279 thoughts on “Goodbye Melky!”

  1. When I heard this news, Melky was referred to as “Cabrera,” and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who the writer was talking about.

    “Melky” had thus become a “Renaldo.” Of suck.

  2. ,Padres GM Jed Hoyer indicated on a radio spot Wednesday that Ryan Ludwick is likely to be brought back for the 2011 season.

    The Padres will have to give Ludwick a sizable raise from the $5.45 million that he earned this past season via arbitration. But if Hoyer feels like the club can afford it, then all is well. Ludwick batted .251/.325/.418 in 2010 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI over 551 plate appearances’
    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/39547344/ns/sports-player_news/

    Well dang. Shows you how much that St. Louis beat writer knows.

  3. So, Melky sucked b/c of Steak & Shake? That makes sense.
    He should sign with Cincinnati, where their idea of cuisine is overcooked noodles covered with a sweet meat-sauce, which they call “chili”, and consider themselves famous for.

  4. Tim Hudson must be happy about this. It seemed like Huddy was always the on the mound when the Melky would play a single into a double or a triple.

  5. I’m referring of course to every single member of the Atlanta-area sports media pronouncing Saito “sigh-toe”. I don’t think I heard it pronounced correctly (“sah-EE-toe”) once the entire season. Okay, maybe there aren’t many Kurosawa fans among the local talking heads, but did none of them watch Mr. Saito on Georgia Championship Wrestling in the ’70s? If Gordon Solie ever heard “sigh-toe”, there’d be a Pier Sixer for certain.

  6. That’s one giant door hitting Melky’s fat arse on the way out of town. Melky, I hate you. Go away. Leave. Don’t come back. LOSER.

  7. Melky should sign with the Blue Jays so he can keep taking Yunel out to see stripper sand drink until 4 am.

  8. @8
    Perfect. I literally laughed aloud.
    @276 from last thread:
    Thanks Adam R, that inspired me to listen to Music From Big Pink side 2 while doing the dishes, it’s still really good; “We Can Talk” and “Long Black Veil” in particular. I recently moved to the Hudson Valley and realized I’m only about an hour from Big Pink, it’s about time to take a pilgrimage.

  9. Melky may be a loser, but he probably makes more money than everyone on this blog combined. Ponder that for a while.

  10. I try not to think about what these guys make. It makes me sick, frankly, and hard to justify my passion for sports in general.

    That said, Melky is a particularly egregious example of civil society run amok. With 10% unemployment, that guy made $3.1 million for being the worst everyday player in baseball. Congrats Braves. Job well done.

  11. Well Adam, let’s try to keep this in perspective here. Melky, is probably one of the best 1000 or so baseball players on the planet. People paid hundreds of millions of dollars to watch the sport this year. There are a total of 750 major league players. By definition, it’s an extremely hard job to get, and one that creates a ton of money for the employers, so QED compensation is going to be high. Melky makes a ton of money,because he is pretty good at doing something people get paid handsomely to do. Give him just one extra hit a week and he’s hitting 310, and teams can’t wait to pay him a lot more than 3m. The difference between the 500th and 751st best player ain’t that great.

  12. My favorite ‘Mekly Moment’ presented to you by Boones Farm and The Cheetah Adult Entertainment Club, was in Cincinatti when he threw the ball to right field from the ceterfield warning track.

  13. @23,

    Exactly. As glad as I am to see Melky gone from the Braves, I wouldn’t say I hate someone (even as an exaggeration) simply because he didn’t play well for my team.

  14. @17
    Don’t you think that may have something to do with the fact that we have so much distain for this guy? We don’t get to play ball for a living, we don’t make millions annually, what we get to do is rip on guys like Melky for being amusingly awful. Leave it to someone named Schneider to give credit to a person simply because of his earning power.

  15. We don’t get to play ball for a living, we don’t make millions annually,

    Whose fault is that? My disdain for Melky knows no bounds, but he’s worked his way into that income bracket fairly and squarely. I would be willing to bet a significant sum that his work ethic and commitment are far ahead of just about anyone I come in contact with on a daily basis – at least I’d give him the benefit of the doubt on the matter. You don’t just wake up in the morning hitting a AAA curveball.

    //given Melky’s hometown, I’d also be willing to bet he’s quite familiar with what it’s like not to make millions a year.

  16. Melky gone? Best day of the offseason so far. Now let’s get someone who can actually play the outfield. And DON’T trade Kimbrel, Wren. He’s our closer for the next six years, right?

  17. BTW, being fat alone is no problem as long as you are Babe Ruth. But being Melky C., there is absolutely no excuse for not even trying to keep your body in shape. I hated the Vazquez trade from day one and I still hate it more than any other trade of the Wren area. I just cannot believe Melky was all we could get for our ace.

  18. I would be willing to bet a significant sum that his work ethic and commitment are far ahead of just about anyone I come in contact with on a daily basis – at least I’d give him the benefit of the doubt on the matter.

    I find myself unwilling to give him this much credit.

  19. Melky was indeed all we got for Vazquez… But then again, Vazquez WAS free after all. We just called the White Sox and asked for him and they handed him over…

  20. JJ, I think it’s a reference to “One Day At A Time”, so no. Maybe not. Maybe you’re right.

  21. I find myself unwilling to give him this much credit.

    Go to the batting cages. Punch in 80 MPH on the baseball machine. I love losing Cabrera as much as the next guy, but he’s one of the best 1000 performers on the planet at his given profession. Can you say that?

  22. @28
    “would be willing to bet a significant sum that his work ethic and commitment are far ahead of just about anyone I come in contact with on a daily basis” A 26 year old ballplayer with any kind of work ethic shouldn’t be gaining 50 or 60 lbs over the course of a few seasons, you have countless hours and unlimited resources with which to keep yourself in shape. I think he coasted to the major leagues on raw talent and athleticism and has remained complacent ever since. As a young player he seemed to have great instincts and speed in the outfield, which is probably not something he worked hard to achieve but rather something that came to him naturally, now he can’t even play adequate defense in a corner. It’s pretty insulting to say that his work ethic is greater than that of an average person. I don’t know where you live or what field you work in, but I find that most people I come in contact work a lot harder than Melky by necessity.

  23. 34, we also got Dunn and Vizcaino, but still, we would have actually been better off with no Melky at all. His 3.5 million and Saito’s 7 million would have likely bought us Adam Dunn. Think about that.

  24. I know you don’t feel this way, Alex (or do I?), but I think a fair bit of the Melky hate (again, I have plenty myself, just for other reasons) is based on the notion that “fat by definition equals lazy”.

  25. @37, you are right I don’t know exactly, and parsed it as such. By the same token neither do you, but let’s look at some empirical evidence – There are lots of reasons people gain weight, and oddly enough, only one of them is laziness. And as I said before, given Melky’s place of birth, I am pretty sure there was no coasting. There are thousands of contenders for a minor league contract in the DR,and slackers don’t survive. Do you really think Cox would have run him out there so much if he was not working out? I mean, these guys are professionally managed, and there are lots of eyes watching the players that these millions are invested in. So your idea is the Braves just plain didn’t care, he ate his way out of the game, and everybody was just ok with it and watched it happen. My theory is he just ain’t in the top 750, and neither weight or work or anything else was going to change that.

  26. @39
    Fat does equal lazy in this case. Obesity is a socioeconomic problem in this country, many Americans don’t have the time and/or finances to feed themselves and their families nutritious and balanced meals. A single mother with two kids and two minimum wage jobs can feed her family with a $6 Digiorno Pizza or some Oscar Meyer hotdogs and Kraft Mac N Cheese. Having the time, money and know how to shop for and prepare a meal of fesh vegetables and fish isn’t a feasible option. Melky not only has access to state of the art training facilities, but the money to eat well and the time to exercise. He has no excuse for his weight.

