Morning Chop: A Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
Atlanta Braves scouting nation for stadium ideas
ST. LOUIS — For three hours on a cold winter afternoon, a group of Atlanta Braves executives toured just about every nook and cranny of the St. Louis Cardinals’ stadium, carefully navigating patches of snow and ice in the hibernating ballpark.
Mike Plant took note of the wide concourses. Derek Schiller seemed intrigued by the private club spaces and the revenue they generate. Frank Wren was drawn to the training facilities of a team that has won the World Series twice since 2006. They and six other Braves officials also donned hard hats to inspect Ballpark Village, a long-delayed and scaled-back restaurant/entertainment complex under construction across the street from 8-year-old Busch Stadium.
It was all part of the Braves’ most important scouting expedition of this off-season — a nationwide search not for players but for ideas to incorporate into the stadium and mixed-use development the team plans to build in Cobb County.
Atlanta Braves Players Dan Uggla and BJ Upton Are $13 Million Liabilities
There’s a big, two-headed elephant in the room that is the Atlanta Braves’ clubhouse. It simply involves two of the players that took the field on Opening Day of the 2013 season and ended that same season with batting averages of .181 and .179. Also, together, the players are going to cost the Braves $26.45 million in the 2014 season. If you haven’t guessed by now, the two players I’m referring to are BJ Upton and Dan Uggla.
Uggla has done something that no second baseman had ever done before. He had hit 154 home runs in his first five seasons as a member of the Miami Marlins. Divide that out and it makes 30.8 home runs per season. When the Braves signed Uggla, they paid him based on that performance. However, he has yet to put up those same numbers since his first season as a Brave and, therefore, doesn’t really seem to be worth the $13 million that he will make in the 2014 season. It’s clear that the power is still there. In the three years he has spent in Atlanta, he has hit 77 home runs, giving him an average of just over 25 per season.
The daunting task: Get B.J. and Uggla back on track
In the past 100 years there have been just eight times when a major league hitter batted below .185 in a season in which he had at least 350 at-bats. Remarkably, the NL East champion Braves had two of those eight cases last year in Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, who also happened to be the team’s highest-paid players, with two and four years remaining on their respective contracts.
Some might suggest that puts hitting coach Greg Walker and assistant Scott Fletcher, who return on one-year contracts, in a challenging situation, to say the least. But Walker, a veteran former player and coach, insists he’s excited about the challenge or opportunity, however you want to look at it. (Some might call the assignment daunting, or worse.)
How do Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux compare to Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale?
spite what you might hear from time to time, sabermetricians are not black magicians. They are baseball purists, asking the same questions that have been pondered for decades. For example, how do we compare one generation to another? Instead of leaving that question unanswered, however, sabermetricians seek to find the answer within the numbers.
With Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, it made me wonder how many teammates, pitching together in their prime, dominated the way these two Atlanta Braves pitchers did in the 1990s, which were my formative baseball years as a baseball fan. It poses the question: Was I witnessing what my grandparents witnessed watching Koufax and Drysdale?