Ramblings about the Braves by True Braves Fans
The Braves placed Andrelton Simmons on the 15-day disabled list Monday, a day after the shortstop injured his right hand on a head-first slide.
An examination by team Associate Physician Dr. Gary Lourie Monday confirmed Simmons has a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal (pinky finger). He will be in a cast for four weeks and re-evaluated after it is removed. No further timetable for Simmons’ return was announced.
The Braves traded 3 minor league pitchers for Derek Lee today. Troy Glaus will be put on the DL to make room for Lee. He will starting working out at 3rd base with Gwinnett after a week off and is expected to back with the club after the rosters expand on September 1st.
I’ll be retweeting a lot of articles real soon that will contain more details.
First of all, the elephant in the room is whether or not Chipper will retire. Honestly, I don’t know. I was going against what seemed to the be the majority when I said the he wouldn’t retire at the end of this season if it ended on a high note. Given statements he’s made about retirement beginning last season, I would say that retirement is now a certainty, except for something he said Wednesday. David O’Brien asked him if he’d consider a long rehab to play again if he needed season ending surgery, and he replied “I’d have to consider it.” So, I honestly don’t know if we’ve seen him play his last game or not.
First, lets get out of the way what options aren’t even worth talking about, because all indications are that they won’t happen (and in my opinion, they shouldn’t happen):
Moving Troy Glaus to 3rd base
Regardless of how much time he’s played at 3rd base in his career, his knees are currently in no condition to play the hot corner.
Bring up Freddie Freeman to play 3rd base
Freeman is solid at first base, but professionally has almost no experience at third base. He played 5 games there 3 years ago in rookie ball. The sample size is small, but the numbers were atrocious. With moving Glaus to 3rd base being out of the question as well, its unlikely that Freddie Freeman’s timetable is going to be altered. The most likely way we’ll see him in the majors this year is if he is called up in September to help fill out the bench and provide some occasional rest for Glaus.
That brings us to the realistic options. We’ll start with my current favorite first:
Stay with what we’ve got
We’ve got at least 4 guys that can play 3rd base. Hinske, Infante, Conrad, and Prado. I like all these guys, so I wouldn’t be upset to see any of them playing at third, but I think the best everyday option is Prado. He is going to play everyday no matter what, and he is probably the best defensive option among the bunch. This leaves a spot open at 2nd base. As far as I’m aware, Hinske can’t play 2nd, so that leave Conrad and Infante to take over there. There has been a lot of discussion lately about how you keep Infante in the lineup after Prado returns. I don’t think this was really how we wanted to address that question, but it does address it. Conrad can continue to be a valuable asset off the bench, and Hinske is free to be utilized in left field and at first base. So, while you can pick your favorite combination, mine is going to be Prado at third, Infante at second. For the batting order, you keep Prado at the top, put Infante batting second, and move Heyward to the third spot. The rest of the lineup fills out the same as it has all year.
Bring on someone new
A few names have been mentioned, but the name that seems to the most attractive, and most likely to clear waivers, is %Bn%. Figgins has good points and bad. His overall numbers for the year have been below par, but he’s been playing well lately. He’s a true lead off hitter that has both speed and a high OBP. He’s also from Georgia, and playing for the “home team” can sometimes provide extra drive for a player. His salary is pretty steep, but indications are that Seattle would be willing to eat a large portion of it and/or take Kawakami in return. The latter would significantly offset Figgins’ salary. Another positive about Figgins is that he can play third, second, and center field.
What does it all mean?
So, what does it mean to a team in a hot pennant race to lose someone so valuable? Well, its not good news, thats for sure, but it also doesn’t mean the season is over. The Braves earned their current spot in first place back when Chipper wasn’t playing too well. While his recent production has been important, we’ve shown that we can succeed without it. Chipper is also a valuable member to the team off the field, and this won’t change. The impact he has just being in the clubhouse shouldn’t be underestimated. I think this makes things more difficult without question, but there is no reason to believe that its something that can keep us from winning the pennant, not to mention the world series.
Whether he’s played his last game for Atlanta or not, his season is over. He went down giving everything he had to try and get the Braves another championship. More than ever, its time to go out there and show our appreciation for all he has done for this franchise, now and in the past. It’s been 15 years since we won the world series, its time to win one again, and this time, lets Win One For The Chipper!
News is not good folks. Although he will seek a second opinion, initial reports show that Jones has a tear in his ACL, an injury that will require immediate, and season ending, surgery. Given Jones’ recent leanings towards retirement, one can’t help but think a season ending injury like this might indeed be career ending as well.
Dave O’Brien has more information in his article here: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/08/12/mri-shows-jones-has-torn-acl-agent-said/
Let not make the injury meaningless, lets make sure we go all the way this year. Lets Win one for the Chipper!
Kris Medlen was forced to leave tonight’s game due to “an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow,” according to the Braves. He’ll undergo and MRI on Thursday. If you aren’t sure what the UCL is, it might help to know that the medical term for Tommy John Surgery is ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.
Depending on the severity of the issue, the Braves could face losing him for a few starts, the rest of the season, or even the rest of next season. I guess its possible that he could end up not missing any time at all, but everything I’ve read seems to indicate that he’ll definitely be making a trip to the DL, regardless of the outcome of the MRI.
Speculation has already begun on what the Braves will do in response. Obviously if its a situation where he won’t miss a start, nothing will happen. If he does miss any time, there is a lot of debate on whether the Braves will call up Mike Minor (henceforth known as MM), or if they will move KK back into the rotation.
