Hudson talking and Heyward is limping
As the Phillies prepare to play in something called the World Series, the Braves are taking advantage of the opportunity to get a leg up on their division rivals by planning for the 2010 season.
Considering that Tuesday will mark the 10th anniversary of the most recent World Series game that included the Braves, there’s obviously reason to write such ridiculous openings in attempt to create some sense of October optimism in Atlanta.
OK. Before I ramble on too long and kill the journalistic lessons that I once learned, I’ll let you know about some recent news involving Tim Hudson and Jason Heyward.
Braves general manager Frank Wren and Paul Cohen have started negotiating the contract extension that could keep Hudson in Atlanta. The two parties spoke on Friday and they’re expected to resume talking on Monday.
Like Jimmy Buffett, come Monday, Heyward is hoping that he will be alright. The highly-regarded outfielder has been dealing with a strained gluteus muscle that has prevented him from playing in the Arizona Fall League since Oct. 17.
The Braves remain hopeful that Heyward is simply dealing with a minor injury that will allow him to resume playing with the Peoria Saguaros within the next couple of days.
There doesn’t seem to be much reason to believe that Heyward is dealing with a significant injury. But the lost playing time certainly lessens the development that would benefit him if the Braves do decide to have him start the 2010 season as their starting right fielder.
I’ve written that it doesn’t seem logical to believe that Heyward could start next year in the Majors. But as time passes, there’s growing reason to believe that the Braves are certainly open to this possibility.
A more concerning development from the AFL stems from the early struggles encountered by Freddie Freeman. Before recording a pair of hits in five at-bats (through eight innings) on Friday, the 20-year-old first baseman had gone 1-for-19 with nine strikeouts.
Now back to Hudson. My guess is that the two parties could reach an agreement within the next week. My guess is that the 34-year-old right-hander will agree to a three-year extension worth approximately $27 million and also gain an option for the 2013 season.
If the deal with Hudson is secured, we’ll likely start hearing more about the possibility of moving either Derek Lowe or Kenshin Kawakami.
There are two ways to look at Lowe’s situation. Given that he’s owed $45 million over the next three years, there aren’t going to be a lot of clubs lining up to add him to their rotation. Still, there seems to be some hope that the Red Sox, Yankees or Mets might be willing to deal for him as long as the Braves eat a portion of his salary.
On the flip side, can the Braves responsibly deal Lowe with the the knowledge that they would gain a limited return in talent and still have to incur some of his cost?
Lowe will be the first to tell you that he was disappointed with the fact that he went 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA this past season. What he won’t discuss are the intangibles that he brought to a club that needed a proven veteran to serve as the leader of its reconstructed rotation.
As September was nearing its end, an American League scout said that he didn’t believe that Javier Vazquez would have been as successful had he started this past season bearing the responsibility of being the staff’s ace? Another National League scout recently voice this same opinion.
My rebuttal to this argument would be that Vazquez could return next year and once again not have to feel like he had to carry the load for the rotation. Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson are going to be front-line starters for many years to come and could easily prove to be an “ace” as early as the 2010 season.
Plus, I think that Vazquez proved that he does have the makeup to be a leader. He was as responsible as anybody for the enhanced maturity that Yunel Escobar showed during the final months of this past season.
Repeating is an accomplishment: While dodging champagne and getting interviews after the National League Championship Series concluded Wednesday, I heard many of the Phillies talk about how hard it had been to go through this season as defending world champions.
This got me to thinking whether Braves fans truly appreciate what their clubs accomplished during the 1990s.
This year’s Phillies stand as the first NL club since the 1996 Braves to return to the World Series. They now have the chance to be the first NL club since the 1976 Reds to repeat as world champions.
The Dodgers advanced to the World Series in 1977 and ’78. But since then, the Phillies and Braves (1991 and ’92; 1995 and ’96) stand as the only NL organizations who have competed in the World Series in consecutive seasons.
Thank You: When we returned to the press box earlier this week, it was learned that this forum had been the most-visited among the blogs authored by MLB.com writers throughout the regular season.
This prompted a witty response from Phillies beat writer, Todd Zolecki, whose Zo Zone finished second. To which I responded, “Don’t you think you guys in Philadelphia have won enough recently?”
But seriously, thanks for the regular contributions that you all have made throughout the year and let’s keep this site busy throughout the offseason.