Whats Next?

What is next for the Atlanta Braves? That is the question of the day. They let a fan favorite in John Smoltz pack up and head to Boston. They lost out on Jake Peavy, A.J. Burnett and finally Rafael Furcal.

Kenshin KawakumiNow they are after Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. Here is the scouting report for everyone. His fastball tops out in the low 90’s and he mixes in a slow curve with a cutter. I haven’t heard of any crazy sounding pitches like the gyro ball that Daisuke Matsuzaka has. He sounds like a normal pitcher to me. He doesn’t have the typical deceptive delivery that is normally seen from Japanese pitchers, this guy just relies on his natural stuff. That could be good, then again, it could be bad.

Heard of that Kei Igawa guy? That turned out great didn’t it? (Laughs to self)

Japanese players can be really good like Matsuzaka, or they can be a complete bust like Igawa. I’m hoping he isn’t the later if he signs with the Braves. Baltimore however is also interested so don’t get your hopes up Braves fans. The Orioles have already signed Koji Uehara who is also a Japanese pitcher. Playing with another Japanese player may sway Kawakami’s decision to the Orioles. The Braves are apparently really close, but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Derek LoweThe other pitcher Atlanta is going hard after is that Derek Lowe guy. I hear he isn’t bad either. That’s just what I heard though. Atlanta is apparently getting ready to propose an offer, but how do we know Lowe won’t turn around and use that as leverage for the Mets? (cough, cough Rafael Furcal, cough.)

Signing Lowe would be HUGE for the Braves. They would fill a need while stealing him away from those darn Metropolitans. They have made major changes, especially in the bullpen. They are already making me sweat with J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez in the 8th and 9th innings.

The Braves can also have that luxury in the bullpen with Mike Gonzalez, Peter Moylan, and Rafael Soriano. If that darn Soriano would just stop having mysterious injuries that won’t allow him to pitch but are invisible to MRI’s. He has been leaving the team doctors puzzled and the Braves’ fans pissed. Oh so convenient that right after you sign an extension you “get hurt.” Prove it bud and you can sit all you want. Ask Mike Hampton, he did it.
Confused doctor

This off season the Braves have been all talk and no action. They talk of great things, but get nothing. As a fan, I am hurt by this. It really hurts when your team does nothing to make the team better. Sure, they signed Javier Vazquez. That is nice and all but it isn’t what they really need. Now I know what the Nationals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Padres, and Twins feel like. Every year they sign a whole bunch of nothing and their fans have to watch that bunch of nothing try and compete in a league stocked with talent. That talent is just stacked in a handful of places, not everywhere like it should be.

Maybe Atlanta can pull some strings and pry Xavier Nady away from the Yankees for less than they want. Fill a team need and make the Yankees worse, sounds like a deal to me. I doubt the Braves will get him as I have heard New York wants some top of the line prospects for him. Every Braves fan already knows Frank Wren won’t dare trade a prospect that may or may not suck. We learned the hard way in the Jake Peavy deal.

By the way, congratulations to Florida on winning the BCS National championship game and being voted the #1 team this year. Utah deserved both of those and got neither but whatever. That’s sports politics for ya.

Have a nice day,



  1. juliasrants

    Sorry about us taking Smoltz. I think you’ll be happy if the Braves can get Derek Lowe. I would have loved him back here in Boston. And I promise – we’ll take good care of Smoltz in Boston. (Did you know he was such a great golfer?)


  2. hardballblog

    It’s ok Julia. It is just the way the business works. Yea, Smoltz is an excellent golfer. John and Tiger Woods are best friends and golf together all the time. Smoltz I hear has a very good handicap and if he put baseball aside he could be on the pro tour. Some of the Braves have pretty cool hobbies. I know Chipper Jones, Adam LaRoche, Ryan Langerhans and several Colorado Rockies go hunting together and have a show on TV about it. Really interesting what players do in their spare time.

  3. Darion

    I agree with you about everything EXCEPT the last part about Utah. Sorry but I’m one of those Alabama fans who think that Bama should have beat them. A bad 1st quarter and that costs us the game. If we hadn’t have played such a sloppy and sucky 1st quarter, we would have won. Anyway We lost to the end-of-the-season #1 and #2 team. Not a bad year overall.
    Oh and I’m kinda excited about signing Kenshin Kawakami. He should be a great addition to the team.

  4. PWHjort

    Matsuzaka actually doesn’t throw a gyroball. He does throw a strange pitch called a shuuto. The shuuto is what most people confuse for a gyroball. The shuuto is a pitch that is sort of a “reverse slider”, but it has less break and more velocity than a screwball would. Sort of half-way between a screwball and 2-seam fastball. Kawakami also throws a shuuto. A typical repitoire for a NPB starter would include a fastball, curveball, shuuto, and forkball. Kawakami throws those 4 along with a cutter.

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