This is just wrong

Reports: Smoltz set to sign with Red Sox | ajc.com

We’re talking $2.5 million. That’s the difference between the contract with the Red Sox and what the Braves are offering. Apparently, Wren is holding fast to the Schuerholz line of only signing players at a discount, which simply isn’t working anymore. Meanwhile, the Braves are sitting on over $20 million that they can’t give away. I think Frank Wren is trying to kill me.

363 thoughts on “This is just wrong”

  1. sickening. the “hometown, family” clubhouse that was once the braves seems to have disappeared over 2-3 months (that seems like that was how we marketed our team for years). if smoltz goes, the last domino to fall would be chipper, and i wouldnt doubt if he were gone by mid-season. let’s hope wren grows a pair in the next few hours and makes us all happy by giving smoltz the contract he deserves.

  2. It’s too late. Smoltz isn’t Furcal or his agent Paul Kinzer. He would not agree to the Red Sox’ offer without really agreeing to it. Smoltz is gone for 2009, even if Wren calls and offers him ten million guaranteed right this second.

  3. Wow.. As smart as the Braves front office is (supposedly), they should realize by now that good players are not lining up to play for them like a decade ago. Also, the era of exclusive negotiating with one team is over, which was John S’s bread and butter. They need a new plan.

  4. The Braves likely won’t win the East or the wildcard in 2009. Smoltz is entitled to another shot at the post season if he wants it. I’d rather John stay, but I understand his other-than-money reasons for going. The difference in contract value would be substantial, but the Braves, as far as I know, had not yet made an offer. Even the gospel according to DOB is speculation.

    John was great for the Braves, but he wasn’t great for us last year. He may not return to pre-2008 form. If he blows out his arm during his first couple of starts, will Wren still be a fool?

    Wren’s decision was to wait for further proof, not to forsake John Smoltz. Based on last year alone, this prudence is justified.

    The past was fun, but it is gone. God speed, Smoltzie. Go with my blessing.

  5. I was probably just spoiled with JS (and winning), but I’ve never been on a “fire the GM” bandwagon before… and now I’m looking for my pitchfork and torch.

    Edit: Of course I hold no ill will toward Smoltz and wanting a shot at another ring… I understand caution on an aging pitcher, but if nobody else is taking your money, and he’s arguably the face of the franchise, you at LEAST get a legit offer on the table to the guy (and you have to assume that Smoltz had TOLD them he was getting an offer in that vicinity).

  6. so the question is: “Does Frank Wren have a plan? a strategy?”

    I can understand this move if the thought is we aren’t going to be any good in 2009, but we can be in 2010 and 2011 when the Haywood/Freeman/Hanson generation is MLB ready, so let’s save money in 2009 and load up for 2010. if that is the case, what sense does shipping Flowers out make? What sense does signing Furcal for 3 years make (remember, Wren thought he had done so), at the expense of either KJ or Escobar?

    Dimitroff has kind of set the bar height on GM’s here now; I get the sense Frank Wren is kind of foundering around, a bit over his head.

  7. Smoltz was a great Atlanta ballplayer and I wish him well in the future. But there was no way he was ever going to pitch for the NEXT Atlanta Braves playoff team. Smoltz represents a highly variable outcome next year, which isn’t a big deal if $5mn is 2% of your payroll budget, but is a bigger deal if it is 5%.

    Braves management needs to start rebuilding for the future, and there are better ways to spend money than paying for pitchers near the end of their careers. Smoltz has alimony to pay, and the Braves have draft pick bonuses to pay -everybody wins.

  8. If Frank has a master plan, I just don’t see it. Why not keep Smoltz. Tell him if we’re out of the race in July, we’ll trade him. I don’t get this.

    What really smells bad is that John is taking shots at the FO, citing a lack of commitment to him. I mean, if this was an orchestrated exit, where is all the “It was an honor to spend my career here, but I feel it’s time to move on. I’ll always cherish my memories here.”

    This just reeks of FW letting him walk away without an offer. This is not how you treat your top players. The Braves built a tradition of being a class organization. FW is destroying that reputation with this and the Furcal hissy fit to the media.

    I don’t blame Free Agents for not wanting to come here.

  9. #5

    CharlesP, my thoughts exactly.

    If Wren had at least made a good, official offer to Smoltzie and he turned it down for the same or more money to have one more shot at a ring, yeah, some Braves fans might be mad at Smoltzie, but most would wish him “God Speed” and understand this is his last year and he wants one more shot and the Braves have no realistic chance.

    But no one in that scenario would be mad at Frank Wren.

    Instead, even people who’ve been defending him over the last few months are calling for his firing. Turner Field will be a ghost town and I am legitimately unsure if I’ll ever care about the Braves again after this. I was already emotionally done with Baseball with all the salary disparity.

  10. You can be mad at a GM because you think their plan is flawed, or their judgment is bad. This is even tougher, because there is no discernable pattern in Frank Wren’s moves, and “random” isn’t a plan (it is a recipe for disaster).

    “I think we’ll cut salary, unless of course we sign people and raise it. I think we’ll get younger, unless of course, we don’t.”

    I assume this means we don’t sign Glavine for 2009, right?

  11. Wren has done almost nothing good. The main issue, as bfan notes, is that there is no strategy, just a series of makeshift, reactionary moves that suggest–as in immediate years past–that the Braves are simultaneously playing for now and tomorrow, which in this market (with these brains) means you’re actually playing for neither. I hope Smoltz does well for the Sox next year. And I hope to see some foresight in Braves’ planning sometime soon, though I seriously doubt it will occur under a regime headed by one Frank Wren.

  12. Isn’t the Braves’ purported offer to Smoltz less than their purported offer to Hampton? i think my head may explode.

  13. I hold no ill will toward Smoltz. He’ll always be my favorite Brave. I completely understand taking an offer from the Red Sox. I’m just incredibly disappointed to not see him in a Braves uniform anymore. I agree with the sentiments from many of you about him having every right to finish with a winner and also that Frank Sucks. This has to be the bottom. Can the offseason really get any worse???

  14. actually bfan, I’m going to bet we DO sign Glavine for 09 because Wren will think that might placate some fans upset about him letting Smoltz walk (and of course he’ll need to have somebody to possibly chew up some innings in case the young guys need to stay in Gwinnett for a while).

  15. You know, if this is a full rebuild I vote we go all-in and trade Chipper. I can’t imagine he would block it to stay on the stinking, festering mass.

    I mean, the worst part of losing Smoltz is that we got nothing in return. I don’t want to sit through 2009, losing 90-100 games and then watch Chipper walk away next winter.

    I imagine the return on the reigning batting champ would be pretty high. Especially to a AL club.

  16. I agree with the general consensus. It’s not so much not signing Smoltz as it is appearing to have no plan now that Peavey and Burnett fell through. We keep hearing about these “moves” that Wren is working on but players are disappearing like hot cakes. I can understand the Braves being unwilling to make a commitment to a pitcher coming back from injury but it’s not as if the Braves have so many great options.

    I wonder how the Braves expect to sell any tickets this year. The stadium is going to be pretty empty.

  17. It’s official. I hate baseball now. Over the course of 20 years I’ve gone from love and obsession to complete repulsion. This sport will collapse within 20 more.

  18. We could trade Chipper to the Sox. They have Buchholz, Anderson, etc. They wanted to sign Teix, move Youk back to third and do something with Lowell. They could just trade for Chipper, Keep Youk at first, and do what they were planning to do with Lowell.

    Man, it sucks to be a Braves fan right now.

  19. Oh screw it. I say sign Chipper to a 9 year extension… 3 more years playing and 3 as hitting coach, and 3 as manager.

    Edit: oh, and move Bobby back to GM.

  20. Good news for Smoltzie. I have to think that both he and Wren accepted this outcome when it became clear that Smoltz would not pitch for a contending Braves team in 2009. Good result for everyone.

  21. How much did we spend on a 2 year contract for a below average backup catcher? This makes no sense. Give Smoltz $6 million – whatever he wants. He has been one of the major faces of the franchise for almost 20 years and unlike Francoeur, he has actually deserved this recognition.

  22. I understand that as a GM, you’ve got to make decisions about how much you’re willing to spend on certain players, how much of your resources you can devout and what level of production you need to expect. I understand that John Smoltz may have required more than he was “worth” to the Braves next year.

    What Frank Wren apparently doesn’t understand is that all of that goes out the door when it comes to John Smoltz. The only way this move doesn’t piss off 95% of Braves fans is if we win the division next year and Smoltz doesn’t throw a pitch for the Red Sox. And even then, it’ll still piss off 85% (including me), because it’s FRICKING $5 MILLION! We gave the backup catcher 80% of that over two years!

    Honestly, this is pretty inexcusable, and I’ve basically defended Wren thus far this off-season.

  23. Maybe Wren does have a plan. Maybe he still thinks we can compete by adding a pitcher an an outfielder. The only problem is, that list is drying up unless he wants to trade prospects, which to his credit, he hasn’t been willing to do. Except for the blocked, peak-value Flowers.

    Best case scenario:
    Wren signs Lowe and Dunn.
    Rotation: Lowe, Jurrjens, Vasquez, Campillo, Reyes/Morton. Hanson and Hudson added for playoff push.
    Lineup: Esco, KJ, Chipper, Dunn, Heap, Kotch, Frenchy, Anderson/Blanco/Shaffer. Vulnerable against LHP, but should pound righties to dust.
    Solid bullpen.
    Frank sees 85-90 wins.

    That’s the only possible plan I see in place. Maybe there just wasn’t enough money for Smoltz AND Lowe/Dunn.

    I’m trying here. I’m really, really trying.

    EDIT: I can’t believe I’m actually optimistic enough to believe that Adam Dunn will be a Brave. More likely: Garrett Anderson.

  24. I won’t ditch the Braves. Heck, if I sat through the Gerald Perry years, I can sit through most anything. That being said however, I have to jump on the Get rid of Wren bandwagon now. Smoltz and Chipper are the cornerstones of the franchise, and to treat one of them like it appears Wren did with Smoltz is simply inexcusable. You make him a LEGITIMATE offer, and if he elects to go to the Sox for a shot at a ring, you say Godspeed and Good Luck.

    Mac, I vote you change from EPIC FAIL to Cantorchilus modestus delenda est.

    (That’s the taxonomic name of the Plain Wren, btw. I can’t see FW being entitled to anything grander at this point.)

  25. I can’t believe Wren wouldn’t match the Red Sox’ offer. Or how about 3M + 7M in incentives? (Can you offer more in incentives than as guaranteed?). Of if Wren has decided that Smoltz is too big of a risk, why leave Smoltz hanging? From the article, it sounds like Smoltz got tired of waiting for something definitive from the Braves. This was a bad decision, poorly handled.

  26. Star in My Heart
    Billy Joe Shaver

    You have to do the best you can
    Good friend of mine
    Some day our paths may cross again
    In a better time
    I know
    You know, you know you know that
    I pulled the thorn out of your side
    When I walked away
    I took the rock out of your shoe
    On that very day
    I pray
    You’ll forgive me for not leaving sooner

    You are the star in my heart
    Guess you’ve always known
    Though we are many worlds apart
    I am still your friend
    And friends
    Will always be friends forever

    Don’t waste your precious thoughts on me
    And my tired dreams
    Your soul is bursting at the seams
    You are finally free
    To be
    Even more than you could ever dream of
    You’ll learn to hold your head up high
    You’ll make your stand
    You’ll look the world straight in the eye
    You will never blink
    To think,
    I almost held on too long to help you

    You are the star in my heart
    Guess you’ve always known
    Though we are many worlds apart
    I am still your friend
    And friends
    Will always be friends forever

  27. I dont have the link, but Derek Lowe is in Atlanta to meet with the Braves today. If Wren ever wants to show his face in Atlanta again, he better sign Lowe and that Japanese guy that I cant spell or pronounce. I can understand Smoltzie wanting to finish with a contender, but I cant for the life of me, understand why we wouldnt take a chance, for all he has done for us, we ought to just bite the bullet and pay the man what he wants…..

  28. I’m sure I’ll draw a lot of fire back, but Wren’s right that Smoltz is too risky for $5.5m guaranteed. I hate to see Smoltz go–especially to the obnoxious Sox–but it’s good management.

    Because I’m a Smoltz fan, I had hoped that there might be some sort of deal struck that involved both playing and broadcasting and maybe the tv/radio bit would have kept Smoltz in town. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.

    Re paying $3m to Ross–I’m not sure that’s a bad move–I thought it was an ok signing. Even if it is, however, one bad move doesn’t mean the front office should make a second by overpaying Smoltz relative to his risk.

  29. we’re like the girl in high school with so little self respect and self esteem that she screws people to be popular
    only we’re what that girl is like after everyone has had her and is no longer interested. The entity that is the Braves now cries itself to sleep at night.

  30. I totally don’t blame Smoltz for taking the Red Sox’s higher offer and the chance of one last playoff run. The way this offseason has gone for the Braves, he just wasn’t going to have that shot if he had come back. It’s ridiculous that Wren has let this Braves icon leave over $2-3 million in guaranteed money when there’s something like $20-30 million still available.

    Wren owes Braves’ fans an explanation of what he is trying to do. Is he really under pressure from ownership to slash payroll and pocket the tens of millions of dollars we thought were going to be spent on new players to improve the team? If that’s really what is going on, then Wren needs just come clean about it. Fans can grudgingly accept a straightforward rebuilding program but it’s hard to swallow one that is done in secret and has us constantly thinking the team is on the verge of signing important players only to find them signing elsewhere.

    Signing Lowe is probably the Braves’ last chance to compete this year. If Wren can’t get that done, then he seriously needs to consider blowing up the team (trade Chipper, KJ, Mike Gonazelez) and restocking the farm system.

  31. Frank,
    On Ross, I wanted to believe it wasn’t a bad deal, but then Michael Barrett signed a minor league deal.

  32. There is ZERO F-ING risk in signing Smoltz. No matter what the dollar amount. We could pay him $30 million this year and its risk free. The only risk in Smoltz would be signing him longer than one year.

    Why?

