The Yankees have signed Teixeira to a long-term contract, says a source. SI is confirming this and is reporting it’s a 8 year, $180M deal. The former Brave is cashing in on his power bat, good strike zone discipline, and gold glove fielding. Even I’d play for the Yankees for $22.5M a year. That’s $138K a game.
This despite Hal Steinbrenner denying yesterday that the Yankees had an offer on the table to either Teixeira or Manny Ramirez. Apparently Yankees GM Cashman was cooking something up that Hal was unaware of. That’s roughly 4/10ths of a billion dollars spent this offseason.
Tags: Mark Teixeira, Mark Teixeira to the Yankees, Teixeira to the Yankees, Yankees, Yankees sign Teixeira, Yankees sign Tex
Posted in Speculation | 7 Comments »
The Braves have traded free-agent to be Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in return for Casey Kotchman and pitching “prospect” Stephen Marek. Kotchman, 25, was hitting .287 with 12 homers and 57 RBI’s for the Angels this season. Kotchman, while not having the prowess of Teixeira, is a proven contact hitter and he also plays a good defensive first-base. He should provide the Braves with gap power and could be the ideal #2 hitter if he were to replicate his .372 OBP in 2007. Prospect Stephen Marek, also 25 years old, has a 2-6 record with a 3.66 ERA in 34 relief appearances for AA Arkansas. One bright spot on Marek’s stat line is that he has struck out 57 batters in 46.2 innings pitched this season. He converted to relief this season after starting games last season in High-A. Marek will not be a top prospect for this team but he may help at some point.
Tags: Casey Kotchman, Mark Teixeira, Stephen Marek
Posted in Roster Moves | 20 Comments »
Yesterday we looked at 10 Reasons To Pull Out The Stops and go for broke in a quest to make the playoffs. Today is time to look at the opposite side of the coin – with nearly an even split in our “Should we trade Mark Teixeira” poll, it’s clear fan opinion is split. Without further ado – 10 Reasons To Throw In The Towel.
- A Mark Teixeira trade would bring in young talent to build into the next few years.
- The entire outfield has been a bit of an offensive disappointment with Kotsay being the hot spot.
- The Phillies are rumored to be looking for ace-quality pitching talent.
- We’ve had 9 different starting pitchers, and Charlie Morton has as many starts as John Smoltz.
- The Braves going on a winning streak seems synonymous with Mike Hampton and his trip back to starting big league games.
- There is practically no winning record on the road.
- We’ve been starting Greg Norton in left field.
- John Smoltz will be back next year if he has anything to say about it.
- We’re too bogged down with big contracts on the DL ($37M) to make any legitimate moves for talent that would put us in serious contention (Hampton – 15M, Smoltz – 14M, Glavine – 8M).
- All of our starting position players except Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann have missed time due to injuries. To boot, three of our starting pitchers are on the DL and at least two of those are done for the year.
There ya go – 10 Reasons To Throw In The Towel. Should we be done with the year? Speak up – I know 43% of you (at time of writing) think we should trade Tex.
Please jump in and comment and critique my thoughts – I’m sure I left some out and made up others in a poor attempt to be witty. Speak up especially if you want to throw in the towel this season.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, BravesBlast, Major League Baseball, Mark Teixeira, Trade
Posted in General | 8 Comments »
One of my favorite things to do as a baseball person is to think about what is next for teams. Coming up for the Braves regardless to whether or not they are buyers or sellers at the trading deadline are a ton of free agent departures at the end of the year that will clean out the books. Mike Hampton (15M), Chipper Jones (15M), John Smoltz (14M), Mark Teixeira (12.5M), Tom Glavine (8M) and Mark Kotsay (7M) are all either free agents or in their option years. The options belong to Chipper Jones and John Smoltz and each give the players less money in 2009 than what they currently earn (Jones – 8M to 11M; Smoltz – 12M). Glavine, Kotsay and Hampton are unlikely to return, all of which will clear around 36 million for all intensive purposes. With this money, I expect the Braves to be one of the most entertaining clubs to watch this winter.
