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Atlanta Braves news and links: Rest in peace, Tommy Hanson

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There's plenty of Braves news going on, but it's important to keep Tommy Hanson's family in your thoughts after he sadly passed away at such a young age. Rest in peace, Big Red.

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Tommy Hanson dies at age 29

In extremely sad news, former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson went into a coma and ended up passing away late last night. He was only 29-years old at the time of his death. Most of us remember Hanson as being one of the most highly touted prospects to come through the Braves' farm system, and he was one of the main contributors to a rotation that helped the Braves make the Postseason in 2010 and 2012. He threw his final major league pitch in 2013, but his life should've lasted far longer than that. 29 is way too soon for anybody to go, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during what has to be an extremely tough time for the people who loved him -- not just the fans like you and I who cheered for him.

We've got a fanpost up where you can share your memories of Tommy Hanson, and Scott wrote about how Tommy had an affect on his life as well. In addition, here are even more reactions to Tommy Hanson's unexpected passing.

Coppolella "encouraged" by Olivera's development in left field

Meanwhile, the GM Meetings are currently in full swing, and Braves GM John Coppolella recently spoke with the media in order to try to give us a good idea of what will be in store for the Braves this offseason. He addressed the current glut of outfielders that they have, Hector Olivera's development as an outfielder, and the expectations that the team has as they enter the Hot Stove season. Coppolella is staying realistic, but he's also bullish on the Braves right now, and you can't really blame him -- he is the GM, after all. Here are some of his thoughts on Olivera's move to the outfield so fa, and the idea of finding someone to fill the hole at third base:

With Olivera likely in left field, the Braves will probably pursue a short-term third baseman. Adonis Garcia is the only major-league ready player they have at the position, and his defense was shaky during his 30-year-old rookie season.

"I think to John’s point, (Olivera) is here in a new country," Coppolella said, "he’s learning a new city, he’s learning a new language, new teammates, new everything. The easier we can make it for him – we felt this was a way to possibly make it easier. We’re not going to close the door on third base. I mean, if we have a chance where we (have a surplus in the) outfield and we feel like he fits better at third base, it’s not like he’s set in left field. It’s just that we’re trying to keep as many options open to help our team get better."

Should the Braves make a free agency splash this Winter, or should they wait?

Yesterday, I pointed out an article from Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs, which suggested that the Braves should capitialize on their position of financial flexibility by making a big splash in Free Agency this winter. However, our friends at Tomahawk Take believe that this might not be the wisest move, and believe that the Braves should pursue other avenues in order to improve the squad.

I already opined that the Braves will be very reluctant to part with the cash, years, and draft pick (albeit their back-of-the-first-round Compensation Pick) to land one of the top free agents.  While the talent is there, it’s tough for a team like this to commit to tying their hands for such a period of time.

However, there are other strategies available:

  • Strategic trades in which cash is used as leverage/buying chip.  This has emerged as a trade tactic over the past year – we saw it employed on several occasions, in fact.
  • Go for a second tier free agent – one that doesn’t carry a draft-compensation pick with him
  • Grab someone else’s contracted player so that they can then have some flexibility… particularly one that might have only a year or two of control remaining so that Atlanta can buy a bit of performance and perhaps ‘bridge the gap’ between now and when a shiny new prospect might become available.

Mike Minor's health is still a big question mark

We're rapidly approaching the non-tender deadline of December 2nd, which will probably be a big day for pitcher MIke Minor. He still hasn't recovered to the point where the Braves would be fully comfortable with bringing him back, which means that his status as of right now is up in the air. We'll see if the Braves choose to bring him back, but I wouldn't say that it's likely at this point.


Ken Griffey Jr. makes his debut on loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

The BBWAA recently revealed the ballot for the 2016 Hall of Fame, and it's as loaded as we've seen it in recent years. However, there's one obvious shoo-in for Hall of Fame induction, and that's Ken Griffey Jr. He's probably a lock to get in (hopefully sooner rather than later), unlike his teammate Edgar Martinez, who is continuing to float around since his status as a DH is probably hurting his cause more than anything. Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see if any of the big steroid-linked names will make any headway in their Hall of Fame campaigns. Either way, the voters will have plenty of choices at their disposal as they start filing in their ballots.

Jose Reyes gets arrested for domestic violence

Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested for a domestic violence incident back on Halloween. Obviously, these are just allegations at this point, but if it's true and Jose Reyes did indeed commit this crime, then I agree with the sentiment below in that both the Rockies and MLB should do their best to convey that this cannot and will not be tolerated. There's no place for this in sports, and those two parties have a chance to show another team in another league how to properly deal with this type of thing.

It's important to remember that "if true" part at this juncture. But the very second the Rockies have confirmation, they would do well to be clearing the fastest path out of town for Reyes. Major League Baseball recently revised its rules concerning domestic violence meaning that the league and the club have the chance to get this right. Whatever the way, whatever the cost, Reyes cannot take the field on Opening Day at 20th and Blake.