Lots of random links for today, so I'll try to keep them short and sweet:
I'm sure everyone's read this by now, but the Braves offered arbitration to Type A free agents Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, but not to Type Bs Adam LaRoche and Garret Anderson. Gonzalez and Anderson were easy to predict. As it became increasingly clear that there was a ton of interest in Soriano, it became easier and easier for the Braves to offer him. Frank Wren says that LaRoche did not receive an offer because the Braves want to see how the market for LaRoche and other first base options develops before committing a possible $8 million or more to Roachy in arbitration. That makes good sense.
The Billy Wagner signing is official. Wagner was introduced at a press conference at Turner Field...no Furcalesque shenanigans this time around. Wagner was apparently impressed when Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell flew up to Virginia last week to meet with the left-hander in person. It seems Wagner won't have to fight with Nate McLouth over his #13, as McLouth has agreed to give it up. From the amusing department: David O'Brien wrote in a blog last week that Wagner and Chipper Jones are friends, which led to one of Wagner's four kids asking him wide-eyed if he really knew Chipper Jones.
David O'Brien names Fernando Rodney and Octavio Dotel as two of Frank Wren's targets to set up Wagner. Mark Bowman echoes that, and adds Takashi Saito's name to the mix. Bowman also names Mike Cameron and Marlon Byrd as outfield targets; O'Brien agrees with him on Cameron. Dotel's had two healthy seasons in a row, and he's a dominant reliever in his own right; I'd be happy to have him back in Atlanta. Rodney, on the other hand, scares the heck out of me: let not the saves deceive you, he's the kind of reliever that puts a ton of guys on and generally makes you worry. We've looked at Saito and Cameron already, and I'll go on record as saying Marlon Byrd is nothing more than a fourth outfielder who can only hit in Arlington.
O'Brien also has the following paraphrase of Wren on the Braves' winter plans: "...he also said they might still get something else done before meetings, though he wouldnít hint what. Theyíre still looking to add a setup man and offense, which he said could come at 1B, OF or a combination-type player...." Wren also said that last seasonís success and returning talent made it ìa little easier to lure guys here this year.î
Bowman says that he's heard Chipper would be open to moving across the diamond to play first base, if the Braves found a legitimate third base option. He notes that moving Chipper could create complications when Freddie Freeman is ready, though. His glove at third is borderline atrocious these days, so groundballing Tim Hudson would sure benefit from the Braves finding a better third baseman.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Braves are showing interest in righty Kameron Loe. Loe played in Japan last year after being sold to Fukuoka by the Rangers last winter. He's got a sinker that generates plenty of groundballs, so there's nothing wrong with bringing him in on a minor-league deal with an NRI, but on the whole he's entirely uninspiring.
Neither David O'Brien nor Mark Bowman can see the Braves making a push for Miguel Cabrera or Matt Holliday. Bowman also tacks the names Jason Bay and Jermaine Dye on the list of people the Braves likely won't pursue this winter. No surprises there. The first three will cost far too much for the Braves liking, and if they wouldn't sign Adam Dunn over defensive concerns last winter, they sure won't have a lot of interest in lead-gloved Dye.
Apparently, Fox Sports has a list of 11 candidates to replace the departed Boog Sciambi in the booth next year, and Chip Caray is on that list.Thoughts? Anyone? Anyone?