Earlier this week, Chris Withrow and Arodys Vizcaino both filed for arbitration. On Thursday afternoon, the Braves avoided arbitration with Withrow by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $610,000. That means that the Braves won't have to argue against a player who hasn't even thrown a pitch for them yet in front of an arbitration judge, so I bet that's a relief for the team. Meanwhile, they haven't agreed to a deal with Vizcaino yet, and it seems as if the organization is ready and willing to take it to the judge if they have to.
If the Braves do not reach an agreement with Vizcaino before having to swap salary arbitration figures by 1 p.m. ET on Friday, the reliever's salary will likely be determined by an arbitration hearing that will be held at some point during the first three weeks of February.
"Our hope is always to settle before numbers are filed, but we showed last year that we have no problem going to a hearing if we are unable to reach a number that works for our club," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "Whether it's salary arbitration or player-personnel decisions, it should be clear by now that we aren't afraid and will do whatever is best for the Atlanta Braves -- regardless of whatever challenges it may create."
We're taking inventory of the Braves right now, and after taking a look at the state of the infield earlier this week, Scott decided to figure out the state of the Braves' outfield as far as 2016 is concerned. Right now, an outfield of Hector Olivera-Ender Inciarte-and-Nick Markakis looks likely, but the Braves may have to get creative once Mallex Smith makes it to the big leagues. Meanwhile, there are still lingering rumors of two other outfielders maybe arriving here, but those don't seem to be too serious as far as the Braves are concerned.
On Thursday afternoon, Braves GM John Coppolella put on a brave face and dove right into the shark-infested waters of Twitter in order to take questions from fans. Fortunately, the questions that he did field were actually quite interesting and were spread over a wide range of topics. From Freddie Freeman trade rumors to the merits of WAR as a statistic and even ballpark food, Coppy did his best to give insightful answers to these questions. Here was Carlos' reaction to Coppy declaring the international free agent market to be of much importance to the Braves;
If Coppy is able to procure someone with talent anywhere close to these guys then it should be considered a success. And I know what you are all thinking: Kevin Maitan.
Maitan has been linked to the Braves for a while now, and given how important Coppy says the international free agent market is supposed to be for the Braves this season, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Atlanta lands the most talented player of the class.
It's January 15th and Yoenis Cespedes still has yet to sign with a team. However, we're starting to see teams get linked to him (with the Braves being one of those teams, for some reason), and there's a rumor that the Baltimore Orioles have actually made an offer for the 30-year old Cuban left fielder. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says that the O's are willing to pay $75-90 MM over five years in order to get Cespedes' signature, and Baltimore's pursuit of Cespedes may clear up some questions that their fans may have about their intentions for the rest of this offseason.
In extremely good news for Tampa Bay Rays fans and fans of baseball stadiums that don't look like a Wal-Mart with a baseball diamond inside of it, the St. Petersburg City Council voted to allow the Rays to search for a new stadium in the area. For the first time in their history, the Rays will be able to make serious moves towards getting a new stadium in the area, and if there is any team in baseball who needs a new home, it's the Rays.
Once a new stadium location is found, the Rays can terminate their lease for a cost of $24 million beginning in 2018 -- a sum that decreases each year the team remains at Tropicana Field. The current lease expires after the 2027 season, but the proposal as written is limited to a three-year search window, but the team is unlikely to let that window expire.
Despite strong television ratings and fan support, the Rays currently have the smallest population base within a 30-minute drive of the stadium, and consequently, the lowest attendance figures in the league. It is no secret that the team is most likely to chose a stadium location closer to its population base in the city of Tampa.