Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gold Gloves in '07

Just a little blurb about defense on a slow braves news day. Despite only fielding 7 eligible positions (LF was a platoon) it looks like the Braves have 5 players who have a chance at winning. I'm not sure how it would work for Tex, but the other 4 have a good shot. Take a look.

Chipper Jones: 9 errors, .971 F%, and .797 ZR in 1081.2 Innings
Edgar Renteria: 11 errors, .977 F%, and .800 ZR in 1019.1 Innings
Andruw Jones: 2 Errors, .995 F%, and .863 ZR in 1346.0 Innings
Jeff Francoeur: 5 Errors, .986 F%, and .875 ZR in 1441.2 Innings

Chipper ranks 1st in Errors, 3rd by .002% in F%, and 5th in ZR.
Edgar ranks 2nd in Errors, 8th in F%, and 10th in ZR.
Andruw ranks 1st in Errors, 2nd in F%, 7th in ZR.
Frenchy ranks 6th in Errors, 4th in F%, 7th in ZR.

In all honesty, Chipper has the best shot at winning this year from this snapshot. Rowand seems to have CF locked up, Vizquel has SS, and Corey Hart has RF. Btw, it looks like LaRoche is going to win the award at 1st.

It's Official

AJ is not coming back next year. Honestly, i'm actually happy about this from a team perspective despite my sorrow to see such a good person leave. Honestly, on the field Andruw had a knack of being a rally killer. His entire career he seemed to come up when we needed a hit and failed to produce. Despite the same last name, he was the antithesis of Chipper.

At this point I invite the opening of the flood gates on his replacement. Is Tori Hunter going to be doing the Tomahawk chop in 6 months or will we see Frenchy firing his cannon from center? One thing is for sure, AJ is gone, Gold Gloves be dammed.

Soriano at the End

For those of you doubting Soriano's abilities to close games here's a line you should keep in mind. In close and late situations hitters had a .163/.207/.294 line. For reference, these are the lines a few other closers posted in the same situation:

Octavio Dotel: .275/.363/.435 (Former Closer W/ KC)
Bob Wickman: .267/.336/.435 (Former Braves Closer)
Mariano Rivera: .267/.330/.416 (HOF AL Closer)
J.J. Putz: .149/.197/.248 (AL Saves Runner Up)
Trevor Hoffman: .233/.279/.370 (HOF NL Closer)
Jose Valverde: .202/.294/.370 (NL Saves Leader)

Soriano's better than all but Putz. I have no complaints for $2.5m.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Game Over.

After tonight's loss the Braves are done. It's bad news but it allows fans to start speculating about next year. Oh, and screw you TBS. Just cuz you dropped the Braves for next year I'm dropping you from my Tivo for the playoffs. I'll get my games from MLB.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More numbers

Despite the excitement of still being in the hunt for October come September 26th i'm going to shift focus to next year. The question now is what is going to happen in CF and what is going to happen in the rotation? First, let's look at the contracts that are going to stick around.

SP) Mike Hampton: $15m
3b) Chipper Jones: $15m
1B) Mark Teixeira: ~$13m
SP) John Smoltz: $14m
SP) Tim Hudson: $13m
RP) Mike Gonzolez: ~$4.5m
RP) Rafael Soriano: ~$2.5m
RP) Oscar Villarreal: ~$1.5m
C) Brian McCann: $.8m
RF) Jeff Francoeur: ~$.5m
RP) Tyler Yates: ~$.5m
RP) Lance Cromier: ~$.5m
RP) Buddy Carlyle: ~$.5m
SP) Chuck James: ~$.5m
LF) Matt Diaz: ~$.5m
SS) Younel Escobar: ~$.35m
2B) Kelly Johnson: ~$.35m
CF) Willy Harris: ~$.35m
RP) Peter Moylan: ~$.35m
RP) Royce Ring: ~$.35m
RP) Jose Ascanio: ~$.35m
RP) Many Acosta: ~$.35m
C) Corky Miller: ~$.35m

Scott Thorman: ?
Chad Paranto: ?
Ron Mahay: ?
Chris Woodward: ?
Edgar Renteria: $7m
Andruw Jones: ?
Octavio Dotel: ?

That totals just over $85m w/o bench players and a starter.

You may notice that I have 10 relievers listed. 3 of which will not make the opening day roster. I predict that Lance and Buddy won't make it and Gonzo is out for 1/2 the year. But you never know with baseball. Either way, none of the pitchers listed as being sent down make much so it won't affect totals significantly.

You also can see I also have 6 players listed separately from the rest. These are the 7 I see taking a walk. With the exception of Mahay, all come with baggage (contract, inability to play baseball). Mahay is a great pitcher but he might be too expensive to keep in his role as space filler.

Now let's look at what's missing. The biggest hole is in the rotation of course. Personally I see Glavine coming back at $10m (if the Mets decline his $13m option as they likely will do). Plugging him into the #3 hole and adding his $10m we have a payroll of just north of $95m which is about where we would expect Liberty to set it.

However, I doubt JS will be standing pat with Hampton being counted on. I see Thorman going to another club for a down on his luck starter. I have a feeling Cliff Lee might be that guy. His $15m contract extension looked great at the time, but since then his ERA is well over 6 and he has been limited to a relief role. The boy is a classic change of scenery guy. But Thorman won't be enough to net him. I don't know what beyond that will be called for but this is a deal that can get done, and before you even thing Rent's name i want to point out that the Indians have a SS and would rather shed payroll than take it on. Btw, Lee is making $3.75m next year. If Hampton goes down again that's quite a bit less than the insurance will pay out.

In terms of Renteria I see him getting moved. With his contention for the batting title and his solid performance it's almost a certainty that some team will be drooling over him. The return is based on what other teams have to give but anything from a rising star in center to some pitching prospects is not out of the question.

Add in bench players and we're looking at around $100m and the devision title.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good news!

The Pads lost yesterday dropping them into a tie for the wild card with the Phils. They now need to loose about 4 more games for the bravos to overtake them! Go Braves!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A wild card?

This is going to be an exciting week. Take a look.

The braves are currently 3.5 behind the Pads for the wild card with the Phils and the Rox between them.

The braves face the Phils for 3 with favorable pitching match ups all 3 days. If we sweep the Phils will be 1 game behind us.

The Pads face the Giants w/o their spark plug, Bradley, who is likely done for the regular season. We need the pads to drop 5/7 between the Giants and the Brewers.

The Rockies face the Dodgers and the D-Backs. That is w/o doubt the worst sched for the last week. Even worse, the Dodgers series is away from Coors.

It's not impossible but it's never happened before. GO BRAVES!