Brian McCann

Brian McCann Statistics and History –

There are certain difficulties when your best hitter is your catcher. The biggie is that you lose him for thirty-odd games, and even with a good backup (for once) it’s a big hole in your offense. It doesn’t help when he goes on the shelf for a couple of weeks with a bizarre eye problem where his laser surgery apparently reversed itself.

McCann had a slight off year, compared to his 2006/2008 standards, and maybe has set up a Bret Saberhagen pattern of alternate good years/bad years, but even in an off year he was the best catcher in the league, hitting .281/.349/.486, and most of the loss from 2008 can be attributed to his problems in April. He didn’t have a big home run streak like he usually has, but still finished with a team-high 21.

Brian was pretty terrible against lefties in 2009, hitting only .225/.309/.325. This is an aberration, as he had always hit lefties pretty well before. I am guessing that the eye problems were to blame, that the glasses he wore in his comeback caused depth perception issues, but that’s just a guess. If he has surgery again this offseason, as I’ve heard he would (or already has) the problem will maybe go away.

Threw out 24 percent of baserunners; this is a “career best” in that in previous years he’s been at 23 and 21 percent. It’s really not a big deal; I think the net effect is maybe three runs a year. (Don’t hold me to that, but I doubt it’s much more.) People get much more worked up about basestealing than they really should. McCann calls a good game, and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes… Four-time All Star, but always as a reserve. He’s backed up four different catchers in the game; this year they’ll probably vote in Yorvit Torrealba or something.

187 thoughts on “Brian McCann”

  1. Brian McCann–What a nice way to start 2010!!

    It would not surprise me if we got an MVP season out of McCann in the next few seasons….

  2. I know this is premature (but hey, isn’t that what offseasons are for), but how close is Mccann to a HOF trajectory? I know he’s not there yet or anything, but how much more does it take (and how likely are those events to occur, given what we know of his performance to date)?

  3. IF McCann maintains his current levels of production over a 15+ year career, yes, he’s HOF calibre. But catchers are notoriously difficult to project long term and if he moves to 1B or washes out he’ll being buying tickets to Cooperstown like the rest of us. Right now I’d say Brian McCann is the Javy Lopez to Joe Mauer’s Mike Piazza.

  4. I think McCann should stay at catcher, but should play some games at first. It would give him more at bats and would create less wear on him.

  5. #2
    But what’s really weird is that the Hawks are actually the best team in Atlanta.

    Now that the Falcons have scored consecutive winning seasons, here’s to the Hawks advancing beyond the second round. (Such modest wishes for our pro winter sports teams.)

    Re: HoF Catchers
    AAR & I had a conversation this past weekend that got me wondering: Should Jorge Posada be in the Hall of Fame?

    I’m the first to admit that I have plenty of difficulty evaluating players from the Steroid Era—still, I’d lean “yes.”

    Not that it’s going to keep YankeeHaters up nights, but I’d love to see a Keltner List on Posada.

  6. @1, I agree, actually McCann will have an MVP-caliber season in a couple years and finish, say, 4th in the voting.

    Then we’ll trade him while his value is high to.. the Yankees and pick up a hot shot A-ball catcher prospect. Think of the years of control!! The money saved!! Think of all that VALUE!!! I can’t wait. How well will That Coup set up the 2017 Braves?!

    And if we get Brett Gardner back in the bargain, I may just pass out from excitement. I need to lay down.

    Why play for a championship today when you can play for tomorrow?

  7. Jim Caple had some rather negative comments about the Braves farm system and the ownership: specifically, he says Cody Johnson is a top ten prospect only because of the lack of depth in the organization after the top guys and, second, that the Braves drafted Minor over better prospects because he was the only one that would sign what ownership was willing to pay.

  8. Both of those things are true, but I suspect the same could be said of most organizations.

  9. #9–Half of that is probably true: the Braves went into the 2009 Draft with an eye to saving money. Drafting Minor over more talented prospects was the dominant trend for the Braves; in fact, they could have had a much more impressive draft. The real test will be over the next 2-4 years when we will learn if the Braves were much smarter than most thought.

    Lots of scouts and prospect gurus don’t like Cody Johnson–because he strikes out an obscene amount of time. Nevertheless, he hit 32 HR last year and, far more important, he has consistently gotten better as he has climbed the organizational latter. He is 21 and yet the experts can’t wait to write him off.

    It might be fun to keep a list of those (such as John Sickels) who said that he would never amount to much….

    Sure he has a good way to go, but players with his power are not common. I am sure that there are many organizations who would love to have him….

  10. Cary–The trade will probably also have crappy left hand relief pitching prospects going each way; the Braves’ website will then proclaim that the team got ‘great prospects’ in ‘the deal for McCann’….

  11. I would lean toward a yes on Posada as the third Yankee dynasty HOFer.

    You boys really need to get over the Vazquez trade. It is the case that this team operates on a budget. Deal with it or go root for the Yankees or Mets.

  12. #13–You are right: the team does indeed operate on a budget. However, the Vazquez trade was a symptom of a much bigger mistake: paying Derek Lowe 60 million for 4 years. In fact, I rather suspect that the most significant defect of the trade was that the Braves could not move Lowe and thereby probably lost the opportunity to get out from under his massive contract. They will pay (in all senses) for that not just in 2010, but in the succeeding offseasons.

    That is a reality that we can all ‘deal with’….

  13. I made two comments on the last thread, one about the swarm of delusional Iowa fans in Iowa Miami and one about noisy data WRT Schafer’s true talent level. I’m posting from my phone and entirely too lazy to re-post them.

    I agree on the SB/CS thing. Twenty four per cent will do just fine. I don’t even think that’s -3 RAA.

    The lefties thing is probably just a SSS aberration. Though it would make plenty of sense to learn that eye troubles were to blame.

    All things considered, I’ll take a .830 OPS from my catcher any day. It would be nice to see McCann get his on base average back into the ~.375 range in 2010.

    He has already had eye surgery this pre season and the doctors an organizational mouths called it a success. I hope they’re right and have no reason to believe they’re not.

  14. I’d also love to see a Keltner list on Bernie Williams. Right now he doesn’t look like much, but he was on 5 All-Star teams, won 4 Gold Gloves, has a career OPS+ of 125, and was one of the top center fielders of the past 20 years along with Jim Edmonds, who’s also borderline, and Andruw Jones, who would have made it if he weren’t in the midst of a Dale Murphy-like decline.

    I think that Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are certain to go in (so are Clemens and Rodriguez, of course, but it’s harder to think of them as Joe Torre Yankees). Pettitte, Posada and Williams have strong cases; Pettitte’s probably the likeliest to get in of those three, though I’m probably a bigger fan of Jorge and Bernie.

  15. RE @ 14

    Actually, I had a few minutes and did the work myself. And honestly, you were pretty quiet about the Lowe signing last year, but what you did say was supportive. Notably you “really liked” Mac’s write-up of Lowe when he was signed. To that point, here’s what Mac had to say back then:

    “When dealing with pitchers, the most important thing to look at for the next year is not the age, but what they did the previous season. Long-term, you better look at age, and Lowe will be 39 when this contract runs out; it seems unlikely that he will still be effective then. It’s not impossible. The main thing I look for when projecting pitchers forward is strikeout rate; if they’re losing strikeouts, they’re about to hit the wall. Lowe’s strikeout rate is pretty steady; there’s been some decay, but not too much. (He’s struck out 147 men in each of the last two years, but pitched in 11 2/3 more innings last season than in 2007.) His control has improved, and it may be that he’s at a sort of peak right now. It happens.”

    Notice what is missing from that analysis. Notice that the only concern Mac – or anyone else to my recollection – shows is that Lowe got too many years. Mostly that came down to the Braves guaranteeing a fourth year where the Mets were only offering three with a club option.

    No one, at the time of the signing, thought $15 mil per was a bad contract for a pitcher of Lowe’s pedigree. It is only after one bad season that people have coalesced around that sort of groupthink, and having so coalesced have begun to re-write their own memories of what they thought “all along.”

    The Braves tried to move Lowe and found a weak market. They then moved Vazquez instead. We’re all in agreement that it would have been better to move Lowe instead, but that’s not where the market was, and you play the hand you’re dealt.

    I would tput more stock into the “massive contract” as a mistake meme if I had seen it pop up at the time of the signing. Hell, I’d give credit if you can show me that thought prior to the All-Star break last year. I doubt I’ll see evidence of that, though. I suspect that the Lowe’s contract was a horrible mistake and Wren’s a fool for signing it meme didn’t formalize until he started collapsing in the second half of 2009. That being the case, I have little respect for 20/20 hindsight. (And truth be told, I’m not at all sure Derek Lowe won’t out pitch Javier Vazquez in 2010, though I’d certainly not bet on that happening.)

  16. To me, hindsight is often boring. Deal with it. Look forward.

    Re: #16
    I think Paul O’Neill is in the conversation. He’s career OPS+ 120 and you could argue that he’s had 7-8 “HoF seasons.”

    But he’s also a RF and, IMO, comes up a little short.

  17. Without commenting on whether I agree with them, I will assure you that Stephen made several comments complaining about the Lowe signing at the time, in Spring Training, and during the season. Like PW, I’m on my phone, so I can’t provide any links right now, but the comments exist. I remember them distinctly.

  18. I would be open to being sold on Bernie. If Andy Pettitte is enshrined it will be a Jack Morris level travesty. He has no more place in the Hall than does Denny Neagle.

  19. Often questioning why the Braves felt the need to dwarf the next-highest reported offer (3 years, $36 million from the Mets), for example.

  20. And Paul O’Neil is not a HOF. If someone can show me the evidence of non-hindsight concerns about Lowe I’ll retract and reassess. I see nothing of that sort in the two threads immediately dealing with Lowe’s signing last winter.

  21. Sam Hutcheson–Just because I liked Mac’s write up does not mean that I thought it was a great idea to sign Lowe. Mac’s write up made me feel better about it, but I always thought that the Braves would regret it by the end of the contract. I did not anticipate that he would melt down so badly in the second half of the season. I actually believe that he will probably be ok next year–but hardly worth 15-20% of the team’s payroll.

    In fact, at some point (maybe 6 weeks before–and that may have been on another blog)before he signed I think that I said “just say no to Derrick Lowe”.

    Now, if you were to look at my posts from Lowe onwards I think you would find that my scepticism about the deal comes out relatively early. I am guessing that over a number of days, I argued that Lowe was overpaid–because Wren needed to make a deal after taking lots of heat for losing Smoltz.

    Now, I agree with you that Lowe may well outpitch Vazquez (especially as the latter may have just had a career year and find that the pressures of pitching in NY are considerable), but the fact remains that carrying Lowe is going to be a huge burden for the Braves. In short, I think that inability to move Lowe actually matters more than who we got for Vazquez….

  22. The Braves would not have gotten Lowe if they had not done another year and paid big bucks. At the time, Javier Vazquez did not look like he was going to be a savior (and I can’t even remember if they got him before or after Lowe-I think it was after?). It was clear the Braves had no chance to contend unless they improved the pitching and there were not that many options out there. So it really came down as to whether we were ready to write off the year and I don’t think many people were. There were definitely people on the site (Stephen may have been one) that were skeptical about the signing and they raised legitimate questions but I think most people looked at it as the cost of trying to contend. Same thing with the Teixera deal–people were skeptical about giving up so many prospects, but it’s hard for a GM to say, in effect, we aren’t trying to win.

  23. Stu–You have a good memory!

    For the record, I have temporized in what the Braves might do with Lowe. If someone were to go read my posts, you would find that at least once I speculated that it might make sense to hold onto him until July–when his value might go up and we could get something in return….

    At this point, I just hope that he can be a useful pitcher for us in 2010….

  24. R:#19
    O’Neill pulled his weight on some great Yankee championship teams and on a very good Reds one, too. “The Boss” sure loved him.

    My favorite part about the Keltner lists is that once you get past the “best” questions, things get much more subjective.
    I like #13:If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Mariano-yes, Jeter-yes, Bernie-maybe, but Paulie no, not under this criteria.

  25. Don’t read this as a personal attack, Stephen. I’m just asking for something to back up the hindsight criticism. I thought the Lowe signing was reasonable at the time, I thought they had to throw in a fourth year to make it happen, and I though Wren was caught in an optics situation (due to the drastic over-valuation of John Smoltz by his customer base) where he had to “make it happen.” I don’t recall anyone more concerned that “the fourth year gives me pause” and I certainly recall very, very few people saying “Vazquez is the better option and we shouldn’t bother with Lowe.”

    I really though Wren would be able to move Lowe to Anaheim this winter, but apparently that fell through. As such, Vazquez had to go for budgetary reasons. I’d prefer to have a Phillies sized payroll, but that’s not the case. Regardless, I don’t see Derek Lowe as a Mike Hampton like albatross on the team’s ability to compete.

  26. At some point I did say that Vasquez would be the best pitcher on our team. I think I also said ‘Count it’. Just saying.

