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.