Marlins 5, Braves 4 (11 innings)

Atlanta Braves vs. Florida Marlins – Box Score – July 25, 2010 – ESPN.

There are no words. The Braves had the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eleventh inning, facing Kim Jong-Il, of all people. Of course, inevitably, Nate Louth was at the plate, in a situation where they couldn’t hit for him (the pitcher on deck, only Omar left on the bench). Of course, inevitably, Louth grounded into a double play. I predicted it, but that wasn’t hard. I have never, ever, seen a player play this badly and not get benched. Of course, inevitably, The Human White Flag came in to pitch the bottom of the inning and allowed consecutive singles, then an intentional walk to load the bases, and finally the inevitable Wes Smelms walkoff single. I’m sick.

The Braves took the lead in the first, with Heyward walking and coming home on a single by McCann. But the Braves blew a chance for lots of runs, as they had the bases loaded and one out (begin and end the game the same way) but Gonzalez popped up and Conrad struck out on a pitch in the dirt. Looking. The umpiring was like that all game. Hinske hit a solo homer in the third to make it 2-0.

The Marlins took the lead with four runs in the fourth, the big blow a triple by Smelms. It was not Jair Jurrjens‘ fault; the umpires, once again, refused to stop the game during a torrential downpour and Jurrjens lost control of the baseball, while balls that were hit skidded willy-nilly. They did stop the game last night for a brief shower, and I can’t understand why they wouldn’t today.

The Braves got a bases-loaded sac fly (see, it is possible, Nate) from Melky in the sixth, then Chipper scored Melky with a pinch double in the eighth to tie the game. He might as well have not bothered. The Braves left eleven men on base and hit into two double plays, and in the ninth inning Bobby had Diaz run for McCann with two out and Glaus at the plate, only for Diaz to get thrown out trying to steal on the first pitch, thereby burning two bench players and removing from the game one of the team’s best hitters, who has killed the Marlins in this series. Earlier, he had run Louth for Hinske, which of course was a killer, especially as he was hitting behind Heyward, who is always on base. Yesterday, the bench moves paid off. Not today.

340 thoughts on “Marlins 5, Braves 4 (11 innings)”

  1. Marlins TV guys are saying “Now this team has momentum going into 4 game series at SF”
    uh… OR you should’ve been swept and then board a sad 6 hour flight to SF

  2. So who do we trade and get to play center?

    Also, we may want to start looking at getting a first baseman.

  3. Is there a Latin word that expresses a more complete destruction? Like complete annihilation so that you could never tell that there was anything there? Delenda is too good for him.

  4. google gave me this:

    “total annihilation” as an utter, absolute destruction in Latin is “Summa exstinctio” or “Suprema exstinctio”

  5. I’d eat that to cut him loose. The Pirates got whatever prospects in that deal–we really got hosed.

    I usually do my best to defend current Braves players to the end. There’s no defense for McLouth. What a bum.

  6. Thank goodness we brought in McLouth. It would suck to have to blame someone else for a loss – like those shenanigans in the ninth or Melky’s adventures in CF.

    Seriously though, the whipping boy meme is pretty old (outside of Jeffy, because he was a jerk). This team has a number of flaws, McLouth one of the bigger ones, but by no means the only one. Where was Dunn or KK today?

  7. “Who’s the cleanest player on the team? I’d have to go with mythelf.”
    -Nancy

  8. The bench moves did not pay off because they were horribly stupid. Sometimes, true, those can pay off as well. But more times than not they won’t. Between Bobby Cox’s needless pinch running and insistence that worse players enter the game as “defensive replacements,” I too am at a loss.

  9. How about we try a Latin exorcism ritual on McLouth?

    “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica…
    …Ergo, draco maledicte et omnis legio diabolica…
    … Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos.

  10. Glaus needs to heat up in a hurry, as much as Nate, the little boy has been struggling, so has Glaus. Or maybe he just needs a couple of days off. I wonder how much the so-called great team chemistry will last if the old man keeps running the little boy out?

  11. Uh, that should be Cathy. Sorry.

    Spike – remember what happened the last time we saw Dunn? Can’t argue with you on KK, though I think there must be something wrong with him.

  12. Marlins TV guys are saying “Now this team has momentum going into 4 game series at SF”

    I know a .500 record, fourth place and eight games back is the first thing I think of when I think “momentum”.

  13. Louth totā annihilanda est.

    (Still uses our beloved passive peraphrastic construction – expressing necessity. Still wrongly uses the feminine gender to further insult the male subject. Uses annihilare – to bring to nothing, to destroy completely, instead of delere – to destroy. A much harsher verb. Also threw in totum (in the feminine form again) and used it in the ablative case to express “manner” – how must Louth be annihilated? Totally.)

  14. @11 I absolutely agree. I hope McLouth goes elsewhere, but there is a shocking amount of blame to go around for this loss. The late-inning bullpen management is reaching comical levels, while the poor usage of the bench before even nine innings are up is myopic. Glaus and Gonzalez both had horrific at bats with the bases loaded today. The list goes on and on.

  15. Nate is Calvin and KK is Hobbes, the sack of fluff sitting in the corner that no one takes seriously or acknowledges as a living being.

  16. Just realized I misspelled passive periphrastic in my explanation above. :oops: Oh the shame! Now I know what Louth feels like after an at bat.

  17. Thank you, Rob.

    If Gregor’s up in that spot, we score a run.

    What the hell is the matter with the Braves that they can’t see that Blanco is a net postive and Nate is an overwhelming negative.

    Just damn.

  18. JJ + Lopez + Vizcaino + McLouth for kicks to Washington for Dunn and Willingham. Glaus, Dunn, and Chipper all play a revolving 1B/3B/BN, Willingham goes to LF, Blanco comes up to play CF until the offseason when Chipper and Billy retire, we use that ~$20mil to sign Crawford without having to worry about JJ and Boras during arb in a couple of years.

    imo. Crown me special assistant to Wren now.

  19. if this is what we are going to get, send him back down and get Blanco back up here. Yesterday he had the bases loaded and swung at the first pitch (after two walks I believe) and grounds out and today he grounds out on a pitch that was probably ball 3. Even hitting 8th he’s killing this team.

    Make a trade or get Blanco back up

  20. I’m not sure which phrase is less plausible: “former All-Star Mark Redman” or “former All-Star Nate McLouth.”

  21. Glaus’ bat speed is back to what it was early in the season. If the pitch is >92 you can absolutely forget it, he’s not putting it in play. There is a direct correlation between his ABs and the pitch speed he faces. Obviously you can say that everyone struggles with 98 MPH, but he’s just dead against a good fastball.

  22. Mac, I propose “Bellum, pestilentia, fames, mors ac gladius McLouthae”. War, pestilence, famine, death, and McLouth’s sword (unless someone knows how baseball bat is said in latin!).
    Plus I think the -ae ending (usually for feminine words) fits him well. Else, McLouthum or McLouthis.

  23. Louth’s complete collapse as a viable baseball player is astounding. Remember, this started in spring training. Have the Braves had him examined yet? I don’t mean just checking for injury, a full physical workup.

  24. Phillies have tied it after a delay.

    McLouth – Double agent from Philadelphia?

  25. Louth’s problem is all between his ears. He has terrible swing mechanics and is batshit crazy. I said it months ago, you can look him in the eyes and see that he’s not stable. Some kind of anxiety disorder. Dude needs to be put on some meds or something…maybe Melky could break off some of his stash for hm.

    That said, he’ll get no sympathy from me in the midst of a pennant race…

    Louth totā annihilanda est.

  26. if i were a betting man, i’d bet we’ll be looking at a new centerfielder come tuesday.

  27. Remember how upset Nate was when he got traded away from the Pirates? Maybe he really is emotionally unstable and losing that comfortable environment did him in.

  28. a weird sign that i think some moves are coming: dob’s tweets have been quiet since 3.

  29. Fine. He has bad swing mechanics and psychological issues. Forgive me for not editing a hastily written paragraph that was just a set up for a joke about Melky’s epic stash of weed for continuity sake. :roll:

    I’m not claiming to be a psychologist, but it’s quite obvious to me that Nate is an insecure head case.

    Everyone’s a self-important contrarian.

  30. He’s a 5’11”, 180 LB, unathletic outfielder with a crappy arm and bad eyes. He’s probably just not physically gifted enough to repeat his ’08 season.

  31. I’m trying to remember who gave me grief a few weeks ago for saying Blanco is currently better than McOut. Wonder how that crow is tasting about now.

  32. DOB’s twitter always goes quiet when the game isn’t decided by the late innings.

    Bases loaded and two outs with Lidge on the mound.

    EDIT: SIGH.

  33. Probably better than this loss.

    If Wren doesn’t do something to shore up this team for the stretch then I will lose almost all faith in him and the Braves organization.

  34. From the way he’s played, he’s plenty gifted enough physically to repeat the ’08 season. If he wasn’t gifted physically, he couldn’t have done it in the first place. He doesn’t have a great arm, but he’s strong and he has good speed. I don’t know what his problem is though. Injury, lack of confidence, stubbornness to change his approach, it could be anything. To say, however, that it can’t be a mental issue is presumptuous at best. Leave it to a hard-line sabermetrician to say something’s not a mental issue.

