All-star Game thread: July 29, Braves at Natspos

The Bobby Cox All-Stars, the best seasons for players under Bobby Cox:

C Javy Lopez, 2003 (.328, .687 SLG, 43 HR)
1B Andres Galarraga, 1998 (.305, 44 HR, 121 RBI)
2B Marcus Giles, 2003 (.316/.390/.526, 101 R)
3B Chipper Jones, 1999 (.319, 45 HR, 126 BB, MVP)
SS Jeff Blauser, 1993 (.305/.401/.436, 110 R)
LF Jeff Burroughs, 1978 (.301/.432/.529, 23 HR, 117 BB)
CF Andruw Jones, 2005 (51 HR, 121 RBI, GG)
RF Gary Sheffield, 2003 (.330/.419/.604, 132 RBI, 126 R)

SP Greg Maddux, 1995 (19-2, 1.63 ERA, 181/23 K/BB, CYA)
SP Tom Glavine, 1991 (20-11, 2.55 ERA, 9 CG, CYA)
SP Phil Niekro, 1978 (19-18, 2.88 ERA, 22 CG, 334 1/3 IP)
SP Kevin Millwood, 1999 (18-7, 2.68 ERA, 0.996 WHIP)
RA John Smoltz, 2003 (45 Sv, 1.13 ERA, 73/8 K/BB)

A lot of these came down to two seasons. For instance, catcher is between McCann’s first full season (2005) and Javy’s big year; Javy’s numbers are better and he had the advantage on defense, probably, so it’s actually an easy call, though McCann’s probably been a better hitter on average. First base was the Big Cat versus the Crime Dog (1994); McGriff’s slash numbers were better but in a strike year, so I went with the guy who played a full season. Marcus was an easy call at second, and at third the only question is which Chipper season, and I went with the MVP year. At shortstop, the numbers say Blauser, by a long way, over Furcal and Tony Fernandez.

The best year by a Cox left fielder was actually Chipper’s first year in the outfield, but I didn’t double up. George Bell only broke through the year after Bobby left Toronto. Klesko was a possibility, but his best slash stats came in a strike year (1995) when he was heavily platooned. That leaves the race between Gant and Burroughs, and I went with the latter. Center was pretty easy — Murphy, like Bell, broke out right after Bobby left. Several right fielders (Barfield, Justice) could have made it if I’d taken any outfielder rather than by position. I really wanted to squeeze in Barfield to give Toronto some representation.

The first two pitchers were automatic. Having decided to move Smoltz to closer, Knucksie was the obvious choice for the third spot, where I went with the year he had the best ERA of his time with Bobby. Millwood was a bit of a surprise to me, as I wanted to get Dave Stieb in there, but Stieb’s stats, other than ERA, weren’t really all that impressive, and the year he had his best ERA, 1985, he was only 14-13. Bobby never managed a 20-game winner in Toronto, never really came close. In the bullpen, I went with Smoltz in 2003 over his 55-save season the year before because of his ridiculous K/BB ratio and ERA. If the 2003 team had had any pitching besides Smoltz, it would have been a juggernaut, but it was a team of third starters and fifth relievers except for a couple of stretches by Hampton.

219 thoughts on “All-star Game thread: July 29, Braves at Natspos”

  1. “I couldn’t disagree more, stupup74. If it’s true that the Phils have acquired Oswalt, we actually ARE DOOOOOOMED. Sorry, that’s three #1 starters they’ll have with Hamels, Oswalt and Halladay. WE officially have one (Hudson). Plus, even with injuries, they have a lineup more reliable. – Alex R”

    Well I disagree….no doubt that Halladay and Oswalt are #1’s, but not Hamels. Id still like our matchup in any ballpark outside of Philly (pitching wise) with Huddy, JJ, Hanson.

    We should add Greinke

  2. it really must be nice to be budget strapped and still find a way to trade for a player like Oswalt. Last I heard we were in the same $$ situation but cant spend a dime more. Maybe the Mets would take KK from us

  3. I am stunned that the Braves, with their payroll, are competitive in a division with payrolls like the Phillies and Mets. Crap like this happens all the time. Phillies add Lee, then Halladay, while the Braves give up Vazquez for prospects. Mets buy Santana, Bay, and whomever else they want after the Yankees cherry pick. Still, the Braves lead the division.

