While many have focused on the third base situation heading into Spring Training for the Atlanta Braves, one of the more intriguing battles may occur in the rotation where veteran Felix Hernandez and Sean Newcomb along with others are vying for the fifth starter job. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman took a closer look at the potential battle on Friday. Hernandez struggled through the 2019 season but brings a wealth of experience. Newcomb got off to a strong start in 2018 as a member of the rotation but faltered down the stretch and switched to a relief role after just three outings in 2019. He did transition well to the bullpen where he posted a 3.04 ERA in 53 1/3 innings as a reliever.
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Our Spring Training preview series continued on Friday with a closer look at the team’s infield situation where everything is set except for the third base battle.
Our own Eric Cole continued his run of prospect interviews with a Q&A session with Braves’ pitching prospect Kasey Kalich.
Over at The Athletic, Jim Bowden handed out offseason grades for all 30 MLB teams. The Atlanta Braves received an “A-” for their bullpen additions plus the signing of outfielder Marcell Ozuna and catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
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The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a strong message from executive director Tony Clark saying that the held-up Mookie Betts trade needs to be resolved quickly because it is putting players’ lives in a state of limbo.
“The proposed trades between the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins, and Angels need to be resolved without further delay,” Clark said. “The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players’ lives in a state of limbo. The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game.”
There are some conflicting reports but it appears that the Boston Red Sox are close to naming their new manager for the 2020 season. The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reported Friday morning that the team plans to name bench coach Ron Roenicke as the team’s new manager. The team then issued a statement in response to the report saying that their managerial search was not complete and that they would comment at the completion of the search. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal then reported that the team had interviewed former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons earlier this week.
ESPN announced on Friday that Jessica Mendoza has signed a multiyear extension and will resign from her role as a baseball operations adviser with the New York Mets.
The Dodgers and infielder/outfielder Chris Taylor avoided arbitration with a two-year, $13.4 million deal. Tayler will earn $5.6 million in 2020 and $7.8 million in 2021 as the team buys out his final two years of arbitration eligibility.
Outfielder Joc Pederson lost his arbitration case with the Dodgers and will earn $7.75 million for the 2020 season. Pederson had requested a salary of $9.5 million.
The San Francisco Giants have a deal in place with veteran outfielder Hunter Pence according to a report by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Finally, the Giants also announced on Friday that they have signed outfielder Billy Hamilton to a minor-league deal that also includes an invite to MLB Spring Training.