March 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm by Franklin Rabon under Atlanta Braves, Economic Analysis, Front Office, Injuries
A lot has been made about the Braves reluctance to deal with super agent Scott Boras when it comes to extensions. The first and foremost issue is that Boras loves to gamble on his players and almost always guides them to free agency. Famously, Andruw Jones went behind Boras’ back to negotiate an extension with the Braves, when Boras presumably wanted him to go to free agency.
Boras has a lot of clients, and thus, his main concern is maximizing his expected payout when the player hits free agency. He doesn’t care a whole lot about risk, because he has more than enough players to spread the risk around if one or two of them happen to take a pillow contract that substantially hurts them. Players, on the other hand, should be more concerned with risk, because they only have one client to earn their money with, themselves. If they take a risk and it blows up in their face, they don’t have 30 other clients to pull money from. In the business world, we call this a divergence of risk preference. It’s not quite a divergence in financial interests, because presumably both Boras and his clients want as much money as possible, however, his clients shouldn’t be willing to take as much risk as Boras does, something I think his clients all too often fail to appreciate.
However, that’s not the issue here. The issue here is might the Braves perhaps be glad that Boras is Jurrjens’ and Hanson’s agent? Why should they be? Well, primarily because it gives the front office a ready made excuse to not sign the two pitchers to long term, lucrative extensions. Fans and media harbor a certain disdain for Scott Boras, that while not totally unmerited (due to the risk issue outlined above) is certainly misguided (ie they’re more angry about guiding players to fair compensation for their talents). If a team isn’t making much headway in signing a beloved current player to an extension, two simple words often shift the ‘blame’ from the front office to the player, “Boras Client”.
So why wouldn’t the Braves want to sign Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens to long term contracts? They’ve both been successful young pitchers. Studies have shown that extensions are generally a better value for the team than free agent bidding wars.
The issues are injury concerns for Tommy Hanson and injury and uncertainty issues with Jair Jurrjens. Also, the Braves may be shifting to a ‘use, test, discard’ strategy with their pitchers. This is very similar to what the Rays have done with their young pitchers. They use them heavily, being maybe under-cautious with pitching mechanics, if the pitcher is successful and shows no injury concerns then you maybe re-sign him, if not, well, you let the pitcher walk as a free agent and become someone else’s injury concern.
Much has been belaboured with regards to Tommy Hanson’s pitching motions and whether or not it makes him injury prone. While he doesn’t have the dreaded ‘inverted W’, he does tend to have timing issues. For a particularly pessimistic view of Tommy’s mechanics see Chris O’Leary’s diagnosis. While I think O’Leary is maybe a little overzealous in his analysis, Tommy does certainly have biomechanical issues that are at least worrisome. His ‘new delivery’ may have addressed some of the pace issues, but most of the things that O’Leary worries most about with Hanson’s delivery are still present. He still has the timing/coordination issue and he still brings his elbow behind his shoulder. Well, why not just work with Tommy to change his mechanics? Two issues here: 1) Tommy is probably successful because of his mechanics. We have no idea if changing them would allow him to be the same pitcher he is. 2) Often times, for established Major Leaguers, changing mechanics only exacerbates injury issues. Pitching is a very specialized, and very unnatural motion. Changing a pitcher’s motion causes the pitcher to be less reliable in repeating it (since he hasn’t built the new motion into muscle memory) which can not only lead to inconsistency, but can lead to injury. One of the biggest issues that cause injuries in pitchers is not repeating your delivery consistently. When you don’t do so, you often end up having more developed muscles fight against less developed muscles, which puts strain on tendons and joints. SBNation mentioned this concern here.
Jair Jurrjens is a more controversial pitcher. His mechanics seem to be mostly fine from an arm standpoint. Though I do worry about his knees continuing to be a problem because he lands very hard on his heel, a problem that was shown in the recent spring training game against the Tigers, when he tore a huge divot in the mound. Ideally a pitcher would like to hit the mound with his whole foot relatively equally to better distribute the shock of the landing, and also to allow for more stability in the lower body. Jair seems to get less leg drive than he once did with his lower body, which is perhaps why his velocity has dropped. Knee injuries concern me, because they rarely go away, they tend to nag and routinely flare up (one needs only reference Chipper Jones and his recurring knee issues). I don’t know that Jair’s knees will ever be 100%, which could lead to further injuries or ineffectiveness.
