421 thoughts on “They COULD be trying to improve the team”

  1. I like how “Frank Wren: Speed GM” started off in earnest and has become more and more sarcastic each day without any effort on Mac’s part. Now that’s efficiency.

  2. You-Think-You’ve-Got-Money-Problems Dept.:

    In a cost-cutting move, the Mets are eliminating their minor-league team in Kingsport, Tenn.

    In a related story, Met fans continue their hot-stove cynicism.

  3. ububba @4,

    But they keep signing FA middle relievers. Isn’t one minor league team less expensive than one FA middle reliever and more likely to actually help the Mets?

    Terrible management.

  4. A quick search for Earnest in Baseball-Reference.com does not look promising. Maybe Wren should start off in carlos.

  5. #5
    They have to keep up the illusion that they’re “trying to win” in the short term.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t seen their fanbase this disillusioned since the Vince Coleman Era.

  6. That Conlin story is, er, unexpected.

    All the times I’ve seen him sanctimonious and he’s got this in his past?

    If there must be one more of these stories, please let it be Feinstein.

  7. @11, which of course is exactly the wrong thing. Encouraging contemporaneous reporting, setting reasonable standards of evidence and revisiting institutional controls would be more appropriate, but that admits external blame and isn’t nearly as much fun as yet another erosion of justice in pursuit of the latest scarlet letter.

  8. Maybe it’s just me being sanctimonious, but I think that the public shaming isn’t such a bad thing, at least right now. If the Penn State tragedy brings more of these crimes to light, and enables people to finally talk about what happened to them, then it will erode the culture of silence that allowed these crimes to keep happening.

    Reading that story, and reading about the parents who allowed their daughter to be around Conlin because they figured he only molested boys… I don’t condemn them for it. But I think that it never would have happened if we could have a more honest dialogue about child rape, so that sufferers would believe that they could come forward, and so that everyone affected by it would feel empowered to do the right thing: tell the cops.

    Like Spike said, encouraging contemporaneous reporting, setting reasonable standards of evidence, and revisiting institutional controls are all necessary, and in my opinion, the way to get there is to keep having the conversation that Sandusky started. (To some degree, the Boston Globe’s stories about the Catholic Church started it, but for some reason, those stories didn’t penetrate the culture more widely, and the crimes of Jerry Sandusky, Bernie Fine, and Bill Conlin stayed hidden.)

    I don’t think that there’s a good reason for a statute of limitations on child rape, though. Sure, I think it’s more important to take rapists who are still committing crimes off the streets, but I think it’s important to force those who have gotten away with it for years to face the punishment for their actions.

    I can’t shake the Kevin Ricks story published in the Washington Post. That’s the clearest distilled expression of human evil that I can think of. Call me sentimental, but I believe deeply in the need to bring someone like that to justice, no matter how long it takes.

    Obviously, there need to be standards so that this doesn’t become a witch hunt. False accusations of rape have destroyed lives. But if we destroy the culture of silence, and make the unspeakable spoken, it will be easier to tell true from false.

    God, I hated Conlin’s writing even before this. What a nightmare.

  9. I think of murderers who have been successfully prosecuted because of DNA evidence analysis that didn’t exist at the time of the initial investigation, and I tend to be against sunsetting felonies. There are a lot of technological hypotheticals that result in gathering more specific evidence from, say, a rape kit than can be obtained today.

    I understand that memories get worse over time, and testimony becomes less reliable, but that can be taken into account by a judge (or grand jury) without a blanket dismissal of all claims older than some arbitrary time limit.

  10. Agreed.

    And, as I read over what I wrote, I realize that I should have said “alleged crimes” in what I wrote above. Obviously, justice should run its course. But whatever happens, regardless of whether any of these men happens to be exonerated, these crimes occur and will continue to occur. If we can treat it as a comprehensible tragedy that can be spoken about, like assault, rather than an unspeakable tragedy that can never be spoken of, then more of these crimes will be punished and prevented.

  11. Given my own recent experiences, I am certainly sensitive to the notion that there is such a definitive consequence to merely making the accusation that it should not be done lightly, and a presumption of innocence should attach. Cases like this where there is significant interlocking eyewitness testimony and corroboration make it tough to do. Still, statutory limitations are in place for a reason, and while I would have no problem with extending them past the current 7 or so years in most states, it’s important that there be some reasonable term in place, and I’d hate to see the current set of tragedies create an environment where that protection is set aside and cause even greater harm from ill-founded prosecutions.

  12. I can’t see much of a way to exonerate Conlin given the depth and breadth of the allegations and testimony against him. Being that I am not a court of law, I’m comfortable slotting him into the Jerry Sandusky “guilty by overbearing weight of the alleged facts” bucket.

    The Braves are in the right with regard to their legal fight with Disney/PIXAR.

  13. I’m comfortable slotting him into the Jerry Sandusky “guilty by overbearing weight of the alleged facts” bucket.

    As am I. You can’t base a legal system on the sniff test, but as a survival instinct it serves us well.

  14. Isn’t there some kind of ongoing pissing contest over streaming content between Liberty/DirectTV/Starz and Pixar/Mouse that also involves the recent Netfix debacle?

    It’s so tough to keep up with what all these media dinosaurs do as they circle the drain.

  15. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I was speaking of general legal protections. The available evidence is pretty damning of Conlin.

  16. The Braves legal fight is both frivolous and stupid. The publicity is nothing but bad, and they should want to maintain good relations with the owners of their Spring Training home. On the merits, there is almost no chance they can prove anyone is likely to be confused by an animated Pixar movie and a professional baseball team. They don’t have exclusive rights to such a common word as ‘Brave’. They cannot prove damages of any sort, because the markets are entirely unrelated.

    Perhaps they want to be so thoroughly and utterly defeated by Disney’s vast legal army, that it wipes away any memory of their historic on field collapse.

  17. uh this is troubling:

    @Tom__Peace: Orioles turn down Braves offer of Jurrjens,Prado, and pitching prospect for @SimplyAJ10 hmmmmmm

    Anyone else hearing this is actually true? We offered all that for Jones? And they said no?

  18. Peanut says there was nothing really happening on the Orioles front.

    OTOH he had this to say in his most recent mailbag, which makes me feel like Prado and Jurrjens will most certainly be gone before the season starts: “The Braves thought they might have been close to trading Jair Jurrjens to the Reds last weekend. But this potential deal died when the Reds instead sent Edinson Volquez and three of their top prospects to the Padres in exchange for Mat Latos. Had Jurrjens been traded to the Reds, the Rockies felt the Braves would then be in position to trade them Martin Prado. There is still a chance the Rockies will realize their hopes to acquire Prado. There are also still plenty of pitching-hungry teams that will be willing to strike a deal for Jurrjens. But Wren has continued to say he will not deal either player unless he receives a strong return.”

    If Peanut was willing to come out this far and describe the mechanics of a multi-team deal, I feel like that means we’ll get something done.

  19. I still think that Wren will get something done. I’m also really happy that the Orioles turned down that offer if it was truly presented. Now I just hope that Wren doesnt play that building for the future card. So lets avoid that Diaz/Smith platoon.

  20. If that was the deal, then I’m glad they turned it down too, but I can’t see it. Maybe we asked for Machado too.

  21. I totally agree with Rany’s analysis. The thing is, the Braves have always been known as a team that traded prospects that didn’t wind up panning out — from Melvin Nieves to Dan Meyer — so I don’t know if that affects the perception of our prospects, but I do know (from comments by John Sickels and others) that Braves pitching prospects are often perceived as overhyped.

    Anyway, it’s a long offseason, and there are two months till pitchers and catchers report. I’m expecting a trade, and quite frankly I’d rather we trade one of our prospects at peak value than at the nadir, like Jurrjens and Prado both coming off injuries.

  22. @34 – All it takes to change perception is one Adam Wainwright. Throw in a dash of Neftali Perez and suddenly Braves minor league pitching starts looking less over valued.

    @32 – I read it too. Very good stuff.

  23. It sounds like Liberty is part of some evil conspiracy to publicize some movie I otherwise never would have heard of.

  24. The Braves own a trademark for the term “Braves.” The reason, I would think, is obvious.

    Disney is attempting to trademark the term “Brave” in association with their new movie.

    The Braves are filing to prevent the Disney trademark, as it is not in the Braves best interest to have Disney own the merchandising rights to the term “Brave.”

    In general terms, any copyright claim that pits Disney against anyone else, Disney should be considered the bad guy. They are the worst copyright/trademark bullies on the planet, by far.

  25. Rany is right. The fact that you could probably get more in return for Mike Minor than Jair Jurrjens is just silly.

  26. As crummy as the extra Wild Card is, it will help to reduce the value of prospects. When teams barely need a winning record to make the playoffs, more teams are in “win now” than “rebuilding” mode, and the demand for prospects decreases.

    I kind of blame the dominance of a few high-payroll teams for the prospect bubble. When the only way to compete with the Yankersox is to have half your team pre-arbritration, prospects are more important than established players you have to pay.

  27. “I kind of blame the dominance of a few high-payroll teams for the prospect bubble. When the only way to compete with the Yankersox is to have half your team pre-arbritration, prospects are more important than established players you have to pay.”

    But the high-payroll teams don’t really dominate. The Yankees and Red Sox have won three WS combined since 2000. Both have missed the playoffs within the last three years. Even before the wild card, the Yankees and Red Sox and others weren’t steamrolling over everyone. I think that’s an excuse for teams to cut their payroll by saying we can’t compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. The addition of the wild card mitigated this because teams can’t sell that as easily and, as you say, the new wild card will do so even more.

  28. Depends on what you mean by “dominate.” The Red Sox and Yankees have won three of the last eight World Series; the Yankees won four of the previous eight by themselves.