First, there has been a lot of talk as to whether or not Mark Teixeira will be returning to the Braves in 2009. Assuming that he makes it to August, with the extra money that would be freed up, the Braves will absolutely be able to make a competitive offer on Teixeira. I’d guess Teixeira will command 15-18 million dollars over 4 or 5 seasons. Roughly, around 30 million dollars will be available after that contact and as much as 60 could be available if Smoltz and Teixeira will not return. That is a lot of money to piece the team back together with and here are some of the new names to think about:
The needs that the Braves will be looking to address are offensive depth, starting pitching and potentially an arm for the bullpen. I think that the player that every Braves fan should be pulling for is new Brewers lefty, CC Sabathia. While I worry about how ell an overweight pitcher can hold up for the duration of a long-term contract (ex. – Bartolo Colon), I find this to be too perfect of an opportunity. The Braves have long been known for their dominant starting pitching and a 1-2, lefty-righty punch of CC Sabathia and Tim Hudson would quickly become one of the leagues top end of the rotation. From a marketing perspective, bringing in Sabathia, an African American, would be great for the Braves, the city of Atlanta and Major League Baseball. This because Atlanta is very proud of its African American heritage, yet the Braves do not have a player that identifies as African American besides prospect Brandon Jones. In a city with such a great history for African Americans, Sabathia would be a huge addition for the Braves in more ways than one. The rotation would shape up to be Sabathia/Hudson/Jurrjens/Morton/Reyes/Campillo. With the amount of injuries that have befallen the Braves this season, it would be smart to have another pitcher to be versatile. These types of cheap options can be available even through March and the the list of free agents that fit this mold are Paul Byrd, Josh Fogg, Mark Hendrickson, Jason Jennings, Esteban Loaiza, Carl Pavano, Brett Tomko and Kip Wells.
With the deluge of outfield prospects that will be raining into Atlanta over the next few seasons with Gorkys Hernandez, Jordan Schaffer and Brandon Jones on the way, it would be a good move for the Braves to have a veteran outfielder around to ease their growing pains. Earlier this season, Raul Ibanez’s name was thrown around as a trade option. I loved that idea then, and I’d love to see the Braves pick him up in the offseason. Ibanez, 37, is an aging player, but is still very productive. Since 2002, his lowest RBI total was 62 in 2004, a season in which he missed 39 games. He has eclipsed the 100 RBI total three times in his career as well. Having him around will push Matt Diaz into the super sub role once again, where he is best suited. Gregor Blanco and the rookies can share time in center-field. He would be an excellent player to have around to increase the depth and fluid nature of the team.
The additions of Sabathia and Ibanez as well as the signing of Teixeira would put the Braves in excellent position to be favorites in the NL east in 2009. Most important to me is that these are three durable players that can be counted on to be on the roster for most of the season. The direction that Frank Wren takes this offseason could very well define his career as Braves GM.
Tags: C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira
Posted in Speculation | 12 Comments »
The Braves are playing amazing baseball at home, but not performing so great on the road. They’re also 2-14 in one-run games, a number that should improve once Smoltz, Soriano, and Gonzalez are all active in the bullpen (I shamelessly stole that line from Jayson Stark). But with the Braves moving John Smoltz from the rotation to the ‘pen, they’re short a starting pitcher. And even though Jo-Jo Reyes and Jorge Campillo are standing in admirably (Campillo more so than Reyes), the Braves are reportedly looking for a starting pitcher.
There are a couple rumors here – one mentioned by the announcers during today’s game involved the highest profile free agent on the team. Reportedly the Braves would send Mark Teixeira to the Cleveland Indians for starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia would provide the depth to the rotation the Braves need (he’s won an average of 15.3 games each of the last three seasons), but the Braves would lose Teixeira and much of the needed protection behind Chipper, who is powering the offense. Sabathia is only 28 and would possibly be harder to resign at season’s end than Teixeira will be – and we can’t count that out. Plus, who would play first? Other rumors include either a top pitching prospect or Jordan Schafer for Sabathia – neither of which make sense for a pitcher with under a year left on his contract. Don’t forget that if we trade Tex, we have nearly no chance of re-signing him.
The most popular rumor has Greg Maddux coming to Atlanta – something that I don’t think will happen. Frank Wren was very adamant pre-season that he wasn’t looking for a reunion tour of the big three. Now Maddux would be a very popular choice, but he’s older and may not be available for re-signing at the end of the year (no telling when he hangs up the cleats).
