Wagner declines All-Star invitation

Billy Wagner was appreciative Saturday night when he was extended an invitation to pitch in this year’s All-Star Game.  But the Braves closer has decided it would be better for him to spend the next few days resting his sore right ankle.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel invited Wagner when it was determined Jason Heyward wouldn’t be ale to play in Tuesday night’s game.  Heyward’s roster spot will now be filled by Dodgers left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo.

“It’s just good that I take some time off,” Wagner said.  “I can pitch on it.  But I’d hate to try to push it, when I know that I had some time. I’d feel better if I knew that I was around for the whole duration of this year, rather than trying to fight through this ankle all year.  When we get closer to the end, I’m going to have to be ready to go everyday and there’s no days off.”

Along with converting 20 of his 23 save opportunities, Wagner has posted a 1.24 ERA, compiled a 0.86 WHIP, and limited opponents to a .162 batting average and .492 OPS.   Each of these marks stand as the best compiled by any National League closer this year.
Since turning his ankle during June 17 appearance against the Rays, Wagner has been unavailable to pitch just one game.  While bothersome, the ailment hasn’t prevented him from continuing his dominant run toward retirement.
In the 11 innings Wagner has completed since turning his ankle, he has allowed one earned run, surrendered five hits and recorded 17 strikeouts.  

Wagner, who has shown no signs that he will alter his plan to retire at the end of this season, will still be recognized as gaining this seventh career All-Star selection.  He will not accompany the five other Braves All-Stars to Anaheim this week. 



Glad to see Wagner had the opportunity to be in the game if he chose to go…but glad to hear that he can rest that sore ankle. There are a few guys that I am glad they are getting some time off.
Anyone else think Melky may need a little baserunning work before we get in September. I’ve always wondered how he can play CF because it always seems as if he is not blessed with alot of speed.

Medlen in for relief? Speaks volumes about Kawakami’s prospects with the team…

I personally think Melky needs a little DFA work before we get into September. And yes it does, but I think it has a lot to do with Medlen not starting for another 2 weeks. After the break, they go Jurrjens, Hanson, Hudson, Lowe, off-day, and I believe they’ll start over.

I missed the Future’s game last night, but I saw that Minor and Teheran both pitched scoreless innings. Minor is looking good in Gwinnett. In a rotation that is sans left-handed pitching, it would be nice to place the “untouchable” tag on Minor. After either D Lowe or KK is out of Atlanta, it would be good to see Minor step up to take that 5th spot in rotation. Huddy, Hanson, JJ, Medlen, and Minor for the next 3-5 seasons looks pretty darn good!

Also – I disagree with anyone’s thinking that this team is not in need or a RIGHT-HANDED outfield bat. Especially after yesterday’s showing against Santana. Troy Glaus has been awesome… But I just don’t know if we can rely on him solely to supply the right handed power and run production that we need.
This says it all:
Against Righties – .266 / .299 / .346
Against Lefties – .244 / .245 / .257
We will get to the playoffs with what we have now. However, my main concern is once we get in the playoffs. Especially in a short 5 game divisional series.
There are currently 7 other NL teams battling for playoff position (Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Phillies, and Mets). Those teams have an average of nearly 2 lefties per starting rotation. If we saw a dominant right-handed pitcher on game 1, and then saw two lefties back to back – that could mean trouble. Is a healthy Mat Diaz enough to increase the run production we need against lefties? I hope it is, but I just don’t know. I would feel much more comfortable releasing some pitching prospects for a reliable right handed outfield bat. Especially since it looks like our rotation is solid for the next 3-5 years.

bravo – earlier in the season, I was arguing with you that we needed to keep Medlin for the long haul. Nice to have you aboard.

I noticed that the Marlins have Cody Ross available to the trade market. I wonder if Wren will make a call and see what the Marlins want for him. I don’t know alot about the kid, but I’m pretty sure he had a couple of 20 HR seasons with the Marlins and he is a RH bat. Might be a possible fit, but then agian, maybe not.

