Back to life and back to reality

Nate McLouth provided an immediate upgrade and he’ll undoubtedly prove to be an asset to the Braves over the course of the next few years.  But as we’ve seen through the first week of his career in Atlanta, his five-tool talents aren’t great enough to serve as the solution to his new team’s offensive woes. 

When the Braves were shutout during the first two games of the McLouth era, they opted to move their new center fielder into the leadoff spot and magically they found themselves scoring 19 runs during a three-game span that began on Sunday.

But stealing a line from the old Soul II Soul song, the final two games of the Pirates series brought the Braves back to life and back to reality..
 
When the Braves prevented Tommy Hanson from losing his debut on Sunday, they (or Chipper Jones specifically) took advantage of Manny Parra, who has an 11.90 ERA in his past four starts,  and an over-taxed Brewers bullpen.
   
The majority of Monday’s seven-run uprising came at the expense of Zach Duke, who was charged with six runs and 11 hits in six innings.  But this was nothing new for the Braves.  Back in April, when Brian McCann couldn’t see, they actually pounded the left-hander with 12 hits and six runs in six innings.
 
Then Wednesday night, they botched the opportunity that was provided when Charlie Morton’s early exit prompted the impromptu entrance of Jeff Karstens, who had suffered the loss during  Monday’s 15-inning marathon with an 18-pitch outing.
 
With a quick rebound, Karstens allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings and set the stage for Paul Maholm, who allowed one unearned run over seven innings on Thursday afternoon.  Maholm till hasn’t surrendered an earned run in the 14 innings he’s tossed against Atlanta this year.
 
“I thought Maholm pitched another great game, but, we’re saying that too much in here,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. 

Chipper Jones said that Thursday was actually a day when the Braves justifiably had to tip their caps to Maholm.
 
While respecting Jones’ opinion, I’m sticking with Cox and holding the belief that Mike Hampton likely would have already damaged his wrist if he had to tip his hat as frequently as the Braves hitters have this year. 

While hitting .224 on this recently-completed nine-game homestand, the Braves were limited to two runs or fewer five times.  Making matters worse is that they went winless in the four games that their starters allowed two runs or fewer. 

Over the course of the past nine games, the Braves starters allowed 26 earned runs and posted a 3.90 ERA.  Take away Tommy Hanson’s debut and that ERA drops to 3.33. Regardless, either way you look at it, this span should have included more than four wins.

While the Braves were able to at least enhance their feeble outfield production with the acquisition of McLouth, they’ll need to do much more to make the necessary improvements to a lineup that still relies too heavily on the production of Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. 

” If (Brian McCann) isn’t playing and I go O-fer, we’re in trouble,” Jones said. “If I’m not playing and Mac goes O-fer, we’re in trouble.”  

While there was no doubt that this lineup would be centered around Jones and McCann, the Braves obviously were counting on more from Garret Anderson and Jeff Francoeur, whose fourth-inning single on Thursday provided him just his fourth hit in his past 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
 
Anderson is who he’s always been minus the power that he displayed during the early years of this decade.   When they signed him, the Braves knew about the fact that he’s a far from vibrant personality.  But it’s safe to say that they envisioned him hitting better than .254 with a .373 slugging percentage through his first 40 games.
 
Anderson’s struggles have only magnified those of Francoeur, whose .621 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is actually 32 points lower than the mark he produced during last year’s disappointing campaign. 

Courtesy of the disappointing statistics he’s produced over the past two years, Francoeur has been forced to face the reality that he’s subject to regular criticism. 

While being one of the many who have been critical of his production, I would certainly never question Francoeur’s determination and passion for the game. He’s still the same great kid that arrived on the scene four years ago. But he’s currently not the same great player we had envisioned. 

As things currently stand, it’s tough to envision Francouer being back with the Braves beyond this season.  But at the same time, it’s not like Frank Wren is going to his team’s outfield woes by trading him.

While there’s still a chance that the Braves could deal Francoeur at some point this season, they certainly aren’t going to do so until they have somebody capable of filling the right field position.
 
Thoughts of Matt Diaz playing right field every day are erased by the reality that Anderson isn’t capable of playing left field on an everyday basis.  Plus with Jordan Schafer and Brandon Jones currently ailing, I don’t see any other internal options developing any time soon. 

So with limited available funds, the Braves will continue to evaluate the trade market with the hope that it produces a solution before it’s too late. 

To get the return that they are seeking, they will have to supply something significant.  While dealing Javier Vazquez would provide the opportunity to gain some financial breathing room, the Braves may be reluctant to deal him before having a better feel about what they could expect from Tim Hudson during the season’s final two months and next year. 

Without a suitable replacement, it’s also tough to envision trading Yunel Escobar.  But for every sensational contribution the shortstop provides, he seems to further bother his teammates by habitually committing mental mistakes and displaying the flashy personality that infuriates opponents and umpires.    

Wren’s task isn’t an easy one.  But as it becomes harder for him to watch his anemic offense there’s certainly reason to believe he’ll be further motivated to improve it.      

87 Comments

I hate to say it, but it must be said, it may be time to look for a new hitting coach. We’ve done some great things since he’s been there, but it was mostly with older more established hitters. Of late, it just seems like we’re having altogether too many LONG hitting slumps.

I disagree with firing Terry Pendelton. Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francouer just can’t hit. They each have had 4 years to hit and can’t. You are what you are. And they both have under performed. With that said outside of Nate McLouth, Jeff Francouer has been the best and most talented outfielder the braves have had in 5yrs. Jeff almost has no trade value at this point in which the braves most likely would get and expiring contract or a head case of a player for Francouer. He is just 25 and if it does work let him walk b/c we really don’t have an alternative.

It’s going to take some prospects, but we’ve gotta bring in someone plus their salary. If we don’t we’ve basically taken that 40 million dollars we spent on pitching this off-season and pissed on it. Because if we knew our offense wouldn’t let us win games we wouldn’t have spent the money in the first place. So we’ve got to correct the problems.

PWHjort

I’ve read some of your previous post and seem to make rational postions on various topics. Who would you envision the Braves trading to get a bat.

And Wren and the front office seem unwilling to pay a Big free agent bat (ie Holliday).

Wow, Mark the column is great tonite. I guess the 300 pound gorilla has said hello to all of us. We are not firing on all cylinders for a lot of reasons. Let’s face it every one else’s scouting report on Garret was better than ours. We got him cheap for a reason. Frenchy is a whole nuther issue. He came into the game with prodigious tools and has been beset by a steadily declining ability to recognize strikes. To Lamar who thinks he has played the “best outfield for the Braves in the last 5 years” , I might remind him of Andruw’s 51 HR’s in 2005 and 41 in 2006. Acocompanied by 128 RBIs and 129 RBIs, when has Frenchy ever produced that? All that said, I think on balance it’s best to keep Francouer. We can’t get anything for him, he play’s great defense and with different coaching he might excel. as to our lack of money to find help we absolutely blew it in the offseason. We signed Kawakami to a ridiculous contract when what we needed was help on offense. At the point we signed KK we had 3 proven starters, Glavine(a bit risky), Hudson( August comeback, 2 Minor league studs, 2 major league experienced talents(Morton, Jo, J and a host of other wannabe starters like Bennet, Campillo, et al. I MEAN FOR GOD SAKES FRANK, do you need 25 starters on the roster. Granted last year was tragic but you don’t go out and sign half the pitchers on the Eastern Seaboard to compensate for it.

We could have signed Dunn for KK’s salary. We could have had serious help with right handed power. we could have even developed depth in our infield. I mean KJ is a defense limited lightweight bat.

It has come time for a management change with the Braves. Pendleton is a diaster as hitting coach, Frank Wren is in way over his head and has very poor instincts when it comes to player evaluation.We can find a better GM than that. And as sad as it makes me to say it, I think Bobby has lost his feel for the game. I love Bobby and all he has meant to the Braves organization, but like those of you who have said recently about Glavine, there comes a time when the old bull shouldn’t answer the bell any longer. I think Bobby should retire with dignity and let a young firebrand light a fire under these kids. I think that the Chemistry is there, it’s just that the fire beneath this team needs to be lit.

Also the braves had to envision some short coming. A question mark in center be it blanco/Schafer/Brian Anderson.
Questions in right after the season Francouer had last yr. And taking the bottom of the barrel in FA this off season in getting Garret Anderson when Abreu/Griffey/Dunn were all out there. Yes I know Griffey passed on the braves but even he has health issues and is past his prime. And 1st Base has NO POWER. Not to mention how bad Kelly Johnson skills have erroded.

I think to say the braves had to have known this line-up was going to be in-ept. Sorry at best.

Billreef

2006 numbers
Jones 262avg. 41hr 129rbi
Francouer 260avg 29hr 103rbi

I seems that posting of 5 yrs was incorect its been 3yrs. Still way to long for a major league team to have an anemic outfield.

As to signing KK its was foolish howerver if we had signed Dunn hopefully it would be for 1st base as he might be worse than Ryan Klesko in the outfield.

I have a feeling that the Braves aren’t going to do anything else HUGE during the year on the trade front. To get anything significant, they would have to give up a lot of talent and, after the recent trade giving up Gorkys, Morton, and Locke, you have to wonder if they’re in a position to do so without involving some of their “untouchables”.

I think the McLouth acquisition will be a solid one in the long term–he’s signed for a few years and very affordable, but he’s not a “difference maker”, which is what we’re lacking in the outfield. Our only true bats either sit every 5th game or are injured 25% of the time.

lamar1banks2,
I don’t know. It depends on which club would be willing to eat the salary of the player they’re dealing to us.

