No picture or press release yet

So, as far as I’m concerned, Derek Lowe is still a Dodger.

I am having surgery early tomorrow morning. It’s outpatient and should be strictly routine and hopefully I will be back online in the afternoon. I’ll be on for a few hours more tonight. Have fun. Open thread.

145 thoughts on “No picture or press release yet”

  1. With the [Infante] signing, Atlanta has five remaining arbitration-eligible players: Jeff Francoeur, Mike Gonzalez, Kelly Johnson, Matt Diaz and Casey Kotchman.

    Curious to see if Francoeur goes to arbitration. The past two years he has complained to the media when the Braves renewed his contract without a pay raise after Francoeur demanded too much cash.

    Good luck Mac.

  2. I would kind of like to see Francoeur go to arbitration. It would be an interesting process.

    Jeff Francoeur: “I deserve 1.75 million! I am a star. I was on the cover of SI. My jersey is the best-selling Braves’ jersey at Turner Field.”

    Frank Wren: “You’re horrible. Your batting average was .239, your OBP .294 and you slugged only .359. And that’s coming off subpar years in 2006 and 2007. You should recieve no more than 800,000 dollars. You can’t expect a huge pay raise while being one of the worst starting corner outfielders in the majors.”

    Jeff Francoeur: “If I’m so bad, why start me? Hmm?”

    Frank Wren: “…..uh……why do we start you?”

  3. In theory, but nobody ever does. The arbitrator is conditioned to give raises, which is what always happens in normal businesses — the question is how big of a raise.

  4. Francoeur: $460,000 (2008)

    League Minimum (2008): $390,000

    Wouldn’t need to be a big pay cut to be his justified salary.

  5. Mac, best wishes and good luck.

    Gee I wish the arbitration process happened in the real world.

    boss – Johnny you sucked last year.
    Johnny – no i didn’t i drove in runs last year. I want a 50% raise.
    boss – well i’ll show you. i’m offering a 20% raise.
    arbitrator – Johnny the boss is right you only get a 20% raise.

    Dang.

    I can’t think of a single instance where a player that ‘lost’ arbitration took a pay cut or stayed at the same salary.

  6. If the minimum is $390k and Frenchy finished with a -4.11 WPA, then my math tells me that’s deserves about roughly 90k. I was told there would be no math involved.

  7. I agree with the parts about wishing Mac well and also the ones about Francoeur sucking.

  8. They have to make an exception for Frenchy…I mean the guy is a superstar…he deserves a 30% cut!

  9. Remember when we signed McCann to a long-term deal? And tried to sign Frenchy to a similar deal? And he decided to hold out for more money?

    Yeah.

    Good luck, Mac.

  10. The comments section over on MLBTR about Andruw being released is hilarious. I’ve never seen Dodgers fans more happy.

    There’s one comment about the Dodgers abandoning a “green energy” plan via Andruw’s whiffs.

  11. The comments section over on MLBTR about Andruw being released is hilarious. I’ve never seen Dodgers fans more happy.

    Their gain will likely be our pain.

  12. Good luck Mac.

    I am pretty sure we are going to sign Andruw. The question is, will we let him play CF?

  13. Club unlikely to take a chance on former star center fielder

    While the sum of $400,000 might seem like a bargain for a 10-time Gold Glove winner, the total cost, which includes the possibility of losing the player who is removed from the 40-man roster, appears to be one Atlanta isn’t willing to spend on Jones.

    I agree: 400,000 dollars is too much for the current Andruw. Hopefully the part about the Mets’ interest is true.

  14. Amazing!!! John Sickels is not considering Frenchy is a bust yet! Of course, I know Frenchy is still young, I just find it to be amusing…

    45) Jeff Francouer, OF, Atlanta Braves, Grade B: Lack of plate discipline is holding him back and may ruin him.

  15. If Andruw is the ‘solution’ to our dearth of outfielders then, then, then…

    I’m speechless.

  16. a minor league contract will suffice. can you give incentives on a minor league contract?

    Breaking News: “Frank Wren demands Atlanta Braves center fielder Jeff Francoeur to pay the club 7 million dollars to play baseball in the 2009 season.”