What I worry about even more than injuries with Jurrjens is his inconsistency. While the popular narrative has been that Jair’s bad seasons were almost totally attributable to freakish injuries (because his supporters don’t want him to be considered injury prone either), in reality his bad and good seasons have mostly been a product of swings in luck. As most “pitch to contact” guys do, Jair lives and dies by luck. A pitcher can primarily control three things to varying degrees: 1) His strikeout rate 2) his walk rate and 3) his groundball rate. For all three of these, Jair has been remarkably consistent. He has routinely sat at 6 K/9, 3 BB/9 and a groundball rate of 40-45%. First, these aren’t really good. One commonly held belief is that Jair is a groundball pitcher, when in fact this number is actually below the league average. It’s in the neither groundball or flyball range, but Jair is certainly closer to being a fly ball pitcher. His K rates and walk rates are also neither very good. What has made Jair good when he’s been good and bad when he’s been bad are things that pitchers seem to have relatively little control over: 1) their strand rate 2) BABIP and 3) home run rate.
I’m not going to say that pitchers have no control over any of these, however, these rates tend to randomly fluctuate much more than the other rates. Looking at Jair’s bad seasons and good seasons, we can see that his strikeout, walk and groundball rates don’t deviate significantly, but he sees large swings in strand, babip and homerun rates. In Jair’s good seasons he’s had a strand rate near 80%, babips around .270 and HR/FB rates around 6-7%. In ‘bad Jair’ seasons, we’ve seen strand rates at 70% or under, babips around .300 and HR/FB rates around 9%.
The issue with Jair is that these swings make it hard to know for certain which Jair is real. Pitchers can, over large samples outpitch their FIP in some cases. Tim Hudson has shown an ability to do so, as did Tom Glavine. (Contrary to popular belief, Greg Maddux didn’t significantly do so, his FIP for his career was 3.26 and his ERA 3.16, lower but not significantly so, Maddux was just a good pitcher and almost all of his FIP/ERA deviation can be explained away by pitching in front of good defenses). With Jair, his data have varied so wildly that we just can’t know how good (or mediocre) he might be. He might be the average of those two pitchers, or he might be the good one with some bad luck or the bad one with some good luck. We just don’t have enough data to know for certain, which makes a long term contract worrisome.
So why does Boras matter? Why wouldn’t the front office merely let these two pitchers walk at free agency (or preferably be traded prior to hitting it) regardless of their agent? Well, they likely would, but it’s just more convenient to do so with a Boras client. Front office types are not only worried about putting together the best team for the money that they can, but they are also concerned with perception of how well they are doing their job. In letting Hanson and/or Jurrjens walk at free agency they are taking a risk. They’re taking a risk that these injury and inconsistency risks fade away and they turn out to be excellent pitchers. And while I certainly think the smart play would be letting them walk, regardless, it’s much easier to say “Boras Client” if Jurrjens and/or Hanson turn out to be solid workhorses for years to come. Having the two be Boras clients is a “win/draw” situation for front office perception. If one or both turns out to be ineffective, then the front office is portrayed as smart, and if they don’t it’s simply a matter of a shoulder shrug and saying “Boras Client” to the understanding nod of those following the team.
Follow me on twitter: @fjrabon
February 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves, Front Office
Frank Wren and John Coppolella (Director of Professional Scouting) spoke at Georgia Tech today, where a colleague of mine over at Fangraphs, Albert Lyu, happens to attend school. Albert’s twitter (@thinkbluecrew) has all the meaningful quotes he heard while in attendance.
Coppolella, if you had not already known, is one of the most statistically inclined members of the front office. He is huge on scouting also, which is obviously necessary as the director of professional scouting, and Eno Sarris, also of Fangraphs, conducted an interview with Coppolella from before the 2011 season. That should give you a good background of who exactly Coppolella is.
They had some very interesting things to say today, especially for readers of this blog. As known, this is one of the more statistically inclined blogs, and hearing two executives in the organization speak about statistics is certainly something noteworthy for those who find this blog interesting.
They use WAR, Coppolella said, and they tend to use Fangraphs WAR due to how often they visit the site. It is gratifying that the guys in charge of the team we all follow visit the same site that we reference here so often and that you likely frequent. There is tons of great information on Fangraphs, and we now know that Houston’s GM, Jeff Luhnow, and the front office in Atlanta use the website as reference tools. I expected that was the truth and I am sure many of you also did, after all this is what they do for their full-time jobs.
Coppolella also referenced a statistic they use called DOM, which is strikeouts over walks plus hits. The statistic does not exactly sound revolutionary and I am sure they use it as a single tool — not an end-all-be-all metric — just like we do with many of the stats we often use. Joe over at Chop-N-Change did the calculations, and it seems to be a pretty decent stat when looking at who was on top and who was on bottom. I personally had not heard of the stat, but apparently it is used in some fantasy leagues, specifically on Baseball HQ.
