Sunday, December 13, 2009

Can the Wolfpack Compete in the ACC?

The NC State Wolfpack is set to enter ACC play against Wake Forest with an 8-1 record, provided State takes care of business at home against Georgia State and Elon.

The Wolfpack is coming off a surprising upset victory on the road against a tough Marquette team, and the game before that, the Pack lost a very winnable game at home against Northwestern.

Those past two games the Wolfpack looked like two totally different teams, against Marquette the team shot 53.6 percent, and against Northwestern it shot 33.9 percent.

The Wolfpack also played much better on the defensive end against Marquette, allowing the Golden Eagles to shoot only 37.9 percent, while Northwestern shot 49 percent in State's previous matchup.

Javier Gonzalez is a very important part of this young Wolfpack team.

He is one of the team's veteran leaders, and he is needed to step up and make plays, whether that means for him to drive to the basket and score, or for him to step back and make the occasional three, or even to be a better "field general" by making better passes and limiting turnovers.

Javier played well against the Golden Eagles, scoring 15 points while shooting 5-of-8 from the field, 3-of-5 from the three-point line, along with having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.75.

The Northwestern game was a different story. Javier scored 10 points, but shot 3-of-12 from the field, and 2-of-6 from the three-point line while having a lesser assist to turnover ratio of 1.5.

Another key for the Wolfpack is that its bench plays a more important role, specifically players such as Josh Davis, DeShawn Painter, Richard Howell, and Jordan Vandenberg.

I like Dennis Horner as much as the next guy, but I don't think he can bang inside with the big guys on teams like North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Florida.

A combination of DeShawn Painter and Richard Howell and even Jordan Vandenberg should prove sufficient against those teams.

My take on Scott Wood is that he is talented and young, but he needs to take smarter shots, and maybe even fewer shots because he is costing the team valuable possessions.

Josh Davis is a better player right now because of his ability to drive to the basket, his ball handling skills, and his ability to step back and make mid-range jump shots.

I really feel that, at this point in the season, Josh Davis is the better overall player, and could contribute more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez: Braves Drop ex-Closer for...Who?

I learned of the news today in my fourth period AP US History Class.

And when I saw it, I scratched my head a bit.

"So, the Braves just traded what likely would've been the second-hottest closer commodity for...Jesse Chavez?"

I'm sure many of you shared the same sentiment.

So, I did what comes natural.

I googled Jesse Chavez.

This is what I saw: 26 years old, only one sub-three ERA year in the minors (2.22 in eleven appearances a couple of years back), and lots of home runs.

"What's this crap?!?!"

I was a bit perplexed, so I sat back and thought.

"Elite--for ehh...experience--for not so much...expensive...EXPENSIVE...THAT'S IT!"

It was then that I began to put all of the pieces together that had fallen down in the past few hours following Rafael Soriano accepting the Braves' arbitration offer.

Every team that was interested in trading for Soriano knew that the Braves were desperately (no matter what they said) trying to become sans-Soriano.

Every team also knew that they didn't want to be pegged with all of his eventual salary PLUS loose a couple of descent pieces.

So, a day passed, and most team were probably saying things like "Frankie, we'll give you good Prospect A as long as you eat half of the salary the arbitrator hands it out," or "Wren, we'll give you Bat B if you eat half of Soriano's salary AND throw in one of your bench players or MiLB pitchers."

Then the Rays probably came along and said "Hey, here's a guy to give you some depth where you're losing it...and we'll take on his entire post-arbitration salary."

When you weigh the options, the option the Rays offered really isn't half bad.

While it's not likely as good as what the Braves' scouting team could have turned the two picks Raffy would've netted into, it's better than A) eating a pretty big chunk salary for someone else, or B) non-tendering Soriano and getting jack-squat.

While this certainly isn't a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, at some point, you have to acknowledge that there would be no David Wright's coming in, and that the Braves really don't have the financial flexibility to keep all of the guys they have AND add a couple of other pieces.

This move, despite the small return, gives the Braves the ability to go get two descent-to-above-average players to man left and first base.

For that, I like it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Granderson Lands In The Bronx As Part Of Blockerbuster Deal

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27:  Center fielder Curtis Granderson #28 of the Detroit Tigers on July 27, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Tigers, Yankees, and the Diamondbacks have came together during this years winter meetings and have agreed on a major blockbuster trade.

The Yankees get speedy center-fielder Curtis Granderson, while giving up Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy. Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy were sent to the Diamondbacks and the Tigers get Ma Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke.

This trade was pulled off without the Yankees having to give up Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, or Mike Dunn which came as a surprise to many including myself

Curtis Granderson is a speedy center-fielders who also possess the ability to hit the long ball, which was indicated in his 30 home runs this past season.

Granderson did have an off year in terms of batting average he hit a horrible .249, but in terms of his career averages he has hit .280 and .302 in his previous full major league seasons.

Granderson still has three years of guaranteed contact left before his 2013 club option, in terms of money Granderson is owed 5.5 million in 2010, 8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012, with a $13 million club option/$2 million buyout for 2013.

This trade leaves one of my favorite Yankees left out for dry as Melky Cabrera no longer has a job as starting center-fielder, and may be expendable as these winter meetings continue on.

In my opinion, I'm not a fan this trade because not only are the Yankees giving up a good relief pitcher but they also are giving up another young talented player in Austin Jackson. My main problem in giving up Austin Jackson is that he was an important part of the package that would have been involved in acquiring Roy Halladay.

This also makes me wonder if they are going to bring back Johnny Damon and/or Hideki Matsui.

Let me know how you feel about this trade, whether you a fan of the Yankees or not all comments are appreciated

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Would it Take to Get Carl Crawford to Brandish a Tomahawk?

For those of you who have actually looked over my profile, you know that Carl Crawford listed first on my Short List under "Favorite Athletes".

To expand on that positioning, Carl Crawford is my favorite baseball player/athlete/celebrity/everything.

Speed, defense, average, a little pop, and hustle.

What's not to love?

So, when I saw this article on the St. Pete Time's site, you can believe that a smile ran across my face.

Now, that piece says that the Braves and Mets have only expressed interest in the 2009 All Star Game MVP.

That doesn't mean that anything in imminent, nor does it mean that any names have been exchanged in trade negotiations.

I know that.

