Braves likely to stand pat for a little while

So the Braves record four hits or fewer for the ninth time this season last night and suddenly Braves Nation is once again talking about making an immediate trade or firing Larry Parrish.

When the Braves first visited California three weeks into this season, the offense was providing concerns and there was already some wondering whether Parrish was the right guy to replace Terry Pendleton, who had spent the previous years serving as the Braves’ hitting coach and their fans’ punching bag.

Well as much as this might pain you, I don’t see a trade happening for at least another few weeks and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if Parrish sticks around at least through the end of this season.

As the final days of June elapse, ’tis the season for the baseball world to be enamored by trade rumors.  There has been nothing wrong with Braves fans dreaming about the possibility of adding somebody like Matt Kemp or Hunter Pence.

It adds to the interest of the game and after having to watch their offense over this season’s first three months Braves fans deserve some excitement.  But when looking at these rumors from a realistic standpoint, there is very, very little reason to believe either player ends up in Atlanta.

When there were rumors swirling around Matt Kemp last year, there was reason to wonder if he had indeed tested the last bit of patience the Dodgers had for him.   But now that he has recovered from Rihanna fever and once again established himself as one of the game’s greatest all-around talents, there is no reason for the Dodgers to trade him now.

Check out this story my colleague Ken Gurnick wrote this week and tell me if you think Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is ready to give up on a player that made Bobby Cox take pause the first time he saw Kemp take batting practice in 2007.   Colletti has said he is hoping to sign both Kemp and Andre Ethier to multi-year deals before they become free agents after the 2012 season.

Yeah, I understand the McCourts divorce proceedings have created great financial problems for the Dodgers.  But you’ll see Tommy Lasorda wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform before you see the Dodgers trade Matt Kemp this year.

Like most other Major Leaguers, Pence isn’t in Kemp’s elite category.  But as the most talented trade piece available in the Astros’ system, he could draw a significant return on the trade market.

With their impressive crop of young pitching prospects, the Braves could likely create a package that would satisfy the Astros.   Of course if they were to acquire Pence to fill their one potential need in center field, then it could be said they would be playing without a true centerfielder.

Pence played 95 games as a centerfielder in his 2007 rookie season and has not returned to the position.   He might be able to upgrade the lineup.   But it wouldn’t be long before some of you would be talking about how much you miss Jordan Schafer in center.

This brings us back to where the Braves stand on the trade market.  Once Martin Prado returns to play left field and hit near the top of the lineup, Braves general manager Frank Wren will have a better idea about what his team needs before the July 31 trade deadline.

But as things currently stand from a position player standpoint, Wren seemingly has no choice but to wait a few more weeks to see how confident he is in Schafer’s ability to serve as the leadoff hitter the club needs.

At times Schafer has looked capable of filling this need and at other times he has provided the reminder that he might need more time to develop the patience the role demands.

In his first nine games, Schafer hit .229 with a .357 on-base percentage.  But in the 18 games he has played since being hit in the face by a fouled bunt attempt, he has hit .219 with a .269 on-base percentage.

Schafer is a great athlete with tremendous potential.  The Braves can afford to wait a couple more weeks to evaluate his potential as a leadoff hitter.  But if there is still some question after the All-Star break, then we’ll probably hear more about their pursuit of an outfielder who could fill the leadoff spot.

As for the topic of Parrish’s long-term future, the Braves are much more likely to make an in-season change to their coaching staff now that Bobby Cox is not the manager. But don’t forget that the decision to hire Parrish was essentially Wren’s.

If Fredi Gonzalez had also been allowed to hire his hitting coach, you have to think he would have gone with Jim Presley, who served as his hitting coach in Florida and now handles this role for the Orioles.    You also have to wonder if Dan Uggla would be struggling in this manner had Presley been around.

But before thinking too much about this, remember that Presley was removed as a candidate for the Braves’ job a few weeks before Wren landed Uggla from the Marlins.

I’m guessing Parrish makes it at least through the end of the season.  If he is dismissed at that time, some of the players will likely campaign for Triple-A Gwinnett hitting coach Jamie Dismuke.

After the Padres pounded Jairo Asencio for six runs during last night’s seventh inning I tweeted that we might see Cory Gearrin pretty soon.   Well the Braves opted not to promote Gearrin today and I now think Asencio will stick around at least until Tommy Hanson is activated from the disabled list Tuesday.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

Schafer 8

Heyward 9

Chipper 5

McCann 2

Freeman 3

Uggla 4

Gonzalez 6

McLouth 7

Jurrjens 1

 

 

 

54 Comments

I think the offense will pick back when Prado gets back. People forget that if the season ended today we would take the Wild Card. This is a good team folks, don’t let it kid you.

Oh Shocker. QTip has screwed the pooch again. LP is a nightmare, We have a 7 million dollar mediocre AA pitcher. A 7 million dollar flop in LF. And we have somehow ruined the swing of the most consistent hitter in MLB over the last 5 years. WHERE DOES THE BUCK STOP, FRANK????!!!!!!!. Fire Wren, Fire LP. Get a swing mechanic in to fix what we have screwed up. And find a GM who will quit pulling sand in the hole we are digging.

Uggla’s career averages have him hitting 90 points higher with 6 more homers and twice as many rbi’s at this point in the season. He may feel like he’s giving 100%, but the Braves are getting around 60%.

Oh, give it a rest.

Mark, can you try and give some insight into what you MIGHT think is wrong with the offense, or do you think the entire team–with the exception of Chipper and McCann–have mysteriously gone down the toilet for no explainable reason? We strike out more than almost the entire league, have the worst batting average, almost the worst OBP, we don’t walk, etc etc. The entire team is swinging at more balls outside the zone and are taking more pitches in the zone. These aren’t my observations, they’re real statistics that I looked up. What you don’t have to look up–which is pretty damn obvious–is that the entire team is being more aggressive. Does that not seem like there is an approach being put forth to the players, or do you simply think they all lost their plate discipline collectively, like a group of women aligning their period cycles from spending a lot of time together? I never thought Pendleton was the real problem in previous years, though I didn’t think he did a superb job either. But Parrish became the hitting coach of a team that was supposed to have one of the top 5 most potent offenses in the NL, and now we rank at the bottom of almost every statistical category.

My concern with Parrish is that his “swing at the first pitch you like” philosophy could ruin (or at least retard) the development of Freeman, Schafer, and even Prado. Chipper and McCann are confident enough in their talents to ignore bad advice. Heyward may be as well. A hitting coach preaching more selectivity could clearly help Uggla, who seems to want to please the Atlanta brass so much that he’s abandoned the approach that made him a feared hitter.

Uggla has been selective the last month or so from my experience of watching him. He just cant hold up on those breaking balls

You guys do realise uggla was never even close to a .300 hitter right? He always had a bad swing, but if you make a mistake he hits it out the ball park. Having said that I agree they arent patient enough. Its back to 2009 for this offense. That year we wud walk the bases loaded and then frenchy or kelly would come up and swing at the first and ground out to a guy who couldnt find the zone

Uggla and Gonzo are also really bad at making productive outs. The braves dont have power or speed. So what we need to do is string hits together. Just like 2009 we cant do that now. We cant put up big innings because at some point uggla/schafer will have to come to the plate and they r both out machines. Gonzo and Mcclouth arent much better either, and then you have the pitcher. So I would say we are reliant on innings where heyward, chipper (when playing), Mac (when playing) and freddie come to the plate. Even then those guys are hardly killing the ball

Anyone else find it funny that our two guys who get on base the most are our slowest guys – chipper and mac?

It is obvious that the hitting coach is the biggest problem. This team needs a Baseball-101 course right now. The 3-run bomb just aint gonna cut it. Getting Uggla was a good move. Ruining his swing with an inept Parrish is criminal!

Again the Braves need a line up change and need it fast. I saw trade for Fla’s Emilio Bonifacio use him in Cf and how bout using a line up like La Russo and put the pithcer batting 8th and put uggla batting 9th? I mean if not him why not Bourne or Crisp?

you’re not fooling us NC……

McClutch, Heyward, and Uggs getting it done tonight. Jurrjens deserves to start the All-Star game.

Indeed your right about Jurrjens starting the All-Star game if he is the one who deserves it. Anything the Braves can do give the Phillies the home field advantage in the WS is greatly appreciated.

Did I miss something? Did Jurrjens get hurt? If not, why was he pulled after only 6 innings and 91 pitches? A fragile lad, is he?

Because we pinch hit for him the 7th pherris. Unlike the frillies, we know we can go to our pen at any time because its lights out. Difficult concept for you to grasp I know

Whatever preserves him for the All-Star game is good even if logically twisted. Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Oswalt made it deep last time. Think he’ll pitch a CG in his next start?

Oswalt has two bulging disks. What is Jurrjens excuse for petering out after only 91 pitches and 6 innings? The little fella all tuckered out or what? Just kidding. I realize Gonzalez is a graduate of the Bobby Cox School of Pitcher Management.

Ironic. I thought you were the one bitching about people using injuries as an excuse?

Gimme a break. Philly couldn’t beat the team that couldn’t roll over the injury depleted Braves by more than one run in the playoffs last year and now that crop of .260 hitters and depleted bullpen are all going to be carried to a World Series because of two good starting pitchers and an above average one? Here you are, running off at the mouth because your team is in first place in June(sound familiar?) and I’M the one who’s like Bill? I’d take the Brewers over the Phillies, not to mention the Yankees, Boston, Texas, and Tampa Bay. Your ignorance will be the death of you.

The Phillies chances are better than the no load Braves no matter how you slice it. Besides do the Phillies still have the best MLB record? I notice you didn’t include the Braves in your litany of teams you would take over the Phillies. Throwing in the towel already?

Yesterday was the 1st day since he became a Brave that McLouth didn’t look like he got thrown in the deep end of the pool. His swing actually looked somewhat respectable. Still think we need Hunter Pence for left, since Prado has lost so much muscle tone, but we might be able to limp along until Qtip get’s off his arse.

You forgot about that 5-for-5 doubleheader day already?

8 for 8 it was. But I agree with Bill. This is the first time we have seen nate swing well since 2009 when he arrived. Last season he only had 250 AB, so its not like the epic slump frenchy had which lasted about 2 years.

Zidane, he did say “first day since he became a Brave.” Meaning “since 2009.”
Oh, and Nate was 5-5 that day… but his other three plate appearances were walks which don’t count as ABs or hits.

and the next 60 days after that? .143 BA .241 OBP. That’s his problem. He gets comfortable and his swing turns into crap again.

Zippy don’t let facts get in the way of your argument. The reason Nate only had 250 ABs was because he spent 2 months in the minors.

If everyone produces how they can then all we need is a lead off centre fielder. Exactly as mark said. Then nate can be 4th OF and can spell chipper/uggla when prado moves into the infield. As well as providing back up for heyward and the new centre fielder. Schafer has had hard luck, so as mark said, if he turns it round in the few weeks before we feel we can make a trade then we wont need to make a trade at all.

Nate looks good at the moment. If things keep going as they are then schafer will not replace nate as starting cf when prado is back

Zippy have you ever heard the saying, “better to remain quiet and appear unintelligent, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt”.

Ross is far too good to be a back up. He should be starting somewhere.

David O’Brien conducted an excellent interview with David Ross in which he (Ross) explained why he shouldn’t be starting.

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2011/06/26/move-mccann-from-catcher-ross-says-no/

Stop the presses, Gonzalez took a pitch. 3 pitch AB, pop up to left.

Jordan ShClutch.

It must be time for “Here’s Everyday Jonny………….”

Dear bill, who is the only brave to get on base every time up today

Dear Zidane, what difference did it make?

Nate is now getting on base at a .346 clip. Second along with chipper and only behind Bmac for players with a resonable amount of AB. Might be worth putting nate second for a while and having heyward down in 5th

The problem with those occasional 11 run scores is that they mask the true identity of this team… which was on display today. 1 hit in 7 innings. I’ll concede that a real evaluation of the offensive needs of this team will be established when Prado returns. However… if he does return and things do not change, Wren better make something happen. Losing 2 of 3 to the Padres is inexcusable. Especially when our starters pitch out of their minds.

Bill must have simply forgotten the .257/11/36/.352 line with 12 SB’s, and a .281 AVG on balls put in play in 396 PA after the trade in 2009. Nothing amazing, but good enough for a combined 3.4 WAR that year(it doesn’t show split WAR, but I’m estimating around a 2-2.2 WAR with the Braves that year). Once again, above average, overall solid, nothing amazing. Nate was never a superstar and should have never expected to be one. He was a doubles hitter with 15-20 HR pop who put up a solid OBP and knew when to steal a base and did it effectively, while playing with decent range in CF. The only thing that Bill is completely dead on about is his arm. Is he worth the around $7MM we’re paying him? No. But his walk rate and decent speed are still a tool the Braves can use. And if he keeps up like the he played in San Diego, we can change his nickname from McRib to McDouble.

He isnt worth the 7m but dont forget that his contract was heavily weighted towards this year. Over the 2.5 yrs he will probably has earned around $11-12m off the braves I think? Someone can check the numbers, but that isnt a disaster like KK has been. Nate had a down half year last year (only 240 AB and hit .190). This equates to little more than a few months of playing everyday. Also, he stole 7 bases, was only caught twice and still had an OBP of almost .300. Which isnt that bad considering his average. I hope we resign him next year on a 2-3m contract to serve as out 4th OF/challenge for everyday place.

Don’t get too excited Brandie. I don’t know if I would crow about about a .257 BA. WAR and BABIP are crap made up stats. He HAS sucked. Got sent back to the minors. I was just saying that his swing looks better than it has in a while. He has shown a propensity to fall back into bad habits when he gets going though. He starts swinging for the fences, the length of his batting stroke becomes exaggerated and he becomes a .175 hitter all over again. I hope he doesn’t do that this time, but he has done it repeatedly. That’s why he’ll probably sign a 750K(at best) contract for next season as a backup.

Oh I agree. I don’t know where he’ll end up, but it will be hard to get a $1MM guarantee anywhere. But if Melky can get over $1MM, I’m guessing McLouth might too. And WAR(depending on whose evaluation of it you use, I use Fangraphs, probably the most accurate) is a great way of showing worth to your team. It’s a statboy stat, but when used for comparison purposes, it shows a players true value. And BABIP can show how well a hitter can hit when he makes contact. Reduce strikeouts, Nate could be a .280 hitter. Then again, reduce strikeouts, Nate could be an All-Star again. I have no idea why Zidane wants to resign him; if we even considered doing that, it’d be on a minor league deal. Also, as much as Schafer is a better defender and baserunner than Nate, his bat is showing little signs of life. A hit every five at bats isn’t going to cut it.

Hey Koovoon, psychologically speaking, what do you make of all the DENIAL that exists on this board regarding Dan Uggla? (serious inquiry)

lol…I’d rather refer to it as optimism at this point. When it’s August and he is still struggling, then we may need to bring someone in to analyze said denial issues.

Why was Hudson not allowed to pitch one more inning? He only had 103 pitches after 6 innings. Other than reaching the “magic” pitch count of 100, am I missing something?

That’s actually a GREAT question, Pherris. I was asking the same thing. O’Flaherty has back issues and Venters is leading the world in innings pitched and he runs them both out there. Drives me crazy.

We will lose at least 2 of 3 to the Mariners. Guaranteed. Here is what we’re facing: Bedard is 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA and .194 opponents’ average in his past 10 starts. Before Sunday, Pineda ranked fifth in the American League in ERA and was fourth in opponents’ average (.199) and opponents’ slugging (.308)…. Game 3 starter Hernandez was also among AL leaders in opponents’ slugging (.334) and average with RISP (.205).
Anyone really think we’ll win this series?

Bravo we have Beachy Hansen and Lowe going for us though so we always have a chance. I think we will get swept though.

so it will be a zero-zero game in the 6th inning. Our pitchers will be taken out because they can’t throw over 100 pitches. Linebrinkdrive will come in in the 7th and Ascencio in the 8th because Venters has been used every day, even in non-hold situations this past week. They will give up a run or two or 5. We may score a run after our 4th time through the lineup but by then it will be too late. Freeman will strike out 3 times and then hit a meaningless double in the 9th inning after we’re alread down by 4 runs. Heyward will ground out to second base every time up. Uggla will pop out, strike out. Schafer will get on base and be left there. Nate will walk and the pitcher will fail at bunting him over.
Stop me when I start giving scenarios that are not COMPLETELY likely and realistic…

I’m saying we win the first 2, drop the third.

We’ll sweep and score 11 runs total. To their 6.

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