One of the biggest changes of the Braves offseason has been a shift to more of a contact oriented approach to the plate. Part of that reason was the epic struggles of the team offensively in 2014. MLB.com's Mark Bowman takes a look back at the top storylines for the team during 2014 and the team's anemic production at the plate comes out on top.
The weakest link was undoubtedly an offense that tallied fewer runs than every Major League club but the Padres. Chris Johnson's bid to win a batting title in 2013 was forgotten, as he was one of four Braves with at least 300 plate appearances and a sub-.700 OPS. Simmons, one of the members of this quartet, provided reason to wonder if his 17 homers in 2013 negatively affected his approach in '14. Freeman and Justin Upton were the club's steadiest offensive performers. But after posting MVP-caliber numbers through the season's first five months, Upton produced a worse OPS (.559) than his older brother (.734) during September.
In David Laurila's Sunday column for FanGraphs he wonders if Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had any input on the A.J. Pierzynski signing. Laurila says that Pierzynski was so bad last season that he may not make it out of spring training for the Braves.
Whether or not he had a say in the A.J. Pierzynski signing is a mystery to me. If Gonzalez saw the over-the-hill catcher play last year, he couldn't have been too enamored. Pierzynski looked like toast on both sides of the ball. More so, his effort level running out ground balls was often languorous. Unless he discovers the fountain of youth between now and opening day, he may not make it out of camp.
The Boston Globe's Nick Carfado reports that doctors have confirmed that Uggla played through an undiagnosed concussion in 2014.
Smart move by Mike Rizzo signing the 34-year-old Uggla to a minor league deal. Uggla has been horrible the last couple of years and was released by the Braves. But upon further review, Uggla's demise might have been because of an undetected concussion he played through. Uggla's condition was confirmed by doctors this offseason.
No word on when or where the concussion might have occurred. Uggla recently agreed to a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was reportedly detained by authorities in the Dominican Republic in connection with his alleged involvement in a shooting incident. Per the report, Castro was detained for questioning. Castro's agent had denied the report and said that his client "voluntarily" provided information to police officials.