady? Sounds great.

  39. I would love to get Nady for Prado. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    Also, looking at Swisher’s numbers, I could probably take him too. His BA is Francoueresque, as ububba said, but I think Jeff Francouer would kill for even Swisher’s 92 OPS+ from last year. He’s got a 112 OPS+ for his career, and I think he’d do alright.

    So, why the heck did the Yankees trade for Swisher and then want to trade him before he ever played for them? Any other team, and they’d be buried by their stupidity.

  40. #58, not as if they gave up anything of value to land Swisher and there was no guarantee of signing Teixeira at that point, so it was a good trade. DOB has intimated that if we hadn’t been waiting on Peavy, we’d have tried to get him then too.

    I would also do Prado for Nady in a heartbeat.

  41. The Braves aren’t going to do anything in the FA market this year. Vsaquez was the big pickup, there might be a few scraps here and there, like a washed up middle relief guy, but there won’t be a corner outfielder or a big time starter.

  42. Giants sign Randy Johnson. They’re looking more like a contender in that division than the Braves are right now, which is sad.

    What happened to all the money the Braves have, and other teams cutting back and it’s a buyers’ market and the Braves are one of just a few teams willing to spend big money? All this alleged money and the team can’t even so much as resign John Smoltz?

  43. I just got Baseball Mogul 2009. Of course, I’m a wuss and started on “Fan” difficulty level. My first order of business? Trading Mike Hampton for Mark Redman. Amazing. Only in video games…

  44. I think I like the signing of the Unit for the Giants more than I would for the Braves. Aside from the fact that Johnson is a lefty, the role of brittle, old potential stud will be played by John Smoltz for us. If we insist on an old lefty, Glavine will be in Spring Training.

  45. I think the Braves would have signed Johnson if not for Smoltz and Glavine. One team can handle only one or two old and fragile pitchers as mentioned by Parish.

    I have been thinking…if the Braves want to increase its exposure to the Japanese market, maybe they should consider taking Matsui off the Yankees’ hands.

  46. If the Giants can keep their arms healthy and score some runs, they should be a force–at least in the NL. Lincecum, Cain, Zito and the Big Unit–gives me starter envy…

  47. I am not sure what to expect from Zito anymore…the Giants scoring runs…I don’t see that happening either…

  48. You are right to be cautious about Zito–I knew that he 2008 had been a bad year for him, but on checking on the numbers they are pretty ugly. Still, a pitcher of the calbre has the chance to bounce back….

  49. It seems with the Johnson signing, Sanchez might be available. What would it take to acquire him? KJ seems high…

  50. Read that Wang is available from the Yankee’s plus the OF already mentioned. What package would it take to get Wang and Swisher/Nady?

  51. AAR–Zito has been a great pitcher and that is why I don’t rule out a comeback…. That said, the trajectory is not encouraging….

  52. Surprise, surprise… what does Braves Journal have for me on Christmas? More Francoeur bashing…

    I really wonder what’s going to happen this year when he either turns it around, or gets shipped out, because without last year’s terrible slump I don’t know what you would all talk about… I’m beginning to wonder why I even continue to come here.

    @13: How about comparing their (Swisher and Jeff) best numbers, because I think we can all agree we wouldn’t want either of them if they continue to put up the crap they did last year: Swisher in 2007 .254/.372/.493 with 166 Runs Produced or 99 RC if you prefer that stat; Frenchy in 2007 .293/.338/.444 with 170 RP or 95 RC… just about even again… and now let’s look at defense: in 1590 career innings in RF Swisher has 8 assists and 5 errors, Frenchy played 1440.7 innings of RF in ’07 with 19 assists and 5 errors. Lastly, how about salary, Swisher made $3.6 million for his crappy year last year, Francoeur made $460K.

    You can want to acquire Swisher, or you can hate Francoeur, but you really can’t justify doing both with statistics. Now Nady is another story, but he’s also a much more experienced player, and would likely come with a much higher salary and trading price as well, but we do have the room for that… though I’m not sure the Yanks have any interest.

  53. “I’m beginning to wonder why I even continue to come here.”

    i’ve never understood this mentality. just dont type in bravesjournal.us. it’s really that easy.

  54. 79,

    Agreed. This is, for the most part, a very civil and intelligent forum and I’ve seen some great debates over the past three years. The fact that everyone on here bashes Frenchy doesn’t mean we’re biased or picking on him for no reason, it means he’s THAT BAD. I defended him for a while, but he lost my support after he whined about being sent to AA. A player who makes same stupid mistakes everyday and still thinks he has the right to play at a major league level does not deserve to play everyday.

    I’d love for him to turn his young career around and start making an impact. If he does, I will be very pleased. But it’s foolish to bank on it.

  55. First, I have to correct myself, I started using Swisher’s 2007 numbers, but switched to 2006 since they are better, so it should say 2006 above.

    Now Mr. Remington: Obviously .372 and .493 are better than .338 and .444, but they aren’t on a different order of magnitude. (For Swisher’s ’06 the difference in OBP is 23 more times reaching base over the 672 PAs that he had, which includes 2 more intentional walks, and 6 more HBPs; for Slug% Swisher’s difference equates to 28 extra bases, over 556 ABs. For Jeff to have matched Nick’s numbers he would’ve needed to get on base 24 more times, and got 31.5 extra bases over 696 PAs, and 642 ABs.)

    On the other hand, Francoeur’s BA difference equates to 25 additional base hits over his 642 ABs, whereas Nick would’ve needed 23 more hits to match Jeff in his 556 ABs. Also remember, all of this is coming more than 3 years earlier in Jeff’s developmental process.

    From what they’ve shown so far I’m willing to say that Swisher has been a better hitter, but he has never even been close to being “twice the hitter.” Going all the way back through his whole professional career Swisher has never batted above a .269…

    Further, I see more upside for Francoeur, since it is certainly easier to learn the strike zone and up your OBP 34 points, than it is to learn to hit for contact and up your average 39. Beyond that, Jeff is clearly the better defender by leaps and bounds, and comes at a much cheaper price tag both financially and in terms of acquisition costs.

    I’m not against adding Swisher if he can be had without giving up too much, but there simply isn’t a case to be made that he is any less of a gamble than Frenchy… and I don’t think many here would suggest that their favorite team should trade for Francoeur.

  56. @79: I said I’m beginning to wonder… because generally I do find some insightful discussion here, but sadly this thread was seemingly devoid of it, which is what I tend to find when there isn’t a specific topic of conversation like during the Peavy-Burnett-Furcal discussions. I hadn’t stopped in since the Furcal fiasco, but I’ve been snowbound for more than a week now, and figured I’d check to see if I had missed anything… it appears I hadn’t.

