pleasantly surprised to find a new episode and currently downloading. Also, the opening day countdown has reached double digits!!! Pitcher and catchers report in 8 weeks. Too excited, in the meantime, beginning to read “Of Mikes and Men” Pete Van Wieren’s new-”ish” book. Happy Holidays!
For what it’s worth, there is a poster on mlb.com, who is fairly well informed usually, who suggests that the Braves clear the smallest margin of any baseball team that isn’t losing money; they spend the highest % of dollars on their team of any profit-turning team in baseball.
He uses this link (he says 2010 numbers aren’t available yet) to support it:
By the way, as disheartening as the Lee addition is, I just looked at the transactions of the top Wild Card contenders from last year. Only Atlanta and maybe St. Louis improved, and we finished 5 games ahead of them. The Padres, who were the only team closer than 5 games to the Braves, lost their best (by far) hitter. The Brewers might make a play, but they have a TON of ground to make up to the Braves in terms of last year’s WC standings.
Queen’s Greatest Hits Vol II might be as good as the first one if you listen to it with the right perspective. A lot of the songs are “bar room smokey” instead of their signature good-time rock opera sound.
I know, talking about greatest hits compilations like they are albums is an artistic sin. But I have to be cool on a budget.
“I actually have a funny story about that,” Jones said. “I’m so out of shape, one of my neighbors caught me dry-heaving on his lawn. We had a nice little chuckle out of it. I grabbed his phone to make sure he didn’t take any video and people would see it on YouTube.”
Bub, I think if you view that list 5 or 6 years ago, the Phils are in a completely different position. They have spent to generate revenue. Now, this is not always going to happen, and who knows what the Braves fans will do, but this all ties into what McGuirk and FW have stated, that their spending is all tied into fan support. I just don’t think that is a fair way to run an organization. I appreciate that they are not sitting on piles of cash and putting out an inferior product, but there were years where they clearly did that. Those teams from 3 and 4 years ago were awful. Maybe they lose money for a year or two to add a couple of more pieces and get a bigger return as a result. Whatever.
I do think we are at the top of the heap of WC contenders. I think St Louis bounces back to win that division. We’ll see if Cincy can keep it together. No way Votto has another season like that. But bring on the second tier all day long.
Curt, I guess we’ll never agree about the Bravos’ spending. When the Braves ran a first place, super-exciting home team out there for a hundred days and the crowds remained mediocre, why should they take a business risk and overspend their revenue?
The current ownership apparently isn’t interested in turning a big profit while they own it; they are counting on cashing in when they sell. But in the meantime, if they’re spending nearly every dime to get as much talent on the field as they can without actually losing money, one could certainly imagine worse scenarios.
In this way, we are actually lucky that the Braves are small potatoes to Liberty Media. If the Braves were the main business enterprise of any self-preserving business, they would cut the payroll immediately. (This is all predicated on the idea that the Braves really are spending what they can).
Bottom line: if the Braves average a medium sized MLB attendance and revenues, they are well within logic to spend medium sized money on their players. And that’s what they do.
1. The Phillies will age soon enough.
2. The young Braves will hit full stride at almost that exact moment.
3. KK, McLouth, Lowe, and Chipper will shed 40 million dollars – nearly half the payroll – at the same time that the aging Phillies/ blossoming Braves youth happens.
We will likely see 2 or 3 division titles (barring Mets and Nationals trouble) within the next 5 years without having to spend more.
At that time (probably an ownership change later), we will have our questions answered.
In the meantime, the Braves are positioned to go the playoffs every year barring major injury.
This isn’t a bad time to be a Braves fan at all. They will be the favorites for Wild Card on just about every analyst’s pre season prediction, and for good reason.
162 games watching Uggla/Heyward/Prado/McCann backing up Hanson, Jurrjens, Lowe, Hudson, Minor, Kimbrel, and Venters – followed by a likely playoff position against a beatable first round opponent (Giants, Reds, Cardinals, whatever) – there’s a lot of excellent baseball to be absorbed by Braves fans in 2011.
My Christmas gift to ABT, and then I’m really gone.
(From Baseball Prospectus – can’t be linked)
This offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies have grabbed most of the NL East headlines. Their signing of Cliff Lee was undoubtedly the biggest free agent acquisition of the offseason. But the attention paid to the newest member of Philadelphia’s rotation has obscured the potential that the Atlanta Braves will improve on their strong 2010 season. Winners of 91 games last season, the Braves sport a young offensive core, increased roster flexibility and at least six viable starting pitchers. Between the lure of the wild card and the uncertainty of the 162-game season, the Braves have at least two good reasons to resist the temptation to overreact and instead focus on adhering to the plan that got them to the postseason last year.
Atlanta already made moves to shore up uncertainty in its infield. They made one of the first big moves of the offseason when they shipped utility infielder Omar Infante and reliever Mike Dunn — both viewed as bench players a year ago — to the Florida Marlins for slugging right-handed second baseman Dan Uggla. The Braves view Uggla as a member of the infield for years to come and are currently in talks to extend his contract. Uggla’s defensive limitations will pair well with slick-fielding Alex Gonzalez, who has been retained after being acquired in last July’s Yunel Escobar trade.
The Braves also believe they have solved their long-term question mark at first base. Since briefly acquiring Mark Teixeira for parts of 2007-08, Atlanta has struggled to find a slugging first baseman who can hit in the middle of the lineup. Lefty-hitting rookie Freddie Freeman, who posted an impressive line of .319/.378/.521 in Triple-A last season, will be 21 years old and in the starting lineup on opening day. With Chipper Jones hoping to return in a significant capacity next season, the Braves have addressed the area where injury hampered them the most in 2010. With Martin Prado (and his career .810 OPS) still in the fold, the Braves can deploy him at third if Jones isn’t healthy or in left field if he is.
Atlanta also took significant measures to add veteran presence to an extremely promising young bullpen, which was one of the most entertaining in baseball in 2010. The 22 year-old right-hander Craig Kimbrel inherits the closer role from a retiring Billy Wagner. Despite the extra pounds Kimbrel has on Wagner, and the fact that Wagner was a lefty, Kimbrel’s high-90s heat may give hitters flashbacks to Wagner’s big No. 1. And Kimbrel won’t be the only one bringing heat out of the Atlanta ‘pen: Jonny Venters can match him pitch for pitch. Venters was the horse of the staff last season; he was just two appearances short of pitching in half the team’s games. Eric O’Flaherty, the team’s top lefty specialist until he succumbed to symptoms of mononucleosis last year, is healthy and poised to return. O’Flaherty won’t have to shoulder the left-handed burden by himself, as the Braves signed Los Angeles Dodger pariah George Sherrill as a free agent for $1.2 million earlier this month.
The Braves also return the top four of their starting rotation, which last year posted a combined 3.80 ERA. Those four — Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens — will be joined by one of either Mike Minor, who dazzled between Double- and Triple-A in his first full season, or Brandon Beachy, who is just a year older and was perhaps even better in 2010.
All of that is without yet mentioning the most hyped prospect in baseball last season, Jason Heyward, who became the first 20 year-old to have an OBP over .390 since Alex Rodriguez. That is by design. The Braves have been doing what all good teams do: acquiring the players they need, and keeping only those who are truly worth it. It’s hard to identify a position at which the Braves will decline from 2010 to 2011. When last year’s team won 91 games and the NL wild card, such a state of affairs can only be counted an unqualified success. It’s true that other teams will do their best to win games, but that doesn’t necessarily affect the way the Braves should go about planning for the future.
Consider how the Braves could handle their trio of promising young international starters (Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, and Arodys Vizcaino), each of whom spent significant time in Single-A this year. They could ship them off to acquire a player who is approaching free agency. Undoubtedly, they had minor league talent to match or exceed the package sent by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Kansas City Royals to acquire Zack Greinke. But doing so would have required a significant increase in salary and the loss of at least one of their electric arms. By not doing so, the Braves ensured that they will have plenty of options when Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson become free agents after the 2012 season.