  35. Rob, there’s no formula x = he’s pressing. There for, pressing does not exist. Derrrr.

  36. Also, what’s up with A-Rod once again taking much longer than his HR/AB rate to hit the milestone? Took him 11 games to hit 500, and it’s been 5 or 6 games and he’s still trying to hit 600. It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to hear it every 15 seconds on ESPN.

  37. The DBacks management doesn’t know what they’re doing. Josh Byrnes must be laughing right now.

    So, now we wait on Oswalt.

  38. @52

    That’s the heart of where sabermetrics falls. Because there’s no OPS+ or WAR to the fact that baseball players are humans, they simply dismiss it as non-existent. I’d like to see them explain Joey Votto’s depression’s impact on his stats last year. “Well, you see, he was simply unlucky on his BABIPWHFWNA. Oh, you don’t know that stat? Typical. Why, that’s Batting Average On Balls In Play When His Father Was Not Alive, a stat made by none other than Bill James himself!”

  39. I’d be more worried if Nate didn’t have mental issues at this point. I have this mental image of him sitting by himself in the locker room, small in his solitude. He stands up, picks up his bag and walks out the locker room to the sound of Tuesday’s Gone.

    He never should have been in the game.

  40. Well then, sir, you better get to explaining. I feel like BABIPWHRWNA will tell you all you need to know.

  41. Rob,

    First, I agree with you, in case there was confusion. Sarcasm fail, I guess, if you thought I was making fun of you.

    But I don’t think it’s ‘where sabermetrics fails,’ as much as it’s where some sabermetricians fail. I don’t even know so much that they fail, they just choose to de-emphasize anything that’s unquantifiable, or in someway unproveable. When they do it like jerks, that’s a character flaw, not a science problem.

    “We can’t know that” becomes “that can’t be true,” and I agree with you, that’s pretty stupid.

    I think that Nate’s in his own head. I think that he DOES have poor mechanics, and I think that everyone realizes it and they are working on it. I don’t think the fact that his swing when he’s taking soft-toss hasn’t come to the playing field with him makes him untalented. I think he’s so tired of failing that ‘back elbow up-quick hands, back elbow up-quick hands, back elbow up-quick hands’ just leaves his head when he’s got men on base and a 92 mph fastball on the way.

    I can’t prove it, but with my own EXTREMELY low-level baseball experience, I can understand how that can be the case.

  42. BABIPWHFWNA is still a better stat than W-L and RBIs for evaluating players, tbh.

    Is it possible that Wren could fleece Rizzo for Willingham or Dunn like the Angles just did to Byrnes? Unless that PTBNL is someone really special.. man.

  43. unless Willingham can play CF I dont see how it helps. Would the braves let Heyward play CF or Diaz after that potential trade?

  44. My comments about Louth’s psyche have nothing to do with a larger argument about sabermetrics, which I fully believe in.

    They have much more to do with how quickly and drastic Louth’s decline has been. And the way he looks more fearful than a deer in headlights anytime he’s called upon to do anything. And the way he grimaces to himself after each personal failure – large or small – hundreds of times a game like he hates his own guts. And the way he shakes his head in disbelief four times an at bat like he feels the world at large has fucked him over yet again. And that he does inexplicably weak things like refusing to throw the ball in from the outfield anytime there is a close play. And the stories we read last year about how upset he was to be traded from a terrible organization like the Pirates to an organization with a chance to win like the Braves.

    Call me an armchair psychologist and delusional fan if you will, but in light of these observations, no amount of statistical rationalization or condescension from someone like Peter will convince me that Louth is not a head case. You can see it in the eyes. He’s a fidgety, squirrelly, insecure shell of a baseball player at this point, and we need to get rid of him…or at least get Mekly’s selfish ass to share some of that dank we all know he’s holding with him. 8)

  45. How much would you pay to see this scene?

    Bobby, standing in the clubhouse after the game: “Everybody who plans on making the trip to Washington, get on the bus. Not so fast, Nate.”

  46. Dan Haren’s contract is amazing. I cannot believe how little Arizona got back. That organization is in epic meltdown mode.

  47. I knew you were being sarcastic. I got ya. I agree with that distinction; most sabermetrical approaches are very helpful, but some of them fail.

    Nate had the same mechanics during his 2008 season as he does now. He’s just as fast, just as strong, and has just as crappy of an arm as he did back then. Something has happened to make him fall off the earth. Maybe it’s his OPSWHPHGTFP. What, don’t know that one either, statheads? It’s On-base Plus Slugging When He’s Pissed He Got Traded From Pittsburgh. I got the 2011 Bill James Handbook early this year. We’re BFFLs.

  48. I just don’t think there’s any CFs available that are worth giving up prospects for right now. Ross probably just got more expensive after the Marlins gained on us and saw how desperately we need one right now (as if McLouth’s play wasn’t bad enough on it’s own merit). I would have been fine with Dunn and Melky if that offer really was on the table, but is he worth much more than that?

    Although at this point I’d rather have Melky than Louth.

  49. At this point, i’d go after Dunn and put Heyward in CF. It’s not like we’ve had defensive studs out there and we’ve done fine, and Dunn can’t be that much worse than Hinske in the field.

  50. His VORPWDNGDITHL (Value Over Replacement Player Who Does Not Get Deer-in-the-Headlights Look) is astronomically low. Heyward’s, on the other hand, is very high. He has no expressions.

  51. Mac @ 64

    I surely can’t be the first person to suggest/ask, Mac have you ever considered writing a sports/baseball based web series or sitcom?

  52. @69

    We get it, you think sabremeters are dumb. You go with your eyeball test, they’ll go with WAR, everyone wins.

  53. Dunn is far far worse defensively than Hinske…its not close….if the Braves want to move Heyward to CF, they should make a play at Willingham.

  54. @68

    That’s how I feel. When’s the last time we REALLY had a good defensive OF? Andruw in CF?

    Plus, and maybe I’m being delusional here, but there’s always Crawford out there in the off-season. Can he not play CF? I don’t know if the Braves have a real chance at him, but they might have a lot of money being freed up, depending on the actions of certain players.

  55. Did I ever say Nate was not a head case? Right, I didn’t.

    I said:

    “If he has terrible swing mechanics, the problem is not between his ears. It’s his swing mechanics.”

    So, if A then not B. Somehow several people have taken this to mean I’m saying B is absolutely not true, conveniently side stepping the whole “if A” part. Furthermore, I am associated with sabermetrics, so that must mean I don’t watch the games or believe in the players’ human existence, I just simulate the games on a spreadsheet from the comfort of my mom’s basement. Never mind the fact that I am yet to mention anything that has anything to do with sabermetrics in this thread (until now).

    Would you like to keep calling me names and fighting straw men or would you like to discuss the actual issue?

    (aside: I wasn’t trying to pick on you with the whole “Everyone’s a psychologist” thing, Douglass.)

  56. its not like anyone is using stats to prove that McLouth is valuable. Stat guys or not, everyone thinks…edit: knows…he sucks

  57. It’s all good Peter. I just took your “everyone’s a psychologist” comment as a dismissal of my point of view that the problem is very much in Nate’s head. My feelings weren’t hurt, and I wasn’t trying to insult you or your point of view either. As I’ve mentioned to you before on twitter (@DFleurs) I’m a big fan of your site. I just can’t help but throw a few colorful right hooks back when I feel I’m being jabbed at. Internet: Serious Business. :wink:

  58. You know what my favorite part is of this whole mindless rant? It’s that the very anti-stat, gritty, “we-love-scrappy guys” world that supposedly takes the human element into account has actually proven, time and again, incredibly insensitive to human problems like depression.

    This stat vs. non-stat juxtaposition is is a classic logical fallacy, and it’s one invented by people who are just lazy. Everyone here watches games, everyone here loves baseball. Sometimes, yes, projections are wrong, and sometimes people just get better, or worse, or fall apart. That’s not a reason to discard statistics. It’s a reason why projections are, at their core, estimates.

  59. Rosenthal tweet made me laugh out loud.

    Ken_Rosenthal

    #Mets talking to #Royals. Names in play from Royals: Meche, Farnsworth, Guillen. From Mets: O. Perez, L. Castillo, Francoeur. (more)

  60. In a way Nate reminds me of Marcus Giles….a little guy who tries to hit HRs. It seems to me those guys in the post steroid era are less likely to be around long. Ask the Giles brothers.

  61. I don’t claim to be an expert on prospects, especially not on other teams’ prospects, but looking at this Haren trade:

    Pat Corbin – Ranked 25-30 in system.

    Rafael Rodriguez – I can’t find anywhere that ranks him in the top 50 in the Angels’ system.

    Joe Saunders – Almost the same age as Haren, but no where near as good. Was this guy a throw-in?

    The implications of this trade hinge on the PTBNL, but if one potential top 10 guy + these guys were enough to get Dan Haren, what does that say to other GMs about what their players are worth? Did Dipoto just get royally fleeced here, or does this set a bar that we can use to gauge what we should have to give up for other players?

  62. why would the royals make that move?

    perez, francoeur, castillo for meche, guillen, farnsworth

  63. 66,

    Not buying it at all. For one, what makes you qualified to determine whether his swing mechanics and physical tools are the same as they were two years ago? Are you a scout? Did you watch him play every day when he was with the Pirates?

    He was 26 then, he’s 28 now. He’s battled through several injuries and his eyes have taken a turn south. The notion that he’s the same player, physically, is laughable.

