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29 Nov

Keltner List: Javy Lopez

The Keltner List was developed by Bill James as a device to evaluate a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. In The Politics of Glory James says that it is probably his favorite tool to do that. (You can read about the background in that book, or do a Google search, for further information.) So let’s run it for Javy Lopez

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

I think it’s safe to say that the answer is no.

2. Was he the best player on his team?

Not in general, no. In his last year with the Braves, 2003, he was probably the best player on the team — him or Gary Sheffield, and I’d give it to Lopez on position value. But that was a fluke season. The best players on the team over the course of Lopez’s career were Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, and (with the Orioles) Melvin Mora.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

Now we run up against the big stumbling block in Lopez’s Hall of Fame case. Lopez’s career overlaps that of Mike Piazza, the best-hitting catcher of all time. Except in 2003, Piazza was obviously the best-hitting catcher in the National League, and while Lopez was probably a superior defender, it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for the bat. Lopez was the second- or third-best catcher in the league behind Piazza, about even with Jason Kendall. In the AL, Ivan Rodriguez was superior.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

Lopez played on a lot of playoff teams; none of his Atlanta teams missed the postseason. He didn’t actually have much of an impact on pennant races, as such, because the Braves were almost never threatened in those years. The one year in which they were in danger of not making the postseason (2001) he had a terrible year, and if he had played up to his normal standards the race might have been a bit easier.

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

No. He had his last good year at 33, an average year at 34, and was out of baseball at 36, unable to hang on even as a backup. Lopez’s career numbers suffer from a lack of “hang-around” years; during his career he was putting up similar stats (see #7) to Carlton Fisk and Gabby Hartnett, but Fisk was really just getting started at an age when Lopez was through, and Hartnett, the most durable of old-time catchers, was an effective part-time until he was 40. If Lopez had been able to do that, he would have a really strong career numbers case.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

Obviously not.

7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

The most-similar player to Lopez right now is Jorge Posada, with a similiarity score of 878. Posada intends to play in 2011, which will move him away from Lopez. Posada will have a very strong Hall of Fame case when he retires, especially as part of the Yankees’ most recent dynasty. Second to Posada, and the closest retired player, is Roy Campanella, who is in the Hall of Fame. There are obviously other reasons why Campy is in the Hall besides career numbers in the major leagues; he didn’t get to play until he was 26 because of the color line and was paralyzed in a car accident at 35. Also, he won three MVPs. You can’t really compare that to Lopez’s career.

One other player on Lopez’s list is in the Hall, that being Ernie Lombardi. Lopez was probably a better all-around player than Lombardi, if not of the same stature in the game, but Lombardi’s election was a mistake. There are Hall of Fame candidacies for two other players on Lopez’s comp list, both Yankees, Thurman Munson and Elston Howard. Javy keeps coming up compared to players whose careers got cut short by vehicular tragedy but that probably isn’t an omen.

Lopez’s big calling card is home runs; every catcher with more is in the Hall except for Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez, who will both make it easily. Again, the sudden end to Javy’s career hurts him. He finished with 260; it would be hard to keep a catcher with 300 out.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

Javy meets 34 percent of Hall of Fame standards. That is a low total, but not that low for a catcher. There’s a position adjustment, but few catchers, even Hall of Fame catchers, beat 50 percent. It’s three or four points short of being really viable for a Hall candidacy.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

I don’t think so. Lopez played in a high-offense environment for the second half of his career, more or less in a neutral park. You have to take a little bit of air out of his numbers, but it’s not like he was playing in Coors Field or some place.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

Mike Piazza is the best catcher not in the Hall of Fame. He and Lopez aren’t actually eligible yet, of course. Of those who have been retired five years, I would say that Ted Simmons is the best, followed by Joe Torre if he is considered a catcher. (Torre, of course, will go in as a manager as soon as he retires.) After those two and Piazza, Lopez is as good of a choice as any.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

Lopez had one MVP-type season, 2003, when he hit .328 with 43 HR, 109 RBI. He finished fifth in the MVP voting, and probably should have finished third behind the actual top two of Bonds and Pujols. In the fifties, a catcher who had top homer and RBI seasons like that would have won the MVP, but not in the 2000s. He had one other season, 1998, when he drew some MVP votes, and might have in 1999, when he was having his best year before blowing out his knee.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go into the Hall of Fame?

Lopez only started one All-Star Game (2003, of course) and played in just two others. With Piazza taking the starting spot almost every year, it was a battle for everyone else for one backup job. Lopez was also crippled because his team was always well-represented and other teams weren’t; backup catcher is often a spot where you’ll see a bad team’s one representative.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

2003 Javy Lopez absolutely could have been the best player on a pennant-winner. That was a fluke season, though. Otherwise… The 1997-99 version was very good, but probably short of the “best player on a pennant-winner” standard unless they were really deep.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

The only thing I can think of is that Lopez was very tall for a catcher (listed at 6-3, but I think he was an inch or two taller) and may have played some role in the acceptance of taller players (like Joe Mauer) at the position. But that’s speculative.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

There has always been speculation that his 2003 season wasn’t just a contract year fluke, that he was taking performance-enhancing drugs that year. If that is something that worries you, it’s a black mark. Other than that, I don’t know of him ever causing any problems.

Conclusion:

If you’ve ever been concerned about my neutrality in these things, put your fears to rest. I could have cherry-picked to make the case here, but in all honesty Lopez falls short. While people never thought of him as a Hall of Fame candidate during his career, he actually hit like one almost throughout; again, I’ll point out his similarity to Fisk and Hartnett. But there are a number of catchers who hit at almost the same level until their early thirties. The Hall of Famers tend to be the guys who were productive for at least a couple of years longer than that.

246 Responses to “Keltner List: Javy Lopez”

  1. 1
    Ethan Says:

    These are my favorite posts. Thanks Mac.

  2. 2
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Javy was a very good player and a key cog in the dynasty, but he was nonetheless a complimentary piece. I can think of only two obvious HOF catchers from that era – Piazza and Pudge. There were other good catchers, but those are the two that really deserve mention in this discussion.

    You also have to detract from Javy for his percieved defensive shortcomings. The fact that Greg Maddux refused to throw to him for years doesn’t bolster his case at all. Along with players like Gant, Justice, and Brian Jordan, Javy is well qualified for the Hall of Pretty Good, but not the HOF.

  3. 3
    spike Says:

    The injury was pretty tragic for Lopez, altering what was a really really good career arc. Still, a great career – one can only wish he and Maddux had gotten on better.

  4. 4
    csg Says:

    thanks, Mac…thats a good read

    btw, on Reyes. Can we just get Reyes and Wright? Mets fans seem to have turned on both players. I hate Reyes, but I hate AAG more

  5. 5
    mikemc Says:

    If HF voting was a democracy and 50% of the voters were women, he’d make in the first round. My wife knows very little about baseball but Javy is her all time favorite player.

  6. 6
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think, from the same era, Posada has to go into the Hall of Fame.

    Lopez’s biggest problem, funnily enough, is pretty much the same as Dale Murphy’s biggest problem — not a long enough decline phase.

  7. 7
    BFedRec Says:

    I like Javy’s hobby of flying RC Planes so much more than Chipper’s hunting hobby.

  8. 8
    csg Says:

    DOB – Just talked to Diaz a bit, going to write something on him. Waiting for word from Hinske or agent. This winter, you’ve probably noticed rumor mills for all teams isn’t nearly as active. That’s because teams and especially agents are paying heed to the directive to not negotiate through media as they have in the past. It’s really put a damper on Hot Stove rumors. But at next week’s Winter Meetings, it’ll be interesting to see if things get back to normal, or at least closer to it….

  9. 9
    justhank Says:

    @5 – I was at a Braves game about 12 rows behind home plate. The four 30ish women two rows in front of me had the binoculars out to watch Javy catch.

    We of the masculine gender forget that at our peril.

  10. 10
    justhank Says:

    OBP the most important stat no matter the position in the batting order?

    Is that true of cleanup? Wouldn’t slugging percentage get the nod?

  11. 11
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I always forget Posada, probably because I tend to think of him as a DH, and I tend to think of him as the “next” generation after Piazza/Pudge/Javy. But yeah, he’s probably a shoo-in too.

    MikeMC @ 5 is absolutely correct, though. I remember sitting at the stadium back in the 90s and this lady behind us, when Javy came to bat, explained in great detail to her husband (in this really think Tennessee accent) how she just wanted to slather him up in gravy and eat him like a biscuit.

    Her words, not mine. I’ve been scarred by that for years now.