Worth noting also that they mentioned FIP, which has been one of the stats of choice on this blog for quite some time. Again, no stat tells all, but a lot have value — it is good to see that this is one of the numbers they feel is valuable. The audience was Georgia Tech students, many of whom likely do not get into this type of statistical analysis, so I am sure they have more in depth numbers that they felt would be difficult to explain people new to sabermetrics.
The rest of the quotes can be seen on Albert’s twitter. They speak about how difficult scouting is, what they thought of the Moneyball movie, and other interesting things you would like to hear from a front office. The Braves are definitely more stats-heavy than a lot give them credit for. They understand the importance of scouting and developing players using methods they have used for decades, but they also understand that in order to succeed in an evolutionary business that adapting is necessary.
January 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm by Kevin Orris under Front Office, Player Analysis, Q&A
Earlier this month, I received a question from a reader that wanted to know:
Why is Nate McLouth essentially being handed the starting center field job in 2011 while Kenshin Kawakami is being shown the door?
While I e-mailed him my response, I wanted to share it here for those of you who may be wondering the same thing.
For those unaware, Kenshin Kawakami is currently a member of the Mississippi Braves, the Braves’ Double-A affiliate. Therefore, he is still a member of the organization, however, Frank Wren has been trying to move him.
According to Wren, he has received multiple offers for Kawakami, including one from a NPB team in Japan, but he has not found an offer that has satisfied him to this point. I am positive that the Baseball Operations department has been evaluating plenty of scenarios, with every one of them having Kawakami dealt before Opening Day. He’s set to make $6.67 million next year, which would make him one of the highest paid minor league players of all-time.
From what I remember, most of the offers that Wren has received involve the Braves taking on around $4 million worth of salary. Right now, they are just waiting to receive an offer that provides bigger returns than those previously offered whether it is through cash or players. There’s an outside shot that they could trade a bad contract for a bad contract, but more likely that they trade him for a handful of washed up minor leaguers.
If they cannot find a suitor or an offer that they are satisfied with, I am sure that he will be invited to camp with a chance to compete for a role, but it’s unlikely that he will win one.
The Braves are committed to developing their young talent, therefore, Kawakami has no shot of making the rotation out of camp. Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, and Mike Minor currently make up the rotation with Brandon Beachy next in line.
While it once seemed like the bullpen could be a realistic landing place for KK, there are far too many superior arms at this point in Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty, Scott Linebrink, and George Sherrill. There are also a handful of arms competing for a potential eighth bullpen spot: Scott Proctor, Erik Cordier, Juan Abreu, and Cristhian Martinez.
There aren’t many teams with money left in their budgets that are in desperate need of a back-end starter, so there’s a chance that he does compete in the spring, but even then, it only improves his trade value. Bill James projects him to pitch 50 innings this year with a 4.32 ERA. I’m not sure where he expects him to pitch, but there aren’t many players that the Braves would be willing to remove from the 40-man roster in order to make room for KK.
It’s interesting that you mention the Nate McLouth vs. Kawakami comparison. Fans might not realize this, but Kawakami posted a positive WAR last year, 0.6, while McLouth had an abysmal -1.3.
Obviously, any time that a player is costing you wins, it’s a bad thing. If WAR didn’t exist though, I would think that Kawakami cost the Braves more actual wins than McLouth did. (This is just an observation based on memory and no actual research)
The reason that McLouth has been handed the center field job is because of depth. While both are scheduled to make more money than they are probably worth, McLouth has more value over the alternative compared to Kawakami, who presents negative value to the pitching staff.
While McLouth had a sub-par season last year, he is still the best center fielder that the Braves have available. Kawakami isn’t even one of the best six starting pitchers available to the Braves, hence the difference.
In a perfect world, both would come into Spring Training and produce better numbers than ever before, but this is far from a perfect world. Don’t expect anything right out of the gate, but after the 40 game mark, the Braves are going to be forced to acquire an upgrade for McLouth if he fails to produce.
Have a burning question? E-mail me at Kevinorris@capitolavenueclub.com and I’ll answer them through e-mail and on the website on a regular basis.
December 30, 2010 at 1:26 am by Kevin Orris under Atlanta Braves, Defense, Front Office, Transactions
Right now, there is a big misunderstanding among fans about the current Braves outfield situation. There are in fact, two major league outfielders currently on the team. Then there’s Eric Hinske and Jordan Schafer, each with his own issues.
Hinske came into the big leagues as a third baseman, and until Chipper Jones decides to retire, he’s not going to return to the hot corner. His other fit would be at first base, but Freddie Freeman is clearly going to have every opportunity to succeed this season. Therefore, he falls into the outfield by default, regardless of his limited range.
