February 13, 2012

Show #172: Interview with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus

Kevin talks about his Top 11 Braves prospects and the minor league system.  And Spring Training story lines.

 

 

163 Responses to “Show #172: Interview with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus”

  1. 1
    Curt Says:

    This was our first show conducted underwater.

  2. 2
    Shaun Says:

    One thing about the Braves’ front office that may help them overcome the ownership situation is the way they are aggressive with local amateur talent.

    Remember the stories of the Braves hiding out to scout Jason Heyward to undersell his talent, and telling him to take his walks so that other teams will not have a complete view of how great a hitter he was?

    Going back to McCann, Francoeur and Davies, the Braves seem to be extremely aggressive with area high school talent. And it seems likely that local talent is more likely to sign for less money.

  3. 3
    Curt Says:

    Shaun, good point, but that track record is pretty bleak. Other than McCann, all the local guys have bombed. Going back to even George Lombard. Obviously, the jury is still out on Heyward, but Macay McBride anyone?

  4. 4
    BluesMan Says:

    Great show guys!!
    I wonder why McGuirk was blowing all that smoke in his interview w/ DOB. Unless we have ownership that cares about this team as well as the city of Atlanta, I have a gloomy outlook for attendance & how the farm system will be looking if Liberty Media doesn’t change their tune. There are things to be optimistic about for the Braves this year; & frankly I think that the Phillies have more question marks than us.

  5. 5
    Steve Says:

    BluesMan. Glad you liked the show.

    I think that either McGuirk has really drunk all the corporate Kool Aid and believes what he says (stuff like we don’t really have a salary cap) or he does stuff like blame the fans for crummy attendance because he believes it’s the only lever he has to pull to affect any kind of change.

    However, even if attendance were to jump, I kinda doubt that Liberty would up the payroll in a meaningful way. They seem quite happy to get the tax breaks and make the profit they are making as they bide time before selling the team. They’re really not motivated to do anything else.

  6. 6
    Leah Says:

    Enjoyed the show…particularly the open weeping and wailing.

  7. 7
    USAFCCF Says:

    Enjoyed the show. Kevin managed to lower my expectations considerably… I agree that until a person owns the Braves no real progress will be made. The team wil tread water and hope for the best. Y’all ever thought about getting Keith Law on? He trashed this years prospects too and usually has good insights even though I often disagree.

  8. 8
    Steve Says:

    We asked Keith Law on a couple of years ago and he politely declined. He’s dead to me. Not really. But sort of.

  9. 9
    Bubdylan Says:

    Good show. Biggest surprise for me was that Kevin thinks Pastornicky will hold down the SS position, is a big leaguer, etc. I was picturing nothing but heartache out of that move.

    This is the first Spring in ten years that I have absolutely no expectation for the Braves to compete for the division. Zero, zilch, nada.

    So they’ll probably win 105 games and the World Series.

  10. 10
    Curt Says:

    Bub, that he is an upgrade offensively over A Gonz is not really much of an endorsement. Just wait until he has 23 errors and we will see what kind of pro he is.

    And I totally agree on this season. I really could see them finishing 4th. If I hear them tell me one more time that they had the 4th best record at the beginning of September…

  11. 11
    Curt Says:

    Could be worse. We could be the Mets.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-passan_new_york_mets_wilpon_alderson_madoff_021312

  12. 12
    Nate Says:

    Great show guys. Depressing as hell with the projected bleak future of the organization, but it was a very informative show on the organization’s philosophy.

    I never completely buy into what these guys say on prospects. It’s one man’s opinion. I remember this guy comparing Freeman to John Olerud a couple years ago. He didn’t seem too high on our young talent back then, but most of our team is made up of young talent right now, so he must have been a little wrong back in the last interview. Maybe he’s wrong on this stuff, too. Not every pitcher can be a projected ace. Not every hitter can have the Heyward hype. From listening to his opinion on Terdo’s age, I’m guessing he never thought Chase Utley would amount to much either.

    Curt would be an offensive upgrade over the Gonz. Over under 60 errors for our infield this year? Thankfully we have Freddie, or it could be a lot worse. Think of how many throwing errors Freeman saved last year. There should be a staton that, or maybe there already is one.

  13. 13
    Curt Says:

    I am offensive

  14. 14
    BluesMan Says:

    Hahahaha

  15. 15
    BluesMan Says:

    I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect the Braves to finish in the top 3 of the division & be a Wild Card contender. IMO, We are the hardest division in the MLB now (on paper). I just cant see the Phillies winning the division again. There’s one factor I haven’t heard anyone talk about, & that’s AGE. Their sluggers (apart from that d-bag Hunter Pence) are past their prime, the most all around dangerous hitter is probably Victorino. I think (& hope) they could fall mightily this year. The Marlins scare me more than any other team.

  16. 16
    Bubdylan Says:

    Bluesman, The Braves scare me more than any other team. And not in a good way.

    Curt, upgrade over A-Gonz might not be much of an endorsement, but I did actually picture a disaster worse than Sea Bass with Tyler. Something like slightly worse offense and way worse defense.

  17. 17
    Leah Says:

    If I could I’d post a picture of the gold “Braves” charm the Rev gave me for Valentine’s Day. But I can’t. So I won’t.

  18. 18
    Tcc Says:

    Totally bad year coming for the Bravisto Boys. Minor league shortstop who will have many errors and will bat .220 at best. J Hey will have to figure out his head before he can figure out his game…not looking for much there. Pitching will be good but can’t score runs except for the other team. Chipper, bless his heart, will be hurt. Go Braves!

  19. 19
    Leah Says:

    Cleeeeeeeeeeeeduuuuuuuuuuusssssss!

  20. 20
    Steve Says:

    Tcc – good to hear from you.

    Predicting what Heyward will do offensively this year will be a big sport this Spring, for sure. So, what do you think? As bad as last year?

    Here’s my prediction for now: .265 / .340 /.450

  21. 21
    Steve Says:

    Good video interview with Greg Walker: http://timesfreepress.com/videos/2012/feb/15/5987/

  22. 22
    Vinnie Says:

    Great show, fellas! When it comes to evaluating talent, we all need to keep in mind…these guys don’t have a PHD in Baseball. They do it for a living, but it doesn’t mean they have the slightest idea on all players or clubs. Keith Law may be good at what he does (“may” being the correct word), but just because you can recite the alphabet, doesn’t mean you’re going to win a spelling bee. Some ‘insights” from scouts and others that are “experts”.

    1. Should we draft Manning or Ryan Leaf?
    2. Dustin Pedroia is too short and crummy to be a big leaguer
    3. Matt Leinhart will be #1 pick and sure fire NFL QB
    4. Who wouldn’t want NBA #1 pick Quame Brown?
    5. Stan Kasten is a great person to run a professional team
    6. Etc…

    These guys do what we do…guess. And SABR guys are even worse. When it serves their purpose, they use numbers to back up everything. When they don’t, they say “small sample size” or wait 5 years unitl the player’s productions goes down then they say “See! I told you so!”. The Braves will ALWAYS be in the top half of MLB clubs. This gives them the chance to makes the playoffs more often than not. So all the experts can stick it. I’m down with the Braves.

    PS: If we had a 33K seat ballpark, we’d sell out every game. Atlanta is the ONLY major southern city with a MLB team. It’s the only city in College Football country with a club. Listen to talk radio around here. They’re STILL talking about college football. So what are you gonna do. The Braves rank #3 in MLB fan’s favorite teams, so they have a huge following….all across the country. So attendance is all relative.

  23. 23
    Leah Says:

    “but just because you can recite the alphabet, doesn’t mean you’re going to win a spelling bee.”

    hilarious…I’m looking forward to more Vinnie blogs. Excellent points. I’m getting excited despite myself. :)

  24. 24
    Steve Says:

    JJ says he’s at 80% heading in to the spring. Yikes. http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/01/30/12/QA-Jair-Jurrjens-says-hes-80-percent/landing.html?blockID=655788

  25. 25
    Steve Says:

    Good (and depressing) article about the TV deals in baseball. Braves not even in the conversation. But Phils and Nats may be cashing in soon. http://bit.ly/zpLWa2

  26. 26
    David Says:

    Great show guys. Looking forward to the weekly podcasts coming back in March!

    I disagree with the idea that until the Braves are owned not by a company but by an individual (or a group of individuals), they won’t be a team that gets far in the postseason. Ted Turner bought the team in 1976 — but the Braves were horrible through the next decade and a half (1982 Division Title being the exception). I think it’s wrong to assume that being owned by a person or people, rather than a corporation or a company, will salvage the Braves’ woes.

    On the subject of Pastornicky — I would’ve liked if he had more time in the minors, but I think that this is a fine time to bring him up if only because we’re well-stocked at all of the other positions. It’d be one thing if we had Pastornicky at short AND a platoon of Ryan Langerhans and Matt Diaz in LF, or a post-concussion Johnny Estrada was our catcher, or Jordan Schafer in CF. As it stands, I think we’re okay.

  27. 27
    Curt Says:

    David, all that about Turner is true. There are a hundred cases of singular owners who are terrible. There are plenty of them currently in MLB. The argument is not about success, it’s about change. The Liberty Media ownership is a disaster. I, personally, want an individual owner to have someone to be accountable. Liberty clearly doesn’t care about the Braves or their fans. To say otherwise seems to fly in the face of reality. I don’t want to hear about how they keep a $90 million payroll. They are scouting on the cheap. They are drafting on the cheap. They are running the team on the cheap. I want them out. There is no guarantee that new ownership would bring more success. Daniel Snyder spends tons of money and can’t do anything right. But he’s trying. Liberty is not.

  28. 28
    Bubdylan Says:

    I just found a source for some optimism: this could finally be the year we sell at the deadline. What can Bourn, Jurrjens, & Hanson land us? :)

    Could we get anything for Heyward? Like … maybe a right fielder? *ducks*

  29. 29
    Curt Says:

    Yeah, remember the last time we were sellers and pulled in that bounty? When we traded (essentially) Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Mark Teixeira, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones, for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek?

    Amazingly, we turned down the Angels’ offer of a Tex for Kotchman straight up swap. How could we have been so blind?

  30. 30
    George Says:

    I think the Braves have a good team…if they correct the problems (i.e. Heyward, Prado, and McCann)…but other than pitching, they don’t have great depth in position players. If Chipper, Heyward and or Freeman get seriously injured…we’re likely cooked, unlike years past, that is, without the money. After the interview w/ Goldstein, I’ve gotta lock all my weapons, knives and sharp objects away from me to avoid harry-carry…tell him to help us be more optimistic…tell Curt to listen to him less. On the flipside, at least it’s not like listening to the Braves radio station with their old pitching coach who is like poly-anna. Anyways y’all have a good week.

  31. 31
    Steve Says:

    Hi George. Yeah, Leo on 680 is so half glass full as if to not be part of reality. Which is a shame because he’s a long time baseball man who should have great insight to provide.

  32. 32
    Leah Says:

    I’m getting very, very excited about baseball. Maybe it’s because I lost my job and I’m bored to tears or maybe I’m just an idiot. Regardless, super excited.

  33. 33
    Anne Says:

    Leah, Fredi needs a break. Come on down and manage the team this season. They let girls on the sidelines in the NFL now… Just a thought.

  34. 34
    Leah Says:

    Done! On my way!

  35. 35
    Nate Says:

    I’m getting pretty excited. Does anyone know if the Braves release a pitching schedule for ST games?

  36. 36
    Curt Says:

    Nate, they do. Not sure how far out it gets released. And how strict they are about keeping to it.

    Leah, sorry about the job. Full time ABT it is.

