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Official Braves Off Season Thread


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rather than bump an old Peavy thread, i figured i'd start a legitimate thread for the Braves off season

first tidbit.....

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Braves Make Offer To Ohman

By Tim Dierkes [November 17, 2008 at 4:50pm CST]

According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Braves made an offer to free agent lefty Will Ohman. At least ten teams are interested, so Ohman will continue to test the market. Bowman figures Ohman is looking for two or three years at roughly $4MM per.

Ohman, 31, posted a 3.68 ERA in 58.2 innings for the Braves this year after coming over in a trade with the Cubs. He held lefties to a .200/.257/.314 line.

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I just thought about this. Can Tyler Flowers play LF? I know he can play 1B because I saw him do it last spring but I don't know about the OF. If he can play LF that would be great. He could also serve as our backup catcher and spell McCann every 5th day. That would be killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

I saw read that the Braves may look at bringing Paul Bako back as the backup catcher. That would be good too. Bako was the Reds starting catcher in 5 of the teams 6 shutouts last year. That just shows how good he is at calling a game. He's not much with the bat but did have a career year as far as homeruns go. That could have been a huge product of playing in that stadium.

Just saying that if Flowers could play LF he could be our verison or the Pirates' Ryan Doumit. He plays LF, RF, 1B and C for them and can really hit.

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This thread is a good idea.

Two days ago I met a gentleman at the Falcons game who was a professional baseball instructor at one of the more prominent baseball academies in Metro Atlanta. He was very close (family friends) with a certain member of the Braves, and was on a first name basis having trained a number of Atlanta area alums (particularly Francouer, McCann, Davies, Flowers, Mickey Hall of the Red Sox, just to name a few).

So we got to talking, and i really picked his brain. Here are the highlights:

- McCann has lost a lot of weight, and is determined to be the catcher for the Braves for a long, long time. He is focused on durability (particularly quickness and flexibility).

- Francouer has lost some weight too. When I mentioned that Frenchy doesn't need to add another 20 lbs. of muscle as was reported last off-season, this gentleman assured me it wasn't all muscle. He also noted that Frenchy put on so much weight that he injured his knee, but did not tell anyone. He and his wife then told me how much it hurt Jeff to be sent down to the minors, and how it just really made any type of turn around that season impossible. He assured me that Jeff's a natural, and needs to focus on getting back to what he does best, and that is when he is comfortable at the plate.

- I asked him about Tyler Flowers, and he told me that he doesn't remember anyone hitting the ball as far as Flowers could. He told me that Flowers is about a year and a half behind because he spent his first 50 games as a professional suspended for PED. He has moved past it, and has shown he can hit. Really hit. When I asked him about Flowers playing LF, he said he was a little bit too big, but was surprised Flowers wasn't given a shot to replace Teixeira (instead of trading for Kotchman). He said at this point, because the C depth is so weak for the Braves, Flowers will start at AA and continue to force himself into a line-up, whether that is with the Braves or not.

We mostly talked hitting, since this guy was a hitting instructor, but it was really great to hear straight from an inside source. Shame to see Frenchy hurt, if you want to believe that he isn't just making excuses, but he assured me that Jeff was just trying to hard (came into the season aiming to hit too many HRs).

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Read this; Ted Turner interested in buying back the Braves?

Link

It couldn't happen until 2011, but how much would this rock?

I would love to see Ted come back to The Ted.

Liberty Media, without officially saying so, bought the Braves as a way to acquire an additional asset through mostly tax-free transaction (swapping stock for most of the Braves), and look to sell at the highest profit.

This may sound bad for Braves fans, but luckily they understand that an asset such as a sports franchise will only appreciate if it has sufficient funds to continue operating at a successful level.

Ted will have every opportunity to get this team back in his lifetime, assuming he has the funds to do so.

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This thread is a good idea.

Two days ago I met a gentleman at the Falcons game who was a professional baseball instructor at one of the more prominent baseball academies in Metro Atlanta. He was very close (family friends) with a certain member of the Braves, and was on a first name basis having trained a number of Atlanta area alums (particularly Francouer, McCann, Davies, Flowers, Mickey Hall of the Red Sox, just to name a few).

