Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones Statistics and History –

He’s had better years. Chipper’s batting average dropped by 100 points from his title-winning .364, and his homers fell from 22 to 18 despite more than fifty more plate appearances. The cause is a bit hard to diagnose as his strikeouts rose only a little bit. If he was really done, you would expect a big rise in “non-contact” plate appearances, with both strikeouts and walks going up, but that didn’t happen. He didn’t look good at the plate much of the time, but statistically it was basically all batting-average-on-balls-in-play, which accounted for 96 points of the drop. Just luck? I don’t know. He was terrible in September and looked tired. His ability to stay in the lineup more (he played in his most games since 2003) might have paradoxically hurt him, as he didn’t get the rest he normally has the last few years. Bobby needs to give the man a break more often.

Hit lefthanders much better than righthanders for a change; half his homers came righthanded. Of course, managers still try to turn him around… Though he’s slow, he’ll steal the occasional base. He was 4-of-5 last year, and is 26-of-30 since 2004… Had a bad year defensively after making much improvement late in his career. His .930 fielding percentage was a career low, and his range dropped to a level where he really can’t carry the errors. A lot of the complaints about his defense over the years haven’t been warranted, but they were last year. Escobar gives him a little protection, but not that much.

265 thoughts on “Chipper Jones”

  1. This is one I wish I had hit F/X to study. It seems like some of Chipper’s decline in batting average on balls in play is the result of not hitting the ball as hard as he usually does, but I’ve got no evidence that’s true. I know he posted the lowest isolated power of his career in 2009 and I’d wager (though I can’t look it up right now) he hit fewer line drives in 2009.

    Still, it’s probably more bad luck than anything else. It was unrealistic to him to hit .364 due to a .382 batting average on balls in play like he did in ’08. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, offensively and defensively.

    Agreed on the playing time thing.

  2. Now or soon, Chipper is done, bless his heart. I think 2008 was the aberration, not 2009. Chipper’s bat no longer offsets his glove, although he is still a very good though slow baserunner.

    Watching aging HOFers decline sucks. On the other hand, I wouldn’t walk away from upwards of $13 mil just because I no longer am the player I was in my prime.

  3. Chipper’s line drive percentage wasn’t that low, actually – 20.0%, which is a higher percentage than he posted in ’04, ’06 and ’07.

    According to Fangraphs, Chipper was still worth more than the team was paying him last year. I’m betting on a rebound next season, though not a rebound to ’08.

  4. I think Chipper bounces back strong this year, but is a bit more injury-prone. Thinking .310/.405/.495 maybe 19 hr 88 rbi in 135 games.

  5. I agree that he will be bounce back (but not to 2008) and look good, but I could see 115 games….

  6. #4
    I’ll sure take it.

    In DOB’s bit in the AJC, Chipper said he had no excuses for last year and it is true that he was running on empty toward the end.

    If we can get health & any kind of improvement from Chipper (& B-Mac), I’ll feel a whole lot better about this team.

    Would love to see the Braves make one more run this year with #10 out there.

  7. #4
    I’d be thrilled with 135 games, but he doesn’t have anything to prove to me on his endurance.

    Tough decision on when to rest him, though. No platoon problem, doesn’t want to come out of the line-up, and what team wouldn’t be better with Chipper on the field?

  8. @7, Kevin Lee,

    I think you first sell Cox on this and then let him sell Chipper.

    If Glaus’ throwing arm looks o.k. in spring you might occasionally put Glaus at third against righthanders to let Hinske in and at the same time give Chipper a break. Or, you could let Hinske play third occasionally.

    By career standards, Chipper is a better hitter lefthanded (particularly power). Last year didn’t say that.

    @ 3, Jaik,

    Do you have access to those rates broken down by “side of the plate”. My feeling last year was that Chipper had trouble getting through the zone and extending lefthanded. I know he says he wasn’t hurt, but it looked like the old oblique problem. Is it possible his “well hit percentage” was off a good bit more lefthanded? Was it a bat speed problem or a vision problem?

    Just wondering.

  9. Chipper is still swinging that tree at the plate. I wonder if Bobby can talk him into choosing a lighter bat to pick up his bat speed some.

  10. Im still thinking that Chippers overall numbers last season were due to the lack of offensive support around him.

    However, Chipper isnt the same hitter he was in his prime but I dont expect another 2009 type season from him either. Im a homer of course but Ill predict a .295/.410/.500 season and hopefully he gets rest from Bobby and not from injuries

  11. Chipper’s most productive time in the past couple seasons was when he had Tex hitting behind him. I think Chipper would be ok again if Glaus returns to hit 30 homeruns.

    I have said many times that Chipper needs more rest. I hope Bobby can tell Chipper is as old as him.

  12. do you guys remember about 2/3 of the way through the season when chipper came out to the press about needing days off, but he wasnt injured so bobby said he “needed” to play. chipper expressed frustration to the media. maybe bobby needs to listen.

  13. When a guy like Chipper says he needs to rest, I think you just have to listen to him. The guy has earned the status where his input should be digested and given some weight. Despite being injury prone he’s never given the impression of being soft. I’d rest him when he says he needs it if I’m the manager.

  14. We now have a ton of guys who can play 3B, if nec.—Hinske, Glaus, Prado, Infante, even Diory, if he’s ever on the big club—so let’s use ’em when needed.

    OK, maybe not Diory, but you know what I mean.

  15. seems like a big utility team

    1B – Glaus, Prado, Infante, Mitch, Hinske

    2B – Prado, Infante, Diory, Thurston, Conrad

    SS – Yunel, Infante, Diory, Thurston

    3B – Hinske, Glaus, Prado, Infante, Diory, Thurston

    LF – Hinske, Diaz, Melky, Infante, Mitch, Prado, Thurston,

    CF – McLouth, Infante, Melky, Schafer and Blacno waiting, Diaz in emergencies

    RF – Diaz, Melky, Infante, Hinske, Mitch, Heyward, Thurston

    plenty of options for Bobby to look at this season. More overall depth it seems like.

  16. Thats why the Hinske signing is a good one. Lets Glaus learn a new position without having to worry about 3rd.

    #2 Last 4 years OPS
    1.005 1.029 1.044 .818 He’s done?
    I am predicting a .900 or better OPS this year. Count it. Of course it will be done playing 125 games. I’ll take it.

  17. Not much to say on Chipper – anything from MVP candidate to complete collapse is in play. We’ll see.

    I’m a little sensitive to the “running up the score” accusation after Alabama was accused of it in the NCG.

    I think running up the score is only a real argument if it’s between two obviously uneven foes. I never see it coming into play at the professional level.

    If Enormous-SEC-Powerhouse U is calling timeouts and going pass crazy in the final minutes against Tiny-Paid-Half-A-Mil-To-Come-Take-A-Beating College that’s pretty rotten. On the other hand, Stanford going for two to try to get to 50 against USC, or USC going playaction bomb against UCLA in the final minutes, I have zero problem with.

  18. I know there are a number of variables to factor in, including injuries, but I was just wondering what the consensus was in the forum: did this team get better in the offseason? Worse? The same?

  19. @8, cliff

    I dug around a bit but couldn’t find any splits breakdown for line drive percentage.

  20. #20 I agree. I didn’t get to see a lot of games but in the ones that I did watch Chipper and KJ seemed to be rolling over a lot of balls and bouncing them to the middle infield.

    #21 – Better than the team that started 2009. About even with the team that finished with.

    Just as many question marks going into 2010. But I like the chances of a favorable outcome better.

  21. #21 Better, Kyle B.
    Could they start tomorrow?
    Even as a Colts fan, I’m really just waiting for baseball season to get going.

    #15 csg: Is that a manager’s dream or a manager’s headache?

  22. @21, my stab (year end status to now),

    I assumed that there was no way we would have all 6 starters and that Lowe would probably go and Vazquez would stay or that there would be no extension for Hudson. So, I think we have dropped a hair in starting pitching.

    Position players. Melky in and Anderson out is an up in defense and a neutral in offense. Plus it probably delivers us from Gregor Blanco sightings. Over a whole season, Glaus should equal or slightly exceed a reasonable expectation on LaRoche. Plus he is righthanded. We lost depth in MI with KJ gone and. The Church depth loss is not as bad because Heyward is close and Schafer is not that far from a return. Overall, about the same in starters. A little better pinch hit situation with Hinske. A little less proven major league depth prtially offset.

    Back of bullpen a little better, but a little more injury questioned. We do this year have 2 viable potential plus relievers in the high minors (Kimbrel and Hyde) which is more than last year. Otherwise about the same.

    Net, a similar team to end of 09.

    As compared to beginning of 09, still a significantly better team.

    Is this team as good as the 51 – 31 split in July through most of September? No. Is it fundamentally an upper 80’s win team (or maybe better)? Yes.

    Without a “break out explosion” (like a Heyward smoking start or a Kimbrel or Hyde shutdown orBrandon Hicks being a good MI or whatever like that), we have about a 40% shot at playoffs. With even 1 such explosion and assuming no unusual problems or unusual opportunities from poor play by competitors, then that jumps to more like 70%.

  23. #25 – Kevin, who knows how Bobby will use these guys. However, he should be able to find all of his guys some rest this year

  24. On the comments on DOB’s blog somebody threw out something like “what is up on the Julio Franco did steroids and is tied to A-Rod’s trainer thing”. I did not readily find the earlier comment that apparently to which the new comment was directed.

    Has anybody heard or seen anything on this?

  25. Haven’t heard that at all cliff… that would bum me out a bit, I like Franco (and love the thought of him being just a hard working old guy still making it work).

  26. well there is one of two things that allowed Franco to play until he was 50.

    1. God given ability and hard work
    2. steriods

    hopefully the former

  27. In Franco’s case, I really wouldn’t care. Having someone older than me still playing baseball, and playing well, was awesome.

  28. Julio Franco always looked like a bodybuilder and there were steroid accusations that followed just because of the way he looked. To my knowledge however, there wasn’t anything to back up the accusations and Franco never tested positive for steroids and he was never on any list of known users. I hope this was the case, but I don’t guess you can ever know for sure. Until I hear damning evidence otherwise, I’ll continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  29. Chippers core power numbers were down for the third season in a row as illustrated:

    2007: 173 hits/ 29 HR’s/ 102 RBI/ .604 SLG

    2008: 160 hits/ 22 HR’s/ 75 RBI/ .574 SLG

    2009: 129 hits/ 18 HR’s/ 71 RBI/ .430 SLG

    In baseball this is called a trend, not an aberration. I’ll be truly surprised if Chipper rebounds in 2010. But realistically, He’s likely retired along with Bobby Cox.

  30. He didn’t always look like a bodybuilder. He was skinny when he played for Philly & Cleveland. But whatever, he provides a nice George Blanda story.

  31. Stu, yep only one left. DOB said they would be swapping figures today sometime. In baseball this is called a meeting, outside of baseball this is also called a meeting.

  32. Which is a stranger rewarding of non-performance: Frenchy getting $5M from the Mets, or Russell Martin geting $5M from the Dodgers after declining to a .680 OPS last season?

  33. #44 Missed it! Can’t believe his output in his seventies.
    Also, no more Sunny Randall, or Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, although the Tom Selleck versions of Jesse Stone are going to continue.

    But, sadly, no more Hawk.

  34. Mac,

    What do you think about Kevin Steele? He is signing on to be Tennessee’s new DC. I have always though high of him, just wanted your opinion.

  35. Well, we didn’t miss him any. Before this year, the claim has always been that Saban was his own DC. It’s a bit odd that Steele has moved in consecutive years without getting a promotion.

  36. I have trouble viewing Chipper’s 2007 to 2008 a decline.

    He regressed to a .574 SLG and the batting title?


  37. In fairness, Coach was referring to Chipper’s power decline, which was still down .030 from 2007 and much of his 2008 SLG would be from his higher AVG so I’m sure his iso SLG was down more than that (without looking it up). That is, as we say in the business, and by the business of course I mean the industry, a trend, not an aberration.

  38. I love how on the internet you can have a year in which you dial back the power in favor of average AND WIN A BATTING TITLE become part of a ‘power losing trend’…. never mind the cherry picked stats starting with a year in which his slugging was up 60 points higher than his career average to show a downward trend even though only ’09 was below his career average.

  39. Well lets look at Chipper’s 2001-2004 OPS stretch

    2001 – 1.032
    2002 – .972
    2003 – .920
    2004 – .847

    this must have been, what this industry calls, an aberration not a trend because it did seem to turn itself around.