  37. 37
    Leah Says:

    Thanks Curt. Start up company with growing pains. I might be back one day. But for now it’s Bon bons, baseball and driving you all crazy!

  38. 38
    Curt Says:

    Anyone else notice how puffy and out of shape Chipper looks in these pictures?

    http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/sports/braves/braves-pitchers-catchers/

  39. 39
    David Says:

    #38 — yeah, he’s got a bit of a gut on him. Hopefully that extra fat will make for some extra padding in preventing injuries? He’s tweaked his oblique and hamstring…but you’ve never heard of an athlete “tweaking fat,” have you?

  40. 40
    David Says:

    Speaking of fat and out of shape…I also read on Bowman’s Blog that Fredi Gonzalez is placing a greater emphasis on conditioning with a focus on running drills. Isn’t that kind of like Paula Dean teaching a “Healthy Eating For Your Heart” class?

  41. 41
    Curt Says:

    Isn’t that baseball training 101?

  42. 42
    Leah Says:

    Tommy Hanson concussion before Spring Training even begins. Not a good sign for the season.

  43. 43
    Anne Says:

    You know that old chestnut – redheads can’t drive.

  44. 44
    Curt Says:

    55?

  45. 45
    Nate Says:

    Curt, thanks. I’ll look out for it. I want to go down for a 5 day weekend, but I want to see The 4 Horseman of the Pitchpocalypse and Meds. The only thing I miss about living in Tampa is good, cheap seats for Rays games in St. Pete and ST at Disney World.

    Chipper has looked out of shape for a while, imo. His figure can only help those knees and obliques, right. Maybe Brian Jordan was onto something when he called him out. Then again, I can’t remember Chipper ever being labeled a gym rat.

    I was more concerned with the picture of Venters where it looks like he’s stoned and holding a pack of soft batch cookies.

  46. 46
    Steve Says:

    Seriously, if this Hanson concussion thing turns out to be a lingering issue I will be absolutely pissed. What a way NOT to start spring training.

  47. 47
    David Says:

    #46 – yeah, me too. Concussions can be tricky things. Hopefully he won’t have the same effects as Ryan Church or Justin Morneau

  48. 48
    Leah Says:

    “I know in my heart I tried my best [last season],” he said. “It didn’t happen the way I wanted it to be, but that’s the past. I’ve got a present and I’ve got a future. I’m looking for good things, good things for the team.”

    Hmmmmm…which Brave speaks poetic words of inspiration such as these?

  49. 49
    Walker Says:

    I hope Chipper’s gut doesn’t affect his swing.

  50. 50
    Curt Says:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/spring2012/story/_/id/7597888/atlanta-braves-avoid-making-changes

  51. 51
    David Says:

    Great article. Thanks for posting it.

    Stark writes about how Fredi and Roger won’t use (or will try their best) any of O’Ventbrel unless they have a lead of 3 runs or fewer. What I’m also curious about is the number of times that those guys were used when they were pitching to protect a close *deficit* — those games when we were either tied or down 1-2 runs in the late innings, and they had to come in to keep the game close in order to give the offense a chance to come back. I’d have to look it up, but it seems like that happened pretty often — and would’ve equally contributed to the year-end fatigue.

    And while I’m excited about the pitching potential this team has, this team HAS to produce offensively. I know that that’s obvious, but the number of close games the Braves played last year was a big contributor to their pitching wearing down.

  52. 52
    Ham Says:

    Hey guys – as I type this, I am just a few miles from the ST complex here in Orlando. Going to do my damnedest to get over there on Thursday and see what is what. Apparently I will need to look out for redheads driving 55 on the way there. (as always, you can’t trust a gingy)

    Not sure if they will let me just walk around, since there are no games or anything. Maybe I’ll see if I can hook up with DOB. Any tips?

  53. 53
    Will Says:

    Hey guys – listened to the show last week…just getting around to posting.

    Nice show, hes always a good guest.

    Expectations are pretty moderate for 2012. Wild card and lose in the first round again in the base case. Everybody who was weak last year turns it around in the best case.

    Pretty good summation of where we are. With all the challenges Atlanta has as a sports town, a lack of passion from the owners seems to trickle down into the organization and even the fans. I know I have a hard time giving much of a crap, but I am so far out of the loop that I am not sure I count.

    The only contribution I have at the moment is that Darvish is a huge deal for the Japanese. They are going nuts about it…in a good way. Hes the punk who smokes and plays pachinko and got his girlfriend preggo and had a shotgun wedding. Who now divorced her to go play for the Rangers. They say his second son looks just like their male nanny. Nice. His contract was bought out for 40 million and I think hes getting 10 a year for 5 years. Hes the same one who my friend who runs MLB Asia was in the locker room doing prep for the post game of the World Classic and watched put vaseline on his cap before the 9th inning. Japan beat Korea with 1,2,3 strikeouts in the 9th. I think in his first day with the Rangers he came in with a pot leaf on his shirt or something classy like that with one of the Rangers being in drug treatment recently. A sensitive, caring type. His arm is apparently the real deal, but the Japanese are probably watching this to see how it blows up Jerry Springer style. Hes half Iranian too. So there’s that.

  54. 54
    Curt Says:

    Will-son. In the house. Tell us how KK does when he starts playing for the Ham Fighters.

  55. 55
    Will Says:

    Sup Curt- is that where hes going?

  56. 56
    Curt Says:

    No clue. Can’t imagine he found a job over here.

  57. 57
    Will Says:

    Local Atlanta yakuza boss

  58. 58
    Anne Says:

    Maybe his pitching would improve sans a pinky or two?

  59. 59
    George Says:

    Anybody know what the status is on the proposal for a two wildcard scenario this year. I haven’t heard much about it since Selig said he wanted it to happen this year. I am guessing that it’s going to have to wait til next year.

  60. 60
    Kate Says:

    Tweet from Buster Olney – “With March 1 deadline looming,expectation within baseball continues to be 10-team playoff format will happen this year. Ironing out details.”

  61. 61
    Leah Says:

    Ryan Braun…discuss.

  62. 62
    Bubdylan Says:

    http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/cnishared/tools/shared/mediahub/02/23/00/slideshow_1002320126_Braves_Spring_Baseball.JPEG.jpg

    Chipper took even less care of himself this winter than usual. Jeez.

  63. 63
    Bubdylan Says:

    Nevermind. I should’a know’d better; looks like that issue’s been done to death on the motherblog. I don’t keep up.

  64. 64
    Bubdylan Says:

    Soooo…. Mike Minor says start him in the rotation or trade him?

    Screw that.

  65. 65
    Curt Says:

    What does a mediocre left handed starter go for these days?

  66. 66
    Bubdylan Says:

    Curt, you called him on the crooked hat from day one. I should’a listened.

  67. 67
    Bubdylan Says:

    Does anybody get the feeling we’re in for a truly disfunctional season? Like, Mets Territory? I can see the wheels coming completely off.

  68. 68
    David Says:

    “No big moves. Hanson’s concussion. Chipper’s weight. And now Minor’s comments. What a dismal stretch this is. #Braves”

    Guys – let’s cut with the melodrama here. Do y’all remember the offseason when, at some point or another, we were definitely going to acquire Jake Peavy, then A.J. Burnett, then Rafael Furcal, and then Ken Griffey Jr.? (There may have been another guy in there that I’m forgetting.) When every rumor the Braves were involved in was fodder for a full-blown DOB blog, and each one of those rumors fizzled out? THAT was a dismal stretch, especially because we were coming off a season when our rotation was horrible and we were desperate for new blood.

    Let’s put things in perspective a little bit.

    No big moves — yeah, and it’s a little disheartening. But, when you reassess this team and figure that what it needs is a chance for the same guys on the team to perform and stay healthy, then they still stand a good chance. You guys said so yourselves after the end of the season in one of your podcasts. What major holes do we have entering into this season? The lack of a proven SS is a weakness IMO, but we have experience in every other position to make up for it. Let’s wait to see how much of an impact their lack of big moves has on this club.

    Hanson’s concussion — it’s a Grade 1 concussion. All indications are that he’ll be fine. And it’s barely made registered any type of buzz anywhere outside of Braves blogs. Let’s wait to see how much of an impact this concussion has on Hanson’s performance.

    Chipper’s weight — DOB is reporting, and Chipper is stating, that he’s as fit as he was at the end of last season. Chipper says he’s lighter than he’s reporting to camp lighter than he has in any other spring. Let’s wait to see how he hits and performs this season.

    Minor’s comments — this is where I stop defending the club. This is at least the second time that Minor has made a comment that makes the organization look bad. I remember towards the end of the 2010 season when he basically said that he was tired and that was why he wasn’t pitching well, and it infuriated Bobby and the rest of the club. One of those rare “you just don’t say that to the media” moments from a Braves player. This is another. Obviously Minor is the frontrunner for the 5th rotation spot, and Wren basically says as much in DOB’s article. I’m with you that Minor made some stupid comments and he’s not representing the team very well. Still, though — I don’t think Minor’s comments are that big of a deal to anybody not on a Braves blog.

    This is a dismal stretch for the Braves? PUH-LEASE. I love listening to the podcasts, and I love coming on here and reading and contributing to the comments — but come on. There are some minor things that are cause for concern, but not one of these things comes close to the state of “dismal,” let alone the sum of all of them.

    Want dismal? Put on a Mets hat. Become an Astros fan. Try embracing Lance Berkman as the new 1B in St. Louis after Pujols left while hoping the rest of the team can live up to last year’s magic. Root for the Orioles. Hope for a .500 season from the Pirates.

    As for Atlanta – sorry for being optimistic, but things are bright, both for this season and following seasons.

  69. 69
    Bubdylan Says:

    David, the Peavy/Burnett/Furcal disaster was all external. Internal strife is worse.

    Also, the guy responsible for keeping this from coming to a boil is Fredi Gonzalez. Forgive me if I don’t feel comforted.

  70. 70
    Bubdylan Says:

    Also, I don’t pay much attention to the second half of any sentence whose first half is “Chipper is stating …”

  71. 71
    Bubdylan Says:

    Man, too much butter on a grilled cheese sammy rurns it. Yack.

  72. 72
    Curt Says:

    I think we will know the answers to a lot of these questions very soon. I don’t get the sense that another great season with an epic collapse is coming. We are either going to be as good as we were last year, or the whole thing is going to implode. And implode right off the bat. If the team comes out and tanks the first month, I don’t get the sense they rebound. Right now they are saying all the right things, but let’s see all this applied to the field.

    And why am I supposed to be so jacked up about guys showing up 4-5 days early to spring training? Would you guys mind showing up to Orlanda in February to play golf for a month, sprinkled around some baseball practice? I’d be there in January.

  73. 73
    David Says:

    “David, the Peavy/Burnett/Furcal disaster was all external. Internal strife is worse”

    I think that’s fair. Both are bad, but when there’s bad stuff going on within the club, that’s worse. I would agree with that.

    However — I don’t think that there’s any “internal strife” going on, with the only exception being Minor’s comments. I think that there is strife being projected by fans onto the team, but not among the team itself. When most of the players are showing up early to camp (and two of the ones that aren’t reporting early, Pastornicky and Wilson, are working together elsewhere), that shows that they’re motivated to put last year behind them. When Prado comes in and shakes hands and high-fives EVERYBODY in camp, that shows a tight group.

    And not to shrug off Minor’s comments, but I think that when there’s a tight group and a good number of veterans who know how to talk to the media (Chipper, Hudson, McCann, Uggla), the club will take care of it when a young kid mouths off and says something he shouldn’t, or in a way that comes off not as “clean” as he might have intended.