    Because we’re not going to win anyway this year. In fact, unless we put the money towards Lowe, Dunn, Manny or someone else that will help us win in the immediate future I can think of no more desirable way to spend our buttload of cash than on one more year of Smoltz.

    There is no sense whatsoever in drawing a hard line in the sand on Smoltz and citing fiscal responsibility when we have cash burning a hole in our pocket that won’t be there if we don’t spend it anyway, and with all our major offseason targets playing elsewhere.

    At this point it would be a mathematical impossibility for us to spend all our budget without grossly overpaying for remaining players. We’d have to overpay just to use our budget, because whatever is left out there won’t cost $30million unless it’s Manny. Lowe + Dunn < $30mil.

    Overpaying for a player on a one year deal doesn’t hurt anything except this years team. And this years team is already a fish out of water flopping around desperately.

    Not overpaying for Smoltz this season if that’s what it takes is tantamount to spitting in the face of Braves fans.

  33. “Wren owes Braves’ fans an explanation of what he is trying to do.”

    This of course assumes that Wren has a clear idea of what he is trying to do, that he is able to articulate. At this point, I have my doubts.

  34. I can see the side that from a buisness stand point letting Smoltz go was an okay move.

    BUT

    There is more to it than just stats and money.

    First, we have done nothing this off season to really address our problems. Have we even had a serious disscussion with an outfielder? Not just a Manny or Adam Dunn, I’m talking anyone? No

    We needed some pitching. I know there were people on the keep Escobar bandwagon, but at least getting Peavy would have been a big move and made it look like we were serious. Then Wren blew the Furcal thing. IF JS were the GM we would have both and maybe even Escobar too.

    Wren came out and acted like a baby after the Furcal deal. He may have been right about what he said, but the way the team handled it was poor.

    If our farm system is as good as people say it is, we shold have been able to make more moves than we have. Like Mac says, we can’t give the money away.

    Second, Smotlz really was the face of the fran. He helped the younger pitchers and was a clubhhouse leader, all the things that don’t show up in stat boxes. If Wren had made a few moves and Smoltz left, I would understand. But with his piss poor handling of this off season, he has shown me he can’t build a team that fans want to see paly or other players want to be apart of.

  35. As Dix said, the reason you over pay for the “risk” of John Smoltz for this season is because you’re not even feigning an attempt at winning it all in ’09, AND you’ve got money to spend. So you should spend it on a guy that did so much for the organization in the first place. If it’s allowed to incentive more than base pay it would’ve been TOTALLY reasonable for Wren to say base pay of 3, with incentives up to 12 because it’s John Smoltz and if he’s on the mound, he’s kicking your opponents butt so that extra $9M isn’t a risk anyway.

    AND, AND, AND if John wants to play for a ring then the Braves front office needs to OWN the fact they’ve not been able to put together a WS contender in ’09, and have a joint press conference with John Smoltz telling the Atlanta fans that because John wants one last shot at a ring and we want to do right by somebody who has done so much for the organization we’re going to support him in taking an offer from the Red Sox who look to be serious contenders next year. Do SOMETHING Wren… SOMETHING.

  36. $5.5 million guaranteed for 60% of the season at most? As I recall, there was a lot of pissin’ and moaning over Glavine, especially after he went down with an injury.

    The Red Sox can have him and all of their other overpriced players. The Braves probably won’t contend this year, Smoltz pitched 28 innings for $14 million in 2008, the economy is going to have an affect on attendance, and Libert media isn’t exactly rolling in the dough on the media side these days. After this year, there will be talk of teams contracting in the NHL, major league soccer might be finished for the time being, the WNBA will be history, and there will most likely be MLB, NFL and/or NBA teams filing bankruptcy or contracting also. If we spend $5.5 million on Smoltz to thank him for a great career, we’re crazy. We already gave him much more than that last year. He can come back in May 2010 and pick up a Braves outfitted Truck or Harley as a retirement gift, and we’ll all stand up and clap.

  37. Heyward it is, then. I don’t invest in learning to spell their names until they make it to the Atlanta Braves, which of course Heyward will in a couple of years, unless, of course, he doesn’t, because Frank Wren veers off in another vexing direction.

  38. I thought one of the reasons we couldn’t send Frenchy to the minors for more than 3 days was his popularity with the fans and marketing concerns. Letting Smoltz go has a tidal wave of marketing problems – not to mention the probability of him adding actual value to the team.

  39. @42 – if we have major economic concerns (which we don’t), why sign Ross?? The only way this makes sense is if Smoltz got a 5 year contract.

  40. Smoltz and Frenchy are represented by the same agency. Not sure why this is relevant, but I thought I would point it out.

    I guess my thinking is that the Braves had had problems dealing with several agents recently, and they have had multiple problems with Francoeur. I’m curious what the arbitration proposals will be.

  41. I have been against signing Dunn thus far (just b/c I really think we need a right-handed bat). But now that Burrell is off the table, I have to say that he is looking like the best option (would rather have a left-handed power bat than no power bat). Him and Lowe. If we can get those guys and Kawasjdkjfdi (don’t care to find out how to spell it), it might pass for a decent team next year (not saying contender – btw).

    But still, seeing Smoltz gone just makes me sick to my stomach.

    And I almost want to take a flyer on Sheets.

  42. I have my doubts that Smoltz would’ve been a genuine contributor to the Braves this season, but I agree with the above sentiment that says management has to understand how this is going to negatively impact the fanbase.

    A rebuilding team that lets go a 41-year-old pitcher coming off arm surgery certainly makes some baseball sense. But the Atlanta Braves not keeping John Smoltz makes little marketing sense. And let’s face it, this team has been a bucket of bad news all winter.

    This is a perfect excuse for many to jump off the already rickety bandwagon. It’ll be the final straw for many. (Not me ‘cuz I can’t quit, no matter how bad things get. As I’ve told girlfriends, “I could have worse habits.”)

    Has Mark Bradley been lurking Bravesjournal?
    http://tinyurl.com/a6wwxw

    Stu,
    It’s all love, baby.

    But speaking of bad weeks…yes, 2 Dawg defections, Smoltz leaves, and (worst of all) everyone’s main man Mac gets ill. Now, I think I’m going to have to root for Florida in a football game. Ugh.

  43. thinking about baseball as a business usually bores me to tears and then it pisses me off, bur seriously. why should the Braves(or anyone else) offer millions in guaranteed money to Smoltz whem he cant guarantee that he will actually pitch?

  44. I know a lot of you are starting to see Lowe and Dunn as potential saviours of the 09 season, but I doubt it. If we signed those 2, that would be settling for plan F of the offseason. I think we may prove competitive for a wild card spot at best with those 2. Sadly, I am starting to fall into the camp of playing for 2010 and 2011. The Lowe signing may be usefull then, but Dunn would not be because of Heyward and Schafer coming along.

  45. Well, one man’s (Frank Wren) Plan F is pretty close to another man’s (Stu) Plan A.

    ububba,
    You’re back to typing things I can fully agree with. :)

  46. I’ll admit nostalgia is tough to overcome, especially when we’re talking about one of my favorite Braves. But if the organization is going to move forward, then really move forward (don’t bring Glavine or Andruw back). The problem is that I just don’t see Wren taking us to the promised land.

  47. I think it’s time for c. shorter to puke all over himself. With Smoltz leaving like this we don’t even get to say goodbye…

  48. I see it the opposite of some of you. The reason to re-sign Smoltz was precisely to compete in 2009. This is John Smoltz we’re talking about not Mike Hampton. Every time he has had an injury he has come back stronger than ever. With the recent reports of him throwing without pain, there’s little reason to think he won’t be able to be a quality pitcher in the upcoming season.

    Signing Smoltz would have allowed Wren to go after a second tier starter such as Byrd, Perez, or Wolf to round out the rotation. Now he pretty much has to go after Lowe or make an equally risky signing of Sheets. Between Sheets and Smoltz I’d much rather gamble on Smoltz especially considering his long history with the club.

    Now maybe Smoltz had made up his mind to take his last best chance at a ring and wouldn’t have come back to the Braves even if Wren had matched the Sox. But that would have been a much more acceptable scenario to me than having him leave over a few lousy million in guaranteed money that Wren seems unable or unwilling to spend on any other free agent.

  49. I’ve been thinking that almost nothing would salvage this off season… but if we traded Francour for Lincecum, Halladay, or Webb I might consider it salvaged.

  50. 55 — yeah, Dix, I apologized to you in the last thread because I couldn’t muster the will.

  51. @52 – Dunn would be useful with both Schafer and Heyward here. Are you telling me you’d rather have Frenchy out there in right than to keep Dunn in left with Schafer in center and Heyward in right? You’ve got to be kidding me. Even if we get to the point where we wouldn’t need him, he should be easily tradeable to fill another need.

  52. I guess my thinking is that the Braves had had problems dealing with several agents recently

    That stands to reason that if you seem to have a problem with a number of agents, maybe you’re the problem.

  53. @19

    I’d rather try to match up with the Angels if that were the route. Pick up Wood and try to get Adenhart as well. His value won’t ever be lower.

    Chipper’s contract only runs for a year and we have no in-house replacement

  54. Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports writes, “The Braves have zeroed in on Derek Lowe, who reportedly had been seeking a long-term deal for $16 million a year but whose price appears to have dropped now that he no longer has the leverage of the Yankees as potential bidders.”

    Edes characterizes Atlanta’s interest as ‘significant,’ according to a source close to negotiations.

    This also goes with the Boston Globe reporting Lowe will meet with the Braves today. Maybe Smoltz leaving will have a silver lining: spurring Wren into action. Lowe, Kawakami and Glavine anyone?

  55. Guys, you all seem to be ignoring the fact that the Braves got Javier Vazquez and Dave Ross!!!! C’mon, Wren’s on fire!

    (LOL but crying, too).

    Actually, if I was walking down the street and Frank Wren were actually on fire (I imagine I’d see a few fans in Braves hat scurrying down the street?), I would make sure and take the last few swigs of my water bottle and wave at him.

    As far as Frank Wren being an “undercover Mets operative”, I wish. Because I think he’s a blithering moron, this would actually give me a sense of hope if I found out he was secretly funneling information to Omar Minaya.

    Seriously, after today, Jim Bowden has to be going, “Man…thank God I’m not the only moron with the keys to a franchise…whew!”

    As for Mark Bradley’s column, he’s a complete tool and part of the “idiot brigade” (with the exception of our boy, DOB and Chip Towers) currently receiving inexplicable paychecks at the AJC.

    I’m curious, for Mark Bradley to write a column like that after subsequently also defending Willie Martinez during the football season, does both Mark Richt and the Braves have dirty photos of Bradley playing naked hopscotch with Jeff Schultz?

    And yeah…I second ubbuba. Horrible, horrible week and bad start to 2009. First Knowshon leaves and now Smoltzie.

    At least my Spurs are winning.

  56. Smoltz might not have been a key contributer in 2009–but I think that there was at least a fair chance that he would make a positive impact on the club. The Red Sox obviously believe that he can.

    In any event, Smoltz was one of the greatest Braves of all time and probably would have been happy to finish his career in Atlanta. For slightly more money that it cost to sign David Ross (when we already had Sammons), Wren said no and let him walk.

    Who will want to sign with the Braves now? Who will want to come to watch them play? Who will want to pay the TV package to get their games on cable?

    Some of us will stay out of habit, but so many others will decide that a team to cheap to sign John Smoltz (and many other players) will not be competitive for the foreseeablefuture. In other words, to many there will not be any significant difference between the Braves other small to medium market clubs like the Brewers, Pirates and Royals.

    Possibly the most pathetic day for Braves’fans in a quarter of a century or since 1966….

  57. There is no way that letting Smoltz go is a good business decision. The money we have could not have been better spent if the bottom line is important, even if Smoltz doesn’t pitch an inning.

  58. Terry McGuirk, attempting to spin this in favor or Wren and throw Smoltz under the bus:

    http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/braves/stories/2009/01/08/smoltz_red_sox.html

    That’s horsesh–.

    1) The Braves never made an offer

    2) the AJC already reported that the Braves were “considering” a $2.5 million dollar offer, half of the Red Sox offer and less than half if you factor in the incentives they will give him.

    3) Wren has openly admitted he was sitting on his hands waiting to decide what to do about Smoltz.

    Here’s my take on this: McGuirk “suddenly” realized the horrible bad PR implications of Frank Wren’s idiocy and IMMEDIATELY ran to the AJC and his bed buddy Mark Bradley for A) Bradley to run a column about letting John go and B) McGuirk suddenly playing “fast and loose” with the facts to twist this that an exiting Smoltz was all about the money (which he’s actually never been, long before morons like McGuirk and Wren arrived) and now also LYING THROUGH HIS PROVERBIAL TEETH that the Braves had made John an offer – which they did not.

    The AJC already exposed the idiocy of the Wren-McGuirk leadership this morning and now with an assist from Mark Bradley, the organization is trying to save face.

    This makes things worse and I am seriously angry enough to torch my Braves hat and shirts unless Schuerholz cleans house and gets rid of these rats who’ve infested our front office.

  59. Glavine wouldn’t be a bad depth signing, in my opinion. He’d be extremely cheap and has already publicly stated it’s the Braves or nobody. Just do not count on him is all.

    Now Glavine is loyal to the Braves and Smoltz isn’t. What happened? Hope Smoltz enjoys his thirty pieces of silver from the Red Sox.

  60. How many more people would have come to the ballpark in April or May when Smoltz was still rehabbing his arm? How many more people would come to the ballpark the 3-4 games he didn’t pitch between starts? Do you think he would have made a $2-3 million impact on revenue for the Braves? I know it’s John Smoltz, but he’s been talking about the possibility this could happen for a couple years or more. He knew then and knows now it is a business decision and not a reflection on what the Braves think of him. If the Braves get Lowe and Manny and have a great season, I bet John Smoltz will be one of the first to congratulate the Braves. He’d even say they made the right decision by not resigning him so they could go after a couple of long-term players.

    Don’t let the AJsneeze turn you against the Braves as a fan. Be sad that one of your favorite players is not with your team anymore, but keep rooting for the Braves. You know, he’ll eventually retire and come back as an announcer for the beloved hometown team.

