So, do y'all remember when Nick Markakis had neck surgery this winter and everybody involved was like "It's fine! He'll be back and healthy in time for Opening Day! Seriously! It's fine!" Well, the new Braves right fielder had this to say about that projection yesterday:
"Opening day is a goal," Markakis said soon after reporting to Braves camp today. "It’s one of those things you work for and try to get there as far as injuries. It’s not something you want to rush. Neck surgery is pretty serious so you don’t want to rush it. I will have six weeks to do my thing and try to get ready for opening day."
To be fair, I'd rather he be as healthy as possible when he makes his Braves debut, so I'm not going to fault him for taking his time to return. Meanwhile, that sound you're hearing is our friends at Camden Chat cackling among themselves.
In further "What do you expect them to say?" news, Jonny Gomes has let it be known that he's not here to help the Braves tread water like everyone expects the team to do this season; He's here to win, and like every MLB player, wants to win it all.
Instead of those big bats are prospects and journeymen like Gomes, who won't call himself a nomad, but has seen a great many things in his 12 years in the league with five different teams. The Braves will be his sixth team, and a stop where he will try and nudge this hodgepodge group into a focused band of brothers that could replicate the success of the 2012 A's, the 2008 Rays or even the champion 2013 Red Sox.
"We're here to win, we're here to win it all," said Gomes, refusing to consider a season where .500 is the goal. "That's where I'm at."
For those of you who aren't exactly fans of the media conglomerate that currently owns the Atlanta Braves, this won't exactly be the link for you to open up this morning. Liberty Media CEO Gregory B. Maffei stated that Liberty has no plans to sell the Braves, and he also admitted that the "tax consequences" from any potential sale of the team would be "painful." Although there were no rumblings about an ownership change, this makes it even clearer that Liberty's going nowhere.
Hey look, we've got another Braves preview, and this time it comes from Bloguin's baseball blog The Outside Corner. More specifically, it comes from Joe Lucia, who took an in-depth look at the current state of the Braves and their chances for the upcoming season. This preview included a key question that centers around the Braves and their future.
What’s next for the Braves? The only two of those veterans signed past 2015 are Markakis and Grilli, though Gomes does have an option for 2016. Are the Braves going to keep moving forward with their youth movement next winter while trying desperately to shed the contracts of Melvin Upton Jr. and Chris Johnson? Is Atlanta going to fill gaps with low-priced veterans once again? Will the Braves cut bait on some of these veterans in 2015 if they struggle and promote the young talent?
Despite the fact that Andrew McCutchen is under contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates until 2018, that hasn't stopped the organization from at least considering undergoing an effort to make sure that McCutchen wears a Pirates uniform past 2018. Naturally, this would mean committing a ton of money to a player who would be on the wrong side of 30, which would be a gigantic financial investment for a team like the Pirates. However, emotions would be at play here as well, since we're talking about the team potentially making sure that one of the main catalysts for the franchise's revival would stay with the franchise until retirement, potentially. It's an interesting situation.
In extremely unfortunate news, Angels OF Josh Hamilton has reportedly had a relapse. He had a meeting with MLB in New York and could be facing some sort of penalty for his actions. Meanwhile, Craig Calcaterra over at Hardball Talk is arguing that Josh Hamilton shouldn't face punishment for this particular transgression. All in all, here's hoping that Hamilton can get things back under control since it's never good to hear about someone who's battling addiction falling back into the grips of their vices.