  27. Melky not only has access to state of the art training facilities, but the money to eat well and the time to exercise.

    3.1 million reasons to do so, and you honestly think he just decided to gain a bunch of weight in mid season, where he’s working in the hot sun 6 of 7 days a week, and ruin his career. That’s definitely it. Your degreee in dietary studies finally paid off, and your ability to diagnose over teevee is on the level of Bill Frist. Probably as accurate too. Really, your talents are wasted here man – society as a whole needs you.

  28. @42
    He’s already guaranteed the 3.1 Million dollars, to me those are 3.1 million reasons not to stay in shape. He’s already made enough money in his career to be comfortable for the rest of his life. I’m the first to admit that I weigh more than I should, and it is mostly out of laziness. I’m the same age as Melky and have a history of obesity in my family. Last winter we had a wieght loss contest at work, I was working 5-6 8 hour days a week in a 110 degree kitchen, and I was able to lose 20 lbs because I ate healthily and went to the gym 5 or 6 times a week, often after work. I guarantee that an 8 hour kitchen shift at a busy restaurant is more taxing on the body than a 3 hour baseball game.

  29. I have no problem with the conclusion that Melky doesn’t try hard enough to stay in shape. He does indeed have everything at his disposal to do so. And unlike, say, Prince Fielder or C.C. Sabathia, he lacks a compensatory talent that allows him to be a winning ballplayer despite being fat.

  30. And the Braves coaching staff watched this purported weight gain (you got a number of pounds he gained during the season for me there, eagle eye?) and just said well what the heck, we might as well start him anyway. Do you have ANY evidence of laziness other than it’s a convenient thing for you to say to explain it all with? Blog entries? Beat writer reports? Heck I’ll even accept anonymous comments – anything at all to support your theory? I have to go grab my kid, so take your time.

    I guarantee that an 8 hour kitchen shift at a busy restaurant is more taxing on the body than a 3 hour baseball game.

    And you really think on game day it’s just 3 hours. Uh huh.

  31. Three Best Braves Moments of 2010 for me.

    3, Ankiel’s splashdown in McCovey Cove
    2, Heyward’s first major league at bat
    1, Melky getting released

  32. I have no problem with the conclusion that Melky doesn’t try hard enough to stay in shape

    My problem with this is that it assumes facts not in evidence. You are going from Melky is fat = Melky is not in good shape = The reason why Melky is not a great baseball player. This far from established. Melky may just not be a good defender at any weight, which is what i think.

  33. Do you have a better explanation for his steady weight gain over the past few seasons? He lolligagged it in the outfield, he lolligagged it on the basepaths, why would I give him the benefit of the doubt? Do you really think it’s just a glandular problem? And who else would have started? It’s not like we had better options, he was generally a better hitter than Ankiel and McLouth.

  34. 50- Although it was ultimately negated the next inning I might put Hinske’s homer in game 3 before Ankiel’s.

  35. “Melky may just not be a good defender at any weight, which is what i think.”
    I have lived in the Yankees market for the better part of Melky’s career, and I can say that the younger svelter Melky, while committing the kinds of bonehead gaffes that most young players commit was generally a good center fielder, certainly much much better than the outfielder we watched in 2010 and that is almost certainly because of his weight.

  36. I dunno about glandular problems. I believe in one and only one way to gain weight:

    calories (energy) in > calories (energy) out.

  37. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that weight gain is closely tied to diminished range in the outfield.

  38. Do you have a better explanation for his steady weight gain over the past few seasons?

    You say this as an assertion of fact- what are you basing it on?

    He lolligagged it in the outfield, he lolligagged it on the basepaths, why would I give him the benefit of the doubt?

    And again, you are certain it was a moral failing than a physical one (i.e., just not being very good)why?

    Do you really think it’s just a glandular problem?

    I have no idea doc – unlike some, I don’t do teevee diagnosis.

    And who else would have started? It’s not like we had better options, he was generally a better hitter than Ankiel and McLouth.

    So the team that is willing to ship off a stud SS for his hijinx, and a manager who has a rep for benching HOF quality guys who don’t shape up, just decided to take it from a mediocrity like Cabrera. It all makes such sense.

  39. Melky’s listed as 6 ft, 200 pounds. I’m 6 ft 2 inches, 210 pounds. Am I fat?

    Look at yourself. If you see Melky, you are fat.

  40. first of all there is no way that Melky is 6 foot 200. Melky is probably 5’10 235

    btw, I heard Boscan was given his release today also. Not that it matters

  41. A colleague came up with the obvious explanation: once Bobby was gone, the photos had no value, so they could let Melky go.

  42. I’m not trying to state absolutes, I’m sorry if I failed to use words such as “probably” or phrases such as “it seems to me” or “in my opinion”. It should be obvious that my post would include my opinion. I really don’t want to argue semantics here. I do value statistical analysis and data, but I watch baseball games too, and often use what I see to form my opinions. My eyes tell me that Melky is fatter than he used to be, and that his defense has gone from pretty good to very poor. Knowing why it’s hard for an average working stiff to stay in shape, I know that these obstacles are not standing in the way of a millionaire athlete. Perhaps it is glandular or even unexplainable, but I think the smart money would be on lack of exercise and poor diet.

  43. Sometimes when players get older and gain weight, they also gain power. Unfortunately for Melky (and Atlanta), dropping from 13 hrs to 4 and losing 62 points off his sluggling percentage was not a good sign to say the least. I know he was in Yankee stadium in 2009 for home games and no one was predicting 13 hrs for him, but a .671 OPS combined with his waddle fielding in the OF was almost as bad as Francoeur during his 2008 year in Atlanta.

  44. Sure, there is no question that that is a possibility, heck, maybe even a probability. I just hate it when the performance of sports figures is held up as some validation of the immutability of the Protestant work ethic. (That may not be what you were getting at, and if not I have misread you.) There’s a hell of a lot of moving parts that go into a successful athlete, and any one of them failing can knock a hole in the boat. It’s enough for me that he wasn’t very good at baseball at this level, and his subsequent dismissal was the result. Like Tessio said, “Tell Mike it was only business, I always liked him”.

  45. Lolligagging in the field, lolligaging at bat, lolligating on the basepaths.
    You know what we have?
    Lolligaggers aka Melky.

  46. @67
    I don’t think that Melky would necessarily be a valuable player had he taken better care of himself, but I do believe that he would have a much better chance at being a valuable player had he worked harder. There’s a difference between expecting replacement level production and a decent glove and expecting all-star numbers. He’s a major league player who has enough MLB experience under his belt to give us some indication of what to expect from him and he’s in his prime years(at least by age, assuming he IS actually 26), and as such, shouldn’t be completely falling off a cliff the way a player ten years older than him might. When one sees a player have his worst season on both sides of the ball while simultaneously gaining lots of weight in the process at age 26, most people would assume that he doesn’t take conditioning seriously and/or that he doesn’t take his team or winning seriously. The Yankees sent him back to AAA ball a few years ago because they didn’t like his attitude. I don’t think I am making giant leaps here to think that poor work ethic or personal discipline are major factors in his new found inability to play major league baseball at a reasonably competitive level.

  47. Everyone else has already said enough on the subject, so I don’t really need to add to it. All I meant to say was: while I have no idea what Melky’s work ethic truly looks like — and I know that Andruw worked much, much harder than most of us gave him credit for, especially in the video room — I dislike Melky so much that I’m unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Simple as that.

  48. Greetings from Amsterdam…

    Melky’s gone? Imagine that.

    Hail channelsurfing.net. Got watch the end of the Pha/SF game and, as much as it sucks to bring it up, I sure wish we had that afternoon start today.

    Nonetheless, I’m officially rooting for the Giants, but only if Texas beats the Damn Yankees. If and when Texas makes it, it won’t break my heart to miss the World Series this year. It’s always weird going to those games & not caring who wins.

    And Spike, I’m off to Smokeys..

  49. DOB says Norton isn’t the hitting coach, in fact, Norton laughed about it and said it wasn’t true.

    Is that enough for Mac to do a write up and make it official?

  50. 84- Evidently not… and Berkman just hit a long foul ball called a home run, and it IS being reviewed.

  51. We’re literally going to have to wait until one of these blown calls decides a playoff series for change to happen.

  52. Who was the bigger douche on the Cano homer?
    A.The skinny kid with the Yankees Jersey and the backwards cap that taunted Cruz after the play.
    B.The morbidly obese guy that clearly tried to prevent Cruz from catching the ball.

  53. I gotta go with B. Taunting from the front row in the playoffs is wholeheartedly encouraged. The melky who slapped at Cruz’s glove should get tossed.

  54. Melky got released, the Giants won. Not a bad day at all.

    How about a Giants/Rangers World Series? That will be Bud’s biggest nightmare!

  55. Yeah, skinny douche was worse than the Melky impersonator. Hopefully, this score will hold up as karmic revenge.

  56. “We did not feel there was a market based on the season he had and the cost of going to arbitration with him,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

    How true.

  57. “You can’t hope a pitch. It has to be a convicted pitch.”

    Classic — sooner or later, somebody has to start a John Smoltz garbled syntax catalogue. It wasn’t a month into his broadcasting career that I forgave him for once equating homosexuality with bestiality — I can honestly believe he misspoke.

  58. @87

    It’s already happened see Braves vs. Giants 2010. Every game was decided by one run and every game had crucial calls going against the Braves. I’m actually surprised a bigger deal hasn’t been made at the fact.

  59. I forget, is it the middle of the seventh inning or the 3:00 mark when they pause to sing “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium?

  60. There’s going to be this umpires/players’ union meeting coming up, so maybe that deflated the situation a bit as well.

    I would love to read a good account of the politics behind all this. Most people blame Selig, but I can’t imagine he has the power to do too much.

  61. @106
    Agreed. When has Selig ever stood in the way of reform? Baseball seldom changed any of its rules for an entire century. In less tgab two decades under Selig we’ve seen two rounds of expansion, limited revenue sharing, interleague play, some steroid testing, the unbalanced schedule, an expanded playoff format plus wildcard and even some instant replay. Call Selig many things, but a conservative purist who’s afraid of change is not one of them.

  62. That’s why it’s confounding how much discussion and ridicule centers around the whole “human element” rationale. It always seemed to me like even the people who perpetuate that “argument” don’t actually believe it. It’s just something Selig says in order to avoid what’s really making him publicly defend a broken system.

    Re: The Yanks, They’re older and their pitching is worse. That’s not to say that won’t turn this around and go on to win the WS. But they are far from infallible, and — all Braves fans say in unison — weird things happen in the playoffs.

  63. @112
    I think the biggest difference is AJ Burnett. He went from being a borderline Ace last postseason to being a complete mess 5th starter type guy this year.

  64. So… he’s not bringing in his closer for the highest leverage moment? Again? I’m almost rooting against Texas at this point. This is so stupid.

  65. I’m not mad about that early Robinson Cano nonsense. It’s not even that I objected to the call, I just hated those fans. Nelson Cruz got the last laugh.

  66. I just now seeing the news about Melky….I kind of wish he would be with us next year–because I have enjoyed Mac’s jokes and Melky does make an excellent target…..

    I will very happy if the Rangers can come through one more time–it will almost make me feel good about the big blockbuster trade of 2007….

  67. #128 – its either AAG or McLouth

    and yes, a texas sweep over the Yanks wouldve been completely awesome. Ill take 1 more victory and a 4-1 win

  68. It’s too soon to pick a target since we don’t know which former Angel Wren will sign to waste a line up spot next season yet. Zombie Vlad maybe?

  69. Frontrunner for 2011 Whipping Boy now that Melky is gone….Mac, sounds like a new poll question is in order.

  70. What other outfielders are out there that are (1) old; (2) coming off injuries so that they can barely walk; (3) can’t hit and doesn’t walk; (4) can’t field and/or doesn’t hustle; or (5) all of the above.

    Whoever they are, it’s likely that’s who Wren will sign since that’s all the Braves (Liberty) can afford.

  71. Did anyone notice the stupid question that Craig Sager asked Cliff Lee after Game 3? “If someone who hadn’t watched the game now tuned in, how would you say you did?”

    You could see thinking, what kind of a moron is this? He said, well, I think I did pretty well.

    Do these interviewers give any kind of thought to their questions? Do they just ask whatever pops into their small minds?

    “Uh, General Eisenhower, you just won WW II. How do you feel about that?”

  72. Dead horse. I’m glad it wasn’t Wren who made that Teixeira trade. Imagine our club this year with Elvis Andrus AND Neftali Feliz.

    Seriously makes me wanna tear something up.

    @139: I noticed that, too. Such a ridiculous question.

  73. magglio in left. kemp in center. hardy at short. vazquez on the mound.

    kawakami, jurrjens, and alex gonzalez in another uniform.

    btw, matt young, pastornicky, and marek are off to good starts in the AFL:
    young: 10/23 .435 avg
    pastornicky: 6/13 .462 avg
    marek: 3.1 IP 0.00 era 0.90 whip 2k

  74. Matt Young is a 28 year old AAA journeyman who just posted a 786 OPS at Gwinnett. He is replacement level at best. No reason to follow him in the AFL at all.

    Pastornicky is younger (20) but has yet to show anything special at SS. With his minor league batting to date he’d need to be a hell of a defender to warrant a spot on any ML roster.

    Marek might project as back-end rotation/bullpen filler. A guy with a 1-1 ratio of baserunners to K in AAA doesn’t impress that much, especially not at 26 years old.

    And just to be complete, Elvis Andrus couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. He plays a decent defensive SS but his bat makes Alex Gonzalez look Ruthian by comparison.

  75. Well… not quite Ruthian. Andrus is one of the more punchless hitters this side of Gregor Blanco, but his OBP is a lot closer to league average, and as a result, Andrus actually had a higher wOBA than Gonzalez did this year, .309 to .298. Both marks are woeful, of course, but they’re both defense-first shortstops who hit at the bottom of the order, anyway.

    At this point in their careers, Gonzalez might be the marginally better player, but they’re actually pretty similar.

  76. sam…
    ops isnt everything. matt young also has a .380 career obp and steals lots of bases. there is reason to follow him. you dont have to…i will.

    marek put up a hell of a season at AAA and could be an option for the last spot in the bullpen. his era and whip decreased dramatically while his k rate went through the roof. once again, feel free to pass over the post…kid.

  77. Elvis Andrus .266/.336/.333/.670
    Alex Gonzalez .248/.295/.402/.695

    He may make AAG look like his big brother, but he sure as hell doesnt make him look like Ruth

  78. So Andrus, aided by Texas’ park, equals Gonzalez. Okay. It’s stupid to toss around “losing Andrus” in the Teix deal as if the Braves lost Young Alex Rodriguez or something. Unless this Pastornicky kid is a butcher with the glove he’s just as likely to equal Andrus in the major leagues.

    The only player of note that Atlanta gave up in the Teix deal was apparently Neftali Feliz.

    Matt Young will never be a significant major leaguer.

    Stephen Marek might be a decent arm to have in the back of the bullpen. He’s cheaper than Kyle Farnsworth, at least.

  79. I’m not writing him off, simply acknowledging what his skill set has shown itself to be so far. The odds of him learning to hit at the ML level are low. He has yet to show himself to be significantly better than Tony Pena, Jr. The only advantage he has is age, but there’s no reason Texas should have him in the big leagues at this point in his career. His defense isn’t THAT good.

  80. There are a lot of no hit good field short stops in MLB. Elvis Andrus is a younger Alex Gonzalez. I think that Andrus had all of like 18 xbh all year.

    To respond to something from the last thread, I’d trade Randall Delgado for one year of Josh Willingham if it meant winning the division and advancing in the playoffs. I know Delgado is a high upside scouts dream but at this point all he is is a suspect(term freely borrowed from Chief).

    If y’all want a right handed power hitting outfielder, and I certainly do and so do the Braves, something has to give.

  81. Andrus isn’t a young Alex Gonzalez, though. Gonzalez has an edge in power, but Andrus more or less makes up for it with his edge in plate discipline. And young players are more likely to develop power than plate discipline as they get older. Andrus’s offensive development looks brighter than does Gonzalez’s.

    Of course, his bat could remain more or less where it is — God knows that’s what happened to Melky — and he’d still be a useful player because of his defense and OBP. But he’s got a good chance of being a better player than AAG. (That’s not to say that he’ll ever be as good as 2008-2009 Yunel Escobar. Then again, it’s hard to say whether Yunel will reach those heights again, either.)

  82. At this point, I don’t think the Teixera deal looks all that bad (if you discount the potential for other trades using those same players). Andrus is an excellent shortstop and he may well develop as a hitter, but, as someone said, he isn’t young A-Rod. Feliz obviously has a great arm, but the Braves seeme well stocked with those. He certainly would help but I don’t think not having him has made that big a difference. I think the trade helped the Rangers more than it actually hurt the Braves at least in 2010 (it may have hurt in the previous years); Andrus wouldn’t have helped the Braves offensively and Feliz wouldn’t have been much better (if at all) than the guys we had. In hindsight, the deal wasn’t as bad as giving up Wainwright for Drew.

    @157,

    I think AAR would agree with me that you are really overestimating Willingham. I have seen him play enough up here in DC that I can say he is a nice player but not as good as people seem to think. Certainly, minor league pitchers are always a risk and I’m not averse to trading from strength, but I’m skeptical of the idea that Willingham would get the Braves to the World Series. At least trade him for someone that will be here awhile.

  83. I more or less agree with 158. What annoys me is the sort of conventional wisdom that sometimes pokes its head up around here that losing Andrus in the Teix deal was a horrible mistake. Andrus has not shown himself to be an irreplaceable commodity. He hasn’t even come close. And Neftali Feliz is only a closer. If he hadn’t had to be moved to the pen, he’d have been a big loss, but as it is he’s a flame-throwing reliever.

    Saltalamacchia, the guy that everyone loathed to part with at the time of the trade, has been injury riddled, never caught on in the bigs, and is now trying to come back as a salvage-project DH in Boston. Matt Harrison has been as forgettable in Texas as he was in Atlanta’s minor leagues.

    The point is that the Braves got a year of All-Star quality first base play for a group of players who’s upside is a shut-down reliever and a defensive SS who really hasn’t shown the bat to carry a big league spot.

  84. Well, if we had Feliz, we keep about $6.5 mil spent on Billy Wagner in our pockets and probably win a similar number of games this year. And if we kept Elvis, we actually have some leverage when Bobby eventually has his fill of Yunel. Or we could’ve used them in a trade to meet other needs besides a one-year rental 1B…like, say, a young, cost-controlled outfielder.

    I know it’s unfair to judge trades with this much hindsight. If I’m JS *and* if I’m retiring, I pull the trigger too. Why not?

    But I guess it comes back to what I feel most people’s dislike of that trade stems from, which is: we don’t have the payroll, or the payroll flexibility, to take gambles of that size anymore.

  85. @162,

    At some point, though, if you don’t make trades like the one for Tex, you don’t win. You can always say, if we hadn’t done the trade, we could have done such and such, but that would keep you from making all but the most lopsided trades (ie, McGriff for Melvin Nieves).

  86. #161 Well summarized. The caveat being that Andrus and Feliz are only 21. I don’t see Andrus slugging .400 but there is a good probability that Feliz can make the transition to starter like Wainwright did. All that being said I don’t get wrapped up in who ‘won’ or ‘lost’ trades since the performance of the players traded is only one component and winners and losers are often determined with the crystal clear vision of hindsight.

    #158 Alex, I agree, Andrus is more valuable because he gets on base but its not like he is the Greek God of walks.

    #159 I truly see your point however:
    Ordonez played only 84 games last year is 37 coming off of a season where he made 18 million dollars.

    Burrel is a poor defender and for a while looked totally done.

    I have not seen Willingham play that much but he is only 33, is supposed be able to play his position and he has good on base and power skills. Mark to your point he may not be enough to put us into the world series but he has to be a damn site better than a Diaz/someone platoon, right?

  87. Right. The team that made the trade for Teix was borderline competitive. They traded for a difference maker, sending some wild-card prospects to a rebuilding Texas team in return. And that would have worked out really well, if their entire starting pitching rotation hadn’t exploded in a bloody stew of ligament tears and flying sinew. If the starters don’t all go down to injury that team has a real shot at the playoffs, which is sort of the point of the game.

  88. Does anyone else hope James Harrison goes ahead with his plan to retire from football because he can’t effectively play defense under the new anti-hitting rules that are rolling out? As a single event, it would be fairly meaningless, but it seems like the first stone rolling down the hill in an all out avalanche of a strike by players to protest the defensive rules. Now obviously, it would be ideal if the strike was aimed at improving player safety rather than protesting rules that do just that, but it’s still nice to see the meat grind the butcher occasionally, whatever the reason.

  89. Yeah… I guess the way I feel about the Tex trade is, I don’t criticize it, but I do regret it. I supported it at the time, and I’m glad Schuerholz was willing to load up the offense. So I won’t criticize it in hindsight — though we paid a high price, I’m glad that we were rolling the dice to try to make it to the playoffs. All the same, I do regret it. I regret not having Feliz and Andrus on the 2010 Braves.

    But there’s just no useful way to play the what if game, three years later. Feliz and Andrus were teenagers; there’s no way to know for certain that they would have developed enough to make the majors in the Atlanta minor league system. Texas deserves a great deal of credit for identifying their talent and then bringing them along to be playoff contributors at the age of 22. There was no guarantee of that, just as there was no guarantee that Tex would take us to the playoffs.

    If Feliz and Andrus had busted, no one here would regret the trade. The only reason that we all feel sour about it is that Andrus and Feliz are helping another team out. But there’s nothing we can do about that now.

    Other than making fun of Jeff Francoeur, I mean.

  90. Again I agree. The context of the trade is often more important than the players.
    No pitching on the market, Braves get Teixiera to push them over the top because the team is built to win now.

    Braves trade their best pitcher Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for crap and a prospect, but it clears payroll to get a versatile bench player and gamble on a power hitting third to first baseman conversion.

  91. The James Harrison kerfuffle is total crap. I kinda root for the Steelers, and I know that they benefit from the grey area regarding hits more than anyone — they have probably the highest percentage of morally dubious hits of any team in the league. But they play strong defense, and they’re within the rules. Harrison’s play wasn’t flagged, and it’s the same hit he’s made a thousand times before.

    I appreciate that the NFL wants to cut down on injuries, but making an example of a few players without actually allowing the rule change to filter through the teams first, without conducting any kind of widespread education campaign to patiently explain what constitutes a legal hit and what constitutes an illegal hit, is both hypocritical and ineffectual.

    I hope this blows up in their face as the PR stunt that it is. The NFL has never truly cared about their players’ health, and the only way they’ll ever truly take care of their players is if stunts like this are exposed.

