This Time It Counts

I’m not sure if I should have checked with the MLB licensing execs before using that headline.  But given what has transpired with the Braves over the course of this offseason, I didn’t see any need to wait until the All-Star Game to use it.

Before you ask whether one of Paul Kinzer’s term sheet requests or premature speculation is going to prolong the soap opera that was Frank Wren’s offseason, I figured I’d let you know Garret Anderson really has signed and no, he didn’t use invisible ink. 

Having been left at the alter on more than one occasion this offseason, the Braves were very guarded about the comments they made before Anderson underwent his physical on Tuesday and officially said, “I do.”

It’s quite obvious that many of the Braves are ecstatic about the fact that Ken Griffey Jr. opened the door that allowed Anderson to come to Atlanta.  Instead of worrying about the uncertainties Griffey would have brought while serving in a platoon, they now find themselves looking forward to the consistencies that Anderson will provide while playing left field on a regular basis. 

“It’s a tremendous pickup, great, great pickup,” Braves manager
Bobby Cox said. “This guy can practically play every day.”  <p>  

These aren’t exactly the words you’d want to hear if you’re Matt Diaz, who now finds himself as a backup who will see occasional time in left field.  But Chipper Jones is among those whose seems happy to know Anderson will be resting with him somewhere in the middle of the lineup.

“He’ll make a difference, ” Jones said. “We’re a little left-handed for my taste.  But Garret is going to help this team win ballgames and that’s all I care about.” 

The projected Braves lineup consists of two right-handed hitters: Jeff Francoeur and Yunel Escobar; and one switch hitter in Jones.  But manager Bobby Cox doesn’t seem too worried about the fact that his lineup will regularly consist of five left-handed hitters   — Anderson, Josh Anderson, Casey Kotchman, Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson. 

“Garret, Johnson, Mac and Kotchman have all hit left-handers in the past,” Cox said. “It really doesn’t matter how it shapes up.”

<b> Morton update:  </b>  Charlie Morton strained a muscle on his left side on Tuesday and it will be at least another week until he’s able to resume throwing. 

<b> Going to Lakeland </b>  Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson (presumably) will be the only projected starters not making the trip to Lakeland for Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener.  Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes, Manny Acosta, Stephen Marek and  Eric O’Flaherty are all scheduled to pitch.

Late blogotorial addition: (Sorry we didn’t have this information for the early edition)

<b> Minor freak injury:  </b>  As I mentioned earlier in a comment, Blaine Boyer sent me a text to tell me the cut he suffered on his right index finger came courtesy of an apple slicer.  Unfortunately for the right-hander, he had no intention to even make contact with that utensil.  He was simply reaching for a can opener. 

Boyer said the small laceration had no effect on him during his Tuesday morning bullpen session.  But he won’t make his scheduled appearance against the Tigers on  Wednesday.

- Mark Bowman

96 Comments

I really do hate this signing.

Blaine Boyer cut the index finger of his pitching hand on an apple slicer. The small laceration will prevent him from making his previously-scheduled appearance on Wednesday. But he didn’t have any problems while throwing on Tuesday.
Boyer says he suffered the cut while reaching in a drawer to get a can opener.

Here come all the dumb injuries! Maybe Jurrjens will fall down the clubhouse stairs again. Hopefully not.

This has nothing to do with the blog, but I noticed that Joey Devine made the roster for the World Baseball Classic. Good for him. I’m hoping he will make a name for himself. I really felt for him when Bobby threw him to the wolves the year we drafted him. 2 game winning grand slams and the heartbreaking homer to Brad Ausmus against the Astros in that horrible 18 inning playoff game. Not a great start to the career!

I am delighted we could finally consumate a deal even though I am unsure of this signing. Mark, how do you think this makes our lineup look come opening day. I know we have question marks in several spots but give me your best hypothesis on the lineup if you don’t mind. I am getting very excited for some baseball. We will see somewhat of the lineup tomorrow but it will be minus Chipper and GA. GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Garret Anderson will most likely hit cleanup vs RHP and Frenchy will be in that spot against LHP.
I didn’t even think about the fact that nearly the entire team bats left handed. Is that a good thing because the majority of pitchers are righties?

viva: about that LH issue, here are a few graphs from a story i just sent:
With the addition of Anderson, the Braves now possess a projected starting lineup that includes five left-handed hitters and just two true right-handed hitters — Jeff Francoeur and Yunel Escobar.