    I mean, no, they haven’t won every single one. But those two teams have won it all in seven of the past sixteen years. At least we can say that they’re starting from significantly elevated odds, wouldn’t you say?

  29. I assume everyone saw this but it’s the Baltimore trade I mentioned earlier from Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun:

    “Well, Adam Jones is the team’s best trade chip. But unless the Orioles get a front-line pitcher in return, I don’t see them dealing Jones. The Atlanta Braves made a run this month, offering second baseman-outfielder Martin Prado, starter Jair Jurrjens and, eventually, a pitching prospect, and the Orioles didn’t bite. So that tells you just how much they value their center fielder. (Jurrjens looked like a front-line starter in the first half of 2011, but there have been some durability concerns surrounding the 25-year-old righty since his 215-inning season in 2009.)”

    Edit: Not sure what shocks me more that we offered that or that they turned it down. If the report can be believed.

  30. Look at the Braves. Why are they shopping Jurrjens and Prado? It is all about years of control, arbitration, free agency and salary growth. Clubs want to receive value for these players before they walk, or become too expensive.

  31. But the high-payroll teams don’t really dominate. The Yankees and Red Sox have won three WS combined since 2000.

    Yeah, since January 2000: two teams out of thirty have won 25% of World Series (2000, 2004, 2007, 2009.)

  32. •#Braves won’t comment on report, but Balt. Sun writer is solid. RT @BufLo_Dolla: @ajcbraves Braves offered prado/jj for adam jones??? 47 mins ago

  33. What’s more likely, that Wren and Duquette are both this apeshit about Adam Jones, or that the writer left out the other Baltimore player that was discussed to even-up that deal?

    The Orioles have players we could use on Jones and Hardy, but if they were parting with those players, they’d have no real use for Prado/Jurrjens either.

  34. “Yeah, since January 2000: two teams out of thirty have won 25% of World Series (2000, 2004, 2007, 2009.)”

    You could have said something similar about the Cardinals and Dodgers in the 60s; they won 40% of the World Series in that decade. Or the Reds and Pirates in the 70s (also 40%) I don’t think 4 out of 12 is extreme, espcially if you consider that the Yankees title in 2000 was the last in a dynasty and the Red Sox haven’t really been close to the WS since 2007.

    I’m not saying the big payroll teams don’t have an advantage-obviously they do. But it’s not an overwhelming advantage under the current system. Teams like the Pirates (and, until this year, the Marlins) have just given up but they still make money. The Braves haven’t given up but they certainly do value cheap players seemingly more than productive players.

  35. Well, the Sawx were one game away from the WS in 2008.

    I’m glad that our GM is sticking to his guns, but this off-season has been a real snoozer so far. I’m reminded why I so much more prefer the actual games.

  36. Bowman:

    The Braves expressed interest in Adam Jones. But they did not offer Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens to the Orioles in exchange for the outfielder. […]

    The source said the Braves were told Jones was unavailable when they asked about him a couple weeks ago. The Orioles later called the Braves to see if they would trade Prado, Jurrjens and two other “premium guys” in exchange for Jones.

    The Braves said they were not interested and the two clubs have not had any recent discussions about these players.

    That sounds a lot better.

    Dumb Orioles.

  37. Could the Braves have actually offered that, and are now saying they didn’t to try and keep up the value of Prado and Jurrjens?

    “What, us trade with of these two studs for that? Perish the thought…”

  38. The Orioles may be the worst team in baseball about overvaluing their own players. This is why they never got anything in return for Brian Roberts.

  39. Two premium guys?! That sounds very Orioles-like, but part of me thinks that Wren got really drunk at a christmas party and offered Duquette way too much. Duquette was a combination of drunk and bad at his job, so he declined, but it leaked anyway and the now-sober Wren employed Bowman to do damage control.

    Edit: Or pretty much the same thing as @61.

  40. 61,

    I doubt that. There are multiple sources saying that the Braves didn’t have an offer on the table (as they were told Jones was unavailable until the Orioles decided to change their mind and wanted JJ, Prado, and 2 pitching prospects). There’s only one source saying that the Braves offered made the JJ, Prado, and one prospect offer.

    And, historically, Wren hasn’t made such idiotic offers. Bourn is a much better player than Adam Jones, and look at what the Front Office gave up for him. On the other hand, historically, the Orioles have been idiots when it comes to trading. This is probably just misinformation fed to a Baltimore beat reporter from somebody inside the Orioles’ organization.

  41. I agree with most of the comments. Wren just wouldn’t make an offer like that. The Orioles certainly are likely to have asked for something ridiculous. If it’s a matter of credibility, I think you have to go with the Braves.

  42. I’d love to get a LF and keep Prado for a super utility spot.

    I’m warming up to the idea of Cody Ross. I really wish we hadn’t traded for Diaz last year. If you gave Diaz spot (and money) to Ross, you could still get a Beltran or Quentin type for LF.

    As it is, a Ross signing would preclude any starting LF addition.. unless you moved Prado.

  43. I would tend to think it was the O’s demand and Wren promptly rejected the idea. That would be much more logical.

  44. Injuries and ineffectiveness make players like Diaz tradeable midseason… in the offseason, not so much.

  45. @51- The analogy I like is playing stud poker with all the players having a different numbers of cards. Theoretically, anyone could win, but the game isn’t fair.

  46. My brother then expanded it by saying the Rays only got five cards to the Yankees twenty, but they may be the best card counters in the game.

    Also AAR, put a copy of the Jean Beauvoir song you recommended on the mix for our Christmas party this year and everyone really liked it. Thanks.

  47. @73

    I thought this comment was funny:

    “They did this once when Otis Nixon was on the team but singing “dashing through the snow” would always make him rub his gums and run to the bathroom.”

  48. The more I think about the Braves’ lawsuit against Pixar, the sillier it seems. I’m certainly no expert on trademark and copyright law, but how can you sue over the use of what is a common term? Brave doesn’t just refer to a baseball team, it’s a common adjective. Could the Miami Heat sue over any movie that used the word “heat” in the title? I’m sure there are people here that understand this better than I do.

  49. Another gem from the Baseball Hall of Fame. I feel like I’m reading a North Korean newspaper…

    Phil Nevin debuts on BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Confidence was never something Phil Nevin lacked.

    “There isn’t a pitcher in the world that can beat me,” he said.

    It was that fiery personality and style of play that sparked Nevin’s 12 seasons in the big leagues, and now it could land him in Cooperstown.

  50. @79 – EXACTLY.

    The Braves are filing to PREVENT Disney from trademarking the term “Brave.” Because the Braves don’t want Disney to have a legal avenue to sue them every time the announcers say a “Brave” did so and so on the field.

  51. Yeah, if you can get an injunction on sales of competing tablet computers because they have flat, un-cluttered faces and filleted corners, then you can sue anyone for anything. I’m more familiar with patent stuff, but I assume trademarks are equally ridiculous.

  52. They don’t call trademark and copyright law “The Mouse Law” for nothing. Disney owns K Street on this issue, and every law passed in the past 50 years regarding copyright and trademark was basically written by Disney, who swings as big a cudgel as possible on these issues.

    Disney remade “Braveheart” as an animated feature, changed Mel Gibson into an uppity red-headed lass from the highlands and eventually named it “Brave.” They then attempted to trademark all uses of the term “Brave” as part of their giant footprint of copyright ownership.

    Liberty Media’s lawyers said “wait a minute, we have this thing called the “Braves” and we use the term “Brave” all the time. This filing to trademark “Brave” is bunk.”

    As these things go, as usual, Disney is in the wrong.

  53. First, let’s kill all the Disney lawyers.

    Thanks for the legal insights, guys. On its’ face, the action by Liberty seemed to be much ado about nothing.

    When John Jenkins is on (like he was last night) he’s the best perimeter player in college. Just beautiful to watch.

  54. Per ESPN – LOS ANGELES — USC quarterback Matt Barkley will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon at Heritage Hall to announce whether he will stay for his senior year or leave school early for the NFL draft.

    This is front page news, WHY?

  55. @89
    I’d take a 2 WAR from Pastornicky. According to bWAR or fWAR, that’s twice as good as what we got from Freeman last year (which I find bizarre).

  56. A Disney trademark would not affect the Braves in the slightest. It would not do damage to their brand, as the Braves assert. They are in different, unrelated markets. Companies that do completely different things trademark similar sounding names all the time. The Braves objection is frivolous and makes them look stupid.

  57. Grst

    Maybe I’m wrong (and it’s certainly possible that I am) but I think the worry is that the Braves could get sued for infringement by Disney if Disney is granted this trademark for just marketing the Braves and Disney (as Sam has mentioned) is very aggressive at going after people once they get their trademarks in place. I think it’s a tough sell PR wise for Liberty Media but I believe they are right to proceed anyway.

  58. New trade I’m fantasizing over: Nick Swisher, Mason Williams, Eduardo Nunez, and one of the Yanks catching prospects not name Gary Sanchez or Montero (Romine, Murphy) for Jurrjens and Prado.

  59. DOB preparing us??

    •This gets overlooked on Seth Smith: He’s a .336 career pinch-hitter (46-for-137) w/ 21 XBH, .430 OBP, .599 slugging. #Braves PH bad in ’11. 2 hours ago

  60. Ladies and gentlemen, the Braves have to face these pitchers for about 25% of their season: Strasburg, Zimmerman, Gio, Halladay, Hamels, Lee, J. Johnson, Buerhle, Santana.

    This is getting fairly disgusting.

  61. I’m not sure how I feel about this

    There are definitely worse deals that Wren could make. It all depends on Cain. He can play a legit CF, but struck out a lot in the minors. Still, it fills needs and deals from a position of strength.

  62. I don’t care if he’s a lefty, I can’t make myself cower in fear of Mark Buehrle. Or Johan, at this point. Or Jordan Zimmerman or Gio Gonzalez, yet.

    Let’s remember they all have to face Hudson, Hanson, Beachy and then our bullpen 60% of the time. And maybe Minor and Teheran won’t be half bad.

  63. @93 Disney might well try, but they’d have no more leg to stand on than the Braves do here. It’s not like a Disney trademark would grant them exclusive rights to the word ‘Brave’, which would be absurd. The single most important question in trademark law is the presence of customer confusion, and there simply is none here, at least, not that I can fathom. But Disney is much more creative than I, so who knows. I’m not going to go on about it, because I prefer talking about baseball, but I just find it a stupid move on part of the organization (or, to be more specific, Liberty).

    @97 Trademarks are not ownership over a simple word, and typically include more than just the word itself (in particular for a word as common as Brave). In other words, it’s for a particular word or phrase in a particular market portrayed in a particular way (so things like font, color, etc.). In other words, they don’t want other imitating their movie with their merchandise. This should be no concern of the Braves, who have their own distinctive presentation.

  64. Sick and tired of Liberty pinching pennies.

    If this front office can’t stand up to ownership to get our missing piece, what good are they?

    Frank Wren = Rick Sund.

  65. Ethan, glad it worked out!

    Why are we so interested in a center fielder who isn’t as good as Michael Bourn? I get that he’s eligible for free agency after the season, but both Adam Jones and Lorenzo Cain are guys with good gloves and worse offense than Bourn. Not the kind of person you want to move to left field, where their defense is less important and their offensive flaws are more glaring.

  66. @116 Maybe they will trade Bourn as a next step you know. This would reduce the payroll further for that leftfield bat we need.

  67. That wouldn’t make sense, though. Bourn’s ridiculously underpaid: he only made $4.4 in arb last year, and his offensive numbers were actually a lot worse in 2011 than in 2010, so he won’t be in line for much of a raise. The Braves would never be able to replace his production at the low price he’ll cost us for 2012.

  68. @118 – I’m pretty sure KC was being bitterly sarcastic about the Braves’ sadly limited payroll.

    Well… so, no Beltran. I can live with it, given Beltran’s advanced age and fragility, but I really hope the Braves’ plan for getting offensive production in 2012 isn’t just “Prado and JHey should do better this year”. Perhaps they’re cooking up a deal for some young, cost-controlled talent as we speak. Yep… that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

  69. Well .. again we see what Chipper being greedy has done … we will have to pay his 15 mil or so this year for another 120 games played with about 30 of them 120 with him hobbling around .. when he could have retired and we could have gotten a Ramirez or Beltran or Wiilingham and let Prado play 3rd base where he is good … but no Braves sit with finger up tail while every other team in the East got better .. Braves look to be behind Phillies, Marlins and Nats now … oh well .. cant wait till next football season.

  70. @118 Well, that’s indeed the trade-off AAR. Assuming we are indeed getting Cain or something similar, we will have a centerfielder earning the minimum. Once you trade Bourn and Prado, the combined salaries of the two + JJ would be the money we can absorb for the big leftfield bat we need. As of now, it seems like we don’t even have enough money to get freaking Cody Ross. Look at the salaries get is being given to Beltran, Cuddyer and Willingham…so it depends on what type of team Wren wants to build. If he wants to build a deep team, what I said above wouldn’t make sense. It depends on how desperate we want that leftfield bat or we would be happy with Cody Ross or something similar…

  71. @123 .. what was said that was dumb .. facts are Chipper is over the hill and wont play 120 games .. his bat has slowed down .. yes Beltran has been hurt also but we would have had options if we had about 20 – 25 mil to spend to keep up wit other teams in division .. Phils, Nats and Marlins all are better right now as it stands. IMO

  72. @124 Obviously Chipper doesn’t make 20-25 mil. What you said is fact, but it was the organization which gave him the contract. Wren could easily run Chipper out of town like what the Braves did to Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, and Andruw. Chipper isn’t selfish. He is just taking what the Braves promised to pay him. Chipper is still a very useful player, just not worth the value the Braves are paying him. However, you are talking about one of the greatest Braves ever. It is the Braves’ fault for not being cold-blooded with Chipper (if you consider that as a fault). It’s hardly Chipper’s fault.

  73. Chipper’s value, according to Fangraphs (which highly factors in defense in the formulas) compared to his salary.

    2002: Salary-11.3 Value-16.3
    2003: Salary-13.3 Value-11.7
    2004: Salary-15.3 Value-10.7
    2005: Salary-16.1 Value-17.3
    2006: Salary-12.3 Value-15.9
    2007: Salary-12.3 Value-30.9
    2008: Salary-12.3 Value-33.8
    2009: Salary-10.0 Value-12.8
    2010: Salary-14.0 Value-11.6
    2011: Salary-14.0 Value- 9.4

    Sure, Chipper hasn’t been worth his contract the past 2 years, but it’s not that far off and considering how much he has been undervalued in the past, it’s a fair deal.

  74. Y’all realize that you can throw out all the WAR, FWAR, VORP and other advanced metrics out there you want and ole Tad isn’t going to be convinced he is wrong. Just page down it won’t be worth the effort.

  75. Chipper is not greedy for taking the money offered him. The braves are dumb for drafting too many soft tossing LHPs or guys with speed and no pop and not drafting and developing a guy to take his place in the last 5-7 years and putting themselves in a spot to have to count on a 39 year old 3rd baseman.

    If you would like to argue that Wren and company offered him too much, I can see your point.

    I get tired of the Chipper is greedy comments. You can get on Chipper for certain things, but he has been willing to move around and he has tried to help the organization.

  76. And that damn Hank Aaron. He insisted on playing when he was 40 too.

    Chipper probably could have gotten more money by going somewhere else earlier in his career. He could have refused to redo his contract when the Braves wanted him to. He didn’t have to move to left field. The guy is a Hall of Famer who has bled Braves blue for fifteen years. It’s not Chipper’s fault the ownership won’t spend any money. And, acting as if Prado would be Mike Schmidt at third is silly. Prado is a solid player but he isn’t a better hitter, even now, than Chipper. (And, no, I have no metrics to back that up but that’s my impression.)

    I’m not all that impressed with Gio Gonzalez. He seems to be a product of pitching in the Oakland Coliseum. I think the Nats gave way too much for him.

  77. Remember this? JS letter to the fans…

    “However, our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal.”

  78. Thank you, Marc, for saying it better (and less profanely) than I would have.

    I dunno, Gio highlights are pretty impressive.

    Not sure who, but someone with some clout in the organization needs to clearly and loudly point out that our Division-mates are leaving us in the dust and that if we want to compete beyond this year, we’re going to have to raise payroll significantly.

  79. Liberty is not going to raise payroll significantly. The moment you accept that is the moment you can reach inner peace and realize we’re sailing for an 84-78 season and a third place division finish.

    Remember, hate and anger lead to the Dark Side.

  80. If Prince, the first baseman, ends up in Miami or Washington, then it will be time to do something to stay ahead of them. Philadelphia doesn’t look anything but older. If Chipper is our big problem, I like our chances against them all. When do pitchers and catchers report?

  81. Our biggest problem isnt just Chipper. This team can be good, if Chipper, JJ, Hanson, Hudson, Prado, Heyward can all stay healthy. If FG manages O’Ventbrel better this season. If Prado and Heyward bounce back to their 2009 form. Almost all of that needs to happen for the Braves to win this division. Our goal shouldnt be the Wild Card.

  82. I was jonesin’ for Wren to do something. Now, the more I look at the off season many teams are having, I see a lot of albatross contracts and mis-matched parts. Wren’s inactivity is just as likely to look good in retrospect as any other GM’s off season.

  83. $13 mil per is too rich for Beltran. (The idea that Chipper’s contract is problematic but that they should have given Beltran that same contract is, of course, as idiotic as most of Tad’s rantings.)

    Gio Gonzalez is good, but he’s not as good as his Oakland numbers.

    The Braves are still the better bet for WC contention from the East, assuming everything doesn’t break perfectly and they win the division instead.

    And of course, the Braves have yet to make their final moves for 2012.

  84. Sam @138 – your comparison of Chipper and Beltran is off in several important ways. Beltran is 1) five years younger (exactly) than Chipper, and 2) is coming of a 4.8 WAR season, which is better than Chipper has managed since 2008. Moreover, Beltran would have fit perfectly with the Braves’ needs (power-hitting LF). Also, a two-year deal doesn’t have the same kind of albatross contract risk you take on with, say, Vernon Wells or Jason Bay.

    Speaking strictly from a value perspective, Beltran put up 4.8 WAR last year. Moving forward, a realistic projection would put Beltran at 6.5 – 7 WAR for the next two seasons. Frankly, $26M is a fair price for that output, and it stacks up well compared to other FA deals given to outfielders this offseason. Beltran would have increased the Braves’ projected 2012 win total by at least a couple wins. Given that the Braves look like a high-80s win team right now, that may be the difference between playoff baseball and another excruciating near-miss next season.

  85. Beltran was a perfect fit for the Braves, as long as he’s an addition. If he’s replacing Chipper Jones, the Braves second best hitter, he’s not helping that much.

    The complaint about Chipper is that he’s fragile. This is not an argument one makes in *favor* of Carlos Beltran. Yes, he’s younger. He’s also an outfielder playing on a bum knee with a questionable back.

    If the Braves had the funds to pay Beltran $13 mil straight up, I’d do it. If the Braves could have dumped all of Lowe’s contract and turned that same contract into Carlos Beltran for two years, I’d do it. But if the trade off is dumping the HOF 3B who has carried the team forever, all for the sake of a couple of years of Carlos Beltran?

    No. Not a chance. Tad’s rantings and trollings are just that. Insanity and a cry for attention.

  86. Certainly Beltran’s ceiling is higher, but I’m not sure 6.5-7 WAR over two years is realistic. He put up less than 4 WAR in 2009-2010.

  87. I know this is in no way as accurate a predictor of Beltran’s performance next year as the WAR guess, but Carlos’ 10 most similar batters averaged playing in 115 games during their age 35 season. Does it count as being above replacement level if you are on the DL?

  88. Was anyone considering signing Beltran and dumping Chipper? Hadn’t seen that one.

    No, Beltran was the perfect answer for what the Braves need – assuming decent health – as an addition, not a replacement.

    And it wouldn’t have cost us any of our real treasure – our enviable (and marketable) pitching depth.

    Penny wise and pound foolish – that should probably be the epitaph of the Braves under Liberty.

    Give me death to Liberty or (better) give me Arthur Blank.

  89. @141 – I was not considering Beltran as a “replacement” for Chipper; I only brought up Chipper in comparison b/c you mentioned Beltran’s contract vs. Chipper’s. Frankly I’d like to have both guys, but I guess we just don’t have the payroll space right now.

    @142 – 7 WAR over the next two seasons may be a tad optimistic, but the projections on Fangraphs have him at roughly 3.5 WAR next year; if you credit him 3.5 WAR in 2012 and 3 WAR in 2013, you get 6.5, so it’s not so outrageous to think he could produce 7+. Then again, he’s damaged goods, so you might get a repeat of 2009-2010 (roughly 1 full season of ABs and roughly 4 WAR) for your $26M.

  90. Here’s Olney’s take…

    The lead that the Braves lost last September was just about equal to that of the Red Sox, but while Boston has gone through an explosive offseason of change, Atlanta has been almost stationary. Derek Lowe was traded, and hitting coach Larry Parrish was fired, but there have not been anything close to a reconstruction. So far, Atlanta’s efforts to find offense through the trade of Jair Jurrjens and/or Martin Prado have not worked out.

    David O’Brien wonders: Are the Braves falling behind in the NL East? – Buster Olney’s blog

  91. From a rationalist perspective, the Braves have not fallen behind in the East. They’ve tread water. The Phillies have gotten a little worse, due to age, I think. The Marlins and Nats have improved. The Mets are scuttling their ship.

    The Marlins nor the Nats have improved enough, from their beginning state, to say they’re notably better than the Braves at this point. The feeling that they are improved beyond Atlanta is more emotional reaction to their “do something” off season as opposed to the boredom of Atlanta’s “do nothing” process to date.

  92. And, acting as if Prado would be Mike Schmidt at third is silly. Prado is a solid player but he isn’t a better hitter, even now, than Chipper.

    Right. The only thing Prado’s got on Chipper is his ability to stay in the lineup.

    Oh, wait. No he doesn’t.

    Dumping on Chipper is dumb. He’s only been a really good hitter the last couple years, what a crime. Any fault found with his place in the lineup has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the roster management around him.

  93. Explosive? Kelly Shoppach and Nick Punto? Andrew Miller? Bobby Valentine? I’ll take Atlanta’s off season over Boston’s.

  94. #147 – they said it could be a few million, but nothing significant. KK, Lowe’s, McLouth’s money is already spent on Bmac, Uggla, and Bourn’s contracts this year.

  95. After the Mets’ first big collapse, they went out and got the best pitcher in baseball at the time in Johan Santana.

    Meanwhile, the Braves appear poised to have their biggest offseason acquisition be Luis Durango. While everyone else in the division gets stronger.

  96. Just because it didn’t work out for them, doesn’t mean trading peanuts for the best pitcher as the Mets did is generally a bad idea.

  97. I wonder why Wren hasn’t traded Constanza, Hoover, Redmond, and Ascenio for Halladay yet. I mean, doesn’t he want to win?

  98. @162 No, I’m a fan of his. it’s a shame the new park has hurt his numbers so much.

    For what it’s worth, most of the Mets fans I’ve met will begrudgingly admit to respecting Chipper.

  99. 151,

    I would say our pitching is the best in the entire NL, excluding Philly.


    I love David myself. Really wish he’d be the guy to take over for Chipper.

    Speaking of Chipper, I’m extremely surprised that he’s never signed a 100 million dollar contract. I mean, he’s probably one of the top 5 players of his generation (Bonds, Pujols, Thomas, …), and the largest contract he’s signed has been worth 90 million.

  100. @154

    And Jason Bay, and Luis Castillo, and on and on. The Mets always spent money, occasionally for worthy players, but often not. Their current straits are the outcome of their longstanding organizational philosophy.

  101. Thing with Chipper is that he never hit the FA market (as far as I remember). He just signed extensions repeatedly. This tended to reduce the duration of his deals.

    If he’d wanted to, he certainly could’ve let a contract end and sign a $100M deal, either with the Braves or someone else. But he was always willing to forgo that for security.

  102. Merry x’mas to all my Braves Journal friends. This has been a terrible year for all of us here. Wish next year will be a better one.

  103. @167 – maybe.

    Certainly, two straight years of no Bama, LSU or Arkansas is Richt’s instant karma, but opening at Columbia won’t be a picnic.

    I can legitimately see the Dawgs going 12-0 in the regular season. Land mines abound, but it’s actually possible.

    A 12-0 SEC East v. a 12-0 SEC West for the right to put a beatdown on Kiffin?

  104. So I was thinking about Bravesjournal, and about 2012. And here’s hoping that 2012 is the year the Braves bring us a championship, and the year Mac kicks cancer’s ass. And Mark Grogan’s wife does the same.

    And that got me thinking about FlaBravesFan. He had brain surgery a while back. Anyone hear from him? Anybody meet up with him for Spring training last year?

    Hope he’s well, too. Have a great 2012 everbody. Better than 2011, for sure.

  105. Bethany, my 14 year old niece gave me an Auburn tie. She did not know my school, UVA, is playing the Tigers, Plainsmen and War Eagles New Years Eve. She went to 2 Auburn home games this year and her school chums all want to go to Auburn,

  106. Jjschiller, Thank you. Dee and I had a wonderful Christmas. We prayed for Mac’s recovery over a delicious brunch she prepared. The Braves Journal family is an extraordinary group of people joined together by much more than the Braves. (I have to use the word Braves as often as I can before Disney sues me for money I don’t have.) Merry Christmas, Happy All Holidays, and a happy and healthy new year to all.

  107. Merry Christmas (late!)

    In an effort to get me a Christmas gift, my wife came on here looking for ideas. She sent Mac an email and he recomended a subscription to BP. Thanks Mac!

  108. @202 That is true. It’d be easier to stomach if the offense would live up to its potential. The Saints D is as awful as their offense is amazing.

  109. It’s better than that faux “such a great season” sportsmanship bullshit. When they started throwing every down while up 22, in an obvious attempt to chase a record, the defense should have nailed him in the helmet on every pass.

  110. I know no one outside Atlanta can see it, but Payton and Brees are d-bags. Don’t get me wrong: I’d kill to have Payton calling the plays for Matt Ryan. But it’s total bullshit that he and Brees “had no idea they were near the record” when, up 38-16, Brees was still in the game in shotgun formation. Also, Sean Payton, you know you’re a dick when you’re winning in a blowout and the other team puts their backup QB in first.

    If I had any confidence in the Falcons brain trust, I’d be thrilled that the Saints put on such a classless display before the two teams meet in the playoffs. But I lack that confidence. Mularkey will never adjust, nor will Van Gorder abandon his soft zone on third and long.

  111. The Falcons have a lot of issues, as you note. But only could the Brees/Payton/Saints asshats pull that sort of stunt and be lauded for it. (Let’s ignore the fact that they were up so big because the refs and league clearly give them calls.)

    I would have had a practice squad linebacker in the game with a 100K bonus for every helmet to helmet or knee hit he gave Brees until he got thrown out of the game.

    I’ve hated those bastards ever since 2003.

  112. Im sure Atlanta wont be interested but Andruw could be a nice addition for LF/RF against LHP. Last years splits

    152AB – .263/.367/.553 12HR

    With all the added lefties in the NL East (Gio, Buerhle, Hamels, Lee, Santana) he’s one of the few FA’s that could still help this team.

  113. Sam’s leash should be tightened. That’s a freakin’ dickheaded statement. If someone would say “I hope Nick Saban dies in the next tornado”, it wouldn’t be tolerated. I lived in New Orleans during Katrina and knew 2 people quite well that passed during the hurricane. You’re insensitivity is unreal. Shame if anything tragic ever happens to the Mighty Sam.

  114. Agree with Ryan C’s sentiments. I realize people (hopefully) don’t mean these kinds of things but I find it disturbing that people take sports so damn seriously. It’s just a fucking game.

    Having said that, I did find Brees’ comments after the game about not knowing he was near the record pretty disingenous–as did Susy Kolber based on her reaction. Obviously, they knew or they wouldn’t have been putting the ball up. But, under the circumstances, I didn’t have much problem with it(admittedly, I might have been more upset if I was more of a Falcons fan). On the other hand, what do these records mean now when the rules are so oriented toward offense? When Marino set the record originally, the rules had already been loosened to encourage passing (which had almost disappeared in the 70s) but nothing like today.

    I also find these televised locker room tributes to be pretty weird, Brees and also the one in the Patriots’ locker room in which the players presented Robert Kraft a painting in honor of Kraft’s late wife. It was televised by Kraft’s own network. These things seems to be the kinds of events that should be done in private, but I guess these days, nothing counts unless the whole world sees it. I found both of these a bit odd, if not distasteful. It reminded me a bit of the homecoming game at UGA when I was there in the late 70s when this couple got married at halftime and were rolled in on a gigantic motorized cake and walked to midfield and said their vows while the teams were coming out of the tunnel for the second half. It just seems as if there is no end to bad taste.

  115. @215- I like the Andruw idea, but it makes Diaz redundant.

    Still wondering if we’re actually going to have a rookie with less than a half season (of fairly error filled ball) above AA as the only SS on the ML roster. Something has gotta give, right?

  116. I won’t go as far as Sam did, but I will say that New Orleans is a shithole and the Saints are the devil’s team. Also, though it had a limited effect on the outcome of the game, that referee was the freaking Gomer Pyle of football officials, at best. At worst, he went to the Saints locker room to pick up his cut afterward. I don’t know which it is, but he did congratulate Drew Brees on the field, so take from that what you will.

  117. Agree with Nick and come perilously close to agreeing with Sam.

    Mike Smith should have been on the field raising hell about five times in that game.

    Now it looks like we’ll have to go back there in two weeks for Embarrasment: Part Deux.

  118. ‘scuse my bluntness, Nick, but you don’t know shit about New Orleans, it’s people, or what the Saints and it’s players have done for that city. Speak about things you understand and dont judge New Orleans based on that titty bar you visited on Bourbon Street duing your friend’s bachelor party.

  119. You’re getting soooo close, Ryan. By the next post, surely you’ll have completely changed everybody’s mind about New Orleans and the Saints.

  120. Frank is being awfully quiet this winter. I had become accustomed to active offseasons. Frank got me excited by ditching Lowe and then radio silence.

  121. So, Nick, to prove you’re not a judgmental, unknowing, prick, where have you been in New Orleans to develop your well-based opinion on the city?

  122. @226 – yeah, and maybe that’s the best thing unless we were going to make a Beltran-level move.

    There’s a bunch of “ifs”, but if the starters stay healthy and perform at or above expected level, our pitching should have us right there at the end.

    We’ll know a lot more about this team in June than we do now.

  123. Much like the Mets in 2001, I never really *hated* the Saints until they started bombarding us with that post-Katrina “rally for the Saints and New Orleans” bullshit. If you want your little tragedy to be associated with your local sporting franchise, fine and good. Just don’t expect the rest of us to give a damned the next time. You can either have my sympathy, or a narrative built around your damned football team. You can’t have both.

  124. @230- The Heyward projection is disheartening, but after last year not entirely unexpected. That Uggla line, combined w/his defense, is terrifying.

  125. Heyward’s projection is a guess work at this point. If he doesn’t bounce back to 2010 production, the team is hosed. If Uggla declines at the rate Dan predicts, the team is hosed.

  126. I don’t like ZIPS. No attempt to predict playing time, and the results gather too tightly around league norms. I much prefer PECOTA’s range of results, as it allows you to incorporate your own expectations.

  127. @231
    Funny how you call Hurricane Katrina a “little tragedy”. Sam, your back to trolling again. Sam Hutcheson, the bravesjournal equivalent to Howard Stern. And giving a damn and being an irrational asshole are 2 different things.

  128. No, I’m not trolling. I’m just not playing your sad little victimization game. If you want sympathy, don’t associate your little event with the local sports team. It’s your decision to make, and the Saints, New Orleans and the NFL made their decision. (If they were actually concerned about the fallout from Katrina they wouldn’t have put the bloody Superdome at the top of the list of things to rebuild, while people were still without homes.)

    You can have your narrative about football. You can’t have my sympathy. If you don’t want your city to be drowned, don’t live below sea level between three giant bodies of water.

  129. 2 of Sam’s unprovoked contradictory quotes:

    “I hope he (meaning Brees) drowns in the next hurricane.”
    “If you want sympathy, don’t associate your little event with the local sports team.”

    I believe your the one that associated the little event with the local sports team. Your trolling for attention. Congrats, you received it. Moving on from irrational hatred…

  130. Those ZIPS projections don’t look that out of line for Uggla. Looking at his career, he has been very consistent (even last year) with most all of his ratio stats.

    Things get odd when you look at his BABIP history. His career BABIP sits at 0.294, but he has never been near that mark in any given year. He has three years well below (0.253, 0.274, 0.279) and three years well above (0.309, 0.320, 0.340) his career mark.

    Now, with only 6 years to pull from this may very well just be another lesson in the randomness of BABIP.

    Looking at his yearly rates of infield flyballs it makes me wonder if, when he is off, Uggla gets into bad swing habits resulting in way too many pop-ups. I know it seemed to me last year that he one-armed lots of swings where he was late and popped “cans of corn” into the air.

  131. I would sure like to see Heyward–or someone–break out and have a spectacular, MVP-type year. I guess McCann was having one until he got hurt. It seems the Braves are really good at producing pretty good to good players but not so good at producing stars. I think it’s hard to win big without stars. (Disclaimer: That statement is based on no statistical analysis or any real basis other than my boredom on Dec. 27.) Perhaps one of the problems with the attendence is the Braves don’t have any players that just knock your socks off. I guess Heyward is supposed to be. At least Francouer drew female teeny-boppers.

  132. Looking at Uggla’s career to date, it’s pretty clear he hits better in even numbered years. He’s going to be an MVP candidate in 2012.

  133. Frequent reader, infrequent poster here. I am motivated to post in this instance. I’d like to agree with Mac that last night’s game was just a football game, and I don’t want to get people even more riled up. I’d also like to say that as a lifelong Falcons fan, I hate the Saints. I really only know about New Orleans in the stale “book knowledge” sense, but I know I don’t like the Saints. I also know that New Orleans suffered a ginormous tragedy both during and in the wake of Katrina – that is irrefutable. As a student and admirer of cities as well as a fellow human being, I of course want New Orleans to bounce back from its injuries, both natural and otherwise.

    The problem comes when the Saints claim to be rebuilding the city with every sweet Brees pass. To be honest, I find that claim spurious at best. When you tack on the fact that, according to national sports news services, I’m supposed to root for the Saints as an adjunct to supporting New Orleans, well I balk at that. Throw in the fact that the my Falcons have often been the patsies for these NFL-sanctioned love-ins, and I get upset.

    When people get upset, they say things like what Sam wrote. I’ll leave it at that… take it much further and we get into seriously off-limits areas like politics.

    Thanks for reading.

  134. Those ZIPS projections don’t look that out of line for Uggla. Looking at his career, he has been very consistent (even last year) with most all of his ratio stats.

    Agreed. I’m not sure what folks thought they were getting when Wren traded for Uggla, but this is it. My only hope is that he can keep hitting at above average rates for a few more years.

    Also, everything is more entertaining than Wren’s offseason. But there’s still time.

  135. As I said, you may have your sports narrative, or you may have my sympathy. You may not have both. If you wish to cheapen your tragedy by tacking onto a sports team’s marketing campaigns, that’s fine. Just don’t ask me to give much of a damn about it any more. This is as true of the Yankees/Mets post 2001 as it is of the Saints post 2003.

    If you wish to use this fact to make me out to be the devil incarnate, I’m fine with that too. I’ve been despised by better than you lot, I assure you.

  136. If the Saints success makes the tragedy of Katrina more bearable for those who suffered through it…why would anyone want to begrudge them that? However, I can agree with Sam that it’s fairly contemptible for the Saints organization to parlay that tragedy into a money-making apparatus (if you believe that is what they’re doing).

    But in my opinion, there’s a clear demarcation between those two points, and some of the previous comments don’t really make the distinction.

  137. Sam, I don’t post much, either. Let this go and return to your recent posts that actually garnered two ‘bravo’s’ in a single thread. Your arguments re: New Orleans, The Saints, and Katrina, with 9/11 thrown in are, to borrow a phrase from Whitney, whack.

    Now, Sam, please give me your thoughts on the dubious acquisition of Matt Diaz. He of the famous intimidating lean. Who could we have gotten instead? Why must we keep paying for this boner next year? And, finally, who is going to be our backup and/or starting shortstop next year? Thank you, for “fine” you are obviously on the road to recovery.

  138. The Saints gave a defeated city and many a New Orleanian something to look forward to in what had become a pitiful life. I saw it first hand when I taught in a depleted Parrish where 75% of the people lost their homes. What you hear about the Saints breathing life back into a city is completely true.

  139. Well, Mac is right. Its just a football game and to say that you want a man to die because he was throwing a football chasing a record while up 22 points just shows your true character. This isnt the pee wee football league where everyone gets a trophy at the end of the game. Drew and his family have donated millions of dollars to help children and the community. He’s done more to impact the lives of others than most of us here. Hating a city or a team is one thing, but wishing harm or death on someone is crossing the line.

    Back to the Braves, oh wait there’s nothing to talk about.

  140. I will, as I always have, abide by Mac’s rules in Mac’s house. No one should take this as any sort of concession of the larger points at hand, merely acquiescence to the wishes of the host.

    Matt Diaz was a desperation move to try to solve the black hole of OF production that followed Prado’s post-MRSA infection collapse. It failed miserably. If Diaz is a PH off the bench he can be vaguely useful in 2012. If he starts more than 20 games, they’re probably hosed.

    The Braves will sign some journeyman SS to backup Pastornicky next year, but I fully expect them to break camp with the rookie as the starter.

  141. Regarding life in New Orleans: My wife and I moved because of the growing crime rate. It wasn’t a place that we could envision raising a family. The city is still a wonderful place with richer culture than anywhere else in America. The 1-2% of criminals in New Orleans don’t make the place, it’s the other 98-99%.

  142. Am I the only one who wouldn’t mind a veteran starter, just in case? Not a Rodrigo Lopez, but someone slightly better? I guess I looking for a cheap Derek Lowe type. I love the kids, but where’s the insurance? (I’m trying to move it along, Mac, but they used to call me ‘thread-killer’, you know.)

  143. I’d love to have a veteran option parked at AAA should one of the kids flail a bit, but considering the salary constraints and the holes in the offense, that’s not where I’d spend the cash.

  144. I dont think we could get a veteran with ourtbudget that would provide us anything more than we could get from say Medlen/Teheran/or Delgado. Even LISP could get some consideration if things got that bad. I guess Im just thinking that if we have to go that far down in the pecking order that the season would be lost anyways.

  145. MLBTR

    Braves (89) – GM Frank Wren exercised Eric Hinske’s option, but that $1.5MM commitment represents the Braves’ biggest offseason expense so far.

  146. I can’t even think of fantasy daydream signings that would help the team. The team entered the offseason with two needs: LF and SS. The team still has those needs, and there are no more free agents worth salivating over.

    The trade market is also barren. What shortstops are available? What OF bats? About the only guy I can think that would be useful is Carlos Quentin, but the Braves don’t really match up that well in trade.

    What possible options are there besides the rookie at short? I can’t think of any. The Braves have backed themselves into a corner, and I don’t know what the team will do if he ends up being a Schafer.

  147. Maybe Wren just figures the world’s going to end next May anyway, so why bother? Otherwise it would have been nice to make some sort of effort if for no other reason than to give Chipper another shot at a WS.

  148. If they add the extra Wild Card this year, Chipper will get his shot. This team is built to be the fifth best in the league.

  149. Is this lack of action the sign that the Braves’ organizational philosophy of ‘Let’s see where we are 40 games into the season.’ has come early?

    On the face of it we have a rookie SS with good minor league numbers, and an above average LFer who is recovering from a freakish staph infection. Toss that together with a potentially dominant pitching staff, and Wren may be saying to himself-‘Hmmm, let’s see where we are come May 15 rather than make an panic moves now.’

    I’m not saying I agree with that strategy, but I think it’s looking more and more like what the team is planning to do.

  150. 271,

    Completely agree. Even with Dan Uggla’s struggles, Heyward’s Sophomore Slump, absolutely no production from Prado in left or Gonzalez at short, nothing from CF for about half the year, and McCann’s (overall) below-average-for himself season, this team still maintained the third best record in the entire MLB for most of the year. It had to take a collapse of historic proportions to keep this team out of the playoffs. This is an extremely good team, as built.

    I don’t think much needs to be done, to be quite honest.

  151. #271 – Last interview with DOB Wren indicated thats what they are doing. As much as I wanted a LFer with power I understand Wren’s position. If you imagine Uggla as the LFer and Prado the good defender/hitting 2b he can be then the only thing we need is an SS that can hit just a little bit. I don’t think that Tyler Pastornicky is that guy but if all he has to do is get on base better than Alex Gonzalez and defend as well or close then thats a low bar to set for him. I can also understand Wren’s position more considering the contracts that Willingham, Cuddyer and Beltran recieved. I doubt we were ever in the conversation for those guys.

  152. I go back and forth between my rational self which strongly believes that Wren recognizes the situation and is appropriately showing patience while waiting for the right deal and my other self who is bored and frustrated with the Braves sitting around. I blame the ownership more than Wren. The Braves are probably a pretty good team with some expected improvement from Heyward and Prado. But I worry that they won a lot of close games last year and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the bullpen regress some. Hopefully, the starters will be able to go deeper into the games, but that depends in part on the team scoring more runs. I think that, if things go right, the team can win 90+ games.

    What really frustrates me is the willingness to settle for pretty good and hope for the best. And then expect fans to buy the BS about how they are trying to build a championship team. It would be more honest to simply say we are trying to build the best team we can within the payroll constraints we have. If that’s an 85 win team, so be it.

    Having said that, I still have (blind?)faith that Wren will pull something off before the spring and people will be pretty happy about it. I wonder, though, if he ever fantasizes about working for a team with an ownership that cares, e.g., the LA Angels of Anaheim. Of course, he also worked for Peter Angelos so absentee ownership might actually be a relief.

  153. There’s a point in every fantasy baseball draft where you can tell the players from the wannabes. It’s the middle rounds, after all of the marquee names were taken two rounds ago and the best players left are moderately talented, all have some upside, but all have some notable holes in their game as well. The noobs will always bid up on those guys, hoping that they’ll get a break out year from someone or trying to make up for their failed bids in the previous rounds, or just getting caught up in the “at least I know this guy’s name” hoopla.

    The players will sit it all out, let the other guys throw their cash away and then pick the bones of the same marginal player pool, after the feeding frenzy has spun out.

    Wren is playing the long game. He is constrained by salary. He can’t overbid and hope something pans out. He’s not getting what he considers fair return for his tradeable assets. So he’s sitting tight and waiting. It’s the smart move. Even if he waits all the way to Spring Training, it’s the smart move. It’s boring and frustrating for fans, but Frank Wren’s job is to compete in the MLB 2012 season, not the hot stove league.

    It would be nice if the Braves were owned by an entity who cared about baseball. Regrettably, they are still owned by Liberty Media, and this is the payroll they have to work with.

  154. Well, if Prado hit anywhere near his career norms last season he would have been the Braves’ most valuable player. He is (seemingly) an above-average left fielder and baserunner, so even a partial return to form at the plate promises the production they’d get out of a Quentin or Willingham.

    Hey, here’s someone left on the free agent market whom I like: Coco Crisp. He could back up Bourn and Prado, play elite defense when in the game, and provide elite speed when on the base paths. I’d give him two or three years in a heartbeat (depending, of course, on the price). He could also be the team’s CF in 2013.

  155. Relax guys. We are going to build from trades. JJ and Prado’s value this offseason won’t be at top value for a few more weeks. There is no reason to trade either of those guys until we can get the most value for them. Right no it appears our best offer is for that Smith guy in Colorado.

  156. #272 – While I agree with everything you said, the pitching from last year was stellar. We got a CY Young type first halves from half of our pitchers.

    Pre Allstar ERA’s
    Oflaherty – 1.07
    Venters – 1.46
    JJ – 1.87
    Kimbrel – 2.35
    Hanson – 2.44
    Beachy – 3.21

    Those are the guys that we had to ride to our success and its almost impossible for them to repeat those performances. Yes, the offense should be improved which would make this a playoff team if everything else stayed constant. However, I think we will see a slight drop off from the pitching staff which would negate that offensive production.

    My take – Its a solid team, but its not a World Series type team.

  157. 285—Weirdly, his path to early playing time was (by far) the clearest at LSU, among his three finalists. Strange, for a kid who was said to be most concerned about education and distance, but then again, it’s pretty easy understand as a football decision.

  158. I’m frustrated by the team’s lack of activity this off-season.
    After rooting so hard for them to win just one game those last few days in the season and the bitter disappointment, I’d hoped for more decisive action on Wren’s part.

    I’ll admit Frank needs to be creative and cagey in his situation. He’s good at both and paid well for it.

    Listening for some good news, and soon.

    Go Braves!

  159. Would it have been too much to ask to at least sign a guy like Reed Johnson to a one-year deal? He hits lefties and can back up Bourn in a pinch. I agree, this team can make the wildcard but to really challenge for a World Series, they need a Rangers-/Angels-like TV-deal or a new owner.

  160. #275 – I agree. Just trading to make a trade like Prado for Seth Smith would have been dumb. Hell Prado is probably a better player than Smith. The payroll constraints are frustrating but it is what it is. We are pretty tight if we can’t afford 3@21 for Willingham. All in all if all that is accomplished is unloading Lowe then so be it. I think the team can contend for the division but I concede that a lot of things have to go right for that to happen

  161. Id rather have stashed Lowe in the bullpen if there are no acquisitions coming before the start of the season. Clearing $5 mil in payroll and doing nothing with it will be more frustrating. I really was hoping that would lead to a bigger piece for LF, maybe it will. If not, the move was pointless.

  162. Maybe that money allows us to keep Jurrjens. None of us has a clear idea of what the payroll constraints actually are.

  163. Pay arb raises? 5 million is chicken feed in the grand scheme of things but it’s still 5 million. The temptation to actually use Lowe would have been too great. Wren did the right thing by eating 10 million this year.

  164. “Wren is playing the long game. He is constrained by salary. He can’t overbid and hope something pans out. He’s not getting what he considers fair return for his tradeable assets. So he’s sitting tight and waiting. It’s the smart move. Even if he waits all the way to Spring Training, it’s the smart move. It’s boring and frustrating for fans, but Frank Wren’s job is to compete in the MLB 2012 season, not the hot stove league.”

    For some reason-and I don’t mean this as an insult–this reminded me of the scene in “The Godfather” at Don Corleone’s funeral where Michael is ruminating about who might be the traitor and when he finds out it’s Clemenza, he says “it’s the smart move.” Maybe Wren is Michael Corleone.

  165. A UT friend of mine recently said he wants the Vols to “go 10 and 2 or 2 and 10 – nothing in between” next year.

    I kinda feel that way about the Braves next year.

    This house of cards is only one or two injuries away from falling completely apart.

    Not even making a serious pass at Carlos Beltran was really sobering. What if Prado performs like last year? Or Heyward? Beltran could have helped just as much in right as left, if needed.

    Speaking of money, why do the Rangers have a significantly richer TV deal than the Braves?

  166. OK, it’s one game, but the Hawks looked better last night than they have in over a decade.

    Radmonovic might be the best move in Atlanta Hawks history. And, ta da, he finally makes JSmoove expendable.

    Vlad’s size, hustle, defense, rebounding, shooting, decision-making, ability and willingness to pass was the most refreshing thing I’ve seen in a Hawks uniform in years.

    Again, it’s one game – but right now the only team in the East that is absolutely better is the damned Heat.

  167. Knicks are going to be pretty good this year, too.

    FWIW, Beltran reportedly shopped his 2-yr/$26M offer from the Cards to the Yanks, who obviously declined. Apparently wary of Beltran’s balky knees, the Yankees already have a major position player (at 3B) who’s going to DH a lot in the near future.

  168. Speaking of money, why do the Rangers have a significantly richer TV deal than the Braves?

    Because the Braves sold theirs to Warner Brothers for a bunch of worthless AOL stock.

  169. @297

    It was against an undermanned Nets team that isn’t particularly good even with their starters healthy, who were playing their third game in three days against a Hawks squad with fresh legs from not playing at all, yet.

    With that said, they did look good, although it got sloppy in the second half. They’re not going to drain that many threes all year long, and the offense was mediocre at best. But the defensive urgency was definitely there.

  170. 297—I believed you were serious right up to the point where you praised Vladimir Radmanovic’s defense. LOL, well played.

  171. Re: Radmanovic, I’m partial to his Piano Concerto No. 2. I always found his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to be quite derivative.

  172. I go back with the Hawks to the days of Zelmo and Sweet Lou. Hope springs eternal. History spreads a lot of salt on Hope.

  173. “This is an extremely good team, as built.”

    I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Heyward is still basically unproven, Chipper is aging and injury-prone, we don’t know what to expect from Prado, and McCann has had second-half struggles the last two years. Yes, the Braves had a very good record for most of the year, but that included an awful lot of extra-inning wins. The pitching is good, but they relied on the bullpen to an extraordinary degree last year and Hanson is, at best, a question mark.

    It’s probably an above-average team and could be better than that if a lot of things go right. The Braves are certainly capable of making the playoffs and, once in, who knows? But I wouldn’t say it’s extremely good.

  174. Bailey and Ryan Sweeney for Reddick, Raul Alcantara (18 years old. Has allowed 1 home run in 125 professional innings) and Miles Head (338/409/612 as a 20-year-old in A-Ball.)

  175. Dang, maybe we should dangle Kimbrel out there next offseason. Well for that all 3 of them, OVentbrel on the market could net a huge return.

  176. Yeah, I’ve kind of wondered if the new TV deals over the next couple of years will up the payroll. IIRC, the Fox deal is through next season, and the Peachtree deal is through 2013.

  177. I think 276 and 306 are not mutually exclusive, and do a pretty good job of explaining the general construct and specific state of the team right now.

  178. I’m pretty sure Oakland wanted the prospects and a cheap spare part and that Reddick was just a cog in this deal. He’s not a particularly valuable player on this market.

  179. If the Pasty experiment fails hard and fast I’d bet we could easily find a replacement-level SS somewhere.

    /Nothing wrong with standing pat with the hand you are dealt.

  180. The team has been doing real good this year keeping third in MLB league but i hope McCann and Prado can do better then they have been doing lately~

  181. @297

    Your UT friend isn’t going to get what he wants. I say somewhere from 7-9 wins. Got a nice break with the SEC schedule folks though (but not as good as the break UGA got)

  182. I have absolutely no issue with the team keeping JJ and Prado. At the end of the day, despite the fact that it means very little nowadays, the two are former all-stars who are still couple years away from free agency. If we ultimately sit tight, we better get Heyward right and get Uggla to have a more consistent year…and we can use couple more bullpen arms to make sure we have enough depth there.

  183. OK, Vlad’s defense isn’t exactly what he’s known for, but he did hustle to complete a backcourt trap. He even raised his arms. Twice.

    When you’ve watched the Hawks as long as I have, that constitutes good defense.

  184. re: the Hawks, I can’t remember the last time Marvin Williams has had two strong games in a row. Jeff Teague, meanwhile, has more than held his own against Deron Williams and John Wall. And they’ve now won the first two games in blowouts – not bad for a team picked by many to miss the playoffs.

  185. The Hawks’ fortunes will hinge on Teague and Radmonovich. Teague can be the point guard the team has lacked since…um…Spud Webb, I suppose. Radmonovich has to replace Jamaal Crawford’s scoring off the bench and spread opposing defenses to respect the perimeter.

    Otherwise, barring some crazy resurgence of Tracy McGrady or Jerry Stackhouse, the rest of the team is made of known quantities.

  186. So my son informs me that his X-Box 360 has acquired the “Red Ring of Death”.

    Anybody know how serious this is and/or what the cure might be?

  187. @324 All new Xbox consoles have a 3 year warranty. If it’s out of warranty, it’s a flat 100 bucks to send it in and get it fixed. If you look on Microsoft’s Xbox website, they’ll have a form that will let you know if you’re under warranty, instructions and a shipping label.

    My condolences to your son, that’s a bummer.

  188. Looking back on it, it’s going to turn out to be a very good thing that Kirk Hinrich was injured during the playoffs last year and we were forced to play Teague. Without that, I fear we would still be sitting Teague at the end of the bench and we may never have known what we had.

  189. How old is it? I had one when they first came out ($399) and it died right after the 1 yr warranty. They didnt have a replacement option at that point. I just trashed mine and bought a PS3 when they came out. Cant you buy a new one for $150 now? Im sure if you send it off you wont get it back for 4-6 weeks at least. Pay the extra $50 and let your son keep his sanity.

  190. I don’t love Theriot, but he’s basically Infante with more SS experience.


    Infante .275/.318/.393
    Theriot .282/.344/.353

    Less power more OBP but still similar.

    For Reference

    AAG .247/.291/.399

  191. A thoroughly uninspiring option. But, of course, I don’t see any Robin Younts out there.

    It’s funny, though, when you look at a guy like Theriot. Back in the day, when the SS wasn’t expected to hit much, those kinds of guys often had long careers as starters. I look at him & I see Bill Russell (the Dodger, not the Celtic).

  192. Pretty sure Radmanovich is a known quantity too, for what it’s worth.

    Don’t dismiss the importance of getting Jamal Crawford and Josh Powell off the team. For years the Hawks have had awful perimeter defense and mediocre rebounding, especially from the second unit. But now with McGrady in and Crawford gone, the entire defense will look better. The defensive rebounding will also improve, as Crawford was the worst rebounder among all NBA guards last season.

  193. #335 – His glove is bad though, he’s really a 2B. His only skill set is a decent OBP.

    Where is Brendan Ryan, is he sitll a FA?

  194. Uh, at the risk of a McFly moment, is that Halladay story even remotely true?

    Mookie Blaylock’s twins have signed football scholarships at Kentucky. Not sure what I think about that.

    Speaking of Kentucky Football, I’ve finally seen two defenses upon which we could score.

    Didn’t see the Vandy game, but they must have undressed a pretty good Marquette team. Was that in Nashville?

  195. Smitty, you out there? We need your barber to spark Wren’s imagination.

    Uggla, Bourn, and any two young arms for Felix Hernandez, Franklin Gutierrez, and extras.

    Sorry, it’s a gloomy day aroung the ol’ hot stove.

  196. @345 – Thanks Pete, that was great. The clip of Victorino tripping and face-planting in Toronto will never stop being funny.

  197. Quotes since the collapse…

    Wren – “the Braves will increase their payroll in 2012….and that every player is available in trade if they can get better.”

    Talking Chop – Wren told us that they are open-minded to SS…& more likely up-grade by trade than Free Agency. They do like Pastornicky but not rdy.

    Bowman – As for the shortstop position, it seems like the Braves would be content to enter Spring Training with Tyler Pastornicky

    Talking Chop – Frank Wren said they are looking for a RHH corner OF bat…but less level type player than Cuddyer and Willingham

    JS – “Our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal”

    Wren – “Jason’s going to continue to be in a battle for a position next year. It’s not a given that he’s our right fielder.”

    They have some work to do and still plenty of time, but if you are going to send a letter saying that the weaknesses will be repaired then make some upgrades. Maybe he thought cutting AAG, Lowe, and Parrish was repairing those weaknesses. They’ve flipped on whether Pastornicky is ready. Who is the lesser RHH corner hitter we are looking for? All we’ve heard is Seth Smith. Who exactly is Heyward battling a spot for in RF?

  198. #350
    Vandy/Marquette game was in Milwaukee. After a sloppy start for both teams, Vandy got up big—they probably made a half-dozen threes. Marquette couldn’t throw the ball in Lake Michigan, acted like they’d never seen a zone defense. Game was over in 11 minutes.

  199. I assume JS made those comments because he figured it would be even harder to sell tickets after the collapse. But so far nothing to get excited about. I still think something will happen but the Braves idea of a big move is not the same as the fans’.

  200. Somehow I don’t think the team will drop $50 million on someone unproven when they wouldn’t go for Willingham at 3/$21.

  201. @357 – If so, it’s a very clever and convincing ruse. Signing Cespedes would be totally out of character with the Braves’ general MO, so logically that means the Braves are going to sneak in as the “mystery team” and sign him.

    I’m not sure what kind of comps are appropriate for Cespedes, but I’m guessing Nelson Cruz-lite on offense, but with better fielding and durability.

  202. 354—First bit of zone we’ve played all year, and it’s about freaking time. (FWIW, we were in man while we built the lead and then switched to zone in the Maintain phase.)

  203. @353 – Between Constanza and Luis Durango, I’d say Heyward’s got plenty of competition. Heck, put one in left and the other in right and let Heyward play cards with Prado on the bench. Problems solved. Of course opposing teams could just play 8 defenders on the infield for a third of the batting order, but that would at least be entertaining to watch.

  204. Ha, yes, sorry. I was just writing out a particular nightmare I’ve been having ever since they picked up the Panamaniac. I’d at least consider taking a year off to follow the Rays in that event.