    I imagine there are even those out there that would complain if he retired that the Braves should have convinced him to play “one more year.” Those same folks are the ones that thought Green Bay should have kicked their future to the curb so Brett Favre could have his way.

    Mac, been gone a while and was got off guard by your news. Wishing nothing but the best for you. My father-in-law is 12+ years removed from cancer. He’s as healthy as ever, probably ’cause he’s from LA (not the city or state) and a big ‘Bama fan.

  61. Really, Dan? You’re going to blame Smoltz and not the Braves front office? And even if Wren and McGuirk weren’t lying, backstabbing morons, had they made an offer and he chose to take the Sox offer for 1 year to try & win a ring, considering he’s taken less $ in the past to be in Atlanta, I am dumbfounded that you could turn on Smoltz like that.

    That’s bush league.

  62. Dan – somehow I am not mad at Smoltz.

    I was at Glavine, but we made him a reasonable offer and we were a winner at the time.

    And Tommy chose the Mets over us.

  63. Not money with Smoltz – probably hurt that Wren wouldn’t commit to signing him before he had PROOF he’d be able to pitch like he had in the past (even though they had seen him throw off a mound twice already – and were impressed). Boston came out and showed they had faith in him and his abilities and that is probably what got them the deal. Wren is an idiot.

  64. Alex, I absolutely blame Wren the most. But regardless, at the end of the day, it is Smoltz who chooses where to go and he did not choose the Atlanta Braves. The Braves reportedly did have an offer on the table. For all anyone here knows, maybe Smoltz would have picked the Red Sox even if Wren had made the exact same offer as the Red Sox….that he wants to play for a “contender.”

  65. bwarrend – Believe me, plenty of people we cite the Smoltz loss as a reason not to come to the ball park period.

  66. csg–yeah I agree…On a normal day the Jeff Francoeur Baseball Clinic would be fun to discuss on this site:

    http://braves.scout.com/2/828438.html

    #74–Keeping Smoltz was never about money–or at least it should not have been. I don’t see Manny on our team and, finally, the Braves are far from two players away.

    In fact, we need two (maybe three starters) and have the worst outfield in baseball. And, now we just lost Smoltz….

  67. Dan’s right: we don’t know the whole story–Maybe Wren said to him: “C’mon John….Next year Frenchy will have the breakout year we have all expected him to have”–making Boston’s offer even more compelling….

  68. whatever the truth is about why he’s gone, you can bet nobody ran Ste. Smoltz out of town at gunpoint. its about money pure and simple. you guys should have the same emotional investment in him as he has in you, which i suspect is zero. i’ll just say the same thing as when Glavine left……..”screw you, you greedy bastard and if you pitch against us, i hope the Braves beat your brains out”

  69. OK, Terry says the Braves made of offer with “attainable” goals of 200IP. Even best case scenarios had Smoltz pitching in May/June. 200IP would be virtually impossible in only 2/3 season.

    I call BS on McGuirk. Those are not attainable incentives.

    Frank better have something pretty impressive up his sleeve to allow JOHN SMOLTZ to walk away from the franchise.

  70. My guess is the spin will be something like: “even Murphy/Niekro didn’t finish their careers with the Atlanta Braves.”

    Heck, there was already one article from Peanut on the official site early this offseason preemptively spinning the possibility of Chipper Jones not getting a new contract this offseason as: “even Dale Murphy didn’t stay.”

  71. If we get Lowe, a middle of the rotation guy, and a bopper for the outfield, all will be better.

  72. 81…And now we just lost Smoltz?

    The idea behind keeping him for most on this team is not about wins or losses, it’s about PR. Unfortunately, he is not one of the pieces to getting the Braves back to being successful, be it this year or afterwards. that’s what we should be focusing on.

    Many here weren’t going to see the Braves anyway because they thought they weren’t going to be any good anyway. You should be thanking Wren because he gave you the excuse you were looking for not to go see them.

    Stop being so emotional about it. Or call Smoltzie and get a room.

  73. we could sign Lowe, Kawakami, and Dunn today and I’d still be pissed about this Smoltz situation. You CANT, just cant, let him go to another org. Our offer was $3 mil and he had to pitch 200IP to get to $10M. I could possibly understand if they were cutting budget, but we actually have plenty of $$$. Thats just a lack of respect to one of the greatest pitchers of all time and someone who has done so much for this place. Im just pissed right now. Just great that Wren declined comment. He’s losing fans at a rapid pace

  74. #90

    AMEN!

    The Red Sox aren’t stupid and Theo Epstein signed Smoltz because he’s a terrific pitcher who can help the Red Sox possibly win the AL East and get to the World Series.

    Yeah, why the hell would we want a great competitor like Smoltz who’s been a Cy Young award winner and one of the greatest Braves of all time, to come back for $5 million and contribute. Yeah, who wants THAT.

  75. McGurik

    “We’ve offered him a package that would get him in the $10 million range, if he were to pitch a full season and pitch well. For him to walk away from that and to go to another place, I’m just shocked and surprised.

    This is a strange quote. All the reports I have seen have Smoltz not being available until late-May at the earliest.

  76. Hate to say it, but overpaying for Lowe would make more sense than overpaying for Smoltz. Of course, I’m mentally preparing for another gutpunch—i.e., Lowe pitching in Flushing.

    FWIW, I’ll go Florida 42, Oklahoma 37.

    Could be a very entertaining game, but I’ll say OU scores late, misses a 2-point PAT, the orange team recovers the onside kick. Then I quickly change the channel to the MLB Network, which is quickly filling up my DVR.

  77. JC, it’s strange in that McGuirk seems to blur the line between spin and outright lie. The Braves knew Smoltz wouldn’t be back until May/June and that it would be next to impossible for him to reach 200 innings.

    This whole situation is just embarrassing for the front office. Is it possible that Smoltz’s divorce played a part in his decision? He turned down bigger contracts in the past…

  78. the front office is shocked at smoltzie; They were stunned at how furcal acted. Even if we assume the 100% truth of the Braves’ side of the story in these incidents (which I do not), WTF is going on that no one wants to be here? Who created that climate? And how do such veterans in the business so badly read the situations on the ground?

  79. 81’s link gave me the laugh of the day.

    I think the key isn’t that we didn’t sign him, because as has been pointed out he may have just wanted to win again, but that we handled the not signing of him in such a piss-poor manner. IF the Braves can come up with a good send-off party for John that he participates in (indicating that they didn’t screw the pooch as badly as it looks like they did) THEN they may save face, but as it stands now this is even more egg on their face than any of the other debacles this off-season.

  80. 2 questions: do we get draft choices for losing Smoltz?

    will we lose a draft choice for signing Lowe?

    I do not know if they are type “A” or type “B” free agents.

  81. Alex, what makes you so sure — sure enough to call McGuirk a liar and worse — that the Braves never made an offer? The interest in Smoltz started in early December when his workouts started showing that he is recovering faster than expected.

  82. The report in the AJC, just this morning, was that they didn’t make him an offer.

    The spin began when about 2 million Braves fans went apesh–, which was probably the same time those that Beavis and Butthead (McGuirk and Wren) realized this MIGHT be a bad PR situation.

  83. There won’t be any way to give him a send off. He finished the year on the DL, and then signed with another team and he’ll play for that team all year. This is just a let the air out of the balloon moment.

  84. You mean DOB’s piece in AJC.com? DOB didn’t indicate that he had asked anyone in the Braves org whether an offer was made. So what makes you so sure he had the correct information? Maybe Smoltz will come out and dispute McGuirk’s take, we’ll see. In the meantime, the “I’m an unhappy fan and assume the worst kind of conspiracy and/or incompetence” bit is getting tired.

  85. Well, by “send-off party” I was thinking of having him show up for one of the FanFest type things (maybe cover their asses and invite Maddux and Glavine too). I sure hope the Braves have the good sense to induct Maddux into the team hall of fame this year and retire his number…. they better do it with all three of them as soon as they can.

    Incidentally as part of watching the special on 1995 on MLB Network last night I saw two things that gave me a shock. #1 was a young Manny on the Indians… with short hair. #2 was a youngish Randy Johnson. He didn’t look different or anything, but it’s just shocking how ugly that guy has always been.

  86. Of course, I’m mentally preparing for another gutpunch—i.e., Lowe pitching in Flushing.

    Yeah…I don’t know that I’m even capable of mentally preparing for that. I’ve been trying for a couple of weeks.

  87. The Braves are relocating to Oklahoma City.

    I hope that shedding payroll is just an attempt to invite a local billionaire to buy up the club. The best thing that can come of ruining the Braves and devaluing the franchise would be making it affordable to someone who will buy it and play like it’s his fantasy baseball league

  88. Alright, after sleeping on it, I’m not going to blame anyone in the Smoltz mess. This is probably going to end up being the best for both parties. I would’ve loved to watch another masterful comeback from John in a Braves uni, but from his position I can see how that would just seem pointless. I wish him well in Boston, but I do have a problem seeing where he fits into that 7-man rotation.

    So can anyone explain why would we move from Smoltz to Lowe? Unless it is just smokescreening, and we never really intended to sign either…

    Lowe isn’t a substitute for Smoltz, he’ll take a much longer commitment, at a steeper price, and bring back none of the warm memories that have made all of us so bitter on here.

    I was totally behind the Front Office for not pursuing Lowe if we didn’t think he was the right fit, but what could have possibly changed their mind now? Maybe they’re just trying to change the subject, and perhaps drive up the price high enough so the Mets don’t get him, or don’t get him for cheap.

  89. In the meantime, the “I’m an unhappy fan and assume the worst kind of conspiracy and/or incompetence” bit is getting tired.

    Well there has been a whole lot of finger-pointing from the Braves FO:

    It’s the Padres fault for wanting too much.

    We tried but Furcal/Kinzer reneged.

    The Yankees outbid us. It’s their fault.

    Smoltz backstabbed us. I can’t believe he’d leave our family.

    Maybe incompetent is a good word for the front office.

  90. Incidentally… we (ok probably me) broke that danged Geography game that somebody (Ethan?) posted a couple days ago… I tried to go play and they’re now moving to a new server.

  91. Gadfly,
    You can’t believe that Smoltz will be much of a contributor beyond this year. Hell, Smoltz may only have another 100 innings in him.

    He may help the Sawx win a title this year, but he won’t be pitching in 2011; Lowe probably will be.

    This just in: WFAN reports that “the Mets and Derek Lowe are ‘far apart’ in negotiations.”

  92. (1) Padres/Peavy — accurate. Pretty much everyone here (maybe even you) agreed at the time.

    (2) Furcal, et al. — accurate. Even Kinzer didn’t defend what he did and even his partner tried to hang him out to dry.

    (3) Yanks/Burnett — accurate. They did outbid us, but reasonable people can disagree on whether the Braves could have won even if they had offered more given Burnett’s family’s preferences.

    (4) Smoltzie — bullshit. McGuirk didn’t say Smoltz backstabbed the team. He said he thought the Braves made a comparable offer and is surprised that Smoltz decided to leave. I personally think its better for Smoltz (my favorite Brave for a long time) to leave for Boston where he’ll get a chance to win this year.

  93. Jeff… Jason may be reading between the lines a bit, but:

    “For him to walk away from that and to go to another place, I’m just shocked and surprised.”

    sounds an awful lot like he wants us to believe he’s feeling victimized by Smoltz.

  94. This move is just to anesthetisize us so that when we trade Chipper for prospects we’ll actually be happy because we’ll all be on board with the rebuild for the future. There’s no point severing only one of the two ties to the Braves’ glory years. If we’re letting Smoltz walk in an honest effort to be a better team, then trade Chipper too and we’ll be a better team for longer than Chipper himself can make us.

  95. Well… I’m NOT for trading Chipper, but IF we’re going to do a rebuild and he OK’s it, I propose we trade Chipper to Detroit for Armando Galarraga or maybe Justin Verlander… or both! I’ve been fond of the pitchers we’ve gotten from them in the past.

  96. Wow… I’m now beginning to wonder if somebody failed to report that somebody at the front office kicked Maddux in the shins on his way out the door too. McGuirk is above JS right? so it’s not like JS can come out and say something nice now… so much for us being a classy organization.

  97. McGuirk is trying to protect the Braves from a PR standpoint. “Hey, look, we offered him a comparable deal! It’s not our fault he left!”

  98. From Smitty’s link:

    Smoltz responded to that, with a statement released through his agent, Lonnie Cooper. “I was going to withhold comment until the announcement of my signing with a new team,” Smoltz said, “but I now feel the need to clear up any misconceptions and inaccuracies about the contract negotiations between myself and the Atlanta Braves.

    “There were large discrepancies between the offer from the Braves and offers from other teams.

    “I have always loved the city of Atlanta, and it will always be my home. I will cherish my 21 years with Bobby Cox and all my Braves teammates. I continue to wish the Atlanta Braves nothing but success in the future.”

  99. “I would love to stay here. But so would John Smoltz. I’ve said all along, every dog has his day. Today, it’s Smoltz’s day. I dare say my day is not far off.”

    – Chipper Jones

  100. Hmmm… some page on ESPN says this may give the BoSox the flexibility to move Bucholz for Salty… that would be an interesting reunion… Salty and Smoltz.

  101. What a nightmare. Smoltz leaves and the team drags him through the mud? I’m really starting to hate our management. I’m going to be cheering for nothing but the uniform before too long.

  102. Jeff, all I’m saying is that the Braves have failed to accomplish much of what they set out to do and then turn around and assign blame. Our offer was not comparable. There’s no reason drag Smoltz through the muck. Just like there’s no reason to bitch to the media about Furcal.

    Things just don’t seem to be as well run as they were a couple of years ago. You know, competently.

  103. Reading the Buster Olney ESPN article gave me chills.

    Look, if Smoltz is going to leave, I can live with it.

    But to now have these pieces of trash we have residing in the front office drag John through the mud, when it’s blatantly obvious the Braves deliberately made a half hearted, weak offer (if they even offered at all) that he wasn’t going to take.