OK, how about we discuss the most over used and ridiculous moniker in baseball, the “5-Tool Player.”
I here that term used to describe almost every player that has any talent at all now. Let’s see, the 5 tools are:
1.)Hit for power
2.)Hit for average
3.) Run
4.) Field
5.) have a cannon for an arm
Seriously, Nate McLouth is a 3 tool player. He has never hit for average and what arm is that we are crediting him with? I’m not sure I’d go above average defense yet either based on how Pittsburgh players viewed him. They never even hesitated taking the base on him as he jogged after the base hits. No SportsCenter highlights for keeping a guy at second base after all.
He is a nice, quality big leaguer that is an upgrade to what the Braves had, but come on, 5 tools? How about we call him a 20-20 guy, that is what we have here.
Same with Jordan Schafer, defense, yes, speed yes, arm yes, but power and average? Not likely, now or ever really.
When we say 5 tool guy, let’s reserve that for the Justin Uptons of the world, who can actually demonstrate 5 “Above Average” MLB tools.

Now, what about 5 “Brave’s Tools?”
All we have to do is change categories on the list, like they do with the Dow Jones “30 industrials”, If we want it to go up, we just make a couple changes. So here we go:
1.) Catch the ball and throw to the correct base most of the time.
2.) Walk enough with runners on to get a decent OBP.
3.) Bunt on the first pitch when there is a guy who can steal bases on first and nobody out.
4.) Get the ball back to the infield quickly.
5.) Only strike out a high percentage of the time when there is a runner on third and less than two out, if the runner is at first, just rollover on the outside pitch for the DP.
Now I can think of LOTS of “5 Tool Players”, I feel a lot better.

The buzz at AJC blog is that a trade is coming soon…

Peter, are you talking about Bradley’s Francoeur blog?

Well, I hope something happens soon.. at least so we won’t all be having the same depressing conversation over and over and over again for another month until we’re totally out of contention. Vasquez is absolutely great for the team but I think a trade including him and Jeff or Kelly would be a good solution. Put Medlen in the 5th spot and cross your fingers until Hudson comes back, because we all know with our hitting that giving up 3 runs or less won’t even guarantee us a win half the time.

Vazquez pitched the best game we have gotten all year last night. While, sure, he allowed a run and we’ve had some better no run or one run games, his pitching was just dynamite. And we lost it. We couldn’t poke in a run and Soriano, who is our best reliever, including Gonzo, just got blasted. It’s ridiculous. Our offense is so anemic, it’s ridiculous. I truly had hopes that after the McLouth trade and with Chipper getting hot, we could make a push for the playoffs, especially with Medlen in the pen(VERY nice addition), and Hanson throwing in the big leagues finally.

But I truly have lost hope for the playoffs this year. Next year, however, I think we might have a shot, especially if we have a staff packed full of aces with another bat or two.

The only thing I worry about is that Chipper will be too old by the time we make it to the playoffs again…

No, Mark. Not the Francoeur blog. I haven’t even read that yet, though I’ve read plenty about it. I was talking about some guy in the comments section of DOB’s blog by the handle “Captian Caveman” who supposedly has a relative in a front office mentioning a trade may come soon.

Still seething about yesterday’s game, but alas, the beauty of baseball is there’s another game right on the horizon …

Excited to see Hanson pitch tonight. Bravos really need to start this trip with a win. It’s a big, big stretch the ballclub is starting. I think we all agree on that.

I think we also agree Baltimore is the weakest team the Braves will face between now and July 2. Need to get the bats going … right now.

Bud.
http://budmansbravesbeat.mlblogs.com

PWHjort, I saw the guy you named from ajc hinting towards the Orioles I think twice or so. If thats who it is coming from which OF do you think it is? The only other person I saw mentioned was Jermaine Dye, which I think a lot of Braves fans would be happy with so long as we don’t give up to much to get him. Let me know what your take on what he said was.

Luke Scott makes a ton of sense for us, but we’d have to give up premium prospects or useful players to get him. Which I’d be willing to do.

I don’t see Dye being acquired for financial reasons.

Caught this from MLBTR, and after reading the full column from Rosenthal, I couldn’t believe the following:

“The Braves obviously will need a right fielder if they move Jeff Francoeur, but Gregor Blanco would represent an internal possibility.
Blanco has virtually no power, but one scout says he throws better and is more athletic than Francoeur. Besides, he couldn’t do much worse than Francoeur’s .621 OPS.”

Now, Francoeur hasn’t hit well for a while, and I do believe a change of scenery would help, but has anyone that’s actually seen the two players play believe that Blanco is a better option? Also I’m not sure who the scout has been watching, but Blanco does not throw better than Francoeur, period.

GREAT lineup, tonight. VERY good. I hope it sparks some power…

Where can I find this blog so I can read it? Ken Rosenthal was a good reporter 2 years ago when he reported the facts but since has made living throwing garbage out there to make a name for himself. It’s worked, but his credability is toast. He could use a lesson from Peter Gammons or Tim Kirsahdfobksjen (close and I could come, sorry), from ESPN.

Rosenthal does do a lot of bad work. He mostly just takes lip service from FO execs and publishes it like he’s onto something. When it’s really just lip service.

My vote is … trade and/or bench , Frenchie and Garrett Anderson … “FIRE”… Terry Pendleton … ASAP … maybe it would light a fire under some of the lackluster playing that is going on…other than that I give up…maybe next year…Oh yes…Front Office…spend some money…they do not give away all these tickets I have bought. While I am at it, now you can buy Yankee and Red Sox tickets, when I bought mine you had to buy 9 or a season ticket…how is that fair.

We should probably just send Francoeur to the minors to try to recoup trade value and if he doesn’t just non-tender him next year. I think Garret Anderson can be a useful LH bench bat. Much more useful than Greg Norton (he sucks right-handed anyway, and left-handed too this year).

I would have to say that given a chance to make two throws, Blanco also could have recorded that out at the plate.

Could we “option” Francoeur to Clemson? I mean, it’s not as though he’s really been playing as a professional for a few years now anyways, and perhaps the Falcons could get a safety out of it if all else fails.

Great win tonight. Showed some fundamentals and timely hits. Hope we can keep it up.

That was the ugliest game we have won this year, but hey a win is a win right?

Everyone focuses on Frenchy. Kelly Johnson flies right under the radar. It’s really not fair. I know Francoeur is an outfielder, so his lack of offensive production is going to stand out… but has anyone noticed that Kelly Johnson is hitting in the .230s? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who feels that Kelly’s lack of offensive production is worse than Franceour’s. Frenchy had a big hit tonight and came about 5 feet from a grand slam. He also threw someone out at the plate. Like him or not, he still possibly hit .250 + this year and drive in 80+ runs. That’s not anything to write home about… but it’s more than I can say for Kelly Johnson. At least Frenchy has had success in the majors.
The only reason Kelly hit in the .280s last year is because he got hot at the end of the season when we were already out of contention. He sucked when we needed his bat.
I think KJ should get just as much, if not more criticism than Jeff Francoeur.

The Kelly Johnson comment is true. If anyone get traded I hope its him. I’m so done with KJ. His defense is well below avg and he can’t hit. Losing Infante really hurt and least he put the ball in play and didn’t give away at bats. And a far as being selective Matt Diaz swings at just as many pitches, withe no sense of the strick zone as Jeff Francouer.

I just wonder why Jeff takes so much criticism and the other get a pass.

Maybe cause Jeff has more potential than them combined.

MARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any updates on Minor and how close the Braves are to signing him?

The Braves need a hitting coach who is not conceptually opposed to hitting with power, and who isn’t a complete yes man to Bobby Cox. If the hitting coach is flapping in the breeze all the time, how are the hitters going to focus on an approach. Bobby has been protecting TP every bit as much as Skip Carey dictated who the announcers were going to be. (Sutton out, Chip in, Joe Simpson in, etc.)
If they really are considering TP as being groomed for the managerial role when Bobby rides off into the sunset, heaven help the Braves.
The Braves need a Don Baylor type hitting coach again. Hands to the ball with authority. When they talk about taking the ball up the middle, be aggressive and make it target practice. I’ve never seen a team so conceptually comfortable with giving up ABs. They have been striking out at an alarming rate with men on third an less than two out. That has to be about thinking too much. Pick a half, in or out, and drive the ball. Pitchers get in trouble when they nibble, so do hitters.

Kelly has been very bad, but I fail to see how someone 3 spots to the right of the defensive spectrum with an OPS+ 20 points higher than the other guy has been worse. The good news is that either Kelly starts hitting or Martin Prado and eventually Omar Infante take the position over when they’re healthy. Just another Jeff sucks stat. Top 7 Out Makers in the NL (Position in Batting Order, PA’s):

1. Jimmy Rollins – 212 (1, 274)
2. Emilio Bonafacio – 204 (1, 277)
3. Alfanso Soriano – 189 (1, 266)
3. Ryan Howard – 189 (4, 269)
5. Nyjer Morgan – 185 (1, 262)
6. Shane Victorino – 184 (2, 269)
7. Jeff Francoeur – 183 (6, 242)

So Jeff can hang with the best of ‘em in making outs, even if he bats down in the order and has at least a 20 PA disadvantage.

Here is a GREAT trend. The Braves were 1-6 in the first 7 games started by the “5th Starter” slot. They have now one 3 in a row in that slot and have it up to 4-6 for the season. I’m also guessing we are about two more cycles from calling Kawakami’s slot the 5th slot from here on out.
Back in the Glavine, Smoltz, Maddox days, Glavine was quoted as saying he didn’t worry about losing streaks because with the pitching the Braves had, they were much more likely to win 5 in a row than lose 5 in a row. They are getting close to that point again from a pitching perspective. Maybe Canizares can stay hot and a line up that includes he and McLouth will have enough pop to generate the runs needed.
We’ll know soon. It’s starting to look up.

Funny stat Peter, I’d trade for every guy on that list but “Danny” Bonafacio. I didn’t like him in the Partridge family.

PW – We could probably go back and forth about this all day, but I just don’t see how you could say Player A, batting .234 and on pace to drive in 51.3 runs, is better than Player B, who is batting .243 and on pace to drive in 72.9 runs.
If KJ was some stud second baseman I would completely understand. But he’s not. Not to mention he was supposed to be our lead off hitter (one of the most crucial spots in any lineup). Frenchy is hitting like any other number 7 hitter in any lineup. Plus he saves runs in the outfield by throwing out base runners and his reputation for a cannon forces runners to not take the risk in even trying to score. Kelly Johnson is a waste of space taking up a Braves uniform. He’s just there. You can’t just take one OPS stat and use that as a measure of KJ’s value over Frenchy’s.

Rollins is off to a horrrrrrrrrrible start. Bonifacio is an awful player. The rest of them are good players that either a) bat at the top of the line-up so they get a ton more opportunities to make an out or b) Ryan Howard. Besides Jeff Francoeur, of course, who sucks.

Bravo, you’re not considering how frequently they come to the plate with men on, RISP, etc. RBI isn’t a useful stat for comparing how valuable a player is. Francoeur has come to the plate with 92 RISP and has come away with 23 RBI. A 25% conversion rate. KJ has come to the plate with 63 RISP and come away with 14 RBI, a 22.2% conversion rate. A 2.8% difference in conversion rate isn’t statistically significant given the minute sample size. Francoeur has more RBI because he comes to the plate with men in scoring position a lot more. Simple as that. Not because he’s a “good RBI guy” or “good player” or “useful player” or “one of the 75 best MLB outfielders”. Kelly Johnson has been awful this year, but he’s hitting for more power than Jeff Francoeur and getting on base more than Jeff Francoeur at a position where it is much harder to find offensive production. No chance he’s worse than Francoeur. Not this year. No way. No how.

Let’s take a look at a good RBI man. Yunel Escobar. Escobar has come to the plate with 72 RISP this season and has collected 30 RBI. That’s a 41.7% conversion rate. That’s what GOOD players do.

So Franceour’s conversion rate of 25% is worse than Kelly’s 22.2%? I’m not following…

Hi guys… I’m new to this forum, coming from England and being a Braves fan for the last 10 years i have become so frustrated with our organization. I am unable to watch Braves games due to the lack of tv coverage so my viewing is that of mlb.com only. As everyone seems to mention on this forum our problem at the moment is the lack of offence. Now i’m sorry if i come across as a little dumb but Atlanta have been crying out for a slugger since Teixiera left. Before that we had Sheffield and A Jones but Frenchy will never get back to the 40 HR season. Looking at online player salaries can someone please tell me why teams have power hitters that are on a cheap salary and the Braves have never gone in for them???? I understand you win games with decent pitching but you can also lose 1-2, 2-3 as well. Players like Kazmir that are on $6 would surely be better than paying $12-15m for Hudson and Lowe. Bay is only on $7m, Youkilis $6m, Fielder $7m. Someone help me out here

OK – You explained it never mind. I still don’t agree – but I see what you’re saying. I still believe Frenchy is more valuable than KJ and there’s really no other way to convince me otherwise. KJ has NEVER shown any promise or value wahtsoever. He’s a waste of a uniform.

TWIB is highlighting the Braves and Bobby Cox at 3:30. It’s really good so far.

Hey Guys,
You are both correct. Frenchy and KJ are both hurting the team. As a third party to the banter, I want to share one item with you. Frenchy seems to always come to bat with runners on base. I think it is because the best hitters on the team usually get on base for him – Chipper, McCann and maybe even Prado. He just never comes through. It is very furstrating. KJ is the third best second baseman on the team, but he plays every day due to injury. One notictable difference is Frenchy has no idea how to recognize pitches and always swings at bad pitches. If they were both hitting 270 with `10 and 35 RBIs, the Braves would be in first place.

Did anyone have a flashback to KJ dropping the pop fly against the Phillies last year when Castillo did the same thing for the Mets last night?

“KJ has NEVER shown any promise or value whatsoever.” Uhh….I’m not going to argue against the opinion that Kelly is having an awful year in 09′, because it’s obvious he is; but in the context of who is worse, Francoeur or Johnson, I’ve got to jump in.

First of all, comparing 2b to RF is like comparing apples to oranges. You need to judge KJ as a second baseman, relative to other second basemen, and likewise for Francoeur. That said, it’s telling when your 2b posts a significantly higher OPS over the last 2 years than your RF. A second baseman who average OPS, over his first 2 full seasons, is over .800 is not bad at all and is far from “never show[ing] any promise or value whatsoever.”

On the flipside, a Rfielder whose average OPS over those same two seasons (07′ and 08′) hovers around .700 is ATROCIOUS. End of argument. Francoeur has underperformed far longer than Johnson has.

I didn’t say it was worse. I said there’s no difference. With that small of a sample size a 2.8% difference isn’t statistically significant. Even if it were statistically significant, it isn’t enough of a difference to mean much in terms of value. Lifetime KJ is a .268/.348/.434 and he was better than that line in 2007 and 2008. Francoeur owns a .266/.309/.425 line and he’s been well worse than that for all of 2008 and 2009. In Kelly’s last 836 PA’s (all of 2008 and 2009) he’s batted .273/.335/.433 with 17 HR. In Francoeur’s last 894 PA’s (all of 2008 and 2009) he’s batted .240/.290/.353 with 15 HR. They both suck, especially this year. But Kelly’s sucking is a new thing, though, so it’s very possible that it’s just a slump especially considering how streaky of a hitter he’s been over his MLB career. Francoeur’s is far from new, it’s getting old. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not standing up for Kelly Johnson. Or saying he’s a good player. But I fail to see how someone who hits better and plays a harder position is worse than someone else.

Fair enough. My reasoning for starting the discussion was because I feel like Frenchy gets the brunt of criticism that I believe KJ should shoulder. We can agree to disagree. They both suck and I will agree with that. And I don’t agree with the argument that he gets a slide because he’s a second baseman. He actually was an outfielder and could very easily be an outfielder this year had we not gone out and gotten Garret Anderson. He would be the one in left and then we would have two sucky outfielders instead of one sucky outfielder and one sucky infielder… and yes I did have flashbacks of Kelly Johnson dropping the pop fly to cost us the game against the Phils last year after seeing what castillo did last night.
bobbi pires – Welcome to the Blog! Where in England are you from? I have a really good friend from Watford and I’m trying to get him into baseball. He’s a big cricket fan. You bring up a good point about inexpensive power hitters. We tried to trade for Bay last year but the Pirates bailed on the deal. We definitely need another offensive presence in the lineup. I’m liking what I see out of Canizares so far. Maybe he could be the answer to more runs… Let’s hope so! Great to know the Braves have a fan from across the pond!

I’m from London. Cricket is boring, fans only go to cricket matches as it enables them to have a good sleep. My friend and i go on a baseball trip every year trying to fit in as many games as possible. We only have to visit the Devil Rays and Twins for a full house. I never see any posts on here in regards to Bobby Cox. As a big soccer fan if a team isnt performing then it is normally the coach that goes. Considering what has happened to the Braves in recent years isn’t it about time Wren looks for a new coach. I mean little things that make the difference in ball games like stolen bases for instance. It is a joke how many we have, does Cox encourage players to try and steal or what? The amount of extra runs we could possibly get via steals to help our pitching would be a big help but it dosnt happen

We just need to wait on Infante and Prado to get healthy because they’re better hitters than KJ. I will say this. Kelly was slumping early in the season so Bobby Cox started sitting him against lefties, which I think was rather counter-productive. He hits lefties better than righties for his career and for the season. So that certainly didn’t do anything to help his confidence or his numbers. I hope he does well against the lefty today. He may be starting to turn a corner. I hope both him and Francoeur do. Lefty on the mound tonight, the Braves hit lefties better than righties.

Dumping KJ is long overdue. The defensive experiment is a bust and he’s barely hitting his weight. OBP sux and very little power. What has he done besides kiss Bobby’s hiney?

Francoeur will flourish when TP is gone. He play’s phenomenal D and he will hit again.

Why can’t Diaz play left field. He hits righties and lefties. Average, Decent power and he is no worse in Left than Garret and McLouth in center. He won the job outright before he got hurt playing real hustle ballcrash into a wall). I would love to have a big power guy in left but Frankie boy has kinda scuttled that idea.

Garrett is obviously expendable. Doesn’t hit in the clutch. No power left. Scary on defense. Whay are we subsidizing this mistake other than to cover Frankie’s Butt.

And KK, please don’t get me started. Were we trying to create a marketing phenomenom ala Dice K? 8 million for an ok Japanese pitcher, you got to be kidding. \

Change from the top down. You can’t keep blaming the team. Wren and TP absolutely have to go.

Bobbi Pires-Welcome to the Blog

To answer the question as to why fans don’t get onto Bobby Cox is the past success the braves have had under Cox. Also players love Cox and that goes along way. Most would want to fire Terry Pendelton than Cox. Although its frustrating watching them wait for homeruns instead of stealing bases and playing more fundamentally.

billreef, Francoeur went to Texas to work with Rudy Jaramillo over the offseason, who is widely thought of as one of the better hitting coaches in the game. If he couldn’t get Francoeur on track, what makes you think someone other than TP could help him….Francoeur’s a big boy, he’s responsible for his pathetic play, not TP.

Well BobbyCox,

After Frenchy went to Rudy, TP threw a hissy fit. Frenchy was hitting great in the spring and to begin the season. He only fell back into his funk after returning to ATL and having to work with TP again. He is such a nice guy he doesn’t know how to tell Terry to waddle off like Chipper and Brain have learned to do. Of course we have other great TP rehab projects like Andruw and Shafer to point to. Name one hitter Terry Pendleton has actually helped with his swing. If you can name one, I’ll name a dozen that Rudy Jaramillo has helped. Francoeur is a big boy, he has a big bat and with a coach who can actually help him as opposed to wreck him. He will flourish again. Mark my words.

I was gonna say “forget players… hire Rudy Jaramillo…” but he seems to be a lifer in Texas.

The Braves signed John Halama, he has worked as a starter in the indepented league with a 2.05 era in 66IP.
in the majors he has been a reliever and a starter.

Where do the Braves expect to play him at? The bullpen is already deep they don’t need another left-handed arm?

In AAA to take one of Hanson/Medlen’s spots. Since it’s Gwinnett’s inaugural year they need to do well. Meaningless acquisition.

Billreef has it all figured out. It’s all TP’s fault. That’s it, the blog’s done. No more need to discuss anything. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together…. Mass Hysteria!

This is ******* embarrassing. As the season drags on, I get less and less patient. I know, I know, I should just enjoy the game and chill out, but for petes sake. Are we little leaguers?

Why did Escobar exit?

I swear, if Garret Anderson were in a race with a pregnant woman, he would finishish third. (Credit Tommy LaSorda)

I am really happy if bobby did bench yunel.

Enough of his lack of focus and brain dead play. He does something stupid every single game, and it has to be due to lack of concetration, which is frankly inexcusable.

If he did bench yunel then it might be the sort of move to light a fire under the braves, too many of whom seem like they are having a fun knock around at the park, rather than playing MLB baseball. There is clubhouse chemistry, and then there is just a bunch of jokers messing around. Benching yunel (a total joker) could send a message to the rest of them, that this is serious buisness and you get paid to play

and the announcers keep saying the scouting report on the pitcher is he doesnt like deep counts. Yet we still swing at every pitch, where ever it is

If we don’t make a move fast this year, I am giving up all hope on the team until next year. This is embarrassing. I don’t care too much for the runs since it will always happen, but we can’t keep on scoring 4 runs or less all season. It’s (freaking) ridiculous. I’d rather the other team score 20 runs on us while we score 10 than give up 10 and score 1 or 2.
I don’t think I can stand Anderson any longer. Him, Norton, and one of Kelly, Francoeur, or Diaz need to go to clear up some salary space. It may only clear up 2 million, but that’s 2 million we don’t have and could use to sign someone a lot better than we have.

It was a mistake having Acosta on the AAA team while Boyer and Moylan were on the team. He has been great so far. We might not have lost that Phillies game if we had him up.

The Braves made another pitcher look very good. I can’t remember the last time I saw a complete game. Oh well, tomorrow’s off day will be a good day to do some thinking about how to get some offense. Can Ross play OF?

We wouldn’t have lost that game in Philly if Bobby Cox hadn’t used his relief aces with a 4-run lead on opening day.

An honest analysis of the Braves in terms of starting pitching, bullpen, speed, power, defense, clutch hitting, and situational hitting reveals them to be above average in one area only: starting pitching. In all other areas, they are below average to various degrees. McClouth appears to be another hitter who wants to pull everything and who does not have a great knowledge of the strike zone. I think the Braves gave up too much to get him, although that trade makes infinitely more sense than the one for Texeira. For the Braves to have traded Elvis putting their future at SS in the hands of slow footed, low baseball IQ, hot tempered Escobar makes me question the Braves ability to judge talent. What they need from Texas is Rudy Jaramillo. Braves hitters on average do not know how to work the count and seldom make adjustments to the way they are being pitched. The proof is in the pudding and TP is not getting the job done. The trade for Vasquez was excellent. However, they should have kept Josh Anderson and not signed the plastic one, signed Smoltz at whatever cost, not fooled with Glavine at all, certainly not pursued Kawakami and gone after Raul Ibanez(the Phils got him, why couldn’t we). After all this, sign Lowe if money allowed.

our outfield is awful, what was wrong with signing andruw jones in the off season. I know hes not what he once was, but hes hit 7 hr and 17 rbi in limited play. I think he would have been a much better LF than Anderson who is slow and seems a little lazy. Jones was only asking the minimum anyway and he would have brought some fans to the game. I think it was a big mistake not bringing him back. Maybe he doesnt help you that much but you dont lose that much either by taking the chance. I think 7 homers is more that the braves as a whole OF has hit anyways. Yes I realize hes going to bat 250 or lower but hes going to drive in some runs as well. Please post about this I would like to no what you think

If the Braves had signed Smoltz, how many games do you think he would have won for us to this point in the season? What’s that, he hasn’t pitched yet? Hmmmmm….
OK, how much would we have paid for that to this point? Really, ….Nevermind then…..
The ONLY change from the way it is now having Smoltz is we would have spent more, money and had a moody color commentator on TV twice a week.

If the Braves had signed Smoltz, how many games do you think he would have won for us to this point in the season? What’s that, he hasn’t pitched yet? Hmmmmm….
OK, how much would we have paid for that to this point? Really, ….Nevermind then…..
The ONLY change from the way it is now having Smoltz is we would have spent more, money and had a moody color commentator on TV twice a week.

I liked Andruw because he was a gamer type guy. Who knows how far the skill set had diminished at the time though. I don’t think Braves management had any interest at all because he was even here working out with the guys for a few days. There must have been more going on behind the scenes than we see at the surface because they didn’t really even seem to consider him.
He may have also fallen in to the “Old Braves” versus “looking forward” situation.

Atl08,
That’s largely due to the hitter’s paradise of a home park he plays in.
Rother,
Not saying we should’ve signed Smoltz, but the Red Sox intentionally delayed his rehab so he could focus on helping them down the stretch and he could have been ready much earlier.

They delayed Smoltz’s rehab because they seriously doubt he can throw more than a handful of games, and they prefer that those games are pitched in September.
Smoltz set the Braves up to make a call at a time when he absolutely knew they couldn’t pull the trigger. He wanted out, and he wanted to be the “good guy” when he left. He had no intention of being a Brave this season. Period.
If you don’t think it went down that way you seriously underestimate the way Smoltz operated. I would love to see him get back to the post season glory and limelight that he seeks, and for him to pitch and remain healthy so he can ride off into the sunset after the Red Sox win the World Series. He is an iconic figure and it would be great for him to do so. But he was also a perpetual pain in the rear for management and a very high maintenance individual, and people associated with the Braves are not as upset about his departure as the fan base that waxes nostalgic for the Good ol’ Days.
Sorry, but this isn’t exactly like pulling the mask off Spiderman.

Peter, what are you hearing as far as additional trade rumblings right now?
It has been quite as far as I can tell, even though I know there have been a couple Braves on “eBay” for the last couple weeks with “no minimum bid” as yet.

OK. I’m angry at the Braves performance in resent weeks but here’s my take on it:

1. Escobar’s play has been questionable in recent weeks and now he has angered Bobby Cox and now is paying the price. However Jeff Francouer,Kelly Johnson, and Matt Diaz swing at everything and constantly give away at bats. Isn’t that equally as frustrating. Bobby needs to bee more consistent in his discipline of the team. Also if its a lack of hustle shouldn’t Garrett Anderson be the 1st to be reprimanded?

2. Wren has to be held accountable for some of this fiasco. For every positive move he has made(not trading for jake peavy) He had done something equally foolish not addressing 2b or the outfield. He wanted Furcal at 2nd base and move Kelly to the outfield. Really Wren that was your plan. That gets and often injured ss to play 2nd and the keeps a stuggling player to the outfield were his power(or lack there of) is needed. Griffey then passes on the Braves and you pass on Abreu and Dunn. Garrett was cheaper but you get what you pay for. And Wren can’t blame this all on payroll. You found money for KK and later Nate McLouth and if I’m not mistaken You signed Glavine after all this. Wren didn’t know Glavine would hurt himself in spring training so he was willing to pay the whole Glavine contract not a pro-rated portion. And then just when we could have added depth and a minimum salary contract, we pass on Gary Sheffield. What would have been the down side to signing Sheffield. Detroit was paying his salary for this season. Come on Wren wake up.

3. Then a report in the off-seaon was Brian Roberts was inquired about in trade for Kelly Johnson but the teams could not agree on prospects and salary. Now if salary was again the issue how were you going to sign Furcal. Roberts makes 10m and Furcal was going to sign for 10m. Whats the difference? Also by shopping Kelly Johnson the braves are acknowledging that 2nd base is a problem and yet staying put was the best decision? And Orlando Hudson was out there. I acknowledge that with the O-dog his bat this yr has been a plus, but management knew about his defense and you invested heavily in pitching and you owe it to the team to give them the best defense possible. And Kelly is way below avg. Now if it came to prospects and Hanson/Esobar/or Schafer were the topic I understand b/c there were to be counted on this yr.

I agree. Smoltz left because he wanted to leave. I’m just saying the Red Sox are focused on October and if they needed Smoltz earlier they could have gotten him ready. But they don’t because they’re a brilliant organization with seemingly limitless financial resources.

On the trade rumors front, I haven’t heard much as of late. Just the usual rumblings linking us to Brad Hawpe and Mark DeRosa that get tossed around daily without much substance.

Guys, great news!!!! I have an insider with the Braves organization and I just spoke to them. Rumor is we are sending Frenchy to the Brewers. Looks like we are getting the Sausage that won the Sausage race yesterday. Heck yea!!!

Captain Caveman says expect a deal for a bat within a month. 1 MLB player and 1 prospect involved. I don’t know if I believe him though. And even if he is telling the truth he hasn’t really told us anything we don’t know.

First, let me just say I like how the braves take care of thier players and I respect the loyalty they have shown tp, however it is time to find a real hitting coach. Untill they do nothing is going to change.

Thanks Peter. Nothing imminent is all I’ve heard as well.

I hope it was the Chorizo, Boras is the agent for the Italian and the Brat, and we don’t want a rental sausage that will come back up in a few days.

Can anybody give me some stats on the Sausage? Is his first name Vienna or Link? Will Wren be able to sign a Sausage or will he claim he wants to play for a weiner? Can Pendleton teach a sausage to swing at every first pitch, pull off the ball and strike out a lot? Will Bobby hang on to the sausage after he only hits .100 for the first half of the season? Or is this a Starting sausage who is so demoralized by his teams lack of offense he has a losing record with a 2.00 ERA?

Maybe David Ross can be our hitting coach. He seems to be the only one capable of hitting a rookie pitcher. He looked like freaking superman compared to the rest of our lineup yesterday.

Frank has been pretty coy about the entire sausage signing. In his first press meeting since the rumors began, Bowman asked point blank if that was a sausage in Frank’s pocket, or “was he just glad to see me”. Wren had no comment.

Lol, good stuff everyone. BillReef, I think you got it right on. That’s the biggest problem of all, Bobby does too much of the holding on to his sausage. The deal was all but done, but Wren wanted the freaking bun in the deal too so the Bucs backed out. Dangit!

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