    Ultimately I have faith that there are bright Braves fans out there, including many of the frequent contributors here, that can get past petty squabbles and ad hominem attacks… I just wish I didn’t have to wade through the other crap to find it.

    @80: See this is generally the enlightening discussion I enjoy! I have no problem with people making thoughtful criticisms of our players, though groupthink tends to kick in and sometimes we end up with comments like “Jeff should/must die.”

    I’m certainly not banking on anything… last year tought us all that lesson with injuries and slumps… but seeing as I know Jeff will be our starting RF for most of the coming year, I’m hoping for the best (and his last month of ’07 certainly offered a glimpse of hope.) I won’t open the can o’ worms about his comments, except to once more ask you try to put yourself in his position… as a 24 year old who was in the midst of failing something of importance for the first time in his life.

  57. Nick Swisher: 100 walks in 150 games in 2007. (Also 97 walks in 2006 and 82 walks in 2008.)

    Jeff Francoeur: 115 walks in 549-game career.

  58. There is absolutely no evidence that players “learn” to walk any more than they “learn” to hit for power or average; if anything, the latter is more learnable. Players walk somewhat more as they get older, just as they tend to hit more homers and for a lower average, but it’s more like going from 60 walks to 70, not 20 walks to 70. If a guy doesn’t have strike zone recognition at 25, he’s never going to get it. It’s a talent, not a skill. Let’s not get into how Francoeur’s power has utterly disappeared or how he now runs like he’s carrying his salary in gold coins in his pockets.

  59. @83: Now I never said Nick wasn’t better at drawing walks, but that is just one stat. Here’s another one: Swisher’s career professional seasons: 7; seasons batting over .270: 0; over .260: 1. Jeff’s professional seasons: 6; seasons over .270: 4; over .260: 5. (Not including the 38 games of Rookie ball in ’02 where Jeff batted .327)

    @84: As I stated above, to match Nick’s best season’s OBP Jeff only would have to raise his walk total from 42 to 66, if you discount Nick’s 2 extra IBB and 6 extra HBPs, he’d only have had to raise his non-intentional walk total from 37 to 53 to match Nick’s OBP. From ’06 to ’07 Jeff raised his non-intentional walk total from 17 to 37, and had 34 in slightly less PAs the next year. Sure looks like he learned something to me. Now maybe it will top out there, I don’t know, but my guess is that Jeff’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t recognize the strike zone as much as that he is overconfident of his ability to hit bad pitches… failure is a great cure for overconfidence, and Jeff had himself, if I may, an Epic Fail last year.

  60. Now I never said Nick wasn’t better at drawing walks,

    Oh I know. I just found the stat pretty amazing. Francoeur’s inability to walk was something that could be joked about back in 2005 when he first got called up and was hitting .380 or whatever it was after five or six weeks. Now though, with him hitting in the .260’s in his career…it is not funny.

    I really wonder what’s going to happen this year when he either turns it around, or gets shipped out…

    Neither is going to happen I think. My guess is Francoeur will continue to be bad, but not as bad as he was this past season in 2008. He’ll probably improve to a .280 batting average, a .320 OBP and a .730 OPS, and maybe 100 RBIs if Cox keeps batting him behind Chipper Jones and Brian McCann and maybe the new LF guy, and everyone (meaning Mark Bowman mostly but others in the media) will declare: “Francoeur’s back!”

    I’m fine with Francoeur’s offense if the team gets something out of center and left fields. Maybe Adam Dunn in left and Jordan Schafer in center?

  61. #86, Swisher’s career major league seasons: 5, seasons OBPing over .350: 3; over .300: 5. Francoeur career major league seasons: 4, seasons OBPing over .350: 0; over .300: 2.

    Stats work both ways, and overall in favour of Swisher.

  62. Joe Posnanski on Adam Dunn:

    “…J.P. Ricciardi…made those rather harsh comments on the radio about Adam Dunn not liking baseball*, and then had that goofy aftermath where he claimed to have apologized and Dunn said they never talked and all that.

    *I should say in J.P.’s semi-defense that over the last six months, I have heard from numerous — I mean, probably eight or nine — people in baseball who said more or less the same thing about Dunn not liking baseball. Of course, they were smart enough to say it off the record, but the point is that lots of people in the game really believe that Dunn does not have a passion for baseball and, as such, is a bad bet for a long-term contract.”

  63. Gadfly, I hope you weren’t talking about me with regard to ad hominems. If I’ve offended you, I’m sorry.

    I’m going to have to confess another bias, and yes, it’s of the garden-variety sabermetric sort: I don’t particularly care about a guy’s BA. It’s counted in his OBP, so if he has a good OBP, then his BA’s generally good enough for me. (With the necessary caveat that a guy who literally cannot hit is probably due for a falloff in OBP one of these days, when pitchers realize that there’s no reason to pitch him outside the strike zone.)

    Swisher has always been a high-OBP guy, and what’s more, because BA is so highly affected by BABIP, being good at OBP seems to be a much more repeatable skill than being good at BA. Swisher is much more likely to continue to have a good OBP than Francoeur is to repeat his good BA from 2007 — and his good BA in 2007 (which was partially the result of a very high BABIP) still resulted in a pretty mediocre OBP.

    OBP is, as Mac and others have said, the most important one-dimensional stat — there is no single thing more important than getting on base, because it combines giving you baserunners with not getting you outs — and Swisher is substantially better at it than Frenchy. But Swisher also has better power. Swisher’s ISO this year was .191 while Francoeur’s was .120, and over their careers, Swisher leads .207 to .176. That’s not a huge difference, but it’s not insignificant either.

    Swisher is better both at getting on base and at getting a lot of bases when he does hit the ball. Offensively, they’re not close.

  64. I think he’s a bad long-term prospect for the old player skills reason I’ve talked about before. For that matter, Swisher has old player skills, though I think he’s a better athlete than Dunn.

  65. Swisher has shown more promise than Franchise, to me. I think his year in Chicago is more likely to be an anomaly than Frenchy’s regression.

    Acknowledging the age difference, they have almost exactly the same number of ML AB’s. The career line for Swisher is obviously better.
    Plus, I think he is the kind of guy that would thrive in a Bobby Cox clubhouse.

    Hope everyone is having a great holiday!

  66. Face it. There’s literally nobody out there that we have a chance to get that we really want.

    “First, do no harm.”

  67. Hey, smitty. I was at your barber earlier, having my annual neck shaving done, naturally, and he mentioned something about a Swisher/Nady/Wang trade for Frenchy/Prado/Morton/Soriano.