  17. ryan c, is $7M enough? Dunn and Dye cost $12M each, and we need to get both to cover for Frenchy’s suckness and our blackhole in leftfield.

    Parish, Andruw said he is not interested in a minor league deal. The guy is still dreaming.

  18. Just how bad was this interview Andruw gave this morning?

    Subquestion: If Andruw gets to 400+ home runs, is he a legitimate HOF candidate?

  19. Mac, your work is too often thankless and always stellar. Will be thinking of you tomorrow. Get well quickly.

  20. Kyle: It was damn brutal. It sounded as if Andruw had just rolled out of bed and his wife had handed him the phone. He had that morning dry and “crackly” voice and it took him longer than a normal person to parse the questions he was being asked. His responses were damn near incoherent. One might reasonable assume he was hungover, but I don’t think so.

    He then said he wouldn’t accept a minor league deal with the Braves. They quickly shut the interview down and the interviewers sounded pissed off that they had even bothered. (I was listening online. I’m not from around Atlanta so I don’t really know who the guys talking to him were.)

    A listener emailed the show and said, “You booked Yoda?”

    Tommy Hanson was right on before Andruw and they posted the podcast to Hanson’s interview but they didn’t even bother posting Andruw’s because it was so damn horrible. In contrast, Tommy Hanson seemed to have a level head and clear mind. I’m looking forward to the things that kid is going to do.

  21. best of luck Mac, remember, after surgery you are cancer free everything after that is just for insurance. Stay positive (but don’t stay away from here)

  22. #36
    and i said center fielder jeff francoeur….i guess that’s what i wish he was, then his production wouldnt be so unforgivable.

  23. I pray that you beat this and get well, Mac.

    Things are starting to look better for the Braves. We still need to catch a ton of lucky breaks to win the division next year, but maybe we are due after all of the bad luck from last year.

  24. As long as I’m in people-watching mode…The NAMM show in Anaheim is always kinda hysterical for that. (It’s a convention for all the products they sell in music stores, so it could be musical instruments, pro audio, studio stuff, etc.) I call it “The Island of Lost Rock Stars” because you get all these rock guys, usually well past their years of stardom, at various exhibit booths endorsing guitar strings or drums or keyboards. Great for that stuff.

    Today’s score was pretty decent on the actual star meter: Gene Simmons, Dick Dale, Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden’s drummer), Al Kooper, Mick Mars. I actually didn’t get a good look at Gene Simmons as much as I saw, from afar, that coyote toupee thing he wears on his head. Can’t miss that.

    And here’s a video just for Mac, courtesy of The Hold Steady…
    http://tinyurl.com/8h64n6

    Good luck!

  25. ububba, in light of your Rickey Be Rickey story, I ‘met’ Rickey when I was very young and Rickey was at the height of his career. I was somewhere between 5-7 years old and was waiting for him to get out of the cage during spring training to sign my baseball.

    I was standing next to my mom and everybody was yelling “Mr Henderson, Mr Henderson, please sign a few autographs.” Well Rickey signed my ball and a couple of others before leaving. I was thrilled, well for a moment. The person next to me said, “Rickey, this isn’t even your name.” He had also signed my baseball “John Smith.” Rickey then replied “Rickey ain’t signin’ nothin’ unless it’s a new contract.”

    Trust me, I’m not nearly creative enough to make something like that up. I oddly didn’t hate Rickey after that experience. I wish somebody would start a blog with Rickey stories.

  26. If Andruw is not interested in a minor league deal, I suppose that he can go back on radio and do another interview to complain about it….

  27. Matty just signed for $1.2375M and can earn $50K more if he makes 600 plate appearances. He is the righthanded slugger on top of Andruw the Braves need!

  28. I sometimes wonder if Diaz is going to be packaged to an AL club–he can DH and play LF. A package of Diaz and a mid-level prospect and Reyes/Parr/Morton ought to be able to get our right hand bat….

  29. csg @ 50,

    The Braves will have to clear another 40 man spot if they sign a FA OF or trade without sending out players on the 40.