Although Schafer’s issues have been fairly well documented between suspensions and off-the-field issues, I would like to share something that I learned from a anonymous and extremely reliable source earlier this month: At one time, he was juggling four or five agents, telling each of them that they were representing him. In reality they all liked him for the potential that he had on the field, but he was too much to handle. In summary, the time that it would require to babysit him, isn’t worth what will come from him.
Even if he were an angel in the clubhouse and outside of baseball, the skill set hasn’t been there since his first Major League at-bat in 2009. Bobby Cox is known for sticking with players through thick and thin, and Schafer managed to play so poorly, that he was ultimately demoted on May 31, 2009 and has yet to return.
I would like to believe that Nate McLouth will rebound, and same goes for the front office and a majority of the fanbase. For those who would like to see someone else, well too bad!
Truth is the Braves are going to have to live with their current outfield, with Hinske receiving most of the reserve time behind Martin Prado while allowing Joe Mather and Matt Young to audition in the spring.
I understand that it’s not the best outfield, but it’s hard for Frank Wren to do much of anything at this point. While Scott Hairston is a free agent, it’s unlikely that he will out produce McLouth in 2011. McLouth posted WAR of 3.7 in 2008, 3.4 in 2009, and -1.3 last season (obviously terrible). Hairston’s WAR in 2008 was a 2.2, followed by a 1.9 in 2009 and a 0.4 last season.
I don’t view this as much of an upgrade, especially considering McLouth is 18 months younger. All that this move would do is add to the payroll in a poor attempt to patchwork the outfield.
Regardless, the issue isn’t that the Braves need a center fielder; it’s that they need a fourth outfielder. They need someone with plenty of range and a decent arm that can serve as a reliable bat off of the bench and an occasional pinch runner. If I had my pick, it would be Matt Angle, a center fielder in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Angle was drafted in the 7th round in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft, and has had a fairly productive minor league career. Odds are low that he’ll ever appear in an All-Star Game or make a run for the triple crown, but he’s a guy that can play all there outfield spots and can contribute in a variety of ways.
Even if the Braves did acquire Angle, the issue of attempting to patchwork the outfield still remains with just one guy who started on a regular basis last season (Heyward).
Frank Wren has a theory of waiting 40 games into the season and at that point evaluating the team. This way, players have a chance to prove themselves and the front office will have a general idea of the contenders and pretenders.
I’m all for the Braves making a move to bring in that fourth outfielder, but I say let’s wait until that 40 game mark and view our options from there. In all reality, the difference between the six outfielders currently on the 40-man roster and the gentlemen listed here, isn’t going to make a big enough difference to stress about by that point in the season.
Important Note: It was announced on Twitter today that Jason Heyward has flown to Southern California to hang out with Freddie Freeman for the week. (Side note: This is the only tweet that I have ever “favorited” on Twitter and shall remain so for the rest of time.) I would give a lot to find out exactly what these two guys do when they “hang out.” Do they go to bars? The beach? Play catch?
Please, help me solve this mystery by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter (@kevinorris) or e-mail me at KevinOrris@CapitolAvenueClub.com.
November 5, 2009 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Front Office, Player Analysis, Transactions
Matt Capps has been mentioned as a possible trade target for the Braves this off-season. With the potential (and likely) departure of Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, the Braves presumably have a void at the back end of their bullpen. Capps, a Georgia native, has closing experience. In 2007 and 2008 he was Pittsburgh’s closer and posted a 2.58 ERA, a 0.995 WHIP, and a 103-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 132 and 2/3 innings while successfully converting 83% of his save opportunities. 2009 was a different story, however.
In 2009 his ERA ballooned to 5.80, his WHIP to 1.656, and he posted a 46-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 and 1/3 innings. Some of this has to do with his .364 BABIP, but a lot of it has to do with his walk rate jumping from 1.4 BB/9 in ’07-’08 to 2.8 BB/9 in ’09. His FIP was 3.18 in 2007 and 3.28 in 2008, but, despite the increased strikeout rate, his FIP rose to 4.90 in 2009.
There’s much evidence that his control suffered greatly in 2009. His stuff was just as good, if not better, than it had ever been. The fastball velocity and slider velocity were higher than they’d ever been in 2009, perhaps evidence that he was attempting to throw harder and sacrificed control in the process (leading to the increased walk rate). The change-up (which he only threw 6.2% of the time) was not good and the average velocity of that pitch was up to 87.1 MPH after never being above 84.6 MPH.
I’m useful for analyzing the past, but I have no idea what Capps is going to do. If the Braves believe they can improve Capps’ control/command and reverse some of these patterns, he’s probably an excellent buy-low candidate. He won’t ever be a guy who will blow away hitters, his secondary stuff isn’t good enough, but if he can ditch or improve the change-up and start throwing strikes again, there’s no reason he can’t be a reliable closer. I’d have more to add if I were a scout, but I’m not, so I probably haven’t gotten any closer to an answer.
