Well Mean Gene I'll tell you what brother, Extensionmania is running wild here in Atlanta and the latest beneficiaries are General Manager Frank Wren and Manager Fredi Gonzalez. Both men were going into the final seasons of their contracts, and the Braves decided to end all speculation for their futures and keep them around. DOB reported that the details of the contract were not released in order to keep the "focus on the field."
MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby takes note of the path that the Braves have embarked on for the forseeable future, which is that of a commitment to a core of young talent. With the extensions to Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel, it is clear that the Braves believe that if they are going to reach the peak of baseball's mountain, then they are going to do it by doing their best to make sure that the young core stays together.
Braves utilityman Joey Terdoslavich apparently had a very productive winter this offseason, as he played in the Domincan Baseball League during the winter and "thrived." According to DOB, Terdo hit for .291 with an OBP of .340 then turned around and hit .320 with a .386 OBP in the playoffs. Terdoslavich is hoping that this experience will help him make the big league team for 2014. He played 55 games for the Braves last season mostly as a contributor off of the bench.
Mark Bowman reports that although it goes against everything he would normally do, Braves RHP Brandon Beachy has made it known that he plans to pace himself in the dawn of Spring Training. A healthy Beachy would be a huge boost to the Braves rotation, as he showed plenty of flashes of excellence during his healthy starts in limited action during 2012 and 2013.
League Wide News
In the February 18th edition of what was formerly called The Dump, it was reported that the Reds and RHP Homer Bailey were nearing an extension. "Nearing" became "agreed to," and Bailey will now be a Red for the next 6 years for $105M. The 27-year old right-hander posted an ERA of 3.49, a FIP of 3.31 with a K/9 rating of 8.57 in 2013.
Giants 1B Brandon Belt reached an agreement with his club for a 1-year deal worth $2.9M. Belt had a very productive season in 2013, hitting for .289/.360/.481 with 17 HRS and a wRC+ of 139 all while repeating his BABIP number of .351 from 2012. Our friends at McCovey Chronicles recently compared Belt with Freddie Freeman, as there is a lot of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth going on as to Belt's long-term future as a Giant.
CBS Sports' Eye on Baseball is reporting that the long-rumored ban on home plate collisions could go into effect in time for the beginning of Spring Training games. This is important because implementing the rules in exhibition games could conceivably give the players and umpires enough time to acclimate to the rule once the regular season begins.
Boston DH and 2013 World Series MVP David Ortiz has made it very clear that he is expecting to sign a 1-year extension "very soon" and has reiterated that he would like to retire as a member of the Red Sox. Big Papi bounced back from an injury-plagued 2012 by hitting .309/.395/.564 with 30 HRs in 2013.
Dave Cameron of Fangraphs casts his analytic eye over this offseason and how the Hot Stove League panned out for baseball. The Detroit Tigers make two appearances in the top 3, though they both come under wildly varying circumstances.
In yesterday's digest, it was reported that new Mariners Manager Lloyd McLendon took New York Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to task over comments made towards Seattle 2B Robinson Cano. Seattle's manager continued to drop verbal bombs and golden quotes for the media yesterday, which seem to indicate that there will be a distinct change in attitude and direction for the Mariners this season.
Meanwhile in another part of the AL West, Astros Manager Bo Porter apparently laid into his players for showing "disrespect" towards former Astros superstar and special adviser Roger Clemens. The disrespect came in the form of the players being "unprepared" for the former pitcher to speak at a 9 a.m. meeting. Also, Porter refers to 9 a.m. meetings as "Synergistic Chemistry Labs." That is awesome.
After being suspended 25 games for use of "a stimulant," Phillies C Carlos Ruiz has apparently received an exemption to use the drug Adderall. The media was reportedly informed of this news back in November when Ruiz signed a 3-year, $26M contract extension from the Phillies. The 2012 All-Star only played 92 games in 2013, hitting 268/.320/.368 with 5 HRs.
After undergoing surgery in October for an injured hamstring that he injured during last year's AL Wild Card Game, former Brave & current Cleveland Indians OF Michael Bourn says that he is "100%" and ready to go for 2014. Bourn is hoping that this results in a bounce-back season after his WAR fell from 6.2 in 2012 with the Braves to 2.0 in his first season in Cleveland.