But, it is interesting to think about what it would take to acquire the left-handed outfielder.

Let's start by talking about why this implications this would have for Atlanta.

Pros: Speed, Hitting, Fielding, 'Swag'

Carl Crawford brings all of those things to that table.

The dude has epic speed (362 stolen bases in six-and-a-half years), which is something that the Braves have been lacking since Rafael Furcal's final season in '05.

The guy is also a perennial .300 hitter who is a lock for 15 homers (not exceptional, but the speed, average, and doubles and triples (36) make up for it) who can get to a lot of balls.

Put all of that together, and you have a complete package.

And add that package to Heyward and McLouth(possibly down the road), and you have the best outfield in the National League.

He may not fill the "right-handed, power-hitting bat" card, but he is a dynamic outfielder who has been great for his entire career.

(sorry about the bit of bias there)

Cons: Package(s), One Year?

We all know about the Floridian mantra (since it applies to both the Rays and Marlins).

Pay less, trade more.

That's why this rumor even has the bit of legs it possesses.

But it's also what makes this deal questionable.

The Rays will (likely) not accept any veterans with salaries exceeding about $6 MM.

We're talking the Julio Tehran's, Jordan Schafer's, and Craig Kimbrel's of the world (but not necessarily those guys).

And with only one year left on his contract, is he worth that type of talent?

That's up for debate...

Now, let's discuss a potential deal.

As we just established, the Rays will likely be seeking top-flight talent.

For only one year of Crawford, however, I think any deal could be leveraged into one blue-chip prospect, and three "above-average" prospects (remember, Mark Teixeira, with 1.5 years left, came over for five prospects).

So, this is, from the Braves' perspective, as far as I would go if trading for Crawford (and Crawford only) this offseason:

Braves Get: Carl Crawford, Ramon Ramirez
Rays Get: Julio Tehran, Kris Medlen, Jordan Schafer, Brandon Hicks

There's your primo, possible Neftali Feliz-type regret, good MLB-ready arm, MLB-ready replacement (if they do choose to deal BJ Upton as well), and some organizational depth for the Rays.

Add in the fact that this type of move would absolutely require the departure of Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez (it was probably going to happen anyway, but still...) and you have some questions to ask yourself (all asked as if I were Frank Wren) of you want to pull the trigger:

Are we sure we can get this guy to stick around? (a must)
Could we wait until July and possibly give up a little bit less?
Can we compete next offseason if he were to become a free agent?
Will this guy's skill set age well?

My ten cents?


As much as a guy like Crawford would bring to the table, the risk-over-reward factor would make many fans (including myself) flash back to the summer of '07 when Mark T. came over.

With retain-ability and organizational depth both issues in any blockbuster like this, I would probably drop the gun and walk away.

Besides, the Braves have just as much of a shot at keeping him (in a trade) as they would acquiring him through free agency.

As hyped as I may have seemed at the beginning of this, thinking about all of that talent going to the Rays really took the wind out of my sails.

As I said...wait and try to get him in a year (by then, you may no longer need him for the offense if Cody Johnson, Jason Heyward, Jordan Schafer, and Freddie Freeman all show signs of panning out).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Billy Wagner in Atlanta: A Perfect Fit?

With Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez's departures nearly a given in Atlanta, the Braves have to look towards the Free Agent market for their closer.

(Well, they don't have to, but who is going to trade away a legitimate closer this offseason?)

Names that jump out include Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Valverde.

But combinations of ability and contractual issues make these guys relatively poor fits.

One name that has been established through various media outlets for the Braves, though, is Billy Wagner.

The 38-year-old lefty has drawn interest from various teams and, according to MLB Trade Rumors, is prepared to begin fielding offers next week.

The Hot Stove's beginning to heat up, no?

The one hitch that comes along with Wagner is that he is coming back from Tommy John Surgery.

But with a success rate in the 90's for TJS and a solid 17-game exposition (1.72 ERA, 26:8 K:BB, in 15.2 innings) at the end of the '09 season, the qualms many should have should be quieted a bit.

That's not to say that he should be given a $15 MM annual salary, it just means that the operation shouldn't stop anyone from making him an offer.

Anyway, here's a few reasons as to why Wagner makes sense for the Braves:

1. Despite his type-A (if the Red Sox choose to offer him arbitration), the Braves need not worry.

They'll be getting four picks from whomever signs Gonzo and Soriano, so that is not an issue.

2. According to David O'Brien, Wagner is a "FOC (Friend of Chipper) and has made it known that he'd like to pitch for Bobby Cox."

Does that necessarily mean that he'll take a discount?

No, but it does mean that the Braves have a little leverage over some other clubs.

3. He's only (39) saves away from John Franco for the all-time lead for most saves as a left-handed pitcher.

I'm not naming that for the novelty of having Wagner set a record in a Braves' uni.

I'm saying that that means that he'll want the ball.

Then again, Bob Wickman also wanted the ball...just only in save situations (but Wagner didn't record a save in his late-season return with K-Rod and Papelbon ahead of him and didn't complain, so...).

Are there better options on the market?

Yeah, and two of them will be departing Atlanta (most likely) in the coming weeks.

But there is no other option out there that makes as much sense for the Braves.

The team saw Peter Moylan succeed in '09 after his surgery, and I would expect Wagner to do the same.

The dude is still nasty, as evidenced by his K:BB above, and has always been "mean" enough to take the ball in the ninth.

Other clubs (Cubs, Tigers, other clubs with closer-holes since he doesn't want to be a set-up-only guy) may come knocking with more cash, but the Braves come knocking with Chipper, Bobby Cox's last go-'round, and a Championship-caliber rotation (and an offense that's primed to be the same once a move or two is made).

If I'm Frank Wren, I say "Hey Bean [Stringfellow, Wagner's agent and holder of the "best name for an agent in baseball" award], how does Billy feel about a two-year contract at $15 million guaranteed to play here in Atlanta?

"We'll even throw in a third-year mutual option and performance-based incentives each year along the way that could bring each up to...say...about $9 MM?


(Okay, maybe the negotiations would go a little deeper than that...but you get my point)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Assembling the Atlanta Braves' 2010 Roster

For those of you who follow me, you know that I've been taking a close look at the Braves' offseason options over the past few weeks.

I made one swooping prediction/suggestion about a month ago.

