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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ATL Journal-Constitution: ‘Salty’ focuses on game, not trade block (RR)

“I try not to pay attention,” [Saltalamacchia] said Tuesday afternoon at AT&T Park. “My biggest thing right now, like everybody in here, is just to try to help us win games and try not worry about it.”

“It” being the possibility that he could be traded before the July 31 non-waiver deadline… If they could get an impact starter or a package of pitchers for Saltalamacchia, they might pull the trigger.

They’ve also talked to the Rangers about first baseman Mark Teixeira, a slugger and Gold Glover who could earn more than $10 million in arbitration next season and then become a free agent.

Saltalamacchia hasn’t played much since the Braves signed first baseman Julio Franco, who made his fifth start in six games Tuesday.
...
If the Braves’ front office makes any moves before the trade deadline, Chipper Jones hopes it will be in the pitching department.

“I think the onus of our moves needs to be (the pitching) staff,” he said. “I’d like to see us get a lefty reliever.”

MLB.com: Braves linked to Teixeira

NTNgod Posted: July 25, 2007 at 06:40 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. NTNgod Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:43 AM (#2454488)
As the Braves were preparing to play the Giants at AT&T Park on Tuesday night, the buzz at other Major League parks across the country was that they had emerged as the favorites to land Mark Teixeira in a trade with the Rangers.
...
But one Major League scout confirmed the Braves and Rangers are still discussing a trade that would be headlined with Teixeira and almost definitely include Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Atlanta's 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher who stands as one of the most attractive prospects on the trade market.

Another National League scout said the Braves might be discussing also including a young pitching prospect (possibly Jo-Jo Reyes) and Elvis Andrus, the 18-year-old phenom shortstop who is currently experiencing the struggles of the maturation process with Class A Myrtle Beach.
MLB.com
   2. ChuckO Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:59 AM (#2454499)
I can't understand why the Braves would sign Franco, when it meant taking at-bats away from a talented young player like Saltalamacchia. They are apparently going all out for the playoffs, but is it worth it this year, and is Franco going to help them get there? As for Teixeira, I can see giving up low-level prospects like Andrus, but not Saltalamacchia. Likewise for Reyes. He's still raw at age 21, but he seems to be a much better prospect than Kyle Davies.
   3. Russ Posted: July 25, 2007 at 11:12 AM (#2454503)
I'll never understand the idiotic development machinations of major league teams. Either bring the prospect up and play him consistently (basically giving him 80% of his possible at bats) or leave him in the minors. Period. There is just no development sense to bringing a player up and having him sit on the bench. Either the player is able to learn from facing major league pitchers (not necessarily hit, but able to learn from) or he isn't... if you think he is, then leave him up. If you think he isn't, send him down. Obviously, that decision is hard to make, but it's really the decision that must be made, not this half-ass decision where you bring a guy up but then let him rot on the bench. It's in this case that major league numbers are basically useless... you just have to commit to a decision based on scouting reports, minor league numbers, talking to the player, etc. But if you don't think a guy is learning from playing every day in the majors, send him somewhere where he can play every day.
   4. Rickey! No. You move. Posted: July 25, 2007 at 01:10 PM (#2454544)
I'll never understand the idiotic development machinations of major league teams. Either bring the prospect up and play him consistently (basically giving him 80% of his possible at bats) or leave him in the minors. Period. There is just no development sense to bringing a player up and having him sit on the bench.

Perhaps you are looking at it from the wrong angle then. Perhaps the guiding factor in the decision isn't always "what's the best possible development scenario for individual player X" but rather, on occasion, "what is the best roster construction to give our major league team the ability to win?" Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't up to "continue his development." He is up to put the best 25 man roster together at the ML level. Now we may disagree with some of the decisions made toward that end (Pete Orr, Chris Woodward, and increasingly feeble Julio Franco) but that doesn't mean we should ignore the point of the roster building in the first place. Saltalamacchia's development is only important as a function of his improving the team and if he skips some development at bats at AAA because he actually helps the team win at the ML level, well, so be it.