While this is somewhat concerning to the switch-hitting Jones, Cox and Braves general manager Frank Wren don’t seem too concerned. Their concerns are minimized by the fact that Anderson, Casey Kotchman, Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson have all hit at least .280 during their careers against left-handed pitchers.

In addition, the left-handed lineup could prove beneficial more often than not. The Braves recorded 2,360 more plate appearances against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers last year.

“If our guys were deficient against lefties, I think there would be more reason for concern,” Wren said. “But they’re not. They all handle it very well.”

How can Francouer hit in the 4 spot? He was terrible last year and needs to prove that he can drive runners in again. I hope GA plays against lefties also and can stay in that spot. I personally could not hit Francouer higher than 7th until he proves he is back and can handle the pressure of being a run producer. Last year every time he came up with the bases loaded I had to turn my head because I couldn’t stand the carnage. Heres hoping for the Francouer of 2006-2007. GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bowman,

I know that those guys hit well against lefties batting average-wise. But for no power. That’s a concern

69braves: Anderson’s addition doesn’t exactly bring a lot of clarity to the lineup. It’s not going to be an easy decision. This morning Chipper said he thought he’d have to hit cleanup. Then as he continued to speak, he said, “Oh I don’t know, we’ll have to see.” I think that’s how we’ve all felt while taking a stab at it. My best guess right now would be:

Josh Anderson
Yunel Escobar
Garrett Anderson
Chipper Jones
Brian McCann
Jeff Francoeur
Casey Kotchman
Kelly Johnson

Considering I was contemplating Kelly in the three hole just a few days ago, it seems ridiculous to throw him in the eighth spot. But this lineup at least breaks up some of the lefties. I’m going to hit the send button now before I change my mind. So let the debating begin.

Thanks Mark! What do you think of GA hitting in the 2 spot? He is a hitter who uses all fields, a smart base runner and a line drive hitter. Escobar on the other hand led us in DP’s hit into last year. Of course we can pick any lineup to pieces and find problems anywhere if we want. I say lets PLAY BALL!!! Go Braves!!!!!!!!!!!

dero: you’re definitely right about the power depletion they may realize against lefties. McCann slugged more than 100 points higher against righties last year and Anderson has hit 79 points higher against righties during his career. There isn’t as much of a drastic difference in the splits for Kotchman and Johnson.

bravo: I think you might have seen Devine’s name on a preliminary roster. The official rosters will be announced at 6 p.m. We’ll see if he’s made the final cut. It would be nice to see. He’s one of those good dudes that you always pull for.

Hey Mark,

Are you sure you’re not being too overconfident at the beginning of this post?

We might not get Peavied, or Griffeyed, or Furcaled, but there’s still time to be Odalis Perezed!

I think your lineup could pretty well be on the mark, Bowman.

I originally had KJ batting #3 as you mentioned but I could see Anderson slotting there on a daily basis.

It’s not a coincidence that Chipper all of a sudden in this camp mentions that he might hit #4. He knows he’s going to hit 4th. Probably already been approached and told we need this by Bobby.

Bowman any word yet on roster machinations with Anderson and Glavine signing now?

I know you mentioned earlier that hudson would be placed on the 60 Day DL, probably one more move needed.

Hopefully you can speculate freely on that 40 man roster stuff?

I guess Chipper can hit 4th. I just liked him more as a 3 guy since he doesn’t have to worry so much about hitting for power instead of just hitting. I wonder if this will change his mental approach to the game. And I thought he said he enjoyed hitting 3rd more than 4th. If he is going to hit 4th, then why not hit McCann 3rd?? I think he is an all around better hitter than Anderson, no offense to him. Would we hit BMac 5th so that Chipper is better protected?? Is that the reason for that?

Just saying bravomania (it doesnt really matter), but I’m pretty sure that the guy who hit that homer in the 18 inning game off of Devine was Chris Burke, not Brad Ausmus.

adc: I got a chuckle out of that one. Yeah, I guess we should have protected ourselves against the possibility that, that wasn’t the real Garret Anderson wearing a Braves uniform today. Is there any reason this thought made me think of Reggie Jackson in Naked Gun?

david… I think Chipper’s talk about hitting fourth is simply something he’s been discussing. I think Bobby is still open-minded and looking forward to getting a better look at the guys over the next week. in some ways I can make sense of 69braves’ suggestion to move GA to the #2 hole. But I would be afraid that Escobar would change his approach and attempt to be more of a power hitter if he’s placed in the third spot.
also david, the Braves placed Hudson on the 60-day DL to make room for GA. When Glavine arrives in camp and puts the pen to paper, they’ll have to remove somebody from the 40-man and with a flip of the coin, I’ll stick with Lerew instead of Stockman.

Bravesman — You’re right. It was Chris Burke. Didn’t Ausmus have a big HR in that game too? Either way, that game shaved YEARS off of my life… let’s stop talking about it! I LOVE GA in the 2-spot, but HATE Escobar in the 3-spot. He hits into ALOT of double plays and he will totally try to hit more homeruns. Escobar is a great player who can let things go to his head. He’s much better as a contact hitter. I also hate Chipper batting cleanup. He too is much better when he hits for avg as opposed to power. His career stats are much better in the three spot. He probably won’t hit more than 25 hrs and that’s even IF he plays 140+ games… which is a big IF. In a perfect world, imagining that Frenchy did not have the year he had last year and hit 30+ homeruns and drove in another 100… my perfect lineup for this year would be:

Anderson

Anderson

C. Jones

Frenchy

McCann

Escobar

Kotchman

K. Johnson

Of course their are too many question marks surrounding Frenchy to put that kind of lineup out there… but man if he starts off hot… I would make it that in a heart beat!

The sun is up, the movers are out, IT”S BASEBALL AGAIN!!!!!!!!!
Let’s get it on.

Here are some numbers to ponder while debating where Kelly should fit in the lineup. While hitting in the first three spots of the lineup last year, he hit .274 (94-for-343) with eight homers. While hitting sixth through eighth, he batted .318 (55-for-173) with three homers.
During the 2007 season while hitting in the top two spots, he batted .263 (103-for-392). While hitting seventh or eighth, he batted .347 (34-for-98).

Looks like KJ succumbs to a little pressure in those top spots, Mark. If Bobby or Frank are looking at those numbers, it’s a no brainer to keep him in the lower part of the order. It’s not just for the guys that can’t hit, and we’ve definitely got the arsenal to have good numbers all the way through the order.

One other plus for KJ in the #8 spot is a very selective eye combined with good foot speed.

You don’t want your #8 hitter chasing pitches out of the zone since you want the order turned over as quickly as possible.

Also helps to have a good baserunner with some quickness for the inevitable bunts from the pitcher. A sow footed guy in the 8 hole can be very hurtful.

Bowman,

Tthe last couple of seasons the “Professor” has always come down early and every single ST game has been made available via MLB.com even if Atlanta radio was not broadcasting.

Just glancing through the first 5-7 games this season, some not avialable at all and all listed feeds are opposition feeds.

Are any Braves radio personnel around camp yet?

Any thoughts of trying Diaz at first base to platoon with Kotchman? And since Ohman’s likely to sign for less than $1 million, isn’t there just a little money left to keep him in the Braves’ pen? A proven lefty would be a big help against the Phillies!

I’d be surprised to see Ohman go under $1 million. I’d be even more surprised to see the Braves sign him at all.

Frank Wren doesn’t strike me as a guy who begs ANYBODY to play for him. Will should have taken the money when it was offered. Ohman was recently quoted as saying, “Would you like fries with that?”
Oh well.

Just me but if any RH AB’s go out at 1B,2B or even LF I want Prado to get them over Diaz.

Prado is a better hitter IMO.

Prado has his little nuances between every pitch that he has to do at the plate, and he’s said himself that he does one till it stops working then finds one that works and sticks with that, so on and so forth, but regardless, I think he proved himself in ST last year and throughout the season. I even saw him a few times at Richmond and he’s clutch, he connects, and he puts the ball in play. I still think Diaz should have a chance though. He’s paid his dues and it seems like he keeps getting put on the back burner. If he proves he’s healthy, let him play.

Prado is SOOOOOOOOOO much better than anybody seems to want to admit. He won a batting title in AAA for goodness sake. He may be our best gap hitter on the team. Diaz is a hitting machine, but he is also a hack. Prado has all star potential if he can lose the utility stigma.

Paying your “dues” only lasts until the better guy comes along. That’s just the way it is, ask Marvin Harrison this morning. Prado is the better option, no matter how nice a guy Diaz is.

I’m not sure if I follow the debate of Prado vs. Diaz. There will be a place for both of them on the roster. Bobby is using Jeff Francoeur as his DH today and Jordan Schafer is playing right field. Don’t put any stock into this. Bobby will continue to shuffle his outfielders over the next couple weeks and take advantage of the opportunities to use the DH. Obviously we all know that Frenchy can play the field. It makes more sense to see what the kids can do with the glove.

Yeah, I would like to say that although I like Garret Anderson, I never really thought about the abundance of left-handed hitters and didn’t expect Bobby to not utilize a platoon in left. Prado needs to play everyday. Plain and simple. Now that I look at the numbers, I think that Kelly could put up similar ones in left field. Prado could’ve played second base and the money for Anderson could’ve been used to get Ohman (who I thought had been signed) or someone else to strengthen the bullpen. Prado would also even out the righties/lefties dynamic, although not solving the power problem.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Josh Anderson CFYunel Escobar SS Brian McCann C Casey Kotchman 1B Jeff Francoeur DH Kelly Johnson 2B Matt Diaz LF Martin Prado 3B Jordan Schafer RF

Mark as a way of explanation for my take,

I just think any AB’s that Diaz might get from LF or even 1B as someone else speculated, should go to Prado.

I hope that whn BC wants to spell Anderson in LF or Kotchman at 1B, I prefer that Prado get all those AB’s instead of any of them going to Diaz.

I know that Diaz is the 4th OF right now but IMO he’s a poor fit because of not being able to play anything but LF.

I undesrtand that if ST ended today that both Prado and Diaz would be in their respective roles.

Thanks for posting the lineups, Greatly appreciated.

Tigers feed is available via MLB Gameday Audio.

Top of the first inning recap vs. Justin Verlander:
Josh Anderson grounded out on a dribbler in front of the plate; Escobar grounded out to third, McCann drew a walk after working the count full; Kotchman reached on a generously-ruled infield single; and Francoeur lined out to first base.

As I’ve said we’re going to be talking a lot about Schafer and less than one full inning into the Grapefruit League season the young outfielder has already displayed the strength and accuracy of his arm.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Schafer fielded Miguel Cabrera’s fly to right field and threw a perfect strike to the plate that at least made things interesting for the speedy Curtis Granderson.
Jair Jurrjens escaped further damage by getting Carlos Guillen to ground into an inning-ending double play.

After Verlander pitched around a Matt Diaz walk in the top of the second, Jurrjens once again struggled with his control in the bottom half. Gerald Laird laced a triple past a diving Schafer in right and scored the inning’s only run on a wild pitch.

During his two-inning effort, Jurrjens threw 26 of his 39 pitches for strikes. When I talked to him yesterday, he was concerned about the consistency of his delivery and the fact that he hasn’t been able to regain the feel for his slider. We’re going to head down to talk to him soon. I’ll let you know what he says.

Wouldn’t it be a riot if Jo Jo all of sudden decided to “get it” and spent the entire Spring Training looking like Hanson did in Arizona? Bobby would have an ulcer, and Frank would have the trade bait he has been looking for. It would just be an interesting twist. Yes, I know, I’m a sick puppy some times.

The kids have entered the game. Jason Heyward is playing right and Freddie Freeman is playing first base. Both of these 19-year-old top prospects have certainly caught Bobby Cox’s attention. Cox has spent the past week raving about the Freeman’s powerful, compact swing.

I think Jo Jo drives everyone crazy. He’ll throw a brilliant game one day, then his next start he can’t get anything right.

I just caught up on all the comments. I still can’t believe this Prado/Diaz debate. I’m with you Mark, they will both get their AB’s.. but man, Prado has had only one solid year. What more does Diaz have to do to prove he is worthy of being the go to guy on the bench. .. other than consistently hitting over .300 before his injury. Rother — did you actually call Diaz a hack? Have you seen his strikeout to AB ratio? Prado is a stud, but Diaz deserves more credit.

Diaz is a “see ball hit ball” guy. What do you call that? Not hack in the sense of he sucks, “hack” in the sense that he is up there hacking all the time. He’s harder to walk than Francoeur used to be. He can hit, and both should make the team. I like them both.

Beats the heck out of talking about Pete Orr, Pena and Thorman as the bench guys.

The legend begins, Freeman knocks in 2 with 2 out his first AB. Go get em Freddie!!!

Acosta is in… not a huge fan.

Live arm, no location?

9 pitches and 3 k’s? I was slightly distracted with work. Who were those batters?

wow – 9 pitches. strikes out side. not a very impressive offensive inning.

heyward was one of them

It hasn’t hit the box score yet, who was the pitcher? It sounds like a Zumaya inning.

Conrad, Heyward, Diory Hernandez

SCHAFER HOMERUN!

It was the HGH. LOL.

Bobby Seay was the pitcher.

Tiger announcers laughed about the strike zone.

Said home plate ump must need to be somewhere ASAP.

Poor guy. He’ll be putting up with crap like that all year. I retract it.

lol rother. doesn’t matter, we’re winning and coming out of a hole to boot, something they didn’t do very well last year.

Schafer just opened the seventh inning with a homer. As Matt Diaz just said, ‘there isn’t a tool this kid doesn’t possess.” He showed his arm in the first inning, his speed with a fifth-inning stolen base and his power with this solo blast. The marketing people in Gwinnett might want to hold off on scheduling promotions that feature him.

And Mark is sitting there blogging from the dugout. YOU suck lol.

So what happens if Schafer AND Josh Anderson have a huge spring training?

Check this scary line up out, circa 2011:
LF Heyward
CF Schafer
RF Francoeur
IB Freeman
2B Johnson/Prado
SS Escobar
3B ???(Probably a stud we trade for)
C McCann

With a rotation of most of the following:

Hudson
Lowe
Jurrjens
Hanson
Vazquez
Kawakami

Buy the tickets now!!!

Don’t know who will be more bummed out if Schafer does start with the “Big Club” fans of other NL East teams or the immortal Tony Schavione.

yeah Mark… seriously. I’m sitting in a cubicle with a tie around my neck and you are actually getting paid to do what you are doing right now… it’s just not fair.

It’s a good thing you are good at what you do or I’d really be ticked. lol.

Chipper will still be with the Braves in 2011. Remember, only a few days ago they were talking about giving him a contract extension.

It would take a HUGE Spring for Schafer to beat out Anderson unless they can move Anderson in a trade. There is no way he gets put on waivers.

Bravomania you couldn’t take the pay cut to do what Mark does. Sad but true.

I guess I can fit him in the 2011 line up then, lol. That looks like it is going to be a pretty tough team.

rother, that lineup holds no power whatsoever. The only thing we can hope for there is high averages. Impressive, I agree, but there’s absolutely no deep threat there.

Hey Genius, Schafer / Freeman / Heyward are all supposed to be future power threats. McCann will hit 25+ HRs annually. Franceour (on paper) should as well.

Define deep threat?

Schafer, McCann, Francoeur, Freeman, Heyward, Chipper, Johnson, are all 20 + Home Run guys. What the heck do you want?

Good Grief!!!

Heyward just made a strong throw to the plate that would have prevented a run had Clint Sammons shown any sort of aggression while attempting to make the tag at the plate. Sammons’ slow reaction reminded me of the play he didn’t make during a game in Philadelphia last September. I think you guys are going to be happy that they went out and got Dave Ross.

Tiger’s Radio Broadcast after a single hit through First Base:

Announcer A – “I guess we found out a little bit about Freeman’s range at first on that play”

Announcer B – “Yeah really. I bet he is a really good hitter”

Announcer A – “Yeah… he’s gotta be”

hilarious!

There is ZERO chance the Braves EVER sign a big fat Neanderthal that hits 40 homers and strikes out 150 times. Give SaltLake a call, he can sell you on Jim Edmonds some more.

They should talk with the defense they put out there in Detroit. That is funny though. Foot speed must not be Freddie’s calling card.

haha SaltLake. I LOVE ELLIPSIS…AND WRITING IN CAPS.

It sounds like Schafer is having a great game defensively as well.

He must have been Edmonds’ agent.

Hey Rother, I like you’re lineup of the future… this could be aother blog in and of itself… but who do you guys think will be managing that group of youngsters. Assuming this is Bobby’s last year. Do we stay in house and give TP a shot? Maybe Ned Yost or Freddie Gonzalez? Interesting discussion!

I’m with you rother that 2011 has plenty enough pop to win.

A reak shame that lineup could be sullied with a dave kingman slowpitch softball type among it. LOL

My pick, and the guy I think is best qualified wrt baseball knowledge is Chipper Jones. That guy is downright scary with what he knows and remembers about baseball. Not to mention 17-20 years under Bobby as well.

I would really shy away from an interim type guy. And really, TP hasn’t shown me much in any of the interviews I’ve heard.

Even though we are now losing it is great to be playing some ball. Francouer was a disappointment today going 0 for 4 with 3 left on. Hey, its early yet. GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!

Hey Dave, Richie Sexson is still out there to pick up!!!LOL!!! HE fits that category to a T. He’s even taller than Kingman was.

Chipper as player/manager next year?? I think Freddie Gonzalez just signed an extension to the 2011 season, so I would HOPE that Bobby sticks around until then. Terry would be alright, but I don’t see him having the same success as Freddie.

I wasn’t saying they needed one of those rother. I agreed it was an impressive lineup. It’s just nice to have that threat like Andruw used to be.

Good game today regardless.

TP hasn’t really proven anything to me. our offense has dropped significantly. That has a lot to do with acquisitions, but it frustrated me that he wasn’t able to work with frenchy to turn things around last year… andruw too. They should hire Chipper’s dad… that guy is one hell of a hitting coach… ask Chipper!

Sure was. I’m not too worried about Juan Perez getting hit late in a ST game. This team is going to be fun. I did like how the regular pitchers only gave up runs on outs, that’s pretty good damage control. No big innings equals a pretty good season.

Mark,
Have you ever asked Chipper about managing after Bobby? That would turn into a very interesting interview if he was in the right mood. Bobby would probably stick around an extra year to transition it as well.

I see Chipper playing into the 2012 season. Easily.

80 games a year? He only plays 125 or so now. It has been a while since he has been an everyday guy.

Well, he’s going to get the contract to allow him to do so soon. i would let Chipper play until the 2022 season if he wanted to. I don’t care if he plays 10 games or every game.

I wouldnt mind Chipper managing but I think that he should be like a hitting coach. Maybe if TP became head coach, Chip could be the hitting coach. When Bobby retires, we should bring Yost or Gonzalez back

Here are some projected power rankings for 2009:

PECOTA- http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/

CHONE- http://www.baseballprojection.com/2009standings.htm

FOX Sports- http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/powerRankings

I figured this could spakup some debate nothing else something intersting fo everyone to check out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41,481 other followers

%d bloggers like this: