Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Money for nothin'...

For the second year in a row, a player sucking up about one-fifth the team's payroll will be sitting out the season. The entire season.

I'll cut Mike Hampton some slack for the 2006 season. Lots of guys sit out a year after getting The Tommy. It sucks, but it happens. Injury is part of the game and is something players, managers, and general managers are used to dealing with. But for a team to go two complete seasons- in a row- without a guy they're counting on, and to be paying the guy the kind of money Hampton makes? I don't think so.

There's now a big, gaping hole in the Braves' rotation. Mike is owed $14.5 million this year. Fourteen-five would help out a lot with the filling of said hole. My proposal to Mr. Hampton: forfeit your salary this year. Give the money back to the team. You certainly haven't earned it. The team certainly could use it. Be the team player-- take this one for the team, and then come back next year and earn the bucks Atlanta is paying you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hampton's Season is Over.....Again

The hopes of a healthy Mike Hampton return for 2007 have been vanished away. His season is now done as he will have surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. The outlook is that he will not be able to throw again for atleast 6-9 months. Hampton is still due $15M for 2008. The reality is that Mike just needs to retire. He's tried coming back and it hasn't worked out. This is a big dissapointment for Braves fans yet again. Some people are fed up with the guy because he's making soo much money that could be used elsewhere. If Mike was bringing in $2M a year; it wouldn't be as bad, but he's taking up 16.5% of the entire payroll and that's what most people see.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Atop of the Division.....for Today

Toppled the Mets for the first time in a over a year Sunday. I believe it was the first time since April 6th, 2006 that a team other than the Mets were in 1st of the NL East. This was a good series that allowed the Braves to gather some momentum and say "hey, we can play with these guys, there not supermen."

Kyle Davies pitched better than most probably anticipated yesterday. Brian McCann and Frenchie came through in the 8th, while Wicky brought it home in the 9th. Today is an off day before Atlanta will host a three game series again the Nats before the weekend matchup with the Marlins. Here's your probables:

Tues: Hudson (0-0) 1.29 vs. Chico (0-0) 13.50
Wed: James (1-0) 1.80 vs. Williams (0-1) 6.00
Thurs: Redman (0-1) 7.94 vs. Bergmann (0-1) 9.82

From the looks of it, it would seem that this should be some easy W's for the Braves. Last year the Nats weren't very good, and this year there worse. Washington's SP is pretty sad. They have sent packing 3 of their starting 5 from last season: Armas, Hernandez, and Ramon Ortiz. Those guys have been the usual suspects the Braves have faced in recent history during the Montreal/Wash. era. Either way the Nats play the Braves tough, and hopefully we'll sweep right through them. Maybe in this series Andruw will find his bat.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Home Opener: Braves vs. Mets Preview

The titans will clash tonight at the Ted. We've just underway with the season and already the fight for the division is in full swing. The Braves sweeping the Phils yesterday was sweet and from that series we've seen some improvements in this year's team. The bullpen has been able to keep the team in the game while the bats came out to play yesterday. The Mets already have a big ego coming into the season and they took it out on the Redbirds whom as your already aware knocked them out of the NLCS last year. The Braves and Mets is a good baseball rivalry. We can't stand the Mets, and the Mets can't stand us.

Before the year nobody would have guessed that Mark Redman would be starting the home opener for the Braves in 2007, but he will be. Redman will take the hill against Oliver Perez. At one time Perez was a top pitching prospect for the Padres who as apart of the Brian Giles deal to the Pirates. Since his 2004 239K season, he's gone downhill. He's now become a pet project for the Mets. We'll see tonight if the Braves can turn this project into a failure!!

Saturday it's Smoltz vs. Glavine. This is a classic battle of old field generals. Many Braves fans hoped for a return of Glavine to Atlanta this offseason, but once again he stuck with the Mets. Regardless, the Braves have had more success against Glavine since he went to NY. Smoltz pitched well on Opening Day and hopes to keep it up against our divisional foes.

Kyle Davies is back replacing the injured Lance Cormier in the rotation. Davies will start Sunday against El Duque. This is a big game for Kyle. He's been working on a different delivery and hopes to gain the success again he found during his big league debut. Here's your probables:

Fri: Redman (0-0) 0.00 vs. Perez (0-0) 0.00
Sat: Smoltz (0-0) 4.50ERA vs. Glavine (1-0) 1.50ERA
Sun: Davies (0-0) 0.00 vs. Hernandez (1-0) 1.29 ERA

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is Francisco Rodriguez cheating?

I had to post about this. Around the world of blogs a story is going around about the mysterious substance under the bill of K-Rod aka Francisco Rodriguez's Angels cap. Apparently, the Texas Rangers have filed a complaint with MLB concerning this. If you haven't read about it already, K-Rod constantly touches the tip of his cap rubbing his thumb in that general location where the white area is. Camera evidence shows a white something under the bill. Is it rosin, sweat, something guey?

The guy's been pitching for about 4 years and is a pretty good closer. I wouldn't think anything would come out of this unless some team requests a cap change next time he's on the mound. What does everyone else think? Could this be something legit or is it just a stink raised by opponets that have trouble against him.

More Extra Excitement!!!

Atlanta does it again!! Another extra inning affair with the Phillies leads to another victory for the Braves. Brian McCann blasts one in the 9th, while Thorman teed off in the 11th. Tim Hudson pitched a good game only allowing 2 hits and 1 run while the bullpen stood strong throughout. I've got a feeling we won't be seeing Ryan Madson in the game today. Speaking of today, there's a day game on tap. Atlanta will send Chuck James to square off against Adam Eaton @ 3:05ET.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Miller's Annoyances

I couldn't help but notice for the 117th time that ESPN's Jon Miller keeps pronouncing Carlos Beltran's last name as Bel-tron. Has anyone told this guy it's Bel-tran! Or am I completely wrong and most people just mispronounce his name?