  12. 12
    Stu Says:

    Mrs. Stu remains a big-time Javy fan. I was able to, in her presence, watch the luncheon honoring Glavine because Javy was on stage.

  13. 13
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    JustHank @ 10:

    OBP is the most important corallary to scoring runs at every position, leadoff to the nine-hole. The most commonly cited relationship between OBP and SLG is 1.4/1. So, a point of OBP is worth about .4 more “runs” than a point of SLG.

    With that said, you’re never going to have a pure OBP lineup (and that would lead to unexpected results if you did, probably.) So you want to stack you high OBPs at the top of the order, your decent OBPs/high SLG hitters in the middle, and your lesser hitters down lower, just to get the better players more at bats.

    BUT, with THAT said, the season-long delta for batting order decisions isn’t very noticbable. Something like 2% difference in runs scored, based purely on batting order changes. So it doesn’t really matter where you put a given hitter. The key is to put good/great hitters in as many spots in the lineup as possible. It doesn’t really matter, over the long haul, if Jason Heyward hits third or sixth. It really matters that Jason Heyward hits.

  14. 14
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    RE Javy and the fairer sex, from multiple sources I have it on good authority that Javy Lopez had the perfect male ass. Or so I heard. A lot.

  15. 15
    Bethany Says:

    He’s a Hall of Famer in my book :P

    And I’ve never known a woman who cares about the male ass, for the record.

  16. 16
    Mike N. Says:

    Yea my sisters had no interest in baseball but they definitely liked Javy. He was one of my favorite players, but it had nothing to do with his looks…I swear.

  17. 17
    Johnny Says:

    Thanks Mac, great read. Not a HOFer but in my book an all time great Atlanta Brave. My wife remembers Braves on the opposite spectrums of physical attraction. She remembers Javy and Zane Smith the most. Go figure.

  18. 18
    Spike Says:

    @15- Great, now I have to return the vanity license plate I got you for Xmas

  19. 19
    Bethany Says:

    @18 I’m not sure how to take that, but ok.

  20. 20
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Good looks can take a person a long way. Look at Francouer–and Paris Hilton.

  21. 21
    Tom Says:

    Has it ever been disclosed what it was all about between Javy and Maddux? A personal thing or something baseball related?

  22. 22
    csg Says:

    Juan Uribe just got 3/$21??

    Uribe – .248/.310/.440 2.1UZR

    AAG – .250/.294/.447 5.1UZR

    Id be a pissed off Dodger fan right now, I dont care if Uribe can play 2B/3B/SS effectively

  23. 23
    justhank Says:

    So I did all those squats for nothing?

  24. 24
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Has it ever been disclosed what it was all about between Javy and Maddux? A personal thing or something baseball related?

    Maddux never had any sort of level of comfort pitching to Javy. Javy never developed any sort of feel for calling Maddog’s games. The tipping point, as relayed from some low-level clubhouse guys, was a game in Philadelphia with Benito Santiago at the plate. Javy shifted late, giving away position on an inside fastball, and Santiago parked it. Maddux never pitched to Javy much after that.

  25. 25
    justhank Says:

    Before Javy, the female Braves fans debated Gant v. Justice. My bride came down on the Gant side. (That may be why I did all those squats.)
    ——–

    How can Vandy not be ranked?

  26. 26
    justhank Says:

    One can kinda see how it would be frightfully difficult for a “traditional” catcher to have difficulty with Maddux’s “Zen and the Art of the Disappearing Baseball”.

    I could argue he’s the best that ever was.

  27. 27
    Stu Says:

    25—Nobody outside of Nashville is ever early, or even on time, on the VU bandwagon. Same reason we were picked 5th in the East before the preseason. People just don’t know and don’t care to know.

  28. 28
    Bethany Says:

    @25 Interesting. Justice was my favorite player when he was on the team.

  29. 29
    Smitty Says:

    I would like to see one of these on Justice too.

    Stu and justhank,

    It doesn’t matter, they have a tournament at the end of the season. I am sure that it would be nice to see Vandy highlights on sports Center though.

  30. 30
    spike Says:

    @19, This should explain everything

  31. 31
    Bethany Says:

    @30 Aha! I thought it might be an Seinfeld reference, but I wasn’t sure. Nicely done, as always.

  32. 32
    Stu Says:

    29—Exposure definitely matters — I would think someone with that snake oil salesman as his favorite team’s head coach would agree with that … — but, fortunately, Stallings is good enough and VU has enough to offer that we’ve still been able to recruit with the big boys build this program into a perennial winner, despite the lack of hype (read: media love) that lesser programs with much bigger fanbases are able to generate.

  33. 33
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Well done, Mac!

    Leaves me wondering how the HOF Vet’s Committee will view him. They won’t care about his looks.
    Because of the wear-and-tear, catchers should be judged differently, IMHO.
    Even Bill James, in the Historical Abstract, couldn’t pick a clear favorite for best ever because of truncated careers of the top catchers.

    I always rooted hardest for the backup catchers, especially Eddie Perez, but Javy was a ballplayer.
    No doubt.

  34. 34
    Marc Schneider Says:

    In honor of Leslie Nielsen, the funniest baseball scene ever (although my favorite part-when a fan says “it’s Enrico Palazzo” is not in this clip.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-S-eeInJVk&feature=player_embedded

  35. 35
    Mac Thomason Says:

    James himself says that Javy is very hard to rank, because his numbers are a lot better than his rep.

    As for catchers who are not HOF candidates, the Braves re-upped Jean Boscan. Also Wilkin Ramirez and Brent Clevlen.

  36. 36
    spike Says:

    Braves re-upped Jean Boscan.

    Good I was a bit said when I had heard he was released

  37. 37
    TheFlyingBernard Says:

    I remember being surprised once during Javy’s career to find out that he had the 2nd highest career slugging percentage among catchers.

    I think he eventually fell to #3, behind Piazza and Campanella.

  38. 38
    ububba Says:

    Fave Javy Memory:
    In 1999, on my first trip to Fenway Park, I saw Javy hit a 2-out, 2-run double, in the top of the 9th off Tom Gordon to make a 6-5 winner out of Maddux. Scorched it over the 3rd-base bag. (Yes, Javy was DHing that day.)

    A loss turned into a win & that place got real quiet real quick.

    The next day, Javy had another game-winner with a 2-out, extra-inning single to cap a 3-2 win.

    That Sunday-night trip back down the Connecticut Turnpike wasn’t so bad.

  39. 39
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Javy was hurt to some extent, as was Andruw, by the expectations he came up with. I was guilty of that, expecting him (and Andruw) to be superstars and not appreciating the actualy quality of their play. I think the perception of both Javy and Andruw is that they were not as good as they should have been.

    Having said that, Javy doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of getting in because he was never considered a pre-eminent player. (This has more to do with perception than with performance.) He won’t get much support because no one “thinks” of him as a Hall of Famer. Conversely, Omar Vizquel, for example, may well get in because of the growing sense that he’s a great shortstop, even though he’s not. And the longer he plays, the more the perception grows.

    Let’s face it, if Ron Santo can’t get in, Javy certainly won’t.

  40. 40
    spike Says:

    Javy won’t get in by virtue of not having either the peak or the career profile of a HoF catcher. That’s no knock – what are there, 8? He was a fine player for a long time. I don’t recall him being hyped like Andruw (now Chipper on the other hand…) – he was a Top 20 guy, but I don’t remember any Willie Mays (or Johnny Bench) comparisons. Javy lived up to his potential and then some.

    I’m not sure the intervening 5 years between Vizquel’s retirement and HoF voting will be particularly kind to him though. By hanging on so long, there will be fewer writers who would have seen him at his peak, and more progress on player evaluation. I don’t see it.

  41. 41
    csg Says:

    non-roster invites to ST

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/11/29/boscan-among-early-non-roster-camp-invitees/

  42. 42
    Smitty Says:

    Snake oil salesman. ha ha ha

  43. 43
    Smitty Says:

    Stu-

    I heard Bud Foster is going to interview at Vandy. That would be a good hire.

  44. 44
    Stu Says:

    You keep hearing wrong, Smitty. Foster has expressed interest since before Johnson stepped down, but he’s not near the top of VU’s list.

  45. 45
    justhank Says:

    Miami, Vandy, Colorado, Indiana …

    What other schools are likely to be looking once all is said and done?

    Michigan?
    Penn State? (if someone gets the hint)
    Illinois?
    ——–

    Btw, the class and grace shown by Boise’s head coach after his kicker gacked away their perfect season was beautiful to see.
    ————-

    Who’s going to steal Petrino?