    There is probably a low level team that would take the chance on a 40 man spot and 1/6 salary (if he is still on the 25 man roster at end of spring, then the full major league minimum of just over $400,000 kicks in. If not on the roster, he is waived).

    It’s not about money. The Dodgers pay him the money. Braves (or whoever) just offset a part of the Dodger money.

  30. Phil Stockman is on the 40-man. Tim Hudson can go on the 60-day DL. AJ may not be picked up by the Braves, but room on the 40-man isn’t a deterrent.

  31. Stu had Diaz estimated for about $2 million in his educated-guess budget, so $1.2 million sounds pretty good. And the $50K more for 600 PAs would be well worth it, if attained.

    Also, I’m with everyone else wishing you a successful surgery today, Mac. Good luck.

  32. I thought the 50K bonus for Diaz was an odd one… 600PA means he’s been an everyday player (or near enough to it), so if he’s been good enough to keep that job all year wouldn’t you assume something more than a 50K bonus? Just seems an odd structure to me.

    edit* Oh, and that picture of Lowe in a Braves hat looks VERY photoshopped to me.

  33. Let’s see.

    We’re short on funds and we need an outfielder. Think Bobby might have a suggestion?

    Time to move on. Kinda like McDowell but Cox and Pendleton need to go.

  34. Are those the actual terms? mlb.com says terms are undisclosed — the only place I see those figures are from a DOB commenter.

    Now I see it in the Denver Post — an odd source, to say the least….

  35. Renck has been the guy with all the arb-contract details, for whatever reason, sansho.

    When I first saw that last night, I immediately took it as a bad sign that Diaz had an incentive based on being our everyday LF all season. I thought, “So, there’s actually a chance that happens?”

    Now, this morning, Rosenthal says we’re short on cash…ugh.

    We’re going to end up with Garret Anderson and 18 starting pitchers in AAA.

  36. Money quote (most encouraging line in the article in bold):

    When he was optioned to Double-A on July 4, Francoeur told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his relationship with the organization was “dampered.” While he admitted that he was speaking out of emotion, he said he doesn’t regret saying it.

    After all of that I would say (the relationship) is still dampered. But I hope we can get it all turned around.”

  37. I love Chipper quotes, they always make my day:

    “I would call Lowe an ace,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. “He was the No. 1 [pitcher] in Los Angeles and they were a playoff team. He’s certainly No. 1 for our team. He’s not the hard-throwing strikeout guy that 100 percent of the teams want as their ace. But he works hard, throws strikes and gets ground balls. Some guy named [Greg] Maddux did that around here for a while and it worked out pretty good.”

  38. I really don’t think Braves are “out of money” unless payroll from last year has been reduced. We should have the 10 million calculated here by someone about 2 days ago. If we have any “increase”, then that would need to be added. Rosenthal is speculating, but probably isn’t right.

    I think what is going on is trying not to be too anxious. I believe Yankees will move an expensive outfielder if they can (Damon, Matsui, Nady) or they will move Melky. I wish they would move Swisher and I would offer more than they gave, but they don’t have to move him and he provides them a lot of help (as he would us).

    Also, there seem to be no bidders for Abreu and Dunn (and Manny isn’t going to be a Brave, but his presence on the market further depresses our potential targets).

    And, the Cardinals still probably need pitching and have way too many outfielders, so we could go Morton and Marek for Ludwick (he has three arb years left and his career averages are strong enough to carry him). The Rangers still need pitching.

    If we had taken Kapler and then gotten Edmonds, then we would be in pretty good shape, actually. Maybe we would then still have enough money to get an everyday thumper.

  39. Yes, Cliff, I know we’re still $10 million under last year’s payroll. See the extensive write-up I did over at CnC. Also, I don’t think Rosenthal is “speculating”–I think he has a source telling him this.

    Like you, I hope it’s just the Braves trying not to look too eager.

    (It also concerns me that Nady would appear to be the primary trade target.)

  40. It’s been a while since I commented, and I just found out about your illness, Mac. Best of luck with the surgery and I’m hoping recovery comes soon after.