  68. @89 – NickC, thanks for posting that. Gadfly’s selective use of statistics was suspicious. OBP is a pretty important stat as it equates to not making outs and hurting the team. Not sure what Swishers’s and Francoeur’s minor league BAs have to do with anything now that we have seem them enough in the Majors.

    But, Gadfly is right about this: Francoeur will be our starting right fielder in 2009, and the team will not compete this year without a much better season from him.

    Also – Gadfly, I am sure this point has been made, but Francoeur lost his Bravesjournal defenders (which included me) when he put on the public hissy fit for being sent down to AA.

  69. Mr. Remington: I wasn’t talking about you, so no need to apologize. I wasn’t talking about anyone specifically, but more the overall air that occassionally dominates these threads. Since we’re admitting biases, I’ll admit I am outside the local broadcast range, and didn’t have to sit through as many televised broadcasts as some of you did, nor did I have to pass all the billboards etc., so perhaps I’m going easier on Frenchy because of that. I’m not as sold as sabermetricians when it comes to OBP, but I certainly understand its importance, and I’d definitely put it in the upper echelon for predictive stats. However, when judging past performance I tend to look at results-oriented statistics in addition to the predictive numbers, and Francoeur has put up some pretty impressive numbers along those lines: his 170 RPs in ’97 is more than Dunn or Swisher have ever put up. Now I understand that there is a degree of chance involved in producing runs, so I’m not using this to backup a prediction that Frenchy will be better than both of those guys, but I think that level of production earned Frenchy enough credit for me to cut him some slack on his horrible season last year, and I think he deserves support heading into what will certainly be a make or break year. From an admittedly simplistic standpoint producing runs is what baseball is all about, and Francoeur did a helluva job at it in 2007, and has consistently done an equal job compared to Swisher throughout their careers. (’08,’07,’06 Jeff RP/Nick RP: 131/130, 170/140, 157/166.)

  70. @99: my “selective” use of statistics was in response to the “selective” use of statistics a few posts above mine, and was meant to serve the same purpose that NickC’s were: lies, damn lies, and statistics. In my earlier post I did a much more thorough treatment of the statistics. My purpose wasn’t to show that Jeff is a better hitter than Nick, according to the data we have available that just isn’t the case. My purpose was to show that they aren’t too far apart. That coupled with the obvious advantages that Jeff provides in defense, and cost (both in financial cost as he’ll more than $3 million less next year than Swisher, $12.5 million less than Dunn, and likely more than $20 million less than Manny; and in acquisition costs,) I just don’t understand why this crowd seems to be so anti-Francoeur, and simultaneously wants to trade for Swisher.

    As I said above I won’t get into the whole “public hissy fit” except to once again ask that people put these things in perspective: this is a 24 year old kid who was failing at something important to him for the first time in his life, and right as he hit the bottom he got a microphone thrust in his face… Jeff is overconfident, that is a big part of his recent struggles. If he can come back to Earth, like I think he will, then he’ll succeed, because he is unquestionably a tremendous athlete. Beyond that, his reaction was only comments, he showed up to his assignments knocked the crap out of the ball, and showed the Braves that he knows how to dominate the minor leagues… now if he can translate that into domination in the majors I can’t wait to see all of you guys on the Frenchy bandwagon… but I will miss the ample leg room. Again, these people who say they stopped “defending” Francoeur after those comments are the same people who are saying we should be going after Manny?!?

    Lastly, an important stat to remember, one that Jeff is WAY below the ML-average on: Francoeur’s 2008 salary= $460,000; ML Average>$3 million. It’s hard to remember this, seeing as he’s been the subject of so much hype.

  71. Sorry for the incredible length of some of my posts today… lets just say I sorely miss decent college football… Luckily we still have the NFL tomorrow… GO FALCONS! GO SAINTS!

  72. I’m ready to cheer Francoeur if he plays well, and there’s a chance he will. Adding 17 pounds of muscle (so he said) in the last off-season was a clear error in judgment, and I’m glad he’s said he’s going to concentrate more on flexibility now — that should help.

    But where he really needs help is between the ears. It wasn’t just that he played badly last year — it was that he never seemed to be developing an effective plan to get better. From BP:

    “Jeff’s plate discipline is a major, major concern, and unfortunately he has done literally nothing to show any hint of improvement. In his rookie season, he swung at 34.7 percent of pitches thrown out of the strike zone. In 2006, this rose to 36.7 percent, and over the last two seasons, to 36.7 and 36.3 percent. Granted, he has not gotten any worse in this regard, but maintaining the status quo in this situation is not a positive. Curiously enough, his rates of swinging at pitches in the strike zone have declined, from 85.8 percent in 2006, to 76.1 percent in 2008. Francouer still cannot lay off of pitches he shouldn’t be swinging at, and is keeping the bat on his shoulder on called strikes. I don’t know how anyone can truly succeed like that.”

    This bears out what many people were saying last year — it seemed as though Francoeur was deciding before the pitch was thrown whether or not to swing. If that remains his “plan”, he’ll never be any good. He’ll just continue on the Cory Snyder career path. It doesn’t matter how much money he makes if he’s not helping win games.

  73. Swisher is an old player skills player: he strikes out a lot, walks a lot, hits a certain number of home runs, has a low batting average, and relatively high isoOBP and isoSLG. Because he’s young and a pretty good athlete, chances are good he’ll be able to keep it up for a few more years before Hafnerizing — I like his chances a lot more over the next five years than, say, Pat Burrell’s. Or even Dunn’s. Of course, those two guys are better hitters than he is, but they’re closer in age to falling off the cliff.

  74. I think that fumble sealed the Saints’ fate.

    I am not optimistic about Francoeur and the reasons why many Braves fans (people on this board and elsewhere) are so down on him are very simple: He’s become one of the worst regular players in the NL and he’s very frustrating to watch.

    If anyone thinks that reading the complaints on this board is tedious, try watching Jeff Francoeur take 4 ABs in a game.

    I don’t spend a lotta time thinking about Jeff Francoeur. Life is too short for that. I’d love for him to improve, but I’m sorry—at this point, I just don’t see it.

  75. The defense has got to hold… YES!!!

    Aww, darn it, Carolina had to go and spoil it. Still, congrats to the Falcons, I hope they can put together a great playoff run.

  76. Too bad the Saints couldn’t seal the deal. I knew the Panthers would win, but I kind of feel they deserve the #2 seed.

    Great job, Falcons. Heck of a season. Now, let’s go win the next one in Arizona.

  77. “I think the Detroit Lions took away the Braves’ “epic fail” title.”

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Right now, the Braves have two major-league caliber starting pitchers and no major-league caliber outfielders. Right now, they’re among the worst five teams in baseball.

    If not Dunn… who? Seriously. He has at least four good-to-great years in him. At some point you have to overpay. Dunn would be money better spent than Burnett or even Furcal, not that any of it matters.

  78. @113: Yeah, I know we’ve really had it bad… what it’s been a whole 7 months since the Hawks took the eventual Champs to 7 games, and a whole 3 years since the Braves ended an unprecedented run of 14 straight playoff appearances…

    Either way, GO FALCONS! The Cardinals are going to rue the day they take the field!!!

  79. Be fair, they have at least three.

    To be honest, Vasquez/Jurrjens/Campillo is probably above the median. I know that’s hard to believe, but check out some of the teams out there. And the Braves also have the best catcher in baseball, the best third baseman in the National League, and one of the better middle infields around even if they for some reason want to break it up. I’m pretty sure they’re better than:

    The Giants, who have some pitchers but whose lineup is basically Aaron Rowand plus an expansion team;
    The Nats, who are the Nats;
    The Royals, who are the Royals;
    The Pirates, who are the Pirates, only more so.

    That’s four, and there are still the Orioles, the Mariners, the Rangers, and the Reds.

  80. Plus there is still time. If the Braves get Nady or Burrell and trade for Zack Grienke in January, will anyone remember or care about the current projected 25-man roster?

  81. I’m not even sure it’s better to have a bye than to play the Cardinals for practice — they look really bad right now. On the other hand, win and you probably have to play at Giants Stadium, which is No Fun.

  82. I agree with Mac, this isn’t an awful team we have. It would be nice to get another starter and maybe a power bat or a leadoff guy.

    Hell, Frenchy HAS to be some what better. I think our left field situation should be somewhat better.

    In reality, I think we might contend if we get a bat or a pitcher now and make a move midseason for the other.

  83. I think the Falcons match up well with the Giants. I am not sure they would beat them, but I think their running attack would keep the Giants D on the field and might wear them down.

    Here’s to a Falcons- Titans Super Bowl!

  84. Buster Olney ruled us out of the Manny Ramirez sweepstakes because we have enough outfielders. Erm…

  85. No reason to believe that the Eagles couldn’t win in Minnesota, which would mean that the Falcons (if they beat Arizona) go to Carolina.

    As long as Jacobs is playing, the Giants are the best team. I’d like to avoid them until the NFC title game.

  86. Olney is nuts. Yes, we have four or five people who have stood in a major league outfield, but I wouldn’t call them outfielders.

  87. Diaz, Blanco, Anderson, Francoeur….

    What is the point of having such a good infield and maybe the worst outfield in the NL? It is annoying too that the Braves act as if they’re one outfielder, one left fielder, away from a good outfield. They need at least two and three if Jordan Schafer isn’t close.

    If the Braves are truly in the market for a left fielder, I do not see how they can not be considered to be “in” on Manny Ramirez because of too many outfielders.

  88. You’d be okay with Anderson or Blanco in center — they’re not great, but they’re no worse than a lot of center fielders. The corners are a different story.

  89. i don’t understand why they don’t want to get Dunn or Manny and claim that it’ll block Schafer/Heyward/Gorkys.. aren’t they supposed to be 2 years away anyway? sign Manny to a 2 year deal and done.

  90. While I don’t think the Braves have one of the worst 5-6 teams in baseball, they are pretty weak.

    I think our starting pitching remains incredibly weak–take a look at the way Campillo pitched in August and September and then make the comparison. Yeah, maybe he was tired, but I don’ t think it is unreasonable to believe that ‘regression’ is probable in 2009.

    Going into this offseason we needed to find 3 starters (which could include players we already have) and LF and a RF. At this point, we have added Vasquez and rested Campillo and picked up Ross and O’Flaherty.

    Sure, there is time left–but the mountain is still steep…

  91. #118

    depends on who we have to give up to get them.

    if we still have Hanson, Hicks, Heyward and Hernandez, then I’m totally happy with that scenario.

  92. HHHH….Hicks needs to show that he is another K machine, before I can get excited about him…

  93. If we get some real COFs and a mediocre starting pitcher we’d be a legitimate contender. The starters only have to go 6 before turning it over to Gonzalez, Soriano, Moylan, Ohman, Smoltz, etc.

    By the way, why haven’t we resigned Ohman?

  94. I hope that we get some real COFs…Our bullpen is good, but if they have to bail the starters out every night after 6, they probably won’t be very good in September….

    I thought the point of trading for Boone Logan was to let Ohman walk…

  95. In the spirit of more Francouer bashing, Fangraphs.com released data wherein they’ve estimated the dollar value of every hitter in baseball’s performance for 2008. The braves page is here:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Braves&pos=all&stats=bat&qual=0&type=6&season=2008&month=0

    According to their method, Francouer’s value of -$7 million makes him the least valuable player in the league. This is nothing new, but I found it fun to see it quantified just how bad he really was.

  96. hicks needs to show that he’s a SO machine before you can get excited? @ 130

    hmmmmmmmm…i suppose you meant show that he’s NOT another one, but I get what you’re saying.

    he’s still a player.

    i left out freeman b/c he’s not an H and i was going with the alliteration.

  97. Chris–Thanks for the correction–Hicks has potential and, more important, the Braves seem to believe him….

  98. Well, not $5 million, but last year Timlin made $3 million, and Julian Tavarez, who wasn’t even on the team most of the year, made $3.85 million. Meanwhile in the Bronx, Farnsworth made $5,916,666, and Yankee fans will tell you the last three digits are significant. LaTroy Hawkins made $3.75 million. In Queens, Schoeneweis made $3.6 million and they just traded for Putz (who made $4.4 million last year and will make $5 million in 2009) to setup Rodriguez.

  99. I seem to remember that Hammonds & Karsay made money in that neighborhood.

    An aside about Farnsworth: While he was earning his big bucks & snide comments from Yankee fans, Farnsworth hired a publicist who placed stories about what a nice guy he was & how much he loved his wife.

    If he wasn’t getting touched up every other outing, imparting such information would’ve been unnecessary. Of course, in YankeeLand that didn’t fly either. Perform, or else…

  100. (A) 5 > 3.85, 3.75, 3.6, and 3

    (B) Farnsworth was signed to be a set-up man, not a middle reliever.

    (C) Putz was signed by the M’s to be a closer and acquired by the Mets to be a set-up man.

    I know it’s nitpicking, but $5 million, the specific number cited and with which I was arguing, isn’t the market number for middle relievers anywhere. Yet.

  101. DOB said we made a “fair” offer to Ohman, and I read another report that he hadn’t gotten any offers longer than 2 years, but I never saw the official numbers, csg. My guess is that we offered more like 2 years, $6 or $7 million.

