Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz Should Not Feel Guilty

Article by Yahoo! Sports Baseball Guru Jeff Passan ponders the thought that Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz might feel guilty after his two high profile trades before the July 31 baseball non-waiver trading deadline have gotten the Braves even more behind the New York Mets in the NL East standings.

Wonder if John Schuerholz feels any buyer’s remorse? The Braves general manager was widely lauded for bolstering the roster at the trading deadline by exchanging top prospects for slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Octavio Dotel. But the bold moves haven’t translated into victories – Atlanta is 11-13 in August, slipping to seven games behind the Mets in the NL East.

Schuerholz practically gave up the entire farm system for Mark Teixeira, whote by the way — with his 30 RBIs in 24 games — has excelled with the team.

But it isn’t Schuerholz’s fault that his trades didn’t jolt the team in front of the Mets. It’s hard to explain why the team hasn’t excelled since those trades (*** cough Wickman ***). But here’s the most certain thing of all. If Schuerholz’s didn’t make a trade and the Braves went 11-13, everyone would have complained that he should have made a trade. You can’t second-guess a trade that has already gone through, only ones that didn’t. Passiveness gets you almost always gets you nowhere in baseball.

That’s four straight quality starts, dating back from August 12, for Barry Zito who has had a pretty bad, although not terrible, year. He cites his huge contract as reason for the stress: “Going into a situation like this, I never experienced anything like it in my life,” he told reporters.

Zito lowered his ERA from 5.16 (surprisingly not his highest of the year) to 4.59. Not bad considering the league average is 4.43, but terrible when you compare him to former Cy Young winners Brandon Webb (2.63) and Johan Santana (2.97). Comparing Zito to Santana isn’t fair since Santana is the best pitcher of the millennia. Hell, I’ll even say that comparing Zito to Webb isn’t fair since Webb just completed a 42 1/3 scoreless innings streak. Zito, you poor bastard.

If you hadn’t noticed, the San Francisco Giants have won five straight games, plus the team is 8-2 the last ten. The team’s greatest downfall is our inability to win at home. An appalling 32-34. But even that doesn’t excuse the being 14 games out of first place. Minus the Giants, the NL West is pretty darn competitive. Take that you AL Central.

*** 2:12 PM Update ***

U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl upheld a ban on metal bats for New York high school baseball games.

“In short, the judgment that high school baseball players’ safety is more important than higher batting averages and more offense is a classic legislative judgment that the City Council could constitutionally make.” (Koeltl)

The ban is effective September 1, 2007, and hopefully more states will take the same measure. Anyone who has seen former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii take a line drive to the forehead by Houston Astros first baseman Brian Hunter on September 8, 2002 can understand why a ban would be good. Imagine if what happened to Ishii happened to a teenager.

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