  27. I think most people can agree that Lowe will be a lot better this season and Vasquez will be a lot worse. Not many Braves fans, that I recall, were pissed off when we signed Lowe. At the time our rotation was Vasquez, JJ, KK, Morton, and Reyes. Keep this in mind also, if we hadnt of given Lowe his 4th yr, Oliver Perez would most likely be a brave. It was between the Mets and Braves as to who would sign whom.

  28. I liked the Lowe signing at the time and called for it often. I was certainly chastened by his performance this past year. Honestly, at the time, in the 2008 offseason, 4 years/$60 million didn’t instantly scream “bad contract” — it appeared to be what teams were willing to pay him on the open market.

    After an off year at a worrisome age, that contract looks MUCH worse, and it’s not surprising Frank didn’t get too many nibbles. If Derek has a good season, then he’ll look fine for a short gamble at 2 years, $30 million. If he has another bad one, he’ll look toxic. I’d rather have more payroll flexibility, but I don’t repudiate my earlier opinion, even if his performance makes me look kinda like an idiot at the moment.

  29. dont recall too many complaints after opening night last season either

    Braves 4, Phillies 1

    Another Alex R, completely agree. If Lowe has a good season, teams may take a two yr gamble on him. After/IF Vasquez gets shelled his value will drop tremendously. We could, honestly, be in the same position next offseason. Trying to move Lowe in order to getting Vasquez on a multi yr deal

  30. Perspective Gentlemen. Does it really matter who liked the Lowe signing and who didn’t?

    Marc, Vazquez was before we signed Lowe. But at that time Vazquez was a great stuff poor results pitcher with a ton of question marks coming in. Kawakami was either Nomo or Irabu, nobody knew. Hudson was injured. JJ was a sophomore slump away from being terrible and Hanson was just potential. I’m not even sure if I liked or said I liked the signing but given some historical perspective it was a good one.
    I like Lowe to bounce back. If he doesn’t the contract is an albatross but I certainly can’t fault the signing given the circumstances at the time of the signing.

    I would have been shocked if Wren had been able to trade Lowe AND have the recieving team take the entire contract.

  31. 29—I predicted good things, too. In a random piece for AAR, I went so far as to predict that he’d be the NL’s ASG starter.

    33—You mean, as O-Coordinator?

  32. David O’Brien

    January 4th, 2010
    1:01 pm
    Just got off the phone with D. Lowe, talked quite a bit. He’s got no hard feelings, has talked to Wren, etc. Said his frustration was just about possibly going to a city he had no desire to go to with three years left on his contract and having to leave Atlanta, where he thought he’d be for four years. But when I asked him if it was all water under the bridge now, he said, “There never really was water on the bridge to begin with.”

    He sounds perfectly fine, same as always, funny and sarcastic. Said he thought I might be the one traded. I said I’m getting old and my salary and declining performance last year prevented any such deal — much like with him. He replied with a “f*** you” and laughed.

  33. a lot of speculation over at dob’s blog concerning signing damon. dob said the braves could afford damon on a 1 or 2 year contract for less than 10 million per year. also, ken rosenthal has a new piece up and he predicts damon signs with the braves. would you guys be upset with a 2/14 signing of damon?

  34. @35, UK head football coach (AND offensive coordinator) Mike Leach

    Let the basketball on bluegrass begin! (even got a t-shirt slogan ready)

  35. Well good. At least Lowe is not personally offended by the trade talks or the fact that no one anywhere wanted him this offseason.

    It’s good to know that the only thing that bothered him was the prospect of spending 1/2 his time for 3/4 of the year for the next three years playing baseball in a city that’s not Atlanta. Now that he knows he can be in Atlanta every other fortnight from April to October he ought to find renewed vigor and enthusiasm and put up Cy Young caliber seasons.

    By far the best news of the hot stove season.

    Now all I need is a letter of apology from Francoeur and I’ll be primed for MLB’s 2010 season.

  36. I’m not a big fan of Damon, but he’s a good complimentary piece if he maintains his OBP. He won’t slug in Atlanta. Turner Field will sap his power the way it killed Kotchman’s. But Damon has better peripheral skills than Kotchman, so it’s a flier I wouldn’t hate.

  37. I’m not a big fan of Damon, but he’s a good complimentary piece if he maintains his OBP. He won’t slug in Atlanta. Turner Field will sap his power the way it killed Kotchman’s. But Damon has better peripheral skills than Kotchman, so it’s a flier I wouldn’t hate.

  38. He’s been the HC-in-waiting for a while. Don’t know if they’ve officially announced him, yet.

  39. How do we know we could’ve signed Mike Cameron?

    Re: Johnny Damon
    I’d like to think of Johnny Damon as a good top-of-the-order guy. He’d hit some HRs in ATL, but, yes, his swing was really suited for both Yankee Stadiums. But I can’t say I’d be crazy about signing a 36-year-old Damon to a 2-year deal. One year, maybe.

    Dunno if it matters that much, but he’s gotten really, really bad in LF—so bad that I’d be somewhat surprised if he signed in the NL. He has a noodle arm & he circles fly balls like Gary Matthews once did. Gets fooled, then makes up for it (sometimes) with effort.

    The talk in NYC, however, is that Damon got taken in some “bad investments” & will sign with whatever team ponies up.

    Small caveat: His commitment to the game came into question a few years ago. During ’07 spring training, he walked into Joe Torre’s office, overweight from a soft offseason, and told him he wasn’t sure he wanted to play anymore.

    At the time, it was announced that he had to go home to take care of some personal family issues—but he was given that time to see if he wanted to keep playing. The Yanks, which had committed a lotta money to him, were thoroughly unamused.

    It may not be anything. After all, he came back and, eventually, things were fine, culminating in a title. (Out of shape, he got hurt in ’07.) But the idea of quitting in spring training did raise some eyebrows.

  40. I dont like Damon, but a one year contract would be fine, give Heyward more time to develop and take pressure off of the decision to bring him up right away,

  41. Bowman’s new piece says the Braves were only willing to eat $9 mil of the $45 remaining on Lowe’s contract. Said there were talks with the Red Sox, but instead of 3/36 on Lowe they went with 5/85 on Lackey

  42. I’m skeptical about an aging Damon, but when I realize it would be taking PAs away from Cabrera I feel better.

    He’s backed up four different catchers in the game; this year they’ll probably vote in Yorvit Torrealba or something.

    Benjie Molina!

  43. I and many other UK fans are looking at Mike Leach and whimpering. He is EXACTLY what we need.

    Instead, we’re giving the job to someone who has never been Head Coach at any level and throwing him into the shark-infested waters known as the SEC.