  40. I was being a little facetious with my defense of Coach if that didn’t translate, though Chipper’s power has been eroding the past couple of years.


    Tarek (NYC)
    Enough with the steroid talk, Which teams will be the “suprise” Contender this year?

    Rob Neyer (1:11 PM)
    Nobody’s jumping out at me unless you would consider the Braves a surprise.

  41. #42, I’m guessing that’s counting Hampton’s salary. Having that much on the DL is never efficient.

  42. Love this quote from the Neyer chat:

    James (DC): Not to be too blunt, but do you realize that Ordonez had the 5th highest 2nd half OPS in the AL? What do you want him to do before he’s like, “gangbusters?”

    Neyer: Yes, but that huge OPS included a .375 batting average and only 5 homers. I wouldn’t take it at face value, exactly.

  43. Saito, Glaus, and Hinske will have to reach all of their respective incentives (unlikely) for the Braves to break $87 million.

  44. They also signed Ryan Church and have Jose Ascanio, Kali, and the players they got in the McLouth trade. I’m not sure that Royals East is really the way to go.

  45. Lincecum: $13; Giants: $8

    If I’m Lincecum, I might just want to walk into arbitration with that number and not deal with their contract offers. I mean, Howard got $10 as a Super Two. I can’t imagine what kind of offers they’ll make. I thought the split would be more like $10/$12, not $8/$13. The Giants went way low.

  46. didnt Lincecum just win back to back Cy young awards. He should just walk in there with those two awards and say “find a pitcher thats better than me.”

  47. And for those who want Heyward in ATL to begin the season, if the Giants had waited 10 days to bring up Lincecum, they could be paying him Major League minimum ($400,000).

  48. Time for the Giants to start paying for those two Cy Young awards. Bust out with the Brinks truck.

  49. I think I know what they did. I think they looked at Clemens and tried to translate that into 2010 dollars. That gets them in the neighborhood of $8.

    But Ryan Howard won $10 as a Super Two. When he did, the Phillies had offered $7. The Giants aren’t being very smart about this.

  50. 63, I’m not sure if your 87 million includes Moylan’s 1.15 million but the overall payroll will go higher.

    The 87 million only covers the guaranteed salaries of fifteen players. Factor in the league minimum of .4 million for (approximately) another fifteen players and we can add 6 million to the payroll, bring it up to about 93 million.

  51. Amazing, when you think about it, that Aaron, Mays, and Mantle, never made a million combined in a season. These players should kiss Marvin Miller’s (and Andy Messersmith’s) picture every night.

  52. 72—No. $87 million covers 23 roster spots. Assuming two league-minimum guys (say, Hernandez and Heyward) fill out the roster, that’s no more than $88 million, again, even if everyone’s incentives are fully met.

  53. Re: B Jones and KC

    He was claimed on waivers by Pit, so KC never had a shot at him. Every NL team had a shot at him first in reverse order of standings. So Washington was the only team to pass on him.

  54. OK, I’ll start:

    Who do you want to replace Bobby Cox?

    And it’s not good enough just to say “Anyone not named Terry Pendleton”.

  55. Fredi Gonzalez or Eddie Perez.

    Hank – do you think Eric Bledsoe goes pro? I never anticipated three frosh may go pro after one season.

  56. 74, then you should be interested in the latest MLB payroll figures.

    Our Braves were ranked 11th in team payroll last season. They are currently sitting at 13th and may drop further as the Astros (14th) and Dodgers(15th) both have about a half dozen arbitration eligible players each.

    And much to my surprise, the Twins are ranked 9th in payroll right now. Which is way up from 24th in 2009.

  57. DJ – I’m beginning to get concerned about Bledsoe going pro. Lately, he’s been the best guard we have on the floor.

    It really will be starting over if we lose Wall, Cousins AND Bledsoe.

  58. Choice for Bobby replacements:
    #1 Greg Maddux
    #2 Greg Maddux
    #3 Greg Maddux
    #4 Freddi Gonzalez

    Other “interesting” options:
    I’d read something of possibly Girardi not lasting with the Yanks (because their owners are idiots and somehow it was possible they were holding NOT winning in ’08 against him even after winning in ’09). I’d be very interested to see how he worked out. I’d be interested in a Chipper as player manager thing (not sure it would be the best idea, but I would be interested). I think Glavine is a smart enough guy about the game (not as smart as Maddux, but then again Maddux is God) that he could be an interesting choice. I wouldn’t hate Hubbard. I’d probably even be OK with giving Pendleton a shot (though in the coaching staff I wouldn’t hate giving Hubbard a shot either… maybe Perez?). The ‘shock to the fans’ factor would make Joe Torre a hilarious choice. Is Clint Hurdle still looking for a managing job? Recall he won with the Rockies for a bit, but not if it was attributed to him per se. Or we could take the Nats 1B coach (Marquis Grissom)… Dragging up another old name with coaching experience, Bruce Benedict? Leo Mazzone?

    I’ve obviously not organized my thoughts on this beyond Greg Maddux.

  59. I don’t think Maddux would make a particularly good manager, personally. I like Gonzalez and Pendleton well enough. Eddie Perez would be an interesting option. I might take a look at Manny Acta too.

  60. I’m not crazy about Pendleton as a hitting coach, but wouldn’t hate it if he was the next manager. For the longest time I thought he was being groomed to take over for Cox, but for whatever reason he seems to have fallen out of favor with the front office. My guess now would be Fredi, but as others have mentioned, I think Eddie Perez has a shot and may be pretty good.

  61. @#66 Thanks, JoeyT.
    I had the impression that when such a wide disparity of numbers showed up in arb like this, it usually worked in the player’s favor.
    Am I off-base here?

  62. RE: Lincecum. This is how I envision the arb hearing.

    Lincecum: “I think I’ve proven myself to be a top tier pitcher and should be compensated as such.”

    Giants: “While we agree that Tim has been a great pitcher for us we think that $8M is a more reasonable figure for a player of his age and experience.”

    Lincecum: “I led the league in strikeouts and led my team in wins, era and strikeouts for both of the past two seasons and in that time these chumps have paid Barry ‘love my jeans’ Zito $33M to win a total of 20 games. I’m worth way more than the $13M I’m asking for.”

