Posted by: furmanbisher | November 15, 2008

No Thanks, Jake!

Sorry about Jake Peavy, a good ol’ Southern lad from Semmes, AL, (pop. about 1,500), but it was about time the Braves learned their lesson about investing in high-salaried nomads, and turned to concentrating on the development of prospects within. Look, where did John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, and a cast too numerous to mention here, come from? The farm system. From within. Home-developed.

It would seem that after the costly experiences with Mike Hampton—he never pitched a productive inning from ’05 until ’08—J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira, Gary Sheffield and the list goes on, it would seem that a review of the products developed from within would convince management. John Schuerholz made a bounty of smart deals, but he kicked a few as well while developing all those division pennants. His worst, in my eyes, was giving up Adam Wainwright for one season of Drew, who was born to roam. Wainwright will be winning major league games for years after Drew is back on his acreage in Hahira.

Yep, the deal for Tim Hudson turned out fairly well. He had three winning seasons for the Braves, but they never made the playoffs with him. And where is he now? Out of action while his surgically repaired arm heals. I liked it when Mark Kotsay came here from Oakland in exchange for Joey Devine. Then Kotsay was traded away while Devine was having an all-star season out West.

Maybe baseball trends have changed. Maybe you don’t win with your farm system any more, but I don’t buy that. Smart scouting will get more done than the treachery of the trading market. The Braves did it. So did Tampa Bay this season. If Frank Wren is looking for one vote from the gallery, he has mine. Bully for you, Frank. Mine your own ore.


Responses

  1. I agree that developing players through the minor league system is the way to build your core group, but including Smoltz as one of the Braves’ examples is questionable. He came over from the Tigers, and pitched only 23 games in the Atlanta system before graduating to the big club. Of course he only hurled 38 games in the Detroit system, so you could make the argument that a lot of his development was done by Atlanta instructors.

  2. Of course Smoltz was first signed by Detroit, but he came up through the Braves farm system after they found him on a lower minor league team in Glen Falls, NY., and traded for him, then sent him to Richmond. Quibble, if you will, but I stand my ground. —fb


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