The ultimate question, then, is whether the Braves should change their strategy to reflect the new landscape of the NL East. It’s hard to see the argument that they should. Consider that the Phillies were the oldest team in baseball — on both sides of the ball — last season, meaning the Braves’ chances to win will only go up as the years pass. It will be hard, but by no means impossible, for a 90-win Braves team to make the playoffs in 2010. But if the Braves stay the course, as it appears they plan to, they’ll get better as a team as the competition declines. That’s a formula not just for a single year’s playoff berth, but for a run of success that could make the NL East exciting for several years to come.
Tommy Bennett is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
A guy gets blitzed at the local pub, so drunk he can hardly see straight. He decides it’s time to leave, so he tries to stand up and head for the door. No good, he teeters straight over and falls on the ground.
He crawls to the door the best he can, with some difficulty. At the door, he pull himself up by the knob. He fails again, though, falling over as soon as he loses the support of the door.
He crawls home the best he can. At his own front door, he tries to stand again. But as before, he falls. Finally, he gives up and crawls into his bed and passes out.
The next morning, he wakes to his wife standing over him, hands on her hips, shaking her head: “Drunk out of your mind again last night.”
The guy replies sorrowfully, “Yes, I was. How did you know?”
“The pub called. You left your wheelchair down there.”
I went sledding for a bit, sans sled. From the top step of my mom’s back porch to the (now broken) legs of her barbeque grill. Thankfully my bruised assbone evoked enough pity from said mother to pry away three Lortabs.
Saito deal: his deal with the Brewers is worth a maximum of $3.2 million, which is equivalent to what he earned in 2010. The base salary is lower and comes with incentives based on playing time and time spent on the active roster.
Watched Back to the Future with my 10 and 7 year old last night. Damn that movie stands up. But a lot more swearing in it than I remembered.
LEAH – Just downloaded “I and Love and You.” It’s my first Avett Bros. album. I’m really liking it. Cannot get enough of “And it Spread,” particularly and really like a lot of the other cuts. What other non-live albums of theirs do you particularly like?
Oh my goodness where to begin…
It’s hard to keep straight which songs are on which Albums. I and Love and You is absolutely the best. Four Theives has Distraction #74, Colorshow, and Talk on Indolence. But you absolutely must hear Paranoia in B Major, Shame (boat loads), and Ballad of Love and Hate from Emotionalism. Also, Murder in the City, At the Beach…you just can’t go wrong with the Brothers. I’ll preach to you like I do Bubdylan…you have to see them live. I’m heading to Asheville tomorrow night in fact.
Heard this group on Radio Paradise and resisted them at first (hated the name, and every zippy-wow Hunchback of Notre Dame song makes me think somebody’s trying to by Dylan), but the lyrics here are actually meaningful/ not contrived. I think I’ll keep a look out for them.
Well, not to offend anyone because for the genre it’s quite good, but I don’t really like that type of stuff. A little slow for me. But it is way up her alley. So thanks for hooking me up on a good Xmas gift.
I’m not sure if it could be possible for me to be doing worse in my bowl pool. Come on SMU. It’s a home game against Army for f sake. Love our troops, etc., etc.
Bub – re #38, while I’ve owned an iPod for 4 years or so and it is essential my sole music delivery system, I still cannot get over the sanctity of the album ethos I grew up with. All of which to say, I only download full albums.
Curt – do you like stuff like The Band, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, etc? The Avett Bros. don’t fall too far from that tree from what I’ve heard so far.
Honestly, more like Rage Against the Machine, old Jane’s Addiction, Ministry, et al. I do listen to some slower stuff, but it’s heavy like Sabbath, Fugazi. Stuff like that. I also like the White Stripes a lot and they go between the two.
All that said, the Avett Bros are very good and if I was stuck in my wife’s car it would be the first thing I would grab over the other less palatable options.
Steve, mad respect for your album ethos sanctity. I’ve lost a lot by shunning it and collecting mostly compilations & downloads.
