Jair Jurrjens

Jair Jurrjens Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

So, the Braves traded an expensive, supernumerary player for a young starting pitcher with less than a year’s service time who went on to lead the team in wins, starts, and innings pitched and finish third in the rookie of the year voting, and an outfield prospect. You make a few trades like that, you’re in great shape. Unfortunately, it was the only major deal the Braves have made in the last two years that worked out…

Jurrjens was actually a little unlucky last year; the THT stats say that his ERA “should” have been 3.52, but he allowed a few more hits (188, almost exactly one per inning) than you’d expect from his strikeout/walk data. The key to his unexpectedly fine 2008 was a major drop in his home runs allowed rate from his abbreviated 2007 major league campaign. His strikeout rate also improved. In both these cases, it was rather a return to his minor league performances than a step forward, though he probably maintained a little more of his minor league success than you’d expect. He isn’t quite dominant, and thus needs some defensive help, which he got from the infield but not from the outfield.

The only real concern I have about Jurrjens going forward is his workload; 188 1/3 innings pitched is quite a lot for a pitcher his age, and marks a jump from 143 1/3 in 2007, most of that in AA. The Braves might have been gentler with him down the stretch if they’d had anyone else who could give them six innings without provoking a riot. At any rate, a 30 percent or so jump in innings, even without the move to the majors, is worrisome… Had six hits in 58 AB last year (.103) but walked six times, which is certainly unusual and probably doesn’t mean anything. I don’t know how many pitchers have a secondary average (.120) higher than their batting average. Pinch ran six times, would have led the team with seven sacrifice hits except for Bobby’s deranged insistence upon having Kelly Johnson bunt.

257 thoughts on “Jair Jurrjens”

  1. Thank goodness for Jair. Will look forward to him taking the mound for the next few years. Really likeable player.

  2. Lifted from last thread to continue unhealthy discourse…

    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.

  3. I feel for Jurrjens; he’s going to be the only decent pitcher on a losing team again this year, and maybe next (and maybe the next after that, etc.). When he was traded to the Braves, he must have thought, “Cool. I’m going to play for another winner.” Wonder what he’s thinking now?

    And wonder what Derek Lowe is thinking? In an AJC piece, Chipper says he’s talked to Lowe, and implies that Lowe is taken aback by the Smoltz situation. If you’re him, and the Mets and Phillies are both expressing interest also, where would you go?

    The people who defend the Smoltz situation as a good baseball decision don’t realize how much, IMO, this hurts the Braves image not just in the eyes of fans but in the eyes of players themselves. If (when) the Braves lose out on Lowe, the club is REALLY going to be demoralized. Talk money all you want, and legitmately so, but that stuff matters too. These guys are human beings.

  4. For what it’s worth, Buster Olney, again on my local Nashville sports radio, said that Lowe doesn’t like the Mets, and that if offers were equal would choose the Braves.

  5. “Buster Olney, again on my local Nashville sports radio, said that Lowe doesn’t like the Mets, and that if offers were equal would choose the Braves.”

    Is this Scott Boras telling the Mets they need to up their offer for Lowe? Given a battle of wits involving Wren, the Mets GM and Boras, I bet big on Boras.

  6. So just to get this straight, under Marc’s theory, we could’ve offered him a league-minimum salary over a one-year contract, and Smoltz should’ve been perfectly pleased with that offer and taken it, and if he hadn’t all the vitriol should’ve been pointed at Smoltz and not Wren.

    It matters not how much money he has. If the organization or company or whatever you’d worked for your whole life was seriously lowballing you, you’d feel betrayed, too. Just because we’re talking about $2-5 million instead of $50k-100k or whatever means that everything changes? I don’t buy it at all.

    And if one more person says, “If this were some other 42-year-old coming off of major shoulder surgery, would you be upset that we didn’t sign him?” I may throw something. This isn’t some other one. Had we signed Burnett and traded for Peavy and whatever else, I would still be upset, but I could maybe see how an argument could be made that we don’t need to go in for $5 million on Smoltz. But none of that happened. We’ve got $25 million to spend. What, are we gonna pay Lowe $20 million a year? This is a one-year contract, and it’s not like Smoltz is blocking anybody, even if Hanson is ready, which I kind of doubt. Not paying John Smoltz is salary-dumping with no point to it. Yeah, we get younger, but what good is that gonna do if we don’t have anybody to replace him? In my opinion, it’s just cold economic thinking without any common sense involved.

  7. And hell yes, Boras is trying to get the Mets to up their offer. I still say there is almost zero chance Lowe signs with us. At this point, I’ll believe it when I see it. And by see it, I don’t mean hear a report that he’s reached a preliminary agreement. I mean see his ass in a chair behind a folding table, sitting in front of a crappy Braves cardboard background with a Braves hat on his head. Wren will find a way to f*** this up. Guaranteed.

  8. Smoltz made shrewd use of the media throughout his Braves career, openly conjecturing about playing for another team every time his contract was up. This would predictably fan the flames of public sentiment behind him, and drive up his price, which was of course the whole point of the exercise. I don’t recall any of our other top players doing this to the extent he did.

    Now, I don’t blame Smoltz for having acted that way, and I never held it against him. But I sure do remember it happening. It happened again as soon as the ’08 season ended. So while I’m beyond glad that he signed all those Braves’ contracts in the past, I’m not going to get upset on his behalf that it didn’t work out this time around.

  9. Smoltz made shrewd use of the media throughout his Braves career

    And St. John the Legend is playing the media again now. Because the media love a friendly quote more than they love actual analysis. John Smoltz is a sanctimonious prick and while I’m grateful for his help over the last 20 years, don’t let the door hit his ass on the way out. He took the money. Just like JD Drew and Rafeal Furcal and Andruw Jones and every other free agent that has switched teams since free agency began. The Braves made a reasonable offer, the Red Sox overbid them, and the free agent took the money. And then, being John Effing Smoltz, the free agent made himself a self-righteous gloryhound on the way out the door. Because he’d hate for his church friends in Alpharetta to think he took the fucking money.

    News at 11.

  10. Nick – I agree 100%, Wren will screw this up. I thought he had learned his lesson, with too much talk and leaked information and not enough action. The next thing we should hear from Wren, or any of his toadies, is that someone’s name is on the dotted line. At my advanced age, I thought I had stopped getting upset over sports, but this off-season is really pissing me off. Who ever heard of going into spring training without an outfield? Diaz/Anderson/DumDum/Blanco? If I didn’t love baseball and the Braves so much, I’d give up.

  11. somebody tell me the difference between frenchys’ whining about being sent to the minors and Smoltz bitching to the media about the “insulting” offer the Braves made. oh, i see, the difference is that Frenchy couldnt just pack up and go to work somewhere else.

  12. Count me as neither an #7 nor an @ 13. Both views there are a little extreme.

    I am actually glad Smoltz is gone (I think we can get more for the money several ways and I know about his legendary dedication, but this team doesn’t have the payroll to take chances), but I do believe the FO handled it very poorly.

  13. somebody tell me the difference between frenchys’ whining about being sent to the minors and Smoltz bitching to the media about the “insulting” offer the Braves made.

    Well, to date the Braves have not paid Francoeur over $120 million for his services. Wait, I’m sorry. Reading some of these post you’d have thought St. John worked all of those years for free. It’s not like he made $14 million for 28 innings of work last year. No, it’s only Mike Hampton that gets paide for being on the DL like that.

  14. @7,

    Well, the obvious response is he wasn’t offered a minimum-salary contract. He was offered a chance to earn up to $7 million. And the absolute dollar amounts do make a difference; it wasn’t like he was coming off a great season they were lowballing him; he is an injured, aging pitcher trying to come back. Look, I don’t think players owe the team or fans any loyalty because it’s not going to be reciprocated when the guy starts struggling. By the same token, teams aren’t required to throw money at a risky player (who happens to be fabulously wealthy) just because he has been a great player. The Braves made a reasonable offer, the Sox beat it, so be it. But don’t make Smoltz out to be a martyr.

  15. Something I’m concerned with is the apparent magnitude of the Braves’ fall from grace.

    We were a dynasty and I knew as we all did that the star would fade. I believe though, and still do believe, that there was enough in place to prevent the Braves from entering the dark ages between the empire of the 90s and the next. I think we’ve fallen farther faster than we ever should have because I think we’ve had pieces in place and enough financial flexibility to prevent this. $100million in payroll is enough to field a competitive team, there is good reason why we should be staring down the barrel of losing seasons while we pray our prospects develop into stars. We should have bridged the gap better.

  16. Self righteous glory hound? Wow.

    Look, the Braves made an offer to the free agent, Boston outbid them and the free agent took the money. Who cares? The question is whether 2009 John Smoltz is going to be worth the money the Red Sox committed, at least $5 million. My contention is yes, absolutely he’s worth that and I’d guarantee him even more if I had to. He is an above average pitcher almost every single time he takes the mound. If your doctor thinks he’s going to be back May 15, he’s worth $8 or $10 million in my opinion and that’s speaking simply in baseball terms. What he means to the team/players/fans/community is gravy.

    I’m blasting Wren not because I feel he disrespected Smoltz or because I think Smoltz deserved better, I’m blasting him because I think it’s a shit baseball move. And in the context of this offseason, with the Braves in the papers for all the wrong reasons, I think it was doubly imperative from a PR standpoint to keep the guy.

    But what’s done is done and we move on. Maybe Smoltz is a jerk and maybe he’s not, I don’t know the guy. What I do know, though, is that if these moves backfire and the Braves suck in 2009, Wren has to be squarely on the hot seat.

  17. mlbtraderumors has a link saying we might be close to signing kenshin kakawacka. pumped?
    actually, i could get excited about this signing if he is a prequel to the lowe signing. then, all we have to do is sign/trade for an outfielder worth a damn. can we trade prado,morton/jojo, and soriano for nady and phil hughes?

  18. I’d say I echo Dix’s sentiments for the most part. I’m pretty nostalgic when it comes to my favorite team too.

    Can someone post the link to Frenchy’s baseball clinic again? Lighten the mood a little.

  19. “you dont have to be smart to play baseball. take me for example.”

    “chicks dig the strikeout”

    “who wants rally’s” (kids cheer)

  20. can we screw this one up also??

    7:45pm: Mark Bowman is reporting on the Hot Stove Report that the Braves may have already lured Kawakami. The report says “multiple Major League sources” are confirming tonight that a deal is near completion and that this rate, Kawakami could take a physical on Monday. The report also details that the Braves are readying their first offer for Derek Lowe, which they plan to make next week. More from Bowman here.

    This link is gaining in popularity. It says the Braves are close to a deal with Kenshin Kawakami, but there’s still a chance he could sign elsewhere. I do think the Braves may end up signing him but I still feel this report may be jumping the gun.

  21. OKay… I have been away for some weeks no access to the internet really having to read in the Honolulu Advertiser today about Smoltz.
    I have always been supportive of the Braves front office the past twenty years, today I have just three words:
    FIRE FRANK WREN!
    I am disgusted, disgusted, disgusted!!!

    Sorry, but I had to let it out! I have been annoying my gf for a seven hour flight about it.

  22. so, if we get kawakami and lowe, will we have to rely on the trade market to get a left fielder?

  23. Shit, I guess I am going to have to play left for the Braves this year. At least I won’t have to listen to Chip call games.

  24. Is there anywhere we can look to see Kawakami’s Japanese stats? I’m interested in seeing his peripherals.

  25. Braves 14,

    Don’t get your hopes up. YOu know if we are about to sign him he will ink with the O’s. Look for Lowe to be a Met by Thursday too.

  26. Kawakami doesn’t excite me nearly as much as Lowe would. I’d LOVE to get Lowe on a 3-year deal at $14-16 million per with a 4th year as a team option or vesting thingy or something. I’m reasonably confident he’ll be good and healthy.

    Kawakami, OTOH, I view more as a complete wild card.

  27. mraver, Boras will fool Wren into a four-year deal plus a vesting option year.

    A rotation of Lowe, Vazquez, Jurrjens, Kawakami with Campillo, Morton, Reyes, and Hanson fighting for the fifth spot is a pretty good situtation, but it honestly does not excite me…our offense is very weak even if we get Nady.

    Cody Johnson must be a patient of Francoeur’s Clinic.

  28. Not much of a slider or change…pretty straight fastball and a very very good curve…they have a pretty wide strike zone in Japan!!!

  29. Yeah, I like that off-the-table hook. Had some of those guys spinning like a top. Not a lotta movement with the heat, but he looks like he can hit spots. His windup reminds me of David Cone.

    Saw the movie “Milk” tonight. Terrific flick (Gus Van Sant directed) & outstanding performances from Sean Penn & Josh Brolin. Recommended.

  30. That video does not impress me at all. The guy has a VERY flat fastball. His curve looks unhittable, but then again, the video only showed the good ones. Does he have a slider or a change? I didn’t see one in the entire video. With just three pitches (4-seam, 2-seam and curve) he looks like a reliever to me.

  31. There was one splitter in there, and what looked like a couple of cut fastballs that, while not Maddux-like, had a little wiggle to them. I dunno — it’s hard to draw many conclusions from a highlight reel. A lot of the fastballs were pretty flat.

  32. Lowe and Kawakami, which may happen, would start to give me some hope for the season. Lowe/Vasquez/Jurrjens/Kawakami/whoever is pretty solid. Kawakami is projected as a #3 guy.

    Add Dunn with that and I’ll forgive Wren for the Smoltz thing.

  33. Kawakami didn’t make his fame in Japan with a Maddux like two seamer, but with Maddux like control. 1500 innings, just 1200K but also just 300BB and a decent homerun rate, so obviously he’s smart enough not to leave that flat thing down the pipe. Oh and it should be noted that they use different camera angles at time in Japan that squeeze out horizontal movement. The guy’s pretty good and he has had a decent workload for his age, go for it FW!

  34. Anybody else wonder about a GM who in a space of 8 months has managed to piss off 2 of the best players ever to play here (Smoltz and C. Jones), but has gone out of his way to pander to Jeff Francouer?

    What’s next for Frank? Baby-sitting for Gregor Blanco’s kids? Cleaning Corky Miller’s house? A public berating of Brian McCann?

  35. KC–I have been thinking something similar: Dunn, Kawakami and Lowe (who I am not that impressed with) would go along way to salvaging the offseason. The thing I like is that we would have only lost Tyler Houston (plus Gilmore–who is at best a number of years away), be improved in 2009 and much stronger in 2010….However, at this point it seems like a lot to ask….

  36. from the official site: “While entertaining Lowe with a recruiting video that included clips from country music recording star Alan Jackson, the Braves got a better sense of what the veteran pitcher and Boras are seeking.”

    Yankees and Red Sox use wads of money to entice players. ATL uses Alan Jackson, baby!

  37. I think the Braves can compete with a Lowe/Vazquez/Jurrjens/Kawakami/? rotation. However, there’s no way we can compete with even a Escobar/Johnson/Jones/McCann/Nady (Or Dunn)/Kotchman/Francouer/Blanco lineup. Just not enough power, at all.

  38. I agree Rob. However, assuming we`sign Dunn, (for the purposes of this example) we will have average to above average power at every position except: 1B, CF, and RF.

    Where do you go to improve? I figure we’re stuck with Kotchman or Francoeur and I don’t know of a legit CF option outside maybe Cameron.

  39. “While entertaining Lowe with a recruiting video that included clips from country music recording star Alan Jackson, the Braves got a better sense of what the veteran pitcher and Boras are seeking.”

    The key to my remaining a sports fan is to shield myself from such knowledge of the profoundly bizarre blandness that is the corporate side of big-time sports….

  40. I think if you get Dunn, that’s plenty of power. I just don’t think we’re willing to pay for Dunn in addition to Kawakami and Lowe. I know we can’t if that $25 million figure DOB cited is correct.

  41. By 2010 we might have Schafer in CF and maybe even the luck of unloading Frenchy….Also if Hanson joins the middle of the big league club in mid-summer and Hudson comes back in 2010, then the Braves might have more to trade with….

  42. That $25M didn’t include money for Smoltz or Glavine right. Maybe they convinced ownership to use that money on additional players and raise payroll to try and save face.

  43. It DID include Smoltz and Glavine money, and even if it didn’t, it still wouldn’t be enough to pay for all 3 free agents being discussed here.

    I will say that I think DOB underestimated the available funds.

    I’ll also say that I don’t believe this team would ever sign an Adam Dunn, much to my chagrin.

  44. What about Gabe Kapler? Maybe he could be Schaffer’s right handed platoon partner (or, if we were really loucky replace Francoeur if he, as most of us suspect) doesn’t rebound.

  45. I’d rather Schaffer stay down then bring him up only in a platoon. Hard to learn that way.

    They bring Lowe to Atlanta, sit him down, and show him a video with Alan Jackson. Awesome. I can’t stop laughing.

  46. well, then….

    By David O’Brien

    January 10, 2009 11:53 AM | Link to this

    Believe it or not, I really think the Braves have reached an agreement with Kawakami. And not because a Japanese paper reported it.

    (Those of you who think the Japanese papers never publish misinformation should recall last week when one of the biggest papers over there reported that Kawakami had narrowed his list of finalists to three teams, and Braves weren’t one of them. The agent let me know that wasn’t the case and that Braves were still squarely in the mix.)

    After the Smoltz thing transpired, Braves stepped up all efforts on other pitchers. I think they’ll get Kawakami and have a legitimate shot at Lowe, despite what so many seem to believe is a preordained thing that Lowe will go to one of the bigger markets teams in the Northeast.

  47. Believe it or not, I really think the Braves have reached an agreement with Kawakami.

    Wren must have sent him a DVD of Rush Hour 3….

  48. stu, good point…with the way things have gone I thought that nothing would really be leaked out. He’s stating that several agents and sources are saying the deal could be done. Im grasping for something, we need some good news

  49. Anybody else a little afraid of what our stepped-up efforts re: KK are gonna look like? I would not be thrilled with 3 years, $30 million.

  50. They sent him You Only Live Twice, a James Bond movie from the 60’s.

    Speaking of which, I pulled a “ububba” today. I was looking at this website ranking the James Bond movies (like I care what they think anyway; their list was crazy), and someone was like, “You like James Bond? That’s really weird.” And I was just like, “Hey, I’m a James Bond nut. I could have worse habits, ya know.” Straight out of the Jim Tremayne vault…

  51. AJC:

    Glavine not looking to leave Braves

    John Smoltz’s attempt to return to the Braves is over now that he’s on his way to Boston, but Tom Glavine’s is just getting going.

    He has no timetable yet for a possible return, or a contract with the Braves, but he’s taking each step in his recovery as it comes, and so far, so good.

    “I’m just in the mind-set that I’m going to take it a step at a time and a session at a time, and as long as I don’t have any bumps, then I keep pushing forward,” said Glavine, who isn’t necessarily aiming to be ready by the start of spring training on Feb. 14. “If I’m ready in a week, great, but if it’s six weeks or eight weeks, then that’s what it is.”

    Glavine said there is no need to start talking contract with the Braves when he’s not sure yet how his arm will hold up.

    “I’ve had a couple conversations with them that have basically been ‘time is on both of our sides,’ ” Glavine said. “There’s no hurry to do anything. The longer I wait, the more I can assess where I am and how I’m feeling.”

    http://tinyurl.com/9lozx8

    Why couldn’t Smoltz have been this way?

  52. per DOB:

    He isn’t likely to be an innings-eater at this stage of his career. Although Kawakami pitched a career-high 215 innings in 2006, he totaled 167-1/3 innings in 2007 and only 117-1/3 in 2008, when he missed time with a back strain and reportedly had shoulder soreness.

    That’s the only part that doesn’t make me too excited. They must be convinced he’s fine with all Wren has said about wanting to go into 2009 with no worries about injuries to the rotation.

    It might be worth it to sign him just to see what Bobby’s conversations on the mound would be like with him.

  53. At this point, If Kawakami signs for 5/$55MM I’ll be happy that something happened. I’ll be pissed later, though, no doubt.

