5. September 5th
4. Kimbrel’s first 161 games
3. Freeman’s entire season: Are people forgetting how badly we’ve needed a first basemen these past few years?
2. Uggla hit streak
1. McCaan’s double homerun walkoff amazingness
It’s no news that the offense was a huge weakness for the Braves this season, even though there were bright spots. Freeman’s rookie season, Uggla’s hit streak, Chipper’s solid year.
I hate to dwell on the negative, but I think that these are some very telling stats — the tag-team performance that Uggla and McCann did this year. These two guys had only a few weeks when they were good at the same time.
March 31 – July 4: .173 / .241 / .327 (.568 OPS), 12 HR, 29 RBI, 77 K
July 5 – Sept 28: .301 / .386 / .596 (.982 OPS), 24 HR, 53 RBI, 79 K
March 31 – July 4: .316 / .389 / .520 (.909 OPS), 14 HR, 47 RBI, 43 K
July 5 – Sept 28: .204 / .296 / .387 (.684 OPS), 10 HR, 24 RBI, 46 K
**Aug. 14 – Sept 28: .180 / .292 / .346 (.638 OPS), 6 HR, 16 RBI, 32 K
So, for the first 3 months, Uggla was terrible while McCann was his usual great self. For the final three months, Uggla was great while Mccann played very poorly — largely, I suppose, as a result of spending some time on the DL and going “cold” during that time.
Can you imagine how we’d be if McCann hit just .200 during the final month and a half of the season? Even if he had another 6 or 7 hits since coming back from the DL — especially timely hits — we might be looking forward to game 3 at Turner Field tomorrow.
I’ll end this post by acknowledging that we could point to several other players’ struggles during September — Lowe, Beachy, Venters, Kimbrel — but I really think that McCann’s struggling was a key part of our collapse.
Good show, guys, and thanks for another great season of following the show. To me, this wasn’t nearly as bad as ’96 or even ’04 or ’05 when the Astros had our number. It’s an epic collapse, but I think the sting of it is lessened because now I don’t have to watch us get 2 hit in playoff games and lose by an error or a reliever walking the leadoff man.
There are a lot of questions going into the offseason. I do expect a pitcher to be traded, and I expect Derek Lowe to also be traded. Some team will take him for 3 million a year to be a #5 starter, as you guys said in the show. I would expect JJ to be the odd man out between him and Hanson. He is really the only one of the young guys to not come up through the ranks, so I don’t the organization has as much of an attachment to him. There was so much buzz around Hanson and how he was going to help solidify the rotation for years. I expect out rotation next year to be Huddy, Hanson, Beachy, Delgado, Minor/Teheran with Medlen and Vizcaino in the ‘pen as long relief/spot starters. That is still a lot of depth in case of an injury.
One guy we really missed this year was Omar Infante. He was always a guy who could come off the bench and spark the lineup. I would love it if Wren could go out and find another guy like that via FA or a trade.
#8 – David, great points about Mac and Uggla and what could have been.
#9 – Nate, it’s a great question about what the money gets spent on. We’re talking about 8MM from KK and about 5MM (after the 1.5 buy out) for Nate. 13MM. And maybe add 3 more for what a team picks up on DLowe’s contract. 16MM. 3MM for raises. 5MM for bench and bullpen. Leaves 8MM for a new right fielder. I hope that’s a joke.
How much of the KK/McLouth contracts this year and the Hudson/Chipper/Lowe contracts next year gets invested in the following players: Bourn, Prado, Heyward, Freddie, JJ, Medlen, Hanson, O’Flaherty, Venters, Kimbrel, Beachy, Minor, Delgado, Teheran, Vizcaino.
All those contracts are probably over 50MM of the payroll, which is mostly depressing.
Are they expect Stephen Marek to finally do something in Atlanta next year? It would be nice to finally see some return on the Teixera deal.