If the Braves do pursue him, it’ll be because they think they can work with him and he’ll improve in 2010.
November 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Front Office, Player Analysis, Transactions
Depends on a lot of things, obviously, but what parameters would make signing him a net positive. First of all, let’s look at Adam LaRoche, the player™.
LaRoche was re-acquired for Casey Kotchman at the 2009 trade deadline in the hope that he would provide some much needed power for the line-up that had been largely starved thereof. Even though Kotchman wasn’t slated to become a free agent until after the 2011 season and LaRoche would be a free agent at the end of 2009, the organization believed that he would help them out enough to justify parting with 2 additional years of Kotchman.
LaRoche had previously spent his entire development period (minor league career) and 3 major-league seasons with the Braves before he was traded to Pittsburgh during the ’06-’07 season in a deal that sent Mike Gonzalez, the closer™ to Atlanta. In LaRoche’s 2 and 1/2 seasons with Atlanta (2004-2006), he hit .274/.337/.504/.841 (114 OPS+) with 65 HR. He was with Pittsburgh for another 2 and 1/2 years (where he posted nearly identical numbers), then he was shipped to Boston for a pair of interesting, albeit unspectacular, prospects. A week later Boston, having acquired Victor Martinez, flipped him to Atlanta for the slick-fielding, light hitting Casey Kotchman.
LaRoche didn’t disappoint for the Braves, hitting .325/.401/.557 over the season’s final two months, even though the Braves failed to make the playoffs. This was fueled by an insane .399 BABIP (career avg. .313), but it was also to be expected–somewhat. LaRoche has historically been a 2nd half player. His hits like Nate McLouth (and we won’t get into McLouth, but his bat certainly doesn’t play at 1st) in the 1st half – .252/.326/.447/.773 with 63 HR (4.0% of AB’s), but he turns into Derrek Lee in the 2nd half -
.300/.363/.546/.909 with 73 HR (5.7% of AB’s). It isn’t like this happened just once or twice, either, he hasn’t deviated from the patter for a single year of his career. I’m yet to see one scientific study that suggests this phenomenon is an actual attribute and not simply fluctuations of chance, but I do tend to believe he is destined to hit better in the 2nd half. The Braves experienced that first hand in 2009, but counting on him to produce like he did for those two months over an entire season is probably foolish.
He’s painfully slow–thus a below-average base runner–and, despite the organizational mouths trying to convince you he’s defensively equivalent to Casey Kotchman at 1B, he’s a below-average 1B. UZR has rated him below-average in every season, save one (2007, +6.3 UZR) and his career average (we’ve got a big enough sample size that makes our results statistically significant) UZR/150 is -4.1. +/- pretty much tells the exact same story. The lesson–don’t believe everything you hear, always ask, “is that true?”, empirical data is a more reliable source of knowledge than an organizational mouth spitting out the company line.
All in all, he’s been worth about 2.25 wins, on average, over the past 4 years. This doesn’t include non-SB base running, which would undoubtedly make the number go down, though probably not significantly. Someone that produces 2.25 wins should, in theory, get around $10 million a season on the open market. Maybe the market will be depressed this coming season, but I’d bet on him getting something in the $8-10 million range. A raise from his $7.05 million salary in 2009, but not an extremely significant one.
The fact that he hits better in the 2nd half probably lessens his value on the FA market, so I’m guessing a $9 million salary is probably what he gets this coming off-season.
The question: should the Braves re-sign Adam LaRoche?
Well, he’s a left-handed hitter who hits righties much better than lefties (career .857 OPS vs. RHP, career .751 OPS vs. LHP). The Braves have publicly stated that they’re in the market for a right-handed bat. LaRoche isn’t that. Re-signing LaRoche would also narrow the search for the big right-handed bat down to the corner OF positions. I think the Braves are right, they need a right-handed bat.
Then there’s Freddie Freeman, the organization’s future 1B. There’s no telling when he’ll be ready for MLB. Could be at some point in 2010, could be 2011, could be 2012–we don’t know. Signing LaRoche to a long-term contract could inhibit Freeman’s path to the big leagues. The Braves don’t want to block him, should he be ready soon. Personally, I don’t see any harm in giving LaRoche 2 years. If Freeman is ready at some point in 2011, trading LaRoche is an option. Three years is a different story, but I don’t think demanding a 2-year deal is enough to deter the Braves from signing him.
LaRoche could certainly be a piece of the puzzle. His career .491 SLG% is certainly something the Braves could use in their batting order. However, if signing LaRoche in any way obstructs the acquisition of a big RH bat (presumably for LF), I would be adamantly opposed to it.