Jayson Stark offered his opinion on this earlier today:
“Clubs that have spoken with the Braves say they’re more focused on trying to find a younger starting pitcher they can hang onto for [more than] just the last few months of this season. So think more along the lines of the non-free agents who could pop onto the market…”
Stark goes on to mention Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Bronson Arroyo, and Jeremy Bonderman – but stresses the Braves could be after any pitcher in this category.
I think that the Maddux thing is a bit of a pipe dream as opposed to reality. He’d offer us a good fifth arm in the rotation if Reyes isn’t working out, but I think we’d have to give up too much to get him. I’d much rather see us trade a younger prospect for a pitcher with plenty left in the tank and a few years on his contract. It’s time we start stacking our rotation for tomorrow.
Who would you like to see come to the Braves? Chime in with your opinion and comment below.
Other tidbits: East Coast Bias had a great article today on the Braves one-third of the way through the season. Take a look – very good read.
Tags: C.C. Sabathia, Frank Wren, Greg Maddux, Jo-Jo Reyes, John Smoltz, Jordan Schafer, Jorge Campillo, Mark Teixeira, Trade Rumors
Posted in Speculation | 26 Comments »
The Braves can’t buy a win on the road right now. When everything goes right, something bigger seems to go wrong. As of now, the Braves have the worse road record in baseball; a paltry 5-15. With a record like that, it’s surprising that they are still anywhere near the front of the division. Only by having the best home record in baseball are we still within 4 games of the division lead.
Tom Glavine’s heading to the hill tonight, hoping that the veteran presence can try to get a road win on the record and keep the road record above .250 for the season. Mark Teixeira, after missing the last two games with back spasms, was a late addition to the lineup for the day. It’s not clear if he’ll play the whole game, but he’ll be making the start to try and give some normalcy back to an injury-laden lineup.
Tags: Mark Teixeira, Philadelphia Phillies, Tom Glavine
Posted in Game Threads | 69 Comments »
Jair Jurrjens and the Braves completed the sweep of the Dodgers yesterday afternoon. The series score was 24-3 in the Braves favor, giving them 32 runs scored to only 3 allowed in their last 4 games. For an offense that has struggled to find their stride so far this season, this has been a welcome change. Mark Teixeira added 3 more RBIs and a home run to his season stats yesterday; is this a glimmer of hope that his slow start is starting to fade?
The downer on the day was Chipper Jones coming up gimp on a slide into second and promptly leaving the game in the next inning to be replaced by Martin Prado. He’s listed as day-to-day after reaggravating his injured quads. We’ll see how he comes along and hopefully he doesn’t miss any time as he has the best bat in the league right now.
Jurrjens looked strong and finally got the run support he needed to extend his record to 2-2. He pitched 7 solid innings, only giving up 1 run on 3 hits. He also struck out 8 batters. His one run came on a solo home run to Russell Martin in the 4th inning. The Braves look to continue their hot hitting and solid defense tonight against the Nationals.
Tags: Chipper Jones, Hiroki Kuroda, Jair Jurrjens, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Teixeira
Posted in Game Analysis | No Comments »
The sky is falling. The Braves are 0-5 in one run games. They’re tied for last place in the NL East. Rafael Soriano is on the DL. Mike Hampton is again on the DL. Tim Hudson is fighting the flu. John Smoltz has had recurring shoulder issues.
And two games have already been postponed.
I feel like it’s time for me to say the same thing Phillies and Mets fans said last week. It’s not over yet. 9 games into the season, and it’s not over yet.
So without further ado, 5 things that have to happen to kick this thing into shape:
- Blaine Boyer needs to stop giving up home runs. Actually, that goes for the whole bullpen. Out of the seven home runs given up this year by Braves pitchers, six of them are out of the bullpen. And the other one belongs to Chuck James, and he doesn’t count as a starter.
- The bats have got to string together some consecutive hits. Get this ridiculous offense off the ground. That’s ridiculous in a good way. And Mark Teixeira needs to get that .167 average up.
- Jair Jurrjens continues to look good. He got beat up a little in his last start and how he comes back in his next start is crucial. He seems very mature as a 22 year old pitcher so I’m not concerned.
- Bobby Cox needs to get thrown out. Show some enthusiasm, Bobby. Go out there and give some poor umpire the what’s for. It’s fun, it shows everyone you want to win, and the fans and the players need it about now.
- Like our friend Andrew over at The ‘Ropolitans, who recently shaved his beard only to see the Mets go 2-0, I began thinking back about my facial hair and the Braves. Since I started the goatee about a year, year and a half ago, the Braves haven’t made the postseason. So I’m shaving, in hopes that the lack of my facial hair can help the Braves over the next few series – most of which are against the Nationals and Marlins, with the Dodgers mixed in. I will go baby-faced if it helps the Braves.
So there ya have it – we’re not dead yet. Time to keep moving on and win the next few games. Go Bravos!
Tags: Blaine Boyer, Jair Jurrjens, Mark Teixeira
Posted in General | 17 Comments »
In front of a great crowd, John Smoltz and the Braves faced off against Johan Santana and the Mets in a highly anticipated pitching matchup. For fans looking to the game for the starting pitching, they were not left disappointed. Smoltz, making his first start of the season, pitched 5 scoreless innings for the Braves, giving up 2 hits, 0 walks and striking out 6. Santana likewise pitched a great game for the Mets, only allowing 1 run on 7 hits in 7 innings of work, but still obtained his first tick in the loss column this season.
Smoltz left the game after the fifth inning with some soreness in his shoulder (the same injury for which he just came off of the DL for) and turned it over to the bullpen as a precautionary step. He’s not expected to miss his next start against the Nationals on Friday. The bullpen for the Braves was stellar as well, giving up only 1 run on 3 hits through the last 4 innings of the game. Closer Rafael Soriano looked a little flustered in the 9th, allowing one run, walking two, and almost issuing a game tying double with 2 outs. Mark Teixeira made a diving stab to keep the ball in front of him and potentially saved the game, at least from going into extra innings.
Teixeira also put the game a little farther out of the reach of the Mets in the bottom of the 8th inning with a two-run home run to right that just snuck over the glove of Ryan Church. The official distance on the home run was registered at 345 feet. This gave the Braves a 3-0 lead at the time; enough to keep the game out of reach of the Mets.
The offense for the Braves always seems to put runners on the board once there are two outs, leaving us with large amounts of runners left on base. Hopefully the offense can start getting things going earlier in the innings. If we learned anything from this series, it’s that the Mets/Braves matchup will not disappoint once again this season. I look forward to keeping an eye on it throughout the season.
The Braves are now tied for the NL East lead with the Florida Marlins at 3-3. The Mets are close behind in third with a record of 2-3. We can’t officially call this one a sweep until the first game of the day-night doubleheader on May 20th (Friday’s rainout has been rescheduled for then), so for now, great “sweep” against the Mets. The Braves are off to Colorado to face off against the Rockies to kick off a 10-game road trip starting Monday night.
Tags: Johan Santana, John Smoltz, Mark Teixeira, New York Mets, Rafael Soriano
Posted in Game Analysis | No Comments »
It’s not often you hear Bobby Cox call someone “sensational” – especially a young pitcher after their first start. But Bobby didn’t hesitate to pull it out when talking about the 22 year old starter Jair Jurrjens, who made his first big league start for the Braves tonight. Jurrjens went 5.1 innings, struck out five, and gave up two earned runs on seven scattered hits and one walk. He notched not only his, but the Braves’ first win this season.
I was really impressed by Jurrjens. In the post-game interview, he kept beating himself up for the one walk. He didn’t seem happy or self-absorbed with the win or the five strikeouts. He didn’t mention the nasty changeup he throws without hesitation. He was upset with himself for the one walk and kept saying how he needs to limit the walks this season. Jurrjens didn’t even get in trouble until the sixth inning. And his fastball was around 93-94 all night long.
The bats weren’t silent either. Martin Prado started the evening at second in place of the injured Kelly Johnson (knee, day-to-day), and kicked the game off with a triple. Chipper knocked him in. Prado would go on to reach base 3 out of 5 times to the plate, scoring each of those times. Matt Diaz added a homer in the fourth.
