Despite having a solid Spring (including a productive start on Sunday) and supposedly being a shoo-in for a spot in the Braves' rotation in the early going, the Braves have decided to cut ties with pitcher Freddy Garcia. The 37-year-old righty wasn't exactly exceptional, but he did have a memorable moment last fall when he coined the phrase "I don't panic, I just make pitch," when he was tapped as the starter for what ended up being the final game of the Braves season. He did indeed make pitch during that game, and now it's clear that Garcia will be making pitch elsewhere in baseball.
Yesterday, the Braves decided to listen to a fringe of their fanbase and pick up a man who was cut by the Cleveland Indians after failing to make their major league roster. Indeed, Frank Wren has done the unthinkable and brought back Jef-wait, they signed Aaron Harang? They signed Aaron Harang. The 35-year-old pitcher had a 5.40 ERA and a 4.70 FIP in 2013 in stints with the Mariners and Mets, and could be considered as a lateral move from Garcia. The only difference appears to be that Aaron Harang is not line to receive $1.25 MM this season, which is what Garcia would have received.
Our sabermetrically-inclined friends over at Beyond the Box Score are running through the gamut of MLB clubs, previewing each club one by one and now they've reached the Braves. If you want a comprehensive look at the club coming from a statistical perspective, then this is the preview for you.
Another season preview comes from MLB.com, where Paul Hagen takes a look at not only the Braves, but the rest of the NL East as well. Hagen takes quick looks at each team's strengths, weaknesses, and other factors as we get closer and closer to the start of the 2014 season.
Last week, Braves legend (and 1995 World Series hero) Tom Glavine participated in the Hall of Fame's orientation session for new inductees. This week, it was Bobby Cox and Greg Maddux's turn to take their tour of baseball's shrine to the legends of the game.
Mike Axisa of CBS' Eye on Baseball took a league wide look at each team's potentially important prospects for the 2014 season. When it came to the Braves, Axisa advised readers to keep an eye on pitcher David Hale, calling him a "sleeper Rookie of the Year candidate" with potential to be a "rotation stalwart." The other rookie that Axisa talked about was Tommy LaStella, noting that the second baseman (who will probably start the season in Gwinnett) has the potential to replace Dan Uggla very soon.
In his latest blog for the AJC, Braves beat writer Dave O'Brien got some quotes from Gerald Laird while outlining the two reasons why the Braves and their fans should still be confident heading into the 2014 season. One reason is the mentality that the Braves will be heading into the season with, and the other is much more succinct and to the point: The schedule.
The beleaguered second baseman has actually had a pretty strong Spring so far, and although stats in Spring are required to be taken with a grain of salt, Dan Uggla is optimistic that his Spring means that he'll have a much better campaign in 2014 than in previous years. Mark Bowman talked with Uggla yesterday and Uggla revealed that part of the reason behind his strong effort to return to good form was the fact that he was "embarrassed" to have been left off of the Braves playoff roster in 2013 and realized that his career might be ending if he didn't turn it around.
The Braves released their media guide, which is available on their website to download or to simply peruse on the webpage itself. Although this type of thing tends to become outdated as soon as the first transaction is made, it's still very useful for those who want a bit more of a traditional, hands-on look at the team and the stories behind each and every player in the system.
League Wide News
Yesterday, the White Sox and pitcher Jose Quintana agreed to a 5-year contract extension worth $21 MM. In his second season as a starter in 2013, Quintana had a 3.51 ERA and 3.82 FIP and served as a decent enough alternative to ace Chris Sale.
Former Braves outfielder Michael Bourn has been battling hamstring issues all Spring, and it appears that the injury will cause him to miss the start of the season. With that being said, it appears that the Indians are expecting Bourn to be playing by a week into the season. Bourn's move to the DL also resulted in Nyjer Morgan making the Indians major league roster.
Young Rays pitcher Alex Colome went into Spring Training looking to lock down a spot in the Rays' major league rotation. Instead, the 25-year-old rookie will be leaving Spring with a 50 game suspension, after the pitcher tested positive for an anabolic steroid intended for horses. Yep, you read that right: Horses.
After losing Jurickson Profar for 3 months due to a torn shoulder muscle, the Texas Rangers have lost another player for 3 months. Catcher Geovany Soto will be out for 10-12 weeks due to a torn lateral meniscus in his knee. Soto hit .245/.328/.466 with 114 wRC+ as the backup catcher for the Rangers last season, and was slated to be the starter this season until going down due to injury.
Orioles 3B Manny Machado has been aiming to return from his awful-looking knee injury on Opening Day. Unfortunately for Machado and the Orioles, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter announced that Machado will start the season on the 15-day DL. It does seem to be an encouraging sign for the dynamic third baseman that he was even close to being ready following ligament tears late last season.