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Thursday, June 04, 2009

FOX Sports: Morosi: Smoltz rips Braves’ release of Glavine

Foxworthy Smoltz reporting from Morosi…

Hours after the Atlanta Braves released his close friend Tom Glavine, Red Sox right-hander John Smoltz talked openly about his disappointment in the way Braves management handled the situation.

“That’s not how you treat people,” Smoltz said after Boston’s 10-5 victory over Detroit on Wednesday. “He didn’t have a chance to fail at that level. ... That’s not how you go about it. But they’re in control. They make those decisions. They’ve made a lot of them lately.”

...Smoltz said he spoke with Glavine after team officials gave him the news.

“Like a lot of things lately, they handled it in a very interesting way and one that leaves you scratching your head,” Smoltz said. “It’s unfortunate for Tommy. Obviously, I’m using a very soft word in ‘disappointed.’ That ain’t right, to go that far in rehab — then, right before the time, do that.

“That’s not my problem anymore. I just feel badly for a teammate of mine that I had for a long time.”

...When asked if he thought the decision was financially motivated, Smoltz said, “I know too much. Let’s just put it that way.”

Repoz Posted: June 04, 2009 at 11:33 AM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, fantasy baseball, history, red sox

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   1. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: June 04, 2009 at 11:49 AM (#3206032)
Who didn't see this coming...?
   2. mathesond Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:14 PM (#3206069)
When asked if he thought the decision was financially motivated, Smoltz said, “I know too much. Let’s just put it that way.”

Kind of like Glavine's decision to leave the Braves for the Mets
   3. RJ in TO Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:21 PM (#3206078)
Paging Sam Hutcheson... Sam Hutcheson to the Smoltz thread....

You know, I always liked Smoltz, and have been a big fan of his on-the-field work since about 1989 (which is really strange, since it's not like we got a lot of Atlanta games back then in Toronto), but I'd be much happier if he would just shut up every now and then, and not try to turn everything about his leaving the Braves into a matter of respect, or a corresponding lack.
   4. Mister High Standards Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:28 PM (#3206089)
I agree with Smoltz. It is a shitty way to sya farwell to a guy who was a franchise player. I should know my team specializes in those sorts of things.
   5. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:34 PM (#3206094)
As we say in Spanish, Smoltz is still bleeding through the wound (sangrando por la herida).

Still, he does have a point: Glavine, Smoltz and (to a slightly lesser extent) Maddux were the face of the Atlanta Braves franchise for a long time.

Unless Atlanta is extremely bad in its handling of the relationship once they retire, they will be feted ever so often as former Braves glories during Old Timers Day and such.

I realize that business is business, but you have to be elegant in how you handle things, so as to not stupidly burn bridges you don't need to burn.

Atlanta is pretty non-elegant when it comes to these things....
   6. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:36 PM (#3206097)
Will the Mets come calling?
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:38 PM (#3206102)
"Kind of like Glavine's decision to leave the Braves for the Mets."

Or, for that matter, Smoltz's decision to leave Atlanta for the Red Sox.
   8. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:38 PM (#3206103)
Will the Mets come calling?


As a Braves fan, I certainly hope so...

(Phillies too.)
   9. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:39 PM (#3206104)
Hello Ryan.

John Smoltz is a sanctimonious prick. I hope his shoulder falls off.

Frank Wren's job is not to assemble an old-timers squad from the Braves' HOF. Tom Glavine is 43, throws 80 on a good day and had to use guile and craft to get out A-ball hitters. Tommy Hanson is 22 and throws 6000 miles per hour.

#### John Smoltz.
   10. RJ in TO Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:40 PM (#3206105)
Or, for that matter, Smoltz's decision to leave Atlanta for the Red Sox.


Hey, that was about respect. It had nothing at all to do with him wanting a larger up front cash guarantee on his contract. That he ended up with a larger cash guarantee from the Red Sox was purely a coincidence.
   11. Riki Tiki Javy Lopez Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:42 PM (#3206107)
Hell, the Braves did Glavine a favor by NOT bringing him up to fail against major league batters. Now he can peddle his wares with only the "I'm angry at the Braves and was ready to be activated, I'll show them!" attitude and not a 7 or 8 ERA...
   12. RJ in TO Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:45 PM (#3206111)
Hello Ryan.


I knew it was only a matter of time before you showed up on this thread - it was almost as certain as me showing up on a Roy Halladay thread (although for slightly different reasons).

John Smoltz is a sanctimonious prick.


I can't argue with this at all. Smoltz has been a great performer on the field, but his brief off-the-field comments have made him seem like a fairly high quality jerk.

I hope his shoulder falls off.


I thought it already had, which was part of why he's trying to pitch for the Red Sox this year.
   13. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:00 PM (#3206132)
In the early 90s I liked John Smoltz, though he was always injury prone and never quite lived up to all of his potential.

In the late 90s I tired of John Smoltz and his constant rehabbing, but I knew he was a great pitcher when healthy.

In the early 00s I hated that John Smoltz was making ace-starter money to pitch 70 innings per year.

In the late 00s I respecte John Smoltz as he continued to provide ace-caliber starts into his 40s.

Today, I just hate the sanctimonious prick entirely.
   14. wjones Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:19 PM (#3206173)
You know, they will always be linked together, Glavine & Smoltz, as they came up approximately the same time, took initial lumps as they learned to pitch, led the Braves to their glory years, etc. It's interesting how much they seem to be the opposite of each other. For instance:

Smoltz has always, especially in his younger days, worn his emotions for all to see, very boisterous, or outraged, etc., always there to give an interview whenever something is going on. Glavine, one would think, would consider it to be a human failing if anyone were to figure out his mood, as his expressions, his demeanor, was always cool, calm, unflinching.

Smoltz was always considered the greater talent, had the best arm of the bunch, was always the one that Bobby left out there past 100 pitches, completed more games than either Glavine or Maddox. Glavine was the one who always pitched more innings, won more games, and stayed off the DL, despite dealing with shoulder pain, broken ribs, and other ailments that we never heard about until long afterwards.

Smoltz always liked to brag about his hitting, his power, and this is an area where his ego damaged his ability, IMHO, to be a better hitter. Glavine was the one who didn't try to swing for the fences, but who actually had Silver Slugger caliber (for a pitcher)numbers.

It seems there were total opposites, but maybe that's why it worked so well. Maddux seemed to be a hybrid between the two, matching Glavine's durability and disdain for controversy, but on the field letting his emotions show, plus having a six-year period of dominance that secured his spot in the HOF.

It was a good time to be a Braves fan. At least until the post-season.
   15. ChuckO Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:47 PM (#3206288)
Frank Wren said that they had six to eight guys watch Glavine during his rehab, and that they decided that the club would be better off with their younger arms. That seems a roundabout way of saying that their scouts reported that he didn't seem to have it anymore. If that was indeed the case, what were the Braves supposed to do, put him in the rotation even though they thought that he wasn't their best option? And it wasn't like they unceremoniously dumped him. As Wren also said, they offered to let him retire as a Brave, but that Glavine requested his release so he could try to hook up with another team. Guys like Smoltz should show a little gratitude. The Braves made him, and Glavine, rich men while they were doing something they loved. Very few people get that opportunity.
   16. Craig Calcaterra Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:47 PM (#3206289)
John Smoltz is a sanctimonious prick. I hope his shoulder falls off.

Frank Wren's job is not to assemble an old-timers squad from the Braves' HOF. Tom Glavine is 43, throws 80 on a good day and had to use guile and craft to get out A-ball hitters. Tommy Hanson is 22 and throws 6000 miles per hour.

#### John Smoltz.


This made Diet Coke shoot out of my nose.

Sam -- I hope you don't mind that I clipped this and used at as a "Quote of the Day" over at ShysterBall. I took the liberty of changing #### to F**K, because I assume that's what you meant.
   17. Dr Love Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:00 PM (#3206301)
If that was indeed the case, what were the Braves supposed to do


Not sign him to begin with. A 43 year old coming off surgery and a 5.54 ERA and you want him back? (Interestingly, his first and last season with Atlanta, and his career if he doesn't make it to the majors this year: 2-4, 5.54 ERA. Weird.)
   18. OCD SS Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:11 PM (#3206321)
I'm beginning to think that the Sox signed Smoltz at least partly to fill the "loud mouth pitcher" void Schilling left behind.
   19. bunyon Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:16 PM (#3206330)
As I've said, I'm sure this is the right baseball move. But it was the right baseball move five months ago, too. The only possible reason to sign Glavine back then was as a PR/sentimental move. Given that, it makes no sense to cut him today. If they don't sign him back then, I wouldn't ding them at all. It's a business, as Glavine no doubt understands. So, just tell the 43 year old coming off of surgery that he had a nice career, no need to string him along.

EDIT: coke to Dr. Love. I started this post before his, then got distracted by someone else.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:30 PM (#3206351)
Frank Wren said that they had six to eight guys watch Glavine during his rehab, and that they decided that the club would be better off with their younger arms. That seems a roundabout way of saying that their scouts reported that he didn't seem to have it anymore.


I could have told that that for free, or Sam H could have, or anyone who has seen him pitch the last year and a half.

In NY alone I remember both Seaver and Cone aborted their final seasons because after trying to get into game shape they both said, nope I can't do this anymore.

Did Glavine really want to end his career like Steve Carlton or Warren Spahn?

But, who knows maybe he wanted ONE LAST START in Atlanta...
   21. Dr Love Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:42 PM (#3206369)
EDIT: coke to Dr. Love.


This is weird. I'm actually drinking a Coke right now.
   22. bfan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3206389)
But, who knows maybe he wanted ONE LAST START in Atlanta


But that one last sentimental start would have cost Atlanta $1,000,000.00 (and would have put $1,000,000.00 in Glavine's pocket); would he have done it say, for free?
   23. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:03 PM (#3206405)
Next burning question to be answered: What does Schilling think about what Smoltz said about Glavine?
   24. Kyle S at work Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3206419)
I wasn't a fan of signing Glavine at the time, but it was defensible. Hanson looked great but had never been higher than AA - plenty of guys like that flail when they face major leaguers. Glavine was a low risk option to be a 5th starter (he had an extra two weeks to get ready due to the way the schedule worked out this year) for a few months while Hanson proved himself in the minors and avoided Super 2 status.

Of course, Glavine got hurt and didn't live up to his end of the bargain, while Hanson did all that we could have hoped for and more in AAA. Given those circumstances, the baseball decision was clear. I agree with Rauseo that it was a poor PR move and I feel bad for the way Tommy was treated but in time I think he'll understand.

Smoltz is just doing what (m)any of us would do: sticking up for his friend. I'll still root for him, even if I disagree with him from time to time. Most of my best friends have very different opinions than I do about lots of things (politics, religion, etc) more important than baseball and yet we still manage to get along just great, so excuse me if I don't think less of Smoltz just because I disagree with him here.
   25. Colin Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:42 PM (#3206659)
I don't buy this "his velocity was down" bit at all. His velocity was weak last year, his velocity was surely weak when they signed him. The Braves knew they were signing an aged soft-tosser. They simply changed their minds and decided they could spend the money better on McLouth.

This will come back to bite the Braves. At some point they'll want to sign free agents to incentive-based contracts and those free agents will balk, justifiably afraid that the team might stiff them to save money.

I've defended Wren for months - I thought he made the right decision on Smoltz, for instance, and I thought he did as good a job in the offseason as the flawed Braves roster and limited resources would allow. I don't think he should have signed Glavine to begin with, but I don't think it's right to release him like this.

Question - would it be grounds for a grievance if the Braves released him purely to save money?
   26. Colin Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3206662)
Smoltz is just doing what (m)any of us would do: sticking up for his friend.


No, Smoltz is sticking up for Smoltz. He's using this to validate his own self-righteous anger from his own situation, about which he has been unable to STFU ever since it happened. Sam is right, Smoltz is a sanctimonious prick.
   27. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:44 PM (#3206663)
Colin, you're a braves fan? You'd rather see someone out there who can't cut it at all than someone who will possibly dominate?
   28. Srul Itza Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:49 PM (#3206672)
You had me right up to this point:

Guys like Smoltz should show a little gratitude. The Braves made him, and Glavine, rich men while they were doing something they loved.


As I understand, Smoltz and Glavine helped make the Braves owners rich[er] men, by performing at a high level and making the franchise worth so much more. The Braves were not exactly paying them out of the goodness of their heart, as charity work. It was a business relationship

Smoltz and Glavine should be grateful that they lived in an age and a country where they could make so much money from their skills. But I don't see how that translates to a special debt to the Braves.

I don't, in turn, blame the Braves for cutting ties with pitchers whose abilities did not match their needs and/or the amount of money they were seeking. The fact that they were not able to handle it better -- or spin it better -- is somewhat embarrassing, but in 5-6 years time it will all be forgotten and forgiven in a round of Hall of Fame inductions and jersey retirements.
   29. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3206699)
I don't, in turn, blame the Braves for cutting ties with pitchers whose abilities did not match their needs and/or the amount of money they were seeking. The fact that they were not able to handle it better -- or spin it better.