    Great guy, bleeds blue, but honestly – have any of you guys ever heard of Coach Phillips?

    Leach is the perfect splash for a program like ours. (And there’s even a chance he’ll be somewhat humbled by all this and be easier to work with.)

    Why would anyone want to coach college football in today’s environment. If putting someone in timeout can get you fired, I’m not really sure how you’re supposed to discipline.

  44. Considering that I had Pop Warner coaches that used to kick us in the ass, step on us while we were doing exercises & make us do crab walks until we puked, neither do I.

    Nonetheless, I like the idea that UGA has to play a team coached (literally) by a Joker.

  45. Considering that I had Pop Warner coaches that used to kick us in the ass, step on us while we were doing exercises & make us do crab walks until we puked, neither do I.

    I had ’em too. And if I saw someone doing that to my son or daughter, I’d have your ass served to you on a platter. It’s abuse. Just because it was the way things were done, doesn’t make it proper, necessary or ethical.

  46. Lowe (even at 3/45) + Vizcaino + Melky + Dunn > Vasquez + Logan.

    Lowe (even at 3/45) + Vizcaino + Melky + Dunn > Flowers, Gilmore, et al.

    trading a pitcher with one year left on his deal, while eating ZERO salary and picking up a PREMIUM prospect is a phenomenal move. Period. Especially when we can sign vasquez back after this season if we really want to.

  47. Damon’s not a great fielder, he’s an old guy, etc., etc., but the man can hit. I remember a front-page story in the AJC several years ago where Chipper Jones talked about how having all these injuries was sapping his enjoyment of the game and how if he didn’t feel better he’d just retire. He’s been using that retirement language for a looong time. Wouldn’t surprise me if Damon has. I wouldn’t want the guy for more than a year, but for just a year, he’d be plenty fine.

    And as far as his LF defense, in the words of Eugene Mirman, I have “the will to whatevs.”

  48. This Fiesta Bowl matchup is getting me angry all over again.

    The BCS sacrificed a compelling story line and learning something (presumably) about these teams and their respective conferences to ensure the committee would not be embarassed.

  49. Spike,
    I never said it was right. We did have some parents who took their kids off the teams.

    And I never enjoyed missing trick-or-treating because we were doing three-hour practices on Halloween. Or doing wind-sprints, etc., immediately after games that we won.

    And we won almost all of our games, so it seemed worth it at the time. (Plus, most of us were Army kids from Ft. Benning—there were much bigger issues back then.) Now I know coaches would get arrested for that sort of stuff, but I’m rather positive that it didn’t negatively impact me.

    So, my point really is: I’m pretty unmoved by the Leach story.

  50. The point is that Leach has a reputation as being an unusual “motivator”. This particular incident may not be a big deal, but to hear the players tell it, it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you want a would-be Bobby Knight in charge of your program, fine by me.

  51. 2/14 for Damon? That would suck considering DeRosa, a much more versatile player only cost 2/12. No on Damon. Didn’t we get enough of aging, no field, left handed left fielders from last season?

    I’m still hoping for Nady I guess.

  52. as if the logjam in boston couldnt get any worse, they are about to sign adrian beltre for 9 million. so, there infield situation is now: 1b: youkilis and kotchman 2b: pedroia ss:scuataro&lowrie 3b: lowell & beltre dh: ortiz c: v-mart and varitek

    that is insane!

  53. Hello, Kentucky football. Good to see you for another year.

    And no, Mike Leach would not take you further than me. The only way you pass Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia is if they poop their pants (see: UK @ UGA ’09). Otherwise, no.

  54. I don’t think Damon would get a 2 year offer from ATL. Wouldn’t be the worst thing they ever did by a long poke though.

  55. Going back a couple of posts, it looks like any possibility of Beltre has ended with his signing by the Bosox….

    I am not crazy about signing Damon–especially for two years….

    However, I am becoming concerned that just as the Braves did not have enough money to be as aggressive as they probably would have liked in the 2009 Draft, they may not have it to do much more left.

    At this point, I guess I am hoping for Nady or the kind of trade that JS used to pull–where no one saw it coming….

  56. I told you the Yankees, Red Sox, etc. were absolutely NOT going to leave anything useful* for us to acquire with our Vazquez trade windfall funnybuck$$$. Darn, I guess it’ll just have to go into the pocket of Liberty Media.

    I am registering my displeasure so that when it is questioned a year or more from now there will be no diggity doubt! Yes, it looks like dead horse for supper tonight.


    *not that Beltre was the best fit for us, but what’s left is worse than dead horse

  57. Looking at Wren’s trading history I had forgotten that we got Boone Logan in the Vazquez deal (and that he was again packaged with Vazquez in the Yankees deal). I wonder if they are, like, best buds or something.

  58. Career OPS:

    Damon – .794
    Nady – .792
    Dye – .826

    Career OPS+:

    Damon – 105
    Nady – 108
    Dye – 111


    Damon, 2009, LF -12.1
    Nady, 2008, OF 4.0
    Dye, 2009, RF -24.5

    2010 Bill James OPS Projections:

    Damon – .785
    Nady – .806
    Dye – .813

    Damon – coming off one of his best offensive years
    Nady – coming off second TJ surgery
    Dye – coming off a terrible second half

  59. I just wish that Wren could have somehow blamed the Vazquez trade on the fans not showing up for games so it could go down in history as on of those truly memorable bad trades.

  60. #68–I am glad that he is good for something and I hope the Yanks come to rely upon him….

  61. Did anyone just see the Sport Science feature on Mark Ingram’s yards after contact on SportsCenter tonight?

    It was awesome! I’ll post it as soon as a clip is available. They break down the physics of Ingram’s sweet run against South Carolina earlier this year.

    It’ll probably run on the late and morning SportsCenter replays as well if anyone (Tide fans, etc.) is interested.

    Very cool.

  62. 77,
    Yeah, I saw that. It was the coolest college football analysis I’ve ever seen. Inspired the nerd in me. If I cared at all about amateur sports I’d try my hand at it.

  63. @76, thumbs up, Stephen

    I always root College of Charleston, which has worked out well for my NCAA brackets more often than not.

    I’ve got lots of good memories of attending their soccer camps at West Georgia College.

    I’d highly recommend CoC coach Ralph Lundy’s soccer camps if anyone has kids who are serious about the game.

    Go Cougars!

  64. I was doing my best to stay interested in the TCU-Boise game, and every 5 minutes I kept asking myself, “Who’s winning again?”

