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Atlanta Braves news and links: SI gives Braves offseason "A" grade

The Braves continued to receive plaudits for their work during the offseason, with Sports Illustrated being the latest publication to express that they're impressed with what the Braves have done this winter.

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Sports Illustrated: Braves offseason gets high ranks

We've reached the point in the offseason where baseball-types are starting to grade what teams did during their time off the diamond and near the Hot Stove. Sports Illustrated took a look at what the Braves were doing and they were pretty impressed with the wheeling and dealing that Atlanta did -- even though the payoff won't come in 2016.

Trading Simmons, arguably the best fielder in baseball and signed to a long-term extension, didn’t make much sense at first, but replacing him in the system with Swanson changed the appearance of that deal dramatically. The Miller trade was a major coup and could come to represent the turning point in Atlanta’s rebuild, and signing Flowers was an outstanding low-level move.

No, the Braves aren’t likely to be any better in 2016 or to contend in '17, but their long-term outlook is much brighter now than it was a year ago. That’s a successful off-season for a rebuilding team.

Braves may not be done trading yet

ESPN's Jim Bowden is reporting that the Braves may not be finished in the trade market. In fact, one name that has been bandied about is Julio Teheran (and his extremely team-friendly contract). The Braves may be open to moving their top pitcher in exchange for a power bat, though no move is imminent at the moment. Still, if we've learned anything from this offseason, it should be that if the Braves get the right call, anybody is for sale.

Atlanta won't be going after 16-year old Cuban prospect

Earlier this winter, our friends at Tomahawk Take picked up on the fact that there was a highly-touted 16-year old Cuban prospect named Lazaro Armenteros who was turning heads and catching the attention of all of baseball. Now, Lazaro has been ruled eligible to become a free agent. Unfortunately, the Braves probably won't be in the bidding for the talented teenager.

The Braves have already max’d out their International spending. If they spend virtually another dollar, then they will handcuff themselves for the next two years… and we’ve chronicled in detail the groundwork that they’ve already laid in anticipation of this next signing period. In short: Atlanta will not be bidding on Lazaro.

SunTrust Park bridge may actually be completed in time for Opening Day 2017

Earlier this week, we shared the news that Cobb County's Cumberland CID decided to give $5 MM to the bridge project Now, thanks to a Federal Transit Authority grant and a small chip-in from the Braves, the project has received enough funding that there's now a possibility that the bridge could be finished in time for Opening Day 2017. Woo! Hooray for hopefully easing traffic woes!

The cost estimate for the bridge to SunTrust Park is $9.87 million [excluding the cost of land acquisition, which has not yet been determined], representatives from California-based AECOM Technical Services said Tuesday at a meeting of the Cobb Board of Commissioners, reports Marietta Daily Journal.

Funding is expected to come from $5 million the Cumberland Community Improvement District agreed to provide along with $4.5 million in a Federal Transit Authority grant and $380,000 from the Atlanta Braves, the paper reports.

Braves announce interesting bobblehead schedule for 2016 season

Remember when Atlanta froze over back in 2014 and Freddie Freeman got stranded in the horrific traffic? Remember when Chipper Jones decided to become a hero and save his former teammate from said traffic via ATV? Well, the Braves have decided to immortalize that moment in offseason history by making a bobblehead. Yeah, seriously -- they're going to hand out Chipper Jones/Freddie Freeman ATV bobbleheads on May 28th. Yeah, make sure you're at the ballpark for that one.

Here's the complete bobblehead schedule (more to be announced):

April 23: Caray-Van Wieren "Famous Calls" Bobblehead

May 28: Chipper Rescues Freddie ATV Bobblehead Movie Night

Aug. 18: Andruw Jones Spiderman Catch Bobblehead

Sept. 10: Chipper Jones 2000 All-Star Game Bobblehead

Sept. 17: Bobby Cox Carried Off Bobblehead


White Sox may be going after Carlos Gonzalez

The Colorado Rockies have been shopping star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, and right now they may be in trade talks with the Chicago White Sox. They're also reportedly having discussions with the Orioles and Tigers, which means that the Rockies are becoming very popular on the trade market right now. Nothing seems imminent, but there's plenty of smoke building up when ti comes to a proverbial fire of a potential trade.

The White Sox are seemingly going for it in 2016, having already acquired Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, among others, this offseason and boasting a rotation that features Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon at the top. Chicago wants to add a productive outfielder to the fold after not getting much production from either corner spot in 2015.

Carlos Gonzalez would be of particular interest to the White Sox, notes Levine, who speculates that 24-year-old, cost-controlled outfielder Avisail Garcia and a pitcher -- presumably a prospect -- could be enough to get a deal done.

Garcia has loads of promise but owns a career batting line of just .264/.311/.385 in almost 1,100 plate appearances spanning parts of four seasons. Still, his youth combined with a move to Coors Field might make him an intriguing possibility for the Rockies.

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