There simply is no way to spin it when guys refuse to accept that they're not the most important thing in the world. Re-read Smoltz' inane comments. He's miffed that Glavine wasn't given the chance to "fail at <the ML> level." He and Glavine believe they are somehow entitled to a roster spot as long as they think they're "ready to pitch." They don't care if the "let's see if the old guy magically doesn't suck this year" inhibits the teams' ability to compete. They don't care that their own selfishness would drain away the ever dwindling window for Chipper to win another title. All they care about is their own egos and how their hurt wittle feewings are raw and buzzing now that mean old Fwank Wwen won't let them play.

#### 'em. You didn't hear this #### out of Greg Maddux. He acknowledged that he was less and less effective (though he could probably outpitch Glavine today, without bothering to go through any sort of rehab or training) and retired. But not the great and wondrous Glavine and Smoltz. No, to retire would be to admit that they are in fact broken down shells of their former selves, and that sort of reality check is unthinkable.

#### 'em.
   30. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3206706)
And just for factuality's sake, Smoltz is also just wrong. Glavine was given the chance to fail at the major league level. He was given that chance in 2008 and he took the bull by the horns and failed magnificently.
   31. Backlasher Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3206723)
This thread surprises me. I'm a huge Braves fan, and I think they handled this poorly. Glavine and Smoltz have meant a lot to this franchise, its fans, and the city of Atlanta. I don't think either of them ever believed the team owed them roster spots, but they did feel that the team owed them a modicrum of respect.

Glavine was not an NRI from another team's pool of legends. He wasn't brought back in to be a late career loogy. Both team and player legitimately negotiated a deal wherein Glavine was expected to be a starter.

Of course the Braves did not or could not guarantee that position, but the Braves could have talked with him along the way. They could have prepared him for their change in direction and change in POV. Most important, they could have given him a chance before they uncermoniously released him like he was Chris Reitsma on Crack. They probably could have taken a couple of minutes and actually helped find him a landing place, offered him a different job in the organization, organized a farewell day, or otherwise treated him like the champion that he is.
   32. Kyle S at work Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:26 PM (#3206736)
I agree with Backlasher's post. The reason things came to a head, as I said in my post, is that Glavine wasn't ready when he was needed and Hanson exceeded expectations. So it was a reasonable baseball move to go with Hanson in place of Glavine. That said, it's a sh**ty way of treating him. He did everything he was asked to do to rehab his injury while the Braves were apparently unable to live up to their end of the bargain.

I guess it's not my money, but upon further reflection I probably would have let Tommy start on Saturday. It's a matter of pride for him. It seems like the benefits of this decision for the Braves are immediate but very short term - a few bucks saved, a game or two in the standings for one season - while the costs are less obvious but potentially more significant long term. Hopefully everyone will forget in a month or so.
   33. Ron Johnson Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3206751)
Question - would it be grounds for a grievance if the Braves released him purely to save money?


Yes. But there's almost no chance of actually winning. Arbitrators going back at least as far as Juan Bonilla (1984 pre-season) have made it clear that they're not going to second-guess teams on issues of player evaluation.

In other words if the Braves claim he was released because he'd declined to the point that they thought he was no longer worth a roster spot they'd almost certainly win any grievance.
   34. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3206754)
A million bucks is a lot of bucks. And a game in the standings is something we're fighting tooth and nail for, at this point.
   35. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3206755)
I agree with both Sam and Backlasher. What's too bad is that players like Glavine (Smoltz is talking smack about someone else's situation, but he still pitches effectively when he pitches, at least so far) don't realize they're done and walk away. I understand about wanting to play, and doing it until no one will give them a uniform, but it can't be fun to go out and get your head handed to you over and over again, either. But there's no shame in being 43 years old and not being able to play a sport as well as you did when you were 33, or even 38. That's just how it works; it doesn't diminish the prior accomplishments.

(Of course, if steroids would help with that little problem, he should be allowed to take them if it's his wish . . .)
   36. Cris E Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3206767)
I'm not sure how league rules or the union would have viewed this, but could Wren have quietly offered Glavine the option of a quiet cut and then a new contract for a nominal sum where he makes one start and retires? If he didn't want that then they could have moved on with the business at hand, but at least he gets the "respect" and fans know the move to the open market was at least partly his choice.

