Morning Chop: Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
Braves’ longest homers of 2013
Atlanta Braves Rumors: Should There Be A Plan C For Center Field?
Though the Atlanta Braves are understandably being hopeful about it, their outlook in center field could quickly escalate to a Dan Uggla-level mess.
No, one poor year isn’t the end-all indictment for B.J. Upton, but this wasn’t just a down season for the 29-year old; it was easily the worst campaign of his career, with red flags to be found everywhere even for the most hopeful of Atlanta fans. Guys in the middle of their primes shouldn’t be seeing their power fall off the cliff (.105 ISO, .289 SLG), nor should they be seeing their speed diminish (12 steals in 2013 vs 30-plus in each of the last five seasons.
The elder Upton certainly didn’t earn his five-year, $75 million contract to have his increasing pop-up rate spike to 19.3 percent, nor was he supposed to showing three-year strikeout rates that are trending the wrong way (33.9 percent).
Wait, are we talking about Uggla or Upton now?
Maddux entering Hall of Fame is a no-brainer
Out of the 19 first-time candidates on the latest National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, the one that screams the loudest for entry into Cooperstown on his maiden try is the one who spoke the softest as a player.
Gregory Alan Maddux.
There is no such thing as never in life, but this is close. As a former sports columnist for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, I saw a slew of Maddux’s games during his 11 seasons with the Braves, and I never took his greatness for granted. Never. Not once. I remember saying to myself on numerous occasions while watching Maddux make hitters look silly, “You better enjoy every bit of what you’re seeing from this guy, because you’ll never see anything like this again.”
OK, that last never I just mentioned works in this situation. Never have I seen a pitcher more proficient on a consistent basis than Maddux, and he was in the same Braves pitching rotation as Tom Glavine, who is also on this year’s ballot, and future Hall of Famer John Smoltz. It’s just that Maddux was on a strikingly higher level than his lofty teammates and the rest of his peers. It went beyond his voice that barely rose above a whisper. He also owned a slight build of 6-foot and maybe 170 pounds.
Tim Hudson‘s Atlanta Legacy
While it wasn’t exactly a shock that Tim Hudson signed elsewhere this off-season, it will be hard for many to accept the fact he won’t be in a Bravesuniform for the first time in nine seasons. Instead, he will be returning to the Bay area, about 20 minutes west of where he began his career in Oakland. The 2 year $23M deal with the Giants was both longer and more costly than the Braves could offer, but it is a great deal for Tim considering his age and injury circumstance.
Looking back, Hudson was a hot commodity after the 2004 season after spending six seasons in Oakland. The money-ballin’ A’s were looking to deal their frontline starter in hopes of reeling in some younger, cost-controlled talent. The Braves were able to swoop in and grab him in a trade for Charles Thomas, Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer in December of 2004. The blockbuster deal would turn out in the Braves’ favor, as none of the players dealt went on to have any sort of success at the major league level. Thomas was horrific for the A’s in the following season and was out of baseball by 2008. Cruz is still hanging around in the majors but hasn’t really done anything of note; he pitched 32 innings for the A’s, racking up a 7.44 ERA. Meyer would go on to throw 113.1 career innings at the major league level, posting a 5.46 ERA. In short, this deal wound up being an absolute steal for Atlanta.