    Look, I could even live with us not trying to keep him. But now McGuirk dragging Smoltz through the mud and having the guy who’s been the face of this frnachise show McGuirk and Wren to be liars, this is utterly humiliating.

    As far as I am concerned, with Terry McGuirk and Frank Wren in charge, this offseason has turned the Braves into the laughingstock of Baseball. Watch Lowe now sign with the Mets after seeing the way the Braves stabbed Smoltz in the back.

    I can’t fathom how anyone can come on this website today and DEFEND Terry McGuirk and Frank Wren, especially after the way McGuirk just tried to embarrass Smoltz after his 14 years here.

    I hate our management, I am really angry and the organization that I have grown up loving is humiliating to me today.

    I am embarrassed to be a Braves fan right now.

  104. I’m trying to identify when the tipping point occurred.
    The trade for Tex?
    JS retiring?
    Frenchy’s sad July 4th weekend?

  105. Uh, did Dave O’Brien actually called me out in his latest blog?.

    It’s a tough sell to tell many Braves fans that he wasn’t worth at least as much to the only team he’s been on. Even Shaun and J.C. have to understand that this is an extremely exceptional case. A lot of people here can’t understand how spending the extra $3 mill on Smoltz wouldn’t have been worth it.

    If so, cool.

  106. I just woke up from my post ACL surgery, drug induced nap. This was not the type of news I was looking for when I checked Braves Journal. What is Frank Wren doing? Give him exactly what Boston offered. The Red Sox – woof!

  107. I would say the trade for Tex started it. The team had too many needs in order to make that big of an offer. The more bad deals followed.

  108. “I was going to withhold comment until the announcement of my signing with a new team”

    Which is why I called my friends and told them the night before, and didn’t ask them to keep it a secret.

    Smoltz was clearly peeved at being jerked around (as he perceives it) and did this on purpose.

  109. I just don’t understand all of the vitriol about losing Smoltz. Admittedly, the off-season has been handled poorly by the front office. But after last season, when it became obvious that the Braves were living in the past and it was HURTING the franchise, would we be so upset about being outbid for a 41 year old that threw so few innings and is coming off of major surgery.

    Yes, as a Braves fan, I love the IDEA of having Smoltz on the team. But there comes a time when you have to move on from the past and try and make a fresh start. That may include letting Cox retire, which is going to happen eventually anyway, and watching Chipper leave, which is happening eventually anyway as well. As much as we hate to think about it, the 1990’s and 2000’s are going to end at some point.

    The Braves have to develop a new identity, just like they did in the early 90s. I don’t see that truly happening until the kids come up in 2010/2011 or so, but I will be rooting for the Braves in the meantime and hope they can sign a few good players until then. Anything is better than watching our OF and 3/4/5 pitchers from last season take a crap all over the field.

    Good luck to Smoltz, and I hope to see him in the broadcasting booth in Atlanta at some point in the future.

  110. #129

    Kevin, the tipping point is today in terms of the tipping point where I maybe done for good caring about the Braves organization. Or at least until McGuirk and Wren end up buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium.

    You know, I actually hate McJERK worse than Wren because McJERK is the one who’s now come out & talked smack about Smoltz and they’re lies. At least if you want to badmouth the face of the franchise and the city of Atlanta’s hero the last 14 years, my God, have facts to back it you piece of garbage of a CEO.

    (sorry…I’m still angry and will remain this way for a while).

    But when Skip Caray passed away this past year, that sure felt like a big jumping off point. It’s almost like Skip passed and nothing but a series of bad things have happened to this franchise since.

    Still, every bad thing we can point at starting with AOL/Time Warner and now through Liberty Media and their appointed hatchet man, Terry McJERK.

    Hey, maybe it’s actually McJERK and WREN who’ve been running NBC and Wall Street the past year?

  111. Well. I think he was saying he was going to withhold comment on the move until then, but since McGuirk is going to try and paint John as the bad guy who is being greedy he’s going to call him out on it. He was clearly peeved about being jerked around, and because of that he signed with the other team… and then when the CEO basically called him out about abandoning the team for somebody else he got peeved even more and commented.

  112. 86- Neikro DID finish his career with the Braves, although it was just a few innings in a one-appearance “feel good” start.

  113. The tipping point may have been the Francoeur recall after a three day demotion.

    Didn’t the Tex trade (to the Angels) come after that.

    I would not say it was the first Tex trade, because Wren made some really good deals last offseason. Since about mid-2008 it has been all down hill.

  114. Stu, yes he is. I dont see how this could help us in any negotiations with Lowe either. 2009 could be the last year for Chip too

  115. Chipper’s blow up and the raging anger by myself and about 90% of Braves fans, could have been easily predicted by the way McJERK and Wren handled things.

    Here’s what I am failing to understand.

    How do you GET to become a General Manager and a CEO of a Major League Baseball team, despite being such mental midgets without the remote capacity to analyze what MIGHT HAPPEN if you insult and then publicly diss the face of that franchise?

    What it shows me is that intelligence obviously has nothing to do with what positions some people manage to achieve in life. Wren and McJERK are examples of this.

    The fallout is just beginning. Starts with a seriwes of offseason blunders and than having a public temper tantrum that makes your organization look like an 8 year old after what Paul Kinzer did.

    Then the organization that CLAIMS to be so classy and “above that kind of thing”, goes and takes a dump all over John Smoltz’s legacy and won’t even give the guy, who’s been the face of the franchise and has taken less $ to stay, a decent, matching offer as to what else he’s getting out there.

    So, the organization then decides to publicly RIP Smoltz further increasing the ire of the entire fan base AND now Chipper, the other face of the franchise, is ripping the Braves front office, the same day a prized free agent is in town.

    If Lowe ends up signing with this car accident of a Baseball organization, I’ll be stunned. If I were Derek Lowe, I’d take less money and go elsewhere so I wouldn’t have to deal with mental midgets like McJERK and Wren.

  116. If we are going to let Chipper walk, then we should trade him before the season. A year of Chipper will get us more than some desperate attempt by Wren to move him at the deadline.

    Send out Gonzo and Soriano, too. 2009 is totally meaningless.

    And maybe we can trade that 1995 World Series trophy for something. I bet the Cubs would pay handsomely for it.

  117. If letting Smoltz walk was a business decision, just say so. John has given up millions of dollars over his carreer to stay a Brave. To spin it as $moltz is an insult to John and his legacy. I’d be pissed if I were him.

    As much as it pains me to say it, the Atlanta Braves are no longer a Class Organization.

    Go Braves.

  118. Stupid. The whole thing is stupid.

    We’re the Braves. We’re supposed to be better than this.

  119. said John could’ve gotten $3mil guaranteed, extra $2 mil if he’s on the roser more than 60 days, another $5 mil for performance based (most of that for the 200IP idea)

    I have a feeling that we will end up with $30m unspent, no John Smoltz, and then a washed up Glavine

    Wren will say that we added Vasquez and Glavine, and our in house solutions for LF were better than the FA’s contracts and the asking price on trades. Sorry, but Burrell and Bradley at their prices would’ve been good deals. Smoltz at any price, just to keep butts in the seats also

  120. This may end up being a very good baseball decision. But I can’t imagine it being handled any worse.

    Dix, I must be blind, because I don’t see what you changed…

  121. I can’t cuss enough, throw enough things, f**k enough, or cry enough to unfeel this frustration.

  122. #153 – good, dont want him anyways

    The AJC’s Carroll Rogers talked to Chipper, who wonders whether he could be traded midseason if the Braves aren’t playing well. He is expecting the Braves to approach him about an extension this winter though. Jones is quite disappointed about Smoltz’s departure and said “it hasn’t gone unnoticed by me.”

  123. that’s some really bad passive voice there Chipper. The Braves’ front office ineptitude hasn’t gone unnoticed by me either.

  124. Boston and NY are the same to me, hate them both. Another bad thing, Boston and Atl play 6 games against each other this year.

  125. @109: That was my point exactly. Smoltz, if he was up for playing on a 3rd place team, would’ve been a great piece to keep fan interest up, and give us something to root for. Lowe won’t do that, and he’d come at a higher cost. He’ll be pitching in 2010, and 2011, but will he really be worth the money we would have to commit to him? I’m not saying Lowe isn’t a capable pitcher, but I don’t see him as a substitute for Smoltz, they’re on vastly different trajectories, and their meaning is completely different to the fanbase. I would rather pay Smoltz $12 mil for one season in the dugout than $36+ million for 3 years of Lowe.

    The way this whole offseason has gone convinces me that competing in 2009 was never the top priority, and from a business standpoint I’d have to agree that that’s probably the correct way to run things.

    The Hudson injury, and all the other uncertainties on this team, really put a dark cloud over 2009. I say we get the deal done with Kawakami, bring Glavine back at a reasonable bargain, bring Andruw in for the league minimum, and give enough playing time to our stable of youngsters to see what we really have. This sets us up to compete in 2010, and hit the ground running in 2011.

    With Andruw and Kawakami you have low risk-high reward (albeit at a low probability for Andruw.) With Glavine you’re possibly getting a great bargain on someone who can help mitigate the loss of Smoltz from an emotional standpoint. Best yet, you can do all of this for about as much as we offered Burnett earlier this offseason. Invest the rest of this money in scouting and development, and we’re well on our way back.

    Of course if lightning strikes, and we’re competitive in ’09, we’d still have the farm system and the payroll capacity to make a move in June-July.

  126. @151: I love John, but honestly, no one is going to the ballpark to see him if he isn’t going to pitch. That doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be worth it just to keep people from bolting the team, but anyone that bolts a team for this move isn’t worth appeasing anyways.

    @153: I heard Glavine is going to sign with Boston to be the 9th man in their new 10-man rotation… haha… two words people: revenue sharing. Get it done for real MLB, get it done.

  127. Peavy: Not coming to Braves
    Burnett: Not coming to Braves
    Furcal: Not coming to Braves
    Smoltz: Not coming to Braves

    That’s four players who we had a realistic show of acquiring that aren’t coming. The Front Office can cry foul all they want, but eventually you notice a pattern

  128. Time out to thank Alex R for his rants.

    I know I feel the same way and I suspect a lot of Braves fans do, as well.

    I really, really hate Time Warner / AOL / Liberty Media and the assclowns who write our tax laws.

  129. Quote from Glavine story:

    “It all comes down to the desire to play. Tom has the desire.

    He has the desire, but maybe not the ability at this point. COMEON!

    There’s alwasy two sides to every story, so let’s not all think Johnny boy is the total victim here. And 145, the Braves have paid out TENS OF MILLIONS to Smoltz when he was on the DL, so I don’t want to hear about how Smoltz gave up more money elsewhere to stay. The Braves were more loyal to Smoltz longer than any other franchise has been loyal to a pitcher since the advent of free agency. No other pitcher has had a longer career with one club that Smoltz did with the Braves since.

    McQuirk mucked up by opening his piehole. Bad move. JS will have to clean up that mess, like he did with Furcal.

    Bottom line is Smoltz had a great career with the Braves and we’re all feeling melancholy over it. Get a grip ladies! There will be another pitcher for you to espouse your man-love to sometime down the road. For now, I guess you’ll just have to sit in your darkened man-cave and watch replays of the 1995 World Series over and over again until your wife/girlfriend/mom comes down and tells you you’re acting like a jilted lover and you need to start living your life again.

  130. @164

    We get nothing. We didn’t offer arbitration. Smoltz made 14 MM last year and I think that with arbitration you cannot not make less than 80% of that.

    The Braves didn’t want to commit.

  131. Lowe might actually help Atlanta win games, starting on opening day and extending for 3 years. That’s not something that anyone could’ve projected for Smoltz.

    Again, I agree with the PR ramifications of this story, which is tricky for a club that’s already stepped in a succession of wintry poo patches.

    But if Lowe signs & can do what he’s done the past several years, he’ll be worth the money. Loved Smoltz, but he’s not on the club anymore. Let’s get Lowe & let’s get a bat.

  132. Bwarrend is a rational being. So is ububba. Can i get an “Amen” to signing Lowe and a bat or two?

  133. It’s not just that Smoltz is leaving, it’s the way that it’s been handled.

    And tell Chipper to get a room with Smoltz, etc. It would seem the situation is bigger than you’re portraying it to be.

    Last bit of advice: if you don’t want to see people complaining about Smoltz/upset that he’s leaving the team/nostalgic for the past, you might want to dodge Braves-based websites for the next week, at least. I would guess a high 90’s percentage of Braves fans don’t like this and don’t feel like getting over it right now.

  134. At the risk of being called a moron, who cares? He’s a 42 year old pitcher with a bad arm who pitched 28 innings last year. He is also an incredibly rich man by any standards other than pre-crash Wall Street. If he wanted to pitch for the Braves he could have simply by taking less money, which he doesn’t need anyway. Same with Glavine when he left. I don’t begrudge them for going, but it’s not like they have to worry about putting food on the table. If Smoltz feels “disrespected” because the Braves didn’t offer as much as the Red Sox, that’s childish and silly. If he wants to go get a ring, then be a man and say it was for that; don’t say it’s because you feel “disrespected.”

    No doubt the front office handled this (and many other things) poorly, but I really don’t see the big deal. I guess I don’t develop emotional attachments to players since I don’t know them. Smoltz was a great pitcher for the Braves and he also made tons of money. If he was such a great family man as he ostensibly is, maybe he would have been willing to take less money to stay near his kids.

    As for fans coming to see Smoltz, give me a break. This isn’t Sandy Koufax we’re talking about and he only pitches, at best, once every five days. No doubt they will take a PR hit but I don’t think John Smoltz is putting fans in the seats.

    I have a feeling that,despite what he says, Smoltz was looking to get out because he knew the Braves weren’t going to playoffs during the rest of his career. Now, he has a shot. I don’t get the assumption that Smoltz is automatically telling the truth and that Wren is automatically a lying scumbag. We have no idea.

  135. @166

    Thanks, Stu. I was afraid that was the answer that was forthcoming. I couldn’t remember if we had or not.

    So we get Jack! Ugh. I was hoping for some pathetically small consolation. None to be had today on the Braves front.