I have read that the Giants are also after Hart, so if we are going to make a move, we are upon that time IMO (i just hope the deal wouldn’t include Minor, which i’m sure is a pipe dream). What better way to start off the second half of the season than with a new power RH bat. My only question would be, what would our outfield look like at that point. Of course you would have Heyward in right, and I’m guessing Hart in left. Does this mean that Hinske and Diaz will be seeing limited AB’s. With the way Matty is swinging it, that is somewhat disappointing. If only we could get some production out of that CF cluster that would be nice.

I have to agree that a RH bat is a must. However, I did some research and noticed that in every season that a Cox team has led at the All-Star break (there has been ten), only one has failed to win it’s respected division (1984 Blue Jays). I know there is a lot of season left and the Phillies will only get better when Utley and Polanco return, but I’m really excited about what the next part of the season will hold in store for Atlanta. I feel like if the Braves can address the one missing ingredient, a RH power bat, that this team is as good as any.


Well SoCar I agree and I disagree. We need the RH bat. Corey Hart who is coming into the prime of his career is available. It’s funny how the chattering class here says when another teams player is successful for the 1st half that it’s an aberration, when it’s our player he’s having a career year. There isn’t a great deal of competition trying to trade for him. We have the trading pieces we need to pull this off. Your point about Cox and his teams that have led at the AS break is well considered. But look at this, only one of those 10 won the WS. Why, it might be because the flaw of a lineup which is only successful from 1 side of the plate is exposed in the offseason. Right now the Braves are 38-22 against righties, 14-14 against lefties. This is a snake in the grass. We absolutely HAVE to get a RH bat. Hart is the best available, come on Frank don’t wait until the talent is gone, yet again. If you do you’ll be trading for Kenshin batting from the right side of the plate.

Well for one, it always seemed like the Braves have never had enough offense going into postseason. If your pitchers only give up 2-3 runs a game, then you still need to score 3-4 runs to win. Unless Escobar, McLouth, and/or Chipper really go on a tear in the second half, we’re really gonna need a spot in the lineup that can hit w a good .SLG in a spot in the lineup that’s not 1-5. Right now the ENTIRE outfield is a question mark. Diaz has only been back for a little while though he is showing real life, Hinske is hasn’t hit this well in 4 years, our CF trio is a sad one indeed, and J-Train is coming back from an injury that is gonna stick around all year. In a pretty good scenario, 2 out of those 3 positions performs well. I’m pretty sure most of us on here would put our money on CF as the one to falter. We need help against the LHP and our CF is a lefty who isn’t hitting anyone. Hopefully he will turn it around and at least hit around .250 after the break. He does have as many hits (4) in his 3 rehab games as he did in his last 15 games in Atlanta.

So… if we get Hart, where do we put him? RF or CF?

You put him in RF and move the kid to CF.

Do you really think Heyward should play CF? I didn’t follow him all too much before he came up, despite checking out to see what he was batting.. did he used to play center?

If he is put in center, we sure as hell know that the left and right fielders will be stopping dead in their tracks if he’s galloping in and calling them off.

with 15 home runs, 61 rbi’s, and 17 stolen bases… I think the ideal move would be for Chris Young. He’s a right-handed center fielder. That would solve our right handed bat and our center field problem. Not sure if he’s on the table, but that would be ideal. We have pitching to deal and God knows Arizona needs pitching.

I would not mind having Hart, but there are 2 things that I don’t like: 1. It could be another McLouth trade. Hart could come down to earth and return to 09 form. 2. It would further limit the already limited number of at bats for Matt Diaz. Am I the only one who has seem the Matt Diaz magic that always comes out when he starts?

I think Heyward CAN play center, but he’d have to have a lot of practice. And we’d have to get rid of Melky.

I have this really sinking feeling that the Braves are going to stand pat at the trading deadline and not do anything to address the OF.

