March 2, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves former manager Bobby Cox talks to special instructor Fred McGriff during a team workout during spring training at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 12/9

The Washington Post

Nationals still looking for a lefty, interested in Eric O’Flaherty

The latest name to add to the list of southpaws the Nationals have expressed interest in, a person familiar with the situation said, is Eric O’Flaherty, a dominant Braves reliever coming off elbow reconstruction surgery.

October 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Eric O

The Nationals have not yet given him an offer, but they have maintained dialogue with O’Flaherty, who has been one of the best relievers in baseball for the Nationals’ preeminent NL East rival. The Nationals are one of six teams to have shown interest in O’Flaherty.

O’Flaherty would come with nontrivial injury risk. Last May, O’Flaherty, who will turn 29 in February, underwent Tommy John surgery on his lefty elbow. In 2014, he would have to sit out until early-to-mid May.

Even if O’Flaherty will miss a month, his signing could represent great value. If not for surgery, O’Flaherty may well have drawn interest as a closer on the free agent market. Now, though, he is seeking only a one-year deal to re-established himself as a backend reliever.






CBS News

Atlanta Braves stadium deal draws tea party ire

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.

Citizens’ groups have blasted both the financing arrangement and the secretive manner that it came about, with commissioners approving a deal in late November, just weeks after Lee and Braves executives shocked Major League Baseball and metropolitan Atlanta by announcing a plan they’d hammered out in private.



Wren out to cross items off Braves’ list at Meetings

As Wren has continued his search for a veteran starting pitcher and depth that could strengthen both his bullpen and bench, he has gained a better understanding of the cost it could take to satisfy these roster needs.

It appears the Braves currently have at least $10 million available to spend. Wren could gain some added financial flexibility if he is able to find a club that is willing to trade for Uggla and at least a portion of the $26 million he is owed over the next two seasons.

The first interesting development regarding the Braves at this year’s Meetings will likely involve Bobby Cox’s potential election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa headline the list of candidates on the Hall of Fame’s Expansion Era ballot. Three candidates will gain election. Results will be announced on Monday morning.



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