Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

18 Jan

Sickels on Lillibridge

Minor League Ball :: Book Excerpts

Nothing on the minor leaguer we gave up, Lojack or whatever his name is.

69 Responses to “Sickels on Lillibridge”

  1. 1
    Sam Says:

    Probably because he was a low-minor guy who didn’t do well until last season. :)

  2. 2
    flournoy Says:

    Romak actually hit quite well for Danville in 2005, before hitting fairly well for Rome last year. He didn’t play much in ’05 though – I assume due to injury.

  3. 3
    Mac Thomason Says:

    The spammers have really gone too far. Look what I found in the rejection bin just now:

    rob schneider…
    Actual articles about rob schneider and more. …

  4. 4
    Stu Says:

    So…I’m gonna say it:

    I think we should attempt to trade Bob Wickman.


  5. 5
    csg Says:

    the trade deadline could be interesting w/ Andruw, Wickman, and others

  6. 6
    Stu Says:

    I mean right now, so as to field a better team this season.

  7. 7
    Jeff K Says:

    Wickman for whom?

  8. 8
    beedee Says:

    i think trading wickman now would put a curse on our pin of a magnitude of whichit would never recover…unless Soriano has some serious Jobu mojo.

  9. 9
    Jeff K Says:

    Wickamn for Marte??? There’s a certain “closing of the loop” in that idea.

  10. 10
    Stu Says:

    Wickman for a prospect. Or as part of a three-team deal for Baldelli or something. (That one’s for you, Dan. ;))

    I just want the 6.5 million freed up to sign Craig Wilson and/or others to bolster the overall team. We now have 2 other guys with closer stuff, who, combined, make half of Wickman’s salary.

  11. 11
    Jeff K Says:

    Nah, I’d keep Wickman (and this JS will keep him) to see how the team really settles in. Wick can always be traded come July.

  12. 12
    Jeff K Says:

    Although, since you mention it, maybe TB would trade Baldelli in exchange for Wick, Davies, James, and Salty. I do like Baldelli so.

  13. 13
    Stu Says:

    Seriously, when you look at the salaries left on our roster, Wickman’s stands out as the one that, if moved, 1) doesn’t terribly weaken the team; and 2) is an amount significant enough to be usable on other valuable parts.

    You absolutely need the Joneses (14 and 12 million) and Smoltz (10 million). No one will take Hampton (14.5 million). Hudson (8 million) is not worth trading unless you get in return someone who can step into the rotation, which doesn’t seem likely to me. We have no other capable Major League shortstops than Renteria (6 million). Villarreal (1.2 million), Soriano (1.2 million), and Gonzalez (2.35 million) are all worth at least what they’re being paid, and you don’t free up enough salary with which to do anything useful by trading any of them away, anyway.

    Just seems to me that Wickman’s salary is the one that makes the most sense to move. I’d try.

  14. 14
    Hate King Says:

    I agree with beedee, the bullpen is fragile, we don’t want to ruin a seemingly good thing.

  15. 15
    csg Says:

    Stu, I see your point and it makes sense, but JS and Bobby were extremely frustrated by the blown leads and saves last year. It makes sense, in a perfect world, to try and trade Wickman, but I dont see us making that move. Maybe at the break, but not before then.

  16. 16
    Stu Says:

    Oh, I agree that it’s unlikely to happen, csg. I just think it would be a good idea, and I wanted to see what others here (Mac, mraver, flournoy, Kyle S, where are you?) thought.

  17. 17
    beedee Says:

    don’t anger Jobu!

  18. 18
    Cary Says:

    I like how our team is coming together. About the only other move I’d like to see is signing Craig Wilson to split time at 1B with Thorman.

    Our rotation is decent with the potential for more with one #1 starter (Smoltz), two #3s (Hudson & maybe Chuck’s a #2.. we’ll see), and two ?s (Hampton & Davies) who can handle #4 and #5 at least as well as most other teams.

    That’s backed up by a great bullpen as has been discussed plenty.

    Offensively, we’ve got good OBP at the top of the lineup (K. Johnson & Renteria) and a great 3-4-5 combo of Chipper-Andruw-McCann. Francoeur can put up better numbers this year and has the power to be a good RBI guy either way. Then the bottom of the lineup with Langy and Thorman can contribute on occasion and trumps most #7 & #8 hitters in the league (especially if we get that Thorman-Wilson platoon).

    The weakness that we all see is the infield defense. Our outfield defense should be great, but our groundball pitchers (Hudson & Hampton) will not benefit from the team as currently constructed.

    So, as problems go to start a season, that looks relatively minor to me and can be addressed going forward, if necessary.

    I see no reason to panic about the offense. So we lost LaRoche, but I’m willing to bet that our platoon 1B outperforms him this year anyway (he’ll return to his .780-.820 OPS range of mediocrity) and that Kelly Johnson (should he be the guy at 2B) outperforms what Giles gave us last year.

  19. 19
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and say this, and the rest of you can bury me if you want. I don’t think Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell are all that funny.

    I think Rob Schneider’s funnier.


  20. 20
    Stu Says:

    Don’t distract them from my question, AAR!

  21. 21
    Brian J. Says:

    That’s the spirit, Cary! The frontline talent on this team is the best in the division. The problem is depth: one middle infield or starting pitcher injury and the likes of Woodward and Cormier get a lot of playing time.

    And then there’s keeping or replacing Andruw after the season. Does Schuerholz commit a ton of money until the next ice age or rip a gaping hole in the lineup?

  22. 22
    Jeff K Says:

    I think Stu’s idea of trading Wick is funnier than Rob Schneider.

  23. 23
    beedee Says:

    i’ll take chris rock over all three…schneider’s like howie mendel only hairier…and still not funny.
    he’s a #5 starter at best

  24. 24
    PaulV Says:

    The collapse of bullpen last year hurt morale of team and the damage went beyond mere numbers

  25. 25
    csg Says:

    Ferrell is the funniest, then Sandler and Schneider

  26. 26
    Brian J. Says:

    I’m with csg here. Ferrell is the only one I’d watch voluntarily.

  27. 27
    A.West Says:

    What would a team give up for a one year rent-a-closer who is about to retire, and who is getting paid at about fair value? Maybe another fairly expensive and fairly valued position player (who Time Warner doesn’t want). Or maybe one low-level prospect. If the Braves are out of the race later in the year, then sure, trade him to a playoff race team for that prospect. These new relief pitchers both had hurt arms last October, so I’m hoping they both don’t catch Reitsma-itis. What’s the mean-time between failure for hard-throwing relief pitchers, sabermetrics folks? Seems like none of our past stud relievers went longer than about 2 years without blowing up one way or another, physically or mentally. So I don’t mind having a stockpile.

    Now lets worry about our fragile starting staff. Smoltz can’t pitch forever without fading, Hampton was barely a 6-inning guy when healthy, Hudson – who knows, James is pretty good I think, and perhaps Villareal will surprise all by nudging out Davies if Davies keeps on sucking so bad, and Villareal proves capable of 6 innings at 4.5era. But I expect to see more missed starts from the Braves’ high-paid starters in 07.

  28. 28
    Sam Says:


    Hampton was the one out of the “high paid” starters that missed significant time in 2006. Hudson just stunk in so many starts that we WISHED he had missed time. Or if you think that $4.75 million is high-paid, then yes, Thomson did miss lots of time.

  29. 29
    beedee Says:

    ok…who do you take in a fight?
    Giles, Melo, or Tanya Harding?
    discuss :)

  30. 30
    Sam Says:

    Our “high paid” starters for 2007:

    John Smoltz
    Tim Hudson
    Mike Hampton

    All injury risks? Maybe. Will they miss significant time? Possible. Then again, who cares?

  31. 31
    Sam Says:

    Tonya Harding, because she’ll tell someone to bust your kneecaps.

  32. 32
    Parish Says:

    What is the limitation on trading players you have just signed to a new contract? I know we could trade Wickman at mid-season, but can we now?

    I think I really like the idea of trading Wickman at mid-season. People are always scrambling for back-end relief help at that time. This could grab some valuable players for the future or present.

  33. 33
    Jay10 Says:

    Hahahahahaha…must be a slow day for everyone.

  34. 34
    ryan c Says:

    we just signed craig wilson to a one year deal.

  35. 35
    Stu Says:

    Yeah…I’d rather trade him now. Like I said, the point is not who you get in return, but rather the salary flexibility you gain. With Wickman’s money, you could sign Craig Wilson and Tony Armas, Jr., and you’d still have the flexibility to trade for someone like Baldelli or Rios.

    If we’re in the race — and I think all of us expect to be — there’s no way we’re going to trade our closer at the deadline. And if he’s no longer our closer by that point, it’s doubtful that anyone would want him, anyway. I dunno. That 6.5 million sure would look nice right about now.

  36. 36
    Godot Says:

    Guess JS has been trolling here again

    Braves sign Craig Wilson as back up 1B.
    most probably start the year platooning with Thorman, and play some LF

  37. 37
    Stu Says:

    Yes! Any word on the terms of the contract yet? I’m giddy. JS warms my heart.

  38. 38
    beedee Says:

    i’m totally with you, but “the Wickman” has some serious support in the clubhouse.
    I mean Smoltz was so happy with him i thought he was gonna propose.

  39. 39
    Stu Says:

    Oh, I know. I like Wickman, too, and I understand he’s a “glue guy.” Like I said, though, if we need to free up salary, his makes the most sense.

    Of course, since we’re apparently able to sign Wilson without clearing any more salary, it may well be unnecessary. Maybe the 8-million-a-year-for-Hampton thing is legit, after all.

  40. 40
    csg Says:

    Wilson is here.

    I like this move…

  41. 41
    csg Says:

    JS has made some very good moves this offseason. I wonder what Dayn Perry’s grade will be for us this offseason, probably an D- or something like that.

  42. 42
    Stu Says:

    Hopefully, this means Chris Woodward won’t make the club. Is his contract guaranteed even if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster? It would stink to have $1.6MM of Major League budget tied up in two guys (Woodward and Sturtze) not on the Major League roster. Of course, those are sunk costs, and I suppose it’s better to have those guys not playing for Atlanta.

  43. 43
    Aram Says:

    Wow, so we have two platoons on the field at the same time! That’s old school.

  44. 44
    Jay10 Says:

    I like that move too…he gives us another good bat off the bench, and decent defense for first if Thor needs a day off or doesn’t come through.

  45. 45
    Stu Says:

    I’m hopeful that this will be a straight platoon, not a starter/back-up situation. If Bobby platoons this, I’m confident that our 1B tandem can come pretty darn close to LaRoche’s numbers last year.

    And the need for Pete Orr is even lesser! Wilson immediately becomes our emergency catcher, I’d think.

  46. 46
    beedee Says:

    @ #43
    no, that’s the Braves baby!

  47. 47
    csg Says:

    Benefits us now and possibly later. Gives us even more flexibility at the trade deadline, I like it.

  48. 48
    ryan c Says:

    1b- thorman/wilson
    3b-chipper and larry
    lf-blanco and diaz
    cf-andruw and langerhans
    rf- frenchy/bohn


  49. 49
    ryan c Says:

    OK, so apparently bohn is a right handed hitter. damn. i really thought i had something.

  50. 50
    csg Says:

    Our team….





    Maybe Villareal over Paronto or Yates. Maybe send Prado to AAA and keep Villareal as long relief. I like this

  51. 51
    ryan c Says:

    we should solve many problems by putting this lillibridge kid in at ss. that way, we can move renteria to 2b and let kj or blanco platoon with diaz. he’s already 23. i hope he comes to spring with the braves and kills it.

  52. 52
    beedee Says:

    did anyone find out if Sturzes’ and Woodward’s contracts are garenteed?
    Something tells me both of those guys will be on the roster opening day.
    (Brave Law 15c- you must carry atleast two dead weights on your roster at all times. see Brian Jordan pg 37 column 3), so maybe Boyer and Prado go down.

