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09 Mar

Other relief possibilities

Peter Moylan was nontendered and then signed to a minor-league deal after his second major surgery since 2008. When relatively healthy, the sidearmer is a key to the bullpen, soaking up 80 appearances or more in all three relatively complete seasons (of five). He was just maybe starting to get his control back where it was before his 2008 Tommy John surgery when his labrum and rotator cuff went. He’s on rapid recovery. Popular with teammates and fans, everyone is rooting for him, with the possible exception of Cory Gearrin. As another sidearmer, Gearrin’s chances of spending much time in the city instead of the suburbs rely heavily upon there not being another sidearmer with a better track record and more attachment from the organization being around. They also depend upon putting up an ERA better than 7.85. Gearrin’s ERA was 3.38 through his first fifteen appearances; he blew up in the last three, allowing six runs in the first and four in the last. Before that, he looked like at least a decent spare part, as well as making sure that the Braves tradition of usually having a sidearmer around (The Upshaw/Garber Protocol) was upheld.

The Braves have talked about Julio Teheran and/or Randall Delgado pitching out of the pen if they don’t make the rotation. Once upon a time, using young starters out of the bullpen, getting them work in a controlled environment and not overusing them, was a progressive strategy that had some success. Today, with seven- and eight-man bullpens, they don’t get enough work unless they’re being used in a 7th or 8th inning role, and they find those roles hard to escape. So it’s dumb, unless Fredi is suddenly going to surprise us with a new bullpen paradigm. I don’t see that happening, do you? Teheran was the only pitcher on the Braves who both started and relieved last year. Having only one swingman in a whole season (and that for only five games) is more unusual than you’d think.

The Braves shifted J.J. Hoover to the pen last season, not, I think, because of any failings on his part so much as a feeling that with the Braves’ starting pitching depth — including three better prospects all of whom are younger than he — it’s a smoother path to the majors. He got as far as AAA, where he struggled with his control but otherwise looked like a potential puzzle piece, maybe as soon as this summer.

Billy Bullock, the payment for letting the Twins stash Scott Diamond in AAA after his Rule V pick, is a high-ceiling arm who strikes out a lot of people but whose control isn’t up to major league standards. If the light comes on, he could be up quick. Jaye Chapman got a promotion to the 40-man after putting up a pretty good season for Mississippi and Gwinnett, and I figure he is one of the guys who could get a callup at some point. The Braves seemingly see something in Erik Cordier that the stats do not show, putting him too on the 40-man. Last season, his strikeout rate (6.3/9) came perilously close to his walk rate (5.0/9) and he is not a guy who goes out there and gets lots of double plays either. He was the return for trading L’il Tony Pena, who is a better pitching prospect now. It isn’t minor league free against Robert Fish‘s fault that his name is almost Robert Fick, but a lot of his career minor league 4.87 ERA? That’s on him. In 2010, he was selected in the Rule V draft, but even the Royals didn’t want to keep him, to give you some idea. The backwards wiring of his brain will continue to get him chances, though.

There are always the NRIs, often LOOGY wannabees, hanging around. Dusty Hughes has given up 51 runs in 83 innings over the last three years pitching for bad teams (the Royals, of course, in 2009-10 and the Twins last year). Yohan Flande, signed before last season out of the Phillies organization, was mostly a starter, and pretty mediocre one, for the pride of Lawrenceville, but any chance of doing much for the big club will be as a reliever and probably a specialist. From the non-LOOGY ranks, short righthander Jason Rice spent years in the White Sox organization as nothing but fodder, but a chance of footwear to a red variety worked wonders, as he’s pitched well and spent all of last season in Pawtucket. He’s obviously a longshot, but one who’s shown an ability to get strikeouts and limit homers.

As always, Todd Redmond might be a possibility, depending upon how the timing is, for a callup. He’s probably better than 30 percent of the pitchers in the NL, and that might be conservative. And also as always, I surely have missed at least one person who will be a serious candidate. Also, the Braves are likely to go dumpster-diving at the end of spring training, having done some of their best work picking up guys (like Eric O’Flaherty) in April.

128 Responses to “Other relief possibilities”

  1. 1
    Askia Says:

    Today’s spring game against NYY is on the MLB Network right now.

