Fangraphs' Dave Cameron examines the Julio Teheran contract extension as he recently did with Freddie Freeman's big contract extension. In the process, Cameron compares Teheran to Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner & also makes a comparison to Rangers pitcher Martin Perez (who recently signed a contract extension of his own). Both of those teams signed their pitchers at a very young age to low risk-high reward contracts for the team, and it appears as if the Braves have done the same thing.
With Teheran's contract extension, Freeman's lengthy extension, and a deal to avoid Heyward's arbitration for the next two seasons, it is clear that Braves GM Frank Wren is making a concerted effort to lock up most of the young core of the team. One would believe that the GM's eyes may now be on locking up the defensive maestro at shortstop, Andrelton Simmons (EDIT: or maybe even Craig Kimbrel).
DOB reports from Florida on Alex Wood as the young pitcher prepares for what should be his first full season in the big leagues. It's revealed that the Braves have yet to inform Wood as to how they'll utilize him during this upcoming season, but the promising lefthander admitted that he is prepared for whatever role they put him in. Last Monday, one of our writers made it very clear as to how he feels the Braves should handle Alex Wood this season.
With Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird already firmly entrenched as the top two catchers for the Braves, it's pretty obvious that Ryan Doumit will probably be spending much more time in the outfield than behind the dish. However, despite there being rumors that Doumit was completely done with catching, the man who actually made his major league debut against the Atlanta Braves made it very clear that if the Braves need him to catch, that he'll be ready and willing to do so.
After a successful 2013 season in which the Braves' rotation managed to finish 6th, 5th, & 9th in all of baseball in ERA, FIP, and fWAR, respectively, the rotation has made it very clear that they are more than prepare to build on that success and become even better in 2014.
Three of the Braves' pitchers will be arriving late to Spring Training, as Atahualpo Severino, Lay Batista, & Luis Vasquez. Vasquez is the only one of these pitchers who should have a legit shot at making the major league roster, and it would be in the best interests of the club if these issues were sorted out so that the intriguing signing can focus on making the squad.
After breaking his jaw last August against the Mets, Jason Heyward made his return wearing a relatively funky-looking helmet designed to protect his broken jaw. Heyward will continue to wear the helmet in 2014, so if you still aren't used to it, you'll have time to adjust since it won't be going away for the time being.
The former Kansas City Royals utility man has agreed to a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs. The light-hitting journeyman who splits time between 2B and the outfield will still be paid the $3.5M that the Royals owe him.
Aaron Harang will be going to Spring Training with the Cleveland Indians on a minor league deal and will attempt to make Cleveland's rotation heading into 2014. The 36-year old will be heading into what would be his 12th season in the majors.
Despite being late to the initial date of pitchers and catchers reporting, free agent pitcher Ervin Santana should find a home pretty soon with rumors of at least six teams interested in obtaining his services. The 2008 AL All-Star returned to form last season after a disappointing 2012 with an ERA and FIP of 3.24 & 3.93, respectively
Ryan Howard has had to deal with a lot of terrible injury luck over the past 3 seasons, to say the least. However, the 2006 NL MVP claims that he is healthy and is aiming to play a full season. The 34-year-old first baseman has only played in 151 games over the past two seasons and was barely above replacement value when he did play, hitting .266/.319/.465 with 111 WRC+ over 317 plate appearances in 2013.
In an unfortunate turn of events, pitcher Mark Mulder's comeback attempt after five years away from the game was cut short by a ruptured Achilles. Mulder last pitched in 2008 for the St. Louis Cardinals (and hasn't pitched regularly since 2006) & was attempting to make his Major League return with the Los Angeles Angels.
After undergoing surgery to repair a torn core muscle, Tigers ace Justin Verlander threw a bullpen session and looked to be well on his way to being ready to pitch for Opening Day. Verlander has pitched 200+ innings for 6 consecutive seasons and recorded an ERA & FIP of 3.46 & 3.28, respectively.
Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak will avoid arbitration in signing a 1 year contract worth $2.3675M. There is also a vesting option for 2015 which has the potential to become a team option. Smoak hit .238/.334/.412 last season which resulted in 0.4 fWAR least season.
Oakland A's outfielder and noted beard enthusiast Josh Reddick signed a 1-year deal with Oakland to avoid arbitration. The deal is for $2.7M, which coincidentally was also his fWAR for the 2013 season.