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time to look into the crystal ball...

posted Aug 4, 2009, 9:36 AM by R. Brett Rosson
    When I walked in to work this morning, I saw a fellow Braves fan in the office. I walked up to him and told him that I think Kawakami sucks...Blunt, I know, but in my eyes truthful. Now you all can go ahead and say (just like him) that it wasn't his fault. He pitched 6 innings only allowing 3 runs, but is really not at fault? The Braves didn't even get in till 2:30 or so last night, so to say they were tired is an understatement. None the less they get off to a hot start and score in the first inning. I know they should have came out with more runs but still to score in the first inning is not bad after the long night they had. As a starting pitcher, you set a tone for your team, and when you promptly give the lead away kinda set a bad tone for the rest of the game. Well, the Braves fight back and Adam LaRoche hits his first bomb after being traded BACK to the Braves. And yet again, KK promptly gives it right back and allows two runs the next half inning. Now I understand the Braves didn't score the rest of the game, but what do you expect? I can only imagine how the guys were feeling.
      "Great we got the lead now let's just pitch well and get this game over."
        "Well that sucked we gave it back, maybe we can add some more on."
        "Alright there you go, way to show some resiliance guys! 2-1 lead!"
        "O wait, damn there goes the lead...again."

Seriously, what a downer to jump ahead twice and then immediately back to square one. I realize that all this happened in the first two innings and that they had seven more to try and score. But you have to agree that it takes a little out of you when your pitcher quickly gives it right back. Had KK held the lead a few innings, what's to say the hitting wouldn't have stopped? All I'm saying is KK has not been pitching that great of late. Long innings wear and tear not only on the pitcher but also the offense. Sure this isn't the main problem. I'm purely pointing out my view of the man. Hopefully Tim Hudson will be back and KK could be used in relief. What an expensive reliever that would be eh?
    How does it look to the fans when you can't beat some of the worst teams in baseball. Last night we were out scored by the second worst team in baseball. We fell to 7.5 games back in the division. We fell to fifth in wild card race behind the Rockies, Cardinals, Giants and Marlins, and we are tied with the Astros and Brewers. We are back to a .500 team. Do we have what it takes to make the playoffs? I still think so but if things keep up we won't. We need to beat the teams we SHOULD beat.
    On to the Adam LaRoche trade. This one like many other blogs have been saying is a puzzler to think about. What happens at first after this season? Can we sign Rochey for an extension? Can we afford him? If not Adam, then who will play first. It just doesn't seem like the first baseman in waiting is ready yet or will be ready for next season. Freddie Freeman is a great prospect and hopefully will be a good major leaguer some day, but it will likely have to wait until at least the 2011 season. I love seeing Adam back in a Braves uniform and I think the deal was partly made because of the clubhouse effect. He still has a lot of friends on this team and he said it himself.
        "It feels like I never left."
Casey Kotchman, from what I understand, kept to himself. Adam is completely the opposite. I think in a few more games we will get things clicking again and put on a streak. Let's hope, anyways. They need to make some serious headway in the next few weeks.
    This upcoming offseason should be very interesting for the Braves. They will have a number of things to look at.
  1. Tim Hudson - has a team option. In my opinion it would be in the Braves best interests to go ahead and take that option but ask for a possible restructure. Maybe have the money spread out over the next couple years and use next season as a tester to see how his arm holds up.
  2. Javier Vazquez - he will still be under contract. If you keep Hudson, what do you do with Vazquez? Do you trade him to fill other needs? Do you keep him with Hudson and knock someone else out?
  3. Kenshin Kawakami - will he be a starter? He is a little too expensive to be a bullpen guy but lifting his weight as a number 3 guy like he was brought here to do. I don't know the legistics, but can the Braves release him and not pay him? Like I said I don't know that side of this.
  4. Outfield - it's clear that the outfield will be a spot for the Braves to look at this upcoming offseason. Do you go after another Garrett Anderson type player for a year? Will Heyward be ready? Will Schafer be ready?
  5. First Base - with the recent acquistion of Adam LaRoche and departure of Casey Kotchman a void has been left at first base. Like I asked above, can we get LaRoche for a couple more years until Freeman is ready or do we fill this spot other ways via free agency or via trade. It was my understanding that Casey Kotchman would have been used until Freeman was ready because he was still had two years of arbitration left. This does however free up some salary to go after a first baseman because Kotch probably would have gotten around the $4-5 million range.
  6. Bullpen - Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano will both be free agents at the end of the year. Can the Braves afford one of them? If not, what do you do to fill those spots?
Like I said this upcoming offseason should be pretty interesting. 
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