Afternoon Chop: Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
NL East Rumors
- Braves GM Frank Wren says he has had plenty of talks with agents and teams so far this winter, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ”[We're] putting ourselves in position to add pieces we feel like would help us best,” the GM said.
- Wren added that he’s targeting starting pitching, bullpen help, and some bench upgrades, but wont’ look past anything that can help the team, O’Brien tweets.
- The Braves might be willing to trade some prospects in right deal, but not their premium prospects such as Lucas Sims and Jason Hursh, O’Brien tweets.
Tea Party Battles Business Over Braves Stadium
A deal for hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to draw the Atlanta Braves north of their downtown home is pitting conservative tea party activists against the elected and civic leaders in the staunch Republican county, with opponents saying the use of public money to help a private business is not what American capitalism should be about.
The argument for the deal is simple, says Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee and other supporters. Almost $400 million in county bonds and immediate infrastructure improvements, with debt payments approaching $600 million over 30 years — will generate enough economic activity and, thus, tax revenue to justify the spending.
“This is a home run for Cobb County,” Lee said at a public hearing on the eve of the commission’s 4-1 vote, “and I’m confident the people of Cobb will come to understand that.”
Nonsense, says Atlanta Tea Party Leader Debbie Dooley, whose group has a Cobb chapter.
It’s all “appalling hypocrisy” and “arrogance,” Dooley explained, particularly from the four Republican commissioners who pitch their conservative credentials and champion the idea of a free market. Dooley and other tea partiers typically associate active, expensive government with Democrats, but it was the commission’s lone Democrat who cast the only dissenting vote.
Atlanta Braves: Moving Dan Uggla at Winter Meetings Needs to Be Top Priority
The Atlanta Braves are unlikely to make any major headlines during the Winter Meetings set to take place December 9-12.
And, really, it would be impossible to grab the headlines after the flurry of activity we’ve seen these last couple weeks. But the Winter Meetings will provide a perfect forum for the front office to lay the groundwork for long-term roster improvement. The most immediate beneficial move the Braves could make would be to move Dan Uggla.
Uggla’s struggles last season are well-documented, and save for a few stretches of great production at the plate, his stay in Atlanta has been a major disappointment. He has maintained a consistent level of home run potential, but his inability to make consistent contact has resulted in plummeting value. He has always been a terrible fielder with limited utility as a base runner, so without any significant contribution at the plate his spot in the lineup and his steep salary become black holes.
Uggla has 2 years and $26.4 million remaining on his contract. Not many Braves fans are under the delusion that those millions will be completely wiped off the books, and it is likely that if the Braves are able to move Uggla they will end up eating somewhere around 75% of that money. But even a partial savings on Uggla’s remaining contract would go a long way for the Braves, particularly considering the saved headache of not having to put Uggla in the lineup anymore.
MLB rumors: New York Yankees not interested in Braves’ Dan Uggla
With Robinson Cano leaving a gaping hole at second base, the New York Yankeesare now in search of a replacement. One player that they reportedly won’t have any interest in acquiring is that of Atlanta Braves second baseman, Dan Uggla, this according to Jon Heyman:
in case anyone wonders, yanks have no interest in uggla (who’s getting married today — congrats). infante a top target tho
The powerful infielder has struggled during his tenure with the Braves, attributing many of his problems to poor vision. Uggla underwent surgery during the season to fix the problems, but his woes continued despite the former Florida (now Miami) Marlin saying his vision problems were much improved.
Of course, the cost would be relatively cheap (near bargain basement price) though Uggla does come with a hefty $13 million dollar price tag in both 2014 and 2015, a price even the Yankees would likely balk at.
Washington Nationals Overpay for Nate McLouth, But Still Make a Solid Move
After acquiring a starter earlier this week, the Washington Nationals checked another item off of their winter wishlist as they signed outfielder Nate McLouth to a two-year, $10.75 million deal with an option for a third year.
McLouth was quite a find for his last team, the Baltimore Orioles. He played in 146 games in 2013, his highest total since 2009, and batted .258/.329/.399 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs. McLouth seems to have found his calling as a fourth outfielder, after being a massive trade bust for the Atlanta Braves not too long ago, posting a .229/.335/.364 slash line over in three years in Atlanta.
He has probably been a fourth outfielder for most of his career as his production has tapered off considerably since 2008, when he set a career high in home runs, doubles and RBI, as well as posting his best career slash line. Since then, his career slash line has been .235/.327/.374 in parts of seasons for the Braves, Orioles, and a brief return to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The veteran is also known to be a strong clubhouse presence and also has some speed, as he stole 30 bases in 36 attempts.