Wow all of these posts just makes me wonder about the potential of this team. We won 89 games with Heyward Prado, Uggla, McCann, Gonzo struggling, and half the year with a hole in CF. What if all these guys just had average or above average seasons. Not great seasons but just good consistent seasons which they are capable of. I can pretty much guarantee our pitching will be great next year but this offense is the key. I’m glad we fired Parrish because if there was any year a hitting coach negatively affected a MLB team ,it was this year. 641 runs scored is unacceptable. And it would great if we could minimize the injuries next year. I also hope Frank can acquire a dependable reliever that can give Venters and O’Flaherty rest. Medlen will be huge next year. If he was healthy this year we would still be playing. I forgot how valuable he was.
Hope we have seen the last of Lowe; too bad it wasn’t sooner. Get a feeling that Wren couldn’t accept the fact that he screwed up on the long term deal so, Fredi just kept pitching him hoping for a turn around. Too bad the team has no ability to make changes during the season (some teams actually drop starters from the rotation and fire batting coaches during the season); if they had made these changes and others, Braves would be playing now. This ending is on Wren and Fredi.
I do hope Heyward can turn it around and gets the chance to do so.
Walker, to your point, this team grossly underachieved. The injuries to JJ, Hanson, the ineffectiveness of Lowe, the offensive woes, blah, blah, blah. The talent on the field was better than the result. They won 89 games imploding in September. Who knows if they have a half way decent month where they might have ended up. It seems like a completely wasted year for the team.
I know it won’t be popular, but, while I think O’Ventrel was over used some by Fredi, it is hard to fault him too much.
Harken back to the begining of the season. SO many screams on the board whenever Sherril, Linebrink or Proctor came into a game… but since the bullpen basically consisted of those three and O’Ventrel (- reference my thoughts on faulting Wren for not providing “parts” -), what was Fredi supposed to do if the game was close.
We scored 2 or fewer in 34%-ish of our games (about 54 games – which doesn’t take into account those that were close that got more than 2 runs late).
Nothing can beat those fall baseball blues (and lord knows the Braves fans have’em) than thought of spring time in Florida. Just received the “tentative” 2012 Braves Spring Training Schedule from Disney today:
Mar 3 Tigers 1:05 PM
Mar 6 Nationals 1:05 PM
Mar 9 Mets 1:05 PM
Mar 10 Yankees 1:05 PM
Mar 11 Blue Jays 1:05 PM
Mar 14 Nationals 6:05 PM
Mar 16 Astros 6:05 PM
Mar 17 Blue Jays 1:05 PM
Mar 18 Orioles 1:05 PM
Mar 19 Cardinals 1:05 PM
Mar 22 Marlins 1:05 PM
Mar 23 Mets 1:05 PM
Mar 25 Astros 1:05 PM
Mar 28 Yankees 1:05 PM
Mar 30 Astros 6:05 PM
Mar 31 Tigers 1:05 PM
Apr 1 Phillies 1:05 PM
Apr 2 Astros 12:00 PM
Much better than last year when it seemed like we played the Mets every other game. Get to play the Yankees twice, Tigers twice, Cardinals once, and Phillies once. Four of the eight playoff teams. Strange, no Tampa Bay Rays? Also no Red Sox this year. Do get the Orioles which is rare. Three night games. Four Astros games – ugh!
Can’t wait for camp to open and to see what “changes” we have on the club.
The Schafer thing is kind of funny if only because it’s so awful. And what a waste. Do you think he rebounds from this? Do the Astros keep him? If not, will someone sign him? It’s not like he was tearing it up in Houston. The only thing he’s got going for him is he’ll be cheap for the next few years. And he’s a terrific person to invite to a party.
Also got a chuckle out of running into an ESPN article from late September on Longoria calling out the Rays fans for not showing up. The article wasn’t funny, but in the comment section underneath the week-old column: one comment. From a Yankee fan. You thought the Braves had it bad…
Now that Jordan has entered recidivism proper (naw sir, that’s one bonehead name, but that ain’t me anymore), I’m going out on a limb and saying Heyward’s admittedly better guarded and less destructive, yet likewise funky little attitude will cause a big scene before it’s all said and done. Not drugs, no. Just trouble. Yeah, my link between Jordan and Heyward is weak, but I’m stickin’ with it.
In other words, I just dropped by to cause controversy.
Good to see ratings are shaping another baseball postseason. The Yanks/Tigers play at 8pm every time, but the Rays finish 2 games in the span of 24 hrs. They Rays went into Monday’s game @5 pm with the series tied 1-1, and by 5 pm on Tuesday they were eliminated from the playoffs. Yes, the Rangers were in the same situation, but it is still completely ridiculous.