  46. 46
    Johnny Says:

    Stu – were you surprised by Caldwell’s resignation or was it clear from the start of the season that he was only the interim head coach?

    Is it just me or has the Uggla acquisition taken a lot of the fun out of the off season? Not that I’m complaining.

  47. 47
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Ole Miss — Nutt, as usual, is shopping himself.

  48. 48
    Stu Says:

    46—It was clear from the mid-point of the season that he was a goner. I had been hopeful that this would be his only year from the very beginning.

    I agree that the fun’s been drained, but I’d say that’s more because we’ve been told that we’re not going after a second bat than because we got the first one early.

  49. 49
    ububba Says:

    I’m just thankful that we don’t have to get our hopes up for the Buddy Carlyles, Charlie Mortons & Jorge Campillos of the world anymore.

  50. 50
    Smitty Says:

    Stu,

    I am not sure why Vandy wouldn’t want Foster.

    @45

    I think the guy at Temple probably takes one of those jobs. Stu seems to think he might end up at Vandy, I could see that.

    Miss St. will be looking in a few weeks, as Mullen ends up in Miami or Michigan. Wonder if Michigan will go after Miles again?

    Minnesota has an opening and Troy Calhoun has pulled his name out of it. They have flirted with Fulmer.

    Dabo might be done at Clemson.

    With TCU going to the Big East, their coach might stay.

  51. 51
    Stu Says:

    50—They want someone with head-coaching experience (I agree on this point), and if they do end up settling for a coordinator, I’d expect it to be one on the other side of the ball (I have no preference on this point).

  52. 52
    Smitty Says:

    @51

    Makes sense. I hope they get someone good.

    Anyone think a big name like Meyer might take his talents to National Football League? In a regular year we might see a jump, but with the rumored lockout, I wouldn’t bet on any jumps.

  53. 53
    Smitty Says:

    Oh and don’t worry about the basketball polls, the Vols are ranked behind Villanova and have an RPI of 2. No love for SEC basketball

  54. 54
    csg Says:

    TCU joins Big East

    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/news/story?id=5862368

  55. 55
    csg Says:

    ESPN is reporting that Tulo is about to get a 10yr deal

    Tulowitzki’s representatives at TWC Sports have no doubt secured their client a nine-figure deal. He’ll earn $38.75MM through 2014; a $20MM salary for the remaining six years would put the contract’s value in the $160MM range.

  56. 56
    Smitty Says:

    @55

    So Jeter is going to want an 11 year $200 million dollar deal

  57. 57
    IthacaBraves Says:

    That’s great news for those of us who are hoping the Braves can lock Uggla up for something in the neighborhood of 5 years 60 Million….

  58. 58
    sdp Says:

    “What you up to tonight?”

  59. 59
    csg Says:

    deals like this are bad for baseball. Agents will be using this for every franchise player. JHEY is going to cost a fortune to keep around

  60. 60
    ryan c Says:

    for those music gurus out there, i’m really loving some mumford & sons and dread clampitt. good stuff…

  61. 61
    mraver Says:

    If Heyward is the kind of talent we hope he is, a deal like that would be great. Jeter signed a similar one 10 years ago, and I think it worked out pretty well for the Yankees. If it had been a 5 year deal, he’d have gotten far more over the 2nd half than he did in actuality. We’ve got Heyward free for two more years, and after that, it’s just going to go up. If we lock up his arbitration years plus beyond for an average annual value of $16-18M, it’d be great. The only thing I’d worry about with him is health. Throughout his (very short) professional career, he’s seemed to be plagued with nagging injuries that have either cost him playing time or performance. Still, I think he’s probably worth the risk.

  62. 62
    Jorgbacca Says:

    Nutt actually just agreed to a contract extension to add a year. If he hadn’t had a train wreck of a season though I’m sure there would have been a week of flirting for every available job.

  63. 63
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Tulo got 7 years, $134 mill. That’s an insane amount of money, but compared to the Mauer deal — 8 years, $184 million — it’s practically reasonable.

    Still, it’s bound to make the Jeter saga more entertaining.

  64. 64
    justhank Says:

    I kinda hope Miami gets Petrino.

    Then I could go back to hating the “U” with all of my heart.
    ———-

    I can’t believe some in the baseball media are supporting Jeter’s negotiating team. Could it possibly be true that the Yankees will strike a blow for fiscal sanity?

    Well, only Nixon could go to China.

  65. 65
    sansho1 Says:

    I like that you went back 38 years for the ironic analogy, justhank. Your 1972 equivalent would have probably gone with the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934.

  66. 66
    Kevin Lee Says:

    All this talk about Derek Jeter. I know I’m tired of him.

    I’m tired of seeing him on the tube every October. All October.
    November, too.
    Just finished Ken Burns’ “Tenth Inning”. Everywhere you looked, there was Jeter.
    I’m tired of him smiling alla time, never getting in trouble, dating Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive.”
    I’m tired of people equating him with the word Champion. All those rings look gaudy.

    Hmm… maybe the Yankees should just shut up and pay him.

    *Quickly getting off soapbox. Departs*

  67. 67
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Gil McDougald died…..

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/sports/baseball/30mcdougald.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries

    I did not realize that he had played a role in Herb Score’s career…..

  68. 68
    Marc Schneider Says:

    If the teams couldn’t afford to pay the salaries, they wouldn’t. To say it’s bad for baseball assumes that the players should take the responsibility for holding down their salaries so that owners that don’t want to spend money, don’t have to. It’s not as if the Yankees are winning the World Series year after year.

  69. 69
    csg Says:

    Marc, I was being a little sarcastic. This is no different than the Holliday, Wells, and Arod contracts

  70. 70
    Marc Schneider Says:

    csg,

    Sorry about that!

    @65 and 65,

    I like it that this group has references that we would not possibly see on Mets Blog. (Maybe there might be a reference to when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.) :)

  71. 71
    spike Says:

    @65, at least the Poles got 4 good years out of that deal – I don’t think you could count on the Captain for more than a couple at best.

  72. 72
    spike Says:

    Alabama strikes a blow for classiness. Unexpected, but not unappreciated

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5864754

  73. 73
    justhank Says:

    As a Braves fan (a Liberty Media-owned Braves fan), everytime another organization pays stupid money for good-to-mediocre-to-declining talent, it limits our ability to compete.

  74. 74
    Stu Says:

    72—So lame.

    My boy Clay Travis will get the fired staffer a job, though. Probably a better job.

  75. 75
    justhank Says:

    So if Oregon and Auburn win this weekend, does everyone agree they are clearly the two best teams?

    If so, does that mean all the non-stop BITCHING about the unfairness of the BCS was just another year of irritating noise?

  76. 76
    ububba Says:

    Every off-season, when the Yankees are chasing the latest big-ticket free agent, my pals & I await the invoice for the following season’s tickets package with trepidation. We joke that we’ll be chipping into the “Jason Giambi Fund” or the “CC Sabathia Fund.” Or we’ll be fully paying the “$5M Set-Up Guy Fund.”

    So, with Cliff Lee on the radar, we were shocked to see that the prices stayed the same for 2011, with better post-season options. Maybe this year it’s the “Derek Jeter Fund.”

    #75
    Hardly. Those 2 schools would seem to have the best resumes, but I think the only thing that’s clear is that the current system remains lousy.

    If a team wins all its games, for example, how can it be left out of an opportunity to become champ?

  77. 77
    spike Says:

    @75, Oregon’s schedule is suspect, to say the least. A win against Stanford. and that’s it for teams currently in the Top 25. You have to really buy in to the legitimacy of PAC 10 play to get behind them.

  78. 78
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @71,

    Spike,

    That’s true, but Poland’s decline phase was awfully severe after that.

  79. 79
    spike Says:

    Wait til you see how fast a 37yo SS falls apart.

  80. 80
    justhank Says:

    ububba – the BCS is like what someone (Franklin?) said about democracy – “it’s a lousy system except when compared to everything else”.

    Mac should ban me if I’ve started a Playoff v. BCS discussion, but there are so many negatives to a full-blown playoff that the Playoff Luddites fail to even address. My favorite solution is the PlusOne – but this year that would be problematic – after TCU, how can you argue that Stanford is better than Wisconsin is better than Michigan State and on and on. I guess #5 complaining is better than #3 complaining. Maybe.

    The stated purpose of the BCS was to pit #1 against #2. Far more often than not, this is what happens.

    And spike may be right about Oregon’s schedule, but damn that team is impressive.

  81. 81
    csg Says:

    I dont see how any team is ranked ahead of Auburn at this point. Auburn has wins over 5 current top 25 teams. They are favored by 5 over SC this weekend, which is one of the few times they’ve been favored all year.

  82. 82
    justhank Says:

    Back to my quest for sabermetric understanding.

    Most of the responses so far indicate that OBP is the sine qua non of stats.

    But wouldn’t OPS be a more instructive metric for the middle of the order?

  83. 83
    Bill K. Says:

    @82

    I’m hardly the main person to ask when it comes to explaining things, but I think it ultimately boils down to is that you want to have your best hitters hit more than your less talented hitter, which seems to be pretty intuitive until you consider things like Corey Patterson batting leadoff because of speed.

    I think the impression you’re getting indicating that OBP is the most important thing is a little bit off – there is a certain amount of slugging that comes into play (I think someone said earlier it was a ratio of 1.4-1?), because obviously a conceptual team that has an OBP of .500 could very feasibly load the bases and leave them stranded every single inning. (Yes, this is a terrible example of the .000 slugging hitter, but I digress) But the idea that people lean against OPS is because it weighs OBP and SLG equally, which leads to players like Jeffy being terribly overvalued (even though the marks put them at below average), because they make so many outs, but they hit the ball hard and get a fair number of extra base hits. So it’s very easy for two players to have OPSs of .800, one being a great hitter and one being slightly above average

    I’m sure something fancy and more accurate has been discovered in the past year or so, but if you’re forced to look at a number as a score of an absolute value of player worth (hint: A perfect one is yet to exist), I’m in favor of using wOBA which you can glance through at fangraphs, which tries to assign arbitrary values to each possible plate appearances. Conceptually your ideal lineup could be constricted by going 1-8 from the highest wOBA down, but there comes into play scenarios like four lefties in a row being susceptible to a LOOGY, or batting Jason Giambi in front of Dexter Fowler and therefore limiting the latters ability to get an extra base on a gapper.(Clogging the bases is overstated, because someone on base is almost always more valuable than someone not on base, again, intuitive).

    I’m sure someone can come along and tell me that thinking has progressed well beyond what I’ve said, though.

  84. 84
    desert Says:

    justhank,

    On-base is a measure with a max of 1.000, and Slugging is a measure with a max of 4.000. Since OBP (or not making outs) is a much more important measure of the efficiency of a ballplayer, it’s not the best idea to simply add the two and call it good, since .100 points of OBP is much more valuable than .100 points of slugging.

    OPS is a fast and simple metric that often times correlates very well with the true talent level of a ballplayer; but, when you have more advanced metrics, why not go with them? wOBA, or weighted on-base average, is a much better indicator for a middle-of-the order ballplayer (and anywhere else, actually), as it attempts to give a number that preserves the importance of OBP and incorporates Slugging into a statistic.

  85. 85
    Dusty Says:

    Great quote from Pearl:

    “I’ve made mistakes, I clearly did, but what I was hoping for was that some other dumbass would get on the front page and take me off the hook,” Pearl said. “I miss Lane Kiffin.”

  86. 86
    desert Says:

    BillK,

    You eloquently convey my thoughts on the matter.

  87. 87
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    #85–I can thank Lake Kiffin for making me happier than I thought I would ever be to see Notre Dame win….

  88. 88
    ububba Says:

    #80
    What negatives?

    Like joining every other NCAA sport that determines its champions on the field of play, not via computers or voters?

  89. 89
    ryan c Says:

    per mouthpiece of the braves (peanut), the braves will only be looking for bullpen help at the winter meetings. i got a feeling that the rest of the winter will be pretty boring in braves country.

  90. 90
    csg Says:

    I think its a bad idea that the Braves are banking on Mather being a useful piece. I know he has potential, but he hasnt shown any of it up to this point.

  91. 91
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @89
    I’m hoping Hinske sticks around, I don’t really see much of a risk in committing to him for a second year but… I wonder if Wren and company are expecting Nate Louth to have a rebound year or if they’re banking on one of Matt Young, Wilikin Ramirez or Jorge Constanza to either win the job or provide enough relief at the position to make an impact.

  92. 92
    td Says:

    I agree with csg on Mather. I guess we’re bound to lose Diaz, but all things considered, I still think he’s a better option. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Young could outplay Mathers next year also. Additionally, I like Hinske, but I’m not sure if he’ll give us a lot more next year than Canizares could give us, although I understand we need a lefty on our bench.

  93. 93
    Dusty Says:

    Stu,

    I’m sure you’ve read this but Schad says no on Golden to Vandy and that the two names being rumored are Tommy Bowden and Greg Roman from Stanford.

  94. 94
    spike Says:

    @81, Auburn started the season unranked, which in the BCS formula counts against you, and Oregon started at 11, which they get “credit” for

  95. 95
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I guess the difference between Hinske and Barabaro is that Hisnke can play at least three of the four corner positions, and I would imagine he could still play a servicable third base. It seems like the Braves are reluctant to even use Barabaro at first base. I would love to see Canizares used against LHP and then bring Freeman in for the last two or three innings. As far as Mather goes, they must really like his versatility, it sounds like he can play all four corners as well. I haven’t seen his minor league splits (DAMN YOU MINOR LEAGUE SPLITS .COM ), but he must do pretty well against LHP if he’s effectively replacing Matty Diaz, but this is just a hunch.

  96. 96
    csg Says:

    does Michigan go after Jim Harbaugh?

  97. 97
    Bethany Says:

    @91 Reading all those names in one post and realizing it’s 2/3rds of our outfield made me terribly sad.

  98. 98
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Regarding the discussion of SABR stats, I agree technically with the guys saying wOBA is the better metric, etc. But with that said, the higher-math driven stats often prove to be too clever by half, in my experience. This is especially true of the new line of defensive metrics and combined metrics (such as WAR) that include defensive valueations. They provide a false precision that the modelling doesn’t really provide. For example, the margin of error for the defensive component of WAR is something close to 10 runs per year. That’s HUGE.

    I personally have a hard time finding a use case scenario where I need more precision than the slash stats provide. You give me AVG/OBP/SLG, the player’s position, park, league and defensive skills, and I’ll have a functional idea of how valuable that player is to a baseball team. The scenarios where I would need to drill deeper than that level of valuation are hard for me to fathom. (I used to look more closely as ZIPS when I played fantasy baseball, but since I dropped that hobby I don’t really look hard at that any more.)

    I’m a SABR guy from the late 90s, and I love the fact that smarter writers are taking over baseball punditry while Murray Chass is shown the door. But there’s a lot of hemming and hawing at minutiae these days, and it brings nothing of true value to the conversation IMHO.

    Slash stats, adjusted for park and position. Defensive feel. Playing time. You don’t really need much more than that.

  99. 99
    spike Says:

    When your “best case” scenario is Prado/McLouth/Heyward with Mather as your CF backup…yeah. Looking forward to calling him “Cotton” for the rest of his tenure here.

  100. 100
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The difference between Hinske and Canizares is handedness. Barbaro is a RHB, no? If he’s competing for a spot on the roster, it’s with Matt Diaz, not Eric Hinske.

  101. 101
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    As for the OF, currently it projects as Prado/McLouth/Heyward with potentially Hinske and/or Diaz in the 4th/5th slot. That’s a pretty good OF, in fact. McLouth is a solid bet for comeback player of the year next year.

  102. 102
    spike Says:

    If McLouth comes back, I’ll be the first to admit wrong. I can’t include Diaz/Hinske yet, because, well because they aren’t on the team. By all accounts, we haven’t even made Diaz an offer yet. If they sign, of course my opinion would change.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/11/29/braves-wait-for-hinske-diaz-waits-for-braves-etc/?cxntfid=blogs_atlanta_braves_blog

  103. 103
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    McLouth’s career averages suggest that he’s a useful player. I personally think that if Hinske chooses Milwaukee Diaz will be back, if Hinske chooses Atlanta Diaz will be let go.

  104. 104
    Bethany Says:

    I forgot about Prado. I’m still not very comfortable with McLouth, but his stat line at the end of the year suggests he might have figured something out. I hope so. If he’s even average, then we do indeed have a solid OF.

  105. 105
    spike Says:

    McLouth’s career averages suggest that he’s a useful player.

    I certainly agree. He is also an extremely likeable fellow, and most professional. Having said that, 2008 looks like an outlier for him at this stage.

  106. 106
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    2008 is an outlier. So is 2010. 2009 is what I’m pencilling is as offensive production from CF next year, with functional if not spectacular D.

  107. 107
    ububba Says:

    #106
    Even with the additional Uggla, we could sure use the homers.

  108. 108
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    250/350/430. 10-15 HRs (I suspect that Turner Field will suppress his HR numbers slightly.) It’s not Andruw jacking 50, but it’s solid production from CF.

  109. 109
    sdp Says:

    I am Troy Tulowitzki’s father.

  110. 110
    Nick Says:

    I have never understood how anyone can imply that the BCS is a better way to decide things than a playoff. In a world where there’s no possible way that everyone can play everyone else, a playoff is the only logical way to decide anything. Either that or just have teams play for their conference titles and don’t recognize a national champion (by which I mean there can still be bowl games, and individual groups can still have polls, I guess…but the NCAA would cease recognizing national champions in Division I-A). The way they do it now is the stupidest possible way to do it.

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if the NCAA stepped in and mandated a playoff for D I-A. They could theoretically do it, although I’m sure all the big schools would pitch a fit and threaten to secede. Still, I kind of wish they would do it. It would at least get something moving forward.

  111. 111
    csg Says:

    a lot of people are saying Mullen to Miami

  112. 112
    snowshine Says:

    Back to Javy for a bit. He did begin 2 changes to catchers gear during his career. He started wearing a small flap to protect the knee joint in the catchers pads very early in his Braves career, although IIRC it was Eddie who popularized that notion (it is now pretty standard). Javy was definately the first MLB catcher to wear the wedge-shaped, “leg saver” pads on the back of his calves

  113. 113
    ububba Says:

    Dan Mullen, the Tubby Smith of Mississippi State?

  114. 114
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @100
    I realize a difference between Hinske and Canizares is handedness, I phrased that poorly. I guess what I meant was that the edge would go to Hinske because he can play multiple positions at an average level while BC can only play 1B at a reportedly sub par level. What isn’t true however is that BC is competing only with Matt Diaz for a spot. We have three roster spots remaining, assuming Mather makes the team. One of those spots goes to a utility infielder with SS capability, one of them goes to an outfielder with CF capability and the other is for a bench bat, PH type: this makes Barbaro Canizares, Matty Diaz and Eric Hinske all potential options, but only one of them will theoretically make the roster. If we run with a six man bullpen or a four man rotation for a while then this all goes out the window, but I think that my assumptions are pretty safe. Then again I thought that the Uggla for Infante/Dunn trade was impossible because I assumed that this was a bridge year for the Marlins, so my assumptions have been wrong before.

  115. 115
    spike Says:

    I have never understood how anyone can imply that the BCS is a better way to decide things than a playoff

    Because as currently structured, there’s no rational way to have a playoff that doesn’t include an inordinate number of teams or arbitrarily exclude too many. Barring some sort of “divisional” format that supersedes the current conference set up, there is too much scheduling disparity to accurately gauge who belongs.

  116. 116
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @110
    I agree, it seems so commonsensical. But I hope our resident blog bully/devil’s advocate doesn’t see that post.

  117. 117
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @112
    That reminds me of on of my favorite Javy moments. I believe it was a post game interview (I think maybe after he hit a walkoff HR against Benitez, was it a grand slam?) where Javy said that those were the best invention ever for the catcher’s position. Then whoever was interviewing him (I think it was Pete, but I can’t remember) quickly replied with “Second best.” Javy looked confused for a split second and then laughed heartily.

  118. 118
    spike Says:

    250/350/430

    That would be good for about a 112 OPS+ assuming last years’ PF’s stay close, a level he has reached only once in a full season – the “outlier” of ’08. No one would be happier than I to see him get there.

    To be fair, he did get a 110 in 07 as well.

    /edited for clarity.

  119. 119
    JoeyT Says:

    There are 11 FBS (or Div I-A) conferences. Five at-large teams would make it an even 16.

    There are plenty of weeks to handle a 16-team tournament. This year, it would mean the NC game would be on the 8th. It doesn’t really shift the calendar. All but a handful of teams would still have their bowl games.

    I would much rather have five at-large picks and overall seeding be the result of some convoluted BCS combination of algorithms and polls than have the only two teams invited to the dance be the result of that system.

  120. 120
    Stu Says:

    93—Haven’t heard whether the Golden thing is true or not. While it wouldn’t surprise me if it is, it’s also not exactly the most air-tight reporting. (Sourceless, and from a Penn State homer…)

    I think Bowden’s the favorite and has been for a while, from everything I’ve heard. There seems to be genuine mutual interest there, and I’m told there has been ever since Johnson stepped down. Roman, like Bud Foster, is a guy who’s of interest but not exactly at the top of the preferred list, though, given his lack of head coaching experience. Who knows, though?

  121. 121
    justhank Says:

    So the Championship Game would feature two teams about to play their 15th or 16th game?

    Fuck ‘em, they’re young! I wanna playoff!

  122. 122
    spike Says:

    @119, You seriously think the MAC, CUSA, and Sun Belt champ should get an annual invite to play for this so-called championship? And given the law of unintended consequences, good luck seeing a non-conf matchup of any interest ever again. With only 5 at-large bids, who would risk a loss?

  123. 123
    Dusty Says:

    I’ve been wondering if it would be possible to pair up a couple of the minor conferences and have their champions battle (MAC vs. CUSA e.g.) for an auto bid, and that way you could have 7 or 8 at large bids and 8 or 9 autos.

  124. 124
    ububba Says:

    #121
    Right, exactly 2 teams could play that many. They already do it in the other football divisions.

    #122
    And if, for example, you didn’t win your conference, a big non-conf win could help you secure a high ranking & a potential wild-card berth in a playoff.

  125. 125
    spike Says:

    @124, maybe. But it’s a low-reward, high risk proposition, AND you have to get someone else to agree to it. Why would anyone in the SEC, for example, risk a loss when odds are a 11-1 season gets the job done regardless of n-c schedule?

  126. 126
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I think the concern is that a schedule of 14-16 games would compromise the academic integrity of some of the major programs.

  127. 127
    Smitty Says:

    Tennessee is one of the five best defensive basketball teams in the country.

  128. 128
    Stu Says:

    I might buy top-10, but Villanova (in the only UT game I’ve actually seen) missed a lot of wide open shots.

  129. 129
    Smitty Says:

    They played great against Villanova. This might be Pearl’s beat defensive team. Really, this might be his best team period.

  130. 130
    Stu Says:

    Heh. Keep drinking the kool-aid, Smitty.

  131. 131
    Smitty Says:

    Well, they look better at this point than any Pearl team I have seen. There will be down points, but they are very talented and Hopson has decided to be aggressive and Harris looks like the real deal. They will be a tough team to beat

  132. 132
    Stu Says:

    Harris is a man, for sure. I’m still not buying into Hopson, but maybe you’re right.

    At least they don’t have JP Prince anymore.

  133. 133
    Smitty Says:

    Yeah, Hopson could fall off the map any day. He is the key to the Vols. If he is aggressive, look out

  134. 134
    csg Says:

    How in the world was UNC ranked top 10 to start the season? Im a big UNC fan, but this isnt a very good team. Very sloppy with the ball. It wont be very long and Marshall is going to take Drew’s guard spot.

  135. 135
    csg Says:

    anyone read this piece from Bowman? sounds like we’re probably stuck with KK…

    “Still with this being said, it’s clear that Kawakami’s days of pitching for the Braves are complete. At the same time, it’s become apparent that there aren’t too many Major League clubs currently showing strong interest in him.

    Even with the possibility that he might spend this entire season in the Minors, Kawakami has indicated he wants to remain in the United States. If he returns to his native Japan, he feels he would erase his final opportunity to prove that he can be successful in the U.S.

    Kawakami didn’t mind continuing to enjoy the U.S. lifestyle when the Braves optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett last August. The ballpark was just a short drive from the suburban Atlanta mansion (formerly resided in by rapper Lil’ Bow Wow) that he has rented the past two summers.

    I’m going to have to guess he won’t find these same luxuries in Pearl, Mississippi. Now that he might have realized the Braves are more than willing to keep him on the Double-A Mississippi roster, he might have to at least start reconsidering the possibility of pitching for one of those Japanese clubs that have shown interest.”

  136. 136
    ububba Says:

    #125
    It’s the same as today.

    If you win the game, you’re golden. But if you don’t play the game, like the ’04 Auburn squad, you risk something else.

  137. 137
    spike Says:

    Your point is well taken of course, but Auburn could have won road games against the goddam Afrika Corps and the Golden Horde – there was no chance they were getting in the way of a USC-Oklahoma title game.

    /I hate working late BTW.

  138. 138
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The Giants signed Miguel Tejada, because of course they did.

    What were the chances of them replacing Renteria with another shortstop in his late 30s? 100% 110%?

  139. 139
    ububba Says:

    #137
    They shoulda had Montgomery leading them, instead of Tuberville. Monty always insisted on getting full credit.

  140. 140
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    #135–Possibly, but it might be easier to tolerate AA, Pearl and a hot summer, than to return to Japan and feel like you have lost face….

  141. 141
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Off-topic, but music is never off-topic here:
    A group of younger dudes were trashing Elvis. “A few good hits,” they said. “Just another singer.”
    It’s not uncommon. I chalked it up to lack of perspective. They didn’t understand the depth of love people hold for the man’s music .

    To prove my point, I asked 50 people, “What’s your favorite Elvis song?”
    I got 21 different answers!
    What surprised me was that many people couldn’t pick a favorite song, instead preferring a collection.
    “I like his Christmas songs.” Or “I love his spiritual music.”
    And I realized all my favorites came from the Memphis sessions with Chips Moman, “Kentucky Rain”, “In the Ghetto,” and his last No.#1, “Suspicious Minds.”

    Sorry, guys. Some performers are bigger than just another singer. Some mountains are higher.

  142. 142
    Smitty Says:

    Kevin,

    Elvis was the man. I listen to his Christmans album in July sometimes.

    “Kentucky Rain” is a fantastic song.

  143. 143
    spike Says:

    @140, at 7M per year, you can send me pretty much wherever you’d like.

  144. 144
    ryan c Says:

    i dont know when this happened, but wes timmons was signed by the A’s. that sucks. i always rooted for the guy. well, maybe he’ll get a shot now. good luck wes!

  145. 145
    Stu Says:

    IIRC, Ronnie Milsap played piano on the “Kentucky Rain” recording. It’s also one of my Elvis favorites.

  146. 146
    spike Says:

    If’n you can’t slug over .400 in AAA before age 29, it’s tough to get a shot.

    /And I love Cold Kentucky Rain as well.

  147. 147
    JoeyT Says:

    I love Warm Kentucky Bourbon.

  148. 148
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    #144–Agreed, Wes Timmons definitely earned his ‘cup of coffee’ with the Braves. I really hope he gets with the A’s….

  149. 149
    csg Says:

    #146 – yep. Hell, we got a guy that has hit over .300 and slg’d over .500 a couple of times now and he hasnt gotten a shot either. He’s even a RH’d hitter that kills lefties.

  150. 150
    Bethany Says:

    @135 Man, that piece seems a bit tacky, don’t you think? I can’t imagine Bowman brining up any other player’s creature comforts when discussing what level of ball he’d be playing.

  151. 151
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I was surprised that Timmons didn’t get called up to replace Prado at the end of the season.

  152. 152
    Adam M Says:

    “250/350/430. 10-15 HRs (I suspect that Turner Field will suppress his HR numbers slightly.) It’s not Andruw jacking 50, but it’s solid production from CF.”

    Except his defense is absolutely awful–and that’s going by both my eyes and the defensive metrics. If the Braves really are done, post-Hinske, fooling with bench, then they’re making a big mistake. Prado is still an unknown quantity out there, we don’t know if Chipper will be ready at 3B anyway, and McLouth is awful in the field–which makes having a good LF all the more important. There are no-hit, all-field guys who can be defensive replacements in CF late in the game, and they’re cheap. I’m far more interested in how this plays out than I am in who we sign for the 6th and 7th bullpen spots.

  153. 153
    justhank Says:

    Not sure if it’s my head or heart talking, but I think it’s a mistake to let Diaz go – especially if we don’t know if Chipper’s good to go or if Prado is better than Melky in left – oh, wait, we already know that.
    ———–

    When sufficiently, er, motivated I do a decent “It’s Now or Never” at the neighborhood Halloween party.

    I was probably nearing 30 when I first appreciated Elvis (he was long dead by then and I remember – to my shame – wondering what all the fuss was about when he died).

    Youth is indeed wasted on the young.

  154. 154
    mravery Says:

    The Braves are going to add a guy or two for the bench. There’s just no way around it. They need to. It’ll probably happen closer to the start of the season, though, rather than right now.

  155. 155
    justhank Says:

    Any chance Barabaro can win a roster spot this spring?

  156. 156
    ububba Says:

    Elvis?

    “Baby, Let’s Play House”

  157. 157
    spike Says:

    Seems like Barbaro has annoyed someone or they would have given him one by now.

  158. 158
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @154
    I’m not so sure about that, doesn’t it seem like the PR machine is acclimating us to Matt Young?

  159. 159
    spike Says:

    @156 – check out Sleepy LaBeef’s 56 version – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0-LfDXIB5s

    The most savage rockabilly bass playing of all times. What a record.

  160. 160
    csg Says:

    yeah DOB has been talking about these nonroster invites a lot, and Mather also.

    I think the Braves want to spend on a vet reliever, like Puts or Wheeler. Now they are waiting on Hinske to decide before doing anything else.

    They seem content having a bench of Ross, Mather, Diory, Hinske, and Young or that Constanza or whatever his name is.

  161. 161
    spike Says:

    AAAAGH. I just had to give up my SEC Championship ticket for a last second trip to Johannesburg.

  162. 162
    Stu Says:

    160—Why do you think they’re content to have Diory on the bench? I expect an upgrade there, too.

  163. 163
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m in agreement on those late Elvis hits, they’re great. Eddie Rabbitt, of all people, wrote “Kentucky Rain”. His biggest solo hit was “I Love a Rainy Night”. Guy just liked rain.

    Someone (Joe Queenan?) once wrote that the sure sign of Elvis’ continued hold on the American psyche was that he coule get away with talking that long on “Are You Lonesome Tonight”. A lesser artist would have caused riots.

  164. 164
    ryan c Says:

    so, kevin kouzmanoff and his .283 obp is the starting 3rd baseman for the A’s. any chance wes gets a chance to beat him out in spring?

  165. 165
    ryan c Says:

    i think ed lucas gets a serious look. just from a stats and positional perspective (and scrapping the defense argument considering i know nothing of his defense), he would be the ideal person for a backup ss…like omar infante. he’s ops’d .827 and .878 the past 2 years at AA and AAA and looks to have improved his baserunning skills (25 steals to only 4 caught in the last 2 years).

  166. 166
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @160

    “They seem content having a bench of Ross, Mather, Diory, Hinske, and Young or that Constanza or whatever his name is”

    That’s absolutely how it looks to me too. I think they might let this Ed Lucas character compete for Diory’s spot though. Considering that Alex Gonzalez never seems to miss games they just might be putting less emphasis on having a true shortstop on the bench.

  167. 167
    spike Says:

    I love the Ed Lucas story, and would love it if he made the club – but banking on him to work out is trying to draw to an inside straight.

  168. 168
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I know it would be silly to get overly excited about a minor league free agent coming from the Royals, but Ed Lucas has intriguing stats. His overall minor league numbers are decent(.362/.400) but relatively poor performances in the low minors are what’s keeping his career OPS under .800. What he’s done in 336 games between AA and AAA over the last 4 seasons is pretty impressive .373/.431 and .378-.432 respectively. Throw in good SO/BB rates, defensive versatility and some speed and I think we have a pretty decent utility player here.

  169. 169
    csg Says:

    Stu, just a thought since he’s the only person that can play short and back up AAG right now. They’ve also had him playing 3rd in the winter leagues. So basically he backs up 3B/SS/2B and has nothing left to prove at AAA. Thats the only reason I could come up with

    I guess Lucas could get a shot too, but Im sure they’d like to see him playing everyday to figure out our plans for 2012 at SS. Maybe he has nothing left to prove in the minors either, I just dont know anything about him.

  170. 170
    jjschiller Says:

    I like Lucas as a sleeper, too. Matt Diaz and Brooks Conrad come to mind.

    If we’re talking about the Tony Gwynn Jr.’s of the world,I’m fine with spending our spring at-bats on Matt Young, Ed Lucas, et al. If necessary, pick up a DFA at the end of spring. The Brendan Ryan’s can do their wind sprints somewhere else for the first few weeks. Get a look at the unknown quantities, maybe catch some lightning.

  171. 171
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @169
    It’s true that both Diory and Lucas have little left to prove at AAA, they seem to be pretty much equally qualified for this position. All things considered, this is a pretty ideal pair of candidates to compete for the Utility INF spot come spring training. Let the better man win and we’re probably looking at a decent bench player.