  136. Aw, come on, Marc. I haven’t had a mad-on this big in a long time. Don’t ruin it with, you know, logic.

  137. drewdat,

    that’s how I feel. I’m not happy about this and also not in the mood to get over it right away. I feel like sulking and I’m actually so disappointed that I can’t shoulder it without unloading some of my frustration though venting on this site.

    I am the first to admit that I take sports too seriously sometimes, and this is one of those times. There isn’t really anything I can do about it except grow up and I don’t feel like doing that either.

  138. We all loved Smoltz and wish him the best, but personally I think the question now is why even consider signing a veteran? While I think Dunn would fit the lineup and Lowe the rotation, why not just scrap all those plans (including the thought of Andruw) and give the shots to any kid in the spring who likes he can play. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that what the Marlins do and don’t they bounce back strong every few years? And, if that 20 mill to spend is kept around, and they make the right decisions, wouldn’t the Braves be able to do a better job than Fla. at keeping the good, young players?

  139. “While Braves sources have said their incentive package could have allowed maximized earnings greater than Boston’s offer, Smoltz is of a different opinion. He has told his former teammates that he likely wouldn’t have made more than $7 million if he’d chosen to stay in Atlanta.” -from mlb.com article.

    This, to me, reads as if Smoltz knew he wouldn’t pitch well enough to earn the incentives from Atlanta, and opted for a bigger guarantee. If he was confident in his ability to pitch really well wouldn’t he take the bigger incentive package?

  140. As an aside, whatever happened to Glavine wanting to pitch only in Atlanta because of his family? I don’t think Washington, DC has become a suburb of Atlanta.

    These ballpayers are something else. Every time they say they are doing something “for their families” you know it’s a complete crock. Smoltz is willing to leave his kids to play in Boston. I just don’t want to hear any more of this sanctimonious bullshit about how much their families mean to them.

  141. Im with Bethany, I usually only wanted to go when Smoltz was pitching. I also bought a Smoltz jersey last year. I mean I am sure more people show up to see him play the game than want to see Jorge Campillo

  142. This whole Smoltz thing is horse shit. Count me in on the anti-Wren/new guard bandwagon. I’m so disappointed right now.

  143. What “new guard”? John Schuerholz and Frank Wren have been running the Braves together for years. It’s not like Wren is new to the organization.

  144. so today, instead of humiliating ourselves in front of the sports world by claiming bad dealings by an agent and threatening action that may well be illegal, we crap on maybe the second best pitcher the organization has ever had, showing no class as he exits, and piss off maybe the second best hitter the organization has ever had, making him dispirited for the coming season. Can’t wait to see the f*** up we have planned for tomorrow. Maybe we can somehow humiliate Brian McCann or pander to jeff Francouer’s baby-side again.

  145. Jay – the top incentive was throwing 200 innings, which would be virtually impossible since he is scheduled to miss at least April. Unless we were going back to the 4-man rotation, which might explain our FA strategy this offseason.

    Anyone know if a 7-man infield has ever been in fashion? Because that would explain the lack of interest in FA outfielders, too.

    I doubt anyone knows how much the 200 inning incentive was worth, but it wouldn’t shock me if it was a significant amount and Wren and McGuirk thought they could lowball him. Whoops.

  146. Mac,
    Good luck with it.

    Everyone on this board is rooting hard for you and you will definitely be in our thoughts next Friday.

  147. I think they were low-balling, drewdat. I imagine they think that they could say that with incentives, Smoltz could have made more with Atlanta. However, they knew good and well Smoltz couldn’t get 200 innings, and they knew he would too, so it was a “competitive” offer just to cover their backs. They had no intentions of re-signing Smoltz, and they shouldn’t imply they were wanting to pony up big money, and Smoltz just wanted to jet.

  148. More prayers in your direction, Mac. Well, I guess they’re in God’s direction, but they’re concerning you.

  149. It’s debatable whether signing Smoltz would have been a good idea, and whether Smoltz was even open to coming back or wanted to go to a contender. But it doesn’t have to end with Smoltz and the team pres. sniping at each other in the press, with Chipper griping about how discouraged he is. Just poorly handled.

  150. Best of luck, Mac.

    I can understand Chipper’s frustration. But he’s a paid professional and (for the time being) a team leader, so I expect he’ll be playing hard and playing well when the bell rings.

  151. TradeRumors has the Yankees putting Nady on the trade block instead of Swisher. I would have liked either of them, but Nady will do just fine. What would it take to get him (besides a competent GM)??

  152. I can’t root for the Gaytors. I want to (SEC and all), but I just can’t.

    So, Mac. It’s Florida v. Auburn for the SEC Championship – who do you root for?

  153. Hope you’re feeling the good thoughts I’m sending you, Mac. Like all your friends and fans, I’m praying for you too.

  154. #183, worked for Hampton!

    If this really is the Braves punting 2009, surely Cox has to go too? If we really are getting ready to compete in a couple of years then it makes sense to get a guy in and let him learn what the roster can manage without the pressure of results.

    I don’t see the point delaying the inevitable, especially now that we’ve shown we won’t hang onto people for sentimental reasons.

  155. Wren has dug himself quite a hole regarding job security. Oh yeah, it appears the guys in charge of him are just as inept.

  156. Keith Law in a chat today said (more or less) that he figured Wren was relatively safe because the farm system is strong enough that we’ll be good again. For what it’s worth.

    Best of luck, Mac. Praying for you.

  157. If this really is the Braves punting 2009

    It’s more like they are going for it but keep getting false-start penalties that will force them to punt.

  158. I’m struggling with how to take this. John Smoltz is easily my favorite pitcher, and I absolutely HATE seeing him pitch for another team. However, from a rational, logical side, he was probably wasn’t going to help the Braves much this season. I understand JC’s point of view, and I also understand Chipper’s/DOB’s/Everybody else’s point of view, so I guess I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. He wasn’t going to help much and he’s probably not worth $5.5M guaranteed, but how can you let the face of the franchise go when you got money to spend and it’s a $3-4M difference? I dunno…

  159. I agree, braves14. I think we could stomach losing Smoltz if we had Peavy and Lower in our rotation, Burrel/Dunn/Bradley in our outfield, and a positive outlook towards our season.

  160. By David O’Brien

    January 8, 2009 7:05 PM | Link to this

    Just talked to Bobby Cox, said they met for several hours with Lowe, Boras and another of Boras’ assistants. Said it went well. Boras is on a plane now, probably, but I left a message for him and hopefully will hear from him later.

    Cox on Smoltz leaving: “It’s like losing [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine, all those years they become part of your family, part of your life. You hate to lose them.

    “I wish him all the luck in the world with Boston. I guess they kind of blew his socks off there.”

    so Bobby’s translation – everything went well

    real translation – we lowballed him and made an offer that someone else will easily top.

  161. Rob, I was stuck in the middle at 1st, but then my tone changed when I started thinking about our offer to Burnett and how no one is really guaranteed anything out of a pitcher. I wouldnt really be that surprised if Smoltz pitched more innings and better than Burnett this next season. If we can offer $16-17 to Burnett who cant stay healthy, why low ball John

  162. Probably lower than the Mets’ existing offer (though did they pull it? I’m sure he could still get it if he would agree to it.)

  163. @206: It seems to me, if we can stretch the analogy, that they lined up, with a nice loud hard count, hoping to draw an offsides, and when that failed they decided to take the penalty and punt the ball. Actually a smart move when you know you don’t have the pieces to pick up the first down.

  164. screw it….lets have a no holds barred veteran sale. anyone over the age of 32, ship ’em out to boston, dropkick murphys style.

    so, where do we go from here? i pray that our solution is not to sign lowe, trade for nady, sign andruw, and sign glavine. a rotation with lowe, vazquez, jurrjens, glavine, and hanson/campillo would not be anything but mediocre.

  165. Ok, I am very calm right now…I have read everything I can including JC’s post on his website…I know from a purely baseball stand point this is a justifiable decision…

    …but this is JOHN SMOLTZ we are talking about…is it too much to ask for to give him that $5M guarantee money just to ensure our franchise icon’s last come back attempt is with the only team he has played for? If the team fails to compete this year (very likely), is this something the fans can at least look forward too?

    …I just feel like the Braves are just offering a BS contract so that they can at least tell the fans that they have offered Smoltzie something…but if that’s how the team is going to treat our franchise icon, what message does it give to the players who the Braves are trying the recruit?

    …I still love my Braves, but I will always remember McGuirk and Wren for putting a hole in my heart. I am crying in my heart right now that I don’t care even if the Braves sign Babe Ruth.

    …FFW has a whole new meaning to me now…no matter if it means “Fire Frank Wren” or “F*** Frank Wren”…

    …someone has said it before and I agree whole-heartly…the Braves are better than this…

    …lastly, Mac, wish you all the best…and you are the best…

  166. Back on Sept. 9th, 2008, John Smoltz was already telling us he was ready to move on.
    (See link to full article below).

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3577469

    “I say this for the first time, without reservation, if I’m going to bust my butt and if I feel like I’m good enough and it doesn’t work out here, I will be pitching somewhere else,” he said, according to Atlanta Magazine. “My dream scenario would be to pitch in the playoffs again, and that’s coming from a guy who’s been in 13 of them. To me, that’s what I’m about. So if the door gets closed here, it’ll have to be explored somewhere else.”

    So, who is the bad guy now? Mr. Wren, who knew Smoltz’s dream scenario would be to pitch in the playoffs again? Every single person on this thread believes that the Braves will not be in the playoffs this coming season. So, with that information, the Braves made a half-hearted effort to keep someone who really didn’t want to stay. It’s like Maddux several years ago. If the Braves had offered more money, Smoltz’s agent might have stuck it to them like Boras did and the Braves might miss out on a player they could have otherwise gotten.

    As others have said here, Smoltz should just man-up and say that’s why he is really leaving.

    Oh, and he could have made $12 million this year had he pitched 200 innings last year.

  167. kc, don’t lose heart. The Braves paid Smoltz $14 million for 28 innings last year, and as DOB said on the radio this afternoon, they have paid a lot of money and have had a lot of injured pitchers for that money over the past few years, so it’s possible that they just couldn’t take that chance on ANYONE else, even Smoltz.

  168. bwarrend, if Wren actually matches Red Sox’s offer and Smoltz decides to leave, then everybody will be happy.

  169. Just the way Wren is handling things…I really have no confidence in the guy…and I had been a supporter of him.

  170. Also, seems like the Braves have more confidence in Hampton than Smoltzie, which just defies any kind of logic known to me.

  171. happy trails John. i’m sure you, your ex-wife, your agent, the IRS and Tiger Woods will enjoy the extra money you just made.

  172. …and Wren finally speaks…

    Braves general manager Frank Wren said, “It was never that we didn’t want John back, or a lack of respect for John. Our priority was to have a pitching staff that would allow us to go into the season not concerned about rehabs and injuries and the things that set us back in 2008. And that still stands.”

    Wren said the Braves’ offer reflected their remaining uncertainty about if and when Smoltz would be ready to pitch in 2009, adding that the Red Sox offer was worth more if Smoltz didn’t pitch, but the more he did pitch, the closer the offers became in value through the incentives packages.

    “Anybody that sits in this chair will tell you the most difficult decision you make are with aging stars, plain and simple,” Wren said. “Because you respect them, you want them to be a part of your organization forever, but the reality is, they’re getting older and they’re not the same.”

    That’s not how you treat your franchise icon, Frank. I don’t care if you pull this on Glavine, but this is Smoltzie…

  173. I agree 100% with Wren’s entire viewpoint. How that can be construed as disrespect is beyond me. Emotionalism has no place in building a winning ballclub. None. Moving on….

  174. Like many have pointed out … the sting will fade if Wren puts together a winning ball club. But hardly any of us are bullish about next year at this point. So why would it hurt to pay Smoltz to try another comeback? If Smoltz just wanted to have a better chance to win, then that’s a different story. But I also fault the front office for not putting the Braves in a position where they look like they can compete.

  175. kc, say you work for a company for 21 years. You give them everything you got, you travel all the time. Most of your time there you have GREAT years. You made the company a lot of money over the 21 years you were there. You got good raises over the years. Last year started out great, then the market tanked. You had a down year due to no fault of your own (the economy put you on the sidelines), plus you had a couple more down years in the past, also due to the economy. You also have a lot of clients that are loyal to you (so they say).

    There is no guarantee that you’ll have a great year this year, because the economy still sucks. Your company wants to keep you on, but they can’t guarantee you the salary you made in the past, which is based on your ability to make them money.

    Now, another company wants to hire you because you were a big producer and they think you can make them money in spite of the economy. They are going to guarantee you a minimum salary that is much more than your previous employer was willing to guarantee. So you go to work for them.

    You leave, your clients are unhappy because their favorite salesperson is gone. They like the company’s product, but they think the Sales Manager is an idiot because he let the top sales person walk out the door.

    That’s what we are dealing with here. The Braves made a decision that they believe is best for the franchise as a whole. People were pissed when Maddux left, when Murphy left, when Glavine left. They got over it. We will to.

  176. Yeah, I’m not bullish on ’09 either. But I never really was, which has made it easier to accept Smoltz’s departure. We’ll be good again soon enough — some folks who just can’t stand to wait will have to find something better to do in the meantime. I can watch a developing team and enjoy it, even while we take our lumps.

  177. Terry McGuirk just released a statement:

    “We understand that Mac Thomason will be having surgery next week. We made him a very competitive offer to have surgery next year, and we were totally stunned when he chose to move in a different direction.”

  178. I understand that a lot of fans are upset about last night’s news. Believe me, no one could be more disappointed than I am. But John made the decision that he felt was best for him and his family, and we wish him the best in Boston.

    We are still hard at work to make your 2009 Atlanta Braves as competitive as possible. I can’t comment on ongoing negotiations, but you may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear in the coming weeks.

  179. Just read JC’s post over at Sabernomics. I concur with JC.
    If you list them what do Henry Aaron, Dale Murphy, Tom Glavine, Gregg Maddux, Andruw Jones, Phil Niekro, and Javy Lopez have in common? Yup. All great Braves that one way or another left the team. No one hear cried when the Braves didn’t offer Andruw 15 mil or some other discounted salary to stay another season. That’s because he sucked in 2007. John Smoltz didn’t suck in 2008 but he is a 42 year old pitcher with a surgically repaired shoulder that didn’t have a firm return date for this season. Some of you say but it’s Smoltzie for crying out loud and its ONLY 5 million! If that 5 million kept the Braves from signing a bat or a younger healthier pitcher and Smoltz DIDN’T make it back this season then there would be howls of outrage.

    Wren has taken an ass load of heat here. Most of it for the deals that fell through. Dang. How the hell is the guy supposed to control those types of situations? In fact in the end the deals that didn’t happen may be the best things for the long term future of the Braves. 80 mil for AJ Hampton? please. Trade our top 5 prospects for Jake Peavey? you have to be kidding me. Sign Raffy and trade Yunel Escobar? I think we got lucky on that one. Yeah some merit to that one if Escobar was traded for pitching but Wren would look silly if we had to play Omar Infante at short all season while Raffy’s back healed up…..again. My only beef with Wren is that he actually thinks the team can contend by getting another pitcher and a hitter. Build for the future Frank. With the guys we have in the pipeline it has potential to be bright.

    Finally I can understand Chipper’s and to some extent Smoltz’s outrage. No two guys have given the Atlanta Braves as much as those two. Two of my all time favorite Braves. But this thing called Major League Baseball is a business. John made a business decision and I don’t fault him for it. Frank Wren did what he is paid to do and looked out for the best interests of the Atlanta Braves and I certainly don’t fault him for that.

  180. #231

    I should wait for Mac to chime in on whether this is legit — but what I would like to say is, we’ve got some blue chips coming up in the near future, and I’m glad they’re still here.

    Some of us can get ahead of ourselves in the overrating of prospects, but there’s nothing more exciting as a fan than seeing someone arrive through the farm system and begin to play well. It beats the hell out of signing 6-10 year veterans getting their payday. (Of course, once we get close, you’ll want to do some of that…)

    Edit: Oh well. From my fingers to the GM’s ears….

  181. bwarrend, if Frank Wren ever match that additional $3M, there would never be all these problems from the fans. I am just saying John Smoltz deserves that additional $3M…hell, Wren gave $3M to David Ross.

  182. KC. David Ross will be able to play. Despite the super powers most attribute to Smoltz there is a better than even chance that he never pitches again.

  183. For 2 years, $1.4 this year, $1.6 in 2010. If he can learn to make contact with the ball again, he’ll be like a junior version of Adam Dunn.

  184. Johnny, even if John will never pitch again, it’s just right to give him that to make sure he stays with the Braves. Maybe it’s just me.

  185. But you didn’t like Colter Bean.

    Just gettin’ your goat.

    How many laps have the Alabama player run so far in the week since the Sugar Bowl? I’m not a Bama fan, but have come to respect Saban for his charitable work. Bama looked very flat in the game against Utah.

  186. no Dog (or Dawg) in tonight’s game–it’s been lower scoring than I expected–guess I didn’t miss much during the hour that the mrs. wanted to watch Grey’s (pukes)

  187. Not a great game tonight, but an interesting one. Meyer obviously went to the dime coverage & was happy to see OU run it at will against a loaded defensive backfield.

    Stoops seemed to forget that he wasn’t playing West Texas State & decided that field goals weren’t good enough for him.

    Alright, SEC goes 6-2 this year. Not so bad.

  188. “We’ll be good again soon enough–”

    Color me skeptical. I see years stuck in the morass. Perhaps the fact that I live in Philly has something to do with it.

    Prediction: We will NOT sign Lowe or the Japanese guy whose name begins with a K.

    Good luck, Mac–I’ll be thinking about you.

  189. Mark,
    The Phils could win another WS & it’ll still be an Iggles town.

    BTW, gonna be a good game this weekend in E. Rutherford.

  190. David Ross wanted to play in Atlanta. Those are the kind of players we like to see in a Braves uniform.

  191. I am also pessimistic that Wren will be able to sign Lowe, or any other decent free agent for that matter.

    I can give him credit for not gutting the farm for next year. The Vasquez, Jurrjens, and Infante/Ohman deals were pretty smooth as well. But he has shown absolutely no evidence that he knows how to approach free agents.

  192. Congrats to Florida, they owned the second half. I found the game to be very entertaining, and it got my mind off the current suckage of the Braves.

  193. This reminded me of the SEC Championship. They were neck-and-neck in the first half, then Florida pulled away in the second half. Once again, Tebow proved why he’s the best player in college football. Bradford can keep the Heisman this year; I’m sure #15 will take the national championship. Bradford got the Troy Smith treatment. 6-2 this year for the SEC. Yeah, definitely a down year.

    Oh, and I think it’s hilarious that Tim Tebow got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Oh well; you can’t do the chomp and get away with it.

  194. Congrats to you and the Gators Rob. You showed everyone that it wouldn’t have mattered if Texas or OU were playing.

    Now, back to hating the Gators!

  195. “Mark,
    The Phils could win another WS & it’ll still be an Iggles town.”

    Very true–which will make it even harder to take if they do win again. The look to me like they’ll be good for a pretty long time–though not “14 consecutive titles good.”

    We Braves fans will always have that, right?

  196. That game was fun! I’m obviously pleased with the outcome, and I’m a bit disappointed there wasn’t more discussion here about it (although I guess that probably means everyone was watching it on TV rather than on their computer).

    I was surprised at the two really awful reads Tebow had early that led to picks, but he certainly turned it around in the 2nd half, doing what he does best, running DBs over for double-digit gains. If he comes back next year, I think they’ll compete for a national title, with or without Harvin and Spikes. The secondary is and will be among the best in the nation, and there are plenty of options on offense even while many of the current ones leave.

    But enough about next year! Tonight was the 2nd national title for the Gators in three years, and boy was it a great one. I was impressed with Bradford. His two picks were on not-awful throws. I was surprised how many over-throws there were on both sides early. Bradford missed like three times, at least two of which were reasonably open, and Tebow had a couple that were just out of the reach of receivers. If the QBs had been just a little sharper, we might have had that shootout everyone had predicted.

    Oh well! The defense was awesome, and the SEC is clearly the conference to beat in college football.

  197. I actually didn’t think Tebow’s first pick was a bad read, just a bad throw. Too much loft on the ball and about a yard deeper than it needed to be thrown.

  198. It was definitely an exciting game. I have a bad habit of getting freaked out in third quarter of these close games, but Florida covered the spread and kept it under that ridiculous over/under no one I talked to thought would be over.

    Tebow was just a bit off, and I kinda felt sorry for Bradford. Both of Bradford’s picks should have been caught by his receivers, but our secondary is fantastic. We put just enough pressure on him to disrupt them enough to win. Halfway through the third quarter Tebow took over and that was the difference.

    Next year, we’ll be in good shape. If we can get Tebow back, we’ll have enough speed with Demps, Rainey, and Moody. I’m so happy Rainey didn’t get severely injured too. I texted a couple friends that Rainey was gone for the next 9 months because I swore he tore his ACL. Whew!

    Go Gators!

  199. Damn. Just got backed. Little drunk. Will man up and SEC its due. Well done.

    Not sure about Braves. regardless of anything, we should operate in a manner better than this. I think should still give Wren benefit of doubt and let field product speak, but damn this offseason is making it hard.

    luck with surgery Mac

    Birthday tomorrow. Deuce Deuce.

  200. This has been a pretty bad offseason, what with the Yankees signing all the top free agents and the Red Sox signing the rest. And Burrell taking what has to be a loss of pay to play in freaking tampa. Oh, and Mac having cancer.

    My hope for this offseason rests on Ben Sheets now, really. He’s a better pitcher than Lowe. I doubt we’ll get Dunn, and those are the players left I really want, with Sabathia, Burnett, Burrell, Penny, and Tex gone.

    This was a loaded FA year, and we had money to spend, and we’ve missed on so many awesome players. Now there are only a couple left.

    I don’t really mind Smoltz leaving that much. He’s of the age that he could have retired at any moment. The only difference is that now he could possibly pitch against us once (or, I guess, twice) this year. I’ve been bracing for his departure for a while.

  201. Not to take the subject off of Florida’s national championship (because I would never want to do that…honestly, I’m shocked you would think I’d be trying to do that), but as had been alluded to a couple of times earlier today, if we are so goddam worried about fan-favorite players and marketing that we can’t let Jeff Francoeur stay in the minor leagues for THREE FREAKING DAYS (and keep in mind, he still ostensibly plays for us when he’s in the minors), how in the hell are we letting Smoltz slip away so easily? And alternately, if we are so unconcerned with our marketing that we can just basically shit can John Smoltz, why in the hell can we not throw Jeff Francoeur out of a moving truck?

    And incidentally, Terry McGuirk can flat-out go to Hell. He is without a doubt my least favorite person who is involved with one of my teams, and it is not even close. Let me get this straight: You are worried that your GM has just made a ghastly PR mistake in letting the franchise icon go and you think that it might improve your situation if you obviously throw him under the bus with seemingly no validity to your argument? That is just freaking brilliant! Do not piss on our heads and tell us that it’s raining! We’re angry enough that the Braves disrespected Smoltz to the extent that he up and left, but that could have been the only mistake, dire though it was. But no, you had to go attempt to sully Smoltz’s name in all this in an attempt to cover your ass! How inexcusable is that???

    For how many years now have had to put up with McGuirk and his corporate doucebaggery? With him saying things like if it were up to him, we’d never sign a free agent because it’s too inefficient? With all the other crap.

    I will never be done with this team. Ever. And even Frank Wren could still probably redeem himself in my eyes, although he’d better get started pretty freaking fast and it had better be pretty freaking brilliant. But Terry McGuirk can go f*** himself. How anyone would ever believe him in anything he says from this point on is a complete mystery to me. If Liberty Media wants to seriously improve their standing with the fans, and just the way they are perceived in general, they could make no better move than firing Terry McGuirk. He is not the cause of this franchise’s downturn, but he is the face that was stamped on it. Why he is allowed to stick around and further sully this franchise’s good name is truly beyond me.

  202. Tebow should come back and play tight end or linebacker.

    I’ve figured out the strength of this front office — whining. Seriously, they’re really good at it. Whenever they can’t close a deal, it’s always someone else’s fault. From Kevin Towers to AJ Burnett’s wife to Paul Kinzer to John Smoltz.

  203. The fact that the Braves sent a corporate mutt in McGuirk out to run his mouth and drag Smoltz through the mud the day after tells me all I need to know about this front office.

    Smoltz walks away — even if for monetary reasons — you bite your tongue, tip your goddamn cap and say good luck.

  204. so, if this front office sucks so bad…

    what do we do about it?

    not a goddamned thing. but i suppose many of you think that coming here to whine yourselves is constructive.

    Chipper needs to be traded to a team that a.) will give us 2 AAA good pitchers (talking top 5 of the organization here) and 1 position player (1b with power would be great. would allow us to send Kotchmann away for a 3B); and b.) is in the American League. Texas could work (we could get Feliz back)…

    Chipper to Texas for

    1. N. Feliz RHP
    2. C. Davis 1B/3B
    3. Eric Hurley RHP

    4. Engel Beltre, OF (?)

    Chipper lives in Texas in the offseason and he deserves to go to an organization that at least has a CHANCE to win this year.

  205. Since the beginning of the BCS era (1998-99 season), the SEC is 50-33 in bowl games, including 19-7 in the past 3 years.

    In BCS bowl games, the SEC is 12-5, including 5-0 in “championship” contests (aka BCS title games or bowl games tabbed as title contests).

    I still hate the system, but those numbers ain’t bad.

  206. @274 – if you want Chipper to have a chance to win this year, then Texas sure as hell ain’t the place.

  207. And the Red Sox look smart as hell right now. They are going to have an unbelievable bench. They just signed Baldelli and Kotsay. Not to mention the crap load of pitching they’ve picked up. Just crazy smart if you ask me.

  208. Now that the city of Atlanta and ‘Braves Nation’ is royally pissed at them, the front office is starting to engage Boras/Lowe.

    With the Yanks out of the picture, Boras/Lowe had lost leverage–even when the Mets madse a generous offer. With the Braves’ front office probably eager to get the Smoltz PR disaster behind them, they just handed Boras/Lowe the leverage they had lost.

    There is a decent chance that we could not pay Smoltz, but will now overpay Boras/Lowe…

  209. Stephen, it’s just plain stupid from my point of view. Now Boras knows we HAVE to land Lowe and we will be bidding against ourselves.

    You can’t find a better $5M gamble on this world than John Smoltz. It’s just plain stupid…so what if John can’t pitch at all? It’s $5M only…and he was willing to commit $2.5M already…I still don’t undertsnd the logic in Wren’s head…you can’t even sign freaking Ohman with the difference.

  210. I mean…if Wren is so afraid of injury risks…be man enough to tell John to look elsewhere…like JS telling Andruw at the very beginning of offseason last year…don’t treat our franchise icon like that…

  211. It is very studid–especially when we are willing to overpay for David Ross as well.

    Not only that, but who says Smoltz can’t pitch any more? The Red Sox are confident that he can.

    The truth is that front office tried to low ball Smoltz and so he walked. McGuirk then had the audacity to slam him in public by implying that there was something wrong with Smoltz’s thinking….

    If this is any measure of the way these guys behave, then its no wonder that the Braves can’t sign anybody….

  212. But remember that Wren has been hard at work this winter–making the Braves vastly better than the 2008 team….

    Lowe/Boras may still turn us down because he wants to play for a competitive team…..We will overpay Jon Garland instead….

  213. I bet we will be used by Boras to drive up the price of Lowe and the Mets will end of signing the guy.

    We can all can wait and see, Wren will be screwed around big time by Boras and Lowe will end up signing with the Mets.

  214. Well at least if the Mets overpay….but thats not a happy ending either…our team is still basically the 2008 version…

  215. I don’t know what troubles me more: overpaying Lowe or the flawed logic in our GM’s head…

    …and the fact that he keeps on being used by agents to drive up price on players who don’t want to come…and kicks away our franchise icon who wants to stay…

    …Wren keeps trying to shoot from half-court and he missed the simple lay-up…

  216. Jeremy may have nailed it.

    Smoltz walks away — even if for monetary reasons — you bite your tongue, tip your goddamn cap and say good luck.

