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Philly columnist: Braves screwed up by keeping Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz together

Feb 3, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

Maddux Glavine Smoltz.jpgSomeone must have slipped me some bad liquor or something, because I’m sure I didn’t just read an article by Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that the Braves would have won more titles in the 90s if they hadn’t had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. I mean, that would be, like, the stupidest thing ever:

Yes, the Braves cut loose some stars along that 14-season run. But they also did exactly what the Phillies resisted doing this winter. They already had John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine when they signed Greg Maddux before the 1993 season . . . Did keeping three future Hall of Famers for all those years cash-strap them out of multiple world titles? It’s a thought.

Yes, bringing together three Hall of Fame pitchers to form the best starting rotation of all time was what prevented the Braves from winning more World Series. Clearly the team would have been better off if they had avoided splurging on Greg Maddux and, rather than have him post historically awesome seasons throughout the 90s in a Braves uniform, spent the money on a lefty specialist.

And if you think I’m taking this quote out of context or something, here’s the windup:

So be careful with our hearts, fellas. We’ve made you The Show in this
hard-to-please town. Maybe we can’t be the Yankees, but we sure don’t
want to be the Braves for the next decade either.

Yeah, winning the division every year would be, like, a total downer.

  1. willmose - Feb 3, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    And the Yankees would have won more title if they broke up that Ruth-Gehrig combo in the three four spot.

  2. Charles Gates - Feb 3, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    So if you got rid of one of the three to free up cash, you’d have to go out and spend those funds to…add another pitcher?

  3. RedBurb - Feb 3, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Philly writers would rather have the Phillies of the 1930s and 1940s than the Braves of the 90s into the 00s. Donnellon is a dope.

  4. velvetglove99 - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    And the Reds would have won more titles if they broke up the Rose-Morgan-Bench-Perez combo.

  5. BC - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Let’s see…. the Braves won 198 consecutive division titles and the Phillies have won… let’s see… TWO!! I agree with RedBurb’s assessment of Donnellon. Who does he think he is, Omar Minaya??!?

  6. Patrick - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    Why ever get rid of Glavine when the umps gave him a zone, like, 78 feet wide?
    /still mad about ’95

  7. R. Scott Leary - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Sam writes for the Daily News, not the Inquirer. Those of us in Philadelpia who can read, above a third grade level, read the Inquirer.

  8. R. Scott - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    I understand hyporbole, but…

  9. Jonny5 - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    He’s just trying to find some sort of explanation of why Lee was let go when his salary would have been less than Blantons. They lost 6 prospects gained back 3 equal prospects, Ben Fransisco, and Roy Halladay for a bargain for 3 years. Why does everyone think this was dumb? I’m thinking the Phillies are better off now than they were last spring, that’s for sure. And they gave up 3 prospects to do so. two of which we overrated imo.

  10. Joey B - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    I understand the zero-sum game, and what is spent A can’t be spent for B, but the money spent on Maddux is probably twice as valuable as money spent on a random FA player. I think the writer misses two obvious concepts.

  11. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    When, oh, when will somebody figure out that 1993 and 1995 are not consecutive years?

  12. R. Scott - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    Curiously, was discussing this with a co-worker this morning. We surmise that Lee’s agent screwed up, by insinuating more money and/or years for an extension than Amaro willing to give. The alternative move, IMHO, was to lock up Lee for another 3, and trade Hamels for prospects.

  13. Skids - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    That is just about the stupidest thing I’ve read in my life. It proves that you don’t have to necessarily have any credentials or education or even a brain to be a sportswriter. Not they are all like that. But this guy proves there are some.

  14. Moe - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Yes, they won if you sum over all trades, but those were 3 separate trades!
    They won the first Lee trade, they probably won the Halladay trade (selling high on Drabek and keeping Brown was big, imo). However, the 2nd Lee trade still doesn’t make much sense.

  15. Bravesologist - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    Yeh the article in which this were a response to was pretty unbelievable. He simply did not know what he was talking about. Despite the Braves lack of World Series success, they made the playoffs every season and made 5 World Series appearances so pretty much every franchise ever would take that. They did not handcuff themselves by paying those pitchers so much, they were the key reasons for all of the regular season success. The Phillies are getting a little cocky with 3 straight division titles and 1 championship, acting like their GM knows more than JS…

  16. Grant - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    Like I said about that silly beer-in-the-clubhouse column yesterday, it’s February and most of the big names have been signed or traded. It’s time for columnists to dig deep to meet deadlines until they can start writing “best shape of his life” columns and other Spring Training fluff pieces.

  17. TexansFan76 - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    That’s such a stupid take. The Braves were a pitching-defense oriented team, so they didn’t need a huge bat in the lineup. All you want your team to do is get to the postseason because there, anything can happen. They played some great teams in the 90’s but still managed to get a title. As an Astros fan, I hated it, but I always knew that the Braves were going to be legitimate contenders come October.
    If you believe this Philly columnist, you’re to believe that big bats, not pitching wins. I don’t buy that.

  18. Richard Dansky - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Must have eaten too many of those horsemeat and Velveeta sammiches…

  19. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Sam Donnellon has a good point, how many titles did they win, one!
    I give him a few extra points just for getting Craig pissed off.

  20. Fast Eddy - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    You make a lot of sense. In trying to twist the Lee matter into a good thing for the Phils, the arguements can get convoluted a bit. I personally can’t understand why in the world the Phils gave up on signing Lee to go after Halladay, who could be good for them, but may not be as valuable as Lee was. The front office must know something we don’t right? There is not doubt that they would not have gotten to the playoffs without Lee and would not won the NL penant without him. So they let him go for someone else? Remember, Halladay won the Cy some years ago. Who knows how he will pitch for the Phils now! It makes No sense to me, but I am not the GM. He will have to answer for his actions.

  21. Megary - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    I hate the Braves.
    But that has to be one of the coolest pictures ever. As much a fond keepsake of 90’s baseball, for me, as Howie Spira, Anthony Young, PED’s, and Andy Hawkins. 😉

  22. Shely - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    The problem with your argument lies in what you said about the Braves. I agree that the Braves were correct in building a team around pitching, defense and just enough hitting to get them to the playoffs. Howcome they only won one title? With pitching like they had, they should have won more. Perhaps they were just a little too light on power? Or,maybe they did not have the best manager? If you gave this kind of pitching prowess to a Sparky Anderson, Tommy Lasorda or Tony LaRussa, they would kill everyone with it. Look what TLR can do with a fair to poor staff. It may be that Bobby Cox was the one who did not use this pitching power effectively in the playoffs.

  23. Metsguysucksphilliesball - Feb 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    All you need is two great pitchers to win a series, as countless teams have proven over time.

  24. ecp - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    As a fan of teams whose coaches, managers, and ownership have said year in and year out “all we need to do is get to the playoffs because once you’re there anything can happen,” I can testify to how ludicrous an attitude that is. Year in and year out you watch your teams get there, but never over the hump, because everybody breathes a huge sigh of relief once they’ve clinched – and then they’re done. And nobody is interested in doing anything to change that.
    I remember watching the Braves during those years and thinking that they were just one piece short every year – although I’d still have had to think hard about giving up one of Maddux, Smoltz, or Glavine under any circumstances.

  25. Jonny5 - Feb 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Well it may be as simple as getting Halladay for 60 mil and 3 years, instead of Lee for possibly more loot. Also Lee is more injury prone and inconsistant than Halladay. Do I think that Amaro jumped too soon in trading Lee and prospects to Seattle? Yes I do, I think they could have worked a better deal if they shopped him longer. But when you weigh it all after the smoke settled the Phills still did very well in the off season, They lost some prospects but Gained Halladay and Fransisco. Also by not keeping lee they were able to settle on contracts with other key players on the team. They would have been cautious to do so with the possibility of keeping lee on the roster. Philly fans are passionate, and when you trade away or lose a player over money that they’ve grown fond of, look out!!! Hell to pay. So I give the Phills 1-1/2 thumbs for the off season. Half taken away for not exploiting some team for better prospects.

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