    (Mark Schlereth went on a half-hinged rant on ESPN about this issue, and I pretty much agreed with him.)

  92. The NFL’s problem isn’t the player contact rules, it’s the equipment. The helmets don’t protect players from concussions or spine trauma because that’s not what they’re designed to do.

  93. That’s a good point. And the pads serve to diffuse pain from contact areas, so players hit much much harder than they would if they weren’t wearing pads, like in rugby. (It’s kind of counterintuitive but true: the unpadded sport has many, many fewer player injuries.)

  94. I think we agree – until teams have been amply alerted about the new rules, it’s complete hypocrisy for the league to levy huge fines while, as deadspin and other have reported, they sold framed pictures of the plays in question (at least until they were called out on it). I hope Harrison and every other defensive player affected by the rules refuses to play under them until they’re completely defined and fairly enforced. Still, it’s kind of sad that Harrison is seemingly fighting for his right to continue to injure himself and others with his retirement threats. He should be fighting for his rights to an unshortened lifespan and continued lack of dementia.

  95. (It’s kind of counterintuitive but true: the unpadded sport has many, many fewer player injuries.)

    Not to mention, in addition reduction in trauma from flesh on flesh, rather than hard plastic on flesh, you’d only lead with your head a maximum of once in rugby, I assure you.

  96. MMA vs boxing is the same way — padded gloves protect the hands and soften the blows, leading to many, many more blows.

  97. Perhaps I overvalue speed and baserunning ability, but players like Andrus and Blanco are extremely valuable in the areas of setting the table, putting pressure on pitchers and infielders and generally distracting the opposition to the point where they’ll make mistakes.

    The Braves’ absence of such a player contributed, in my opinion, to their largely impotent September.

    Ricky Henderson (a sane version thereof, anyway) is obviously the best of all worlds, but the Dodgers won a lot of games when Maury Wills created one of their typical two total runs.

  98. Some intriguing (in varying degrees) right-handed OFs who (a) are younger than 30; (b) are not super-expensive; (c) have at least 2 remaining years of team control; and (d) are on teams (i) with crowded outfields or (ii) presently bad enough to possibly consider saving money by trading for prospects:

    Chris Young, Ari
    Hunter Pence, Hou
    Carlos Quentin, Chi(A)
    Ryan Spilborghs, Col
    Matt Kemp, LA(N)
    Matt LaPorta, Cle
    Lastings Milledge, Pit
    B. J. Upton, TB
    Chris Heisey, Cin
    Drew Stubbs, Cin
    Delmon Young, Min

  99. I heard Steve Young talking about making the field bigger and how that might reduce the number of dangerous hits. Not sure if it would, but can you imagine the amount of points some teams would put up on a wider field?

  100. That was a pretty entertaining and spot-on rant by Schlereth. It started making less sense toward the end, but if it entirely made sense, it wouldn’t be a rant.

    The Dunta Robinson hit in the Falcons-Eagles game was the same way, AAR. It was a clean hit into the shoulder pads. The fact that both guys got hurt does not make it a dirty hit. And the NFL changing rules midseason over a knee-jerk reaction is bad enough, but to not define it at all and to imply that hard hits will no longer be allowed is absolutely freaking absurd. What the NFL is saying they’re going to do is not enforceable, and when they try to enforce it, they’re gonna start suspending players who have done absolutely nothing wrong.

    The NFL is probably about to ruin itself like baseball did 16 years ago with a protracted strike. It’s becoming pretty clear that any thoughts that the two sides are gonna get a deal done are absolute pie-in-the-sky when you hear player and former player reactions to stuff like this. While it will suck not having the NFL next year, I have a feeling that it will be good for the quality of the league in the long run. The suspending of players for no reason other than that Roger Goodell feels like it, the rule changes like this and the 18-game schedule they’re gonna try and ram through without the players’ support, it’s becoming ridiculous. The NFL very clearly does not care about anything but its own good publicity, and the national sports media hasn’t helped by giving the NFL a free pass for a very long time.

  101. Players get screwed harder in the NFL than any other sport, but that is mostly becasue the players keep hiring idiots to be the player rep.

    I think they get something worked out. Everyone leared a lot from the NBA, NHL and MLB strikes/lockouts to know not to do it again.

    Well, at least you think they would.

  102. There used to be a suggestion to do away with face masks on helmets. You would get more broken noses but perhaps fewer or less severe neck injuries as players would not lead with their face.

    The NFL is worried about it’s image and I agree they should probably phase in the rules (or look for alternative solutions), but I’m not sure it’s fair to call them hypocritical. The NFL really doesn’t have to do this. Most fans probably don’t really give a damn whether players can walk after they leave the game. It’s not as if the existence of concussions is going to drive fans away. As a matter of fact, I’m hearing a lot of people complaining that the NFL is becoming soft. At least the NFL is doing something; how long did it take baseball to worry about steroids (which most fans seem to care more about because of how they ostensibly affect records than they do about player injuries.)

    I generally don’t have much sympathy for the way the NFL treats the players (non-guaranteed contracts, pushing through the 18 game schedule regardless of the health effects, and so on) but this is something they probably could get away without doing.

  103. To make arbitrary rulings and pronouncements regarding player safety while simultaneously pushing an 18-game season may be the height of sports hypocrisy.

  104. I was having the same struggle last night. I want the Rangers to win, but Jeffy to lose. How can that happen? Anyone?

  105. this NFL ruling has nothing to do with the current situation, but its just their way of lowering their liabilities. If there is a rule in place regarding helmet to helmet hits then that lowers their liability against future lawsuits. Retired players are fighting the NFL for higher medical coverage for their conditions. This ruling is taking the pressure off the NFL to cover these future issues, nothing more…

  106. He has to be taken off the NLCS roster and can’t return for the World Series? But since I never wish injury on anyone I won’t be rooting for that.

  107. @176 – I can’t agree with you there. I still have nightmares from seeing Andre Smith and Terrence Cody with their shirts off.

  108. I’ll say this about the Tex deal. I was ambivalent at the time (couldn’t believe we’d move both Salty AND Andrus in addition to Feliz and the rest), but at the same time I was really excited about the potential playoff run. Since I thought the cost was too high at the time, and two of the three biggest prospects panned out big-time, it’s safe to say it was the wrong move.

  109. What two of the three prospects “panned out big time?” The starting pitcher lottery ticket who got moved to the pen? The SS who couldn’t break a pane of glass with a batted ball? If Elvis Andrus were starting at SS in Atlanta every last one of you would be apoplectic about his lack of offense.

  110. I won’t wish injury on Jeffy. A mental breakdown maybe, or extreme anxiety disorder. Or maybe he could get caught with a huge amount of a controlled substance and get a suspension.

  111. #193

    Feliz / Andrus – 7 bWAR at league minimum salary for the Rangers. With, probably, a lot more to come.

    Teixeira contributed 6.5 bWAR for the braves at about 11 million. And Kotchman contributed 1 bWAR at 3 million.

    Although, i think, you are correct in saying that it was a gamble worth taking at the time.

  112. The problem with the Tex deal is that it appears that JS was convinced to keep bidding against himself.

  113. I probably would have complained about Andrus, yes, but (a) he’s better than AAG, and (b) if the Braves had turned over shortstop to him to start the 2010 season, they could have traded Yunel then, when his value was highest, for outfield help.

  114. What Mac said. And yes, Feliz is a great pitcher at the ML level, whether he’s in the ‘pen or starting. Having a real SS (and Andrus is better than AAG both offensively and defensively) would be FANTASTIC at this point.

  115. I was having the same struggle last night. I want the Rangers to win, but Jeffy to lose. How can that happen? Anyone?

    Francoeur could have a Brooks Conrad game that the Rangers win 15-14, while Jeffy plays himself off the World Series roster.

    I think that’s actually the best of all possible worlds.

  116. @201, or moved Yunel to 3rd, Chipper to 1st (I know, he said he didn’t want to, but humor me), Prado at 2nd. That’s a pretty fair infield.

  117. Even in the NL. The argument that Andrus is young, has good plate discipline and should develop some power as he fills out physically is valid and to the point. The fact that he’s fast isn’t. Charles Thomas was fast. Willie Harris was fast. DeWayne Wise was fast. Fast isn’t an offensive skill in baseball, merely a physical tool that sometimes augments offensive skills.

    If Andrus develops moderate power – even something as slight as a .400 SLG% would work as long as he manages a .375+ OBP and plays better than average defense would work at SS – he would be a valuable player. If he has an OBP of .380 and a SLG of .390, but steals 40 bases without getting caught, he’s valuable. But if he gets caught more than 25% of the time, giving thos on-base appearances back to the defense in outs from caught stealing, his value plummets.

    Just running well isn’t good enough. You have to get on base well (Andrus does relatively well there) and hit for at least moderate power (Andrus does not do well here.) Certainly you would prefer to have a team of players who augmented their on-base and slugging with great baserunning and hustle. I’d pay double the going price to see a team full of 8 Ricky Hendersons. But that’s very unlikely. Those players are rare.

  118. As I have said many times before, the Tex trade was a farewell gift JS gave to himself. I am trying my best to just move on from that deal.

  119. @203 I don’t care if Jeffrey wins. He is a part time player and is not important. He wouldn’t be considered as a key contributor anyway.

  120. latest trade scenario from my little brain:

    jj hardy and michael cuddyer for kenshin kawakami, alex gonzalez, and michael dunn.

    is this realistic? the twins are looking to cut payroll and for a #4-5 pitcher. this would save them apprx. 7 mil.

  121. #210

    As we all know, the braves suck at baserunning (Except Jason and Martin). Justhank was saying that a threat on the bases would sit well with this team. I agree with him.

    BREF has Andrus at -3 at baserunnig (Because they only take SB-CS) and BPRO has him at +8. That is 8 runs above average… So, maybe 1 Win above replacement?

  122. Tim McCarver just talked about how Cliff Lee, playing first base, was run into by Todd Hundley on the baseline about 15 years ago.

  123. I really, really, really hated that pitch sequence that Posey called for Casilla when the Phillies scored 3 runs. Casilla came in and Polanco couldn’t hit the fastball, so he called for a couple sliders — one missed way low, and the other hung in the middle of the plate. Then Jimmy Rollins came up, couldn’t catch up to the fastball, so they kept calling low sliders, which he fouled off, until another wild slider went for a wild pitch. Just terrible. Throw the damn fastball!

  124. The point about Andrus is that he’d have been a young, better-than-average SS who gobbles up grounders on a team with a groundball-oriented pitching staff. He’d have helped this year and far more importantly, he’d help next year and the year after that. At this point, we’ve got AAG and a cross-your-fingers-that-Lipka-pans-out.

    I’ll grant that at the time SS was a place where organizationally the Braves were pretty deep. But that doesn’t make it a good use of resources. As Mac mentioned, trading Escobar at some point in the recent past could have netted us something very tasty.

  125. Has anyone heard anything about Salcedo and Andrelton SImmons? Between those guys and Lipka someone should pan out…but 2011-13 are looking pretty dicey right now.

  126. @224 Salcedo will ultimately be a third baseman, and Simmons would not hit enough and ultimately be a relief pitcher.

  127. Amazing, Manuel put Oswalt into the game. That’s pretty desperate. Of course, they still lost despite that. Yeah!!!

  128. You know, the Phillies remind me of us back in the 90s. Everybody thought we would win because we have Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. Now, everybody thought the Phillies would win because of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt. Then, a freaking stupid team like this year’s Giants will mess up all those ideas.

    I hated it back then, but I am loving it now, ha.

  129. Elvis Andrus is way too unimportant for you guys to be doing this to yourselves. Given we didn’t make the playoffs either of those years, we should be glad that we weren’t totally ruined by that trade, as far as I’m concerned. I consider us only losing a starting shortstop who can’t hit (already got one of those) and a young closer (already got one of those, with depth around him, so that’s not the issue, either) a win, frankly. I actually think it points in the direction of the trade being a good one, or at least worth a shot, rather than in the direction of the trade being a disaster. If you have your end of the deal completely collapse on you like we did, for the other end of the deal to be arguably slightly better than what we have in those positions now, and quite possibly not even that, is pretty fortunate. We should see it that way, and stop crying over spilled Andrus, as it were. He really isn’t very good, anyway.

  130. Elvis may not be very good — yet — but he’s cheaper and would be under control for a lot longer than AAG. Same goes for Neftali, to an even greater degree on cost and team control, when compared with Wagner. For the Liberty Media-era Braves, that matters. With our payroll situation, it’s at least debatable that we shouldn’t take risks of that size.

    And contrary to what Sam said earlier, not every winning team necessarily has to take on that kind of risk in order to win. If you don’t do this kind of trade, that doesn’t merely limit you to McGriff-for-Nieves. Just trade like talent for like talent. I have an up and coming Elvis Andrus who represents a surplus prospect SS, you have an up and coming Colby Rasmus who represents a surplus prospect OF. (Yeah, I know…we were already banking on Schafer…and Francoeur…at the time. Ugh. I hope my point is taken. It’s not inconceivable to find that kind of match.)

    Again, if I am JS and I’m retiring in 2008, I make the move. But if I’m FW at the time, I at least consider asking him not to.

    We’re going to keep coming back to that trade. We may revisit it if Venters should get injured and/or if Kimbrel loses the strike zone for a stretch next year. If Elvis develops some slugging ability in the next four years, or if Salcedo doesn’t pan out. We’ll just have to see because it’s not a done deal.

  131. I was referring to Kimbrel when compared with Feliz, who is just as cheap and just as team-controlled as Feliz is.

    I’m sure people are gonna keep coming back to it, since they have so far. I’m not quite as sure why. I don’t see it as the huge earth-shattering event that everyone else does. It certainly could have been, but it turned out that it wasn’t. This is obviously revisable if Andrus suddenly turns into Derek Jeter or something, although that seems very unlikely.

    And as far as Feliz goes, do you really think we would’ve kept all three of Venters, Feliz and Kimbrel? I don’t. We would’ve traded one of them. We may still trade one of the two remaining.

    I’m not denying that you can play mind games with it. You most certainly can. I just don’t think it’s advisable, because in the end, it just wasn’t that important. It’s gonna turn into this decade’s Dye-Tucker deal. It will be vastly over-analyzed and the players we gave up will be vastly overrated in the course of doing so.

  132. OK. I suppose I can understanding not wanting to talk about it because it’s clear we’ll be getting the short end of the stick in terms of value. If not by now, then soon.

    But for the record, “would have/could have” is how we evaluate trades. Which, the last time I checked, is a valid topic of conversation on here. If we limited discussion to what we can control, we wouldn’t have very much to talk about, right?

  133. Even if the trade was a mistake, there isn’t a team in baseball that hasn’t made bad trades. The Braves problem really is that the system hasn’t developed enough good position prospects (with obvious exceptions)to play the outfield.

  134. is the new Cubs coach going to keep Jaramillo there as the hitting coach? Just wondering but if a hitting/pitching coach signs a 3yr deal with lets say the Braves and then the Braves make a managerial change, would the new manager have to keep that coach? or could he make his own changes?

