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Time to look ahead to 2007

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  • Time to look ahead to 2007

    I saw the AJC is coming out with a series starting Thursday on how to fix the Braves for next year. So I thought I would pose the question on here and let the great BBF posters weigh in. I know it's been discussed here and there in other threads but now that our season will certainly end on Sunday it's time to focus in on 2007. What needs to be done to get this team back on top of not just the NL East but the National League? Rumors? Suggestions? Trades you'd like to see? Free agents you'd sign? Would you just count on the addition of Wickman and hope all the players recovering from injury like Hampton, Davies, Boyer, Foster, Ramirez, and Chipper will be enough?

    I personally think the pitching has to be upgraded. Best internet rumor that I've heard totally lacks any verification but is still interesting anyway is to swap Hudson to the Red Sox for Josh Beckett. Perhaps Hudson is just an AL pitcher and Beckett certainly had better success in the NL than he did in his first year in Boston. Both are signed for the same length of time though Hudson is due slightly more money than Beckett. Both had similar numbers this year but did better in the other league. I'd do it in a heartbeat. And if the Red Sox want to re-visit the Andruw Jones talks that cropped up at the trade deadline a deal with Boston could turn into a blockbuster.

    Other pitching options include trading Giles for pitching or bringing Tom Glavine back to Atlanta via free agency. I think strengthening the rotation is a must because the East is going to be tough next year with the Mets probably going after Zito and the Phils and Marlins continuing to improve.
    Last edited by ATL22; 09-26-2006, 03:41 PM.
    Let's go Braves!!

  • #2
    The Beckett/Hudson rumor is interesting, but I don't see it happening. I think Hudson will rebound next year and have a solid season. I think a big question mark right now is what will we get from Mike Hampton? If he can perform at a solid level then we could be looking at a good rotation. Another question in the rotation is Ramirez. It is not looking like he is going to be able to stay healthy for an entire season, but he has shown some promise.
    Anyway, I see a rotation something like:
    Smoltz
    Hudson
    Hampton
    James
    Ramirez/Davies

    In the lineup, I think that Giles will be gone. He is starting to develop some injuries problems and he is now eligible for arbitration. We have to find a way to keep Chipper healthy. The problem with trading Andruw is that it opens up a big hole in our lineup especialy if Chipper has injury problems again.

    Anyway our lineup might go something like this:
    Prado/Aybar
    Renteria
    Chipper
    Andruw
    McCann
    Laroche
    Francouer/
    Diaz/Thorman/Johnson/Langerhans

    I guess one of our outfielders will likely be gone.

    I think the Bullpen is starting to look half way decent with the signing of Wickman. We need another proven reliever. With some of the guys we have coming off of injury, our bullpen might be a strong part of our team next year.
    "I never saw anyone like Ty Cobb. No one even close to him. He was the greatest all time ballplayer. That guy was superhuman, amazing."
    -Casey Stengel

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    • #3
      Looking ahead to 2007 the Braves need to improve on (1) Bullpen Pitching, (2) Starting Pitching consistency, (3) Jeff Francoeur's swing, (4) Chipper Jones' health. Hudson for Beckett would be a good deal to pull of, but I'm interested in seeing what happens to Horacio Ramirez.
      2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club

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      • #4
        I think JS will be more aggressive this winter than we have seen in the past. For one, he'll have a longer offseason and the failure that was 2006 will just sink in and bug him that much longer. I think he knows the Braves have gotten away from the pitching dominance that sustained them for so long and he'll do all he can to restore that. I look for him to be aggressive on the trade market and to potentially bring us another high caliber starter from another team that we may not even realize is available yet. Josh Beckett? Dontrelle Willis? Tom Glavine? Who knows.

        We have at least 6 candidates for the rotation next year in Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Davies, Ramirez, and James. Smoltz is the anchor and he just does amazing things year in and year out, but he will be turning 40 next year. Hudson has just been a disappointment this season and there are no guarantees he'll figure it out next year. In 2008 his salary doubles so the time to either commit to him or trade him is probably this winter. Another team, especially in the AL where he was dominant for years, may take a chance on him returning to his old form and free the Braves from the risk of paying Hudson ace money for 4th starter performances. One more subpar year from him and he'll become untradeable at his salary so it would be prudent to at least listen to offers for him. Beyond those two, we have Hampton, who I expect to return to his old form, and 3 young question marks. If I'm JS and I can add a veteran starter to this rotation to bolster it either with or without Hudson I'd do it. Counting on Hudson, Hampton, and 2 out of 3 of the Davies, Ramirez, James trio just seems too risky in what should be a tough NL East.

        Those guys could be very good, dont get me wrong. But the Braves have trading chips in Hudson, Giles, Langerhans, Ramirez, Thorman, Lerew, and maybe even the biggest of them all in Andruw Jones. They can certainly try to assemble a more veteran, reliable rotation if they wanted to. I wouldn't put anything past JS this winter. He wants to be back on top. I hope he at least listens to offers for Hudson, trades Giles for arms, and hangs on to Andruw unless somebody blows us away with an offer that makes us a better team right now and in the future.
        Let's go Braves!!

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        • #5
          Great points!! But what if the Braves take a different approach and just Re... Re.... REBUILD?? This team has some great young talent and veterans that are either on their last legs or expendable. What if the inevitable happens and JS and the crew decide to wreck shop?? Or am I just making a far-fetched proposition?
          2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Atlanta Braves Freak
            Great points!! But what if the Braves take a different approach and just Re... Re.... REBUILD?? This team has some great young talent and veterans that are either on their last legs or expendable. What if the inevitable happens and JS and the crew decide to wreck shop?? Or am I just making a far-fetched proposition?
            I don't know about that. I don't think "rebuilding" software has been installed in JS's brain. The Braves organization has been on a "what can we do to improve and get into the playoffs" mode for the past 15 years. That's not going to change. What is going to change is that they're going to have to focus on more than one aspect to improve. The way I see it, the only things that need to be improved about the offense are Francouer's swing and Chipper's health. Aybar can step right in and start in place of Giles, who is expendable. We have a glut of outfielders on the bench, who could be easily traded with Giles for a couple of nice relievers. Who knows, they might turn into a good player given a better situation, like Mark DeRosa in Texas.

            But that's the way I see it. We have plenty of left fielders and the most pressing matters are the back end of the rotation, the middle of the bullpen, Chipper's health and Francoeur's swing.
            46 wins to match last year's total

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            • #7
              I agree with Sam, JS doesn't rebuild, he simply reloads. But even if he were the type that would tear it all down and start over I simply dont see the need to with this team. 2006 was just a bad year. From injuries to the horrendous relief pitching to the lack of timely hitting to the franchise-worse month of June this was just a bad year. But this isn't a bad team.

              We have young stars on the rise in McCann, Francoeur and LaRoche. We still have the Jones boys who are amongst the best in the business when healthy and Renteria, who turned out to be an All-Star at shortstop upon returning to the NL. We have Smoltz to anchor our rotation for at least one more year and Wickman to provide much important stability in the bullpen going into 2007 that wasnt there until too late this year. Those are pieces to a team that is built well, not one that needs re-building. What we need is fine tuning and good health next year.

              Offense, other than just a lack of clutch and timely hitting during stretches this year, isn't really a problem for this team. We no longer need a closer, so we really just need to try to strengthen the rotation behind Smoltz and Hampton and try to add another veteran we can count on to bridge the gap to Wickman. The Braves staff ERA this year will burn JS up all winter and his goal will be to assemble a staff next year that will get it back down closer to 4 than close to 5 like it is this year. That alone will improve the Braves horrible record in one run games from this year and put more games in the 2007 win column. Personally I think that no matter what happens with Hudson, JS should look at adding another solid veteran starting pitcher because we just dont know what we'll get from Davies, James, Ramirez, and even for that matter from the rehabilitated Hampton. If Hudson doesnt return to his ace form then we cant run the risk of having Smoltz be the only reliable starter in the rotation again next year.

              We have chips to trade like Giles, Langerhans, Thorman, Ramirez, and even Hudson himself. And if we decide we cant re-sign Andruw then trading him becomes a real option, though I would hope we could keep him for a reasonable price. So with all those trading chips plus our farm system I see no reason why we can't bolster our rotation and middle relief to add to a team full of young and now more experienced and further developed stars and reload enough to reclaim the NL East and more in 2007. No need to take a step back.
              Let's go Braves!!