    After a day to ponder and cool down a bit more, I realize even more that it’s not totally unreasonable for the Braves to let Smoltz go (though I am in the “who better to gamble $5M on?” camp, I can see that it’s a risk we may not be financially wise to take), but it’s friggin retarded to be anything but gracious to the guy who has gone through 5 surgeries to be able to keep playing for you.

    As somebody else pointed out, as much as it was painful at the time, the way JS handled Andruw was actually pretty good. If you’ve got a guy who you’re not willing to spend the money the rest of the market will on, you tell him (and the fans) so and don’t jerk around the people who make your job exist (the fans who pay you, and the players those fans come to see).

  217. Having read the Wren comments now I can see that the front office decided to throw McGuirk out there to be the jackass so Wren seems reasonable by comparison. As much as it seemed like they were just stupid to not realize the PR nightmare, they apparently DID realize the PR nightmare and that’s why they sent out McGuirk so they wouldn’t have to ride Wren out of town on a rail after all the other issues this off season. I’d almost bet that some in the office wanted to send JS out to make the McGuirk statement but JS wouldn’t do it (and wisely so, you don’t want to burn the fan bridges for the guy we all remember as the one who put together our winning teams).

  218. Something just hit me as strange…why would a freaking club CEO came out to defend a roster decision before the President and GM?

    Maybe it’s Terry McGuirk’s final call to not match Red Sox offer. Maybe Wren and JS did ask McGuirk to extend the payroll because they know the complexity of the decision. I have never seen a club CEO jumps out to defend a roster decision like this…and where is JS in all this?

    We will never know the answer. Maybe Charles is right, but I don’t see the point of a CEO coming out to take the heat for the president and GM. Whoever makes the final decision comes out to defend the decision first. That’s the way I see it.

  219. kc, it could just be that the CEO was the final guy to say no to Smoltz… and because he’s the CEO he’s not going to get fired for any given roster move so he can be as petty and petulant as he wants.

  220. Charles P–You may be right–for one thing, I think that Braves were shocked by Smoltz’s decision. They believed that they could low ball him and he would get into line. Both Smoltz and Furcal have homes in Atlanta and would probably have loved to played for the Braves in 2009, but our hamfisted front office seems to have outsmarted itself….

  221. I disagree, Stephen, about Furcal. If he really wanted to play in Atlanta, he wouldn’t have done what he did. Smoltz DID want to be, Furcal is a known liar and he can keep his drunk driving ass in L.A.

    That being said, for Beavis and Butthead (McJERK and Wren) to whine and moan about Furcal’s agents and say we’ll never do business again with them is insanely stupid.

    I mean, really…could this offseason get any MORE embarrassing?

  222. Alex, Please dont ask that question……I’m afraid what the answer could be

  223. I wouldn’t be shocked if Frank Wren secretly dressed in women’s undergarments, but I digress.

  224. Alex R.–I am standing back and assuming that we will never know exactly what happened–or the sequence of what was said when. However, it does strike me from that vantage point as odd that both Furcal and Smoltz will wind up in 2009 playing away from Atlana. While I am not a huge fan of Furcal, I cannot help but think that our front office has probably been clumsy with both.

    As for your question (#295) there is still plenty of time….

  225. I heard Buster Olney on the local Nashville sports talk radio station yesterday and he had a couple of interesting things . . .

    He came down hard on the Braves for their handling of the Smoltz deal. He lavished praise on the Sox, and seemed to say that they believe Smoltz will be ready to pitch by the end of April (first time I’ve heard that anywhere).

    He said he is recently hearing from many GMs that they are getting changing signals about payroll because of the tanking economy. He said he had no direct knowledge if that applies to Braves. The example he mentioned was Adam Dunn, saying that there are teams that couldn’t go 1 year, $3 mil even if he would accept.

    He believes that when the music stops on free agent signings there will be some big names left with tiny offers (he mentioned Ken Griffey).

    Waiting for deals might be a dangerous (and frustrating) game, but a patient team could get some steals.

  226. but it’s friggin retarded to be anything but gracious to the guy who has gone through 5 surgeries to be able to keep playing for you.

    I don’t disagree with the general point that the Braves handled this situation about as badly as it could be handled, but let’s keep in mind that Smoltz wasn’t going through all those surgeries to charitably contribute some pitching to the Braves. He was being paid millions of dollars.

    chris,
    The Rangers would die laughing at your trade proposal.

  227. perhaps…but you never know…

    yet, there are teams that would LOVE to have Chipper and stick him in their #3 hole.

    the SOX would be one and would start with Buchholz and Lars Anderson. they would LOVE a new york killer in that lineup.

  228. I AGREE, which is why I suggested the Sox YESTERDAY.

    Someone else mentioned the Angels (Wood & Adenhart), which also wouldn’t be bad.

  229. A different question for the collective wisdom of BJ–Nady would be a nice RH power bat. What would you give up for one year of him (he’s a FA after 09)?

  230. I’m somewhere in the middle of the two camps (or are there three camps?), and as time progresses I’m heading closer and closer towards the JC side of the situation. The McGuirk comments are unfortunate, and I think that he was either the designated whipping boy or he actually was the one to deny the funds. At any rate what’s done is done. I’m still bummed out, but from my untrained eye the offers were not all that different. I think that if the Braves are open to criticism for not upping their guarantee then Smoltz should be open to the same criticism, but probably to a lesser degree. It seems both sides could have compromised.

    For those who think that sports business is somehow less bottom-line driven than any other business, you’re wrong.

    What’s undeniable is this offseason has been an incredible charlie foxtrot and I have a hard time thinking it’s going to get better. Hopefully I’m wrong!

    Frank – I’m not privy on the Yankees needs, but I’ve seen Prado speculated by a NY writer. That said, I would probably do something along the lines of:

    Morton
    Boyer
    Prado

    That feels like its too much, but somehow not enough at the same time. I’m not very high on Morton…

  231. Smoltz’s situation is not even close to that of Glavine, Maddux, Lopez, … when they left the club. In the case of Glavine, Maddux and Lopez injuries weren’t the main problem. They all had their best years behind them when they left Atlanta and were looking for a huge contract that didn’t make sense. It was obvious that they weren’t going to perform at the level they had done in the past, but they wanted more money. In all 3 cases they declined pretty quickly and letting them go wasn’t really a bad thing. Unfortunately in the case of Glavine and Maddux we didn’t do much in the way of replacing them. Our payroll was staying constant and the huge contracts of Andruw and Hampton made it very difficult to get league average pitchers to replace them, given a constant and even declining payroll.

    In Smoltz’s case, injuries are the problem. By most baseball standards he wasn’t looking for an exorbitant contract, but his health is definitely a big risk. If healthy, he really hasn’t shown much decline in the past few years. It has also been stated that we have an increasing payroll and constraining contracts for Hampton and Andruw are off the books.

    I stand by my statement that this is an incredibly stupid move by Wren given the chance Smoltz could at the very least provide some good innings in the playoffs to help us win. The Braves should be looking towards the playoffs (whether or not many of us believe they have a chance), but given Wren’s incompetence it’s looking bleaker every minute.

  232. Let me add that Wren has spoken of a “new generation” of Braves pitching. Yes, he may well be an asset to the Bosox as he might have been to the Braves; but at the very least he would have been around to mentor the young pitchers. Charlie Leibrandt had a very positive impact on the development of Smoltz, Glavine and Avery; it is hard to understand why the Braves refused to see that even an injured Smoltz could be valuable….

  233. Prado and Boyer should be more than enough for one year of Nady.

    I’m not especially high on Morton either. However, if you put John Smoltz’s brain in his body, you’d have an all-star. Maybe he’ll figure it out. In any case, the team isn’t in a position where it should let him go for one year of a league average player.

    The biggest issue with trading Chipper is having a 3rd baseman to replace him. The farm isn’t giving you one. I agree that Wood and Adenhart aren’t viewed as they once were, but you can plug Wood at third and Adenhart is a decent premium for one year of Chipper.

  234. Thanks c.shorter. I’ve gotten better at a drunk dialing. Never actually thought I’d drunk post. Game was good, but a little anti-climatic.

    That inside shovel pass option was money for Florida and Oklahoma was stupid to keep trying that same outside stretch run.

  235. Sports are entertainment. We have a better chance to win with Smoltz and him being here will entertain the fans. From that view point this whole thing is stupid.

    SEC

  236. Even though I don’t really mind losing Smoltz (but hate the way the FO side handled it), I had thought about “what would be a reasonable offer?

    My idea came to 5 guaranteed with incentives stacked like “over 50 innings in relief begins count” to a max of 3 at about 75 innings. As a starter, over 120 innings begins a count to about 180 at incentive of 7. IF, he started as a 2 inning reliever in April and transitioned to a starter just before the all star break, then “blend” them.

    Basically, if he was a 2 inning reliever for most of the year, that is Gonzo money. A slight overpayment unless he is most of the way back.

    The problem with these moves, though, is what part, if any, of that would be “in excess of otherwise allowed payroll”. If none, then the signing didn’t make sense.

    Guys, nobody here seems to have taken the alternate interpretation of the surging interest in Lowe by the FO. 3 guaranteed and a chance of more to Smoltz came out of the budget; therefore, maybe going 14 for 3 years on Lowe is more palatable and more doable.

  237. I remember that Mac. Like the time he ironed a shirt he was wearing or how he played the “squeeze box”

  238. Sigh.

    Just watched MLB Channel’s retrospective on 1995. Man, that was a rich, rich time.

    To paraphrase Roger Daltrey, “The best we ever haaaaaaaad!”

  239. SEC Basketball is getting a bad rap. If UT could get it’s tattoed head out of its tattoed ass, it would help the conference.

    Now, watch. They’ll play intelligent, under-control basketball against the league and make everyone look worse.

    No respect, I tellya.

  240. $5 million is a lot to pay someone to mentor pitchers. Smoltz has been a great pitcher but the 90s are over. He could have stayed but did not. I think it’s a good move for the Red Sox because they can throw away money. Very few players play their entire career with one team–Babe Ruth didn’t, Hank Aaron didn’t, Willie Mays didn’t, Ty Cobb didn’t. Obviously, those situations were different than Smoltz but this is the nature of professional sports. I don’t begrudge players for getting what they can, but at the same time don’t whine about not being respected because one team won’t throw money at you.

    Obviously, however, the perception that the Braves are in disarray (whether true or not) is having an effect on the willingness of players to come there. I would be shocked if Lowe goes to the Braves with all that is going on. Boras is just using them as usual to drive up the price–probably for the Mets.

    As for the Phillies, they aren’t that good. They won 89 and 92 games the last two years and won only because the Mets’ bullpen collapsed. The starting rotation is not much after Hamels and the bullpen isn’t likely to be as overwhelming as last year. Utley is out for a good while and Howard is grossly overrated. This is a nice team but not a dynasty in the making; I would be shocked if the Phillies repeated. The much greater problem in the long run is the Mets; they have money, a new ballpark, and have to compete with the Yankees. The Marlins might also be a problem considering their young talent if they get a new ballpark.

    And what’s wrong with dressing in women’s undergarments? It worked for Nuke LaLoosh. :)

  241. The Vols are young and are still trying to figure out Pearl’s D. Everyone has figured us out. Now we have to get better play at the point, start hitting threes and finish around the basket. Pearl will fix them

  242. #318–The Phillies “may not be that good” but you have to like the way they ended the 2008 season….

    The money would not have been for “someone to mentor” pitchers; rather, that is the worse thing that would have happened.

    One thing for sure: the perception will surely exist that the Braves are in “disarray” because they almost certainly are….

  243. Do the Rays have anything we want that they’d be willing to trade for Chipper?

    DHing for a contending team near his birthplace might be appealing to him.

    And, let’s face it – we’re in full-on Rebuild (if not Reboot) mode. That’s why I’m not overly interested in acquiring Lowe.

    Young, fast and hungry should be our organizing principle at this point.

  244. despite Chippers comments, he’ll calm down I think. I dont really see him (didnt witrh Smoltz either) leaving. If Frank can someone (dont know if he can) put a competitive team on the field next year, Chip will stay. If we struggle and finish 4th again, this could all change

  245. Hey, Stu.

    Just noticed that Tony Barnhart has Vandy as his pick for the 25th-best team of next season.

    Florida first. Bama fourth. Georgia 17, I think (behind GATech, anyway). LSU’s up there. Ole Miss is Top 20.

    He makes a lot of assumptions about guys coming back, however.

  246. hankonly,
    My dad just emailed me with the same info. Good for Tony.

    That said, I think that’s a little much. We should be better next year than we were this year—we lose only 6 starters, are bringing in Bobby Johnson’s most talented recruiting class to date, and appear willing to use a QB who can complete a forward pass in 2009—but the schedule will be brutal as always, and I don’t think we’ll be able to sustain that pristine turnover margin we had this year.

    We could very well be a better team and finish 6-6 or even 5-7, if the breaks return to going against us like they always have prior to 2008.

  247. Here’s my breakdown of UF in the Tebow era:

    Florida ’06 — national championship
    Florida ’07 — ass kicked by Michigan
    Florida ’08 — national championship

    Keep hope alive! If the pattern continues I may have something to cheer about in ’09 after all.

  248. Wren when Kawakami signs elsewhere:

    “Look, it says he accepted our offer right there on Wikipedia. This is an egregious breach of professional conduct by Mr. Kawakami’s agent, and the Braves organization formally declares war upon Japan.”

  249. but it’s friggin retarded to be anything but gracious to the guy who has gone through 5 surgeries to be able to keep playing for you.

    Please. John Smoltz made $14 million to pitch 28 innings last year. He should be glad the Braves were willing to continually and repeatedly not only pay for his regularly scheduled reconstructive surgeries, but pay him millions of dollars in salaries while he rehabbed from those surgeries rather than providing quality innings for the baseball team. The Braves triple-paid for John Smoltz when he was oh-so-gloriously willing to “go through” five surgeries. They paid his salary. They paid his medical bills. And they paid by putting inferior talent on the field when he wasn’t there. Every start by James R. Parr or Charlie Morton last year was a rider clause on John Smoltz and his inability to stay healthy.