    Furthermore, his ’08 campaign was more of an illusion than anything else. He had two excellent months, April and May (his first taste of regular play), in which he hit .312/.399/.605. The rest of the way he hit .257/.331/.437 and he’s hit .233/.333/.391 since ’08. Overall line of .242/.333/.408 over 1072 AB’s since June 1, 2008. Even if his swing mechanics and physicality were the exact same in ’08 as they are now (I seriously doubt they are), those sorts of numbers probably weren’t repeatable to begin with. That’s what scouts said at the time, they appear to be right.

    Now, that doesn’t get us to the .169/.282/.268 line he was sporting coming into today. Whether you want to blame the disconnect between that and his .252/.336/.437 career line or .242/.333/.408 line since June 1, 2008 or some other reasonable estimate of his true talent level is up to you. Blame it on luck, swing mechanics, pressing, him being a headcase, Frank Wren, or Melky Cabrera. My point is simply if he does correct whatever is ailing him, waiting for him to become 2008 Nate McLouth again would be the start of a pretty good Samuel Beckett play.

  64. @81 – It’s just a remarkably bad package. There is no PTBNL that can alter that. This is really one of the dumber moves I’ve ever seen, given Haren’s team friendly 3 year deal.

  65. I was trying to figure out what sets Nate apart from Jeffy. It’s that he gets hurt. Jeffy never left the lineup, but Nate at least occasionally runs into something so we can get a real major leaguer in there.

    I like to say that Blanco is what he is — I’ve said it several times. Oddly, what he is turns out to be the best centerfielder in the system by a long way.

  66. Nate McLouth may be many things. But he clearly is not a healthy, productive major leaguer. I’m inclined to believe that there’s something seriously physically wrong with him — but whether by DL or DFA, he needs to get off the 25-man roster. I’d prefer if he could go to the minor leagues and rebuild his swing and his confidence, on the off-chance that there’s still a ballplayer somewhere within his body. But right now he isn’t a major leaguer. I’ll be a lot more interested in why he’s been playing so terribly just as soon as his terrible play stops losing us ballgames. Right now, there is one priority only: get him the hell off the team.

    Blanco needs to be our center fielder. He isn’t a good player, but he’s miles better than McLouth. The Phillies won and the Mets lost today, so we still have a 5 game lead, and yet another of the best pitchers on the trade market went to the AL West instead of the NL East. So at least there’s that.

  67. per Peanut

    McLouth has a paltry .169 batting average with three home runs and 14 RBIs. McLouth had a seven-game stretch in mid-May where he hit .375 with four doubles, but since then, he is 6-for-63 (.095) in 22 games.

  68. Do we really think that Blanco is a better player than Melky? At least Melky hits some doubles. I think we’ve been blinded by Melk-dud’s terrible April and May, because Blanco isn’t the answer to any question I want my team to have except 5th outfielder. He’s not a worthless player like 2010 McLouth is, but his utter lack of power has to start hurting his walk rate at some point.

    Mr. Hjort – The problem I have with your argument is that Louth was a perfectly acceptable CF last year. He OPS’d around .800 for both the Pirates and the Braves. He only looks untenable when you factor in the 200 putrid PA’s he’s had this year. Something’s been wrong with him since March, not June 2008.

  69. Lose 3 of 5 & everyone’s pissy.

    Hey, we’re pretty good, but we’re not exactly the ’70 Orioles. Honestly, I’m more worried about Wagner. We need him; we can bench McLouth.

  70. Looks like the PTBNL is going to be Tyler Skaggs. He’s their 8th ranked prospect on BA’s prospect list, but most of the blogs I’ve seen rank him 15-20ish.

    A meaningless exercise on my part, using the same values as these players to construct a trade for some Player X using Braves prospects:

    Vizcaino – the “PTBNL” of this trade. Maybe Perez if Vizcaino’s injury makes him untradeable for whatever reason.

    Ernesto Silva – The Pat Corbin.

    Dave Hale? – Not really sure where to go for a Rodriguez counterpart.

    KK/Melky – KK is a pitcher, Melky makes about the same (~$3mil).

    So that’s Vizcaino + Silva + Hale + KK/Melky. Now I know that reality isn’t a vaccuum and so this is probably a fairly meaningless exercise, but I just thought it was interesting to see what a similar trade would cost us.

  71. I didn’t realize McLouth was hitting .180 until today. I knew he was really bad, but hadn’t realized he was that bad. I will never have enough information to diagnose what is wrong with him (same way with Francoeur, Escobar, Reitsma, etc.), but just like with those other guys, I do believe he has the ability to get better. Like Mac said, Blanco is what he is, and I think I’d rather have Blanco than McLouth.

    If we DFA’d him, would someone pick him up? With his contract, I’d imagine he’d pass through waivers and get some low-pressure, extended time in AAA to figure things out. I think he would really benefit from that.

    I may have a soft spot, but I really enjoyed watching him hit that walk-off earlier this year where everyone ran into the clubhouse and left him hanging, and I really want him to succeed. He seems like he’s one of the good guys, and you always wanna cheer for one of the good guys.

    Oh, and he did hit the ball hard on that double play. A few feet in either direction and we might be praising him today.

  72. Yeah, the DBacks got hosed, trading a really good pitcher for several worse pitchers, not long after firing their GM for building a really crappy bullpen.

    It’s remarkable what a difference a few months makes. At the end of last year, they looked like one of the teams of the future, with Dan Haren, Max Scherzer, Mark Reynolds, and Justin Upton forming a team-controlled core for years to come. Now Haren and Scherzer are gone along with their manager and general manager, Upton and Reynolds are both badly slumping, and the team kind of looks like a shambles.

    To put it lightly, I’m glad I root for the Braves.

  73. Do we REALLY want McLouth down there with guys like Freeman? He may be contagious, after all.

  74. I’d like to think that big leaguers are more resistant to catching the Suck from Louth. The kids down in the minors might be more susceptible.

  75. I have never, ever, seen a player play this badly and not get benched.

    The front office has been very consistent on this. The message couldn’t be clearer – “We value clubhouse presence over productivity and affable white guys will be given every possible chance to succeed”. We’ve lived (actually mostly died) with this mindset for the past few seasons.

  76. Maybe this has been said earlier, but I just finished watching the game, and rather than slog through 100 posts, I’m just going to directly exclaim, YOU RUN ON EMILIO BONAFACIO! This game is on Snitker, not Louth. I don’t care if it’s frickin Brian McCann running the bases (and Ross runs way better than McCann). When the opposing team’s RF has an arm on par with Juan Pierre, YOU RUN ON HIM. Not sending Ross there was inexcusable, especially when you consider who was coming up next. Ross scores, McLouth DPs, Wagner comes in and saves it. Ball game.

    Also, for whatever it’s worth, he hit the ball on the nose in that GIDP. So yeah. I blame Snitker.

  77. I wonder if the Royals would hire me to be their Gm. I couldn’t do worse than Dayton Moore. I am glad we got Frank Wren.

    I hope he and Frenchy have fun together.

  78. Which DC area people are headed to the boring Natspos park to see Hanson-Strasburg on tuesday? I, like Bethany, wouldn’t mind seeing a deal in place before the big showdown. I have a red-white-and-blue Expos Cooperstown hat for old times sake, but I have to give it to Mac; if they sold a Natspos version of the red-white-and-blue, I would probably buy it.

  79. The message couldn’t be clearer – “We value clubhouse presence over productivity and affable white guys will be given every possible chance to succeed”

    Robert, I’d rather not get into this at length, because a discussion of race will very quickly tread across the line of acceptable discourse on this blog. So I will say very simply that I completely disagree with you. I do not accept the premise that the Braves are a racist organization — an organization that prioritizes a player’s whiteness over his skills. I couldn’t disagree more.

  80. The organization? No. Bobby? Ehh.. I wouldn’t say “racist” so much as “hates anything that isn’t traditional ‘American’ style baseball.”

  81. I don’t think anyone will take Vizcaino until he is proven healthy. If we are trading for anyone, I think it is more likely that we trade Delgado more than Minor and Vizcaino.

    I am just happy that we are out of Miami.

  82. #112 – I appreciate your opinion but the behavior of the organization speaks volumes.

  83. @117
    so is melky, omar, heyward, prado, saito, kawakami, chavez, cadahia, pendleton, perez, and jurrjens.

    atlanta braves’ racism is obviously way out of hand. i guess brian jordan and raul mondesi were white in 2005.

    question i have for you, robert…how can you live with yourself knowing you route for, and actively blog about, such a racist organization?

  84. #117 – Braindead stuff like this is why it’s almost impossible to have an intelligent conversation in this kind of setting.

    Obviously no one is implying that the Braves have any problem having players of every race, color and creed on their roster but there seem to be vast differences in who are given first, second, and in Frenchy’s case, 100 millionth chances. Basically just following up on Jonah Keri’s tweet and the NY Daily News article.

    But of course you have no idea about any of that, you just had this hilarious snark you had to share with us.

  85. justify brian jordan and raul mondesi’s 50 games in 2005 and brian jordan being re-signed in ’06. i guess he was just the right “type” of black guy. give me a break.

  86. We all know that comments like this are stemming from your disagreement on the Yunel trade, but its not like they got rid of Yunel in order to play Brandon Hicks, man. They traded a Hispanic player who was reportedly a bad influence in the clubhouse for a Hispanic who is a good influence in the clubhouse. For you to definitively say that any of the moves made by the Braves have been based on race is absurd.

