126: Ah, Spring, Renewed Hope

by Gil Elliott

by Gil Elliott

What an odd winter we as fans of the Braves have experienced. It began with the announcement the Braves would be moving into their own house beginning in 2017 to a location 17 miles north of the Ghetto. Away from the site of occupancy they have plied their trade for nearly fifty years now.

I guess when we think about a club making a “big move”, that is not exactly what most fans would let come to mind. Not that I blame the Braves organization for wanting to look at how they can stay relevant. They are saddled with what is considered one of the worse local TV deals in all of professional sports. That’s right, not just baseball but in all pro sports.

Well, if you are handed lemons, it is good to know how to make lemonade and a little lemon zest to get maximum return on your lemons. Maybe even plant a few seeds to grow your own lemon trees, too. Looks like the Braves may have done just that.

Huddy

Huddy

BMcCann

BMac

No big free agent signing occurred this season by the Braves. It was really more of a subtraction than an addition in that respect. Former Braves “Baby Brave” Brian McCann signing long term with Yankees for $85MM and mildly surprising bull dog and former staff ace Tim Hudson bolting to the west coast for a 2 year $23MM deal. I would suspect that is about double what the Braves were willing to risk for a guy who is in decline. I can’t really fault either party for that one. The Braves just did not value Tim that much and BMac’s departure has been long seen by many as a one-trick pony whose future is in a place where he needs to hit only four times a game to be successful.  Big Poppi in Boston has certainly been able to make a living doing just that.

In a real baseball league, everyone has to hit and play the field on a fairly regular basis. So, how do you stay relevant where your competition are getting 2 billion dollar local TV deals? Looks like the Braves have made a good start. They have taken a page out of the government’s play book and put in a bunch of back loaded contracts. Not that I don’t applaud Frank Wren and company for thinking outside the box a bit by locking up the core of their home grown talent that has some pretty significant balloon payments at the end. (Didn’t they outlaw those in the mortgage industry?)  Anyway, if it looks good and gives the Braves some stability in keeping their core players together, all the better.

Jason Heyward

JHey

It looks like a lot of money but the way the contracts are structured, it will be the problem of the next owner and General Manager when 2018 rolls around. The Braves will likely have to pay Heyward if he finally develops into another Freddie Freeman as far as a reliable, everyday player or super star. Other than Robinson Cano, I did not really see player contract escalating this past off season. Heck, in five years, who knows what the dollar will be worth?

So! Where does that leave us? The Braves had a surprisingly good team last year. They really were a .500 hundred team for the most part but they took full advantage of a couple of 14 game winning streaks and the too late surge by a disappointing Nationals team who for all intents and purposes took their pre season press clippings a little too seriously. What was their greatest weakness?  Their bullpen, and all of us have seen that movie before.

So, what to expect this season from the Braves? A lot has to go right for the Braves to repeat as NL East champions:

Evan Gattis

Evan Gattis

- An Evan Gattis who can continue to inspire blue collar guys everywhere by swinging a big bat and tape measure home runs. That and he continues to hold up behind the plate.

Freemanfirstbase

Freeman

- A Fab 5 who continues to be clutch at the plate and keeps saying infield errors with the incredible ability to snare baseballs off the deck and way off the mark at first.

Andrelton

Andrelton Simmons

- A super star shortstop who is beginning to look like the next Ozzie Smith, who shows a bit more maturity at the plate and improves his on base percentage with more walks and line drives and fewer pop ups.

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

- The Braves have to hope that the guy who was considered a “throw-in” for fan favorite Marteen Prado continues to amaze with a a hot bat and an improved glove at third.

For the Braves to stay on top, in addition to the above, two of the most disappointing players in Braves history have to at least be among the league average when it comes to hitting. They say strike outs are no worse than any other out. But, with automatic strike outs every at bat, far too often we see the bases loaded with no outs – yet no one scores.

A young pitching staff full of number twos and threes are going to have to step up and stay focused on keeping their team in the game and hope the good guys can hit a three run homer or two and not feel the need to be perfect every game. It is that feeling of continuous pressure which leads to ulcers and gray hair.

Kimbrel

Kimbrel

The Braves secret weapon still has to be their shut-down bull pen. That is the real reason the Braves finished where they did last season. No team outside the Yankees can bludgeon the opposition into the submission every game – and even they found out what it means to have a weak pitching staff.

The Braves may have lost O’Flararty to the A’s this season but they have been without him for quite a while. They still have the best closer in baseball and don’t ever think that the last 3 outs in a baseball game isn’t the hardest to get. The only people who don’t think so are the teams who don’t have that “go-to” kind of guy . Just like having an Ace at the top of the pitching staff who gives your team confidence they can put up a W whenever he takes the mound, having a shut down guy at the end of the game helps everyone on the team try to turn it into a 6 inning game.

SO LET’S GO BRAVES… LET”S REPEAT!!!

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178 Responses to “126: Ah, Spring, Renewed Hope”


  1. 1 Carolina Lady February 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Excellent points, Gil. I read an article in the last day or so where Huddy is doing very well in ST and is teaching Lincecum to keep the ball down and from the article, Lincecum is listening. Sure wish Huddy had stayed around – but people gotta do what they gotta do, I guess. As for our own team, all we need is improved performance for a few people, as well as continued growth and maturity by the young’uns. We shall see!

    Thanks again for a great lead, O Great One! :-D

    Like

  2. 2 Gil in Mechanicsville February 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you,Thank you chief, my need for reassurance and accolades has no bounds. Of course the graphics department did a great job as usual.

    Just felt the need for something new, I will try to be a bit more frequent in my opines… :-)

    Like

  3. 4 Vox O'Raison February 24, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Indeed a strong team… :-)

    Like

  4. 5 Vox O'Raison February 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Swirly!!

    Like

  5. 6 Gil in Mechanicsville February 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

    First game Wednesday with Freddy Garcia scheduled to start. One has to believe he will be highly motivated to earn a spot on the big league roster this season.

    I dropped by the Nationals home page to check the scheduled and noticed they have a slew of Venezuelan player too. Too bad the news media does not give the events in Valenzuela the air time they gave to the Ukraine. Maybe they could effect some change there too….

    Let’s hope the Ruskies don’t decide to invade the Ukraine again. No help would be forthcoming from us… Too many amateurs running the show in DC right now.

    Like

  6. 7 Carolina Lady February 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Swirly, Vox O’Raisins?? I don’t see any swirls. ( :-D )

    Like

  7. 8 Gil in Mechanicsville February 25, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Story on the MLB site about Mike Minor and his recent “Surgery” and his delayed recovery as a result. Odd the things players are willing to share. Sometimes methinks there is a need by some to be too open….

    That said, hope he has a speedy recovery and is healthy by opening day. Otherwise,Freddie Garcia will make the opening day roster by default.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140224&content_id=68261870&notebook_id=68270330&vkey=notebook_atl&c_id=atl

    Like

  8. 9 Vox O'Raison February 25, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Worried about my eyes… 8O

    Like

  9. 10 Gil in Mechanicsville February 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Eyes Rasins? Spots? Blurry? Fuzzy? Don’t mess around, get them checked. Can be simple aging but also something that can be fixed.

    Now under the heading of “Stuff”
    I was saddened to learn of the passing of Harold Ramis yesterday. He was truly a comic genius in the purest sense of the word. I can still recall one of my favorite skits he performed on “Second City” the impetus and inspiration for “Saturday Night Live” when it was relevant and funny.

    It was titled “You too can be a stethacopeologist” About satire on these “Learn at Home” colleges often advertized on the back of matchbook cover.

    Like

  10. 11 Gil in Mechanicsville February 25, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Now, more on eyes…. If you can see this, there is still hope… So many things can cause vision problems, fatigue is number one, I can remember doing double shifts where I would develop a big hole in my vision. High blood pressure, low blood sugar, macular(sp) degeneration…. Too much time in front of a CRT or LED computer screen will mess you up too….

    Of course, sometimes we think we can’t see but find out neither can anyone else… Again, see a professional and not necessarily the dude at Walmat….

    Like

  11. 12 Vox O'Raison February 25, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Sometimes I see stars, sometimes swirls, sometimes a blue fabric. It’s worrisome. ;-)

    Like

  12. 13 Gil in Mechanicsville February 25, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Sounds like your BP is up, could also be a side effect of medicine. Advil will really make you BP sky rocket.

    Like

  13. 14 Carolina Lady February 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Wow, Raisins, I’m really worried about you! Stars?? On B&S? Take care, buddy!! ( :lol: )

    Like

  14. 15 Gil in Mechanicsville February 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I think I’ve been punked…. :-)

    Like

  15. 17 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 7:58 am

    And the Grapefruit League begins today!! 1:05pm vs. Tigers.

    Like

  16. 18 Gil in Mechanicsville February 26, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I hope the can dodge the thunderstorms but it is Florida in February… Storms are are a daily occurrence. .

    Last time I visited my son in Sarasota, it rained three days, as soon as I got north of Tampa, no more rain…

    Let’s go Braves, something new to talk about, right?

    Like

  17. 19 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

    It’s been way too long since I have been able to do this. So without any further ado…

    2day’s lineup (at least for the first couple of innings):

    1- JHey, RF
    2- BJ, CF
    3- Face (of the franchise), 1B
    4- El Oso Blanco, C
    5- JUp, LF
    6- CJohnson, 3B
    7- Danny Boy, 2B
    8- Simba, SS
    9- Doumit, DH

    SP- Freddie Garcia. (Not sure who is scheduled to follow. Will find out.)

    Like

  18. 20 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Interesting, per Mr. O’B:

    Minor league outfielder Todd Cunningham has been taking some ground balls at second base. [Fredi] Gonzalez said it was to give him some more versatility for the future, comparing it to young first baseman/outfielder Joey Terdoslavich working some at catcher.

    Like

  19. 21 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

    2day’s revised lineup (at least for the first couple of innings):

    1- JHey, RF
    2- BJ, CF
    3- Face (of the franchise), 1B
    4- El Oso Blanco, C
    5- CJohnson, 3B
    6- Danny Boy, 2B
    7- Simba, SS
    8- Doumit, DH
    9- Schafer, LF

    JUp has a “sore right side, not believed to be serious”.

    Like

  20. 22 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Oops! My bad, I misread it. One more time…

    1- JHey, RF
    2- BJ, CF
    3- Face (of the franchise), 1B
    4- El Oso Blanco, C
    5- Doumit, DH
    6- CJohnson, 3B
    7- Danny Boy, 2B
    8- Simba, SS
    9- Schafer, LF

    Like

  21. 23 JoAnn Brooks Elliott February 26, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I like the part where Gil thinks he got pucked… yeah the Braves are starting back soon…

    Like

  22. 24 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I like the part where Gil thinks he got pucked
    :lol:

    Like

  23. 25 Carolina Lady February 26, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    What a great place to visit every day! Love y’all! :-D

    Like

  24. 26 Vox O'Raison February 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    For what it’s worth, which admittedly isn’t much, Danny Uggla was 2-2 in today’s Grapefruit League opener.

    Like

  25. 28 Gil in Mechanicsville February 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I case y’all didn’t know it, Josie has a crush on Uggla… Hey, it happens…

    Two singles by Danno with an RBI

    RBI double by Gattis after Johnson double down the line… I like it. Did BJ make contact?

    I don’t worry too much about wins and loses until the last week and a half when they stop playing mostly triple A players.

    I did like what I heard about Garcia, focused like a laser…. 6 up 6 down. No walks.

    Like

  26. 29 Gil in Mechanicsville February 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    She can’t help herself, Uggla reminds her of me when I was young… Yeah, just goes to show how fast we can go to seed when we stop working out…. I ever tell the one about the night I went 6 for six with 4 RBI? Of course it was softball, but still…. A gold star for me!

    Like

  27. 31 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Did BJ make contact?

    Yes, on a popout to 2B. But it is just the 1st game. Today is another day…

    Like

  28. 32 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Fredi – “It’s the first game of spring training. You forget sometimes it’s still February. What were there, seven errors?” :lol:

    Like

  29. 33 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Today’s lineup vs. Tigers in Lakeland not announced yet, but likely will not be any regulars since the team is traveling today. Meds is scheduled to start and go 2. Let’s hope he is as sharp as Freddie was yesterday.

    Like

  30. 34 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Not Freddie, but Freddy. :oops:

    And I am so glad our 3 Freds all spell their names differently. It sure makes it easier to keep up with them, even if I did mix that last one up.

    Fredi Gonzalez
    Freddie Freeman
    Freddy Garcia

    Like

  31. 35 Gil in Mechanicsville February 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Today’s lineup vs. Tigers in Lakeland not announced yet, but likely will not be any regulars since the team is traveling today MLB requires all teams to have at least 40% “regulars” play in away games but don’t say how long and how regular they have to be.

    ‘Tis why I think the prices charged to see spring training game is such a rip off….

    A pop up is a strike out without the K assigned to it. I don’t have the energy this morning to explain all that but trust me, it has to do with timing.

    Was funny the reaction by Jason Werth of the Nationals when Matt Williams said all veterans would travel with the team to away games this spring….
    Sorry folks, but I have to like the guy (Williams)… No coddiler he.

    Like

  32. 36 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Hearing a great live interview with Dan Uggla right now…

    The question is asked about facing criticisms, questions from last season, especially about his relationship with Fredi after being left off the post-season roster. Dan says he earned the criticisms, questions and the rest with the last 2 seasons he had. He has something to prove this year.

    Love his honesty…

    Like

  33. 37 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    … he says this spring is different than any other before. No longer using the “It’s spring… it’s coming along” shtick. He’s looking for hits, period.

    Says he worked on his hitting all off-season (except getting married). Says balance was off, not using legs correctly, timing was off… back to basics.

