Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

20 Dec

Fire John Schuerholz

Braves trade Millwood to Phillies

That incredible idiot just traded Kevin Millwood. To the Phillies! A division rival! For Johnny Estrada, a 26-year old AAA catcher! That’s grounds for commitment, not just dismissal.

75 Responses to “Fire John Schuerholz”

  1. 1
    david chandler Says:

    I guess Lockhart decided to share his blackmail photos with Ed Wade. This move is unbelievably stupid, unless the Phillies agreed to take Javy or Castilla too.

  2. 2
    Craig Calcaterra Says:

    Unbelievably stupid. I don’t watch another Braves game until Schuerholz is fired or dead. I mean it. It’s over.

  3. 3
    Ted Arrowsmith Says:

    Did I miss the part of the story about Abreu being included?

    Heeeeelllllppppp, I’m dying over here!!!!!!!!

  4. 4
    Ted Arrowsmith Says:

    My understanding is that Estrada projects to be about a league average catcher and is already 26; so while he’s a nice player, he is not a big-time prospect. And, if they aren’t taking Javy, we already have alot of money tied up at catcher.

    I just don’t understand this at all. While Kevin will make good money this year, he’ll be worth it. That is, he’s a very good pitcher making good money, not someone whose a salary dump-type guy where he can only be traded for nothing.

    With the signing of Byrd, I anticipated something like Millwood for Blalock or Nick Johnson or some other potential star.

  5. 5
    Troy Says:

    NOOOOOOO!!!

    My nightmares have become reality. If Cliff Floyd is not a Brave by the end of the day, I’m going to throw up.

    On John Schuerholz’ suit.

  6. 6
    Robert Says:

    The hidden cost of Greg Maddux accepting arbitration.

    Everyone knows the Braves had to move Millwood to clear payroll for Maddux’s bloated salary, so JS has no leverage, and we end up giving him away.

    Thanks Greg! I hope all the losing in ’03 doesn’t affect your golf game!

  7. 7
    Bob Warren Says:

    That’s okay that we traded Millwood. We’ll just get him back in a few years like we did Byrd. Seriously, look at this as the way to free up money to sign Floyd. I don’t like the idea of sending him to a division rival though. That also doesn’t solve the Phillies woeful bullpen, which they have less money to sign someone with now.

  8. 8
    Ted Arrowsmith Says:

    How in the world is it Maddux’s fault that Johnny S. traded Millwood to a division rival for 26 year old minor leaguer?

  9. 9
    Rivers Says:

    Robert, you’re a fucking moron.

  10. 10
    Peeved Fan Says:

    Someone off Scheurholz. This is incredible. He has to be fired. Now.

    Even if we get Floyd… we got NOTHING for Millwood. Millwood was the best #3 starter in the majors last year. HOW IN GOD’S NAME COULD YOU MAKE SUCH A DEAL??????????????

  11. 11
    Robert Says:

    Well it’s not really Greg’s fault, he did what was best for himself which I guess he has a right to do. By accepting arbitration he pushed the Braves over payroll, which meant they would have to either non-tender Millwood or trade him quickly.

    This is the kind of deal that gets made when everyone knows the guy could be had for free in a few days.

    It was extremely stupid to give him to the Phillies though. The list of teams that can add at least $6 million in salary is pretty thin but it seems like we could have gotten something worthless from the Red Sox instead.

  12. 12
    Jeffrey Says:

    Wow – I’m stunned…I can’t believe he just handed the division to the Phillies. Trading Millwood period is horrible but understandable, but for Estrada?? I just can’t believe he couldn’t get something better than that.

  13. 13
    bamadan Says:

    The good news is that Larry Bowa is still managing the Phils, Jeffrey Loria still owns the Marlins, Moo and the Boys still play in Shea, Bud still holds the Montreal purse strings.

    The bad news: that John Schuerholz has been kidnapped by aliens, had his brain replaced by a turnip, and returned to us.

    OK which feels worse — following the Braves moves this off season or rubbing your butt with a cheese grater and sitting in a bath of rubbing alcohol?

  14. 14
    david chandler Says:

    This is one of those days that makes me wish I were just a casual fan and didn’t follow baseball news and just started paying attention in late march and going “so who’s on the team this year, i wonder?”

    There is simply no excuse for this trade. Even if it’s true that he only has today to trade Millwood because he couldn’t tender a contract offer and then trade him, he still should have called more than one team. Hell, I’d rather have John Mabry, at least he’s a major league player. Even good news on Floyd doesn’t mitigate this, which is shaping up to be the worst “at-the-time” move that man (can’t even say his name right now) has ever made.

  15. 15
    david chandler Says:

    Just wanted to clarify that I haven’t heard or seen any good news about Floyd, what I meant was “even if there’s good news on Floyd”.

    ESPN’s report on the story now has added a Schuerholz interview in which he basically says he did talk to other teams but nobody wanted the added payroll. I find that hard to believe, but at least he’s got a defense.

  16. 16
    boo radley Says:

    I just can’t believe there was no other team willing to offer anything better for an 18 game winner. Someone in the front office better start explaining this one.

  17. 17
    Craig Calcaterra Says:

    God, even if he had to get rid of him, just non-tender him! At least then there’s a chance that the Phillies would have to compete for his services with someone.

  18. 18
    Tom Whortan Says:

    Wow, I am stunned at a level that I could not imagine. Maybe the worst trade in the history of the Braves (surpassing the Brett Butler deal). Take the 3rd best pitcher in the game last year, trade him to a division rival for an average AAA player who is the clone of your existing backup catcher. My gosh, couldn’t he have taken a gamble that a better deal could have been done before spring training? This is so bad as to defy words. Have a great Christmas, if you can have selective amnesia over the holidays. It is going to be really hard to watch the Braves this season.

  19. 19
    samuel Says:

    My reaction is the same as David’s – right now I’m wishing I was one of those fans who really didn’t care to follow the game in any depth and to understand what makes some teams good and others stink. I’m wondering if it’s possible to ween myself off this team I’ve been following for 20+ years.

    It’s a damn sad day.

  20. 20
    Mark Graybill Says:

    I’ve been lurking on this site for a couple of years now, wanting, from time to time, to make a comment (I did e-mail Mac Thomason privately once, to tell him what an excellent site he has). I always either resisted the temptation to post or got too busy with something else. But this trade, and what it represents for this franchise, seems momentous (or nefarious) enough to finally speak up about, but only to observe what everyone else here likely already suspects–the Braves era in the NL East is over. We had a special thing for a lot of years. I think we’re all hoping for a blockbuster offensive move, but I don’t believe that it’s going to happen.

  21. 21
    bamadan Says:

    Reports out of NY say the Mets have inked Cliff Floyd pending a physical.

    So we slashed salary getting rid of Glavine and Millwood, but added just as much or more by adding Hampton, Ortiz and Byrd. We weakened the pitching and didn’t improve the hitting.

    Good grief.

  22. 22
    david chandler Says:

    Hate to say anything even vaguely resembling defending this give-away, but Ortiz, Hampton & Byrd put together are making less than Glavine alone in 2003, and maybe less than Millwood alone depending on what happens there.

  23. 23
    jonathan Says:

    That’s it. I just can’t take it anymore. I’m going to give serious consideration to renouncing the Braves, and taking up with the A’s, the Blue Jays, ANYONE with some semblance of a clue.

    Even if Schuerholz does have something else up his sleeve, there must have been a better way to do this.

  24. 24
    Mac Thomason Says:

    He doesn’t even know how much Millwood will make! Or Maddux, or Furcal. He could have at least waited until the arbitration period. But NOOOOOO, he had to do it right away!

    My guess is that AOL forced him to make an immediate move. That’s no defense; he should have been able to get them to wait.

  25. 25
    Troy Says:

    I must say I can’t picture what his sleeve could hold at this point. Floyd was probably the best free-agent bat out there if i’m not mistaken, and we just gave away our trade bait. I don’t understand this at all.

    I had tried to reason that if we gave Millwood away like that, we must have a free-agent bat ready to sign. Otherwise, why wouldn’t we have traded Millwood for said bat instead of the replacement for fooking Torrealba?

    JS, what hast thou done?

  26. 26
    Colin Says:

    *sob*

    Never underestimate the capacity of John Schuerholz to be an idiot. He has surpassed himself this time.

  27. 27
    jonathan Says:

    I keep trying to get my brain around it, and I can’t. “A salary dump” of your second best pitcher when you’ve spent the last month taking on salary for pitchers of questionable merit? JS’s logic does not resemble our earth logic.

    Maybe they caught Millwood in bed with Steve Case’s wife.

  28. 28
    Newt Says:

    I didn’t have a problem with letting Glavine go, trading Moss for Ortiz, or offering Maddux arbitration, but the Millwood rumors raised the hair on the back of my neck. I didn’t like the idea of trading him for a really good bat, and would rather have him than Maddux at this point.

    But dealing him TO THE PHILLIES for a mediocre catcher?

    Even Schuerholz can’t be this stupid. It’s more evidence that corporations have corrupted America to the core.

    Merry Xmas.

  29. 29
    zeeter Says:

    The Braves run is not over. Or to say, it is starting over with new faces. In Philly, we are happy for the addition of Millwood, but the Braves still have Maddux and the Jones’. They have Ortiz. I don’t think that Byrd will ever be a good pitcher in the National League, and I’m not sold that Hampton’s problems are exclusively the result of Coor’s Field.
    But look at the Phillies rotation. Aside from Millwood, we have Wolf – great in the second half last year. Paddilla – great in the beginning of the year, mediocre through the rest. Duckworth was inconsistant all year. Myers was a rookie who showed flashes of brilliance along with the usual new guy mistakes.
    The middle infield is average at best – Rollins is adequate at short and Polanco is average at second.
    The Braves still have a lot going for them this year. Don’t worry about the Mets. Too many conflicting personalities.
    Just one thing – can we stop picking on Bowa? What did he ever do to you?

  30. 30
    Troy Says:

    Mac, is this a record for comments off one entry?

    Well, this has been a ridiculous day for Braves fans. Floyd and McGriff are taken, so it may be that we will not be adding a big hitter after all. We shall have to wait and hope that JS gets lucky somewhere else.

    Zeeter is right, though. This is a tough blow to take, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of the Braves’ winning streak. The Phils and Mets may have closed the “gap” so to speak, but there’s no given that either of them will automatically win the division, same as the Braves have never been automatic from day one. Every team starts 0-0, and anyone can project stats and count ages, but you never can truly know who is going to have a career year or who will falter until it actually happens.

    We just have to get used to a very new team. I’m interested to see a new team. And though we’re losing key players left and right, come opening day there will be some familiar faces too, and the Braves will have another shot at a successful season just like everyone else.

