With the major league roster starting to shape up, it's time to take a position-by-position look at the team, starting with the guys behind the plate: catchers. The Braves are returning 2015 starts A.J. Pierzynski to the fold. He was one of the surprised from last year's squad, as the 39-year-old batted .300 and appeared in 113 games. The newcomer to the fold is 29-year-old Tyler Flowers, who hit .239 last year with the White Sox.
The Braves believe they’ve found a steady glove in Flowers, and are maintaining the same approach they’ve employed for years when it comes to catchers. That is to concentrate on handling the pitching staff and playing the positon, with any offense coming as an added bonus. By employing Flowers as one half of a platoon with Pierzynski, who does more of his work with the bat, Atlanta has put together a relatively dependable duo to enter the 2016 season.
Unlike the position players on the major league roster, the starting pitching rotation for the 2016 Braves is still very much up in the air. With Shelby Miller now a Diamondback, the agreed upon consensus is that Julio Teheran will replace him as ace of the staff. But behind him, the shape of the rotation is still a question. Free agent signings Kyle Kendrick and Bud Norris could play a role, while the highly-touted young arms which the Braves boast so well could also slide into the back end of the rotation.
If there's one thing that the Hall of Fame voting period brings, it's plenty of questions and controversies. There's always going to be a handful of players who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame but aren't - Fred McGriff is one of them. The Sporting News polled its readers to decide the 25 best players not currently in the Hall of Fame. McGriff came in at 20. McGriff spent five years in Atlanta, and totaled 130 home runs (the most he hit in any uniform) and batted .293.
In just one day, the 2016 MLB Hall of Fame inductees will be announced. With the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on the ballot, there hasn't been a lack of controversy. With just two days to go until the official announcement, the MLB.com writers released their votes. The ruling? Only Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza made the Hall. Griffey Jr. led the way with 15 votes, while Piazza had 13. Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman and Jeff Bagwell had 10 each. Could this be a small-scale preview of what the full voting could look like?
There appeared to be a new trend in 2015: indoor sports being played in outdoor venues. From the Winter Classic to football in baseball stadiums, it's all the rage. The Boston Celtics are trying to be the latest team to hop on the bandwagon. Celtics president Rich Gotham had talks with Red Sox president Sam Kennedy about having Fenway Park becoming an outdoor venue for a Celtics game. It wouldn't be the first non-baseball game to be held at Fenway lately, as the ballpark has been host to college and high school football, hockey, soccer, and even hurling.