  2. 2
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I know that Spring training stats are irrelevant, but I’m beginning to suspect that this Yankees team is better than our Braves team.

  3. 3
    Stu Says:

    How are Spring position battles sorted out when everybody sucks at everything?

    EDIT: This is the first time I’ve ever seen Pastornicky. He’s a lot…thicker…than I had pictured.

  4. 4
    Mark Grogan Says:

    I have always thought Fredi was thicker than advertised.

    From the last thread, 78 wins is my best guess. One week into Spring training, and every concern from our Winter of discontent is coming to fruition. No shortstop, No offense, too much pressure on the pitching.

  5. 5
    Tom Says:

    Two more losses today. Completely irrelevant of course.

  6. 6
    csg Says:

    How many runs have the Braves scored so far in Spring Training? It cant be many

  7. 7
    Dan Says:

    Mac in October 2010: “My guess is that Fredi Gonzalez will manage the Braves for most of two seasons, being replaced by a coach in late 2012 with a record a little better than his Marlins record. I hope I’m wrong.”

    http://www.bravesjournal.us/?p=6327

  8. 8
    joelk Says:

    Watching Pastornicky today made me wonder if he can play ss at the ML level. Just not sure he has the arm for it.

  9. 9
    mravery Says:

    @8-

    I watched most of the game. He seemed fine to me. I thought the throw beat the runner on the first play of the game.

    I don’t think he’ll win any gold gloves out there, though.

  10. 10
    Dan Says:

    1-7, worst spring record in all of baseball. Braves got into September form early.

  11. 11
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Completely irrelevant, in fact.

  12. 12
    Jeff K Says:

    Hard to blame the Fredi for a weak offensive team. Then again, I’ll take pretty much any excuse.

  13. 13
    Stu Says:

    Really sorry, Vols fans. I do not look forward to VU’s games against you next year.

  14. 14
    Nick Says:

    I will try to remind myself that it’s not that blind official’s fault we shot less than 30 percent, which is the reason we were even in that position. I’m not sure I will succeed. (Perhaps they should’ve asked Mike Slive about that call in the interview that just happened.)

    To Stu and justhank and all the other fans of rival teams on here who’ve been sending well-wishes our way this week, we (or at least I) appreciate it. We’ll see you guys next year. Good luck in the NCAAs. We’ll be over here in the NIT, which is a pretty good accomplishment for a team that was picked to finish 11th in the SEC, in the end.

  15. 15
    braves14 Says:

    Those ’90s Braves teams won it all in Spring Training, remember?

  16. 16
    sansho1 Says:

    I can usually tell from watching a single preseason intrasquad scrimmage what the Hawks final record is going to be.

  17. 17
    Nick Says:

    Can you tell from watching that what a worthless piece of crap Josh Smith is, both personally and professionally?

  18. 18
    sansho1 Says:

    No, but sometimes I think I bury the joke a little too deeply.

  19. 19
    PaulV Says:

    @16 Why would you have to watch a scrimmage?

  20. 20
    ryan c Says:

    “Arodys Vizcaino has not pitched since Sunday because of discomfort in his right elbow. An MRI exam showed inflammation around the elbow. The 21-year-old reliever will rest a few more days before being reevaluated. But for now, the team does not seem too concerned.”

  21. 21
    csg Says:

    #20 – Same elbow that they decided not to do TJ surgery on?

  22. 22
    braves14 Says:

    Jurrjens walked 6 guys in 2 1/3 innings today.

  23. 23
    DWonder Says:

    if Simmons outhits Pastornicky this spring is there any chance he leapfrogs him and takes over the SS job a year early?

  24. 24
    Rob Cope Says:

    I really don’t see how one or two of our pitchers have not been traded. Between the several different types of pitchers (relievers, established starters, prospects), they all have varying values that could bring back pieces.

    I will be downright appalled if one of the injury/unproven risks (Medlen, Moylan, Jurrjens) aren’t traded if they come back healthy and productive. It comes to a point where you have to take a risk in trading someone to improve our offense.

  25. 25
    Phillip Says:

    Anyone on here had their heart ripped out by Mass Effect 3?