    Giants: “Barry hasn’t gotten busted with weed! We’re willing to forgive him for this but don’t think he’s worth $13M”

    Lincecum: “Pot? that’s nothing compared the crack you must be smoking if you don’t think I’m worth $13M. I WON BACK TO BACK F@#$ING CY YOUNG AWARDS B@#$%ES! CHECK AND MATE!”

    I bet the arbitration meetings aren’t nearly as fun in reality as they are in my head.

  63. Lincecum’s arb is hard to figure. The usual is “for a player of comparable experience” and there aren’t many to compare to and those are contracting off of alternatives in arb (kind of circular).

    However, there is some kind of “extraordinary circumstances” thing that lets the arbitrator get off the usual “what a second / third/ etc. year player would get”. Howard clearly played into that.

    There is no reason financially for Lincecum to take the 13 off the table unless the Giants put a decent multi year deal in front of him.

    But, as something I posted on JC’s site this morning says, I really am only in favor of buying out arb years on pitchers if there is a substantial discount either within the arb years or going forward into the otherwise FA years. Too much risk of injury or downgrade in performance.

    Another way of looking at it: If I am the Braves, the long range deal I would offer Hanson to buy out arb probably would be half of what I would offer Heyward for similar number of years.

  64. #42, that’s an interesting story about efficiency. I think that isn’t the whole story, though. Over the last decade, the Braves were in almost as many playoff races as anyone — there were really only a couple seasons where they weren’t playing meaningful baseball games at the end of the year.

    The reason that their “Efficiency Rating” wasn’t much higher was their well-documented problems getting out of the first round — but I don’t think that’s necessarily the fault of the front office. I think the mission of the front office is to construct a playoff team, and then it’s up to the manager and Lady Luck to get them further in. If you just look at their number of playoff races and playoff appearances, instead of double and triple-rewarding them for each playoff round they won, I think they’d easily be in the top half and probably in the top 10 of Major League organizations.

  65. @104,


    Davey Johnson was recently hired by the Nationals to work–as an adviser–in the front office. He is in his late sixties and I don’t think he has any desire to get back in the dugout.

  66. thought this was interesting…

    According to Floyd’s coaches, he was set to pick Ohio State until he spoke with Meyer on the phone. That’s when Florida’s coach, desperate to rein in the nation’s top defensive tackle prospect, went “all in” with the religion card. Here’s what the coaches said:

    “Sharrif was really confused and put a call into Coach Meyer. When they spoke Coach Meyer told him that he had a ‘dream’ the night before, and that Coach Meyer saw himself on the sideline coaching Sharrif. Told him that is was a “message from God that I should come back and coach, as I guess if it’s my time to die, I’d rather die on the sidelines coaching you than anywhere else in the world.

    “Sharrif talked to us the next day and said Ohio State is great and all, but Coach Meyer said he would DIE for me. That’s pretty intense. From that day on Sharrif mainly kept to himself. But that was the turning point in my eyes.”

    Either you have to applaud Meyer for a brilliant recruiting maneuver or mock him for preying on the emotions of a naïve high school kid.

    You could also do both. Make no mistake, Meyer knew exactly what he was doing, just like the way he “resigned” as Florida’s head coach only to announce a day or two later he was taking an indefinite leave of absence. Contrived? You bet.

    But, considering all the highly-touted prospects that have committed to the Gators in recent days, Meyer’s ploy has worked to perfection.

    Really, though, the entire Meyer/Floyd proves yet again that while the NCAA Rulebook is as thick as a phone directory there is only one rule that truly matters when it comes to recruiting – caveat emptor.

    Let the Buyer Beware.

  67. Is anyone else worried about our lack of starting pitching depth? Medlen should be a good fill-in but after him it’s pretty thin. Reyes (who’s out of options), Parr and Redmond, I sure hope we don’t have two guys go down at once.

  68. I mean, Medlen’s a pretty good fall-back option. I don’t imagine Reyes, Parr and Redmond are much worse than most organizations’ 7th-, 8th- and 9th-best options.

  69. You could also do both.

    Or neither, in my case. Not really sure over how anyone can be bothered by recruiting shenanigans at the college level. It’s a business, a big one, and that’s how it’s actors are going to operate. In another life, guys like Meyer get the Cadillac, not the steak knives.

  70. @105 – you may well be right, but he just turned 67, lots of guys have managed well past that, and “adviser” isn’t nearly as much fun as “manager”. Why do you think he has no desire to come back? That has not been his position in the recent past.

  71. Dusty @108,

    Not the Braves major worry. If you go below Medlen in starters and if nobody else has emerged (Jo Jo putting it together a little better, later in the year one of the minor leaguers having “gelled”, whatever) they will probably go to a “mod 4” rotation and not pitch the fifth starter except when they can’t get 4 rest days together. Factoring in the All Star break, that would only leave 20 or so starts all year for # 5?

  72. @42, as well,

    I know generally for the last 10 years Braves payroll has been below Major League reported payroll. the reported payroll excludes cash coming back on deals. So, when we were getting money on Hampton from Colorado and Florida, it still showed as if the Braves were paying the full freight. Also, same on Renteria. I don’t remember us giving anybody else money toward a contract.

    So, if the linked article didn’t take this into account, the Braves real out of pocket cost was probably 8 to 10 million a year lower that what they used to calculate, thus, making the Braves a little more efficient.

  73. Concerning Brandon Jones, the Pirates “claimed him with the hope of including him in a trade.” Guesses as to who is wanting to trade for Jones?

  74. I don’t think it’s a huge deal regarding who will be our fifth starter after Medlen, but if Reyes is indeed out of options I doubt it will be him. Unless Reyes has turned it around in a big way I think he’ll either be traded or released (most likely). At the very best he gets a token spot in the bullpen as our very last option until Proctor is healthy, and then goodbye JoJo. Even if he makes the team out of ST, I don’t think he’ll get enough innings to prove that he’s a new pitcher.

  75. 117—I think there’s a decent chance we use him as a lefty specialist out of Spring Training. It’ll be between Jo-Jo and Dunn.

  76. Was looking at Cot’s and I didn’t realize Chipper had a $750,000 incentive at both 135 and 140 games played in each year of his contract. Not sure if people are factoring that in to the max payroll if all incentives are reached.