  102. I would rather with Ohman (especially near the trade deadline in July), but then why pick up Boone Logan?

  103. Stu, you’re right, I misread the article

    According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman , the Braves made an offer to free agent lefty Will Ohman . At least ten teams are interested, so Ohman will continue to test the market. Bowman figures Ohman is looking for two or three years at roughly $4MM per. Ohman, 31, posted a 3.68 ERA

  104. Did the Braves close for the holidays?

    Wren’s vowing to hold his cards close to the vest is one thing. Going into total seclusion is quite another.

    Has anyone sniffed a Braves rumor since Christmas? Please do something, Braves!

  105. I feel like the Braves are that guy that nit-picks on attractive girl options, then wakes up one day and he’s 45 and he’s incredibly single. “Eh, she’s got a big nose. Eh, she chews loudly. Meh, her dog barks too much.” It seems like we’re acting like all these players who are being signed to reasonable contracts aren’t worth our money. I fear we’re going to wake up in March and be nowhere closer than we are now.

  106. LBH,
    I think part of it is that DOB’s been on vacation. It’s possible that the Braves have been active, but the only reporter who might get a sniff of what’s going on isn’t available to report.

  107. #148 – Cliff, thats what all the reports have really been saying, either May or early June. Bobby and Smoltz seem to think they’re further along than that, but we havent heard about any more bullpen sessions or anything

  108. Thanks, Stu. That makes sense, although it’s rather rude of DOB to place his personal holiday pleasure above desperate Braves fans’ need for their off-season fix.

    I’d sure like to know whether we’ve revisited pursuing Lowe or Sheets and one the flawed corner outfielders still available. It would be nice to believe my Braves haven’t decided to take their $40M and go home.

  109. The timeline on Smoltz changes my perspective on him. If we think he is maybe o.k. to start in April, then do a package deal and get Smoltz and Sheets. If one of them is good to go, you can get as much “good” out of it as you have paid for. If both are good, “watch out”. If neither is good, you have blown 15 million for 1 year that you might have just stuck in your ear.

    Ohterwise, why are we so dead set aginst Derek Lowe? He could be just what we need pitcher wise.

  110. Agreed, Rob. And now that it’s clear he’s the Mets’ top priority, it would provide the added benefit of screwing with them.

  111. Anybody know anything about the new MLB Network that is set to debut on Jan. 1 (Channel 123 on Comcast/Atlanta)?

    All Yanks/Sawx All The Time?

    At least Harold Reynolds will be a regular. (What did he do to get himself fired at ESPN, anyway?)

  112. I suspect Namath was barking up the wrong tree on that fateful night …

    Tirico strikes me as such a straight arrow, too …

  113. @167

    Until I have see any realistic evidence that he will be able to hit his weight, (which is becoming less and less of an insignificant feat) I will be amused.

    And also a little sad.

    Watching him play center when he could was comparable to watching Maddux pitch.

  114. Andruw would be a good pick for a Keltner List — I was trying to figure out who to choose. I think we’ve seen pretty much everything for his career.

  115. After hitting 92 HR in 2005-06, Andruw Jones’ past 880 PA: 204/292/368 with 214 Ks. (Yes, that’s a higher OPS than Frenchy last year.)

  116. I still think Andruw can turn it around if he loses some weight, which he seems to have done, and listens to a hitting coach.

    With the Dodgers going after Dunn, that leaves no obvious suitors for Manny. Surely we have to get involved in this? We can just shade Anderson or Schafer a long way towards left to compensate.

  117. I really think Schafer may need to start off in the minors this year. It’s the struggling against lefties thing. This team has enough of that.

    That said, I am okay with Anderson, and even Blanco in center. We need better corner outfielders, hopefully one is 2009 Francoeur, because we’re stuck with him.

  118. Mac – It’s the Klesko problem. If we platoon Schafer, when will he learn to hit lefties? Don’t rush the guy and he is our every day center fielder of the future.

  119. Not sure who said Schafer was supposed to be ready mid-year ’08 but I am certain that time tables can change.

    Whether that was a realistic expectation or not, maybe missing half a year for a suspension and failing to hit lefties effectively can allow us to alter our plans/projections.

  120. I’ve been this desperate before, but I was in my twenties – Manny and / or Milton Bradley?

    It would be like Bizarro Braves.

    Ya know, if we can’t be good at least we can be interesting. (That was Kentucky’s philosophy during the Hal Mumme days, btw … )

  121. The Falcons finished the season at 11-5, the Hawks are 20-10 right now…and the Braves had a losing record…how things have changed…

  122. Go Falcons. Gonna miss my third game in a row because of work, but I think they can handle the Cards…not that our pass defense has been great or anything.

    But random question…does anyone here play online league baseball sims? I’m interested in getting into playing one (been looking at OOTP 9) and I just wanted some opinions. Figured someone here probably loves the thought of GMing enough to play.

  123. I agree with Parish–Schafer should not be rushed to play in Atlanta. There is really no reason to believe that he is ready for major league baseball at this point. Maybe by the summer–but he has not even had a full year of AA under his belt and he did not exactly rip the seams off the ball in Mexico….

    Hanson should not be rushed either–no matter how weak our starting pitching becomes.

    In both cases we are talking about players who have the chance to lead the Braves back from the depths to which they have sunk. I would rather wait a bit longer and have them develop properly than rush them to the majors–experience initial success then hit a lower plateau from which they cannot climb.

  124. I would rather wait a bit longer and have them develop properly than rush them to the majors–experience initial success then hit a lower plateau from which they cannot climb.

    Bobby Cox’s response: “Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?”

  125. 186–A fan who has watched the splendid progress of Kyle Davies and Frenchy.

    I doubt by the way that Bobby will want these guys in Atlanta before they are ready….

  126. Unless something significant changes on this roster (say signing Burrell and Lowe) this team cannot seriously compete.

    IF we were a credible threat for 85 or more wins, I MIGHT bring Hanson up in June after “magic free agent year ticker.” Similar with Schafer. However, if we aren’t going to win 81, then make sure they are ready and don’t start free agency clocks, etc.

  127. I am not that sure that Burell helps that much. Lowe would though.

    Also, to match the Hawks current win pct, the Braves would need to win 108 games. To match the Falcons 2008 season, 111 games.

  128. #197

    Ha!

    I used to play in a couples poker game (money, not clothes), and the guys discovered that, not only did the women not find Monty Python quotes funny, they were actively irritated by them. Once that was established, we couldn’t go fifteen minutes without “Been shopping? No, been shopping!” or “Is she a goer? Does she go?” Good times….

  129. To tell the truth, I am glad that Wren is not signing free agents just because we have the money and they are out there.

