ChopThoughts
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ChopThoughts
Bringing together news, rumors, and analysis regarding America's baseball team of the South
Curated by Rob Kosky
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Fernandez K's 14, outduels Alex Wood as Marlins edge Braves 1-0

Fernandez K's 14, outduels Alex Wood as Marlins edge Braves 1-0 | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Wood set a career high with 11 strikeouts, but is saddled with another 1-0 loss.
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Overlooked McDowell ensures success of Braves' arms

Overlooked McDowell ensures success of Braves' arms | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
The most underrated coach of any kind in Major League Baseball is Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, and it isn't even close. The nine-year vet of the staff has led Atlanta to a top-five finish in ERA for the past five years.
Rob Kosky's insight:

     An inside look at where much of the success of Atlanta's pitching has come from in the past eight years. 

 

     Roger McDowell doesn't get nearly enough credit for his work, often because the Braves have had a talented rotation year in and year out.  However, this year, his coaching prowess is being put on a mantle, as his staff leads the league in ERA, among other categories.  This same staff has seen its ace (Tim Hudson) leave in the offseason, its catcher (Brian McCann) head for New York, and its succeeding ace (Kris Medlen) go down due to Tommy John surgery.  Additionally, SP Brandon Beachy is also done for the season due to TJS.  But his real magic this season has been shown in getting pitchers Aaron Harang and David Hale to massively overachieve this season.  While the numbers so far wont hold up all year, there 's something to be said about the success he's brought to the team so far this season, as well as throughout his time as a coach with the Braves.

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Nationals GM says they are better than the Braves, exactly one year after Espinosa said the same thing

Nationals GM says they are better than the Braves, exactly one year after Espinosa said the same thing | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Once again, the Nationals feel the need to say they are better... How about just going out and being better then?
Rob Kosky's insight:

Yeah, okay.  We've heard this before. All I have to say is it's April.  But let's enjoy this smack talk while we can.  Nats fans tend to quiet down as we enter August/September.

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Bud Selig hints Hank Aaron still baseball's HR king

Bud Selig hints Hank Aaron still baseball's HR king | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Hank Aaron is still the home run king to many. Even baseball commissioner Bud Selig has a difficult time seeing it any other way.
Rob Kosky's insight:

Yesterday was a day to remember how dishonorable of a  person Barry Bonds is.  Commissioner Bud Selig quietly seems to agree.

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Inbox: Is B.J. Upton's slow start cause for alarm?

Inbox: Is B.J. Upton's slow start cause for alarm? | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Is B.J. Upton's status as the No. 2 hitter on solid footing? Can the Braves be expected to defend their National League East crown? Beat reporter Mark Bowman addresses those topics and more in the Inbox.
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Freeman hits 2 HRs as Braves best Brewers

Freeman hits 2 HRs as Braves best Brewers | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
MLB Baseball Recap: Final statistics from the Atlanta vs. Milwaukee game played on April 01, 2014
Rob Kosky's insight:

The Braves get their first win of the season behind Heyward and Freeman's homeruns.

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Braves-Brewers Preview

MLB Baseball Preview: Final statistics from the Atlanta vs. Milwaukee game played on March 31, 2014
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ESPN's preview for the opening matchup against the Brew Crew.

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Complete Braves 2014 Season Preview

Complete Braves 2014 Season Preview | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
The Atlanta Braves have had a rollicking offseason and spring training, setting the stage for a season of unpredictability in 2014 and immense success in the future. Six weeks ago, the Braves looked like a playoff team...
Rob Kosky's insight:

Bleacher Report gives a full, in-depth preview of the 2014 season.

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Beachy to have Tommy John surgery on Friday

Beachy to have Tommy John surgery on Friday | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy traveled to Los Angeles on Tuesday with the understanding that he was likely destined to undergo his second Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. That was confirmed on Wednesday, and he will have the surgery on Friday.
Rob Kosky's insight:

As projected, Brandon Beachy will also undergo TJS this season.  Consequently, pitchers Freddy Garcia and David Hale will have much larger roles than anticipated, especially with Mike Minor's recent setback.  Atlanta hopes to get  Minor back in late April, as well as newly acquired SP Gavin Floyd sometime in May.  Ervin Santana also won't be able to start until mid-April after joining Atlanta late in Spring Training.

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Braves make the right bet; Ervin Santana makes a big bet on himself

Braves make the right bet; Ervin Santana makes a big bet on himself | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Ervin Santana is taking a chance by signing a one-year deal with the Braves.
Rob Kosky's insight:

Spring Training just hasn't been pretty for the Braves.  With starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both potentially gone for the season to TJS, Frank Wren had to make a move.  He found a suitor, landing the top remaining free agent starting pitcher in Ervin Santana.  The article listed focuses more on Santana's side of the newly signed deal.  The $14 million one year deal makes sense for both Santana and Atlanta.  But I'll focus on the Braves' side of this later.  Santana is taking this deal in hopes that he can earn a big contact next year.  He was offered a 3 year deal hovering around $33 million in Minnesota, but he hopes a solid year with the Braves will earn him much more than that in 2015.  Santana was reportedly looking for a long-term $100 million contract earlier in free agency, but couldn't find a buyer before settling with Atlanta.

 

 

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Braves Lines from the Weekend

No win for the Braves yet this spring... but there was a scoreless tie. Good Wood: I love quotes about a player's makeup. Bench coach Carlos Tosca had a good one as he watched Alex Wood pitch on Su...
Rob Kosky's insight:

A few interesting tidbits from the start of ST.

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Braves sign SS Andrelton Simmons to 7-year, $58M extension

Braves sign SS Andrelton Simmons to 7-year, $58M extension | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it

the future y extending The Braves have moved to lock yet another young core contributor. This time it's slick-fielding shortstop Andrelton Simmons, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed.

Rob Kosky's insight:

Recently extended GM Frank Wren made another move looking toward the future by extending SS Andrelton Simmons.  Can we call this a successful offseason yet?

 

*In other news, manager Fredi Gonzalez was also recently extended (Both he and Wren were going into their final year of their contract in 2014)

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BREAKING: Braves, Julio Teheran agree to six-year, $32.4 million extension

BREAKING: Braves, Julio Teheran agree to six-year, $32.4 million extension | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Happy Valentine's Day, Braves Country!
Love: Frank Wren
Rob Kosky's insight:

Frank Wren is getting the job done with another huge extension in the books. This time, he's locked up SP Julio Teheran through 2019.

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Mets beat Braves 4-3 in marathon 14-inning game

Mets beat Braves 4-3 in marathon 14-inning game | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Curtis Granderson hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to win the final game of a three game set
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Braves-Phillies Preview

MLB Baseball Preview: Final statistics from the Atlanta vs. Philadelphia game played on April 14, 2014
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The red hot Braves travel to Philly for the first series matchup of the season.

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Series Recap: Braves vs. Nationals

Series Recap: Braves vs. Nationals | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
A recap of Atlanta's dominating performance in their three-game weekend series against the Washington Nationals.
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Braves Daily News Digest: 4/7

Braves Daily News Digest: 4/7 | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Your morning/afternoon stop for all the latest Braves news and other stories around the league.
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Chop Arm Strong (Official Music Video) - Atlanta Braves 2014 - YouTube

Chop Arm Strong by @AaronChewning Song will be available on iTunes tomorrow! Behind the Scenes video by @RemedyFilms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXeR31LM...
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Minor, Floyd and Santana on road back to the Bigs

Minor, Floyd and Santana on road back to the Bigs | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
The Braves right now are shorthanded in their starting rotation, but three of their expected starters are on their way back to joining the team and all three have a good chance of returning before...
Rob Kosky's insight:

Working with a makeshift, four-man rotation to start the season, manager Fredi Gonzalez can't wait to get starting pitchers Mike Minor, Ervin Santana, and Gavin Floyd back from the DL.  Once assembled, the three pitchers (with Julio Teheran and Alex Wood) make a really nice group considering the injuries to the rotation in Spring Training.  Atlanta looks to keep the division lead from slipping away before these reinforcements show up.  Santana should be back later in the week and Minor and Floyd should be available in late-April.  By this time, Aaron Harang would likely move out of the starter role and become a long-reliever.  Current 4th starter David Hale could do the same or could feasibly move down to Gwinett.

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Hopes high all around as Crew hosts Braves

MLB.com Gameday
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No, it's not Christmas morning.  It's better.  

