Tagged: Frank Wren

The Uggla trade is Frank’s best ever, How about another surprise?

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Frank Wren’s theft of Dan Uggla from the fish this week (who
is this man and what has he done with the real Frank Wren) is his best deal
since becoming GM and appears to have solved our right handed power outage.
Wren and Fredi have said that Martin will move to left and back up Chipper at
third. Leaving Chipper’s future for another time, we are left with openings in
center and in left when Martin is playing elsewhere.  I was sitting down to make a case here for
trading a couple of minor league prospects to pry Rajai
Davis
from the Athletics when I found the Blue Jays had
snatched him from Oakland for almost nothing. 
Davis was .284/.320/.377 this year down from 2009 number but more like those
expected from him and a pretty good player when you add in his 50 steals.  I felt he fit our needs perfectly. Sadly
Frank didn’t receive my thought message -€“ perhaps I’m call blocked ?- and
missed out on this deal.  If you believe
like I do that Nate is a lost cause we still have a hole to fill there. So what
are the options?

Internally there’€™s of course Jordan Schafer
but he’s pretty much a lost man too; his numbers are McLouth like or worse. So, Matt
Young
may be a better option. In the minors his career numbers are  .289/.390/.385/.775  as compared to say Blanco
whose minor league numbers were 269/.368 /.366/ .734 . In the majors Blanco’s
numbers are similar ( 258/.358/.324/.682)  thus it could be argued that Matt will perform
in the bigs like he does down there. Matt also steals bases and at a 70% career
rate. This season at Gwinette he stole 39 and was caught 7 times with .300/.380/.407/.786.
He’€™s been tearing up the winter leagues too hitting .380 with a .958 OPS in 92
at bats.  So maybe he’s ready for prime
time.  His numbers are a lot better than Nate’s.
Let’€™s give the rookie a shot.

The rest of the outfield could be Diaz and Mclouth
as the platoon backups.  Before anyone says
it, yes I’€™d rather have Hinske than Nate as well but unless we can package him
and move him we’€™re stuck. And who would want him or even take him?  I do have an idea;€ it’€™s weird, strange and
probably has no chance but. . . what about the Mets? Before you choke on your
supper consider this.

The Mets have one really bad contract they want to move; Carlos
Beltran
. Carlos has largely been less than New York (unrealistically) expected
and paid for. He has one year left at $18,500,000 about 12.5 mil too much by
today’€™s standard. Beltran’€™s knee surgery meant last year’s numbers are very
skewed but when healthy he’s a good number two hitter – he hates hitting 3,4 or
5 where the Mets put him -€“ and plays a really good center field. If we package
Nate to replace Beltran in their outfield ($6,500,000 in 2011 with a 1, 250,000
buyout for 2012 with something else they need but can’€™t afford, a pitcher who
can eat some innings; KK.  I know you’re
in cardiac arrest by now so I’€™ll wait on the medics to revive you. . . . . . .
. better now?

KK didn’t
actually pitch all that badly if you ignore his pressure filled start well or
die game in September. Earlier he kept us in games but we scored nothing for
him. He could easily have ended up 9 – 9 and for a 5th starter that isn’t
too shabby. KK gets $6,667,000 this year. 
Together Nate and KK get $14,417,000 from us like it or not. Swapping
them to the Mets allows them to move a man who doesn’t like them anymore than they like him. But he is a
talented player that we get for two guys looking for a change of scenery who fill voids for
them AND saves them $4,083,000 in the bargain. If you feel bad about it ask them for $2 million cash as well, I don’t mind. In return we get a talented
player in his walk year for what amounts to 4.1 million.  Beltran – a life time 28 homer 106 RBI man 282/.359/.494/.853
– would be revitalized by a move that makes him not THE star but just another
guy on the team and the Braves would profit from his eagerness to prove he’€™s
not a lost cause in his walk year.

Ok it probably won’€™t happen but it sure looks like it could
work. The alternative is Nate, a rookie or we trade away something we need
for someone making about 4 million and hope it works.  If it were me, I’€™d ask Sandy Alderson and see
what he says. Who knows, we might all get better because of it.

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The Uggla trade is Frank’s best ever, How about another surprise?

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Frank Wren’s theft of Dan Uggla from the fish this week (who
is this man and what has he done with the real Frank Wren) is his best deal
since becoming GM and appears to have solved our right handed power outage.
Wren and Fredi have said that Martin will move to left and back up Chipper at
third. Leaving Chipper’s future for another time, we are left with openings in
center and in left when Martin is playing elsewhere.  I was sitting down to make a case here for
trading a couple of minor league prospects to pry Rajai
Davis
from the Athletics when I found the Blue Jays had
snatched him from Oakland for almost nothing. 
Davis was .284/.320/.377 this year down from 2009 number but more like those
expected from him and a pretty good player when you add in his 50 steals.  I felt he fit our needs perfectly. Sadly
Frank didn’t receive my thought message -€“ perhaps I’m call blocked ?- and
missed out on this deal.  If you believe
like I do that Nate is a lost cause we still have a hole to fill there. So what
are the options?

