Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Stars Are Aligning

Rosenthal's latest column has the Diamondbacks about ready to part ways with Randy Johnson and notes that between the Hoffman thing and the pressure arising out of the Peavy deal, the Padres front office may be on the brink of chaos.

Call me crazy, but I can't help but think that all three of them -- Johnson, Peavy, and Hoffman -- are going to wind up with the Braves next season as the result of some all-in, let's-win-one-for-the-Chipper strategy.

Based on everything I'm reading, Peavy is a near-given. Hoffman would fit in perfectly with the Braves long history of picking up closers in their twilight years (think Bruce Sutter and Steve Bedrosian). Johnson fits in perfectly with the Braves long history of picking up guys that have killed them (and while Johnson hasn't exactly destroyed the Braves over the years, he did throw a perfect game against them) while also fitting in with their recent history of trying to get one last drop of something out old pitchers. Going all-in with ancients didn't work last year, but (a) I don't believe that Atlanta can be deterred from the strategy as long as Bobby Cox walks the Earth; and (b) the Braves claim they have money to spend this year.

Good idea? Well, I'm already on record against draining the farm for Peavy, but that ship may have already sailed. Johnson might actually be a smart pickup assuming he doesn't want $15M again. Though he is no longer the Big Unit and can be expected to break down eventually, he pitched excellently at times last season, and the drive for 300 wins would put some butts in the seats. Hoffman may very well be done, but as long as he isn't relied upon to be the linchpin of the bullpen, he could be useful.

I have no evidence that the Braves are thinking this -- it's an outrageously high-risk strategy that flies in the face of the pared-down, build from within strategy in which the Braves claim to believe -- but doesn't such a scenario just scream "Braves"?

UPDATE: Jason from IIATMS and I have exchanged a couple of emails about all of this, in which he notes that if they are going to do this, the Braves should really go all-in and convince Greg Maddux to come back and sign Jamie Moyer too, in which case they would have a rotation that averaged over 40 even with Peavy. That one had me banging my head on my desk because it's the kind of things the Braves would probably consider. Thankfully, Moyer isn't going to happen because Jair Jurrjens is hanging around, but Jesus, don't give Frank Wren any ideas. And really Jason, quit taunting me.

Jason also notes that there would be a bunch of Cy Young awards there -- 12 if you had a Glavine-Maddux-Johnson-Peavy-Jurrjens rotation. The kicker: Jair Jurrjens would be the best of all of them next year and the Braves would still probably finish fourth.


Jason @ IIATMS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason @ IIATMS said...

Well, it certainly would make the NL East one heckuva dogfight. WS Champs, Mets and a HOF laden geriatric Braves team.

Maybe they can bring Maddux back too. Imagine a rotation that includes Unit, Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, Peavy and Hudson, with Hoffman's change-up at the end? That's ridiculous. So what if most of them have had their 40th birthday.

Wait, isn't Moyer a FA? They could run a 7 man rotation to keep the old geezers fresh.

Maybe they can lure Moose, too.

And Bob Feller.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Hudson is out all year with TJ surgery, so hell, they may actually need Moyer.

The fact that I'm saying that already has me depressed for 2009.

Peter said...

I think Hoffman ends up with the Indians.

The need is pretty glaring, they almost signed him the last time around, and the big money teams will be more distracted by bigger fish.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

I totally forgot about Hudson's TJS.

I hear that Schilling might want to pitch, Craig!

Go with the 8 man rotation!

Pete Toms said...

I can't recall the context, but I mused here recently about who is in control in SD, DePodesta, Towers or Alderson? I did notice in the transactions this AM that there has been a shuffling of titles in the SD front office, although PD was the only name I recognized.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

I keed, I keed.

Dre said...

Sorry to throw a wrench in your equation Craig, but there's a very slim chance that Johnson lands east of the Grand Canyon and an even slimmer chance at east of Mississippi River.

Dave said...

Too bad the Red Sox already picked up Tim Wakefield's option, but Mike Timlin is a free agent. Or if the Braves want to inject some youth, Mike Mussina is under forty for three more weeks.

Diesel said...

Whoa, Craig ... I know Peavy is underrated (and not just a little), but it might be a stretch to say Jair is better that Peavy right now.

Anyway, your nightmare scenario would make for some excellent, excellent commentary from the Boog next season.

Diesel said...

Edit: I meant Peavy is overrated.

Michael M said...

Peavy is overrated...but he did average over 6 innings per start last year, which works.

Signing a bunch of low-risk old guys wouldn't be a bad idea...if the geezers like Smoltz, Hoffman, Johnson, Moyer, Glavine, et al realize their market value with their ages in mind, that would probably only total half of what they'd be willing to spend. Probably $20mm for all of them. Maybe less.

What do they do with the rest? Sign Dunn/Winn, trade Francoeur for some relief help, and trade Kelly Johnson for Randy Winn. Bada bing.

Your thoughts, everyone?