  31. 31
    Allen Says:

    I spent all of today refusing to talk to any of my friends about this “trade” because I knew it would upset me. I seriously thought to myself that I would avoid reading the newspaper from here on out, that the fact that losing Millwood made me this angry was a sign that I was unhealthily addicted to baseball, and that maybe I should pick up European soccer as a passtime. But of course, after some beers and some pool, here I am back reading the baseball pages … I guess the point is, the game is on the diamond, and no matter how much I wish that I could call John S. and ask him just how he managed to screw himself with his own you-know-what, at least there isn’t a strike this season, at least I don’t live in Kansas City, and at I can now look forward with a clear heart and head to the day that ole John S. leaves my city’s sporting teams for good.

    Let me be the first to bid farewell to Mr. Schoueholz. I know it will probably be years before this wish becomes a reality, but I am one man who will feel no fond sense of loss when his demission arrives.

  32. 32
    Adam Says:

    I think all of yall are over reacting.john knows what he’s doing, johnny estrada is a grat pick up for someone who whould probaly be looking to leave after this season. By the way he’ll wind up being the starting catcher. no disrespect to millwood we’ll all miss him.

  33. 33
    Allen Says:

    And let me add just one thing: this trade was absolutely a case of someone, namely John S., letting his fear of losing his job rush him into making a foolhardy trade. He traded Millwood today, not waiting it out to see if other teams might later offer something for him, because truth be told John S. was going to *non-tender* Millwood rather than offer him a contract for next year. Why? Because he knew he would be over-budget, and his fear of not making the budget for AOL drove him to dump salary. Why not give him a contract and then try to trade him? Because John S. DIDN’T HAVE THE BALLS TO WAIT IT OUT. That’s right, John S. ain’t no level-headed poker player, but a man who always hedges his bets. Just look at his past trades. Gutsy? When has he been gutsy? When is the last time he made a trade for a kid with promise but not the credentials? (I hope no one says Lockhart and Tucker, ’cause that would just be foolish.)

    Hey, anyone who knows will tell you that conservative poker players only win when everyone else at the table is also yellow-bellied. Great going Mr. Schuerholz! Way to play the field!

    John, you idiot. All I want is to see the best Braves team Atlanta can have, and I don’t care about you. Leave. If you can’t do what is best for the team, we don’t want you here. In fact, if you can’t run the team without always looking after your own backside, , then you don’t *deserve* the job. Leave tomorrow – the sooner the better.

  34. 34
    WAM Says:

    screw you allen u know NOTTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. 35
    Keith Says:

    JS screwed up, but the seeds were planted last offseason, when he signed Castilla and both Lopezs, and then exacerbated in the previous 3 deals for starting pitching. Forget the Hampton deal for a moment – although that may be hard the last few years of his contract, when the Braves have to pay all it all. JS says that the Braves are presumptively Maddux’s salary over budget, and no teams other than the Phils would take Millwood’s salary. But he just added $10 mil himself in salary in Byrd and Ortiz – and I prefer the comparably salaried combo of Millwood plus Moss to those two. Further, it surely was not the case that only the Phils would’ve taken Millwood at the winter meetings, if all the talk about Colon and Vazquez to Boston, the Yanks, etc is to be believed. If necessary, a proactive GM would’ve dealt Millwood then and gotten a real return – say, Nick Johnson for 1b. And/ or, he would’ve issued an ultimatum to Maddux, refusing to offer arbitration unless he agreed to a deal. But JS obviously cannot plan ahead, and hence finds his butt in a sling when Maddux apparently surprises him by accepting arbitration. Let’s hope Estrada can beat out Javy, but in any case, let’s hope the AJC and other media (like this site) roast JS until he is held accountable.

  36. 36
    Rob Cope Says:

    Yesterday, we all knew that either Millwood or Marquis would be traded, and we were cool with it. Today, we are screaming for John Schuerholtz’s head because of the trade yesterday. But think of this from a payroll situation. If they really HAD to get rid of Millwood, then there was no way we could have signed Floyd or McGriff or taken on any other high-salary player in any trade. Granted, we could have atleast gotten someone like Shea Hillenbrand from the Red Sox, whose $260,000 salary is affordable, but this was a pure salary dump. We can question Schuerholtz’s motives or sanity, but we have to go by what he has said. He told ESPN that they were $15M over budget. Maddux is probably going to make $15M, meaning that if we hadn’t offered Maddux arbitration, we would have been able to keep Millwood. Stan Kasten is threatening to decrease payroll to $70 million-or-so next year, so we wouldn’t be able to keep Millwood after this year if we wanted to. It was either to have Millwood or Maddux this year, and Millwood was the only one expendable. I never post my comments, frankly because no one really cares, but you guys are missing the fact that Millwood had to go and Estrada is probably the only person we could AFFORD. We could have atleast gotten Lieberthal, one-for-one talent-wise, but we couldn’t afford him. This was a salary dump, Millwood is gone, get over it. Scheurholtz did everything he could.

  37. 37
    Mac Thomason Says:

    There are salary dumps and salary dumps, though. Teams like the Marlins and Expos dump players all the time, but they usually get good prospects out of it. Maybe they’re not “balanced” trades, but this was ridiculous.

    Scheurholz indicated that the Braves had to trade Millwood and this was the only offer. That may be true, but he didn’t have to trade him immediately. Millwood won’t draw a paycheck for three months. He had plenty of time to find another buyer. I can think of four teams in the AL alone that have problems with pitching depth and could take on Millwood’s salary.

    Ultimately, JS traded Kevin Millwood, Damian Moss, and a prospect for Russ Ortiz, Paul Byrd, and Johnny Estrada. Does that make any sense to anyone? If he hadn’t made the other two moves, he could have kept Kevin and had four of five starters back from a team that led the NL in ERA.

    Yep, it’s a record for comments.

  38. 38
    Allen Says:

    Rob, my only problem with what you’ve said is that the Montreal Expos are, at this time, at a projected payroll of over 50 million and needing to get it down to 40 million by opening day. But Omar Minaya did not just drop Bartolo Colon to the Yankees for a waiver-wire catcher the day MLB gave him his budget. He’s holding his cards and, though there a chance his stradegy could backfire, the rumors have all been pretty positive concerning the talent he’ll get in return.

    Which brings me to point two: if JS trades Millwood for prospects or even Millwood for a “Fernando Vina”-esque player, most of the fury that I and others have expressed would be much more subdued. The fact of the matter is Millwood is a #1 starting pitcher – one of probably the 10 or 12 best starting pitchers in the game – and in the last 7 or 8 years I can’t think of one other #1 pitcher who has been traded for less than the Braves traded Millwood for.

    Do you remember when Clemens was traded by the Blue Jays? It was basically the Yankees and Rangers (with Houston on the fringe) working on the deal. Despite that extremely limited market, the Blue Jays came away with three alright players (albeit, fat in the case of Wells, over-rated in the case of Bush, and merely functional in the case of Lloyd). As bad a trade as it ended up being, I would prefer it in a heartbeat to this Millwood-Estrada deal. And if we choose only to look at trades where salary was an issue, Pedro was traded for three minor league prospects way back in 1997, as Colon was last year. Come to think of it, when Cone went to the Yanks in 1995 and Johnson to the Astros in 1998, those deals both involved only prospects. And when the Phils traded Schilling in 2000 they at least got 3 players who had reasonable upsides (Padilla was a risk at the time but looks good now). All of these trades resulted in lower payrolls for the teams trading the pitchers, and all of them at least saw exchanges of real talent. Nothing I have read or seen about Estrada suggests to me that he is real talent – he seems every bit as likely to be our next Eddie Perez and not our next Joe Torre.

    So here’s the challenge: if anyone’s interested, scour the internet for other trades of top starting pitchers over the last decade and see if any has been as lopsidedly bad as Millwood-Estrada. If JS is going to say that he was forced into making this trade, then we have every right to see if this is the first case ever where a GM has painted him into such a corner that he has had to effectively non-tender a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

    Maybe Vida Blue way back at the dawning of free agency is the only comparable case that comes to my mind.

  39. 39
    Jim Says:

    I thought I might be able to talk about this today. In an effort to stay in the Christmas spirit (so admirably displayed by JS yesterday), I am going to hold off for a bit longer.

    -Julio and Bragg inked minor league deals and get invites to spring training.

    -Lockhart accepted arbitration.

    The fact that these guys got arbitration offers is a hanging offense for JS. Not even considering this week’s other gaffs. AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

  40. 40
    boo radley Says:

    Here’s an interesting theory from Rob Neyer of espn.com:

    BEGIN QUOTE:

    This is just a guess — we’ll eventually know the whole story — but I think that when Maddux surprised the Braves by accepting arbitration, somebody at AOL-Time Warner said to Schuerholz, “Whoa there, big fella. You’re $15 million over your 2003 budget, and you need to get a lot closer to your 2003 budget before 2003.”

    Baseball executives will be hard to reach for the next couple of weeks, so apparently Schuerholz figured if was going to make a deal, he had to make it now. And there may even be a bit of petulance working here, too. “You want me to trade Millwood? Fine, I’ll trade him. Today. To the Phillies. For somebody you never heard of. Happy now?”

    END QUOTE

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/columns/neyer_rob/1480284.html

  41. 41
    Matlon Says:

    Oh well, everyone knows that Bobby Cox likes to carry three catchers into the playoffs, he’s just his extra one for Christmas this year.

  42. 42
    Jon Says:

    This was undoubtably the worst trade in Braves’ history, if not the worst (most lopsided) in MLB history. JS apparently left his brain and his calendar at home the morning of the trade. As it has been said here, the Braves owed Millwood nothing for another 3 months. So, why trade him now. And why not trade him to a team who has something we need and is not in our own division? The Yankees have a need for a star #1-2 pitcher. They could easily have offered Nick Johnson. Instead, we get a backup to our back-up catcher, who may never even hit .230. JS blunder #1: offering arbitration to Maddux; blunder #2: Acquiring the worst pitcher in baseball (Hampton) and paying him $2M in ’03; blunder #3: taking on an additional 7.2M (based on Moss earning $400k in ’03) in salary by acquiring Ortiz and Byrd. Blunder #4:giving the Philies the #1 starter they desperately need for a AAA catcher who is projected at best to be a carbon-copy of Javy, with a better glove, i.e. .230 average, .300 OBP, and 15 HR. This is what happens when the nutcases run the asylum. I think JS realized his days were numbered here and decided to take the team down with him. That’s the best explaination I have for his assinine performance as GM.

  43. 43
    A DEVOTED FRANCO FAN. Says:

    I am OK with Millwood leaving, but we must have gotten SOMETHING IN RETURN.BLALOCK,N.JOHNSON?? SOMETHING, NOT A FAGGOT CATCHER WHO COULDNT HIT IN THE MINORS. J.S. IS A FAGGOT. HE SCREWED UP THE BEST DYNASTY SPORTS HAS EVER SEEN. 11 YEARS OF WINNING DIVISIONS AND NOW IT LOOKS LIKE 11 YEARS OF LOSING SEASONS. THANK GOD SCHUERHOLZ IS LEAVING AFTER THIS SEASON WHEN HIS CONTRACT EXPIRES. THE BRAVES BETTER HAVE SOMETHING UP THEIR SLEEVES IN TRADING FOR VASQUEZ OR COLON AND LOCKING THEM UP LONG TERM. ALSO WHY WOULD U OFFER MADDUX ARBITRATION WHEN HE IS GOING TO SCREW UP THE BUDGET. WE ARE GOING TO PAY MADDUX IN 2 SEASONS WHEN WE WOULD HAVE PAID THE SAME FOR GLAVINE FOR 4 YEARS. I HOPE J.S DIES. THE BEST THING HE DID THIS SEASON WAS SIGNING FRANCO TO A DEAL. JULIO FRANCO IS A LIVING LEGEND. AND HE STILL CAN HIT.
    WE COULD HAVE HAD MADDUX, MILLWOOD, ORTIZ,HAMPTON, AND BYRD, AND ADDED A BIG BAT IF WE WOULD HAVE NEVER SIGNED ALBIE, VINNY, AND JAVY. THEY ARE ALL OVERRATED OVERPAYED FAGS. EXCEPT VINNY BECAUSE HE IS MEXICAN. NO I AM NOT DONE. BEFORE THE DEAL, I THOUGHT SCHUERHOLZ WAS A GENIUS AND SO DID EVERYONE ELSE IN ESPN. THE PHILLIES MUST HAVE DRUGGED HIM UP OR SCHUERHOLZ IS JUST PLAIN STUPID. JUST THINK THIS:
    MILLWOOD or ESTRADA (who i had never heard of before) OK I AM DONE. LAST MESSAGE, WHAT IS PENDELTON DOING AS HITTING COACH. THIS GUY WAS SUPPOST TO TURN AROUND ANDRUW AND AGAIN ANDRUW BATTED .250. ALSO HOW CAN J.S. LET NED YOST GO. THIS IS THE BEST 3RD BASE COACH IN THE HISTORY OF 3RD BASE COACHES. EMAIL ME IF U AGREE. ROCKIN LEO MUST BE IN THE HALL OF FAME IF HE CAN TURN AROUND EITHER ALBIE OR HAMPTONS CAREER. 0 FOR 1 SO FAR.

    READ THIS TEDDY TURNER!

  44. 44
    Rich Says:

    Thanks for telling us what you think, Julio. Your eloquent and thought-provoking monologue has led me to the conclusion that you should replace Schuerholz. Best of luck.

  45. 45
    Rob Cope Says:

    You might need to dumb that down a bit, Rich. He might not get it without Webster’s nearby.

  46. 46
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Francofan, you have a right to your opinion, but watch your language.

  47. 47
    Bob Says:

    Look at it this way. Come 2004, we’ll all be able to get great seats to Braves games, becuase unless AOL sells the team, I see more payroll being dumped next year (Sheffield, Maddux, Javy).

    Still, they look better this year than the Phillies or Mets. Each added one pitcher that will cost the other team a loss when they play each other, and I don’t see either one dominating the Braves, because Leo taught them everything they know, but not everything he knows.

  48. 48
    Colin Says:

    Can I offer more bad news? JS hates bad press, and the badness of his press on this has been universal. So I predict another bad trade move to come to compensate and try to restore his genius mantle.

    Oh, and I don’t consider offering Maddux arbitration a bad move. The bad move was not waiting to see if he took it before acquiring Ortiz and Byrd. Millwood+Moss would have cost maybe only $2m more in 2003 than Ortiz+Byrd. That’s Henry Blanco money. The team could have had Maddux+Millwood+Moss instead of Maddu+Byrd+Ortiz if JS had just waited 4 days before going on his mediocre pitcher acquisition spree.

  49. 49
    tmelander Says:

    Obviously a horrible trade, but what really gets me from reading these posts is how spoiled you’ve all become.

    You’ve had this tremendous luxury of being able to spend whatever it takes–not only to acquire talent, but to retain it–and now you have to pay the real price of finally getting nothing for something. That’s basically what most of the rest of baseball, especially here in Minnesota, has had to deal over the last ten years.

    The Braves, fresh off two world series, win the bidding war for Greg Maddux. The price? Well, money was of no concern, the 1st rounder lost was nothing. You got him for free. And others like him. You have been able to sign any foreign prospect you please (e.g. Jones, Marte). You have what I would call the best farm system in baseball over the last decade.

    You lost a pitcher. To the Phillies. First, Philadelphia is no threat, even now. They are Philadelphia. It’s like having the White Sox in your division. In the rare years they win, you know it’s just because the planets aligned. Second, you lost an injury-prone pitcher. Millwood might have another year like last, but he might also have a year more like 2000 or 2001.

    You should try being on the other side of the fence for once. Jack Morris wins the world series for us, and we can’t sign him. I’m pretty sure the Twins did not sign the draft choice received for him. While Jack is leading Toronto to the WS, we replace him by trading a young Denny Neagle for John Smiley, trying to maintain a solid team. Obviously, we can’t afford Smiley, either, and we lose him to FA. Our compensation? Being unable to sign Jason Varitek, the draft choice, we received.

    The Twins currently have a good, young team, but can they make any moves to help? No.

    Welcome to our world. I’m sure it’s just a taste, and that you’ll be fortunate enough not to have to endure this type of thing again. But you should have to limit your payroll to $16M sometime (Twins, three years ago) instead of spending it on one player.

  50. 50
    Doug M Says:

    Thanks, Twins fan, for your perspective. However, if you have been reading the posts to this site, it’s clear that we expected a starter to be traded. It’s the lack of a return that has so enraged Braves fans. One or two top-of-the-line prospects would have been acceptable. The salary would have been dumped with some hope of an eventual reward. A 26-year-old backup catcher is not a fair exchange for one of the top starters in baseball last year.
    That being said, considering the pitching in the Braves minor league system, the team should be okay in both the long and short runs. There are a large number of decent firstbasemen available. We have to assume (hope?) that JS will bring one or two of them to Spring Training.
    One last thing: Is it true that the Braves non-tendered Kerry Ligtenberg? If so, why?

  51. 51
    tmelander Says:

    “…it’s clear that we expected a starter to be traded. It’s the lack of a return that has so enraged Braves fans. One or two top-of-the-line prospects would have been acceptable. The salary would have been dumped with some hope of an eventual reward.”

    Like I said, welcome to our world. The non-Braves, non-Yankees, etc., have gotten Nothing for Something quite often, the only difference being that we don’t have a rotation of Maddux, Ortiz, Hampton, Byrd, Marquis when it happens.

    I said nothing about your acting “surprised” about losing a starter, so I don’t understand your reference there to my reading the posts. If I were a Braves fan, I’d be mad…but hopefully I’d qualify it with an understanding that there’s going to be sometime in the span of a couple of decades where player procurement goes afoul.

    Trust me, I understand why you’re mad. Hell, I’m pissed the Twins let David Ortiz go for nothing, thereby saving probably $1.5M in salary. But when the Braves start losing guys making less than $2M because of salary concerns, let me know. At least your faux pas happened because your GM was anxious to put together the best possible rotation he thought he’d have a chance at.

  52. 52
    Allen Says:

    I for one appreciate the last few comments regarding the Twins, and maybe it is true that we Braves fans have unduly high expectations concerning our ball club and its salary. But I’ll say it like I said it before – the Montreal Expos didn’t dump Ken Hill (coming off his best season) or Pedro for so little, nor the Indians Colon for for so little, nor even the Twins when they dumped Scott Erickson on the Orioles after two poor seasons. Heck, Daryl Kile – as great a person as he was – commanded more coming off from Colorado, and Kile was no Kevin Millwood

    So sure, we’re whining and small market teams might want to just tell us to sod off. But I think that, given the exchange, we are entitled to it. And yes, I am sure that non-tendering David Ortiz is frustrating, but we non-tendered a pretty good guy ourselves, Kerry Lightenburg, who cost nearly the same as Ortiz. And yes, that was done for salary reasons, and NO, that non-tender doesn’t bother me one iota as much as the Millwood-Estrada trade. Why? Because average talent isn’t as valuable as great talent. A DH/fistbaseman with a .800 OPS is definitely a good commodity so long as you have a few real bashers elsewhere – but let’s face it, that type of firstbaseman is a replaceable commodity (the Braves’ Franco/Franco platoon got almost that much production last year), as are righthanded relievers who can post a solid ERA (perhaps not as good as Lightenburg’s 3.00, but as Holmes showed last year, they are out there and can be had cheaply).

    I can’t remember exactly the number Bill James once threw out there, but I believe he once said for every 1 player who is 10% better than the league average, there are 5 who are 10 % worse. And that right there is the reason I am so mad about JS’s Millwood-Estrada deal. Let’s face it, on paper, it’s a historically terrible trade, and for that reason us Braves fans have every right to raise cane over it.

  53. 53
    bamadan Says:

    tmelander,

    I don’t think the complaints here are that money forced the trade. We can all understand that financially, the Braves are a fortunate team. We can argue how much of that is appropriate or inappropriate — and it royally pisses me off that the Phillies, in a huge untapped market, get the Braves money to pay for Millwood — but certainly the Braves are a well heeled franchise.

    My problem with the trade is two-fold: JS backed the Braves into the money “problems” by inane signings like Castilla, Lopez, and Lopez then exacerbated them by the Ortiz & Byrd moves all combining to make the team older and more expensive and doing little (or nothing) to make it better.

    Then when a finance forced deal comes down, the Braves sell at distressed prices. Check out the talent the Marlins got at their firesale half a decade ago. Or for that matter, the Twins finance-driven trade of then superstar Chuck Knoblauch which netted your club several important parts of the 2002 AL Central Champs. The Braves got replacement level talent for Millwood; far less than the going rate.

  54. 54
    Colin Says:

    tmelander-
    Thanks for the perspective. I just wanted to clarify – I am not upset so much that the Braves may suddenly have an unlimited budget. In fact, it’s the magnitude of the Braves budget that really galls me in all of this. It irritates me to no end to hear Schuerholz blaming finances for his ineptitude, when the Braves still have one of the top payrolls in baseball. It’s his lack of foresight, lack of planning, and lack of understanding of what a hitter or hitting prospect really is that got the team into the situation where they now find themselves.

    Frankly, I see no excuse that te team should not be top-level competitive given the resources they have, even if they have $6m less in payroll this next year. For JS to come out whining about payroll is pure BS. It’s an insult to the fans of the TWins and A’s and any other small market team that is competitive with limited resources.

    So I may well be spoiled, but I appreciate that my team is spoiled. I always suspected that John Schuerholz was a crappy GM who was spoiled by inheriting a good farm system and a large payroll, and now that he has the tiniest smidgen of a payroll challenge before him, he’s being exposed as the overrated GM he really is.

    And all that said, I’m still not sure I recall a trade involving a small market team that matches this in stupidity. Even the package the Padres got for Fred McGriff had more potential than Johnny Estrada. Sure, small market teams lose a lot of good players in non-tenders, and it pains me to see them give up good players at reasonable salaries (though i don’t believe many fo these teams are as truly poor as they claim to be; I think many of these moves are more by choice than necessity.).

  55. 55
    Michael Says:

    I’m surprised at the venom I read against Schuerholz. Did he do the right thing trading Millwood for Estrada? Of course not. But to believe it was totally his decision is to believe he suddenly became stupid when we were lauding his brilliance just a day before the Millwood trade. Nah, It was AOL that killed our team folks. They must have told Jihn “Get rid of Millwood’s contract NOW!” This meant he had no choice other than the super courageous one of telling AOL to shove it and walking out on them.

  56. 56
    Bob Says:

    It’s funny how everyone forgot we had 6 starting pithcers and only needed 5, yet got upset when they traded away Millwod for a no-name guy. They just saved $8-10 million on payroll and their starting rotation is compatible with last year’s. The fact is, nobody was going to take on Millwood’s potential 2003 salary except some team who was desperate for a starter, and that team was Philadelphia. I hate it too, but look at it this way. We could possible drop over $35 million in payroll with 4 players after next year (Javy, Vinny, Sheffield and Maddux), and with salaries going down, we could have the best $75 million dollar team by picking up one or two very good offensive players.

    So, we’re paying for our past sins this year, but it’s a temporary fix. And who knows, maybe Millwood won’t work out a long term deal with the Phillies and we can get him back on Free Agency for an avg. of $5 million/year or less.

    One other thought. If Sheffield hits like he is capable of, and Chipper doesn’t struggle early, we’ll never miss the loss of Millwood, Glavine, Remlinger or Hammond, and Javy, Andruw and maybe even Vinny will be better offensively because of it.

  57. 57
    Colin Says:

    I find it extremely hard to believe no team except Philly would take Millwood, not given the offers we’ve seen for Colon. Millwood’s not as good as Colon, btu he’s not far off. But then, I don’t believe JS tried all that hard because he spent less than 24 hours from the time Maddux accepted arb to the time he traded Millwood.

    Nah, It was AOL that killed our team folks. They must have told Jihn “Get rid of Millwood’s contract NOW!

    AOL would not be paying Millwood’s contract. How hard would it have been for JS to say, “Look, just give me a few weeks to get the best deal. It’s not like we have to pay him today.”

    Or, as pointed out numerous times already, JS could have simply not gotten so trigger-happy and dropped $7.4m for 2003 and $12.7m for 2004 on Ortiz and Byrd…

  58. 58
    A DEVOTED FRANCO FAN. Says:

    First of all, Happy new years, and I would like to add something to this. AOL should sell the braves because they keep cutting payroll, making us worse and the NL EAST better. Second of all, what is all this talk about Travis Lee, The Francos had better numbers them him. Matt hit over .370 over most of the season. Julio, started off slow but heated up to take the braves to a long winning streak. I hope we can resurect the career of the relievers we signed just like we did with Holmes and Hammond, but this time lets sign them to at least 2 years. if they turn out to stink, put them in the minors. I am watching my language this time. Next, I still think we can win the division but Wilson Betemit better come up this season He would hit in either the 7 or 2 hole filling up that hole we have. Why cant we just get rid of Vinny, Lets trade him to the D-Rays again , they have a history of signing old washedup people like Jimmy Morris, Canseco, McGriff, Boggs, and we cant forget Greg Vaughn. Schuerholz better have known something before he did these mediocre trades and known something about Millwood. I heard Millwood has had a lot of shoulder problems and when he throws he messes up his shoulder. He will get injured next season. I have a question, are the braves done dealing this season, i heard no one would take javy lopez. Schueholz should get rid of him and vinny next season and resign Sheffield. WE CANT GET RID OF SHEFFIELD AND MADDUX AND EXPECT TO CONTEND. SCHUERHOLZ SHOULD DIE ONLY NOT IF HE PLANS TO DO SOMETHING SPECTACULAR. Why dont we bring up Trey Hodges, he has had really good numbers in the minors and put him in the bullpen or #5 hole replacing the idiot Marquis.

  59. 59
    $J.T$ Says:

    Message deleted for language.

  60. 60
    bamadan Says:

    Oh great. Our first mindless troll.

  61. 61
    upyours007 Says:

    I think Millwood will pull his usual disapearing act after a good season. I don’t really agree that we should have shipped him to division rival, but I’m not worried about Philadelphia, they have no clubhouse leadership. Thank goodness Larry Bowa is a schlub.

  62. 62
    $J.T$ Says:

    Message deleted for language and personal attacks. — MT

  63. 63
    A DEVOTED FRANCO FAN Says:

    First of all $J.T.$, DONT U EVER TALK ABOUT JULIO FRANCOS “GENTILES” LIKE THAT. HE IS A GREAT PLAYER AND SHOULD BE ADMIRED AND NOT MADE FUN OF. I KNOW FRANCO PERSONALLY AND I KNOW HE WOULD BE GLAD TO HEAR PEOPLE TALKING HIS “COCK” LIKE THAT.
    AND NOW TO SERIOUS NEWS

    WHY ARENT PEOPLE STILL RESPONDING ON THESE PAGES, ISNT SCHUERHOLZ STILL HATED. ITS PROBALLY CUZ HE IS BEING SMART RIGHT NOW AND NOT MAKING MOVES AT ALL BECAUSE HE IS GONNA MESS UP THE TEAM AGAIN. I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR EVERYONE ELSE, EXCEPT J.T, ABOUT HOW U THINK THE BRAVES ARE GONNA FINISH THE SEASON, \
    A DISAPOINTMENT
    OR 12TH STAIGHT DIVISIONAL TITLE

    ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT I CHANGED MY MIND, J.T IS COOL, HE SPEAKS HIS MIND AND I RESPECT THAT. FRANCO ALWAYS SAYS “QUE UN HOMBRE QUE DIGA LA VERDAD, ES EL MEJOR” J.T I ADMIRE UR COURAGE AND RESPECT YOU.