If we do find out that we are going to be without Medlen for at least the rest of the season, I think we have to call up MM. To begin with, KK has hardly pitched since being moved to the bullpen. Chances that he’s even up to starting are pretty slim. That being said, we are in a tight pennant race, and now is not the time for MM to mature in the majors. KK has to begin getting ready because if MM shows any signs of not being able to handle the pressures of a pennant race, or merely falters for any other reasons, KK will need to step in. If we had a runaway lead or if we were out of the race, then you could afford to let MM go through some bad starts in order to further refine him. We don’t have that luxury now.
What I’m wondering is what we do if Medlen ends up needing to just miss one or two starts? Would we call up MM just to make a few spot starts and send him back down? Are there other options in on the farm that could be better utilized in such a situation? Do we have anyone in the bullpen that could be moved into such a role? I know that Venters started most of his career in the minors, but is he prepared to make a few spot starts? Even if he is, can we afford to lose him out of the pen? Could JJ go on short rest if needed? Don’t forget that he didn’t pitch for two months or so while on the DL and is much more rested than other starters.
My feeling is that in such a situation we wouldn’t call up MM. I don’t think he’s coming up this year unless its with plans for him to stay up here as part of the rotation. Instead I think we’d call up another starter from AAA or AA with the intention of him making a single start and getting sent back down.
If you haven’t heard about the trade made today, I assume it’s because you have horrible internet service and can only access my page. If that’s the case, I apologize, because I’m not going to provide any deep analysis of what happened. There are tons of tweets and retweets about the trades in the twitter feed that pertain to the trade, many of which contain links to articles containing such analysis.
I will, however, give you a brief overview of what happened and a few of my thoughts.
|From Braves/To Royals||From Royals/To Braves|
Gregor Blanco: I’ve always liked Blanco, but he was never going to be a starter in Atlanta. He didn’t have much power, and that pretty much was going to never allow him to rise above the level of a 4th or 5th outfielder, mainly being used as a pinch runner or late inning defensive replacement.
Jesse Chavez: I’ve never been candid with my dislike of Chavez. I feel that the good outings he’s had this season were flukes. I’m was only partially joking earlier today when I asked whether we could have got more out of the deal if we hadn’t included Chavez.
Tim Collins: A drink made of 2 parts gin, 1 part lemon juice, sugar, and soda water. No, wait, that’s a Tom Collins. He’s one of the main characters in Rent, first played by Jesse L. Martin. No, wait, that’s also Tom Collins. Tim Collins is a left handed minor league pitcher that was aquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Yunel Escobar trade. Reports were that he was a pretty solid pithcer, but as always, the Braves have a bevy of pitching prospects and giving up one like Collins isn’t a big loss at all.
Kyle Farnsworth: A hard throwing right handed reliever that pitched in Atlanta back in 2005. Farnsworth is a solid reliever that will help avoid the need to overwork Moylan and Venters down the stretch. He’ll fit in nice as a 6th or 7th inning guy, and has the experience necessary that he could taken on 8th or 9th inning responsibilities if needed. His numbers this season are pretty good, and they were excellent during his last tour in Atlanta. I saw where one scout had that this year he was “throwing the crap out of the ball,” which is good, because if there is one thing I can’t stand, its balls with crap in them.
Rick Ankiel: A solid outfielder with some power, Ankiel had been on the DL for close ~2.5 months before being recently activated. Since then he has been playing well and will definitely not be a downgrade for the Braves in center field. The Braves also play into his career history, and I’ll be blogging about that later (I was actually including it in this post, but it was getting long enough to where it deserved it’s own post.)
Cash: bread, cabbage, currency, dead presidents, dough, funds, green stuff, money, etc.
While this trade wont go down in history as a blockbuster, I think it was a solid move. We added depth to an already solid bullpen as well as power to out lineup. Ankiel might not be the bat some were hoping for, but he is an upgrade to to the mediocre performance we’ve been getting out of center field for most of the season. Personally I’d like to see Ankiel playing everyday in center field for the Braves while Diaz gets the majority of the playing time in left field. This allows us to give Hinske some starts at first so that Glaus can get badly needed rest. Such a scheme also allows for what I consider to be a very important key to winning the pennant: minimizing the amount of time Melky Cabrera is actually on the field.
One of the most intense games I’ve seen this season. As of this posting, x-rays on Prado’s finger were inconclusive and he will be re-evaluated by a doctor tomorrow.
I’m sure most of you also know that tomorrow is the trade deadline. I won’t be near a computer to post any updates or breaking news here, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the twitter feeds and retweeting anything that I think y’all might find interesting. If you aren’t following @thebravesblog yet, now’s a good time to start!
Speaking of the twitter feed, you should check it out for links to a good number of articles about things such as the results of Venters’ appeal of his suspension, Gonzalez’s health woes, and much more!
In case you didn’t hear, Nate McLouth was optioned to AAA before the game today. I’m a fan of Nate beyond what he does or doesn’t do on the field. I think he seems like a good guy to have on the team and around the clubhouse. That being said, we are in too tight of a pennant race for him to work out his issues at the major league level right now. I hope he is able to “fix” whatever is wrong quickly and that we’ll see him back up here soon.
On the same note, I personally hope that we get to see Blanco get the majority of the playing time over Cabrera. Blanco wasn’t called up to replace McLouth, but thats most likely due to the fact that he has to wait 10 days after being sent back to the minors before he can return. We should see him up in about 4 days.
You can read more about McLouth and other happenings in the articles I’ve retweeted.
Just a reminder that you should follow our twitter feed. I re-tweet a good number of articles throughout the day. All you need to do is click the big follow button at the top of the page!
A few quick thoughts on the suspensions for Venters and Cox: The entire warning system is stupid. There used to be a time when players were allowed to police themselves. If that was still in place today, they issue would have been cleared up on the field and then it would have been over. No suspensions, no ejections, no fines.
Finally, on a non sports related note, I want to wish my parents a happy 39th anniversary!