• Page 1 of 6
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»

Offseason Underway...Now What?

Nov 08, 2013 -- 2:19pm

With the World Series now in the rear view mirror, the offseason is officially underway. Now, let the speculation as to the futures of Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, Dan Uggla and more begin! On Monday, the Braves made Brian McCann the ‘qualifying offer’ of 14.1 million dollars for a one year deal (standard around MLB). He will obviously decline the offer, seeking a long term deal that could be worth up to $100 million dollars. While it’s likely Mac ends up in the American League, several NL teams will also be interested in his services.

Now while it’s highly likely McCann has played his last game in Braves uniform, the future is a little brighter when it comes to Tim Hudson. Teams like the Royals, Indians and Red Sox have already expressed interest in the 38 year old Hudson, however, with the roots he has in this town and all the charitable work he’s involved with, I’d be surprised to see Hudson skip town. That is, unless he is just blown away by a ridiculous offer that the Braves don’t feel they can match.

What about Dan Uggla, you ask? Well, with 2 years and $26 million dollars left on his contract, it will take a lot for the Braves to be able to move him. Eating the majority of the contract would be a great place to start. The fact that Uggla didn’t make Atlanta’s NLDS roster should tell you all you need to know about where he stands with the organization at this point in his career. I do expect Uggla to be moved in the offseason, but don’t expect a whole lot in return. Perhaps a change of scenery could do him good? Uggla’s a three time All-Star, however, his last two seasons in Atlanta have been extremely disappointing.

This will certainly be a busy offseason for the Braves brass, and the groundwork to some potential deals could be discussed starting Monday as the GM Meetings get underway in Orlando. Four weeks later, the Baseball Winter Meetings will be held at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel at Disney. Between now and then, we should have a much clearer idea of who the Braves could pursue for 2014 and beyond.

Follow Kevin McAlpin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin

mccann, uggla, hudson, braves, baseballView Comments (0)

It's Finally Game Day!

Oct 03, 2013 -- 8:51am

Welcome to the second season! As we turn the calendar from September to October, the Braves celebrate their first division title since 2005. Tim Hudson and Brian McCann remain as the lone members of the roster who were with the Braves eight seasons ago when they won their last NL East championship. Fredi gave his squad the day off on Monday before getting back on the field for workout days both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Perhaps the biggest news came on Wednesday when it was revealed that Dan Uggla, the teams highest paid player was not part of the roster for the Division Series. This season has been a complete disaster for the three time All-Star who recently broke his own franchise record with 171 strikeouts in 448 at bats. Uggla’s .179 batting average this season was worst in the bigs, and his .137 average with runners in scoring position was second lowest in the Majors. When asked about the decision to leave Uggla off the roster, Fredi Gonzalez  said they needed to “put your best 25 out there to compete” and called the decision “one of the hardest days I’ve ever had to experience as a Major League manager.” Uggla and Fredi go a ways back to their time with the Marlins but Fredi understood this decision had to be what was best for the team.

The series against the Dodgers won’t be easy. Atlanta will have to face a reigning (and probably current) Cy Young pitcher in Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke and Hun-Jin Ryu in the first three games. However, the Braves hand the ball to the NL Pitcher of the Month for September in Kris Medlen, who went 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five starts last month. Mike Minor has really come into his own since the All-Star Break of 2012, and Julio Teheran put together a strong rookie campaign posting 171 strikeouts which is a new Braves rookie record.

Looking for some good news? Matt Kemp is already ruled out for the postseason, Andre Ethier may be limited to a role off the bench, and both Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez have been dealing with nagging injuries as well. Not to mention the fact that Puig has really struggled offensively over the last month or so.

Can the Braves beat the big bad Dodgers? Of course they can, but it won’t be easy. But then again, they’re not supposed to be easy this time of year. Everyone starts with a clean slate. What happened in the regular season means little now. I do like the Braves in 5 games, but as I’ve said more than a few times, it won’t be easy.

For the latest on the Braves, follow Braves Radio Network Reporter Kevin McAlpin on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin).

braves, dodgers, nlds, medlen, kershawView Comments (0)

The Injury Bug Bites Again...

Aug 23, 2013 -- 4:26pm

And the hits just keep on comin for the 2013 Braves. On Thursday, the Braves announced that Jason Heyward underwent successful surgery to repair a jaw that was fractured in two places after being hit by a 90mph Jonathan Niese fastball on Wednesday. The bad news is that Heyward is expected to miss between four and six weeks, though that is an unofficial timetable.  The question becomes, where will Heyward be able to get at bats when he’s nearing a return? The minor league seasons will be over, however, when he’s ready, Heyward will be able to get his timing and legs back under him by joining the Instructional Leagues.

In other injury news: Brandon Beachy’s velocity dipped to the low 80’s on his fastball in his last start on Tuesday against the Mets. He had an MRI in Atlanta on Thursday and is going to visit Dr James Andrews on Monday. While a visit to Dr Andrews doesn’t usually end with good news, he is the most qualified to examine Beachy after performing his Tommy John surgery 14 months ago. On Friday afternoon, Beachy was placed on the DL and Todd Cunningham was recalled from Triple-A. Atlanta also added some pitching depth, acquiring veteran Freddy Garcia from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations.

Meanwhile, the Braves expect to have Dan Uggla back in the mix on Wednesday when he’s eligible to come off the DL. Uggla will likely get some ABs in a Minor League rehab assignment next Monday.

One a lighter note, the Braves enter the weekend with a 14 game lead over the second place Nationals. Even with all the injuries, the Magic Number sits at 22, and the Braves are confident that the call ups from the Minors will provide the depth needed to get to the Postseason.

For the latest on the Braves, follow Braves Radio Network Reporter Kevin McAlpin on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin).

braves, beachy, garcia, baseball, ugglaView Comments (0)

Braves At The Break

Jul 18, 2013 -- 12:47pm

The Braves enter the 2013 All-Star Break with a 54-41 record and a six game lead in the National League East. This is a team that battled injuries to all three starting outfielders, Freddie Freeman, Tommy John surgeries to both Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty and in the final weekend of the first half, the entire outfield due to injuries within a 24 hour span.

So, the question is, how have they gotten here? Well, it’s simple. I’d like to highlight three players who AREN’T heading to the All-Star Game at Citi Field, but certainly have been team All-Stars when it comes to the 2013 Atlanta Braves…

Evan Gattis – “El Oso Blanco” took Braves Country by storm, winning back-to-back Rookie of the Month awards in April and May. He wasted no time, homering in just his second big league at bat against former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. Gattis belted 6 home runs and drove in 16 runs in each of his first two months in the Majors. Four of those long balls came in pinch hit situations, something Gattis had only done ONCE before in the Minor Leagues. Unfortunately, an oblique injury forced Gattis to miss nearly a month. However, the good news he’s healthy and will be a very important piece for the Braves as they embark on the stretch run in the second half.

Chris Johnson – When the Braves acquired Justin Upton from the D-Backs, most viewed Chris Johnson as a “throw in.” Losing a guy like Prado could have been devastating, however, Chris Johnson has been nothing short of outstanding hitting .330 with 6 homers and 31 RBI in 78 first half contests. Chris told me on Saturday that he’s benefitted from playing on a daily basis after the Braves traded Juan Francisco, but that he still hopes to improve his defense in the second half.

Luis Avilan – Many will remember how important Luis Avilan was to the Braves success when he was called up from Double-A Mississippi in 2012. However, when both Venters and O’Flaherty were lost for the season, Luis Avilan stepped up and did so in a big way. While he may not garner National headlines or attention, Avilan quietly comes in and gets the job done on a daily basis for the Braves. In 43 appearances, Avilan is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 22 appearances.

As the Braves embark in the second half, the season will transition from a marathon to a sprint as there’s just 67 games remaining in the regular season. If last season taught us anything, it’s that winning a division holds even more importance with the addition of the second wild card. All last season, the Braves were concerned about an entire season coming down to one game. They don’t want to let the sour taste of the end of 2012 carry over into another offseason.

For the latest on the Braves, follow Braves Radio Network Reporter Kevin McAlpin on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin).

braves, baseball, freeman, avilan, gattisView Comments (0)

#Nattitude...meet #Gattitude

Jun 03, 2013 -- 6:43pm

Evan Gattis may “only be a rookie” but he’s certainly taken Major League Baseball by storm in his first two months in the bigs. On Monday, Gattis was named Rookie of the Month in the National League for the second consecutive month. The 26 year old hit .303 (20-for-63) during the month of May with 6 homers, 16 RBI, 5 doubles and 13 runs scored. Overall, Gattis has clubbed 12 home runs, 11 doubles and driven in 32 runs in 45 games (145 at bats). He’s on pace to hit 36 homers and drive in 96 runs. Fredi Gonzalez has said keeping his bat in the lineup is a priority, however, playing time has been harder to come by with Brian McCann and Jason Heyward both healthy and off the DL.

Gattis’ story is a remarkable one, so much so that you just wonder how much longer it’ll be until someone makes a movie of it. The national media has picked up on his story, and everywhere the Braves go, local media want a piece of Gattis. Throughout the whole process, Gattis has kept himself grounded and humble. I spoke with him today about the most recent “tribute videos” that have popped up online and he just smiled and told me how awesome it was to see how big the story has gotten.

Now comes the biggest question of them all…could Evan Gattis find himself representing the National League at Citi Field in the upcoming All-Star Game? Fans have been writing him in at a fever rate, and we all know that guys who are voted in will certainly decline to get a few days off. Gattis has already made it clear that he’d love to participate in the Home Run Derby which, as anyone who’s watched him take BP would agree, would be a sight to behold.

For the latest on the Braves, follow Braves Radio Network Reporter Kevin McAlpin on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin).

evan gattis, baseball, gatttis, braves, atlanta bravesView Comments (0)

There's No Place Like Home...

May 17, 2013 -- 3:06pm

After playing 26 of their first 40 games, the Braves have FINALLY returned to Turner Field. Back-to-back 10 game, three city trips, along with injuries to key players have taken their toll on the club. However, with all the adversity they’ve been through, the Braves enter a three game weekend series against the Dodgers atop the NL East. Jason Heyward is expected to be activated from the disabled list and be back in the lineup after missing nearly a month after an emergency appendectomy.

Fredi Gonzalez has tinkered with a number of different lineups, trying to find one that works. While Heyward has been out, Jordan Schafer has done an outstanding job as the leadoff man, while Evan Gattis was able to play some left field to keep his bat in the lineup. With Heyward returning, both Gattis and Schafer will see less playing time, but have established themselves as legitimate bats off the bench.

Off to a 13-2 start, we saw how explosive the Braves offense can be. With Heyward, Freeman and McCann all healthy, most in the Clubhouse feel that the best is yet to come for this ball club. While road weary in the middle of May, the Braves have a chance to really establish momentum here at home over the next month and a half. The Nationals don’t appear to be nearly as potent as they were last year, the Phillies have pitching staff issues, and the Mets and Marlins are well, the Mets and Marlins. Entering the weekend of May 17th, the Braves have a half game lead over Washington. Will the Nats go away? Of course they won’t. However, this Braves team is vastly improved from 2012 and appears to have the pieces to contend with the Nationals until the very end.

I said 96 wins prior to Opening Day, and I’m sticking to it. How big was the red hot start by Atlanta? If the Braves only play .500 ball from here on out, they win 86 games. Do we really think this is a .500 team over their last 122 games? I sure don’t!

For the latest on the Braves, follow Braves Radio Network Reporter Kevin McAlpin on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin).

baseball, braves, atlanta braves, turner field, jason heyward, brian mccann, freddie freemanView Comments (0)
  • Page 1 of 6
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»