Longtime scout Balderson retires
Longtime Braves talent evaluator Dick Balderson has opted to end a distinguished front office career that dates back to when he began working for Braves president John Schuerholz in Kansas City nearly 40 years ago.
Balderson, 67, has announced his retirement after spending the past 11 seasons serving as a special assistant to the general manager and Major League scout for the Braves. He joined Atlanta’s organization in 1997 as a Major League scout and two years later became the club’s director of player development, a position he would hold for four seasons.
While serving as the Braves general manager, Schuerholz took advantage of the chance to bring Balderson to Atlanta. Their relationship had developed while they worked in the Royals organization together during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“Dick and I have known each other for a long time,” Schuerholz said. “When I asked him to join our staff in Kansas City, it was a reflection of my respect for his knowledge of the game, his leadership skills and his judgment. I have high regard for Dick as a person and as a baseball executive, and we all wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”
Brandon Phillips Trade Rumors: Atlanta Braves Interested in Dan Uggla Deal? Cincinnati Reds Shop Second Baseman
The Cincinnati Reds have made it clear they are actively shopping second baseman Brandon Phillips in the offseason. The team will attempt to execute a trade after Phillips make off-hand comments about his current contract. Reds CEO Bob Castellini was clearly unhappy with Phillips’ remarks, calling them a “slap in the face.” Unhappy players are the first to be made available for a trade and Phillips is up.
The issue in trading the second baseman will be his contract. At 32, Phillips’ production has slipped, but he remains a decent option for many teams. His contract will create issues. Phillips is owed $50 million through 2017. The Reds are likely going to be very unwilling to eat some of that money, so any team taking a glance his way will have to shell out big bucks. Phillips brings a lot from a defensive standpoint despite his batting average taking dips. Teams are noticing.
BRM’s Nominee For BBA’s Goose Gossage Award: Craig Kimbrel
In a day where a common refrain is “closers are overvalued” or “anyone can be a closer”, there are those that seem well-suited for the “role”. Case in point, Blog Red Machine’s nominees for Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s (BBA’s) Goose Gossage Award presented to the NL’s top reliever. For the 2013 season, there isn’t much of a contest.
The 2011 NL Rookie of the Year led all of baseball with 50 saves. He converted those 50 saves in 54 opportunities. Kimbrel once again crafted an amazing SO/9 of 13.2, accumulating 97 strikeouts in 67 innings. Opposing batters hit a meager .166 against him. He served up only four home runs for the entire season, but we Reds fans fondly remember two of those.
One of the lasting memories from this postseason will be Kimbrel all ready to go in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 4 of NLDS. His Braves held a 3-2 lead, but Kimbrel never saw the Dodger Stadium mound as the Braves were ousted from the postseason in that game, 4-3, as the Dodgers scored two in that inning.
During the 2013 season, Kimbrel was selected to this third All-Star Game and will surely receive consideration for the NL Cy Young Award and possibly garner some votes for NL MVP as he has done the past two seasons.
2013 Arizona Fall League’s Hottest, Coldest Hitting Prospects
2013 AFL Stats: .429/.625/.619, 4 2B, 7 RBI, 0/11 K/BB (7 G)
Tommy La Stella may not offer much in terms of a clean, long-term projection at second base, but make no doubt about it, the 24-year-old knows what he’s doing at the plate. In 241 games over three minor league seasons, La Stella has batted .327/.412/.496 with 57 doubles, 20 home runs and more walks (111) than strikeouts (88). This past season, the left-handed hitter posted a .936 OPS with 29 extra-base hits in 88 games between High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi.
In the AFL, La Stella has recorded at least one hit and walk in all seven games, and he’s yet to strike out through 32 plate appearances.