  87. I also respectfully disagree, Robert. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that McLouth is going to be traded or DFA’d because of his poor play. Half a season is not a terribly long time, especially considering he missed some time due to the concussion and was platooned with Melky.

    The white guys you’re probably thinking of who got more opportunities (a nice way of putting it) are probably Frenchy and maybe Norton, right? I won’t even try to explain Norton, but I think Frenchy’s “hometown hero” status has WAY more to do with the amount of chances and slack he was given. Not that that’s right–hardly–but that’s what it seemed like to me. If Heyward’s production fell off a cliff like Francoeur’s, the front office would have an equally hard time figuring out what to do with him.

  88. I appreciate your opinion but the behavior of the organization speaks volumes.

    It speaks volumes to you. It speaks very differently to others. I understand that, to you, “the message couldn’t be clearer,” but I follow the team just as closely as you do, and I get the exact opposite message.

    I know I won’t change your mind, but I’d just ask that you appreciate that my opinion is as grounded in the observing the team as yours is.

    And I really don’t want to talk about this any further, either.

  89. Ron Gant dropped his bike, and they brought him back. Otis got suspended from an entire playoff, and the Braves allowed him back. Charles Thomas got a starting role after a mediocre minor league career and a couple hot weeks at the major league level. John Rocker was sent packing once he couldn’t maintain a legitimate All-Star level. Yeah, the Braves have a lot of white guys, but so does every MLB team. They have had patience with white guys like Francoeur and McLouth, but they also had patience with guys like Furcal getting a DUI and Escobar being an idiot.

    But like someone said, you root for ’em. This sounds like a “you” problem.

  90. As for this series, what a heart-breaking way to lose it. Two walk-offs off our stud closer and the Human White Flag is pretty frustrating, for different reasons.

    A couple positives are that we are still in first place and the Marlins still play in a crappy stadium and are eight games back. We also showed the resilience that Mac mentioned last week in that we came back in all three games losing in the late innings. If not for a couple personnel decisions going the other way, we could have easily swept the deal.

    And for the first time all season, I was able to watch all three games. Living in central Florida yields me little opportunity to watch them consistently, so any time they play the Marlins or Rays, FSN hooks me up.

    I agree totally that Chavez and McLouth have to go, either temporarily or permanently.

  91. @127 Thank you, Rob, for dispelling that nonsense. So tired of race being dragged into everything. Let’s not ruin baseball with identity politics, too.

  92. They traded a Hispanic player who was reportedly a bad influence in the clubhouse for a Hispanic who is a good influence in the clubhouse. For you to definitively say that any of the moves made by the Braves have been based on race is absurd.

    Yeah, except I never said that. But I guess that’s an easier point to contest so there you go.

    But like someone said, you root for ‘em. This sounds like a “you” problem.

    And of course as I pointed out, I’m far from the only one to bring up this concern. But again it’s easier to marginalize a concern than to actually address it. Easy is fun.

    Yunel was 2 for 4 today and OPSing something north of 1200 since the deal. I’m glad the new guy speaks the language and is so much fun to be around. I’m not so glad that he shortcircuited the first inning by braindead hacking at a ball at his ankles. But I can’t really be mad at him, that’s what he does, the team willingly signed up for it.

    AROD is reportedly kind of a prick too. The Yankees keep him around because they only care about winning. And win they do.

  93. Robert, there is no way Yunel will perform like this if he stays with the Braves.

    In respect of ARod, there is no other team which can take his contract, and it doesn’t hurt that he never hit like Yunel did in the first half.

    Btw, they got rid of Wickman pretty fast too.

  94. Nope, sorry guys, they’re racists because they like white guys. I don’t care how many black guys they like, or how many hispanic guys they like. And I don’t care how many white guys they DON’T like. There are white guys they like, therefor, racist. Sorry.

  95. I don’t buy into the racist arguments and don’t feel a need to discuss them.
    One aspect of the Escobar trade bothers me though. Coming into this season I viewed Escobar as a core player on the team, and potentially the best player. Now he’s gone, in another win now trade. It may work out and the Braves may win the NL pennant, but I have my doubts that Gonzalez’ offense is going to contribute.
    Going forward I see that the Braves will have many holes to fill. For 2011 the team is only set at C,2B and RF. (sure we can keep Gonzalez around for one more season but he’s no long term solution at SS).
    There are few position players available in the minors. To me we’re faced with rebuilding, and dealing Escobar just makes that more difficult.

  96. @133 This is why it is critical for us to keep our pitching depth now. We need cheap starting pitching to sign or trade for offensive players couple years later. I don’t see us making any deal involving our key pitching prospects. None of Teheran, Delgado, Vizcanio, and Minor will be moved. If somehow one of Venters or Kimbrel can become a closwer, we can go cheap in bullpen as well.

    Btw, in theory, Freeman will be our starting first baseman starting next season, and Pastornicky is actually doing quite well in Mississippi.

  97. don’t you guys see what’s happening here?! the EVIL has seeped into our brains and has turned this whole thread into a racism discussion.

    everyone just go have a drink and listen to The Who

  98. Louth is being given a chance to prove that he can return to being a productive major league player again. With his resume he deserves the chance. The fact that he is white doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. Unlike the Francouer situation the Braves have a viable alternative in Cabrera or even Blanco. Since Nate is so far failing his chance at rehabillitating his game I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t disabled again with severe headhaches. Welcome to the Blanco era.

    I said it once and I’ll say it again. Rarely does a team in contention trade a better player(Escobar)for a lesser one(AAG). In fact I can’t think of a single instance. Before the flames start I know that prospects and JoJo were part of the trade too. Big deal.
    IMHO it was a calculated risk that Escobar being uncoachable was not going to return to his previous performance levels. And an even more calculated risk that AAG is going to hit with some of the power he has displayed this season while providing just as much defense that Escobar did.
    And as much as we discount it the clubhouse chemistry thing must be important enough to justify trading him.

    Out of contention teams trade better players for lesser ones all the time. For example the Haren trade is a salary dump, plain and simple. Yeah Haren’s got a team friendly contract but obviously not friendly to Arizona’s bottom line.

  99. I am certainly not getting into this, but the idea that because an organization has different ethnicities working for them they are de facto all treated the equally is ridiculous.

  100. True, but what needs to be shown — that the organization treats employees of different ethnicities differently, or that they do not?

  101. Are the Braves in last place? One would think so from reading here. We are starting to sound like Met fans. They lost a series in a place where they traditionally struggle and the Phillies are now within 5 games. So the sky is falling?

    I find it somewhat amusing that people are angry at the Marlin broadcasters for trying to pump up their fans by saying the team has momentum. Are they supposed to say, “we suck and the Braves should have swept us?”

    As for McLouth, obviously he is a real problem, but to pick on him seems unfair. Glaus has basically had one good month and otherwise has been mediocre at best. Wagner blew two saves in a row (and it wasn’t McCann’s fault the bases were loaded in the first place the other night). I’m more worried about him. Lots of guys are failing to pick up runners. Who knows what McLouth’s problems are? I don’t know enough about baseball to diagnose h is mechanics and I certainly cannot psychoanalyze someone from afar? Maybe he has some personal problem of which we are unaware. Who knows?

    Ububba is absolutely right. The Braves are a good team, but not a powerhouse. And, realistically, you aren’t going to win every series, although this stacks up to be a difficult road trip–facing Strasberg on Tuesday in DC where the Braves dn’t play well anyway and then going to Cincinnati. It’s going to be a tough race but the Braves are still in good position to at least make the playoffs.

    As for racism, it’s not a black or white issue (pun intended). In general, it’s probably true that white guys (such as Francouer) will get more chances in MLB; there is a perception that they are scrappy (e.g., David Eckstein)and bring value to the clubhouse. I don’t think that’s just the Braves. It’s the reality of the world; most of the people making decisions in front offices are still white and they–probably unconsciously–are able to better sympathize with players coming out of similar backgrounds. Don’t we all? Look at how the Mets and their fans, until recently, celebrated Francouer’s contribution to the clubhouse. But I’m sure you can find lots of exceptions. It doesn’t make much sense to use A-Rod as an example of the Yankees devotion to winning more than the Braves–he is one of the greatest players of all time. I’m not sure the Yankees would have tolerated Yunel’s behavior and A-Rod, while he may be a pain at times, has certainly not had lapses like Yune. Even if he did, you simply can’t compare the two players and, if Yunel was hitting like A-rod, he would still be here.

    I keep reading on these comments from people that don’t like the trade that it was because of clubhouse chemistry. I don’t think that’s it–IMO, it was because Yunel was not being professional. You can certainly disagree about whether he should have been traded when he was and for whom but I don’t see how you can really justify what Yunel did. I don’t think it’s racist to expect a major league player to act professionally. It is one thing to have a guy that is playing poorly but still does what he needs to do as opposed to someone playing poorly whose head is often not in the game.

    Having said that, it may well be that whites get second chances that Hispanics would not. But I think it’s not that simple; you have to look at whether there is less tolerance for players with similar behavior patterns, ie, would Bobby Cox let a white player get away with stuff that he would not let Yunel Escobar get away with? I don’t think there is any evidence of that.