You may recall last year, Wilson Betemit was pronounced as Bet-a-meat from Miller. Once again is saying Bet-e-mit the incorrect pronounciation? Give me a break!

Stat of the day: Day 2 of this young baseball season has Edgar Renteria tied for the league lead in HR's with 2.

I just wikied Jon Miller and read this: [Jon Miller seems to take pride in pronouncing the names of players correctly. For example, when pronouncing Carlos Beltrán, he tends to put the majority of emphasis on the "A" of Beltrán, as the accent denotes. Instead of following how most announcers would pronounce foreign names, Miller takes the time to ask the player how his name is pronounced so that he can say it with the correct pronunciation.]

In the end, I guess Miller is right.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Opening Day Results: Atlanta 5 Philadelphia 3

Where the bullpen has fallen apart in times past became strong today as the Braves beat the Phillies 5-3 in 10 innings. Edgar Renteria blasted 2 HR's and had 3 RBI's including the game winning runs. Brian McCann also went yard earlier in the day off Myers. John Smoltz pitched threw about 100 times giving up 3 runs on 8 hits while striking out 7. Chad Paronto got the save while Wicky picked up the W. These two will square off again Wed.

Opening Day is finally here!

Yeah, yeah, I know; the 2007 season "officially" began last night. Not to me. For my money, today's the real Opening Day. The day baseball fans are compelled to skip school or work, plop down on the sofa, and watch multiple baseball games. All. Day. Long.

The Braves open in Philly with a three game series:

Monday, April 2: John Smoltz vs. Brett Myers, 1:05 pm

Wednesday, April 4: Tim Hudson vs. Cole Hamels, 7:05 pm

Thursday, April 5: Chuck James vs. Adam Eaton, 3:05 pm

Friday, March 30, 2007

Where's my DVD?

I've noticed that Major League Baseball over the last few years have been releasing DVD's commemorating World Series champions and certain team's most memorable games. What about the Braves? Where's my complete 1995 World Series dvd set? I've always wanted to have a monster dvd set of classic Braves games. You know, the ones that stand out the most especially over the last 16 years. Highlights would be okay, but I would like the entire game/series to be included in the package. That's probably too much to ask for, right? For instance, the 1996 NLCS Game 7 would have to be a must on my dvd. The Braves absolutely demolished the Cards 15-0, Andruw's 2 blasts against the Yanks, even Francoeur's first HR would be cool to see again. There's just too many moments/games to mention but certainly a dvd to reflect on these times would be nice. What does everyone else think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Justice to enter Braves HOF

This year the Braves Hall of Fame will be inducting only one person and that inductee will be David Justice. The festivities will be held August 17th when the Braves play the D'backs. David Justice made some lasting memories while a Brave, the WS HR, NL ROY, etc. There's quite a number of Braves fans out there that still regret JS for sending him off. You may recall this statement coming from Justice:

"I love the Braves, so when John Schuerholz looked me in my face and told me "I bet my house and my family that you won't be traded" that's good enough confidence for me coming from a General Manager, 1 week later GONE."

Afterwards, Justice continued to have success with the Indians and Yankees before finishing his career in 2002 with the A's. I'm assuming the relationship between Justice and Schuerholz is for the better now. I'm glad to see DJ receive this honor. He definitely was a great strength for those early 90's championship teams.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hooray Computer!

So I'm back online now after my trusty 'puter received a total beat-down from a storm about five weeks ago. The lightning strike caused actual physical damage to my hard drive and various other internal components. I was afraid I'd need to purchase a new one, but she's been rebuilt and brought back from the dead, much like The-Six-Million-Dollar Man (and at only a third of the price).

I've been out of the information loop for a while: I hear we've got some type of "spring" training going on? And a baseball season is about to begin in a scant few days?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Braves trade Pena to Royals

A favor between friends? The Royals are looking for a SS and the Braves come calling. Brave utility IF Tony Pena, Jr was traded from Atlanta to Kansas City this afternoon. In return the Braves received pitcher Erik Cordier. Cordier will not be available this year as he is just coming off TJ surgery. Pena isn't known for his offensive skills, but is a good defensive infielder plus he can snag a few bases.

Brian McCann is in for 6!!

Coming at rather a suprise the Braves signed Brian McCann to a 6/$27.8M deal yesterday. Signing players before there even close to touching free agency is something teams are favoring these days. This is good. McCann's contract consists of a $12M club option for 2013. Atlanta is trying to do the same with Jeff Francoeur.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Could have beens

I just want to get some opinions on who do you think could have been awesome as a Brave, but was either traded or released before their prime. I can already guess of whom some of you are thinking of.

Jason Schmidt **remember Denny Neagle
Jermaine Dye ** Tucker/Lockhart anyone
Tony Graffanino **released because he wasn't very good
Jason Marquis **Look Below
Adam Wainwright **Had to land J.D. Drew
Zach Miner **Needed to rent Farnsworthless for a year
Joe Borowski **penhand during tenure, but didn't emerge until '03 and reemerged in '06
Danny Bautista **Used as a fourth OF, but couldn't do much when played
Odalis Perez **Helped acquire G. Sheff

From the list, who would you have liked to remain in a Brave uni today?

Hampton throws and....

he feels pain free. Mike tossed a 50 pitch bullpen session yesterday and didn't find a pain in the world. He claimed to have felt real good. From here, Hampton will throw another session Saturday. More than likely he will make some rehab appearences in April before hopefully returning in May.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Few Notes

The Braves will continue play tommorrow against the Nats. Get ready for a platoon in left, as their hasn't been a clear winner named yet. I'm guessing that Langerhans/Wilson will share the playing time. Langerhans has had a fantastic Spring and is the best defensive player of the bunch. Lance Cormier continues to be groomed for the rotation. He is 3-0 1.29ERA thus far, but I think is headed for Triple A to begin the year. The team should start announcing more assignments and cuts later this week. FYI, Steven notified me last week that his computer blew up and he's waiting for it to be repaired. That's why we haven't seen him post since the middle of Feb. He might be back this week for an update.