  135. Stu’s half-baked off-season plan (which can be done for less than $95 million) of the week:

    1. Trade Venters, Delgado, and Infante for Rasmus.

    2. Trade Kawakami for Figgins. (Take whatever money Seattle’s willing to throw in, but I’d probably be willing to do it with no money coming back.)

    3. Sign Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Kerry Wood, or Joaquin Benoit.

    4. Pick up AGony’s option; offer arbitration to Jurrjens, O’Flaherty, and Prado; sign Moylan and Diaz to two-year, below-arb-rate deals; and re-sign Hinske.

    5. Roll with this roster—

    Rotation
    Hudson
    Hanson
    Lowe
    Jurrjens
    Minor

    Bullpen
    Kimbrel
    [Free-agent righty]
    O’Flaherty
    Moylan
    Dunn
    Marek [or Hyde, if you want a third lefty]
    Martinez

    Line-up
    Figgins – LF
    Prado – 2B
    Heyward – RF
    McCann – C
    Jones – 3B
    Rasmus – CF
    Freeman – 1B
    Gonzalez – SS

    Bench
    Hinske – 1B / LF / stud lefty bat
    Diaz – LF / stud righty bat
    Ross – best back-up C in baseball
    McLouth – OF / pinch-runner
    Hernandez – SS

    That’s a deep team. Figgins starts in left field, but he’s also Chipper insurance. If he’s at third, you’ve got a platoon out of Diaz/McLouth/Hinske in left. Or maybe Medlen’s healthy or Beachy’s dominating AAA when Chipper gets hurt, and you can convince the Mets to take Lowe for Beltran. :)

    The line-up is extremely lefty-heavy, but oh well. Most pitchers are righty, anyway, and I’d rather have good lefties than mediocre righties.

    I know Figgins, especially with that contract, isn’t popular around here, but I like his versatility, and I think he’s very likely to rebound if he gets out of Seattle. A worthwhile risk, if you ask me.

  136. I like a lot of this. As much as I love Hinske, no way you resign him if you have all those everyday lefties. You’ll need another RH utility/bench guy there. And I’m not sure StL does that deal: two sell high candidates (one whose arm will fall off at the All Star break) and a suspect for Rasmus. Would that do it?

    I always liked the idea of getting Cody Ross, but his stock is blowing up in the playoffs.

  137. Don’t want Figgins. He is overrated in the extreme. The Braves don’t need versatility, they need someone who can mash the ball. That’s not Figgins.

  138. Actually, Marc, if they trade Infante, considering Chipper’s fragility, they need versatility, too. Unless you want more Brooks Conrad.

    Do you have any actual evidence that Figgins “is overrated in the extreme”? He was a pretty darn good player prior to going to Seattle.

    DJ,
    I agree about Hinske; I just like him and don’t want him to go.

    As for Venters, I have no idea what the Cardinals think of him, or what they’re looking for, in general. That’s just wishful thinking on my part. Like I said, half-baked.

  139. Just trade like talent for like talent. I have an up and coming Elvis Andrus who represents a surplus prospect SS, you have an up and coming Colby Rasmus who represents a surplus prospect OF..

    We can stop talking about it if you guys want, but this is the sort of thinking that makes people look stupid in regards to this trade. Elvis Andrus has never been “like talent” for Colby Rasmus. Rasmus, unlike Andrus, can hit as well as field a defensive position up the middle.

  140. @239

    1) If you include Delgado, I think you can get it done with Dunn rather than Venters. If you include Venters, I think you can get it done with Minor rather than Delgado. I’d also inquire as to how much interest STL would have in taking on McLouth if ATL paid his buyout for 2012. They like veteran defenders in LaRussa-ville.

    2) Hinske is redundant as a backup 1B, as Freeman bats left. You want a RH masher/backup 1B to compliment your young starter and give him rest against really tough lefties.

    3) If you flip Kawakami for Figgins, Figgins should take the Omar Infante “super-sub” role. You’re better served starting a McLouth/Diaz platoon in LF than starting Figgins. (This is also true of Omar Infante, who aside from 200 at bats down the stretch played a lot like Omar Infante last year.)

    4) If you fix CF with Rasmus you can afford to send Kawakami west for lottery ticket prospects, if Anaheim would take the contract. That would free up cash to sign a real LF (I’m on the Mags Ordonez train, personally) which would allow McLouth to be the fourth OF and Diaz to be the lefty mashing RHB backup for Freeman at 1B.

  141. 244—I think both I and the Braves disagree with you on the relative value of Minor and Delgado. That is, I would rather include Delgado than Minor, and I suspect the Braves would, too.

    And I’m skeptical that Venters/Delgado/Infante gets it done, so I’m really skeptical that Dunn in place of Venters gets it done — but that would be awesome.

    As for Figgins, if he’s back to posting a .380 OBP — and I wouldn’t advocate trading for that contract if I didn’t think he’d rebound — he belongs in the line-up.

    I seriously need to stop thinking so much about Colby Rasmus. It’s becoming unhealthy.

  142. @243, You could also say that Rasmus isn’t surplus to the Cards the way Andrus was for us. If you want a truer example, where we trade Andrus for a defensive OF who may one day hit, that’s fine. I’m not infatuated with Andrus, but I prefer him and Feliz over AAG/Wag for budgetary reasons.

    It’s admittedly not a good example of the general point I was trying to make, which is: all trades are not either Tex/the farm or McGriff/Nieves. A couple franchises made the playoffs and had just as much success as we did this year without pulling an all-in kind of move.

  143. PS: Peter is going through his top prospects series over at CAC. Good stuff; everyone who wants to know about our farm system should check it out.

  144. I don’t think the braves are in a position (Liberty) to carry Chone Figgins at $9M for 3 more years. I’d rather have Kenshin, his contract is done after 2011.

    Rasmus would be great. Especially if the cardinals use the same value scale as the braves did with Yunel.

    As for veteran RH relief pitcher one of the ray’s Wheeler / Balfour.

    AGONY’s option is cheap… but it is going to be a struggle to watch him put a .300 OBP for a full year.

  145. 248—Both Wheeler and Balfour are Type-A free agents. No way that’s a good idea.

    And, yes, the budget — assuming it holds steady — should be able to accommodate Figgins’ contract. (It’s only $8 million in 2012, FWIW.)

  146. But to justify turning Kawakami’s $7mil for 2011 into Figgins $9mil for 2011, 12, and 13 you have to believe Chone Figgins is worth that money. I don’t know that such a belief is rational.

    [EDIT] – I think I’d rather take a flyer on Kawakami for Brandon Wood.

  147. You have to believe that Figgins is worth $19.33 million — the $26 million he’s owed minus the $6.67 million owed to KK — over the next three years.

  148. Stu,

    I did not know that. Where can i find info for the types of free agents? Is it Elias?

    Figgins… its $8M in 2013, not 2012. What can we realistically expect for Figgins in the next 3 years?. That would be his 33 to 35 year seasons. And he’s got an option for another year if he achieves 600 PA’s in 2013.

    He just doesn’t have any power.

    I’d rather go platoon in LF than Figgins. Cheaper cost, more production.

  149. When Johnny Bench reached his sunset years, the Reds put him at 3B to get his bat in the lineup without further damaging his knees.

    I’ve long wanted to find a spot other than catcher to periodically rest McCann yet keep his bat in the lineup. (I’m resisting the satanic whisper of “DH for everyone”…)

    Any chance McCann could play some third? (Hell, put him LF. He couldn’t be worse than Melky.)

  150. Where can i find info for the types of free agents?

    MLBTR’s reverse-engineering of the Elias rankings. It’s not official, but they’re usually accurate.

    Figgins… its $8M in 2013, not 2012.

    Yeah, my fault. Either way, $26 million over the next 3 seasons.

    And he’s got an option for another year if he achieves 600 PA’s in 2013.