    If the front office wanted Burnett but thought Lowe was a bad investment, then I respect them for not changing tunes once they lost out on their preference. Mind you, I am not saying this is the case or even that I agree with that assessment. I just think it is a good thing that we are not signing any arm or bat because we have money and an opening.

    I think this is an offseason where we really have a chance to hurt ourselves more than help. We have money, sure, but we have such a long way to go to truly compete. It’s a lot to achieve in one off season and I am not crazy about hurting 2010 and 2011 to move from 4th to 3rd place in ’09.

    I know it’s not opening day yet and I am not suggesting we stand pat, but let’s not force it. The number 1 free agent I want out there is John Smoltz.

  130. We haven’t had a braves related posting on mlbtraderumors.com since the 26th. I wonder if this means that wren has tightened up the operation to prevent future embarrassment or we really just have nothing in the works… 2009 is going to suck.

  131. Neyer, today:

    Matt (Charlotte, NC: How will Chipper Jones be judged by history when he’s done? HOF? I think he has to get to either 500hr or 3K hits to get in

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: Voting for third basemen has always been a little bit strange, but I believe Chipper cemented his standing this year.

    ajd (chicago): Do you think that Dale Murphy would be closer to the Hall if the Atlanta writers had mobilized like the Boston crew did for Rice?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: I do believe that certain writers are capable of driving the discussion, and I don’t believe I know of any Atlanta writers who have done that with any candidate. Also, the Red Sox PR department has been exceptionally aggressive about pumping Rice’s candidacy. Another thing that’s really helped Rice is the attachment of the word “feared” to his name. Unfortunately, nobody’s able to come up with one word for Dale Muprhy. Here are four, though: “Better than Jim Rice.”

  132. Murphy was a CF & Rice was a corner OF/DH. Murph played a more crucial position, but there’s no way that Murphy was a better offensive player overall.

    In about 400 fewer PAs, Rice has better numbers than Murphy in almost every offensive category, counting & otherwise.

    I love Murph & he was a great guy, where apparently Rice wasn’t, but c’mon…

    BA: JR .298; DM .265
    OBP: JR .352; DM .346
    SLG: JR .502; DM .469
    OPS+: JR 128; DM 121
    Runs: JR 1,249; DM 1,197
    Hits: JR 2,452; DM 2,111
    HR: JR 382; DM 398*
    RBI: JR 1,451; DM 1,266
    SB/Att: JR 58/92; DM 161/229*
    BB: JR 670; DM 986*
    K: JR 1,423; DM 1,748

  133. I dealt with this a while back, but in short, the raw numbers don’t tell the whole story.

    1. The National League was, pretty clearly in my mind, far superior to the American League in the seventies and early eighties.
    2. While both played in hitter’s parks, Fenway was a much better hitter’s park than Fulton County.
    3. Murphy’s decline phase was much steeper than Rice’s, but in their respective primes, it’s pretty clear that Murphy was the superior hitter because his OBPs were higher — much higher, if you use the “Neutralize Stats” function on B-R.

  134. Also, I don’t think Neyer was just analyzing them as offensive players. Murphy wasn’t just a CF, he was a Gold Glove CF; Rice wasn’t just an LF/DH, he was a Fenway Park LF/DH. Offensively, who gets the edge is debatable; defensively, it’s no contest.

  135. @205

    IMO, Chipper is a lock for the HOF right now. However…

    If he can keep up the .900-1.000 OPS (and the peripherals) for the next three years, he will be in some good company. Has a shot to be in the top 25 all time for doubles, runs, RBI, HR’s, total bases, BB’s, XBH’s.

    Some are more easily achievable than others. And, of course, that relies upon him being healthy as well. Still, it’d be cool.

  136. Neyer wasn’t, but I was.

    Here’s another interesting item:
    Dale Murphy won 2 NL MVPs & never finished in the Top 5 voting beyond that.

    Jim Rice won 1 AL MVP & finished in the Top 5 six times.

    When Rice was 33, he finished 3rd in the MVP voting with a 324/384/490 line. When Murph was 33 he went 228/306/361—sounds like a RF I know.

    Murph was a good player from 1980 to 1987. Rice was a good player from 1975 to 1986. As a Braves fan, I’m very sorry that Murphy had a steep decline phase, but let’s not punish Rice’s legacy because of it.

  137. i’d love to know who was responsible for moving Murphy to the outfield. i’m sure it was a desperation move, but he should be getting some HOF votes too because at C or 1B, Murphy was the worst i’ve ever seen above the high school level.

  138. Looks like Jason Marquis will get to enjoy superior Denver schools.

    I don’t think Jim Rice belongs in the HOF over guys like Tony Oliva, Ron Santo or even Dick Allen. I think Murph’s a better candidate than Rice. So there.

  139. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the site, but:

    The Braves then tried him as a first baseman, where in 129 games Murphy led the league in errors (23 in 1978). His career was in serious Jeopardy, until Bobby Cox took a chance and tried him in the outfield in 1980. The move proved to be genius.

    Again, that’s how I remember it, or rather remember it being talked about later — I was just eight at the time.

  140. ok, i forgot about Bobby being a coach. 1980 is kinda foggy for me. i was a new father,working 50-60 hrs a week, living like an outlaw in an unfinished house with visqueen windows and a rats nest of extension cords powering the whole mess. but i had a couple friends to talk about the Braves with and before the move to the OF, Murph was roughly half as popular as Frenchy is now.

  141. @ 222 – Completely agree. Unless the Braves have a compelling reason not to pursue him then Wren has to get in on this.

    I hope that the LF market continues to plummet like it has so far. At some point I think the value in terms of offense and $$$ for the likes of Dunn, Burrell and Abreu is going to so blatantly exceed their defensive limitations that Wren won’t be able to pass up. At least I hope so.

  142. First off, Campillo is NOT a decent major league starter. He may not be as bad as he was the last two months of the season, but he’s a below-average back-end starter. Secondly, I think this is a 67-70 win team right now, not 75. Francoeur’s plight will in part shape the difference, as will Chipper and McCann’s health, but without adding anyone this is not a better team than some of those many here consider to be among the worst–including the Giants. At least they excel at something.

    Of course, we’ll probably patch a left fielder and another starter together to fight the Marlins for third place, but a division title? Not so much.

  143. Adam, he’s a below-average front-end starter, or an average back-end starter. But he’s not a bad guy to have as your #4/#5. Seriously. He’s not as good as he was last year, but a 4.50 ERA doesn’t seem at all out of the question (he wound up with a FIP of 4.03 and an xFIP of 4.40 last year), and that’s what a back-end starter is.

  144. By the way, I just checked the numbers on A.J. Burnett and Brad Penny, and wouldn’t you know, since 2004 they’re almost the same player, with the exception of strikeouts.

    Burnett: 851 2/3 IP, 131 GS, 57-44, 3.78 ERA (113 ERA+), 836 K, 308 BB, 77 HR, 2.71 K/BB, 1.26 WHIP.

    Penny: 810 IP, 136 GS, 54-41, 3.92 ERA (111 ERA+), 567 K, 255 BB, 70 HR, 2.22 K/BB, 1.34 WHIP.

    Yeah, Burnett’s better, but he’s not THAT much better. The homer rates are almost identical, as are the ERAs, games started, innings, and won-loss records. Burnett’s one clear advantage is his K-rate. But while A.J. Burnett just got a 5-year contract for $82.5 million, Brad Penny — who’s been almost exactly the same pitcher over the last 5 years — just got a 1-year contract for $5 million. Nice job by the BoSox.

  145. Yeah, but Penny is coming off a major shoulder surgery and Burnett threw over 200 innings last year. AJ’s overpaid, but he rightfully had more value in the market this offseason.

  146. I remember Rice as a far more feared hitter than Murphy. Maybe he needed to play longer to be a legitimate HOF contender, but Rice was still a dominant player for more than a decade…

  147. Murphy was a better player but for a shorter time. Rice was apparently a Fenway Park creation. I’m not convinced either belongs in the HOF.

    Maybe Wren has decided to simply forget about this season and let other teams get all teh good players. Then in 2010 or 2011 or 2012, the Braves will reenact 1991 and go worst to first–although it’s hard to do that while the Nats are in the same division.

  148. I don’t know what Wren’s principles are aabout Lowe, but at 12 per year for 3 years, he would help this club immensely.

    Waiting on the left field bat may still be a good idea, but touching base with the agents might keep something like missing the Swisher trade to the Yankees from happening.

  149. Neither Rice and Murphy belong in the Hall of Fame, but Murphy belongs in the hall of outstanding humans who played a pretty good game of baseball for too short a career.

  150. AJC poll results favor obtaining a starter over an outfielder or reliever. The margin surprised me, given last year’s outfield futility.

  151. Like I said, Burnett’s overpaid. But they’re hardly “almost exactly the same pitcher” at this point in time, when you take into account the recent serious injury.

    That said, I’d love to have signed Penny for one year at $5 million plus incentives.

  152. I’d like to think Murph is hall worthy based on a comparison to his era. But I’m basing that on nostalgia and not data.

  153. I dont see how we couldnt be in on Lowe at this point either.

    “By David O’Brien

    December 30, 2008 9:45 PM | Link to this

    Steve and dude with odd screen name: Haven’t made any calls while on vacation, but I’d not be surprised if the Braves get in on Lowe. I really see no reason why they shouldn’t or wouldn’t, unless they’ve got another pitcher in mind who’s a mystery at this point.”

    hey guys, I lost my grandfather last night. If you would keep the family and I in your thoughts and prayers at this time.

  154. So sorry for your loss, csg. Is there anything specific I can pray about for you and your family? vandystu at gmail if you’d rather keep it private.

  155. csg–I am sorry to learn of your family’s loss. We will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers….

  156. csg: I’m sorry to hear it. I hope he lived well and lived long.

    Happy New Year to Braves fans. Unless there is anyone here from Guam, I imagine I’m the first into 2009.

    Cheers.

  157. csg, my sympathies and prayers.

    Seemingly the Braves were never in on Lowe (from the beginning). Was that because he was expected to be too expensive, that he was a Boras client, or both? Since the price tag has apparently dropped, I hope the Braves won’t let their (and everyone’s) distaste for an agent stand in the way.

    Perhaps he wasn’t part of the plan before because the plan involved moving Escobar and so we wouldn’t be strong enough up the middle for a ground ball pitcher? Is our infield as presently constituted sufficiently strong for a ground ball pitcher? (restate: is KJ adequate enough?)

    I seem to remember Mac commenting on the topic of our IF and ground ball pitchers a while ago, but I don’t remember the general consensus. Curious.

  158. I think that the fact that Lowe is a Boras client was probably decisive. A Boras client not only means dealing with the agent, but probably overpaing for the player.

    In addition, after the Furcal debacle I doubt we will know as much about who the Braves are targeting….

  159. At this moment and in this market, it looks to me like we can add Lowe (~$14M), Burrell/Dunn (~$13M), and Swisher ($5.3M), and re-sign Smoltz (~$6M), and keep our payroll under $100M.

    Paging Frank Wren…

  160. Yeah, Lowe at that price is ridiculously cheap relative to Burnett in particular. The thing in my mind is that I thought I heard somewhere that Lowe wanted to play in a big city (NY, Boston, LA, etc.) But maybe it was just that those were the teams interested….

    Whatever. We should sign him.

  161. Its nearly 2009 in the UAE–where today celebrations have been cancelled in Dubai (because of the violence in Gaza); in any event, it is close enough and so I want to begin by thanking Mac for all the work that he put into Braves Journal. I will always remember 2008 as a terrible year for Braves’ fans for reasons which will be obvious to all who are fortunate enough to come to this site. That said, is has been made all the more bearable by Mac and so many of you who help to make Braves Journal such a great blog.

    I want to express my gratitude to all who do contribute because your collective efforts certainly teach me–often with a great deal of humor–a great deal more about both baseball and the Braves than I would otherwise learn.

    Finally, in watching 2008 recede I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and lets hope that 2009 will be a great year for the Atlanta Braves….

  162. I’m with Stu. I think Lowe, Dunn, and Swisher are collectively possible. It would baffle me if the Mets landed Lowe for that price while Wren sits on his hands.

  163. Would you rather have Swisher and Burrell/Dunn or just Manny? Seems like both options would cost roughly the same amount, salary-wise.

  164. csg, my condolences to you. Love and healing to your family.

    I’d rather have Swisher and Burrell/Dunn, because realistically we really need two outfielders. Swisher could play CF till Schafer’s ready, and the other guy could fumble through LF.

  165. Be well csg. You and your’s have my prayers.

    @256

    I think I agree Stu. Really, the only free agents worth having next year are Lackey, Holliday, Guerrero, and maybe Nady. My money is on Lackey resigning with LAA, Holliday with NYY after Damon and Matsui leave, and I’m scared to touch Vlad with a long term deal. Nady, who knows (and I like him), but I don’t think he’s worth what he’ll end up getting.

    That leaves this year as the time to strike for FA signings to supplement the heralded “Next Wave of Talent.” If we’re getting a no-D corner outfielder, my vote is for Dunn. In spite of Burrell’s right handedness, he disappears for extended periods, and I wouldn’t bet against the fact that one day, he’ll never show back up. Dunn is younger, hits for more power, and IMO, simply better.