It's a million dollars vs Tom's pride, so as far as duties go I'm willing to lay this largely at the feet of Wren. He failed to foresee the (most likely) case where Glavine comes back not quite good enough to play but not too terrible to drop without controversy, or at least he put a dollar value on it that he wasn't willing to pay. Glavine gets a dose of this too for realizing he was putting the team on the spot and not accepting the their option to cut and run. Both should have foreseen the potential for a messy end and lowered the dollar value so it would be easier for the team to give him the ceremonial start (and exit.)
   37. Colin Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3206771)
Colin, you're a braves fan? You'd rather see someone out there who can't cut it at all than someone who will possibly dominate?


Yes, I am a Braves fan, and I would rather the team act honorably, and if that means this season they remain deeply mediocre instead of just mediocre, then so be it. The correct decision would have been to not sign him to begin with. Once they did, though, I think they had an obligation to act in good faith, and I honestly do not believe they have done so.

But also, in terms of the team's future, I think this hurts them. It sends the message to free agents that signing incentive-based deals with the Braves is a bad move, that they might get screwed to save money. That's not a good thing for any team, let alone one that was already struggling to attract free agents.

What's too bad is that players like Glavine ... don't realize they're done and walk away.


The Braves offered him a contract, so both Glavine and the Braves thought he wasn't done. The Braves said they'd pitch him when he was healthy and ready. At this point he probably thinks he's healthy and ready, but now they've realized they have enough pitching and instead they want to spend the money on an outfielder. And then they threw out this BS line about velocity, just to cover their collective derrieres from legal action because he didn't stink it up in his rehab assignments like they probably hoped he would.
   38. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:53 PM (#3206775)
He's not good anymore. You people are talking about wasting a game letting him start while the felix hernandez of the braves system waits in the wings. This is ludicrous. Every scout in the system told wren glavine is done.
   39. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3206783)
This is a team with hanson that has perhaps the best rotation in the league. A team with that good pitching can win ballgames, and can make a run at a division title or wild card. You want to pay glavine a million dollars to make one terrible start and delay bringing up a guy who could energize the team for the stretch run? That makes no sense.
   40. bunyon Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3206784)
Every scout in the system told wren glavine is done.

So what did the scouts say in the off-season? That is the crux. I don't think anyone is arguing that Glavine should be pitching for the Braves this year. They're saying that the Braves crapped on one of their all-time greats when they really didn't need to.
   41. Colin Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:11 PM (#3206798)
Every scout in the system told wren glavine is done.


Then every scout in the system should have told the team that before they signed him. But one you sign a guy, you've bought him, you've told him "We think you're good enough." He came to spring training with the velocity of a 43 year old soft tosser (Dave O'Brien mentions this in his blog today), and now they're claiming that they're releasing him for low velocity. That sounds to me like BS, especially when they're already gleefully spending the money they're saving.

As a Braves fan, I think the team on the field is better with Hanson than with Glavine, better with McLouth than with anyone else in our outfield. Wren has improved the team's short term prospects. But, I think he has harmed the team's negotiating position with free agents for the longer term, and has acted in bad faith with Glavine.
   42.     Hey Gurl Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:21 PM (#3206810)
Right, that's what I don't get. Glavine pitched for the Braves last year, right? And sucked, right? So why wasn't that the end of it? Why did they bring him back?
   43. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:23 PM (#3206813)
So what did the scouts say in the off-season?

Ummmmm, nothing? Maybe they said "Dude, you saw how bad he sucked last year, but he had the shoulder surgery, so God knows what he'll be next year. You want to stockpile him as a failsafe against all of your other mediocre #5 guys failing like they did in 2008, that's cool, but that's not my job. I'm a scout. Put him on the mound next spring and I'll tell you what I think."

Then every scout in the system should have told the team that before they signed him.

How does this work, Colin? Tom Glavine had a horrible 2008, was DL'd, had to have off-season shoulder surgery. He claimed his ineffectiveness in 2008 was due to the shoulder problems and the surgery would fix it. Scouts don't have a response to that. They CAN'T have a response to that. It's logically impossible. All the scouts could say is "put him out there when he rehabs and I'll take a look." They did that and reported what they say - a 43 year old soft tosser who is done. D-O-N-E done. What you seem to be saying is that the Braves shouldn't have given him the opportunity to rehab at all, just cut bait in the offseason. If they had done that it would have been another PR debacle along the lines of the Smoltz mess.

