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adios-javier | March | 2008 Articles

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Adios, Javier

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Javy Lopez is retiring. He was cut from the big league roster, and chose to retire rather than accepting a minor league assignment, which seems reasonable. His 2006 was disastrous, he didn't play in 2007, and in 2008 he was unable to put daylight between himself, Corky Miller, Clint Sammons, and Brayan Pena. But he was a hell of a hitter for us for a long, long time. He played 10 full or half-seasons for the Braves -- nagging injuries and the rigors of the job meant that he only played 150 games once, and 130 games 3 other times. He played 1156 games for the Braves, and hit 214 homers with 694 RBIs, putting up a combined line of .287/.337/.502. In 60 playoff games, he was almost as good, hitting 10 homers with 28 RBI, and a line of .278/.324/.493. His decline was fairly precipitous, and in a relatively short career (13 seasons) he actually had two: 2001-2002, the years before his monster MVP-caliber 2003, and 2005-present. But the decade he put together in a Braves uniform is one of the best decades any catcher has ever had. As Mac Thomason writes, "Let the record show that Javy Lopez is eighth in career homers as a Brave, and sixth among Atlanta Braves... he’s one of the twenty best offensive catchers of all-time." We baseball fans don't always do nostalgia well, when an active player is involved. I think Marc made a perceptive point when he said, "As much as people will talk about a player’s contributions to the community, very few, if any, would want to keep a player that couldn’t play just because he was a good guy." Sadly, that means that it's a lot easier to appreciate Javy Lopez as a retiree than as an active 37-year old trying to make the roster with clearly diminished skills. But he was a great player for us, and the ladies weren't the only ones who loved him. We'll all miss him. Vaya con dios, Javier.  You'll always be a Brave.

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