Going into the 8th, the Braves led 3-2, before the floodgates opened. Both Yunel Escobar and Mark Teixeira broke out the long ball – Tex launching a two-run homer and Yunel going yard to put a three spot on the board. Add a few singles here and there, and the Braves ended up putting seven runs on the board in the eighth. Will Ohman came in and closed out the game in the ninth.
Great to see the Braves get their first win on the board – especially with the offense really clicking in the eighth. Jurrjens is going to be something special. He’s soft-spoken and modest, and has nasty stuff to back it up. He is willing to learn from the older guys and will really benefit from that throughout the season. Hopefully we’ll continue to have Teixeira break out the bat, as he had a slow spring. Also good to see our bullpen pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. We’ll take that.
Braves are 1-2 and showing signs of life. Hampton on the mound tomorrow for Atlanta. Here’s praying he can stay alive through it.
Tags: Jair Jurrjens, Mark Teixeira, Martin Prado, Matt Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates, Will Ohman, Yunel Escobar
Posted in Game Analysis | 10 Comments »
The Braves are on their way to Atlanta.
After dropping their final Grapefruit league game 9-4 to the division rival Mets Thursday afternoon, the Braves pack their bags and head north. They’ll play exhibition games Friday and Saturday at Turner Field before heading to Washington DC to help open the Nationals’ new stadium.
Cox let his relievers pitch the entire game, giving Peter Moylan the start. Moylan gave up three earned runs in his inning of work. Chris Resop and Royce Ring helped make their case for the big league roster by striking out two each in their scoreless innings. Charlie Morton (whom yes, we sent down to the minors once already) pitched three innings and allowed three earned runs. He walked four.
Mark Teixeira continued his good hitting as of late, knocking in two runs on one hit and a sacrifice fly. Matt Diaz added a two-hit game, and Chipper and Kelly Johnson doubled. In a continuation of the recent battle for the backup infield slot, both Brent Lillibridge and Martin Prado knocked in a run.
Next up, Jair Jurrjens starts for the Braves Friday against the Cleveland Indians. Sunday, Tim Hudson gets the start against the Washington Nationals, and Monday we’ll see our good friend Tom Glavine start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tags: Brent Lillibridge, Charlie Morton, Mark Teixeira, Martin Prado, Peter Moylan, Preseason
Posted in Game Analysis | No Comments »
Contrary to popular belief, and by popular belief I mean the all-time great former Mets’ GM Steve Phillips’ NL East preview on ESPN.com, the Braves are alive and well and clicking. The Braves, after losing to those Mets today, are sitting at fourth in the Grapefruit League in runs scored. Among teams in the NL East, the Braves finished ahead of all four rivals. Of course, this number doesn’t take into account the Phillies’ playground stadium. The Phillies’ spring training stadium-Bright House Field-does have a short fence, but on the right side of the field as opposed to the left at Citizens’ Bank Park.
Getting back to the team at hand though, the Braves should have little to worry about offensively from their starting nine. Yunel Escobar is hitting a cool .400 this spring after last year’s .326 (319 ABs); more importantly for Escobar, he slugged .557, second only to Chippers’ .658. Of course, this is spring training we’re talking about and stats don’t translate to the regular season, but Escobar’s work ethic and hitting discipline has never been questioned since he was drafted by the Braves.
Other surprises included included Martin Prado (.318 in 66 ABs, most on the team) and Gregor Blanco (.400 in 35 ABs), both of whom have a chance to make the team. Prado more than Blanco, but at this point I think Bobby’s seen enough from Anderson and Blanco offensively to make the decision based on defense and whether they will be proficient in all three outfield spots.
As far as the rest of the cast goes, Francoeur is projected to have a breakout year by many “experts” and fantasy gurus. McCann is healthy again and could potentially put up the numbers he put up in 2006. Teixeira hit just .188 but, again, this is Spring and isn’t really a preview of things to come. He’s been warming up as of late, anyways. Most of the players seem to be getting into form quickly, but to be successful this year, the Braves need to do better against left-handed starters. The team should have little problems manufacturing runs and may even be better with Tex in there from the get-go.
Tags: Brian McCann, Chipper Jones, Gregor Blanco, Jeff Francoeur, Josh Anderson, Mark Teixeira, Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar
Posted in General | 4 Comments »