The Braves' outfield situation has cleared up somewhat this offseason. Thanks to the arrival of Ender Inciarte as an everyday outfielder and the fact that the Braves appear to be serious about this whole "Hector Olivera in left field" thing, the Braves have their outfield set for 2016. That leaves both Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn on the outside looking in, and they figure to be too expensive to be a backup for a rebuilding team. Therefore, the Braves are still trying to move one of (if not both) those guys, and they're willing to eat a sizable amount of money in order to do so.
Meanwhile, the one Atlanta Brave that the team has steadfastly denied would be traded was once again in a small bit of trade news. Freddie Freeman was reportedly in the center of trade talks between the Braves and the Houston Astros at sometime during this winter, and it appears that the Braves weren't impressed with whatever the Astros were offering, so the talks are apparently over. Now, when you consider what the Braves got for Shelby Miller and the reaction from the fanbase if Freddie Freeman were to be traded, the Braves would have to receive an absolutely gargantuan offer in their favor in order to trade Freeman at this point.
We've finally entered into a new year, which means that we can leave the darkness that was the on-the-field product of the Atlanta Braves in the past. However, we've got a new year upon us, and that means that it's time to start thinking of ways to improve for the future. Naturally, the Braves will be resolving to improve in many facets, with the most important being the development of their promising minor league prospects.
With all the additions the Braves have made to their farm system, many evaluators have touted it as one of the top five in baseball. However, prospects are an unknown commodity, making it difficult to pin a major league team’s hopes on them in spite of their potential. This is why the Braves have to be hoping, above all else, that their prospects fulfill the promise they have shown to this point. The organization has gone to great lengths in the process of rebuilding to add talent, but if players like Dansby Swanson, Sean Newcomb, Ozhaino Albies, and others continue their ascension through the minor leagues, the Braves could be much closer to contention this time next year. Braves fans will certainly want to tune in for minor league updates this season, as they may help to ease some of the pain that the major league team could inflict as currently constructed.
You'd figure that the Houston Astros would be trying their hardest to make sure that they locked down one of their aces for the future, but apparently they're being really patient in that regard. The Astros have yet to talk to pitcher Dallas Keuchel about a contract extension since the offseason ended, and have just been "kicking the tires" since around sometime during last season. He'll either get a contract extension or go through the arbitration process, which means that a big-time raise will be in Keuchel's future no matter what.
Legendary WWE play-by-play commentator Jim Ross is a pretty big sports fan as evidenced by his experience in the field of sports commentary (he had a couple of brief stints as a commentator for the Atlanta Falcons) and his avid interest in all things concerning Oklahoma Sooners football. However, Good Ol' J.R. may actually be interested in broadening his horizons to the world of baseball commentary, as the former voice of the WWE said on Twitter that he'd be willing to move to Pittsburgh to take over the vacant job of Pirates PBP commentator. I don't think that this will happen, but if it did, I'd probably tune in to Pirates games with the hope that a cage would magically materialize in the middle of the baseball diamond and someone would get thrown off of it so J.R. would throw a conniption fit.