  26. 26
    mravery Says:

    There’s no chance Simmons is the starter this year at SS. He’s just not ready yet. I think two years at least, frankly.

  27. 27
    mikemc Says:

    Pastornicky is ready?

  28. 28
    justhank Says:

    NC State got hosed.
    ——————-

    Memo to Vitale and Shulman: it’s called a push-off. It’s ok, you can say it – even when Austin Rivers does it.
    ——————-

    There is literally no chance that UK beats a good Vandy team three times in one year.

    Which brings me to the larger point:

    No one enjoys watching SEC Basketball more than I do, but even I don’t want more of it. And with Conference expansion, it looks like that’s what we’ll get.

    Better idea: play each team ONCE each year, alternating home and away. This allows SEC teams to play a more robust non-conference schedule AND puts some real meaning into the SEC Tournament at the end of the year.

    Yeah, I know that’s just 13 (for the moment) conference games, but, frankly, that plus the Tournament is enough.

  29. 29
    Bethany Says:

    @25 Yes, Phillip, I have. I knew the moment in the beginning was coming and it still tore me to pieces.

  30. 30
    Smitty Says:

    How come SEC officals in all sports are so bad?

  31. 31
    Phillip Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b33tJx8iy0A

    Here Bethany…this sums up my feelings about it.

  32. 32
    sansho1 Says:

    I’m interested in this notion, posted twice here in the last few days but certainly a conventional wisdom nugget of long standing, that it’s difficult to beat the same team three times in one season. It’s only mentioned in situations where the teams have already played twice, with one team winning both previous games. At that point, what predictive value does this idea have left in it? If you’d said at the beginning of the season “if Kentucky and Vandy play three times this year, I think Vandy will win at least once, because it’s hard to…etc etc”, then maybe you have something. But now that UK has beaten them twice, isn’t it downright likely that they’ll do it again? Or is there really some countervailing force that kicks in once a season series is 2-0?

  33. 33
    ryan c Says:

    Braves experimenting with Heyward in CF today to guage if he can hold the position down in case they decide to carry an extra middle infielder. Good call.

  34. 34
    justhank Says:

    sansho – the Bayesian in me says yes.

    Even though statisticians will tell you that a flipped coin landing on heads 50 times in a row still has a 50/50 chance of landing on heads, well, sports doesn’t seem to work out that way.

    Especially when both teams are very talented and one is more motivated than the other.

    As a Kentucky fan, I’d like to think my team remembers how hard-fought were the earlier wins against Vandy, but it’s hard to overestimate the fat-headedness of teenagers sometimes.

    This bunch has been pretty humble and hungry, but human nature being what it is …

    Vandy by seven.

  35. 35
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @31, I didn’t want to get too far into that video because I haven’t started 3 yet… I take it that you’re completely disappointed?

  36. 36
    Stu Says:

    There is literally no chance that UK beats a good Vandy team three times in one year.

    LOL. You have the most talented and most dominant team in the country, and you’ve always got the officials — there’s a reason nobody actually thinks VU is going to win, today.

    32—You’re right. It’s a cliche. Once two of the wins have already happened, it falls apart. When I said it — and this is what hank is doing, too — I was just trying to emotionally prepare myself in case an unthinkable loss were to happen afterward.

  37. 37
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Even though statisticians will tell you that a flipped coin landing on heads 50 times in a row still has a 50/50 chance of landing on heads, well, sports doesn’t seem to work out that way.

    If the odds are 50/50 the first two games, and the third game is played in the same conditions with the same teams, it’s still 50/50. Of course, in sports, nothing is ever a true coin flip. But the outcome of the third game is not notably influenced by the outcome of the first two, excepting in some wavering, fuzzy aspect of psychology of the players. If the first two were blowouts, then that might lower the odds by lowering effort by a demoralized club the third time out. But of course, if that’s true, then the third outing isn’t a “coin flip” as the outcomes of the first two games are impacting the odds of the third.

  38. 38
    Smitty Says:

    Stu is right. Kentucky has the best team and the officals. Cats by 10.

  39. 39
    mravery Says:

    Gilmartin had a solid outing, looking at the numbers (2IP H BB 3SO). Not on MLB TV unfortunately. :-(

  40. 40
    Bethany Says:

    @31 I am not at the ending yet, but when I get there I’ll watch it.

  41. 41
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @40, Are we talking about good heart ripping or bad heart ripping? I loved ME2 and haven’t looked forward to a game as much as ME3 in a while.

  42. 42
    Stu Says:

    As ububba would say…Well, how about that?

  43. 43
    csg Says:

    Braves on the wrong side of both games today it appears.

  44. 44
    csg Says:

    Well, Peanut has this to say today…

    “But as Simmons continues to show greater range than Pastornicky and hints that he could prove just as effective offensively, the Braves could decide that the team is better with him as the shortstop of an infield that will also include second baseman Dan Uggla and the soon-to-be 40-years-old Jones”

  45. 45
    Bethany Says:

    This seems like unprecedented ST failure.

  46. 46
    jj3bagger Says:

    44- If Peanut is writing things like that, you have to think it’s at least within the realm of possibility, which I certainly wouldn’t have thought coming in to camp.

  47. 47
    Phillip Says:

    Yeah, don’t watch it if you haven’t finished it…I guess. When you finish it you’ll be walking around dazed like I was. When you finish a game you shouldnt be like “Man, I must’ve screwed something up along the way”….only to find out no, you did it right & now you can’t even go near your PS3 without feeling disappointed.

  48. 48
    ububba Says:

    #42
    More Mel Allen, really, but that was a helluva win.

  49. 49
    Stu Says:

    Yeah, but you’re the one who uses that line around here. :)

    We were awesome, today. I didn’t think we’d win, but if we did, I expected it to have to be one of those UK-starts-out-cold-and-we-start-out-hot-and-build-a-lead-we-hang-onto games, but it was close throughout, and we just made the plays down the stretch.

    I still fully expect UK to win the whole thing, but when The Big Three are all on — and Festus just hasn’t been what we expected him to be for the vast majority of the season — we can play with anybody. Here’s hoping that happens again in the NCAAs…

  50. 50
    sansho1 Says:

    Congrats, Stu — and, justhank (“Vandy by seven“), I have no further questions. :)

  51. 51
    Parish Says:

    RobBroad4th – I am back out of Florida. All I got to see were Braves’ losses last week. I am sorry I will miss you, but I sure hope you fare better.

    Also, go ‘Dores. Justhank, you nailed the line.

  52. 52
    Peter Says:

    Grats Stu.

    Somewhat related: is anyone planning on setting up a braves journal NCAA tournament bracket challenge thing?

  53. 53
    Ethan Says:

    Id be down. SEC basketball is coming a year early for Mizzou. We’ll see what Florida is packing.

  54. 54
    Parish Says:

    I like Mizzou to the Final Four, too.

    Stu, I like our draw.

  55. 55
    sdp Says:

    Hey ya’ll

  56. 56
    Smitty Says:

    Here you go

    Basketball Bracket at Yahoo

    Group ID# 79618
    Password: chipper

    Good luck

  57. 57
    Mike N. Says:

    Joined. My Yellow Jackets are going all the way this year, fellas.

  58. 58
    urlhix Says:

    I have no idea what I’m doing, but I joined. Let the disappointment commence!

  59. 59
    Stu Says:

    54—About as good as we could’ve hoped for, other than being shipped to Albuquerque.

  60. 60
    Jorge Says:

    Anyone doing an NIT bracket? Oh yeah nobody cares about the NIT.

  61. 61
    csg Says:

    and now from DOB…

    Pastornicky also made his third error. There are whispers in camp from some wondering if shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons, a defensive whiz, might be considered for the major league job despite no experience above Class A.

  62. 62
    Peter Says:

    “The teams below me suck” is back looking to repeat as braves journal bracket challenge champs. Good luck!

  63. 63
    mravery Says:

    I’d be shocked if Simmons got the job. If they don’t like Pastornicky, I think they’ll just let Wilson get most of the time there.

  64. 64
    Dan Says:

    1-9 record: “spring training doesn’t matter.”

    Pastornicky commits three errors: “let’s start the season with an A-ball player at shortstop.”

  65. 65
    desert Says:

    1-9 record: “spring training doesn’t matter.”

