125 thoughts on “Oh, hooray”

  1. I think that the comparison with Norton is the best way to take the addition of Hinske. This looks to be a sensible pick-up. Do we know what the Braves are paying to obtain his services?

  2. Unlike Norton, Hinske can play a few positions and occasionally gets a ball out of the infield.

  3. So here is what we look like:
    Diaz/Cabrera McLouth Heyward
    Chipper Escobar Prado Glaus McCann
    Infante Hinske Ross BJones? MJones? (both?) Conrad???
    Huddy JJ Lowe Hanson KK
    Wagner Saito Moylan O’Flaherty Medlen one more guy>

  4. 4,
    Diaz/Cabrera takes one of the reserve OF spots and my thinking is that the second utility infielder spot will go to Brandon Hicks or Joe Thurston (…spring training fight!…)

    WRT bullpen, Jesse Chavez will be there I’m assuming, along with one of the incompetent AAA starters or Acosta or Dunn.

  5. Hinske is probably not a bad pickup at all. With the injury questions for Nady and DeRosa’s recent decline he may end up doing better than either one. With Glaus’s injury problems he also may end up playing a LOT more than Norton did.

  6. I think that Brandon Hicks starts at AAA. He made some significant strides during the second half of 2009, but he could use at least half a season at AAA.

    Diory Hernandez (along with Thurston) will probably be in the mix for one of the backup infield positions–which is probably not much of advance over what Hicks is currently capable of….

  7. I understand Keith Lockhart is still out there looking for a team. :) We need him.

  8. I assume we’re going to make a minor trade for or signing of a utility infielder, but I’ve been wrong before, including many times just this offseason.

  9. I think Hinske is a solid pick up for his role. I just wish we has a little more power. If Glaus can stay healthy, this is a pretty good team.

  10. My understanding is that the Braves are not crazy about Infante as a SS. However, with what they have currently, I think he will be the main backup at SS. We’ll carry at least 12 pitchers, so I’m guessing our bench will be:

    Diaz or Heyward (OF)
    Infante (all IF positions except 1st)
    Hinske (corner IF/corner OF)
    Ross (Catcher)
    Mitch Jones (1b, corner OF)

    That will be a pretty versatile bench. The biggest question mark is Mitch Jones. The Braves may go with someone who can play shortstop – in that case I’ve gotta’ think the nod would go to Thurston.

  11. It’s hard to get excited about the team as currently constructed. Unless lots of things fall into place–Glaus stays healthy and regains power, Chipper has a comeback year, Heyward comes up and contributes–this looks like more of last year. I understand they are a mid-market team now with relatively mediocre attendence, but it’s discouraging to root for a team whose goal seemingly is to sneak into the playoffs and hope they get hot. On the other hand, if things go right with the young players, the Braves could be very good in future years–at least until the players reach free agency and go elsewhere. Sigh!

  12. If Heyward makes it, then I doubt the last bench spot goes to an OF like M. Jones or B. Jones b/c Hinske, Infante, and Cabrera/Diaz can also play OF. I’d bet the last spot would go to Thurston (who can also play OF), Diory, or Conrad.

  13. Frank, you’re probably right, although it will be kind of sad to me if Mitch Jones doesn’t get a chance – again. Diory seemed to prove last year that he can’t hit or play SS. Conrad doesn’t play SS, so I doubt he would get it. Thurston will most likely be the guy.

  14. Marc, for me it doesn’t seem bad to have a team starting out that’s about what we ended up with… we had such a horrible start that if we have a whole year as good as our second half, we’ll be in OK shape.

    Sure, we’d all love to have the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz era teams (or the Yankees payroll ability) and dominate the division, but I’ve got a fair bit of faith that Chipper will come back closer to his old form this season… and I think we’ve got a decent enough set of options for the other slots that, while I’ll miss having a nice big bat in the OF somewhere, we’re not quite as much of a gamble as ’07 and ’08 were with the rotation we’re putting out there.

  15. Well, just look at it this way. I assume Escobar, McCann, McClouth and Jones to all have better years than they did last year. Prado probably regresses a bit and Melky just replaces Frenchy/Church. We were able to compete with this team last year guys. We could be a bit better if Glaus can hit a lick. Heyward is definately a wildcard, but he is in essence replacing either Anderson for Frenchy – either way, I say he is better.

    I think the pitching will be about the same unless JJ regresses a bit. Lowe will be better (not great, but better). Hanson will probably regress a bit. Hudson will replace the production we would have gotten from Javy this year (I am assuming a slight regression for him as well).

    All I am saying is that we have a good team. Better than the Phils, probably not. But certainly good enough to win the wild card, and with our pitching – we could do well in the playoffs. Just don’t write it off yet.