  172. 172
    td Says:

    I would like to see us spend some money on a quality relief pitcher, but I hope we steer clear of paying too much for a backup SS/utility guy. Infante worked out great, but I keep getting flashbacks of Chris Woodward.

    I think Diory or Lucas can hold their own, especially if we don’t expect them to play a whole lot. We need insurance for Chipper, but if he goes down we have Prado and hopefully we can get something useful from Matt Young, Mather or Diaz (although he isn’t likely at this point).

  173. 173
    Smitty Says:

    My understanding on Lucus is he has stood at the possition of shortstop, but plays it like Melky plays center.

    I think he might be a Brooks Conrad type player.

    I think we need to get a guy with a good glove to back up short as well

  174. 174
    Spike Says:

    Can’t link from iPhone, but just read Cam declared eligible by NCAA despite dad’s involvement. Either I misunderstood, or some folks did not really know what the rule is

  175. 175
    justhank Says:

    Anybody heard Dwight Yaokam’s version of “Suspicious Minds”? I think it’s great.

  176. 176
    chris Says:

    csg

    i agree. this team is quite average. It’s got LOADS of talent, but I don’t know what’s going on with that talent.

    Perhaps Roy is apathetic.

  177. 177
    IthacaBraves Says:

    OOH OOH! Jose Lopez is being non tendered by the Mariners! Anybody interested in having an Alex Gonzalez’ statistical look alike on the team!?

  178. 178
    spike Says:

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/12/ncaa_rules_auburns_cam_newton.html

  179. 179
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I love “Suspicion Minds.” This may be my relative youth speaking, but it always makes me think of the key party in The Ice Storm.

  180. 180
    Mac Thomason Says:

    It’s the correct call. It’s hard to believe that Cam knew nothing about what was going on… but there is absolutely no evidence that he did.

    As for backup shortstop, I want my backup to be able to do something that the regular can’t. Run, hit for average, walk — something like that.

  181. 181
    Randy Says:

    Top Five Elvis Songs
    1, Suspicious Minds
    2, Don’t Be Cruel
    3, My Baby Left Me
    4, If I Can Dream
    5, Viva Las Vegas or Kentucky Rain

    Worst
    Do the Clam

  182. 182
    rehabreject Says:

    this has probably been mentioned but the marlins traded uggla for infante, dunn, and with the leftover monye signed john buck, and javy vazquez. that’s a good haul for them

  183. 183
    Randy Says:

    Top Five Elvis Movies
    1, Viva Las Vegas
    2, Flaming Star
    3, Jailhouse Rock
    4, G.I. Blues
    5, Follow that Dream

    Worst
    So Many to choose from, certainly Clambake comes to mind, not to mention Paradise Hawaiian Style, and Double Trouble, and I must admit I’ve never seen Frankie and Johnny (which might be the worst), but I have seen Harum-Scarum, I can’t believe there’s a piece of celluloid that exists that is worse!

  184. 184
    Smitty Says:

    Top Five Elvis Songs
    1, Suspicious Minds
    2, Kentucky Rain
    3, That’s All Right Mama
    4, Viva Las Vegas
    5, In the Ghetto

  185. 185
    IthacaBraves Says:

    182
    The trade didn’t make sense to me at first, because the Marlins usually trade star players for guys in the mid to high minors that fit a future window. What I didn’t realize was that the Marlins see their window as open right now. It was more like a Braves style salary where the team is unloading something valuable while making team better now. Replacing Uggla with a Lefty Reliever, a veteran starter, an offensive upgrade veteran catcher and a great utility infielder who is a capable everyday second baseman is a pretty strong baseball move. They will have more than enough offense to go around too, with the like of the HanRam, Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton and Chris Coghlan.

  186. 186
    csg Says:

    #182 – I dont know about that. The haul really depends on what Vasquez does there. If he’s done, its not that impressive. Buck is a .300OBP catcher, but has some pop. Dunn is a loogy with control issues. Omar is good or very lucky but still not and everyday player. Vasquez’ arm may be cooked for good. Time will tell

    Id rather have the draft picks though

  187. 187
    Stu Says:

    “Burning Love” belongs on any list of great Elvis songs, IMO.

  188. 188
    Parish Says:

    If we’re mentioning Elvis movies, I have to bring up the all-time Elvis Impersonator movie, “Honeymoon in Vegas.”

    Of course, there may have been some controversial segregation in the movie, as the Pakistani Elvises had to ride a separate bus.

  189. 189
    Kevin Lee Says:

    I’m delighted to find that “Kentucky Rain” has stuck with so many.
    As this thread has progressed, I’ve told several ladies around the workplace about its popularity.
    Every gal that knows the song sighs and repeats the title.

    We’re on to something…

  190. 190
    Smitty Says:

    I have it at six Stu, great song

  191. 191
    sansho1 Says:

    Never cared much for Elvis. Mia Wallace would categorize me as “Beatles people”.

  192. 192
    Stu Says:

    One of my wife’s good buddies from high school is an award-winning Elvis impersonator. Brings in over $500K per year.

  193. 193
    Bethany Says:

    Elvis? Suspicious Minds and A Little Less Conversation.

  194. 194
    Dusty Says:

    I don’t think you can say Uggla turned into Dunn, Infante, Buck and Vazquez. Aren’t they paying $7 for Vazquez? Add in Dunn and Infante and that is the cost of Uggla, can’t throw in Buck in the equation too.

    Which is not to say they haven’t done OK. They’ll have good pitching and an above average offense especially if Javy rebounds. And if you consider the going rate for a MI this year is about $7 mill, then Infante is a whale of a bargain.

  195. 195
    Smitty Says:

    A Little Less Conversation, is great

  196. 196
    Smitty Says:

    Top Five American Singers

    1 Nat King Cole
    2 Tina Turner
    3 Frank Sinatra
    4 Elvis
    5 Bessie Smith (being from Chattanooga, I am bias)

  197. 197
    spike Says:

    Tina Turner over Ella Fitzgerald/Billie Holiday?

  198. 198
    Parish Says:

    I’m not sure why you would trade Uggla within the Division if you’re going for the title this year. Surely, that “haul” could be found elsewhere.

  199. 199
    sdp Says:

    @196: Where’s Lady Gaga?

  200. 200
    Dusty Says:

    From twitter @jksports:

    Its official. ESPN Sun Night Baseball booth: Shulman, Valentine, Hershiser; Sciambi/Singleton on ESPN Radio: http://es.pn/ESPN_SNB

    Nice to see Boog getting in on the Sunday Night action even if it is just on radio.

  201. 201
    ububba Says:

    Greetings from Chicago… (Brrrr…27-degrees!)

    #196
    I gotta put Aretha up there somewhere.

    And if I’m going way, way back, I’ll go with Ma Rainey over Bessie Smith (being as how I’m from Columbus, Ga.), although I do love The Band’s “Bessie Smith” from The Basement Tapes.

  202. 202
    Smitty Says:

    Yeah, Billie Holliday and Ella could easily be on my list, but damn, Tina Turner has some pipes.

  203. 203
    Smitty Says:

    Plus her ex husband wrote the first rock and roll song. If I put Aretha Franklin on the list it would have four Tennessean (well, by defacto at least)

  204. 204
    ububba Says:

    “Nutbush City Limits” is pretty awesome.

  205. 205
    spike Says:

    her ex husband wrote the first rock and roll song

    Yeah – and just like her career, he never got credit for it either.

  206. 206
    Smitty Says:

    Her version of ‘Proud Mary’ is great

  207. 207
    justhank Says:

    Sarah Vaughn anyone?
    ———

    Have you seen Boog lately? He’s huge! He has literally put on 50 pounds or more.

    That will be a welcome change in the booth. I kinda liked Miller, but Joe had to go.

    And when Shulman and Vitale do a game together, it looks uncannily like father and son.

  208. 208
    Smitty Says:

    @205,

    Well, he get credit for the song. He was a pretty big deal for a long time. I think the whole “What’s Love Got to Do” thing ended him.

    If you ever want to go do something cool, Sun Records in Memphis is a great place to go see.

  209. 209
    spike Says:

    My personal go-to Aretha album – http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Meets-Detroit-Arethas-Blues/dp/B00000345R

  210. 210
    csg Says:

    I hated Miller and Joe, both were awful IMO

  211. 211
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Very hard to work up any sympathy for Ike Turner.

  212. 212
    Stu Says:

    This Cam Newton ruling is really good news for John Calipari and Bruce Pearl.

  213. 213
    sdp Says:

    So long, Matt Diaz.

