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Tomahawk Talk: Q&A with Talking Chop

Recently, Martin Gandy from our Atlanta Braves sister site Talking Chop reached out and suggested that we exchange and answer five questions.  I obliged.  My responses to his questions are here.  My questions and his answers are below...

1.  Two seasons and no division title.  Does it feel strange, or have
you adjusted to actually having a little competition from within the

A: If you will remember it was more of a collapse by your Phillies in
2005 that didn't end our streak earlier - you guys probably should
have won the division that year. It does feel strange not making the
playoffs after making it for some may years, but I still feel we're
just missing it, or we're just lacking that one extra piece for a full
season that will put us over the edge. Hopefully in Tom Glavine (and
even Jair Jurrjens) that piece is in place for a good run next year.
Remember, our streak was primarily built on dominant starting pitching
during the regular season, and if it were not for a series of injuries
to Mike Hampton and the frustrating ineffectiveness of guys like John
Thomson and Kyle Davies we might have continued that streak.

2.  In bringing Tom Glavine back, the Braves forfeited their first
round pick (18th overall) to the rival Mets.  Good move?

We had a lot of discussion about this at Talking Chop, and I think the
rough consensus was that even the 18th pick in the first round is a
crapshoot and not a sure thing (especially with the way the Mets
develop talent). Consider a trade for Tom Glavine, I think any team
would gladly give up a first round question mark for a starting
pitcher that will likely give you 200 innings and 13 to 15 wins - and
that might be even more of a steal in this market. Turn the question
around for the Phillies, would you trade your fifth starter for a more
experienced Tom Glavine if all you had to give up was an unknown draft
pick? It's a gamble, but I think one worth taking.

3.  How much will this team miss Andruw Jones?  Do you support the
decision to cut him loose?

The fans will miss him more than the team will. He was in decline, and
most every metric said so. Yes, he may bounce back and have a good
year next year and prove the Dodgers geniuses for signing him at what
turns out to be a discount, but that's a big IF. Andruw was miscast in
our lineup. He was never a cleanup hitter, and because of the lack of
any other obvious candidate to hit there he found himself in that role
for several years (including years in which we didn't make the
post-season, by the way). I think it was time to say goodbye, though
as a fan I wish he would have asked for some sort of discount
make-good one-year contract.

4.  What are the Braves' biggest needs this offseason?

We addressed starting pitching with Glavine and Jurrjens. We addressed
lefty relief with Will Ohman, and backup infielder with Omar Infante.
The team says they want a veteran backup catcher and perhaps a more
experienced stop-gap center fielder until top prospect Jordan Schafer
is ready. I could care less on the catcher and I think we're fine in
center with a combo of Josh Anderson (acquired from Houston for
Villarreal) and Greg White (also knows as Gregor Blanco). We could use
some upgrades in the bullpen or even still in the starting rotation,
but they need to be affordable and attractive on multiple levels.
Really, though, we're set for next year (or so we'll find out in
spring training).

5.  Was the Mark Teixeira trade a departing masterstroke from John
Schuerholz, or did they send too much talent out of town in the deal?

Probably too early to tell. We really did send a lot of good young
talent to Texas. If we had made the playoffs last year it would look a
lot better right now. If we make the playoffs next year and Teixeira
is a big part of it then it will probably make it easier to stomach in
the long run. Of course, if we don't and Teixeira walks, then it might
be tough to watch as those kids graduate to the majors in Texas. The
history of Schuerholz tells us that he's never been afraid to trade
away prospects for established talent, and I don't think he's ever
regretted it. Can you name any of the players he traded away to get
Denny Neagle, or Fred McGriff? He's in the business to win every year,
and in 14 out of 16 non-strike seasons he did that successfully. Much
like giving away a draft pick for Glavine, you can't be afraid to
trade away what could be for what can help you now.