    Well, no, spring training records don’t matter.

    I was listening to a Red Sox broadcast the other day, and they had some former coach on. I believe he put it perfectly when he said that although even ballplayers know that spring training records don’t matter, they always feel a bit better knowing that whatever they’ve worked on (be it a refined or new pitch, a new swing, a search for more power) over the last few months is working for them. It’s always better for the psyche to know that it’s doing well rather than doing badly. It’s disheartening to continue losing, regardless of meaning of the games.

  66. 66
    desert Says:

    Hey, I have a quick problem. I signed up to play in the first BravesJournal league that was posted, and I especially created a Yahoo account to do so. I’ve kinda forgotten my Yahoo e-mail address (strangely enough, when I attempt to login, my password is filled out). My team name is Beachy’s Braves. Could anybody (other team members or the commissioner) please post my e-mail address?

    Thanks a bunch.

  67. 67
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Dan @ 64 – You’re right. There’s no real reason to turn on a dime and go with Simmons instead of Pastornicky based on a handful of exhibition games in Orlando.

  68. 68
    Adam M Says:

    Starting the season with Simmons at SS would signal that there is something deeply wrong. I don’t know what it would be, but it would be a big deal. There are team’s with payrolls far lower than the Braves that have managed to get an average or even below average major league shortstop. And yet here we are.

  69. 69
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Well, the Braves did promote Furcal basically from A-ball, though he wasn’t supposed to be a full-timer when they did it. It’s not unheard of. There’s a reason I put Simmons in the poll.

    So, anyway… Kentucky always looks unstoppable for a few rounds in the tournament, then gets beat, fairly badly, by someone who shouldn’t be in their class. You guys think they got that out of the way already or will they lose in the round of 16, or of 8?

  70. 70
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Furcal was also like Simmons in the sense that he was not expected to be much of hitter. The line was that he had so little power that he would be just a punch and judy hitter. Obviously, that turned out not to be the case. I’m not saying Simmons will be like Furcal offensively but there are some parallels.

  71. 71
    Bethany Says:

    Bowman has been prepping people for Simmons instead of Pastornicky for several weeks now. If DOB is tooting the horn too, I would not be surprised if that is what happens.

  72. 72
    ububba Says:

    #69
    Although they’re not as fun to watch, I think this Kentucky team is a little better prepared than the John Wall team, mainly because they play tougher defense. They have some offensive lapses that the other team didn’t seem to have, but Davis is a consistent problem for anyone they face.

    I think they make it to New Orleans, but get picked off there.

  73. 73
    Seat Painter Says:

    Let the Selection Committee Conspiracy Theorizing commence! Just off the top of my head:

    1. UK-IU in the Sweet 16.

    2. UK-Duke – the twentieth anniversary of the Laettner shot.

    3. UNC-Creighton in the *ahem*”Third Round”-Harrison Barnes versus his high school teammate Doug McDermott.

    4. UNC-Kansas-another chance for Roy Williams to get all verklempt.

    What other set-ups did the Selection Committee leave us?

  74. 74
    spike Says:

    @70, a minor point, but Furcal was purportedly 18 at the time, and had averaged .325/.400/.400 with 75SB over 2 years where he was young for his league. He was expected to be a key offensive contributor – that’s why he got called up.

  75. 75
    Seat Painter Says:

    Wasn’t Furcal one of those guys who got older all of a sudden?

  76. 76
    justhank Says:

    If UK can get past UCONN this Saturday, I like our chances of getting to the Final Four. At that point, anything can happen.
    ————

    Yeah, remember the Furcal DUI and we all thought he’d be in real trouble because he was (supposedly) underaged? That kinda went away.
    ————-

    Why aren’t the Titans at or near the top of Peyton’s list?

  77. 77
    spike Says:

    @75 – yep. 3 years. But Betemit got younger so it all evened out.

  78. 78
    ryan c Says:

    It might be just ST but it doesnt negate stupidity/udder failure rants:

    1st inning: Bourn singles, Prado singles (Bourn to 3rd), Chipper hits into a GIDP, Uggla flies out: 1-0

    2nd inning: Freeman singles, Hinske walks, Heyward squares to bunt (sure, bunt a guy that needs to find his swing again), pulls back, and Freeman is picked off at 2nd. Heyward walks. Ross works it to a 3-2 count, strikes out, Hinske, moving on the pitch, a dead duck at 3rd.