    Like

  34. 38 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 11:27 am

    And for all those, like me, who said it doesn’t matter much what Dan does in these Spring games, Dan vehemently disagrees. He says it does matter to him. This spring is different than any other before…

    Like

  35. 39 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 11:27 am

    2day’s lineup:

    1- JHey, DH
    2- Ramiro Pena, SS
    3- BJ, CF
    4- Doumit, RF
    5- Laird, C
    6- Mark Hamilton, 1B
    7- Edward Salcedo, 3B
    8- Schafer, LF
    9- Phil Gosselin, 2B

    Like

  36. 40 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    BTW…

    Based on Fredi’s original lineup from yesterday (before he sat JUp), we can reasonably project his Opening Day lineup. Looks like it will be:

    1- JHey, RF (L)
    2- BJ, CF (R)
    3- Freddie, 1B (L)
    4- Gattis, C (R)
    5- JUp, LF (R)
    6- CJohnson, 3B (R)
    7- Uggla, 2B (R)
    8- Simba, SS (R)

    How do you feel about this lineup? Is JHey best suited at leadoff? Can BJ hit in the 2 hole? What about Simmons in the 8 spot? How did we become so (R) heavy? Should the (L)’s be spread out a little more? Maybe JUp at 3, dropping Freddie and Gattis to 4 & 5?

    It’s weird… 1-5 are really all boppers. In an ideal world, you’d want each of them in a run producing role. But somebody’s gotta hit up there, right?

    I think this is what Fredi wants to put out there, but BJ is the linchpin. If his struggles continue (I pray he succeeds), can we just swap his spot with Simmons?

    I still think BJ is the real key… (Duh, right?)

    Thoughts?

    Like

  37. 41 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    And BJ draws a walk in his 1st AB today. Better than a K… or a popout to 2B, right Gil? ;-)

    Like

  38. 42 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Meds starts on the mound for the good guys today, with Luis Avilan, David Carpenter, Mark Lamm, Wirfin Obispo, Gus Schlosser scheduled to follow.

    “Gus” is a great baseball name. I am rooting for Gus just because of his name… :-D

    Like

  39. 43 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    BJ today: 1 BB, 1 K, 1 groundout

    Like

  40. 44 Vox O'Raison February 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Gus today: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 0 R

    Like

  41. 45 Gil in Mechanicsville February 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Listened to the game until all the players were names I no longer recognized. That Doumit guy might just be a keeper. Laird with a “slight” back strain…. Yeah, Right….

    Everything is a nick or a tweak until they have to cart you off the field on a stretch. Then you are day to day1

    Like

  42. 46 Vox O'Raison February 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    2night’s lineup (6:05pm start):

    1- JHey, RF
    2- Tommy La Stella, 2B
    3- Freddie, 1B
    4- Gat, C
    5- CJohnson, 3B
    6- Danny, DH
    7- Simba, SS
    8- Joey Terdo, LF
    9- Constanza, CF

    And the thing we will be looking most at? Brandon Beachy will be taking the mound for the first 2 innings.

    Like

  43. 47 berigan2electricboogaloo March 1, 2014 at 8:58 am

    awaking from a baseball coma…I didn’t even know I was in! Excellent , excellent blog/lead! Whatever CL is paying you, it isn’t enough! ;)

    Like

  44. 48 berigan2electricboogaloo March 1, 2014 at 8:59 am

    March 1st…time to wake from the hibernation, and start paying attention.

    Like

  45. 49 Gil in Mechanicsville March 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Okay, time to write this season off, right? After all, the Braves are 0-3 in the all important Grapefruit League. I guess when the other team knows every pitch is going to be a fastball, you might just be under at a decided disadvantage. Are the other team’s pitchers under the same restriction? I don’t think so if the play by play dudes are being truthful.

    Okay, this is spring training. I am under the impression the Braves have adopted the idea that is is all about training and conditioning this spring. WHAT? How dare they…. Don’t they understand the frail physyc of hundreds of us in the blogosphere.

    Well, I said it a few weeks ago, I was not really concerned about games where extra guys were running in the outfield during games. Kind of a double standard when we see guys saying how important it is for them to have a “good” spring and pitchers saying, well, it’s “work”.

    What are we too believe? Believe that as a hitter, you need to be able to hit a ball off the tee the pitchers are putting balls on right now and it is important for pitchers to build up their arm strength and follow the program laid out for them by the staff. One of the first things on the evaluation reports must be, does he follow instructions well?.

    I said many post ago, I try not to pay too much attention to spring training games until the last week and a half of March to get a feel for where the team is and the realistic expectations for the early season. The latter part depends on things like who is still healthy.

    Meanwhile, I guess I will just grin a bear it….

    Like

  46. 50 Gil in Mechanicsville March 2, 2014 at 8:59 am

    16-15… Hitters showed up, the pitchers not so much… Did anyone bring the beer for afterwards. Sounds like a softball game score..

    Like

  47. 51 Carolina Lady March 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Pitchers are “working on it.” ;-)

    Like

  48. 52 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Fastball, fastball, fastball…

    Like

  49. 53 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Courtesy of ESPN’s Jayson Stark, here is a trivia question:

    Since the 2012 All-Star break, Clayton Kershaw has the best ERA in baseball (1.92) among pitchers who have worked at least 250 innings. But can you guess who’s second (at 2.40)?

    Like

  50. 54 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Here’s another:

    Over the past eight full months of baseball (dating back to August 2012), can you name the only pitcher in either league who has won three pitcher-of-the-month awards?

    Like

  51. 55 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Answers:

    Kris Medlen and Kris Medlen

    Like

  52. 56 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Some more Medlen facts, again courtesy of JStark:

    • He’s 30-14 in his regular-season starts over the past two years.
    • His 3.59-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the 7th best among all active starters with at least 500 career innings.
    • He’s the proud owner of one of the best changeups in the game and has developed a rapidly improving curveball.
    • He’s such a good athlete, Fredi Gonzalez says that “if you take [Andrelton] Simmons out of the equation, he might be the best athlete on the field, or at least the best infielder on the field.”
    • He’s a former college shortstop.

    Like

  53. 57 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Stark’s article asserts that the notion that the Braves lack an “ace” pitcher may be overstated. He suggests Medlen may not profile as an “ace” in the popular sense, but that he may well perform that way,

    For me personally, I’ve always stated that he reminds me somewhat of Greg Maddux in the way he approaches the game. He doesn’t possess overpowering stuff, but he has great control, an unflappable mound presence, and a great sense of controlling the game. Medlen knows how to keep batters off-balance, and that was the key to Doggie’s dominant career.

    Is he an “ace”? Well, I guess it depends on what one thinks an “ace” really is. It will also depend on how he takes a step forward this season as the new elder statesman (Freddie Garcia notwithstanding) of the staff.

    Nothing would tickle me more than for Meds to win 20 this season, and I think he has a shot at that as long as he stays healthy.