Internally there’€™s of course Jordan Schafer
but he’s pretty much a lost man too; his numbers are McLouth like or worse. So, Matt
Young
may be a better option. In the minors his career numbers are  .289/.390/.385/.775  as compared to say Blanco
whose minor league numbers were 269/.368 /.366/ .734 . In the majors Blanco’s
numbers are similar ( 258/.358/.324/.682)  thus it could be argued that Matt will perform
in the bigs like he does down there. Matt also steals bases and at a 70% career
rate. This season at Gwinette he stole 39 and was caught 7 times with .300/.380/.407/.786.
He’€™s been tearing up the winter leagues too hitting .380 with a .958 OPS in 92
at bats.  So maybe he’s ready for prime
time.  His numbers are a lot better than Nate’s.
Let’€™s give the rookie a shot.

The rest of the outfield could be Diaz and Mclouth
as the platoon backups.  Before anyone says
it, yes I’€™d rather have Hinske than Nate as well but unless we can package him
and move him we’€™re stuck. And who would want him or even take him?  I do have an idea;€ it’€™s weird, strange and
probably has no chance but. . . what about the Mets? Before you choke on your
supper consider this.

The Mets have one really bad contract they want to move; Carlos
Beltran
. Carlos has largely been less than New York (unrealistically) expected
and paid for. He has one year left at $18,500,000 about 12.5 mil too much by
today’€™s standard. Beltran’€™s knee surgery meant last year’s numbers are very
skewed but when healthy he’s a good number two hitter – he hates hitting 3,4 or
5 where the Mets put him -€“ and plays a really good center field. If we package
Nate to replace Beltran in their outfield ($6,500,000 in 2011 with a 1, 250,000
buyout for 2012 with something else they need but can’€™t afford, a pitcher who
can eat some innings; KK.  I know you’re
in cardiac arrest by now so I’€™ll wait on the medics to revive you. . . . . . .
. better now?

KK didn’t
actually pitch all that badly if you ignore his pressure filled start well or
die game in September. Earlier he kept us in games but we scored nothing for
him. He could easily have ended up 9 – 9 and for a 5th starter that isn’t
too shabby. KK gets $6,667,000 this year. 
Together Nate and KK get $14,417,000 from us like it or not. Swapping
them to the Mets allows them to move a man who doesn’t like them anymore than they like him. But he is a
talented player that we get for two guys looking for a change of scenery who fill voids for
them AND saves them $4,083,000 in the bargain. If you feel bad about it ask them for $2 million cash as well, I don’t mind. In return we get a talented
player in his walk year for what amounts to 4.1 million.  Beltran – a life time 28 homer 106 RBI man 282/.359/.494/.853
– would be revitalized by a move that makes him not THE star but just another
guy on the team and the Braves would profit from his eagerness to prove he’€™s
not a lost cause in his walk year.

Ok it probably won’€™t happen but it sure looks like it could
work. The alternative is Nate, a rookie or we trade away something we need
for someone making about 4 million and hope it works.  If it were me, I’€™d ask Sandy Alderson and see
what he says. Who knows, we might all get better because of it.

Into the Future with Fredi and Freddie or Ok I’m here now what?

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I know I promised
this last week but the World Series was in full flow and much more interesting
than anything I could have written; at least that’s my excuse.  Last time I recounted the ups, downs,
elations and frustrations of 2010. This time I’ll peek into the future and see
what we need and what I think can be done under the financial restrictions
Liberty Media (may they sell us to someone who loves the game soon) put of
Frank (I don’t have any idea what a good deal is) Wren and his crew.  Let’s start with the obvious.

The infield is
pretty well established if you accept that 1) Freddie will settle in and adapt
quickly to the big league like he did at all levels of the minors and 2)
Chipper will come back ready to play third in something resembling his old
form.  I’m not sure either will happen
but for now we’ll take those things as given. Martin Prado will be back at
second and Alex Gonzales at short. The infield defensively should be significantly
better than we showed late in 2010. Brian behind the plate and Jason in right
are certainties also leaving the two big holes where they were all of last year;
center field and left field.  To do that
they will more than likely look to make trades rather than jump in for a big
free agent. The reason is simple; Liberty Media don’t care about baseball
enough to invest so this season’s payroll will probably be about the 93 million
mark.  As it stands now we have 68.5
million or so of that committed mostly to Lowe (15), Chipper (13), Hudson (9),
KK (7.3), Nate (7) and McCann (6.6).  Sending KK back to Japan as rumored would
clear about 4.3 of that but until it happens (please make it soon) we can’t
count on it. No one is going to take Nate and his contract off our hands so
we’ll just hope he finds some kind of form or can fill in as a 4th
outfielder without embarrassing us.  That
leaves just 24 million to satisfy our needs. So what do we do?

Let’s get the
numbers out there for the big 3 free agents this year; Adrian Beltre, Carl
Crawford and Jason Werth.  Crawford is
the pick of the litter and team will bid very high to get his bat and speed in
their lineup.  We’re talking 6 years 20
million I suspect for him/ The Angels, Red Sox, and Tigers all have a bunch to
spend and have declared an interest.  So
sorry gang, no Carl.  Adrian Beltre is
the elite infielder this year. He opted out of a 10 million dollar option to be
a free agent.  The Red Sox want him back
and will probably let Victor Martinez go to make sure that happens.  Besides if Chipper comes back in any kind of
form we can’t use him this year without sitting Chipper and that isn’t
happening. That leaves Jason Werth. Werth is THE power right handed bat on the
market this year.  Everyone suddenly
needs right handed power so he will be expensive too. He’s not Carl Crawford
expensive; think Jason Bay numbers. He’ll get 5 or 6 years at 17  19 million from one of the teams that doesn’t
get Crawford.  That kind of money is not
the way the Braves usually spend – well except for signing Lowe in a panic
after thankfully losing A J Blow it…err Burnett to the Yankees. Frank has said
he will be creative and yesterday’s acquisition of Joe Mather signals he is still
bargain hunting.

Joe Mather
is a useful player with some pop who got hurt in 2009 and didn’t return to full
strength last year. He was promising as a rookie and the Braves tried at one
time to trade Blaine Boyer or Rafael Soriano for him so he was valued pretty
highly.  He can play any outfield and first/third
base and has even filled in as a pitcher. His signings seems to make Matt Diaz
excess to needs at last year’s salary. Eric Hinske is also doubtful as he is
testing the free agent market and lots of clubs can use him off the bench.  He may return but as much as I would like it
I don’t think it’s going to happen.  Since
I doubt the Dodgers are really going to give up on Kemp or the Red Sox on
Ellsbury I am omitting them.  Either would
be an upgrade of course but I’m not sold on Kemp’s commitment.  Cody Ross will probably be offered a job in
San Francisco and who could blame them? 
Pat Burrell is I’m afraid not worth the investment. Though he played
well for the Giants and I wondered why Frank didn’t call him and at least talk,
I wouldn’t look at him for 2011. Maybe I’m wrong but of course that isn’t new.
So, having looked around the rosters a bit there are some options I think might
make sense.  To be clear I am not in love
with any of them just saying they might be a fit.

Xavier Nady.
Before getting injured Nady was a highly thought of outfielder who would hit
20+ homer and drive in 80 or so runs a year. Tommy John surgery shortened his
stay with the Yankees and as a Cub he started infrequently as he tried to get
his stroke back after almost 2 years off. 
He would fit Frank Wren’s idea of value; recovering from injury, history
of quality play and of course cheap.

Magglio
Ordonez
.  Yes he’s old and not a
great defender. He was however having a comeback year when he broke his ankle,
hitting .303/.378/.474/852 and on track for 24 and 120. If he can reproduce
that and considering what we had for defense in left field last year Maggs
might be a good choice . . . if he’s fit.

Other than those
guys the power market is thin. They will get over paid I suppose but there’s
not much else out there.  Let’s look at a
couple of trades.

Chris Young.  The D-Backs Center fielder is a good fit.
Last year he was .257/.341/.452/.793 while hitting 27 homers and driving in 91.
 Their new GM Kevin Towers wants to get
rid of the strike outs in the lineup and Chris qualifies for that list – He struck
out 145 times so his strike out average of 265 was higher than his batting
average – but Larry Parrish might be able to teach him a bit of the strike
zone. Towers would want pitching of course but a deal may be possible there. He
makes $5 million this year, 7 million in 12 and 8.5 in 13 so he might fit in
the budget too.

Hunter Pence.  The Astros are rebuilding and Pence as a
super 2 might be available. He looks like anything but a ball player except
when he’s fielding, running or hitting. 
Last year he was .282/.325/.461/.786 with 25 homers and 91 RBI on a bad,
bad team.  He can play anywhere in the
outfield and while not a gold glove fielder would match nicely with our
needs.  He’s going to get around 5
million this year and the Astros might just swap him if the offer was right.

Ok, I’m done
babbling for today.  I hope the Braves
make wise signings this off season and don’t rely so much on the medics on hand
for the retreads they sign for $1.50 and a can of coke.  Let me know what you think.