But, I think he has harmed the team's negotiating position with free agents for the longer term, and has acted in bad faith with Glavine.

Disagree. ML players and potential free agents know what's going on here. Glav refuses to give it up without getting pounded around a few times, doesn't want his last image in MLB to be the pounding he took in 2008. The Braves are making the hard choice and prioritizing actual on-the-field competitiveness over nostalgic good-will tours for former stars. I don't think Jason Bay is going to look at Atlanta's offer next winter and say "I don't know, if I sign here and play another 10 years and get old and take an incentive laden minor league rehab deal and fail, they might not give me a spot anyway." He's just as likely to say "these guys have finally gotten over themselves and that whole "team of the 90s" crap and are trying to win this decade."
   44. Mike A Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:30 PM (#3206818)
This was the right move to cut Glavine, but the Braves didn't handle it very well. It's disappointing to see two icons go out on such a sour note. I don't totally blame the Braves, but there should have been better communication between parties. I guess I still have no idea why they signed Glavine to begin with, it just didn't make sense.

As for Smoltz, it doesn't really bother me. We can sit here and throw our oft-strong and crazy opinions out on the internet, but when a pro-athlete does it, they're ripped for being outspoken. They're just like the rest of us....sometimes right, sometimes wrong. Their outlet is the media, ours is BTF et al.
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:31 PM (#3206820)
Right, that's what I don't get. Glavine pitched for the Braves last year, right? And sucked, right? So why wasn't that the end of it? Why did they bring him back?

Do you not remember 2008? When every pitching option Atlanta thought they had exploded in a reign of body parts and putridity? How about this last free agent winter, when the Braves were ripped new ######## every third day for failing to acquire Jake Peavy, sign AJ Burnett, sign Raffy Furcal, and then on top of OH MY GOD THEY LET THE GOD MAN JOHN SMOLTZ LEAVE HIS HOME ON MT OLYMPUS ALPHARETTA WING!!!

The Braves brought Glavine back because they wanted a depth of options for their #4/5 starter. They had Lowe and Vasquez at 1/2. They had Jair Jurrjens at 3 and were pretty confident in him, but he was a 22 year old with one year of success and a weak second half in 08. They had Ken Kawakami but they had no guarantee that he'd translate to American ball successfully. After that they had a hodge-podge of triple and quad-A options - Jo Jo Reyes, James Parr, Charlie Morton - and a couple of promising stud prospects in Medlen and Hanson. But neither of the prospects had pitched above the Arizona Fall League. Tom Glavine said he wanted a small contract to rehab and an incentive deal based on his ability to make the roster, so they said "okay, rehab the shoulder and we'll see how it goes."

Contrary to Glavine's opinion of himself, it didn't go particularly well.
   46. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3206827)
I disagree with Smoltz and I think yesterday's move was the right one. But I refuse to flip the middle finger at two pitchers who did so much for the Braves and played a huge role in dragging the franchise from sustained sub-mediocrity to one of baseball's great runs.
   47. bunyon Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:40 PM (#3206832)
If they had done that it would have been another PR debacle along the lines of the Smoltz mess.

Well, I didn't think Smoltz was a debacle. They made an offer and someone else beat it.


I guess my feeling is that you don't take your legend and make him back of the rotation insurance. Sure, that's what they've done and in a purely on the field sense it makes sense and is good baseball. I just think it was pretty much guaranteed from the start to end something like this and so should have been avoided.

Sam, with respect, you seem to view being a fan of the Braves to mean "a fan of whoever currently wears their uniform". Once a player leaves, you seem very willing to cut them out of your heart. Which is fine. How you root for the team is your business. But many people, perhaps most, retain a soft spot for guys who've gone out there and won for us. Hell, I wouldn't want them to do this to, say, Sid Bream. They (obviously) shouldn't sign him at this point. But, if they were stupid enough to, I wouldn't want them to release him at the end of a good week in A ball just because thye'd come to their senses.


IOW, yes, I'd have much rather the Braves had a little less insurance for the rotation as opposed to crapping on a guy I have fond memories of.
   48. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3206833)
Oh, just try it. Flipping them off is fun. It's not like Tony Gwynn whined like this when San Diego said "uh, Tony, you're fat and can't hit any more."
   49. RJ in TO Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3206839)
Well, I didn't think Smoltz was a debacle. They made an offer and someone else beat it.


And then Smoltz starting his complaints about respect, and how Atlanta was cheap, and this, that, and the other thing.

Losing Smoltz wasn't a PR disaster, but having him rip into the organization after leaving (and continuing to do so now) certainly isn't a PR bonus.
   50. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:48 PM (#3206845)
Sam, with respect, you seem to view being a fan of the Braves to mean "a fan of whoever currently wears their uniform".

Not really. I adore Ryan Klesko to this day. I've stood behind Andruw Jones longer than most. I'd stomp on babies' soft, cuddly skulls if Greg Maddux would smile at me. But I distinguish my continuing appreciation of those players and _what they have done_ from the analysis of _what they could reasonably be expected to do going forward._ Frank Wren's job is to put the best team possible on the field in any given year. His job is not to gently massage the balls of franchise greats just to make sure they feel "respected."

Eddie Mathews was misreable for a seaosn in Atlanta. Hank Aaron played out the string as a has-been in Milwaukee. Dale Murphy was traded for questionable middle relief. We'll survive the trials and travails of Smoltz and Glavine coming to terms with thier own mortality. Frank Wren has a baseball team to build. He should not and can not be distracted by this retirement home melodrama.
   51. bunyon Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:49 PM (#3206849)
Oh, just try it. Flipping them off is fun.

Why? I just don't get this. These guys are part of a renaissance on the team you love but as soon as they can't play anymore you flip them the bird? I agree both players have whined and moaned a bit at the end, but many players do. It isn't much of a debt of gratitude you feel toward them if that is enough to flip them the bird. We aren't talking about being their friends or supporting them in a campaign of some sort. I just can't being their fan when their on the team and winning and then disliking them if they leave the team or start losing. At some point, I'm not going to be as good at what I do as I am now and I hope not to be flipped the bird.


EDIT: Just read 50 and don't disagree with most of it (I'll race you to those babies, by the way). But I'm still not angry with either Smoltz or Glavine. I wish they'd be quieter but I also wish they were still great. Neither has done nearly enough, for me, to outweigh the positives. And I just don't think Glavine was ever a real possibility to be good this year. I agree, Wren has to build a team, which is why the only call he should have been accepting from Glavine was to set up tee times. IOW, my objection isn't really the decision of yesterday but the decision a few months ago to have anything to do with him.
   52. phredbird Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3206853)
this is a really interesting thread. i'm ambivalent about the braves on this one. they made a defensible baseball move. giving glavine a start and $1m for old times sake is a nonstarter -- er, no pun intended. but the optics here are not pretty for the club.
wren seems like a tony soprano type: 'i ain't runnin' no popularity contest.'
as someone said, i think it'll blow over. glavine hasn't come out and cursed the braves forever or anything has he?
   53. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:55 PM (#3206859)
Bunyon, I'm already on record: when they induct these guys into the HOF - Braves and MLB - I'll cheer with everyone else. But you can't be sentimental about this crap when you're trying to build the next great Braves team. Optics and PR be damned, you have to make the moves that give you the best chance at winning. Tom Glavine is not part of the next great Braves team. Thanks for the memories, Tommy. Now get over yourself and quit whining like a girl.
   54. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3206861)
Now that I think about it, has Glavine actually said anything since the release? I recall reading some vaguely worded paragraph indicating that his agent thought Glavine was pissed, but I haven't read any negative quotes attributed to Tommy.
   55. bunyon Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3206867)
And, I'll say it one more time, his gripe - and most of those I've read - have to do with his being signed in the first place. If they decline to sign him in the off-season and he whines, I'd be right with you. But he comes back, rehabs, works hard I'm sure, has two "effective" outings (I don't care what the scouts say - he gave up no runs) and then is cut. It's got to look to him like a pure cost cutting move. Sure, he's not as good an option as others in the org but he isn't going to see it that way and he's got some numbers to back him up. I'm sure if he really didn't think he could be effective in MLB, he'd retire. I have a feeling he's going to sign with someone, get lit up like a bonfire and retire.

I also agree that 5 years from now no one is going to be too worked up about all this.
   56.     Hey Gurl Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:09 PM (#3206880)
Do you not remember 2008?


