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Atlanta Braves news: Farewell to 2017, welcome to 2018!

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Another year has come and gone and now it’s really time to start looking forward to what awaits the Braves by the time Spring rolls around.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

BRAVES NEWS

Happy New Year from Talking Chop!

Hopefully I’m not the first to wish this for you if you’re reading this but if I am, Happy New Year! Hopefully 2018 is a better year in all facets than 2017 was and that includes the fortunes of the Atlanta Braves. All signs seem to point towards 2018 being a year of improvement for the Braves and it’s definitely understandable if there’s plenty of excitement to see the new young faces for the Braves next season. With that being said, this is the perfect time to look back on what 2017 had to offer and the duo of Kris and Ivan compiled a few “Best Of” posts for everybody here to enjoy.

Five primary questions that Braves have to answer in 2018

While we were busy looking back on 2017, Mark Bowman was busy looking forward to what 2018 had to offer. In fact, the Braves beat writer had five questions that the Braves had to answer and of course, the first question had to do with Ronald Acuna.

While Acuna appears to be MLB-ready and could force the Braves to make a tough decision during Spring Training, it seems like the club is leaning toward delaying his service clock by keeping him off the Opening Day roster. This might create some disdain among those looking forward to seeing the 20-year-old phenom.

MLB NEWS

Cubbies may be entering Yelich sweepstakes

While the Braves have long been rumored to be interested in Christian Yelich (and the latest report from Jon Heyman seems to confirm that the Braves are still “in” on Yelich), it’s clear that Atlanta is going to have stiff competition when it comes to acquiring the Marlins outfielder. Our friends over at Bleed Cubbie Blue shared the rumor that the Cubs may be trying to pick up Yelich via trade.

Yelich is signed to a team-friendly contract that will pay him $43.25 million over the next four seasons, through 2021. There’s a $15 million team option for 2022 with a $1.25 million buyout.

If the Cubs were to trade for Yelich, he’d almost certainly be installed as the team’s regular center fielder, which means Albert Almora Jr. would likely go back to Miami in the deal. Despite being in the major leagues for almost five full seasons, Yelich is only 2½ years older than Almora. He just turned 26 earlier in December.

Buffalo Bills end postseason drought and pass it on to Seattle Mariners

So the Buffalo Bills are officially off the hook when it comes to playoff droughts in North American sports. Thanks to a win over the Dolphins and last-second heroics from Andy Dalton in a Cincinnati Bengals win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Bills were able to reach the postseason for the first time since 1999. Why am I talking about football on a baseball website? That’s because Buffalo’s fortune is a reminder of the misfortune that Seattle Mariners fans are going through. They haven’t seen their team make the playoffs since 2001 and this is now the longest playoff drought in North America. Baseball wins again (sort of)!