Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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29 Feb

Cristhian Martinez

There were reports a little while back that the Braves were going to trade the Lisp; it didn’t happen, but it would probably be a good thing for all concerned if they did. Not that he lacks value. Martinez pitched well (3.36 ERA) in the long man role in 2011, and with so much young starting pitching a long man is something you need. But his strikeout rate is pedestrian and last year he was a fly-ball pitcher who (unlike most of the Braves relievers) was somewhat homer-prone (he allowed eight; his homer rate was actually league-average, it just stands out on this team). His biggest strength was control. In short, he doesn’t profile as someone who would move into a major bullpen role, but as someone who might, possibly, be a back-of-the-rotation starter. That’s not a need on this ballclub, but a lot of teams are using a lot worse in their fourth and fifth starter spots. If the Braves could get a reasonable prospect for him, or he could help get a hitter, you go for it.

As a long man, was used mostly in low-leverage situations in 2011. He had only three holds, and no blown saves. He lost three games, all of which he entered with the score tied, but two were in the eleventh inning (back to back appearances against the Dodgers and Padres in April) and the other (against the Phillies in September, a killer loss) he came in for Delgado in the sixth. Baseball-Reference counts 70 percent of the plate appearances against him as “low-leverage”. Given the problems the Braves had finding a righthanded setup man, that shows you what Fredi thinks of him. Then again, Fredi was the manager when the Marlins waived Martinez in spring of 2010.

Cristhian Martinez Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

134 Responses to “Cristhian Martinez”

  1. 1
    kc Says:

    That’s Atlanta!!!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news;_ylt=Aj1ZaP..fYi8sDSaYlx8POU5nYcB?slug=ys-forbes-atlanta_most_miserable_sports_cities_022812

  2. 2
    ryan c Says:

    Nailed it, Mac. The Lisp, if ever he’d had any, has maximum trade value after 3 straight impressive minor league seasons and 1 good major league season. With Medlen and Vizcaino, I don’t really see the point of the Lisp on this roster.

  3. 3
    Jonesy Says:

    No matter what happens in the future, I’ll always remember the Lisp for throwing up zeros with Daniel McCutcheon for 6 innings.

    In nearly 22 years of conscious fandom that’s still the most bizarre Braves game I can remember.

  4. 4
    sansho1 Says:

    Not to mention his single and two sac bunts in the same game. Good stuff.

  5. 5
    Marc Schneider Says:

    The Braves (or Wren) seem terrified of trading any pitchers at this point. I understand it given the health problems on the staff but he does not seem willing to trade from strength at all.

  6. 6
    csg Says:

    He wouldve had a great season if he had kept a few more balls in the park last season. I doubt his value is high enough to bring a useful piece back in return. If a reasonable offer had been received Im sure he wouldve been traded. I dont mind him hanging out in the bullpen for another season.

    I just found this as a side note and I almost dont believe it.

    “First baseman Freddie Freeman came to camp five to eight pounds heavier after an offseason spent working out. “I’ve never lifted weights before,” he said. “I started out benching 160. Guys gave me a hard time. But by the end of the winter, I was benching 265.”

    How can you make it through high school, the minor leagues, and into the majors without ever lifting weights? Get him in the weight room with Heyward.

  7. 7
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    But that certainly hasn’t always been the case with Wren. The Javy Vazquez, McLouth, and Bourn trades were all clearloy from strength. I’m hoping that Trader Frank can find some partners again. It’s been a lonely offseason.

  8. 8
    Smitty Says:

    I was at agame where I think he got a tripple.

  9. 9
    ububba Says:

    For anyone who’s near or expects to be near Flushing Queens for the Braves/Mets season opener/weekend series (April 5,7,8), here’s a pre-sale link. The password is STRAWBERRY.

    http://tinyurl.com/7rcmw7n

    I bought a pair for both weekend games. Yes, folks, plenty of great seats are still available, even for opening day.

  10. 10
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    How can you make it through high school, the minor leagues, and into the majors without ever lifting weights? Get him in the weight room with Heyward.

    Talent. He’s 22. Since he was 7 or 8 he’s been bigger, stronger, faster and more athletically gifted than anyone within three or four counties. He’s never had to work at it before. Now he does. That’s the transition from being a superstar prospect to being a major leaguer.

  11. 11
    csg Says:

    He probably couldnt have done 5 pushups. Thats just not something I wouldve guessed about him.

  12. 12
    Mike N. Says:

    I dunno, when I played in high school we had mandatory workouts in the Fall. I just figured that was something every high school did. That’s impressive that he’s made it this far without working out.

  13. 13
    csg Says:

    #10 – He definitely hasnt been stronger than his competition. He could barely lift half of his body weight.

  14. 14
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Mike, did you play football or baseball?

  15. 15
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @13 – I guarantee you over the course of his elementary and high school years Freddie Freeman led his team in HRs pretty much every year, unless he was playing on one of those regional super-prospect teams that cherry picks all of the high end talent and puts them together on a travelling team. His pure baseball skills – the swing, the bat speed – made up for any lack of upper body strength from weight work.

  16. 16
    Mike N. Says:

    Baseball. We had workouts before school 3 or 4 days a week in the fall. It was so annoying.

  17. 17
    csg Says:

    Good Chipper article

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7624221/appreciating-greatness-chipper-jones

  18. 18
    Parish Says:

    Not a surprise that Atlanta is the most miserable sports city.

    I do count last years’ Hawks season as a success, though. As I recall, Orlando had already bought their plane tickets for the next round and ESPN had financed them.

    Of course, that I count the 2nd round exit as a success is probably a symptom of the sports misery.

  19. 19
    c. shorter Says:

    It’s certainly plausible that he’s never lifted before.

    Thought it’s also plausible that he meant that he’s never seriously lifted weights (with a specifically designed program) before.

  20. 20
    td Says:

    Not sure about the weightlifting for Freman. Putting on extra weight and lifting weights didn’t seem to help Heyward or Francouer a whole lot.

  21. 21
    csg Says:

    It helped Mcgwire, Bonds, and plenty of others.

  22. 22
    Mac Thomason Says:

    The Marlins’ right fielder would now like to be known as Giancarlo Stanton. I would like to point out that I was ahead of the curve on this one.

  23. 23
    Askia Says:

    Vegas puts the over/under on Braves wins at 87 this season.

  24. 24
    Dusty Says:

    The bowtie is reporting that the extra playoff team is a go for this season. Announcement to be made tomorrow.

  25. 25
    sansho1 Says:

    @22

    One day someone named Stanton will go by Arch, and the jumbotron will show this clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI

    Followed by a few bars of the theme song. I only hope Arch Stanton will be a Brave, because I’ll have to root for him regardless.

  26. 26
    ryan c Says:

    Playoffs expanded to 10 teams.

  27. 27
    td Says:

    @21 – True, but steroids also played a big part. The point is that whatever weight training is done better have as it’s first priority increasing bat speed. For whatever reason, the Braves haven’t seemed to have a lot of success along those lines.

  28. 28
    sansho1 Says:

    I wonder if there might be a correlation between the length of a player’s swing and whether it’s advisable to add a lot of upper body muscle. Heyward and Francoeur, long swings, added weight, bat slowed down. Javy Lopez, long swing, lost weight prior to 2003, had career year, extended career. Bonds and McGwire, short swings, bulked up, broke records. Freddie, having a relatively short swing for a big fellow, might benefit.

  29. 29
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I suspect that the relationship to power is inverse. You hit lots of HRs *because* of the short, compact swing. Long swings make you mistime too many chances and fly out, where Bonds’ swing was simply built to drive every pitch in the zone a gazillion miles.

    Bonds was helped more by his gigantic elbow guard, which made it impossible for him to swing with bad form, basically, than he was ever helped by PEDs.

  30. 30
    Ethan Says:

    PEDs aside, Bond’s swing was a thing of destructive beauty. Early 2000′s it got to the point where I’d be surprised when he whiffed.

  31. 31
    ryan c Says:

    “Bonds was helped more by his gigantic elbow guard, which made it impossible for him to swing with bad form, basically, than he was ever helped by PEDs.”

    You can’t seriously believe that.

  32. 32
    ububba Says:

    #22
    Giancarlo?

    Now, I’m ruined. Just when I was beginning to differentiate him from a longtime lefty reliever, I’m now going to think of my favorite Italian actor, Giancarlo Giannini. Troppa confusione!

    http://tinyurl.com/6ns3ypc

  33. 33
    Askia Says:

    Chad Millman tweet:

    Love this from chipper jones in our story for next issue about Atls epic collapse—“Here we are five months later and finally it’s tomorrow.”

  34. 34
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    You can’t seriously believe that.

    I’m dead serious. I have yet to see a single case or argument that suggests PED usage in baseball did anything other than boost recovery time from injury or weight work. Bonds was the best player in history for a while there because he had a perfect swing that never, ever varied, and controlled the strike zone simply by stepping into the box. There’s no evidence that he was improved by PEDs.

  35. 35
    Seat Painter Says:

    Bond’s gigantic elbow guard let him bat without fear of an iside pitch hurting his arm. I believe THAT was the benefit of the Elbow Armor.

    Edit: Plus, yes, Bonds would have gone down as one of the ten best players ever even without PEDs. His use of them though, coupled with his ability to ignore inside pitches with that guard, allowed him to go from a mid-30 per year HR hitter to the freak of nature he became in his mid to late 30s.

  36. 36
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @30 – right. If he swung, he did something painful to the ball. If he couldn’t hurt the ball, he didn’t swing.

  37. 37
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Again, I’d like to see evidence that Bonds’ late career HR splurge was obviously PED related. I’ll wait.

  38. 38
    ububba Says:

    Just look at his inflated stats, and his inflated head.

  39. 39
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I don’t normally suggest trades, but the D-Backs gave away Gerardo Parra’s job this offseason and he might be available. I think that might work.

  40. 40
    justhank Says:

    Sam,

    That’s a fascinating theory, although the long swing is usually associated with a “casting out” of the back arm – hence, Bonds’ habit of “flapping” the back arm before each pitch to remind his muscle memory to stay closed.

    But the elbow armor might well have helped reinforce keeping the front side closed – an equally important component of a compact swing.

    Not sure if it actually works, but I do know I’m buying my kid some elbow armor tomorrow and will test it out.

  41. 41
    Ethan Says:

    @39-If he can still play CF (34 inn the past two years combined) I guess I can see it, but if not he’s maybe Hinske w/better defense

  42. 42
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The late career surge in power stats is not evidence of PED use, unless you are suggesting that Hank Aaron started using PEDs late in his career too. (He shows a similar spike in power late, as do many other HOF caliber hitters.)

    The head size is anecdotally associated with PED usage, but even if we grant the anecdote and assume Bonds *was* using, you’ve still not shown any evidence that the use of PEDs did anything other than help him heal faster and stay healthy longer (which is the only known medically tested and proven effect of steroid/PED usage.)

    You’re correlating, not showing causation. You’re just assuming Bonds used and that Bonds usage caused him to be Bonds, when in fact there’s no evidence to suggest that. We know for a fact that Manny Alexander used, and Manny Alexander (nor Jordan Schafer) managed to be Bonds.

  43. 43
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I think the elbow armor was significant psychologically, because he was never afraid of being hit by a pitch on his arm. I think it was important physically because it was basically a robotic prosthetic that required his swing to be identical every time, at least from an arm motion perspective.

  44. 44
    Remy Says:

    Didn’t Bonds use a short bat?

  45. 45
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I don’t know about the bat.

  46. 46
    Stu Says:

    Well, it was a lot shorter after all the ‘roids.

  47. 47
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Stu wins that one.

    Hank Aaron did not have a spike in power late. He basically just kept the same power throughout his career. He hit 40 homers eight times, the first time when he was 23 and the last time when he was 39.

    In ten seasons from age 21 to age 30, Hank hit 353 homers; in ten seasons from age 31 to age 40, Hank hit 367 homers. That’s pretty even.

    By contrast, Barry Bonds hit 40 homers eight times, the first time when he was 28 — the only time he did it in his 20s — and the other seven times came when he was 31-32 and 35-39.

    In ten seasons from age 21 to age 30, Barry hit 292 homers. In ten seasons from age 31 to age 40, Barry hit 416 homers.

    That’s a power spike.

  48. 48
    Johnny Says:

    Plus bonds had a very small strike zone. Inner half taken away by the armour, outstanding discipline, benefit of the doubt by the umpires. Plus the maple bat. Not sure if MLB still allows them. Finally lets face it what Bonds had most was incredible hand to eye coordination.

  49. 49
    Michael Says:

    I saw an article several years ago that concluded that, given historical baseball statistics, there was a 1 in 53 million chance of a player hitting 73 homeruns at the age of 37. That has always stuck with me about the Bonds story.

  50. 50
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I like Bill James’ interpretation that steroids keep a player young. So a Barry Bonds keeps the physical ability to hit a baseball but adds to it all the experience of a savvy veteran.

  51. 51
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I can sign on to that theory, Mac. I think the primary value of steroids/PEDs is that it keeps you from breaking, or heals you faster when you do break.

