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The Braves Blog » erik hinske


The Braves Blog

Ramblings about the Braves by True Braves Fans

August 12, 2010

Life after Chipper

by @ 10:46 pm.   Filed under braves, braves news, braves players

Do you think Chipper will retire?

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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.

Options

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.

WIN ONE FOR THE CHIPPER!

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!


I few of my fellow bloggers and tweeters have put a lot of analysis into much of what I’ve mentioned above. I’d strongly suggest checking them out for some deeper analysis on some of the topics above, as well as some other options I might not have mentioned above. ¬†While there are many out there, and you can find them by looking at who I follow on twitter, as well as my retweets, I’d like to point out two in particular: @FriedBasballATL and @Ben_Duronio.



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