    In addition to putting together the worst pair of uniforms in the history of bowl games, this one was just hard to care about.

    We needed a heel/babyface dynamic. Gotta have big-school/small-school, trad program/upstart kinda thing.

    We need a playoff, too, but that’s another story.

  65. As a Yankee Hater, I can say that I don’t really hate individual Yankees. I just hate the institution. Well, maybe Roger Clemens.

  66. Cougars! I am surprised that UNC came to Carolina First Arena, the place only holds about 5,000. The old alma mater (class of 80 and 90) must be pumped now.

    Right now what we know:
    OF Diaz McLouth the wrong Cabrera
    INF Chipper Esco Prado Glaus McCann
    SP Huddy JJ Hanson Lowe KK
    BP Medlen Moylan Wagner Saito O’Flaherty
    Bench Ross Infante

    Is this good enough to compete with the Phillies?

  67. update on how our boys are doing/did in the winter leagues. matt young deserves a shot to back up mclouth next year. the guy has only gotten better every single year. he’s a good fielder, high obp, good speed, and his ops is rising. i’m guessing his power numbers in the winter leagues are a fluke, but he’s still worth a look as a 5th outfielder. actually, he’s probably already better than the melkman, but just needs a shot.

  68. ryan c–Thanks for the post. Young is real baseball player–gutty, smart and the type of guy who finds a way to win in late innings; but at 27 without even AAA experience it is hard for me to regard him as a prospect. That said, he deserves a shot somewhere.

    However, I am reading Gustafson’s numbers with real interest. If he is and can stay healthy, he just might be the best prospect that the Braves have who has remained completely under the radar. 2010 may be a very interesting year for him…

  69. @85 is it good enough to compete? I think so… mainly on the strength of the rotation. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re in any way favored… but as a mid-market team I’ve come to realize we’re rarely going to go into a year with the Mets & Phils budgets in our division and be favored.

    My gut-based guess would have the Phils winning the division 50% of the time, Braves at 35%, and Marlins or Mets at 14%. I think we’ve also probably got a 50-50 shot at the wild card.

    Would I like a bit more bang in the line-up? sure… The Phils are sending out 5 guys who are likely to hit 25-40 HRs each… we’ve got 8 guys likely to hit 12-25 and only a couple of those guys who are real threats to even get to 30. I guess the flip side is that we’re sending somebody to the mound every day who is fairly likely to end the year with a sub 4.0 ERA (and really only Lowe who is likely to end up above around 3.5 right?) and they’ve got a more traditional Ace through #5 rotation… Alas, I think that set-up is going to put us in a familiar post season position if we make it… they’ll have the bats and the Ace to make it deeper into October/November.

  70. #86 – thanks for posting that

    A few surprises for me are

    Brandon Hicks .310/.423
    Matt Young .315/.435 with 21 SB’s
    Juan Abreu 6IP 0BB 9K
    Luis Valdez 32IP 6BB 33K
    Mike Dunn 10IP 20K

    Acosta and Kimbrel are getting shelled. Prado’s .286 OBP isnt very enticing, but its a small sample size. Has he been playing LF in the winter leagues?

    But I agree with you on Matt Young. I doubt the power is real since he only hit 4 HR’s last season. However, he did have 10 triples and 42SB’s. Seems like a good bench guy to have around. I dont know if he or Mitch Jones could get that spot. Seems like Bobby would rather give it to Thurston or would lobby to resign Norton

  71. @86 – You’ve gotta’ be impressed with Gregor Blanco’s .863 OPS – not. My guess is that it will never be this high again at any level. Is Canizares still a Brave? I thought he was released.

  72. If the Braves combine Damon with Cabrera, they are bound to win. Those two “know how to win.” They are “gamers” who have won “championships. Those intangibles are more important that actual skill, right? :)

    Seriously, Damon has problems defensively, but it might not be unrealistic to expect that both he and Melky will get a boost by moving from the AL to the NL; at least they have seen Halladay before. It might work out ok, at least as a stopgap to Heyward.

    It looks to me like the Braves are trying to do an Orioles of the late 70s/80s, which featured strong pitching, a couple of dominant players (Ripken/Murray) and a lot of useful pieces.

  73. actually, he’s probably already better than the melkman, but just needs a shot.

    Look, I’m not crazy about Melky, but there’s just no way that’s accurate.

  74. @ 93

    There’s no problem that obsessive, over-the-top hyperbole can’t solve, Stu. Melky Cabrerra is the devil spawn. Hadn’t you gotten the handout?

  75. Question – If we sign Damon and Mitch Jones doesn’t pan out, who is our 1st baseman if/when Glaus gets injured? Prado? Ross?

  76. Couldn’t believe that TCU just couldn’t get anything going. The MWC had a strong bowl season, but needed an exclamation point. Oh well.

  77. If we’d gotten a third prospect instead of Melky in the Vazquez deal and not signed Glaus, we could theoretically have afforded Cameron and Beltre. Which would have been pretty awesome.

    PS: Did we get $500K from the Yanks in the Vazquez deal, or not? I saw it speculated, but I don’t think I ever saw it confirmed.

  78. That was the only TCU game I’ve seen, but they really didn’t look that good. Neither Did BSU, but just slightly less bad.

  79. Rob, that was definitely the worst I’ve seen TCU’s offense look since Andy Dalton was a freshman.

  80. stu, how do you know that’s not accurate? have you ever looked at melky’s minor league stats? they are far from impressive. comparing minor league numbers:
    1. matt runs better
    2. matt walks more
    3. plays defense better
    4. his ops is .773 compared to melky’s .769.

    there are no major league stats to account for because one is an overhyped prospect that has been very mediocre in the majors and one is an overlooked minor leaguer who has been improving yearly. i know there is the age argument, but as of right now, i would rather have matt young on my team than melky cabrera.

  81. You obviously don’t understand the age argument if you think you can be so dismissive of the issue.

    Matt Young didn’t start playing professional baseball until age 22, whereas Melky had already accumulated almost 1600 PAs by that point in his career. And, yet, you’re comparing their career minor-league OPSes. And how in the world are you comparing their respective defensive abilities?

  82. Further, Matt Young is not a better runner, judging by stolen bases. He has cost his team some serious runs by getting thrown out over 1/3 of the time in his minor league career.

    I would much, much rather have Melky’s 40/54 (and 44/58 at the major-league level) than Young’s 119/180.

  83. Stu you could pretty much sum up your argument with this:
    Melky is in the majors. Matt Young hasn’t even smelled a cup of coffee. Nuff said.

  84. Well, ryan is apparently operating on the belief that the Yankees will call up and give regular playing time to a bad player at a young age, while the Braves will leave a good player languishing in the minors for years and years.

    You’re right that their respective ages and service times pretty much tell you all you need to know, but I was trying to go into a little more detail.

  85. I totally agree with Stu and Johnny….

    I hope that Matt Young makes it to the Show–I suspect that his size is held against him. All of that said, I don’t think he can be considered a serious prospect. If the Braves had regarded him as such, I think that he would have seen some AAA last season.

    Still, you gotta admire baseball rats like Wes Timmons (who I would love to see the Braves promote for a cup of coffee) because they play their guts out every summer and don’t give up….

  86. Apparently my horribly offensive reply to 109 was blocked. For this I am probably thankful.

    And Stu, I guess that answers that question.

  87. is Beltre any better than Glaus?

    Beltre (31yrs old) career – .270/.325/.453/.779, slg over .500 1 time in his career. Just signed for $9 mil

    Glaus (33) – .255/.359/.497/.856, slg over .500 5 times. Apparently will sign for $2m + incentives

    it apparently seems as if the Braves could still afford Cameron, they just didnt want to give him a 2nd yr or Derosa a 2nd yr(per DOB), but will now consider Damon on a 2yr deal (per DOB).

  88. Beltre is a whole lot better, defensively, than Glaus. No idea if either will have his power sapped from shoulder surgery, but Beltre’s relative defensive value is probably worth more than the difference in their salaries. In my opinion.

  89. 80 – Cary, I have to ask if those were “World Cup Soccer Camps.” I used to go to the those at West Ga.

  90. Players get left in the minors for years and years all the time, and major league players who are less than mediocre also get left in the majors for years.

    to your argument johnny, hasnt chris woodward been in the major for years and years, yet players such as matt murton have trouble finding work yearly? that’s not a fair argument.

    also, i never said melky was a bad player. he is a serviceable 4th outfielder who plays average to above average defense in the corners and below average defense in center. matt young, by all scouting reports, plays above average defense in 2 outfield spots (and even plays 2nd base although i cant find anything on his ability to play the position).

    stu, i’m not trying to be a smartass (really), but can you look at their numbers and tell me melky is better than matt young?

  91. Melky is younger than Matt Young IIRC, which tells us something.

    Boone Logan can speak French, in Russian. He lives vicariously, through himself. He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels.

  92. ryan c,
    Yes, I already did. Again, Melky was done with the minors by the age at which Matt Young began his career. You don’t seem to realize how relevant that is. Young probably has a slight offensive advantage, but he was always significantly older than Melky was at the same level.

    114—That’s the question, but I suspect that he probably would have been willing to.

  93. k…fair enough. i’ve been in discussions quite a few times where my research failed to calculate age into the argument. i obviously dont put enough stock in age.

  94. I’ve got to relate a story to you guys that is beyond explanation. I went to the Dr today for my annual physical and things checked out okay, but he sent me to a medical lab down the street for bloodwork.

    A lady there is preparing to take my blood (she seemed reasonably experienced) and starts to read my paperwork (it’s a checksheet with the blood tests checked). She looks at my paperwork and seemed confused and called her supervisor about it. Her exact questions were:

    “He needs an HDL cholesterol test, what is this? Does HDL stand for “High Direct Light”?”

    I let her go ahead and take my blood, but I have to say that I was more than a little concerned. Is it too much to expect lab technicians to know that there is such thing as HDL (High Density Lipoproteins – aka good) and LDL cholesterol?

  95. Ryan c.,

    J. C. and various others have been debating aging on players (all ML, but stick with me) HEAVILY for the last 2 months.


    (1) players peak somewhere around 28 years of age. they are likely to get better before that and likely to decline thereafter. (in other words, there is a lot more chance that Melky will get a little better than there is for the 2 year older Young).

    (2) Minor League scouting appreciates players that perform “young for level” and applies a discount to those that are “old for level”. Think the difference in perspective between Elvis Andrus (prety good fielder with seeming upside, mediocre offensive player with seeming upside) at Rookie League compared to Rian Spanjer Furstenberg (23 or so years old but demolished the level offensively). Nobody thinks RSF is an elite prospect. Everybody thought Andrus was.

    (3) Guys that get to the majors and stick earlier are much more likely to have long careers and more likely to have good careers ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL (not quite as much with pitchers as position players). Think about the age of entry to ML by Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Robin Yount (every one of them was under 20 when they “stuck”. Cobb won a batting title at 19, but was upstaged by Kaline who was about a month younger when he won his first). Wade Boggs may be the HOF that entered (or played regularly) ML at the oldest age ever. And he was held down because his team (was he originally with the BoSox?) didn’t understand the value of a high OBP third baseman.

  96. Ryan, the part that you leave out the most is that the organizations also watch the players play the game. The Braves are the scouting first poster team. The number of Braves that have been promoted straight from just one good to great season of high A and AA and have succeeded is downright bizarre.

    #112 – I disagree the Braves were never in the Cameron sweepstakes because they had to unload the extra pitcher first. And it would be totally screwed up if they offer more money for 2 years of Damon than the were willing to pay for DeRosa.

  97. from the glaus press conference:

    once again, frank wren says that the “big moves” are over and that this is basically the team that’s going to camp, with the exception of some “small moves”. if the braves are considering signing johnny damon or xavier nady, should they be offended that frank wren calls them “small moves”?

  98. dont see how Frank can sit on $7-9 mil and think this offense is good enough. Im guessing after last offseason, Frank doesnt want to make any more of those type mistakes. If Glaus was the only addition, we couldve kept JV

  99. Poz on Murph and the HoF:

    Dale Murphy
    Verdict: Yes

    Here is my wild-card pick — one that most people I know disagree with. I get that. Murphy’s career numbers fall short. He burned out young — he was excellent for about eight years and not especially good on either side of those eight years.

    But, as I mentioned in the Don Mattingly section, I put together a list of the best players in baseball since 1970. And from 1980 through ’87 — that’s four five-year periods — Murphy was smack in the discussion as the best player in baseball. I’m not sure he ever was quite the best — Mike Schmidt was awfully good — but you could make a viable argument for him. He was, in his prime, a Gold Glove center fielder who got on base, hit with power, stole bases and willingly was the face of baseball as the (only) star attraction for Ted Turner’s Atlanta Braves. The Hall of Fame does ask its voters to consider a player’s character… a slippery slope. But Murphy surely must get bonus points.

    I will concede that Murphy is an emotional pick — I was living in the South when Murphy towered as a larger-than-life character who signed every autograph, spoke up for every charity and played brilliant baseball every day for mostly doomed teams. But my new theory this year is that if a player is in the discussion as the best in baseball over a substantial period of time, he deserves serious consideration. Murphy gets my vote.

  100. @ 128
    Either Wren is being coy, or, more likely, he’s done dealing. It makes me wonder where DOB’s tweet the other day (that our outfield can’t compete with the Phillies’ and we’re looking for another bat) came from.

    @ 121
    That’s scary.

  101. Barrycuda at 124,

    I was aware and almost mentioned Spahn. However, he did make an appearance (wihout sticking) at about 21, but his Uncle Sam didn’t let him come back around for about 3 or 4 years.

    And then, he stayed at least good UNTIL HE WAS 42. So, he certainly isn’t part of any trend, is he?

    On the other hand, the “post – Boggs hold down” may become more common in years to come and may affect career length and counting stats on many players. Also, the percentage increase in college players. Ryan Howard? Chase Utley? It affects EdgarMartinez’ HOF candidacy.

    Meanwhile, the 18 year olds at the ML level are about gone. I think A Rod may be one of the very few for a long, long time. It takes a lot of years to get to 3000 hits or 300 wins. (Bryce Harper? Don’t think so).

  102. According to Peanut, we’re pretty much done, apart from finding a primary pinch-hitter. I guess Liberty Media slashed the payroll by $10 million without bothering to warn us.

    I hope Jason Heyward is ready to OPS .850+.

  103. according to DOB also

    David O’Brien

    January 5th, 2010
    4:58 pm
    Well, those who didn’t want Damon — you can probably rest easy. It sounds as if the Braves are down to their last few mill or so, and aren’t going to make any more big moves before season, barring something unexpected.

    Wren made it pretty clear that they’re working on getting one more piece, probably an OF/PH type (to fill the Greg Norton-type role; well, hopefully like Norton did in 2008, not ‘09).

    They like Damon and would like him in their lineup, but they don’t have the money to spend for him and expect to use combo of Diaz/Melky in LF if Heyward is ready opening day. If Heyward’s not ready, Melky can play RF for a while until he is. Sounds like that’s the plan.

    And if Heyward’s ready, Melky will get some PT in all three OF spots, spelling each of those guys and probably hitting against some particularly tough lefties in place of Heyward, some righties in place of Diaz, that kind of thing.

  104. I’ve been quiet lately, getting better from the brain surgery, however, I have been paying attention to Brave’s moves, and I have one question for Frank Wren…WTF? I’m not going to go over every move thats been made, we are all aware of them, but how has he made this team better this year? The move that puzzles me the most is trading JV for the MilkMan. Granted, we got a NICE prospect in return, but how do you trade a 15 game winner for a 4th outfielder and NOT call it a salary dump? I hope this is coherent, if not excuse me, but I’m worried about this season as this team stands.

  105. Hope you feel better, FBF.

    This most recent news actually makes me more optimistic about Wren — it seems he’s doing about as well as he can under the financial constraints.

    Ownership, however…

  106. I’m a little pissed that Liberty is trying to sneak this payroll cut past the fans. Aren’t other teams pretty upfront about whether they’re going to cut payroll or not? Why say we’ll have the same payroll and then cut out a significant chunk, making the GM look insane? I can certainly accept that we moved Vazquez out of necessity, but I wish Liberty would grow a pair and speak up.

  107. I know that there is a low possibility of either, but we could be cutting payroll to a) sign some of our near-arbitration guys to long-term deals, or b) save up cash for what looks to be a pretty promising free agent market next year.

  108. David O’Brien

    January 5th, 2010
    5:06 pm
    In expectation of the question about how Braves arrive at something close to $90 mill in money already projected, you should know that they not only include prorated signing bonus and average annual value of contracts, but also some other things including the incentives they believe are more than likely to be reached by players including Saito (add another $1.5-2 mill or so to his $3.2 base) and Glaus (add another $1.7 mill or so to his $1.75 mill base). I say “or so” because Braves won’t say how much of those incentives they are projecting onto the payroll, other than to say what they believe the player is likely to earn.

    Also, there’s a $1.25 mill buyout of McLouth’s $10.65 mill option in 2012; the Braves prorate that buyout over the three years of his contract, so add about $400,000 or so for that to this year’s payroll.

  109. @139 –

    I can accept that we are going to have financial restraints, but like you said, they should be upfront about it. Perhaps I’m just confused, but I was under the impression that Wren was going to build this team up for Bobby’s (maybe) last year. I cant see this team as better, it seems that they’ve just exchanged players that were becoming pricey(Soriano,Gonzalez,LaRoach), for players that have somewhat serious injury histories (Wagner, Glaus, Saito),because they would take less money. No matter how you color it, thats a payroll cut.

    Ok, thats enough out of me for today.

  110. 145—Not really. It still puts the payroll at ~$85 million. For whatever reason, they’re just not telling us that the payroll has been cut.

  111. And does suck if they are cutting payroll in Bobby’s last year. You’d think he’d be in on the loop if that was the case and if so, why come back another year under those constraints? I was under the impression Bobby decided on one more year because the promise the guys showed in the second half last year once the pieces were finally put into place (and some removed.) I am not sure anyone thinks this group holds the same promise the one had a the tail end of 2009 (the very late crash notwithstanding.) Does he have THAT much faith in Heyward and Hanson dominating for a full season?

  112. Pencil in Jason Heyward for the opening day roster. Or count on a lot less offense than we had year end.

    I agree that this makes Wren’s moves more defensible and Liberty Media more loathesome.

  113. Braves spent roughly $94 million last year. Where does the $90 million estimate come from in that DOB post? If they sign Nady for $3-5 million, which they seem willing to do, that closes the gap somewhat.

  114. I meant that it puts the payroll at ~$85 million even with another “minor” signing. And if they consider Glaus major, I don’t see how they could spend $3-5 million on this final piece.

  115. This sucks. This was supposed to be the year we made one last run for Bobby and what do we get?


    Screw Liberty Media and the accountant they rode in on.

    How soon can Mr. Blanc buy the team?

  116. Buster tweets that Glaus incentives are $350,000 at 400 PAs, $350k @ 450 PAs, $350k @ 500 PAs, $400k @ 550 PAs and $550 @ 600 PAs.

  117. Wow, only 500 extra bucks to go from 550 PAs to 600???

    (Or did you drop a ‘K’ there?)

  118. Yeah missed a k. It’s $550,000 for 600 PAs. That’s 2 mill in incentives. Base of $2 mill.

  119. @121 – “High Direct Light” sounds like the latest effort from the Miller Brewing Company…

  120. Well damn it. The tradition continues of depending on the infield to provide most of the offense. No wonder the team didn’t offer Nady, DeRo or Damon after trading JV. I agree too that the team is counting on Heyward.

    I hold no grudge against Liberty. They are a business. Business have to make money. In case y’all haven’t noticed we are in a down economy. Welcome to the world of mid market teams. We had better get used to it.

    I love it when folks pine for Arthur Blank or some other billionaire to buy the team. See what divorce has done to the Padres and Dodgers. See what’s happening in Detroit. Be careful what you ask for.

    I disagree that the team is worse off than even the second half team. The question marks this year are Glaus, Wagner, Hudson, Heyward, Lowe. Had we kept the second half team together the question marks would have been first half Rochy or second half Rochy, good Vazquez or mediocre Javy, whose arm is going to fall off first, Gonzo’s or Soriano’s? We aren’t better but we aren’t much worse either.

    The mark of a mid market team, lots of change to stay the same. Sigh.

    Can’t wait to read JC’s take on the Holliday contract. IMHO and its opinion only is that the Cards finally outbid themselves into overpaying. I’m sure more enlightened analysis is on the way.

  121. I am not surprised that the Braves are working with less payroll because it has been evident since at least June (with the Draft) that they have been cost cutting. I don’t want to debate the wisdom (or lack of it) for signing Lowe here, but the Braves did that last winter and I am guessing that between that signing and the Draft, Liberty Media cut their budget. I might add that the speed with which he moved Soriano also suggested a bit of desperation about the budget….

    Yeah, I am not big on Liberty Media this morning…

  122. 7/120? Wow. That sure is a lot… especially when it wasn’t even clear they were bidding against anyone.

  123. Wonder if the insurance payment covering some of the cost of Huddy’s paycheck from last year plays any role in this. If last year’s payroll was 94M, and insurance covered something like 7M on Huddy, then the Braves really only spent 87M last year. That’s not far from where we are now. . . .

    In other words, maybe last year’s payroll wasn’t really 94M, but 94M – insurance $.

  124. Alas, here we are. It looks like our roster is fairly much set with the addition of Hinske. Hold your breath, we’re fielding a very risky team this year.

  125. I read this…

    “The Atlanta Braves made another move toward attempting to beef up their offense Tuesday when they agreed to terms on a one-year deal with veteran infielder Eric Hinske, has learned.”

    …and then my brain hurt so much I had to lie down.

  126. Preempting any Frank Wren hate, I want to say that if Scheurholz hadn’t traded for Teixeira, Adrian Gonzalez would be our first baseman right now.

  127. Hinske is a nice utility piece.

    Agree that no more big moves suggests the Braves expect Heyward to start in ATL.

    I have no beef with Wren if he doesn’t spend every available dollar now. It leaves some flexibility for midseason moves. I like this approach–even if a few of the one year vets are risky–much more than the long term, big dollar contracts of Bay and Holliday.

  128. It could also be that Frank Wren recognizes there are no FA bats available (in our price range) that would actually impact the team. Heyward is ready. Unless he falls flat on his face in the spring, he’s the starting right fielder. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume a platoon of Melky/Diaz will approach or even surpass the numbers Damon or Nady will produce in ’10.

    So Frank pockets the money and sees where we are in July. If we’re in it and it’s clear we need a bat, he has the cushion to go get somebody. If we suck or somehow the offense clicks on its own, he can commit the extra money to locking down some of the younger talent on the team. Mac pointed it out in an earlier thread…there is still the matter of paying Jair and Esco. I’d gladly sacrifice Damon’s or Nady’s 2010 seasons if it helps us tie up Jair and/or Yunel.

    Wren is really counting on Glaus. I hope Chipper is right about having that bounce-back year.

  129. I feel safer counting on Heyward than I do with Glaus after last year’s left field experiment. Both are question marks.

  130. Again, according to DOB:

    “By the way, for those thinking the Braves are holding back some funds for possible midseason needs, I asked Frank precisely that question after the press conference. Because in my head, I’ve had the approximate $7-8 mill figure as available remaining funds (hadn’t accounted for few things like fairly easily attainable incentives and McLouth’s buyout, etc, stuff they figure into their payroll, as noted a few hours ago).

    Anyway when I asked Wren if they might be keeping back $5-7 mill or so to spend later, he looked at me with raised eyebrows, then informed me that estimates he’s seen written about what they have left are innaccurate, that they are getting close to their projected payroll limit, and won’t be making any more big additions.”

    There won’t be any major mid-season additions. Schafer is the best we can expect.

  131. Hinske is an ok pick up–but I doubt that it gives us the flexibility at mid-season.

    I don’t want to get started on Lowe, but the real story to me about this offseason is the inability to move Lowe and his contract–which will eat up about 17% of our payroll.

    I also hope that the Braves don’t make the mistake of thinking that Heyward must start in RF. He did not get many at bats in the AFL, so I hope they let him get his feet wet in AAA first. The same holds true for Schafer.

    Now, the best case scenario is that we could soon have an outfield with Schafer, McLouth, Heyward, Diaz and Melky and they all produce. IF Glaus can stay healthy and productive, then I like our team.

    Lot of ifs….

  132. I like the Hinske move. Adds versatility. He can play 3 positions, including 2 that will surely require some backup. Hope he can pitch in with some big pinch hits.

    Tough night for Tech. A bowl loss (in a game where everyone got dumb in the final 5 minutes) & a hoops loss at UGA.

    And then we have this little nugget from the AJC:

    “We really wanted to win this game,” [Tech’s Gani] Lawal said. “It’s a tough one. I’m still trying to swallow it … Not to be cocky, but we are a better team. We just didn’t play like it tonight.”

    Suitable for framing.

  133. Sorry I meant with #177 that the Braves would not get more flexibility in terms of budget by signing Hinkse.

    With Hinske, they definitely get a player who is flexible and so I think that it is probably a good pick up…..

  134. Looking back at the Lowe deal again, I can’t remember what my reaction was at the time, but it seems like that I thought it meant the Braves had a bigger budget to work with again. That is obviously not the case now. The market has moved a lot over the last year.

  135. #176, it’s okay. After Saito and Glaus go down early in the season, their incentive money will be freed up to spend on other guys.

  136. Smitty,

    I’m hearing that the car that Tyler and the Gang were in was rented to Thunder Thornton. Are you hearing that?

  137. Second-place finish? We should be so lucky.

    A second-place finish just might capture the WC, which is all I’m hoping for. If we still had Vasquez, maybe …

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