Just finished taping an interview with David O’Brien. Great stuff about all of Frank’s comments last week (lots on Heyward, where DOB all but freaks out on us, lots on Prado, lots on Lowe, lots on the fan’s relationship to Fredi, lots on Hanson and JJ). The show will posted on Sunday.
I think he gets suspended, again. I think there is a possibility that the Astros unconditionally release him. Do they really want his influence in the minors? Or do they really want to send the message to their young players that they can get away with something like that and still play baseball from them?
40, thx for the article; good reading despite the mistakes (trading Gonzo, etc.). Personally, I think Wren was asleep at the wheel when he hired Fredi and during September he couldn’t possibly have had any meetings with Fredi. So, Wren fires the hitting coach after all the harm has been done. Big deal.
I’m glad DOB released the rest of the Wren interview because Wren really tells it how it is. I like that he recognizes that the coaches and players are equally to blame. I also like that he calls out the veterans. Chipper blaming the collapse on the youth is complete garbage. Chipper had his fair amount of first pitch groundouts during that 9-18 stretch. Accountability seems to be really lacking among these players and coaches, and there always seems to be an excuse. Those aren’t characteristics of a winner.
I have to give credit to Wren; he is smooth. A good BS’er can spread that blame around. But, where was he as the hitting got worse and worse. Hitting coaches can be discharged during a season and a new field Manager’s performance can be discussed DURING a season to make adjustments. Most expensive mistakes were KK, McLouth and the long Lowe contract; what kind of team would the Braves have had on the field with some of that cash? Wren should enter Georgia politics; he is THAT convincing. But, “you can’t fool all the people, all the time.”
#48, I’m guessing he didn’t want to fire anyone in the middle of the season. The whole that’s not the Brave way concept maybe came into play. Frank is part of the problem: 13 MM for KK/McLouth, 16 MM for Lowe, another 13 MM for a player that might play 100 games in a season. I was just glad to hear someone in the organization admit to all the problems this team had without tipping a cap or finding a lame excuse. He even cited examples of the offensive suckiness, such as the Detwiller game and the Chris Capuano game.
Sorry about the Dream, Curt.
The Yanks lost and they lost with A Rod striking out. Amesome.
#50 – Curt, that is hard for me to wrap my head around. I gotta tell you. Here I thought all your Dream jokes were clever satire. Now I see it’s something much darker.
I really don’t get all the FW bashing. Let’s talk about some of the players/contract brought up:
Lowe and KK: At the end of the 2007 season, the starting 5 was Hudson, Chuck James, Buddy Carlyle, Kyle Davies, Jo Jo/Todd Redmond. It was an unmitigated disaster. I have no issue with these two signings. Yes, he overpaid and for too long, but that’s how you get these guys in the current FA climate.
McLouth: I will accuse anyone of being a total revisionist if you say that was a bad trade at the time. Nate’s line the year before we got him was .276 .356 .497 and that includes 46 doubles and 23 steals.
Chipper: That deal had to be done. The Glavine and Smoltz departures were nothing short of debacles. I’m not saying his contract was more than it should be, but it was the cost of doing business.
At least we didn’t do the AJ Burnett 90 MM/5 yr deal. I thought we got D Lowe and KK after 2008, though. I think Buddy and Chuck may have still been around, but I think Campillo was also a part of that bunch. Regardless, it was an atrocious rotation, and if I remember correctly Huddy and JJ were the only ones to return. With McLouth we really gave up nothing, but the KK signing was a gamble considering his contact is about a tenth of our payroll and it sounds like the organization didn’t do their homework on that one.
Dammit Nate – you and your facts. You’re correct. Lowe and KK signed during the 2008 off-season. But the rotation was still an atrocity: After Hudson and JJ, it was Campillo, Jo Jo and Charlie Morton. And the team won a paltry 72 games in 2008.
