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Why suburbs will suit the Braves
The Atlanta Braves’ local TV deal might be the worst in baseball, and it still has 13 years to run. Turner Field was in a problematic downtown location for many suburban fans. And the park needed $150 million of improvements, according to the club.
Put it all together, and the team’s announced move to Cobb County makes perfect sense, even if Turner Field’s lifespan will end up consisting of only 20 years.
If anything, the Braves’ recent success under general manager Frank Wren is all the more remarkable, considering the obstacles that the team faces.
During the past four seasons, the Braves have won the most games in the National League and trail the Yankees by only two games for the most wins in the majors.
The Braves would be working on a streak of four straight postseason appearances if not for their collapse in 2011. And they keep churning out young talent despite low draft positions year after year.
Other teams want the Braves’ personnel: The Orioles just hired minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace as their major league pitching coach and special assistant Dom Chiti as their bullpen coach.
The Braves’ new ballpark, set to open in 2017, presumably will put them in a stronger financial position, enabling them to compete even better.
Stanton more likely to be traded next winter
Come next winter, it will be a different story.
Here’s how the saga will play out, according to sources and good old common sense: The Marlins will offer Stanton a contract extension. Stanton will reject the offer. And the Marlins will trade him to the highest bidder.
The same thing happened between the 2010 and ’11 seasons, when second baseman Dan Uggla rejected the Marlins’ offer of a four-year, $48 million extension. The Marlins then traded Uggla to the Atlanta Braves, who signed him to a five-year, $62 million deal.
Stanton, who turned 24 on Friday, is under club control for three more seasons. He projects to earn $4.8 million in his first year of arbitration, according to Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.com. After that, he will be two years away from free agency and poised to earn even more.
At that point, it will be time.
Around the horn
The San Francisco Giants are among the teams considering Arroyo, but they would prefer to strike a quick, affordable two-year deal for a No. 4 starter, according to sources.
Arroyo, who will pitch next season at 37, might get three years from a team such as the Minnesota Twins, who could use him as the anchor for their young rotation.
• The Yankees’ interest in Eric Chavez, as reported by CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, is quite understandable. Club officials do not yet know the length of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension, or for that matter if he will be suspended at all. They also do not know how much Rodriguez will play third base when he is active.
• Interesting move by Jay Bell, who is leaving his position as Pirates hitting coach to become the Reds’ bench coach, according to sources.
The switch obviously entails a promotion, and Bell also is close with new Reds manager Bryan Price. The two worked on Bob Melvin’s staff with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006.
• One reason the Brewers want Ryan Braun to move from left to right field is to protect themselves if Khris Davis fails to cut it in left. It is generally easier to find left fielders than right fielders.