I forgot to mention, but it should not go unnoticed, that Junior also has incentives tied in to attendance numbers in Seattle. Now, he certainly would have driven more people to the Ted, but it will come nowhere close to what he can bring to Safeco. Just more things working against him coming to Atlanta. Oh, and there’s this article from CBS Sportsline that kind of shows that maybe we didn’t want him anyway: http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/11399387
I also questions Harold Reynolds’ involvement in all of this, and if it violates his role as a subjective observer. He clearly broke through that wall in a huge way.
I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity, but I am going to lustily boo Harold Reynolds the next time I see him. I might even sneak up behind him and trip him (and then lustily boo him when he is on the ground).
The Harold Reynolds thing is pretty strange. If John Madden lobbied for some free agent to sign with the Raiders, would that be wrong as well? Or, if some writer for Entertainment Weekly lobbied some actor to go out for a role, would that be wrong? I’m not sold that he stepped out of bounds on this.
I have the realization that we are no longer a team that goes after and gets a Greg Maddux or a Fred McGriff. And I’m afraid that’s going to result in our being left out of the playoffs year after year. I’ve seen it before. I certainly hope I’m wrong.
Frank – are you bemoaning a change in philosophy or a change in economics? Because I look at the past 3 or 4 years and I see Tim Hudson, Mark Texiera, Rafael Soriano and, next to the Yankees (and they should not be part of the conversation b/c they are really playing on a whole different economic scale than anyone else) I see the Braves having had the most aggressive, action packed off-season in baseball. Last year we were 10th in payroll. No, we can’t get anyone we want anymore – but we are still out there making moves and trying to get better. Aside from Peavy this off-season who, reportedly, was going to block a trade to the Braves – all the other failed moves are easily explained in my opinion:
Burnett: it’s the Yankees. If the Yankees want you, you will go there. It’s the rule of baseball. And there was the whole wife doesn’t like to fly thing.
Hampton: He wanted to go back to where he had most of his success.
Fookie: We were being used from the get go – he was never going to sign here.
Griffey: He WAS going to sign here. And then Willy freaking Mays stepped in. The other rule in baseball: you do what Willie Mays tells you to do.
I’m not trying to be contrary and I’m not trying to say that 3 straight years out of the post-season hasn’t taken some of the shine off. I’m just saying that it’s not that bleak. Again, look at this off-season. What an overhaul! Heavier on the pitching than on the offense, but still – we are a different team. Imagine if we were a storied franchise like the Cardinals. They didn’t do crap. Or even the Cubs (7th in payroll) – they’re the freaking Cubs – and what did they do this off season other than re-sign Dempster and get Milton Bradley. I’ll take our off-season over theirs.
My only concern, alluding to Frank’s comments, is spending the money when we need to. other than texeira, they haven’t made any splashy late season moves in a long, long time. even going back to when they were going to the playoffs. and that is directly tied to their ‘salary cap.’ their argument continues to be that, like the Rays and Twins, you can win without spending a lot of money. that might be true. and just because you do spend money does not assure anything – see the Yankees. but you have to develop good young players, which we have not done lately, and you have to make some good decisions when you do spend your cash. i don’t think they have done a good job of this either. they have signed old guys who have given them nothing. craig wilson anyone? i hope with this nice off season that they have gotten some magic back, because they are quickly becoming the toronto blue jays of the NL. a team that will always be staring up at 2 big market, bigger budget teams.
and milton bradley is a glorified DH, crazy, and a total jerk. no way he would ever end up here.
I agree with Curt on the whole Milton Bradley thing. He’s a crazy person and the Braves would never sign him – ever. It’s not the Braves way. It’s also why we never even, I believe, considered Manny. So Frank, you can bemoan the philosophy, but not the economics – in my opinion.
And, we are not the Twins or the Rays (24th and 29th in 2008 payroll). And we never were even when Time Warner came along and slashed the payroll to 80mil. You can argue that those Time Warner years hurt us pretty bad – but we’re back up at 100 million. It’s not ideal – but, again, we are Top 10 and made some very, very good moves this off-season. And Curt – not to be tirelessly optimistic about the farm team, but Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects were just released and it looks pretty good for us: Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward come in at No. 4 and 5, respectively. Jordan Schafer comes in at No. 42, Gorkys Hernandez is No. 62, Freddie Freeman is No. 87
I’m not suggesting we need to cut our payroll to $40 million to prove a point, or balloon it to $200 million to stay competitive, but if you install a salary cap on your team, it requires that all the moves you do make have to pan out, and all the trust you place in rookies has to come to fruition. In the last 3, 4, 5 years, none of this has happened. Seems like the last veteran they got who really helped them was Renteiria, and he served a dual purpose in allowing them to also trade him for Jurrgens. All the Chris Woodward, Corky Miller, and Craig Wilsons of the world have done nothing to contribute. Were they brought in here to be starters and dramatically alter the team? No. Were they brought in to fortify positions, the bench, and contribute when they needed to? Yes. Did they do any of those things? No.
