The Braves Blog

Ramblings about the Braves by True Braves Fans

March 21, 2006

ESPN.com – MLB – Phillips: Handling Soriano

by @ 11:01 pm.   Filed under baseball players

ESPN.com – MLB – Phillips: Handling Soriano

I was going to write a blog about the whole issue with Alfonso Soriano and the Washington Nationals. I wanted to find an article that summarized the issue to reference in my blog, and in doing so found the above article by Steve Phillips. He really says everything I was going to say, so I would suggest reading it.

If you don’t have an ESPN Insider account, I will sum it up for you:

Soriano was traded to the nationals this off-season from the Texas Rangers. The Nats picked him up in hopes of moving him to left field, a position he does not want to play. The problem is that the Nationals already have a superb second baseman named Jose Vidro. He is good at the plate and in the field. While Soriano might be better with the bat, his defense is no where near that of Vidro’s.

Soriano, however, knows that while he is one of the best offensive second baseman, he wouldn’t rank has high among outfielders, so he has refused to move to the outfield.

Now, the Nationals probably could have avoided this who situation if they had not made the trade without an assurance he would move to the outfield, and barring that, should have had some sort of backup plan. The deal is done however, so what now?

They could trade Soriano, but they wouldn’t get anything near his value in return this late in the season. They could also trade Vidro, but they would not only be losing a great player, but setting a horrible precedent. So, they are looking at another option, placing Soriano on the rarely used disqualified list.

If placed on the disqualified list, Soriano would be unable play, earn salary, or accrue service time. He would basically be screwing himself over if he allows himself to be placed on that list. Not only will he be giving up part of him $10 million salary, he will also decrease his free agent value. If he stays on there long enough, he might not even accrue the 93 service days required for him to become a free agent.

I have a feeling its not going to happen. Soriano will most likely wise up and accept the move to left field before being placed on the list. If he does make it to the list, it will probably only take a few days before he realizes the Nationals aren’t going to be bullied, and backs down. However, part of me hopes he cuts off his own nose to spite his face. I would love to see him spend the entire season on the disqualified list. I highly believe its the spoiled nature of players now days that is ruining baseball, and I would like nothing more than to finally see one of them pay for that attitude.



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Down to the last roster spot | ajc.com

by @ 8:40 pm.   Filed under braves news, braves players

Down to the last roster spot | ajc.com

With Matt Diaz a lock for the final outfield spot, the final roster spot has come down to the backup 1B position. The two players fighting it out are veteran Brian Jordan and new comer James Jurries. Jordan comes into the spring as a career outfielder with little experience at first base, and Jurries has never even played a game above AAA. However, both players have put in a lot of work at first base, and both have had pretty good springs at the plate as well:

Jurries has a sizzling .452 average (14-for-31) with two homers and a team-high 12 RBIs in the Grapefruit League. He hit .284 with 21 homers and 72 RBIs in 106 games at Class AAA Richmond, where he was the team’s player of the year.

[Jordan] has a .357 average (10-for-28) this spring, albeit with one extra-base hit (double) and one RBI.

It has not be decided yet whether or not this position will be a platoon with Adam LaRoche as Julio Franco did for the past few years, or if it will be a pure backup/pinch hitting role. Either way the Braves need a player they can depend on to provide solid defense and hit left-handers, whether its for an entire game, or off the bench in the late innings.

Now, I like Brian Jordan a lot. I think he is a great person, and just having him in the clubhouse can make a difference in how the team performs. At the same time, Jordan is getting older and has plenty of problems with his knees in the past few years. I don’t know if Jordan can be depended upon to fill the role. If he can’t fill the backup or platoon role, its not as big of a deal, since LaRoche can play everyday if needed. However, we can’t afford to have someone grounding into a double play in the late innings and killing a possible rally, something Jordan has shown to be rather prone to do. I still believe that if Langerhans had started the first game of the NLDS last year, the entire series might have had a different outcome. Don’t forget that Jordan has knee surgery yet again over the off-season. While his surgically repaired knee has held up so far this spring, there is a long season ahead.

At the same time, we don’t know much about Jurries. He has played will at AAA, but not all players can convert a successful minor league career into a successful major league career. He has had the better spring at the plate, and he has also played more games at first base than Jordan’s measly two.

So, who do we pick? I honestly don’t know. I am leaning towards Jurries, but I hate to lose Jordan’s presence in the club house. However, if Jurries can show that his offense is just as consistent off the bench as when he starts, I think Jordan’s leadership might be worth sacrificing if it guarantees a consistent bat off the bench.



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