Thursday, June 4, 2009

The only thing wrong with yesterday's Braves' moves...

....was that Jeff Francoeur wasn't included in the trade. Of course, there isn't much market for the man who somehow managed to inherit the ghost of Mike Lum, but I can't dream, can't I?

Nate McLouth is not a great player, but he's good, and he's better than the entire current Braves' outfield combined. The Braves gave up prospects who good, but none of the three is likely to be better than good, so unless Nate gets hurt, the trade is a steal for The ATL. In fairness, can't we give those prospects some fried chicken and collard greens as consolation for being forced to live with the stink and the not-so-attractive women in The Burgh?

There will be much horking (sorry, been listening to cats having hairballs too long) about Tom Glavine's release. More than one member of the punditry has already compared the outrage the pundit apparently was trying to foment to the wailing and renting of garments among many fans when the Braves made no effort to re-sign Smoltz in the off season. I admit it; I had my panties in a wad when The ATL hosed Smoltzie, but I am not affected as much by T. G.'s departure for two reasons.

First of all, as much as I'd like him, Glavine doesn't have anything left in the tank, and the last two seasons, one with the Epitome of Evil In Flushing and the last with The ATL, proved it. Pitching six scoreless innings in Class A ball, then declaring yourself ready for the bigs again? The Sand Gnats' Jeurys Familia could just as easily say the same thing, after making the requisite adjustment to his cup of course, and everyone would call him (en Espanol) ridiculo. Smoltzie, though virtually the same age as Glavine, can still bring it, at least it appears that way.

Secondly, Braves' fans don't love Tommy the way they love Smoltzie. The culprit; the 1994 work stoppage and cancellation of the World Series while Glavine was the Braves' player rep. Glavine was among the most boisterous in touting the player's claims that they had nothing to do with the early end to the season. While baseball owners are a group of corporate thugs who have tried to hose the players since at least the 1890's, the players, by and large millionaires in '94, were more than complicit in the ruination of that season. To refuse to acknowledge that tainted Glavine, and even an explosion of Oxy Clean and Sham-Wows couldn't completely remove that stain 15 years later.

Smoltz might have believed all that Glavine believed about labor, but he also pitched his guts out until his arm could take no more, had surgery, then let it all out again until the next surgery, time and again. Smoltz is also very funny and should have gone straight from the field to the Braves' broadcast booth when the time came. Smoltz became an Atlanta lifer when he arrived for Doyle Alexander in '87, or at least he should have been.

Tom Glavine may be the better overall pitcher for his career, but Smoltzie without question is the better Atlanta Brave and the one Frank Wren should have held on to. Now, if we can just get the Mets to re-sign Glavine, that will be one less roadblock to another Braves' division title, and we'll rekindle our love for Tommy when Cooperstown calls.

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