  16. Guys, Thurston can’t really play SS, either. He hasn’t played a single major-league game at the position, and he’s only played a few games there in the minors.

  17. We have a good bench, a good bullpen, a solid line up and a good rotation.

    I think our pen, bench and line up are better than they were last year and our rotation may be a little less than it was last year. The Phillies are the team to beat, but I think we have to be a front runner for the wild card.

  18. Stu – I thought Thurston was a good glove guy and SS would be a good fit for him. If that’s not the case, then look for a heated battle between Diory and Hicks, with the nod unfortunately going to Hernandez. I will bet he won’t last long and the Braves will be looking to pick up someone like Chris Woodward before June. Not good!

  19. @14–I’d love to see M. Jones get a chance. I’m just saying I think whether he will or not may depend on Heyward’s readiness.

    And, BTW, I’m in the “don’t rush Heyward” camp. I’d start him in AAA.

  20. I always thought Thurston could play SS because he’s a terrible hitter, and, well, I figured there was some reason teams keep him around. I guess he just knows how to win.

    My projected active roster:
    Hanson, Hudson, Jurrjens, Lowe, Kawakami.
    Wagner, Saito, O’Flaherty, Moylan, Medlen, Chavez, Acosta.
    McCann, Glaus, Prado, Chipper, Escobar, Diaz, McLouth, Heyward.
    Melkman, Hinske, Infante, D. Hernandez, Ross.

  21. I think our pen, bench and line up are better than they were last year and our rotation may be a little less than it was last year.

    Agreed that the ‘pen and bench appear deeper. The line-up, in my view, totally depends on Glaus — if he’s healthy, it’s as good or better than last year’s, but if not, it’s definitely weaker. The rotation is obviously weakened, but still very strong.

    If the bigger injury risks — Chipper, Glaus, and Saito — stay mostly healthy, this looks to me like a legit WC contender. Pretty scary how fragile our 3 and 4 hitters appear to be, though.

    22—I think Dunn or Jo-Jo gets the nod over Atrosta, and, as I said, I don’t think the Braves have yet acquired their back-up SS.

  22. Didn’t we start the season last year with Infante as our only legitimate backup SS? If so, we may not have to sign that veteran backup SS with the OBP of .260 and OPS below .600. I hope this is the case.

  23. We’re exchanging Melky for the Frenchy/Church show… not that much different. And Diaz for Anderson… so better. We get a full season of McLouth vs the crappy incarnation of Schaefer… so at least a little better. Full season of regressed Prado vs Uber-Prado + crappy KJ = about the same right?

    So to be maybe marginally better than last year (assuming Chipper/McCann/Yesco get no better/worse) we need about 60 games of Glaus hitting like LaRoche did, and 90 games of Hinske doing a Kotchman impersonation (which seams a reasonable expectation right?).

    So then our main improvement would hinge on Chipper regressing back to the mean, and McCann’s eyes not going wonky again, and Yesco staying healthy and keeping his head in the game.

    That seems a reasonable expectation for the season to improve 4-6 wins… which would put us in the 90-92 win range and in the post season race (and not take into account any Heyward/Freeman/Schaefer call-ups)

  24. As constructed, this is a solid-to-above-average team currently. Unless the unexpected happens, they’re not going to be better than the Phillies this year, but we should be talking about better than .500 and maybe a wild card.

    My concern is the downside risk. In particular, if Chipper sucks, there’s not a lot we can do about it. If Heyward just isn’t ready yet, there aren’t a lot of alternatives. Starting pitching-wise, we’ve got Medlen who can come in and do an okay job, but if Lowe is awful and someone gets hurt, we won’t be looking at a very pretty bottom of the rotation. And of course, the back of our ‘pen has all missed significant time within the past two years.

    And unfortunately, the upside largely isn’t there. I mean, I guess you can call Heyward upside, but we’re already counting on him to be an every-day player, which is a lot to put on a 21-yo rookie. I don’t think McCann, Escobar, Prado, or Diaz really have anything beyond what they showed last year, so now we’re down to hoping for steps forward from McLouth (unlikely), Melky (possible), and Kawakami/Lowe. Now, I think it’s possible that these two turn in stronger performances this year than they did last year, but I don’t think improvement from them will be sufficient to make up for the loss of Vazquez, who was dominant.

    So while I don’t necessarily think any of Wren’s moves damaged the team, I also don’t think he’s really managed to put a team on the field that is likely to win the NL East title.

    One thing also worth considering is that we’ve manged to avoid any big, ugly contracts this off-season. So unlike the Mets, we’ll be able to do some things next year and the year after.

  25. The Braves had the injury bug in 2008, then the Mets in 2009….maybe the Phillies are due?

    Horrible thing to hope for.

