Teams interested in Braves pitching surplus

The Rockies and D-backs both sent scouts to watch Tim Hudson make his return last night.  Like Hudson, these clubs are wondering whether the Braves will bring the veteran right-hander back to Atlanta next year.  

Even as recently as the All-Star break, it appeared the Braves weren’t going to be willing to bring both Hudson and Javier Vazquez back next year.  

But while there’s still a chance that one of them will be gone before the start of the 2010 season, there’s also a growing sense that  both could return to provide Atlanta with a rotation that would be deeper than any of the great ones it possessed during the 1990s.  

Hudson’s contract includes a $12 million club option and $1 million buyout for the 2010 season.  Vazquez’s cost of $11.5 million next year would be a definite bargain if he were capable of repeating the successful season he’s created this season.   

If the Braves were to enter the 2010 season in possession of each of their current six starters  —  Derek Lowe ($15 mil), Hudson ($12 mil), Vazquez ($11.5 mil), Kenshin Kawakami ($6.7 mil), Jair Jurrjens (approx. $500K) and Tommy Hanson (approx . $450K),  they would do so at a combined cost in the neighborhood of $46 million, which would eat up nearly half of their expected payroll.  

With Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano eligible for free agency, there’s a chance the Braves could choose not to bring either of these closers back and opt to have Peter Moylan fill that role at the approximated $1 million cost he may gain through his first arbitration-eligible season.

With Chipper Jones ($13 mil), Brian McCann ($5.5 mil), Nate McLouth ($4.5 mil), Matt Diaz (approx $2 mil),  David Ross ($1.6 mil), Omar Infante ($2.25 mil)  Yunel Escobar (approx. $500K), Martin Prado (approx $500 K), the Braves have approximately $30 million tied up in their position players and that’s without including the cost for a first baseman or outfielder.  

If you assume that the Braves bring Ryan Church back at around $3.5 million next year, then you could put their projected known costs at around $80 million.    

Then if Adam LaRoche was willing to stick in Atlanta for another year or two with an average annual salary of about  $6 million, the Braves would still be in position to account for non-arbitration guys (Kris Medlen, Eric O’Flaherty, etc.) and still satisfy their budget.

There’s no guarantee that the Braves will be willing to offer LaRoche this much during an offseason where a number of 1B/OF types will be available.   But I just wanted to throw that high-side figure out there to show that he could fit into a mix that would also include each of these starting pitchers.
 
While trying to show the Braves could have the financial means to keep each of these six starters,  I’ve included a lot of loose variables.

But at the end of the day, does it make sense to keep all of these arms?  Would it be more prudent to move Vazquez to gain prospects and have the opportunity to at least make a run at keeping either Gonzalez or Soriano, who will be Type A free agents?  

While there’s reason to wonder if Vazquez has found his comfort zone in Atlanta, history also shows that he’s had trouble putting together two consecutive strong seasons.  So should the Braves at least attempt to gain the solid return they could gain by dealing him?  

If the Braves simply chose to pay Hudson’s $1 million buyout, the only thing they’d be gaining is financial relief.  He currently doesn’t qualify as a Type B free agent.
 
Or maybe it makes sense to gain some financial relief by attempting to trade Kawakami, who wouldn’t provide the same kind of return as Vazquez.
 
The Braves may not have as many needs to fill as they did during last year’s offseason.  But as the D-backs and Rockies have proven, there are already a number of teams wanting to know how they’ll deal with their surplus of starters. 
 
Church returns, Chipper sits:    Ryan Church’s ability to return to Wednesday night’s lineup provided Chipper Jones to get a night off.  Jones’ back was a little sore on Tuesday night.  But he will likely return for Thursday night’s series finale.
 
Short bullpen:  Soriano threw 66 pitches while making appearances each of the past three days.  So the Braves will likely utilize  Gonzalez or Moylan as their closer tonight.   Gonzalez and Moylan have pitched both of the past two nights.
 
While Gonzalez threw 31 pitches through this span, Moylan totaled just 10.   

24 Comments

Is there something to the necklaces I’ve seen a few of the Braves players wearing?

My God. The Braves fight back to one down, runner on third w/ less than 2 outs and Bobby sends Norton to the plate. WHY DON”T WE JUST GIVE UP!!!!!!! He looked so pathetic. He was missing pitches by a foot or more.

Conversely, I love matt Diaz, he was ready to break Cook in pieces after he got hit. Come on Martin.