  54. 78—I was thinking a box of Eve’s.

    (Yes, I had to consult my wife for a brand name. Yes, she’s once again questioning her decision to marry me 4.5 years ago.)

  55. 84 — ha!
    While taking a tour in high school at a Proctor and Gamble (Summer’s Eve) plant in my hometown… I convinced a buddy of mine to ask for a sample. heh heh. Could have come in handy for Tex, no?

  56. Also, Furman Bisher will almost certainly write a column referencing Pearl Harbor.

    Well, lets look at the Braves’ potential opening day lineup against Cole Hamels:

    1. Yunel Escobar, 2. Kelly Johnson, 3. Chipper Jones, 4. Brian McCann, 5. Jeff Francoeur, 6. Matt Diaz, 7. Casey Kotchman, 8. Josh Anderson and 9. Derek Lowe

    It already invites a Terrance Moore column. Maybe even another ESPN segment if Escobar was traded for Peavy and Lillibridge took his spot.

  57. #74–I am afraid after Smoltz’s departure we will overpay for either Lowe or KK or possibly both….Wren really wants to make something happen….

  58. I thought Bisher and Moore both took buyouts. When will they go away?

    I really hate Bisher. I don’t have many rules, but one of them is “when Hank Aaron and Bear Bryant both hate a guy, you hate him too.”

  59. The Braves have an affinity for paying a decent price for a back-up catcher, and they don’t seem to care if the back-up catcher can hit. That’s why I think they overpaid for Ross. With that said, I’m not worried that the Braves will overpay for anyone. Considering our willingness to walk away from a trade for Peavy and signing Burnett because their prices were too high, I don’t think the Braves are going to get into a bidding war over Kawakami. You can’t fault them for not overpaying, but it could very well backfire when our view of fair market value is different from other teams’ crazy ideas.

  60. Since whenever I think good thoughts, bad things happen, I will predict that Boras is using the Braves to drive up the price to the Mets and Lowe will sign with them. There! Reverse psychology to fool the cosmos works every time.

    But, seriously, things alwsys look darkest before the dawn, so maybe things are looking up. Or, alternatively, the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.

    The MLB network showed the ’96 World Series last night. Enjoyed the first two games (especially the anguished Yankee fans as they were getting crused)and turned it off after that.
    As an aside, it’s interesting that people always talk about how Maddux was not so good in the post-season, but really he wasn’t that bad. He pitched several superb playoff games, including Game 1 in the ’95 Series and Game 2 in ’96. He really chopped the Yankees up in ’96 (although not so well in Game 6). Also, in ’99, he pitched fabulously until the 8th, when Bobby decided he didn’t need to have anyone warming up. Most of Maddux’s problems (and this is true of Glavine to a lesser extent) came because the Braves couldn’t score any runs.

    And, ububba, thanks for the tip on “Milk.” It’s one I want to see anyway.

  61. I thought Bisher and Moore both took buyouts.

    Did they really? I know they aren’t popular here, and I shake my head at a lot of stuff they write, Moore especially. But that’s more bad tidings for the newspaper biz. When the NYT hocks its own building to stay in business another year, you know things are on the verge of collapse. It’s a real shame, but I believe 2009 will see more than one major market without its own daily newspaper.

  62. I don’t think Moore was part of the buyout group, but Bisher definitely was. He has some sort of agreement that allows for occasional contributions. I suspect that he’s not getting paid for his articles. The AJC doesn’t mind running them because there are still plenty of people who can’t imagine a sports page without him. My dad grew up reading Bisher.

  63. Bisher is to the AJC what Strom Thurmond was to the United States Senate. He’ll probably hang around till he is the same age too.

  64. For what it is worth (probably nothing), it says this on Kawakami’s wikipedia page:

    “He has also just signed with MLB team Atlanta Braves to a two year fifteen million dollar contract. They will announce it tommorow.”

  65. Well, Ogilvy reinjured his foot and will miss the game in Lexington this afternoon. VU chance of victory just went from 40% to 3%.

  66. If the Braves close on Kawakami and Lowe – big if on Lowe, smaller if on Kawakami – their starting rotation will be in better shape than in any other non-Peavy anchored scenario presented this off-season.

    A rotation of Lowe, Vasquez, Kawakami, Jurrjens, Reyes/Morton/Campillo/Hanson is better than any rotation featuring John Smoltz in the top five.

    Obviously none of this would help fill the black hole in the OF, but then again, neither would John Smoltz or AJ Burnett. The Braves are going to either fill the OF in some manner, or they’re not. Regardless, Lowe and Kawakami would go a long way toward filling the rotation and giving Hanson a little more wiggle room in the development department.

  67. Look, the Braves made an offer to the free agent, Boston outbid them and the free agent took the money. Who cares?

    I certainly don’t. Free agent pitcher took the money. News at 11. What I find annoying as hell is this put-upon, woe-is-me, “why was I disrespected?” song and dance Smoltz is tapping on his way out the door. Dude took the money from Boston. I’m okay with that, just like I was okay when Maddux took the money from Chicago and Glavine took the money from New York. What I’m not okay with is pretending that taking the money from someone else gives you the moral right to kavetch about “disrespect.” No one disrespected John Smoltz (or Tom Glavine back when he left.) John Smoltz valued $3 mil guaranteed more than he valued the legacy of being a lifelong Brave. Okay. This isn’t something to hold against Frank Wren.

    The question is whether 2009 John Smoltz is going to be worth the money the Red Sox committed, at least $5 million. My contention is yes, absolutely he’s worth that and I’d guarantee him even more if I had to.

    Well, I’m certainly glad you’re not spending the Braves’ limited money then. Smoltz might be worth a guarantee of 2-3 mil next year. For a team like Boston, with their revenue stream and payroll budget, “2-3 mil” inflates to 5-6. Smoltz almost certainly isn’t worth more than that, and I wouldn’t float 5 mil on the string cheese holding his labrum together. That you think he is worth MORE suggests to me that you’re more concerned with maintaining nostalgia for the ’90s than rebuilding a contender for the late ‘Aughts and early ‘Teens.

  68. DOB:

    Just filed story for paper and online, should be up soon. Deal is done, pending physical. Kawakami is flying him for physical Monday, press conference likely not until Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

    http://tinyurl.com/9gae6p

  69. Looks like Bethany’s another fan of “Gabe the Babe.”

    Rob,
    James Bond & baseball, tickets to happiness.

    Marc,
    I know you’re my age or older, so the direction on “Milk” should really connect with you. Sometimes you see a period piece movie & you say, “Wow, this feels exactly like that time.” This flick did that.

