Atlanta Braves: 5 Things We Found Out On The Off Day

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May 5, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) waits on the field during a replay challenge in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

To say the Atlanta Braves are in a difficult spot on May 8th 2014 would be an understatement.

For the second straight year, the Braves enjoyed a fantastic April month – in 2013 they had a 17-9 April and in 2014 they went 17-8 in April.  But since April 27th against the Cincinnati Reds, the Braves have only been victorious in one game….yes 1 game!  And are now 18-15 and in third place in the division behind the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins.

I’ll stop beating on the losing topic because if you’re on this site, I’m sure you’re as frustrated as the rest of us.

The Braves players and organization enjoyed an off day on Thursday and it probably came at the best time – because it’s the NFL Draft night and we have a lot of players who are football fans.

Since it’s the off day, most predicted we get some news out of the Braves camp…well, we did so lets dive into what we learned on May 8th.

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  • Mushy Peas

    Interesting. -If only a Canadian candy company had offered Ervin 200 bags of Skittles (and the local kids) instead of pizzas, he’d most likely be pitching for the Blue Jays now.
    -That one’s for you, Alan! ;-) Nice edit, by the way. Funny stuff!

  • Mushy Peas

    I’m not surprised that Jordan is unhappy given the circumstances. I would be. Despite his apparent lack of productivity per the numbers, he hasn’t really had enough opportunities to prove otherwise. Despite this, he is probably one of the team’s best guys off the bench when you factor in that he is a lefty, has great speed, has the ability to steal, can provide adequate defense, and has the ability to bunt for a hit. So what do you do? He’s certainly not going to want to go back down to the minors and you’re not going to get much of anything for him in a trade. I wouldn’t take out BJ at this point, though I’ve always liked the idea of platooning him with Schafer. Jordan could possibly evolve into a better guy off the bench from an offensive standpoint if they did set up some kind of platoon to give him more ABs. Other than that, I don’t know what could be done. I obviously realize that Schafer is not nearly the same caliber player, but I’ve felt that the situation with the Dodgers’ outfielders is somewhat unfair to whomever draws the short straw given the fact that all four are equally deserving of an everyday spot in the line-up. Though, on their end, at least, they all have a significantly higher trade value if they ever choose to go that route. They all seem content at present. I’m fairly certain that Crawford, Ethier, and Kemp are happy knowing that they will each have a satisfactory amount of starts in place of Puig when he’s frequently either benched, injured, or incarcerated.

    • Jeff Schafer

      Maybe Fredi sits Heyward for a few games. I’m not sure what they do with Schafer because I’d like to see him get more innings as well.

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      I tend to agree on Schafer, and have felt that way for some time. Jordan’s biggest enemy at times is himself, but he has matured a good deal in the last couple of year, and just needs a good chance to prove himself. Often we saddle a player with the paper that accompanies them, and forget that every player can improve, learn things, and simply get better! I hate the oft-heard notion these days that some opine, that a player is what he is, and will be what he has been. It’s just not categorically true, and I still think that if Jordan could play every day, he could blossom. That won’t be with Atlanta I’m afraid.

    • Sealift67

      Agree. Yet Schafer has to feel good about making the team, and realizes
      he has to wait for a shot. If I had my druthers I would move Jason to CF,
      Justin to RF, and bring up Joey T to share time with BJ. BJ could also
      pinch run, lay a bunt. late inning defense as well.

  • fireboss

    Fredi won’t sit Jason (as @jeffschafer:disqus suggests) for any period of time, his “potential” and
    defense will keep him there barring injury. There’s some mistaken idea
    that BJ is getting hot but the numbers don’t back that up. What he has done is hit like Schafer and steal bases like we expect of Schafer. So while this continues his $15M will keep him in the lineup.
    Trading Jordan is possible of course but with whom and for what that equals his value
    as a fourth outfielder capable of playing all positions well? If the baseball gods work as they usually do Schafer will get a shot due to injury. Uggla OTOH is simply a sunken cost and should be jettisoned.

    • Jeff Schafer

      I see your point with JHey and I said “maybe they sit him” not they should…his average continues to drop. First, I think he should be moved out of the leadoff spot. He’s not a leadoff hitter, we just put him back there because the team was rolling when he was there last year….now they aren’t….move him!!

  • BravesBeliever

    Sure, as has been observed below, Schafer’s numbers are not anything to “rally” around; however, what we saw last year was that, unlike BJ, who is simply atrocious and has been for almost 2 1/2 years (except on the base pads which Jordan can match), when Schafer gets REGULAR PLAYING TIME, he comes into his own and plays like a consistent professional baseball player should and, more importantly, MUCH better than BJ. It’s really a no brainer. I know this isn’t “realistic in terms of traditional contract/salary considerations”; however, managers should play with blinders to the salaries paid. Managers are not hired (or GMs for that matter) to bow and scrape to high dollar players. They are hired to WIN and to do whatever it takes to do so. After all, we’ve heard Fredi say on multiple occasions that “I’m going to play the players that help us win.” Really?! Seriously?! Do you mean that, Fredi? If so, Schafer should be playing consistently so that he can shine in big spots like he did last year as opposed to BJ who has apparently been afflicted with some dreaded malady which prevents him from hitting or even getting a decent bunt down and getting on to produce. Last year I reluctantly suffered quietly and semi-patiently through the first half; but, frustration set in when Management kept playing BJ in the second half and this year, quite frankly, there is simply no excuse whatsoever. Here’s the deal: I submit that the whole salary/contract thing is ludicrous…simply ludicrous. After all, if the Bravos are WINNING, who’s going to complain? Not the fans, not the team (except the Uptons) and the Braves desperately need to win to gain fan support to pack out the new stadium. And make no mistake about it: that starts now as 2017 will be here before you know it and we need to build a winning record with a winning team. THAT starts NOW. Said by many to be a ‘conundrum’ for the team, quite honestly, I only see the “huge salary issue” as an issue for Frank Wrenn’s ego- and, btw, I’m a Wrenn fan. But they are dead wrong here. Schafer is a proven product when playing regularly and he should most definitely be playing regularly until he proves he cannot get the job done, a factor which BJ has already mastered but which, if he plays regularly, I have no anticipation of Schafer evidencing. Do what you said, Braves Management- play the players who will help you WIN. (Ditto all of the above re: Uggla vis-à-vis Pena or Pastornicky and I think Pena is the answer there if he is played regularly).