And looking back now...I hate it.

And in another month, I'll hate this one.

But it's all in good fun.

So, let's recap what I've done (remember, I'm playing GM) thus far.

I'll highlight, in italics, the money associated with each move.

Players Acquired: Jorge Cantu (3.5 MM), Juan Rivera (3.25 MM), Jason Bulger (~400 K), Brian Sanches (~400 K).

Players Departing: Kris Medlen, Cody Johnson, Brandon Hicks, Randall Delgado, James Parr, a MiLB pitcher of the Marlins choice (combined for a total MLB impact of ~400 K), Kenshin Kawakami (the Braves would be eating part of his salary, so about $4 MM departing), Adam LaRoche ($7 MM)

That's a difference of -3.85 for the MLB payroll.

That's what I've done so far, now, let's talk about what'll be happening elsewhere on the Braves' roster.

Keep in mind now: the Braves had a payroll of about $96.7 MM in '09, and a significant rise shouldn't be expected.

Let's start out with the arbitration-eligible players (these are a what I would do).

Matt Diaz-- This one's really a no-brainer. Matt Diaz was a major part of the Braves' second-half run in '09 and has always been a more-than-serviceable fourth outfielder. Even with Jason Heyward at or near Major-League readiness, Matt Diaz will be an important piece to the Braves' puzzle. Coming off of a .313 year in which he slugged 13 homers and stole 12 bags, I expect a rise in his $1.2 MM salary...I'm thinking $2.5 MM for '10 (a rise of $1.3 MM).

Kelly Johnson-- This decision is a little tougher. Kelly Johnson plays hard...but plays so inconsistently that he makes you want to puke. That trait cost him his job to Martin Prado and does not bode well for a role as a bench player. I think he'll be non-tendered (he's not a Type-A or -B, so there's not point in risking him taking the offer) and his $2.8 MM salary will be off the books.

Boone Logan-- With Eric O'Flaherty stepping up and having an outstanding campaign in '09, Logan was a forgotten man. His 5.19 ERA may look scary, but he was more than passable as a straight-up LOOGY (with a .231 average against him from lefties). In most situations, I'd let a guy like Boone walk, but he's only 25 and has a good (not great) left-handed arm. He only made the league minimum (~400K) this past season, and with only 20 games to go on, I don't see how he could get much of a raise (in other words, no noticeable difference, just a guy who could make an impact in '10)

Ryan Church-- Ryan Church played well after coming over from the Mets. But, injuries got him at the end of the year, and his numbers (.270-ish with single-digit homers) and defense are easily replaceable (Jordan Schafer, anyone?). He and his $2.8 MM salary should be hitting the road.

Peter Moylan-- Do I really need to explain this one? He'll be back. His '09 salary was the league minimum, and I expect no less than $2 MM coming his way in 2010 ($1.6 MM increase).

Rafael Soriano-- Despite his performance in '09 (which was very good), I think Soriano will be too hot of a commodity on the free agent market for the Braves to retain (as in they'll try to sign him but someone else will outbid them--100+ Ks in ~75 innings is going to be in high demand). I think the Braves offer him a small increase over his $6.5 MM from '09, he'll reject it, and the Braves will get two draft picks when some one signs him.

Mike Gonzalez-- Like his late-inning partner in crime above him, Mike Gonzalez was very good for the Braves in the '09 campaign. He made $3.4 MM for his services and will likely stick his foot in the free agency waters. I can see the Braves offering him about $5MM before he rejects and heads towards FA. However, I would be willing to enter a mini-bidding war with other teams and use the team's potential to leverage him into a 2 year, $6.8 MM per contract ($3.4 MM increase). Oh, and I would hope he accepts the offer of $5 MM to stay, I'm just saying I would be willing to go to $6.8 MM on the open market (and we'll use that to tally the dollars).

All of these moves means a net of: -$5.6 MM (and two draft picks)

Oh, and lest we forget Garret Anderson's $2.5 MM salary coming off books along with Greg Norton's 800K.

That's a total of $11.95 MM to work with on the open market (arbitration changes and trade additions included).

Not too bad.

Now, in my world as GM, this is what we're looking at for the start of the '09 campaign (a + indicates replacing a hole left by a departing player, a ++ means a $400 K salary for a departing player player's replacement, ? means "could be exchanged for another ?"):

C Brian McCann
1B Jorge Cantu +
2B Martin Prado
3B Chipper Jones
SS Yunel Escobar
LF Juan Rivera +
CF Nate McLouth
RF Matt Diaz

INF Omar Infante
OF Jordan Schafer ++
OF Jason Heyward? ++
PH Brooks Conrad ++

1 Tim Hudson
2 Javier Vazquez
3 Jair Jurrjens
4 Tommy Hanson
5 Derek Lowe

LRP Todd Redmond (exiting Medlen was the same)
RHP Jason Bulger
RHP Brian Sanches
LHP Eric O'Flaherty
LOOGY Boone Logan?
RHSU Peter Moylan
LHSU Mike Gonzalez
CL _____________

We've already established that Soriano will command quite a bit (my guess will be $10 MM-which some team will undoubetly offer him).

And the only viable option on the market is Jose Valverde (who will also cost a lot).

This one has me truly stumped.

Would you push harder to keep Soriano, or go hard after Valverde (or someone else).

You've seen the money the Braves have under my scenario, tell me what you think.

(Based on the results of this open-ended question, I will assemble my 2010 Atlanta Braves on a pretty little slide show--I really don't know what I should do)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chips on the Table: The Braves' "Tradeable" Players

So, we've already gotten through the Adam LaRoche situation.

Now, let's talk about the guys the Braves could be shipping out for some hole-filling.

Here, in my mind, are the guys on the block from the Braves' '09 payroll.

  1. Derek Lowe
    Bad contract coming of a bad year; this one's pretty simple.
    But who would want him?
    Brewers? Cubs? Mets?
    You've gotta think "money-absorbing" over "talent-laden" in Lowe's situation when you're looking at potential suitors.

Yeah...that's pretty much it.

Coming off an 86-win season, you don't want to mess too much up.

Here are the potential "centerpieces" in deals for a middle-of-the-order hitter.