    After the Rays, who are competitive against the Yanks and Sox, the Braves might be the most successful team in baseball, given budgetary constraints and consistent competition. Wren and the rest of the organization continue to amaze me.

    Yeah, Oswalt will make the Phils better. The amazing thing is even with him, the Phillies are only just about as as good as the Braves, despite the epic amounts of money they’ve committed over the next few years.

  4. damn, Millwood with a WHIP under 1 is pretty impressive

    and oh yeah, boo phillies

  5. Oswalt still has to accept. In 29.2 innings, he has been putrid against the Braves. And he has back problems.

    That is probably the only good one can reasonably take from this development.

    -The Phils’ window to win is bigger than some are making it out to be — this is certainly more than a ‘win now’ move even if they ship off Happ.

    -Knowing the Astros, they’re probably preparing to welcome Happ and a bunch of minor league relievers. I feel ill.

    -Oswalt’s 2012 option isn’t as scary as it seems…appears like he’ll accept deferred payment and may not even demand that his new team picks it up, as was rumored.

    -It’s not worth arguing over whether Hamels is a #1 or #2. Suffice to say, he’s very, very good, and I would prefer that the Braves play against a great many pitchers rather than him.

    We can still compete. But I don’t want to compete. I want to win. Badly. This does not help matters.

  6. Rosenthal reporting that Happ is in the deal along with two others and that Houston will pay a significant portion of his salary

  7. With all of this panic that goes on here, I think it’s important to remember over the last TWO and a half months, Atlanta has only lost two series and ZERO at home. That’s consistency that will get you into the playoffs. Getting the home field advantage is also important for the team with the BEST home record.

  8. No Bad Henry County today:

    1. Prado 2B, 2. Infante RF, 3. Jones 3B, 4. Glaus 1B, 5. Diaz LF, 6. Gonzalez SS, 7 Ross C, 8. Cabrera CF, 9. Lowe P.

  9. When asked about his success and longevity,
    paraphrasing Bobby
    ‘Good players, we’ve had good players here forever’

  10. sitting Heyward vs a LH’r would be okay if Infante could hit them. Bobby loves platooning too much.

    Infante cant touch lefties. (.603OPS vs LH, .828 vs RH)

  11. this Oswalt deal makes you really wonder why the Phils had to move Lee in order to get Halladay. Im glad they dont have both of them though

  12. I’m glad Bobby is doing a better job this summer with keeping with giving Mac more days off. He needs to be as fresh as possible for September and October.

    Also, Omar Infante’s AB’s since the All Star break seem to have dwindled. He needs to find some way to play more. Glad to see him in the lineup today, just not at the expense of Heyward.

    I never really considered Scott Olsen that tough on lefty’s.

  13. The Braves acquired second baseman Michael Noboa from the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later or cash, MLBTR has learned.

    Michael in 4 minor league seasons – .196/.336/.227/.563

    he’s a 5’8 160lb 2B

  14. EDIT: Noboa acquisition posted already.

    At home, the Braves are 34-13, and the Phillies are 33-18. That’s not terribly far off the mark.

    You say panic, I say denial.

  15. I’m not in denial about anything. Those walk off losses to the Marlins were tough to swallow. That loss to the Washington on Tuesday was pathetic. Teams go through stretches like that.

    The Phillies have won seven in a row. They are hot right now. They’ve shaved three and a half games off our lead. However, you have to think not having Utley and Victorino in the lineup is going to catch up with them.

  16. Philly’s “window to win” isn’t that big. That line-up is old. Only guy younger than 29 is the hawaiin, and he’s hurt. They’ll all be over-the-hill in 2 years.

  17. The Phillies are actually a bit like the Braves were a couple years ago: a few REALLY good players, a few REALLY shaky players, and a lot of question marks in between. Halladay and Utley are the meal tickets, obviously, but Chase is injured; Hamels, Howard (and presumably Oswalt) are the second tier, solid #2 types; and Polanco, Victorino, Werth, and Brown all seem capable of making a good contribution, though they’re not totally reliable.

    Then, of course, there’s the rest. Ibanez and Rollins are a mess, Kendrick and Blanton are mediocre to awful, and Brad Lidge is a ticking time bomb every time he walks to the mound.

    Top to bottom, I like our team better than their team, even though Halladay and Utley are probably better than anyone we’ve got.

    Then again, we’re still in Furcal rule territory right now, so the Oswalt trade isn’t fait accompli.