So we got to talking, and i really picked his brain. Here are the highlights:

- McCann has lost a lot of weight, and is determined to be the catcher for the Braves for a long, long time. He is focused on durability (particularly quickness and flexibility).

- Francouer has lost some weight too. When I mentioned that Frenchy doesn't need to add another 20 lbs. of muscle as was reported last off-season, this gentleman assured me it wasn't all muscle. He also noted that Frenchy put on so much weight that he injured his knee, but did not tell anyone. He and his wife then told me how much it hurt Jeff to be sent down to the minors, and how it just really made any type of turn around that season impossible. He assured me that Jeff's a natural, and needs to focus on getting back to what he does best, and that is when he is comfortable at the plate.

- I asked him about Tyler Flowers, and he told me that he doesn't remember anyone hitting the ball as far as Flowers could. He told me that Flowers is about a year and a half behind because he spent his first 50 games as a professional suspended for PED. He has moved past it, and has shown he can hit. Really hit. When I asked him about Flowers playing LF, he said he was a little bit too big, but was surprised Flowers wasn't given a shot to replace Teixeira (instead of trading for Kotchman). He said at this point, because the C depth is so weak for the Braves, Flowers will start at AA and continue to force himself into a line-up, whether that is with the Braves or not.

We mostly talked hitting, since this guy was a hitting instructor, but it was really great to hear straight from an inside source. Shame to see Frenchy hurt, if you want to believe that he isn't just making excuses, but he assured me that Jeff was just trying to hard (came into the season aiming to hit too many HRs).

Awesome, awesome stuff. They had a story on AJC.com last week about McCann's off-season training and how he wants to play his whole career as a catcher. While I didn't know about Francoeur's knee you could tell his ankle was hurting him also and the Braves announcers made the point that it was the same ankle Francoeur broke playing football in HS. You could tell he was trying to hard to prove that he deserved a contract like what McCann got.

Read this; Ted Turner interested in buying back the Braves?

Link

It couldn't happen until 2011, but how much would this rock?

That would be the bomb. Please either him or Blank.

I appreciate Francouer working hard and trying but he needs to get over being butt hurt about that trip to the minors. He was sucking hardcore and deserved it. You can tell when a guy has been coddled and never really faced much adversity. Time to grow up Jeff.

Well it's not a shock that getting sent down hurt his feelings. When you go through you're whole life and everything comes easy to you. The first time it doesn't you just don't know how to handle it. He knows what he has to do and how to get better and he's doing it.

My point is that I just don't see how you give up on a guy that will only be 25 at the start of next year and in 2007 had a .293 BA with 19 homeruns and 105 RBIs. He also showed in 2007 the ability to battle at the plate and hit the ball to right field. I have no reason to think he won't get back to do that. I keep hearing about his walks but from 2006 to 2007 he basically his walks total. Meaning he was heading in the right direction. I just caulk 2008 up to being a bad year which happens. Do we all remember 2004 when Chipper had a .248 BA? Mean people were calling for his head too. What has he done since then? Exactly.

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Well it's not a shock that getting sent down hurt his feelings. When you go through you're whole life and everything comes easy to you. The first time it doesn't you just don't know how to handle it. He knows what he has to do and how to get better and he's doing it.

My point is that I just don't see how you give up on a guy that will only be 25 at the start of next year and in 2007 had a .293 BA with 19 homeruns and 105 RBIs. He also showed in 2007 the ability to battle at the plate and hit the ball to right field. I have no reason to think he won't get back to do that. I keep hearing about his walks but from 2006 to 2007 he basically his walks total. Meaning he was heading in the right direction. I just caulk 2008 up to being a bad year which happens. Do we all remember 2004 when Chipper had a .248 BA? Mean people were calling for his head too. What has he done since then? Exactly.

I'm not saying get rid of him. All I'm saying is that as a person who had to work my butt off to get where I got playing baseball it irks me to see someone in a great position who's never really been challenged get so bent out of shape about getting benched. It makes him look like a big baby. This comment above

He and his wife then told me how much it hurt Jeff to be sent down to the minors, and how it just really made any type of turn around that season impossible.
says everything. If you can't "recover" from that then you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide your gonna toughen up rather than sulk the rest of the year.
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I'm not saying get rid of him. All I'm saying is that as a person who had to work my butt off to get where I got playing baseball it irks me to see someone in a great position who's never really been challenged get so bent out of shape about getting benched. It makes him look like a big baby. This comment above says everything. If you can't "recover" from that then you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide your gonna toughen up rather than sulk the rest of the year.

I never said you did. I was just saying that is the general view of many people. Also as John Smoltz said later on during that game that he filled in as the broadcaster that once to get to that point in the season and you look up at the scoreboard every at-bat and it says .220 or whatever and know no matter what you do you can't make it better till next spring when everybody starts out at .000 than it makes it really hard. I completely understand. I sure that Bobby Cox and Frank Wren had that talk with him and Smoltz and Chipper and the other vets told him that he needed to grow some thicker skin. There is only 2 ways to go. You can be like Andruw Jones and not give a rip and keep trying to do the same thing over and over again or you can change and get better. I have no doubt that Francoeur is doing the latter.

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No way we were gonna give Burnett 5 years 80 million. That's too much. I wouldn't be shocked to see us take a huge chance on Ben Sheets. Just a gut feeling.

i agree about Burnett. if we were to make a run at him, i could see an offer similar to what Dempster is supposedly getting, but not any more. if we went after Sheets, i would low ball the heck out of him...and by that, 6 or 7 million per considering what he's capable of. when healthy, he can be as dominant as any other #1 starter, but with his health issues, he's a definite gamble

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i agree about Burnett. if we were to make a run at him, i could see an offer similar to what Dempster is supposedly getting, but not any more. if we went after Sheets, i would low ball the heck out of him...and by that, 6 or 7 million per considering what he's capable of. when healthy, he can be as dominant as any other #1 starter, but with his health issues, he's a definite gamble

Exactly. Sheets is as dominating as anyone when healthy. Remember this year was the first time we beat him going back years. He owns us. I would like to have him on our side for a chance. It's a huge gamble but you never know. It could payoff. Let's not forget that J.D. Drew has had 1 healthy year in his entire career and it just happened to be with us and it was a career year where he carried us. It was in 2004 and Chipper was hurt and when he did play only had a .248 BA. Drew took over Chipper's spot in the lineup and hit 34 homeruns and was insanely great. You just never know. Lightning may strike twice.

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Unfortunately I think Towers will wait until the top pitchers are off the FA board, and then "let the bidding begin". But he will NOT find a better deal than the Braves, but I don't think we are going to get a bargain. Yunel & 2 prospects is still the going rate.

And everyone said the same thing about Santana last year and we saw that the Mets didn't have to give up anything great to get him.

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Exactly. Sheets is as dominating as anyone when healthy. Remember this year was the first time we beat him going back years. He owns us. I would like to have him on our side for a chance. It's a huge gamble but you never know. It could payoff. Let's not forget that J.D. Drew has had 1 healthy year in his entire career and it just happened to be with us and it was a career year where he carried us. It was in 2004 and Chipper was hurt and when he did play only had a .248 BA. Drew took over Chipper's spot in the lineup and hit 34 homeruns and was insanely great. You just never know. Lightning may strike twice.

We're not in a position to take that kind of a gamble IMO. If we had a complete team and maybe just needed ONE pitcher, I'd be all for it. But regardless of injury-plagued career, he's still going to get a pretty hefty contract. For a team that needs so much, and has to use the available funds *wisely*, it doesn't make much sense IMO.

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We're not in a position to take that kind of a gamble IMO. If we had a complete team and maybe just needed ONE pitcher, I'd be all for it. But regardless of injury-plagued career, he's still going to get a pretty hefty contract. For a team that needs so much, and has to use the available funds *wisely*, it doesn't make much sense IMO.

The reason I say take a chance on him is because 2009 is probably gonna be another 90 loss season unless we get Peavy. Give him a 1 year deal and who knows. If he gets hurt then it's not that big a deal because we suck anyway. No way in **** do we contend in the East without Peavy. Jurrjens and a camp of nobodies isn't gonna get it done. We saw what happened this year.

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Starting pitching options dwindle for Braves

Ryan Dempster's decision to re-sign with the Cubs lessens the options Braves GM Frank Wren has in his pursuit to acquire top-caliber starting pitchers. But with Dempster off the market and both Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett possibly in line to receive attractive offers from the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively, the Braves aren't going to immediately resume trade negotiations Padres in an attempt to acquire Jake Peavy.

The Braves halted a six-week attempt to land Peavy on Friday and they haven't provided any indication that they will feel forced to resume these negotiations. They need an ace. In fact, they need two starters to fill the top two spots in their starting rotation. But they currently seem hesitant to resume their pursuit of Peavy, who has never provided reason to believe he'd definitely waive his no-trade clause to play in Atlanta.

Mike Hampton, Jon Garland, Randy Wolf and Oliver Perez are among the other free agent starting pitchers who could prove to be profitable gambles. At the same time, Wren is currently talking to a number of teams attempting to find attractive starting pitchers, who may be available via trade.

- Mark Bowman

Like I said before. We don't get Peavy and we won't get a #1 starter. :( The Braves need to use their #1 pick on a college starting pitcher like the Giants did with Tim Lincecum a couple years ago. I would have to look it up but Lincecum spent very little time in the minors.

Say hello to 2010.

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We're not in a position to take that kind of a gamble IMO. If we had a complete team and maybe just needed ONE pitcher, I'd be all for it. But regardless of injury-plagued career, he's still going to get a pretty hefty contract. For a team that needs so much, and has to use the available funds *wisely*, it doesn't make much sense IMO.

i agree with this as well. but to be honest, outside of Lowe and Sabathia, what available pitchers have been healthy that we could have interest in and be front of the line starters.......none......even Peavy has had his arm issues as we're all aware of. i'm not saying go after Sheets by any means, but if the contract off was right, it'd be well worth looking into. personally, i'd go lower than the 6-7 million per that i mentioned earlier.....maybe 5 million per with incentives to bump it up to the 12-15 milliion per if healthy...IE, 27 starts and so on.....**** you guys know how the incentives work. keep it a small contract in terms of years, say 2-3 at 5 per with incentives to make it worth his while. that is of course, if we showed any interest in Sheets. i seem to remember reading somewhere that we weren't very interested in him and with his injury history, i can say that i blame the front office for not being very interested. but if we do get involved, low ball the **** out of him and see what happens.

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Just looked up Tim Lincecum's minor league stats and wow. He pitched a grand total of 13 games in the minors. That's it. He pitched in 8 games in 2006 after he was drafted at the Low A and High A ball levels. Than started 2007 at Triple A and after only 5 starts there was called up and hasn't looked back since. Why can't the Braves do the same thing?

Linky

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Braves shift offseason pitching strategy

Even with hurlers coming off market, Atlanta still optimistic

By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Now that the starting pitching options have started to dwindle on the free-agent market, it's even easier to understand why the Braves worked so hard in an attempt to acquire ace Jake Peavy.

Still, even with Ryan Dempster having re-signed with the Cubs and A.J. Burnett reportedly preparing to receive a five-year, $80 million offer from the Yankees on Tuesday, the Braves aren't flinching or preparing to immediately reengage in Peavy trade negotiations with the Padres.

If the Braves are going to resume their pursuit of Peavy, it appears the Padres are going to have to make the first move. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren and his staff currently have their sights elsewhere, as they attempt to land two high-quality starting pitchers.

"We're still staying on course," Wren said. "There's other guys that we like and there are other trade opportunities. The list isn't long, but there are other options out there."

It didn't surprise Atlanta that Dempster gained his wish to stay in Chicago. Nor was it surprising to hear that the Yankees are seemingly making a serious bid for Burnett. Now the Braves find themselves among the teams waiting to see if Burnett's reported offer is accurate.

The Braves still have an interest in Derek Lowe, whose representative, Scott Boras, will have no problem patiently waiting for clubs to provide his client top dollar. If Lowe opts to pitch in Boston or any other Major League city other than Atlanta, the Braves would then find themselves dipping into the next category of available free-agent starting pitchers.

This category would include Jon Garland, Randy Wolf and Oliver Perez, who all have the capability of being profitable gambles. At the same time, Wren is talking with a number of teams with the hope of finding a trade opportunity that might not have been available as recently as last week.

"The one thing about the trade market is that there's always a chance that it can change," Wren said. "Teams have plans going into the offseason, and, when those plans change, the teams shift and might have something to offer that wasn't available in previous conversations."

As things continue to unravel, there's certainly a chance the Padres could return to the Braves and attempt to complete the negotiations that weren't completed last week.

With a need to significantly slash, the Padres seem to be in a position where they almost have to trade Peavy, and the general consensus is that the Braves have undoubtedly provided them the best offer to date.

Before Atlanta pulled out of active negotiations last week, San Diego GM Kevin Towers was encouraged enough by the offer that he's not ruling out the possibility of reengaging with Wren in the near future.

"You never know," Towers said. "We certainly made more progress with them. We were able to ID and agree upon a large part of the package."

The Padres are seeking Major League-ready pitchers, and the Braves were willing to provide this with a choice between Jo-Jo Reyes or Charlie Morton. In addition, it's believed Wren would have also highlighted his package with shortstop Yunel Escobar and outfield prospect Gorkys Hernandez.

When the Padres continued to ask for this package to be further sweetened last week, Wren grew uncomfortable and opted to focus his attention elsewhere.

Before the Braves start investing more time in their pursuit of Peavy, they'd like to get a better sense of what it would take for Peavy to waive his current full no-trade clause. The 27-year-old hurler's no-trade rights become limited in 2011 and '12, the final two guaranteed seasons of his current contract.

Because Atlanta has a policy to not provide no-trade clauses, Towers has wondered whether Peavy would even agree to any trade involving the Braves.

The policy to not extend no-trade clauses dates back to 1990, when current team president John Schuerholz came to Atlanta to serve as the general manager. During that time, the Braves arguably have never traded a player who would have been worthy to demand such a clause.

But this of course has a lot to do with the fact that this 18-season span included 14 consecutive division titles and little need to undergo a major roster reconstruction process.

Even though the Cubs have already re-signed Dempster, they haven't completely ruled out the possibility of adding Peavy to their already impressive starting rotation. But they'd likely have to get at least one other team involved to create a package that would satisfy the Padres.

Towers has admitted it will be difficult for the Cubs to create this package.

"The team you're dealing directly with has to have something to offer a third club," Towers said. "That makes it much more difficult. A lot of times, your trade partner may not have what it takes to get the player you're looking for. ... And if it's a contending team, they don't want to give up their established players."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Something amusing from the Gammons article:

558 -- Justin Morneau (129 RBIs)

515 -- Garrett Atkins (99 RBIs)

508 -- David Wright (124 RBIs)

503 -- Mark Teixeira (121 RBIs)

498 -- Carlos Beltran (112 RBIs)

494 -- Jeff Francoeur (*71* RBIs)

483 -- Ryan Howard (146 RBIs)

480 -- Carlos Delgado (115 RBIs)

This is when you realize just how detrimental Francoeur was to the Braves in 2008. Nobody else with this many opportunities managed fewer than 99 RBIs. The average result was 121 RBIs. He was a full 50 under that. What a disaster.

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Something amusing from the Gammons article:

558 -- Justin Morneau (129 RBIs)

515 -- Garrett Atkins (99 RBIs)

508 -- David Wright (124 RBIs)

503 -- Mark Teixeira (121 RBIs)

498 -- Carlos Beltran (112 RBIs)

494 -- Jeff Francoeur (*71* RBIs)

483 -- Ryan Howard (146 RBIs)

480 -- Carlos Delgado (115 RBIs)

This is when you realize just how detrimental Francoeur was to the Braves in 2008. Nobody else with this many opportunities managed fewer than 99 RBIs. The average result was 121 RBIs. He was a full 50 under that. What a disaster.

I don't know that I would use the word "amusing", but I get your point. Jeff Francouer is a bum.

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