    I’m assuming the Braves wouldn’t let that happen.

    I’d rather go platoon in LF than Figgins. Cheaper cost, more production.

    If Figgins is posting .380 OBPs, or somewhere close, that’s more production than you’d get out of the platoon.

  151. I don’t think .380 OBP is realistic. And that would be an empty .380. He’s got a career 97 OPS. That is not enough for 9-8 million.

    Diaz / Hinske. Thames / Branyan. And my favorite Luke Scott / Matt Diaz.

    Besides, all of this is possible if we give up Omar in the potential Rasmus trade. If that doesn’t happen, Figgins is not an option.

  152. Thames/Branyan??? That would seriously be the worst defensive platoon of all time.

    And what, exactly, is an empty .380? He’s got a 10%+ walk rate.

    OBP is more important than SLG.

  153. I think Figgins would be a good fit, provided Seattle was willing/able to provide a little salary relief. His 97 OPS+ was achieved in the tougher league, and is weighted heavily towards OBP. He has excellent defensive versatility, and I think he’s a good candidate for a bounceback year.

    Edit: I should say I like Figgins ONLY as a replacement for Infante, as Stu suggests. We can replace one non-power superutility player with another, but we certainly can’t add to our banjo-hitters.

  154. After Melky… anything is an improvement.

    An empty .380? It’s when you post a higher OBP than SLG for 3 years in a row.

    OBP is more important than SLG. Of course. Nobody is denying that. The question , i think, is Chone Figgins at $26M for 3 years a good investment?. You say he is, i say he isn’t. Neither of us has a crystal ball to predict the future.

  155. What does SLG have to do with the “emptiness” of OBP?

    And, again, it would really be $19.33 million over 3 years for Figgins, after you take into account the savings on KK’s contract.

    257—Well said, and I agree about the Infante caveat. I wouldn’t do it unless filling that super-sub (Chipper insurance) spot became a necessity.

  156. You are covering one mistake (KK’s contract) with another (Figgins contract).

    If the braves think KK is a sunk cost. Then accept it and move on. Don’t use it as justification for going for another bad contract.

    You know what i mean about “emptiness”. It’s counterproductive to argue about technicalities. The discussion should be about value.

  157. I actually don’t know what you mean about emptiness, because you don’t seem to understand how valuable a .380 OBP is. Based on your words, anyway, and I can’t read your mind.

    Figgins only has a bad contract if you think he’s going to be closer to the player he was in 2010 (in death-to-hitters Seattle) than to the player he was in the several years prior. $19.33 million for 3 years of, say, a 3-win player with defensive versatility does not look like a bad contract, to me. And, sunk cost or not, if the Braves can clear Kawakami’s salary off the books, it does count as very real salary relief against whatever they’re bringing in return.

  158. I think the braves can pay about $4-5 mil of KK’s contract and move him. That would at least allow them to have $2-3 mil in order to go get a vet reliever. Its an expensive way of getting one reliever, but they wont use KK anyways

  159. On the comparison on Figgins.

    First question is what is Kawakami worth. That is, how much salary would somebody take on if they don’t give up anything or take on anything bad. My guess is somewhere between 1 and 2 million for another team to take KK as a “cover my ass” 6th or 7th starter (or maybe a “we are the Pirates / Royals / whoever and need some pitching and would be better off to run him out there than our other dreck”).

    And, to the Braves, Kawakami isn’t worth even that 1 to 2 million. We have better players (even assuming a return to 09 and early 10 form for KK) that are cheaper. We would only need or want him if “the Trade” ends up being a Major League starting pitcher going out (like JJ or Minor).

    Reports near the trade deadline were that the Mariners were willing to eat about 1/3 of Figgins remaining contract. So, if they take back Kawakami, I see them possibly being willing to take another chunk of say 1 to 2 million more in 11 and 12.

    But, I am not crazy about the Figgins move. It is highly dependent on his returning to an offensive level that he has only reached once.

  160. #261

    “I actually don’t know what you mean about emptiness, because you don’t seem to understand how valuable a .380 OBP is”

    Yeah, it is a very difficult concept to grasp.

    Go braves!

  161. 264—Well, fair enough.

    ::Weeps::

    265—For the record, “empty” OBP generally refers to OBPs inflated by unsustainably-high batting averages — guys who don’t walk. (Not Figgins; not Blanco.) It has nothing to do with slugging.

  162. You know, some people have been saying that the Braves should get B.J. Upton. I’m looking at his list of comparable players through Age 25, and it’s the same guys that are comparable to Melky! Lee Mazilli, Chili Davis, Paul Blair.

  163. Think Upton could still play some third? That’s another possible Chipper insurance option, although you’d be rolling with McLouth, full-time, in center field, which isn’t nearly as appealing as a McLouth/Diaz left field platoon as a back-up option.

  164. This quote from Brian Wilson made me chuckle:

    “Every victory’s just as tasty but tonight’s was really delicious,” right-hander Brian Wilson said.

    I don’t care how anybody else feels about him, I like Brian Wilson. Not sure why some consider his strange personality a negative.

  165. Stu, I know how OBP and SLG are calculated. So the word “empty” as used in the phrase “empty OBP” is slightly misleading, considering the context of its normal usage, “empty batting average,” which basically characterizes a guy who hits nothing but singles and never walks, or “empty OBP,” which, as you note, means the same thing.

    I simply intend the word “empty” to mean “overvalued”: for example, this year, Gregor Blanco had a .360 OBP, but just a .329 wOBA. Obviously, I agree with you that OBP is perhaps the single most important thing a hitter can do, but that doesn’t mean that slugging is useless. Blanco is a below-average offensive player because he can’t supplement his ability to get on base with an ability to hit.

  166. Yes, I’m aware of all of that, of course. I’m just asking that folks use words properly — it’s helpful in debates such as these. “Empty OBP” simply does not describe Figgins or Blanco, because what you’re faulting them for has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re categorizing as empty.

  167. I don’t think anyone needs to be lectured on the value of OBP, not even Braves’ management. Especially with Wren and Gonzalez who, regardless of their personal failings, are far more friendly to “new” “sabermetric” thinking than were JS anc BC. Fredi Gonzalez is a paying member of SABR, after all. I doubt he made it through the 2009 conference without hearing something about the value of OBP. Similarly, I’m pretty sure most of us here are aware that a point of OBP is more valuable than a point of SLG. (Last time I checked with the real dorks, the vaule was about 1.4::1 but that was in the early 2000s. The math might have tweaked since then.

    With that said, there is a limit at which the rule ceases to be controlling. There is a point where a batter’s ability to get on base has to be balanced with his ability to actually make contact with some authority. Players who can’t do that are marginally valuable at the top of the order – “get ’em on and let someone else drive them in” – as long as they have baserunning skills. But they’re not notably more valuable than guys who post similar OPS with weights toward SLG. If the choice is between a .380/.300 hitter and a .300/.400 hitter, you are best served with the OBP. But if the choice is between .365/.320 and .320/410, that’s not obvious choice. Either is defensible, and you really have to start thinking of where they are hitting in the lineup and what roles they are meant to play in the overall offense.

    So, yeah, OBP is very important. This isn’t news. We knes this way back in the ’90s. The Dodgers have been playing this game since Jackie Robinson was drafted, at least. But that doesn’t mean you run Gregor Blanco out there every day, even if his OBP is 30 points higher than Nate McLouth.

  168. Gotta love technicalities, they bring so much to the discussion.

    Career ISO ( AVG/OBP/SLG) Babip

    Figgins .089 (.287/.359/.376) Bapip .337
    Omar .121 (.274/.319 / .395) Babip .313

  169. I don’t think Jackie Robinson was drafted, except into the Army.

    Overall, though, I think Sam’s analysis makes a lot of sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *