And with that headline, we're off to a great start. But in all seriousness, there was a small bit of buzz when Jon Heyman speculated that Rays pitcher David Price would list Atlanta as one of his prime destinations simply because it was closer to his home. With that being said, hometown discounts are exceedingly rare, and close-to-hometown discounts are non-existent, so Price's chances of actually becoming an Atlanta Brave remain slim-to-none.
In "Things That The Braves Could Legitimately Try To Improve At The Trade Deadline" news, our own Harris Nye has noted that our bench has been a bit of a dumpster fire this season. Here's the worst part:
Laird has the highest wRC+ of any Braves bench player this year but six bench players had a higher wRC+ for the Braves in 2013, including a guy the team DFA’d. The Braves DFA’d Juan Francisco in 2013 when he had a 90 wRC+ but that would lead the bench this year by a large margin. That’s how bad this group has been.
Please come back, Fat Juan. We're sorry. We'll never do it again.
The countdown clock for Evan Gattis' return has started ticking, as Evan Gattis will begin a rehab assignment tonight with the G-Braves in Gwinnett. Gattis is eligible to return off the DL at any time now, but the earliest he could start actually playing games would be on Monday against the Marlins, which would probably be when Gattis is done with his rehab assignment. Either way, El Oso Blanco's hibernation may be coming to a close.
Since it's the All-Star Break, this is a perfect time to appreciate the All-Stars who you have, and that means that it was a good time to just sit back and see just how good Freddie Freeman has been. From Scott Coleman's piece here on Talking Chop:
Over the last calendar year – 162 games exactly – Freeman has hit .309/.391/.511 with 27 home runs, 100 RBI and a 151 wRC+. Looking at the FanGraphs leaderboard, Freeman's 151 wRC+ ties him for ninth place in all of baseball.
Ninth in all of baseball. There are, like, a ton of dudes playing baseball. To be ninth is pretty doggone good. As further appreciation, here are Freddie's two longest homers of 2014, which both went 428 feet. Enjoy!
The plan for the new Braves stadium in Cobb County has always been to to add businesses and hotels in the immediate area surrounding the new stadium, and yesterday, the Braves officially got the OK from Cobb County to proceed with this plan thanks to a zoning change. Of course, the businesses (namely Genuine Parts Inc. a.k.a. NAPA) who are currently in this area are none too pleased with this development, but hey, to paraphrase a wise man who started balding far too early, "Whatcha gonna do when the Braves and Cobb Country run wild on you?"
As many noticed, FOX and MLB somehow managed to forget about one of the true legends of baseball who recently passed away, as there was nary a mention of the San Diego Padres late legend Tony Gwynn. MLB and FOX came out with a joint statement, but it wasn't exactly the most encouraging statement in the world. Either way, I think we can all agree that it's a shame that Gwynn was somehow overlooked on Tuesday night.
The other, smaller scandal at the All-Star Game was Adam Wainwright publicly admitting that he grooved a pitch to Derek Jeter during the first inning of the game. Jeter promptly doubled on the grooved pitch, and the AL scored 3 runs in that inning. Normally this wouldn't be a gigantic deal, but since the All-Star Game counts (yes, it still counts. Thanks, Bud), Wainwright basically helped give the American League home field advantage for the World Series. Grant Brisbee continues to expound on how Wainwright's grooved pitch was a big deal in the article above.