To show that this is truly a blog of the people and for the people, Talking Chop took questions from you, the readers, last night on Twitter. As expected from our great readership, tons of great questions were fielded and can be read in the storify link above.
Braves beat writer Mark Bowman goes in depth with his take on the outlook for the 2014 Braves as we edge closer and closer to the dawn of Spring Training.
In another sign that baseball is slowly but surely about to make its grand return to the spotlight, the Braves have opened up ticket sales for select games. As a wise man with way too much time on his hands once said, 'The early bird gets the worm,' so if you're interested in getting your hands on some tickets, now would be a pretty good time to do so.
Congratulations to Larry Bowman, Kim Childress and Lara Jaura, 3 longtime workers for the Braves organization who each received promotions on Monday.
League Wide News
Former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson will attempt to make the big league roster of the Texas Rangers this spring after signing a minor league deal with the Rangers. Hanson pitched for the Los Angeles Angels
of Anaheim last season & had a disappointing campaign, tallying an ERA of 5.42 & a FIP of 4.65 over only 73 innings pitched.
Speaking of the Angels, they have brought in Brandon Lyon on a minor league deal in order to compete for a bullpen spot. Lyon will be looking to bounce back from an underwhelming 2013 with the Mets.
The Cleveland Indians & OF Michael Brantley agreed to an extension yesterday. The contract is for $25 million over 4 years with an option for a 5th year worth $11 million. Brantley's old contract with the Indians lasted until 2016. Brantley finished last season with a line of .284/.332/.396 & a WRC+ of 104, all slightly down from his 2012 season.
Washington Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard signed a 1-year deal worth $5.875 million, which allowed both to avoid an arbitration case. Clippard was supplanted by Rafael Soriano as the closer last season but still had a decent season serving in the role of setup man.
Terry Ryan, the general manager of the Minnesota Twins, announced that he has squamous cell carcinoma & will not be joining the team at Spring Training. Fortunately, Ryan also announced that the cancer is "treatable" and is "optimistic" that he will make a full recovery. Here's hoping that he does so!
Free Agent Micah Owings decided to become a fielder last season after building a reputation for being one of the better hitting pitchers in baseball. Apparently the 31-year old has determined that this hitting stuff is for the birds, because he is currently looking for a minor league deal as a pitcher. Owings had a line of .252/.296/.344 in his one minor league season as a regular fixture at the plate.
Our friends at Beyond The Box Score took an in-depth look at how baseball's attendance has steadily grown since the 50s and try to figure out whether it will keep growing or if attendance has stagnated.