There are probably a lot of pinch hitters available out there, but is there one which would strike fear in opponents? Wren also mentioned on the telecast Sunday that this pinch hitter should be a power bat off the bench.
(Did I mention how I "love" that information like this is stuck in the middle of 50 pages of comments on DOB's blog.)
Could the Braves be interested in the Blue Jays recently released Reed Johnson? RJ is an outfielder with a decent amount of pop -- about as much as a Matt Diaz type, maybe a little more. He's also got some speed and he's generally hit in the .270 to .290 range, and even hit .319 in 2006. He'd be a nice complement to Blanco off the bench.
Our old second base pal, Marcus Giles, was released by Colorado after failing to make the club. Giles hit well this spring, putting up a .321/.457/.536 with 7 walks verses just 4 strikeouts and 3 stolen bases in 13 games (28 at-bats).
Amazingly, the Rockies are going to keep our old nemesis, Mark Redman, in their starting rotation, even with the spring he's had -- 15 ER, 31 H, in 18.2 IP. I wish the Rockies all the best in their quest to defend the NL crown.
Ken Rosenthal empties his notebook and reveals this about the Braves relievers:
How many left-handed relievers have we cycled through our team in the past year? McBride, Ledezma, Mahay, Ohman, Ring, and Gonzo, and none of them seem to be long term answers.
I'm actually looking at Smoltz possibly starting the season on the DL as a good thing. As expected, the off day next Tuesday means that the Braves don't need a fifth starter until a week later, which would be April 6th. This would also allow the Braves to delay the decision on which reliever to cut until several games into the season. It could also give them that extra time to play hardball on any trade they try to make. Here is how the first week or so of the starting rotation will probably look:
Sunday vs. Nationals - Tim Hudson
Monday vs. Pirates - Tom Glavine
Tuesday off day
Wednesday vs. Pirates - Mike Hampton (really!)
Thursday vs. Pirates - Jair Jurrjens
Friday vs. Mets - Tim Hudson
Saturday vs. Mets - Tom Glavine
Sunday vs. Mets - John Smoltz
...and so on...
Everyone stays on regular rest and we end up working the lefty-righty flip-flop in our rotation to perfection. What kind of luxury is it to have John Smoltz as our third starter? This kind of reminds me of the days when we had Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz in the rotation, and one of those guys was always the third starter, and the best third starter in baseball.