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Bob Wickman Stays With Braves

Finding a return to the NL to his liking, 37 year-old closer Bob Wickman has re-upped with the Braves for one year and $6.5MM.  It seems a little pricey for a guy valued at about a million bucks for 2007 by Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projection system.  Still, he was the best option in a thin market

Some teams are already thinking outside the box when looking for closers.  The Red Sox are considering trying hard-thrower Matt Clement in the role.  His stuff is nasty, so maybe a move to the 'pen would do him good.  Other possible converts include Adam Eaton, Randy Wolf, and Kerry Wood.  Wood is the most likely to make the switch, and he could find some interested parties despite pitching only 85 innings over the past two seasons.

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I for one don't expect Clement to ever go past the "well he's been terrible as a starter...let's try him as a closer" stage. His problem, as everyone knows, is his control...and that he has none. Further, from what I've read, he doesn't have a rubber arm, and takes forever to warm up before pitching. It's worth a look...but I think Boston's more likely to go hard at one of the Japanese options, either for Matsuzaka, with Paps in the pen again, or that Ishii guy.

The PECOTA dollar values seem kind of useless most of the time... more teams having more money to spend than ever dictates that values are not going to be what they "should" be.

Yeah, but as a guide, they can put a decent price on a guy projected to post a 3.90 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.

This is incredible news for the Braves. A bullpen with Wickman, Devine (who has been incredible since callup), McBride, Villareal, Paronto, Boyer, maybe Lerew and/or Baez (probably not). This will take away a lot of the guess work with the bullpen that they had this year. Now with Smoltz's option exercised they will have Smoltz, Hudson, James, Ramirez, Thompson, Hampton, and Davies all competing for rotation spots. This team looks good.

As for Clement, I don't but into the theory of taking a crappy starter and trying to make him into a good closer. We already saw this with Jorge Sosa who has great stuff but was a horrible closer. I can see Wood as a good closer if he can stay healthy though.

It's happened a million times, with guys like Rivera, Gagne, and most closers.

As for the Braves' rotation, I'm not impressed. Only Smoltz and James figure to be above average.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on Hampton because we just don't know, but you cannot tell me that Kyle Davies, Horacio Ramirez, and Tim Hudson won't be above average next season. I realize you really don't like the braves, but don't be ridiculous.

Smoltz, Hudson and Hampton look to be a strong three man rotation to me. Add Ramirez, James or maybe Davies as the number four and five starters and I think it's a good starting rotation.

P.S.: Thomson won't be a Brave in 2007.

Average = 4.48 ERA, 1.40 WHIP in the NL.

2006 stats
Hudson: 4.83 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
Ramirez: 4.48 ERA, 1.52 WHIP
Davies: 7.18 ERA, 1.72 WHIP

Expecting any of the four pitchers you named to be even league average is definitely a gamble. And James could easily regress to be league average. And Smoltz will be 40.

Hampton is not a reliable #3 starter at all. He'll be 34. He hasn't pitched in a long time. Leo Mazzone is gone. He hasn't thrown 200 innings since 2001.

Hudson was bad this year, is on the wrong side of 30, and his peripherals have been going south for years.

Hudson and Ramirez will most likely be above average. Davies is the one I don't personally trust.

Wait sorry. Hudson, at least average. Ramirez and Davies both had injuries which you should know. This is called spin.

"James COULD regress to league average."

Theoretically anything could happen. The Royals could win the WS next year. James is a guy who has been incredible at every level. The guy was 26-13 with a 2.05 ERA and a WHIP under 1 in the minors for his career along with well over a K per IP. Haven't heard you say anything like this about Hamels although James has a better ERA and in almost the same amount of innings has far fewer hits, fewer walks, and has given up fewer HRs.

"And Smoltz will be 40."

Your point? People doubted Smoltz when he rejoined the rotation last year. He did incredibely well, they doubted him this year, he did even better and in fact just got his 200th strikeout of the season. You really do let your dislike of the Braves rule your judgement because this is ridiculous.

