10.01.2007

It’s The Most Wonderful Time…

Okay, so maybe the MLB playoffs aren’t quite the high point of the year—I would still put Christmas and March Madness ahead of them—but it is still a fun time if you are a baseball fan.

Thanks to ending up tied after 162 games, the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres are playing a one game tie-breaker as I type to determine who gets the eighth and final playoff spot. Pretty exciting stuff.


Of course, the excitement would be a lot greater for me if my team—the Atlanta Braves—had bothered to make the playoffs this year. Instead, the Braves underachieved for the majority of the year, finished third in the National League East, and are watching the playoffs from home for the second consecutive year. It’s pretty hard to take.

Okay, I realize I’m spoiled, but you have to realize the position I’m in. From the summer I turned 8 to the summer I turned 22, the Braves made it to the playoffs every single year (except for the strike-shortened season of 1994, when there were no playoffs at all). It’s just hard to adjust.

So here’s the deal. In order to avoid a third consecutive post-season-less season, I have a three step plan for guaranteed success in 2008:

  1. Resign Andruw Jones. I know Andruw had one of the worst seasons ever imagined in 2007, but at the end of the day, even at his worst, he hit 25+ home runs, had 90+ RBI and played unparalleled defense in center field. And there’s no way he won’t do better next year. I’m not saying we should break the bank to resign him, but he’s already publicly said he would sign a deal in the 5-year, $15 million per year deal. At 30 years old, for a guy who plays everyday in a skill position, he’s easily worth that.
  2. Sign Tom Glavine to a one year deal. Glavine’s not a Cy Young Award winner any more, but he would be great as a number three or number four starter. Combined with Tim Hudson and John Smoltz, a (hopefully) healthy Mike Hampton and Chuck James as the number five starter, that would give the Braves arguably the best rotation in baseball (I realize that in order to accomplish steps 1 and 2, we might have to trade Renteria. I hate giving him up, but under those circumstances, I say do it).
  3. Get rid of the AA-caliber players that we have hanging out in the dugout. Chris Woodward and Pete Orr, I’m looking at you. I mean, it amuses me that Woodward looks like Billy Bob Thornton’s down-on-his-luck brother, and I like that Orr wears his socks high, but these guys really have no business playing in the Major Leagues. Put Scott Thorman in that category while you’re at it. I realize the guy is out of options: maybe we can trade him for some new fungo bats or something.
Follow my advice (and assuming Chipper can stay healthy for his usual 130 games), and I think we end up with 105 wins next year.

And a much happier October for yours truly.

8 comments:

Paul Murphy 10/1/07, 9:40 PM  

RESIGN ANDRUW??!!! You've got to be smoking laced crack. Andruw is everything wrong with the braves, the slack style don't mind losing attitude. I must disagree. Tom Glavine? Ok man. Postseason has stunk the last two years though, so somethings gotta change.

Luke 10/2/07, 4:17 PM  

Paul,

Boo on your wrongness.

1) I don't exactly know what you mean by "slack style" but I assume you're referring to some perceived lack of hustle on Andruw's part.

It is true that in his second season (when he was all of 19 years old) Jones was once pulled in the middle of a game for not hustling for a ball in the outfield. But he learned his lesson: it has never been a problem since then. Year in and year out, Jones plays 150+ games a year in CF, playing hurt with minor injuries caused by the fact that he is constantly busting himself all over the place to catch balls.

At the plate, he doesn't always run out ground balls, which I don't like, but that's a problem with 98% of Major League players, and hardly something for which he should be singled out (he does it no more than anyone else).

2) As far as the "don't mind losing" attitude, Jones, along with Chipper and Smoltz, is one of the only Braves who remembers what it's like to play for a perennial winner.

On top of that, he's always one of the most vocal and outspoken critics of the Braves when they're not winning.

3) At the end of the day, despite a poor season, Andruw is an above average (though incredibly frustrating) hitter who also happens to be one of the top 2-3 outfielders to ever play the game.

John Smoltz, among many others, considers him to be the best ever. Period.

With today's market being what it is, paying such a player $15 a year is not a bargain, but it's not far-fetched either.

4) Despite all of these facts, you ultimately will get your way, and I won't get mine.

The Braves announced that AJ won't be in their future plans.

I'm going to go put on some black clothes and eat some junk food.

Corey Bishop 10/2/07, 6:47 PM  

I wanted to resign AJ. He's put a lot of work into this franchise. One year doesn't ruin his success. Unfortuneately though, JS told him he wasn't coming back today. I'm bummed!

Corey Bishop 10/2/07, 7:33 PM  

Thanks again for checking out the blog!

Kenny Simpson 10/3/07, 11:40 AM  

They announced they are not signing Andruw Jones, who will fit in nice with the NYY next year.

Anonymous 10/4/07, 8:40 PM  

Sorry, AJ won't sign with a northern team because it's too cold. I think he signs with the Angels, or Dodgers.

Corey Bishop

Luke 10/5/07, 8:43 AM  

Kenny,

Better the Yankees than the Mets.

Luke 10/5/07, 8:45 AM  

Corey,

I think you're right about Andruw staying away from the cold climates.

Wherever he goes, I hope he gets a good deal and performs well, and that he sicks it to the Braves whenever he plays against them.

That fact that they didn't even try to re-sign him just seems like a big slap in the face.

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