Greg Norton

Norton was a sensational pinch-hitter last year; in 72 tries, he hit .316 .473 .526. In the lineup… not so much, though when he started he did pretty well. There’s a lot of value in a guy who hits like that in pinch situations, but there’s little evidence that it’s a repeatable skill. Norton is nominally a switch-hitter, and nominally a guy who can play all four corner positions. But he hit just .192 from the right side (a problem for a bench player on the heavily lefthanded Braves) and looked shaky in left, though his stats aren’t too bad, better than Infante’s.

Norton is 36, and was never really a good player, just an okay one. He was probably the best option in left field last year anyway, at least against righthanders, but the end can come quickly for guys like this. His biggest problem will be to maintain a half-decent batting average. He hit just .262 last year, .246 for the Braves, but with enough peripheral offense to make up for it. If his average drops any more, it will be hard to keep pace… Like the rest of this team, dreadfully slow. Hasn’t tripled since 2002.

Greg Norton Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

57 thoughts on “Greg Norton”

  1. I posted this in the last thread and didn’t realize that I had messed up the link, so I’ve fixed it.

    In arbitration, it’s all comps. I don’t think there is anyone in Jeff’s service class with comparable stats AND playing time that would justify $4 million. If Jeffy’s agent argues that his playing time is comparable to some other highly-paid players, the Braves can just say, “yes, he played a lot, but he played much better that Jeff.”

    If Jeffy is going to win, he’s going to have to win on the popularity card. As much grief as Jeffy gets online, he still gets plenty of cheers at Turner Field. If I’m Jeffy’s agent, I pull this ” rel=”nofollow”>August advertisement from the Braves website (I think it is admissible since it is Braves advertising) and blow it up on poster board. The message is, “yeah, even though he sucks on the field, he’s plenty valuable to the Braves…and they think so too.” I suspect they’ll bring in Q-scores and such to show his marketing power. Then the player comps become less relevant.

    I still think he’s going to lose (I think the Braves offer is just about right for on-field play) but I see his off-field popularity as his only avenue for winning.

  2. I hope Jeff loses his arb hearing. I also hope he gets his act together on-field this year. Note that the same word – hope – is used in both sentences, but I am more optimistic that #1 will come about than #2. As a fan, though, I want to see him do well.
    Also, sansho1 got a nice shout-out on Joe Posnanski’s blog (“Brilliant reader Sansho1”) – I think between his (Poz’s) taking up the torch for Murph, and brilliant “discussion” re: Jeffy’s arb hearing, I’d say he writes as good stuff about the Braves as any non-ATL based guy out there…

  3. Proposed lineups (assuming Jr.)

    lefties:

    Esco
    KJ
    Chip
    Diaz
    Mc
    Frenchy
    Kotchman
    CF (whoever)
    Pitcher

    Against righties

    KJ
    Esco
    Chip
    Jr.
    Mc
    Diaz
    Kotchman
    CF (whoever)
    Pitcher.

    This way, you use Jr.’s PA’s on platoon days to replace a much worse bat.

    I think we are going to get Jr. I am not against it, much. However, I would rather see us move some pitching for an outfielder or get Edmonds. Edmonds is still mediocre in center, plus in right or left, so he gives you more options on how to set the outfield and was a better hitter than Jr. last year (after Edmonds got out of Petco).

  4. I agree on Edmonds, but I think he’s looking for a full-time job. That is, I don’t think he’s said he’d be willing to platoon like Griffey.

    To hear DOB tell it, it sounds like Anderson will be in center AND leading off. Now, I can stomach him in center because it seems like we don’t have a lot of options, but leading off?

  5. DOB said Glavine was all but a done deal and he’s 90% certain that JR will choose Atl. He said he was guessing but Lerew and Blanco could be the ones off the 40 man roster to make room

  6. Am I the only one who would be shocked if they designated Blanco for assignment?

    Couldn’t they just move Hudson to the 60-day DL to clear a spot?

  7. would Sammons have value? Why not DFA him and Lerew? We have McCann and Ross on the 40 man and Diaz is an emergency cather. I would think Sammons could clear waivers before Blanco

  8. Bill Simmons has his NBA trade value article up. I he lists his criteria for ranking and one of them is as follows:

    Concentrate on degrees. Neither San Antonio nor Orlando would make a Howard-Duncan trade, but the Spurs would at least say, “Wow, Dwight Howard’s available?” and have a meeting about it while the Magic would say, “There’s no frickin’ way we’re trading Dwight Howard.” That counts in the big scheme of things.

    Think about Jeff Francoeur in that context. There’s probably no player the Braves don’t sit down and have a meeting about if the offer comes in to trade that player for Francoeur. Francoeur for player X is almost universally a good deal for the Braves and a bad deal for player X’s team. On the other hand, if we offer up Francoeur, teams probably don’t even have to have a meeting to reject us.

    If this were the English Premier League the Braves would have Francoeur out on loan to a 3rd division team.

    Someone, can’t remember who, made a poorly constructed argument that Francoeur’s value has hit rock bottom and we might as well hold on to him until he regains some value. I submit that he has not hit rock bottom and he could get much worse. Andruw Jones hit rock bottom. Francoeur has not. At this point in time there are still people out there who believe Francoeur has upside. He’s also cheap. If he becomes more expensive and doesn’t get any better, his value goes even farther down. He may get better, but by no means has his value hit rock bottom.

    There’s a reason the Reds would scoff at a Francoeur for Bruce deal. It’s because Bruce hasn’t proven himself to be severely flawed and Francoeur has.

  9. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman and The News Tribune’s Larry LaRue both have a gut feeling that Ken Griffey Jr. will sign with the Braves soon. Atlanta is a better fit for Junior in all kinds of ways.

    It’s all speculative right now, but Bowman also wonders if the Braves will announce a Tom Glavine signing alongside Griffey tomorrow. His guess at the two players they’d remove from the 40-man: Anthony Lerew and Gregor Blanco.

    Blanco and Lerew…no real complaints there.

  10. What I am saying is that it irritates me. I think someone would pick up Blanco who has value. Sammons has a better shot at surviving DFA.

    One of the most annoying things about the Bobby Cox led Braves is this paranoia about catchers. Is it because Cox was a catcher?

    Considering the irrational fear, the Braves should treat their catchers like some companies treat their executives. They should never allow them to get on the same plane or the same bus. They need a bunker in the West Virginia mountains for them, in case the security of the nation is threatened.

    That way, if the rest of the team dies in a freak accident, at least there will always be somebody to squat behind the plate.

  11. @2

    I did?

    Hey, I did!

    I agree with you, Jonathan, about Posnanski’s writing. No question he’s one of the best. And yet another Kansas City area writer, just like Bill James, Rob Neyer, and Rany Jazayerli. They really deserve a better product.

  12. Re: Blanco
    I agree that he’ll have value to someone. He’s a decent (and cheap) 4th outfielder with some speed, someone who works pitchers very well.

    Re: Norton
    I’ll say this for Greg Norton…in beating the Mets with a late-season, 9th-inning PH HR, he was responsible for one of our very few moments of joy last year.

    Now whenever I hear Met fans moaning about their second consecutive division meltdown, my standard response is, “Well, I’m glad we could do our part last year.”

    Yes, here’s to Norton as a backup.

  13. Blanco, eh. A singles hitting OF with no arm or Batting Average. He is not a PH type, maybe a defensive replacement for someone? mybe a pinch runeer in the NL. He will probably be picked up but has not real value on our team of valueless OFer’s.

  14. He walks, and he can run. Those are two valuable things, particularly on this team. He’s a far better player than Francoeur. Anderson looks like a better player to me, because he has some pop and is probably better in center, but the Braves aren’t behaving rationally.

  15. I like Anderson better in CF too, I like Diaz/Griffey in LF, I hate RF, but is a 250 hitting Blanco with a 350 OBP and 1 HR better that a guy that hits 200, 10 HR/s and a 205 OBP,
    maybe I should rethink Blanco a bit…

  16. jjschiller at 27 and 30,

    There is no 60 day DL until (I believe) the last day before the season. So, a spot for Hudson WILL open up. That was part of the rationale on why maybe we should sign Andruw to a minor league deal but not to an ML deal.

  17. That makes sense. Thank you.

    Seems like we could trade SOMEBODY rather than put Blanco through waivers…

    Any value we could get in trade a combination for Jo Jo, or Carlyle, Blanco or B. Jones seems better than putting him through waivers.

  18. Blanco 2002-2005: 2068 PA, 37 3B, 26 HR
    Blanco 2006-2008: 1693 PA, 13 3B, 4 HR

    That top line isn’t great, but it shows he had at least a little pop in his bat. That has completely dissipated in the last three years. While I enjoyed watching him work some deep counts early last season, his complete lack of power dooms him as anything but a scrub.

  19. Where is a real list of a 40 man roster? ESPn has a “roster” but it is 52 people.

    Just wondering who else could be cut.

    Also, if Glavine signed a guaranteed minor league deal, we wouldn’t have to ditch Blanco.

  20. @21

    Well they dropped 350 MM into renovations of Kauffman Stadium. Went by there a few days ago. Looks really nice.

    The best way to describe the Royals:

    Kyle Farnsworth (4.6 MM)
    John Buck (2.6 MM)
    Ross Gload (1.7 MM)
    Horacio Ramirez (1.8 MM)
    Willie “effing” Bloomquist (1.5 MM)

    Total 12.1 MM

    Adam Dunn (10 MM)

    Boggles my mind. Or, for that 12.1 MM they could have probably gotten Beimel, Cruz, and O. Hudson.

    Just dumb

  21. So random people on this site are now hanging out with other random people in real life? How far off is the first annual BravesJournal pig pickin’?

  22. So weird to hear WFAN discussing a Griffey/Diaz platoon.

    Hey, I’m random, and thanks AAR—it was a buncha fun. I slept well Sunday night.