  205. Just an observation:

    I was over at DOB’s blog just to see if anything was happening, when I saw an ad for Riverside Military Academy with three smiling young men on it.

    I don’t know about you, but the last image *I* would want to project about a military academy is levity. I’d want a bunch of grim, stoic, warrior types on my academy ad, young men who are serious, sober, and gritty.

    Dammit Wren, trade somebody – anybody! I’m deconstructing advertising here!

  206. I didn’t think Riverside allowed three smiling cadets to gather in the same spot with no one else in earshot, lest they be plotting rebellion.

    No, wait, I’m remembering wrong. It isn’t smiling cadets, it’s Hispanic cadets (actually true, as long as this is 1981…it is, right?).

  207. Okay, guys. Do we want Prado to be traded? I’ve done writeups of all the other regulars, but haven’t done him yet. I figure that as soon as I finish writing his, he’ll be traded so the effort will be wasted.

  208. I just can’t see the sense in trading him after a bad year for which there exist possible medical explanations. He fills too many holes, and he’s not that expensive (well, maybe he’s Braves Expensive). No trade please.

  209. We want the team to be improved. If that involves trading Prado, so be it.

    Write him up and push forward. If that breaks the winter’s doldrums and gets him traded, at least we have something new to discuss.

  210. Really just depends on what we would do in LF if he’s gone. If we’re getting a Quentin then great go for it. If we’re getting Seth Smith + prospect I’d rather ride with Prado. I’m against a trade based on all speculation I’ve heard to this point.

  211. I am so conflicted. On the one hand if he gets us a better LF’er, real CF prospect or SS, trade him. On the other hand he doesn’t really have to hit like a good LFer to be valuable to us, all he has to do is hit like Martin Prado and his ability to play two infield positions competently is invaluable, so unless we get a really good hitter the team won’t be better without him.
    No I don’t want to see Prado traded. Unless……

  212. Last year, Wren made the big move for Uggla early in the offseason and everyone complained about it being dull for the rest of the time. Maybe he figures that by waiting and keeping the fanbase in suspense, we will be more excited when he signs Ryan Theriot.

  213. So, since our last Andruw for the HOF debate, he added 13 more HRs to his ballot(sitting at 40). At only 34, he has a solid chance to hit 450-475 HRs for his career. With 10 straight GGs to add to the mix, does Andruw get in?

  214. @373

    He won’t get in in his first year, because voters are funny that way (I actually don’t mind the distinction between first-ballot HOFer and HOFer). So it will probably depend on what the ballot looks like in years 2-5 or so of his eligibility. If not then, maybe when his eligibility is running out. He’ll never get in on a crowded ballot, I don’t think.

  215. 373,

    I would argue, even after removing my Braves-tinted glasses, that Andruw Jones belongs in the Hall of Fame if he retired today. In my opinion, he was the best defensive player of all-time, and if not, I think that most would agree that he was the best defensive outfielder of all-time. In my opinion, that should be enough to get him in the HOF. Those extra 400 HR’s are just a kicker.

    Fangraphs has him as the 77th best position player of all-time (Chipper’s 35th). There’s 123 position players in the HOF. He should be in.

  216. I am always wary of terms like “best ever”, but he was certainly the very best in the league for a time during his career, and for a good bit too, as well as historically good. That’s a HoFer to me.

  217. Wren has a good poker face for a reason. If we knew what he was thinking other general managers would too. Prado should not go unless there would be big improvement in LF. Back up at 3B is very important and 2B is just a +1. MERSA is a tough illness and we can hope if will be 100% this season.

  218. I don’t think Andruw ever gets into the HoF, to be honest. Whether or not he’s deserving is another conversation.

    Re: The Nashville Bowl
    Boy, Dan Mullen did just about everything he could to have Mississippi State lose this game tonight, not to mention their bad defensive penalties & 4 turnovers.

    But, in the end, State just beat Wake to the corner almost every time. Quite a difference in speed/quickness tonight.

  219. I think it’s hard to say how HoF voters will vote in the future, especially on a candidate whose value is so reliant on measuring defensive impact. We don’t know what kind of new metrics will be developed in the next few years or how quickly they’ll be received by the voters.

    I just look at the 2005 and 2010 AL Cy Young votes, and I realize that the BBWAA voters can change their criteria in a hurry. I have no idea how Andruw will fare in 2020.

  220. @383

    True, but don’t be too sure the new metrics will work in Andruw’s favor. Take Rbat (batting runs above average), for example. If he has a below average offensive year in 2012, he will likely fall to the #62 slot out of the 63 HOF outfielders (if we were to include Andruw in the list), ahead of only the blatantly unqualified Lloyd Waner.

  221. FWIW, Yanks re-signed Andruw Jones, 1-yr/$2M

    Hey, I just noticed that’s the same amount we’re paying our lefty-masher platoon LF!


  222. @378

    Yep. The kid’s dad is in poor health. I’m not saying there isn’t more to the story, becasue I don’t know, but it is kind of silly not to let the kid transfer to Michigan or MSU.

    They should try and talk him in to staying for the spring, but if his dad is still in bad shape, let him go.

    Arnet should stay another year at UT and wait until next year when Dooley gets the axe and hope that the next guy will let him go.

  223. Ehh Andruw was never going to be the difference between making the playoffs or not – imo, anyway. He would have been a nice fit, but not one that was going to make or break next season.

  224. #389 – Depends. If we trade Prado for Smith and end up with a Smith/Diaz platoon then it could make a lof of difference. Andruw put up a .923 OPS vs LH’rs last year, Diaz had a .692OPS.

  225. So another right handed corner outfield answer is off the market with Quentin going to the “Whales Vagina”, to quote Ron Burgandy. But hey, at least Wren is evaluating things…

  226. Andruw put up a .923 OPS vs LH’rs last year, Diaz had a .692OPS.

    I can live without the team signing Andruw. But let’s look at that second number again: it’s Diaz’s supposed strength. He sucks. He can’t really hit lefties anymore, and, considering that he could never hit righties, is not fast, and is not a very good outfielder, that $2 million could be going towards something far more useful – especially when you consider that the team only has (evidently) about $5-6 million to spend this offseason. Just a baffling waiver wire deal.

  227. Sure, he was terrible last year, but discrediting Diaz’s ability to hit LHP based on one year isnt logical.

    Diaz’s OPS vs. LHP through the years.
    ’10- .830
    ’09- 1.103
    ’08- .755
    ’07- .964
    ’06- .800
    ’05- .870

    The numbers are there and he’s younger, in real and fake age, than Andruw.

    On his speed: Diaz isn’t fast, but I’ve seen him numerous times beat out a grounder to SS on pure hustle. He’s by no meas slow.

    On Diaz’s defense: On every defensive metric out there, Diaz has been an average career defender.

  228. @391 And the Padres gave up almost nothing for him. We could have easily beat that package, but we can’t take on the $8m he is going to make. Sigh…forget it…we are not going to get that leftfield bat that we need. We will start the season about with Prado in leftfield. I don’t want freaking Seth Smith.

  229. Smitty’s barber whispered this NYE rumor to me…

    Nick Swisher, Eduardo Nunez, Mason Williams, and Gary Sanchez for Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens

  230. @399

    He said something to me about a deal with the Angels and Indians that looks like this:

    Braves get: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Donald, Rich Thompson, Michael Brantley and Joe Smith
    Indians get: Trout, JJ, Aybar, Minor, Kendrick and Abreu and $$$$
    Angels get: Prado, Choo and Varvaro

  231. Whew. It can’t ever be easy.

    On game day, each member of my family goes off to a different television and there’s no discussion until long after the game is over, because everyone is so tense. Occasionally there is loud swearing and the sound of a pillow hitting the wall.

  232. OK, I know it’s still an hour and change away, but since I’m about to fall asleep…

    Happy 2012 Braves Journal Compadres!

  233. @396 Downward trend, and he’s been terrible three of the last four years. Plus, now, the power is gone. He sucks and will in all likelihood be a huge liability in 2012.

    That said, I think the Braves are probably going to be okay. I bet Prado and Heyward improve enough that everyone forgets about the Cuddyer/Quentin/Willingham sweepstakes.

  234. Every time something tragic happens within the organization, the support from the players, coaches, and execs flow to the victims. The Braves might be frustrating to us all, but I’m glad I pull for a team that seems to see the big picture in life.

  235. So after that huge collapse, is Wren’s biggest offseason move going to be a small salary dump of Lowe?

  236. Boy, that’s an awful story about Porter’s wife. And another apparent instance of a cop endangering the public by going on a chase.

    In better news, that was quite an effort from Auburn last night. So much credit has to go to their coaching staff. Not only did they call up some terrific plays & roll 7 on some real gambles, they kept that team focused when it could’ve lost all motivation going into that game. To be honest, of all the SEC-related bowl games, that was the one that didn’t figure to be the greatest matchup (defections/injuries/suspensions).

    I thought they’d have trouble stopping Virginia and they did give up a ton of yards, but they were so good on the other side of the ball & the special teams, it didn’t matter. Hats off to Chizik & Co.

    Now, about Vanderbilt… I’ve probably never seen a team so good at losing close games. But they’ve come a relatively long way in a short time, so, in a season like this, it’s easy to lose focus on the bigger picture. (But I gotta say, Jordan Rodgers is one inaccurate QB.)

    Hey, Falcons have a chance to play up here next week. Go Giants.

  237. Memorial westbound approaching Capitol is uphill and practically blind. What a terrible lapse in judgment.

  238. Sam:

    Thanks for posting that link. Who knew at the time that the Teixeira trade would end up favoring the Rangers by a mile? It makes me wonder why the team didn’t do more to keep him since they gave up so much to get him.

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