    Kinda saw it on accident, actually. My gal & I went to the Times Square theater to see “Slumdog Millionaire,” but it sold out just as we were moving to the counter—for a 10:45 showing, but that’s NYC for you. The place was showing about 19 flicks & “Milk” was the next good thing showing. It was either that or “The Wrestler.”

    And I watched that whole ’96 WS thing. I’m an absolute glutton, sure, but I went to Games 4 & 5, so I was trying to put myself in that head again. Talk about repressed memories. Walking out of AFC Stadium after Game 5, my head was like a tuning fork. Oh, the pain…

    Dan,
    The Strom Thurmond analogy works in more ways than one.

  70. And so if Kawakami is indeed #11 for us, does wikipedia become the most reliable site in existence? It can predict the future!!!

  71. Signing Smoltz to a contract would only impact our ability to contend positively or negatively for 2009. Guaranteeing him more or less than $5 million would have no impact on our ability to field competitive teams in any year beyond 2009. And again, it has nothing to do with nostalgia. It has to do with me thinking John Smoltz will be a more effective pitcher in 2009 than Kenshin Kawakami.

    But I’m done talking about it. Looks like we have one new starter and are gunning for a second. Hopefully we can salvage some shred of dignity this offseason and catch lightning in a bottle somehow.

  72. @114 – Can’t compare the Kawakami signing (if indeed there is one) to not getting Smoltz for ’09. I am almost positive that we picked up Kawakami at more than 1 year. So while I won’t dispute the idea that Smoltz might pitch better next year (although he just had major shoulder surgery so that could be a stretch), the Kawakami signing makes us better beyond ’09.

  73. Also also, if we have JJ and KK then we will need to sign LL, but Les Lancaster has been retired since 1993, and I believe Lindsay Lohan is a switch-hitting infielder and not a pitcher.

  74. If KK’s middle name (I’m not sure middle names are a Japanese custom), Moore will really have a cow.

  75. To late to edit so a rewrite:

    If KK’s middle name (I’m not sure middle names are a Japanese custom) starts with a K, Moore will really have a cow.

  76. OK, so it looks like we just established Kawakami’s posting fee. Let’s see if any major league teams are interested (I’m guessing Red Sox or Dodgers get him).

  77. @122 – good point, but same can be said about Smoltz. Again, it is a HUGE surgery he just had, and it was at the age of 41. I wouldn’t doubt him, that’s for sure – but you can’t go around saying Kawakami may suck and not say that John may not be the same as well.

  78. im saying 3/21 for Kawakami. If we get Lowe, and IF we somehow mentioned to get Dunn, on 3-4 year deals at less than a combined 30 per, it will have been an incredibly successful offseason.

    Think about this:

    CF Blanco/Anderson (with Schafer up midseason)
    SS Escobar
    3B Jones
    LF Dunn
    C McCann
    RF Francouer
    2B Johnson
    1B Kotchman

    LF Diaz
    2B/SS Infante
    C Ross
    1B/LF Norton
    CF Anderson/Blanco

    (with Prado, B. Jones as extra trade bait)

    Lowe
    Vasquez
    Jurrjens
    Kawakami
    Campillo/Morton/Reyes/Glavine? (with Hanson up at midseason)

    (this leaves both Morton/Reyes as potential trade bait)

    Campillo/Carlyle?
    Acosta
    Logan
    Soriano
    Moylan
    Gonzalez
    Boyer
    Bennett
    Marek
    O’Flaherty
    Ridgway
    Stockman

    (lots of options here)

    I think were in good shape next year and going forward…asking for Lowe and Dunn might be asking a lot after getting KK and Vasquez, but considering Glavine/Andruw could come on minor league deals and we saved the Smoltz money, if we really had 35-40 million to play with we could still have 20 + the smoltz money left, that might not be enough but it could be to get Abreu/Swisher/Nady if not Dunn.

  79. another note, it is a really LH lineup, so we are counting on good pitching and a Frenchy rebound, or we could also make a play midseason for a RH outfield bat

  80. I’ll say this about Kawakami: I think he’s much more likely to throw 150 innings next year than John Smoltz.

    If we end up with Vazquez, Kawakami, AND Lowe, I’ll say we’ve got the best rotation in the East.

  81. I think ideally, the bullpen would be: Gonzalez, Moylan, Soriano, Bennett, Boyer, Acosta, Logan/O’Flahtery.

    Maybe replace one of Soriano, Boyer, Acosta with Marek

  82. Yes if we sign Kawakami and Lowe I think we have the makings of a very solid overall staff.

    It’ll be a question of health (obviously) and whether the offense can score enough runs consistently to sustain winning streaks, especially when Chipper is resting.

  83. The Sox just picked up Takashi Saito, adding to their list of talented fragile pitchers. Like Penny and Smoltz, Saito’s got an extremely incentivized deal — $1.5 or $2 mill base, with somewhere around $5 mill more in incentives.

    Another smart move. They can totally afford him, and when he’s healthy, he’s lights out.

    Jeez, it sucks when a team has all the money in the world and they use it to get all the best players.

  84. AJC:

    Signing pitcher Javier Vazquez has done little to satisfy the blogosphere. But, as Mark Bradley found out, Braves GM Frank Wren (right) isn’t concerned one bit about what his critics are saying.

    http://tinyurl.com/uv2t

    Will Wren silence his critics with a signing of Derek Lowe and/or Adam Dunn?

  85. I’ll just assume that Kawakami is 3 years, 21 million (saw that somewhere as a possible number).

    I think I also saw that his 2006 IP was 215 or so, followed by 175ish in 2007 and 115 last year due to a couple injuries. To me, that represents moderate injury risk for a significant portion of our payroll and a significant time commitment.

    Performance is also a concern, though these equivalencies look pretty nice. If we can get around a 3.50 ERA from him, I think it’s probably worth it, regardless of injury concerns or our rebuilding progress (of course barring him missing whole seasons). However, I’m sure those numbers aren’t an exact science.

    The 3 years is nice if he performs well, but obviously, if he Igawa’s, our job is tougher in 2011 when we should be competing again. Since he has no track record in the states, the odds of this happening are greater than say, a league average guy, but then, the league average guy wouldn’t put up those equivalencies either.

    NB: the IP’s in those equivalencies are off, I’m not sure if they’re some kind of equivalent or what.

  86. Santana counts for a TON, don’t get me wrong. But if you’re the Mets, it’s Santana and…. ? Pelfrey and Maine?

  87. Also, I really like how, when they didn’t get any of the big FAs they wanted, the Red Sox turned to just signing a bunch of high-risk/high-reward guys to incentive-laden deals. In the end, it only costs them spots on the 40-man roster.

  88. Let’s just all calm down. I seem to remember the words, “It will be an incredible surprise if Furcal is not signed now,” and then, “Surprise!” I’ve never been this way, but I’m waiting til I read an official release before I’m happy. No offense to Mac at all (we all believed it), but I just wanna make sure.

  89. Ride the Dragon, Baby!

    It’s official… and I am working on trademarking that slogan.

    I had to laugh at this quote though, from the incomparable Mr. Bowman:

    “The 33-year-old right-hander was looking to land with a team that has a chance to win and in a city that possesses Japanese culture.”

    Clearly Kenshin’s English is a little rough, or maybe I just completely missed the Japanese culture of Atlanta in my 12+ years there (or maybe it popped up after I left)… and I guess now we’re putting a team together that will have a chance to win, so I’ll forgive him there.

    My excitement knows no bounds! 2011 World Championship here we come!!!

  90. Stu,

    Good thought. The Mets appear to have both a maximum and a percentage relationship on salary and years that they have worked out on Lowe and Perez. Like, “Perez is 80% of Lowe, but up to 5 years, Lowe max at 3 years”. They figure if the Braves take Lowe, they step back in on O. Perez.

    However, what happens to Braves and Mets if Phillies get serious about one of those guys? Hmmm?

    Kawakami greatly reduces our possibility of doing Garland or Wolf. Kawakami fills that role with slight upside.

  91. Further on Kawakami,

    IF we have 3 years at total of 21 million, I believe we can pick up 2 per year in “new revenue” in Asia. Plus, if we already had Kawakami and had him happy when Tazawa was looking, we might have been competitive (and might be more competitive in the future for the same reasons).

    So, Kawakami at 7 is better than Wolf or Garland at 5 (same or better production, new revenue, new inroads) and is really better (comparing production to cost) than Vazquez at 11.5 or Lowe at 13.

    This would get Lowe: 14 for 3 years. Last 5 of that is a roster bonus for year 4 if we either 1. take up year 4 option of 14 (with his consent) OR 2. don’t take the option.

    But, if he opts out at year 3 after we elect year 4 option, we only paid the 37 (no 4th year roster bonus).

  92. That won’t come close to getting Lowe, Cliff. And we haven’t been in on Wolf since The ClusterFurc.

  93. 137–the AJC evidently doesn’t remember that the Braves traded for Vazquez, they didn’t sign him.

  94. Stu at 148,

    Well, who is going to up Lowe’s bid? There is one on the table now for 3 years and 35 to 36 million. Nobody has offered 4. Nobody has offered more than 12 per year.

    With signing Smoltz and Redding and Penny, I don’t see why the Red Sox would get in on this. The Mets can certainly increase their offer, but I really don’t think they will by much. Also, for Lowe as a Florida resident, Georgia will recognize that residency because he will work for the Braves 40 days in Florida Spring Training, 10 days at Marlins stadium, maybe a few at Tampa and 80 more scattered around the NL. He will only work 90 or so in Georgia the whole year.

    New York (neither city nor state) will not recognize out of state residency for a ballplayer. New York City and State tax combined are around 20%. Georgia is 6% (this was applicable to Farnsworth) and Florida is 0%.

    IF Lowe likes ATL at least as good as NY and if his news lady wife can get a gig at CNN (please help us Ted!!!) or a big local station, then our offer at same money is worth 15% or more over NY Mets. That is 2 plus million.

    Lowe may get an offer of 13 for 4 years from Braves, straight up. Mets might go up to 14. There just aren’t many bidders in this thing.

    Stu, what do you see winning bid as and from where?

  95. ububba,

    You are a better man than me for watching the last four games.

    Re: Milk; I am older than you (as I recall you were at Ga. starting in 1981 and I was a grad student there from ’78 to ’81) so I really am a child of the seventies. Of course, that means I also remember the Braves teams of that period; I find it hilarious that there are so many people on this site that literally can’t remember when the Braves were bad. I love movies and TV that evoke earlier periods. Life On Mars and Mad Men sort of do that, although I was very small during the period when Mad Men takes place.

  96. Titans had great offense in the second quarter, but they haven’t done much without Johnson. I can’t believe they keep complimenting Flacco. I don’t care if he hasn’t turned it over, he’s done nothing.

  97. Whee, more penalties and more punts! That’s what everyone’s looking to see! You know the defense is controlling the game when they don’t take commercial breaks between changes of possession.

  98. 5:19pm: We’ve got a bit of a status update in Ken Rosenthal’s latest.

    Fresh off closing the deal on Kenshin Kawakami, it seems as though the Atlanta Braves are the latest front runners in the Derek Lowe sweepstakes. Citing a source, Rosenthal says the Braves are “all over” Lowe. As for the team that was perhaps overtaken in this case, Rosenthal writes, “Mets officials seemed pessimistic.”

    Any pending offer from Atlanta is not likely to include a fourth year, according to Rosenthal. However, an offer for three years in the $40-42MM range with a club or vesting option is “one possibility.”

  99. Well, they’re going to have to solve the outfield via trade if that’s the case. There won’t be enough money for a free agent, even if there were many.

  100. These 2 defenses are great, offenses lacking, yes, and the players are dropping like flies. Not breaking my heart. In my pool, I’ve got Baltimore +3.5 and the under.

    Marc,
    Van Sant is really good about interspersing news footage from the era and it really reminds me of the times before cable & the internet when people would huddle around the TV to watch the evening news.

    And yes, that’s back when the Braves were bad, really bad.

  101. Someone should get someone to tell the Furman Bisher rides with Hunter S. Thompson at the Super Bowl story …

    Apparently, all of us were young once or else the Seventies were even wilder than Marc or ububba remember.

    We’re not far behind (we be UK), but Georgia has the stupidest basketball team I’ve ever seen. They absolutely had the game today against UT and the one against GATech and urinated (on a building?) them both away.

  102. Quite a gamble on Kawakami but I guess there are not really any other options out there except Lowe. We’ll see… I lost faith in Frank.

  103. I don’t even have to pay attention to the game now. Every time it looks like something might happen, the weather guy breaks in to tell me it’s raining.

  104. Yeah, that was crap.

    I also thought that Flacco might’ve stepped out of the end zone when he was throwing that 3rd and long pass, but they never showed a replay.

  105. Did anyone else see Flacco step out of the back of the end zone on that last Ravens possession?

    Edit: Thanks, Ububba!

  106. The Fox announcers from the other night took a beating up here the day after the BCS game.

    Here’s an example.
    http://tinyurl.com/778jy6

    WFAN’s Mike Francesa, who worked for CBS for a decade, called it the “worst broadcast of a major sporting event I’ve ever seen or heard.”

    Of course, the guys didn’t know what down it was when UF scored a TD & the Tebow buttmunch had people hurling for miles.

    “If you just spend 5 minutes with this young man, you’ll be a better person.”

    Oh, penalty flag! It’s Tebow…taunting the opposition. Classic.

  107. Titans got some bad officiating breaks toward the end there, but they didn’t deserve to win after those awful turnovers. I’d cut Crumpler this evening, if I were in charge.

  108. Yeah, I thought he stepped out of the end zone too, but oh well.

    Looks like Frenchy could use some hitting lessons from Kawakami.

  109. 172 — decent swing, bat flip, nonchalant trot… looks like he’s done that before.

    Why don’t the Braves hand out a stuffed animal after a HR?

  110. Taunting the competition? Oh come onnnnnn. Dominique Franks says he would be the 4th best quarterback in the Big 12. So Tebow asks him where he’s at on the list, holds out his hands like he’s holding a list, and then gives him the chomp. I love it.

    I guess I’m biased because I’m a Christian and I love the Florida Gators, because I think Tim Tebow is one of the best things to happen to college football. You think that 16% increase in ratings (the link ububba said only gave 9%, but I’ve heard higher) had nothing to do with Tim Tebow?

  111. Rob,
    I don’t care if Tebow worships ice tongs, it was bush-league.

    But, the unending asskissing went from nauseating to comedic with that move.

  112. So, there’s one aspect of the Smoltz exit that I have not heard anyone talk about. Doesn’t Smoltz bump someone else out of Boston’s plans? If we want an old guy coming off of major surgery who dominates in the postseason, why don’t we just throw Smoltz’ contract at Curt Schilling?

  113. 174, that was one of the more amusing videos I have seen in a while. I mean, his at bat music was ‘my humps’ by Fergie. I agree, stuffed animals for all home runs.

  114. @172 – My god, that looks like SNL lampooning what Americans think Japanese baseball must be like. Sometimes the stereotypes are true, I guess.

    Here’s what Carolina fans will inevitably remember Delhomme by:

  115. I can’t believe some of you guys are knocking The Dragon, or that video back at #45.

    I mean the guy throws heaters up in the 140s, and devastating breakers that top 110, sounds like a steal to me. Plus from #172, I get the sense that his deal is mostly paid for in plush toys.

    Man, I love me some Japanese baseball!!!

    Better reserve your seats now to Ride the Dragon!

  116. jj3bag,

    Nice to have Shanahan back, I think. Hope he can still play.

    No matter what, He’ll always trigger excellent memories. He’s the reason the Devils originally acquired Scott Stevens, one of my favorite athletes of all time.

    #4’s Greatest Hits…
    http://tinyurl.com/6w5ggt

  117. Kawakami–finally, something for Braves’ fans to cheer about…Kkami doesn’t seem to work as a nickname….

  118. if he is as crazy as he looks in his pic on mlb’s home page, i would go with “kamikaze”.

    if moylan is healthy and we have a surplus in the starting pitching (pushing people like morton,campillo, jojo to the ‘pen) will the oft-injured soriano serve any purpose in our pen? he could free up some cash and be a good trading chip (along with prado) to the yankees. they seem to be in need of a utility infielder and a power arm/backup closer. what kind of blockbuster deal would land nady and phil hughes?

  119. Gadfly, whether he is a steal or not will be determined by the contract amt. He is a history of back problem as well. So, we will see.

  120. what the hell do dragons have to do with anything Japaneese? and quick!! somebody schedule an hour with Tebow for Frenchy! it’ll be fun to see him babbling about Jesus as he runs over infielders.

  121. So Frank Wren’s goal is to put a winning team on the field, according to his Mark Bradley interview. In 2 years as a GM, including with 1 of the highest payrolls in the league as the Orioles GM, his team has not finished better than 78-84. I wish Mark had asked Frank how that goal is looking these days.

    I like Mark Bradley a lot, but I think he kind of chickened out in that interview.

  122. Japanese baseball is every bit as cool or weird as you’ve heard. My favorite part is the beer vendors: young & attractive girls with a keg on their back.

    If any of you happen to find yourself in Japan, post here (or at my blog) and I’ll take you to a game.

  123. The more and more I watch film of “Kamakazi” I’m viewing him as Maddux like with a better curve ball. What I mean by that is excellent control, average fastball and good movement. I dont mean to imply he will ever have Maddux like numbers, but his his size and stuff remind me of him.

  124. If “ride the dragon” is really an appropriate catch phrase for Kawakami, then perhaps his nickname should be Dragon Ballz.

  125. Rob, Rob, Rob… We get it. You’re a Florida fan. Congratulations and all. But I find it impossible to believe that you cannot see how the rest of us would find Tim Tebow just the slightest bit annoying. I also refuse to believe that the four-hour ass-kissing session on the part of the Fox announcers (assuming you heard it) wasn’t a little over-the-top even for your tastes. And if you didn’t hear it (as if I were you, I would’ve been watching the game amongst a bunch of screaming Florida fans and wouldn’t have been paying attention to the announcing), trust me…it was unbelievably ridiculous. According to Thom Brennaman, were Mother Teresa alive today, she should be kissing Tim Tebow’s feet, I think. In fact, strike that. Screw that she’s not alive, that’s no excuse. She should rise from the grave, go find Tebow and start kissing his feet immediately. You probably think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not. It was that bad.

    Oh, how hilarious was that Panthers game? Perhaps this will finally put the few people who still think Jake Delhomme is one of the best QBs in the league to rest. How many years did the man spend being called one of the best in the game simply because he had the fortune of playing the best game of his career in the Super Bowl? Way too many is the answer. And also, this will give all those asshole Carolina fans (and they do exist…in spades, trust me) the opportunity to go jump off a bridge.

  126. Dragons are certainly not the property of the Japanese….

    If he pitches well then Bethany is off to a good start: MeanKami…NastyKami …etc…

  127. mlbtr…

    Ben Sheets is becoming a bargain, so the Braves or Rangers could jump in and sign him affordably.
    Cafardo calls Atlanta an “emerging” destination for Adam Dunn

  128. csg, as you know that has been my fondest scenario for the offseason. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

  129. If Sheets becomes available at a lower price, then you might get a choice of Sheets/Dunn or Lowe….I would certainly opt for the former….

  130. #205–Thats pretty cool and promising–its probably not good enough to simply call him samurai–but there are worse nicknames….

  131. At this point, I am seriously skeptical that Sheets is anywhere near healthy for next year. I heard something about significant shoulder issues that kept him from pitching down the stretch last year and in the playoffs. I heard that these issues have yet to be resolved, so committing any money here would be quite risky. I was a pretty big fan of getting Sheets earlier, but the lack of interest really makes me wonder about just how much of an injury risk he really is.

    Lowe at 3/45 or something would be just fine by me. And also: 15 for Lowe + 7 for Kawasaki + 10 for Vazquez is $32 million. So if Dunn signs a Burell-ish deal, we could still fit him into our payroll.

  132. KLaw provided his Kawakami scouting report when he did his piece on the Top 50 FAs at the end of the season. IIRC, he ranked him somewhere in the 40s, just ahead of Looper and Hampton. Said he was a good control guy with a very straight fastball and no out pitch. And homer prone. Said you couldn’t rule out that he’d be Kei Igawa 2.0.

    Gonna go ahead and say that “Maddux-like” is not remotely accurate.

  133. I agree that Sheets is something of a risk–but Lowe at 3/45 is hardly bargain: he will be 36 at the beginning of June and outside of Dodger Stadium he was basically a league average pitcher.

    I am thinking that we might get Sheets for half the price and then be able to add Dunn….

    Obviously, it would be nice to get Dunn and Lowe….

  134. The AJC article said that the Braves sold Kawakami on the surprisingly large Japanese population in Atlanta.

    Does Furman Bisher know about this?

  135. Peachtree City (just south of Atlanta) has a huge Japanese community. There really is a lot more Japanese activity in this area than is immediately apparent.

  136. yeah..lets skip K-san….the popular saying at the time was……..i’d rather have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother at Khe San.

  137. billy-jay,
    A few years, a coworker went to Japan on a business trip, came back to NY with stories of a game he attended at the Tokyo Dome.

    He told us of the keg gals in the stands, pouring the Sapporo pints & explaining that, over there, it wasn’t weird at all.

    When he finished the story, we were wiping tears.

  138. I hope this puts the kibosh on the notion that Eli Manning is anywhere near as good as his brother.

  139. Nobody thinks that, not even Giants fans.

    Not having Plax was going to hurt them at some point & this game was almost exactly like the last time these teams played. Philly didn’t have to double any WRs either game & Eli’s not going to beat you by himself.

    Wanna know why people find the NFL playoffs so compelling? Here’s Exhibit A.

    Teams actually have to prove themselves on the field against all the other good teams. There’s no Titans/Giants BCS Super Bowl this year, folks.

  140. @196 and 203: Dragons aren’t the property of the Japanese?

    Well I’m no Asian Studies major, and I’m sure they aren’t the exclusive property of Japan, but I won’t comment, except to note the obvious: Kenshin Kawakami was property of the Dragons for 11 years or so… the Chunichi Dragons that is. Add to this that he’s our best hope at an impact free agent acquisition this year, so get on his back and…

    Ride the Dragon, Baby!

    He’s gonna fly us to the 2011 World Championship!!!

    (And I would consider Kamikaze as a possible nickname, except for the problematic historical weight, and that it appears his pitching style is nothing close to anything I’d call kamikaze… plus kamikazes had a poor track record when it comes to health, and well we don’t need that sort of omen right now.)

  141. The WW2 references for Japanese ballplayers always make me uneasy.

    For the last several years, Yankee announcer John Sterling has called Alex Rodriguez HRs thusly: “An A-Bomb! From A-Rod!”

    Often, the next batter would be Hideki Matsui. A bit much, I think, to everyone but Furman Bisher.

  142. i’ll drink a toast to Hines Ward. every time i see the Steelers play, he’s just outstanding. if you dont like the way he plays, you don’t like football.

  143. @232: You think?

    Hell yes! And we finally have a couple free agent possibilities where we may have a competitive edge outside of monetary considerations. Let’s get Yunel out on the warpath to these guys’ hotel rooms, throw a little money at them, and have ourselves a 5-man rotation that represents just about every baseball-playing island that exists, plus either Mexico or the USA depending on Glavine’s health and Campillo et al’s performance.

    Sounds like Gomez could pan out to be a legitimate leadoff hitter to put in left or center, too.

    It’s not like we don’t have the money… unless they’ve been lying to us all along.

  144. Yuck, I don’t like Ward at all. It’s real easy to knock someone down when they’re not expecting it.

    Ethan, those look like two very intriguing players. I wonder if the Braves will make a move.

  145. Ward has a reputation as being the NFL’s best-blocking WR; Reed shouldn’t have been surprised there.

    If you’re wearing pads and a helmet and a guy on the other team is running your way, it’s up to you to protect yourself. Nothing dirty about that play. That’s football.

    In fact, when you play, that’s one of those moments you live for.

  146. I’m just curious to see what Vegas sets the over/under at for this game. I’d guess around 31 — they don’t get much lower than that.

  147. @239: Bethany, there is a big difference between hitting someone when they can’t see you, and hitting someone when they aren’t expecting it.

    Every defensive player in the NFL should be expecting to be hit on just about every play. If they aren’t expecting it they shouldn’t be on that field.

    Hines Ward is not a dirty player. He plays football the way it was meant to be played, and in my humble opinion its what makes him the best WR in the league.

    @242: As long as we’re playing Price is Right rules I’ll go with 31 1/2.

  148. Ward has hit plenty of people when they couldn’t see him with excessive force, and he always does it with that smug grin on his face. If that’s the way football is supposed to be played, why does he bask in his own glory every time he hits someone? Sorry, I can’t stand him.

  149. Speaking of The Price Is Right, have you guys seen this?

    Happens once every thirty years and the guy acts like he’s on horse tranquilizers.

    I miss Bob

  150. One thing about a WR that hits people; he has leave himself out there himself to get nailed going over the middle. It’s not like an AL pitcher that can throw at guys with no consequences. I would imagine some DBs lick their chops to get a good shot at Ward.

    Leave it to the Redskins to sign the wrong Steeler WR (Randle El) and miss the guy who can actually play.

  151. How about “Turning into epic Japanese fail” for a tagline? As a compromise? I feel the “epic fail” in it is still needed somewhat unless the Braves prove on the field that they can play respectable baseball again.

    A question that I keep asking myself is: Who would I rather want to have, Nady or Dunn? If we really want to compete in 2009, we MUST do something about our outfield, and these two appear to be the only (and therefore best) options left. Assuming it takes “just” money to sign Dunn, but not too much talent to sign Nady either. I think I’d go with Nady (mailny because Dunn is another lefty) and try someone else in 2010, but I’m not sure.

  152. #249

    No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
    No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it’s dark…

  153. @250: I actually did see that, live no less, or at least as live as when it was shown on TV. I turned on the TV right as the showcase showdown began, almost turned the channel, but decided to watch the rest of the show.

    I miss Bob too, but Drew is pretty hilarious to see from time to time, just because, unlike Bob, he has no idea what’s going on sometimes, which leads to some hilarious moments.

    @248: Bethany, my point was in football, especially NFL football, you should be expecting to get hit by people who you can’t see. Quarterbacks do it all the time, if they spend all their time looking at the rush they don’t last long in the league. Ward certainly hits people who don’t see him, and he hits them hard, but what is he supposed to do? Allow anyone not looking at him to go right ahead and hit his teammate hard? The point is that any defender who isn’t expecting to be leveled by a block, especially when playing a hard-nosed team like the Steelers, shouldn’t be on the field.

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