David O'Brien says the Braves are talking about bringing Greg Maddux to spring training as an instructor, and talking to Tom Glavine about a position in their front office. This is awesome news: it sounds like any ill will over Glavine's ungraceful departure last summer has evaporated, not to mention that this would put two of the best baseball men in the industry in the Braves' employ.
Former Brave Mike Gonzalez has inked a two-year pact with the Orioles, which unfortunately ensures that the Braves won't have a first-round pick in next year's draft. If we presume that all ranked free agents who were offered arbitration sign with new teams, then here's how the draft order would shake out for the Braves: There are 32 picks in the first round, and then the Braves will get the third pick (#35 overall) in the supplemental first round (the supplemental draft order is the inverse order of the teams' standings; the only Type A free agents from teams worse than Atlanta are Toronto's Marco Scutaro and Houston's Jose Valverde). This post previously had the Braves getting the #37 pick, but I was mistaken about the way the supplemental draft order is determined. There will be 21 picks total in the supplemental first round (23 ranked free agents offered arbitration - 3 accepting arbitration + 1 to the Blue Jays for failing to sign last year's supplemental 1st rounder). The Braves will then get the Orioles' second-round pick, which will be the third pick of that round, so #56 overall. The Braves then have their own second-round pick at #72 overall.
David O'Brien brings us the news that outfielder Mitch Jones has signed a minor-league contract with the Braves. After being drafted as a 22-year-old in 2000 by the Yankees, Jones finally made his major-league debut last year with the Dodgers at age 31. He's the definition of a minor-league journeyman (and even spent a couple seasons in Japan for good measure). The thing that will keep him in baseball as long as he wants to play is his prodigious power: he hit a ridiculous .297/.364/.651 for Triple-A Albuquerque last season while leading the minors with 35 homers. In 15 major-league PAs, he had four hits (including a double) and was hit by two pitches while striking out six times. Let's try to temper any optimism here: the Pacific Coast League where he mashed last year is a very hitter-friendly place, and he was a 31-year-old beating up on twentysomething kids and washed-out veterans. I'd say he could probably slug .500 in the majors, but he'll struggle to manage a .300 OBP given his tendency to punch out. Maybe a pinch-hitting, power-on-contact type off the bench. Maybe. Let's not forget too that the Atlanta Braves do own the Gwinnett Braves, and it's not the most ignoble thing in the world if Jones spends the year entertaining the fans north of the city.