  74. 74
    Nate Says:

    Minor sounds like he’s afraid of a little competition. With Hudson’s injury he’s pretty much guaranteed a starting gig for a month. I don’t get his complaining at all. Win the job or shut up.

    Lol, what does he think he’ll fetch in a trade anyway? I know it’s been said before, but baseball players are really really dumb.

  75. 75
    Curt Says:

    I, honestly, think he has a valid point. Stupid to raise it publicly, but a valid point. He is an older guy, given he went to college, and he wants his pro career to get going in its entirety. The fact that he couldn’t beat out Beachy last year, and if he can’t beat out Teheran and Delgado this year, is a different matter. He doesn’t want to go back to AAA for another season because he has nothing to gain from it. If the Braves can’t find a place for him in the rotation, he knows there are teams he could pitch for and could get his contract clock ticking. He hasn’t earned the right to pop off, but I don’t think his thought process is out of bounds.

    But Kris Medlen, he is not.

  76. 76
    David Says:

    Curt — that’s an excellent point, and I think you’re right. Has he proven that he’s good enough to pitch in a major league rotation? Yes. He could’ve said it in a much more savvy way — something to the tune of, “You know, I worked really hard last year, and I think I made strides as a pitcher. I hope that I’ve earned a spot in the rotation, but I’m still not taking anything for granted.”

  77. 77
    Leah Says:

    Marty D is so funny! “saw chip today & rumors of his massive weight gain r not true :( I was rooting 4 him to win biggestloser one day but hes sexy as ever ladies”

  78. 78
    john j Says:

    To some earlier comments. Managers at Liberty here in Douglas County Colorado have left me with the impression that the parent company only asks the Braves division to return a stated dollar amount to the parent company each year. Braves management can take a risk on payroll and hope that it brings in more attendence and revenue to meet the bottom line that is needed at the end of the year. However, they won’t take that risk as they would be betting their jobs. So, they are going to be conservative. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Keep in mind that Braves fans are not that good at coming to the games.

  79. 79
    john j Says:

    By the way, continue to hope for new ownership. Any billionare who wants to win will do. But, please, no more big corporations that don’t give a crap about the Braves.

  80. 80
    Steve Says:

    Re#68: David your points are well taken and my tweet was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek. So, maybe dismal is not the word. It’s more like “deflating” or “uninspiring.”. I mean, c’mon, there been nothing to get excited about this offseason, especially after the depths we were at after the collapse. I get that no moves may have been the best move, and that these are middle-class team problems I’m complaining about. But, to play these last few months off as business as usual or nothing to be somewhat unhappy about I think is a little too pollyanna (and I’m the freaking pollyanna of the group!).

  81. 81
    Steve Says:

    And, speaking of being Pollyanna, Bub – I think that pointing to Minor’s comments as evidence that there will be Mets-like fracturing and drama in the clubhouse is a little crazy. Soooo many of these guys talk about how well everyone gets along in the clubhouse. And, if you don’t, you get shipped out (see Yunel). And while I’m no Fredi fan, I don’t think he’s so incompetent as to let that kind of stuff go on.

  82. 82
    Steve Says:

    Great article on Braun’s press conference: http://m.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/Braun_live22412-140317723.html?ua=iphone&dc=smart

  83. 83
    Ham Says:

    I’m sorry, but I am not completely exonerating Braun because he got cleared on a technicality. For him to say ” I told you I wasn’t guilty” because a chain of custody breach or something rings false to me. I would love for him to be vindicated, but I don’t think that the way things went down vindicates him. Is this the POV you were looking for, Leah? What do others think?

    I also think all the other drama is really a case of nothing else going on. Chipper has been fat for 6-7 years and Curt is on point about Minor. The Hanson concussion is a non-issue. The fact that he can’t stay healthy or keep his fastball down is.

  84. 84
    Nate Says:

    The Braves needed like 8 SP to get through last year. I don’t think you trade Minor unless you get a great offer or Sean Gilmartin is ready. The Braves drafted him and are paying him good money. Do your job and shut up. This kid sounds like another whiny millionaire athlete.

  85. 85
    Nate Says:

    I cannot freaking wait for baseball to start.

  86. 86
    Anne Says:

    I second the emotion of #85 and will now call Matty D “Marty” (#77) which will help with Mrs. Diaz’s restraining order.

  87. 87
    Curt Says:

    Here’s some inspiring words from Liberty Media about the Braves. I take it all back. They really do care about the team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go team!!!!!!!!!!!

    In a conference call that Liberty executives held with investment analysts Thursday, the Braves were mentioned once. That was in the context of a discussion about taxes.

    Liberty CEO Greg Maffei cited the Braves and a stake in satellite radio company Sirius XM as examples of situations where Liberty would owe capital-gains taxes if the assets were sold. But Maffei offered no signal of an impending sale, saying, “We will be able to decide when to choose, if ever, to [trigger the capital-gains taxes].”

  88. 88
    Walker Says:

    Does anybody know the braves spring tv schedule?

  89. 89
    Bubdylan Says:

    Steve, okay, maybe Mets-Lite.

    Soap operas fiascos I can easily see:

    1. Mike Minor attitude escalation. Chipper speaking to it in the press.
    2. Jason Heyward being stubborn about adjustments, Chipper comments, etc
    3. Chipper playing poorly, getting hurt, saying terribly illogical things about his ability to contribute.
    4. General discontent towards Fredi by the team finally coming out (yes, I’m projecting, let me do it.)
    5. The horror of all horrors: 2 or our 3 bullpen workhorses comes up with dead arm in April and somebody (the player himself perhaps, or perhaps, Chip … per … Jonessszzzz.) says something out loud about all the unnecessary innings from last year.
    6. Gas prices hit $5 a gallon because … Chipperfredi Jonesalez… are … the … downfall of America.

    Oooookay, back to the Bama blog.

