- So how do the Brian Kenneys of the world, who claim team chemistry is irrelevant, explain the Nats? When they acquired Jonathan Papelbon, perhaps the game’s biggest a-hole since Rocker, they led the NL East by 3 games. They’ve lost 12.5 games in the standings since. Certainly talent trumps all, but a fractious clubhouse, populated by Borasbots, is destined to underachieve. And that’s why, while equally talented, I’d take Mike Trout over Bryce Harper any day.
- Huddy vs. Zito was a nice story but unfortunately the game played out much like Phil Niekro’s last start in Atlanta. But it’s a good time to measure Huddy’s standing as all-time Atlanta Brave starter. He’d make the rotation, giving you a pretty damn good fifth starter, behind Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and Knucksie. Huddy won 113 games with a 3.56 ERA and 1.242 WHIP in nine years here and would’ve probably retired a Brave if not for the insulting offer made by Frank “School on Sunday” Wren. And a tip of the cap to Wren’s predecessor, who acquired Huddy for a prospect who finished his brief big league career with a 5.46 ERA, an outfielder who hit .109 after the trade and a middle reliever who pitched for seven teams in 12 years with a 4.05 ERA.
- Why are the Braves allowing Freddie to continue to play with a sore wrist? It makes absolutely no sense to take a risk like that with your franchise player.
- May be time to re-examine the trade for Shelby Miller. and not because he’s 0-8 with a 5.36 ERA in his last eight starts (he’ll tie Marty Clary and Tommy Boggs if he takes the loss in his final start this weekend). I don’t see the Braves being competitive again until 2018, one year before Shelby becomes a free agent. Would the team have been better served trading for a prospect like Alex Reyes, who had a 2.49 ERA and 151 K’s in 101 IP between High-A and Double-A ball? Or Stephen Piscotty, batting .313 with a .872 OPS and under team control for five more years?
- Your 2016 rotation as of now: Shelby, Julio, Wisler … If the Braves sign anyone it’ll be a Brett Anderson type (3.75 ERA, 1.367 WHIP). Reserve your tickets now.
- Heard some radio talking heads (people who discuss baseball on average of 10 days a year) opine that trading Evan Gattis was a “huge” mistake. Really? Gattis is Dave Kingman with less power. He has 26 HR this year playing in a bandbox. On the road his OPS is .652, slightly better than his .690 OPS vs. lefties. His defense is still a nightmare and you gotta wonder if the Astros are satisfied with a DH who gets on base only 28 percent of the time. You can question the return — Folty and Rio Ruiz had disappointing seasons — but dealing Gattis was the right call. I say that well-aware Braves LF’s have hit only .228 with 10 HR and 57 RBI this year.