Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

Streaky; alternates between being one of the better players in baseball and being worse than Francoeur. This is a real phenomenon, and essentially inexplicable. It doesn’t look like he’s hurt when this happens, or like his swing gets out of whack. OPS by month is a rough measure in two ways, but gives you some idea:

March/April .726
May .973
June .723
July .661
August .577
Sept/Oct .1.071

Maybe it’s the weather. On the average, KJ is an above-average player, a decent second baseman who hits a little above the league average and doesn’t have any real weaknesses. Of course, as they say, if you have a foot in a bucket of ice and a foot in a bucket of fire, on average you’re comfortable. I am getting a little frustrated, if you couldn’t tell. Everybody slumps, but Kelly goes between carrying the team and killing it, and the nature of baseball (where every hitter fails the majority of the time) means that the slumps always seem deeper than the peaks seem high.

Last year he hit for a higher average against lefthanders than righthanders, but this is a fluke, caused by a .398 batting average on balls in play. As he walks less and hits with far less power against lefthanders (isolated power was .281 against righthanders, .100 against lefties) a closer look at the stats indicates that in isolation a platoon arrangement may have been justified. At the same time, there were a lot of other weaknesses that could have been better addressed this way… Led the team in doubles and triples, second in stolen bases, and grounded into only three double plays. The latter is partially because Bobby had him bunt so much, but not entirely, and is a huge hidden success.

KJ’s secondary average last year was almost as high as his batting average; the year before, it was higher. This is still relatively rare among second basemen and a reason why he is — on average — a valuable player. Best secondary averages for major league second basemen (min. 1000 PA) the last two years:

CAREER
2007-2008
2B

SECONDARY AVERAGE SEC
1 Rickie Weeks .393
2 Dan Uggla .374
3 Chase Utley .360
4 Brian Roberts .360
5 Ian Kinsler .345
6 Kelly Johnson .311
7 Mark DeRosa .295
8 Brandon Phillips .294
9 Orlando Hudson .280
10 Mark Ellis .271

309 thoughts on “Kelly Johnson”

  1. Baseball Reference lists Bret Boone as as a similar player to Johnson; I wonder if we will ever see that much power from Kelly. I would not be surprised if he had a pretty strong peak season….

  2. Michael Young is seeking a trade from the Rangers because they want him to move to 3rd to make room for you know who…

    dammit.

  3. Relax. Elvis can’t hit yet, and may never – they just want Young to move for defensive reasons, “Gold Glove” notwithstanding.

  4. Nope. It never interested me until I got here and wondered about it. What’s it about?

    No idea what the equivalent of epic fail would be. You could always go with epiku feiru. Or エピクフェイル. Japanese font, of course.

  5. 「歴史に残る大失敗」(れきし に のこる だいしっぱい)

    “A huge failure that will go down in history”

    (ed. unverified, from some message board on the internets)

  6. I don’t know if it has ever been established that Boone was taking steroids, but it certainly seems possible….

    I think that Andrus will hit decently and be at least a good everyday player. Still, I am a bit surprised that the Rangers want to move him without AAA….

  7. #7

    I was wondering when someone was going to mention that. The Divinyls explored the subject at length (if you’ll pardon the pun).

  8. Vapors were a great band. Should listen to both their albums. “New Clear Days” and “Magnets”.

  9. Leave it to Mac to so succintly sum up the Braves’ off-season. “Turning Japanese” works there on sooo many levels when I think of Wren’s efforts.

  10. I guess it’s left to me to mention “She Bop” by Cyndi Lauper….

    In the late ’80s there was a brief stir about a band claiming to be “the first openly gay rock band”. I can’t remember who that was, but some friends of mine briefly considered advertising themselves as “the first openly j****ff rock band”. Then they decided they’d rather have people actually come to their shows….

  11. Ahhh, Circle Jerks….going to break out the ‘ole Golden Shower of Hits…hadnt listen to that for awhile….maybe I’ll follow up with some Decendents and TSOL….

  12. Ummm ok….
    I’m of Japanese descent. I looked up what ‘turning Japanese’ means on the web and got the Wiki. Is this part of the vernacular that I have somehow missed over the last 28 years or did I miss it because I am not really into music?

    Kelly Johnson is a keeper. I wonder if they were really going to move him back to LF had we acquired Furcal?

    What do y’all think of Michael Young’s stance? Won’t move to 3b for the sake of the team? The anti-Chipper?

  13. No Use For A Name has a sweet cover of Turning Japanese. The Vapors version was good too, though. Considering my age, I can’t believe I know who the Vapors are.

  14. Re: Kelly Johnson
    Will we ever get a breakout year from him? Or is it a case of “he is what he is”? I just don’t know.

    Maybe he, more than anyone, is the symbol of our post-’05 reality—good sometimes, but not really good enough to compete at a larger level. His streakiness is certainly maddening.

    Re: The Vapors
    During my senior year in high school, I DJed a “New Wave” dance in the gym and I played “Turning Japanese” for an audience wearing Glad Bags & Devo glasses.

    It was a Catholic school and, before the gig, I was reminded to “keep it clean.” Yes, it felt more than a little rebellious.

    The Vapors’ New Clear Days wasn’t bad. Very herky-jerky, regulation skinny-tie, Knack-Era, power-poppy new wave.

  15. I’m not sure about this, but I do watch most Braves games and it seems that he is a poor leadoff hitter but a superb 8th hitter. Not that he fits the roll better but he actually hits better, and I have tried to find reasons why, but maybe its just a mental thing because the logical solution doens’t make sense. As a leadoff hitter one would get far better pitches than an 8th place hitter because of the batter behind him

  16. The ultimate cover of Turning Japanese is from Skankin Pickle (didn’t even remember NUFAN covering it, and that should’ve been the same era).

  17. what about the reality that we’re not winning with or without Smoltz this year so he’s creating a self serving false dichotomy.

  18. On KJ,

    I am generally high on him. However, I think there is, unfortunately, a good explanation for hitting better as the 8 hitter and for the streakiness. That is, as a batter, he appears to perform better when the stakes are lower.

    He probably needs to see a guy like Dr. Llewellyn and get positive and get over the jitters. Then, I think the .300 / .420 / .500 hitter inside could take over. (yes, he really is that good, maybe better, in the “up” streaks).

  19. Wren doesn’t actually say that they will win without Smoltz, but he does argue that spending larger sums on him would affect the team’s ability to be competitive.

    Dix, I realize that you’ve conceded 2009, but I haven’t. Plus, even if we don’t make the playoffs, the difference between a 70-win club and an 80-win club matters to me (and to the Braves).

  20. Voting:

    The vote: Rickey Henderson 511 (94.8 percent); Jim Rice 412 (76.4 percent); Andre Dawson 361 (67.0 percent); Bert Blyleven 338 (62.7 percent); Lee Smith 240 (44.5 percent); Jack Morris 237 (44.0 percent); Tommy John 171 (31.7 percent); Tim Raines 122 (22.6 percent); Mark McGwire 118 (21.9 percent); Alan Trammell 94 (17.4 percent); Dave Parker 81 (15.0 percent); Don Mattingly 64 (11.9 percent); Dale Murphy 62 (11.5 percent); Harold Baines 32 (5.9 percent); Mark Grace 22 (4.1 percent); David Cone 21 (3.9 percent); Matt Williams 7 (1.3 percent); Mo Vaughn 6 (1.1 percent); Jay Bell 2 (0.4 percent); Jesse Orosco 1 (0.2 percent); Ron Gant 0; Dan Plesac 0; Greg Vaughn 0.

  21. 94.8% for Rickey. That’s 25-30 writers who didn’t vote for him. I’ve never cared much about the quest for unanimity, but that’s just stunning to me.

  22. Fewer. He got 75 votes (13.8 percent) last year.

    Well, Sansho, Rickey got a higher percentage than Willie Mays and a slightly lower one than Babe Ruth, so I’d say he’s in pretty good company.

  23. Looks like more people just “forgot” or “weren’t Rickey guys” than we knew about. Wonder how many will come clean.

  24. @27: There are major differences between Young’s situation and Chipper’s. Chipper was moving from 3B to LF, after signing a rich and lengthy contract on a team where he was clearly the franchise player, and close to (if not already) having vested as a 10-and-5 guy (which grants a no-trade clause.) Michael Young does have a pretty good deal in place, but he’s two years away from 10-5 status, and clearly both parties might be looking to part ways already. Young doesn’t want to hurt his future value (which a move from SS to 3B does much more than a move from 3B to LF) for the “sake of the team” if he’s not going to be on the team for very long.

  25. Given Young’s contract, he’s going to be a Ranger for the next few years, unless they eat it. Anyhow, while I respect the pride of a player, he’d be a pretty good defensive 3B instead of a middling/liability at short, so it might even IMPROVE his value, if he could hit a little bit more. but whatever, it’s a tempest in a teapot, as he and they are stuck for the moment.

  26. @27, 53 The really big difference between them is that moving Young is probably a good idea, and moving Chipper for Vinny was a colossally stupid one.

  27. I’m not sure I would’ve voted for Rickey on the first ballot. I mean he clearly deserves the honor, but if Willie Mays (and many others) weren’t unanimous then Rickey certainly shouldn’t be. While he was clearly a great player there were some holes in his game, which is why he bounced around so much, and is one of the greatest LFers of all-time and not one of the greatest CFers.

    What I’m more pissed at is that no one voted for Ron Gant, so to recap:

    Charlie Liebrandt, 1999, 0 votes
    Dale Murphy, 2000 (peak), 23.2%
    Lonnie Smith, 2000, 1 vote
    Terry Pendleton, 2004, 1 vote
    Otis Nixon (who had more SBs than Rickey in the ’90s), 2005, 0 votes
    David Justice, 2008, 1 vote.
    Ron Gant, 2009, 0 votes

    No respect, no respect at all… Should be interesting next year with Galarraga, and McGriff up for consideration, though I doubt if either would be inducted as a Brave (though McGriff might.)

    Though something tells me we can all book our tickets to Cooperstown in 2013, and Maddux, if anyone, is deserving of unanimity.

  28. Alright Jay,

    I’ll indulge your not conceding 2009 and say this. Additional money to Smoltz would not hinder our ability to compete in 2009 because the remaining moves we might make in order to field a competitive ballclub would not likely max out or budget even with the higher salary to Smoltz.

