Archive for July, 2009

84: Buyers or Sellers?

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Voice of Reason Raisins

We discuss needs/possibilities mostly from a vacuum, looking at our needs and finding possible matches. I’d like to offer a little different perspective…

IF the Phillies add Roy Halladay for their stretch run, I believe the Braves should become sellers and build for next year. Does that make me a quitter? No – it makes me practical. The Braves are struggling just to reach .500, for crying out loud. What justifies any real playoff aspirations? The system, though, is set up to begin providing great pieces possibly as soon as next year. Keith Law believes the Braves are set up better than any other NL team for the next decade. Uh, that’s long time, folks. I don’t have any desire to disrupt that for a failed attempt to make a very iffy run at a playoff spot in ’09 with a very flawed team..

The reality is that the Phillies are MUCH more talented offensively, but lack the front line pitching to push them over the top. Add Halladay to their mix, and the balance tips generously toward the City of Brotherly Shove.

I have no desire to become perpetual rebuilders, but to admit that this year is a stepping-stone to greater success in the near future isn’t bailing on the season, it’s preparing for the next decade. And the real prospects go deeper than the familiar names of Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Cody Johnson and Jordan Schafer. A quick google of pitchers Brett DeVall, Julio Teheran, Cole Rohrbough and Zeke Spruill not to mention J.J. Hoover, Randall Delgado and Jacob Thompson will make even the most negative of fans smile a little. Then there are pitchers Scott Diamond, Eric Cordier, Edgar Osuna, Craig Kimbrel… I could go on…

Now the fielders:  move past OF Heyward and1B Freeman

Heywood&Freeman

and you get 1B Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg (a mouthful to say the least)

Riann

and OF Adam Milligan.

MilliganAdam

Those two are the next wave of Heyward and Freeman. Big time talents.  SS Brett Hicks is disappointing this year, but has impressed every year prior. We already have Martin Prado and Brooks Conrad, who has proven to me that he can be a viable everyday major-leaguer. The only real hole is at 3B. But that is where depth elsewhere bails you out, right? One fact many people overlook is that a minor league system is for two purposes: supply the major league team, and swap excess to fill need.

Think of this lineup:

1. McLouth, LF
2. Escobar, SS
3. Chipper, 3B
4. Heyward, RF
5. McCann, C
6. Freeman, 1B
7. Prado, 2B
8. Schafer, CF
9. pitcher

It’s not that far away, gang. That’s a young lineup aside from Chipper, and the pipeline is still full behind it.

Yep, I want the Braves to succeed every year including this one, but I’m realistic enough to recognize their shortcomings. We sorely need a LF… we sorely need a RF… we sorely need a 1B. We aren’t filling all 3 spots before July 31. Just can’t do it. Anything short of that still leaves a flawed team.

Now 2010… that’s different…

~Raisins~

83: Here’s Your (Braves) Rant!!!

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

Like many of us long-time Braves fans, our allegiance wasn’t forged since 1991. Oh, no…and oh, dear, for otherwise, our patience would have been sapped long ago. Nope, for me, I harken (poetic, ain’t it!?!) back to the late 60’s/early 70’s, to the insufferable Milo Hamilton and the equally HamiltonMiloinsufferable Brave’s teams. But they were our Braves…and we clung to hope…cause that’s what true fans do. Milo left…we stayed through thick (you have to imagine) and thin(ner)!

The fact is, those earlier times were easier to be fans in the strictest sense. We enjoyed the game for what it was…and feasted on the occasional teaser (1982-83). The only other intrigue, ’69 aside, was Aaron’s chase of the Babe … Garber halting Rose’s streak … Horner jumping straight from college to the Braves, and homering … and Murphy’s exploits. Otherwise it’s pretty slim pickings.

But, we had Ernie, Skip, and Pete to keep us entertained…many times to the point they forgot the game, which was a good thing.

Now, we have reasonably good talent each year, but a Hall of Fame manager acting like there is one book to manage by … and it sucks! How is it we have one of the top three starting rotations in baseball, and a solid relief core, yet have three of the only six MLB pitchers with over 42 appearances this year? Please, someone … explain … pound it through this thick skull, ‘cause it ain’t computin’!

Yesterday was yet another loss squarely on Bobby’s shoulders. The seeds were sown three days ago, with his inane use of the bullpen…yet again. Hey, Bobby! Actions have consequences. The key to managing is not just for today but also for tomorrow! Hello! Anybody home?

I looked on incredulously as he pulled Medlen in the 5th…the 5th…no oneMedlenK out and a four-run lead. One reliever has already gone home with a sore elbow! If he’s gonna yank Medlen, how patient will he be with the relievers?

Typically, he wasn’t. “Boone, go get ‘em.” “Manny, loosen up!” “You too, O’Flaherty!” “Peter, you’re not tired, are ya?” “Hey, ‘New Guy’, go do a Joey Devine for us!”

Give me a freakin’ break! The bullpen is to hold the lead, when it’s time to hold a lead! Not for the manager to panic with a four-run margin…in the 5th inning. Either a player learns to work through some level of adversity – or he never learns. Hey, Medlen…you tried…prob’ly coulda done alright, ya know? As it is, good luck getting any confidence in your current role…but good luck with your new club!

Folks, don’t try to make sense of CoxFarewellthis; it’s why it’s a RANT! If there is any, it’s purely accidental – well, ‘cept for this: Bobby, it’s time to enjoy the sunsets!

~Salty~

82: Yunel ???

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Voice of Reason Raisins

I can’t read Buster Olney’s recent article because I am not an ESPN Insider, (nor shall I ever be), but according to sources, Olney says that “the Braves are willing to trade Yunel Escobar for a good hitter”.

escobar

Should we be surprised? Head cases do not last long in the ATL. But is this an indictment of the Braves, or of Yunel? Before you answer that question, let me remind you of Gary Sheffield’s relatively quiet tenure under the tomahawk…

Sheffield

Gary Sheffield made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers on September 3, 1988 at the tender age of 19. While there, he accused the organization of being “racist” and suddenly endured a series of “injuries” to his wrist, thumb and shoulder before being traded to San Diego prior to the 1992 season. While with the Marlins, he publicly stated his unhappiness with landing on an “expansion” team. With the Dodgers, he publicly criticized management, as well as coaches and teammates. He then spent two very quiet years with Atlanta before leaving via free agency for the Yankees. There he publicly criticized both Brian Cashman and Joe Torre before being traded to Detroit. Prior to this season, Detroit released him despite owing him more that $14MM.

The point? Even a guy with the clubhouse reputation of Gary Sheffield can find tranquility in the Braves clubhouse. But apparently Yunel cannot find such solace. Now don’t get me wrong here. I like a player with personality. I like the fire. But fires that burn out of control can do a good bit of damage in their wake. Maybe, I said maybe, it’s time to dig the break.

Now, to the field and the question of how sound a trade of Yunel would be. Obviously, it is impossible to judge without knowing what the return would be, but we are a group of speculators, eh?

So, that being said, if Wren could get a return of a decent defensive SS to go along with that bat, I’d be OK with it. And let’s be clear… the bat should be of the SG defined boppage variety. Nothing less is acceptable. So, to further speculate, if we can add a real bopper to a traditional bopper position, i.e. 1B, LF, RF, and add a decent defensive SS, would that make folks happy? I think so…

And remember – you have to give quality to get quality. No way around it.

Yunel is a special talent. He is a better offensive player than most SS, but not the best. He is above average defensively, but not the best. If you can add a bona fide bopper, and hold the line defensively, I think you are taking a step forward.

What do you think?

~Raisins~



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