  79. 79
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @78, I agree that Fredi’s obsession with bunting/small ball has gotten way out of hand. (Moreover, they don’t even do it well.) These guys need to be swinging. Even Chipper has noted that, enough with playing for one run, they need to put up some crooked numbers. I’m not a believer that managers make a lot of difference but this one sure doesn’t help. I suspect that managers like small ball because it makes them feel more involved and they, somehow think it’s more “real” baseball. Three-run homers don’t have the same connotation.

    On another totally unrelated point, I really like “Clubhouse Confidential” on MLB Network where they use advanced statistical analysis. But I wish they would integrate it more into the rest of the network rather than have Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams (who is just awful) bloviate about how much so and so helps in the locker room. It’s as if they do a little bit of saber stuff to show how modern they are, but for the “real” analysis they rely on the jocks, who know zero. You might as well have Joe Morgan on there.

  80. 80
    JoeyT Says:

    “Bloviate” is a new word for me. Somehow I have avoided it my entire life. I guess that’s good, right?

  81. 81
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I think bloviate is a cool word because its sound and spelling seem to connote what I consider the meaning of the word-people talking endlessly and to no purpose about a topic which they know little about.

  82. 82
    Adam M Says:

    There still may be a chance that the Braves trade for a middling SS if Pastornicky fails. Personally, I’d like to see both Pastornicky and Simmons, as well as Teheran and Delgado, start the season in the minors.

  83. 83
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Ryan, is there any reason to believe the bunt-pulled-back was called from the dugout?

  84. 84
    sansho1 Says:

    I’d venture to say defensive playmaking ability is the only criterion on which to make a judgment between Pastornicky and Simmons. If Simmons is superior defensively, then he should get the job even if Pastornicky hits .400 this spring. If he’s truly elite defensively, then I’d go so far as to say he’s better for the job right now than most any possibly available trade candidate, because of our particular needs.

  85. 85
    Smitty Says:

    Basketball Bracket at Yahoo

    Group ID# 79618
    Password: chipper

  86. 86
    ryan c Says:

    @83
    Yes. Freeman (according to the radio guys) was “trying” to get a head start on the bunt and was picked off. It was called. Moreover, how many times have we seen Heyward square to bunt? I cant remember any. I’m sure it’s happened.

  87. 87
    Smitty Says:

    Here is some fun news

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/03/12/chipper-i-dont-know-if-i-can-make-it-through-this-year/

  88. 88
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    So we don’t have any real evidence that it was called from the dugout.

  89. 89
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I just joined Smitty’s group, so you know there’s someone who’s going to finish lower than you.

  90. 90
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    That Chipper interview sounds a lot like an answer to a leading question like “How many more years you think you might play?”

  91. 91
    Dan Says:

    I think bloviate is a cool word…

    Brings up too many mental images of Bill O’Reilly.

  92. 92
    urlhix Says:

    @89, I’ll take that bet. My bracket will be full of fail, yet again, I’m sure. That’s just how I roll.

    What’s the over/under on games played by Chipper this year? 95? We could be insanely weak on the left side of the infield this year. Not good.

  93. 93
    Dan Says:

    Chipper: “I don’t know if I can make it through this year”

    “Tomorrow might be my last day,” he said “I don’t know. I don’t really focus on it that much. The body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that it’s getting close….I don’t know if I can make it through this year.”

    Wouldn’t October 2011 have been a better time to be saying this, Chipper?

  94. 94
    Trace Says:

    Just joined the bracket challenge. I haven’t watched as much college basketball this year so I might actually do better than normal.

  95. 95
    Tad Says:

    #93 – Amen Dan … its no surprise thats this is happening .. anybody with a lick of awareness knew this would happen .. bad knees dont get better at that age .. we certainly could have used that 14 mil on a power hitter .. now we are stuck paying 14 mil to a 80 – 90 game player if we are lucky … “he only came back cause his teammates wanted him too” .. give me a brek ,, since when do players do what their teammates want .. he should have realized it was done and gave the team he has played for a chance to compete this year but we are strapped for cash and cant improve club when all others in division besdies Mets have improved …

  96. 96
    justhank Says:

    I love Dick Vitale in spite of myself, but if you look up “bloviate” that’s whose picture you’ll see.
    ————-

    Really don’t like the sound of the Chipper quotes. Seems like last week he was rarin’ to go and gonna play at least two more years.