    We aren’t about to add 4 or 5 players to our roster, let alone 4 or 5 high quality ones. At most I think we can hope for 2 high quality free agents such as Lowe, Sheets, Abreu, Dunn (aware that we could also debate classifying them all as “quality”).

    There’s just no way that any 2 of the remaining free agent targets will take us to within $7 million of our remaining budget space. There’s also no way we could fit three of them in the cap with or without Smoltz.

    I won’t concede 2009 until I see what we do the rest of the offseason. I just don’t think that paying Smoltz what he wanted would have or could have had any conceivable negative impact on our ability to field a competitive team. I don’t think we will spend all but $2 million of our remaining budget, I think we’ll come well short of that. I’d rather have Smoltz guarunteed for $5million than have that $5million sit on Wren’s desk unspent. I certainly don’t trust Wren to find a better way to spend that $5million than on Smoltz. Better to take the gamble than to sit on the cash.

    We aren’t likely to trade prospects to acquire MLB players at this stage of our rebuilding process now that our bed is pretty much made and we know we need to look to the future. We don’t need payroll flexibility this season. My feeling is that if we add Lowe and Dunn or some other combo of remaining UFA players we can be competitive. I also think we can do that without coming within $5million of our max budget and that therefore that remaining money should have gone to Smoltz.

  29. While he was clearly a great player there were some holes in his game,

    Just curious, what? Really, not being snarky here, I am curious.

    And why is the site acting all wonky? I keep getting Bad Database Connection and page timeouts

  30. The Braves have signed Omar Infante to a two year deal with a club option for 2011. He was due to be a free agent after 2009.

  31. @55: Thanks for the info, I don’t keep track of Rangers like I do Braves… However, it looks likely that he’ll waive that clause if he can get out of Texas, so my point still stands.

    @56: I’m not sure I’d agree with you that it was a stupid move at the time… in hindsight it is hard to argue, but at the time it was supposed to keep Chipper healthy, and Vinny looked like a pretty decent addition, probably better than most of the LFers we added after Chipper moved back to 3B (see Mondesi, Jordan, et al.) He had a horrible 2002, but his ’03 numbers weren’t terrible.

    Again, I don’t follow the Rangers very closely, but I doubt Young is a liability at short, and in terms of financial value I’d be quite certain that with his power numbers at SS he’s more likely to gain big bucks by staying there, than moving to 3B where his offensive numbers don’t look as impressive. It might make sense for the Rangers, but I don’t see how it makes sense for Young in his current situation.

    And lastly, on the Hall, Rock Raines deserves a much stronger look, and its a shame that Orosco didn’t get more consideration, I doubt we’ll ever see a 10 win, 30 save season again.

  32. I still thought Rickey would be a lot higher. I’m nursing a secret hope that Maddux will be the first unanimous ballot, but if Rickey can’t break 95%, they’ll be a couple of writer who’ll vote no on Greg.

    If for no other reason than to simply be “that guy”

  33. I doubt Young is a liability at short, and in terms of financial value I’d be quite certain that with his power numbers at SS he’s more likely to gain big bucks by staying there

    Michael Young was -3.9 UZR last year, and in the 10 worst list. He is projected to be -7 – -10 next year. He’s a liability. His “power” of a 96 OPS last year, and 102 career WITH 81 GAMES/YR IN ARLINGTON, has been declining drastically over the last few years. Go to third, maybe get another gold glove or at least become an above defender again, and he is of some value.

  34. @59: I’m getting them too, btw… but as for holes, I was mainly thinking about defense, and his presence in the clubhouse/media. I understand La Russa loves him all of a sudden, but I wouldn’t trust his opinion at this point any further than I could sling the slime that emanates from his hair (that isn’t to say he isn’t one of the finest managers of our day, just that he’s never struck me as a genuine figure.)

    Of course you have to remember my comment was in the vein of comparing him to Willie Mays, Ted Williams (both of whom garnered less than Rickey’s percentage) and some of the best OFers of all-time. I wouldn’t consider it a hole in any way compared to any average MLBer, but when Hall of Fame considerations enter I could justify not voting him in on the first ballot. I mean if it took Eddie Mathews five ballots to get in I don’t think we should feel bad that Rickey didn’t get 100%.

  35. @59,

    Rickey had a hole in that his triples count is unusually low for a “power/speed combo” player. That is, assuming a fairly good SB guy (proxy for speed) and a fairly good home run guy (proxy for power), then you should have a higher percentage of triples than your peers as a whole. Rickey’s is lower.

    Somebody at ESPN.com did an article on it about 3 years ago titled something like (I kid you not) “Rickey be stopping at 2nd”. The only explantion they could come up with was that he pulled most of his power to left and therefore might not have had as good of a shot.

    However, compared to the two Bondses, Lou Brock (not as much power) Aaron, whoever, Ricky is short on triples.

  36. Signing Vinny, even at the time, was horrible. He had had two craptacular seasons in a row, one in Colorado fer chrissakes. Free agent OF’s weren’t THAT scarce – just another backward look by a team that doesn’t seem to tire of them.

  37. He’s Gone
    lyrics by Wren & Smoltz

    Everybody’s high on compensation
    Everybody wants to give him 5, guaranteed
    Liberty reminded, “He’s seen a surgeon”
    And it’s plain to see, I’ve got no loyalty

    Sorry Smoltzie for the indecision
    I think I’ve got it, got the plan for next season
    I need to sink to fifth in the division
    Then it’s bye Bobby, and hello to TP

    Chorus:
    He’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’ll
    Send McGuirk out to face them
    He’s gone Oh I, Oh I’ll
    ride the devil to replace him
    He’s gone — they’re all wrong

    …and so on. Care to tackle the next verse, anybody? AAR?

  38. I guess I get you re: Rickey – I just never understood the notion that you didn’t vote for somebody who you believed was a hall of famer just because somebody else didn’t get voted for in some previous election. He’s either good enough or he ain’t – I find this made up “honor” of first year or unanimous induction both bizarre and a little self righteous on the part of the voters

  39. Dix,

    I’ll quibble with you a little more about this, because I think you’re factually wrong about a few things (and not because we disagree over how much money should have been offered to Smoltzie).

    I think that you’re wrong that we have the money to get Lowe and Dunn and still have $5 million left to guarantee Smoltz. I think you’re wrong to believe that available money in the budget won’t get spent, it will. Not signing Smotlz at $5 million guaranteed means that we spend that money some other way. I hope it gets used wisely, but I’m certain they wont just sit on it. And if the money they didn’t spend on Smoltz helps them bring in Dunn or even Kawakami, then it certainly is going into making this a better team in ’09.

  40. What was Vinny’s crappy year in Colorado? He had one bad year in Tampa, where if I recall he was battling injuries, and was coming off a decent season in Houston. More importantly, it wasn’t just a consideration of him versus the other FA OFers available, it was mainly seen as a chance to move Chipper to the OF in hopes of improving his health. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but it just didn’t pan out… it was no where near “colossally stupid” at the time it was made.

    As for Rickey’s triples I noticed that too, but I’ll agree with Mac that that sounds sort of nitpicky. Just remember though, writers can only vote for 10 players per ballot. With the knowledge that Rickey is a surefire first ballot regardless of my (hypothetical) vote. I could justify a ballot this season of: Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Rock Raines, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco and Ron Gant. That isn’t to say that any of these guys are better than Rickey, only that they are deserving of some recognition too. (Of course I could also see substituting Tommy John, Mark McGwire, Alan Trammell, Dave Parker, Harold Baines, or Mark Grace for a few of those listed, and I’m sure there are people out there who could make good cases for the others on the ballot. Not the least of which for a few in this group would be to ensure that a guy like Baines or Grace (or David Cone) gets a second shot at balloting.)

  41. It feels like Greg Norton, Omar Infante and Andruw Jones are getting more of the love from this organization than Smoltz did. A contract extension for the utility guy, but no money for Smoltz?

    I still find it hard to believe this team possibly wants Andruw Jones back. After 2007 and 2008? An outfield of Diaz-Andruw-Francoeur?

  42. @72: I get you, and I mainly agree… after putting together that list, I’d say it is more likely that I would’ve voted for Rickey, but I can see a reason why someone might not in order to pitch a vote to a Ron Gant, Jesse Orosco or a write-in for Pete Rose for posterity’s sake, or a vote to Baines, Grace or Cone in hopes of keeping their candidacy alive for another year of balloting.

    Now I’m just getting repetitive…

    Also @74: Let’s not forget 2010. I hate to see Smoltzie go, but I’ve come to realize that this move had to be made at this point. If Smoltz wanted to be a Brave, and make the kind of money Boston was throwing at him he could’ve waited another month or so until he could’ve proved his health was worth the investment. I don’t blame John, and I don’t blame Frank either. Actually, I’d say this gives me much more faith in Frank’s devotion to build a contending team without tying his hands to appease the sentimentality of the fanbase.

  43. @69,

    Just so you are sure, I wasn’t saying I would have voted against Rickey. The opening for “what is against Rickey” was laid open.

    I believe a good portion of Hall voters are well aware that Babe and Willie etc., etc. didn’t get unanimity so they just don’t vote for a guy like Ripken, Gwynn, Rickey. They don’t want to be part of “elevating” those guys over the true inner circle legends that didn’t get a unanimous vote.

  44. I like the Infante signing. $1.85M this year and $2.25M next year. Seems like a good deal for a solid super-sub.

  45. @76: Good points, though I think he had been playing hurt a lot over the years, and they saw the writing on the wall. I’m not saying it was a great move by any means, obviously in hindsight it was a mistake, BUT at the time I thought it was a pretty interesting idea, and I wouldn’t have characterized it as stupid in the least.

    @77: You have to remember that we could get Andruw for the league minimum, which would be an ultimate steal. If he continues to slide, or wallow in his crapulence, then we cut him loose and are $400K, or so, lighter in the wallets. If he returns to anything close to his ’05 or ’06 form (or even his ’01 form) then we hit paydirt, and can either work to lock him up long-term or if we’re no longer in contention around July deal him to a contender for what should be a pretty decent return. It seems like a no-brainer, low-risk gamble, and I think that’s why Wren won’t comment, because he’d love to see Andruw fall in our laps after the Dodgers cut bait.

  46. Avoiding a unanimous vote to protect the “inner circle” is stupid. Especially when you realize that Rickey is a part of that “inner circle”.