  214. 214
    cliff Says:

    Mac at 180,

    NO evidence?

    One witness said Cam said that Dad said Cam couldn’t go to Missisippi State because they didn’t come up with the money.

    That is evidence.

    My guess is that either (1) NCAA wanted to shut it up for a while until they knew something more or (2) an NCAA investigator has aninside track with the FBI on the colonial Bank / Lowther and VictoryLand investigations and they are confident that there is no “smoking gun” (because they would REALLY look stupid if FBI says Colonial Bank’s equity was paid to Newton or Dad or Dad’s Church).

  215. 215
    JoeyT Says:

    I have a funny history with Rocket 88. When I was pretty young, well before the internet reached our household, I saw Buckaroo Bonzai on cable (HBO, probably). I liked that song so much that I checked TV Guide for when the movie would come on again, waited with a tape recorder, and recorded the music off the TV set. From that tape, it found its way onto multiple personal mixtapes. Many years later the Wikipedia tells me the song is Rocket 88.

    Of course, I like the sped-up solo-laden Buckaroo Bonzai version better, but that’s probably because I heard it so many times before I heard the original.

  216. 216
    JoeyT Says:

    @214, or that one recruiter’s recall of a single line said from a single conversation is far from conclusive evidence. IIRC, it was a phone call. He could have said, “It’s not sunny that much.” A recruiter’s hearing and recall, especially relating to a conversation that occurred after he lost the player, are going to be biased by sour grapes.

  217. 217
    JoeyT Says:

    Maybe the women at Auburn are hotter, and “The honeys are too much.”

  218. 218
    Dusty Says:

    Stu,

    Of course I’m a fan of his, but hardly think it’s fair to lump Pearl in with Calipari just yet. Pearl is not the “get the best player here at all costs” type.

  219. 219
    spike Says:

    @211, I was being facetious. @208, Turner did some rockin’ stuff at Sun under his own name. He was a fine guitarist as well.

  220. 220
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I love Buckaroo Banzai. What a weird movie.

  221. 221
    Stu Says:

    218—Well, I tend to agree that Calipari has probably done much worse than Pearl has on the recruiting trail, but only one of those guys has gotten caught lying to the NCAA. Both guys are sleazy.

  222. 222
    joelk Says:

    Buckaroo Banzai! One of my favorites!

  223. 223
    justhank Says:

    Evidence? Of specific wrongdoing by Calipari?

    Camby has stated repeatedly that he took money and gifts from an agent (not a booster) while home for summer and that NO ONE (coaches, teammates, administrators) knew it.

    There are ZERO NCAA findings OR allegations against the man who in one afternoon raised $1.5 million for Haitian earthquake relief and had his players perform footwashing of the homeless on a recent trip to Canada.

  224. 224
    Stu Says:

    LOL. Poor Honest John Calipari — he must be the unluckiest man who ever lived! Bad fortune just always follows him!

    He’s either a skillful cheater or a completely incompetent CEO.

  225. 225
    DJ Says:

    218 – Neither is Calipari, but whatever.

  226. 226
    Jeremy Says:

    It’s just a coincidence that Calipari put both UMass and Memphis on probation.

  227. 227
    sdp Says:

    Can WikiLeaks get the “pictures” from Bobby?

  228. 228
    sansho1 Says:

    Kentucky hoops fans are humorless.

  229. 229
    ryan c Says:

    diaz good as gone via peanut…

    “The Braves aren’t expected to tender Diaz a contract before Thursday’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline. All Major League clubs have until Thursday to tender their arbitration-eligible players contracts.

    Diaz appears to be the only Braves player who will be non-tendered. Right-hander Jair Jurrjens, infielder Martin Prado, right-hander Peter Moylan and left-hander Eric O’Flaherty are all expected to be tendered contracts. This simply begins the process for them to receive a raise via the arbitration process.”

  230. 230
    justhank Says:

    No. Just tired of baseless accusations.

    If I’m playing Don Quixote to Calipari’s Dulcinea, then I’ll be the first to admit it. But until there’s at least one allegation from the NCAA, well, we’re just damn tired of the stereotype.

  231. 231
    sansho1 Says:

    All I know is, Calipari is in a business that’s often dirty, he’s left the sort of institutional damage in his wake that reminds you how dirty the business can be, and yet he hasn’t suffered professionally. So why would he change, and why should anyone expect a different result? He’s a great coach and recruiter, so it seems to me the “this is the business we’ve chosen” approach is the best one to take. That’s going to mean some slings and arrows.

    I know that’s the approach a lot of UGA fans took with Harrick almost from the day he was hired. There was a presumption of dirt, which turned out to be all too true. But then, UGA hoops is never a presumptive favorite, so I don’t know.

  232. 232
    Smitty Says:

    justhank,

    Calipari is your Lane Kiffin, except a better coach. Kentucky has has a lot of issues in the past. But if it is your team, you do have to defend your guy

    sansho is right, college basketball is very very dirty.

  233. 233
    csg Says:

    letting Diaz go while banking on Mather, Young, and whoever else is a bad decision in my opinion. For a club who cant hit lefties, Im not happy with this decision.

  234. 234
    sansho1 Says:

    I’ll miss Diaz, but he had three good years for us and two bad ones. At age 33, he’s more likely to repeat the bad year. I’ll never not root for him, though.

  235. 235
    c. shorter Says:

    Probably a good move, but I’ll miss Matty D.

  236. 236
    mraver Says:

    Not offering Diaz arbitration is not the same as losing him. He was going to cost more than he was worth next year. He made $2.5M this year and he’ll probably get closer to 4 or 5 next year. The objective should be to resign him for the same as he got less year or, more likely, less.

  237. 237
    csg Says:

    isnt there some rule about us having to wait longer to resign a player if we dont offer arb? maybe Im thinking of something else

  238. 238
    Parish Says:

    236 – I think that rule only applies to a regular free agent. Either way, there is window after the arbitration deadline where you can still sign a player.

  239. 239
    BFedRec Says:

    Wow… Jamie Moyer planning on trying a comeback in 2012 after having Tommy John surgery recently… he’ll be 49. I’m sure it’s just because I’m getting into my mid-30s and would like SOME players on the field to be older than me, but I hope he can do it. I love the “old guy still playing” stories.

  240. 240
    ryan c Says:

    @235
    in the article, that’s not what peanut was implying.

  241. 241
    Smitty Says:

    @238,

    I think a team like the Pirates should take a flier on him. He would be good for that team.

  242. 242
    BFedRec Says:

    Just because the Elvis discussion is too “normal”, today I’m listening to the three albums I bought (for $5 each) on amazonmp3 last night:

    Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine (it has been a very long time since I listened to this whole album)

    The Magnetic Fields – Get Lost (I’ve heard Stephin Merritt before, but the main thing I remember listening too was his Gothic Archies stuff… really enjoying this album)

    The Best of the Monkees (If I got home early enough from school as a kid in the 80s I could catch The Monkees (before the normal 80s cartoons of Transformers & GI Joe), and I dearly loved that show… almost as much as My Favorite Martian which came on before it and I only rarely got to catch that one… ).

    So… maybe listening to that new Girl Talk mash-up album has messed with what I consider an appropriate playlist.

  243. 243
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @180,

    Cliff,

    Evidence? That’s double hearsay. It certainly wouldn’t be admissible in court.

    @231,

    Sansho,

    Great job quoting from “Hyman Roth.” I love it. That’s about the level of big-time college athletics.

  244. 244
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post.

  245. 245
    ububba Says:

    #241
    I think Merritt’s a bit of a genius & “69 Love Songs” is the greatest triple album since “Sandinista!”

    And now, The Magnetic Fields: http://tinyurl.com/2gyltqk

  246. 246
    DJ Says:

    I’ll agree that college basketball (and football for that matter) can be gray, especially with handlers, agents and shoe companies reaching out to eighth graders.

    I just don’t understand all the vitriol towards Calipari when several media darling coaches do the exact same thing. Eric Bledsoe was offered scholarships to several top tier programs, and he was the center of the latest issue where Calipari was coach. Corey Maggette wasn’t exactly clean in college; did Duke ever forfeit wins or did Coach K face scrutiny? The Pump Brothers are some of the sleaziest handlers in AAU basketball, yet they have a great relationship with Roy Williams and most of their top recruits land at UNC. Josh Selby is currently sitting out games at KU under Bill Self. Point being – Calipari is the on the front page of ESPN.com every three months for some allegation or rumor. I just wish certain writers and newspapers (Pat Forde, NY Times) were more even in their reporting.

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