Heyward has played some CF in the minors. Hart has played 51 MLB games in CF (started 41 of them). Not an ideal situation either way.
At the risk of looking into the mirror and saying Bloody Mary (that’s 1), I don’t remember if ncbravesfan82 mentioned trading for Chris Young. It’s not a bad idea if he’s available, but what do we give up for him? The future of the starting rotation (Minor, Teheran, Vizcaino) is our best trade bait, but I’m not at all a fan of mortgaging our future. And sending Arizona our dregs won’t cut it either.

Bravo and Papi, you are aware that Chris Young has a career .240 avg. and hit .212 last year. We already have one Nate McLouth, let’s not trade good prospects for for Young.
BobbyCox I share that sinking feeling. I love the fact that Matt D came back strong and I love his game but we have a chance to go for the whole enchilada and I think we should do whatever we can to go for it. You never know when the dice may come up this way again.

Oh, did anyone see Hart bashing em last night? Pretty mean, it would be nice to have a real slugger on the team after the break. Come on Frank, get busy.

Yeah, Hart was putting in work last night. Too bad he had that long wait and got cold, because I would rather have seen him against Ortiz than Ramirez.
Bill, who should Frank give up for Hart?

I think you will have to give up a high level pitching prospect. I would have said Vizcaino or Teheran as first choices but now Arodys is DLed. I think you can unload either Melky or McLouth(will have to eat some of his salary) as part of the deal in order to soften the blow. You can probably get a position player prospect as part of the deal as well, my guess is you look for SS or 3B prospects. They have a kid in AA named Zelous Wheeler. Love the name, he hits for power, has a good OBP. I figure a kid with a name like that got picked on enough in school to make him tough, but these days I don’t know.

Chris Young is only hitting .259 against lefties…why would we want to fix our problem against LHP with a guy hitting .259? The only other option I see other than Hart is Cody Ross. He is hitting .303 against LHP this season. Additionally, he has a history of hitting 20+ HR, but then again, so did McLouth. Also, I can’t help but notice that Hart is murdering LHP, he seems like a perfect fit, it just seems to be a question of now (hart) vs later (Minor, Teheran). Time will tell. It will be just our luck that we will get someone like Blalock, we seem to love those project players…

And before everyone screams about trading a high level pitching prospect, please remember that JoJo and Charlie were can’t miss high level guys a couple years ago. Prospects are prospects, I mean Kris Medlen was a projected middle reliever until he got to Gwinnett, wound up with a start and they haven’t been able to get him out of lineup ever since. Prospects are exactly that prospects, sometimes you have to let them go for value.
A couple of other things about Hart. For the stat heads he is an above average CF according to UZR ratings in 2007, when he last spent time there. He also hits .325 against the Mets lifetime, that’s compared to Met Killer Jones who has a .318 career avg. against them.

Sorry, but I don’t see Hart as an upgrade over Diaz. A healthly Diaz/Hinske will yield you similar numbers in LF. Since the first month Blanco and Cabrera have been fine in CF. If McClouth is activated, he needs to be on a short leash since they have other options now. How many AB does hart have against the Mets anyways? I can’t imagine more than 100-125? Additionally, the Braves need Minor in the rotation next year and Lowe or KK or both off the payroll. They may not be tradeable, but KK may actually be a DFA option since they will not have a spot for him next year. The team has overcome injuries to their best pitcher (JJ) and their best hitter (Heyward) and have overcome a miserable year from Esky? He really looks bad right now. I just saw former prospects Wainwright and Andrus in the all star game so don’t be so quick to trade the farm…

Melky is not a starter, pure and simple, and I think bill hit on most of the points. I think he is a good 4th outfielder because of his versatility. Don’t forget to mention Bill, he is a terrible bunter. Which if you bat .250 with no power, you should at least be able to move guys over. But, he is not a clubhouse problem, he doesn’t get injured, he can bat switch, and he has been in a winning atmosphere his entire career. So, like I said, good 4th OF.

wow, timestamp is awesome tonight. . .

Hart, wouldn’t even impact Diaz. Diaz will be part of the typical Cox LF platoon. I disagreed with the Andrus trade and Wainwright was traded in 2003 long before some of you were out of diapers, I suspect. The issue is whether you trade for talent, or Pirate droppings like McLouth. The issue isn’t always who you give away even, it has a lot to do with the contract you inherit. And ziffer, Heyward is the Braves best hitter? What are you ‘moking???? He has a .251 average headed into the break and about the same number of RBI’s as Prado(batting leadoff). Your assessment of next year means the Braves will be eating 23 Million in salary(lowe and KK).
As to the Hart vs. Mets avg. it was just a little joke, true, but not a serious assessment of his skills. Nice though.
Hart does though have 21 HRs and 65 RBI’s before the break. That’s more HR’s than the Braves 3 and 4 spots combined. And as far as your analysis that Melky and Blanco will be a suitable platoon for CF. I would like to hear you make an offer to any contender in baseball right now to trade for both of them and get their CF and would love to see them rolling on the floor.

Bill – don’t you attribute some of Heywards struggles to the injured thumb? At the end of May he had an OPS of 1,000 – look it up. Prado is fantastic as well, but Heyward adds quite a bit more power and plate discipline. Yes, I view Heyward as a 300 hitter also when healthy?

They may get stuck with KK and Lowe, but they will try to trade both. If they can’t, I foresee KK may get released. I could be wrong, but they may have to eat his salary, but not Lowes.

Take a look at Hart’s full season stats for the past few year? Not one 30 HR year so this year could be a fluke. Look at what KJ did in AZ? How many HRs in April?

Finally, you mention that there would be no market for Melky from any other team? Good Point on that. In 2009, he was limited to 540 ABs for an average yankee team. I guess they must have had limited funds.

Can’t wait for your rebutal on Melky…

Melky, doesn’t hit in the clutch .235 BA with RISP in 2010. Doesn’t hit for power, less than 10 HR/y in all but one season. Doesn’t hit for avg. lifetime .268 this year .259. He plays below avg defense, no speed in center, and weak arm. He only got all those AB for the Yankees is that they didn’t need to worry about run production from the rest of their lineup. Sadly we don’t have that luxury. We are 6th in the NL in runs scored. If we don’t improve on that we run the risk of falling a wee bit short once again. I don’t want to win the division I want to win the WS. I can smell it, but I can’t quite taste it yet.

Atta boy, B-Macc! “Biggest hit for the National League in 13 years.” – Joe Buck.
All-Star MVP, anyone???

I don’t see this team ever DFA’ing Kawakami. He’s owed too much and they will find a place for him or trade him.
Also – I don’t think Escobar is untouchable. He averages ticking the organization and manager off about 4 times per season. When you’re hitting .300 and driving in runners, organizations tend to be forgiving. When you’re hitting sub .240 with zero homeruns and can’t drive anyone in, you’re expendable. Bobby kicked a chair last week because of Escobar’s tom foolery.
Teams are interested in Escobar and I would pair him with a pitching prospect if the price was right.

I’d love to see BMac get the MVP award, i’m pretty sure the last time the NL won Fred McGriff was the MVP, but its been so long, I could be mistaken . . . . . oh and by the way. If we trade Escobar, who will play SS? I’m assuming Infante, but i don’t know if he has near the arm or range of Escobar…

Yes to B Mac. He da man.
And ziff, Oh and if Melky was so great, why did the Yankees dump him in a trade? To save money?????? You know they don’t do that. And in case you don’t remember, the Yankees paid us 500k to TAKE Melky. If that’s his best reference, he has problems.
Oh Bravo, If we trade Esky, who plays short?

“[Escobar] averages ticking the organization and manager off about 4 times per season.” You know that’s not a whole lot in a 162 game season. I’m sure Bobby’s foot will be fine if he only kicks that chair a couple more times. Escobar is a human highlight reel at SS. It’s not like Blauser was tearing the cover off the ball during the long run of the 90s. I’m pretty sure he’ll get things back on track.

All I’m saying is that Escobar is not as untouchable as he was a year ago. It’s no secret that there are folks in the organization who are fed up with the way he plays the game. You can tell by the way Mark writes about him. Yes, he has made some great plays defensively. He also failed to tag up on a fly ball to deep left field… and that’s unforgivable. What’s to say he won’t go air head in the play offs when the pressure is on and he does something stupid like that? Again, if he’s hitting .300 and driving people in it’s a different story. How many double plays has he hit into?
I understand that there is not a full-time SS on the roster to replace him, and that’s a huge road block. However, how hard is it to replace a sub .240 hitter with 0 home runs? I think Frank could figure it out. If teams are still interested in him, I say make an offer if it sweetens the deal.

TWEET from Buster Olney last night:
“Heard this: Braves continue to have interest in Cody Ross,who is one of three players the Marlins have made available”

If Hart is the trade target it would be nice, but landing Fielder at a discount because an of off year (by his standards) would be even better. Hart did start strong two years ago only to fizzle out after ASG. Though I believe he has grown since then, why over pay to get a power hitting McLouth? If we can deal McLouth and something of minor consequence, then I would be all for landing Hart however.

Jason Werth is a possiblity too, though Philly would likely be hesitant to deal him to a division rival.

Bill, I’d say Melky has a decent arm. Over his career, he has thrown out several people who have underestimated him.

I like the trade, we’re sacrificing no defense while gaining run production and getting decent prospects while giving up a ******* pitcher.

Braves just Alex Gonzalez from Toronto

Braves just got Alex Gonzalez from toronto, Yuni and JoJo are gone.

I guess they thought Escobar was that much of a pain in the *ss to get a guy who has an OBP under .300.

viva, if your OBP is higher than your SLG, you clearly aren’t producing. Escobar’s OBP is that much higher than that of Gonzalez only because he walked 20 more times, not because he’s really contributing offensively.
But you’re missing one big thing. We actually moved Jo-Jo!

Man they must have REALLY disliked Yuni . I am a bit flummoxed by this. You take a star who has a bad 1st half and trade him for a journeyman who has his best half ever. We kind of traded at our low and their high. Was it just so we could get rid of JoJo? Was our team OBP getting too high? I sure hope this guy doesn’t come back to Earth. If he does I guess we can just dump him at the end of the year, It’s getting old though trading for guys who only last 3 months(insert Ryan Church here).

Looking at the prospects, we received some SS depth (which we needed) and a 5’7″ LH reliever a la Daniel Rey Herrera.

I have more faith in Alex Gonzalez than I EVER did Ryan Church.

Not crazy about the long term implications of the trade. That said I understand fully esco had worn out his welcome.

Gonzalez will be around in 2011 also. Cheap club option 2.5M.

Hope they aren’t done dealing. Still like to see them add Fielder, Werth, or Hart.

I could “pull a billreef” here and demand that all of you pay me the respect I deserve for my GM prowess, visionary forecasting, and just plain being always right — (see comments made early this morning at time stamp 12:22am and 9:37am)
…however, I refuse to stoop to his level. You will not hear any of that from me. I am so humble that it scares me sometimes.
Mark – you will be receiving my resume shortly.
Sorry guys – I had to have a little fun with that.

Yeah, you’re humble like Garrett Anderson was a speed demon on the base paths. Predicting that Yunel was gonna get traded is a little like predicting that paint will dry, you know it’s gonna happen you just don’t know when.

Here’s my prediction Bravo. Escobar only slightly increases production for the Blue Jays this year. Next year he picks it up.

Alex Gonzalez keeps his strong numbers the rest of this year, the option is picked up, he struggles next year and is made a bench player.

Hey Mark, when can we expect a definitive update on Heyward’s return to the lineup? Was thought to be tomorrow, but AJC recently reported he could play in minors for a few games before returning.

Brandon – Of course this is better for the Jays in the future. Don’t get confused on the reason this move was made. This move was made simply to win THIS year. To increase our offensive production and to set us up for the post season. We needed to make a move that was better for us RIGHT NOW.
We just added 17 home runs, 31 rbi’s, and 20 points in batting average from and all we had to do was give up JoJo Reyes. … sounds like a pretty good move to me.
This was not a move to better our team for the future. It was a move to better our team for the postseason in 2010. Hands down. No other reason.

We just got a guy who is has more homeruns than anyone else on our team, for a guy who was hitting .230’s(and Jo Jo) . Granted, I hope he doesn’t come back down to earth, but he seems to have the Javy Lopez syndrome of having a big year followed by two mediocre ones…..You have to give to get, but we got a guy who is swinging the bat well this year for a guy with great potential (and has shown us last year how could he could be). Let’s just say inserting a guy with 17HR around the 6 hole isn’t going to hurt our offense at all. My only concern is that Gonzalez is not hitting LHP this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one more deal for a guy who can handle the stick against the southpaws. Although Matty Diaz is a go to guy for that department, he just needs a little help, and that’s about the only that Yunel did offensively this year (at least in relation to avg vs. righties)

Not only did they get Gonzo but they got minor league players in the deal but they got a young SS in the deal that maybe the replacement for Yuni on down the line. The upside is u get Gonzo for 3-4 years and then Tyler Pastornicky can come up and take over when for him down the line or someone else.

ncbravesfan, Medlen’s already a starter for ATL. And a pretty strong one too… he’s been one of our best for the past few weeks. Who would start in his place? Kawakami? The fact that he’s been idle since moving to the ‘pen shows how valuable he is right now.
Bravo, we have 17 days left to see moves. I also figure Wren’s not done.

Hey papi i would go after chris young but I know i am gonna get b*tched at for coming up for this trade but i would send Schafer and Medlen for Chris Young. I think Medlen isnt gonna be a starting pitcher in Atl so why not send him somewhere that will let me be a starter and be successful. I would use that same trade to Fla or Phil for either Werth or Cody Ross but i wouldnt want to send Medlen to a rival like that but we sent Francouer to the Mets so getting either Werth Ross or Young would be a nice addition but I really wanna see them get either hart or kemp.

I was gonna ask what kind of ballpark they have in Toronto?cause it’s interesting that this guy just started to hit this well at this point in his career, but I see that he hit more on the road. I still don’t like this trade but I guess Bobby wanted Yunel gone. It’s surprising that they have more faith that McLouth will turn it around than Escobar’s ability to. That is assuming that they’re not looking to replace him as well.

Wow, just read about a hundred blog entries from MLBTR. They are about 10-1 astounded that the Braves would make this trade. I guess it’s gonna be one where we’ll know in the next year how it turned out.

Viva – I don’t think it was as much about Bobby as it was the organization as a whole. He didn’t fit in, he didn’t play smart, he wasn’t producing. .
Also – I’m not so sure that McClouth is off the hook here. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t another move in the works for an outfield bat. Especially since we didn’t give up ANY of our pitching prospects in this deal. The Braves are making it known that they want to improve their team in 2010 and prepare for the post season. It’s just a hunch, but I’m not sure they’re done…

Everybody has to agree that Escobar was MUCH more trade able than McLouth.

This is a good move for now. We need to win NOW. Next year we don’t have Wagner, Glaus, maybe Chipper, Hinske, Ross, Saito. Our potential lineup next year looks like:

Martin Prado, Diaz/Melky(but hopefully not Melky), Heyward, McCann, Freeman, McLouth, Gonzalez, and if not Chipper, we need another 3rd basemen.

That is one hell of an inconsistent team past Diaz.

Daggone timestamp issues…
Brandon, I wouldn’t worry about Heyward or McCann being inconsistent.

He did make mistakes, but he didn’t play smart in maybe 5-6 games a year. Now that’s once or twice in those games.. he had 613 chances in the field last year. Made 13 errors. Let’s say he made 15 bonehead plays besides those. That’s 28 bad plays a game. Add maybe 10 stupid moves on the basepaths. That’s 6% of the plays all year during which he had a mental lapse. Probably even less than that. I mean, maybe he was just an *sshole as well.. he certainly looked like one when he got those frosted tips.
I understand the logic in getting rid of him to win now.. but let’s just see how many HRs Gonzalez hits in our pitcher’s ballpark and how many just end up being deep fly balls, a la Willie Mays Hayes.

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