NCAA Bracketology

Well this past weekend my attention went towards the annual NCAA Tournament. After the weekend's games I have 12/16 teams in the Sweet 16. All of my Final Four are still in the hunt. For the final I have Ohio State and UCLA, with Ohio State winning it all. If I could go back now, I would have picked Kansas to be in the final 2. There looking tough to beat. The Xavier/OSU game was craaazzyy!! I hope that you were able to watch that one. Florida looks to have the easiest path to the Final Four, but will they make it? Who do you have going all the way?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ST: Making the first moves

The Braves began assigning players to their minor league camps yesterday. Here's a list of those players:

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia-AA-Mississippi
OF Gregor Blanco-AAA-Richmond
SS Brent Lillibridge-AA-Mississippi
RHP Jose Ascanio-AAA-Richmond
RHP Anothony Lerew-AAA-Richmond
C Jose Mendez-AAA-Richmond

Rockies cut Javy Lopez

Keeping tabs on ex-Braves is something I enjoy following. The Colorado Rockies released Javy Lopez yesterday. Lopez was trying for the backup catcher spot on the roster. In the case of Lopez, it seems that the more money he received, the worse he played. We all remember the huge 2003 "contract" year Javy had. Lopez was picked up by the Orioles where he came back down to Earth and still put up decent numbers in '04. Nagging injuries and slumping stats caused him to fall off in '05 and '06. In the meantime Lopez was given a tryout at 1B, where I assume didn't work out too well. He also made demands that he wanted to be the starting catcher wherever he played. When Lopez entered free agency after '03, I was suprised the Braves didn't try hard to resign him. In the meantime, Johnny Estrada comes in and makes us forget about Javy by having an All-Star year. Then last year, Brian McCann kicks out his first All-Star year. So after Lopez, we've had 2 all-star catchers over the last three years!!

Some Braves fans are hoping for a return of Javy to provide backup duties to McCann. I personally think it's time for the guy to retire. If he continues to play I think that Lopez is better suited for the backup/DH in the AL if a team sees fit. Here's what Javy had to say after his release:

"I don't think I'll go anywhere else as a backup. The way I feel, I can easily be an everyday catcher. If I'm not an everyday catcher, I'd rather not play this year or retire."

Thanks to for the snippett above. Javy has hit .375 in ST, but was 0-8 in throwing out baserunners. Later, Javy went on to say this...

{Lopez also stated that the only place he'd go for backup duty is Atlanta, where he was a two-time All-Star.}

So, Atlanta is the only place he'll play 2nd string. If the Braves want Lopez to return, possibly a 1/$500K minor league deal plus 500K w/incentives might work. The facts is that Javy isn't a starting catcher anymore. Like I said earlier he should just retire, but if he's willing to understand his role and not complain maybe a return to Atlanta won't be a bad thing. Surely he's better than Todd Pratt, right? What do you think?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Injury Bug: Chipper hurt during game

The punches keep coming and this time it hit Chipper Jones. Chipper sprained his ankle running out a grounder during the first inning of today's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The redbirds went on to win the game 3-1. John Smoltz pitched four innings, allowing 1 hit while racking up 4K's. Francoeur and McCann had good days at the plate. Chipper is listed day-2-day. Jones is at a point in his career where he's probably not going to see another full 100% healthy season anymore. He's certainly had a string of bad luck which is starting to look Griffeyesque. That's one reason why Atlanta has bulked up the depth chart with positional players like Aybar, Orr, and Woodward that can take over when Chip goes down.

Johnson or Prado

The last time we saw a competition for 2B was back in '02 between Mark Derosa and Marcus Giles. Both played close to the same amount of games at second for that year. The next season, Giles easily ran away with the job while posting some monster numbers. This year we've got Martin Prado and the not so new guy but people forget his name Kelly Johnson. Over the weekend I was talking to a friend about the Braves and he wasn't aware that it's the same Kelly Johnson from two years ago that was playing in the OF. Anyway, KJ and Prado are competing to become the new 2B. Some people from what I've read, have already penciled in KJ at 2B. I wouldn't be so sure. Prado has improved and is having a good Spring. If their isn't a definite winner by the end of the month I think we'll see split time between the two until someone breaks away from the pack.

I think it's great to see Kelly Johnson back and healthy. I think he'll be a great benefit to the team. Martin Prado is a guy that's looking for a chance and he certainly has made his name known with mgmt. It should be an interesting rest of March. Who do you think will become Atlanta's newest 2B?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fast Action: Braves sign Mark Redman

The Braves have reached for the services of Mark Redman. Redman signed a minor league deal that could earn him up to $750K plus $500K in performance bonuses if he makes the team. Redman has been the known fallback guy for many teams since his breakthrough with the Twins in the late 90's. He's played with 6 teams since the 2001. His best season without a doubt was with the WC Florida Marlins in 2003. If Redman shows he still possess something positive, the Braves will sign him. It doesn't hurt to have pitching depth. I thought the Braves would promote from within, but I guess replace a vet with a vet and rookie with a rookie.

Make a Trade or Promote from within?

Well the Mike Hampton injury has rattled the pitching depths once again. Hampton was supposed to become a legitimate part of this year's team, and he still could be that. Now the latest is that he could miss up to two months, but I think it may take even longer. Remember the guy wasn't 100% coming into Spring. If he heals properly from this current injury he's going to have basically restart his training again until he feels 100%. Will we ever see a 100% healthy Mike Hampton again? Even so, if he gets back on track and things fall in place, he could be starting games sometime in June. That's my guess after training/rehab starts/pen sessions. In the meantime....

