Friday, April 3, 2009

Francoeur Reels In A Big One

Mark Bowman's MLB Blog tells us that Jeff Francoeur reels in this nice sized large mouth bass.
It must be really nice to have all this insider information and to have spent the last 50 days with the team in Florida, front row to all the games, hanging out with the players before and after the games.
I'm not complaining with my situation...just stating facts. Life must get tough being the man.

Braves Are Coming Home

The Atlanta Braves are heading back home for their last two games of the spring season. The Braves play tonight at 7:10 and tomorrow at 1:10.

This would be a great chance to see the Braves before they make their final roster moves. Who will start in centerfield? Remains the largest question left for the spring season. A report from says Atlanta almost acquired Jason Repko from the Dodgers to platoon in center. Atlanta needs to stick with the two guys they could possibly have in center, however they both hit left-handed. I can see the Braves concern with all the possible lefties in the lineup. Atlanta already has one outfield platooned position-and I'm not going to pay my money to see Jason Repko (a Kotsay type of player) patrol centerfield.

The Braves will send Javier Vazquez to the mound tonight. Tomorrow will dawn the likes of Kenshin Kawakami for the first 4 or 5 innings followed by top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson for the remainder of the game.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Injuries A Key Concern?

This time last year the Braves had the same promises of a great season. Those promises were let down after an injury plague struck the entire pitching staff. Smoltz, Glavine, Hampton, and Hudson (who won't return until August of this season) were all hit. The bullpen saw the likes of Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano bite the dust early in the season. Closer Mike Gonzalez didn't return until June from Tommy John surgery from the previous 2007 season. Chipper didn't quite make 130 games and Yunel Escobar barely did. Can the Braves stay healthy this season? The Braves have more pitching depth and a completely revamped rotation. The difference? Well besides the names there isn't much of one. Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez are both in their 30's. Glavine is a year older. Tim Hudson won't return from Tommy John until August. Kenshin Kawakami, well he might, Japanese pitchers always seem to hold up (speculation of course).
The Braves dawned 11 different starters last season. Jorge Campillo, James Parr, Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Bennett all got their chances. Campillo, Parr, Reyes, and Morton should all start this season in AAA and Bennett has a decent shot to come out of the bullpen in Atlanta. The Braves essentially had a stellar rotation last season, for AAA Gwinnett.
The position players, even though they had the usual nagging injuries, were all filled in for nicely. Martin Prado and Omar Infante, I think, were the MVP's of the team. Yes, I know Chipper hit .364 in 128 games. Prado and Infante played position after position. Infante hit .293 and Prado hit .320 in 96 and 78 games respectively. They both played in the outfield, 3rd, 2nd, shortstop, and Prado even played 1st base.

Injuries are always a factor in every season. IF the Braves can stay healthy this year and with the reserves lined up in AAA just in case, Atlanta has all the right tools this year to compete for a National Championship.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ross Boss Injured

David Ross suffered a strained right groin towards the end of the 5th inning yesterday. His status will be determined at a later date.

Pending on the severity of the injury, and with opening day Sunday, the Braves may need to call up Clint Sammons to serve as their back up catcher to start the season.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chipper Locked Up Through 2012

According to Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves have agreed on a 3 year deal worth 40 million +. The deal also includes an option for 2013.

This deal really shows what the city of Atlanta thinks of Chipper Jones. The man has played in more than 130 games in the last 4 seasons, ONE TIME! I'm a big Chipper fan and he's an important part of this team, but he is not the reason I put my butt in that seat at Turner Field. He is a great baseball player but frankly this deal scares me for how "nagging" injury prone he can be.

A positive is that Chipper is the type of guy that would be willing to have his contract restructured in the future, if it meant the Braves needed to find a dollar to sign someone in the years to come.

You're the man Chipper Jones-and so is your agent.

Odds and Ends

Kenshin Kawakami allowed 2 runs in 6 innings on Monday, March 30th. If he pitches that well consistently he will win atleast 15 games for Atlanta. He also faced his fellow Japanese country-men Dice-K. Bobby Cox was quoted, "He can rise to the occasion, you can just see it in him." (Nice choice of words Bobby). In reality Bobby Cox was talking about all the Japanese media that were there covering the exhibition game.

The Braves won Monday's game against the Red Sox 4-3 in 10 innings.

The Braves are apparently working on a 3 year contract extension with Chipper Jones. I wonder if John Smoltz has seen that news story yet? Where was Smoltzy's contract extension? Or better yet, how about Atlanta works out an extension for Chipper when his contract has expired. In the mean time use some of that money to sign Wil Ohman or another veteran lefty reliever presence. I'm not picky, just someone who can get 1 out a game. Look for an official announcement as early as today.

Garrett Anderson will start in left field today. I hope he takes his ginseng before each game or eats a banana. The Braves do not need another injury.

My centerfielder is Jordan Schafer. What do the Braves have to lose? Give the kid a chance, if he stinks it up in the first month there is Gregor Blanco waiting in the wings. Gregor Blanco is good for a .250 average and 3 bunts a game.