Washington Nationals/Atlanta Braves: Series Preview Interview With Talking Chop.

(ed.note - "You might remember Martin Gandy, aka Gondee of the SB Nation's Altanta Braves blog, Talking Chop from the recent roundtable the SBN's NL East bloggers participated in...We decided to exchange a few questions in advance of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves' two-game series in Atlanta, Georgia's Turner Field. (ed. note - "I'll put up a note when the questions I answered go up over there.")...Dave Nichols from The Nationals News Network asked the first question...

 

Nats News Network: With the seemingly endless pitching depth the Braves seem to have, why didn't they go out and get a legitimate corner outfield bat for the stretch run?

Talking Chop: "We would love nothing more  -- the fans and the front office -- than to have a legitimate corner bat, and we'd probably be willing to give up some of that pitching depth, especially the minor league depth, but a corner bat who would not cost too much in terms of talent in return and $$$ is just not available. I think it was a small coup that we got Nate McLouth from the Pirates. In that trade we gave up pitching depth and center field depth -- two areas we could easily part with. Also, the number-1 prospect in baseball is the Braves' Jason Heyward, who is a corner outfielder hitting over .400 in double-A. He's only been there for a month, but a lot of Braves fans are hoping he's not there too much longer. With Heyward on the horizon, we're not going to break the farm for an outfield corner bat."

Federal Baseball.com (FB): Nyjer Morgan's working out pretty well for DC, how's Atlanta enjoying their Pirates' outfielder, Nate McLouth?Does Jordan Schaefer come back in a corner spot now?

 

(cont...After The JUMP...)

 

Federal Baseball.com (FB): Nyjer Morgan's working out pretty well for DC, how's Atlanta enjoying their Pirates' outfielder, Nate McLouth?Does Jordan Schaefer come back in a corner spot now?

Talking Chop: "As I said above, we got McLouth at what looks like a bargain price. He's done fairly well for the Braves, and he's had stretches of absolute brilliance. He gives the Braves a solid and speedy lead-off man, and he comes with some good pop in his bat as well. And he's signed affordably for the next few years. Jordan Schafer has been injured since getting demoted, and it turns out he was injured for 80% of the time he was in the majors at the beginning of the season -- it's a wrist injury, which can and did severely impair his swing. He'll rehab it and probably start next year in the minors (since he's lost so much time this year). With McLouth in place, there's no reason to rush him.

FB: Why did the Braves bring Adam LaRoche back?

Talking Chop: "Three reasons, (1) they wanted more power out of first base, (2) they were convinced, after seeing Casey Kotchman up close for a year, that he is not a starting first baseman, and (3) this gives them greater financial flexibility in the off-season, and it opens up a hole for one of their best prospects, Freddie Freeman. Maybe that's four reasons..."

FB: Was the talk about trading Javier Vazquez at the deadline serious? Was there an argument to be made for trading him?

Talking Chop: "I was serious when I lobbied for the Braves to trade him, but I'm glad they didn't. I wanted him traded because I thought we might be able to get a greater return than we gave up for him, and at the same time fill several areas of need. It would have been hard to find a partner to trade with, but I thought we should be open to it since Javy has done nothing but increase his value since becoming a Brave. That said, I'm glad we held on to him, and I've been convinced that is absolutely the right move. He's a top of the rotation starting pitcher, and a power pitcher to boot. Those are hard to find, and when you get one at below market price you should probably hold on to him. That, and you really can't ever have enough starting pitching. At this point, I'm hoping that the Braves can extend his contract this off-season."

FB: Now that Smoltz didn't work out with the Red Sox, and Glavine's still unsigned does it make Atlanta's decision to part ways with the two more acceptable? Or should they bring them both back in some capacity?

Talking Chop: "They shouldn't bring either back as a player, but I'd be happy as a clam if they brought them back in a baseball or broadcasting role. Smoltz did some broadcasting last year when he was injured and he was pretty good. Apparently we've talked with Greg Maddux about coming back as some kind of instructor in spring training, and it would be a player development wet dream to have Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz as coaches in your major and minor league spring training camp."

• Check Out The SB Nation's Atlanta Braves Blog: Talking Chop.

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