Archive for November, 2009

When tryptophan wears off, Braves offseason should perk up

I’m thinking that if my man Homer Simpson were judging the early portion of this baseball offseason, he’d offer a one-word summary: Bor-ing. But things are going to pick up soon, folks.  Not long after the tryptophan wears off from our Thanksgiving turkey.

6a00e5518fa10688340120a53d4725970b-800wiHere we are in the final week of November, and the Braves and most teams are waiting for this offseason train to really get rolling down the tracks. It should after the Dec. 1 deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents, then it’ll probably be hurtling at full speed at the Dec. 7-10 Winter Meetings in Indianapolis (always lovely in December, from what I hear).

Oh, and before we continue, please remember you can always follow the wit, wisdom, pithy observations, recommendations and ruminations on Twitter at @ajcbraves. Yes, we made our deal with the devil at the crossroads.

It’s sure nothing like it a year ago, is it? (I’m talking about the offseason in general, not the GM and Winter Meetings. But yes, …

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Braves could add to roster by Friday

It gets overshadowed by other baseball offseason deadlines, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Friday (Nov. 20) is when teams must have 40-man rosters finalized including those minor leaguers that must be protected from the Rule 5 Draft that’s held on the final day of the Dec. 7-10 Winter Meetings.

(Stay with me during the preamble — I promise this blog should get exciting and memorable quickly. Oh, and remember you can follow us on Twitter @ajcbraves.)

Between Friday and the Rule 5 Draft, teams can add major league free agents to the 40-man, but not players from its minor league system. And so by Friday, most teams will add at least a minor leaguer or two to their 40-man rosters, players they deem too talented to leave unprotected for other teams to pluck for a mere $50,000 price in the major-league phase of the draft.

The Braves currently have seven openings on their 40-man roster, minus  unsigned free agents and a few guys dropped after the season  including …

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Braves explore options during GM meetings

Schiller Park, Ill. – Yes, sir, that’s the address of my budget hotel ’bout a mile from the sprawl of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, where baseball’s GMs are having their meetings, thus doing their small part to make it clear to everyone watching that things are tough all over.

Key Biscayne, Dana Point, Calif., Palm Springs, Naples, Fla. – that’s where they’ve had these meetings in recent years, usually at a Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis or some other cradle of luxury.

Some of those places were so pricey that us schlub reporters would drive over in our rental cars and barely afford to pay for parking, much less breakfast (a bagel and coffee would set you back about 10 bucks at the St. Regis at Dana Point, where last year’s meetings were held as the economy was in full free-fall, a fact that I think caused some embarrassment for baseball as writers blogged and Twittered about the obscene prices and opulent setting where the GMs were gathered.)

Oh, and before I forget, remember you …

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Fall League’s in full swing, rumor mill’s about to be

Phoenix – Greetings from the desert Southwest, where it’s a cloudless day with the temperature headed to the  mid-90s  and there’s another slate of Arizona Fall League games starting at 12:30 p.m. before intimate gatherings typically comprised of couple dozen scouts and about 75-100 assorted others,  including autograph hounds, girlfriends, potential girlfriends and those just fortunate to have the afternoon off.

(And if they’re unemployed, well, then at least they live in a place where they can go watch top prospects play in beautiful weather without crowds or high prices.)

Pals Freeman and Heyward figure prominently in Braves' future

Pals Freeman and Heyward figure prominently in Braves' future

So today we’re here in Peoria to see the Peoria Saguaros – that’s the team that has six Braves prospects on it (seven before Jason Heyward left with a strained back last week – face the Mesa Solar Sox in Peoria. Saw the same two teams play yesterday at HoHoKam Park (Cubs’ spring training site) in Mesa, where Mike Minor gave up a couple …

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