Morning Chop: Summary of Braves’ News
[Editorial Note: The news is thin so far this morning on the Atlanta Braves' front, but here's a handful of items that might grab your attention]
Dan Uggla Puts the Atlanta Braves in a Tough Spot
Most second baseman do not look like Dan Uggla, a stocky build and bulging biceps that become more apparent when you realize that his jersey is two sizes too small. You certainly can’t blame the man for wanting to show off his guns; I’d totally go American Apparel style if I had those arms.
Uggla’s physique is parallel to the type of player people view him as—a potent offensive threat with 30-plus home run power that is even more valuable because of his ability to play second base.
For most of his career, Uggla has fit that profile.
Since his inception to The Show in 2006, Uggla has hit more home runs than any other second baseman. He has totaled 231 home runs in eight seasons; Robinson Cano is a distant second at 190.
The White Sox announce the signing of Scott Downs
File this under deals that were basically done before Christmas but then everyone went home, ate too much, opened presents and then got back around it after the new year:
White Sox & Scott Downs have agreed to terms on a 1-year, $4-million contract, including a club option for 2015: https://t.co/5aEbQU3ABX
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) January 2, 2014
Downs, most recently with Atlanta, is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.49 ERA and 37/19 K/BB ratio in 43 innings between the Angels and the Braves. He’ll be a lefty specialist for the most part.
Team Report – ATLANTA BRAVES
General manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez reiterated at the winter meetings that Evan Gattis will be the everyday catcher next season, with veteran Gerald Laird as his primary backup. Ryan Doumit, acquired in a Dec. 18 trade with the Minnesota Twins, could be in the mix, too.
Gonzalez made a call to Gattis in early December to inform him of the pecking order.
“Evan is one of those guys that likes to be goal-oriented and wants to be told what his role is going to be,” the manager said. “We had a nice conversation, and he’s getting ready to be our catcher.”
Gattis, who had once given up baseball, slugged 21 homers and drove in 65 runs in 105 games last season as a 27-year-old rookie while regularly playing out of position in left field.
The Braves hope that he can maintain that kind of offensive production while continuing to get better defensively at his natural spot.
“Our pitchers liked throwing to Gattis, so we felt good about that,” Gonzalez said.