Tagged: Flordia Marlins

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,

~Ben

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So Many Options

Well, it looks like the Braves are going to go after one of three players to serve as their power hitting outfielder. They appear to be Rick Ankiel of the St. Louis Cardinals, Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers, or Jeremy Hermida of the Florida Marlins.

Rick AnkielPersonally I like Ankiel or Hermida. To be honest I just don’t like Corey Hart. I don’t know why, but I just don’t. With Ankiel you get a ton of power with an outstanding glove in the outfield. Ankiel may not hit 35 o 40 home runs but he will drive in runs consistently while playing Gold Glove defense. The guy is a human highlight reel. If you are a frequent watcher of “Web Gems” you have seen him gunning down runners from all areas of the field. His arm is just flat out a cannon.

It would be like having two Francoeurs on defense. Which is in no way a bad thing. Jeremy Hermida is a Georgia native who wouldn’t mind playing for the home town team. Hermida was at once compared to Francoeur but doesn’t pack as much punch at the plate. So I don’t think he would be a great choice unless Ankiel wasn’t able to be acquired. I still don’t know why I don’t like Corey Hart, but to be honest I don’t need a reason. I just don’t like him.

Here is a little taste of Mr. Ankiel…

He would only be under contract for one year and he happens to be a Scott Boras client. If you like keeping players around for a long time you don’t want Scott Boras anywhere near your player. But then again, Andruw Jones is a Scott Boras client and he stayed around for a while, maybe Ankiel would too. You just never know.

Corey HartThe only problem with Ankiel besides his choice of representation is he is left handed. Jeremy Hermida is also left handed. This is why I actually think Corey Hart has the advantage at this point. The Braves have left handed bats already. They are looking for a right handed bat to fill the power gap, hence the Jermaine Dye rumors. The Brewers could also try to dump his salary to try and sign C.C. Sabathia.

This being said, the Brewers may take a few decent prospects and maybe some cash in exchange for Hart. Hart also has 3 more arbitration years so Atlanta can keep him around for a while. It may take a little more to get Hart than Ankiel since Ankiel will be a free agent after the 2009 season, but I think it would be worth it. Like I have been saying, the Braves are stacked in the farm system. They can afford to give up a few guys.

Holding tons of guys that most likely won’t even pan out isn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do. To be realistic, I bet 3 out of Atlanta’s top 10 prospects end up being busts. It is just so hard to have a successful career in the MLB. Look at Kyle Davies, Chuck James, Jo-Jo Reyes, Brent Lillibridge, and Scott Thorman. They were all top prospects at once and now look what happened. They are either on another team or are having extreme struggles. You can dump a few prospects to win now. It is ok.

Till next time,

~Ben