    Now that I think about it, I think I want a Kris Medlen jersey. That’d be cool…

    Like

  54. 58 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 11:14 am

    By the way, in case anybody missed it over the weekend, the Braves signed Cuban defector Yenier Bello, a power hitting catcher. He’s 29, not a young’un. He hit .274 with 13 home runs over a 90-game schedule for Cuba’s national team in 2011, his last before defecting after the season ended.

    Not sure the intent here. While many teams are thin at catcher, the Braves aren’t. Heck, they’ve got 3 on their major league roster and a top prospect blocked at AAA. I guess we’ll see what Frank has up his sleeve…

    Like

  55. 59 Gil in Mechanicsville March 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I’m not really worried that his age is listed at 29. I guess he might have listed his real age. Does anyone still believe Furcal was really only 19 when he started for the Braves? Latin players seem to age really well.

    Yes, a head scratched unless they think Gattis can play left field when Jason Upton moves on. I cannot think they would opt for a guy who is 29 over a kid who is 22 but stranger things have happened. There is no such thing as a no trade contract with the Braves.

    I expect him to be in Triple AAA this season or maybe even Double AA. Depends on where he can get at-bats.

    Back in the day, I remember when the Dallas Cowboys would always draft the best available athletes. It was a pretty successful formula for them He would not be the first Cuban born defector signed by the Braves. Brian Pena and Yunel Escobar were products of Cuba. Maybe they are looking to catch some of the Pruig magic the Dodgers found.

    Okay, the Braves are 0-5-1 this spring. I am sure glad these games do mean anything but I hate for a pattern of loosing to be established. Bad for moral if you know what I mean…

    Game today?

    It is snowing here in God’s country. We have had a lot of it this year. Just as long as the lights stay on I guess I can live with it. The dogs are not particularity crazy about it however. They keep looking at us like it’s out fault…

    Like

  56. 60 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Curious thing with Gattis. It’s almost as if the Braves are just trying to ride out whatever productive hot streak he has before he comes back to a mediocre reality? I don’t know.

    I do think, however, that Frank would love another strong offensive season from Gattis before trading him to an AL team. Then Bethancourt takes the regular role, with Doumit as backup for his remaining season in 2015. Then by 2016, who knows? They’ll have a real picture of what Bethancourt offers at the plate, and what direction they want to go heading into Cobb County in 2017.

    And let’s not forget about young Victor Caratini. When I say young, I’m talking 19 years young. Raw, but one of the best swings in the organization. They have been playing him a bit at 3B also, but he was drafted as a catcher. The jury is still out as to his ability to man the hot corner.

    It would appear that the pipeline for catching is well stocked.

    Look for Bethancourt to play everyday in AAA, and for Bello (why do I immediately think of Bello the Clown?) to get his feet wet in AA Pearl.

    Like

  57. 61 Vox O'Raison March 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Gonna be a tough call between him and Alex Wood to start the season. I still think Woody has great stuff and the potential to be an outstanding starter for us…

    Like

  58. 62 Gil in Mechanicsville March 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    So, the troops are on their way to dropping another game this spring, I am wondering when I should be worried. I hate patterns…

    Like

  59. 63 Carolina Lady March 4, 2014 at 2:42 am

    Gil, this morning it was a beautiful 75 degrees. It is now 28 and headed downward. No snow. No ice. I’m thankful for a warm home with a brand new roof on it.

    Vox, I agree about Meds. I really like him.

    Why am I still up?? I don’t know. If you find out, let me know, ok?

    Like

  60. 64 Gil in Mechanicsville March 4, 2014 at 7:49 am

    CL, between you and me, I think it is an age thing…. Perhaps we have so much information in our brains that we are force to stay awake while our brain cells make room for new info, kind of like waiting for our computers to upload new updates from Micro Soft before they will shut down… Yeah, that’s it, that my story and I’m sticking to it… :-)

    Well, the snow is pretty, nice to look at, not so nice to be out in it, for sure, not for a guy like me who is already unsteady on my feet. Luckily, only about 4 inches on top of about 1/4 inch of ice. It was one of our classic late season snows. Cold air out of the northwest meeting moister out of the southwest for some heavy wet snow. Makes for good snowmen if you are into such things.

    The temps have soared up to 17 degrees after dipping down to nine this AM. I think one more day of cold weather then a steady warming trend. Perhaps the Braves can adopt the same trend. A couple of wins can help all of warm up to this team. How is this season different for all those others that the Braves’ spring trainings.

    Bravos play the Nationals at home, Disney,today. Would like to see some signs of life out of the Braves….

    Like

  61. 65 Carolina Lady March 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Gil, that works for me!! :lol: Sometimes, I just can’t get to sleep. Other times, I can’t stay asleep. A body is gonna do what it wants to do and you may as well not argue about it. So I just roll with it. The only part I don’t like is the next morning. Grogginess of steroids!

    I’m kinda concerned that they haven’t won anything so far. Come on, guys! Time to wake up!!

    Like

  62. 66 Vox O'Raison March 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Good to see ol’ Gus succeeding! I have been on the Gus Bus since before his 1st appearance…

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/gus-schlosser-emerges-as-braves-bullpen-candidate/nd5qP/

    Like

  63. 67 Carolina Lady March 4, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    “Gus Bus” = gold! :lol:

    Another good articleHere

    Like

  64. 68 Gil in Mechanicsville March 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I can’t believe I just did that…. Forgot to post my comments before leaving the page…. Oh well, that Pulitzer will have to wait.

    Like

  65. 69 Carolina Lady March 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve been reading Billy Wagner’s story. Wow. What a testimony. Well worth the time and inspiring, as well.

    Like

  66. 70 berigan2electricboogaloo March 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I thought I saw something about smart people having more trouble sleeping…that fits all of us, doesn’t it? ;)

    Another article on insomnia thats interesting…sees for some of us, our brain is like NYC or Vegas

    http://hub.jhu.edu/2014/02/28/insomnia-brain-differences

    Like

  67. 71 Gil in Mechanicsville March 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks for that link Ber, it sure does explain a lot for me….

    Like

  68. 72 Carolina Lady March 5, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Interesting article, Ber. I think my problem is from the years I spent taking care of my mother around the clock. Sleep was just a series of naps because I was up and down with her so much. Now that she’s gone, I can’t seem to get back into a “normal” sleep pattern.

    Like

  69. 73 Vox O'Raison March 6, 2014 at 7:37 am

    “Normal” is a relative term…

    Like

  70. 74 Carolina Lady March 6, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Q: Lefty Grove was born on this date in 1900. How many wins did he record in his 17-year career?
    A: Three hundred :shock:

    Like

  71. 76 Vox O'Raison March 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t know if you got to see that yesterday, CL, but they showed the tribute in its entirety on MLB Network prior to the Braves/Phillies pre-season matchup. Very well presented by both teams.

    Now if only his son had been able to make the “first pitch” to the catcher without it bouncing 4 times… :oops:

    Like

  72. 77 Carolina Lady March 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Ah! No, I missed it, Vox. Fregosi sounds like someone I would have liked very much.

    Like

  73. 78 berigan2electricboogaloo March 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    CL, another pitcher ended on 300 wins, who was that?
    Interesting, you hear so little about Lefty Grove, but I have read that stat heads say he was the best pitcher of all time! Won 300 games, and didn’t get to the majors til he was 25.

    Like

  74. 79 berigan2electricboogaloo March 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Sounds like Jim Fregosi was a heckofa guy! Braves were lucky to have him the last 13 years. Excellent manager too.

    Like

  75. 80 Carolina Lady March 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Members
    Pitcher Wins Date of 300th Teams
    Cy Young 511 July 3, 1901 Cle (NL), Bos (AL), StL (NL), Bos (NL), Cle (AL), Bos (NL)
    Walter Johnson 417 May 14, 1920 Was (AL)
    Grover Cleveland Alexander 373 September 20, 1924 Phi (NL), Chi (NL), StL (NL)
    Christy Mathewson 373 June 28, 1912 NY (NL), Cin
    Warren Spahn 363 August 11, 1961 Bos/Mil, NY (NL), SF
    Pud Galvin 361 June 4, 1888 Buf, Pit (Amer. Assoc.), Pit (NL), Pit (Players League), StL (NL)
    Kid Nichols 361 September 7, 1900 Bos, StL, Phi (NL)
    Greg Maddux 355 August 7, 2004 Chi (NL), Atl, LA (NL), SD
    Roger Clemens 354 June 13, 2003 Bos, Tor, NY (AL), Hou (NL), NY (AL)
    Tim Keefe 342 June 4, 1890 Troy, NY (Amer. Assoc.), NY (NL), Phi (NL)
    Steve Carlton 329 September 23, 1983 StL (NL), Phi (NL), SF, Chi (AL), Cle, Min
    John Clarkson 328 September 21, 1892 Worc, Chi (NL), Bos (NL), Cle (NL)
    Eddie Plank 326 September 11, 1915 Phi (AL), StL (Fed. League), StL (AL)
    Nolan Ryan 324 July 31, 1990 NY (NL), Cal, Hou (NL), Tex
    Don Sutton 324 June 18, 1986 LA (NL), Hou (NL), Mil (AL), Oak (AL), Cal
    Phil Niekro 318 October 6, 1985 Mil/Atl (NL), NY (AL), Cle, Tor
    Gaylord Perry 314 May 6, 1982 SF, Cle, Tex, SD, NY (AL), Atl, Sea, KC
    Tom Seaver 311 August 4, 1985 NY (NL), Cin, Chi (AL), Bos (AL)
    Charles Radbourn 310 May 14, 1891 Prov, Bos (NL), Bos (Players League), Cin
    Mickey Welch 307 August 11, 1890 Troy, NY (NL)
    Tom Glavine 305 August 5, 2007 Atl, NY (NL)
    Randy Johnson 303 June 4, 2009 Mon, Sea, Ari, NY (AL), SF
    Lefty Grove 300 July 25, 1941 Phi (AL), Bos (AL)
    Early Wynn 300 July 13, 1963 Was, Cle, Chi (AL)

    Like

  76. 81 Carolina Lady March 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Where did everybody go?? You’re supposed to take me with you! :-)

    Like

  77. 82 Vox O'Raison March 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Hangin’ out… doin’ a little of this… alot of that… Busy days these are. :-P

    Like

  78. 83 Gil in Mechanicsville March 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Still lurking CL… Trying to get some work/exercise done outside to take advantage of the warm weather.

    Josie and I saw a pair of bald eagles in the back yard yeaterday. That was a real treat. We have seen a lot of red tail hawks but never a bald eagle and certainly not a pair. Not sure if they were mating, fighting over teritorry or eyeballing the dog and sizing her up for lunch. For that reason, I would rather they nest somewhere else but still pretty cool experience.

    I was good today, did not go to an auction that was seiing a pretty nice gun collection. I am trying to behave and it wouldn’t have happened if I am tempted. Not like I need another firearm but it is never about need with me.

    Like

  79. 84 Gil in Mechanicsville March 9, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Braves pitcher Kris Medlen left Sunday’s spring-training game against the Mets with what’s been initially diagnosed as a strained forearm, pending further evaluation.

    AAAUUUUUURRRRRRGGGRRRHHHHH!!!!!

    Like

  80. 85 Carolina Lady March 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Article on Meds:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/atlanta-braves-pitcher-kris-medlen-exits-due-to-injury-in-fourth-inning?ymd=20140309&content_id=68995670&vkey=news_mlb

    Definitely cool to see the eagles, Gil! I’m glad you feel well enough to get out for a bit! It’s currently 71 and sunny here today. What a welcome change for the miserable sullen gray skies that dumped endless rain (and ice!) on us! The county is still cleaning up debris from the ice storm. At least it wasn’t a hurricane! :lol:

    Like

  81. 86 Vox O'Raison March 9, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Really busy weekend, but much good time spent with the family. And today has been a really good day. Then I casually scrolled over to see how the Braves did vs. Mutts and saw the news. I feel nauseous… :-|

    Like

  82. 87 Vox O'Raison March 9, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    My prayers are with Kris Medlen, and I hope that this injury is nothing serious, but I am a forward thinking person. If this injury proves to be that of which we dare not utter, something that will take Meds out for the season, then I feel like Frank has to turn to the as-yet-unsigned Ervin Santana.

    Like

  83. 88 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Do y’all realize that if the Braves broke camp today, their starting rotation would be:

    1 – Julio Teheran
    2- Brandon Beachy (iffy… hasn’t yet regained vintage form; velocity still alarmingly low)
    3 – Freddy Garcia (really? 74 year old Garcia who was signed as a depth move?)
    4 – Alex Smith (talented young’un on an innings limit; pretty much targeted for the bullpen after Gavin Floyd becomes available)
    5 – David Hale (Hey… I like him, but he’s not ready for the show yet…)

    That scares the poop outta me.

    Like

  84. 89 berigan2electricboogaloo March 10, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Man…sure hope it’s not what it sounds like it with Medlen! :(
    Don’t get it…he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to blow out an elbow, twice…
    Can we expect 200+ innings from Beachy? Alex Wood? Garcia? Tehren?
    V, I didn’t even know Santana was still out there….would make a lot of sense to sign him, he may be happy with a one year deal to show last year wasn’t a fluke….

    Like

  85. 90 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    And as I typed that, Beachy left today’s game after just 2 innings. He should have been looking to go 4 this time around after going 3 in his last outing. He’s going in the wrong direction. I don’t like it. :-/

    Like

  86. 91 Gil in Mechanicsville March 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Yeah, kind of my reaction too but lest we forget, it is usually June before games really become do or die, even then it is August before the big push but one hates to be 10 games behind at the break. We saw how that worked out for the gNats last season.

    I guess that is why Fredi is givinag all those minor league free agents a chance to show what they have.

    On the bright side, isn’t Heyward having a nice spring? Another lead-off homer today. Looks like he has his timing down.

    Like

  87. 92 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    BTW… regarding Santana. He’ll command $13M+ for 2014, plus he’ll cost a draft pick to sign. He’s also a guy who has a few question marks on his own elbow, which is why teams have not yet offered him the kind of deal he was seeking. (And just learned he is his own agent. That doesn’t really help him either.)

    Like

  88. 93 Gil in Mechanicsville March 10, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Of course it’s not my money but Santana sure looks to be more and more a bargain every day….

    Like

  89. 94 Gil in Mechanicsville March 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I’d be willing to give up a first round pick for a front line starter. What did the Braves get for Gilmartin? Draft picks down aroung number 32 are not the same as picks in the top ten and pitchers are so fragil these days.

    Like

  90. 95 Gil in Mechanicsville March 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Sitting here watching the BoSox play Tampa on MLB. Longoria just hit a long home run and I was just thinking back when I saw him as a minor leager and he went 2 for 4 with a double and a oppo homer and predicting a great major league career. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut instinct when watching a player and you cannot always put your finger on it but you can just tell they are special.

    I saw Sean Casey when he played for the Richmond Spiders and he could just flat out hit.. Same thing. Looking back, I sure got to see a lot of kids show their stuff. I sure miss that…

    Like

  91. 96 berigan2electricboogaloo March 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Well, DOB makes it sound like the braves will gladly sit back on the their heels, and watch the Nats run away with the East…hey, you can’t win every year, right? :P
    This is not a good rotation. Too young, too unproven. Tehren might go 6-7, other guys 5-6. Bullpen will be wiped out by mid May…I actually like Freddy Garcia, he pitched with a lot of heart in the playoffs…but, he is pretty old, (not 74 though, I don’t think though he is latin, right? ;) )

    Like

  92. 97 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Garcia does have alot of heart… and alot of weight supported by that heart. He’ll give you about 6 innings a game if you’re lucky, and your ‘pen just lost Alex Wood.

    And I just heard Beachy left after only 37 pitches, and his velo topped out at 87 today. There’s a problem there folks.

    Like

  93. 98 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Ber, I must disagree on Teheran. This will be his coming out year. He’ll win 15+ and establish himself as our #1 guy. The dude has dominating stuff.But he is too young to shoulder the burden of a staff decimated by injuries.

    Like

  94. 99 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    There is a bright spot as Uggla hit a just hit a bomb in Clearwater…

    Like

  95. 100 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Like I already said… I don’t like it.

    Like

  96. 101 Gil in Mechanicsville March 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    SIGH!…. I’ve seen a year like this one before. Buddy Carlyle, The Mad Mexican… etc… that was a tough year. I see on the scroll that the Braves purchased a righty from the White Sox. Not looking good guys… The projected starters are really thin.

    Like

  97. 102 Gil in Mechanicsville March 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Zach Steward? I guess the Braves are trying to fill out their minor league pitching staff…

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/chi-zach-stewart-trade-atlanta-20140310,0,488598.story

    Like

  98. 103 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Like

  99. 104 Vox O'Raison March 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I guess the Braves are trying to fill out their minor league pitching staff.

    Well, guys like David Hale are suddenly looked at as rotation options. Need somebody to make some starts in Gwinnett. ;-)

    Like

  100. 105 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Still no word on Medlen, I’m hoping it’s just scar tissue giving up the ghost but I’m not confident. Thinking they don’t want to give Santana a bagaining chip.

    Beachy is still going through coming back from TJ. It might never loosen up to the point he wants. I know my left hand never did…

    Like

  101. 106 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I have to laugh when people say the Braves don’t hav the money to sign Santana, What they don’t have is the permission to spend the money…. There is a difference.

    Like

  102. 107 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

    These pins and needles I have been sitting on are getting very uncomfortable. One has to think that more time ≠ good news.

    Like

  103. 108 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Well Raisins, perhps it means an injury is not as obvious.

    True story: I once broke the ulna bone in my right arm, I broke it about 4 AM in the morning, I waited until around 8AM before going to my doctor. He ordered X-rays. When the pitcture were ready, he brought them into the room and looked at them and pronouced I had a “janitor’s fracture”… I said “janitor’s fracture” what’s that. He said well, the janitor, sweeping the floor could walk by, take a glance at the X-rays and say, “yep, she’s broke”…

    Bad news, 12 weeks in a cast, good news, cured my carple tunnel syndrom… Who said there is no silver lining…

    Like

  104. 109 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Like

  105. 110 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Bowman: … as things currently stand, the Braves are looking at beginning the season with [Kris] Medlen, [Brandon] Beachy and Mike Minor on the disabled list.

    Like

  106. 111 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

    He didn’t even mention Gavin Floyd.

    Like

  107. 112 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Teheran, Garcia, Wood, Hale and ??

    I usually can see the glass half full, but I am having trouble finding the glass. Even if Medlen’s injury doesn’t require surgery, he’s out for the season’s start. Same with Beachy. We already knew Minor was out. This is serious, folks. We could be out of the race before Memorial Day.

    Like

  108. 113 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Frank is supposed to address the media “soon” regarding Medlen. Would they wait if the news was good? Am I reading too much into this?

    Like

  109. 114 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Per DOB: “Medlen MRI showed ‘some involvement of the ligament’ and he’ll get second opinion and further evaluation.”
    :-(

    Like

  110. 115 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Like

  111. 116 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I feel sick to my stomach…

    Like

  112. 117 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Remember… since the 2012 All-Star break, only Clayton Kershaw has a better ERA in all of baseball (1.92) among pitchers who have worked at least 250 innings. Medlen’s ERA over that same period is 2.40. He’s 30-14 in his regular-season starts over the past 2 years, and his 3.59-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the 7th best among all active starters with at least 500 career innings.

    No small loss, y’all. Medlen is our ace.

    Like

  113. 118 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Devastating. Less than 3 weeks to Opening Day. Freddy Flippin’ Garcia, who was supposed to be competing for the 5th starter spot only until Gavin Floyd returns from injury is now the #2 starter? 8O

    Like

  114. 119 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 11:30 am

    When P&CR 4 weeks ago, the Braves were looking at this as a rotation:

    1- Medlen
    2- Minor
    3- Teheran
    4- Beachy
    5a- Alex Wood
    5b- Freddy Garcia

    Now, in a matter of days, we are talking about:

    1- Teheran
    2- Garcia
    3- Wood
    4- David Hale
    5- who knows??

    Maybe.. MAYBE you can skate by the first 2-3 weeks without a #5 and Minor can be ready. Maybe.

    Even if Beachy’s setback, and it is a setback no matter how it’s painted, only needs rest and a restart, it means he’s 3-4 weeks behind at best.