    I also like the idea of Swisher, if for no other reason to replace Frenchy if/when he struggles. The one worry I have would be for him to play center when you already have the liability of Dunn in left.

    The only thing I’d disagree with you about Stu, is that I would rather try to sign Sheets for 2 years over the 3 years (and probably option for a 4th) for Lowe. Sheets is a much larger injury risk, but IMO, if he is healthy, he gives you a much better chance in the post-season than Lowe, simply because he is a power pitcher who misses bats. I know that might be a large IF, but I’d rather roll the dice and be in a better position to be successful in the tournament than to be shown the door in the first round again.

    I know we could argue about Lowe’s sinker and it’s effectiveness, but I think that a fairly proven common denominator of successful postseason teams is having a big stuff, strikeout pitcher. I thought that was the rationale in going after Burnett, and I believe that that is reason for the lack of enthusiasm in Lowe.

    Again, Sheets is probably a bigger risk that Burnett would have been, but I think that would be somewhat mitigated if he could be signed for 3 years and 50+ MM less. Plus, he is pretty good.

  166. Parish,
    Yeah, I’ll be there. Walking from my office to a tailgate in a few minutes.

    AAR,
    I tend to agree with you, but (a) Manny is freaking awesome (and right-handed), and (b) Swisher would also cost players/prospects to acquire, presumably more than what the Yanks gave up to get him, whatever that might look like.

    Anyway, as Parish notes, we aren’t getting Manny…

    Ethan,
    I’m intrigued by Sheets, too, but at this point, I’d prefer to invest in steady and reliable. I wouldn’t cry if we gambled on the ace, though.

  167. csg,
    Condolences to you & yours.

    Derek Lowe? Yes. We need help & he’d bring some. I hope Wren is laying in the weeds on this one. Surprise me, Frank.

    Vandy Peeps,
    Good luck. Gotta be 26-years worth of exciting to be playing today.

    The Music City Bowl & Peach Bowl may be the toughest bowl matchups for SEC teams, especially those with “challenged” QBs (like Vandy & LSU).

    Vandy always has trouble scoring, but their D should keep ’em in the game. I’ll be watching.

    And LSU is in “why-should-we-care?” mode. Their defensive coordinator is on the way out (for good reason) & he’s had to prepare for a gimmick offense. Don’t see a lot of motivation there.

    Anyway, Happy New Year to all & thanks again to Mac & the site’s worldwide Braves fans for offering great conversation & necessary therapy—this year was pretty lousy all around.

    Will be at MSG tonight for a little MMJ (aka My Morning Jacket). Cheers & everybody be safe on Amateur Night.

  168. I don’t think that we are getting Sheets, Lowe, Manny, Burrell or Nady. I expect Wren to work on trades so maybe we can see Swisher or Nady or even Peavy (but not for awhile)…..

  169. Go You Hairy Stus.

    I just don’t understand why teams don’t cling tooth and nail to DeRosa. He hits for average. He hits in the clutch. He plays everywhere well. He’s a high-character guy.

    Who would want one of those?

  170. Happy New Year, everybody! Let’s close the book on 2008, an all-around lousy year for Braves fans. Actually, 2008 was an all around lousy year, period.

    Here’s to 2009!

  171. From the latest chat with Jim Callis:

    Aubrey (Houston): You’d rather be seeing Florida vs. Texas though, wouldn’t you?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: I’d rather be seeing a college football playoff. And most of all, I’d rather be seeing a Georgia team that played up to its talent and didn’t underachieve this year.

    I didn’t know he was a Dawg! Sansho, Ububba, any of the other UGA folks, did you ever run across him?

  172. Boy, Vandy got a helluva break on that punt. If they can somehow score another TD, they’ll be in good shape. BC isn’t exactly Oklahoma.

    AAR,
    Knew him well. We worked together on The Red & Black, UGA’s campus newspaper, back in the ’80s. (Chip Towers, the AJC’s UGA beat writer, was there with us, too.) Played plenty of APBA & office tapeball with those guys at the paper’s old 123 N. Jackson St. digs.

    Good guy, real dry sense of humor, a Red Sox fan from Virginia. I remember the night of the Bill Buckner game in the ’86 WS, he was on a UGA football team flight back from Lexington. Missed the whole thing.

  173. Happy New Year, braves fans!
    I’m watching sky news at the moment. It is tremedous fireworks from London.

  174. GO VANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    S E C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tennessee is putting together one hell of a staff. Coach O and Cheney now signed up!

    Happy New Year, be safe!

  175. Happy New Year to all… I’m up in NY (near Auburn, NY) visiting the in-laws… eating fried dough and listening to the kids laugh a little too loud at AFV (which seems a waste of HD programming) with the Father-in-law. Feeling old cause I’m about ready to turn in for the night (but wife has thrown out back… so need to stay up and parent).

    Could’ve stayed offline this whole trip and not missed any Braves baseball news… which, as frustrating as the Braves news has been this off season (aside from Vasquez), is probably a good thing.

  176. Just got back from the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and gotta say I’m pretty disappointed. Bad play and bad play calling. Oh well, looking forward to next year with a year of running the option under their belts. Go Jackets 2009!

  177. Parish–I fear that I like you other line about the wait for another Vandy Bowl victory!

    Lets hope the wait is brief….

  178. Unfortunately, do does Jeff….not that I think it was a serious proposal. But its New Year and lets hope that we can at least have the Frenchy of 2007–not 2008….

  179. Quite frankly, I don’t think Marte has done enough to deserve that one final chance. The Indians should try to trade Marte to the Royals.

    Holiday season is over Frank. I am tired of all the other teams making moves and we are still stuck on gear one or two. Now is the time to act.

  180. KC–Happy New Year–Anyway, I wouldn’t hold my breath–I think we will see some deals, but not any time soon. I just hope that Wren will become a bit more like the old JS and suddenly announce an amazing and unforeseen deal….

  181. Stephen,

    Vandy played poorly, but flawlessly. No penalties against us and no turnovers. BC looked like the better team, just not in the final score.

  182. csg, best wishes to your family.

    AAR, I knew of Jim — I’ve wondered whether the Baseball America Jim Callis was the same guy. I guess it is — I’m glad for him.

    I hope the Jackets enjoy polishing their rings this winter…

    Go Dawgs!

  183. Thanks Parish–I did not get the chance to see the game. BC may well have been better, but the important thing is the final score….

  184. In other words, Vandy played the opposite of the way South Carolina is right now.

    Stephen, you may also want to know that Vandy absolutely won that game with their kicking game. The rugby-style punts were very difficult for BC to handle. They repeatedly pinned their offense in a hole and produced the Commodores’ one TD. That’s not to mention Hahnfeldt’s three field goals.

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