Actually, not really. Until recently, I had it in my head that Glavine was still on the Mets in 2008. Time goes by too fast.
   57. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3206881)
Glavine getting called up and getting pounded for a few starts probably wasn't Wren's nightmare scenario. I'm sure he wasn't thrilled about wasting a million bucks on that. But I think Wren probably feared the prospect of Glavine coming up, surrendering three runs in five innings in his debut and oscillating between a 4.9 and 5.1 ERA while throwing up junk for a few turns in the rotation. If that happens it becomes nearly impossible to cut Glavine; he's almost respectable and Bobby would throw a fit at the prospect. Meanwhile you've got Tommy Hanson, your carefully guarded Doomsday Weapon, striking out 10 guys a start down at AAA, there's no place in the rotation to stick him and you don't want to ignite a Southern version of the Joba conflagration by using him in the bullpen.
   58. Karl from NY Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3206886)
I might think the Braves might recoup close to that $1M just in tickets and concessions for the game Glavine would pitch, if planned and promoted a few days ahead of time.
   59. wjones Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:15 PM (#3206891)
Well, first off, I don't want to criticize Glavine for something Smoltz said; until it comes from Tommy's mouth, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I think we know what was up here--they got a nibble from Pittsburgh about McLouth, who makes identical money to what Glavine was going to get paid had he stayed on the roster. Then, instead of Glavine getting hurt in rehab, or having control problems, or getting knocked around with his however slow is the current story fastball, he actually pitched well, both in AAA and in Lower A. Certainly if I am Glavine I would have probably felt pretty good about those starts. Certainly the fans in Lawrenceville, GA, and Rome, GA, who are all probably lifer Braves fans, thought he did well. Not only does this foil the management's plan to bow out of this gracefully, they basically have to talk how bad he did, while a large part of their fan base, with their own eyes, saw something completely different. They know that they want to call up Hanson now, and his Super Two status will not kick in now that they gave Jo Jo all those bad starts. Medlen also foiled this plan, after sucking big in his first start, having a bad inning in his second, had the audacity to be brilliant in his third, only to be relegated to the pen for Hanson. So yes the management had a great plan, with several layers (get McLouth, call up Hanson, put Medlen in the pen, retire Glavine, who knows what else), but not everyone got the correct script, and now it is a bit of a PR disaster, and management comes out looking negative. It's a different kind of karma from last year, when all of their pitching options blew out an arm, but still a bad karma just the same. I so far like the karma this year a little better, but I will beware of it.
   60. Dr Love Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:16 PM (#3206894)
I might think the Braves might recoup close to that $1M just in tickets and concessions for the game Glavine would pitch, if planned and promoted a few days ahead of time.


That's a hell of a lot of tickets and concession sales to make up the difference.
   61. Honkie Kong Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:40 PM (#3206929)
Weren't there reports/rumours out there that they went to Glavine with some sort of exit package, but he asked to be released as he wanted to pitch?
   62. Dr Love Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:46 PM (#3206937)
Weren't there reports/rumours out there that they went to Glavine with some sort of exit package, but he asked to be released as he wanted to pitch?


Yes. The story that came out was he was offered either retirement or his release, Wren is saying they didn't offer that and he asked to be released.
   63. Colin Posted: June 05, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3207800)
How does this work, Colin? Tom Glavine had a horrible 2008, was DL'd, had to have off-season shoulder surgery. He claimed his ineffectiveness in 2008 was due to the shoulder problems and the surgery would fix it. Scouts don't have a response to that. They CAN'T have a response to that.


In which case, Wren shouldn't have signed him. Either (a) Glavine was healthy and just done when he sucked last year, or (b) Glavine was pitching while hurt and faced rehab at age 43. Neither of these bodes well for his performance, and signing him was stupid.

Contrary to Glavine's opinion of himself, it didn't go particularly well.


He threw eleven scoreless innings in his rehab starts with his usual soft-toss junk. This is not John Smoltz we're talking about here - this is someone who has gotten by on low-strikeout junk for years; hell, statheads were predicting his demise ("going Drabek") a decade and a half ago. So, when he comes out throwing junk and getting people out and feeling good in his rehab starts, I can understand why he's pissed that the team suddenly didn't agree with his opinion of himself.

But then, I suspect he came out pitching exactly as any reasonable person would expect, and the team had just changed its mind about wanting to spend the money on him.

Glavine getting called up and getting pounded for a few starts probably wasn't Wren's nightmare scenario. ...I think Wren probably feared the prospect of Glavine coming up, surrendering three runs in five innings in his debut and oscillating between a 4.9 and 5.1 ERA while throwing up junk for a few turns in the rotation. If that happens it becomes nearly impossible to cut Glavine


In which case, again, Wren just shouldn't have signed him. Wren set himself up for an ugly situation in the most likely scenarios.

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