    I watched the Marlins play a few innings today. Their youth and swagger and just overall fitness make the Braves look positively Expo-esque in comparison.

  97. 97
    ububba Says:

    Hey, good thing we kept Prado.

    Of course, with Chipper serving as the world’s most expensive pinch hitter, maybe he’ll still play in as many games as David Wright.

    http://tinyurl.com/6sxa5kd

  98. 98
    sdp Says:

    Mark gets the sign, the wind and the pitch here it is… swung, fly ball deep left center, Grissom on the run… Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship!

  99. 99
    Adam M Says:

    The worst thing for the Braves would be if Chipper’s health deteriorates to the point that he can only play 2-3 times a week. Then the Braves would be saddled with an absolute black hole at SS and LF.

  100. 100
    csg Says:

    #99 – I think Chipper will walk away if he can only play 2-3 times per week.

    This Spring does have the ultimate doom and gloom feel about it right now though. Im not concerned about our win loss record as much as some others here. Im am more concerned that it does sound like Chipper is basically ready to say “Im done” any day now. We’ve got Vizcaino, Chipper, Hanson, Huddy, and JJ with big health question marks. We’ve got the same issues offensively and most of our pitchers have struggled. Better now than later I guess, but Im ready for something positive to happen.

  101. 101
    csg Says:

    #63 – Wilson is injured. If Pastornicky shows he’s not ready the Braves may have no choice but to see if Simmons can handle the job. He’s ready defensively and may not kill the team hitting 8th. Id personally rather have the better defensive guy out there. We cant have a questionable glove at SS, surrounded by Chipper and Uggla.

  102. 102
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    If Chipper “walked away” in 2011, the Braves would still owe him $15 million this season. This isn’t football. Contracts are guaranteed.

    Chipper Jones was the second best hitter on the team last year, in a virtual tie with McCann for the title of best.

  103. 103
    Bethany Says:

    If Chipper’s aches and pains continue to be a big problem into the first few weeks of the season, then i’ll be worried.

  104. 104
    Smitty Says:

    Sam @102 is right.

    I think we have to make a move for a SS or a decent LF that can play when Chipper doesn’t.

  105. 105
    Adam R Says:

    I suspect this will be enough of a problem that the team will trade Jurrjens for LF help or do something else creative trade-wise during ST.

    But I also know that Chipper has a tendency to come across as very negative when things aren’t going well — and then also positively exuberant when things turn around. So not totally sure that it’s panic button time yet.

  106. 106
    Marc Schneider Says:

    The contract is only guaranteed if Chipper plays. If he is on the disabled list or can’t play due to injury, it’s guaranteed. If he retires, I don’t believe the Braves have to pay off the contract.

  107. 107
    spike Says:

    @106, I suppose, but in reality that’s sort of a moot point – Chipper is not going to just walk away from what he is owed, unfortunately for Tad. Nor should he. He’s earned every penny, IMO, and any “retirement” while under contract will be a negotiated settlement for some or all of that amount.

  108. 108
    Seat Painter Says:

    I believe Chipper won’t hang around for the guaranteed money if he feels like he can’t contribute. I think, at this point in his career, his image as a true team player is more important to him than another 15 million dollars.

    That being said, I feel he’s done enough for this franchise that if he wants to be a $15 million dollar part time player, then he’s earned every penny of it, and I won’t begrudge him any second/penny of it.

  109. 109
    csg Says:

    #105 – I agree. Its time to move some pitching to upgrade this offense. Prado will find enough AB’s in LF/3B/ and he could give Freeman/Uggla a rest. Need a good bat in LF

  110. 110
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I agree with Seat Painter. If Chipper doesn’t think he can contribute, he won’t hang around just to collect the money (although I agree that has earned it.) But even if he retires in, say June, it’s a little late to do anything with the money-even assuming that ownership would be willing to recommit the money. I can see some team maybe trying to dump a high-priced veteran with a bad contract but is that someone the Braves would want, especially if he has multiple years left?

    Frankly, with all the talk about how good the farm system is, where is the replacement for Chipper? Where are the middle infielders? (Maybe Simmons but the Braves seem to be the only ones that think Pastornicky can play.) The outfielders (other than Heyward)? They have a lot of potentially good pitchers but let’s face it, if one or two of them really make it big, that’s a great record. Great arms don’t necessarily translate to great pitchers.

  111. 111
    Smitty Says:

    @105

    They aren’t moving JJ with Hudson on the mend.

    @110

    The farm has pitching and little else

  112. 112
    Bethany Says:

    DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED

  113. 113
    Smitty Says:

    The Titans appear to be going all in on Manning.

  114. 114
    Adam R Says:

    @111, The Braves may think enough of Beachy and Minor to pull the trigger, especially if the Braves also think Jurrjens is unlikely to repeat previous seasons’ performances. It’s interesting to see a consensus building, online at least, that Beachy will edge out Hanson to be our best SP this year. Maybe the Braves buy it too. Maybe they’ll flip Jurrjens and get Oswalt on the cheap. There are lots of possibilities. I just wouldn’t write off trading Jurrjens at this point.

    And say it with me because it’s fun: Terd-o-sla-vich.

  115. 115
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The org has two prospects they like at 3B, but neither is Chipper Jones. You just don’t make a new Chipper Jones on demand.

    Salecedo is working his way through the system. They’ve moved Terdoslavich from 1B to 3B to see if he can handle the hot corner defensively. (If he can, he’s the best bat we have over there in the system.)

    David Wright will be available for the right price, before the end of this year.

  116. 116
    Bethany Says:

    Wright’s injury history makes me nervous, but I think he’d be worth that risk.

    @113 They’d be stupid not to. They would sell out every home game and make enough in merch to offset whatever it costs to convince him.

  117. 117
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Guys… If you join Smitty’s league, I can now offer… fabulous prizes! Well, a book. The top three finishers will receive a copy of Javy Lopez’s book, Behind The Plate.

  118. 118
    csg Says:

    Could the Braves afford to trade for Wright? Seems like it would be hard to keep his salary, Uggla’s, and extending Bmac all at the same time. Those 3 would account for over 50% of our payroll.

  119. 119
    csg Says:

    Check out this news this morning from Rosenthal…

    Rival executives believe Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez may already be on ‘probation,’ Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Last year’s team lost its grip on a playoff spot down the stretch under Gonzalez, who’s now entering his second season as Atlanta’s manager. Here are the rest of Rosenthal’s notes from around the Major Leagues…

    •Special assistant Jim Fregosi may be the Braves’ leading candidate to manage should they replace Gonzalez internally.

  120. 120
    Bethany Says:

    @119 You just made my day.

  121. 121
    csg Says:

    Bethany, I wonder how much pressure Wren feels from upper management. JS promised that changes would be made and issues would be addressed. Wren typically doesnt wait around to make his decisions. I wonder how much “time” Fredi really has left. There is no way they would replace him before the All Star break right?

  122. 122
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I can’t imagine a scenario where Jim Fregosi is a notable upgrade.

  123. 123
    Stu Says:

    I just cannot bring myself to get excited about this Braves season. My interest is at an all-time low. Not really sure why.

  124. 124
    Big D Says:

    @116 The Titans already sell out every home game, but yes, there would be a HUGE explosion in merch sales.

  125. 125
    Remy Says:

    #123

    Sleep deprivation might have something to do with it.

  126. 126
    Seat Painter Says:

    Ugh-osi to replace Fredi? No thanks.

  127. 127
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post.

  128. 128
    spike Says:

    @119, that caught my eye too, but that’s actually a bit of a stretch on MLBTR’s part to characterize it like that – the actual quote from Rosenthal was:

    “Wren bypassed first base coach Terry Pendleton for Gonzalez when Bobby Cox retired. Special assistant Jim Fregosi, perhaps the leading internal possibility, hasn’t managed since 2000.”

    which is a lot more enumerative than speculative.

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