As for the Teixiera rumors, I would pull the trigger on a Salty/Reyes deal. Saltalamacchia is a very, very exciting prospect and I like watching him play, but Tex is the real deal, elite 1B slugger the Braves haven't had since Andres Galarraga exited. He immediately improves the team for the 2007 stretch run and he's in house for all of 2008 -- with all of Andruw's salary freed up to resign him long term. Reyes is an interesting arm but I don't see a lot to make him untouchable. If the Rangers want one of the shortstops as well (Andrus) then I'd require a quality ML reliever, LH, to replace Mike Gonzalez. Do they have one of those?

I wouldn't give up Saltalamacchia for just anything, but Teixiera is hardly just "anything" and Salty's true value lays as a catcher more than a 1B. With McCann in house long term you can afford to flip a super catching prospect for a superstar 1B.
   5. RTSquared is not on the Rangers' DL...yet... Posted: July 25, 2007 at 01:41 PM (#2454572)
If the Rangers want one of the shortstops as well (Andrus) then I'd require a quality ML reliever, LH, to replace Mike Gonzalez. Do they have one of those?


Might I interest you in one Ron Mahay? The other option would be C.J. Wilson, but he would be significantly more expensive.

The Rangers may not have an incredible team this year, but their bullpen has been very good.
   6. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 01:46 PM (#2454576)
CJ Wilson is an OK LOOGY, but nothing more. I'm not sure he's worth Andrus. If Otsuka was healthy and in the deal I'd be be more apt to include him.

Given the production the Braves have received from 1st (worst in the NL, I believe), Teixeira would most certainly be a multiple win upgrade just in the last two months. Additionally, he answers the question of how to replace AJ's offense in 2008. With their two best players (Chipper/Smoltz) aging and becoming increasingly injury-prone, maybe the Braves have to take their shot in 07-08. I'd prefer some facsimile of Salty for Ian Snell, but how dumb can Littlefield be? I'd rather see Escobar go, but maybe this is the best JS can do. No one is willing to deal decent, young pitching.

I think they're at the point now where JS is trying to get another major leaguer who can help the Braves for the inclusion of a B prospect (Matt Harrison, etc...).
   7. Charles S. hopes his opening day is b4 opening day Posted: July 25, 2007 at 02:12 PM (#2454595)
Either the player is able to learn from facing major league pitchers (not necessarily hit, but able to learn from) or he isn't... if you think he is, then leave him up. If you think he isn't, send him down.

Ordinarily I would agree with this, but I think it may be different for catchers. Catchers probably learn more by sitting on a big league bench than do any other position players. That, along with Sam's point, make the decision to keep Salty in the Bigs a little more sensible.
   8. Rickey! No. You move. Posted: July 25, 2007 at 02:13 PM (#2454596)
I'd prefer some facsimile of Salty for Ian Snell

I probably would too, and play Saltalamacchia at 1B. But if that deal is not out there, if there's no obvious pitching upgrade to be had and there is a reasonable Tex deal on the table, I'd pull the trigger there. Tex solves a lot of problems in 2007 and 2008 and Salts, as much as I like the guy and as good as he could become, is more valuable to other teams than he is to Atlanta. There's only one or two teams in baseball where that is not true (Minnesota, LA.) And while it would be really nice to have Ian Snell expand the rotation a line-up of Renteria/Chipper/Tex/Andruw/McCann/Francoeur/Johnson could provide a lot of breathing room for Buddy Carlyle and Kyle Davies.
   9. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2454681)
For what its worth, Bill Shanks (who makes Plaschke look positively enlightened), whose plugged into the Braves front office says there will be mass resignations if Andrus is dealt.
   10. bfan Posted: July 25, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2454750)
So did the front-office fall in love with Andrus' light power .265 season last year, or his light power .239 average this year? I understand he is young for his level, but he has not exactly lit it up yet.

I think they are bowing to their Southern heritage and are salivating over having an Elvis in the building (and at shortstop, no less).
   11. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 25, 2007 at 04:28 PM (#2454763)
There is just no development sense to bringing a player up and having him sit on the bench.

No there's not, but these players (Salty and Escobar) are clearly being showcased for a trade. You hear GMs all the time talk about getting back 'major league ready' players in their deals, and what better way to show that your players are major league ready than by having them in the major leagues. It might not help their development, but if you are trading them anyway, their development is not really your top priority anymore.
   12. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2454809)
"So did the front-office fall in love with Andrus' light power .265 season last year, or his light power .239 average this year? I understand he is young for his level, but he has not exactly lit it up yet."