  47. You have to remember that we could get Andruw for the league minimum, which would be an ultimate steal.

    How do you know? Below-replacement-level is not worth the ML minimum.

  48. @75: Vinny had 615AB’s in ’99 for COL, his last, with an OPS+ of 83(!). That’s craptacular. He followed that with a 43(!!!) in 2000 and a 93 in 2001. You really think it wasn’t a bad idea at the time to sign a hurt 34yo 3B coming off three poor offensive years? Regardless of whether moving Chipper was good or bad, giving Vinny 8M to suck and tie up a roster spot was neither difficult to forsee or terribly bright.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/castivi02.shtml

  49. Not that Scheurholz was checking BBRef or anything, but they just incorporated park effects into OPS+ very recently, I believe. That 83 was probably a 105, for whatever that’s worth to the discussion.

  50. If you want Andruw Jones, just don’t complain when Cox starts him everyday between opening day at Philadelphia and the 20th of May. Cause you know that is what is going to happen.

    @75: Vinny had 615AB’s in ‘99 for COL, his last, with an OPS+ of 83(!). That’s craptacular.

    If an 83 OPS+ is “craptacular”, what word would be used to describe Jeff Francoeur’s 72 OPS+ this past season?

  51. Speaking of neutralizing stats and park effects and whatnot, Mike Hampton’s already low 2.90 ERA in his last year in Houston is lowered to 2.55 when you click neutralize stats. I also thought the Astrodome was a big pitcher’s park. Can anyone explain that?

  52. Fair enough, Sansho. Even so, signing a 34yo 3B who was coming off one terrible season and one mediocre season to a 2 year 8M contract is and was a recipe for the failure that occurred.

  53. Top ten outfielder of all time = hall of fame vote.

    Anyone who didn’t vote for him is an idiot.

    There is no good reason.

  54. …and he hits lefties well to boot. That’s the kind of move that can keep an organization like Atlanta at least marginally competitive enough to support the brand during a down cycle. It just seems like our whole strategy this offseason was founded around a very few players, and the FO is not nimble enough to even try to seek out alternatives.

  55. I don’t care what an OPS+ says, Vinny had 5 straight years of 32+ homers in Colorado, and 4 straight with 100+ RBIs, including an OUTSTANDING 1998 with an OPS+ of 127, for what its worth. I know the lineup was loaded, and the stadium was juiced, but I could see looking past the one down year and hoping he’d rebound in the pretty beefy lineup the Braves were putting out there. As I said you can make a good case in hindsight, but at the time I was excited by the move… maybe there were better options out there at OF, but if the Braves training crew decided that moving Chipper to the OF would be good there is really no other way we could have gone… Randy Velarde? John Valentin?

    @93: Mays, Aaron, Ruth, Williams, Mantle, DiMaggio, Cobb, Gwynn, Frank Robinson, Clemente, Musial, Speaker

    Which four of these would you boot out to put Rickey in the Top 10? (And for your sake I didn’t include the likes of Sliding Billy Hamilton, Wee Willie Keeler, Oscar Charleston, or a number of others from the pre-War era.)

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t vote for him, but I can see a reason why not to this time around. I’m much more disappointed with the 77+% who didn’t vote for Raines, the 88+% who didn’t vote for Murphy, and the 100% who didn’t vote for Gant (and Nixon back in his one eligible year.) Or for that matter the 5+% who didn’t vote for Mays, the 2+% that didn’t vote for Aaron, and the 16+% who didn’t vote for Walter Johnson… it happens.

  56. Sansho, how’s this?

    Think we’ll spend eternity in the cellar
    Let the smog and losses choke attendance away
    The petty squabbles help dissolve the memories
    Back in the ’90s of what we used to be

    He’s gone, oh I,
    Oh I, I’d better learn how to face it
    He’s gone oh I,
    Oh I, I’d pay the devil to replace him
    He’s gone, oh I,
    What went wrong?

  57. Here’s what I wrote in 2001:

    12/8/2001: Every time I think John Scheurholz is doing a good job, he does something unbelieveably stupid.

    Today, he signed Vinny Castilla to play third base, moving Chipper Jones to left field. This is boneheaded on a number of levels. First, it prevents the Braves from bidding on Scott Rolen, if he becomes available. Second, with Chipper in left field, there’s no spot for a free-agent outfielder. Third, the Braves already have a comparable player to Castilla in Wes Helms, and they won’t give Helms a job!

    For those of you who came in late, Castilla was a Braves farmhand in the early nineties, a shortstop who was a good hitter for the position but not really a great glove. Since the Braves already had a similar-type but better player (Jeff Blauser) ahead of him, and a similar but much better player behind him (Chipper) there was no place in the organization for him. So the Braves left him exposed in the expansion draft and he was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the second round. The Rockies used him as a utility player.

    After fooling around with Charlie Hayes (a man born to be an expansion player) for a couple of years, the Rockies gave Castilla the third base job just as they were moving from a great hitter’s park (Mile High Stadium) to the greatest hitter’s park of all time (Coors Field). Castilla seemingly became one of the great third basemen in the game, hitting 32 homers in the strike-shortened 1995 season and 40 or more three straight years after that, while putting up .300 batting averages. However, Castilla was not a great player. His homers and averages were inflated by Coors Field, and he walked about once a week. He was a good player from 1995-98, then his bat started to slow down and he hit only 33 homers with a .275 batting average, unacceptable for a third baseman in Coors. The Rockies sent him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    Suddenly, it was clear how bad a player Castilla had become. He hit .221/.254/.308 for the Rays in 2000, and played only 85 games. In 2001 he started even worse and the Rays cut him. He was picked up by the Astros and he hit 23 homers for them. But his on-base percentage was only .320, his slugging percentage .492. In Enron Field (or whatever they’re going to call it with Enron bankrupt) that’s not really that good. He’s not a good third baseman, and honestly I think Helms would do as well — for a lot less, and he might improve.

    I’m sick.

  58. Just because some people set a precedence of idiocy in the first Hall of Fame vote by not voting for Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth doesn’t mean that we have to continue that same idiocy just so that we don’t make it look like we’re declaring that anyone is better than these players. I don’t think anyone would think that, and plus, the assumption that no modern day player could possibly be as deserving as these players is also a little narrow-minded and idiotic. Regardless, not voting for somebody on the first ballot even if you think they’re a Hall of Famer was stupid then and it’s stupid now.

  59. @101: Well I was young, and I loved Vinny in Colorado, and before we lost him in the expansion draft, so I’ll admit I may have been a bit rosy at the time.

    However, assuming the training staff tells you that Chipper Jones moving to LF will help lengthen his career and increase his productivity, which makes some sense in theory, and was what I heard at the time, THEN, what move do you make? Maybe go to DeRosa, but we tried that later with bad results… Wes Helms would’ve been a little early, and he never quite panned out either… Keith Lockhart??? Maybe there was a trade to be had, but I can’t believe there was a better opportunity out there without a pretty steep price.

    Give me an alternative and maybe you’ll persuade me, but looking back 7 years at a move that obviously didn’t pan out and ridiculing it just seems like you’re taking pot shots. Under $5 million for Castilla, Darren Holmes, and Chris Hammond in one offseason doesn’t sound like a big gamble… two of them paid off beyond imagination, and Castilla had a bad year, followed by a semi-decent season. FWIW, Vinny also put up GREAT numbers in the 2002 NLDS.

  60. It was obvious at the time, like I said. Helms would be as good as Castilla was, and if they needed a veteran they had BJ Surhoff in left already; they could have swapped Chipper for him if that was the idea. It was still dumb, because there’s no evidence that playing left field after most of a decade at third base would help.

  61. From your list, Gad, I’d take him over Gwynn and Clemente pretty readily. But I didn’t say he was top 10 – the point was why would you withhold a Hall vote for #12.

  62. @105: I agree for the most part, but you’re missing the big picture.

    Again, could you really fault anyone for casting this ballot:

    1) Jim Rice (in his last chance)
    2) Bert Blyleven (to try and get him in, deservedly)
    3) Andre Dawson (ditto)
    4) Dale Murphy (well deserving of the honor)
    5) Tim Raines (ditto)
    6) Lee Smith (to include the emerging importance of RPs in the transition era)
    7) Mark McGwire (I wouldn’t vote for him, but if you’re willing to look past the steroids its a no-brainer)
    8) Harold Baines, Mark Grace, or David Cone (to try and hit the 5% threshold and keep them in consideration)
    9) Ron Gant (to give him a little deserved recognition being one of a very few players with back-to-back 30/30 seasons)
    10) Jesse Orosco (to give recognition for an amazing unprecedented career, and give credit to the emerging importance of RPs)

    That leaves out Tommy John, Dave Parker (big for A’s fans,) Jack Morris, Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell, Mo Vaughn, and Mark Grace all of whom may deserve consideration, or at least hold sentimental value deserving of recognition for some voters.

    Everyone knew Rickey was going in, as I said looking at the ballot I would’ve likely voted for him as well, but if the ballot were different and it was between endorsing Rickey for unanimous selection, and giving token recognition to Ron Gant or Jesse Orosco for a well-conducted career, I would rather see Gant honored at the same level as TP or Dave Justice than see Rickey honored at a level not even afforded to Cobb and Aaron, who were unquestionably better players in their time than Rickey was.

    I’m sure there were some writers who felt the same about a longer list of players, and I don’t fault them for voting their conscience.

  63. I don’t get bent out of shape over HoF-vote percentages. You’re either in Cooperstown or you’re not. Rickey’s in & there was never gonna be any genuine drama about it.

    Can’t wait to hear his speech, though…

  64. Mac, Helms had just come off a 216 AB season where he batted .222/.293/.435, and BJ was in no condition to move back to a position he hadn’t played full-time for 5 seasons. As for evidence, OFers play on grass, and do much pressured stepping than an infielder. In theory it makes sense, in practice it didn’t work out. You win some, you lose some, but as a FO you can’t play doctor, and second guess your training staff.

    Ethan @93 said he was a top ten outfielder of all-time. I don’t know if I would agree with you on Gwynn, or Clemente, but who’s the third to get him into the top 10?

    @109: If it was between voting for Rickey, and not voting for a 10th, I couldn’t justify it, but there 23 players on that ballot worthy of recognitin (maybe 21 if you discount Greg Vaughn, and Dan Plesac.) A voter has to snub at least 13 of these, and as I said if it was between voting for Rickey, or hanging Ron Gant with a 0, I would rather see Gant get the token recognition than see Henderson held above players he just doesn’t compare to. Further, if its between Rickey, and advocating for Rice, Blyleven, Dawson, Murphy, Mattingly, McGwire, Raines, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, and Alan Trammell (or Pete Rose, etc etc) I couldn’t blame a voter for prefering to advocate for deserving players.

    Of course this is all academic, Rickey was great, and he’ll have his place amongst the best to ever play, I’m sure he doesn’t care about the few voters who didn’t include him, and by next year we will have all forgotten that he finished just short of Babe Ruth, and just above Willie Mays.

  65. The speech SHOULD be great… I’ll look forward to it.

    I’ll agree I’m not sold 100% on Dawson, but I can certainly see the case to be made, and I wouldn’t fault anyone for using their position to make it. In his prime he was without a doubt one of the best of his era, and he suffered from bad knees, which diminished his cumulative stat totals.

  66. Vinny wasn’t a whole lot better, and he was a whole lot older.

    The Rice thing is pretty ridiculous. I think that he should be in the HOF, but he’s got basically the same argument as Parker and Murphy. But while the Boston media have rallied for him, there’s no effort for the other two — while at the same time that Boston media has been pushing Rice’s longtime “snub” as a result of him having trouble with the media. Nonsensical.

  67. I would rather see Gant get the token recognition than see Henderson held above players he just doesn’t compare to. Further, if its between Rickey, and advocating for Rice, Blyleven, Dawson, Murphy, Mattingly, McGwire, Raines, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, and Alan Trammell (or Pete Rose, etc etc) I couldn’t blame a voter for prefering to advocate for deserving players.

    I’ll let it go after this, but just to be clear – you advocate giving a vote to someone who DOESN’T deserve to be in rather than giving to someone who does? I am completely baffled by this position.

  68. Here’s who I’d have voted for:

    Rickey
    Blyleven
    Raines
    Trammell

    and, probably
    Smith
    Murphy
    McGwire

    I can’t get that bent out of shape that Rice is in — as Mac has said, it’s not so much that there’s no case to be made that he should be in as that there’s no case to be made that he was a better player than Murphy, Parker, or Dewey Evans.

    I guess I don’t really believe in giving a guy a vote to “recognize his career.” As the years have gone by and I’ve listened more to Mac (channelling Bill James), I’m willing to accept the idea of a bigger Hall and have become more ready to vote for guys who aren’t clear inner-circle HOFers, but just as I don’t think you should refuse to vote for a guy out of a belief that no one should be a unanimous inductee, I don’t think you should vote for someone whom you don’t believe deserves to be in there. All of the members of the BBWAA are writers: if they want to advocate a guy they don’t think should be in the Hall, they should write about him, not cheapen the vote by voting for him. There are plenty of columns you could write about Jesse Orosco, but I don’t think there are too many that could effectively argue for his enshrinement.

  69. I’d also be in on signing Kapler. He’s better and cheaper than Diaz. He might also be a better gamble of $1m than Andruw Jones would be for $400k (though JC thinks Jones has a chance to bounce back).

  70. Since this is the KJ thread, I’ll just say that while he may be frustrating, this guy is one of the better 2B in the game, and if he ever gets whatever it is that makes him streaky worked out, he could turn in to a real force with the bat. No reason to consider moving him at this or any other point.

    And FWIW, here’s the line for the three median 2B in MLB last year and then KJ’s:
    BA OBA SLG OPS
    .234 .342 .398 .740
    .274 .349 .380 .729
    .271 .305 .410 .715
    .287 .349 .446 .795

    So yeah. He’s a lot better than those guys in the middle (Weeks, Cano, and Aki Iwamura), and it continues to fall off pretty quickly after that.

    KJ is a clear asset, and I’m glad we’re going to go into next year with him and Escobar starting up the middle.

  71. @114

    The thing with Speaker and Cobb is that it’s been over a century since they broke into the big leagues. You speak of pre-war, and I believe that both qualify in that group. It’s hard to compare them to current players as the game was so different.

    I guess though, the fact that we are arguing whether Rickey Henderson was the 10th or 11th best outfielder of all-time sort of makes the point I was aiming at.

    If you have ten votes for the hall, you should vote for (up to) the ten most worthy. I don’t think that anyone can argue that Rickey doesn’t belong in that top ten list. It should be that simple.

  72. i’m not going to try to explain matt diaz’s “hole” bethany, but i will say this: the man has a career average in the majors over .300 with 900 at bats under his belt. also, he has a career.313 average in the minors in 2800 at bats. he might have a hole in his swing but its only there about 15% of the time (his approximate career strikeout rate).

    he looks weird at bat. he looks weird in the field, but the stats are there that he does both fairly well. i’m not saying that he doesnt “appear” to be the the worst major league player to ever play the game, but the fact remains that he’s actually pretty good.

    so, on that point, i would like to suggest a new nickname for matt diaz: the “awkward oregon assassin”.
    http://thebaseballcube.com/players/D/Matt-Diaz.shtml

  73. Right, because it couldn’t be that Diaz has failed miserably at every chance to become a starter and has one decent full season under his belt. But no, I’m an irrational female. Of course.

    That .264 OPB last year was AWESOME, after all.

  74. I don’t know how Kapler will do next year; however, I do believe he is worth more than we just gave David Ross.

    The reason that Diaz is valuable, IMO, is the .328 .361 .508 career line he has against lefties. To this club, that is invaluable. Regardless of whatever holes he has.

  75. @ 134 I need to stop reading the rumor sites, because I’m starting to believe that could happen. And when it doesn’t I will be sad all over again.

  76. he actually has 2 great seasons of bench/platoon player, and one bad injury plagued/starter year. both are role players and role players’ stats fluxuate more from year to year (take lenny harris for example considering he made his career as a role player). risk is involved, but diaz has the better major league track record with a better career avg, obp, and slugging, even after factoring in the “AWESOME” last season. what’s there to argue?

    http://thebaseballcube.com/players/H/Lenny-Harris.shtml

    and your “every” chance was one chance and, yes, he failed. but, to matt’s defense, he is a slow starter and could have had a strong finish to a miserable start.

  77. It was already mentioned, but I’m on board with those who are excited for Rickey’s speech. I am expecting great things.

    It should be fantastic.

  78. How can he top the classic “Today I’m the greatest of all time!” speech? I’m sure he will… the question is just how.

  79. Glad to see Rice make the HOF (Rickey was shoo in) and it would have been nice to see Gant get a few votes—as some lesser players did…..

  80. Re Kapler vs Diaz–Kapler was much better last year but Diaz has better career numbers. It’s a moot point anyhow, but my calling Kapler better than Diaz in 119 was probably too strong. Sorry I brought it up. Here’s hoping LF sees someone better than either of them.

  81. i think it’s inevitable: andruw jones will be a brave in ’09. according to a local atlanta tv station, jones is working out with mccann and chipper. mccann says he looks “great”. i bet that is all it takes for bobby and wren to take a million dollar gamble on him.

  82. I have no expectations, but he does look pretty good. At least from the neck down.

    EDIT: Beat me to it ryan. But I agree. It’s enough to get you a little excited. In any case, it’s nice to hear that some actually WANTS to come here.

  83. ryan, yeah I agree. I’ll give Druw credit, it actually looks like he’s lost about 30 lbs or so. I dont know what he’ll be able to offer us in the lineup though

  84. does he go to LF or CF? what happens to Schafer and/or Gorkys?

    does the Infante deal open up a Prado trade for an OF?

  85. Anyone know offhand on what grounds the Dodgers could have voided Andruw’s contract? I’m guessing it wasn’t 100% legal since they both agreed to defer all but the 5 million.

  86. When Wren says he has a trade offer in place for a pitcher it makes me wonder who is the bait. Prado, Soriano, Morton, minor league filler, combo, thoughts?

    Could be a bluff, too. I guess. Playing hardball with Boras against a potential Mets re-raise.

  87. i do think soriano is trade bait.

    not that this has anything to do with acquiring an ace, but……..
    i still say to go after nady and hughes. a deal including prado, soriano, and another arm (jojo/morton) should get it done.

    to me, it doesnt really matter that nady is a rental considering we should have someone coming up to take his place. plus, we’re not really losing anything of future value considering soriano only has 1 year left.

  88. Wow, I can’t believe it either: after that video, I could sure go for some Andruw Jones. He actually does look good, and McCann was loving on him hardcore. I think if he comes back he’s definitely going to play CF. I can’t see them bringing him back for a corner spot. The whole “respectful organization” and all.

  89. Why wasn’t Frenchy hitting with them in the video? Was he in a separate cage with Chipper’s and McCann’s dads?

  90. Sure, lets give Andruw a try out, but don’t get your hopes up: he was pretty bad in 2007 and absolutely awful in .158 and I doubt that his weight was the main reason.

    His numbers actually remind me of Nate Colbert–who in a couple of seasons went from a feared hitter to someone who swung at pitches feet out of the strikezone.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/colbena01.shtml

    Obviously, it would be great if Andruw could come back play CF and hit adequately (which would make him the star of our current outfield), but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen….Hope I am wrong….

  91. WFAN reports that the Mets have made a formal offer to Oliver Perez: 3 yrs, $30 mil.

    The station also reports that the Mets may come back with another offer to Derek Lowe.

  92. I still think the Mets will get Lowe. Boras is only using the Braves to get the Mets to improve on their offer.

    I guess Wren has finally found his power bat…Andruw!!! Oh wait, he also signed Infante to an extension, maybe he is that leftfield slugger Wren is looking for, ha.

  93. Stephen, I am sure Boras is loving the situation right now. He will hold out as long as he can just to wait for that one sucker to give him the dream offer…

    …maybe Wren will get a bit of a discount for taking Andruw!

  94. @117: I’m not sure I was actually advocating anything, only providing a rational justification. When it comes to any sort of voting there are many different rational methods to cast one’s ultimately insignificant vote. A vote for Rickey isn’t going to count for anything, so I can see how some people might decide to cast it for someone they felt was deserving of recognition. Its similar to the millions of Americans who every four years vote for “third” party candidates as a form of expression.

    @124: I mentioned the pre-war guys that could be appended to my list because there are arguments to be made. When it comes to Cobb and perhaps Speaker there is no rational argument that they don’t belong on the list of Top 10 best OF of all-time.

    Again, I was never suggesting that Rickey didn’t deserve a vote, and I even admitted that I would’ve most likely voted for him. However, I don’t think it is fair to call someone an idiot for not voting for him, when ultimately it would have been a meaningless vote.

  95. Everyone who thinks Druw looks great needs to calm down a bit. It definately wasn’t his weight that made it impossible for him to hit (although it didn’t help). The guy is stubborn and refuses to change his approach to hitting (Frenchy anyone!!). Although, I will say that it is entirely worth taking a flyer on him at league minimum (or even 1 mil). You can see what he looks like in spring training and see if he can’t change his strategy a bit. You don’t lose with that deal at all (unless Bobby gets one of those crazy ideas and craves putting him in the lineup every day when he is sucking it up). Anyways, just saying it is WAY too soon to get excited about it. Wait until spring and see how he does.

  96. KC–I agree: if we go too far down the Andruw road, Bobby will stick with him and we will read quotes like “well, he hit one real hard the other day, but it was just at someone, but he’ll come around any day now”.

    The other appealing argument for Andruw to the Braves front office will be that his presence will take the heat off Frenchy who will thereby be more likely to develop into the superstar he is really is but never has been….

  97. That’s why I honestly don’t want to see Andruw coming back…we have enough engimas in Kotchman and Frenchy that we don’t need to add another one…given the fact that we have absolutely nothing in leftfield at the moment.

    Honestly, our best hitter is our 37 years old third baseman which we can count on for 2/3 of a season, and our second best hitter is our catcher who should only play 2/3 of a season. The more I think about it now, the more I am grateful that Wren didn’t trade away Yunel as he may possibly be the only one in the lineup who can play more than 150 games without being a drag to the offense. Honestly, I think the outlook of our bench is much brighter than our starting lineup.

    Guys, our offense will be a nightmare.

  98. The risk of Andruw is actually greater than Smoltzie because Andruw will play every day.

    As opposed to that stud Gregor Blanco.

    Color me indifferent.

  99. I would love to see Andruw recover his mid-decade form–but the Blanco of 2008 is unfortunately a much better hitter….

    But we certainly need to get at least one bat in the OF, which is more than we have now.

    I hope we are talking to Dunn….

  100. Jeremy, that stud Gregor Blanco actually had a better season than Andruw last year. Honestly, I consider Blanco our fourth outfielder. He has no right to start…and that’s how sad our offense is at the moment.

    Stephen, I just remember Boras is also the agent of Oliver Perez…I guess the chance of us landing Lowe is better now as I think Boras will “allocate” Perez to the Mets and Lowe to us.

  101. Sorry Mac, I somehow missed your synopsis of what you wrote. Again I won’t argue that Castilla was a good move, in hindsight such an argument would be pretty silly (though his second season wasn’t that bad, and his 2002 playoff production was great.)

    However, Wes Helms wasn’t going to be any better. He might have been cheaper, and, in hindsight, we might as well have given him a shot, but the Braves weren’t yet in cheapskate mode, $4 million a season wasn’t excessive, and I can’t fault them for taking a shot on a guy who had put up some pretty stellar numbers.

    It wasn’t a great move, but it was a reasonable gamble on a player who became pretty popular with the fanbase and in the clubhouse. Nowhere near a move that could be labeled “colosally stupid,” which is what led me to comment on it initially.

    @171: Our offense won’t be a nightmare. Relax, please… this pessimism is really disheartening. With Yunel, Chipper, McCann, and Kelly we’ve got 4 above average (for their position) offensive players, add the erratic, but immense potential in the outfield (from the likes of Frenchy, Andruw?, Diaz, and the youngsters) and I think we’ll end up with an above average lineup.

  102. @174: How about from 1998-2006? Andruw was one of the best outfielders in the game over that stretch. At the price we could get him at we’d be insane not to give him a shot to return home.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that Andruw’s struggles were primarily mental, and mostly had to deal with the pressure of a contract year, living up to that contract, and the possibility (and eventual reality) of leaving the organization he grew up in, and his second father, Bobby Cox. I’m pretty confident that he’ll thrive with a return to Atlanta, and if he doesn’t we can cut him lose without lightening our wallets significantly. We could get him for about 3% of what Adam Dunn is going to cost.

  103. kc,

    What’s wrong with letting Andruw try to win the job in spring training? It’s a low risk move (read: $$$). If he’s done, oh well. Say goodbye. You still have the same scrubs in Blanco and Anderson to turn the job over to.

  104. Gadfly–I have said in this thread and others that we should give Andruw a shot–but it would be unwise to go into 2009, thinking that the Andruw of 1998-2006 will be in center.

    The Braves should give him the same chance that they gave Javy Lopez last season. Believe me, I really hope that he is not washed up….

  105. Gadfly, Andruw will be facing that same situation again if he comes back…the pressure of contract year and possibility of leaving the organization AGAIN.

    I am just being realistic. As much as Wren doesn’t like to have question marks in the rotation, we have loads of question marks on the offense. I love Andruw to death, but I am only saying getting Andruw back will only add one more question mark to the team.

  106. Jeremy, we know Bobby way to well to know he will keep Andruw even if Andruw sucks it up in spring training.

  107. The way we look at Andruw now should be the same as the way we looked at JS bringing back Jordan and signing Mondesi few years back. How well did that experience go? We ended up rushing Frenchy to make up for the mistake, and the team/Frenchy is still suffering because of him being rushed.

  108. KC–Those are good examples and I would add that they are a cautionary tale in case there is any truth to the rumor that the Braves want to trade for Kevin Millwood….

  109. If thats true is certainly tops the Mets’ previous offer….good thing we don’t look desperate…

  110. 158—the Yanks wouldn’t give Hughes up for Johan Santana, but you think they’ll give him up with another good player for Prado, Soriano, and either Reyes or Morton? I don’t see it. And I’m sure the Braves wish Soriano were trade bait, but I doubt (m)any teams are interested, at least right now, given his contract and the uncertainty of his health.

    168—I don’t think losing weight will necessarily make Andruw a better hitter, but I do think it indicates a level of discipline we haven’t seen from him in a few years. I think there’s a nonzero chance that discipline translates into better production, and I think it’s certainly worth $1 million or less to find out.

    187—I believe the secret was already out that we’re desperate; we aren’t fooling anybody. Anyway, that’s a year more than I’d like to guarantee, but I’m still comfortable with it, and I much prefer Lowe at 4/$60 to Burnett at 5/$80.

  111. Well, Stu, I guess you can look at it that way…4-yr contract is indeed better than a 5-yr one…

  112. I think Wren is in a hurry to finalize the Lowe deal so that he can introduce Lowe and Kawakami at the same time, and he can act like he has salvaged this offseason.

    So, 15M for Lowe, 11M for Vazquez, 5-6M for Kawakami…still money left for an outfielder?

  113. Lowe has been a workhorse, I think several years of 180+ innings a year, and he’s a groundball pitcher, perfect for our good infield defense. I dont mind giving him the extra year, he’s not a power pitcher and therefore not likely to break down…..

  114. If Wren’s gotten us Lowe, Vazquez, Kawakami, and has some room to get an outfielder, then I think he doesn’t need to act like he’s salvaged the offseason – I think he has. This team may not be a pennant winner, but it looks a lot better than it did at the start of the offseason.

    I think much depends on the outfield situation. If we could get Dunn . . .

  115. This all started with Hampton’s ingratitude. Then Furcal. Then (gasp!) Smoltz.

    Tell me again why Cox is still here. Whatever “guys love to play for Bobby” magic was once there is gone.

  116. Gadfly,

    You make some good points about the HOF voting but I think the analogy with voting for president is flawed; people who voted for Ralph Nader presumably thought he should be president even if they knew he had no chance. You don’t vote for him because you feel sorry for him. But, with someone like Ron Gant, no one can seriously think he belongs in the HOF even though he had a nice career so voting for him is simply an act of charity. And I think the problems people have with the voters not voting for Rickey is the idea that, just because Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were not unanimous, he shouldn’t be either, so I will instead vote for someone that should not even be in the HOF. It was stupid that Mays or Aaron weren’t unanimous but it makes no sense to perpetuate the stupidity; making him unanimous wouldn’t be saying he is better than the others. If you think a guy should be in the HOF, vote for him; otherwise, it compromises the integrity (?) of the whole process.

    As for Andruw, no thanks. It’s time to move on. His only real value now is playing CF but at this point, I think the Braves need to open the door for younger players. Andruw had a nice career here but time to stop bringing guys back for encores. He probably isn’t as bad as he has shown the last two years but he probably is far below his peak.

    At this point, I think it makses sense to overpay at least a little for Lowe if necessary. There is no reason to think that a sinkerballer is going to collapse suddenly in his late 30s. And, to the extent that the Braves have a lot of young arms coming up, they need some experience to help them along. I’m not sure Lowe is what I would consider an “ace” but those guys are not available. Charlie Liebrandt really helped the Braves in the early years despite his problems in the World Series.

  117. Andruw’s still young. He’s in better shape than he has been in years. He’s working out and hitting with the Braves’ best two hitters.

    I would give him a shot, but I understand the other view also.

  118. That would certainly brighten things up. We’d at least have a “hopeful” rotation.

    What can we expect from our Japanese import? (I promise I’ll learn his name soon …)

  119. With that kind of offer I am sure that Lowe is thrilled and happy to say that he leaning towards Atlanta. Of course, Boras will try to use us to shake down the Mets….

  120. kawakami supposedly projects as a #3 if I remember correctly.
    Vasquez is an expect #2 right?
    Lowe is a semi-ace?
    JJ a #3?
    Campillo/Morton/Hanson/Jo-Jo should = a 5 right? that’s not a bad rotation.

    I’m still bummed about Smoltz (*grumble, sniff, feel ill* http://tinyurl.com/9lcmeq ), and annoyed with the way McGuirk handled it (I think Wren didn’t come off as too much of an ass, even if I’d have taken a Smoltz gamble, and had McGuirk not made his statements I think the parting could’ve been less contentious)… but at least if we get Lowe to go with Kawakami and Vasquez we won’t be playing to stay out of last place likely. Nobody would call us favorites, but we should be solidly competitive… maybe not for the division, but hopefully the wild card.

    I’m just reminded how lucky we were to send out a rotation through the 90s that was basically like having Santana, Halliday, and Peavy… but BETTER.

  121. Kawakami is probably a 4, Charles. KLaw called him a “back-end starter for an NL club” or something similar. Lowe is a solid 2. I think Vazquez is a 2. Jurrjens is a 2 if he doesn’t regress a bunch.

  122. Lowe for 4/$60 M. A nice neighborhood, I suppose.

    Well, maybe our ’09 rotation won’t be so putrid. Not spectacular, but a real upgrade over what we were trotting out there at the end of ’08.

    Now about that outfield…

  123. I’m hoping the Battousai can slot in 5th in 2010 as he may have an issue pitching as many innings as a full MLB season requires.

    Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens, Vazquez, Battosai in 2010 with Hanson filling in and getting some innings later in the season. I like it.

    Now lets bring back Andruw at half a million and spend the rest on a corner OF. Either Abreu to a 2 year deal or Dunn for 3 or 4 and our team will actually be solid without gaping holes other than Captain Surrender. It also would be built in such a way that the prospects down the road are not blocked by any ill-advised long term deals.

  124. If this comes to pass, then I will give Wren credit for recognizing that we needed three starters. Now, at the end of the season it was obvious that we could use two corner outfielders. I just hope that we have the money to go after Dunn….

  125. I should add with that kind of package the least Boras can do is buy Smoltz dinner….

  126. Good lord did this team FINALLY need some good news. It only took until January 13th, but I’ll take it.

    We have a pitching staff, finally, ladies, and gentlemen.

  127. I like the Lowe deal quite a lot. Also still really pi$$ed about the Smoltz fiasco but the rotation is looking solid without having to give up Escobar and projects and probably without the need to push Hanson. What will happen now with Reyes/Morton/Parr?

  128. And we still have our trade bait if needed to fetch an outfield bat that can actually get to a routine fly. Sign Andruw, get a bat, preferably other than Dunn, and play ball.

    Heck, i guess Dunn and Nady would be okay, if we could get Nady for Prado and a Boyeresque reliever.

  129. For whoever has been keeping track with all the signings over the last few days (and I agree with Mac about seeing Lowe hold up a uniform), how much do we supposedly have left to get an outfielder?

  130. #203:
    Darn, thought somebody had him as a middle of the rotation starter not back-end… Either way he seems like he should be OK.
    BTW JJ I’d like to classify as a #2 in general, but figured this year he’ll probably regress a smidge just from fatigue, hence the #3.
    And on Lowe… well… I don’t think he’s a REAL Ace… but he’ll probably be OUR Ace (which is better than having JJ be our ace like we ended last season), even if he’s really a solid #2.

  131. Alex,
    We need righties more than lefties. But I like Abreu, too.

    216—assuming Lowe makes $15M and Kawakami makes $8M per year, the payroll is under $84M right now. Unless the plan is to decrease payroll from 2008, we should have at least $10M left to play with.

  132. Heyman again:

    “The Braves’ imminent agreement with Lowe is a hit to the rival Mets, who had been hoping to add Lowe to their rotation. The Mets, who have been told Lowe will be a Brave, will now turn their attention to free agent left-hander Oliver Perez.”

  133. Stu…yeah, I realized it after I said when I was thinking about our “current” lineup. My bad.

    Frankly, we actually need 2 outfielders because I know everyone on this entire board would like to see Francouer gone but getting one outfield bat, righty or lefty, would be an improvement.

    If we don’t add anyone, what’s the starting ’09 outfield? Frenchy, Josh Anderson and Matt Diaz? YUCK.

  134. I am betting before the next month passes you are right – dye in left makes too much sense. Glavine as your fifth starter. Interesting to say the least.

    Blanco/Shaf/Anderson (cf)
    KJ (2b)
    Chipper (3b)
    Dye (lf)
    McCann (c)
    Jeffy (rf)
    Kotch (1b)
    Escobar (ss)

    lowe / JV / JJ / Kami / glavine – sp
    gonzo / soriano / boyer / moylan / ohman / loogy / C’pilo -rp
    infante / diaz / ross / prado / norton – bench

    seems to me competitive if jeffy returns to form – but I know – big if

  135. My bet is that we make a trade to get an outfield bat and sign Andruw on the cheap as a backup.

    We have some SP and RP depth to barter with. Dye or Nady would not surprise me in the least. At least we are shaping up to be something competitive. That is more than I could have said a couple weeks ago.

  136. Stu (#220)Thanks for answering the question I was about to ask–regarding the payroll. If you are right, then despite the Smoltz fiasco, then we have had a pretty good offseason.

    Timo is right: its a huge plus that this has not cost Escobar and I would add only one significant prospect: Tyler Flowers….

  137. Thanks Stu.

    Considering our rotation was full of #4s and #5s last year, it is nice to have to figure out who is a #2 and who is a #3.

    I hope Wren has one more up his sleeve, hopefully one of those deals sitting on his desk is for a power OF bat and he pulls the trigger this week without giving up too much.

  138. If we have signed Lowe (and I totally agree with Mac on this one, although I think my direct quote was “not until I see him with a Braves cap on,” but same difference), at the very least we will have only one fifth starter this year instead of, like, three. That’s excellent news in its own right. Also, we should give Hanson a try in spring training and therefore may not need any of the dreckish starters from last year. Our rotation should be:

    Lowe
    Jurrjens
    Vazquez
    Kawakami
    Hanson/Campillo

    That’s the order I’d like to see anyway. And I would like to give Hanson a serious runout at spring training. Ostensibly, he’s the reason we don’t have Jake Peavy right now. I would really like to see what we have. If he’s not ready, he’s not ready, but just sending him to Richmond without even thinking about it doesn’t make any sense to me. If he’s ready, he’s the fifth starter and Campillo’s in the bullpen. If not, Campillo’s the fifth starter. Regardless, Morton and Reyes are nowhere to be found.

  139. Regarding the Lowe deal: YES! YES! YES! Not only do we habe a reasonable rotation now, but the Mets missed out on him. 4/60 is a little much, but then again, not out of this world. And, let’s face it, we HAD to offer 4 to get him at this point. And he has a proven health record, contrary to the other options (read: Peavy, Burnett, Smoltz).

    Now, let’s avoid Andruw and sign Dunn or Nady, and I’ll be cautiously optimistic for 2009.

    How much money is left? Well, say we had 40 mill to spend, arbitration to Infante etc. took about 5 mill, Vasquez 11.5, Lowe now 15. Kawasaki 7 mill, that’s 38.5 mill combined. Counting a possible deal with Glavine, the money’s all gone.

    But: Adding one good outfielder might put us over the top. Adding Dunn/Nady might be a little over budget, but could be highly rewarding in the end. Maybe Wren can talk Liberty into it. If not, say hello again to Mr. 158.

  140. JoshQ,
    My thoughts exactly.

    I’d actually rather have Dunn than any possible (realistic) trade target, but we seem to have an awful lot of pitching depth now, and I’m guessing we’ll use that to find a right-handed bat.

  141. DOB interviewed on ESPN TV: “In a week, the Braves have gone from the depths of despair to, really, not too bad.”

    Of course, as he was being interviewed, the schmucks at ESPN put up the picture of Dave O’Brien, the ESPN announcer.

    DOB gracefully made light of it—“Hey, I see you’ve got a picture of the other Dave O’Brien up there.”—and the ESPN talking head looked somewhat embarrassed.

    Well-done, DOB.

  142. I’d say out rotation is like this:

    Lowe as a 1 is a 1 minus
    Vazquez is a solid 2
    Jurrjens as a 3 is a 3+
    Battousai as a 4 is probably a solid 4 or 4 minus
    Campillo or whatever we trot out 5th will be solid 5s

    2010 looks much better

    Healthy Hudson is a 1 minus or a 2+
    Lowe is a 1- or a definite plus at two (same for Hudson)
    Vazquez is a 2 and definitely a plus at 3
    Jurrjens is an absolute major plus at 4
    Hanson/Battousai/Whoever is a solid + in the 5 spot

    Sorry for the awkward rating system but hopefully you get what I mean.

  143. My guess is that Vazquez will allow fewer runs an inning than Lowe, though more of Lowe’s runs will be scored “unearned” because he’s a groundballer.

  144. One correction to my post at 220: The payroll is actually at roughly $89 million right now, but I factor in $5.5M of insurance money for Hudson, which should in theory be available to spend.

  145. Is there any chance Hudson can possibly pitch in 2009? Say, if we make it to the playoffs, could he be healthy by then?

  146. If Kawasami actually is announced this afternoon, I will have a post about that. He doesn’t actually need to hold up a jersey, but there better be a press conference or at least a press release.

  147. Mac, Bowman SAYS that

    The Braves have finalized their three-year agreement with Kenshin Kawakami and will introduce the Japanese right-hander during a press conference at Turner Field Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

    So you should get your post ready.

  148. Well, we’re certainly more competitive if this deal goes through. I might end up giving mlbtv a try this summer after all. And although he doesn’t have the upside, I’m much more comfortable with this deal for Lowe than the one for Burnett.

  149. Guys, Abreu is done. Five years ago I would have loved having him, but these days he’s not any faster than me and (shudder) even more leery of the wall.

    Dunn will do just fine. And when we actually find a power-hitting, right-handed left fielder, we can move Dunn to 1B.

  150. How’s Bobby going to handle not having a lefty starter? My guess is that he’ll gladly take this rotation over last year’s. But perhaps Jo-Jo will be in there in no time! (I kid. I hope.)

  151. Deal is decent. It will make us more competitive in the regular season, though I still don’t see a shutdown starter in the playoffs. That being said, Lowe has a good post-season record and you have to actually make the tournament before you start worrying about it.

    My AAA rotation in Gwinett (still seems a little weird) would be: Hanson, Reyes, Morton, Medlin, and Parr. Replace one with Lerew if he is traded.
    That’s ten deep of starters who (potentially) could pitch in the majors now.

    I agree with Stu in that some of that depth will probably be translated into an outfield bat; however, I think that the biggest wildcard this season is Jordan Schafer.

    We know what we have with regard to most of the team. There might be some improvements or minor regressions, but pretty much everyone has at least some kind of track record. Also, if/when we acquire a LF bat, every position is set. Except CF. If (and a huge IF) Schafer could step in and put up Mike Cameron-like numbers, it would be an unbelievable boon to the team. IMO, he is by far the the greatest variable for team improvement in play.

  152. Useugi Kenshin was one of the many powerful lords of the Sengoku period renown for his prowess in battle.

    In Japanese “Ken” means Sword and “Shin” means heart.

    So our guy is basically named Sword-Heart, which means he needs a badass Samurai related nickname, because face it, we’re not all going to call him Sword-Heart.

    There is a very popular (for anime) anime called Rurouni Kenshin where the main character named Himura Kenshin is the greatest samurai of the Meiji period.

    Himura Kenshin during the revolution was known as the “Hitokiri Battōsai” aka ultimate badass. Loosely translates to Sword Drawing Master Assassin.

    So I say we call him Battousai, because it sounds awesome, plays off his name, and his countries history.

  153. Ethan, I don’t disagree with your assessment that Schafer is a big variable. Mac pointed out weeks ago that a lot will depend on Kotchman as well. We’ve got a few ifs that need to go our way.

    Rob, I’d love to see Reyes do well. I’d probably be ok with him in the 5th spot for a while too, but I wouldn’t get excited about it. We’ll see.

  154. I wouldn’t mind Glavine in the 5th spot in the rotation either. But didn’t he just push back his throwing session off the mound? I know, there’s still time. Just don’t think we can count on it. There will be a number of options for the 5th spot.

  155. Dix that is one convoluted nickname explanation… I like it (mainly because I like the thought of his nickname being ‘badass’… sort of like the Rowland’s Office guys trying BMF for Soriano (which didn’t pan out per se, but I like the thought)).

  156. Oh, I’m not counting on Glavine. I just think if he’s healthy, we’ll sign him and Bobby will plug him into the rotation.

  157. Schafer has to learn to hit lefties before he can start in Atlanta.

    And I am not in favor of a platoon with Andruw Jones.

  158. @246 – Stu, I agree, unless Glavine isn’t ready.

    Lowe
    Vazquez
    Jurrjens
    Kamikaze
    Glavine

    Think of Hudson coming back in August…

  159. I’m not in favor of a platoon either… he wouldn’t get any better at hitting lefties like that.

  160. I like the Lowe deal more than the proposed AJ Burnett contract. It will be interesting to see which OF Wren goes after now.

  161. I wouldn’t mind Glavine in the 5th spot in the rotation either. But didn’t he just push back his throwing session off the mound?

    He was scheduled to throw off the mound today and pushed it back. There is no reason to even lightly pencil Glavine into the fith spot. He’s about ninth or tenth on the depth chart right now. 43 years old coming off of major surgery. Nostalgia isn’t worth a spot on the 25-man.

    Lowe, Vasquez, Kawakami, Jurrjens, Campillo/Reyes/Morton/Parr/Bennett/Carlyle/Hanson. Then maybe Glavine, depending on how his rehab goes and where he’s at come May or June.

    Now go sign Adam Dunn, tell Josh Anderson to be ready to play defense from 7-9 and give Matt Diaz a first baseman’s mitt. Blanco/Schafer in CF, Mentos the Outmaker still plugging around RF.

  162. Glavine will get his chance, but I would be happy to see a battle between Morton/Reyes/Campillo for the #5 spot. I think that Hanson will spend at least two months at AAA.

    Even if we overpaid for Lowe, 2009 looks better than it did 24 hours ago–let alone a week ago…

  163. @237

    Yeah, Charles. That’s the first of many times I will be doing that through force of habit. I still occasionally have to check myself to keep from calling the AA club Greenville. I think I’m good now on Macon-to-Rome, although the fact that I went to college in Rome helped a lot with that.

  164. @254

    Agreed and neither am I. But looking at it now, your starter in CF is Blanco/Anderson. At best, these are replacement level players. Besides that, every position is set (assuming we get a LF bat, which, for purposes of this arguement, I will).

    I’m saying that should Schafer put it together, he could be the greatest unknown variable for positive impact. Simply because there is so much room for improvement at his position.

  165. Not sure what I think about the numbers on the Lowe deal, but this story says Atlanta has overachieved the last 10 years, according to expectations of the payroll.

    ESPN The Mag Story.

    Most and Least Cost-Effective Franchises 1998 — 2008
    Team Avg. Payroll Expected Wins Actual Wins Difference
    OAK $59.2 75.8 87.3 11.5
    MIN $55.1 75.1 84.3 9.2
    STL $100.6 82.9 89.2 6.3
    ATL $120.0 86.2 92.4 6.1

  166. I was hoping for 3/42 with a vesting option, but 4/60 isn’t all that bad. The final year could be problematic, but at this point, I’m not concerned. Considering we were going to go longer and for more money for Burnett, I think this has been a fantastic turn of events.

    Perhaps all of those people complaining about missing out on Peavy/Burnett/Furcal (all of whom have more downside/cost than Lowe) will get over it now? The Braves rotation is the envy of every NL team not in San Francisco, especially when you consider Hanson and Hudson coming back/up mid-season. I like this rotation a lot for 2009. I like it a TON for 2010.

  167. I keep forgetting about Parr. I think whoever started the idea that one of Jo-Jo, Morton, or Parr (and probably Prado, or maybe KJ if they want to keep Prado instead) are going to be traded to get an outfield bat probably had it right.

    IF we don’t trade/sign somebody else for the outfield I’d buy into the league minimum Andruw proposal on the gamble he might have put it together a bit this off season. If we’re tight on payroll and set on roster the gamble doesn’t make as much sense for us, but if it’s league minimum and we don’t have anybody else to fill the hole… worth giving him a shot to see what he can do in spring training.

  168. #241

    I agree – the Lowe deal is definitely BETTER than the Burnett deal would’ve been and as was stated earlier, since it’s a FA signging, we still have the youth pieces to do a deal if needbe.

    #267

    CharlesP, Andruw is NOT sufficient as the only bat to add.

    Kotchman is not a reliable offensive player, neither is Kelly Johnson and Francoeur sucks.

    Since Chipper will inevitably spend time on the disabled list, that leaves Escobar and McCann (assuming neither gets hurt) as the two reliable offensive players and yeah, Jordan Schaefer is a wild card…but until I see Schaefer tear up Major league pitching, we can’t assume he’s going to step up in April and start a R.O.Y. campaign.

    We have to sign a MINIMUM of one really good outfield bat though I’d prefer 2. And despite the misgivings on Abreu, a 2 year deal would be well worth the risk.

    Dunn AND Abreu would definitely add enough juice to the middle of the order to change the way our team will be perceived.

    Adding Kawakami and Lowe this week to Vazquez and Jurrjgens already helps the perception of our starting rotation. Now if we can have good health for Soriano, Gonzalez and Moylan, we have a great bullpen set up.

  169. I’m not crazy about Battousai.
    It sounds like the dance John Travolta did in “Pulp Fiction” (Copied Adam West from circa 1966)
    Maybe I just needed an excuse to picture Uma Thurman.

  170. The Braves only lose their second round choice, the 45th overall pick, with this signing.

    Rosenthal:

    The team’s next step will be to add a hitter, and club officials have shown interest in free agent Adam Dunn, among others.

    Dunn too would be great.

  171. Oh yeah Alex, I wasn’t implying we SHOULD only get Andruw, but just that if we’re NOT going to do anything else then that would (ok COULD) be better than doing nothing.

    Interesting article Josh… though I’d LOVE to see that broken down into 1998-2002 and 2003-2008 for us.

  172. Glavine would be a terrible mistake. I’ll eat my hat if he pitches as well as Charlie Morton, and will cost much, much more. I think he’ll struggle to make it back, especially by the start of the season, making it easy on us.

    Most important thing for is this year will be healthy, reliable innings from SPs, McCann and Chipper. And good defense. Here’s hoping Freeman and Heyward wreck shop in the upper minors, and that Schafer plays like an ROY.

  173. @270

    I’d rather trade for Dye. We have a pitching surplus and need a right handed power bat. His defense is better, and it doesn’t tie us down financially in the case that Heyward/is a BAMF and jumps two levels this year. Worst case, he should still be a type A and net us two picks for next years draft.

    Though, there are far stupider acquisitions that we could make.

  174. #275–Adding two credible starters does wonders: the image is a good bit easier take than when it was first announced…

  175. #271

    CharlesP, I hear what you’re saying but I have to respectfully (and strongly) disagree.

    Bringing Andruw Jones back hurts us in a number of ways.

    First, his vaunted defense has seen a steep decline. Even if you ignore the offensive woes, his defense is no longer the “run saving” defense it used to be.

    Second, his offense is so downright atrocious, having him in the lineup…and you know Bobby won’t be able to help himself, is appreciably worse as opposed to any of our current (albeit mediocre) outfield options.

    No, bringing Andruw back is like a stick of dynamite for Cox. he’ll be too tempted to play him thinking that the old Andruw will show up. I never even liked the old Andruw, but no one should like the 2009 Andruw. Stick a fork in him.

  176. #275

    Ethan, everyone is in a genuinely GOOD mood today with the Lowe signing. Unless you are a Mets or Red Sox fan, there’s no reason to show us that picture.

    The worst part is I JUST finished eating lunch.

  177. Dye’s a better player than Dunn for sure, but he’ll cost more in money, and we’ll have to trade solid young players for him whereas Dunn wouldn’t even cost a draft pick. I would have no problem signing Dunn to a Burrell-ish deal with Abreu being a solid backup option for a similar deal.

    Add an OF who can hit on a short-term deal and allofasudden this team looks legit.

  178. I’d rather have Dye than Dunn. Dunn is probably a 75% chance to have the better season, and I suppose that’s all that should matter. I just can’t stand him. I’ve made that point several times now, though, so if we get him I’ll just have to do my best to root for him.

    I do think it’s telling that he’s been unable to sign a long-term contract. He doesn’t strike me as the type of person that you like knowing you’re going to have around for 4 years.

  179. Andruw was still one of the better centerfielders his last year as a Brave. Of course, I have no stats to back that up; but I’ve always loved his defense.

    Last year hardly counts, since he missed most of it. He’s rehabbed his knee, lost a gazillion pounds, and is working out in the hitting cage with McCann and Old Man Jones. His cost will be minimal.

    I personally LOVED the old Andruw. Explain to me again why he’s a bad bet, ’cause I sure as heck don’t see the logic.

  180. I can’t refer to Kawakami as “Sword Drawing Master Assassin” unless he has a Maddux-like ERA from the early/mid ’90s.

    Of course, if he does that, I’ll call him “emperor.”

  181. sansho1 — I’m sure we’d all be ticked watching Dunn strikeout. But we’d all enjoy the homeruns, too. I do understand that he’s not you favorite type of player to watch or cheer for. I bet you could make it happen, though. If the economy and the reports of his disinterest in baseball actually do drive down his price then I think we should definitely give it a shot. Hopefully for 3 years or less.

  182. I have never been a big Dunn fan either. However, I would hope that we could get him for 2 or 3 years (at the most). He can cover LF until one of the Braves’ outfield prospects is ready.

    The rumors that he does not like the game as he might are not encouraging, but we ought to be able to live with him for a couple of years. I just hope that he would not be as bad an outfielder as Jeff Burroughs…

  183. IF it is true, I think the Braves will have a pretty solid but not great rotation. If they score some runs, they should at least be competitive, although they still aren’t as good as the Mets or Phillies. I think it sets things up nicely for the coming years because the young pitchers, such as Hanson, won’t be expected to come in and be the savior. Basically, you have a staff of 2s and 3s, which is not necessarily bad. I’m not going to worry at this point about not having a dominant ace for the playoffs.

    I’m sure they are overpaying for Lowe but it’s not my money.

  184. MLBTR:

    “ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick talked to an official of a team interested in Adam Dunn. That official said Dunn’s current asking price is four years, $56MM ($14MM per). Crasnick says the Braves and Nationals are more focused on trades.”

    Are you kidding me? Put me in the anybody but Dunn class!

  185. #283–That was also my thought about Swisher, but the landscape may well have changed with Furcal re-signing with the Dodgers…

  186. #288–Dunn may have some waiting to do. Hard to imagine any team paying that much–but then we just gave Lowe a very sweet deal. I am sure that the Braves will look at trades….

  187. Kevin Lee

    When you think Battousai, think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill fighting the Crazy 88s. Then think of Lucy Lieu and be happy.

    Samurai Ken isn’t intellectual enough for my liking, its too overt and blunt. Although, you’re technically calling him Samurai Sword which is kinda cool. Battousai sounds cooler if you say it like Hatori Hanzou in Kill Bill would as opposed to saying it with a southern American accent.

    I agree he hasn’t earned the Sword Drawing Master Assassin moniker, but that is precisely why I like the nickname. It sensational and over the top and in no way reflects his likely impact on the team. A below the belt shot at the media who dubbed Francoeur “The Natural”

  188. 288 — yeah, I don’t think anyone has been projecting that he’ll get that kind of money.

  189. I would rather have Dunn than Dye, if for no other reason than that I truly detest our habit of bring back old players who are past their primes. It is just so silly to do, and I can’t think of a situation where it ever really worked out. Plus, Dunn has more power, which is still a major need, and I really don’t buy into the whole we must have a right-hander thing. We still need to get a second outfielder. He can be a righthander. Now if we got both Dunn and Dye, I guess I would be OK with that, if we have the money. Although you still have no idea how mindless I think the bringing back former Braves thing is…can’t we use our imaginations a little, find someone new? It’s not like Jermaine Dye is the only player of his caliber available. In fact, I’m guessing he’s not even the best.

    And all of this goes approximately twentyfold for Andruw Jones. If we have signed or traded for zero outfielders and spring training were starting tomorrow, I might sign him to a minor-league contract and bring him in, since I would be fully expecting to dump him at the end of the spring anyway, but if we sign an outfielder, please, for the love of God, stay away. And get some damn imagination. Gabe Kapler was just one example of any number of washed-up outfielders we could take a flyer on, and I’d rather take a flyer on pretty much every one of them before I took one on Andruw. I’m really tired of this old player crap. They left. Move on. Stop spending half of every offseason trying to devise ways to get two or three of them back.

  190. Alex R, I hear what you’re saying as well, and the “Cox won’t sit him” factor is certainly in play (though, Javy had a spring invite as a backup and we didn’t bring him in when he didn’t do well… so hopefully the front office would keep Cox from having the chance to run him out there if he didn’t wow in spring). I DID like Andruw, so if we get him back in even 70% of old form he’d be more than what we’ve currently got, and I’d be happy at league minimum.

    I’m not going to advocate that he was good the last couple years, but I’m hopeful that if our front office doesn’t do any OTHER moves for the outfield, that he’d at least be a reasonable gamble for a spring training invite… but I can TOTALLY see that there are people who wouldn’t share that view.

  191. I’d rather trade for Dye.

    Why? To acquire a free agent you need to committ money. To acquire a player in trade you need to commit money AND prospects. Save the prospects and get the free agent. Adam Dunn is by far the best offensive option left. (Assuming that Manny Ramirez isn’t going to play in Atlanta for a two year deal.) He’s a better version of Ryan Klesko. Yes, he strikes out a lot and doesn’t hit sacrifice flies, but if you’re going to carry a player like Jeff Francoeur, who even in his “good” years ate outs like pizza, you need to counterbalance him with a player like Dunn. Dunn would replace the offensive hole created when Teixeira was traded to Anaheim. Dye would not. Swisher would not. Dunn would give the team another near-400 OBP to compliment Chipper and McCann.

    The drawback is his defense, of course. He’s like Ryan Klesko. He never met a defensive position he was meant to play. But you have any number of defensive replacements available, so play Dunn, get a lead for your rebuilt pitching staff and send in Anderson or Blanco to run down the flyballs your relievers give up.

    The Braves current payroll is +/-74 million. They have a stated budget of 92 million. Go get Adam Dunn.

  192. I just want to pause and recognize that Alex R. is optimistic. Considering the way Alex felt last week, I’d say today’s news is a fairly remarkable development.

    All we need is for Marc S. to concede the possibility of the Braves having a good year, and I’ll officially consider us World Series contenders.

  193. Braves14 has an excellent point @283.

    And what Adam Dunn wants and what he’s going to get are two very different things. Unless he really does just want to quit that is, in which case he’ll get nothing, because nobody is going to sign him $14 million per year. Not this offseason.

  194. Andruw is not a bad bet at a $500k one year salary as a backup plan, or at least if we have a backup plan in place.

    The reason is his no where near being a good bet at any cost is because of his past 2 seasons. Just because he is determined to prove himself doesn’t mean he is going to be any better at laying off breaking balls down and away. He was abysmal last year before getting hurt. He was abysmal the year before as well.

    The lost weight to me shows that he’ll be improved defensively and motivated to improve. He’s been in baseball a very long time and has a very exploitable weakness at the plate. The gamble you take with him is that he becomes decent as opposed to horrendous.

    Decent Andruw is better than what other options we have. Horrendous Andruw is worse. Hoping for more than decent hitting from Andruw is hoping for a lot. By decent I mean the only hitter worse than him would be Francoeur. By horrendous I mean equal to or worse than Francoeur.

    You’re just not going to get .260 and 40 HR out of Andruw. If you get .250 and 25 with plus defense though, you’ve got yourself a nice bargain at $500k for the back end of the batting order.

  195. You guys can call Kawakami whatever unpronouncable name you want… the last thing I want to here is some Japanese term, that requires a page long explanation, butchered in a southern drawl.

    I’m still Riding the Dragon!

    All the way to the 2010 World Championship! (And yes, I’ve gone bolder in my prediction, but only because you all brightened my day with your unbridled optimism over today’s overpaying of Lowe.)

    Also, for the guy who called a healthy Hudson a 1- or 2+, what the hell are you smoking, and did you bring enough to share? Hudson, when healthy, is one of the top pitchers in the game, he took some time to adjust to the Braves, but his last two years were lights out! If he returns to that form he’s a no-doubt 1+!

  196. Guys, we may actually NEED to make a trade of somebody. We have a lot of guys that either have to be on 25 man roster or be released.

  197. Kevin @ 263: What, Floyd doesn’t count?

    Berry’s better. Shorter had that whiff of devout Presbetyrianism that could be a real turnoff. And Berry’s got the better outdoor’s scene.

    Braves: I don’t think we’re getting Dye, but maybe. I think Abreu’s better for us on a short deal. Probably cheaper, more of a pro, bats right handed. Kotchman, KJ, McCann, Schafer, Anderson, Blanco, Brandon Jones, all LH, Chipper better batting LH. Means that against a RHP, Frenchy and Yunel would be our only RH’s in the lineup, with Diaz (maybe, and sporting his reverse platoon split), Prado, Infante and Catcher #2 being our RH bench bats. Abreu would push one of those guys down, balance us out. Dye would too, but I think if we were getting him, we would have. Swisher’s a maybe, but I think we’ve seen the best of him. We’ve seen 4 full seasons, he’s turning 28 this year and has a career .244/.354/.451 line, with nothing too out of line badly skewing it. And he’s not that cheap anymore, should make 4 – 5 mil this year, maybe smidge more (can’t view Cot’s from work), and escalating. I’d prefer Abreu on a known 2 year deal.

  198. I have to believe that some combo of AAAA / 5th starters is going out for a “cleanup” hitter – either dye / swisher / nady. I mean who else is outthere – unless the redsox want to trade away Bay.

  199. @306,

    I believe the White Sox want to move Dye’s contract. If they got some major league serviceable pieces back (that were cheap), they would deal. But that pushes us a little out of our payroll range unless we move salary (Soriano?). Dye to me is a great fit to the Braves needs. He can play right about as well as left which lets us do Blanco / Diaz in right and bench Francoeur if he is struggling.

    Soriano and Medlen for Nady? Maybe add one more and get Swisher (who I think is better than Nady because he is almost as good of a hitter, younger, serviceable in center and cost ocntrolled for 3 years out).

  200. if I remember right , there is no more floyd college. now it is called something else . just playing the averages :)

    Advantage I see with Swisher is the switch hitter, as well as being a jack of all trades. Can play first – all outfields and can Dh if need be and like you said at a 3 year set rate. I dont be.ieve Nady’s numbers will hold up over the long haul – but I could be wrong.

  201. Apparently we gave Kawakami 3yrs/$25 million. Seems a little higher than some of the reports we’ve heard, but seems like a month ago he was slated to receive $10-$12 mill.

    I like the move still, not only for possible revenue from Japan, but also we get our foot in the door.

    I wonder if Kawakami had already been on our team if Tazawa would’ve given us more consideration?

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