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              • #8
                I'm ready to see how well JS fills these gaping holes, because if all of these holes are filled we'll be looking at a pennant chasing season next year!
                2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club

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                • #9
                  Due to fininancial reasons, I don't think we will get another top notch starter. As far as I know Jason Schmidt and Barry Zito are the big names coming onto the free agent marking this year. I think the Blue Jays signed Burnett to a five year deal for 11 million dollars a year. I am guessing that Schmidt will get close to this and Zito a great deal more. We could potentially attempt to sign Maddux or Glavine. Both of them are still reliable pitchers to provide stability behind Smoltz. I would love to see Glavine notch number 300 in a Braves uniform. I have never stopped pulling for him except when he faces the Braves. I think the most likely scenario is we will stick with what we have in the rotation.
                  "I never saw anyone like Ty Cobb. No one even close to him. He was the greatest all time ballplayer. That guy was superhuman, amazing."
                  -Casey Stengel

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cbenson5
                    I think the most likely scenario is we will stick with what we have in the rotation.
                    If Hudson doesn't improve, that's a huge mistake. I don't think that Ramirez, Davies or Thomson can provide stability in the four and five sports. They haven't given me reason to believe they can, at least recently.
                    46 wins to match last year's total

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thomson is gone. No way do we bring him back. I've been encouraged by the early throwing sessions Mike Hampton has had. He had a live BP the other day that reportedly went very well. Rookie Peter Moylan watched Hampton face hitters for the first time in over a year that day and described his stuff as "filthy." He's going down to Disney to get a few starts in the Instructional League before shutting it down for the winter so I look forward to hearing reports on how that goes.

                      What we have to keep in mind for next year is how strong the NL East could be. We not only lost the division by a landslide to the Mets but we also got beat out by the Phillies this year and the Marlins were right there with us also. Expect all of those teams, especially Minaya and the suddenly pitching-depleted Mets to be trying to upgrade this winter as well. Because of how tough the division could be, I can't see JS sitting back and just hoping another year of experience and better luck on the performance front (in Hudson's case) and the injury front (in Chipper, Boyer, Davies and Ramirez's cases) is enough to put us back in contention. The pitching available on the trade and free agent market will be in high demand and you better believe the Phils and Mets will be in hot pursuit of the top arms like Schmidt, Zito, and whoever may become available via trade. With his competitive juices re-energized from a disappointing and unsuccessful season, expect JS to come up with a creative way to bolster the Atlanta rotation and bullpen from outside the organization. We wont be throwing big bucks at the 2 big free agent starting pitchers like the Mets and Phillies (as well as other teams like NYY, LA, BOS, SEA and LAA) will, but I expect JS to make a noticeable splash and add a solid veteran to both the rotation and the bullpen.

                      This next year should be a dog fight in the NL East and 4 teams could easily all beat up on each other all year and all still be in contention come September. The one with the best chance of winning out will be the team with the deepest and most productive pitching staff from top to bottom and JS is well aware of that. I can't wait to get the Hot Stove cranked up and see who the reinforcements turn out to be!
                      Let's go Braves!!

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                      • #12
                        We also have to look ahead to 2007 without 3rd base coach Fredi Gonzalez. He was hired by the Marlins and is the second Braves third base coach to be hired as manager by another team. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2611327
                        2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club

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                        • #13
                          More coaching changes:

                          * Pat Corrales will not be back with the team next season.

                          * Bullpen coach Bobby Dews will return in a different role next year. Dews will be with the team in spring training and at most home games but will work in the minor leagues when the Braves are on the road.

                          * Chino Cadahia will be bench coach, third base coach will be Brian Snitker and bullpen coach will be Eddie Perez, the former Braves catcher.
                          2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Atlanta Braves Freak
                            We also have to look ahead to 2007 without 3rd base coach Fredi Gonzalez. He was hired by the Marlins and is the second Braves third base coach to be hired as manager by another team. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2611327

                            Actually I think he's the third. If I'm not mistaken Ned Yost and Jimy Williams were the other 2 hired away from Bobby's staff. Can't think of a better manager for these guys to learn under so I certainly dont blame teams for hiring away our guys. I just hope we can keep one around for when Bobby decides to hang 'em up.
                            Let's go Braves!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Atlanta Braves Freak
                              More coaching changes:

                              * Pat Corrales will not be back with the team next season.

                              * Bullpen coach Bobby Dews will return in a different role next year. Dews will be with the team in spring training and at most home games but will work in the minor leagues when the Braves are on the road.

                              * Chino Cadahia will be bench coach, third base coach will be Brian Snitker and bullpen coach will be Eddie Perez, the former Braves catcher.

                              Losing Mr. Corrales will be a tough one. He is one of the most knowledgable baseball men in the game. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors. It's sad to see all of the guys who have been so involved in our incredible run leave, but I think as long as Mr. Cox is at the helm we will be in good shape.
                              "I never saw anyone like Ty Cobb. No one even close to him. He was the greatest all time ballplayer. That guy was superhuman, amazing."
                              -Casey Stengel

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