October 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Front Office, Links, NFL Picks, Transactions
With the Braves’ season done, the hot-stove season has begun. Some links and insights for Friday.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated says the Braves may make a run at Matt Holliday. Personally, I think Matt Holliday is a perfect fit for the Braves. He plays good defense and fixes the biggest systematic weakness of the team–the inability to hit for power from the right side. Of course, as a Scott Boras client eligible for Free Agency for the first time, he won’t come cheap. JC Bradbury of Sabernomics speculates he’ll get 4 years, $68 million and Jorge Says No! speculates he’ll get 7 years, $110 million.
- David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Braves will aggressively pursue a right-handed power bat and suggest Nelson Cruz may be a good fit. Cruz is arbitration eligible in 2011 and a free agent after 2014 and the Rangers would presumably want young pitching in return. A few weeks ago, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs wrote about Nelson Cruz’s contact rates. The comments section of that article is also rather insightful.
- I’ll make another suggestion with regards to a trade for a right-handed power bat. Carlos Quentin for Nate McLouth. The Braves need a right-handed bat, the White Sox need a left-handed bat. They have similar contract situations, McLouth is owed $12.25 million over the next two years with a $9.4 million net option for 2012. Quentin is arbitration-eligible for the next three years. While McLouth represents financial certainty, Quentin perhaps has the more favorable contract. Neither player lived up to expectations in 2009. McLouth hit .257/.354/.419 with 11 HR in 396 PA’s and played below-average defense in CF for the Braves. Quentin hit .236/.323/.456 with 21 HR in 399 PA’s and played fairly bad defense in LF for the White Sox. McLouth is the superior defender, but Quentin is the superior bat. Quentin’s low average can be attributed to BABIP and injuries, as his contact rates were very good (as well as his walk rates) and his LD% was up from 2008, a year he hit .288/.394/.571 with 36 HR. Quentin is rather injury-prone, but McLouth had his share of injuries in 2009. This is just a purely hypothetical scenario. If it were to happen, I imagine Church would play CF until Schafer is ready and the outfield would eventually consist of, left to right, Quentin, Schafer, Heyward; with Diaz and Church (if he isn’t moved) on the bench. I would have no reservations about starting Church in center for a few months. As Mac Thomason of Braves Journal notes, Church is probably a better Center Fielder than McLouth.
- In the above article David O’Brien also mentions the Braves will likely look to add a reliever or two this off-season to off-set the departure of Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. Of course, the Braves kicked the tires on acquiring a reliever in July but weren’t able to find a match. My take: adding a “proven closer” is a rather inefficient way to go about shoring up the bullpen. On the other hand, Bill Shanks of the Macon Telegraph reports that the Braves may pursue Free Agent Billy Wagner this off-season. If the price is right, he could be a good fit, but he’ll probably also cost the Braves their 1st round draft pick.
- Speaking of which, the 2010 draft order is out and the Braves will pick 19th (ESPN Insider Subscription Required), provided they don’t sign a Type A Free Agent who was offered arbitration by his previous club.
- Speaking of which, the final Elias Rankings are out. Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez project as Type A’s while Garret Anderson and Adam LaRoche project as Type B’s. Tim Hudson missed the cut for Type B status.
- Mark Bowman of MLB.com suggests that Frank Wren will try to trade Derek Lowe this winter. My take: if you can trade him, do it, but don’t eat any salary in the process. Lowe will likely be worth his contract, so it’s not necessarily a salary dump from either perspective. Well, it would be, but it’s not like you’re moving a particularly bad contract. Moving a big, valuable contract for financial flexibility is different than moving a big, bad contract.
- David O’Brien writes about which Braves may not return to the team in 2010. I’m not convinced he’s correct about Boone Logan being arbitration eligible in 2010. According to my calculations, he’ll have ~2.6 years of service time which probably makes him a month or two short of Super-2 status. There is a new poll regarding the arbitration-eligible players.
- If you’ve been watching the postseason, you’ve probably noticed that Chip Caray and Joe Simpson are part of the TBS Broadcast team. In my opinion, Joe Simpson has done an outstanding job serving as the Color Analyst for the Phillies-Rockies series. However, Chip Caray has been nothing short of absolutely horehounds. It all started when he botched an extremely important call in the play-in game (game 163) between the Twins and Tigers. He nearly did the exact same thing the following night covering the Yankees-Twins series. As Matt Casey of NBCsports.com notes, ripping on Chip Caray has become an enjoyable October tradition. He’s also been very fond of using the phrase “fisted” to describe a batted ball hit off the handle of the bat, prompting the emergence of this hilarious Twitter page.
- Speaking of announcing, I’m sure most of you know, but Boog won’t be returning to Fox Sports South to call the Braves games next season. He’s accepted a position as the full-time play-by-play announcer for ESPN Radio games. Personally, I really like Boog and I’ll miss having him call the games on a daily basis. That said, this is great news for him as it represents a substantial promotion.
- I can’t wait to watch Nick Blackburn pitch today. He pitched the 1-game playoff last year between the White Sox and Twins, one of the best games I’ve ever seen.
Browns 3 at Bills 24
Steelers 21 at Lions 20
Cowboys 38 at Chiefs 10
Vikings 44 at Rams 6
Raiders 3 at Giants 41
Buccaneers 3 at Eagles 31
Redskins 21 at Panthers 24
Bengals 21 at Ravens 24
Falcons 31 at 49ers 30
Jaguars 10 at Seahawks 11
Texans 35 at Cardinals 17
Patriots 20 at Broncos 21
Colts 28 at Titans 17
Jets 31 at Dolphins 20