  53. 53
    Jay10 Says:

    Ryan C,

    Yeah I kinda wanna see Lillibridge get a shot at SS this season too. I think Renty could play 2B just fine.

  54. 54
    csg Says:

    This offseason we lost…

    Giles, Thomson, Reitsma, LaRoche, Ramirez, Sosa, Ward, Ray, Pratt, and Jordan

    we added…

    Sturtze, Woodward, Wilson, Hampton, Soriano, Gonzalez, Johnson, Boyer, and a top rated ss prospect. Let go of a lot of crap and brought in some very solid players. Did I forget anyone?

  55. 55
    RobBroad4th Says:

    I will be very surprised (pleasantly mind you) if JS keeps Gonzo AND Wickman. I feel like he’s still on the hunt for an experienced middle infielder. Time will tell.

  56. 56
    Stu Says:

    ryan c,

    Yeah, I was hoping Lillibridge would go all Furcal on us this spring. Can’t count on it, though.


    Seems like our bench will look more like this:

    I don’t think Prado makes the team and I’m hoping Pena beats Orr, given that he’s just about as speedy and is much better/more useful defensively.

    And I think Villarreal is all but guaranteed a spot on the team. Boyer seems to be the odd man out of the ones you listed.

  57. 57
    Parish Says:

    csg – I think you are missing a back up catcher.

    Prado or Orr are gone in favor of Pena or – chuckle – Linar.

    Beedee – Sturtze cannot be on the opening day roster because he is injured. I think if he never sees any playing time he only receives $750K – seems a bit much for nothing, no? I wish the Braves would pay me that not to play. I suspect I would be as good not playing as Sturtze.

    I am willing to bet Woodward makes the trip north to Atlanta at the end of March.

  58. 58
    csg Says:

    Stu, forgot about the backup catcher. Pena will replace Prado, I dont think Pena Jr will replace Orr though. Not my preference but I dont see it. I also think your right about Villareal. Our AAA bullpen looks deep again. Devine, Boyer, Stockman, Moylan

  59. 59
    Parish Says:

    Woodward = Lockhart?

  60. 60
    beedee Says:

    The Braves paid Brian Jordan not to play for years.Maybe that’s another Brave Law?

  61. 61
    Dix Says:

    If Lillebridge was MLB ready, would Pittsbutgh have parted with him?

  62. 62
    beedee Says:

    we need MLB Europe or something…i need some action. Is there any satelite coverage of winter ball?

  63. 63
    Stu Says:

    They have Jack Wilson and Jack Wilson’s contract in his way. Still, the fact that he’s barely done the double-A thing means he’s a bit of a longshot to break camp with the team, I’d think.

  64. 64
    Sam Says:


    Lillibridge doesn’t hit 25-30 homers a year lol

  65. 65
    Mac Thomason Says:

    As I think I’ve mentioned here (I know I did elsewhere) the Braves did give Furcal a major league job when he had only a couple of weeks of AA ball. So it wouldn’t be unprecedented.

  66. 66
    Jeff M. Says:

    Boyer probably starts in AAA since he’ll be coming back from injury, so I, too, think Villareal is in. Plus, Villareal can go more than an inning at a time, which is handy when a starter crashes in the 2nd inning. Paronto also can go more than an inning, but he doesn’t go much more than an inning. And, you don’t want to build a pen out of 1 inning guys.

  67. 67
    Cary Says:

    I love the Wilson signing (obviously, since I’ve been touting the acquisition for over a year–even better we should sign him as a free agent though).

    Ladies & Gentlemen, we are ready to rock n’ roll!

  68. 68
    Jay10 Says:

    Off topic:

    I’m writing a post on my blog breaking down all NFL teams, and i’m stuck right now with offensive linemen. Does anyone know where I can find any stats at all for them? Such as sacks allowed or something like that. It would help me out alot. :)

  69. 69
    Hate King Says:

    I think Villarreal breaks spring training with the big boys. I am pumped about craig wilson. How much are we paying wilson?

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