  250. Adam R, more like offsides. Wikipedia sucks, just dont pay attention to it.

    Sam, thats ridiculous. Smoltz is one of the few players now who will pitch at all cost. He wasnt healthy in 2007 either, but he made almost every start. He deserved to get paid and was always underpaid to his comparable pitchers. We can pay Hampton to ride the bench for 4 years, offer an injury prone Burnett a high offer, and then lowball Smoltz. It just doesnt make sense. Try finding a better $5M gamble on the FA market. Our guaranteed offer to Hampton and Smoltz were almost the same

  251. I don’t think a 42-year-old pitcher coming off arm surgery is ever a “good gamble,” not matter what Chipper Jones says.

    I loved Smoltz as a player, but he’s gone, I’m over it & hoping we can still improve the team.

  252. Sam, thats ridiculous.

    No, what’s ridiculous is this teen-crush emotionalism that thinks John Smoltz is some sort of demigod to be revered at all cost. A 42 year old coming off of severe labrum reconstruction, the most debilitating surgery in professional baseball. The Braves made a perfectly good offer and Smoltz chose money and a mercenary run with the Red Sox. Period. End of story. John Smoltz is a Red Sox now for exactly the same reason AJ Burnett and Mark Tiexiera are Yankees. Money.

    Smoltz is one of the few players now who will pitch at all cost.

    Except the FOUR YEARS over the course of his career where he didn’t pitch at all, instead getting paid millions to recover from (yet another) reconstructive surgery.

    deserved to get paid and was always underpaid to his comparable

    When he pitched.

    We can pay Hampton…

    The lesson a rational organization learns from the Hampton debacle isn’t “well I guess we deserve to give Smoltzie the same thing.” The lesson a rational organization learns from Hampton is “don’t do that crap again, no matter how hard your emotional centers cry like babies about old friends.

    Dude’s 42 coming off of labrum surgery. 2.5 with incentives to 12 is PLENTY.

    Try finding a better $5M gamble on the FA market.

    Any journeyman with 160-200 innings per year and an ERA below 5.00 that isn’t 42 and coming off of major reconstructive surgery to his labrum.

    Our guaranteed offer to Hampton and Smoltz were almost the same.

    The odds of either of them contributing in 2009 are almost the same. Hampton’s probably a better bet.

  253. ububba–That is the stance that we should take–and most of us probably will–but nearly everything about the 2008 season and now the offseason makes it hard to believe that this will happen…

    Increasingly, I just want to see the kids play–but the reality is that even if the Braves’ top prospects pan out, we will need some players to cover the transtion (2009 and possibly 2010) period. All of which is why I still fail to see the harm in adding Burrell or Sheets or Dunn….

  254. I am unable to comment on the ongoing discussions regarding Kenshin Kawakami, but I am disappointed that the popular web-site Wikipedia is allowing itself to be used to interfere with the negotiations. I will never use Wikipedia again.

  255. Agree with ububba and Sam. When it comes down to it, players don’t play for the team, the fans, or anyone else other than themselves. Smoltz liked to pitch and was willing to pitch through pain. That’s commendable but it’s not like he was on the Bataan Death March; he was doing something he liked and getting paid a lot of money for it, even if less than he could have gotten somewhere else.

  256. Yeah, I’ve had a chance to sleep on it and adjust. I was a bit irked yesterday, but I’m over it now. I wish Smoltz could pitch forever and with an A on his cap, but the reality is, as others have stated more eloquently, he’s old and broken.

    I just hope this situation, along with the rest of the offseason, doesn’t make Atlanta any less of a destination of choice for players. For years players came here because of A. a winning tradition, B. play on national TV every night, C. play for Bobby, and D. play for a class organization.

    A is no longer true, and neither is B thanks to AOL/Time Warner screwing up a good thing. Bobby is obviously on his way out. All we really have is D. I hope the series of failed moves this offseason doesn’t ruin that too.

  257. even if less than he could have gotten somewhere else.

    There is no reason to believe he could have been paid more somewhere else. Smoltz has always been one of the best compensated pitchers in baseball, even when he was a closer and pitching 70 innings a year.

  258. I’ve said all along that there is really no harm in signing anyone to a deal of 2 years or less regardless of dollar amount. If we go beyond 3 years, then I’d say we need to be cautious with how much we’re committing.

    For example, paying Manny $30mil a year for 2 years wouldn’t have any impact on the team reaching contender level at the earliest realistic time. Paying him $30 a year for 3 years would. That is because I see 2011 as our next best chance to have a core in place to succeed and be competitive. Anything that curtails our flexibility to fill in the gaps, plug holes, or otherwise complement that core would be a mistake unless the move itself serves to eliminate an expected need. Any contract or acquisition that runs at the end of 2010 affords us that flexibility we desire.

    We could sign anyone to a 2 year deal at any dollar amount and I wouldn’t care.

    Something like Ben Sheets or Adam Dunn to a 2 year deal worth $12mil with a mutual option for a third year at the same salary would be an ideal move. Pipe dream perhaps, but ideal in my mind.

  259. At the end of the day the Braves have a good amount of money to spend and let Smoltz go for $3 million. Are people here really arguing that we’ll spend that $3 million in a way that will improve this year’s chances of winning more than signing a John Smoltz? What else are you going to get for $3 million (on a one-year deal) in the current market? I feel like some people on this blog have never seen John Smoltz pitch.

    Incidentally, the Daily Yomiuri is reporting the Braves are close with Kawakami, and that he’ll fill the void in the rotation left by John Smoltz departure. Color me skeptical.

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/sports/20090110TDY18311.htm

  260. Pedro is looking for a place to pitch in 2009….would you take a flier on him?

  261. #Here’s a recap. JS said he would never negotiate with Furcal’s agent ever again.

    I think it’s time to pass out another round of paper bags to those who can’t help but hyperventilate about losing someone who is 42 years old, had the worst looking should Dr. Andrews had ever operated on, and won’t be back until late May at the earliest. Last time I checked, he didn’t have an S on his chest, just at the start of his last name.

    If the Red Sox think he might come back in late April, they may want to go ahead and have the paperwork filled out for his multiple trips to the DL.

    Here’s my prediction. Smoltz will pitch sparingly next season, with some signs of his old self. He’ll have an ERA in the neighborhood of 4.00, with about 25-35 innings pitched. He’ll get another contract from the Sox for $7-8 million guaranteed, and his arm will go dead in early May 2010. He retire with an ERA of 5.74 in slightly more than one season with the Red Sox.

    Oh, and he’ll pick up a World Series ring in 2009, because we’ll trade Chipper to the Sox for Mike Lowell, JD Drew and cash in early July.

  262. I would not take a flier on Pedro because even when he’s been able to pitch recently, he hasn’t looked good. With Smoltz, on the other hand…if he’s able to get on the mound, he is going to pitch great.

  263. Sam, wasnt trying to argue. But I just think with the state of our team (esp rotation) and how they’ve been raving about his bullpen stuff, there shouldnt be that much holding them back from offering $5mil instead of $3m. Wren has stated that we had about $40m to spend outside of what we could offer Smoltz or Glavine. I just think we could’ve at least matched their offer without hurting any other moves that could be made later

  264. My problem with letting Smoltz go doesn’t really have anything to do with my desire for the Braves to win baseball games. It’s purely emotional based on my lifelong attachment to him as a favorite player on my favorite team, in conjunction with the knowledge I believe I have that the team has enough money to pay him whatever it takes to keep him while also not hindering the team’s long term prospects or even seriously damaging the team’s short term prospects, because the short term prognosis is awful with or without Smoltz.

    That’s my issue. I’d rather lose in 2009 with Smoltz than lose without him, especially if our payroll isn’t maxing out our budgets.

  265. At the end of the day the Braves have a good amount of money to spend and let Smoltz go for $3 million. Are people here really arguing that we’ll spend that $3 million in a way that will improve this year’s chances of winning more than signing a John Smoltz?

    The Braves offered John Smoltz $2.5 million with incentives that could have made it worth $12 mil.

    What else are you going to get for $3 million (on a one-year deal) in the current market? I feel like some people on this blog have never seen John Smoltz pitch.

    Derek Lowe. Or would you prefer that the Braves not be able to up their bid on Lowe and lose him to the Mets for the sake of John Smoltz’ shoulder?

  266. Sam H,

    That additional guaranteed money to Smoltz would not have prohibited or prevented an offer to Lowe. Both could easily be fit under the budget and so they wouldn’t have been in conflict.

    Only if and when the payroll starts to get close to the max would that extra guarunteed money make a difference. I don’t believe that the remaining moves the Braves want to make or are interested in pursuing will push our payroll to the max budget. Only if we plan to sign Manny and Derek Lowe would we approach our limits, and who really thinks we are saving $3 million to pay Manny.

  267. Sam, that’s a false dichotomy. If we really have 25-30 million left over, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Also, the 12 million thing is a lark. There was no way he could pitch 200 innings this year.

  268. @333 Ububba I don’t know about you but I have never counted on Smoltz playing this season. I had mentally written him off last season. Call me a pessimist I guess. So I guess I was over it a long time ago. And really so were the Braves. That they even made him an offer at all given recent history with injured pitchers, to me was a huge gesture of respect.

  269. Kawakami pitches more and better innings than John Smoltz this year. You can bank on that, but that’s not the point of comparing the two.

  270. Sam, we are talking about $3 million. You are not getting Derek Lowe for $3 million. Lowe costs you $14 million for 3 yrs, or $42 million. Smoltz, if he pitches great, costs you $10 for 1 season. If he sucks he costs you $5 million, which is not even a drop in the bucket to the total contract you’d have to pay Lowe.

    And from what I’ve read, the Braves offered Smoltz 2.5 with escalators that would bring it to 7 or 8, not 12. Bosox offered 5 with escalators to 10. The difference in money will NOT be spent on a player anywhere near as valuable as John Effing Smoltz. Like Chipper said, if anyone is going to bounce back and pitch great after a major injury, it’s him.

  271. The Braves FO says he could’ve reached $12M. I realize it’s sentimentalism that wants Smoltz to stay, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad reason.

  272. Yes, I have seen John Smoltz pitch, several times in person. He is or was a great pitcher. But nobody forced him to go to Boston. The fact the Braves didn’t offer as much doesn’t mean they didn’t want him on the team. Smoltz understood that but he resented the fact they weren’t willing to pay as much as the Red Sox. It wasn’t like the Braves released him; he left because he could get more money elsewhere. And the point is, responding to Weldon, why should he get $12 million if he can’t pitch 200 innings? It seems as if Smoltz wanted to get paid for being Smoltz regardless of whether he could perform. The Red Sox were willing to do that, probably in the belief that they could get without him early and have him ready for the playoffs. The Braves aren’t in that position. And, yes, it might be true that “if anyone can bounce back from this injury and pitch great, it’s John Smoltz” but that doesn’t mean he will.

    It’s pretty obvious this offseason has been a debacle and Wren probably has his share of responsibility for it. But I’m not terribly sympathetic to a guy that talks about wanting to stay but leaves as soon as he gets a better offer.

  273. We could pile up $5million and burn it like the Joker and it isn’t going to affect the remainder of our offseason or the competitive level of the team we field next season.

    Burning $5million is a worse idea than paying $5million to Smoltz. In either instance though, the Braves are fielding an equally competitive team (read: not competitive) in 2009.

  274. I’m not sympathetic to Smoltz, I’m sympathetic to myself as a Braves fan. I wanted Smoltz on the team, for on-field and off-field contributions, and because I like to see my favorite players play for my favorite team. I suspect many Braves fans feel the same.

    If the prospect of Derek Lowe or Kenshin Kawakami gets you pumped up for Braves baseball more than John Smoltz, then we just have a difference of opinion.

  275. Part of why it hurts is because Smoltz is unique. There are precious few players left who had careers like Barry Larkin, John Smoltz, Steve Yzerman all with one single team. There are even fewer that did so while also being part of something great. Smoltz helped build the Braves into the dynasty they were. There are also precious few athletes that I grew up admiring that are still playing. Smoltz has been a combination of that and I valued that very highly. He’s a childhood hero and and synonymous with my favorite team. If he never pitched again I’d have been sad about that too, but I’d have been satisfied, or at least content.

    When Steve Yzerman retired I had tears welling up in my eyes but I was nevertheless 100% content with the result. This is much more painful to me in a much less satisfying way.

    There are Rays fans growing up now for whom Evan Longoria may be the same to them as Chipper is now for me. The difference though is that today, you don’t really expect anyone to be with one team exclusively, you accept it at the outset that someday, even the franchise player will play for someone else but you hope against hope that your guy will be different.

  276. Also, the 12 million thing is a lark. There was no way he could pitch 200 innings this year.

    The emphasis, you see, must be placed on your second sentence. “There was no way he could pitch 200 innings this year.” See? I know that. You know that. Frank Wren and Terry McGuirk know that. John Smoltz knows that. That’s why he chose the easier money and smaller incentives in Boston. Because everybody knows he won’t be, what’s the phrase…John Effing Smoltz next year. He’ll be lucky to break 120 innings with an ERA+ over 100. The only person in this thing that might not actually realize that is Chipper.

    If John Smoltz thought he was capable of pitching a full season for Atlanta, which is what he’s implying with all of his public whining, he shouldn’t have been afraid to bet a hometown contract on incentive clauses.

    If John Smoltz isn’t capable of pitching a full season for Atlanta next year there’s no real reason to pay him more than 2.5 MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS.

    And honestly, the Red Sox think EXACTLY the same thing. Atlanta was willing to bet about 4% of their annual payroll on guaranteed money for Smoltz. Boston was willing to bet…about 4.5%.

  277. I love Smoltz and I’m sorry he’s gone, but I don’t fault Wren. He offered him a fair deal and took no more risk than he thought he could. Avoiding another Hampton is a good thing. When we sign Kawakami and Lowe everyone will calm down. Hopefully.

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