  77. Man, nice catch. The Braves are on the hook for like $10 million worth of incentives — who knows what the final payout will be?

  78. they are also saying that McLouth has a buyout that they are including in our salary figures to get us around $90mil. Seems like they are just using these figures to make us think that this $90mil and last years $90 mil are somewhat the same. Have they always included these figures in with annual payrolls.

  79. The Braves always spread bonuses and buyouts over the life of the contracts for accounting purposes.

  80. If you all were running the club wouldn’t you plan on the scenario where all bonuses and incentives were accounted for as real dollars? You’d look pretty stupid if you didn’t and all the players earned the money.

    I’d like to see JoJo make the team and contribute.

  81. I have to say that I believe our 5th and 6th starters are better than most teams 3rd and 4th guys.

    There is a considerable drop off after Medlen, but that just puts us on par for #’s 7, 8, and 9.

    There is also enough pitching talent at AA and above that someone could emerge. I would not be at all surprised to see someone like Mike Minor become our obvious next option in a few months.

  82. Spike,

    You may well be right about Davey Johnson’s desire to manage. And he was a terrific manager. But do you really want to from one old guy to another? It’s one thing to retain an older manager who is already there, it’s another to hire one–although, admittedly the Jack McKeon hire with the Marlins worked out pretty well.

    I am bothered by recruiting shenanigans like that and saying it’s just a business does not excuse it. I’m not real happy with the way Wall Street operates either and, just because it’s a business doesn’t make it ok. Plus, why should college athletics be a big business? Aren’t colleges supposedly in the education business? If this is what college athletics is going to be, what’s the point of them?

    Plus, there is just the sleaze factor of using religion like this. I would think that a religious person would resent the use of religion in this way, but apparently not in Florida, where it’s ok to conflate God with football (and, of course, patriotism).

  83. why should college athletics be a big business?

    Doesn’t matter why – they are, and there is no going back.

    Aren’t colleges supposedly in the education business?

    They are. Why is this mutually exclusive to being in the sports business?

    If this is what college athletics is going to be, what’s the point of them?

    Apparently, and this is just a guess, A LOT of people like it so much they are willing to pay for it.

    re religion – who are either of us to comment on whether someone’s use of it is within the bounds of that religion? As I recall, most of them come with a guy who is specifically in charge of deciding what’s good or bad, and it ain’t me or you. That’s the least of the sleaze, IMHO. Getting kids to come to your school and pulling their scholarship for injury or poor play makes me far, far angrier.

  84. Re Davey, because he’s good, he’d probably stay for a while if we wanted, he wouldn’t cost much, and we could seriously groom the next guy. Rampant ageism aside, he also happens to be the best candidate on the market, imho.

  85. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jimy Williams in a Braves uniform again, but, like Johnson, he’s in his late sixties.

  86. He’d be of use here, except for that Melky guy getting in the way. I can’t believe they didn’t sign him last year.

  87. is there any place that tallies the different pitches that a player sees in a year and their contact rates for each pitch? the best i can find is fangraphs, but that doesnt really break down the contact rate for each pitch.

  88. preston wilson is ready to make his comeback also, lest see a wilson/edmonds platoon somewhere. Well, anywhere but here

  89. Sdp,

    Two customized ‘Larry Wayne Jones Jr.’ shirts: $26.79
    Two roundtrips on the 7 train: $3:50
    Taking your eight-year old to his first ballgame and having that shot be his first memory of the New York Mets: priceless

  90. I sure hope the Mets don’t somehow bumble their way into signing Ben Sheets… He’ll likely just get injured again and fritter away another 10 MWDs (Million Wilpon Dollars), but he could also stay healthy and be a real pain in the ass.

  91. @140, I would’ve went with the clip of Francoeur hitting into the game-ending unassisted triple play, but that works too.

  92. Joe, I know, I was hoping that the Mets would miss out on Sheets and would somehow overpay for Piniero.

  93. @ 107

    Floyd was swayed by Meyer’s religious feelings just DAYS before this guy

    was arrested for choking a girl.

    that’s Meyer’s 25th player arrested since he became the coach of Florida. I’m sorry, but he seems to believe in another God if the uses religion to get kids who then go to get arrested.

  94. @142
    The Mets would probably get 3 starts out of Sheets, including a two-hitter against the Braves!

  95. Well guys… I’m going to have to step up my writing a bit, my Mets fan friend (Jen) and I are starting our own little rival fans baseball blog this season. I’ve got to set it up on my server, but I had the domain registered already:

    We’re going to keep it high-brow as you can tell. I’ll of course let you know when it’s actually “open for business.”

  96. @147 – I’m not defending Meyer on the religious stuff, but saying that he believes in another God if he uses religion to get criminals is pretty lame. If you can prove that this has ever been the case, please share it with us.

    Every decent college football team in America has discipline and off-the-field behavior issues – especially those who recruit to a national base like Florida. Coaches take a chance on poor background players with a huge upside sometimes thinking they can sincerely help them (and win games), and other times to win games only – I’m not debating which is more prevalent or if even the first motive exists in more than 1% of the cases.

    I don’t judge a coach on problems that his team faces off the field, but on what he does after those problems arise. In Meyer’s case it seems not to be that great – considering the eye gouging incident and the indecision that followed. I’m not sure how he has handled the other 24 arrests, but judge him on that – don’t accuse him of using religion to recruit outlaws.

  97. @150,

    The point is not whether or not Meyer used religion to get the player; the point is, is there nothing these guys won’t do to recruit players? And, then, they have the nerve to say they just want to give some poor kids a chance when a lot of these guys have no more business being in college than I do playing shortstop for the Braves.

    As far as I’m concerned, big-time college coaches are nothing but used-car salesmen.

  98. 152—That wasn’t chris’ point, the point to which td was responding.

    153—Yeah, big week, but if we’re 4-0 heading into it, we can lose both and still be fine. EDIT: I should note that I don’t think we’ll lose both.

  99. well my two fav bball teams are playing awful these days – UNC and Bama

    anyone here a CPA? Just wondering if someone would mind emailing me about converting a trad IRA into a ROTH Ira and how the taxes can be paid on the conversion –

  100. KenPom says 27% at UT and 28% at UK. I wouldn’t be shocked if you beat us (nor would I be shocked if we lose at Georgia Saturday) but we are awfully tough at home. Just ask Kansas.

  101. Yeah, I know what Pomeroy’s model says, and I’ve seen both UT and UK play a lot. Like I said, 50%/30%. (We’re better than UT, but like you say, winning at TBA ain’t easy. Of course, it’s not easy to win anywhere on the road in conference play.)

  102. It’s not easy to win on the road in conference, that’s true, and I fully expect us to lose to you guys when we come there, I actually like your chances better at Rupp than TBA though. I’d put it at 25% at UT and 40% at UK and I’ll be pulling for you at Rupp. The only thing I’d like about a Kentucky win is I’d like the Vols to hand Ky their first loss, but they’ve got like 8 games before we even play for the first time so they’ll lose somewhere, may as well be to Vandy.

  103. I would take a win over either, but the Rupp game will be tougher for us. Always is. Gotta win by 10 to win by 1 there…

  104. @163 Does Schaefer not show up on that list at all because he’s fallen so far? or because he’s already tasted the bigs?

  105. 166,
    Because he doesn’t qualify for the list. Otherwise, he’d be in the 2-5 range.

    EDIT: From the bottom of the article:

    Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (Born 4/1/84 or later)

    1. Jason Heyward, OF
    2. Tommy Hanson, RHP
    3. Jair Jurrjens, RHP
    4. Julio Teheran, RHP
    5. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
    6. Kris Medlen, RHP
    7. Jordan Schafer, CF
    8. Melky Cabrera, OF
    9. Freddie Freeman, 1B
    10. Randall Delgado, RHP

  106. Thanks, I’m not a subscriber and couldn’t see what the qualifications for the list were. I must say… that last edit takes the wind out of my “hope for Freddie Freeman” sails (because he’s below Melky).

  107. Eh, Freeman will be one of the youngest players in the Southern League next year and Melky barely qualifies for that list. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. Freeman is still a top-100 and has a chance to be elite.

  108. For some crazy reason, in my game of Baseball Mogul, in 2012 Zeke Spruill gets a 91 rating. For comparison, by that point, Hanson is a 93 and Jurrjens is a 94. If only that would happen in real life. Also, in that time, Schafer’s a 91, Heyward’s still a 86 but a 94 peak, Freeman’s a 86 with 97 peak, and Chipper’s a contractual albatross with a 82 rating, frequent DL trips, and a $12M salary. Oh, and he can’t play defense anymore.

  109. Chipper Jones, don’t you run too fast.

    Chipper Jones, don’t you run too fast.

    Chipper Jones, don’t you run too fast.

    If this team ain’t tight enough just kick their sorry ass.

  110. Go ‘Dores.

    If we can manage to beat Auburn at home this weekend, we should be Top 25 going into UT and UK. I would be happy with a win either place but I am less optimistic than Stu.

  111. On the BP list:

    Heyward, Teheran, and Vizcaino are 5-Star prospects. That should make them top 50 prospects.

    I figure Freeman is not too far off that grouping, but Goldstein seems lower on him than most.

  112. Parish,
    You know, we’re 2-3 (only 1-3 against D-I opponents) while ranked this year and 12-0 while unranked.

    By the way, do you ever make it up to Nashville for any games? I’d love to meet up with you sometime.

  113. Stu – I would enjoy that. Not sure I will be up for a hoops game this year, but I may well be in for a weekend of baseball.

  114. ububba @172,

    I started to put on it “Anybody can post about this but the professional, ububba”.

    A rework of the late refrain in the last part of the underground off color (to say the least) classic, “Strokin'”, popularized by Mr. Clarence Carter himself. (Clarence Carter, don’t you go too fast, etc.)

    I remember riding down the road in about 98 and an ordinary FM station cut loose with “Strokin” and I couldn’t believe it.

  115. I think UT is better than Vandy, but probably not by much (I’m guessing by about as much as you think Vandy is better than UT, Stu). Vandy is a good team, and could definitely win at either place, though I would be kind of shocked if they won at both, and not all that shocked if they lost both.

    UT has pretty much owned Vandy at Thompson-Boling in the Bruce Pearl era, not only winning but winning big. I actually think Vandy has had much better success at Rupp during this time, although obviously not against a Kentucky team of this caliber. On the other hand, we’ve only won once in Memorial Gym during the same stretch, which I mainly attribute to the home-court advantage, but only insofar as Vanderbilt is plenty good enough to beat teams regardless.

    An interesting aspect of the matchup is that when we win this game, it seems to be because of our uptempo style and press, which doesn’t agree with Vandy at all, especially AJ Ogivly, who always winds up being pretty much dead by the end of the first half. However, with all the depleted roster issues this year, we haven’t been playing uptempo thus far in the conference season and have been relying on half-court defense. It has been very effective against big men thus far, such as Cole Aldrich of Kansas and Alabama’s litany of big men, but it will be the style that Vandy would prefer to play. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects the matchup, or if Pearl starts trying to implement a little more of his uptempo style against Georgia on Saturday to prepare for Vanderbilt.

    In general, I would guess you and us split home-and-home and you and Kentucky split home-and-home. I think the three teams are too good to make road wins terribly likely, although obviously they’re all good enough to make road wins possible.

  116. Cliff,
    Funny, “Strokin'” is still a song of great debate among mobile DJs, as in, “Can I get away with playing this at a catering hall?”

    After all, it is the very definition of “suggestive.”

    For some reason, I was thinking of something much lamer—Wayne Newton’s “Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast.”

    Yes, sadly, I had the 45. Even though I was only about 8 when I got it, it’s probably the lamest record I ever bought. Lamer than ABBA, even.

  117. Stu is right about Rupp.

    Last I checked the Vols didn’t drop games to crappy teams like WKU and Illinois. Don’t think Vandy is hanging with Kansas with 40% of their points watching at home.

    On a side note, if Conan’s show keeps going the way it is, the next two nights will be the two best Tonight Show’s this side of Johnny Carson.

  118. @179 – He mimics the sound of him sassifying a woman…I wouldn’t play it in mixed company.

  119. Vandy is the second hardest place to play, historically, in the SEC. At least it seems that way to me.

  120. 178—Nick, you must not have watched this VU team much. We run; we press. This is, by far, the best combination of talent and experience Stallings has had in his decade here.

    180—The WKU loss was bad, for sure. @Illinois, not so much. (That’s pretty much the same as losing @USC.) We’re playing a lot better right now than we were then, thankfully.

    As for this:

    Don’t think Vandy is hanging with Kansas with 40% of their points watching at home.

    Well, maybe not, but I don’t think our players are out smoking weed and carrying illegal weapons, either, so we don’t have to worry about situations like that. And I’m not saying we were better before your knuckleheads got caught; I’m saying we’re better now.

    If Ogilvy plays Chism to anything close to a draw, we’ll win.

  121. Last I checked the Vols didn’t drop games to crappy teams like WKU and Illinois. Don’t think Vandy is hanging with Kansas with 40% of their points watching at home.

    If Illinois fits into your definition of crappy then I can’t see anyway to keep USC from being called crappy. The 77 points we scored against Tennessee is a season high. No really, you can look it up. It’s basically Dwight Lewis and a bunch of transfers that can’t shoot straight.

    Well, maybe not, but I don’t think our players are out smoking weed and carrying illegal weapons, either, so we don’t have to worry about situations like that.

    Oh please. If you have a Division I sports program, you’ve got guys doing bad stuff. Same goes for Urb’s Gators and those who want to cast stones at them. There’s not a single program in this country that would survive an interested ‘Outside The Lines’ crew.

  122. I think your perspective might be a little skewed, Robert. Our basketball players surely aren’t saints, but seriously, they’re not doing the things I said they’re not doing.

  123. Not sure if any of you saw it but Jimmy Fallon did a great version of Pants on the Ground as Neil Young. He does a really great impression.

  124. We’ve got a zero-tolerance policy on weed, so, for their sake — and mine! — I hope they’re not doing it.

  125. Heh. Believe it or not, I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in the program. I really don’t think it’s happening, though I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it were.

  126. At this stage if you meet anyone that doesn’t smoke weed, athlete or not, it’s an upset.

    Then again I live in California.

  127. I don’t smoke weed, either, though I understand I could get a pretty good deal on some from Ramar or Tyler Smith, who are in and around Nashville often enough.

  128. Yeah… gotta say, while I do know SOME people who do, I don’t think it’s a majority by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t, never have actually… course I’ve never really had a drink either (sip of wine is about it), and I’m in my mid 30s, so I don’t think I’m “average” in this poll.

  129. There are parts of the late sixties and early seventies that blur in memory. I’m not certain, but I may have been an herbalist back then.

  130. Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes) spent three months in a treatment program for alcoholism following a much-publicized drinking binge during the final weekend of the Major League Baseball regular season.

    Cabrera said on Thursday he has turned his life around. He said he hasn’t had a drink since he was taken into custody by police after a domestic-abuse complaint was filed by his wife in the early morning of Oct. 3—hours before a crucial game against the Chicago White Sox.

    Good news for the Tigers & Miggy I guess.

  131. I am in the crowd that has never even taken a puff of the funny stuff.

    It’s just a “line” I drew in the sand and did not step over.

    Kind of arbitrary, really, since I had a few adult beverages before I was 21.

  132. good point Stu… the “i guess” wasn’t meant to imply it wasn’t good news for them, just the “I don’t trust a press release story” cynic in me being less trusting than I should be.

  133. Mac Thomason Says:

    I don’t smoke weed, and I have a medical excuse to.

    We need to talk.


  134. The demographics behind the planting, harvesting and distribution of tobacco products ensures the U.S. government of the ability to tax the hell out of the American consumer, not to mention garnering millions more in kickbacks from the tobacco lobbyist.

    Whereas virtually anybody can buy a couple of UV lamps, drop some marijuana seeds in a pot and grow your own weed for free.

    Now ya’ll understand the real motivation behind big brothers classification of one drug as legal and the other as illegal?

    p.s. and I don’t smoke, drink or use illegal drugs. But I do believe in the right to express my freedom of choice.

  135. I really don’t think it’s happening, though I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it were.

    I would be pretty shocked if they weren’t. They are college kids with lots of free time.

    just the “I don’t trust a press release story” cynic in me being less trusting than I should be.

    Nah, after living through year after year of “Frenchy’s turned it around, no really, we mean it this time” puff pieces, Braves fans should be the most cynical of this kind of stuff.

    Totally off topic, any film fans out there that like a challenge try ‘The Limits of Control’. I watched today and couldn’t make head or tails of it. It makes ‘Southland Tales’ seem by the book. I’m going to watch it again. It seemed interesting but I really couldn’t follow.

  136. Well it’s certainly not political in the left/right sense. A decent chunk of conservatives favor decriminalization, and a decent chunk of liberals oppose it.

  137. Tennessee has actually become a better team without those players. I really don’t see how you can say Vandy is better than Tennessee right now.

  138. #210–Melky’s production for a 20 year in 2005 is pretty impressive. He was playing in leagues where most of the players 22-23; the fact that his numbers were credible would have suggested that he might develop into a productive major league hitter.

    In fact, looking at those numbers makes me wonder if Melky is actually a good example of a player who probably should have had a little more time to develop in the minors. I should add that there is a very silly post on a juvenile blog today on a related theme. The implication is that players will have to grow up and they might as well do it in the major leagues. My guess is that some players do indeed make these adjustments, but that most pay a price. The biggest price is that some don’t develop as completely as they might otherwise….

  139. C. Shorter,

    I don’t know if you know about Wyview, but my friends and I were hitting fly balls today at the practice field next to it. Ended up making decent contact (with a junior size wooden bat!) and hit a line drive about two hundred feet into a second story window.


  140. 211—I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree until we see how the season plays out. I like my chances.

  141. stephen, a .722 ops is impressive for a 20 year old in AA/AAA? impressive enough to be a top 2-3 prospect? i dont see it.

  142. ryan c–keep in mind that power is often the last big skill to develop. Meanwhile, most 20 year olds are in Lower A or struggling to adapt to A level ball.

    It would depend upon the organization where Melky would be placed, but I can certainly see why he would have been an appealing prospect….

  143. Thanks ububba, Glanville’s piece is an excellent read. But I’m still of the opinion that Mark McGwire has more skeleton’s in his closet.