  18. So in what may be the greatest collision of my interests since the time I first snuck whiskey into Fulton County Stadium, the honky-tonk act I play in got a last minute gig at a pho restaurant tonight.

  19. Philly’s “window to win” isn’t that big. That line-up is old. Only guy younger than 29 is the hawaiin, and he’s hurt. They’ll all be over-the-hill in 2 years.

    Seriously? Chase Utley is 31. Ryan Howard is 30. In what world is 33 “over the hill?” HOF calibre 2B usually crash around 35, so you get 4 more years out of Utley in all likelihood. Howard isn’t the most fit player in the game, but he’s not Prince Fielder either. He’s got another four years in him at least, barring injury.

    Roy Halladay is 33. Assuming he’s going to crash any time soon is about as foolish as thinking John Smoltz had nothing left at 33. Cole Hamels is 26 (which is to say 2 years older than Jair Jurrjens and three years older than Tommy Hanson.)

    Thinking the Phils are about to hit age-related crash is wishcasting.

  20. @30, How are Howard, Werth, Hamels and Oswalt not top tier players right now? I’m seriously asking because I would like to feel as secure about this as most of you seem to feel.

    Howard and Werth are OPSing over 900. Didn’t someone post on here are there are only five players in the league doing that right now, or something to that effect?

    Likewise, seems like Oswalt and Hamels are #2s only to a pitcher like Halladay or Josh Johnson. If they have question marks, so do Hanson, Jurrjens and Medlen.

  21. @36, Werth will probably be gone after this season. To bolster your argument, his in-house replacement is turning 23 in September.

  22. I felt sorry for Kawakami watching him in the bullpen with nothing to do. He is certainly no worse than Lowe but makes a lot less money.

    I don’t see much point in complaining about Liberty or the payroll. It is what it is. But I think the real problem is how much the Braves should give up for say Willingham.

  23. @35, closer to 10 per league but still impressive

    1. Votto (CIN) 1.023
    2. Pujols (STL) .953
    3. Huff (SFG) .946
    4. Gonzalez (SDP) .917
    5. Hart (MIL) .917
    6. Dunn (WSN) .915
    7. Holliday (STL) .914
    8. Werth (PHI) .910
    9. Rolen (CIN) .908
    10. Howard (PHI) .902

  24. @37 – fair point.

    Still, the overall argument that the Phils are on the edge of age-related collapse is, to put it bluntly, batshit crazy. Predicting Chase Utley to be “over the hill” at 33 is a lot like predicting Chipper Jones to be done by 33.

  25. @38, you’d like to think that if the Braves were going to do anything, it should be for a Willingham type, or nothing at all. I am not sure if Wren would push all in though. It ain’t gonna be cheap.

  26. @37 – On the other hand, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the Phils convince their ownership to eat the last year of Ibanez’ deal – 11.5 for 2011 – and extend Werth. At which point the Phils OF would be Werth/Victorino/Brown. That’s even more affordable if they buy out Jimmy Rollins’ 2011 option (2 mil) and find a cheap alternative at SS. (This would require that the Phils make a performance based decision and cut Rollins loose rather than making a famous-player decision and holding onto him.)

  27. The Phillies are on a roll now at home playing teams they should beat. There 22-28 on the road. We will see about them when they hit Florida next week and hopefully get Strasburg this weekend.

    As for Oswalt, is there any other team Ed Wade can trade his players to rather than his former employers. If I were Lance Berkman I’d watch out.

  28. Where are the Mets when you need them?

    Why aren’t they in the Oswalt chase?

    They have no one to give back. Their farm system is virtually empty and no one on their ML roster is as valuable as even A.J. Happ.

  29. @42, Phils have 131M in commitments for 2011. Oswalt will raise that to 147M depending on how much salary Astros cover. Even if it’s half, that still puts them at 140 or so before filling out the rest of the team. That puts them easily past 150, if they keep keep Werth and chuck Ibanez. Do you think their ownership would do this?

  30. @46

    I don’t know. I’m not sure what the threshold for one year total salary is for the Phillies. Are they willing to push 150-160 mil for one year, then jettison Ibanez and Rollins in/after 2011? I don’t know enough about their ownership to say yes or no. But I don’t think we can completely rule out the possibility. They are a very successful team in a very lucrative market who have sold out 60 games in a row. They’re not hurting for cash.

  31. I dont know, Ike Davis and Jonathan Niese would have plenty of value to a team like Houston. NY wont move them though.