I’m excited about the potential of all of those players. I hope they all pan out and take us to multiple WS crowns. But all of those guys are a year to three years off, and outside of McCann, the Braves have not really developed much young talent. For every 1 serviceable player, and that is really all they have been, there are three Pete Orrs or Ryan Langerhanses. And much of what has come up was brought over in trades. It’s great that we have brought them over, but why aren’t we developing more major leaguers with each wave of call ups in our own system? I’m not talking about the guys that are still to come. I’m talking strictly about the guys who are here, now. Blaine Boyer, Andy Marte, McCay McBride, Kyle Davies, on and on. Nothing for 5 or 6 years now. So bring on 2011 and this wave. I’m ready.
Curt – you make valid points (our bench pickups have been an atrocity the last few years, although 2008 was a marked improvement) about the system guys. On paper it seems like the success rate is low (is there anyone out there who knows stats on this kind of thing????), but you did leave out McCann, Frenchy, and Yuni Esco (true stars) – which changes the failure rate quite a bit. And I also, God help me, think that Boyer is going to be very, very good this year if we’re not decimated by injuries and can use him a rational number of appearances.
So – Bowman’s article about the Garrett Anderson press conference indicates that he will be the pretty much, almost, everyday Left fielder. Interesting. I wonder if that means he’ll also be our pretty much, almost, everyday clean-up hitter. Our bench just got stronger with Diaz sitting there.
Not sure when the time for this may be (and it has nothing to do with Anderson/Griffey talk, and therefore this thread)- -but what are your thoughts on the Braves consistently trying to center their offense around 3 run homers, and not going after a legitimate “scratch and claw” type lead off hitter. Someone that will see 8-12 pitches each at bat, who can steal second- -basically more of a move to small ball and the ability to manufacture runs. If we are going to be in 1 run games as it is, why not be able to generate 1 run at a time?
Wade – That day will come once Bobby Cox steps down as manager. He follows the Earl Weaver approach to baseball which is, as you noted, wait around on the 3-run homer. They do have some speed in the system right now with the potential starting CF Josh Anderson being a burner. And guys like Escobar and Kelly Johnson can certainly steal a base as well. Bobby has certainly had his chances to manufacture runs with guys like Furcal, Deion, and Otis Nixon on his teams, but he just doesn’t want to embrace small ball. Yet another contributing factor in winning only one championship. 3-run homers are tougher to come by in the post season. And your point is well made, I don’t think it is a coincidence that we lost so many close games last year and we had no power on the team. Josh Anderson led the outfielders in homers after the All Star break with 3. Our outfield hit 27 all season. Those aren’t misprints.
Who’s the last true lead off hitter we had? Otis (I tip my cap) Nixon? I wouldn’t call Deion a true lead off hitter, as he split time with football. I mean, does it go all the way back to Brett Butler? I loved the Braves’ version of Brett Butler. Not so much as a Dodger.
I think that we have had a checkered past with leadoff hitters, and even when we had potential good ones, Bobby never made the most of them (see Furcal, Rafael). I too loved Brett Butler (who was around during the Torre days, I think). I think that we again have the potential to have a good leadoff hitter (Josh Anderson, Jordan Shafer, etc.), but like Curtis said, it all depends on if Bobby is willing to change his philosophy a bit.
Furcal was definitely a prototypical leadoff guy. The only thing he did that worked against us was that he struck out way too much. He also had a tendency to want to hit too many homers at times when he just needed to be getting on base. But here is hoping that Josh Anderson can handle not only starting in CF, but also batting lead off because he has plenty of speed and Escobar is a great contact guy for the hit-and-run. Then Chipper and McCain can come up swinging for the fences and Garrett Anderson can strike out, and…….. Wait a minute.
Hillarious. I’ve gone back now and am listening in reverse to the shows. .waiting on new content. I must say that you guys have rebounded somewhat from the fall out from Smoltz and Vasquez. Things were pretty dour back then. I guess time and D. Lowe heal things.