  23. I second Stu. ububba and AAR are anything but random. They are arguably some of Mac’s acting “capos”.

    Stu, you’re obviously also a Capo. I am more the Hesch “Consigliarie” (sp?) role since I now only show up occassionally and go back many years with Mac. But I’m not involved in day to day Bravesjournal “business” anymore.

    I am pleased the Braves signed Griffey. I think he can still provide solid production and easily way more than any current outfielder on the roster. But this shouldn’t be the end. We should be signing one more bat (Orlando Hudson) and then we can go with the roster we have and see what happens.

    I fear that Wren is stopping here and not picking up one more passenger on the 2009 “Braves express”.

  24. I’m just going to explode.

    Why aren’t people talking about a Griffey / Francouer platoon?

    Does he have pictures of everyone? (And where do I sign up for such a service?)

  25. Alex,
    Orlando Hudson doesn’t exactly qualify as a bat. Where would he play?

    I’d still like to trade for Swisher, but I think Wren’s run out of money.

  26. I know Griffey’s best years are well behind him, but being a fan of his dad and him, I am excited that he signed with the Braves, if the story on AJC is legit. I’ve got his Upper Deck Rookie Card (along with all of the others) and the poster of him in his Seattle uni and his dad in the Reds uni.

    I am happy the Braves are getting him instead of Andruw. Junior Griffey is one of the few good guys left in the sport.

    I will definitely be attending MORE Braves games this season just to see him play.

  27. @14: Dix, your post contradicts itself, or I’ve missed something. In the second paragraph you state: “if we offer up Francoeur, teams probably don’t even have to have a meeting to reject us.” Then, you go on to conclude “If he becomes more expensive and doesn’t get any better, his value goes even farther down. He may get better, but by no means has his value hit rock bottom.”

    Which one is it? Either teams will consider trading for him, or they won’t (which is another way of saying he has no trade value.) I’m pretty certain that the Braves couldn’t get a single offer with anywhere near a significant return, so what do you suggest then? Cutting him to keep from watching his trade value drop further?

    If we keep Jeff we lose at most $4 million, and the playing time we give to him. If he succeeds, teams will be more likely to put less stock in 2008 and more in 2007, and if he fails and better options emerge we can cut back his playing time… and what’s the worst thing we’ve lost? $4 million (and likely less than that.) Of course even if he tanks again, his potential is probably good enough to convince some team to pawn him off on, maybe for a PTBNL and cash considerations. I’m not convinced he’s reached that point yet, but we’ll see how he does the first few months of the season, and go from there.

  28. @44: Look at the splits, Jeff hit much better last year against RHP than LHP, Griffey’s not the world class defensive outfielder he once was (he was never really a world class RF,) and Diaz has never played a full season, is coming off an injury, and has a career OPS .163 better against LHP than RHP (on top of that his career OPS against RHP is less than Jeff’s .706 to .719)

    As for Kelly Johnson, the guy has a GREAT arm for a second basemen… for a second basemen. I imagine he could play left, but he should never be playing RF on a daily basis.

  29. @49.

    You didn’t miss anything.

    You saw something that isn’t there, but you didn’t miss anything.

    There’s nothing contradictory in the post.

    Teams would not consider trading for him, we’d be flatly rejected AND his value can still get lower. Just because teams wouldn’t trade for him doesn’t mean his value is at rock bottom. Don’t forget that we have the guy on our team. As long as he’s on our team and our payroll he has value to us. Currently that value is negative. As he gets more expensive without improving, that value becomes more and more negative. This is especially so if he gets worse.

    So you’re correct in your understanding of my post: No one would trade for him and his value isn’t rock bottom. You’re too narrow minding in thinking his “value” is solely tied up in what we could get for him in return. It also encompasses what he costs us in relation to what he provides us. He costs us more than he’s worth, and he’s performed so poorly and regressed so badly that we can’t even mitigate our losses by trading him. The only way to cut our losses is to either cut him loose, or pile on the expenses in the hope of recouping some of them down the line.

    I’d rather put our resources into other players who haven’t regressed as baseball players by age 24.

  30. @53: In the discussion you were commenting on I was refering to Jeff’s trade value by the word value. I’m sorry if I wasn’t specific enough, but I think, in context, I explained myself thusly.

    Judging a player’s overall value to his team is quite a bit harder, and I won’t attempt it here, except to say I’d be shocked if it was negative. Last year it may have been negative (though at a cost of $460K I doubt it, and as I’ve said before there were few if any other options available for RF,) but it clearly was positive in 2007.

    Seeing as we still don’t have a quality replacement for him in RF, I think it makes sense to give him a chance to bounce back to 2007 form. If he does, and we still want to cut ties, we’ll actually have a trade market for him. If he doesn’t, we’ll never be second guessed for cutting him loose, or shipping him off somewhere (Kansas City?) for half his salary… sounds like a gamble worth $1-$3 million to me.

  31. Jeff hit much better last year against RHP than LHP

    It’s like being the best dentist in London, or the tallest pygmy or something.

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