Let me rephrase: James WILL regress next year.

http://www.rotoauthority.com/2006/09/chuck_james_exa.html

It's not spin. No one outside of Atlanta would count on Davies or Ramirez to post 200 innings with ERAs below 4.50. They've shown no ability to do so.

Cole Hamels owns Chuck James. His HR and walk rates are better than James's, so I'd say you were adding spin. He's also striking out 9.6 batters per nine at age 21 and doesn't allow a ridiculous amount of flyballs like James.

John Smoltz is a great pitcher. But one pulled hamstring at age 40 and your rotation sucks.

you are trying to prove this by referring me to your site with your opinion. Chuck James is a flyball pitcher and there is no escaping that, of course 80% of them are to the freaking infield or shallow outfield. As for the strikeouts, "Strikeouts are fascist, throw some groundballs, they're more democratic."

I wouldn't count on Ramirez for that, possibly 160 innings and an ERA around 4.50 but I have no problem expecting that from Kyle Davies. I also don't care about age because all that matters is wins and losses. You really cloud your view of baseball with emotion. I realize that the Braves are your least favorite team (don't know why), but you can't be serious. Referring me to your blog to prove a point. I always look at these projected stats, and they always seem to be wrong, not even really all that close.

"He's also striking out 9.6 batters per nine..."

I'm not big on stats, so I might not understand, but is this a typo?

What is all of this Braves stuff. Personally I am not impressed. Kyle Davies, geez, people talk about him like he's Francisco Liriano. Horacio Ramirez, why should anyone who isn't a Braves fan care? Whenever he's been good his peripherals have been almost as unlikely as Jorge Sosa's 2005. Hudson and Hampton can be counted on for what now?

Anyway, as per PECOTA, I still don't think it's helpful. Teams are going to pay far more than what PECOTA says they should. It's also not particularly accurate. Every year it says Carlos Guillen will collapse and this year it predicted the Pirates would finish in 3rd place.

Oh yeah, Chuck James is indeed due for a fall.

It doesn't get any less emotional than pure statistics. Cold, hard numbers. Referring you to projected stats is a lot less biased than the unsupported opinion of a Braves fan.

9.6 strikeouts per nine means that for every nine innings Cole Hamels has pitched, he's struck out 9.6 batters. More than one per inning.

PECOTA, I believe, is the most accurate projection system in existence. It's easy to point to a few examples where it missed. How about Brian Roberts, whose projection for 2006 was ridiculously accurate? MLB teams use PECOTA. It's a lot better than just guessing.

I don't think the braves look that good for next year, especially their rotation. Basically you have to expect that everyone pitches as good or better than this year. While the truth is that in most seasons you have people going up and down. For every season like the Tigers, you have a lot more where the entire rotation as a whole regresses.

Plus, I still don't think Atlanta will make it past the Mets next year, and will likely just be fighting it out for the wildcard in the best NL division.

Let's talk about Hudson. In his last 9 starts, he is 4-1 with an ERA under 3.90 and 41 Ks. As for Chuck James, why should I believe you when you say that he will fall back. He is incredibely talented, and would have been a first top 5 round pick had he not broken his wrists before the draft. Does his career domination of the minors at every level not mean anything? He has the control of a young Tom Glavine and the exact same pitches with a better mentality I believe. Kyle Davies, give him a chance in a full season. In 2005 he was ranked the 53rd best prospect in baseball ahead of guys like Cole Hamels, Brandon League, Huston Street, and Jon Papelbon

Roto can be anti-Brave, but he is dead on right here. As presently constituted the Braves starting pitching in 2007 has too many question marks and to tell you the truth isn't that talented to begin with...

well for his last game, hudson sucked. Which makes him mediocre for his last 10 with only 3 quality starts in there - and below average for the year. But at 31, I'm sure he has PLENTY of upside.

Oh look, Chuck James got rocked. Look at that post ASB ERA and numbers. Ouch!

Kyle Davies got rocked too. Not impressed. Sounds like a lot of "ifs" and excuses.

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