  32. I dont know, Ike Davis and Jonathan Niese would have plenty of value to a team like Houston. NY wont move them though.

    That’s a fair point. Hell, throw in an overpaid middle reliever and Ed Wade is almost certain to jump.

    That said, I’m pretty sure Kawakami+Minor gets Oswalt to Atlanta, if they would take on the cash.

  33. 10 minutes ago. They’re in the middle of the 1st.

    Oh, you said “Why,” not “What?” Probably your typical “business-person’s special” on getaway day.

  34. One of the “keys to the game” is for Lowe to sit in front of the fan between innings to cool off.

    Really. They just said that. There are only two “keys to the game” for Lowe, and that is one.

  35. HOF calibre 2B usually crash around 35, so you get 4 more years out of Utley in all likelihood.

    Depends on what you mean by “crash.” Most good players begin to decline in their early 30s, particularly middle infielders.

    How are Howard, Werth, Hamels and Oswalt not top tier players right now? I’m seriously asking because I would like to feel as secure about this as most of you seem to feel.

    They’re all great players, but Oswalt’s getting lucky on BABIP, Howard has a .362 OBP, and Werth basically disappeared for a month. (In any event, they may need to move Werth to clear Oswalt’s salary.) In the tier system that I just made up two seconds ago, they’re stars, not superstars.

  36. @55 Thanks, sorry for the confusion. I feel like most early game start a few hours later than this, but I could be crazy.

  37. The Phillies are a good team on a hot streak that coincides with a bit of a mediocre streak for the Braves. And they’re still 3.5 back.

  38. What is it with Chip Caray and talking about no-hitters as early as the second and third inning?

  39. Is that no outfielder on the trade market that can rid the Braves of ‘Melky McBlanco’?

  40. We can’t declare an entire position the BJWB? There is no McLouth, no Blanco, no Cabrera. There is only Braves’ center field.

  41. Want a reason not to panic? Over the past 7 days, the Braves’ odds of winning the division (according to BP’s Playoff Odds Report) went up, not down. Now, this clearly doesn’t take account for the addition of Roy Oswalt, but it’s still a good indication that the Braves need not panic just yet.

  42. @57

    1) “Typical” players tend to begin declining in their mid-30s, but…

    2) The trend in modern times is for that decline phase to be pushed back, and…

    3) Even then, Chase Utley isn’t exactly a “typical” player. HOF calibre 2B – Joe Morgan, Robbie Alomar, Craig Biggio – tend to crash @ 35 or 36. Chase Utley is more like those players than he is like a “typical” player.

  43. Lowe frustrates the hell out of me. IAN DESMOND folks..dude was hitting like .230 coming into this series

    almost 40 pitches to get through 2IP. hell lets PH for him here and get KK ready

  44. We have the second best record in the NL and we’re “DOOOOOOMED.”

    Welcome to BravesJournal.

  45. Trade Glaus for some minor prospects, then use those guys as filler in a deal for Dunn. IMO.

    I’ll be taking over for Wren after 2014.

  46. Scattered thunderstorms? Sounds good. Maybe Lowe will get hit by lightening and we can use the insurance money to get something useful.

  47. Diaz, you are THE MAN!!!!! Could we just clone him and put him in left and center field?

  48. Either that’s really strong wind, or the Nats can’t afford wind screens for their mics.

  49. #99- Yup. As the Phillies add Oswalt, remember we are spending $22+ million for Lowe and Kawakami (read: crap) and that keeps us from responding.

  50. I know the deal seemed like an (maybe) OK idea at the time, but Lowe just sucks, plain and simple. Rowland’s Office had it pegged EXACTLY today — Lowe is like a rich man’s Rick Mahler. How sad….

  51. Nieves? really?
    Lowe = cow dung

    Nieves in Spanish means “snows” (plural of snow)

  52. The rain didn’t last too long here. Once it gets to the stadium, hopefully it will pass through just as quick.

  53. #113 – hell no, needs to make sure Lowe gets to sit just long enough not to entice Bobby to send him back out there.

  54. what’s least surprising: KC’s interest in Francoeur or Lowe pitching like poop?

  55. Only one more inning before Lowe completely implodes. Won’t be long now. Let’s see some offense!

  56. Getting Wil F. Nieves to 0-2 and not being able to put him away ought to be grounds for contract revocation.

  57. Orioles hire Buck Showalter as manager.

    Always liked him when he was here in New York—loved his radio show—but those O’s better wear their caps straight & their uniforms right. He, apparently, gets all-Little League like that. Doesn’t always wear well with professional ballplayers.

    Way to go, Omar.

  58. That should be a standard contract clause. “Failure to retire a backup catcher hitting .189 with one out, runners second and third, and the pitcher due up in a tie game, after getting ahead by a count of zero (0) balls and two (2) strikes, shall be grounds for cancellation of contract for cause.”

  59. Yeah, Cox should have gone out there with Lowe’s suitcase. Maybe he just needed more time for the clubhouse guys to retrieve it.

  60. Omar Infante is an All-Star. Stephen Strasburg did not even make the All-Star team. Argument over.

  61. Just noticed that Gameday’s strike zone box is now a blurry line several pixels across. As in, “Your guess if that’s a strike or not is as good as ours, guys.”

  62. LOL.. is this what Mets fans go through with Oliver Perez? .. or the Phillies with Moyer?

  63. I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure he pitched a couple of times in the FLA series.

  64. @132, It’s been that way for a while. I still hate that it’s a two-dimensional box and not a plate-shaped zone.

    The box is honest, though. To make sure I wasn’t crazy, I checked Gameday after that Moylan pitch that beat the Tigers. Gameday has it way off the plate, too.

  65. Yep, Saito pitched two innings against Florida, striking out five of the six guys he faced.

  66. @144
    Any questions about the infield fly on the call-in show yet? And if Leo Mazzone is on the show, how many stories about what Tom Glavine would eat for breakfast on each Tuesday in September have you heard?

    I hear Leo on 680 the Fan each morning here in ATL. Some of his stories he’s dying to share are painfully uninforming and boring. Make no mistake, he’s got some good stuff too. But he can be unbearable.

  67. Rain, rain go away, come again some other day. No that’s not it. Lowe, Lowe, go away, go find somewhere else to play. That’s better.

  68. Leo comes across as folksy and pompous all at the same time. It’s pretty hard to do.

  69. Just looking at the Weather Channel radar. Big thunderstorms from Arlington west to Chantilly, Virginia. It looks like it’s going to be a long delay, especially if the rain is moving west-to-east.

  70. Ed Wade is trying to give the Phillies another pennant. If Astros pay $12 million and get back only Happ as the centerpiece–and not Singleton–then I’m crying collusion. That might be a worse return than the Haren deal.

  71. All we are saying is give Infante a chance (in center field).
    ———————

    Anybody following the Pitino extortion trial? Makes the Lewinski affair look like a kiss on the cheek.

    Speaking of which: does anyone know what really happened the night Clinton hurt himself at Greg Norman’s? My guess is that was one heck of a party.

  72. The guys that the Phils gave up were both Top 20 prospects, but neither projected to be more than weak hitting, speed guys from the reports I read on them. Gose has 36 SB in 103 games, and was in their top 5. Villar has 38 SB in 100 games, but also 42 errors at SS.

    Not as bad as the Haren deal, but still.. Maybe this is a sign that demands are falling.

  73. @157, Well that’s not very good, if the part about 11M is true. We haven’t been on the good end of a deal like that since the Renteria trade.

  74. Alex, that tweet is two hours old. Besides, Singleton is in the starting lineup for his A-ball team tonight. He’s not part of the deal.

  75. Jason Heyward 6’5 240lbs Braves
    Dominic Brown 6’5 205lbs Phillies
    Mike Stanton 6’5 235lbs Marlins

    I guess we can say the NL East should be pretty fun when it comes to rightfielders over the next few years.

  76. Seriously, why didn’t we get in on the Oswalt deal? Medlen, Mycal Jones, and whoever else. Laughably crappy return, with the $11 million being thrown in.

  77. “Roy Oswalt said he was super excited to have Brad Lidge blowing saves for him again like the good ole days”

  78. @168, Brown has 101/300+ games as a CF – it will be very interesting to see if they aren’t tempted to play him there.

  79. #169 – because we are the budget strapped team that cant add a dime and will probably get cut another 10% when Bobby and Chipper leaves.

  80. Why weren’t we in any of these deals? Haren and Oswalt each went for almost nothing, and the Braves have a deeper system than either the Angels or Phillies. My guess is money.