Frank Wren is a good GM. He made a mistake hiring Fredi, but I agree with Steve that nobody knew how bad KK and Lowe were going to be. Lowe was coming off a good season and was going to be a groundball pitcher in a pitchers park. People were praising KK as the Japanese Greg Maddux. Hindsight is 20/20. Those moves needed to be made. It’s not Frank Wren’s fault. He built a team that should win the World Series but the players, managers, and coaches didn’t execute. Bottom line. His philosophies about developing faster more athletic players and being a more patient offensive team are a relief to hear. It’s refreshing to hear the GM of your team have the same ideas you have about how the game of baseball should be played.
Finally had the guts to listen to the show. No offense to you guys but the nose dive we called September put me in a very bad baseball place. For the first time ever I was ready for the off season. I wanted NO part in the playoffs this year. Just wanted an end to the heartbreak.
How about those Tigers! Love the Yanks losing in NY. Now if only the Cards can take care of the Phillies.
I also congratulate Kate on a fine fantasy league season. Next year I may not allow my 10 year old to make so many decisions. We’ll see…he’s on probation.
Every Braves’ pitcher should be required to listen to Chris Carpenter’s postgame interview last night. He talked about attacking the zone early in the count to get them swinging. That way they know if they take pitches they’ll be down in the count 0-2 or 1-2. He said that strategy got them swinging early in pitch counts, and he was able to get a lot of groundballs. The man also had NO WALKS by using this approach.
It’s kinda funny (and by that I mean awful), looking at the titles of Shows #163 – 167, starting with the oldest in the top left corner of the homepage. It really kinda sums it up in its horrible glory.
Did some catching up today and enjoyed the humorous posts. The funniest ones, however, are the ones that seem to say that a GM is not responsible for the bad contracts they make. It is their job to make good decisions and, yes, they should be held accountable for the ones that don’t work out just like any other manager in any other business. Wren may be a wonderful GM but he is not running a hot streak of good signings/contracts/trades. In particular, he seems to forget that he is on a short financial leash and there isn’t room in the budget for big mistakes. He may deserve some slack on McLouth but KK and Lowe are examples of moves that were HUGE mistakes that have had tremendous negative impact on the team. Guess we could leave the verdict out on Fredi but it could turn out to be the worst decision of them all. Hope Wren got a big bonus this year for hitting the bottom line on profits.
I think the 2008 season and not wanting to get into a bidding war with a division rival(Mets) played a huge role in the Lowe contract. Lowe said he wouldn’t sign for less than 4 years, so it is what it is.
Wren has made some savvy moves, and he has made some moves that make me wonder if he’s lost his mind. That’s where I stand with him. The pitching has come a long way since he took over, now he needs to keep working on the offense.
We didn’t win the 2010 WC without Lowe; somewhat agreed. And we didn’t win 2011 with Lowe (or, is it because of Lowe?) And, without a major turnaround from Lowe, it is quite likely that his $15 mil salary will make it extremely difficult to put together a competitive team in 2012. Overall, when we had some young pitchers coming up, I would have preferred taking my chances in 2010 W/O Lowe so that Braves could have put together an even better team in 2011 and 2012. Lowe has been more of a salary eater than an innings eater. I never liked the deal but he could prove me wrong by leading the Braves to a division title in 2012; wanna bet on it? On the other hand, if Lowe keeps pitching like he finnished the season, his contract will be one of the worst the Braves ever got themselves into. Time will tell.
It’s okay to attribute the 2010 WC with Lowe and his contributions.
But, considering that the Braves won the WC by 1 game, you could say the same about every single Braves player who contributed to a win — the obvious guys like Chipper, McCann, Prado, Heyward, Hanson, and even the guys like Melky, Brooks, and Diory Hernandez. Hell, even Kenshin Kawakami won a game last year — so, really, we couldn’t have won the 2010 WC without KK. (In his one win, he went 7 ip and gave up 1 run on 2 hits and won 4-3 against the Detroit Tigers.)
I didn’t mean to leave #83 as “Anonymous”. See you next year; hopefully, without Lowe in the discussions. Guessing Braves will only have to eat $12 mil of the contract (Rockies want Millwood back so, maybe they would take Lowe also as they are 3 starters short) as some team takes him as a number 4 0r 5. Maybe Lowe will do what some suggested Chipper do which is to rework his contract or retire. FAT CHANCE!