The "forearm strain" turned out to be as nefarious as we figured it would be, and Kris Medlen himself is not very optimistic about his chances of pitching in 2014. If it turns out that he actually does need Tommy John surgery, this would be his second, which could mean that Medlen is going to have an extremely difficult and unlikely road back to the Majors. To his credit, he seems prepared to take on the challenge of returning from a 2nd TJ surgery.
In what is pretty obviously a direct reaction to having one starting pitcher out for an extended period of time (and possibly 2 if Brandon Beachy's arm woes turn out to be as bad as Medlen's), Frank Wren swooped into the free agent market and snatched up free agent pitcher Ervin Santana on a 1 year, $14.1M deal. The deal put the Braves over budget, but CEO Terry McGuirk assured everyone that the organization has no qualms about doing what it takes to win this season. Judging by his twitter account, the habitual baseball smeller is pretty excited to don a tomahawk across his chest.
Our own Ben Duronio did a piece on "What to Expect Out of Ervin Santana," which is definitely worth a read.
In his article for CBS Sports, Jon Heyman figures that both parties in this deal are making bets. He contends that the Braves are wise for taking this course of action to replace Medlen, while also stating that Santana is making a brave move by choosing to take a 1-year deal, which essentially betting on himself to prove that he deserves the big(ger) contract that he missed out on this offseason.
Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs takes a look at the Braves signing of Santana and the ramifications for the pitcher, the team, and their chances in 2014. Sullivan feels that it was "vital" for the Braves to bring in a pitcher that was somewhat close to Medlen's level, and also feels that it was a "soft landing" for Santana after a very long offseason for the Dominican pitcher.
Our friends at MLB Daily Dish rounded up various tweets and posts from experts who let their voices and opinions on the Santana deal be heard. We hear from writers (such as Jeff Passan) to Santana's old teammates (such as Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie).
ESPN's resident sabermetric guru Dan Szymborski took a look at the Santana signing (via Insider Post so if you've got the subscription, have fun) and he contends that the Braves may have made this move out of panic. With that being said, he did note that ZiPS projects Santana to pitch for 2.9 WAR, which is .4 more than what ZiPS projected for Medlen in 2014, so there's that.
Since the Braves had to give up a first round pick in the draft in order to complete the signing of Ervin Santana, the 2014 MLB Draft has received a bit of a shake-up again. The Braves will now make their first pick with the 32nd overall pick of the draft.
The Braves were in split-squad action on Wednesday and picked up wins in both contests. At "home" in Lake Buena Vista, Freddie Freeman smacked a 2-run dinger which helped the Braves to what would eventually be a walk-off W. Alex Wood went 4 innings with 4 hits and 1 unearned run. Meanwhile in Jupiter, Evan Gattis hit his first HR of the spring, which was a solo homer off of Henderson Alvarez. The homer was part of a 3-1 victory.
Young Braves pitcher Alex Wood is well aware that the Braves are expecting a lot from him in his second season, and after talking with beat writer Mark Bowman, it's clear that Wood is also prepared to meet those expectations and possibly exceed them as well.
League Wide News
Former Braves pitcher Livan Hernandez hasn't pitched since 2012 (which is when he did his stint with the Braves), but yesterday he officially retired. Despite having his best seasons in 2003 and 2004 with the Expos, Hernandez is probably best known for A) his role in helping the then-Florida Marlins win their first World Series in 1997 and B) being the beneficiary of one of the worst umpiring jobs in baseball history during Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS against the Braves.
It's not Spring Training until you see someone injure themselves in a minor freak accident, and Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez did just that. Rodriguez will miss a few days of camp after stepping on a cactus. Just in case you glossed over that weird point, I'm going to repeat it and italicize it for you: He stepped on a cactus.
The Phillies have been dealing with a rash of injuries to their pitchers, and the news didn't get much better after Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was scratched from a scheduled start due to shoulder soreness. This is after he had his contract reworked to $12 million from $48 million due to potential issues with his arm. Gonzalez himself hasn't had the best performance so far in Spring, so this can't help.
Yesterday, after 21 previous instances, we saw our first play get overturned by Instant Replay in a Spring Training tilt between the Angels and Mariners. The replay process was reportedly quick, but somehow still resulted in an argument afterwards. Here's hoping that this doesn't happen during the regular season.
32-year-old starter Jorge De La Rosa was tapped as the Opening Day starter for the Colorado Rockies by manager and former Brave Walt Weiss. De La Rosa had an ERA of 3.46, FIP of 3.79 and a career-low full season BB% of 8.7% in 2013.
After there were rumors all winter that the two parties would come together to talk turkey, the Indians and 2B Jason Kipnis have reportedly officially entered into contract talks. Kipnis is clearly one of the best young second basemen in the game, and it would be very wise for the Indians to do whatever they can to keep him.