Morning Chop: Tomahawk Take’s Summary of Braves’ News
[Editorial Note: Hey Fans! Our favorite team usually puts together a video to say thanks to all of us fans for the support we give! The 2013 season is over, but this video reminds us all of what a great year it was, even if it ended in disappointment. A great many Braves' players are taking the time to thank us for support this past season, but it's really us who should be thanking them. Check out the video, and Go Braves! ]
Evan Gattis Rises From Obscurity
If you had been told during the preseason that a lad named Evan Gattis would outearn his teammate Brian McCann and tie for third in home runs among catchers, you would have laughed out loud. Who the heck is Evan Gattis? I’m a Braves fan and even I had limited knowledge of Gattis’ existence (though I admit I’m not much of a prospect follower). Gattis finished 14th among catchers in fantasy value this year, despite recording just 354 at-bats. It might even be an understatement to claim that Gattis rose from obscurity.
Evan Gattis was a revelation for the Braves. So much so that the Braves even had an El Oso Blanco night in mid-September, offering a ticket package that included a t-shirt and foam bear claw(!). It’s not often that a rookie enters Major League Baseball with a nickname already attached, but that’s exactly what Gattis brought with him, as he was called El Oso Blanco (The White Bear) last offseason while playing in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Atlanta Braves Should Avoid Repeating Mistakes in Search for Ace
here have already been rumors that the Atlanta Braves are going to try and make some noise in the free agent market this off-season. They could trade their much maligned second baseman Dan Uggla if the right candidate comes along willing to pick up a tiny bit of his salary. One concern after being unable to perfectly match aces in the postseason has been going to get a number-one, ace starting pitcher. This could work for the Braves only if it is done correctly.
The before mentioned Uggla is one of the reasons I would suggest caution for the Braves. They are saddled with a second baseman they clearly do not want on their roster right now and they know they’ll have to pick up some of his paycheck for his next team. B.J. Upton also appeared to be a mistake free agent signing this season though many including myself expect him to fair much better in 2014.
Atlanta Braves Prospects: Juan Jaime and Aaron Northcraft Going Different Ways
There are many Atlanta Braves prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League and two in particular are pitchers that find themselves going possibly in different directions. Juan Jaime and Aaron Northcraft are each getting a chance to show where they are headed and what they are capable of and each is doing something different. For now it seems that Jaime could have a chance to make some noise in spring training but Northcraft will have work to do still in the minors.
One of the obvious reasons for this is that Northcraft still has a strong chance to make himself into a solid starter at the MLB level. Considering that, he has a lot more that needs to be polished before he is ready. He has already gained some notoriety over the past year or so and is likely to stay in the minds of the Braves front office for a while. But they do not need another young starting pitcher right now anyway. Look for him to work on some things and maybe get a look in the 2014 September call-ups.
Braves to discuss McCann, Hudson
ATLANTA — Braves general manager Frank Wren and his staff will discuss looming decisions on two free agents, catcher Brian McCann and pitcher Tim Hudson, in organizational meetings which being Tuesday in Orlando.
Two more players to be discussed are Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, who lost starting jobs this season.
Wren said Monday he still feels the disappointment of Atlanta’s NL division series loss to the Dodgers. He said the team “took a step forward” by winning 96 games and the NL East division title.
“We didn’t reach our ultimate goal and so I’m disappointed,” Wren said. “Our ultimate goal was to win a World Series. That’s why we do what we do. Division championships are nice. Winning 96 games is great, but if you’re not still standing as one of the last few teams to get to the World Series, it’s somewhat disappointing.”
Wren said the Braves struggled to overcome the loss of Hudson, 38, whose season ended with a broken ankle on July 24. Brandon Beachy had setbacks when trying to return from elbow ligament-replacement surgery and didn’t rejoin the rotation as expected.
Wren said he will “need a little more information than we have now” on Hudson’s recovery but said the right-hander “is progressing.”
“It would surprise me if we did not at least have some conversations with him,” Wren said of Hudson.
Atlanta Braves’ Wild Offseason Trade Idea: Matt Kemp for B.J. Upton Just Makes Sense
COMMENTARY | General Manager Frank Wren had his turn. But after the Atlanta Braves were bounced out of the MLB playoffs early for the second straight season, it’s about time I started manning the controls of Atlanta’s front office to try and correct some of the more egregious mistakes Wren has made recently.
Now, I would be remiss if I did not shine a quick spotlight on the work Wren and his team did in building a sustainable farm system to allow the Braves to compete long into the future.
That is why I decided to keep Wren on board as an executive overseeing player development. However, the red phone in his (now my) office that rang anytime a new trade was coming across the wire, only I have access to that little piece of equipment now.
My first order of business: Undo the calamity that is the four years and $59.8 million still owed to B.J. Upton. Before the start of the 2013 season, Wren decided Michael Bourn was simply asking for too much money, so he naturally decided to back up the Brinks truck to Upton’s house. The player given the richest contract in franchise history ended up hitting .184 with nine home runs and 151 strikeouts in his first season with Atlanta.
Some may find my first proposal a little risky, but Wren left me with little options. If fans want to see the name Upton scrolled against the back of someone else’s uniform next season, acquiring Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers may be the best way to do it.