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Braves sign right-hander Aaron Harang to one-year contract

Braves sign right-hander Aaron Harang to one-year contract | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
UPDATE: The Braves just announced that they have signed Garcia to a one-year major league contract. 7:11 p.m. ET: It’s done. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves are signing Harang. He’ll presumably begin the year with a rotation spot. 6:30 p.m. ET: The Braves made a surprising decision earlier today when they cut…
Rob Kosky's insight:

This post is really a two-part story.  The first of which came earlier today when the Braves cut pitcher Freddy Garcia.  Many thought this move meant SP Gus Scholsser would start the year in Atlanta, but that idea doesn't seem like it will come to fruition with this signing.  Personally, I don't get the move.  You cut someone you're only paying a little over a million in 2014, who hasn't looked good in Spring Training, but stepped up at several key times last year (most notably game 4 in the playoffs versus Los Angeles).  Harang has very similar career numbers, if not worse, and blocks Schlosser from getting a shot in the rotation to start the year.  Unless Harang is taking a fair amount less to pay, I don't see the point in this move.  However, we all know Frank Wren is best known for finding those "diamond in the rough" veteran pitchers.

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Medlen Will Get Tommy John Surgery

Medlen Will Get Tommy John Surgery | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
In addition, Beachy will be travelling to LA to get a second opinion.
Rob Kosky's insight:

It's official.  The potential injury that drove Frank Wren to sign starting pitcher Ervin Santana became official news on Sunday.  Kris Medlen will undergo his second Tommy John surgery since 2010 after visiting Dr. Andrews.  This is obviously a huge blow to the rotation, as Medlen was projected to be the Opening Day starter in 2014.  Additionally, Medlen provided one of the few veteran presences on the team's pitching staff.  As a fan, it's incredibly saddening, as it couldn't have happened to a better guy.  I've grown up watching Kris from the start of his career, knowing how far he's come, and he likely won't ever earn a major, long-term big-league paycheck.  I predict that Kris will be back, but he won't ever get a long-term deal like he was possibly looking for with the Braves after this season.

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Wood on his first Spring start

Wood on his first Spring start | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
Braves pitcher Alex Wood discusses his first start of Spring Training, his mindset this year and his goal of earning a rotation spot in 2014
Rob Kosky's insight:

Alex Wood on his ST opener and what he hopes to accomplish in 2014.  I opine that he'll make the last spot in the starting rotation, while veteran Freddy Garcia will be the long reliever.  

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Season after slump, Braves OF B.J. Upton regroups | Atlanta Braves | Columbus Ledger Enquirer

Season after slump, Braves OF B.J. Upton regroups | Atlanta Braves | Columbus Ledger Enquirer | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- B.J. Upton was suffering through the most dreadful season of his career and little brother Justin was in the same Atlanta clubhouse, a perfect shoulder to lean on as he navigated through the unfathomable time.
Rob Kosky's insight:

Let's talk bout BJ again.  Though he had undoubtedly the worst year of his career in 2013, experts are saying he'll bounce back.  He's apparently fixed his swing and he says he'll never have a year like last year again.  Through a few Spring games he's been decent offensively, but he hasn't necessarily broken out.  Although, Spring stats should essentially be disregarded as BJ is really facing minor league pitchers.  And let's not forget, Bossman had a very impressive ST in 2013, before his horrid regular season.  But Greg Walker is encouraged, so I'm encouraged.  BJ doesn't need to hit 30 yikketys or even bat above his average .248 BA.  He just needs to be decent. The hype has died down this offseason, BJ is batting 8th in the lineup, and the Braves have plenty of other offensive options to carry them any given night.  These factors should make BJ' s journey to live up to his contract a bit easier, but we won't really know until around mid-May whether last year was a fluke or not.

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Braves closer Kimbrel agrees to $42M deal

Braves closer Kimbrel agrees to $42M deal | ChopThoughts | Scoop.it
The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms with Craig Kimbrel on a four-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration with the All-Star closer.
Rob Kosky's insight:

Frank Wren is on a roll.  First signing Heyward and Freeman, then Teheran, and now Kimbrel.  Wren has ensured the young core of the Braves will be playing through their primes in Atlanta and into the Cobb County stadium.  This extension seemed unlikely a month ago, but Wren getting Heyward to sign a short deal covering only his arbitration years allowed for the Teheran and Kimbrel extensions.  In two years, Wren will likely have to choose between extending Justin Upton and Jason Heyward.  However, this is a small price to pay in wake of the recent extensions.  In turn, Wren has insured the Braves will be championship competitors for years to come.  There's two more extensions to hand out, Andrelton Simmons' and Frank Wren's.

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