The Braves made a low-risk play for a once-highly-touted prospect on Wednesday, acquiring outfielder Preston Tucker from the Houston Astros. Tucker has found limited success at the major league level, but at 27 and coming off a nice season in Triple-A, the Braves brought in what could be their best excuse for keeping Ronald Acuna in the minors to start the season. To make room for Tucker on the 40-man roster, the Braves released right-hander Luke Jackson.
Speaking of Acuna, David O’Brien notes that the young phenom is knocking on the door of the majors after visualizing the moment for some time. Regardless of when that moment arrives, Acuna has done nothing but impress throughout his time in the Braves system. DOB’s piece features quotes from Luis Salazar and Jonathan Schuerholz, who continue to heap praise upon the 20-year-old for his endless abilities, even while tempering expectations.
“We have to temper our expectations – a little bit,” said Jonathan Schuerholz, Braves assistant director of player development. “This guy is talented. We really like what he’s going to become. He’s got a chance to become a cornerstone position player for us in the big leagues for a long time. But he hasn’t done it at the big league level yet. There’s still some polishing up he’s got to do, some attention-to-detail stuff that he’s got to get done. But you look at the ability, you look at the talent level, I mean it’s – it’s a special, special talent.”
Sarasota County reportedly made a multi-million-dollar mistake in taking out bonds to help pay for the Braves’ new Spring Training home.
But a county spokesperson said Sarasota had no choice but to take out the taxable debt due to "uncertainties" related to the tax cut bill, including the possibility of the stadium subsidy elimination going into effect retroactively, from the date the legislation was first introduced, Nov. 2. The county had to meet a closing date on the deal of Dec. 21.
In essence, that means instead of having all Americans subsidize their stadium debt, Sarasota County will fund its portion of the debt all themselves. And that bad timing likely will cost taxpayers of Sarasota County several million dollars, as the difference in financing charges on tax-exempt bonds and taxable bonds is substantial.
The Rays traded away the best player in franchise history on Wednesday, sending Evan Longoria to the Giants for four players, including IF Christian Arroyo. Longoria is owed $81 million thru the 2022 season, so he will not come cheaply given his age, but the Giants upgrade their third base situation tremendously in the short-term.
Orioles closer Zach Britton, after missing a good portion of the 2017 season with a forearm injury, ruptured his Achilles on Tuesday and will now be sidelined for at least four months. This is tough news for Britton and for the Orioles after a trying 2017.