  90. 90
    Steve Says:

    OK, Bub – You win. I can’t compete with your fertile clubhouse drama powers

  91. 91
    David Says:

    80 — Sorry Steve, I didn’t recognize the tongue-in-cheek tone in the tweet. Maybe you can write those in the “sarcastic” font? Also — are you the only one who tweets, or is it all three of y’all? I sorta figured that the three of you share access to the ABT twitter account, and I wasn’t sure who said it.

    And nothing to be excited about this offseason? Uh, did you not see the new uniforms? The concessions discounts for season ticket holders? The new tiered ticketing pricing? The Jack Wilson signing?

    Seriously though, I’m with ya. This offseason has been a dud for us fans. The only thing that’s comforting about it is that it’s over, and as someone once said, a good GM aims to be celebrating in October, not December or January.

    83 — I definitely agree. Braun’s reversal seems to be a lack of the process working as it’s intended and designed to. Doesn’t count, and it’s wrong for him to claim honor and honesty in these circumstances.

  92. 92
    Steve Says:

    91 – Hey David, no worries. And, in truth, I am excited about the new uniforms.
    BTW – Curt and I handle the Twitter duties.

  93. 93
    Steve Says:

    Feel good article at CBS Sports. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/17462062/braves-camp-report-after-epic-collapse-in-11-inaction-brings-optimism

  94. 94
    Bubdylan Says:

    Aw, Stevie, it wasn’t like that.

  95. 95
    Steve Says:

    BBTN video from their visit to Braves camp today: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7622221&categoryid=2378529

  96. 96
    Curt Says:

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/02/trade-candidate-mike-minor.html?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=twitterfeed

  97. 97
    Bubdylan Says:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/atl/photos/im:urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,ap:20050301:mlb,photo,ap-201202211554572804508:1

    I miss Bobby.

  98. 98
    Curt Says:

    My caption would read.

    “I have no idea what I’m doing. Stop asking me stuff about things.”

  99. 99
    Steve Says:

    #98 – perfect.

    Ok, people, doing my part to help the team make more money and increase payroll with this announcement from the Braves:

    Please help us reminder your listeners, viewers, readers, and followers that they can register by midnight tonight at braves.com/presale to take part in the MARCH 1-2 PRESALE for Single Game Tickets.    
     
    Single Game Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 5 and start at only $6. Single game tickets will be available at Braves.com/tickets, the Braves Ticket Office at Turner Field, the Braves Clubhouse Store at the CNN Center, all PUBLIX Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. 

  100. 100
    Leah Says:

    Nicely done Stevie! Can’t wait to see next year’s budget now!

  101. 101
    john j Says:

    Does anyone remember how/why MLB approved Liberty Media ownership of the Braves? Generally, MLB has some guidelines about how an owner will contribute to improving the game. Who got paid off?

    There are still a lot of Braves fans throughout the country. A national boycott of all Liberty Media companies/investments until they sell the Braves would go a long ways to encourage a sale. Start by dropping Starz.

  102. 102
    Bubdylan Says:

    Curt, love #98.

    My caption: “So I was like, bunt! And he was like, that’s giving away an out. But I was like, yeah, but, bunt! Am I right or am I right? (O’Brien and Bowman burst into uncomfortable laughter) Or am I right? Or am I right?” Photographer: SNAP.

  103. 103
    Kate Says:

    The good news just keeps coming.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/02/28/braves-1b-freeman-hurts-knee-during-workout/

  104. 104
    Bubdylan Says:

    And here’s more bad news, in my opinion. This can’t be a good idea for this team, especially considering Fredi’s tendency to run us into outs too much.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2012/02/28/braves-will-be-better-off-with-a-more-aggressive-mindset/?cp=1#comment-441602

    My secret hope is now that we’ll stink so bad this year that we clean house. I can’t see anything better than that realistically happening.

  105. 105
    Curt Says:

    Wasn’t it Chipper who said in his interview that it is important to have guys getting on so one of their big guys could hit a 3-run homer? Am I mistaken? Might help to have the coach and the captain with their heads screwed on in the same direction.

  106. 106
    Anne Says:

    FB post from a friend and fellow baseball fan back in the Bay Area: “Season hasn’t even started and I have already heard enough Buster Posey talk.”

  107. 107
    DAP Says:

    Bubdylan “My secret hope is now that we’ll stink so bad this year that we clean house. I can’t see anything better than that realistically happening.”

    That’s a strange point of view for a fan, given how much promise this team has.

    Yeah, lets clean house. Our ROY closer and two ROY runners up, the best catcher in baseball, the best right handed slugger in the league, our HOF 3rd baseman, and promising young starting staff.

    By the way, with a player like Michael Bourn, he always has the green light to steal. Fredi won’t be giving him the steal sign, ever. Dont worry too much about Fredi “running us into outs”.

  108. 108
    Bubdylan Says:

    DAP, in 2011, the Braves stole 77 bases and were caught stealing 44 times. If you don’t see that as running into outs, I don’t know what to say.

    http://2011-mlb-team.pikimal.com/top/10/stealing-bases

    And besides the stats, don’t you just remember all the dead rallies from failed attempts at “small ball”?

    And now they’re in the press saying they gotta be more aggressive on the basepaths. And letting a guy who already had the green light keep his green light doesn’t equal getting more aggressive.

    I appreciate the optimism, but none for me, thanks. For one spring in my life, I’m ducking the suckerpunch.

  109. 109
    Bubdylan Says:

    The rest of the division, just for perspective:

    Phillies: stole 96, caught 24 (80%)
    Mets: stole stole 130, caught 35 (78%)
    Nats: stole 106, caught 38 (73%)
    Fish: stole 94, cauht 41 (69%)

    Braves 77 & 44 yields 63%, easily the worst. And we’re going to try it more? We managed to steal the fewest bases in the league while getting caught the most times. That ain’t easy. And if that’s not Fredi’s call, whose is it?

  110. 110
    Bubdylan Says:

    *in the division, not league. Sorry.