In general, I believe the following three things need to fall into place for the Braves signing Adam LaRoche to be a good decision:
1) A contract of no more than two guaranteed years.
2) An annual salary of less than $9.5 million.
3) An accompanying move for a big right-handed hitting left fielder.
If those three things happen, I’m all for re-signing LaRoche. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense.
Final note: I apologize for the lack of updates. I’ve been busy and rather uninspired by what’s going on in baseball these days. I should have more time/motivation to write once the world series is over.
October 22, 2009 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Front Office
I meant to do this post a long time ago. I figured it’s about time for a humor piece and I’m running out of material rather quickly, so here goes. Peter Answers Frank Wren’s Chat Questions.
Wren Peter: Welcome, everyone. I’m already starting to regret agreeing to do this. Please don’t piss me off.
glenn1981: What pitchers are you targeting, if any, in the trade world?
Wren Peter: You think I’m going to tell you here? Don’t be lazy, go read some trade rumors.
proga91111: Are there any possibilities to have Tommy Hanson in the rotation for the start of next year?
Wren Peter: You know how much money that’ll cost down the road? In a word, no. He’s pitching at AAA until June 1.
atlbrave82: Is Jordan Schafer going to get a chance to play center field this spring for Atlanta?
Wren Peter: Considering the other options are Josh Anderson and Gregor Blanco, yes.
bigdaddy2: Has any thought being given to converting Tyler Flowers to a corner outfielder while still using him as the backup catcher every fifth day?
Wren Peter: You’ve obviously never seen this kid. He’s enormous and rater immobile. No, he ain’t going anywhere near the outfield. Plus, the kid hasn’t even reached AA yet.
atlbrave82: Is Mike Hampton willing to come back at a large discount since he did not play much and was paid very well for a few years?
Wren Peter: You think Mike Hampton gives a shit? Mike Hampton doesn’t owe us anything. If that glass house weren’t paid $15 million a year we’d have released him years ago.
atlbrave82: I have heard that Rafael Furcal would be willing to come back to Atlanta for a discount price. If we trade Yunel Escobar, is that a possibilty?
Wren Peter: First of all, do you work for me? If so, get the hell off this chat and do some work. If not, please don’t refer to the Braves as “we”. Secondly, we’re not trading Yunel.
Thanatos: What will the Braves’ budget be in 2009?
Wren Peter: It will be in spreadsheet form on my hard drive and on all of the accounting department’s employees’ hard drives. Oh, you mean the PAYROLL? That’ll be around what it was last year.
wdtr: What luck are you having at finding starting pitching since the Jake Peavy deal?
Wren Peter: What, you think I’m concealing the fact that I’ve acquired another pitcher? You’ll know shortly after I do. Hold your horses.
krickeys: What kind of inroads are being made with international scouting?
Wren Peter: Finally, a question I give a shit about. We have one of the strongest international scouting departments in the game. It’s been great being able to bring in exciting young players like Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, and Christian Betancourt.
Thanatos: What was it like replacing what many consider a legend like John Schuerholz?
Wren Peter: If you’re asking me if there’s a ton of pressure, sure. But there is in any GM job.
marsh10: Hey Frank Peter, I’m going to work in a minute and wanted to know how the Peavy deal is going? And also, who are you looking at to man the outfield as a right-handed power hitter?
Wren Peter: Shut the hell up about Jake Peavy.
ozzy99: How will Tom Glavine and John Smoltz fit into next year’s rotation with the hopeful addition of some offseason pitching prospects along with young guns Jair Jurrjens and Jorge Campillo?
Wren Peter: Well, first of all, Jorge Campillo is 30 years old, so if you consider a “young gun” to be someone slightly past their playing prime, sure. Secondly, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz are on the wrong side of 40.
santori34: What are you doing about starting pitching and relievers? It was a serious problem last year.
Wren Peter: Have you been paying attention to a damn thing that’s been going on this off-season? Also, great observation. “It was a serious problem last year”. I’d like to offer you a job. You may be the smartest individual on the planet.
falcons360: Hey Frank Peter, when are we going to get a pitcher?
Wren Peter: Another one of my employees. Go back to work.
Thanatos: We have all heard how you are currently trying to acquire pitching. What will you be looking at upgrading on the offensive side?
Wren Peter: Easy, killer. One problem at a time. We’re doing pitching right now.
krice42: Mr. Wren Peter, what are your opinions on the use of instant replay?
Wren Peter: LITERALLY could not care less.
kylan: How much of what goes on between GMs this time of year is “smoke-screening”?
Wren Peter: What goes on between GM’s? None of it. What you hear about? It’s all bullshit.
Thanatos: What is the plan if Jeff Francouer struggles again next year? Will you try to acquire a solid outfielder to back him up?
