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Atlanta Braves news and links: Schuerholz says rebuilding was "courageous" move

The Braves organization is clearly satisfied with the direction of the franchise, and team president John Schuerholz made that clear with recent comments.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


Schuerholz: It took "courage" to undergo rebuild process

Recently, MLB had their quarterly owners meetings, and Braves President John Schuerholz was at the event and decided to give his thoughts on how he felt the rebuilding process was going. Naturally, Schuerholz is pretty excited about the Braves future and although he admits that the team caught a lot of flack for doing what they've done, he feels that the worst of the rebuild is behind the Braves and that the light at the end of the tunnel could be coming soon.

The decision to undergo the massive rebuild was one brewing for a while, but it was an obvious choice for the organization.

"I didn't need much convincing, and neither did [Braves chairman] Terry [McGuirk]," Schuerholz said. "There was only one way to fix this, and that's the way we're doing it -- go all in. We went down to the bare steel. In order to do that, we have to offload some very talented players, expensive players, but very talented and beloved in the community. Those were the tough decisions that had to be made. We took our criticism, and we still do. If we were going to do it right, that was the only way to do it."

When asked about how long until he expects the Braves to be competitive, Schuerholz said, "some in our group would say mid-2016. Some would say early 2017. I'd be happy with either one of those."

Shae Simmons is primed to make an impact upon returning

Shae Simmons fell out of action in 2014 due to needing Tommy John Surgery, and the only Simmons left on the Braves' roster should be returning at some point during this upcoming season. As a result, Simmons has been flying under the radar a bit while new, more heralded prospects have entered the system. With that being said, it'd be wise to keep note of Simmons and his capabilities -- he could end up being one of the better relievers that the Braves have.

The now 25-year-old will not be available until May or June, according to reports, but given that the 2016 season is virtually a wash before it begins, the Braves would be wise to take a measured approach. As any diehard knows, bullpen arms are quite volatile, but at the same time, Atlanta has Simmons under control for multiple years at an incredibly cheap rate, and he profiles as a fantastic running mate to Vizcaino for the near future.

Everyone (and I mean, everyone) throws hard in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings when evaluating baseball in 2016, but Simmons sits in the mid-to-high 90's on a regular basis despite his slight frame. What separates the right-hander from the pack, though, is a dominant slider and a groundball-inducing sinker. Simmons produced a 52.8% groundball rate in his first MLB stint, and when accompanied by more than a strikeout per inning, that is a devastating recipe.

We celebrate Freddie freeman on National Hugging Day

Thursday was apparently National Hugging Day. Naturally, we figured that one of the best ways to celebrate it would be to pay some sort of tribute to Freddie Freeman, and we did so by looking at some of his most picturesque homers from 2015. If you're willing to hop on that cruise, then go ahead and click the link.

What's going to happen to the Hank Aaron statue at Turner Field?

By this time next year, the Braves should be moving into their new stadium in Cobb County. There are questions about who and what will be joining them at SunTrust Park, and one of the biggest questions surrounds the statue at Turner Field that is meant to immortalize the legendary Hank Aaron. A decision still hasn't been made on that front, but the decision could come down to what Hank Aaron himself wants.

"The future of (the statue is) a little up in the air," [AJC Reporter J. Scott] Trubey said during his recent appearance. "So the Braves want to take it to Cobb. I think the city of Atlanta and the Fulton County Recreation Authority say they own it. Then the statue came about through the fans paying for it, and there (is) a sort of legendary PR guy here in Atlanta named Bob Hope, who arranged that, and he worked for Ted Turner back in the day.

"And Bob basically says that the say on it may end up being Hank Aaron's, and what he wants to happen with it."


Cespedes "torn between" Nats and Mets

In yesterday's News and Links, we told you that the Mets had re-emerged as serious contenders to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, and this was after the Washington Nationals slid into the picture and apparently gave Cespedes an offer. Cespedes is reportedly tired of switching teams and could be ready to settle down with the Mets, which would be a bit of a shock since he'd probably be taking less money to do so.

In his report, [Ken] Rosenthal points out that the amount of money each team would be willing to pay Cespedes is unknown, though it still sounds like the Nationals' offer is the better one. But Rosenthal points out that Cespedes might be willing to take less to stay with the Mets, as he enjoyed his time in New York and might not want to change teams again after having done so several times over the past couple of years.

Is cryotherapy the Royals' secret weapon?

The World Series Champion Kansas City Royals (they've been a great team for a solid two years now and I still can't believe that I just typed out that particular phrase) did a good job of avoiding a serious injury bug last season (as all successful teams do when it comes to injury luck), and many of their players believe that it's because of the use of cryotherapy. While the jury's still out on whether or not it actually works or just has a placebo effect on the players, it doesn't seem like the Royals are going to stop using it. I mean, look at this guy -- that looks like a guy who is getting refueled and re-energized, right?

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