    I’m not impressed at all by the “10 years from 21-30″ arguments Alex. Bonds’ 21-30 seasons came from 1986-1996. Those seasons were played in stadiums like Three Rivers and The Astrodome and Candlestick. From 1996-2006 he played in parks like Coors Field and Minute Maid and Pacbell/AT&T. That alone can attest to a power spike itself. It’s also noted that in Bonds, the all around best player in the game by far, was completely ignored in 1998, when McGwire and Sosa were doing their “chicks did the long ball” thing, and after that season Bonds specifically started tailoring his swing and approach to hit more HRs.

  52. 52
    ryan c Says:

    Here are all the catchers that MLBNetwork ranked in front of McCann:
    1.Mike Napoli (Texas Rangers)2.Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)3.Miguel Montero (Arizona Diamondbacks)4.Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)5.Alex Avila (Detroit Tigers)6.Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)

    Bullshit!

  53. 53
    sdp Says:

    Shit bull!

  54. 54
    PaulV Says:

    @52 last year Mike Napoli
    played 61 games at catcher,
    Joe Mauer 52 games
    Buster Posey 41 games
    Carlos Santana 95 games
    He must think they woll be well rested

  55. 55
    PaulV Says:

    Steroids let people exercise harder and longer with shorter recovery time.
    Next few decades will tell how many will suffer from side effects.

  56. 56
    ububba Says:

    Henry Aaron’s 40 HRs at 40 years of age isn’t close to Bonds’ 73 at 37. That’s not a similar power spike, at all.

    An entire generation of players began using PEDs right at the same time that HR numbers went through the roof, to an unprecedented level. Not a coincidence. When the very best players began using—and don’t kid yourself, they were using plenty—it was inevitable that we’d see some shattered records.

    But it wasn’t real. It was a chemistry experiment.

  57. 57
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sam, I’m not making an argument either way about steroids. I’m refuting your assertion that Aaron had a “spike” late in his career. Rather, he hit the same number of home runs late in his career as he did early in his career. Bonds did not; he hit a whole lot more.

    Feel free to chalk it up to park effects if you like, but your assertion that Aaron had a spike doesn’t jibe with the stats.

  58. 58
    sansho1 Says:

    Aaron didn’t spike because his aging pattern (which was slow as molasses, but still natural) coincided with a) the move from Milwaukee County Stadium to A/FC in 1966, and then b) the moving in of the fences at A/FC in 1969. His surroundings became progressively friendlier as he aged.

    By the way, has anyone ever heard that the Braves moved the fences in in order to aid Aaron’s chase of Ruth? Or was it just in response to the Year of the Pitcher?

  59. 59
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Players were using in the 80s as well. Gary Carter didn’t get brain cancer from snorkeling.

  60. 60
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Lots of teams moved their fences in at that time — MLB was actively encouraging it. Of course, lowering the mound also helped.

  61. 61
    krugerindustrialsmoothing Says:

    @59, back that up or shut the f up.

  62. 62
    ryan c Says:

    Apparently we are targeting Nick Swisher.

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

    Remember when the Yankees got him for nothing? (Otherwise known as Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez.)

    Yeah, that sucked. I know I speak for Stu when I say that, considering that low low price, Nick Swisher should have been a Brave a long time ago.

    Of course, we nearly got him back in 2004

  64. 64
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @61

    I’m sorry? Why should I have to back up my random accusations of use, with vague references to known side effects such as those displayed by Carter, when no one else has to show similar “back up” for Bonds, or Bagwell, or Piazza, or whomever from the 90s?

  65. 65
    Stu Says:

    63— :(

  66. 66
    ryan c Says:

    Sam, ya know Gary Carter just died, right? Did you even think twice about your post before you disgraced his memory. That’s freakin’ low, but no one expects better from you.

    Edit: Read the Swisher article wrong. We are targeting Nick Swisher for next year. Talk about premature.

  67. 67
    DG Says:

    Sam: I read a commentary a few years ago that echoes what you’re saying about Bonds. I found it reprinted here: http://insidesportsgeek.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/barry-bonds-hr-record-tainted-by-elbow-armor/

  68. 68
    ububba Says:

    There’s plenty of evidence that Bonds used PEDs.

    The book “Game of Shadows” details the meticulous records that his trainer Greg Anderson kept on Bonds’ intake. When the feds raided BALCO, they found Bonds’ doping calendars & folders detailing the types of PEDs, the amounts, intervals, Bonds’ testosterone levels, etc.