Wren Peter: I’ll give Omar Minaya a call.
miguel561: What is the possibility that you could sign A.J. Burnett, knowing there are a lot of clubs after him?
Wren Peter: Depends on if the damn Yankees want him or not.
Thanatos: How long till Tommy Hanson is a Major League starting pitcher?
Wren Peter: Hmm, how long until June 1?
Thanatos: Which arbitration-eligible player do you see getting a large pay raise?
Wren Peter: Go read the wikipedia article on salary arbitration.
BBKing: Is Escobar the only Brave on the trading block?
Wren Peter: What is this, a fantasy league? There’s no such thing as a trading block. And if there were, Escobar wouldn’t be on it.
Thanatos: How did you get started in baseball?
Wren Peter: Wrote a hyper-critical blog for awhile.
Thanatos: What is your relationship with other GMs? Any that you prefer to avoid? Any that you would prefer to trade with?
Wren Peter: I prefer to trade with the dumb ones, so Omar Minaya, Ed Wade, and Dave Dombrowski field calls from me quite a bit.
Thanatos: Tyler Flowers is blooming in the AFL, what is the future for him since Brian McCann is behind the plate?
Wren Peter: Cool adjective there, “blooming”. To answer your question, not too bright with Atlanta.
atticus11: Have there been any new talks with the Padres about acquiring Peavy?
Wren Peter: Could I possibly make this more clear? No.
ukmatt2: Mr. Wren Peter, congratulations on a positive start to your time as GM. How close are we to putting out a starting team as of today? Do you think the likes of Matt Diaz and Casey Kotchman are players that will help us move forwards as a team?
Wren Peter Thank you, Matt. Do you think I could sell this to dictionary.com and file it under “loaded question”? Also, I don’t employ people in the UK, don’t refer to the Braves as “us”. And your question sucks, so I’m not answering it.
Thanatos: Eventually, Bobby Cox will retire. Is there a person that you and the Braves are grooming to take over for him when the time comes?
Wren Peter: Dude, you’ve asked like 1000 questions. RELAX.
onespeed: Frank Peter, I was hoping you could share your view as a GM on how much you rely on statistical analysis (sabermetrics) when trying to fill out your 25-man roster?
Wren Peter: I use it. It’s about a 60-40 split between scouting (60) and statistical analysis (40). Good question. Moderator, buy this man a drink. And buy me one too.
Thanatos: Have the Braves considered bringing Julio Franco back as a coach?
Wren Peter: We’ve considered a lot of things. Have you considered asking fewer questions?
gforce2: Have you received any indication from John Smoltz that he intends to pitch in 2009 ?
Wren Peter: Yes, he’ll try. I think it’s a mistake.
Thanatos: What percentage of Braves games do you attend in a season?
Wren Peter: I swear to god, if you ask 1 more question……
braves1524: What’s the chance of getting Ryan Ludwick this season?
Wren Peter: What’s the chance of me marrying Thanatos’s wife? He probably doesn’t appreciate that question. John Mozeliak doesn’t appreciate your question, either.
Thanatos: Who is your favorite ballplayer of all time?
Wren Peter: Greg Maddux
jakeyb1:Good day, Mr. Wren Peter. I was wondering about Anthony Lerew’s status. Is he still with the organization? If so, how is he progressing?
Wren Peter: Injured. And sucking. And likely to be released.
whirlic: Hi Frank Peter. I think you have been doing a great job. What are we going to do about getting some new pitching? If we could sign Burnett, I would be ecstatic. I wish you continued success.
Wren Peter: Another one of my employees on this chat. No wonder. Kissing ass didn’t get me to where I am now. I suggest you stop doing it and go do some real work.
jurrjens87: Have the Braves ever thought of maybe bringing Paul Byrd back and what’s the latest on Junichi Tazawa?
Wren Peter: Paul Byrd? Dude…. He’s OLD. Tazawa is in love with Daisuke Matsuzaka and will sign with the Red Sox.
preacherj: Frank Peter, thanks for taking my question. In looking for a power bat in the outfield, how much does left- vs. right-handed play into things? We have several lefties that could hit consecutively it seems. Does this affect if you look only for a right-handed bat?
Wren Peter: Considering the fact that our outfielders can’t hit at all, anything will do.
lumbajack: With $40 million plus to spend this offseason, is there pressure to have to spend that money so the budget doesn’t get cut the next year?
Wren Peter: I recommend an accounting class.
onespeed: Are you ever frustrated by the MLB scheduling, especially when it comes to playing so many games within your division as well as how the strength of schedule for different teams varies so much during Interleague Play?
Wren Peter: It is what it is.
preacherj: Any indication on who will be the closer going into 2009? Is that completely Bobby’s call?