  102. Marc, great point. Above everything else Bobby Cox and the Braves expect professionalism from their players. I am sure that those of us that are professionals have worked with someone that doesn’t act that way. It can be more than disconcerting.

  103. Things could alawys be worse, ie, we could be Mets fans:

    Xavier22 Jul 26, 2010, 9:19 am at 9:19 am # Honestly the way ownership has operated to-date, I’d be surprised if anyone gets fired. They’ll just urinate in our pockets and tell us it’s raining as per usual.

  104. Yunel got tons of second chances. And while he was playing well, he deserved them.

  105. #142 The Braves are a good team, but not a powerhouse.

    They are not even a good porterhouse, but much more vegetarian. They are nimble, agile, and perhaps a bit too thin for society’s dubious glare. The Phillies are carnivorous and, like a good steak, are only palatable when sufficiently covered in a myriad of sauces. They are thick and lumbering.

    Godspeed to those Phillies. Their prostates aren’t what they used to be.

  106. I had a dream last night we traded for Charlie Blackmon. Hes only in Double A, but hes a CF! Get it done, Wren!

  107. Everyone here should be pissed at Yunel for laying over on the Braves, not the fact that Wren traded the slumping player. He didnt want to be here and its even more evident now. Good luck to him, but I wont miss him…btw, AAG is OPSing .875 as a Brave. Seems like its working out for the Braves just fine

  108. People are jumping all over McLouth for the DP, but it looked to me on the highlights like he hit the ball pretty hard. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of randomness in baseball. How often have you seen a guy get a seeing eye single through the left side and everyone talks about what a great clutch hitter he is, while another guy hits a bullet at the infielder and he’s a choking bum. Now, obviously, you would have preferred Glaus/McLouth to hit fly balls in those situations, but if those balls had gotten through, everyone would be thrilled.

  109. This is off topic, but can someone explain why we have a 7 million starter in the bullpen that Bobby refuses to use? I know KK has not torn it up, but by all means he is an upgrade over White Flag. In fact, as I recall, he was rounding into last years mid-late season form when he was benched, and his last start was his best one.

    I don’t believe KK has pitched since he was put in the pen. Is he hurt? Did he piss Bobby off? That would be pretty hard considering he doesn’t speaky the engrish (racist!).

    I have not seen any reporting on this. Maybe he told the front office that if he couldn’t start he would not pitch, and they don’t want to piss off future japanese players by DFA’ing him, or is he hurt and I missed it?

    If somebody has an asnwer, please advise.

  110. @142, concur as well, I was merely addressing the dismissal of the idea out of hand for that reason.

  111. guys, ladies…I was just asked a trivia question that apparently was on a Braves game the other day. Need a little help here

    there are only three players to hold franchise records all 4 categories…1B,2B,3B,HR…who are they? all are retired…

    he gave me one of them and it was George Brett, wouldnt have guessed that, but my other two guesses were Aaron and Mays. Is that correct? How can you research it? Or did anyone see the question

  112. @151

    Well then I would like someone who’s randomness seems to play in favor of the opponent less than McLouth. I’d rather take a “lucky” bad player over an unlucky player who may at one time have had the possible potential of being passable depending on how you looked at it.

    @152

    My theory is that KK is hurt or something, and for whatever reason the Braves aren’t wanting to use him and let others see it. Would the Braves knowingly trade a guy who was hurt? I dunno. It certainly wouldn’t garner them any favor in future trades if they were to do so.

  113. some people on the Bradley blog are saying that Chuck Dowdle was on the radio saying the braves are considering moving Medlen for Cody Ross. Not buying that one

  114. csg,

    Yes, that was on a Braves game about 2 weeks ago. i remember Brett. i remember that Aaron WAS NOT a correct answer (all except triples, I think).

    I am pretty sure Mays was a correct answer.

    Can’t remember the other two.

  115. Some people may be saying it, but most people on the Bradley blog are idiots. Including Bradley.

  116. 148,
    Loved watching him play when he was at Tech. He was the best hitter on the team at one point. He’s gotten some national attention since he was drafted, appearing on a few Rockies top prospects lists. Good for him. Freakishly athletic dude.

  117. @151- I agree completely. Louth actually hit a couple balls hard yesterday, they just happened to be right at people. The bigger problem with that inning, as I’ve maintained all along, was not sending Ross. He scores that run easily. And if you’re not going to send him then, does that mean you’re going to send him on a potential sac fly? I don’t really get the difference. Just a stupid, stupid decision by Snitker.

  118. I like Mark Bradley. Can’t speak for his blog followers.

    Re: Race/My Take & No More, Promise!
    Aside from the fact that it’s deeply complicated, the main problem with discussing race in this country (in sports & elsewhere) is that it’s rarely seriously discussed, IMO. It’s often used as a cultural wedge or a knee-jerk diversion. The important parts of the discussion are (often intentionally) discarded & its own glaring history is (often intentionally) swept under the rug.

    Fact is, race is a central issue in many of our endeavors and, unfortuntately, that’s exactly why there can be little upside in discussing it (especially here). Ultimately, the discussion becomes a dog chasing its tail.

  119. lol, I saw the Medlen-for-Ross idiocy. If that kind of deal happens, there will be one less Braves fan in the world.

  120. Peter, ignoring all homerism for a moment, who would you rather have in our organization: Jeremy Hellickson or Julio Teheran?

    Billy-jay, depending on your definition of “suck,” I can offer a qualified recommendation of Salt. It sucks, in the sense that it’s absurdly stupid, but it’s also kind of fun. Obviously, you need to see Toy Story 3 and Inception first.

    Ububba, I wholly agree.

  121. I was hoping that this conversation would go away, but here’s my two cents:

    After the 1998 season, the Braves fired Clarence Jones, the hitting coach, and Jim Beauchamp, who generally worked with the pitchers on their hitting. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, as the Braves had just set a team record for runs scored. I thought it was because they had the opportunity to hire Don Baylor, even though they knew that was likely on a one-year basis, as it was.

    What I later heard was that the Braves were afraid that the team was fracturing on racial lines, that the white players thought that Jones was only interested in helping the black players and that Beauchamp was egging this on in an effort to get Jones’ job. The front office got rid of both of them and brought in hitting coaches — Baylor, then Merv the Perv — who had reputations for being more accessible to all.

    I don’t know that this is true — just what I heard.

  122. No reason to trade away value for someone that may or may not be as good as what we have.

    For THIS team to win (assuming Chipper and Jason are healthy), we are quite fine with Hinske / Diaz in left and Melky / Blanco in center.

    Giving away a young starting pitcher for Ross is insane. KK? Now, that I’d do. (Does anyone know why we are totally wasting a potential trade piece? There’s got to be a good explanantion. Of course, I was the one waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Joe Johnson signing …)

  123. Mac,

    To me, Baylor was the only hitting coach the Braves have had who seemed to demonstrate that his presence made a difference. He got tons of credit from Chipper on re-building his right handed hitting to the point that the difference there probably propelled him to the MVP.

    In law school, one of the guys next door was dating Bobby Dews daughter and his roommate was engaged to the daughter of the dining hall manager at UGA’s athletic training room, so I got some good insight then (like Herschel played 1981 Sugar Bowl at 236 pounds and sudafed was a good nasal decongestant), but not much anymore.

  124. whats odd about the trivia question…Mays and Aaron only missed with the triple category (Mays with 23 less Aaron with 7 less) and Yount and Stan are barely winning in the HR category. Yount only had 251HR’s, Musial is only beating Pujols by 86HR’s also

  125. 4 Way Trade….because Monday has gotten to me.

    Royals get: Jeremy Hellickson and Kris Medlen

    Angels get: Troy Glaus

    Rays get: Freddie Freeman, Mike Dunn

    Braves get: Billy Butler, Juan Rivera

    Who says no first?

  126. #174, that’s insane. If the Royals aren’t willing to trade Soria for Montero, just who the hell are they willing to trade him for? Yes, I understand that Montero and Billy Butler are cut from the same all-hit no-defense cloth, but if you’re a terrible team, there should be no untouchable players on your major league roster, least of all your bloody closer.

  127. @165,

    I didn’t see the play you are describing with Ross but I think that, in general, third base coaches have become too conservative, probably out of fear that they will be criticized if the guy is thrown out at the plate.

  128. A good throw would have gotten Ross. However, the right fielder was Emilio Bonifacio, an infielder without a very good arm, and the throw (which Chip, typically, lauded) was about ten feet up the third base line.

  129. Wait, why would the D’Backs be trading FOR Soria? Seriously. I know they need bullpen help, but why, after punting the next couple years, would they move a younger guy who could be part of their core?

    Actually, whatever Arizona does next should be enjoyable. I’m ready for anything.

  130. re: Boras. Isn’t Jurrjens also represented by him? The Braves, I guess, will have to get over their issues (for once) and deal with him if they want to keep this core together.

  131. No point worrying about Boras at this point. Both players still have several years until free agency and all sorts of things might happen before then. You can’t get upset over Boras representing Braves players because he represents a significant portion of the better players in MLB and, of course, there is a reason he does.

  132. Adam, wrong Montero….the Yanks are trying to get Soria for Jesus Montero, not the Dbacks

  133. Adam M – Wren isn’t afraid to deal with Boras. He was the one who got Lowe this awful contract.

  134. Just did a scan of CFs in MLB at ESPN, if we are trading for a CF the choices really are Cody Ross. But this assumes that the Fish think that they are out of it and are willing to trade within the division.