What does the team do? We've had a battle between Lance Cormier and Kyle Davies for the 5th spot. Today, their's another spot available so, do they become the 4th and 5th starters? We don't know yet. Atlanta does have other pitchers that could "spot" start for a while. One guy that made this infamous last year was Oscar Villarreal. Oscar pitched his 5 or 6 innings before letting the pen takover. He did fairly well in his outings. Another possibility is having Anthony Lerew make some starts. This guy has almost maxxed out his minor league tickets. Don't forget about Matt Harrison, he's had a couple of starts this Spring. Harrison is more of a long shot right now, and I think he has a better chance to see some action in '08.

What about the free agent market? slim pickens. I think that a trade is more likely than a FA signing. Isn't this all ironic how the Pavano rumble began, then Hampton gets hurt, and the now the Braves need a pitcher. The team will certainly explore trade options, but I don't think there going to get much because of the budget constraints. That especially goes true for the Pavano situation. The Yankees would like if some team pays most of his remaining salary. That's where it falls apart for Atlanta. There's always room for negotiation, right? Either way I stick to promoting from within.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hampton hurt during Batting Practice

Bad news. Mike Hampton has strained his left oblique or has broken a rib while taking batting practice. This guy is just surrounded with bad luck. Mike will miss atleast the first month of the season if not more. Hampton was just about to start facing ingame batters this weekend before this happened.

The Braves will be looking for a veteran pitcher to pickup or to acquire someone via trade.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Rumor: Pavano a Brave...?

I probably should have just let this one fly by without posting about it. There was a Braves scout at Carl Pavano's ST debut. Were they evaluating Pavano? Nobody knows for sure. That's it. We all know that the Yankees are trying to trade their $40M pitcher to someone once he proves he's healthy again. Most notably, the Colorado Rockies have expressed the most interest. Pavano is in his last leg of his contract, he's due $11M this year. He has a $13M club option for next year and we all know that the Yanks will not pick this up. Also, moving Pavano makes room for the top pitching prospect in the organization; Phillip Hughes. That is what NY wants to do.

Basically that's the gist of it. I think the Braves rotation is set; with Davies and Cormier battling for the 5th spot. Another factor is Mike Hampton. Will he fully be ready by opening day, or will it take him a little longer? Overall it doesn't hurt to look at Pavano, since the last time he was good he was playing in the NL East.

Rocker linked to the 'Roids

Ex-Brave John Rocker is making news again. Everyday a new name appears from the client list at Applied Pharmacy in Mobile, AL. The reasoning Rocker is giving out is that he needed it in relation to his rotator cuff surgery in 2003. Another named player is David Bell, formerly of the Phillies. He needed some HCG for a medical condition. The list of baseball players now comes to: Gary Matthews, Jr., Jose Canseco, Jerry Hairston, Jr., John Rocker, and David Bell. Who will be called out tomorrow?

Out of the list, only 2 players are active. Matthews signed a lucrative deal in the offseason with the Angels. Hairston is trying for a spot in the Ranger infield. Meanwhile, David Bell is sitting at home, Rocker appears on Pros vs. Joes, and Canseco might be trying to play independent ball...again.

Monday, March 05, 2007

ST: Live Bats: Escobar, Prado

Only 4 games into the Spring Training season and a couple of players have been making some noise. Yunel Escobar is batting .500/.500/.500. Escobar is one of the leading prospects to take over for Edgar Renteria sometime after '08, or possibly sooner. Martin Prado is battling for the 2B job. Prado's numbers are .556/.667/.556 3 RBI's. Anyway I just wanted to give a really breif update on this young ST season.

Pitching: Smoltz and Hudson have looked good in there 3 and 2 ip. Non-roster invitee Buddy Carlyle has 4K's in 4 ip.

Cox to retire after 2008..?

This story is a couple days old, but I thought I would go ahead and post on it. Bobby Cox is talking about retirement after the 2008 season. This isn't the first time this has came up, but you have to think this time around it's more of a reality. Who would replace Bobby? That's a tough answer that Braves mgmt will have to decide. I'm sure Bobby has his own successor in the back of his mind. Would the Braves go after an experienced manager, or give some newbie a chance? I keep thinking about Terry Pendleton. He's interviewed for number of managerial positions that have opened up in recent years. Yet, he still remains with Atlanta. Cox himself as said that he'll make a great manager one day. Another possibility I really think could become true is Ned Yost, of the Brewers. He signed a new deal to remain with the Brew Crew through 2008, with a 2009 option. Hmmmm, Cox is considering retiring after '08 and Yost could become available after '08. Once again, I'm just throwing names in the hat. We'll see what happens when the time comes.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spring Training Begins....

February has to be most non-baseball month of the year. Granted teams are signing the leftovers in the free agent pool and players are priming up for the Spring, but there isn't really alot of news to report on. Today is a new day.

Baseball is back although not officially, but games are being played. Atlanta started out against their annual Georgian opponent. This year it was against the Georgia Tech YellowJackets. Does anyone remember the no hitter against them in '05? The Braves started pitching prospect Matt Harrison where he pitched 2 innings allowing 1 hit while picking up 3K's. I think Harrison is probably a year away from reaching the big club. There's been much talk going around about him this Spring. Meanwhile, Ryan Langerhans went yard against Tech pitching. Atlanta cruised to victory 5-0.

Today, the big league play kicks off. The Braves and Dodgers will play at 1:05ET. Is the first game always against the Dodger Blue? It seems that way. Kyle Davies will take the hill against newly acquired Randy Wolf of the Dodgers. Wolf shouldn't be unfamiliar to the Braves since he came from Philly. FYI, tomorrow's game against Pittsburgh will be televised on ESPN at 1:05ET.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball

It's that time again. Signups for Fantasy Baseball is going on. We'll be playing NL only, weekly matchups. Here's a link to the fantasy page: Yahoo! You have to login with your Yahoo account and then select Join League, the group id is 125953 and the password is baseball. Please respond to the post if you wish to play. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ESPN: Jones wants "Market Value"

This doesn't suprise me. In the same article, Andruw Jones states that he will not allow to be traded during the season, fully exercising his no-trade clause. He also says that he wants to be a Brave for life. I for one, would like to read/hear something from the Braves camp like "Yes, we are working on it", or "Yes, we are just waiting to see how much Liberty Media will budget for us next year". Something, just something! My odds are 30/70. 30% he stays, 70% he goes to free agency.