  26. BFedRec at 26,

    The question is can the team meet its pythag. If so, and if it does anything like what its roster says it should, then we are at a good position in the Wild Card. Maybe the Cubs can get in that race, the Marlins, the Mets, maybe the Reds, and whoever is number 2 in the West out of LA, SF, Colorado, and even maybe Arizona.

    Favorable luck or rookie / “young un” performance for the Braves or unfavorable luck for the Phillies will be necessary to have a shot at the division.

  27. I see the team more like this. Just the outfield for now.

    Melky plays center, McLouth moves to right, Diaz in left. (Schafer and Heyward both start at AAA. If they Don’t start there, then they SHOULD cause this projection to go UP or someone is an idiot to bring them up).

    All 3 guys are around 800 ops. Probably Diaz at 820, McLouth 820, Melky 800 (change of league and positive age curve). That means, looking at the whole year, that right field ops is up about 60 points, center field 60 points (bad Schafer at 600 and less than prime McLouth for 2/3 year at 750). Left field up 20 (Part of Diaz spectacular 2009 was in left. You can’t just assume Anderson’s production).

    Defensively,we are about even in center, moderate plus in right (better in range than Frenchy similar to slight downgrade in arm, about as good as Church when he played, better arm than Diaz and similar range). Better defensively in left (Diaz whole season versus GA and 1/3 Diaz is still probably 15 runs better).

    So, offensively, add 30 runs, defensively take off 15 more. Net, 45 runs.

  28. My take on the team that I posted on Talking Chop:

    Anyway, here’s looking at the projected 25 man roster:

    rotation(5): hudson lowe jurrjens hanson kawakami

    bullpen (7): wagner saito moylan medlen o’flaherty sanchez dunn

    starters (8): mccann glaus prado escobar chipper diaz mclouth heyward

    bench: (5): ross infante melky hinske mitch jones

    what’s improved:

    1. outfield- defensively and offensively- any combo of melky, mclouth, diaz, and heyward is better than any 2009 crap.

    2. bench- probably the most improved part on the team with hinske taking norton’s role and melky taking the platoon role/bench bat with diaz (gets diaz out of the lineup againts tough righties). there was really no significant power off of the bench last year (since bobby would never use ross even when sammons was up at the end of the year). plus, the bench was handicapped for most of the 2nd half because of the “non-injury” to church.

    what’s the same:

    1. infield offense and defense- expecting glaus to be better than laroche, offensively or defensively is probably a stretch, but with good health, he can be just as productive.

    what will probably be worse:

    1. bullpen-signing 2 guys such as wagner and saito to a team managed by bobby cox (who loves to wear all his bullpen arms out) seems like a recipe for disaster.

    2. starting staff- jurrjens will probably not be as effective as he was last year. lowe will probably be a little better but not enough to offset the loss of vazquez.

    where we stand:

    1. the braves of 2010, just like the braves of 2009, are depending way too much on chipper jones.

    2. the braves of 2010, just like the braves of 2008, are depending on too many health risks to stay healthy.

    How will it work out? Heyward will win ROY, Chipper, Glaus, and Mccann will combine for 75 HR’s, Mclouth will have a career year, Medlen steps in for an injured starter and dazzles, and we will all hate Melky Cabrera almost as much as Francoeur. We finish 92-70, make it to the World Series and get slaughtered by the Baltimore Orioles.

  29. Catcher,

    I think Ross is a little worse, McCann is slightly better offensively and defensively. Net change maybe add 5 runs offense. But I think you have to factor an injury downgrade of Sammons covering as backup for a while that has him starting 6 games and getting in another 6 games on double switches, etc. Therefore, overall no net change.

  30. cliff,
    I seriously doubt McLouth’s getting replaced by Melky in center.

    A couple things:

    (1) We also get a full season from Hudson, so that + improvement from Lowe & Kawakami would, I believe, make up for the loss of Vazquez.

    (2) Heyward doesn’t even turn 21 until August 9th.

  31. Smitty @18,

    where exactly do you see improvement over last year’s team? As far as I’m concerned, the team has stayed the same or gotten worse.

  32. #34 – I see improvement over the full year in RF, CF, LF, 2B, 3B, and Lowe. Glaus will be equiv to what Kotchman, Laroche, and Prado gave us at 1st.

  33. Infield,

    1b 09: 60% bad Kotchman 40% Super Lacroche

    1b 10: 80% solid Glausat 850 OPS, 20% solid (for him) Hinske mainly against righthanders at 750 ops. (accounts for a little injury problem with Glaus or cover by Glaus for Chipper).

    Defense: give back 5 runs. Offense, about a wash.


    Prado is slightly better than the “all 2b” last year, but slightly less than his record. Defense same. Injury off days covered by Infante slightly better than 09 KJ net of defense and offense.

    Add 5 runs.

