More on Glavine

After a night’s sleep — and upon learning that Tommy Hanson has been called up and will pitch on Saturday — I have moderated my views about the whole Glavine affair. Upshot: While I concede that from a purely baseball perspective the Braves are better off with Tommy Hanson than Tom Glavine on the mound, I’m still disappointed in the way things were handled. I will allow, however, for the possibility that the Braves were placed in an untenable position by Glavine in all of this, and whether that actually occurred depends on whether the Braves actually communicated their intention to release him before or after Glavine made his “I’m ready” announcement Tuesday night. If they did — and if they truly believed that Glavine couldn’t get anyone out in the bigs — and Glavine was playing politics, then well, bad on Glavine. If they did not — if they played their cards close to the vest, encouraging him along in rehab, allowing him to declare himself ready, and then and only then told him he had the choice of retiring or to be released — then bad on the Braves.

More thoughts on it here.

UPDATE: One other deep thought. The Red Sox face a similar situation with John Smoltz that the Braves did with Glavine (i.e. a rehabbing legend with no apparent place to put him). There are differences here — Smoltz likely has more in the tank than Glavine, and the Sox don’t have the connection to him that the Braves do to Glavine — but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how they handle him when he’s ready to go (or not).

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  1. Greg Simons said...

    I clicked through to your “more thoughts” link, where I discovered that you’re actually a couple years younger than me, rather than the couple years older that I, for some reason, thought you were.  So I guess that makes you a BALD IDIOT PUNK! wink

    King Tom (Glavine) is dead.  Long live King Tommy (Hanson)!

  2. Adam said...

    I think these end-of-career decisions have to be excruciating for these elite players, and it’s very difficult for the rest of us to pass judgment on how the players (and their employers) handle it.

    I think Tom Seaver offers an interesting contrast in the end of career choices:

    Craig, you’re right when you say that we don’t know who to blame in this situation. I feel quite certain that Tom Glavine believes in his heart that he can still get big league hitters out, and the Braves sincerely believe he can’t (or isn’t worth the price they would need to pay). 

    But I do have a ton of respect for a guy like Seaver who set a certain standard of performance for himself, and left on his own terms.  For better or worse, the guys who “hang on” do tarnish their legacies a bit.  Does anyone want to see Pedro come back this year and give up 500 foot home runs?

  3. MooseinOhio said...

    I was not as bothered by the Braves releasing Glavine as 1) I’m not a Braves fan, and 2) unlike Smotlz he did play for another team, one he opted to go to as a FA – so the loyalty factor was already broken and by Glavine’s actions not the teams.  Loyalty was no longer the driving issue as Glavine opened the ‘do what is best economically’ door when he chose to go the Mets.

    As for the Sox with Smoltz I see him as an insurance policy for injuries or poor performance and ultimately as a potential asset come playoff time as he could be a commanding #4 pitcher.  I suspect that Penny will be traded for some young talent that will replace some of the talent they give up to improve their offense.  My best guess is the Sox trade either Buchholz or Michael Bowden, Ryan Kalish and another young pitcher for a Victor Martinez type bat. 

    Smoltz gets worked in the rotation as Boston continue its practice of resting starters on the DL to prepare for the playoffs.  Sox enter the postseason with Beckett, Lester as the 1 & 2 and DiceK and Smoltz serve as the 3 & 4, order depending on who is pitching best at the time. 

    To me this is where the real disparity in payrolls plays out as teams like the Red Sox and Yankees can afford to build team designed to both get to the playoff and then win in the playoff.  The depth they can afford to have by overpaying draft picks and disregarding Bud’s draft slotting honor system as well as affording to sign rent a players like Penny and Smoltz clearly give them an advantage.  That is why the Yanks and Sox have ten year playoff runs and teams like the A’s, Twins and Rays have 2-4 year runs.

  4. Chris said...

    I just wonder about how much the Braves ‘owe’ Glavine.  Sure he was a mainstay and one of their young guns…but at the same time, he DID leave the time for the Mets…

    Is there really any loyalty in a league where players often go to the highest bidder?  That said, I suppose Glavine taking a $5mil pay cut to go to leave the Mets to go back to the Braves makes up for it?

  5. Jason B said...

    The Moose, he makes a good point.  I like the cut of his jib.  Things have to pan out just perfectly for my beloved Jays to contend for the postseason, or (God forbid) make a multi-year run. 

    Meanwhile, the Sawx and Yanks can just rotate out interchangable parts – if player “A” doesn’t work out no worries; they can just cast him off and move along to options “B” through “F”.

  6. Jason B said...

    Oh yeah, this thread was about Tom Glavine once upon a time.  Seems like a nice fella.  Decent little career he carved out there.