In fact, about a week ago, I youtubed a bunch of songs from Elton John’s “Tumbleweed Connection,” which has zero radio hits, but is outrageously good, and was super bummed out that I’ve neglected album-hunting.
Not altogether, of course. I’ve got a few of the great ones: Abbey Road, Astral Weeks, Blonde on Blonde, London Calling among them. But most of my cd collection is Greatest Hits, even of my favorite artists.
On the bright side, I guess I could start now. Probably a bunch of “Tumbleweed Connections” to be had.
Fantastic concert! Curt, check out Talk on Indolence. May be the only one to your taste but I swear there’s something for everyone. Dublyn, I was wondering if I’ve ever mentioned “Weight of Lies” to you? You’d like it. Plus they say “Aeroplane” instead of Airplane which is super southern and makes me love them even more.
Happy New Year to everyone. For us, it’s off to a late afternoon/early evening party and then Despicable Me (nod to Curt) at home as my 10 and 7 year old attempt to stay up to midnight. What are y’all doing tonight?
I think I’m gonna go see True Grit with next-apartment neighbor. Then come back and do something I haven’t done for New Year’s Eve in 25 years: not drink.
Happy 2011 everyone. (Oh, it’s hardly worth mentioning since I’m sure to blow it, but one of my resolutions is to knock off the sports-related internet surfing addiction. So if I never return, blah blah love to all blah blah [see you soon]).
I hope you guys won’t strip me of my rightful royal title but I just today was able to listen to the show. I have a lot of faith in Jordan S. Mostly cause I want to have faith in him but I also think maturity he’s gained and the benefit of having a wrist that is attached to your arm will do wonders for him. Needless to say, I feel way better about him in the outfield than McSucks. Listening to the show made me LONG for spring training. GO BRAVES!!!!
Best moment of the season was Brooks’ walk off grand slam to solidify amazing come back win in the 9th against the Reds. I LOVE BASEBALL! I’m getting serious grief from my father and my husband for my choice of entertainment. The good bulldogs got it wrapped up so what else is there to do?
Watched the remake of Dawn of the Dead last night (directed by the guy that did “300″). Damn, damn good. I’m a huge fan of the original and liked this one a lot. It’s much different (story-wise) from the original.
Since I can’t wear it out of the house anymore, my Diaz shirt is now a fairly regular nightshirt. I’m recovering: David Ross is my new boyfriend. He just got a two-year deal, if I remember correctly, so we’ll always have Paris…for two years, or until he’s horribly injured, as is my jinx record.
I accidentally clicked “view all” instead of the next page number and couldn’t believe all the scrolling. It reminded me of a time gone by when I would scroll through hundreds of comments to get to the bottom of the page despite thumb cramps. Oh the memories…
The official Uggla extension Press Release from the Braves:
Braves and Dan Uggla Agree on Five-Year Contract
Second baseman now under contract through the 2015 season
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves announced today that they have agreed to terms with second baseman Dan Uggla on a five-year contract through the 2015 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration. Details of the contract were not disclosed.
Uggla was acquired by the Braves from the Florida Marlins in a three-player trade on November 16, 2010, as the Braves sent left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn and infielder Omar Infante to Florida.
Uggla, 30, is coming off the finest offensive season of his career in 2010, as he established career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (33) and RBIs (105) and earned his first career Silver Slugger award. He ranked fifth the National League in both home runs and RBIs.
“When we traded for Dan back in November our goal was to work out a long-term contract with him,” Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren said. “He is an important part of our team and he gives us the consistent right-handed power we have been looking to add to the middle of our lineup for several years.”
A two-time All-Star, Uggla has averaged 31 home runs, 100 runs scored and 93 RBIs per season over his five-year career. He has never been placed on the disabled list and has posted an average of 155 games played per season.
Since he broke in with the Marlins in 2006, Uggla leads all Major League second basemen in home runs. He ranks 13th on the all-time career home run list for second basemen.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Uggla is the only player in Major League history whose primary position was second base to begin his career with five consecutive seasons of 20 or more homers (he has hit at least 30 in each of the last four seasons).
Uggla began his career in the Arizona Diamondbacks system in 2001 and was selected by the Marlins in the December 2005 Rule 5 Draft. He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2006, when he hit .282 with 27 homers and 90 RBIs.
In 776 career games, Uggla has hit .263 with 336 extra-base hits, including 154 home runs, and 465 RBIs. In 45 career games at Turner Field he has hit .354 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs.
The Braves now have four remaining arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man roster who are unsigned for the upcoming season: infielder Martin Prado, right-handed pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan and left-handed pitcher Eric O’Flaherty.
A little angry at Wren’s comments on Chippers one little hiccup in recovery being caused by lack of leg lifts on a hunting trip. Martin Prado would never have allowed other interest to stall his recovery…just sayin.
Anne, how exciting! I can’t wait for all the tweets! My favorite feature is the new and improved screen that doesn’t get all grimy. They put a coating on it that allows oils from your fingers to roll off. Pretty cool! Just found out my work is getting me one although the Rev just gave me one for Christmas. His response…”now I feel like a jerk.” Back to shopping for him!
Yea, six inches of I can’t go anywhere and the power might go out so I can’t watch the National Championship game fun on the ground. These are the only times when I miss Florida.
Leah, I am very excited. I would rather them get the Seahawks than the Packers, but it’s the playoffs, you’re gonna have to beat some very good teams to win it all. And that is my Mr. Obvious insight of the day. I’m sick of snow. Go Braves.
I’ll be at the game on Saturday night with the Pack. Very nervous about it, but the Falcons have played great at home and everyone is picking the Pack, so that makes me optimisitic.
Snow = fun, pretty
Ice = sucks
They are saying schools might be out all week. I don’t see work also being off all week. I sense a problem. And apparently the gameplan in dealing with icy roads is to wait for it to get warm. Well thought out. We prayed for rain, I guess now we have to pray for the sun. Come on Apollo. Get off your ass.
I attended both Games 3 and 4 of the NLCS and I was at the Dome tonight. Unbiased between the Braves and Falcons, tonight got me wondering what experience was more painful? The Braves lifted your heart up and then ripped it out. Where as the Falcons played poorly start to finish. Any Thoughts?
I have to go with the Falcons. I was proud of the Braves and their effort and the way it was just too good to be true, but the Falcons laid a egg in the biggest game after working so hard to gain homefield. In the end, I guess this is just what being an Atlanta Sports Fan is all about.
I’m starting to think ATL teams are cursed when it comes to the postseason. The only recent memory of success, ’95, came at the expense of Cleveland. This probably happened because the sports gods hate Ohio even more than Georgia.
Wiley, it’s the Falcons. A 1 seed losing hurts way more than a Wild Card team. The Braves had no shot at the Phillies with no Prado and no Chipper. Heyward had like 1 hit in the playoffs. No offense. No chance. The Falcons just completely collapsed. I think we can officially stop calling him Matty Ice. The name is horribly cheesy and obviously not true.
No kidding. If I were an NFL team right now, I would not want me as a fan.
Nate, I think Ryan is very good. He’s efficient, careful with the ball. He doesn’t have a great arm, but the Falcons never go deep in their offense anyway. The interception in the end zone was only partially his fault as Jenkins fell down. The pick 6 was awful, and obviously the nail in the coffin, but all these guys make bad throws sometimes. Peyton Manning sealed a SB with a pick 6 last year, and he is one of the all timers. It was the D that killed them last night. That’s stating the obvious, but they were awful. Just the length of the drives was incredible. And everyone led to a TD. I thought the killer was the drive after Weems ran back the kick off. The Pack player misplayed the kick and they were pinned at the 8. And they summarily drove 92 yards without breaking a sweat. It was awful in every way shape and form. And another huge, loud, electric Atlanta crowd served a sandwich.
And not to say it might have just delayed the inevitable another week, but the fact that the 1 seed got GB and the 2 seed got Seattle is a joke. The system is screwed up.
Ill follow up what Curt said with the O-Line. I don’t think Ryan had a very good game, but the protection was awful. Whether our coaches weren’t prepared for the blitzes or the o-line was just manhandled, that was my biggest concern (behind the defense).
