Notes on 755 Hank Aaron Dr

Thursday, August 31, 2006

September

The Braves find themselves in a very inconvenient position as they enter September. Realistically, there's next to no chance that they can make the playoffs. (Baseball Prospectus's Playoff Odds Reports give them a less than 4% chance.) On the other hand, they're only four games out of the wild card, and this is not a team used to giving up, so they're not likely to concede anything - and I don't know that they should.

So, what will we see when the rosters expand? Not too much, I think. It's already been announced that Kyle Davies will be activated. I'd expect a couple more pitchers to be added off the DL - Stockman, Ramirez, Thomson, and Baez. Lerew, Moylan, and Ascanio are the only other pitchers on the 40 man roster right now.

Brayan Pena will probably get called up, and may even be the primary backup catcher. Don't expect him (or Pratt) to see much action, though, as Cox seems determined to give McCann a shot at the batting title.

Brian Jordan seems a lock to be activated from the DL, but is unlikely to do much more than pinch hit, considering how hot LaRoche has been since the All-Star break. Aybar will probably come off the DL as well.

The biggest addition will probably be Scott Thorman. At the least, he'll give Bobby Cox a legitimate bat on the bench. Maybe that will mean the end of Lil' Tony's role as "first pinch-hitter". I know he hit a home run the other day, but you just know that's going to be the offensive highlight for his career.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A sad stat

Winning the last two games of the Nationals series gave the team the first two game winning streak at home since the All-Star Break. If you're looking for a reason that the Braves have failed to seriously challenge for the wild card, that's a fine place to start.

Anyway, the offense broke out in the two wins, and the pitching wasn't bad overall. The bullpen is still as shaky as ever. I'm fearful as to what JS may try to do this offseason to fix that - I'd rather he worry about making sure we have a starting rotation, which could be started by picking up Smoltz's option.

Now we get three games against the Giants, who are, improbably, in the thick of the NL West race, and also more in the wild card race than we are. Of course, this is the 2006 version of the National League, so they're a sub-.500 team. Nonetheless, if the Braves seriously think they're still in contention for the playoffs, they need to sweep this series.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In case there was any doubt

If you're trying to make the playoffs, there are a few things you can't do. Losing a series at home is one of those things. Losing a series to the worst team in baseball is another of those things. Let's not even talk about losing a series at home to the worst team in baseball...

But there is some good news: Brian Jordan is almost ready to come off the DL. Now, I like and respect Brian Jordan, but honestly, every at bat he gets in September is one less at bat for Scott Thorman or Martin Prado or some other youngster. September should not be about the present for the Braves; the season is over now. It needs to be about the future. Brian Jordan is not part of that future - or at least he shouldn't be.

I understand that he doesn't want to see his career end - it almost certainly is. I can't imagine that he's going to do anything in September that will convince anyone to give him a shot in 2007. If he's going to get a shot, it'll be the same as he got this year - and unfortunately, probably from the same team.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm back. Did you miss me?

Sorry about the gap between posts; I was on a long vacation. Thanks to byrd for keeping the blog from being completely dead while I was gone. I'll try to write up some thoughts on the past three weeks or so as soon as I can. In the meantime, here's something like a mission statement...

So, now that I've got this place to post in, I guess the reader might wonder what I intend to do here. That's a fair question.

Let me start with what I don't expect to do. I will not be writing up each game the Braves play. If you want that, let me recommend that you check out Mac Thomasson's Braves Journal. In fact, I recommend you check it out in any case; he does some fine work over there.

I hope to write up each series, or at least each week. I believe that this is a better way to examine the season. It may just be listening to Bobby Cox too long, but the philosophy the Braves hold to (just keep winning series) seems to fit. So, since that's the stated goal of the team, I want to watch the season that way.

I'll post some other musings on the team as well, on some sort of irregular non-schedule. Basically, whenever I come up with something I think is interesting.

Let me know what you enjoy, and which things you don't. And if you want to write stuff too, I'll be glad for the help. I'll need to figure out how I let you all help, though....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Andruw's ongoing waiver-wire issue

Get ready for some idle speculation!

I don't know what the deal is with Andruw, but he's been complaining the past two days about being placed on the waiver wire. He considers it a personal insult.

""I know they wouldn't do this with Chipper or Smoltzie," Jones said of teammates Chipper Jones and John Smoltz. "But they aren't in the situation that I'm in. They can say no to a trade.""

Now, Smoltz I can't speak for, but I distinctly remember Chipper getting put on waivers at least once in the past few years. Regardless, being put on waiver wire isn't that big of a deal, it happens to everyone.

The problem with this situation is that Andruw has taken it personally. I hope this doesn't affect his performance for the rest of the season, or affect his status this spring. The Braves have noone in the system to replace him, and I doubt they'd get fair value in a trade, even one that happened over the offseason. In a perfect world, I'd like him to resign when his current contract runs out (after next year, 13.5 mill). I love Andruw in Braves uni, and I hope he retires in one, having spent his entire career in it, and wears the A cap into the hall. He plays hard, and he can be counted on to make it onto the field, unlike the other Jones.

My expectation is that Schuerholz will, or already has talked to Andruw about the reasons for the waiver wire situation, if only to make negotiations easier in the future. The deadline to make a deal has passed, so, I believe, he will not be traded this year. There is a 48 window for the unnamed team that claimed him to make a deal, at the end of which, 1PM ET today, he is locked into his current team for the rest of the season.

Normally, none of this would be news, but some mediot decided to mention his name in one of their annual "look at all of the interesting playerson waivers" articles, and the thing snowballed. Also, there is probably a little unhappiness in the Braves clubhouse right now. If they were winning, Andruw would have been too busy racing his remote controlled cars to worry. It's funny how a little bit of getting your asses handed to you when you most need to win can crack the foundation of a clubhouse.

So I don't blame Andruw for voicing some frustration. He knows he (along with furcal and the late addition of my man Mccann) carried the Braves offensively last season, and may have wanted a little more responsibility/respect coming into this season, which I saw no sign of him getting. Like I said, none of this would have been a problem if the club had been winning, but with the season in the sh!tter Andruw may be feeling a little peeved that Chipper and Smoltz were given the public recognition as clubhouse leaders, when he's arguably more important than either, and is a lock to be on the field more than either.

I also don't blame JS. He did an OK job of getting a few relievers at the deadline, (though he could've gotten them a month earlier had he really wanted to win this year) and has achieved lifetime immunity from me at this point. Plus, he got rid of Sosa, which improved my life immeasurably.

Who's to blame?

Scott Boras.

Scott, get off your ass and explain to your player what's going on. You've done enough to hurt baseball over the last ten years, at least keep your clients happy. If this is part of some grand plan of yours to make Andruw unhappy with the A so that you can convince him to leave for Boston or the Yankees in a year, I hope that you enjoy that level of hell taking more joy out of baseball will earn you.