  111. 111
    Bubdylan Says:

    Last thing & I’ll shut up:

    Since the Braves had the lowest OBP in the division, this means that on top of throwing away more baserunners than anybody else, WHILE netting the fewest steals, they ALSO had fewer baserunners to begin with, meaning that they squashed a much larger percentage of their potential runs with bad attempts than anyone else.

    They need to steal and hit-and-run less, not more. It’s a bad gamble in general anyway, but especially when you do it this poorly. But instead, they figure they’ll do it more.

    Like one AJC commenter on the issue said, “My house is on fire. I keep throwing this watery substance on it (gasoline), but it only gets worse!”

  112. 112
    john j Says:

    Considering the payroll limitations and the ownership, the Braves have a very good and competitive team. No housecleaning is needed or wanted by most of us. With a break or two (starters healing quickly) and/or a comeback or two (Heyward, Prado), the Braves are in this. I’ll endorse a housecleaning of ownership and for Fredi if he doesn’t wise up.

    My concern has stayed the same; the housecleaning will be out of necessity as the current ownership will NOT cough up the money/risk to keep all the young talent on this team. Which means they better win this year as they will be losing some of this talent soon.

    Stealing will improve this year if anyone gives a rat’s ###.

  113. 113
    john j Says:

    sorry for interupting Bub’s streak.

  114. 114
    Bubdylan Says:

    john j, more of a spiral than a streak. :) Glad to be stopped.

  115. 115
    Bubdylan Says:

    MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” has released #’s 100 – 61, and four Braves are in it so far:

    #94 Bourn
    #93 Kimbrel
    #84 Uggla
    #71 Hudson

    They’re surrounded by some pretty studly names on the list, so that’s nice.

  116. 116
    Steve Says:

    89 win team last year, dropping 20 of last 30. I get that the Nats and Fish should be much improved and the Phillies pitching makes them more than dangerous, but I’m only getting more and more optimistic as the season approaches.

  117. 117
    Nate Says:

    Our young pitching staff was one of the best in baseball last year. This year they get younger and better with the subtraction of Lowe, Linebrink, and Sherrill. Not having Derek Lowe start 30 games for you is a huge plus. We’ll be fine.

    No one other than Bourn or Pastornicky should be running. As a team, the Braves are the slowest in baseball.

    Heyward should be able to steal some bases, but he always gets hurt sliding.

  118. 118
    Curt Says:

    Prado and Heyward should be able to steal bases. I just don’t think the Braves players are making a smooth transition to this type of baseball. It’s like going from a 3 yards and a cloud of dust offense to a west coast offense. Change won’t happen overnight.

  119. 119
    Curt Says:

    Wild story from Braves camp. Good luck to this guy.

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

  120. 120
    David Says:

    116 – me too, as far as optimism goes. Assuming that these injuries don’t linger throughout the season (Freeman, Hanson, Hudson), I think we will be one of the top NL teams.

    Also, I’m expecting a mediocre, near-.500 first month or so, if only because that’s how the Braves always seem to fare.

  121. 121
    Vinnie Says:

    I think everyone is over rating the Phils. Rollins is old. Shane V is a year older. Utley, as great as he is, has joint issues that are only going to get worse as time goes along. Howard…who know when he’ll return. They’ve already dumped one of the four GODS of pitching, Oswalt. They hate their “Jason Heyward”, Domonic Brown. Their relievers are gone. I think the Braves have a REAL shot. A good shot. The Phils might just finish third.

  122. 122
    Curt Says:

    Don’t overlook that Braves killer, Raul Ibanez, is now a Yank.

    So we got rid of Livan Hernandez and Raul Ibanez, and by extension, Wes Helms. That might be 7 more wins right there.

  123. 123
    Vinnie Says:

    How sad is it that a 40 yr old dude like Ibanez was the most feared of all the Phillies?

  124. 124
    Walker Says:

    @117

    I honestly think Heyward should be able to steal 20+ bases.

  125. 125
    Walker Says:

    Im glad they will enact the extra wild card but I am nervous as hell about that one game playoff. We have to win NL East.

  126. 126
    Steve Says:

    125 – absolutely. One thing this added team does is to make it more important to win your division. More important now than since the wild card was introduced.

  127. 127
    Bubdylan Says:

    The silence is deafening, so I’m either being a loud-mouthed bore or my angle is just too sour for the group. I’ll withdraw my cynicism, then. Mainly because I remember how infuriating it was to me when I would feel optimistic to have some ass going all doom and gloom.

    I wish, though, I could go back and respond differently to pessimistic commenters now that the shoe is on the other foot. I always thought they were just joyless curmudgeons whose personal issues controlled their fandom. Now I think a pessimistic fandom is no more likely to be steered by personal issues than an optimistic one. Balanced or unbalanced minds can probably be optimistic or pessimistic.

    At least I can say for sure unbalanced minds can be either. If Stevie ever becomes pessimistic (and will stick with it for more than a minute!) we can conclude the same for balanced folks.

    Curt only proves that pessimistic people can be pessimistic. :)

    Am I spelling that right? It looks wrong. Pessimistic. Pessimistic. I dunno…

  128. 128
    Curt Says:

    What was the middle part?

  129. 129
    john j Says:

    On March 1 of every year, every fan is an optimist (well, almost every fan) and every team has the hopes of a better season. It’s the wonderful part of baseball! 6 weeks from now, we can rip on Fredi and the laggards.

  130. 130
    Bubdylan Says:

    heh, I was finishing that post up when a friend called my cell phone, and so I submitted it before making sure it wasn’t impossibly stupid. I’ll just be over here in the corner.

    (Go ahead and say it: “your friend must call you a lot.”)

  131. 131
    Steve Says:

    Bub – be as pessimistic as you want. I just think it’s a tough time of the year to get a lot of support about it.

    I, on the other hand, am only consistenly pessimistic about Constanza.

  132. 132
    Steve Says:

    Check out my interview at http://www.nysportscookie.com/ where I preview the upcoming season.

  133. 133
    Steve Says:

    Great quick blog from Craig Calcaterra on the expanded playoffs:
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/03/01/quote-of-the-day-the-expanded-playoffs-arent-fair/

  134. 134
    Curt Says:

    Bub, read this.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2012/02/29/atlanta-as-the-most-miserable-sports-city-guilty-as-charged/

  135. 135
    Curt Says:

    Steve, nice job

  136. 136
    Anne Says:

    Steve – agreed, nice job. When I mis-read the tweet about it, I thought you had interviewed Peter Moylan and was jazzed that he asked you to call him Pete.

  137. 137
    Steve Says:

    Anne, Curt – thanks.

  138. 138
    Leah Says:

    Watching the weather…everybody safe? Speak to me!

  139. 139
    David Says:

    A couple of things on my mind today as Spring Training gets underway…

    - It’s no secret that last year’s offense was awful, especially in September. Reasons it could be better this year: a healthy Prado and a healthy Heyward. But, perhaps even more than that, would be if McCann and Uggla — two guys in the middle of the lineup — can both be consistent at the same time. Last year, Uggla had a terrible first half while McCann was having an excellent, MVP-calibre first half. Then they were both good for a period of about 3 weeks in the middle of the season. Then McCann had a terrible second half while Uggla was having an excellent, MVP-calibre second half.

    - Expanded playoffs: I’ll hold my opinion until I see if it helps the Braves win the World Series. If it helps, it’s the best rule ever made. If it hinders the Braves from winning, it’s the worst.

    Seriously though, I wish that MLB had restructured the playoffs in a way that made sense. Two leagues, top 4 (or 5, if they want 10 playoff teams) teams from each league making the playoffs. Get rid of the uneven divisions and make sure that only the best teams make the playoffs.

    This one-game Wild Card thing seems to place too much importance on a single game, especially when all of the other postseason series are 5-7 games. They’re effectively creating a Game 163 every single year — and I’m not sure that that’s the best way to go about it. Theoretically, there could be a huge gap between the two teams in their win totals. What if one team has 90+ wins and the other is in the mid-80s? I know that the 90+ win team *should* win, but anything can happen in one game. The playoffs are enough of a crapshoot to begin with — and wasn’t the Wild Card created to ensure that the top teams made the playoffs anyway?

    Enough ranting and complaining, especially when baseball starts today. Go Braves!

  140. 140
    Bubdylan Says:

    The one-game Wild Card playoff is stupid beyond words. The best thing about the Wild Card to begin with was keeping a team that might be the second best in the whole league, but just slightly less great than the leader of its own division, get into the playoffs, as they should.

    But now that team which, again, might be the second best in the whole league, has to burn its ace pitcher in a one-game playoff. And you can’t settle crap about two baseball teams in a single game anyway. 162 games separates the two of ya by a couple percentage points, but here, go play one damn game to see who can advance. Yay.

    As dumb as the Allstar-game-for-home-field rule is, it’s the Magna freaking Carta compared to this bulldook.

  141. 141
    Bubdylan Says:

    What I meant was: Go Braves! 8)

  142. 142
    Walker Says:

    No doubt baseball has many issues of inequality they need to deal with.

  143. 143
    Pure Says:

    No hits after 5 innings. I know its the first spring training game, but…

  144. 144
    Leah Says:

    1 hit? The entire game? Am I reading that correctly?

  145. 145
    Kate Says:

    Picked up right where they left off. They’re already in September form.

  146. 146
    Pure Says:

    Jordan Parraz to the rescue in the 8th inning. I felt Jim Powell’s sigh of relief from all the way here in Manila.

  147. 147
    Leah Says:

    Are we buying what DOB is selling?

    It’s 1st ST game. Braves hit balls hard, had subs in half the game. RT @JustinMain: @ajcbraves you think its just timing on hitting?

  148. 148
    Curt Says:

    Just one game, etc, etc.

    But pretty damn pathetic.

  149. 149
    Walker Says:

    Even as a Braves fan I have to laugh. Lol @ 1 hit.

  150. 150
    Nate Says:

    Really?

  151. 151
    Nate Says:

    That was in response to our offense, not you guys.

  152. 152
    Bubdylan Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJJke3LLFPo

  153. 153
    Leah Says:

    Yikes. ST games don’t matter do they?

  154. 154
    Leah Says:

    Why can’t I load that video Mr. Dylan?

  155. 155
    Steve Says:

    On the bright side, today’s domination leaves me worried about a completely different part of the team.

  156. 156
    Bubdylan Says:

    I dunno, Leah. But Fredi says if you keep trying it the same way over and over eventually it will download.

  157. 157
    Bubdylan Says:

    Spring Training counts very, very, very little. But for that very, very, very little, it does count. And we’re getting our brains beaten in.

    A lot of baseball is confidence level. I don’t see how anyone could deny that today was a big set-back for Teheran.

    Luckily our leadership will keep the team from …

  158. 158
    Leah Says:

    What’s that phrase for you performer types…”poor dress rehearsal great performance”? Can that apply to baseball?

  159. 159
    Bubdylan Says:

    I dunno. The three extreme Spring Training performances that come to mind from recent memory are Uggla’s bad spring, McLouth’s bad spring, and Heyward’s good spring. They went on to have bad, bad, and good opening months of those seasons, respectively, matching their spring outputs pretty faithfully.

    But that could be selective memory. In fact, I’m not even sure I’m right about those ones.

  160. 160
    Leah Says:

    Really reaching aren’t I. New show!!!

  161. 161
    Steve Says:

    There’s how many spring training games? 29 or 30? I’m not saying that these haven’t been two REALLY dismal performances, but they could be a distant memory very shortly with some, you know, not demoralizing performances.

  162. 162
    Steve Says:

    And yes, new show tonight. The weekly shows starts tonight.

  163. 163
    Curt Says:

    Perfect timing.

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