Monday, July 26, 2010

Braves look to fill holes before July 31st deadline

Marlins Outfielder Cody Ross
If the Braves don't find a better option in center field before this weekends trade deadline you should probably expect Greg Norton to teach Nate McClouth how to strike out with the bases loaded and one out to give the guy behind you a chance to get a hit. Just sayin'.
The way I see it the Braves have two holes they need to fill by week's end. First, Since McClouth is clearly not the go to guy in center field that needs to be filled. Second with Jesse Chavez and Kenshin Kawakami just taking up space in the bullpen and Eric O'Flaherty struggling with some arm strength issues, I think it is safe to say we'll need another reliable arm in the bullpen. So to fill these needs I think the Braves have three different options.
Option 1: Trade for a center fielder and fix the bullpen with talent already in the organization. The two best options at center field were Cody Ross of the Florida Marlins and David Dejesus of the Royals. Since Dejesus is likely out for the season with an injured wrist, that leaves Cody Ross. As of today the Braves interest in Ross is minimal and it's easy to see why. With the Marlins not yet out of the playoff race they haven't started selling so what they would ask in return for Ross is just too high a price for the Braves to pay. Many reports state that the Braves currently have enough top notch arms in their farm system that they could get anybody currently on the trade block. The problem is none of top guys is a center fielder and so I don't see Wren pulling the trigger on this option. UPDATE: Fukudome of the Cubs might also be a good option since the Cubs are willing to offer cash considerations on any trade. But once again Fukudome isn't really a center fielder and we already have enough corner outfielders.

Option 2: Trade for a bullpen fix and fill the center field spot with some combination of Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco. Right now trading for a bullpen fix won't be very effective because the going price for middle relief is way too high. The Braves aren't looking for a top notch closer or setup man so it wouldn't be smart for the them to give up their high end talent for a middle reliever.

Option 3: Fix both problems from within the organization. Unless a top notch outfielder becomes available very soon, this seems to be the most viable option. So how we gonna do it?
Talented Lefty Mike Minor
    Bullpen fix: The Braves could promote top prospect Craig Kimbrel to fill the bullpen roll or more likely Stephen Merek who has a 0.60 ERA through 45 innings at the double and triple A levels. If Wren chooses he could also place put Medlen back in the bullpen and promote prospect Mike Minor into the starting rotation. I like this option because it would fill the bullpen whole and add a much needed left handed pitcher into the rotation.

I think that either Gregor Blanco or Cabrera could fill the gap in center field. Blanco has the potential to do what Martin Prado did for the Braves last year. But I'm not sure that Frank Wren is willing to take that chance. If a top center fielder comes on the market at a reasonable price I think Wren will make the deal and fix the bullpen with what we already have. However if nothing becomes available then I could see Wren sitting on his talented arms and fixing things with what we've got.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Soccer is Lame.

I guess this isn't really Braves related, but with the fifa world cup coming upon us I thought I would, in the words of Bill O'Reilly, bloviate just a bit. So for your enjoyment or perhaps possible outrage here is your top ten reasons soccer is lame.

10. Soccer is just plain gay. Not gay like Michael Scott uses the term. Gay like a bunch of guys running around doing girly things with other guys.,17603/

9. Let's face it soccer is full of a bunch of first class floppers. If I see another guy roll around on the field like he's just been shot, only to jump up and start running around as soon as he's carted off the field, I might just roll around on my couch until my wife calls 911. Maybe they'll take ME to the hospital where I won't have to watch another soccer game. Just sayin.

8. Tie? Yeah they still have those is soccer. It's like kissing your sister, you can try and argue that both parties win and you can even give them each a point and say "good job". But we all know that when you kiss you sister, NOBODY wins. Please soccer get rid of ties! That way we won't have to watch South Korea stick all their players on defense and hope for a 0-0 tie.

7. Soccer Fans. Yes, soccer fan's suck. Why can't you just let me hate soccer without trying to tell me how I would LOVE soccer if I only understood? Just because everyone else in third world countries has nothing better to watch, that doesn't mean that I don't. Enjoy your 0-0 ties and you once a millennium goals but leave the rest of us to our real sports.

6. "Soccer is just a bunch of guys running around trying not to touch a polka dot ball with their hands". Soccer is full of metro Europeans with fohawks and bleached hair. Most of these guys could take a lesson from Brad Paisley's "I'm still a guy".

5. Off-sides penalty. Before you tell me that football has an offsides penalty also, let me tell you that the two offsides penalties are nothing alike. In soccer the offsides penalty is given during LIVE action. Imagine a touchdown pass getting called back because the receiver was ahead of the quarterback when he threw the ball. That's the offsides they are calling in soccer.

4. They run around for a couple hours and NOTHING happens. The most exiting thing in soccer is when someone almost scores. When the players run around like they just wont he world cup every time a single goal is scored, you know there isn't enough scoring going on.

3. Did I mention you can still tie in soccer? Enough said

2. A lot of people don't know this but if the US and England had tied their last games with the same goal differential they would have broken he tie with a simple coin flip. Seriously soccer!? Seriously? I don't think I even want to go into how ridiculous it is that in the biggest tournament in the world is decided by goal differential but a coin flip? WOW...

1. Zero. That might also be the final total score to most soccer games, but that's not what I'm talking about here. Zero is actually the number of rule changes or innovations that soccer has made since its inception like a thousand years ago. Imagine the NBA still using a peach basket for a hoop. As the Gatorade jingle goes "if you want a revolution the only solution: EVOLVE". Soccer refuses to do this and so nobody in the US wants to watch. Many could say that it is popular all over the world so who cares? Well FIFA should, it's largest fan base lies in third world countries where innovation and ingenuity is obviously lagging a bit behind.