  64. 64
    $J.T$ Says:

    Message deleted for language and personal attacks. — MT

  65. 65
    $J.T$ Says:

    Message deleted for language and personal attacks. — MT

  66. 66
    $J.T$ Says:

    dear devoted fan i see u do have respect for me and i am very sorry for my previous letter with lots of love and kisses sincerely $j.T$ u admirer

  67. 67
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Okay, I don’t want to block anyone, so play nice. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted guidelines, but they’re pretty simple:

    No attacks on other posters;
    Keep the language PG-13 at worst.

    Messages above edited for this.

  68. 68
    A DEVOTED FRANCO FAN. Says:

    i cant believe schuerholz, i hate him, i hate him, Franco isnt going to play anymore. NOW ITS THAT FICK PERSON. WE DONT WANT ANY TIGERS REJECTS.

  69. 69
    Jeremy Says:

    Is anyone still thinking about Millwood for Estrada? I keep hearing that Boston offered Hillenbrand to Montreal straight up for Colon, and that the sticking point in the trade (and what apparently necessitates bringing another team for a three-way) was that Minaya insisted on getting Casey Fossum, too.

    Now, don’t you think that if Schuerholtz had waited a week or two to trade Millwood (instead of panicking less than 48 hours after Maddux accepted arbitration) that he could have sent Millwood to Boston straight up for Hillenbrand? As far as I can tell, Millwood was actually a better pitcher than Colon last year (lower WHIP, lower on-base % against, MUCH higher K/9 ratio), and they’re going to make about the same amount next year ($8.25 million for Colon, somewhere in the same neighborhood for Millwood). So it makes sense that Theo Epstein would be just as happy, if not more so, to take Millwood instead of Colon.

    Now we come to the fun part. Vinny Castilla hit .232 last year, had an OBP of .268, and slugged .348, with 12 HR and 23 doubles. Don’t tell me about his defense, because I don’t care that he only made 6 errors. He got on base at a clip of TWENTY SEVEN PERCENT, and had a worse slugging percentage than my grandmother. And don’t forget, he’s 35 and scheduled to make $4.5 million next year.

    Now, if Schuerholtz had traded with Boston instead of Philly, and Cox had the balls to keep Vinny on the bench, Hillenbrand hit .293 last year, had an OBP of .330, and slugged .459, with 18 HR and 43 doubles. Oh, and he’s 27, and making next to nothing in 2003. Would you rather have Estrada backing up Javy, or Hillenbrand manning the hot corner?

    Thoughts, anyone? Cuz I know I’m still pissed about this.

  70. 70
    Max Knapp Says:

    Schuerholz did blow it and sure should have gotten more that estrada for millwood but you know what. So far this season at triple A Estrada is leading the league in both batting average and runs batted in. He is batting 500 with 2HR and 14RBI. Not to shabby. Milwood is doing great and our pitching staff is struggling but at least we have somebody to kick off Javy Lopez.

  71. 71
    Tyler Daniel Says:

    Schuerholz is the biggest idiot i have ever seen in my life all he has to do is go out and spend some money and get a GOOD starting pitcher and make an attempt to keep sheffield and the braves will be world champs but instead he is planning to reduce payroll? what an idiot i think that this man should be gone from this organization and someone that loves the sport of baseball should take over!

  72. 72
    Cameron Daniel Says:

    Schuerholz is possibly the dumbest person in the world the atlanta braves had the best pitching staff 2 years ago and now basically the whole thing is gone and now when they had one of the best offensive teams most of the big impact players are gone what next i mean this man doesnt know what he is doing the braves could be one by far the best team in the majors if this man would just spend some money but he doesnt care hes just goin to reduce payroll and lose gary sheffield! What this team needs in a manager that loves the sport of baseball and is willing to use some money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. 73
    jay mariotti Says:

    how did we not sign sheffield gary matthews jr is not gonna get the job done. We let one of the best hitters to ever put on a brave uniform get away way to go guys

  74. 74
    shoobie boobie Says:

    i still love the braves even tho we cant even sign our best player back

  75. 75
    joshua long Says:

    i don’t know if anyone will read this since the last post was almost five months ago, but i hope most of you who have posted on this site will somehow find your way back and give the following comments a look, and a great deal of thought. first, i’m not a braves fan. second, john scheurholz is, with the possible exception of billy beane, the best gm in all of baseball, and undoubtedly one of the great gm’s in the history of the game. any of you who want to take one trade out of context, or gripe about a series of moves that ultimately didn’t seem to do the damage you thought they would need to get a grip. scheurholz knows more about baseball, and the art of managing a payroll, than all of us combined times two, and if you don’t realize that, take another look at the braves performance over the last twelve years. any of you still want him fired?? then you’re just a moron who should stick to yelling at the tv, alone in your home, rather than sharing your thoughts with others, because you just look foolish. this is not a matter of opinion, this is an unquestionable reality, just look back at the last twelve years. if any of you don’t get that, maybe reality isn’t your strong suit, in which case you have bigger problems than being wrong about john scheurholz.

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