Ramblings about the Braves by True Braves Fans
In honor of the Braves’ new starting first baseman, I nominate the following as this season’s official unofficial theme song
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!
I think this game was further proof that Matt Diaz is too hot when he starts to not be given a chance to play everyday, at least while Hinske is unavailable to platoon because he is playing first while Glaus gets some much needed rest. At this point I almost think it might be worth putting him on the DL in order to ensure he gets some time off. Doing so would allow us to call up someone else (such as Freddie Freeman) to play first, preventing the need to break up the Diaz/Hinske platoon.
Another option would be to give it until mid-month. During that time give Glaus as much rest as possible. If he’s still struggling by the time Prado is back, then DL him and let Prado play first so that you can keep the Diaz/Hinkse platoon intact.
However its worked out, I think the bottom line is that Melky Cabrera plays as little as possible. He MUST be confined to the role of a backup and nothing more.
I’m working on a few blogs right now that I hope to have up soon. They are more than just “my thoughts” blogs, so they require a bit of extra time in terms of compiling data and what not. The ones that are currently in the works are: