Tag: Scott Linebrink

Atlanta Braves Baseball: Preparing for a Season of Greatness

The Atlanta Braves look like they are headed in a good direction after the signing of Dan Uggla, a scrappy power hitting right-handed second baseman.  The Braves definitely need some right-handed power in the middle of their order.  Someone like Uggla will increase production and also provide some protection for a youngster like Jason Heyward.

It looks like Uggla will bat fourth or fifth in the batting order, probably behind Brian McCann and Chipper Jones.  He’s also been told that he will play second base this season despite Martin Prado’s excellent year last season.  More than likely Prado will move to left field where last year the Braves needed some stability.

They have also acquired veteran pitchers Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill.  These signings will sure up their bullpen after the departure of Billy Wagner.  These veterans are going to have to be leaders in their bullpen and help lead young pitchers like Jonny Venters, Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel in the right direction.

It looks like the Braves won’t need to go out and get a fifth starter by the way Mike Minor pitched to finish the season, but if he struggles to produce in spring training, they also have a young pitcher by the name of Brandon Beachy that could steal the starting spot or could become a long reliever.  The pitcher they need to cut ties with is Kenshin Kawakami who has been trouble for the Atlanta Braves and has a substantial contract for the upcoming season.  They could use him to lure in a potential buyer willing to give up a good young outfielder in return.

The Braves need another outfielder to go along with Eric Hinske, Nate McLouth, Jason Heyward and Martin Prado.  There is a slight possibility that Prado will have to play first base if Freddie Freeman doesn’t excel in spring training.  There is a chance that the wrist he injured a while back may cut into the power production he had in the minors.  So with that in mind, the Braves could send Freeman back to the minors for another season to sharpen his skills.  If this happens, the Braves might be in the market for a first baseman but not as strongly as they will be for a fifth outfielder.

Also this off season the Braves hired former Marlins‘ coach Fredi Gonzalez to replace the great coach Bobby Cox after his retirement.  This move will hopefully continue the success Cox had for several years in Atlanta.  General Manager Frank Wren has expressed confidence in his new additions and new coach and feels the Braves should be able to compete not only with the Phillies but with other great teams.  He feels that these additions will boost the Braves right to the World Series.

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MLB Rumors: The Top 10 NL East Moves So Far and More Potential Deals

The five teams in the National League East, the Phillies, Braves,  Marlins, Mets and Nationals, have all had busy off-seasons trying to improve their clubs. Some have been more successful than others. And some, like the Phillies and Mets, are moving very slowly through the free agent and trade possibilities.

Here is a countdown of the top 10 moves so far within the division and a breakdown of potential future moves for each team.

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Atlanta Braves Acquire Veteran Scott Linebrink From Chicago White Sox

The Atlanta Braves acquired veteran right hander Scott Linebrink today from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitching prospect Kyle Cofield.

The move solidified the Braves’ need to add a veteran presence in the bullpen. He will help out with the impressive, young core of arms the Braves already possess.

Kyle Cofield, a towering 6’5″, 230 lbs. right hander, was mostly a starter before he was moved to the bullpen this season. Cofield compiled a 25-26 record and 4.12 ERA through 485 minor league innings pitched, though the 23-year old has yet to advance past Double-A. He has had issues with his command as well, issuing 4.9 BB/9 (walks per nine innings).

Scott Linebrink, 33-year old journeyman, struggled in his time with the White Sox, but that can almost surely be attributed to the hitter’s environment of U.S. Cellular Field.

Linebrink allowed 16 homeruns (eight in 2010) and amassed a 4.65 ERA in 85 innings pitched at U.S. Cellular. Away from the unfriendly confines of his home stadium, Linebrink produced a much more respectable 3.88 ERA—though he allowed 12 homeruns.

Though he isn’t getting any younger, Linebrink should enjoy being back in the National League and have a respectable 2011 campaign with the Atlanta Braves, barring any injuries.


Other Transactions

Matt Diaz has likely played his last game for the Atlanta Braves. The club non-tendered the clubhouse and fan favorite yesterday.

Diaz’ sense of humor, terrorizing of lefties and hard nosed playing style will certainly be missed by Braves players and fans.

Diaz was told he would never be a major league ballplayer, yet the Braves and Bobby Cox took a chance on the relatively unknown 27-year old (at the time). Diaz didn’t disappoint in his five seasons with Atlanta, pounding Johan Santana and other left handed pitchers.

Diaz hit .305 with 41 homeruns, 128 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 1,385 at bats with the Braves.

While Diaz will not be returning to the ballclub in all likelihood, the move ensured that 1B/OF Eric Hinske would be staying in Atlanta. The Braves locked Hinske up with a one year, $1.45 million deal yesterday as well.

The former Rookie of the Year provided many clutch at bats off the bench and as a starter in 2010. He provides some positional flexibility as well as late inning power off the bench.

We’re just a week away from the Winter Meetings and Frank Wren will go in with a relatively clear conscience. He’s fulfilled the Braves’ most pressing needs thus far and seems to be content. You can’t rule out Wren making a surprise deal, but the Braves’ acquisitions seem to be all but wrapped up unless the Braves get an offer they can’t refuse.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below. You can e-mail me suggestions or questions at jtmcadams@aol.com. Follow me on Twitter @JoeSportswriter.

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