34 Days Until MLB Opening Day
Braves’ Gattis focused on replacing
For Year 2, he wants the focus to be on his play.
Gattis is expected to serve as Atlanta’s primary catcher after Brian McCann signed a free-agent deal with the New York Yankees. Gattis hit .243 with 21 homers and 65 RBIs in 2013, completing a winding road to the majors.
“I want as much playing time as I can get,” he said after a full-squad workout. “I want constant at-bats and I want to keep going every day. I want to play every day and I loved last season, but this year I want a little more. I am not taking everything for granted. Last year was nice but it’s a new year.”
What made Gattis so compelling last season was the journey he took to the pros. After high school, there were bouts with drugs and alcohol, not to mention plenty of dark days where the thought of killing himself seemed like a good way out. The fear of failing at baseball proved overwhelming, prompting him to quit when he was only 19.
Braves about to find out whether rewarding young talent pays off
Call them the Atlanta Young Millionaires Club. All seem like great kids. All deserve their new deals. But one of the risks is that the money will spoil, distract or otherwise affect them.
“I’m not going to let it happen,” said Braves center fielder B.J. Upton, who knows something about the pressure that money creates after signing a five-year, $75.25 million free-agent contract on Nov. 29, 2012.
Upton, 29, recalled a conversation he had last season with Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, 31 — a season in which Upton would bat .184 with a .557 OPS in the first year of his new deal.
“Look,” Gonzalez said. “They paid you to be yourself. That’s it. Don’t go out and try to be somebody else.”
Sound advice, but as Upton can attest, not always easy to follow.
It’s mind-blowing that the Braves awarded five contracts worth $280.7 million over a span of just 17 days. It’s even more mind-blowing when you consider that all five deals went to players 25 or under.
Brandon Phillips Trade Rumors: NY Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox Options For Reds Before 2014 Season?
The Brandon Phillips trade rumors have died down heading into spring training, but now that the Reds second baseman is giving the media the silent treatment, they could be back on and teams like the NY Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays could remain options for a deal.
This move is very unlikely now that spring training is underway, but it is not unprecedented and with the Reds shelling out money to Homer Bailey and others, that could be the last straw for Phillips. There were reports earlier in the season, including from Hardball Talk and CBS Sports that said the Reds were shopping Phillips and were looking to trade him before the season started. The Yankees looked like a logical destination, but with all the money they have spent this off-season, there is little chance they will take on his salary as well.
According to Hardball Talk, Phillips is now getting testy with the media and that follows some remarks he made last season and some of this stems from the fact that Phillips said he felt the team, lied to him when they were talking out his six-year, $62.5 million extension for his contract. The team shelled out over $200 million for Joey Votto and signed Homer Bailey to a deal at six years and $105 million and this comes after the team said they had no more money for Phillips. Bailey signed an extension after he came up in trade rumors and now he has a high annual salary and is locked up for years after playing on a one-year, $5.35 million deal last season.
CBS Sports reported earlier in the offseason that the Reds played up a deal that offered Phillips to the Yankees for Brett Gardner, but the Yankees did not want to do that deal. Clearly the team likes Gardner, as they just agreed to an extension and even with Phillips having one of the best 2b gloves in the game, that wasn’t enough. Last season Phillips hit .261 with 18 homeruns and 103 RBIs and while he should bevery productive this season, he also has a no trade clause and that could come into play if the Reds try to deal him at some point this season.