I'd say they like his tools, his age-to-league performance, his defense, and the fact he's shown improvement in important secondary skills (patience, base stealing efficiency) against competition at least two years older than him.

You're missing a lot of context. There are about five other players with similar or tougher age-to-level-of-difficulty assignments in the minors. Moreover, the Carolina League is pretty tough on offense and Andrus' home park in Myrtle Beach seriously suppresses hitting. Check out his home/road splits.

You also might want to look at how Hanley Ramirez performed at age-21 in AA. Didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball.

My point is that you should take a chance on young, toolsy, guys who can stick up the middle. Especially if they started to show some plate discipline at age-18 against much older, more polished competition.
   13. bfan Posted: July 25, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2454841)
Hanley ramirez in A+ (which is Myrtle beach, correct)? .310 .364 .389 .753

Elvis this year .239 .326 .330 .656

Elvis, I knew Hanley Ramirez, and I worked with Hanley Ramirez, and you are no Hanley Ramirez.
   14. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 05:30 PM (#2454864)
Umm, no. Hanley was twenty when he played in High-A. Elvis is eighteen. You see the difference, right? Additionally, Ramirez played in the Florida State League, not the Carolina League.

I wasn't really making a comparison. Just making the point that tools and extreme youth are pretty valuable characteristics in a prospect. Especially one that can stick at SS. To put it in perspective, if Elvis was born in America he would have just been drafted out of high school and be playing in rookie ball right now. I wonder how he'd fare against pitchers his own age...
   15. Khrushin it bro Posted: July 25, 2007 at 05:43 PM (#2454886)
Maybe the A's could make a Snelling Salt trade?
   16. Jeff K. Posted: July 25, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2454891)
I've been holding Saltalamacchia for 6 weeks, he's finally getting regular at-bats, and he gets them taken away by Julio ####### Franco? Oh, to have a sniper rifle in Atlanta. This is preposterous to the extreme.
   17. Covfefe Posted: July 25, 2007 at 05:47 PM (#2454894)
It's pretty obvious to me that the AJC beat writer cleaned Chipper's quote up for him:

If the Braves’ front office makes any moves before the trade deadline, Chipper Jones hopes it will be in the pitching department.

<strike>“I think the onus of our moves needs to be (the pitching) staff,” he said. “I’d like to see us get a lefty reliever.”</strike>

"I think we need to get a frontline SP who isn't a self-righteous blowhard that calls me out in the papers."
   18. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:10 PM (#2455040)
I think the real questions that need to be answered are why julio is still starting against right-handed pitchers, and why the #### chris woodward is still on the roster?
   19. Honkie Kong Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:22 PM (#2455053)
Whats wrong with the bullpen all of a sudden? Just when the starting pitching is turning it around...argh, this team sucks.

Why would the Braves need to give up anything more than Salty for Tex? Tex is not cheap, and he is a FA in 1.5 yrs, and he aint helping Texas much right now. SO they get an uber prospect and salary relief. Giving up more doesn't make sense. But then, Mcbride for Ledezma was pretty stupid too
   20. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:25 PM (#2455056)
Rather than trade for Tex, I'd prefer to see the following moves:

Make Salty the everyday 1B.
Call up Pena to be the backup C.
DFA Woodward.
Make Julio the first bat off the bench.
Trade Thorman for whatever you can get.

I'm not convinced Teixeira is going to be the missing piece this year. And going forward, I'm not convinced that he's that much better than Saltamacchia, even before taking the salary difference into account.
   21. Sparkles Peterson Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2455071)
Additionally, Ramirez played in the Florida State League, not the Carolina League.


The Carolina League is no hitters' paradise, but the FSL is by far the best pitchers' league in the minors.
   22. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:56 PM (#2455073)
Would Texas use Saltalamacchia to replace Tex, or as a C? It seems to me that's where he's most valuable.
   23. Honkie Kong Posted: July 25, 2007 at 08:59 PM (#2455075)
Almost certainly at C and Wilkerson/Cat at 1b.
   24. Rickey! No. You move. Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2455078)
Make Salty the everyday 1B.
Call up Pena to be the backup C.
DFA Woodward.


I have no great qualms with this notion either, and it's far more likley to happen than a big trade. Still, I wouldn't mind flipping for Tex either.
   25. bfan Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:13 PM (#2455088)
Yes, we can DFA Woodward now that we have Julio Franco to fill the "washed-up skill wise, but wizened Brian Jordan veteran role" that every Bobby Cox team has to have. JS had to work hard to get someone older than Woodward (and for that matter, Jordan), but by-dingy, he did it.
   26. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2455091)
Yes, we can DFA Woodward now that we have Julio Franco to fill the "washed-up skill wise, but wizened Brian Jordan veteran role" that every Bobby Cox team has to have

Since we know that role exists, I'd rather have Julio in it than Woodward, or Jordan for that matter. At least Julio makes me feel young.
   27. bfan Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:21 PM (#2455094)
As long as it isn't Raul Mondesi, I am okay with it.
   28. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2455102)
"The Carolina League is no hitters' paradise, but the FSL is by far the best pitchers' league in the minors."

According to Baseball America, Hanley Ramirez' home park (Sarasota) had a 1040 Park Factor in 2003. But both players struggling in tough hitting environments only further supports my point that prospects deemed to have special tools and who are young for their league should be given patience and probably have more value to their own club than they would in any trade.

Unless the Braves development people have determined that Elvis will never really hit, they should probably hang on to him.
   29. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:33 PM (#2455104)
If BC is unwilling to give the lionshare of ABs at 1st to Salty, then he should be traded.
   30. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2455112)
If BC is unwilling to give the lionshare of ABs at 1st to Salty, then he should be traded.

What do you think they could get for a 70 year old with bad knees?
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:40 PM (#2455116)
What do you think they could get for a 70 year old with bad knees?

Be careful, if they lose Julio they could acquire Raul Mondesi to fill that niche.
   32. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2455117)
"What do you think they could get for a 70 year old with bad knees?"

The all-time ejections record should draw a crowd. I'm sure Littefield would give up at least Snell to put some more fans in the seats.

Seriously though, why not go after Stairs/Hatteberg for some spare parts? Platoon either with Salty at 1st. See if Escobar can bring a decent pitcher (starter or reliever at this point). Use some of the B prospect-type depth to fill any other holes (LOOGY, etc...)
   33. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2455131)
Franco on the Braves is doing more good for the Mets than when he was on the Mets.
   34. Honkie Kong Posted: July 25, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2455132)
Lets face it. Woodward isn't getting DFA-ed.
And I have no idea why Julio is playing fulltime. he didn't do that in his previous stint here!

And the need for a lefty..how does mcBride look now?
I guess Startup might get a call
   35. Honkie Kong Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:04 PM (#2455135)
And to me, the Braves shot at the division pretty much ended, when they went 2-5 at home versus the Reds and Cards
   36. Rickey! No. You move. Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:23 PM (#2455154)
The Braves are 3 games out. Regardless of how badly the Reds/Cards homestand went, they are not out of the race for the division by any means. 3 games out is 3 games out.
   37. Honkie Kong Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:28 PM (#2455157)
The Braves are 3 games out. Regardless of how badly the Reds/Cards homestand went, they are not out of the race for the division by any means. 3 games out is 3 games out.

It seems every time this team has a chance to put the foot down, and assert themselves, they screw up.
And all of a sudden, the dominant bullpen from the first half has disappeared. There are just too many holes in this team right now
   38. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2455161)
I certainly don't think the Braves are out of it.
   39. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2455191)
The dominant bullpen from the first half?

More like mediocre, which has turned to #### now.
   40. Honkie Kong Posted: July 25, 2007 at 10:49 PM (#2455195)
The dominant bullpen from the first half?

More like mediocre, which has turned to #### now.


Oh come one. third best by ERA behind Dodgers and Pads. barely blew any leads. kept us in all extra inning games. What more can you ask for?
   41. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 25, 2007 at 11:10 PM (#2455234)
Bobby Cox happened to that bullpen. Up to this point, Moylan, the Vulture, and Paronto are the only ones who've held up to the workload (Paronto has some time off for injury so I'm not really sure he even counts).

We haven't seen the best version of this current team, although I question whether they'll ever be firing on all cylinders. Too many question marks at this point.

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