    IMHO, and I have said this before, Nate is done. Disable him already.

    Can this team advance with Melky/Gregor as our CF?

  135. If I were Wren I’d remember getting bitch-slapped by Boras and tread gingerly.

    As chess players, Wren is clearly outclassed by Boras and that probably hasn’t changed.

  136. 188 – I think THIS team can advance with Melky / Blanco (assuming Chipper and Jason are healthy).

    Ross isn’t enough of an upgrade to lose one of our good pieces. I’d trade KK for Ross, but that probably isn’t going to happen.

  137. How about KK and O’Flaherty to Reds for Heisey (or not as desired because left handed, Stubbs)? The Reds need help in the pen badly. Prefereably, left handed but probably one of each. They need some starting pitcher protection with Leake being limited and Cueto and Volquez and Bailey coming off injuries.

    Reds can’t use 2 center fielders, can they?

  138. If I were the Braves, I would honestly considering trading JJ, if his conditioning does not improve. I am not convinced that he is commented to staying in the best shape possible. He has big fall off written all over him.

    One comment on the race thing. I just remember Chipper saying how close this team is as oppose to previous years, when the white players would be with the whites, the blacks with the black and latinos with the latinos(I guess KK kept to himself last year). In saying all that, it does seem that Bobby gives the white players more time to fail, than the Carribean(AJ), Latino or 1 or 2 blacks players. This is America. Race will always play a part somehow. I hear Mets fans complain about the # of Latino players on their team. Is that b/c of Minaya?

    Anyway will be at Nationals Park tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. If Mclousy takes the field I will personally take him out….

  139. Wren wasn’t bitch-slapped by Boras. Boras held, and generally does, all the cards. It’s easy now to criticize Wren but, at the time, he desparately needed someone that even looked like an ace. The fact is, no one actually beats Boras although he lets people think he does. For example, with Strasberg, Boras made statements about him being the first $50 million player or something. So, when Strasberg didn’t get it–because, in fact, he had no leverage–people were able to crow about Boras losing. But Strasberg still got more than anyone else.

    As for treading gingerly, you either want to sign the players or you don’t. If Boras represents players you want, how do you tread gingerly? Is wren supposed to play hardball with Boras just to show how tough he is and then lose the players?

  140. Once again I must post a minority opinion: JJ is not that much older than Hanson. He has pitched well for the Braves with the exception of his injury-plagued first half of this season. To me, his results have been better than Hanson’s. If we have to part with one of the two, I’d rather lose Hanson.

  141. I agree with Marc. Wren and Boras aren’t playing chess, they’re in very different businesses. Boras’s sole goal is to get his clients as much money as possible. Wren’s goal is to win, which requires getting the most value for his money. Dealing with Boras is often risky for teams because he’s very good at getting his clients money, and so his clients often wind up getting overpaid, which is something Wren can’t afford to do very often.

    But there’s a long way till either of them is eligible for free agency, and a whole lot could happen between now and then. It’s not worth worrying about right now.

  142. ill refrain from talking about moving Hanson, Medlen, or JJ. I doubt Wren is pushing to trade any of them

  143. Hanson’s stuff is too good to move, Medlen pounds the strike zone and JJ is good(just worried about his conditioning). Are any of the Braves minor leagues “studs” who are starters left-handed?

  144. I don’t want to lose JJ, Hanson, or Medlen. You can include Delgado, Minor, Tejeran, Kimbrel, Venters, and probably some others on the list also.

  145. When we signed Lowe, we were at a point where we desperately needed a starting pitcher (after two years of Carlyle, Cormier, Reyes, Campillo, etc.). The move was bad in hindsight, but at the time it was necessary.

  146. most people forgot that our rotation was

    JJ, Morton, Campillo, Reyes, and Carlyle

    at the time of the trade.

  147. I would honestly considering trading JJ, if his conditioning does not improve. I am not convinced that he is commented to staying in the best shape possible.

    What are you basing this on? Is it not possible that A: He is simply a young pitcher who is going to get tired while growing into a full MLB season workload, B: The Braves conditioning program isn’t all that since Mazzone left, or C: He just plain got hurt? I am not understanding how you are questioning JJ’s commitment here.

  148. Is anyone else watching the Phils game right now?

    I understand it’s a Braves blog, but the superstitious-baseball-fan part of me is furious with many of you for angering the baseball gods, talking about how we wouldn’t have to worry even if the Phillies swap Werth or Happ for Oswalt.

  149. The Phillies about to be 4.5 games back with the D-backs coming to Philly next. Sigh…

  150. I think we all knew the Phillies would make a run. They are a good team. We will be fine. Don’t panic.

  151. No time to panic, but does this remind anyone of 1993 in reverse?

    The Phillies sweep four from the Reds before the break, lost 3/4 against the Cubs, and now sweep four from the Rockies. Meanwhile, the Braves lose three very winnable games, two after leading in the 9th.

    But the fact is, the Braves have been playing at a pace they probably couldn’t sustain. They are bound to have a down cycle; we just have to hope the Phillies don’t get too hot.

  152. I hate to do this… but I’m soliciting donations. I’ve had some expenses (not health related, Thank God) and I need a little money. Just click on the Donate button on the right sidebar, right under the Amazon link.

  153. Teheran, Hellickson, both future aces.

    Teheran throws harder, his mechanics worry some. Hellickson’s MLB ready. There’s not really a wrong answer among the two.

  154. I’m with spike at 11.

    As for that Jenkins paper referenced a few threads back, it’s worth noting that, while brutal, it was a rough draft. Also worth noting: You won’t find many kids better than JJ.

  155. I simply cannot believe anyone is defending the signing of DLowe for that ridiculous amount.

    Hell, Wren was bidding against himself. If that ain’t getting bitch-slapped, I don’t know what is. I’m quite sure Boras could barely keep from laughing as Wren signed the thing.

    That contract has hamstrung the Braves since the ink was dry. We’re even talking about putting him on waivers, hoping someone rich lunatic will take him.

    That said, he’s done a pretty good job this year. Just nowhere near the franchise-freezing money Boras extorted, er, negotiated.

  156. And save me the “Braves as racist” crap until you provide a shred of evidence.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the most popular Brave right now is of African descent. My guess is the organization will try to keep him around for awhile.

  157. Im not defending the signing of Lowe. Im just reminding everyone of the state of the rotation.

    The good thing about signing Lowe was that we didnt get stuck signing Ollie Perez, because it was one or the other

  158. @215, the Lowe signing was precipitated by the team not getting Burnett, who has posted an ERA+ of 96 during his tenure and cost more, and curtailed pursuit of Perez who has just been diabolical for 12M per. Handing out 8 figure contracts is not for the faint of heart, but if you want a starting pitcher with any kind of track record, you’d better get ready. That is just what they cost, and there is significant risk to any signing at that level. As far as the bidding against himself goes, would you be THAT much happier if Lowe had signed for 13.5M? Just how much money do you think was left on the table here?

  159. i hope this is not true…

    commenter from talkingchop:

    “ESPN is doing a chat where fans can ask questions. Jason Churchill who is one of the people answering questions said the latest he had on the Braves was they were looking at Corey Patterson and Felix Pie of Baltimore.”

  160. My memory is getting fuzzy, but I thought we could have gotten Lowe with a 3-year contract. There was crazy money being thrown around that offseason, but it’s the length of Lowe’s contract that’s the real killer IMO.

  161. My memory is that the Mets were pursuing him, hard, and we weren’t bidding against ourselves so much as trying to ensure that we got him. And, as a result of the Mets not getting Lowe, they wound up signing Oliver Perez.

    So he hasn’t been all bad.

  162. Good grief….I’m sitting here trying t enjoy a sub, and I swear Bob Wickman is here gobbling up anything thing in site. Pie or Patterson…..we must want to give up much at all. At least they both have speed….right?

  163. AAR, thanks for the advice, but I’m looking for a move not a movie. As soon as I manage to pry myself away from Braves Journal for 3 or 4 hours, I have Seven Samurai and Lawrence of Arabia waiting.

    Obviously, I’d only get to watch one of them in that amount of time.

  164. I can’t watch anything on Hulu from here. They block everything outside the U.S. Frickin’ copyright nazis.

  165. Royals want two major league ready pitchers with top of the rotation potential for Greinke.

    And we just traded away Jo Jo Reyes.

  166. Here is a poll question:

    Dumber franchise:

    A) The Kansas City Royals
    B) The Pittsburgh Pirates

  167. doesnt Greinke have a major anxiety disorder? I wonder how he’d adapt to change. However, adding him to the frontline and moving Medlen to the pen would be a great move on our part.

  168. Smitty, it’s a good question. I’d say the Pirates, but it’s pretty close. Neal Huntington has amassed some pretty good talent in the draft the last couple years, and so has Dayton Moore. Both teams just seem utterly clueless on how to actually run a major league ballclub, and how to turn talented prospects into results on the field.

    It’s a shame we didn’t hold onto Jo-Jo. Maybe we could have traded him for Dan Haren.

    Billy-Jay, I was all set to apologize for misreading your post, but then you referenced Portal. NERD!

  169. Bobby always makes the right call. We just can’t understand all of them because we don’t know how to win like Bobby does plus he has all sorts of private information about the player’s physical disposition that we don’t. Bobby has never made a bad move.

