The Atlanta Braves continued their rebuild/retool of the Major League roster by adding 31-year old Gold Glover and longtime Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis onto the roster. Naturally, this brought all sorts of reaction from all sorts of points of views in the baseball world:
CBS Sports Thinks That This Is A Sign That A Bigger Move (Including Justin Upton and/or Evan gattis) Is On The Way
That last piece by Ken Rosenthal is actually really interesting, because it notes the following:
In March 2013, Markakis, 31, was diagnosed with a small disk herniation in his neck. And even though he appeared in 160 and 155 games the past two seasons, his condition and diminished power gave the Orioles pause, according to major-league sources.
Instead, Markakis will join the Braves, pending a physical. According to a source, the Braves have no concerns about Markakis’ neck — they viewed a report from a specialist who performed an independent evaluation of him, and expect him to be 100 percent for spring training.
Hoo boy, let's hope that the specialist the Braves hired is a good one, because that neck issue plus the decline in production seems like a pretty big red flag at the surface, especially when you're handing out a multi-year deal to someone exiting their prime.
Before the Markakis deal was announced yesterday evening, the Braves made a move for their bullpen by signing another former Oriole: Reliever Jim Johnson. He was signed on a 1-year, 1.6 MM deal with 900k in incentives. Clearly, the Braves are hoping that Roger McDowell can work some magic on the former All-Star closer so that he can return to the form he had in 2012 and 2013 as a set-up man for Atlanta, instead of the trainwreck that he was in 2014.
Jon Lester is still on the market, and the market just keeps on getting hotter as the star pitcher is now attracted attention from the two teams out west in Chavez Ravine and Orange County. The Dodgers have reportedly gotten "serious" about their pursuit of Lester, while there was also recently a spooky mystery team!!1111! in the race as well. According to a random Cubs insider, that team is the Angels.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Agent says Angels are mystery team for Lester.</p>— TomLoxas (@TomLoxas) <a href="https://twitter.com/TomLoxas/status/540330306004611072">December 4, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Remember when the Braves were in this race? Yeah, that was hilarious.