Other ST bytes:

Anthony Lerew is trying to return to "top prospect" form and has been working on mechanics. Mike Gonzalez, Blaine Boyer, and Kyle Davies are throwing w/out discomfort, and Andruw lost 10 lbs.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Pitchers and catchers report today. That's a good thing. A good thing, indeed.

Thinking about getting a fantasy baseball league set up. If'n you're interested in playing, leave some feedback in the comments section for me-- I'm curious what format everyone enjoys the most.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ownership Changeover: Liberty Media

Pending an approval from MLB, Time Warner will have finally let go of the Atlanta Braves. A year of negotiations have come to an end as TW and Liberty Media struck a deal that moves the team, some craft magazines and $1 billion in cash to Liberty Media in exchange for 60 million shares of TW stock. As of right now, everything stays the same, structure wise.

Nobody really knows how this will affect the team in terms of payroll. I'm sure that's a top concern for fans and players alike. For the past few years the team has been penny pinched, and we want to know if this will be a continuing saga. Liberty Media also owns a hefty stake in DirectTv. I wonder if the players will get free DirectTV as an employee benefit?

Monday, February 12, 2007 Power Rankings

It's the time of year where analysts, "experts", and armchair gm's come out with their annual power rankings. I checked over at and Dayn Perry has released his rankings. The Braves are ranked #19. What is this supposed to mean? How do these rankings affect your team? How are these rankings determined?

Power rankings don't mean much to me. I mean c'mon, it's a number given out based on the previous years results, whatever offseason transactions you make, and how you will match up against your division and more or less the rest of the league. I don't think these "rankings" affect the team at all; it's just another number. It's not like college football where rankings are a highly valued number. Anyway check if out if you like as we slowly get closer to the days of Spring.

Villareal re-signs with Braves

The Braves and Oscar Villareal have agreed to a one-year, $925,000 contract; he was the only player still in arbitration. The contract also includes incentives that could be worth another $100,000 based on how many games Oscar starts and finishes. He'll receive three points for each start and one point for every game finished; $25,000 bonuses will be paid for 30, 39, 48, and 60 points.

Friday, February 09, 2007


It's official: The Mets are attempting to sign every available pitcher left in Free Agency. The club and Chan Ho Park have reached an agreement on a one-year contract worth $600,000. Performance bonuses could increase the contract's value to $2.4 million. Makes you wonder how he must have felt signing such a paltry contract after riding that $65 million deal the past five seasons?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Former Brave passes away

Lou Burdette, former Milwaukee Braves pitcher and 1957 World Series MVP, passed away today in Florida. He was 80.

Burdette was a two-time All Star and went 203-144 with a 3.66 ERA during 17 Major League seasons. He's best known for his performance during the '57 Series, when he went 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA in three complete games against the Yankees. During his Game Seven win, he threw a seven-hit shutout and capped off a run of 24 straight scoreless innings.

Other career highlights: 20 wins in 1958; 21 wins in '59; pitched a no-hitter against the Phillies in 1960.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Didja go to Fanfest?

I had thought about heading down for Fanfest, but didn't. Looks like 15,000 other Braves fans did make the trek though. Were YOU one of those?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

AJC: LaRoche-Braves fans were spoiled!!!

Mr. LaRoche had some comments toward Brave nation while in attendance at the Pirates FanFest. This is taken from the AJC:

[He also said this about Atlanta fans: “They got spoiled, and they’ve got to know that. Somebody’s got to have told them by now. They were spoiled, and we were spoiled as players.”]

I've heard it before that Braves fans get a bad rep. for not showing a "fighting spirit" for their home team. Do the quick exits from the playoffs contribute to this?, or how about the lack of World Series championships? Same old team, same old results.

[“They need to get that fire back like I think teams have that don’t win. And it’s weird _ I’m seeing it in Pittsburgh, and they haven’t even been over .500 in how many years? These fans are going crazy, they’re the underdog, and these are their guys. It’s almost like they’re part of it."]

The 2005 season showcased the "baby braves" that sparked a new fire in the team. The Braves were playing and winning with homegrown talent. This ignited a new interest in the team. I can kinda see why LaRoche would say these things. Some people come to the ballpark to just hang out/socialize while the rest of us come for the game. Look at Turner Field, you have many things to do while the game is going on. I think this can be said for other stadiums and even other sports. Some people just come to hang out, period.

What does everyone else think? Are we as Braves fans spoiled?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2007 Braves Caravan pics, Part I

Okay, so I'm really late with getting these posted. What can I say, that stomach virus wiped me out a bit more than I care to admit.

As far as Saturday's signing went, all I can say is, "ehh". Way too many people in line. Way too many "Saturday shoppers at the mall who discover some celebrities are going to be signing autographs for free" people, for certain. I realize this wasn't a list of top-tier Atlanta Braves names, but come on, even the average bear with a passing interest in the Braves should recognize Pete's and Matt's names (I explained the guest list about 25 times to folks nearby).

A little FYI for Brayan Pena: many of the average bears at the signing mistook you for Andruw Jones. (Maybe you can use this passing similarity in looks to charge free dinner and drinks to Andruw's tab this season.)

The Mike Hampton Question pt. 2

I just want to reiterate that the post below is based on hopes that Mike Hampton recovers fully and is able to pitch effectively. In reality, Hampton may not rebound from the surgery, have more elbow trouble, and struggle against the big leaguers. A few people that have read the piece today have told me that I'm assuming too much, and the guy could fall apart completely. Yes, there is a chance of that happening, but c'mon let's be optimistic shall we.

The Mike Hampton Question

Mike Hampton is entering the 2007 season as a healthy pitcher wanting to get back to his winning ways. I've only read about his offseason workouts, that seem to be going nicely. Say, he gets back to 100% and pitches as expected if not, better. I think that by the end of July teams could be calling for him. Now I know that I'm playing the whatif game and I know that Hampton hasn't seen live action since 2005, but seriously how should the Braves handle the situation? It all depends on this...

1. Where does the team stand in July? Are the Braves in the thick of a pennant race or struggling to stay above .500. I like the first answer and say the team is fighting for the division, there lies this question..?

2. How does the pitching depth look? Every year someone goes down for a period of time. If there are 2 or more starters out of the rotation, then the team could be in trouble. This also depends on how well the other pitchers are performing. If Hampton is pitching better than most of the starters and the team is in a pennant race he should remain with the team. For our case, everyone is healthy and were getting strong starts while winning. This leads us to...

3. Is their a need for another positional player? Say, our LF is struggling and since our pitching has been strong, let's shop one of our starters for an OF. Hampton is a lefty and lefty starters are more of a commodity in today's game. So, does the team trade Hampton for another desired player? For our purpose, Yes.

4. What about the salary? Hampton is due $14.5M in 2007 and $15M in 2008. The Rockies are paying for the 2009 buyout of $6M. This year and next the team doesn't recieve any help from the Rockies and Marlins to cover his salary. This is all on the Braves books. I'm sure mgmt would love to free up some money for next year, possibly to go towards an Andruw extension? We also know that some teams are big spenders and would buy anything if they want it. Although I don't think the Braves could walk away w/out having to pay maybe 1/3 of his salary.

5. Trade partners? By default the Red Sox and Yankees, but I would like to add the Dodgers and Angels to the mix. Prospects, prospects, prospects. The Dodgers and Angels are loaded with prospects that could appeal to Atlanta. Of course the first two teams mentioned might be more willing to pickup more salary if they find Hampton to be a need to their cause.

6. Conclusion. Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks and the first sign of life on the diamond appears, but I can't help to think about Hampton and the possibility of a trade sometime down the road. Like I said this is just a whatif game, and I'm just playing it.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Hope to have some pictures up later today from Saturday's Braves Caravan. I've been fighting a stomach virus since late Saturday evening. Lost five pounds and look like hell, but I'm feeling much better now.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Braves Caravan of '06

Since the Braves Caravan is rolling into town tomorrow (and I'm short on both time and ideas for a post today), I thought I'd recycle a post with some pics from last year's Caravan. You can view 'em here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

2007 Braves Caravan: Who's on the bus?

Special thanks to Adam, a fellow Braves fan and visitor to The Home, for pointing out that the e-mail in my inbox did, in fact, contain a list of who's scheduled to appear at the Braves Caravan visits this Saturday. (I've only been scouring the interweb for a couple of weeks searching for this info.)

Here are the names scheduled to appear:


Matt Diaz, Brayan Pena, Anthony Lerew, Paul Snyder, and Pete Van Wieren


Brian McCann, Ryan Langerhans, Macay McBride, Kurt Kemp, Jon Sciambi, and Joe Simpson

The Knoxville list looks to be the better of the two, but it's at a hunting and fishing expo(?!) at the Knoxville Convention Center and it costs twelve bucks to get in. The Chattanooga visit stops at Hamilton Place Mall and is free. Needless to say, I'll be heading down to the mall. Anyone else gonna be there?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reading Material

I enjoy reading during the winter months. Their are tons of baseball related books out there to check out. Here's a few that are "Brave" related.

1. Scout's Honor- Bill Shanks

My take: You'll find some interesting stories in this book. Shanks, whom some of you might already be familiar with takes a look at how the Braves core capabilities work. The drafting/scouting/trading of player a and player b. You'll find out why certain players were drafted over others and what attracts the organization to a player . My favorite story has to be the Chipper Jones/Todd Van Poppel chapter.

2. Built to Win-John Schuerholz, Larry Guest

My take: Haven't read this one but I'm sure it contains a behind the scenes look at the art of making a trade. Whenever the book came out I remember hearing about the almost trade of Barry Bonds in the early 90's, and the almost signing of Alex Rodriguez. This book will defintely compliment Scout's Honor on my bookshelf.

3. Tales from the Braves mound-Leo Mazzone, Scott Freeman

My take: Sorry, I don't have one. This book was given a facelift before Leo took off to Baltimore. Based on reviews this book is exactly what the titles means. Leo takes a look at his relationships with past Braves pitchers while giving insight on some of the do's/don'ts of pitching. I don't think were going to get the angry tales some of us would like to read. The "what the hell were you thinking on that pitch", and the "you can't throw for piss" stories.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Alfonseca signs with Phillies

My favorite six-fingered pitcher and former Brave, Antonio Alfonseca, signed a one year deal with the Phillies today. The $380,000 deal could be worth $700,000 if he makes the club, and another $400,000 in incentives based on appearances.

Mike Gonzalez: Closer of the Future

Welcome Mr. Gonzalez to Tuner Field. A few days ago I was reading about how pumped and excited Mike was to become a Brave. You have to enjoy that. Players that actually want to be on your team and help you succeed. Mike G. has got a great attitude coming in and has the upmost respect for the Atlanta Braves. Gonzalez should be given the full-time closer position in 2008. How did Mike get to Atlanta?

Gonzalez was drafted in 1997 at the age of 19, by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mike went on to pitch in the minors as a starter. After his 2002 campaign at double-A Altoona, Gonzalez would be moved from starter to reliever. In 2003, he started out in Single A and flew through the ranks all the way to Pittsburgh. Strangely enough, on the way to Pittsburgh he spent two games at Pawtucket, the triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The Pirates and Red Sox made a deal that sent Scott Sauerbeck and Mike to Boston for Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez, but a week later Boston traded Mike back to Pittsburgh w/Freddy Sanchez for Lyon, Martinez, and Jeff Suppan. That's is one of the weirdest trades in recent baseball memory. Regardless, Mike G. broke through w/Pittsburgh in '03 and would stay in the pen until becoming the team's closer last year. The Pirates are looking at Matt Capps as their closer for '07 and decided to move Gonzalez for a 1B with some pop and that came in the way of Adam LaRoche.

Monday, January 22, 2007

1959 Topps

Not much going on in the world o' baseball today, so I thought I'd share the bit of joy I found in the P.O. box this evening: three more additions to my 1959 Topps baseball set. I picked up team cards for the Cincinnati Red Legs, the Cleveland Indians, and the Milwaukee Braves. What can I say, I loves me some Ebay. That makes 114 cards in my collection; 458 to go.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

LaRoche/Gonzalez deal finalized

The Atlanta/Pittsburgh trade involving Adam LaRoche and Mike Gonzalez was finalized yesterday: Adam passed his physical with flying colors. So the Pirates have the left-handed power hitter they've so desperately needed since Brian Gile's departure to San Diego, and the Braves, well the Braves have gone from having one of the worst bullpens in the National League to having arguably the best 'pen in the Majors.

I've seen quite a few opinions floating around the World Wide Peanut Gallery that aren't too high on the trade. These folks feel like Atlanta gave up too much for a reliever. Personally, I'm ecstatic about the current state of baseball affairs in Atlanta. Do you think the Braves would have finished below .500 with a decent bullpen last year? Do you think the Braves would have been shut out of the playoffs for the first time in forever with a decent bullpen last year? Do you think I would have felt compelled to beat my head against the wall every third game because the bullpen couldn't hold the lead last year? Nope, nope, and nope.

Pitching is what wins (and loses) ball games. And pitching doesn't come cheap; take a look at the deals mediocre relievers signed this winter if you don't believe me. The Braves had to give up a good, young player to get a quality reliever like Gonzalez, but I seriously doubt the loss of LaRoche spells impending doom for the 2007 season. Granted, he's above average in the field and put up some nice numbers last year, but the play of Scott Thorman and Craig Wilson should at least be comparable to what we've seen at first base the past couple of seasons.

Speaking of Mr. LaRoche: I'm sure he's sorry to be leaving his teammates in Atlanta, but Adam has got to be licking his chops just thinking about that short right-field fence in Pittsburgh.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gonzalez to be flipped?

I'm thrilled to see Gonzalez on the team, but keep in mind that there are other teams still wanting to acquire his services. What plans does Mr. Schuerholz have in mind for Mike G? Here's a recap of rumblings during the winter meetings.

Gonzalez to the Yankees for Proctor and Melky Cabrera

Gonzalez to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp and Craig Hansen

The Yanks and BoSox are teams that usually will go out of their way to get a player they want. Meaning they'll sacrifice either alot of $$ or make certain players expendable. Atlanta has shown rumored interest in all of these players. Proctor would give the Braves another penhand while Cabrera would be suited for LF. The RedSox offer is more of the same. Crisp and Cabrera could move to center if Andruw was to leave. Also Rocco Baldelli could enter the picture somehow but the D'Rays are stubborn when trading players.

Craig Wilson: A Brave At last

Who's on first? That's the story heading into the new season. Atlanta has been interested in Craig for sometime. Does anybody remember the Thomson for Wilson trade rumors??

Last year, Wilson split time between the Pirates and the Yankees. Here's a look at his numbers:

Pitt: 85G 255AB .267/.339/.478 13HR 41RBI
NYY: 40G 104AB .212/.248/.365 4HR 8RBI

Everyone knows it's too stressful to play for the Yankees, so I'll exclude those eos stats. Basically what you see from the Pittsburgh line is what your going to get from the guy. He's a lifetime .265 hitter and he'll get around 20 HR a year. I'm starting to think there's a platoon scheduled for next year, unless someone grabs the hot bat in ST. Overall, I think it's a good acquisition for the team.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Trade

Just wanted to share a link to a nice breakdown of the LaRoche/Gonzalez trade I read over at braves-nation dot com.

Wilson to sign with Braves

Former Pirate/Yankee Craig Wilson signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Although he can play the outfield (glaring hole in left field, anyone?), he'll more than likely be part of a platoon at first base with our own Scott Thorman.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's Over: LaRoche becomes a Pirate

Well, I was proven wrong. The deal that's been on the mind of Pittsburgh GM Dave Littlefield has finnally happened...again. Adam LaRoche along with minor league 1B Jaime Romak have been traded to Pittsburgh for Mike Gonzalez and prospect SS Brent Lillibridge. So, the Pirates sacrificed another player to make this deal work, so did the Braves. After much debate, I'm still a bit suprised this still went down. Atlanta is able to avoid arbitration by sending LaRoche packing. Get ready for Scott Thorman in 2007! Lillibridge is supposed to be one of the Pirates top up and coming SS. I think the Braves will be looking at a double headed monster at closer. Gonzalez and Wickman might be sharing the duty. Soriano could also be involved, but I think he is more inline for the setup role this year. I'm glad to see JS rid the crap and get some quality guys in the pen!

Giles causing trouble in San Diego

Little Marcus caused a stir at this past weekend's Chargers/Pats game. According to the report, Giles and a friend got into a fight with another spectator. Giles would be handcuffed, detained, and escorted from the stadium. Where was big brother when you needed him?

A random Sosa moment

Here's a portion of something I wrote back on February 14, 2006:

I know the recent tantrums of one Sammy Sosa have been discussed ad nauseam, but this latest chunk of insight from "Mr. Home Run" begs pointing out.The Nationals have proposed a $500,000 non-guaranteed contract. Sammy wants at least a million bucks, because he's "done a lot for baseball and should be treated with respect". Hey Sammy- a half-mil non-guaranteed contract offered to a 37-year-old former steroid-junkie cheater who puts himself on the Disabled List by sneezing IS respect!

As we all remember, Sammy and his respect turned down Washington's offer. Surprisingly (insert sarcasm here), no other offers were made and Sosa sat out the 2006 season. I point this out because "Mr. Home Run" is currently mulling over a one-year, $500,000 Minor League contract from his former team, the Texas Rangers. A year out of the Majors puts things into a whole new perspective for 38-year-old former steroid-junkie cheaters, doesn't it, Cap'n Cork?

Respect sure makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but she don't pay the bills; I bet he jumps all over this deal. Personally, I hope the guy makes the club. I can't wait to see what a year off the steroids has done to Sammy's physique.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Braves update

Raphael Soriano and the Braves have avoided arbitration and agreed on a one-year contract worth $1.2 million. Assuming Soriano bounces back from the devastating line drive to the head he suffered last season, it'll be money well spent for a reliable set-up guy for Bob Wickman. (How often were we able to use the words "reliable" and "Atlanta bullpen" last year?)

Adam LaRoche and Atlanta management will likely go to arbitration. Adam is asking $3.7 million; the Braves have countered with $2.8 million. Regardless of the final figures, Adam will be making a lot more money than the $420,000 he earned during the 2006 season.

In other Braves news, former broadcaster Don Sutton has agreed to become the new Washington Nationals' TV color analyst. He'll be replacing Tom Paciorek, who's claim to fame is being one half of the broadcast team who unmercifully tortured me during FSN telecasts a couple of seasons ago.

The Sosa's making a buzz

Ex-Brave Jorge Sosa has signed with the divisional rival N.Y. Mets. Sosa inked a 1/$1.25M contract. I'm assuming Jorge will be used mostly out of the pen and as a spot starter.

Meanwhile, the other Sosa, Sammy Sosa has provided a workout for the Texas Rangers. Sosa started his career as a Ranger and is looking for another shot in the big leagues. I'm not sure what to think about Slammin Sammy. After the corked bat, steroid allegations, and disgruntled clubhouse outbursts, this guy doesn't come with light baggage. Does anyone think Sosa deserves another chance in the majors?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

We want more money!

I was looking over the list of players filing for salary arbitration yesterday; of the 106 players, three of 'em are Braves.

And who might those players be? Well, they're Adam LaRoche, Oscar Villarreal, and Raphael Soriano.

The teams and players involved will exchange salary proposals this Tuesday.

I'm asking for $1.7 million, but I'll settle for an even mil.

2007 Braves Caravan

The 2007 Braves Caravan will be making a stop at Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga on January 27th at 1:00 p.m.

I'm planning on heading down; anyone else gonna be able to make it?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The slow days of winter

We are at a time in the offseason where baseball is placed on the backburner of sports talk. Free agents are slowly signing with their teams while GM's and managers begin preparing for the upcoming Spring Training. Were still a month away from pitchers/catchers reporting to camp; the first sign of onfield activity in the new year.

What happened to the LaRoche rumors? I think we may have heard the end of it. I'm starting to believe that LaRoche remains a Brave next year. JS entertaining thoughts of sending him here or there have seemed to calm down. Do we really know if Schuerholz had intentions of trading him, or was it to see who would give up the most in return?

Winter Recap: In case you missed it, Rafael Soriano is without a doubt the best acquisition the Braves acquired this winter. We also claimed OF T.J. Bohm off of waivers from Seattle and signed utility man Chris Woodward. Who will not be on the team next year? Horacio Ramirez, John Thomson, Chris Reitsma are the more notable names.

Brian Jordan: He hasn't retired yet. He has been working out all winter and wants another shot at one more season. Certainly his Braves days are over, right?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Thomson signs with Blue Jays

John Thomson has signed a 1/$500K deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are giving him a shot at the rotation. I think Thomson might end up being used out of the pen. John spent three years in Atlanta but could never duplicate his first year success of 14-8 3.72 ERA. Of course, injuries played a significant role. Thomson threw 198 innings in '04 but only a combined 172 ip in the past two seasons. Good luck to John as he attempts to get things back on track.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Update: The Pittsburgh Pirates & Adam LaRoche

The potential of a deal still lingers on. Pittsburgh officials still have an interest in the Braves 1B, but the two sides can't meet in the middle. They almost had it when Gonzalez and LaRoche were swaped over a month ago, but JS pulled the plug due to health concerns on Mike G's part. Will this ever be made?

Given the holiday break it gave mgmt of both clubs time to think about it. Now that everyone is back at the office and a spark of interest still remains, it looks positive. The Braves have named Chris Duffy, but the Pirates want to keep him for now. What about one of the young gunslingers Zach Duke or Ian Snell? Nope, the Pirates are keeping all SP. It goes back and forth between the two clubs. I think the Pirates are really wanting to make the deal simply Gonzalez for LaRoche, but the Braves want to add another player to the mix. So, the saga continues....

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Reitsma signs with the Mariners

It looks like Atlanta and Seattle have worked out a pitcher exchange program: Chris Reitsma has signed a one-year deal with the Mariners to be their set-up guy. The deal includes a club option for the 2008 season.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Blogger: New and improved?

I just switched over to the "new and improved" Blogger and am giving it a test run.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Thorman to LF?...Reitsma not Returning

Happy New Year to all, and sorry for the sporadic posting. Nothing really new concerning LaRoche, Jones, or the rest of the team. Bobby Cox has mentioned that Scott Thorman could be a fit in LF next year. Not a suprise since the Braves are really wanting him in the lineup one way or another. Keeping LaRoche at 1B and giving Thorman an everyday job would make the Braves happy. What about the Langerhans and Matt Diaz's of the world? Right now, there's atleast five different players that could takeover in left; Langerhans, Diaz, Thorman, Woodward, and K.J. For once, the Braves will have two open competitions this Spring; 2B and LF.

The AJC is reporting that six teams are interested in free agent Chris Reitsma. Out of the six the Braves are not one of them. The Reds seem to be the ones making the strongest push towards signing him.