    SS: Overall, Esco will be a little better defensively (the early season errors will not come back). 5 runs saved. His offense overall will not increase (he had a damn good year for a shortstop last year).

    Net up 5 runs.

    3B 140 games of Chipper at 280/400/480. Add 10 runs. Dfense same (would say a hair better but age on top says no) 10 games of Glaus at 850 OPS, add 1 run net over Infante offensively and defensively, 10 games Infante (same as last).
    Add 10 runs.

    Net total on infield, 15 runs better.

  34. how can someone look at our starting, basically through June, OF from last season

    Anderson/Schafer/Frenchy and not see how Melky/Diaz/McLouth/Heyward is potentially a lot better?

    Prado is better than KJ

    Chipper will not post another .814OPS

  35. I like the Hinske signing. I think he’ll end up with quite bit of playing time, resting Chipper and Glaus and playing through their inevitable nagging injuries.

  36. Starting pitching:

    Full season returnees first:

    Jurrjens, slight downgrade 10 LESS runs saved.

    Lowe, slight upgrade. 10 MORE runs saved.

    Kawakami: Whole year like May onward: 2 runs saved.

    Covering Javy’s spot Hanson covers by adding 12 April / May / June starts (to Hanson’s 09) at net loss of 2 runs. Hudson adds 22 starts to his last year total at net loss of 6 runs.

    Hanson June on same as last year;

    Hudson late starts switched early replaces bad Kawakami and bad Medlin. Net better 4 runs, but 2 already accounted for above.

    Sombody(ies) go down for 10 starts replaced by Medlin: net drop 2 runs (Medlin will be better than his early starts, say 4.5 ERA as starter).

    Net for starters: 6 LESS runs saved.

  37. Hinske is a nice cheap player to have on the bench, but I was hoping/expecting better than him and Glaus as free agent offensive acquisitions. Can we save time and trade Cabrera to the Mets right now?

  38. bullpen (hard to figure or more literally guess)

    Soriano and Gonzo v. Wager and Saito. Quality similar. 30 % loss in IP (either Bobby rests them more or they won’t get through the year. Either way, 1/3 less appearances and innings).

    Moylan. Similar.

    O’Flaherty: Similar unless a slight uptick from Bobby using him more like a LOOGY andless like he used to use Remlinger.

    Slight chance of uptick in the back end if Kimbrel or Hyde really shine, otherwise, not too much different EXCEPT Medlin, but I project he will cover for a starter and therefore lose (FROM THE BULLPEN) the extra value of having him on the roster the whole year.

    So, to adjust for going 8 or 9 pitchers down to cover for Wagner and Saito with the slight upside of maybe Kimbrel or maybe Hyde, net change a few LESS runs saved (say 4).

  39. Bench,

    Mostly accounted for in the position analysis (except for pinch hitting), but assume the usual injuries to the otherwise healthy (Diaz, McLouth, Melky, Esco, Prado). 20 games covered by sub optimal player net loss of 10 runs.

    Pinch hitting. Net gain of 10 runs (it is huge, but Norton’s at bats were numerous and catastrophic).

    so, no net effect.

  40. Lineup vs RH Pitcher

    1. McClouth LH – cf
    2. Cabreara – SWH Lf
    3. Chipper – SWH 3b
    4. Glaus – RH 1B (Henske to spell now and then)
    5. McCann – LH – C
    6. Escobar – RH – ss
    7. Heyward – LH – RF
    8. Prado – RH – 2B (Spelled by Infante)

    Lineup vs. LH Pitcher

    1. McClouth – CF
    2. Escobar- ss
    3. Chipper – 3b
    4. Glause – 1b
    5. McCann – c
    6. Prado – 2b
    7. Heyward- RF (Spelled by Cabrera )
    8. Diaz – LF

    THOUGHTS ???????

  41. So, my WAG without accounting for a plus from Heyward or Schafer and with some allowance for injuries shows total 2010 as net 50 runs better. I doubt there is much chance that differential goes the other way (would take a series of improbable events without corresponding improbable improvements)

    So, if this team can just meet its pythag, it is right there. Maybe sign another quality reliever or maybe sign another up the middle utility guy. Or, trade somebody to clear salary and pick up another outfielder on a short contract.

  42. Stu at 33,

    Certainly going back into free agency in 2 years, McLouth would rather try to sell himself as a centerfielder. So maybe (IF Melky is playing every day) Cox uses Melky in right and McLouth in center. However, I don’t think that effects the analysis.

    I would move McLouth to right and play Melky in center if I didn’t work either Heyward or Schafer onto the roster.

    IF Heyward breaks camp with the ML team, then he will play 5 days a week in right, Melky (or McLouth with Melky in center) will play there occasionally against lefthanders, and Melky will play center to rest McLouth about 1 time a week and left about 2 times a week against righthanders. With that config, defense and offense should both tick up slightly from my earlier projection (Melky will be better than Diaz in left defensively when he plays there, Heyward will be better than either McLouth or Melky, slightly, and the rest will help McLouth in center defensively. The offensive uptick comes from reducing the platoon disadvantage on Diaz and assumes Heyward against ML righthanders is 800 ops and 700 against lefthanders. If Heyward hits better than that, then that adds) .

  43. I bet McLouth or Cabrera gets traded around mid-season, when they decide to give Schafer the CF job for good.

  44. 46—Cox is not going to take McLouth out of CF for Melky. DOB has already suggested that they’ll play Melky in right if Heyward’s not ready.

  45. Schafer may well be the CF of the future, but at this point he has yet to prove that he can hit big league pitching on a consistent basis.

    Even if Heyward starts the season with the Braves, I doubt that he sees much more than 300 PAs. The Braves will try to break him in slowly and so there will be ample opportunities for platoon players to distinguish themselves in 2010.

    I think that it is clear that the Braves believe in both Schafer and Heyward, but they realize that at best both must make transitions to the majors. What I like about having Melky is that he can platoon in all of the OF positions. McLouth and Cabrera (and to a much lesser extent Hinske) give the Braves a number of ways to configure the outfield.

    Clearly, the outfield is significantly improved from the start of 2009 and it should only get better–possibly much better….

  46. Although I can’t get my head around Melky Cabrera ever putting up an 800 OPS, I like Cliff’s overall optimism.

    It’s true: Seems like “versatility” is a big key with this year’s club. Not necessarily a bad thing. Hope these guys produce & our arms stay healthy.

  47. The old Braves way. Pitching and defense…. I hope. Any of you smart guys out there do a defensive analysis to see if we are better there?

    Chipper has to bounce back.
    Glaus is learning a new position.
    McLouth is either a good CF or a bad one depending on who you talk to.
    Diaz is Diaz.

    Is Prado > KJ on defense?

    This team has way fewer question marks than the team that STARTED 2009 did. But as with all mid market teams we do have some big ones.

  48. Hinske is definitely an upgrade over Norton, offensively and defensively.

    I guess the problem is that for a second year in a row, we are addressing our obvious offensive problem.

  49. I think last year we “addressed” it by hoping guys like Franceour & Kotchman would improve. This year we’ve addressed it by signing Glaus and hoping he’s healthy, and hoping guys like Heyward can hack it at the big league level. I think this is an improvement on how it was handled to start ’09. It would be nice to have added some “guaranteed” power, but if the money stays where it is now, we weren’t going to afford LaRoche, and/or we’d have had to wait till his price came way down.

    Damon still hasn’t found a home… could Wren be playing it close to the chest so he can try and snag him when his price finally drops lower and lower? Would that help us?

  50. Blyleven missed by 5 votes and Alomar by 8. Both will get in next year.

    Don’t know if anyone else heard Mariotti’s moronic diatribe on ATH where he said he returned a blank ballot because 1)The first ballot is sacred and reserved for the all-time greats and 2) everyone else has been on the ballot too long and if they deserved to be in, they would be in already. Just wow.

  51. Andre Dawson – over Roberto Alomar? It really like ‘making’ the cheerleading squad when I was in high school. At this point I don’t give a damn who gets into the HOF. Really I haven’t given a damn in a while.

  52. My girlfriend, a big André Dawson fan, is thrilled about his being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He deserves the honor.

    Does Dawson’s inclusion make it easier for Murphy to get in?

  53. @59

    I try to give the people that Deadspin skewers a break because most everyone (who’s done anything worthwhile anyway) has skeletons in the closet, but Jay Mariotti strikes me as one of the bigger douches around.

  54. Seriously, did Blyleven piss the media and sports writers off at some point? Whats the reason?

  55. I now see this was addressed @59. I apologize for the double post:

    Mariotti was on Around the Horn yesterday talking about how he voted for no one for the HoF because the first ballot is sacred and no one on the list deserved to be a first ballot hall of famer.

    All I could think of was…why do we live in a world where Jay Mariotti decides who goes to the Hall of Fame?

  56. I respect Paul O’Neill’s career, but I don’t think he’s due for Cooperstown. Terrific player, but not quite there.

    Blyleven fell just short of 300 wins, had one 20-win season, was viewed as a “compiler,” etc., so for more than a decade voters didn’t embrace him.

    But I think the recent re-examination of Blyleven’s career and a better understanding of what he did well has put him in a better spot with voters.

    Also, what’s happened to Roberto Alomar this year is what happens to Albert Belle every year. Voters didn’t like the guy & this is their sharpest form of punishment.

  57. why do we live in a world where Jay Mariotti decides who goes to the Hall of Fame?

    Well he’s already inducted himself apparently, and is trying to do something so that people will pay attention to his acceptance speech. Words cannot express how little I think of the man’s writing.

  58. Here are the notable first time eligible players for the 2011 HOF ballot: Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, John Olerud, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzalez, Tino Martinez, B.J. Surhoff, Marquis Grissom, John Franco, Bret Boone, Al Leiter, Benito Santiago.

    So next year looks like Blyleven and Alomar and then maybe Bagwell and Palmeiro?

  59. Words cannot express how little I think of the man’s writing.

    Especially his words.

    68—No way Palmeiro gets in next year.

  60. Thanks for all the well wishes on the last thread. I am better, but still cant work. However, I can walk in a straight line and I dont drool, so thats a victory.

    I like the Hinske signing, it does give us alot of depth. But it seems like our team is constructed of alot of role players, and to me, it seems like Wren is taking a huge gamble on several players health.

    Maybe, just maybe, we come out competitive, and are still in good shape around the trade deadline and can pick up a big piece, otherwise, just look out for the injury bug!

  61. 53 – Yeah, I did mean “are not.”

    I do not think dropping $1.75M on a reclamation project addresses the issue. I am optimisitic about Glaus, but at this price with considerable downside risk, this move should be a potential bonus, not the “solution.”

  62. Parish, agreed. Sounds like what the Sox have done for a few years now — the Braves have to make a bigger gamble though.

  63. Yeah, sorry didn’t mean Palmeiro would get in next year just that he would be the second highest vote getter of the newbies (although maybe not). It did kind of sound like I was saying that though.

    I’m not sure what to expect on Bagwell in his first year of eligibility, what does everyone else expect?

  64. still dont see why the Braves dont move Melky and his $3.5 mil and go sign Nady/Dye/Damon or make a trade and add $2-3 more on the payroll. Some wiggle room has to be there. Its not that I think these guys are the big answer, but they do improve this team. Ill take a marginal upgrade after hearing Wren’s, DOB’s, and Peanuts comments yesterday. Its not that I dont think this team is improved from the start of 2009, because it is, but its the fact that not one of these guys will tell us payroll has been cut. That $5-10 mil or whatever it is can save the org the same amount or more by keeping Heyward down until June.

  65. 49,

    Proven it to who? You and me? Well, that’s not particularly relevant.

    Proven it to the organization? Depends on your definition of proven, but the whole concept runs contrary to the reality of baseball IMO.

    Braves scouts were obviously ready to hand him the job out of ST last year, seeing as he was handed the job and there wasn’t much about his minor league statistical profile that suggested he was ready. The blessing of the scouts is a lot more important than “proving” anything.

    After all, without at least 4+ years of full-time play (even more for relievers), no player has really “proven” anything. From a statistical (and the significance thereof) standpoint, at least.

  66. The Red Sox have gone for the lottery ticket signing, but these would amount to “gravy.”

    In front of these players, they sign and trade for the likes of Josh Beckett, Dice-K, J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez.

  67. 78 — That’s what I mean. The Braves take a large gamble because they need that lottery ticket.

  68. 77 – If that’s true, it will be very good news. I presume Bobby will be more apt to bat Hinske in a key late game situation than he would the back-up catcher.

  69. @59,


    I did see Mariotti’s rant. It’s a good example of the old saying that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to talk and remove all doubt. It takes a real talent to be able and willing to go on national TV and make an utter nitwit out of oneself. I think you have to be born with it. And, of course, he has company on that show. When ESPN put out the casting call, their criteria must have included being loud mouthed, ignorant, and utterly without fear of looking stupid. On the other hand, he probably makes a lot more money than me; clearly, to steal a quote, you cannot go broke underestimating the intelligence of the public.

  70. @76 – that’s a shade disingenuous. Schafer got the gig almost by default. We really didn’t have another CF. Now there are two creditable candidates, both of whom outhit him.

  71. @77 – at least. Hinske is a nifty pickup. It’s hard to savor chocolate milk when you were hoping for a sundae, but he’s a good pickup at a great price. Above average bat against RHP (last thing we needed, but still..) and he can play all over the place.

  72. @68

    Poor Kevin Brown. His timing was never right to get the type of “HoF Numbers” he needs. I love Smoltz, but Brown got royally screwed out of the Cy in 1996, and from 1996 through 2001 he was as dominant as anyone not named Pedro.

    Got a lot of bad pub for that contract, but in another life (where he doesn’t pitch his first 7 years in Arlington) he’s a legit HoF’er

  73. “Words cannot express how little I think of the man’s writing.”

    And yet I would welcome the opportunity to read such words, inadequate as they may be. I share your disgust.

  74. 86 -I know(?) you were being sarcastic, but Janderson was a potential player, and I was sorry to see him go. A starter however, he was not destined to be.

  75. Wow the 2012 HOF ballot has nothing here is the complete list from the HOF website:

    2012: Edgardo Alfonzo, Pedro Astacio, David Bell, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Scott Erickson, Carl Everett, Jeff Fassero, Alex S. Gonzalez, Danny Graves, Rick Helling, Dustin Hermanson, Jose Hernandez, Brian Jordan, Matt Lawton, Javy Lopez, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Jeff Nelson, Phil Nevin, Brad Radke, Joe Randa, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Jose Vizcaino, Bernie Williams, Eric Young

    Who’s best there Bernie Williams? Then who, Tim Salmon? Javy Lopez? Ruben Sierra?

  76. Hinske is DeRosa light really. 4 corners player with a specialty bat. Decent signing. Leaves Prado at second and we don’t have to watch Infante try to hit like a corner infielder when Chipper or Glaus is taking a break.

  77. Tough case for Bernie – great offensive numbers for a CF, fine 8 year peak too, but I really have to question a couple of Gold Gloves though. IRL I think he’ll get in pretty easily though. Too many good things happened during his tenure.

  78. 89 – Janderson definitely had potential, so it is a little unfair to not give Schafer credit for winning the job. Schafer was clearly a year ahead of schedule, especially after missing all those games in 2008. That makes him winning the job reasonable impressive.

    I hope his injury does not set him back too far. The guy should hit enough to be a starter in the Majors for years. If he develops favorably, he has the potential to be very good.

  79. And here is the tenative list for 2013 and 2014:

    2013: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Steve Finley, Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Cirillo, Jose Valentin, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Jose Mesa, Royce Clayton, Bob Wickman, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Rondell White, Mike Lieberthal, Tony Batista, Mike Stanton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Damian Miller, Todd Walker

    2014: Moises Alou, Armando Benitez, Sean Casey, Jose Cruz Jr., Ray Durham, Damion Easley, Jim Edmonds, Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grudzielanek, Scott Hatteberg, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Matt Morris, Mike Mussina, Trot Nixon, Hideo Nomo, Jay Payton, Kenny Rogers, Richie Sexson, J.T. Snow, Shannon Stewart, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Steve Trachsel, Jose Vidro

    Anyone who wants in from the current crop better get there before 2013.

    I predict Blyleven and Alomar in 2011 and then Larkin and Bagwell in 2012 and then Edgar, McGriff and others will wait a while. One thing that Morris has going for him is that there are NO good starting pitchers coming in the next two years (save for K. Brown) and Bert will be off the ballot after he gets in next year so maybe he gets the call in 2012.

  80. Wonder how the Vols will fare tonight with only 6 scholarship players available against Charlotte.

  81. HOF conspiracy theory: Joe Morgan is trying to keep Time Raines and Barry Larkin out so he can maintain the distinction as the HOFer with the highest career SB%.

    Raines = 808 SB, 146 CS (84.70%)
    Larkin = 379 SB, 77 CS (83.11%)
    Morgan = 689 SB, 162 CS (80.96%)

  82. I’m pretty sure I predicted that Dawson would make it in this year. It was pretty obvious. I’m pleasantly surprised Blyleven did so well; it would be unpredecented for him to not make it after getting so close.

  83. Hinske is DeRosa light really. 4 corners player with a specialty bat. Decent signing. Leaves Prado at second and we don’t have to watch Infante try to hit like a corner infielder when Chipper or Glaus is taking a break.

    Yeah, Hinske is a pretty reasonable signing really. Chip and/or Glaus will always be hurt and playing Prado or Infante at a corner is pretty ridiculous. Hinske can still hit a little although he’s probably best in small doses.

    Got a lot of bad pub for that contract, but in another life (where he doesn’t pitch his first 7 years in Arlington) he’s a legit HoF’er

    Brown had HoF talent and pretty damn close to a HoF career. One of his biggest problems will be that he pretty much gave the media the middle finger for his whole career, and unfortunately with the way the process is setup that will matter a lot more than it should. He had about the best sinker you could imagine though.

  84. Gilbert Arenas suspended indefinitely w/out pay.

    How long before the Knicks plant a gun in Eddy Curry’s locker?

  85. Alright, alright. I’ll be the first. The Atlanta Braves will win the NL East in 2010, and then will lose the division series 3-1.

  86. 2012 would be the year for Murphy to get in… too bad he hasn’t had a few strong voting years to build up to it. Perhaps a large media market campaign that continually beats the “most feared” drum would do the trick.

  87. 95 Those look like pretty stacked classes.

    At first blush, these get in:

    ’13 – Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza.

    ’14 – Glavine, Maddux, Thomas, Kent, Mussina.

  88. Tennessee looks really good so far. Charlotte is a solid team. I am curious to see how the Vols finish though.

  89. Smitty,

    I’m hearing that Tyler’s car was rented by Thunder Thornton. Is that just wild rumor or not?

    On a sad note: I’m in Kroger in Kennesaw walking past the magazines sneaking a peak at really attractive, minimally clad cover models when I notice Sporting News’ College Basketball Yearbook.

    There on the whole cover is a picture of Tyler Smith under the heading: “Tyler’s Time”.

    What a waste.

  90. I bet the Wizards owners are enjoying a nice steak dinner and a very expensive bottle of wine right now. Arenas just saved them $100 mil

  91. Stu–Thanks for the post–I really hope that the Braves give Hale a chance to develop into a starter. However, I think that the key to the 2009 Draft (beyond Minor)is not so much Mycal Jones, but the development of about 5-6 Juco players that the Braves selected. If a couple of them pan out (to at least be useful to the organization), then the Braves will have had a pretty decent draft–especially given the fact that they lost their second round pick to the Dodgers for signing Lowe. Alternatively, if none of them develop, then it may look like another thin draft for the Braves….

  92. @109

    No, a booster didn’t rent the car. It was rented by one of the players’ girlfriend’s mom. There aren’t any NCAA issues about the car.

  93. so according to Bowman we are at $87 mil, and according to JS the payroll will not diminish at all. However, they are saying we are at budget because Huddy’s insurance got us up to $94 mil last season. Im just confused and Ill stick to saying the payroll has been reduced

  94. They included incentives and some other crap in the budget. When Liberty “acquired” the team, they were prohibited by MLB from cutting payroll. I imagine this is their way around that stipulation. Screw corporate whores.

  95. More typos from Bowman:

    “When asked about the 2010 payroll, Braves president John Schuerholz said it will remain the same despite that fewer fans came to Turner Field in 2009.”

    He’s a lazy, lazy writer. There’s always one stupid typo in every article he posts. You’d think he’d proofread.

  96. As someone who struggles mightly with proofreading, I can sympathize for Bowman….

    #115–I don’t know–but be careful what you wish for. Hard to believe, but things could get worse….

  97. I am wondering if it is a poor time for Liberty to sell. Economy and all. It seems like they would lose money if they sell as soon as next year.

    The results on the field have not helped.

  98. I think everyone in the world so situated as to afford it realizes a baseball team is a money printing machine. They could sell at a profit tomorrow.

  99. Spike (and others with similar views),

    Although I certainly believe the owners pleas of desperation are hogwash, baseball teams do not provide the “ability to print money”. Sales of ball teams in all sports relate to (1) owner interest / ego (like Arthur Blank or Jerry Jones or Mark Cuban. Guys with money that like the sports world and like to compete) or (2) media connected concerns that want to create synergies across the media groups (Original Ted Turner purchase of the Braves, Tribune buying Cubs).

    The way they make money is NOT primarily from operations. Because these teams are limited and scarce (like a Rembrandt, say) as long as people that collect teams have money, the prices rise and the sellers knock out a good capital gain.

    Unless Liberty really wants to own the Braves long term (and I don’t see it), then this payroll charade is going to cost them more money than the 5 to 8 million savings this year and maybe one more year. Why?
    Because net operating income increases substantially as a result of a postseason appearance (the deeper you go in postseason, the better). AND, the ego buyers want to buy A WINNER. So, IF Liberty can sell after 2010 and if they sell an 85 win team out of the postseason they are looking at maybe $450 million. If they have an NL pennant winning team, that is probably $550.

    But further, the fans are going to be “de enthused” by the payroll drop. I have submitted here before, that cutting payroll in Atlanta is a financial disaster to the team. Atlanta fans don’t show up for a loser. It’s too much damn trouble to get there. So, if you say make a 5% net operating return (on purchase price) with a 100 million payroll, that number will drop to say 2% with an 80 million payroll. In other words, I feel strongly that lowering the payroll saves less money than the revenue drop costs the team.

    Maybe the Dodgers and Cardinals can do that, but it doesn’t work that way in ATL.

  100. I think the performance on the field lately will help reduce the value of the team, making it easier for some rich dude to buy it.

  101. Cliff, with all due respect, I was an IRS auditor for many years. The possibilities for hiding money through associated enterprises (parking, food services, broadcast, etc.) plus revenue sharing and TV money, coupled with the labyrinthine rules of depreciation are as limitless as they are lucrative. To paraphrase a famous quote, I could take a 6M dollar profit and call it a 2M loss and every accountant in the world would agree with me. Fan attendance is but one revenue stream among many. Baseball teams are very profitable enterprises. If you don’t think there would be qualified interested buyers, you’re crazy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.