Also, went down to Alexander Memorial tonight expecting another blowout and got one . . . but my team was on the right side and gave me mild consolation.
Curt, I agree that Ryan is not alone in INT mishaps. The fact that it has happened to guys like Peyton and Favre proves that it can happen to some of the best of all time. Ryan is a good quarterback. He is not in the same class as those other guys, but I think the Falcons can go a long way with him under center. The whole team played pretty bad, so it’s not just on Ryan. I still think we can stop calling him Matty Ice.
Of the teams left-Bears, Pack, Steelers, Jets- all have great defenses. I think Dimitroff has some work to do on that side of the ball. I agree with what Jeff Schultz from the AJC wrote in his Epic Fail piece, if Aaron Rodgers had 5 incompletions I don’t remember any of them. Also, why do we whiff so much on blitzes. It happened in the 2nd Saints game too. The D needs some serious work.
The D is in bad shape. They kind of made their way thru this season with smoke and mirrors. Abraham was reborn, but how many years does he realistically have left? 1, 2 at the most. The big issue is that while you have had high draft picks work out on the offensive side of the ball – see Ryan, White, etc, you have had busts galore on the defensive side. Jammal Anderson – bust. Peiria Jerry – Incomplete but strong bust lean. Sean Weatherspoon – another bust lean. Jerry and Weatherspoon have both been hurt – a lot – and therefore were not big contributors at all. Your big FA acquisition was on the defensive side in Duante Robinson. If I had a dollar for everytime he got torched. So all the moves and picks you have made on one side of the ball have not worked out so well. If those guys are difference makers – you have two great DEs to go with Babineaux and Jerry in the middle, you have Lofton, Weatherspoon and Peterson as a stout LB corps, you still have 2 solid safeties, and finally you have 2 corners with Grimes on the other side who can make plays. Instead you have holes everywhere and old guys manning a couple of big spots. they got exposed badly. and on a similar note – Van Gorder is totally overrated.
So, I’m back in school. Class starts Monday and it’s about “beauty” defined through the ages. Is it wrong that I plan to write an essay about the beauty of a well-timed, well-placed centerfield catch? We’ll see if the prof goes for it.
What a moron. Royals Outfielder preceding the name Jeff Francouer is very appropriate, though. I think the inventions of the breaking ball and the off speed pitch were bigger reasons for his offensive woes, but we shall see, Jeff, we shall see…
Leah, I think he has been led astray by bad management. He’s such a nice guy when you meet him. I just think someone is in his ear telling him how great he is and he isn’t bright enough to understand that he isn’t any more.
I took my three boys to Turner Field for the tour today. It was great to be back in the stadium. Better than great, really. The tour typically includes a peak into the clubhouse. But not today as the rookie development week was still going on and they were in the clubhouse.
Also, as we we leaving, I saw fans filing into a door next to the ticket windows that I’d not really noticed before. I stopped one of the guys who told me it was a season ticket holder event where they got to meet and greet with the rookies.
At least we are done with the Jets. I found it hilarious yesterday all the people who were choosing to root for the Jets because of Roethlisburger’s (SP?) off the field transactions. Not that I condone it at all. He’s a piece of garbage. But have they checked out who plays for the Jets recently? Just their receiving corps.
What a gutless bum Jay Cutler is. Dimino was saying that he better throw himself down the stairs this morning to ensure that he is hurt enough to justify opting out of the NFC championship game. Something tells me that Matt Ryan is out there unless he is on a stretcher.
couldn’t agree more Curt. To be frank, that COULD have been the biggest game of his career. There is no guarantee that he will get back there. Look at Marino, he made a super bowl his first year and lost. His attitude (in retrospect) was: no big deal, i’ve got a whole career ahead of me I’ll get another chance. He never had another chance. You have to put it all out on the line.
Also, as for the Jets, I wanted them to win, to be honest. All we will see for the next two weeks will be each team trading compliments and selling themselves short. At least, Bart Scott or Rex Ryan would have given us a sound byte.