  69. 69
    Smitty Says:

    All of the sudden, Tennessee- Vandy on Saturday is a big game. Vandy is a bad match up for the Vols.

  70. 70
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Of course I know Carter just died. Good lord. This is what gets panties twisted now?

  71. 71
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There’s plenty of tabloid level evidence – Game of Shadows is to hard reportage as Kitty Kelly is to biography. Regardless, I’m willing to give you the likelihood that Bonds, like virtually every other player from the mid-80s on, was enhancing his workout regimen with supplements.

    I have seen no evidence that supplements are the causal factor in Bonds’ unworldly late career performance.

  72. 72
    Marc Schneider Says:

    When were anabolic steroids invented? When did they become commonly available? Does anyone know? I have no doubt that the players in the 50s/60s/70s, etc would have used them if they had been available. There’s no reason to think those guys were morally purer than the guys in the 90s. I suspect that the PEDs had something to do with the general power spike in the 90s but who knows how much and how. I tend to think that they helped guys stay healthy and, of course, added strength. They didn’t help guys hit better. But I can’t believe they had no effect. When you have the home run record that had stood for 27 years broken 3 or 4 times in 5 years (considering that Sosa also hit more than 61), it’s hard to believe that something wasn’t happening. But it probably was more than just steroids.

    I suspect Bonds and plenty others took steroids and it probably had some effect on his performance, primarily keeping him healthier as he aged. They didn’t make him a great hitter, but may well have made some difference between doubles and home runs. The elbow pad made it impossible to pitch him inside and the ridiculous strike zones that umpires were calling made it almost impossible to pitch. I also thought teams became so intimidated by Bonds that they ended up getting behind and having to come in with a pitch to drive out.

    I don’t know-maybe others do-exactly what steroids do other than make you stronger. It would be nice if there were a scientific study of the affect of steroids on baseball performance. In football, it seems more clear because strength is, by itself, a performance enhancer; you are obviously going to be a better football player in most cases if you are bigger and stronger. The correlation isn’t as clearcut in baseball.

  73. 73
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    DG – that’s the gist of my argument, with more detail, yes. I hadn’t considered the advantages of torque, both on the axle of the body pivot or the lock-out assistance to his wrist strength.

    I am *far* more inclined to poo-poo on Bonds’ accomplishments due to mechanical advantage than some nebulous “but he took this weird PED supplement after working out!” complaint. The latter just seems to me to be drug-war hysteria taken to the sports world, whereas the former seems to be a legitimate critique of a man who played with what amounted to a robotic prosthesis from 2001 – the end of his career.

  74. 74
    csg Says:

    #62 – Swisher is being targeted for next years offseason.

  75. 75
    Smitty Says:

    Bonds did hit a lot of those home runs off ptichers that were doing the same thing.

    Some would even argue that PEDs helped pitchers more than hitters.

  76. 76
    csg Says:

    All the Bonds talk has me remembering Ken Ray’s appearance where he struck out Bonds on 3 straight nasty changeups.

  77. 77
    ryan c Says:

    “Good lord. This is what gets panties twisted now?”

    Do you have this rebuttal saved so that all you have to do is copy and paste? Your post was classless. Someone should point it out.

    @csg right. found my error at #66.

  78. 78
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Yes, Ryan. I’m actually a bot.

    Look, there are any number of 80′s era players who are dying from odd, mysterious cancers, including Gary Carter. The obvious inference here is that all of these Lyle Alzedo type of illnesses might have something to do with early adoption of PEDs and steroids in baseball. But that goes against the holy narrative of fans and sportswriters that PEDs never entered baseball until the mid to late 90′s.

    If Mark McGwire died of a mysterious brain cancer that just sort of popped up from nowhere, people would be on that shit like white on rice. But have the same thing happen to Gary Carter and it’s all quiet on the western front.

    All I’m suggesting is that if you’re going to assume PEDs in baseball, there’s no reason to assume PEDs didn’t pop up in the 1970s and 1980s, when they started popping up in earnest in all other professional sports. Hell, we know Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and Pete Rose were popping greenies out of their asses to stay wired for games; we know every clubhouse in the ’80s had pretty much their own, personal cocaine dealer. IT’s not like these guys were wholesome and averse to taking drugs.

  79. 79
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Speaking as someone who has an odd, mysterious cancer, I don’t think much of your evidence.

