Atlanta made a splash with two big moves. The first was the signing of B.J. Upton to a five year $75 million dollar contract. When I heard about this I was all excited. When I got access to a computer...not so much. First I was thinking about Justin Upton, the Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder. The 24 year-old with a career .278 batting average, career .357 on base percentage, the one who has hit 26 or more homeruns twice in his career. I wasn't excited about B.J. Upton who hasn't hit higher than .246 since 2008, the one who had a .298 on base percentage last year and strikes out more than a 300 pound man at a Victoria's Secret show. What a let down.. Atlanta does need an outfielder and someone to add offense (23+ homeruns three times and has stolen 30 plus bases five times) to their lineup.
I know the Braves like his right handed bat and the power upside. If he hadn't been playing in Tampa Bay I'm sure his homerun totals would be even better. He is also good in the field. Still with the money he received I'd much rather have resigned Michael Bourn. A little risky for a 30 year old speedster but he is excellent on defense and was great as the leadoff man Atlanta hadn't had in some time. Oh and now they don't have one again! If his "potential" comes to fruition this is a great deal but that seems alot to ask for from a guy whose past four season haven't shown me anything to get excited about.
Next the Braves traded starter Tommy Hansen to the Angels for reliever Jordan Walden. Walden was the Angels' closer in 2011 before losing that role early this year. He is a righty who can hit 98 MPH on the radar gun. Atlanta wanted to add a big right handed arm to the bullpen and it looks as though this gets them the guy they were looking for. It seems weird to see Hansen go. At one point he was one of the top prospects in the entire minor league system. His name always came up in trade talks but the Braves wouldn't budge. I don't think it is a stretch to say a trade involving Hansen would have brought back a top 20 player in the league six years ago. It took me a while to digest this one but I'm ok with it. Atlanta has options at starter with youngsters Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran ready for their shot in the rotation. This will also save the Braves an estimated $4 million that it is believed Hansen would have received in arbitration. Sorry to see a guy like Hansen go but I hope he does well with the Angels. Seems like a good fit. I'll be curious to see what my buddy Yaj thinks about this one.
Pitchers Pete Moylan and Jair Jurrjens were not tendered contracts for 2013. Rumors have Moylan coming back on a minor league deal. He is 33 but been effective when called upon. He hasn't seen much action the last two years only pitching 13 innings over the last two years. Jurrjens has a career 3.62 ERA but struggled last season and has dealt with consistency and injury problems. Only 26 years-old he'll find a home quickly.
There are rumors Atlanta is actually looking at bringing Justin Upton (B.J.'s brother) to the Braves via trade. Hard to tell how much of that is just speculation fueled by B.J.'s signing and the fact Arizona has appeared open to a trade. It would be great but it is all speculation.........Great to see Ron Gant doing well in his TV career. He is now co-host of a Atlanta TV morning show. Here's a quick link to the article which also links to a youtube video of the show. Always one of my favorite Braves. Wish he could have hung around and won a ring with that '95 team. Ron Gant Now Morning Show Co-Host ........