  81. Has Venters heard about his appeal, or is he free to pitch this game? If there’s no word on his appeal, my guess is he’ll pitch today since his arm hasn’t fallen off yet.

  82. This is depressing, I hate to think that money is going to be this big an issue when it never seems to be an issue for anyone else.

  83. I’ve got time for one more half inning here. That meeting is going to be a lot more bearable if we can at least get tied…

  84. If the Braves sold out every game like the Phillies, then they probably would have a few extra dollars. I’m just hoping Chipper retires at the end of the year. He playing on fumes.

    @171 They may move him to center, he would be more of the Dale Murphy type of CF.

  85. I think it was a 3-1 pitch Bethany.

    Chipper with that groundout is actually 5-26 on a 3-1 count this year. He has also walked 23 times, but that’s pretty brutal for a hitter’s count.

  86. It seems like lately the players haven’t had good swings on hitter’s counts, but that could be my pessimism talking.

  87. When the rumors had Werth being traded, I was jubilant. But apparently not even Amaro is that dumb. Ed Wade, on the other hand…

    This is a big deal. The Phillies gave up very little to get a very good pitcher and, because they’re paying only a little more than half his salary through 2011, are getting that pitcher at below market price. Here’s Dave Cameron’s synopsis:

    “Overall, Oswalt should add $10 to $15 million in value above and beyond what the Phillies will pay him. For that value, they surrendered Happ and the two minor leaguers. I’ll let Bryan Smith tackle the prospects with more depth, but suffice it to say that no one thinks they mortgaged their future here. Happ is a back-end starter, and while he has some value as a league minimum guy for the next couple of years, he can be replaced.

    “Oswalt represents a significant upgrade to their rotation, and gives the Phillies a legitimate chance of running down the Braves for the NL East title. Because they were able to get Houston to cover so much of his salary, he’ll also reinforce their ability to contend again next year. That’s a lot of improvement for not much surrendered from Philly’s perspective.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-roy-oswalt-deal-philadelphias-perspective/

  88. It does seem like a lot of the big hits lately have come either on the first pitch or with two strikes. Could be remembering wrong but that’s my perception.

  89. If the Braves sold out every game like the Phillies, then they probably would have a few extra dollars.

    You keep implying that attendance is somehow an absolute driver of payroll. Do you have any evidence to support this? There are several teams that maintain artificially low payrolls for profitability reasons. Liberty owns the Braves pretty much solely for tax purposes. Why on earth would they want to spend any additional ticket money that just appeared from increased sales on payroll?

    /edited for clarity.

  90. 6 runs in 3 games vs Nats pitchers not named Strasburg

    this team needs more than 1 bat

  91. Me too Bethany.
    put him at first and put Glaus on the DL for 15 days, then move him to left, Diaz in center.

  92. @192. I never said attendance is absolute driver of payroll, but I have to believe in wouldn’t hurt.

    @194. This team has needed a bat ever since Tex left and he was inconsistent.

    Chipper is not a 3 hole hitter, not even close. McCann is not a clean-up hitter. At this point I don’t know what the Braves can do. Heyward’s power may not come back until next year when the thumb completely heals. Does anyone else think Prado is trying to hit HRs since no one else is?

  93. who wants to trade for a starter that hasnt pitched in 30 days and makes $7mil next season?

  94. Is it possible that Kawakami is actually dead and nobody knows it? Perhaps the Braves bullpen is pulling a Weekend at Bernies here.

  95. perhaps the suggestion I can make is to make a trade with Houston, for anyone, because we will obviously come out on top.

  96. I’m going to try and stay positive.

    The braves never play well in Fla. or DC, so maybe losing 4 of 6 is not so bad.

    Gotta make some hay this weekend, and then take advantage of all the home games in August.

  97. This team has been a bat or two short for a few years now. The problem is where to find immediate help. Assuming they keep 1st open for Freeman, it really isn’t fair to expect much above league average from him for a year or two. The other two “power positions” would be 3rd and Left Field. The Breaves no longer get all-star hitting from the hot corner and it’s not like he’s going anywhere. That leaves LF where they have opted to go with a platoon of streaky hitters and suspect fielders (They have a weak 10 home runs from the LF position this year.).

    So unless Freeman steps up like Pujols in his rookie year, Chipper takes the hot tub time machine back to 1999, or they pony up for a real left fielder (I really wanted Adam Dunn two years ago) I really don’t see how the offense will ever make us happy.

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