If Fredi and Parrish don’t screw it up….

I can go optimistic or pessimistic in thinking about next season. For now I’ll focus on the promise, and I think it is considerable. That is, if Fredi and Parrish don’t screw it up.

Look at the regular eight: McCann could certainly rebound and have a better season; Freeman was great as a rookie and, assuming he doesn’t have a Heywardian sophomore slump, could be even better; Uggla figures to give you the same power production without the abysmal first half; shortstop is a question mark (Pastornicky, WIlson/Gonzo/another stopgap veteran?); Chipper will probably do about what he did this year, maybe a tad less; Prado – who knows, next year will be pivotal for him; Bourn should be solid again and we’ll have speed at the top of the lineup for a full season; J-Hey should rebound. (I’ll be shocked and bitterly disappointed if they deal him this offseason, in regards to the Olney nugget.)

So that could be a pretty good lineup. Then again, that could have been a good lineup this season on paper. We’ll be counting on some rebounds, but none is a huge stretch. Not like, say, banking on Linebrink to be a good setup man.

As for the pitching, we should see Huddy, Beachy, Minor, Hanson and JJ in the rotation. Or perhaps Delgado or Teheran or even Vizcaino is in there and one or two or three of the non-Huddy others are not. All in all, with a bit better health, we should have a good rotation. IF that happens, maybe it’ll reduce the mileage on the relievers. You’ll note I excluded Lowe. I can’t imagine he’ll be taking the hill every fifth day in 2012, even if the Braves have to eat the $15M. If Lowe’s in next year’s rotation, Fredi’s an even bigger imbecile than he appears.

In the pen, there’s no reason to think Venters, O’Flaherty and Kimbrel won’t be good again. Maybe — OK, this could be a reach — but maybe Fredi learned something and won’t grind those guys down so much next season. Medlen, Vizcaino and Varvaro could be very nice complements. Finally, Cristhian Martinez presumably will be back and we will introduce the newest Braves fan club: the Cristhian Coalition.

OK. That’s my off-the-top-of-me-head optimistic take on next season. This obviously assumes the Braves make no big trades or signings. And again — should we copyright this phrase? — IF FREDI AND PARRISH DON’T SCREW IT UP (AGAIN). Maybe they’ll reconsider and jettison Parrish. Maybe Liberty will sell the team this offseason. Any of you guys want to try to pool our money and raise $400 million?

We’ll of course have plenty more speculation, rumination and aggravation in the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, at least we can enjoy the postseason without gnawing our nails and scaring our pets and children.

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5 Comments on If Fredi and Parrish don’t screw it up….

  1. Viva Rufino Linares! // September 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm //

    I think some t-shirts are in order for the Christhian Coalition. Maybe that’s how the Office could raise money to buy the team.

  2. Ya know what, Kris Medlen has somehow become one of my favorite players of all time. No clue how that happened, I blame it on the Gwinnett Braves. The fact that he was able to come back from surgery in 2011 and look damn good doing so gives me a lot of hope for next year. So even if Liberty Media keeps funneling the Braves’ payroll to their CEO, Parrish keeps putting voodoo curses on our bats and Fredi quits playing around and actively starts beating on our bullpen members’ elbows with a crowbar I still have that to look forward to next year.

    Until April, I shall be optimistic.

  3. I’m guardedly optimistic.

    In any case…I ain’t going anywhere.

  4. Neither McCann nor Prado ever found a groove after returning from the DL. Heyward never found his groove, period. Is that Parrish’s fault? I don’t know.

    But this club staggered offensively the entire season, wasting many terrific pitching performances. Our inability to hit with runners on base was not some aberration, but was so pervasive as to reach the point of absurdity, and so became a team-wide psychological issue. That definitely is Parrish’s fault, and his return next year is a step in the wrong direction.

  5. If this keeps up next year, I’m considering gnawing on my pets and children because there won’t be any nails left. It’s too bad, because I generally like my fingernails where they are.

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