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The Cardinals Struggles In 2014 So Far Might Point To Accumulation Of Roster Changes Since 2011

After St. Louis won the 2011 World Series, they lost their world class 1B Free Agent player in Albert Pujols.  It was the right move, and Michael Wacha was the compensation pick, so one wouldn't even make the trade for the Cardinals former legend.  However much like the Mariners in the late 90's lost Johnson,  Griffey and Rodriguez, that team had a league record 116 wins in 2001.  The Cards have back to back NLCS Appearances, and lost the World Series in 2013, however despite being chalked with young talent, is that they still have lost several key components to their team in the last 3 years.  Somewhere the franchise might have to slow down for a brief spell.

After St. Louis won the 2011 World Series, they lost their world class 1B Free Agent player in Albert Pujols. It was the right move (10 YRs/$250 MIL is too much), and Michael Wacha was the compensation pick, so one wouldn’t even make the trade for the Cardinals former legend. However much like the Mariners in the late 90’s lost Johnson, Griffey and Rodriguez, that team had a league record 116 wins in 2001. The Cards have back to back NLCS Appearances, and lost the World Series in 2013, however despite being chalked with young talent, is that they still have lost several key components to their team in the last 3 years. Somewhere the franchise might have to slow down for a brief spell.

In no way am I going to slag the best run franchise in the MLB.  We are talking about the quintessential template of how to run your team in the modern world of baseball.

All I am projecting in this article is that every team goes through a stretch of play where they may not be performing to capabilities.

Some of these problems may even persist for a whole campaign.

The 2011 Cardinals won the World Series, and then after losing their future hall of fame legend in Albert Pujols, were able to bring in Free Agents Carlos Beltran to help offset the power headed out the door.

The move paved the way for another final four finish.  In fact, St. Louis held a 3 – 1 NLCS lead before the Giants won 3 straight.

2013 saw their young players come to fruition at the same time, and it mixed perfectly with their cagey Veteran core.

The organization had 6 players in the top 100 prospects as listed by http://www.mlb.com – and most of them have seen time with the big club thus far. Read the rest of this entry

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Atlanta Braves State Of The Union 2014: The Hitters

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team.  Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers.  In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI.  2013 saw him make his 1st ALL - Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 - with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team. Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers. In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI. 2013 saw him make his 1st ALL – Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 – with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Braves won 95 Games in 2013, and the NL East was a runaway by 9 games over Washington.

This was done even though of paltry numbers posted by Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, and a half year with Jason Heyward hitting underneath the Mendoza Line.

The game changer for the offense was a surprise performance by 3B Chris Johnson, who contended for the NL Batting Title for the better part of the whole year.

Evan Gattis and Brian McCann also hit near 20+ HRs each for just about a seasons worth of Plate Appearances out of the Catchers position.

Justin Upton charged out of the gates in April with 12 HRs, and then after going cold in the next 3 months. bounced back in August to take a run at it again.

The younger brother to B.J., had stretches were he carried the club. Read the rest of this entry

Atlanta Braves Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season.  When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins.  With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014.  Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash - to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves.  Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again.  These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season. When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins. With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014. Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash – to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again. These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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The ‘Tomahawk Choppers’ have 2 players that are killing them for Free Agent signings this winter.

B.J. Upton is only in the 2nd year of his 5 YRs/$75 MIL – and underachieving Dan Uggla  is still on the  books for 2 more years.

Between these 2 gentleman, they will bring down $26.25 MIL in 2014.  The Braves are hoping for more than under the ‘Mendoza Line’ Batting Averages – and an occasional big fly.

The Braves are also headed to Arbitration with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.  This is certainly bound to cost the organization a pretty penny.

In fact, those 3 players will likely exceed the amount of the B.J Upton and Uggla contracts.

Craig Kimbrel 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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The Atlanta Braves State Of The Union – Fall 2013: Part 1

2013 was not an easy road traveled either. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

2013 was not an easy road traveled for Atlanta. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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At the point after Eric O’Flaherty went down, many of us Braves fans began to panic and wonder how Fredi Gonzalez would get the ball to arguably the best closer

in all of baseball Craig Kimbrel. What happened after that? The Braves would still go on to post the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball and on top of that set a franchise record for the same mark.

Jason Heyward missed significant time as did Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list and still drove in over 100 runs on the season.

BJ Upton and Dan Uggla struggled throughout most of the 2013 season and BJ was one of the players expected to make a huge impact when he signed with the Braves this winter and it just never happened.

Other players stepped up and young players assumed roles that were well beyond the original expectations of them in 2013.

No one panicked and no one quit and as a fan I am appreciative of the heart and effort this team always put forth.

The Dodgers Celebrate winning the NLDS Series versus Atlanta (At Turner Field)

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The Braves Win The NL East For The 1st Time Since 2005: The Team Is Way Different From Early 2013

The Braves won 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 - 2005, that culminated in 5 World Series Visits, with cashing in for the Trophy in 1995, however other than a Wild Card Berth (2010), and a Wild Card Play In Game (that they both lost), the club has not seen playoff success for the past 14 years.  The Bravos will have a full NLDS Series to claim another chance at a NLCS Pennant, for the 1st time since 1999.

The Braves won 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 – 2005, that culminated in 5 World Series Visits, with cashing in for the Trophy in 1995, however other than a Wild Card Berth (2010), and a Wild Card Play In Game in 2012 (that they both lost), the club has not seen playoff success for the past 14 years. The Bravos will have a full NLDS Series to claim another chance at a NLCS Pennant, for the 1st time since 1999. Atlanta is still duking it out with the Dodgers and Cardinals for overall home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and have a 0.5 Games Lead over St. Louis (2 game lead over Los Angeles) with just 5 games left.  This would be extremely ‘vital’ to the club – as the team sports a (MLB best) record of 53 – 23 at Turner Field – compared to 40 – 41 on the road this season.

By Hayley Howell (Featured Baseball Writer + Braves Enthusiastic Fan)  

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The first fourteen years of my life (1991-2005) the Braves won consecutive division titles (the best run in MLB to date). They were the first team in the NL to go from last place to first place the next year (“Worst to First”).

They went to the World Series. (1991 was the first time that the home team won all 7 games of the World Series-too bad Atlanta wasn’t the home team).

On my first trip to the local library after moving downtown twenty minutes from home I quickly discovered there were only two Braves books in the whole four floors:

The Miracle Season and a book by John Smoltz that I wish I could remember the title of because I read that thing like it was a holy canon that summer.

I know the Braves beat the Astros 6-5 a few hours after I was born, and I think, in baseball astrology terms, that meant I was destined to become a Braves fan.

The first World Series I was alive for was the Braves and the Twins, not as if I could remember it, but I know that people still argue over the bad call that supposedly caused the Braves to lose, as if one call among thousands could determine a game much less a series.

And for fourteen years consecutively the Braves won their Division (of course the 1994 Season was cancelled, negating the only time the season ended, without them atop the NL East Standings – Montreal was leading that year).

Braves Clinch The NL East

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