Monday Dump: Braves Players Excited For Spring Training; Dodgers And Diamondbacks Report

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Dump

Braves News:

Braves Take Calculated Risk With Freeman Deal

It's not often that players younger than the age of 25 sign nine-figure deals, but that is exactly what the Atlanta Braves gave to the sweet swinging Freddie Freeman. Sports On Earth writer Jack Moore breaks down the eight-year, $135 million deal even more that got the rest of the league talking all throughout this past week. Freeman was also compared to Joey Votto by ESPN insider Dave Cameron.

Chris Johnson Excited For Spring Training To Start Up

In his second year with the team, Chris Johnson is ready to get down to the Braves spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and get going. He also says he believes that 'Freddie will be Freddie' after his teammate on the opposite corner of the diamond received the franchise's biggest contract ever.

League News:

Two MLB Teams Report For Spring Training In Arizona

The grind is already underway for Kirk Gibson and Don Mattingly's squads, as the Diamondbacks and Dodgers reported to camp over the weekend. The Dodgers are the favorites to win the NL West this season as they bolster one of the best pitching rotations in baseball.

Rodriguez Drops Lawsuit

Not a weekend goes by without Alex Rodriguez's name being in the baseball headlines. The once highest paid player in baseball finally came to terms with reality and will accept his 162-game ban.

Gregorius and Owings To Battle For D-backs Starting Shortstop Position

According to Arizona GM Kevin Towers the team's biggest competition will be at shortstop in spring training. Either Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings, both considered MLB ready talents, will have to separate themselves from the other. Gregorius virtually lost hold of his starting job at the end of last season when he hit .197 and .192 in August and September. In 20 games with the big league club, Owings hit .291 in 55 plate appearances. He is ranked by Fangraphs as the Diamondbacks fourth best prospect.

Bronson Arroyo Finds A New Home

While the Diamondbacks still have their fifth starting spot in the pitching rotation up for grabs this spring training, newly acquired veteran RHP Bronson Arroyo appears to have a spot in the rotation. The 37-year old who finished in the top five for starters in LOB% (stranded 77.9 runners allowed on base in '13) signed a two-year deal worth $23.5 million.

Coco Crisp Lands 2-year, $22.75 Million Deal With Athletics

The Oakland Athletics fan base is glad to have their leadoff hitter back for at least another two years, although the 34-year old outfielder says that he will play until he's 50 if they keep giving him contracts. Crisp displayed some nice dance moves at the A's fan fest. Also the mastermind himself, Billy Beane, believes his back-to-back AL West champs will fare well again this season in an improved division.

Pirates Have Legitimate Interest In FA Kendrys Morales

With the Pittsburgh Pirates losing Justin Morneau to free agency, skipper Clint Hurdle's ball club has their focus on 30-year old first baseman Kendrys Morales. The left handed hitting slugger hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs last season for the Seattle Mariners.

Johnny Damon Open To Managing

Marc Topkin for the Tampa Bay Times noted over the weekend that the 40-year old two-time World Series champ is not only interested in playing still, but managing in the Pros as well.

Cubs And Jeff Samardzija Agree To One-year Deal

The hard throwing 29-year old signed back with the Chicago Cubs for a one-year, $5.345 million deal and will once again headline the staff.

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