Baseball season coming soonPublished 8:04am Tuesday, January 22, 2013
“Pitchers and catchers report.”
That is a phrase that delights all die-hard major league baseball fans like myself about this time every year.
In early February, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to major league spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, and the remaining members of each team’s roster will be coming in soon after.
Members of my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, will be reporting to their spring training camp at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla.
Braves long time All-Star and future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones, a solid fixture at third base for many years, has retired and must be replaced.
Martin Prado, a clutch hitter who can play in the infield or outfield, and played mainly in left field last season, is being brought in to replace Jones at third base.
The Braves have solid performers in center field and right field, but they are still looking for a new left fielder.
The centerfielder will be former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton, who they signed to a five year $75 million free agent contract, in the offseason. In right field, will be young rising star Jason Heyward.
I have read rumors that the Braves have talked to the Arizona Diamonbacks about trading for outfielder Justin Upton, the younger brother of B.J.
There is also a rumor that the Braves might try to sign Michael Bourn, their former center fielder and base stealing threat who left following last season to become a free agent.
With either Jusin Upton or Michael Bourn in left, B.J. Upton in center and Jason Heyward in right, the Braves would have one of the most solid and productive outfields in the game.
The Diamondbacks have reportedly asked that the Braves include young slick fielding strong armed shortstop Andrelton Simmons in any trade package for Justin Upton. Reportedly, they refuse to do that and frankly I don’t blame them. Simmons is just too strong a commodity to give up.
It is going to be interesting to see what the Braves ultimately do to fill their void in left field. Stay tuned.
The Braves appear to be solid on the mound with solid hurlers like right handers Tim Hudson and Kris Medlen and left hander Mike Minor in the starting rotation and flame-throwing right handed closer Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen.
They also have a couple of strong bullpen setup men in left handers Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters.