The official report date for Braves pitchers and catchers is only a day away, while the rest of the squad doesn't have to report until next week. However, that arbitrary date hasn't stopped a bunch of Braves players from already making the trip down to Lake Buena Vista for 2015 Spring Training. Talking Chop's 2015 Fave Brave Round 1 Winner Freddie Freeman was one of the first (if not the first) to show up at camp, and he wasn't alone.
Freeman, C.Johnson, Peterson, Minor, Wood, Miller, Bethancourt and Buck are among those who have already arrived in #Braves camp.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) February 18, 2015
Interesting to see that Mike Minor's there early as well, though I'm pretty sure he has a good reason to report early.
So, it's no secret that the Braves once built a divisional dynasty on the back of their pitching staff and it looks like the organization is once again trying to build something special by using their pitching as the foundation. While 2015 figures to be a bleak year offensively, there's plenty of reason to have hope and be optimistic about what's going on on the mound, as the Braves will be entering this season with a young rotation filled with talent. 92.9 The Game's Kevin McAuley decided to take a look at the rotation, from the top of the rotation (Alex Wood and Julio Teheran) to the mystery that currently surrounds the status of the 5th starter.
Speaking of the 5th starter, that's one of the many storylines that we'll be following this Spring as the Braves prepare for the 2015 campaign. The AJC's Dave O'Brien came up with 7 stories to follow; The most intriguing one, in my opinion, being the one that concerns 2B prospect Jose Peraza. Just when is the future leadoff man going to make his arrival for the big leagues? Nobody knows for sure when he'll arrive, but we know it's going to be soon.
As usual, hope springs eternal at this point in the year, and there are still plenty optimistic souls in Braves country who believe that the 2015 team as currently constructed is good enough to make the postseason. However, Mark Bowman seems to be in the realistic camp when he fielded this question in his most recent mailbag:
Given the strength of the National League East and the many questions surrounding this new-look Atlanta roster, it would not be wise to project the Braves as a postseason contender. But if the offense proves successful in its attempt to put the ball in play more consistently and run more frequently, this is a club that could finish slightly above the .500 mark. If so, they'll keep things interesting into September -- something last year's lifeless club did not accomplish.
So, is it possible? Of course! This is baseball, and as we all know, baseball can be stupid sometimes. Is it probable, though? Nope.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly become the latest team to reap the benefits of an extremely lucrative television deal, as they have agreed to a new television deal with FOX Sports Arizona that is reportedly worth $31 MM a year. The deal is supposed to last 15-20 years, which would mean that this would give the D-Backs around a billion dollars in TV revenue over the life of this deal. Man, it must be nice to be a fan of a baseball team with a lucrative TV deal. Must be nice.
Eric Hosmer will be part of the Kansas City Royals for the next 2 seasons after agreeing to a 2-year deal worth $13.9 MM. The two parties were headed for an arbitration hearing, and Hosmer was actually in Florida with his agent, preparing to go to the hearing. Hosmer had a down year in 2014 (.270/.318/.398 with .314 wOBA, 9 HRs, and 99 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR; All down from 2013), but it's kind of hard to complain about life when you're coming off of a pennant-winning season and you get a raise for the next season.