Maddux a Cub? I don’t think so.

I’m sure many people have heard that Greg Maddux has entered the Cubs organization again, this time as an “Assistant to the General Manager”. I’ve read some fears in comment sections that Maddux will enter the MLB hall of fame as a Cub and not a Brave. I’m here to calm those fears.

The best years of his incredible career came in Atlanta. As I posted on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “vent” section,

Maddux won’t be wearing a Cubs hat in the hall. With
the Braves he had 10 Gold Gloves, 6 All-Star seasons, 4 ERA titles, 3
Cy Young seasons, a World Series, and a partridge in a pear tree.

It just simply won’t happen. Maddux will enter the hall as a Brave. There isn’t a thing to be worried about.

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It’s been too long, but I have a lot to talk about!

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, and now that I’m taking a couple of Journalism classes, it seemed that I should probably get back into this little thing called “blogging.”

Since my last entry in October, the Braves have found themselves in quite the odd situation. They have received very little praise for their off-season acquisitions, their starting rotation has certainly been weakened by the loss of Javier Vazquez (in a trade that, quite frankly, only gave us one promising prospect, who we likely aren’t going to see in the majors until at least 2012-2013.), and then the additions of Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito that, I believe, will work out better than most people believe.

The additions to the Braves offense is by far the most exciting part of their off-season. While a lot of fans have expressed concern over the additions to the lineup, I feel that the lineup has indeed been strengthened. Troy Glaus, provided that he stays healthy, will produce RBIs and home runs. Yes, he missed most of last season, but his numbers shows that he is able to consistently bounce back from injury. Not only that, but he also will provide some long overdue protection to Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. Now obviously Glaus isn’t a proven 1st baseman, but I believe he will quickly adapt to that position. He is a proven 3rd baseman, and that transition is one that someone like Glaus should be able to make by Spring Training’s end. Expect to see him bounce back by the end of Spring Training.

 
troy-glaus.jpg

Another addition to the Braves roster were the deals made for Eric Hinske and Melky Cabrera. Eric Hinske will be a nice jump up offensively from the nightmare that was Greg Norton last season. I take comfort in knowing that my heart won’t sink should Hinske be put in a pinch-hitting situation with the game on the line. The guy is a proven utility man, so I believe he will provide some relief when it’s needed.

On the subject of Cabrera, his addition isn’t really a loss or a gain. If you didn’t know, Cabrera was acquired in that deal with the Yankees. You know that deal. Every Braves fan knows that deal. The deal where the Braves gave up their ace starter for Melky and 2 prospects. I suppose that my main problem with this trade, like so many others, is that I feel the Braves could have gotten a lot more out of it.

I understand the need to trade Vazquez, as trading Lowe would have been far too difficult considering the amount that he would have been owed. Still, after this deal was done, my attitude toward the whole thing was that “Frank Wren isn’t going to get the offensive power we need by shopping for the Blue Light special at K-mart.”

I suppose that this season will shape up over time. In my absolute wildest dreams, Wren surprises everyone and announces the signing of free agent Johnny Damon, but I have very little hope of that happening. It’s also a dream of mine that Jason Heyward will be major league ready by the end of Spring Training, but then again, I would prefer to leave him in AAA Gwinnett until about half-way through the season. I don’t want another Schafer, and I’m sure no one else does either. I have to admit, my division championship hopes aren’t really too high, but I do feel like the Braves could make a strong push for the Wild Card.

Speaking of Schafer, I would love it if he comes into Spring Training at full health. I still have a lot of high hopes for this guy. I imagine that a combination of Heyward, Schafer, and Diaz in the outfield could one day be one of the best in the National League.

As a side note, I’ll be using this blog a lot for a Journalism class in which blogging is required, but I may have to post on another site. If that is the case, I’ll just post to both blogs the same entry.

The Playoffs are almost here!

I’m honestly getting so excited about the postseason! October is one of my favorite months because I constantly have something to look forward too. Even though the Braves didn’t make it in this year, (not to mention dropping a 4 game series to the Nationals…) I still believe that this postseason is going to be one of the best in a while. Why? The Yankees are back in it, where they belong, and that leaves the prospect of having a Yankees-Red Sox ALCS. Any baseball fan would love to see that rematch.

My predictions for the postseason are pretty simple. I’ll do my best to create a chart.

AL Central – Twins over Tigers

ALDS – Yankees over Twins in 3; Angels over Red Sox in 5

ALCS – Yankees over Angels in 6

NLDS – Phillies over Rockies in 4; Cardinals over Dodgers in 4

NLCS – Phillies over Cardinals in 6 (maybe 7)

World Series – Phillies over Yankees in 7.

I am a fan of the Phillies. In fact, they’re the only team in the NL East I don’t hate aside from my Braves. I think that the pitching is really going to solidify in the postseason, especially the relief. The Yankees are good, and are the heavy favorites to win it all, but I strongly believe that the Phillies have the best team available to take their 2nd straight WS right out from under the Yanks.

While for the AL, the Red Sox are my usual team to root for due to my burning hatred of the Yankees, I think that the Angels have a clearly better team this year. The Red Sox won’t go down easy, but it will most likely happen.

Also, I am really rooting for the Tigers. I think it would be a great victory, not only for the team, but for the city as a whole with this economy and the car business. I think they have a lot to fight for, and they know it, which could play into them surprising everyone and exploding into the playoffs like they did in ’05.

Who knows? That’s why I love the postseason. It’s full of surprises, and I personally can’t wait to see what October has in store!

The Beginning of the End (of the season)

This season has brought a lot of great things to baseball fans around the world. You’ve seen records broken, Albert Pujols was his normal Albert Pujols, and the Nationals continued to be consistent in their bad playing ways. (Not to say they won’t get better, but that’s a whole other post.) I started this blog at this part of the year for a specific reason. I want to get into the off season and then lead my blog through next season following the Braves and their hopeful run to the postseason in 2010.

Now I think it’s hard to debate that out of all the National League teams, the Braves put forth the best effort to make the post season. Going 15-2 in 17 games is nothing to laugh at. It’s respectable. However, now that they have been eliminated from contention, leaving the wild card to either the Rockies or the Dodgers, the Braves are looking back at that poor May-June performance and asking themselves “what if?” all over again. It was a sad moment when Matt Diaz was tagged out at 3rd base in the series closer against the Marlins this past week. You could see the heartbreak in his face as he walked back to the dugout, completely ashamed of what had taken place. However, I have asked myself over and over the same question; Can we really be mad at him for that?

I think not. Matt Diaz is one of the main three reasons the Braves were able to make it back into playoff contention this season. I’ll give you a list of what I believe to be the top 3 reasons…

1. Javier Vazquez – He was completely flawless in September up until his final start against the Marlins, in which he still managed to strike out 9; a fact overlooked by Nolasco’s 16 strikeouts total. This guy sparked the fire that got the Braves burning in the final 2 weeks, and I think (and hope) it will be remembered in the off season when the front office begins to try and resign him.

2. Matt Diaz – This guy had the clutch hits when we needed them most. Everytime. He was moved to the lead off position for the couple weeks McClouth was on the 15-Day, and I personally believe he should have stayed there.

3. The Bullpen (Some anyway) – Now this one some people may disagree with me on. But I am not referring to the Manny Acostas. I am referring to Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty, Kris Medlen, Kenshin Kawakami, and Mike Gonzalez. They each suddenly became incredible relievers, Peter Moylan more than any other. I exclude Soriano because of the fact that all but one of his blown saves came after the all star break, with his ERA dropping from the the mid 1.70s to the mid 3.30s or so.

Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter to me. Those 3 all had something to do with the Braves coming back for that incredible run. Even though they didn’t pull it out this year, it certainly bodes well for what we have to look forward to in 2010, especially if the Braves are able to bring back Tim Hudson and Javier Vazquez.

Also, before I close this out, don’t be too surprised if next season Derek Lowe is in the bullpen and Kawakami is starting in the 5th position again. Especially after Lowe’s start earlier tonight against the Nationals. Not saying it will happen, but something that I could see happening. That is if they don’t trade Kawakami. Which leads me to another idea that I will try to do tomorrow.