  1. Javier Vazquez
    Spectacular career-year in '09, and, at this point, his value has never been higher.
    Why trade him then?
    For me, Vazquez's '09 is too much unlike his career numbers to tell me that he'll sustain it for an extended period of time.
    It's either address the team's needs now, or wait until mid-July when Vazquez may have a 4.00 ERA (on the same hand, he may have a 1.02 with another team and make me look like an idiot).
    You've gotta sell-high on this guy if you are given the opportunity to get a legit-hitter.
  2. Kris Medlen
    It's not so much that Medlen would be a "centerpiece" as much as he would be a "very tempting piece to get the other guys to take less."
    He's young with a live arm and experienced success in his stint in the Big Leagues; or just what a rebuilding team with a large contract on the books is looking for.
  3. Martin Prado
    Prado's situation, in my opinion, is like Medlen's and Vazquez's rolled into one.
    He wouldn't be the one guy that could almost get a deal done on his own as much as he is, when paired with another guy, an enticing entity.
    Add to that the potential for a one-and-done-year career, and you have another perfect sell-high opportunity.
    Yeah, he played hard, and yeah, he earned his keep, but if the, just an example, Cardinals come shopping Albert Pujols and say "We want X, Y, Z, C, and Martin Prado," you'd have to think about letting him go (and, yes, I know that situation would never come up).

These are guys that would be traded if and only if the right player were to come along.

I'd rather not see any of them traded, but, as the old baseball cliche goes, you have to give up value to get value.

Now come the biggest part in any trade talk: the complementary pieces.

  1. Kenshin Kawakami
    Kenshin Kawakami is neither an elite pitcher nor an immaculate prospect.
    But what he is is a very solid three or four starter in any rotation outside of Atlanta, and that is something a lot of teams would be looking for in the trade market.
  2. Cody Johnson
    Power? Check.
    K's? Unfortunately, also a check.
    Cody Johnson is a frustrating guy to evaluate.
    He's got a shot at being the next Adam Dunn, but he could also strike out 250 times.
    With Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer already on the verge of Major League readiness, this is a guy you'd have to call expendable, and if a suitor with a little time to spare in the outfield comes knocking, I'd let him go.
  3. Brandon Hicks
    Yet another frustrating prospect.
    His bat has been projected as above-average and his defense as epic.
    So far, he's at the latter and struggling to make it to the former.
    Right now, he would be serviceable as a back-up middle-infielder and could become a lighter-hitting Yunel Escobar.
    You'd like to keep him as an emergency future-3B (catastrophic injury to Jones) or as an option at 2B down the road, but neither of these are things the Braves need at this juncture, so he is expendable,
  4. This is going to be a small wad of pitching prospects that could have value in the right deal (in order of best-to-least-value):
    Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Todd Redmond, James Parr, Jo-Jo Reyes
    Here, I have potential stud, potential stud, good long-relief/5th-starter option, OK ceiling, and Jo-Jo.
    All are guys that could make-or-break a deal (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating about Reyes...but you get my point).

These are the guys that wouldn't catch the headlines in any deal, but they would mean a lot to the teams getting them.

As GM (this IS part of that series), this would be a relatively tough decision.

The talent the Braves have warming in the minors and the talent that's already roaming the Ted make you pause when you're looking at trades, but here is what I propose to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as my one "blockbuster trade":

Right here.

Yeah, that's right.

I had the audacity to link an old article from Carolina Co-Op.

There, I outlined my ideas thoroughly, so you can read (it was written about two weeks ago, so some of the info is outdated).

Here, I'll give you the gist of what I said.

Braves Get: Juan Rivera, Jason Bulger
Angels Get: Kenshin Kawakami, Kris Medlen, Cody Johnson, Randall Delgado

Here, I will also just give you the Braves' perspective.

The Braves, while giving up a lot of talent, would be netting what they'll be pursuing this offseason in a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter (Rivera is a consistent .280/25 homer guy when he's been given his shots in crowded outfields) and a bullpen arm (Bulger is a little older, but he has potential).

Unable to find a taker for Lowe, I have also decided to keep him (JJ and Hanson kinda balance him out...right?).

So let's recap the moves by the Cameron Britt-run Braves thus far:

We've traded, all told, Kris Medlen, Kenshin Kawakami, Cody Johnson, Brandon Hicks, Cody Johnson, Randall Delgado, James Parr, and a A-ball pitcher of the Marlins' choice for Jorge Cantu (new 1B), Juan Rivera (new LF), Brian Sanches (RHP), and Jason Bulger (RHP).

We've also retained Tim Hudson (as the real-life Braves did) and Derek Lowe, and let Adam LaRoche walk.

Next up: The other Free Agents to-be

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Adam LaRoche Situation in Atlanta and My First Move as GM

As promised, here is the early-offseason decision-making series.

Let's go in the order of the questions I posed in the linked piece above, and start with Adam LaRoche.

LaRoche was, arguably, the best offensive deadline acquisition of any team in the Majors when he was sent to Atlanta from Boston for Casey Kotchman.

As the Braves had hoped, Adam's annual second-half "show-up" happened, as he knocked 12 homers, drove in 40 runs, and hit a robust .325 in 57 games (while committing one error to boot).

As Braves' fans re-discovered the love for their former first baseman, LaRoche seemed to re-discover his love for the town that gave him his first professional shot.

With all of these factors swirling around LaRoche's free-agent-to-be head (along with a Chipper Jones endorsement), it seems like a given that the Braves will retain their late-'09 power threat.


Not so fast.

As I see it right now, there are two factors that could potentially lead Adam to a city outside of Atlanta: his staple first-half blues, and Freddie Freeman.

LaRoche is and always has been a second-half hitter.

His '09 splits define him perfectly.

In 87 games with Pittsburgh: .247/12 HR/38 XBH
In 63 games with BOS & ATL: .320/12 HR/24 XBH


Maybe you can put it on his comfort in Atlanta, but I put it on the man himself.

Just look at his average and homers in these seasons:

2008: .251 & 11 vs. .304 & 14
2007: .239 & 13 vs. .312 & 8
2006: .251 & 13 vs. .323 & 19

It's not that he wouldn't be GOOD in the first half, it's just that his average wouldn't make him a great option in the heart of the order (3, 4, 5)

That becomes a moot point if the Braves were to get a legit 4 hitter and would be able to move Adam to the six hole to slack (not that he's lazy) for the first half.