    /return to normalcy/

  7. Rob² said...

    Moose – I know it seems like forever ago, but the Sox missed the playoffs as recently as 2006.  And while they tasted the postseason 2003-2005, that stretch had come after three straight seasons of wandering in the desert.

    Sometimes you get extraneous parts like a Penny or a Smoltz.  Sometimes your postseason dreams rest on the failing, duct-taped-and-glued shoulder of a Bret Saberhagen.

    Another way to look at the Braves’ situation is that they are at least giving Glavine the chance to catch on with another team at what might be the height of his value this season.  Bring him up for a few turns through the rotation and the likely shelling that it would involve, and would that be any better for anyone?

  8. kendynamo said...

    maybe this is all karma coming back to bite glavine in the buttocks after he spent 5 years spying on the mets for the braves, secretly plotting and sabotaging their seasons.  maybe as a millionaire hall of famer with a hot wife that he deserves far worse a comeuppence than this.  that is what i feel.

  9. Greg Simons said...

    “Bud’s draft slotting honor system” on its own is funny, but parsing it and realizing “Bud” and “honor” are in the same sentence is humorous in its absurdity.  If it isn’t about saving the owners some money, it isn’t honorable to Bud.

  10. Adam said...

    Ok, so I get that the Sox/Yank payroll thing is a constant, if a little boring.  I think a more interesting subject is how the willingness of these two teams to invest in their organizations has forced other teams in the American League to invest in players to stay competitive, and that has led to the tremendous disparity between the AL and NL.  We haven’t seen this since the mid-late 60s, when the AL’s unwillingness to sign black and latino players meant that the NL was far superior.  Since it takes less talent to win in the NL, teams are able to spend less and be competitive, and so the better players flow to the American League. I don’t see how this trend is reversed, and I think we’ll have many more years where interleague play records reflect the AL dominance.

  11. MooseinOhio said...

    Rob – You are correct however I believe they were in the playoff hunt until early September and have over 90+ wins a season since John Henry and the boys took over and changed the both the culture and developmental model of the Red Sox.  Prior to that there were numerous, and often lengthy, stretches of wilderness time. 

    However post the John Harrington led Red Sox a working model of success has been instilled that has positioned the Red Sox to vie for the playoffs more often than most teams can expect as the model is funded on revenue streams that most teams do not have access to.  I suspect that John Henry, and George Steinbrenner, quote Mel Brooks’ King Louis character on a frequent basis – “It’s good to be the King”.

  12. MooseinOhio said...

    Hit enter without a decent proof.

    Should have stated the Sox have had 90+ wins all but a couple of seasons under the Henry group.

    Adam – If I had more time I would love to have that conversation with you as I think you are definately onto something.  Maybe after all these pesky students leave Athens for the summer I can get deeper into the issue with you.

  13. Rob² said...

    @Moose – No doubt that they are a better-run team today than in 2002, but the whole Sox/Yanks payroll disparity isn’t really all that fair anymore.  In 2008, both the Mets and the Tigers had higher Opening Day payrolls than the Red Sox.  This year, the Cubs are ahead of the Sox with the Tigers, Angels, and Phillies close behind.

    So whereas a few years ago, the Red Sox and Yankees were dramatically outspending their counterparts, the other teams have now caught up (to the Sox at least).

  14. MooseinOhio said...

    Rob – Again I agree with you but the difference is the payroll being connected to a developmental model.  The Mets under Steve Phillips utilized a similar model to the John Harrington Red Sox and pre-Bob Watson Yankees in that talented prospects were primaliry used as trading chips – not future stars of your own team (i.e. acquisition of others talent not development of your own). 

    The Yankee model changed when Steinbrenner was suspended and Jeter, Rivera, Posada and Pettitte actually got called up from Columbus as opposed to being traded for quality vet that had no connection to the Yankees.  The dominant Yankees of the 90’s was largely the result of a core of young, homegrown talent blended with the right FA and trades but the key was the core talent.  I suspect that if Steinbrenner was not suspended and pushed Bob Watson to trade away 1/2 of that core chanpionship team they would have won no more than two WS. 

    The Sox model changed with Henry, Lucchino and Epstein and unlike in San Diego they have resources to develop a great farm system and attract top FA.  I imagine if you took Billy Beane’s developmental model or the Twins model and gave them the Mets, Yanks or Red Sox resources they would be vying for the playoff consistently. 

    In essence:
    Red Sox success is due to – Strong development/talent acquisition model based on organizational philosophy (e.g. professional hitters) + money/resources resulting in sustained success.

    Twin success is due to – strong developmental model with limited resources resulting in 3-4 windows of success before the system runs out of resources and starts the loop over again with a 2-4 year average developmental period. 

    Mets success is due to – Money targeted to talent acquisition resulting in sporadic success as organization culture/philosophy cannot be developed.  I contend some of the late season collapses are due to not developing the right clubhouse culture as no overall organization philosophy exist that holds folks accountable for their behavior (or lack of behavior).  For example, even when the Yankee acquire talent from others they make them fit the Yankee mold (e.g. no facial hair/long hair) and respect the history (e.g. monunment park).

  15. Nick Whitman said...

    The payroll disparity between the Red Sox and Yankees is roughly the payroll of the Blue Jays or Indians, or the Padres and Marlins combined.  And yet people always say “Red Sox and Yankees” whenever they mean “teams with large payrolls?”

    As Rob said, the Red Sox are fourth in payroll this year, with three other teams right in their ballpark.  But most people still complain about “Yanks and Sox.”  It’s tiresome and inaccurate.

  16. tadthebad said...

    Rob^2 made my point.  Other teams outspend the Red Sox, but the Sox seem to spend their money more wisely.  I cannot make that jive with the Lugo signing, however. 

    @kendynamo: nice.  I know I always feel successful people need to be punished somehow, because as we all know, becoming successful is a mortal sin.

  17. Nick Whitman said...

    I would probably point to poor bullpen performance and bad luck as the reason for the Mets recent late-season woes. 

    But it could be “clubhouse culture” and haircuts, I suppose.

  18. MooseinOhio said...

    Success is a combination of many things including resources, business models, organizational philosophies/cultures, talents people and good fortune.  When the right blend of the above exist you get teams like the Colt, Patriots, Steelers, Red Sox, Detroit Red Wings, Manchester United and when you don’t get the right blend you get teams like the Clippers, Raiders, Mets, Royals, Bengal etc. 

    The Red Sox have the resources to absorbed mistakes like Julio Lugo; the Yankess have the history to hold players to a cultural standard that helps form a team identity; the Patriots and Colts focus on college graduates (highest % in NFL) that may contribute to their success; and the Steelers have a mentality that Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder cannot buy and it is rooted in the philosophy of the Rooney family.

  19. Nick Whitman said...

    Moose- Shortstop on the Red Sox is a debacle.  Julio Lugo still gets starts.  Nick Green, another terrible player, gets the rest of the starts.  Jed Lowrie will hopefully be an improvement over those two stiffs, but I hardly think you can say the Red Sox “absorbed” Lugo’s terrible contract.  If you had used Edgar Renteria as an example, that would have been more appropriate.

    I absolutely don’t buy that the Yankees are successful because they have some sort of magical team culture.  The “Yankee mystique” argument.  It’s preposterous.  The Yankees win a lot of games because they field a talented team, almost every year.  They aren’t improved this year because of the culture or whatever, they’re improved because the starting pitching is better.

    Teams that can identify and draft or sign talented players are successful because they field talented teams, not because of some nebulous “mentality.”

  20. Greg Simons said...


    As we learned earlier this week, arguments are proven by using all caps.

  21. MooseinOhio said...

    Nick – Point taken on the Renteria over Lugo though I think I am just projecting as Lowrie is the SS of today and the future.  Had he not been hurt and had the surgery Lugo would be one the most overpaid utility players in the league.  From what I read he is only a few weeks away from returning and I think they felt Nick Green could only hurt them so much and did not want to give up any talent for a very short term rental player and are saving their chips for other needs.

  22. Nick Whitman said...

    I hope Lowrie pans out.  He gets a lot of leeway because of his RBI totals last year, but really he wasn’t that great at the plate, and his minor league stats don’t suggest that he’s got anymore upside than a low-power high-OBP guy.  Which is fine, I guess.  At least he’s a solid defender.  Watching Lugo and Green try to field is an unpleasant experience.

  23. Jason B said...

    I’m absolutely 108.17% *certain* that my beloved Blue Jays would also have a magical team culture and the best chemistry in all the land (well, Canada, anyway…eh?) if they had a $175 million payroll.

    Good chemistry is a term applied after-the-fact to successful teams, methinks.  Otherwise, who were the teams that were thought to be poised to make playoff runs this year based on their wondrous chemistry and not their talent pool and/or resources?

  24. Jason B said...

    I’m absolutely 108.17% *certain* that my beloved Blue Jays would also have a magical team culture and the best chemistry in all the land (well, Canada, anyway…eh?) if they had a $175 million payroll.

    Good chemistry is a term applied post-hoc to successful teams, methinks.  If we can’t use team chemistry for any predictive purposes with any more certainty than any other commonly-used predictors of success, (like on-field talent; managerial and front office acumen; and financial resources) then any discussion thereof is pretty worthless indeed. 

    Not Francoeur-level worthless…but close.

  25. Jason B said...

    I like posting comments twice.

    I like…posting comments…twice.

    And my other brother Darrell.

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