  80. 80
    cliff Says:

    Marc Scneider at 72,

    The cortico steroid research was done in the late 40′s. I am not sure when the anabolic branch came along (possibly same time). Initially, it was an extremely expensive process to produce them, but they did amazing things.

    Interesting side story on that. I saw a PBS documentary that was originally produced in the mid to late 90′s lauding the hero in that. It wa an African American that graduated with an advanced chemistry degree i the mid 30′s. He went to work for a major chemical company (think it was Du Pont). His specialty was developing more efficient ways to synthesize things.

    At some point in the early 50′s he became aware of the steroid synthesis and how expensive it was. he went to “Big Chemical Company” and they said, we don’t do drugs for people, but if you want to take the idea and run, go for it.

    So, he raised angel capital as a 40ish black man in the early 50′s. He created a reasonably priced synthesis process and then did it for several other drugs. It was a great story.

  81. 81
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Sure, but then again, I don’t recall you getting up on this anti-PED/steroids high horse either, Mac.

  82. 82
    NickH Says:

    @51 – Sam, I’m late to the party but are you trying to ascribe Bonds’ late-career power surge to park effects? His epic power binge of ’00 – ’04 began the year the Giants moved to PacBell / SBC / AT&T Park. You’re saying that the reason he became a historically great slugger, breaking every HR / ISO / OPS record in existence between the ages of 36 – 40, is because he moved to the most difficult park in baseball to hit home runs? http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor/_/year/2011/sort/HRFactor/order/false

    You’re a very smart guy, but it’s fruitless to argue that Bonds’ aging curve is defensible as non-chemically-enhanced.

  83. 83
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’m saying Bonds’ late career spike is a late career spike, and that weird shit happens all the time in baseball. The idea that PEDs explain it is a post-hoc, “just so” narrative applied after the fact, by people who want to discredit the accomplishment. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m on record above in stating that I think the elbow guard had more impact on his game and his power swing than any PEDs – because we have never seen any evidence that suggests that PEDs help you hit a baseball better.

    PEDs help you heal. If they kept an aging player on the field longer, that’s their effect. The HRs were not an effect of PED usage, so much as the player simply being able to continue to player.

  84. 84
    csg Says:

    Ryan, sorry didnt read that far down before posting. Why am I not excited that our biggest target next offseason appears to be 32yr old Nick Swisher?

  85. 85
    csg Says:

    Good story on Evan Gattis.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/02/29/braves-slugger-gattis-has-a-story-man-does-he-ever/

  86. 86
    ryan c Says:

    “I’m on record above in stating that I think the elbow guard had more impact on his game and his power swing than any PEDs – because we have never seen any evidence that suggests that PEDs help you hit a baseball better.”

    Well, the #1,2, and 3 players of ALL TIME in HRs in one season were all users, but I guess that isnt evidence, rather coincidence?

  87. 87
    ububba Says:

    Game of Shadows did over 200 interviews & got a source (a BALCO attorney, no less) to give them Grand Jury testimony. To compare their exhaustive (and personally dangerous) reporting Kitty Kelly’s “work” is ridiculous.

  88. 88
    ryan c Says:

    Two Prediction:
    1. Evan Gattis is going to be in the Majors by next season.
    2. Evan Gattis will be tried out in LF for an extended period of time this year.

  89. 89
    PaulV Says:

    LF and #3 catcher would let Ross/McCann PH

  90. 90
    Bethany Says:

    @88

    Heck, if that worked out, it’d be beautiful for the Braves. You can use Ross more, Prado can be in the role he belongs in…

  91. 91
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    At this point, Gattis is free money. Anything he manages is gravy. No need to rush him.

  92. 92
    mikemc Says:

    I like the Parra idea. He’d be a good addition.

  93. 93
    Bethany Says:

    Off topic, but I thought this was a really fascinating look at the issue of paying student-athletes.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/8643/1/

  94. 94
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I loved that article. Honestly, I’m ready to get rid of the NCAA.

    By the way, Branch released a longer form of that article here as a Kindle Single. You can get it here:
    http://byliner.com/originals/the-cartel

  95. 95
    Bethany Says:

    @94 Thanks Alex!

  96. 96
    ryan c Says:

    @91
    If he can crush baseballs at a Major League level (which is obviously a big question) then I disagree with your sentiment, especially for 2013.

  97. 97
    Marc Schneider Says:

    ON another note, it looks like we are going to get this ridiculous new playoff structure this year. It would have helped the Braves last year but it is still fundamentally unfair. It’s another gimmick to create faux drama by making the playoffs even more random. Bud Selig’s credo seems to be let’s reward mediocrity even more.

  98. 98
    Nick Says:

    @97

    It’s better for rewarding the division winners than the current system. He’s trying to make it less random and have division titles be worth something. Yes, the one-game playoff is random, but it’s random at the expense of wild-card teams. If we admit that we’re not going back to a four-team playoff or just the World Series and nothing else (which everyone should), this is a decent idea to try to reward division winners and punish wild-card teams. It’s at least worth a try. And if the wild-card team can get through the wild-card round and the divisional round, beating the division champion despite having their pitching staff trashed by the one-game playoff and immediate turnaround (there will not be a day off between the two rounds), then they probably deserve to be in the LCS, frankly.

  99. 99
    ububba Says:

    It’s just that you’re going to see WC teams that are better than champs of weak divisions. So, to me, the biggest issue is the unbalanced schedule.

  100. 100
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I hate having two more playoff teams, but what the hell. It makes it a tougher row to hoe for wild card teams. So maybe if the Braves ever win the division honestly again, they won’t get blindsided by someone like the Marlins.

    Whatever. I liked it better when there were 4 playoff teams every year. Some folks here may have liked it when there were just 2. Far as I’m concerned, that’s purer. But as long as that’s the way it’s gonna be, I hope the Braves ride it all the way to the Commissioner’s Trophy.

  101. 101
    sansho1 Says:

    Because they will never REDUCE the number of playoff teams, this is the death knell for the best possible solution – expansion to 32 teams with 8 4-team divisions.

  102. 102
    Stu Says:

    I totally agree, sansho.

  103. 103
    csg Says:

    “So, to me, the biggest issue is the unbalanced schedule.”

    Agree – Some teams play Houston as many times as we play Philly. That just as bad as the interleague schedules. We get NY and Boston.

  104. 104
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sansho, I’m just not convinced that more expansion is the best possible solution. At least not right now. Ultimately, you have to figure out where you’re going to put those two extra teams. After all, if there were two more baseball markets clamoring for baseball, the Rays would no longer be in Tampa/St. Pete.

  105. 105
    sansho1 Says:

    True, economic feasibility is another matter. Talent-wise, though, the sport is ready to support expansion. I have no doubt of that. Just look at how deep some of these bullpens are getting, and the league-wide pitching stats overall.

  106. 106
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    This year’s playoff structure is better than last years, but not as good as 1992′s.

  107. 107
    Adam M Says:

    Without engaging the exact argument at hand–enjoyable as it has been to read–what makes a power surge (or any performance) “real”? I’m asking without sarcasm or pretense. Everyone takes it for granted that steroids meant cheating, but other types of medically-driven performance enhancement are considered “natural.” I’m thinking of Tommy John, LASIK, microfracture surgeries…

    I’m not arguing that steroids/PEDs are not cheating, and that the surgeries I named are not appropriately acceptable. I’m just curious about what makes something natural, and thus real, and what exactly constitutes unnatural, and thus unreal.

  108. 108
    ububba Says:

    Speaking of not being as good as 1992… poor, poor Pirates.

    http://tinyurl.com/7gcx8l2

    At least the Yankees are picking up most of the tab.

  109. 109
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    If that team didn’t have bad luck, they’d have no luck at all.

  110. 110
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @107 – I have always argued that John Smotlz, who pitched the second half of his career with a ligament from his knee surgically implanted in his damned throwing arm, was far more “unnatural” of a career arc than Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire (or insert presumed PED users here.) I mean, Chipper Jones is playing with the tendon OF A DEAD MAN in his leg, but no one runs around whinging about “asterisks” for his final totals or anything.

    Barry Bonds was a baseball demigod. And then he got *better* in 2000. It was awesome to behold.

  111. 111
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sam, we don’t need to run around whinging. You do an excellent job on all of our behalf.

  112. 112
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I know it’s tough to have someone who actually questions your received wisdom occasionally, Alex. But it’s good for you. You’ll either sharpen your blade or break on the rock. Either makes the world a better place.

  113. 113
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, Sam, learn to take some ribbing. Lord knows you dish it out frequently enough.

  114. 114
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Dude. This is casual back and forth banter. I’m totally taking the ribbing in stride. I ain’t mad atcha. Just doing my moral duty to teach the yutes of America how to think more better, that’s all.

  115. 115
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    You’re a moral example for us all, chum.

  116. 116
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I *know.* The world needs more me.

  117. 117
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Have you tried a duplicator?

    http://www.progressiveboink.com/jon/images/calvinhobbes/jon3.GIF

  118. 118
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I am apparently forbidden to view images on the server “progressive boink.”

    Now I has a sad.

  119. 119
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Here: http://bit.ly/ydTz70

  120. 120
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I know the series. But now I’m already distracted by new and better, more adult uses of the domain “progressiveboink.com”

  121. 121
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I agree with ububba. I don’t think it’s better to have a weak division champ (ie, Cardinals in 2006) than a strong wild card. What I would like to see is go back to two division with wildcards. That would at least reduce the chance for a .500 team to win the division. I don’t see any reason why a mediocre team should get an advantage just because the rest of the teams in their division were worse.

    And, really, although the format would have helped the Braves last year, is it fair? The Cardinals came from 10 games behind, caught and passed the Braves and the Braves would still have a chance to knock them out by winning a single game–even though they would have the same record. To me, this really cheapens the playoffs.

  122. 122
    urlhix Says:

    Cheaters are always going to cheat, regardless of the rules. Hopefully they will one day get caught, that’s all you can expect out of the current system.

    Bonds is a social pariah. That’s enough for me. And I’m sure he could care less what I think.

  123. 123
    jjschiller Says:

    @107- on the point of surgeries, I’ve always presumed the ‘medical need’ makes a bit of a difference.

    If a player had HIV or osteoporosis or something, I think he’d get the okay to take steroids.

    Now, when it comes to otherwise unneccessary lasik procedures, the line gets a bit, ahem, blurrier.

    Is 15/20 vision a medical condition?

  124. 124
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @123 – “Medical need” is just a window covering phrase people use to excuse “Frankensteinian monsters I’m comfortable with” from “Frankensteinian monsters that creep me out.”

    There is nothing “natural” about playing with a corpse’s ligament in your knee. *Nothing.*

    John Smoltz’ natural state is “retired, 1996.”

  125. 125
    Big D Says:

    Not all ligament reconstructions are done using cadaver parts. Sometimes they use part of one of your hamstring tendons or part of your patellar tendon or some other place in your body where they can harvest viable tissue. Do you draw a distinction between those 2 — autograft (from your body) vs. allograft (cadaver)?

  126. 126
    jjschiller Says:

    Well, speaking as a person with an unrepaired torn ACL, I can tell you that ACL replacement is not done just to get you back on a baseball field.

    An unrepaired ACL injury can lead to MCL injury, patellar displacement and osteo-arthritis.

    You might say tommy-john is a different animal. I can’t argue, as I’ve never been diagnosed with elbow ligament injury. But there are many surgeries that athletes have done, or refine, after their playing days are over, because they enjoy holding, tennis, and opening their front door for themselves.

  127. 127
    PaulV Says:

    @124 Steroids can destroy health and shrink gonads and are killers. Tommy Johns and ACL repair are not.

  128. 128
    jjschiller Says:

    Man, auto-correct is a bitch.

    @126, I meant “redone,” and “golfing.”

  129. 129
    kc Says:

    Ok, if Molina gets 5/75…Mauer gets 8/184…what should Mac get?

  130. 130
    ryan c Says:

    @128
    I prefer holding as I envision grown men holding strange objects for a period of time for sport.

  131. 131
    jjschiller Says:

    @130 – It sounds romantic, to me. And somehow creepy.

  132. 132
    Marc Schneider Says:

    But Sam has a point. Whether you use a cadaver part or a part from another part of your body, it’s not “natural.” Of course, neither is a torn ligament.

    Look, here’s what I think people are missing. IMO, (anabolic) steroids are not bad because they help people hit more home runs or whatever; they are bad because they are dangerous to put in the human body and lead to terrible health affects later. What difference does it make, really, if, arguendo, Bonds broke Aaron’s record because of the PEDs? And, really, strictly in terms of baseball’s “integrity”, why is someone using PEDs any worse than screwing around with the playoffs to increase viewer interest? The Cardinals weren’t the best team in baseball last year or in 2006. Baseball has “cheated” the better teams by setting up a format that helps mediocre teams (and the new format will be even worse). The Cardinals are going around touting their 11 WS championships but without the playoff structure, they would still be at 9. Why is it worse than Gaylord Perry throwing illegal pitches and making the Hall of Fame?

  133. 133
    PaulV Says:

    ACL surgery and like are often used by regular people, steroids are not.

  134. 134
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post is up.

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