  170. Both Garza and Scherzer are throwing no-hitters through 5 in Tampa, FYI. It’s on ESPN.

  171. Where’s my hasenpfeffer?

    (And by “hasenpfeffer,” I mean “new centerfielder.”)

  172. Grand slam breaks up no-hitter.

    I win! From Bill James Online. Bill’s been suggesting that there would be hidden costs to the Phillies platooning Ryan Howard, even though he can’t hit lefties. I had some evidence to that effect that I remembered from a couple of years ago…

    Bill, about Ryan Howard, consider another big, slow lefthanded first baseman named “Ryan”, Ryan Klesko. For years, the Braves platooned him (mostly in left field, actually) for the very good reason that he couldn’t hit lefties. When he was traded to the Padres, they didn’t platoon him, and he became a better hitter. He still couldn’t hit lefties, but he hit righthanders so much better getting full-time play that it didn’t matter. The Braves, who were winning, couldn’t afford to try that, but the Padres were in the dumps so had nothing to lose.
    Asked by: Mac
    Answered: July 26, 2010

    Hm. . .let’s look. My instinct is to poke holes in arguments like this, but most of it appears to be solid. Klesko stole 46 bases in his first two years in San Diego (11 caught stealing), so I’m not sure he was as slow as all that. Klesko had only 49 AB against left-handed pitching in his last year in Atlanta, so it does appear to be accurate that he was platooned. His OPS his last three years in Atlanta reads .824, .832, .908; for his first three years in San Diego, .909, .923, .925, so it does appear that he hit better with more playing time. He was 28 years old his last year in Atlanta, with years of experience, so this is not normal maturation as a hitter, and San Diego had the worst hitter’s park in baseball in those years, so this is not a park illusion. You win.

  173. Well… Klesko, like a lot of big guys, had trouble accelerating but ran pretty well once he got going. I think that the Padres worked with him on his baserunning, something that the Braves (who at that time always had had enough speed, unlike now) didn’t bother with.

  174. Nice work, Mac! That’s like beating Mark Teixeira in a pregame shaving competition.

    Klesko was a monster for a while in SD, but the park effects blurred how good he really was. He and Nevin were probably two of the top 6 or 7 hitters in the NL for about a year and a half.

  175. Klesko’s 2001 is pretty impressive even without a park adjustment — 30 HR, 34 2B, 23 of 27 SB, 105 R, 113 RBI, .286/.384/.539.

    I wonder what would have happened if Chipper hadn’t gotten hurt in spring of 1994. Klesko would have been sent down to Richmond or put on the bench, Chipper probably would have wound up a career outfielder, and either Klesko or McGriff would have been traded after the Strike.

  176. @246, I’ve seen more substantial quotes in a Family Circus cartoon, but I guess that’s his job.

  177. @246

    “The makeup and character of our club is very good and there really aren’t any glaring holes on our roster.”

  178. It would be painfully stupid if he said “we need a center fielder, and we’re going to get one.” He’d be throwing nate under the bus, and giving up at least a little leverage with potential trade partners, and all he’d accomplish is comforting us by acknowledging that there’s a problem. Which isn’t accomplishing anything.

  179. Garza the Camel spits out a no-hitter.

    No. 5 of the year.

    Surely to goodness we won’t make a move for Patterson. Not sure I’d take him for free.

    Gregor Blanco must feel like UT’s backup QB the last few years.

  180. In Columbus for the Ohio bar exam for the next three days. Cheer on the Braves against the Nats for me, and I’ll see you guys in a few.

    Apart from that, I’m sorry to hear about your recent troubles Mac. I know life has a tendency to get in the way sometimes, but thanks for writing and hosting this forum. That really isn’t said enough.

  181. I always liked Klesko. that man could rake. Diaz is a poor man’s klesko. I also like this Braves team. better than the last couple of editions. If we can just put a nice 20-10 run together, the title is locked up. Of course, my dad said that about the Chuck Tanner Braves, so I guess we need to hope for the best.

    Mac, I am a “law talking man” in the Ham. Please e-mail me at the address I have provided if there is anything legal you need. Take care.

  182. ububba, I was thinking the same thing yesterday, right down to the whole ‘being a farm system for the rest of the league’ parallel. It seems like no matter how good the Braves and Marlins are, the Braves always have a tough time in Florida, just like it always seemed like the Braves struggled in Montreal, at least to me anyway.

  183. The Big Difference: The Marlins have had a lotta luck (that Wild Card thing), and the Expos had little at all (their best years came in strike seasons).

  184. @112 My girl bought tickets for the Tuesday game for my birthday last month, before it was possible to tell who would be starting. She done good. Long story short, I will be at the game, anticipating the shockwave when a Strasburg fastball gets turned around by a Heyward swing.

  185. Yeah, I agree to a certain extent. If the Expos were getting the same amount of revenue sharing money as the Fish are now, they might have had some of their own ‘luck.’ It certainly would have led to them being able to keep at least a few of their many, many young stars. I mean, can you imagine if they would have been able to keep Grissom and Walker, along with Pedro and everybody else off of that ’94 team ? They could have done some damage for sure.

    Speaking of the Fish, Tankersley just gave up a two run homer to Aaron Rowand of all people. The bullpen is trying to blow Nolasco’s win tonight.

  186. By luck, I meant that the Marlins are lucky to have entered MLB at the beginning of the Wild Card era.

    The Expos “finished first” twice & second about a half-dozen times. But they lost the NLCS in that ’81 playoff debacle (a half-baked APBA tournament, IMO), got wacked by the strike in ’94 (with their most talented team) & those pre-WC second-place finishes, of course, meant squat.

    The Marlins have never finished first in a division, but the first two times they finished second, they won the World Series.

  187. Scott Podsednik anyone?
    Would add some nice speed to the team and shouldn’t cost much to get.

  188. Got tickets for game against Reds in Cincinnati on Sunday Aug. 1st. Both teams looking to make a good trade before then. Should be very interesting.

    Mac;
    Respect from Bill James.
    Sweet.
    You can now officially claim to know a little something about baseball.

  189. Bet the Marlins wish they’d lost on Sunday now.

    Coghlan tore his meniscus delivering the pie in the face.

  190. Morosi / Rosenthal reported at 12:40 this morning that Rockies might be ready to deal Spilborghs.

    He would be a good get for us. Not sure what they would be looking for.

  191. Spillborghs, Blanco, Podsednik, Melkman…
    They are all basically the same as I look at their stats.
    If it is not a power bat or a power RHP for the bullpen I dont see a move being made.

    Now a 1B I would look at, Troy has me doubting him again, well over a month with no HR is not a good sign at all.

  192. I am hoping Troy is heating up again soon. Has he always be streaky or is this the curse of Kelly?

  193. Bethany and oldtimer,

    It is probably numbers. The Rockies have Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Fowler (isn’t that right?) and they think that those are as good or better.

    Spillborghs still has about 2 years of team control (1.95 next year and 3rd year arb for 2012) and bats right handed and can play center. Even adjusting for Coors Field, he still is better now than any of the ones oldtimer named and Cody Ross is a good comp EXCEPT more team control at lower prices. Cody Ross is making three times as much this year and would cost 6 or so next year and has no control for 2012. If all Spillborghs becomes is a better fielding, better hittting against righthanders, worse hitting against lefthanders replacement for Matt Diaz, then he would be good to have around.

  194. Who the hell has to deal with 14-hour internet outages due to a storm in 2010? Charter.

  195. Cliff, you right on. I was looking at the Rockies OF and they have several guys playing out there.

    I would take Spillborghs but I don’t know if him or Ross actually make us better. Would they add a win to our team? I don’t know all the advanced stats the other guys utilize( I am learning).

    Is Spillborghs a top notch defender?

  196. What team is Frank Wren watching?

    “I think this situation is actually more stressful,” Wren said. “The makeup and character of our club is very good and there really aren’t any glaring holes on our roster (*COUGH*centerfield*COUGH*). There are places where we could improve. But you have to evaluate what are the best ways to act and how to act to improve your club. A lot of it is about the feel you get while evaluating the way your club plays every day.”

  197. Not that they would consider it, but I’d love to make a run at C. Gonzalez (can’t he play CF?) and the Rockies still have Fowler. We could offer up some good young pitching. Never happen though.

  198. @284

    Q – How do you tell if a baseball executive is lying about his satisfaction with the roster near the trade deadline?

    A – His lips are moving.

  199. Exciting day today. Hanson vs Strasburg. HEYWARD vs Strasburg. Gonna be fun.

    The Glausbeast seems like he could use a DL stint: “1B Troy Glaus, continually battling sore knees and ankles, said none of those joints is affecting his hitting ability. He has reached base via hit or walk in 15 of his past 17 games, but he is hitting just .197 (12-for-61) with no homers and five RBI in that stretch. (Yahoo! Sports)”

  200. Fowler is disappointing them this year, and it sounded to me like he was in for some reduced playing time. But if they’re punting on this season they might as well leave him out there.

  201. oldtimer@ 283,

    I think Spillborghs is about like Nate (bad arm, mediocre otherwise) or Melky (bad or so so coverage, but good arm) or Blanco (great coverage, terrible arm) in centerfield. Not too good. But, he isn’t any less than any of the other guys we have.

    I would make the move if we didn’t have to give up any meaningful piece affecting this year.

    As to his value, he makes us a hair better this year, but gives us a second non expensive major league quality (not great, but just good enough to be a starter without it being a joke) outfielder for next year (assumes keeping Heyward, duh, with Melky and Diaz as probable non tenders [each could be a 6 million player next year in final arb year] and McLouth as useless). Then, at end of next year, if he looks like he is worth arb, you offer. If not, you non tender.

    Dusty @285,

    Minor and Marek or Dunn for C. Gonzalez and a high ceiling, low level, low projection prospect might get that done, and if so that would be a better deal (2 more years ML minimum and 3 arb years).

  202. -280

    I have it on authority from a couple of friends in St. Louis that when he was there (and not hurt) he was an extremely streaky hitter as well

  203. The Rockies get Tulowitzky back today. And when they realize Jhoulys Chacin deserves a rotation spot over three of their current starting five…They have to jump four teams in the wildcard, but they’re practically experts at making 2nd half runs at this point.

    If ya’ll think we can acquire Carlos Gonzalez without giving up a major leaguer, I’ll have some of what you’re smoking.

  204. I was thinking Medlen + Minor + one top 10 low level guy for Cargo, but as I said, I know I’m dreaming.

  205. @291, we gave up a part time major leaguer (Salty) and prospects galore for Texiera. I think that trade worked out OK for Rangers given that two of the prospects were in the All Star game this year.

  206. @293, OK, fair point. We either trade a major leaguer or we sell the farm for CarGo…I guess that’s always an option…

  207. 284,
    He’s right.

    Between Blanco, Melky, and McLouth they should have no trouble getting some above replacement level production from CF the rest of the way. You have to hit very little to be an average offensive CF.

    If I were Wren I’d think about bringing in another starting pitcher. In addition to doing just as much good if not significantly more than any of the available CF’s or LF’s could, a real ace would be nice to have once we get to the post season tournament. Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, & Lowe is a fine front four, but I’m very skeptical of how well they’ll perform in the post season.

  208. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/tim-hudsons-charmed-season/

    Apparently, Tim Hudson is actually Derek Lowe. I’d say that perhaps there are variables in play that can’t be properly iterated in a crystal ball report (or however ZIPS, CHONE, etc are computed), but then the hard core number jockeys’ heads would explode, and that fight really isn’t worth it to me.

    So I guess I’ll (continue to) wait for him to into a pumpkin…

  209. Carlos Gonzalez is having a great season — and I should know, I have him on my fantasy team — but he’s playing a bit over his head, and his plate discipline (just 16 walks against 90 strikeouts) should be deeply worrisome. If we tried to get him, we’d be buying him at the peak of his value.

    He will come back to earth sooner or later, and he’s honestly a better fantasy player — because he has a high batting average, homers and steals — than he is in real life, where his indifferent OBP and shoddy plate discipline make him a potential liability.

  210. I will say though, just from my experience, when there is an extreme outlier in a component of a regression (IE a 66% GB rate), weird shit can happen.

  211. @295
    i just cant wrap my head around that idea, pw. even if we acquired a left handed hitting left-fielder, this offense needs a kick in the pants. preferably that kick comes with some power.

  212. I will be there tonight as well; but, for once, there may be more people rooting for the Nats than for the opposing team–although it will be close.

  213. It would be nice if someone decided to actually beat the Phillies once in a while.

  214. @303, despite winning 5 straight, Phils are just 6-4 (to Atlanta’s 5-5) over their last 10. They get beaten plenty.

  215. Was at the Fish-Giants game in SF last night, very good crowd for a Monday night against a non-rival. Unfortunately the Giants could not get anything going against Nolasco, and never could catch up after they finally got him out of there. Fish hit Zito hard in the 6th and it could have been much worse except for a fine defensive play in center that held them to one run. Very nice park, and it was at least 30 degrees cooler than it was in Atlanta last night. Lots of people with goofy panda hats. On the way out a spontaneous “Beat LA” chant broke out on the exit ramp.

  216. #307 – doesnt really make sense unless the Fish think they can compete. I dont see how they can with Coghlan going down. You’d think that would push them more into a selling mode. They’ll still DFA Ross at years end

  217. According to Chris Coghlan’s Twitter, him tearing his meniscus on a pie celebration was God’s plan.

  218. @306, yeah – it’s when you run out of quality material after a few years and become another ESPN gossip columnist.

    /sorry – that Chipper Jones column really was the last straw for me.

  219. Peter at 295,

    I personally am not as concerned about what this team does in the postseason as just getting there and protecting the future. Make the postseason and Liberty probably opens a little of the money valve. Then, with the young talent and a little payroll wiggle room, we are in it for years to come.

    IF the issue is being more ready to “win it all” this year, we missed a great opportunity to upgrade with Haren. Oswalt is owed too much money unless Liberty opens the spicket and the rest of the rumored movers don’t seem like enough of an upgrade to be worth the trouble (I don’t think Moore will move Greinke). Definitely, power starting pitchers have been shown to have a big advantage over less powerful pitchers with similar statistics. As in, for the Braves, Ted Lilly is a waste of time unless we have a starting pitcher injury.

  220. @298 Yeah, he’s outplaying his rate stats at the moment, but seriously, Carlos Gonzalez is still tapped by both stat guys and scouts as a future All Star. Hell, he probably should have been this year. We’re talking about a 24-year old who is probably worth 3-4 wins a year right now. He also posted an 8.8% walk rate last year, so he has the ability to tone down his aggressive approach.

    All to say: Gonzalez is probably untouchable. The Rockies almost certainly envision a cheap, productive outfield next year of Smith/Fowler/Gonzalez–provided they let go of Hawpe. Spillborghs, on the other hand, isn’t in their longterm plans and can provide somebody with league average production. I’m not sure I’d want him in CF, however.

  221. @310, the garlic fries were pretty darn good, but $7 an order. A dog and a brew set me back $14.75. Ouch.

  222. Yeah, they’re expensive all right. But someone about six rows below me got some, and about a minute later price was no factor!

  223. @313 – Haren is having a pretty pedestrian season, in terms of runs allowed. Now I would agree that he probably shaves a few of those league leading 161 hits playing with Atlanta’s defense, but something is not working for him this year. Having said that, I think it would have been a tremendous move for the near term future, and wouldn’t hurt our chances this season, depending on what you gave for him. As part of a set of moves where you get Haren and trade a JJ/Medlen/Prospect for the CF Monster we need, I agree that it could have been a superb tactical decision for this season.

  224. As an SF resident I can say that everything is overpriced in the city.

    I love the park but not the atmosphere. It’s a packed house most nights but not much noise from the fans. I’m not normally a misogynist but I can’t get behind the female PA announcer. The later Bonds years were awkward as hell as well.

  225. awesome news about ross. he’s the best backup in the bigs and probably deserves a starting role somewhere. good job, wren!

  226. Wonder if that means any of the following:

    a. Ross really likes playing in Atlanta
    b. Likes his role
    c. Doesn’t think he is / or wants to be a starter
    d. Thinks he might bet more playing time (start?) in ATL in the future

  227. Seems extremely unlikely that there is a starting role in Ross’ future. The only place McCann could move is first, and Freeman already has dibs.

  228. very solid move….I think it means Ross likes being a part of this group and is comfortable here. He’s seen the way the last few years have with the FA market and signed for a couple of mil. Good job for both sides

  229. @312 – I agree, Neyer is a classic example of a guy getting paid to just make shit up and put it out on the internet. I used to enjoy his analysis.

  230. My only reservation is Ross’ vanishing home run power. But he’s been a great back-up, no doubt about it.

  231. And I remember when most of you were calling for Wren’s head a couple years back for even signing him. Oh how things change.

  232. “Getting Haren and Chris Young would’ve been pretty sweet.”

    I mean, if they’re giving folks away–and they seem to be–why not try? Hell, I say let’s still try and get Chris Young… although the one coherent sign Arizona’s FO has given so far is that it likes its hitting core.

  233. Former Raider Jack Tatum died.

    Dunno if any of you younger folk saw highlights of his play, but he was one of the scariest, hardest-hitting DBs in football history.

    If anyone embodied the old Oakland Raiders, it was Tatum. When you watched a Raider game back then, you were acutely aware of every over-the-middle pass by the opposition. He was always lurking & you flinched a little bit every time he closed on a receiver.

    His most famous & regrettable collision is omitted here—when he paralyzed Darryl Stingley in a pre-season game—but it’s worth watching:
    http://tinyurl.com/27t6tho

  234. @ Alex @ 296

    CarGon is 22. He’s 22. He’s got as much upside as Justin Upton and is producing MORE. I know the 16 walks to 90 SOs is worrisome, but he’s 22 for God’s sake. Many scouts think he’ll be one of the 10 best players in the NL starting next year (for the next 8 years).

    “Playing over his head”? Seriously? #1. He’s playing 1/2 his games in Coors. #2. He’s 22. #3. He’s been projected to do this all throughout the minors. I think the guys only gets better and will be Carl Crawford with more pop.

  235. @334 I was a HUGE Raiders fan as a kid – and the combo of Lester Hayes with stickum on every inch of his body and Willie Brown shutting down the corners and Tatum and Atkinson separating heads (it was George who concussed Swann, and got the Raiders labelled “criminals”) made them a most unpleasant team to throw against.

  236. @337

    Is that some sort of trick to get me to read this entire thread again and again?

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