    Not to open a massive can of worms the part of which I would rather not hear about, but I would have to be completely ignorant to believe that McGwire and Canseco were the only two players on those great Oakland A’s teams who were abusing steroids.

    Two of those teammates are already enshrined in Cooperstown.

  144. @217 – if you look at his AAA/major league stats at 21 (2006) you would be very, very pleased to have a prospect like that on your team: .385/.430/.566/.995 and .280/.360/.391/.752 from a CF. Sure, it was never sustainable, but if you got that out of Heyward next year, you would not complain.

  145. Thanks ububba, that is a FANTASTIC article by Glanville. Actually made me rethink my position a little bit. I wish more clean players would speak to the issue because without that, you sometimes feel like, oh well, everyone was doing it. Nice to know that some people were not. Of course I realize that just coming out and saying you made the right choice doesn’t mean you were clean but Glanville certainly seems believable.

  146. Man, I always loved hearing Glanville talk about the game – so well formed in his thoughts and words. Now I see he writes damn well too.

  147. The only thing I will say about marijuana is that it’s funny to me when people of my generation (I’m 53) get high and mighty about some athlete getting caught smoking pot. I mean, I was hardly what you would call a druggie, but i smoked it a few times–I shared a house In Miami with a woman who had a Jamaican guy delivering it to the door. I don’t necessarily agree with Coach–if you legalized pot, it would become an industry like tobacco and could be taxed–but it’s sort of silly for people to act shocked that an athlete would smoke an illegal substance; many of those same people have probably smoked themselves. The next thing you know, we will find out that athletes have sex with women who are not their wives.

  148. I cant view twitter here, but Im guessing Stu is referring to this

    Mets acquire Gary Matthews Jr – is this their way of replacing Beltran while he’s out? Wouldnt Pagan be the better option?

  149. Wouldnt Pagan be the better option?

    Praying to any and all religions is probably the best way for the Mets just now.

  150. Per the Mets are acquiring Gary Matthews jr. from the Angels. To which I ask, has Omar Minaya gone insane?

  151. The choice of Andre Dawson for the HOF started an argument here about the best baseball player to never appear in a World Series.
    I’d always said Junior Griffey, mostly ’cause I thought he used Atlanta as leverage when he changed teams a couple of times and it still irks me.

    But checking out the list, there’s some deserving guys I’d forgotten. Ignoring the great Cubs, sure would’ve liked to see Cheo Cruz and our man Julio Franco. Maybe Rod Carew.
    But one pitcher will break your heart:
    Phil Niekro

  152. I love the Mets signing GM, Jr. He had one decent year in 2006, but even that year was not overwhelming with 19 hrs. For some reason I thought Matthews had a little power, but 108 hrs in 11 seasons and over 4,000 abs is extremely unimpressive. The only bad thing about this signing is that the Mets may not want to take Melky off our hands now. Could you imagine an OF of Francoeur, Melky and Matthews? Let’s hope it comes to pass one day for the Mets.

  153. Kevin Lee–Agreed. I always thought that watching Phil Niekro in Atlanta was truly bittersweet. Usually superb and craft pitching in the face of incredibly inferior run support….

  154. Yep, Phil Neikro won 318 games over the course of 24 seasons but never won a single game in the post season.

    Even stranger, his stats from 1979.

    21 wins and 20 losses. He led the NL that year in wins, losses, starts (44), complete games (23), hits allowed (311), HR’s allowed (41), walks (113) and innings pitched (342). And I might add, Niekro had 30 quality starts. The man must have been a knuckle baller or something…..

  155. The Mets will open the season with an outfield of Bay/Pagan/Francoeur. Lil’ Sarge is Pagan insurance in CF, until Beltran’s knee recovers (if it does.)

  156. I so would not bet on that. It’s the right thing to do, but I could see Matthews flashing some pop in ST and getting the job.

  157. I never underestimate the amount of stupid the Mets can generate, but as of now they’re saying GMJ is the backup to Pagan.

  158. St Louis’s thin roster is all the more reason why they should trade Pujols to us for Melky, JoJo, Glaus and Schafer (only if they beg on this one). By adding 4 players for 1 their roster would become thicker overnight. (-;

  159. desert — well done. It’s been years since I’ve been to campus. I’m having some trouble visualizing that area — and it may have changed some. But the results sound fun. heh heh.

  160. The Mets are concerned about Carlos Beltran, their star centerfielder who underwent knee surgery last week and is expected to miss the first three weeks of the season. They will consider it an open competition in spring to determine who starts in centerfield until Beltran returns. Angel Pagan’s strong finish last year — he wound up with a .306 average — probably gives him an edge, assuming he’s healthy.

  161. Not always. Pride demands attention.

    Recent examples are the lyrics to “Sympathy for the Devil” and Pacino’s brilliant soliloquoy in “The Devil’s Advocate”.

    Rarely do we get such a good luck at the playbook.

  162. Martin Brodeur, greatest Devil.

    If only they had drafted Miroslav Satan! I would have bought that jersey in a second w/ no.666 on it.

  163. AAR — Neyer sure has been promoting your recent writings pretty often, huh? (which, by the way, are well done!)

  164. Spike,
    When Satan played for Buffalo, I was always thinking of ways NJ could acquire him. (BTW, there was a time when he was one of the NHL’s better forwards.)

    I’m a big Devils fan, but I don’t own a Devils sweater and I always said the same thing: I’ll buy one when when they acquire Satan.

  165. I really hate that the Royals signed Rick Ankiel. I think I’d rather have Ankiel at $2.75M than Hinske at $1M if Hinske will indeed get outfield innings. It may be irrational, but I just really like Ankiel.

  166. However, would rather have ankiel at 2.6 than melky at 3.1

    No way. Melky is young and has some defensive value. Cool back story or no, Ankiel is on his way out of the league. The Brant Brown comp on BBRef is just about perfect. One good year, one crappy year, start bouncing around the league.

    I missed most of the fallout of the Vasquez trade but it seems that most around here are irrationally down on Melky. Putting up a 99 OPS+ as a CF in the AL East at age 24 is really nothing to sneeze at. He’s a lot more likely to be a plus player for the Braves than Jordan Schafer in my opinion.

  167. 263,
    You have a point about people being irrationally down on Melky, but this:

    He’s a lot more likely to be a plus player for the Braves than Jordan Schafer in my opinion.

    Is wrong.

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