    Color me indifferent to possible Andruw signing – only worth it if he accepts that Minor league deal he says he won’t. And I’m in line with Sam and Mark on the Smoltz thing – sucks, but that’s the business of baseball.

    The Lowe and Kawakami signings did a lot to cheer me up for this offseason. Otherwise, Wren was looking like a tool, deserved or not. That Furcal thing really bit him in the a$$.

  41. I will say that Frenchy has taken the right path this winter. Good for him working with TP to get better.

  42. Rosenthal at Fox Sports says the Braves are pulling back in their search for an OF. He also says:

    A trade remains a possibility, but the Braves are unwilling to meet the Yankees’ price for outfielder Xavier Nady, knowing they might get better deals in July.

    If we are going to wait until July I think we are playing for 3rd place this year without another big bat in the lineup unless lightning strikes twice (Frenchy, Kotchman), which it won’t.

  43. OK, I think

    counts as an actual picture of Lowe… so when Mac’s done with his surgery he’ll have proof (or he’ll think the anesthetic hasn’t worn off and he’s hallucinating).

  44. Yeah, I’m convinced. I have my baseball cap in front of a crappy cardboard background. And that looks like a Braves jersey he’s putting on, which was Mac’s thing.

    And incidentally, we need at least one OF. I’m not convinced we can’t afford a free-agent one, but if that’s true, then we have to trade for one. If Nady doesn’t work, go find another. There is one out there that will. Not getting one is not an acceptable option. Even if it’s a marginal option, I think we have to try it. We cannot go into this year with the same outfield we had last year. We just cannot do it.

    Edit: And incidentally, if this was gonna be a problem, why in the hell were we not in on Pat Burrell or Juan Rivera or any of the other 700 OFs that have signed this offseason for very reasonable prices?

  45. Nick at 82,

    Burrell would have been good at 8 x 2years.

    Rivera would have been really good at 5 x 3 years (even with a little injury problem).

    The Vazquez deal could have been expanded to include Dye.

    The Yankees trade for Swisher could have easily been matched by us.

  46. As I see it (through probably rose colored glasses), no new non-Andruw OF and we’re probably a 3rd place team, who, if people rebound and have good breaks (Mets/Phils have big problems), might snag a WC berth.

    If we get an OF with pop we’re then more likely a legit WC contender who, if people rebound and we have good breaks have a slim chance at the East. I don’t see a scenario in which we’re the favorite in the east unless we go crazy and signed Manny and Dunn (and even then… somebody who can run like hell better be manning center).

  47. As to Nady and the Yankee’s price.

    Yankees would prefer to move Matsui or Damon, but they don’t help us. Nor is it likely they will go elsewhere. So that means they have Melky, Swisher, and Nady and with Matsui at DH some.

    Nady is a career 800 OPS outfielder coming off an outlier year at an age that screams “PEAK YEAR”. If you take out his one outlier, he isn’t any better than 07 Francoeur (who may never be seen again, but I think it lends some perspective).

    I think the Yankees will hold on until the end of spring training, if necessary, to get what they want, which is probably some good minor league pitching.

    What do peole here think about Melky?

  48. FWIW. Brewers are out on Dunn apparently… though I don’t think they were propping up his price so it won’t make much difference.

    I’m not so hep on Melky… though the more I look at Nady I’m less enamored with him… and Swisher just never seemed that great an option to me… dang this is depressing.

  49. I really hope that the Braves are patient–there are enough ways out there to improve the team significantly before Spring training.

    Last year when Melky’s name came up many people were not impressed. He did nothing to raise his stock in 2008, but FWIWI I thought that he had a chance to be a decent player–but not the kind of bat that we need….

  50. I think Melky’s usefulness to Braves would be as a righhanded centerfielder to complement the Blanco / Anderson situation.

    I think Abreu could play left against righties and right against lefties. At one time, Dunn could play right, but I don’t think that is true anymore.

    Dunn and the unreachable Manny are the only two FA power bats. I still think the Cards will have to move an outfielder. Surely we can get back in on Ludwick with pitching.

  51. CharlesP – didn’t think about it like that, but with our luck the lightning would bounce off Frenchy and take out the whole infield.

  52. The problem with Nady is that he’ll only be useful if Diaz is not. No reason to give up prospects and money for a contingency plan. :-/

  53. ludwick for

    Prado + Reyes

    hey…anyone interested in calling the Indians and see what it would take to get LaPorta?

    i’m pretty sure it would entail giving up Locke + Gorkys…but would you do it?

    the kid is knocking on the door, plays LF, bats Right-Handed, and is a stud at the plate.

  54. mraver,

    Nady could be Francoeur’s replacement in right, couldn’t he?

    As much as I want a right handed “bat” I think Dunn is only FA “bat” that really helps us. Ludwick, Ankiel, Edmonds could each be a good play. Nelson Cruz might also make sense.

    Abreu helps if we assume the platoon with Diaz. Abreu has no power against lefties.

  55. I just can’t fathom that we would trade with the Yankees for an OF when Dunn and Abreu have bidders dropping out left and right. I’m not going so far as to “hope” for it, but it sure would be nice to land either one of those two.

  56. LaPorta will cost much more than you anticipate. Like either Heyward or Hanson. This is the player they got for CC (and they basically wanted “best minor leaguer available”).

  57. I’m glad to see that Frenchy is out to have fun this year because that’s my paramount concern. I hope the fans have fun when he’s at bat because we sure as hell didn’t last year.

  58. #96–Agreed. For all practical purposes LaPorta is untouchable.

    I think that Nady will be much better than Diaz, but I am not prepared to pay too much for him….

  59. Looking at Bradley (3/30) and Burrell’s (2/16!) contracts, this would be the year to sign Dunn long, if possible. I would love something like 4/32, which is actually more expensive than Burrell’s contract (same rate over four, with all the injury risks, etc.).

    Burrell’s contract still blows my mind, but if it’s any kind of market indicator, signing Dunn long would be smart.

  60. I would be happy to pay Dunn more per year, but not for 4 years: 9/27 is probably a best case scenario for me….

  61. Last I heard, Dunn was looking for 4/56; he’s not going to get that, but I think he’ll get 3/36. It should be relatively uncontroversial that he’s better than Bradley; he’s a clumsy, awkward dude, but he’s a clumsy, awkward 40 HR, .380 OBP hitter with no injury concerns.

  62. I could see Dunn getting 3/33 or 4/40–but I hope that the Braves don’t offer him anything like the latter….

  63. Stephen at 104,

    I would rather do 4 at 10 per year to Dunn than 3 at 11 per year. Effectively, year 4 costs 7 million.

    I believe the traditional inflation of salaries is about to stop. However, the plan on long term on Dunn anyway is to transition him by trade to an AL team in need of a DH. He should be worth 10 and that saves us 3.

  64. Mac told me a few days ago that he’d be pretty groggy so I’d be surprised if he comes onto here and gives an update in the next day or two.

    If he does call me, I will immediately update everyone.

    This “nugget” from Frank Wren:

    -in the Andruw Jones article:

    The Braves have young center fielders Josh Anderson, Gregor Blanco and prospect Jordan Schafer to compete in spring training. Wren said the pursuit of a run-producing outfielder, perhaps for left field, isn’t as urgent as it was before the Braves bolstered their starting rotation. “We can be patient,” he said.

    I’m glad we bolstered our rotation but our lineup is two good bats short and Wren should not be acting so cocky with an outfield that is currently the WORST in Baseball.

  65. @111 – I truly don’t think he is and am pretty sure he’ll make a move sometime in Spring Training. He is just trying to drive the price down on some of these trades. And I’m sure he’d still go after Dunn if his price were to drop.

  66. The preceding paragraph in that article is interesting too

    “We have to look at it and it and discuss it,” said Wren, whose 40-man roster is currently full. “It’s not every day a situation like [Jones] comes up. It’s more complicated than just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ “

    I think Joshua may be right too… I think he’s probably trying to drive down the cost of those FA outfielders (and trades).

  67. Glad you made it through Mac, enjoy the Percoset (you just have to imagine your Mike Hampton as you take the pills… just don’t have a habit as long as his).

  68. Hmmmm from DOB (via MLBTR)

    Almost forgot to mention this: I asked about Hudson’s option today, and found out it’s not a mutual option, but a club option. Yes, they fully intend to exercise it, barring some unexpected turn of events.

    That would give the Braves potentially one of the most formidable rotations in baseball, likely featuring Hudson, Lowe, Vazquez, Kawakami and Hanson.

    Ummmmm JJ?!?!? I want them to exercise the option… but sure hope it doesn’t mean they’re going to trade away JJ in the process.

  69. Good to hear it, Mac.

    Why do they call it Percoset? Isn’t it more of a fringe benefit?

    (yes, I just made that up…I dunno — tell it out loud about an hour after you’ve taken the first pill and it might get funnier……)

  70. I would rather not exercise the option than trade away JJ or leave him out of the rotation. It is more likely that someone would be moved to the pen for a year or so (probably Vasquez at that point considering his last year) – or they could try to trade Vasquez. But it would be stupid to move JJ b/c he is under control longer.

  71. They won’t be trading Jurrjens, guys. If everyone’s healthy and Hanson is ready, I’d think Vazquez would be the odd man out.

    And if he has the kind of year I’m expecting him to have, he could fetch a nice prospect or two.

  72. Mac, I understand the Hawks on Percoset is kinda interesting. Josh Smith’s game looks savant-like, instead of just really stupid.

    Glad you’re back!

    Tell me we’re not going to ruin all of this by signing Andruw and Glavine.

    Just out of curiosity, where would Peavy fit in this rotation? 1? 2?

  73. Good job Mac. Watch Frenchy AB’s while doped up. His swing will send you messages on what Wren will do the rest of the offseason.

  74. @127 – he was either totally drunk or joke woke up and was entirely incoherent. That is absolutely crazy.

  75. So, anyone get the feeling that we should just go after Ricky Henderson if we are seriously going after Andruw. He couldn’t do worse than ‘Druws ’08 season, and he said he’d come back if anyone wanted him.

    In case anyone was wondering – that was a joke (not funny, but a joke nonetheless).

  76. Mac, I was coming on here to give an pdate but I see you made it on here…sorry I didn’t see your text message from 1:30 until end of the day. Glad you have enough energy to give everyone a status update.

    It seems inevitable we’ll be taking Andruw back. Sigh. I’m sure Frank Wren will put his feet on his desk and smoke a stogie acting like he’s actually improved the offense or something.

  77. By David O’Brien

    January 16, 2009 6:07 PM | Link to this

    Breakdown on Lowe’s contract is as simple as it gets: $15 mill every season for four years. No front- or back-loading, no bonus, just straight $15 mill per.

  78. Mac–Glad to know that the surgery went well–I have never had the pleasure/relief/ of Percoset, but I hope that the experience is enjoyable….Get well quick….

  79. #130–We should go get Rickey, add Andruw and prepare for some great blogging–especially in light of #46…

  80. Do you think we might be better off trying to sign a guy like Hudson? We could have him play second base and move Kelly to LF. I think that might help with our leadoff scenario as well. I don’t know what he is like defensively, but he could be an upgrade over Kelly, and I also don’t know if he hit leadoff last year, but he looks like he could fit the profile of a leadoff hitter. What do you think? I only bring this up b/c I still think we lack a true leadoff hitter (of course we need a big bat too, but work with me on this).

  81. Joshua–I tend to agree with Smitty–lets keep KJ at 2B. Moving him to LF is something of a last resort.

    I think that the Braves now have both the time and the money to improve their outfield.

    That said, while I am not crazy about Blanco, we nothing less than an RF and LF….

  82. @142 – Wren’s interview posted on chop-n-change says money is not an issue with LF. Wren claims he’s waiting for the money to go down and I agree with that. Braves finally have some leverage due to the amount of outfielders left and few amount of teams in need

  83. Mac, glad to hear how it went. In addition to doctor’s orders, may I suggest a steady diet of Pink Floyd to accompany your Percoset. :-)

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