Atlanta Braves Link Dump: 2/17

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Brighten up your Monday with a trip to the Dump.

Braves News:

Braves Lock Up Best Closer In Baseball

With a day until his arbitration hearing, Craig Kimbrel agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal with his current team that includes a fifth year option that could make it as much as $58.5 million. David Schoenfield believes that Atlanta will remain contenders well into the future with Kimbrel, who leads all big league closers in ERA (1.39) and SO/9 (15.08) over his first four seasons in the big leagues.

Wren Believes That Reward Outweighs The Risk

The question on whether or not Atlanta would pay big money to the most dominant 9th inning man in baseball has been answered. General Manager Frank Wren, who has been on a roll as of late, is thrilled to have the centerpiece of the bullpen back and he believes that the deal worked out in the best way it possibly could.

Value Of Closers

FOX sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal discusses why the Braves had to do whatever it took to land a deal with Kimbrel to keep him in Atlanta for the next four years guaranteed. He also notes that the new stadium is the main reason why the team has been able to commit $222.7 million in extensions to four players over the past 13 days.

Upton Brothers Report To Camp; B.J. Displays New Swing

The Upton brothers reported to Champion Field for the first time Sunday just two days before all position players are required to show, as team workouts will begin on Wednesday. This offseason B.J. Upton refined his mechanics at the plate and got rid of all the unnecessary moving parts, including hist foot-tap timing mechanism. A bounce back season could be in store for the older of the two brothers, possibly even a 20-20 year if he can put his previous season behind him.

Photos Of Braves Spring Training Workout

Take a look through AJC's gallery of the team in workouts in Kissimmee, Fla. Fredi Gonzalez looks like a happy camper out there.

Simmons Next To Sign A Long-Term Deal?

DOB and Joel Sherman of the New York Post believe that Andrelton Simmons will be the next to sign an extension with the Braves. As of right now the 24-year old remains the only key position player to not have reported to camp yet. Last season he set a MLB record for most defensive runs saved with 41 and showed some pop with 17 home runs.

Gonzalez Addresses Second Base Issue

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves skipper has the mindset that Dan Uggla will be his team's starting second baseman going into the season. Uggla will look to revamp his production tremendously after suffering the worst season of his MLB  career last season. Contact is the name of the game folks.

Ryan Butcher's Chance Has Arrived With Big League Club

After a big season at Gwinnett, hard throwing left handed reliever Ryan Butcher will get a chance to make the opening day roster with the Braves in just his second big league camp experience. DOB gives the rundown on the New Jersey native.

Five Bold Predictions From Spring Training

Jeff Schafer of Fansided (SI.com) spices things up a bit as he lists five bold predictions that will happen in spring training camp for the Braves. One of such is that Jordan Schafer, no not his son, will beat out B.J. Upton for the starting center field job and hit leadoff on Opening Day.

League News:

Machado Reports To Camp

Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado participated in his first workout on Sunday and continues to show good signs in his rehab from left knee surgery at the end of last season.

Dempster Won't Pitch In 2014

Ryan Dempster has most likely played his last season of baseball, as he announced Sunday that he will sit out the 2014 season but not officially retire. If it is the end for the 16-year veteran he ended it in strong fashion with a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2013. His last pitch of the season came in Game One of the Series when he struck out Matt Adams in the Sox 8-1 win. He went 132-133 from the hill with a 4.35 ERA, and 2,075 strikeouts.

Tanaka Displays Pinpoint Control In Bullpen Session

With the media continuing to swarm the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. to see highest paid so called "No.3" starter, Masahiro Tanaka gave those with notepads and video cameras what they wanted to see. According to  CBS baseball insider Jon Heyman the rookie dazzled by locating his pitches on the black of the plate. The only thing he struggled with was the mile run along with the rest of the pitchers. Conditioning fellas.

Jake Westbrook Retires

With no signs of interest in free agency for his talents Jake Westbrook has retired after 13 seasons in the big leagues. He intends to spend more time with his family now that he has moved to the next chapter in his life. The two time World Series winner was 105-103 in his career with a 4.32 ERA playing for the Yankees, Indians, and Cardinals.

Scherzer Won't Talk Deal In-Season

Reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer reemphasized his willingness to negotiate with the Detroit Tigers before hits free agency, but once the regular season starts all his focused will be on solely playing baseball.

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