Still, how much love would Braves' fans give the son of LaLob is he hits for his .240 with six or seven home runs?

My guess would be: Not very much.

Secondly, you must consider the fact that the Braves currently have a 6'5" big-bopper in waiting sitting in AA in Freddie Freeman.

Granted, the 19-year-old first baseman struggled a bit with Mississippi, but I think a lot of that has to do with a wrist injury and having to play next to Jason Heyward (who is a freak of nature).

I'd put Freddie's ETA at June 2011 right now with the potential for full-time duties to start 2012.

What does that have to do with LaRoche?


LaRoche is exiting his 29-year-old season, and will be hitting the Free Agent market looking for two things: years (first and foremost) and green.

These are two things that the Braves, who could have a cheaper stud in a couple of years, may not have available.

With names like Vazquez (at least in 2010), Lowe, and Kawakami eating up significant portions of the Braves always-sub-100MM payroll, LaRoche may not, financially, be a fit.

If I were a betting man, I'd say that the Braves would want to offer LaRoche a two-year deal at about 7.5 or 8 MM (that's a pretty generous hometown discount) per season with a third-year club option if they either decide to let Freeman heat up longer or throw him in the "fail" can.

I'd also say that LaRoche is probably looking for a deal in the neighborhood of four years at an annual salary at or around 9.5 or 10 MM per.

Those, from my analysis (and probably your own as well), are two fundamentally different deals.

That, my friends, is why I say this:

I put the odds of an Adam LaRoche return in real life at 33%, and why I choose not to retain him in my GM world.

I think that, even though a mutual desire for each other's services may be there, the two sides are looking for two different things this offseason, and that Rochey isn't going to be waiting for a Braves counter-offer if a team like the Mutts...erm...Mets, Blue Jays, White Sox, or Giants come knocking.

Instead, I look to the free agent market (with meager names like Millar, Branyan-no confidence in this guy, and Nick Johnson available).

Names like Jorge Cantu, Adam Dunn (40 homers and a ridiculous OBP make up for the low average (and 12 MM for his player-type is fair), plus he could man LF with a possibility of Schafer and Heyward in center and right in the future), and Prince Fielder (though this one is highly, highly unlikely-and Freeman would be gone in this scenario) all possibilities on the block.

My choice: Jorge Cantu.

Braves Get: Jorge Cantu, Brian Sanches
Fish Get: James Parr, Brandon Hicks, A pitcher (their choice)

Twenty homers and a .290 average would be expected out of Cantu on a full-time at first base, and at a very reasonable $4-5MM salary (through arbitration), and Sanches (31) could serve as a solid right-handed middle reliever (the Peter Moylan role if the Braves decide to split closing opportunities with the Aussie and O'Flaherty-or just another reliever if the Bravos retain Gonzalez...more on that later in the series).

The Marlins, who have a great eye for talent, would probably be happy with a MLB-ready starter with 3-spot ceiling, a great-fielding middle-infielder with a little pop (especially if they trade Uggla), and their specialty: napping up far-away talent.

So, let's re-cap the offseason so far:
Hudson retained (this is real-life)
LaRoche out, Cantu at first (my head)

Next up: The BIG trade-chips.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

With the Hudson Domino Set to Fall, What's Next for the Braves?

If you believe Dave O'Brien, Mark Bowman, and the ever so unreliable Ken Rosenthal, Tim Hudson is set to sign a three-year extension with the Atlanat Braves in the neighborhood of $27MM.
I don't know about you, but that's a big relief.
Locking up an elite (provided he looks like his seven starts at the end of '09) two or three starter for under $10MM is always good.
When you add in the fact that he's locked up for under the salary of two of your potential offseason trade chips (Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez), it's even better.
So that's one thing this offseason down...999,999 more to go, right?
Still, it's good to see one of the issues that was going to affect later moves get close to knocked out before the World Series even ends.
But now come the tough decisions.
Will the Braves try to re-sign Adam LaRoche?
Which of the three big chips (Vazquez, Lowe, Kawakami) will be on the outs--and for who?
What'll happen to Kelly Johnson, Boone Logan, Mike Gonzalez, and Rafael Soriano?
What guys will get their shots this spring?
These are all things to consider...even if it is only November (at least it will be in about two-and-a-half hours).
In an upcoming series, I will address all of these issues as if I were Frank Wren, and then I will give you my 2010 Atlanta Braves (for, what, about the 18th time?).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Examining What Nelson Cruz Would Bring to the Braves

So far, we've looked at two names that the Atlanta Braves could pursue this offseason in Prince Fielder and Juan Rivera.

We'll continue in the Juan Rivera-Esq direction (as in realistic options) with this piece.

Now, I know that I made a small case against him in the Juan Rivera article, but today we are going to talk about Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.

In his first full-time role with the Rangers in 2009, Cruz posted a very respectable .260/.332/.524 line with 33 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Perfect fit for the Braves, right?

Right-handed, powerful, can run...what do the Rangers want?

Well, I have some reservations that need to be addressed before I'm willing to say "gimmie gimmie gimmie"

Consider these facts:
  1. Nelson Cruz played the majority of his games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (obviously).
    Here are his Home/Road splits for average, slugging percentage, and homers:
    .286/.232, .568/.478, 18/15
    By the way, about 44% of balls he put in play were in the air (his home park helped that average, no question).
    Now, Cruz was by no means "useless" on the road, but he wasn't what he was at home (wow, bad crammer).
  2. He's not exactly "young."
    One of the big things you hear about when Braves' fans talk about Cruz is that he's a "young" power option.
    I'm not saying that 28-going-on-29 is "old," but you have to consider this when you look at his last few seasons.
    From his 25-year-old to his 27-year-old seasons, Cruz averaged a home run every 25 at-bats with a .251 average.
    All of a sudden (granted, when hitting an age where many players hit their prime), he goes down to a homer every 13 at-bats while hitting .260.
    Not that he couldn't do what he did in '09 again, but you have to admit that Cruz, in his past-prospect stage of development, may have experienced a fluke.
  3. The strikeouts.
    Even with the superb 2009, he had a strikeout (approximately) once every four at-bats.
    As a reference point for Braves' fans, Jeff Francoeur had one every 6.5 at-bats.
    Do I need to say any more?
  4. The durability.
    In addition to having his own, if you will, shortcomings as a player, he has also had to deal with issues with his body.
    All of his stats came in 128 games (which make them a little more impressive).
    That came from shared time in the outfield with Marlon Byrd, Andruw Jones, Josh Hamilton, and others as well as, as manager Ron Washington said, his body breaking down.
    That's not to say that he hasn't built up strength or that he wouldn't last 145 games, but it makes you wonder.

