Braves GM John Schuerholz is telling Atlanta fans to be patient. The team is still going to make improvements. They’re just not going to rush.

“We’re going to operate in the same way we’ve operated and feel comfortable doing it,” Schuerholz said by phone from his vacation home in Naples, Fla. “We feel like we can continue to make good choices and good moves.”

He wouldn’t discuss specifics or refute rumors, as usual. Schuerholz doesn’t operate like that. But he did indicate the Braves would not be involved in the posting process for Japanese left-hander Kei Igewa, whose Hanshin Tigers team will review blind bids posted by major league teams this week.

Translation: The market is blowing up. Free agents are signing for way more than they’re worth. And, at the going rate, the Braves (an organization that has been up for sale for overĀ a year) can’t afford to sign anybody who’s any good. So they’re going to try to trade for what they need. Or, they’re going to just cross their fingers and hope that some of their young guys step up big next season. That’s right, we’re looking at you, Jeff Francoeur, you turkey.

Oh, one last thing. If you’re a Braves fan and you died a little inside watching your team miss the playoffs for the first time in 14 years last season, and you’re frustrated that the team doesn’t seem to be making any improvements this offseason, and you’re terrified of the prospect of a 2007 starting rotation that is dependent on aging John Smoltz and recovering Mike Hampton, then you probably won’t be thrilled to hear that the Braves are raising ticket prices.

4 Responses to “Braves going nowhere fast”

  1. If only the team had a billion dollar company that could buy them and spend lots of money. And if only they had a big TV contract where they get seen by millions of people region and nationwide, then they’d be spending money.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Alejandro, this is a good find and a good post, but I am a little confused by the Times story. So, I’ll be the first to admit I know practically nothing about baseball outside of the US. But let’s say for a second that Chavez *did* close the domestic professional league. Would he do that to prevent players from leaving for the US? Would there still be baseball in Venezuela? And in that case, wouldn’t that be cutting off his nose to spite his face? How does Cuba do it? I suppose I could go look this up for myself, but I am very lazy.

  3. Well, that’s precisely what’s so bizarre about the story. I can’t think of any particular reason why Chavez would close up baseball in Venezuela. I mean, from an anti-imperialist stance, Chavez could argue that “Our Venezuelan talent must stay within our country” and so on, but in that case, he would *need* a good league to have the players compete in. Unless he simply wants them to play pick-up games in his palace or something.

    What Chavez may be able to do is restrict the activity of foreign academies (MLB Teams) and their ability to send players directly to their farm systems in the U.S. But again, if Chavez were to forbid MLB teams from signing players from their academies AND cancel the domestic league, where would they go? I guess this is where the speculation about closing baseball comes into play, but I honestly think that’s just far-fetched.

    The Cuba allusion is simply that players aren’t allowed to travel abroad to earn salaries that are not sanctioned or sponsored by the Cuban government. There is a Cuban baseball league and players compete in international events representing their country, but they have to defect in order to play (work legally) in the U.S. You’ll find that a good number of Cuban players have citizenship from some other country in Latin America. This is what one of the sources in the Times story is hinting at; that Venezuelans will have to get on a boat and smuggle themselves into the U.S.

    Now, unlike what Mr. Rizzi is quoted as saying in the article, Chavez isn’t necessarily anti-U.S. He’s anti-Bush, but he did manage to provide cheap oil for poor families in New York City and offered it to people in Alaska (who promptly refused it).

    But before we get off topic; I think the point of this article is simply to cook-up a reality where Chavez becomes the Fidel of the 21st century and that’s somehow inherently bad for baseball fans. Talk about apples and oranges. Fidel WASN’T bad for baseball. He freaking allowed the Orioles to play in Cuba AND he allowed the Cuban national team to play in the WBC. That he doesn’t allow players to work abroad is another issue.

    I’m not an expert in Latin American baseball; but the article in the Times is more hearsay than fact.

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