News and noteworthy stories pertaining to the Atlanta Braves from the past few days:
Kimmie for a bargain: MLB Trade Rumors has a must read article breaking down the projections of what Craig Kimbrel might have gotten in arbitration, and whether or not the contract he signed was a good deal for the Braves. Money quote:
In the scenario where Kimbrel wins his 2014 arbitration hearing and then reels off a pair of 35 save seasons, which I find quite plausible, the Braves essentially secured his first free agent year for free, plus an option on a second.
It’s a good deal for the Braves, and a good deal for Kimbrel, as he gets a large amount of guaranteed money and doesn’t have to go through years of contentious arbitration.
The Doumit Key: ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes that the Braves only real off-season acquisition, Ryan Doumit, was the “key to the Atlanta Braves whole off-season.” He goes on to explain that Doumit allows the Braves to use Gattis as a pinch-hitter when he’s not catching. It’s easy to label Doumit a key to the Braves off-season, since he was the only addition the team made this off-season. Doumit’s important, but is he that much more important than another Gerald Laird type catcher? As Stark points out, Doumit adds the flexibility to play multiple positions. The Braves like multi-position players like this, so maybe it’s best to think of Doumit as ‘Omar Infante who can catch.’
Goodbye Gamel: The Braves released IF/OF Mat Gamel yesterday. He reportedly reinjured his surgically repaired right knee while working out on his own. Gamel is a former top prospect for the Brewers who never caught on in the Majors. The Braves were hoping he would fit into a utility role with the team. The presence of Doumit makes the need for the out-of-options Gamel less necessary.
The Hart for Extensions: MLB writer Terence Moore writes about the importance of former Indians’ GM, and current special advisor to the Braves, John Hart, in the extensions the Braves have given their home grown players in recent weeks. There has been a lot of talk about this recently, talk about what kind of impact Hart had on the Braves decisions to extend the players. My thought on the matter is that the Braves decided to try and extend their young players (especially Freeman and Heyward) during the 2013 off-season, but as has been recently reported, they didn’t have any success. So the Braves front office went out and got an expert in the strategy of extending players. Enter John Hart. Result, four extensions (and counting).
Kubby Krazy: MLB prospect reporter Bernie Pleskoff writes about Braves prospect Kyle Kubitza. It’s a lukewarm or mildly tepid review of Kubitza, who has many admirers in the scouting ranks. It’s weird to read a review like this, like many other reviews of Kubitza, that profess to love Kubitza, but can’t explain why. This year we’ll find out who he really is, as he faces the test of double-A.
Speaking of Prospects: FanGraphs releases their list of the Braves top-15 prospects. The only real surprise on the list is their ranking of LHP Carlos Perez number-11. Weird to choose him as the Braves top relief prospect. I list six relievers on my top-30 list before I get to Perez.
La Stella Q&A: FanGraphs also posted a nice Q&A with second base prospect Tommy La Stella. Here is a snippet of him talking about whether he’ll develop power in his swing:
“I think [power] could become part of my game. I know I have it in there. Speaking to the organization, they agree. It’s a matter of ironing out some things in terms of my swing plane in order to backspin the ball to the right side. I can backspin the ball pretty well to left field.”
His answers give me the impression that he’s very knowledgeable about his swing, and his strengths and weaknesses. Smart ballplayers.
Meds gets shorn for charity: And finally, Kris Medlen shaved his head for charity, the Rally Foundation. The before and after from beat reporter Kevin McAlpin.