Wren Peter: You’re the reason why the mainstream media keeps feeding this whole “closer” phenomenon. Shame on you.
Thanatos:Who will be the big free agents from the Braves next year? Will you attempt to lock any up long-term before next offseason?
Wren Peter: I wasn’t serious about the wife thing. But seriously, stop asking questions.
braves1090: I’ve heard a lot of trade rumors involving Chicago White Sox and former Braves outfileder Jermaine Dye. Have you had any conversations with the White Sox’s GM?
Wren Peter: Rumors are rumors for a reason. Don’t believe everything you read, kid.
atlbrave82: Mr. Wren Peter, I am from Atlanta, living in San Diego. I was wondering if Bobby Cox retires after this year, what are the chances of Terry Pendleton getting a shot as manager of the the Braves?
Wren Peter: OK, I’m answering every question that begins “what are the chances” with semi-arbitrary literal probability measures: 1 in 8.
preacherj: Mr. Wren Peter, any new word on how Smoltz/Glavine are doing this offseason?
Wren Peter: They’re doing well! Tom just had a birthday party for his son and Smoltz ate at Bones last night!
tpetrusa: Frank Peter, what are the chances, if any, that we might be dealing with K.C. for their newly acquired Coco Crisp as a center-field option for 2009?
Wren Peter: 1 in 50.
hunterb55: Is Manny Ramirez a possible Braves player?
Wren: He’s a free agent, so I guess that makes him a possibility by default. Realistically, though? No.
foo_g: Has it been discussed to move Chipper Jones to first base in an attempt to decrease the potential for injuries and ensure that his bat stays in the lineup? Does Casey Kotchman have the versatility to play some outfield under these circumstances?
Wren Peter: Kotchman is painfully slow, he can’t play OF. And moving Chipper to 1st wouldn’t solve the injury problem, it would exacerbate it.
koolmap: What are the chances that we can get two top-notch, front-of-the-rotation guys this offseason?
Wren Peter: 1 in 4.
snealinda: We haven’t seen much action in the free-agent/trading market with the Braves yet? Can we expect some type of movement soon?
Wren Peter: Calm down, buddy.
atlbrave82: Have there been any recent talks with the Padres about Peavy, and are they really asking for too much or is it the no-trade clause that is the concern?
Wren Peter: OK, that’s it. One more Peavy question and the chat is done.
Thanatos: Will you attempt to acquire a shortstop in the offseason, or trust that Escobar will not be traded?
Wren Peter: You think I go about my business as, “I’ll acquire player X in case I trade player Y later”? No. It’s not like we’ll get to Orlando and I’ll all the sudden say, oh shit! I forgot to get a SS! No, if I trade Escobar, I’ll plan accordingly. But I’m not trading Escobar, so I don’t know why I even answered this question. Or why the moderator posted it.
ajax1031: Do you really think that resigning Hampton is a good idea? Don’t we need to get away from injury-prone players?
Wren Peter: ajax1031, whoever you are, you’re fired.
mattress25: Mr. Wren Peter, are there any prospects in the Minors that are being overshadowed by Tommy Hanson, Jordan Schafer, etc., who may surprise us and may make the team out of Spring Training, as Gregor Blanco did in 2008?
Wren Peter: We’ll see, my friend. If I knew the answer, what would be the point of actually having Spring Training?
todd13: Do you think the Braves might want Brian Fuentes?
Wren Peter: Hold on, let me ask the Braves. OH WAIT. I’m the GM! In that case, no.
rbt778: Kelly Johnson is a natural left fielder and a pretty good No. 7 hitter. How about Dye or Ordonez trade for power bat and let Hernandez or Blanco go for the trade?
Wren Peter: OK, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I think the moderator should be fired for letting this one through. Kelly Johnson is a natural SS, not a natural LF’er. The second sentence doesn’t make any grammatical sense and I don’t really know what the fuck you’re trying to say.
Thanatos: What is the hardest thing about being a general manager in the MLB?
Wren Peter: Chatting with morons like you. And what did I tell you about asking more questions?
mattress25: Mr. Wren Peter, how do you see the bullpen stacking up for 2009 with Mike Gonzalez closing and hopefully getting Rafael Soriano and Peter Moylan healthy?
Wren Peter: As long as Bobby doesn’t completely abuse it, we’ll be fine.
snealinda: We haven’t seen any action from the Braves yet this offseason. Should we be concerned as fans that we will not make many moves to improve?
Wren Peter: Yeah. Be concerned. Be very concerned. Or you could just be patient and let me do my job. Either way, it’s not going to effect me, so I don’t care.
Wren Peter: Thanks for wasting my time. Buy tickets!