Let me get one thing straight, though: Cruz is talented and would fit nicely, I just cant say that I'm 100% sure 2009 wasn't a fluke.

OK, now we have my objections out of the way, let's talk about what would have to ha pen to get him.

We all know about the Braves' situation: too much pitching, not enough pop, blah, blah, blah.

Let's talk about how Texas' outfield looks next season.

I think it's safe to assume that Julio Borbon and Josh Hamilton (if healthy) are locks for the Rangers outfield.

Cruz is on the fringe.

Not because he wasn't valuable or anything, but because he could bring back a nice package of prospects if the Rangers choose to trade him.

If they do, where does that leave them?

They don't have any CLOSE outfield prospects of blue-chip status (Engel Beltre has only seen four games in AA), and they would be strapped for someone to fill the void left by Cruz in their outfield.

That is, unless they retain Marlon Byrd.

That'll be the key, in my opinion, to any hope of a Braves prospects-for-Cruz swap.

If they keep Byrd, which is what I'm banking on, the Braves could probably get away with a little less than what would be required to get him if the Rangers choose not to retain him.

Still, I think a good mixture of OF potential and MLB-ready and mid-potential pitching would be needed to get Cruz (unless the Rangers want to thank the Braves for the Teixeira deal and take a little less...and I just cried a little thinking of Neftali Feliz).

Here's the Deal:

Rangers get: Kris Medlen (RHP), Todd Redmond (RHP), Cody Johnson (OF), David Francis (RHP)
Braves get: Nelson Cruz

As I've said before: I think Kris Medlen will be the centerpiece of any deal for a bat.

You have to let go of talent to get any in return, and Kris Medlen definitely has that.

Redmond would be a nice swing-man for the Rangers, while Cody Johnson and David Francis are both mid-to-high potential prospects that will be (or soon will be) blocked.

The Braves get their outfielder, the Rangers get more of the Braves' prospects.

Bottom line: While I certainly don't think that Nelson Cruz is the best option available to the Braves (Juan Rivera-for the consistency, Matt Holliday-for being Matt Holliday, etc.), there is no doubt that he could make a huge impact in Atlanta.

Now, let's hear some opinions.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

2009-2010 North Carolina State Wolfpack Basketball Preview

NC State is coming off another disappointing losing season, but they have some of the best young talent in the ACC.

The Wolfpack have only two returning starters off last years squad, Javier Gonzalez and Tracy Smith.

They added two four star recruits in Richard Howell and DeShawn Painter, and talent forwards Josh Davis and Scott Wood.

The projected back court of the Wolfpack is probably the most experienced part of the team. They were also a weakness of last years team with Javier Gonzalez managing the point.

Although at the end of the season it looked like Javier had made some major steps forward in becoming a leader and a play maker instead of a turnover machine.

Another Interesting thing to watch for in the backcourt is the development of the two guard C.J. Williams and point guard/two guard Julius Mays.

C.J. Saw extended playing time last year until an unfortunate injury, and he was really starting to impress me. Mays saw extended playing time at the point last year, although his natural position is at the two guard. This year he could play either with point being crowded and state being thin at the two guard.

The Wolfpack are the youngest and most inexperienced inside the paint. They will largely depend on Junior Center Tracy Smith for majority of the scoring because of him being the only low post player with any college experience besides Dennis Horner.

The Wolfpack have the potential to be one of the ACC's best in teams in the low post with talented freshman forwards DeShawn Painter, Richard Howell, and Scott Wood. They also have junior center Tracy Smith returning, at times last year he was dominant down low scoring as many as 31 points in one game. He has to step up and be the leader for this young wolfpack team on the court.

I believe that this year will tell a lot about Sidney Lowe and what type kind of coach he really is. He really has his work cut out for him this year, but as I have previously said they have tons of potential and could be a top ACC team.

I think that the Wolfpack can finish at .500 or better, with a tougher non-conference schedule then years past with games against Akron, at Auburn, at Marquette, and Northwestern. I think this will help them prepare for their conference opponents.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Angel in the Outfield: Making the Case for Juan Rivera in Atlanta

We all know what the Braves will be after this offseason (for those of you who don't, it's a right-handed power threat to stick between Brian McCann and Chipper Jones).

Right now, it's wide open as to who they'll go after.

So, let's compare two players.

One of these names, Player A, has been moving around the Braves' Blogosphere at the speed of light.

The other, Player B...not a peep.

I will use AGE (in 2010)/G/AVG/OBP/SLG/HR/2B/3B/SB/BB:K to compare them.

Player A 29/128/.260/.332/.524/33/21/1/20/49:118

Player B 31/138/.287/.332/.478/25/24/1/0/36:57

Who do you take?

Player A is going to give you more power, but Player B is going to make fewer outs.

OK, now take this into consideration: Player A plays the majority of his games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington while Player B does most of his work at Angel Stadium.

What about now?

I don't know about you, but I think I take Player B.

And now, if you haven't already figured out who they are, Player A is Nelson Cruz, and Player B is the man I referenced in my title, Juan Rivera.

Now, I understand that the "getability" of Rivera may be less than that of Cruz, but the Angel's one weakness at the start of this season was the readiness of their Minor League pitching prospects.

Add to that John Lackey's pending free agency (and likely departure), I think it's safe to assume that they'll be on the hunt for both Major League-ready pitching and Minor Leaguers to re-stock whatever they'll be losing to their big club.

With that in mind, here's a deal that could net the Braves Juan Rivera:

Angels Get: Kenshin Kawakami, Kris Medlen, Cody Johnson, Randall Delgado
Braves Get: Juan Rivera, Jason Bulger

This deal gives the Braves what they need: a good power bat (with a good track record for success) locked up at a reasonable contract-2/9 left on his current deal and the replacement for Moylan when he transitions to closer (my gut now says they they'll let Gonzo walk if he declines arbitration and they'll flat let Soriano go).

Rivera, especially with a transition to the NL, should be a lock for 25 homers, and 31-year-old Lawrenceville, Georgia native Jason Bulger should only improve on his numbers from this year (3.65 ERA/65.2INN/68Ks) with the same transition.

The Angels get a descent starter until some more of their youngsters are ready, a younger replacement for Bulger, a DH-in-the-making, and a very good pitching prospect to fill their previously mentioned voids.

The biggest complication I could see blocking this deal would be Bobby Abreu.

Right now, Rivera is pretty much a lock in left field for the Angels.

If the team fails to bring back Abreu, then his position would be solidified even further since their best OF prospect, Peter Bourjos, is still likely another season or two away.

However, if Abreu comes back to man right again next season, they may be willing to give one of their fringe outfielders more time OR may be willing to let go of Rivera for one of the more attractive free agents.

The Braves would be giving up a pretty significant chunk of their minor league stable, but would still be retaining their core of Heyward, Freeman, Hanson, Tehran, etc.

If the Braves ARE serious about contending in 2010, this deal makes a lot of sense.

As I will say in all of these posts (for the blog)/articles (for B/R), I have no insider information whatsoever.

Everything I say stems from personal analysis of rosters, rankings, etc., and my conclusions are based off of this analysis.

If you disagree or feel that one side or another is getting too much, let me know.

I'll consider all suggestions that I deem logical.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Third Edition of Atlanta's Offseason Moves: Royalty in Atlanta

Of late, rumors have been swirling over the availability of Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.

AL Clubs have been at the center of the possible Prince Fielder Sweepstakes, but I have an interesting proposition.

How about Atlanta?

Before you call me a hack, I know that I have no sources.

I'm speculating.

As a fan, that's my job.

Now, back to the post...

We all know that Atlanta needs power.

We all also know that Milwaukee needs pitching.

Atlanta's three and four hitters during the 2009 season were Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.

That's 18 and 21 home runs, or 39 combined.

Prince Fielder had 44.

Milwaukee's staff ranked 29th in baseball in team ERA at 4.84.

The Braves were fifth.

Milwaukee, who lead the NL in homers this past season, has hitting to spare.

The Braves have pitching and prospects to spare.

Here's the deal (with salaries):

Braves Get: Prince Fielder (10.5 MM)
Brewers Get: Javier Vazquez (10.5 MM), Kris Medlen (400K), Freddie Freeman (MiLB), Brandon Hicks (MiLB)

That may seem to be a lot for the Braves to let go of, but the one thing that separated them from the elite teams in baseball was the absence of a big-time power threat, and Prince Fielder is that.

The Brewers fell short in the bid for the NL Central because of their lack of pitching, and Javier Vazquez is that.

This trade gives the Brewers a premier front-of-the-rotation pitcher who could also serve as a great tutor for young ace-in-waiting Yovani Gallardo as well as a plus-MLB-ready starter/reliever in Kris Medlen, the replacement for Fielder in Freeman, and a good prospect in Brandon Hicks.

From the Braves' perspective, they get a young power-threat (albeit a left-handed one) to insert between Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.

This, depending on which side of the fence you're on, may seem like a lot for the Braves to give up (or maybe not enough if you're a Brewers fan)

After all, Vazquez was one of the premier National League pitchers in 2009, and Kris Medlen,
Freddie Freeman, and (to a point) Brandon Hicks are all very good prospects.

But when the strategy for winning in Bobby Cox's final season in Atlanta is planned, the choice between one of the Free Agent 1Bs, Freddie Freeman, or Prince Fielder is presented, which is the best choice?


The one hitch for each team is the signability of each of the centerpieces.

Fielder and Vazquez are each free agents following 2010 and (if one departs from either team without the other doing the same) could make this trade a bust for whichever side loses their star.

Braves fans are far too familiar with big-time first-basemen becoming too expensive following a big exodus of Minor Leaguers.

However, a Braves' run towards the Series or a Milwaukee playoff push would certainly make it easy for each side to retain their guy.

But, if the Braves really ARE serious about getting power, then it's going to cost them somewhere, be it the farm or their wallet.

Why not let is be someone like Fielder?

A line-up of McLouth, Prado, Jones, Fielder, McCann, Escobar, Heyward, Diaz/Schafer is dangerous.

Combine that with a rotation of Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, Lowe, and Kawakami

Once again, I don't have any evidence that this is even on the table.

And, as a Braves fan, I don't know how a Milwaukee fan would respond to a package like that.

But I feel that an ace, plus-plus MLB-experienced pitcher, excellent first base prospect, and above average infield prospect make this a fair deal.

But, if you think more should be added from Atlanta's side, here are pieces that could be interchanged with the deal I have standing: Jordan Schafer, Todd Redmond, Cody Johnson, Craig Kimbrel, Van Pope, Randall Delgado, and Julio Tehran.

Just don't say Heyward or Hanson.

Obviously, this would hinder any of the other plans for Atlanta this offseason, but Prince Fielder would be plenty for me.

So, what do you think?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

LSU Tigers Football : A Outsiders View

First off I'd like to introduce myself formally, My name is Allen Lopp and I live in the Piedmont-Triad area of the great state of North Carolina. I'm a die-hard NC State Wolfpack fan always have been and always will be, but I'm also a fan of college football as a whole and I like to keep up with it as much as possible. A good friend of mine who will go unnamed, is a fan of the LSU Tigers and enjoys talking trash and telling me how good they are. After saying all of that I'll get into the premise of this post, are the LSU Tigers really as good as their ranking?

LSU is coached by one of the best college football coaches and recruiters around in Les Miles. They usually rank inside the top ten in recruiting ranks, and also consistently ranked inside the Top 25 teams in the nation in the polls. Coming into this season LSU was ranked as high as ninth in the USA today poll, but with the recent giants of football falling in upsets LSU has quietly moved up to fourth. Is LSU really the fourth best team in the nation?

The Tigers are lead on offense by sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson, a deadly running back tandem in Keiland Williams and Charles Scott, and Jefferson's favorite target Brandon LaFell. Some of the key defensive contributes are Harry Coleman, Chad Jones, and Rahim Alem. I also have to give a shout out to one of the SEC's best return men in Trindon Holliday.

This is a very talented LSU team, but they are young and inexperienced in several key positions for example quarterback. They have potential to be one of the best teams in the SEC, but they are going to have to improve in both sides of the ball because they rank last in the SEC in total offense and ninth in total defense. In fact they are actually giving up more yards then they are gaining.

This Saturday's game will be a their first real "test" when they play at 18th ranked Georgia. I put test in quotation marks because they struggled against Mississippi State that they should have absolutely destroyed. They are going to have to play much better against Georgia if they want people to take them seriously. This weekend will tell us a lot about both LSU and Georgia.

My Official Game Prediction

I think the Georgia Bulldogs will have a tough time keeping up with the athleticism and speed of a very talented LSU team, LSU wins a tough home game 21-17.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Top ACC Coaches Clash in Winston-Salem

Tom O'Brien and the NC State Wolfpack(3-1, 0-0) are traveling to Winston-Salem to take on Jim Grobe's Wake Forest(2-2, 0-1) team who has struggled lately against quality teams.

NC State are coming off a very impressive non-conference win at home against a tough Pittsburgh team, while Wake Forest is trying to bounce back after a very disappointing loss to Boston College.

Both teams are searching for their first conference wins of the season, along with Jim Grobe wanting to exact revenge for a loss in Raleigh last year.

Keys to Success for NC State Wolfpack

  • Utilize Russell Wilson's Abilities

Russell Wilson is leading the ACC in touchdown passes(12) along with passing efficiency, also known as quarterback rating(169.6) and he has also rushed for 115 yards. Wake Forest's pass defense is one of the worst in ACC falling second to last, allowing 217.0 yards per game and eight touchdowns through the air.

  • Pressure Riley Skinner

Wake Forest has an experienced senior quarterback in Riley Skinner under center, but he has looked nothing like an experienced quarterback making bad decisions in throwing five interceptions tied for most among ACC quarterbacks. The Wolfpack also have Willie Young who is third in sacks in the ACC with four. NC State as a team are only +1 in turnover margin while Wake is -4 in turnover margin.

  • 3rd Down

Third downs are always ways important in any game but, in this game Wake Forest is one of the best in the ACC in converting third downs but also they the worst in allowing opponents to convert on third down. Wake converts 47.5% of their third downs(2nd in ACC) and they allow their opponents to convert 39.7% of their third downs(last in the ACC). NC State converts 50.o% of their third downs(1st in the ACC), while they are only allowing their opponent to convert only 20.0% of third downs.

Offical Game Prediction

Wake Forest has had to replace a lot of players on both side of the ball and they aren't looking so hot after that overtime loss to Boston College. I think NC State wins an important conference game 35-17.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Atlanta Braves

This blog (article, that't what wer're calling theses posts) will give a little backgraound as to why I'm a Braves fan (I stole this from an old article I wrote on Bleacher Report).

There are many, many reasons as to why I love this organization.

From the tradition to the quality people it has produced, the Atlanta Braves have served as a great medium to build my fondness of baseball on.

The Base of my Beliefs

Where I live, near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, your options for baseball are limited; you have the Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, and no-baseball bandwagons to jump on. Those are pretty much your four choices if you want people around you who share your beliefs.

There was a time, not so long ago, that I chose the last of the four options.

I was a, uggh (I can't believe that I'm saying this outline), NASCAR fan in the heart of the sport's region and cared little about the game that I love so dearly now.

My grandfather had been an Atlanta Braves fan since the days of suckage back in the 70's and 80's, through the 14 consecutive division titles, and still is today because of the televised games on FSN South, SportSouth, and the sparatic games on ESPN and Fox.

So, from that, I had always had a mild interest in the organization.

But, that interest was never anything huge, and I would always watch the races on Sundays and only catch 20-30 games a season.

But, as time progressed, I began to look at NASCAR in Lehman's terms and had a posteriori. All NASCAR was was 40-some cars going in a circle over the course of three hours.

Yeah, real exciting when you look at it.

It was then that I fell into a love affair with the statistics and game of baseball in general. The home runs, the defense, the strategy, ahhh...the beautiful game.

(side note: I will watch NASCAR on Sunday off-days)

The Venues

In 2000, I went to my first Braves, and live baseball, game ever (I had never even been to any of the Minor League games in my area).

I was seven-years-old and was amazed by the sixe of the park and the gigantic ceramic All-Star balls (no sexual enuendo intended) outside of the Stadium.

We sat in our seats, about 15 or 20 rows up down the left field line. I was wearing my official Braves t-shirt with "C. Jones" on the back of it, sitting next to my dad. The Bravos were playing Sammy Sosa and the Cubs.

I can remember being captivated by the big metal pennants hanging in left and the big box score that used to be in center (where the massive HD screen is now).

That was an experience.

The Winning & the Organization

There has never been a time in my 16 years where the Braves, except for 2008, maybe, have truly sucked.

This has made it very easy to like them.

Even now, after three (soon to be four) post-seasonless seasons, I have an ever-growing passion for the team.

Make no mistake, I am not a fair-weather fan.

If I were a resident of Atlanta, I guarantee you that I would be saving my cash every year ti get season tickets (those $1 seats above third base aren't half-bad, you know).

Another reason for the Braves love is the way in which they carry out their business.

Development through the minors, pitching, and a few big signings.

It's very nice to root for a team that hasn't had to buy it's World Championship.

Every year, I look at the Minor League system and hope think about the brightness of the Braves' future.

The team consumes me. The system, the set-up, the, well... everything.

This is my team, and I love it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hey all.

This is Cameron, one of the founders of Carolina Co-Op.

As you've probably read at a variety of places on this site, we cover the Atlanta Braves and NC State.

That may seem like an odd combination, but both of us have a never-dying love for our teams (I'm the Atlanta Braves guy, Allen's the NC State guy).

Both of us have been writing over at Bleacher Report for about six months and decided to branch out into the blogosphere with a site of our own after receiving numerous opportunities from other sites to write about our respective teams (both of us were set to write for before contract issues; Allen has a Raycom blog on NC State now-he gets a lot of free stuff-lucky bastard, and I am a Featured Columnist for the Braves at Bleacher Report).

We hope to produce high-energy, informative, and insightful pieces on Carolina Co-Op for our readers.

We hope that you enjoy our posts and (in the future) videos that we put on this blog as we mature as writers.