    And don’t get me started on the rash of elbow injuries… that’ll be a rant for another time. But I cannot imagine how 2-3 TJ’s per year on 1 team is some horrible hand of fate. Something’s not right in how these guys are preparing themselves physically. Roger’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

    Like

  115. 120 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

    If Rizzo did in fact say this, it gives me alot more respect for him. No team has more reason to “celebrate” than the Nats today.

    Like

  116. 121 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    All of that said (prior to the Rizzo comment), I hope I am very wrong. I hope Beachy makes his next start and can get back in the flow. I hope Minor continues to gain strength and is ready the 2nd week of April. I hope Wood shows his great potential (I am a BIG believer in that guy) and helps us move forward. I hope Freddy has a rabbit or 2 up his sleeve, at least for a couple of months.

    I wish Lucas Sims had another year of experience. Just too early for the kid, though.

    Like

  117. 122 Carolina Lady March 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Our hope needs renewing! :-(

    Like

  118. 124 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    On a positive note, Uggla follows yesterdays moonshot with another today. Reportedly both were huge shots.

    Like

  119. 125 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Wonder if the Braves could again approach the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija? It’d cost a mint now. It’d cost Lucas Sims and Christian Bethancourt. Ouch! Can’t see that. Don’t know of any starters being dangled.

    Like

  120. 126 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I wonder if the Braves have ever considered hiring Leo Mazone as a conditioning coach/consutant? It cannot be just by luck that he had all those years a pitching coach for the Brvaes with nary an arm problem….

    Like

  121. 127 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    On a more serious note, I think I would be really happy for the Braves to make it to June with a 500 record.

    Might have to trade Uggla to gain finacial room for a pitcher. He has really quited down at the plate. Not all that wiggly-waggle he has had in the past. It is allowing him to stay on the ball.

    Like

  122. 128 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Then again, if the starters can just keep the team in the game for the first six innings, a strong offense can cover up a high starters’ ERA.

    Like

  123. 129 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Leo had his pitchers throw more often, but at less effort. His pitchers would throw twice between starts, but at about 75%. Kept them loose. And they did not lift weights. Leo was anti-lifting for pitchers. Lifting tightens muscles. When muscles are tight, guess where the stresses go? Yep… to the supporting tissues, ligaments and tendons. Greg Maddux only lifted forks and beer cans. He never had an arm issue.

    Like

  124. 130 Vox O'Raison March 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t think Freddy Garcia has had any arm issues. He obviously does NOT work out. ;-)

    Like

  125. 131 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    My favorite John Madden quote, “You can’t pull fat”….

    Like

  126. 132 Gil in Mechanicsville March 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Beautiful day here in the Old Dominion… Did a little yard work in lieu of walking on the tredmill. T’is more fruitful.

    Like

  127. 133 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Like

  128. 134 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Wow!! 8O

    Like

  129. 135 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Just… wow! 8O

    Like

  130. 136 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Like

  131. 137 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 7:45 am

    And with that one very meaningful deal, it puts the pieces back into a more sensible order.

    Like

  132. 138 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Santana is a fastball/slider type RHP with a 3/4 delivery. His 4-seamer sits in the low to mid-90’s, and he’ll mix in an occasional changeup just to keep batters honest. He had a curve early in his career that he’s shied away from over the last few seasons, and replaced it with a 2-seam fb that he’ll throw sparingly… most likely to specific batters in specific counts. He was 9-10 last year for the Royals, with a 3.24 ERA, the lowest season ERA of his 9 year ML career.

    Like

  133. 139 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

    He’s been throwing, so he shouldn’t be “behind” in the classic sense, even though we’re 4 weeks into camp. It was reported yesterday that he had thrown a 2-inning simulated game (where?) on Monday night.

    Like

  134. 140 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Santana pitched 211 innings with the Royals last season with 6.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.

    Last year’s starters:

    Mike Minor: 204.2 IP, 7.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
    Julio Teheran: 197 IP, 8.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9
    Kris Medlen: 185.2 IP, 7.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
    Paul Maholm: 153 IP, 6.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
    Tim Hudson: 131.1 IP, 6.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9
    Alex Wood: 77.2 IP, 8.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9

    Like

  135. 141 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:16 am

    That’s pretty conclusive…

    Like

  136. 142 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Santana’s ERA compared with the Braves starters in 2013:

    Medlen: 3.11 ERA
    Wood: 3.13 ERA
    Teheran: 3.20 ERA
    Minor: 3.21 ERA
    Santana: 3.24 ERA
    Hudson: 3.97 ERA
    Maholm: 4.41 ERA

    Like

  137. 143 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Like

  138. 144 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Like

  139. 145 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Vox O’Raison
    March 9, 2014 at 8:55 pm
    “… I feel like Frank has to turn to the as-yet-unsigned Ervin Santana.”

    I’ll take the prophet star today, although it really was a no-brainer. Who else was available?

    Like

  140. 146 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:35 am

    For those keeping score, Santana was ranked as the #6 FA for 2014 and the 2nd ranked P behind only Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka (#5), and ahead of SP’s Matt Garza (#7), Hiroki Kuroda (#8) and A.J. Burnett (#9), and the unranked Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum.

    Like

  141. 147 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:39 am

    No word yet on how/when Fredi will work him into the Spring rotation. Gotta still believe that Julio will still make the Opening Day start, though. If I had to guess, Santana will probably not pitch in the first turn through the rotation (with its built in days off) to give him a little extra time to get in the flow.

    Like

  142. 148 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:41 am

    OK… I’ll leave the floor now following complete and total blog domination this morning.

    Just doing my job… ;-)

    Like

  143. 149 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Funy, the folks who worry about the cost of Santana, you would think it’s their money… I think Frank saw your post Raisins and said what the heck… we need a pitcher who is a solid innings eater.

    I am not delusional enought to think they just signed a Clayton Kershaw but no matter, they needed a healty starter. Just as long as he hasn’t been throwing at a matress in his basement.

    Like

  144. 150 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

    photo/1

    Like

  145. 151 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Too many tight bicepts and sore shoulders to be delusional in thinking the Braves were anywhere near ready for the start of the season as far as pitching goes. Just work Santana into the rotation and tell the offense to do their part. Could again be the season of three run homers for the Braves.

    Huddy got a win yesterday for the Giants but gave up 4 runs in 4 innings. It’s spring trainning, us it for what it’s for.

    Like

  146. 152 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Prophet star #2…

    Like

  147. 153 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I’m thinking the Braves did this deal yesterday after they got the initial results on Kris. No matter, if he has surgery, it will be 18 months, if not and just reasts, he would be a ticking time bomb on the mound this season. I love the kid and hope he can come back but I am not fooling myself in thinking he can come back to be the guy we had 4 years ago.

    Like

  148. 154 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 9:19 am

    By the way, not sure yet what he’s getting from the Braves for 2014, but Santana had at least 2 solid 3-year offers in the $13M per year range. By all reports, he wanted a better deal than he was being offered, and decided to take a 1-year deal to increase his long term value. That means short commitment from the Braves, and high motivation from Santana. Sounds like a great match to me.

    Like

  149. 155 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Now a bit of pure speculation…

    Based on last year’s numbers, and assuming no real injuries (a major assumption, granted), we should have at least 3 starters give us close to 200 innings each, +/- 15 wins each, and ERA’s right around 3. Beachy? Who knows? But between him, Wood, Garcia and Gavin Floyd, the #’s 4 & 5 slots should still be able to put up numbers at least as good as we got from Maholm… right? Braves starters got somewhere around 65 W’s from their starters last season. I gotta believe they can match that number in 2014 with Santana on board.

    Like

  150. 156 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 9:43 am

    More speculation…

    I truly believe Teheran has 20 win potential. Minor? Is 18 unreasonable? I don’t think so. 18 from Santana? Maybe. 15 is more likely. But let’s just say you can get 50 combined from those 3, It takes alot of pressure off the other starters. 70 combined wins from the starters is an attainable number.

    Like

  151. 157 berigan2electricboogaloo March 12, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Ace cub (braves?) reporter V was all over this story! ;)
    Great news! I think the higher ups realized that a really bad start would mean no one showing up to games come June/July/Aug…and a lot of moola would be lost. Glad they can see such a fact, and…reacted quickly.

    Like

  152. 158 berigan2electricboogaloo March 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

    You’d think Santana a Wren could smile a bit, eh? :P

    Like

  153. 159 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 9:55 am

    According to Mr. O’B:

    Santana’s deal is for $14.1M and “pushes Braves to about $110 million, or close to $20 million above last year’s payroll.”

    Like

  154. 160 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I think the higher ups realized that a really bad start would mean no one showing up to games come June/July/Aug…and a lot of moola would be lost.

    Exactly. Invest now; earn later. Not rocket surgery, is it?

    Like

  155. 161 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 10:09 am

    And lost in the circumstances and the turmoil of the week is the fact that the Braves just made a big name FA signing. Before last year’s inking of BJ, the Braves had not waded into the high $$ FA market in years. But now 2 years in a row, they have filled a void when needed. It’s a good pattern, and a good sign from Liberty. I don’t think we really have much of a right to complain about ownership anymore. They seem to have come around.

    My opinion? Liberty Media… that’s MEDIA, sees the insane TV deals floating around. Yes, the Braves are stuck with a stinker, but when that deal is up, a whopper is due to come along. Perhaps Liberty is positioning itself for said whopper, eh?

    Land speculators will buy tracts for 20-30 years in advance of them really blossoming into big payoffs. But during those dormant years, the owners make sure all of the zoning, utilities, etc. are lined up right for the big deal. The Braves aren’t much different from a business perspective. Perhaps Liberty is making sure the team will be at maximum value for the new Stadium, and then for the new TV deal.

    Like

  156. 162 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Mr. O’B: Medlen said he knows what’s coming, nothing official yet but he has accepted that he’s almost certainly going to need TJ surgery

    I just heard a radio interview with Meds. Very emotional. Gripping really. Man I hate it for him. And y’all know he is on a 1 year deal, right? That’s tough. It’s devastating for him personally.

    Think about it. Facing the tough battle for the 2nd time, with even less guarantee than the 1st time, and with financial uncertainty on the horizon as well.

    I believe he’s respected enough in the organization that he won’t be left out in the cold, but his big payday may never happen. Physical blow; mental blow; emotional blow. The ol’ 1-2-3. Ouch… :-(

    Like

  157. 163 Carolina Lady March 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

    My heart really goes out to Meds. I wanted him to do so well this year. Thanks for all the info, V! You definitely called it before it happened. Hey, Gil! We got some more of those prophet stars? V needs a couple of ‘em.

    Like

  158. 164 Vox O'Raison March 12, 2014 at 11:56 am

    More from the Meds interview:

    [as he is sniffling...] “… compared to what alot of people are going through, this isn’t that big of a deal…”

    Did he really just say that? I want a Kris Medlen jersey.

    Like

  159. 165 Carolina Lady March 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Get 2, V. I’ll pay you back next Tuesday.

    Like

  160. 166 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I read the interview on the AJC and I have to say my respect for Medlen has sky rocketed. What a well grounded young man. I know he has to really hate having to go thru TJ surgery again but hopefully he will be smart about it and the Braves will look out for him, I know they have with Jonny V.

    On Santana, everyone saying all the right things. I am not expecting him to be Claton Kershaw but if the offense improves this season like we all know they can, they can cover for a pitching staff that is not full of number ones.

    I am worry a little bit about Brandon Beachy but to be honest, it has been a really long time since he has pitched competativly. It is going to take some stretching out for him to get back to being a top of the rotation guy. I expect for him to start the season in Gwennett.

    Mike Minor? We will see, a lot of guys will get an opportunity to impress the management before all the regulars can return.

    That kid Reyes is really swinging it, not a smooth as Simba in the field but a nice piece to have in case a trade is called for. he is better than quite a few major league shotstops right now.

    Nice for Fab 5 and El Orso Blanco getting in on the homer parade. Just no need for them to get homer happy but nice to see the timing getting there.

    Like

  161. 167 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Oh, and VOR, be on the look out for those *stars*.. I will get them out to you as soon as I can get my press credentials from the Chief… :-)

    Like

  162. 168 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    In the meantime, how about an ATTA BOY? :-)

    All kidding aside, good catch.

    Like

  163. 169 Gil in Mechanicsville March 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I don’t know if anyone else caught the comments from Laird reference two guys going down? Something somebody is not really talking about.

    Like

  164. 170 Carolina Lady March 13, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Credentials???

    First order of business: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAISINS!! God bless and have many more!! And superior job above! You oughtta be managing or scouting somewhere. With the Braves, of course! :-D

    Super article:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140312&content_id=69163164&vkey=news_atl&c_id=atl&partnerId=ed-7968990-661139443

    Like

  165. 171 Carolina Lady March 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Q: Who threw the final no-hitter of the 2011 season?

    Like

  166. 172 Carolina Lady March 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    A: Ervin Santana (July 27; LAA vs. CLE)

    Like

  167. 173 Gil in Mechanicsville March 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Dang CL, the guy stole my new, as yet unpublished, blog lede…. Now I will get accuse of plagerism….

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENNY!!!! Just keep picking them up and laying them down…. :-)

    Like

  168. 174 Gil in Mechanicsville March 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Hey CL, check the hopper, I left the graphics department a present…

    Like

  169. 176 Vox O'Raison March 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for the B’day wishes y’all. Mucho appreciated. :-D

    Like

  170. 177 berigan2electricboogaloo March 13, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Happy Birthday VOR! Hope it’s a good ‘en… nice of the Braves to give you such a nice gift, even if it was a day early! :P

    Like

  171. 178 Carolina Lady March 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    NEW LEAD IS UP! Like, Share, Rate – please?

    Like


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