Wow….all i can say is Norton SUCKS…..end of story…

what is up with the bullpen this series, so far? just can’t get it done….

Agree totally. We needed someone to put the ball in play and we send up someone hitting .145 WTF? I dont understand Bobbys faith in Norton, he looks lost at the plate. Nice one Chipper!

I’m really starting to get ********** with Bobby at this point. Why in the hell would you send Norton up in a situation like that? Who’s desk is Greg under to even still have a job at this point?

Also, go get ‘em Mattie. That pitcher needed a major tune up after beaning Matt, nearly taking Omar’s head off, and nearly hitting Norton (on the other hand, at least Greg would’ve found a way to make it on base).

I really don’t understand Bobby’s decision to bring in Medlen in in the 6th. He’s got Moylan whose GO/AO is 3 times Medlen’s aside from being a more seasoned reliever. It’s like Bobby has a playbook that say’s Moylan 7th, Gonzo th and Soriano 9th. He really needed a Ground Ball in that situation and he has a guy who is a lights out ground ball guy who he saves for another inning. I really think Bobby has lost it. Some of this stuff is just dumb.

Well, anyone who knows baseball (and many who dont) and has watched the Braves over the course of Bobby’s tenure know that he has always been a players’ manager… not a smart, tactical one. The reason Norton keeps hitting is because Bobby believes that you should play someone until they right themselves… even if it means you lose a lot of important games (see Postseason 1991-2005). The only reason they won the WS in ’95 was because the team was just way too good for Bobby to screw up. His confidence does work sometimes though. Just look at Javy Vasquez. However, it costs many, many more games than it saves. Just ask Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, Peter Moylan, Chris Resop, Kerry Lightenberg, Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, Chuck James, Jeff Bennett, Steve Avery, Mark Wholers, etc, etc…

And, to be hones, if Joe Torre had the teams Bobby has had with the Braves, he would probably have at least 2300 (instead of approx. 2050) or more wins and at least 5 WS titles (’91, ’92, ’95, ’96, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’03 being the most likely years).

Shaunson – you’re an idiot. Stay on the Braves site to post threads like that… for this one is predominantly made up of rational Braves fans who know the game.

I would bring Hudson back only if we could sign him to an extension calling for a paycut for next season and an average annual salary of less than what his current contract calls for. If they re-signed Hudson, then we should trade Vasquez. I know teams like the Red Sox like having 6 man rotations and having the depth to deal with injuries, poor performance, etc., but I don’t think that’s feasible for the Braves who are a smaller market team and who have glaring weaknesses in other areas. I’d like to see them use that 12 million to sure up their outfield and first base.

Shaunson- Don’t worry about Bravomania. He forgets to take his meds occaisionally. He also delights in namecalling and thinking his opinion is more important than everyone elses. Classic case of Narcissism, borderline psychosis. Really close to the border.

Billreef – I never claim to take my meds every day
The blame Bobby routine for every loss gets old… and saying that Joe Torre would have won all those championships crosses the line. Pinch hitting Norton turns my stomach every time… especially in clutch situations… but this blog only has room for one idiot d-bag… and we all know who holds that title. All others can stay in the Braves site.

I dont understand Bobbys decision making either. The definition of insanity is doing something the same way and expecting a different result. We won all those games in the 90’s and early 2000’s because we had the better team in the East Division.When it came to playing teams in the playoffs with teams that were close to the same talent level we would lose because of poor managing. Bobby is a little above average for a manager and that is all. If we want our players to improve as a team we need a new manager.

Oh Bravo- You really aren’t the only “idiot d-bag” on the site. You really shouldn’t be so hard on yourself!!!

Let’s win the series. Diaz is 6-11 vs. Nolasco and Chipper is 10-20 with 4 HR’s.

Well, Bravo, maybe the “blame Bobby” is a routine because IT MAKES SENSE! I’m not sure who you think you are, but it seems to me that everyone that commented that ISNT YOU made a similar point to what I did. I consider douchebags people who blindly disagree with others who know what they are talking about. I am in no way an idiot. I’d be glad to test my knowledge against your “knowledge” any day. I don’t see any problem with saying that Joe Torre is a much smarter, and tactically better, manager than Bobby Cox. I don’t care how much I hate the Yankees, I will still give credit where credit is due. Pay attention to what other people say. Their opinions also matter. Your sh*t stinks, too.

Actually, as it pertains to bullpen usage, Joe Torre is just as legendary as Bobby at mishandling them. Torre, like Cox, are more revered for management of the clubhouse, making people feel comfortable, dealing with team chemistry, etc., than they are for their actual management of the game between the white lines.

should be….”Torre, like Cox, IS more revered…”

Yes the braves should trade some pitching for prospects! Let’s build on Jurrjens and Hanson like we did with the young pitchers in the late 80’s with Smoltz and Glavine. By god please get some speed. We have this big pitcher friendly park why don’t we try to get some speed like the Cardinals in the 80’s when they played in a big park. Doesn’t Turner field have the fewest homeruns in the majors. I hated to see Glavine go and I will allways appreciate what he did for the Braves but that was a good move to get rid of him and call up Hanson. Let’s make more moves like that and make this team younger. I also would hate to see Bobby Cox go but we need a younger manager too. How about Paul Runge he does a great job managing the rookie league team in my hometown Danville, VA. The Danville Braves have made it to the championship series 4 out of 6 years he has been our manager and he just won his second championship the other day. I’ve been watching Atlanta religously since 1986 when I was 8 years old and i feel like I could make better decisions than Cox so here’s my application. I like how cox never calls his players out in public though and will get ejected to keep his players in the game so I hope our new manager would learn theese good traits from cox.

Instead of McClouth I wish we could have that guy that replaced him in center for pittsburg. We need speed. Nothing against McClouth he’s a good ball player but has very average speed for a centerfielder and he’s only batting like 250. Remember when we traded for Otis Nixon in 1991 and he helped us go from worst to first and we played in the launching pad back then. Now we have a big pitching park. Nixon used to kill us too when he played for Montreal. Too bad he got suspended for cocaine or Lonnie Smith might not have been the one on first who couldn’t score on Terry Pendelton’s double in game 7 of the 1991 World Series which we lost 1-0 in the 10th inning. Please don’t get any football players like Deon Sanders either. Thanks Deon for wearing the Braves hat on the Falcons sideline while Lonnie Smith couldn’t score that really helped. What’s the point of playing baseball if your going to sit the World Series out? Oh and I wish you could see this Deon so I could thank you for ruining my football team the Redskins in 2000. You said they should rename your position Deon because you defined the position and your on the same team as Darrel Green. I never saw you catch a fast running back like Green did Tony Dorsett and many others. Deon couldn’t even tackle.
No please no more coke heads or cocky speeders who think they are better than they actually are Frank Wrenn but some speed would be nice in pitcher friendly Turner Field.

Stink. Stink, Stink.

Bobby Cox has lost it here are his written rules,starting pitcher not to pitch over six innings or 100 pitches whichever comes first.A different pitcher to pitch the 7th 8th and 9th. the pitcher in the 7th strikes out the side but here comes another pitcher,the pitcher in th 8th gets them 1 2 3 but here comes another pitcher. THIS IS EVERY GAME WITH RARE EXCEPTION . HE HAS THE BEST PITCHING STAFF IN THE WORLD IN TOTAL CONFUSION.

Bobby Cox has lost it here are his written rules,starting pitcher not to pitch over six innings or 100 pitches whichever comes first.A different pitcher to pitch the 7th 8th and 9th. the pitcher in the 7th strikes out the side but here comes another pitcher,the pitcher in th 8th gets them 1 2 3 but here comes another pitcher. THIS IS EVERY GAME WITH RARE EXCEPTION . HE HAS THE BEST PITCHING STAFF IN THE WORLD IN TOTAL CONFUSION.

What in the Hell. The braves are 3 games back. We beat florida the first 2 and then lose the next five. These guys are sketso. When are we going to wake up and realize that bobby cox is a cancer to this team. I dont give a **** about his tenure here. My freaking grandma could have won with the teams the braves put on the field in the ni ntys. So what , he is a players manager. Thats just an excuse for the braves to play like **** and get away with it. I have never seen such dumb *** moves in a baseball game as I have seen Bobby cox make. One championship, out of all the talent we have had here. Pathetic, Freaking Pathetic. wake up braves fans. As long as Dip **** dumb *** cox is in charge, we will never get back to being anything but average. I have second guessed Cox on many occasions. I have always been right. If I can call it from home, what the hell does that say about our stupid , dumb *** manager.***** You Bobby Cox, you need to leave so we can have a winning team. I am sick and tired of having a below average team. Please Retire or Fire Bobby I couldnt win if my life depended on it Cox.

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