Monday, January 25, 2010

Musings on the Atlanta Braves with 24 Days Left Until Spring Training

Another news-less week has left me with little to say that hasn't already been at least mentioned before.

But, with these bland, beaten-to-death topics, old topics, comes some new perspective.

Makes me wish I had some contacts...

Anyway, I don't know about anyone else, but I'm ready for the Johnny Damon saga to end.

It's starting to feel a little bit like Jake Peavy 2.0...with less coverage from the media.

It's not so much that I want the Braves to get him (though it would be nice), I just want the sense of uneasiness and anticipation that comes with a situation like this one to stop.

I just want to see MLB Trade Rumors or (the new site I will be contributing to following Braves transactions--that's called a segue) featuring the headline "_____, Johnny Damon Agree to Terms" so I can either type up a positive reaction or stop checking my e-mail/MLBTR every two minutes.

If this drags out into mid-February, I might blow a gasket...though, I think that I've said that a couple of times now.

Next thing, Jair Jurrjens.

I was reading Mark Bowman's inbox today, and the first question was concerning the need to extend JJ a long-term contract.

Bowman basically said that the Braves will probably end up waiting to see whether or not JJ and, for that matter, Tommy Hanson, are going to be the real deal into the future.

Now, the Braves obviously are too limited by funds to risk dishing out $7-9 million per year over the next four to seven years (I'm thinking Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun length-deals at Cole Hamels salaries) and having either JJ or Big Red going down with catastrophic arm injuries.

But, these two have shown the abilities in their limited big league-showcases of number one's and two's that should only improve.

It's not my money, but I think that big-time extensions need to come in the next two to three years (which is what Bowman basically suggested).

The Braves cannot afford to lose this kind of talent (no s*@%, right?), and locking them up at this stage of their careers is going to be the only way to keep them from going to the New York's, Los Angele's, and Boston's of the world.

After all, Atlanta, especially sans-Cox, won't have the nostalgia it did when the Braves were able to get Greg Maddux and John Smoltz to come/stick around at sub-market value.

Last thing...Stephen Strasbug hype.

I was checking the prospect rankings today and found this little nugget.

If you don't feel like opening that link up, this is what the author, Frankie Piliere, said about the top-five prospects in the game (with their outstanding MiLB stats to the side):

5. Jesus Montero, C, NYY (.389 OBP, 17 homers)
4. Jason Heyward, OF, ATL (.408, 17 homers)
3. Desmond Jennings, OF, TB (.401 OBP, 52 steals)
2. Mike Stanton, OF, FLA (.341 OBP, 28 homers)
1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, WSH (college)

Now I don't want to sound too whiny about one dude's top-5, but come on.

All five of these guys are special talents, but Heyward at four?

That's not my main gripe, though (it's probably No. 2).

My gripe is the overwhelming amount of feet-kissing for Strasburg.

I understand that he can throw 100 and that he has outstanding breaking stuff for his age (21), but did anyone see what he did in the Arizona Fall League (aka his only professional experience)?

Dude had a 4.26 ERA with 23 Ks in 19 innings.

As a point, Tommy Hanson's 0.63 ERA with 49 Ks in 28.2 innings barely got him into the top-5 in most rankings.

Look, I'm not trying to be overly nit-picky about meaningless projections, but I just don't think a guy can go from college phenom (you know, the place where talent is AA and less) to the next great thing for the Majors.

No doubt, I think this needs to be said, that his pure stuff makes him appealing...but can we let the guy get a few successful pro performances under his belt before putting him ahead of guys like Stanton, Jennings, and Heyward?

And in the words of my good friend Forrest Gump...

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