Things have been awfully slow in Braves country of late, but this morning we bring you several interesting news items, all in one morning's post:The most interesting news this morning comes from David O'Brien, who tells us that the Braves "are still pursuing Johnny Damon, and it could happen now that his price has presumably shrunk along with his market." This after O'Brien denied a Jon Heyman rumor that the Braves had made an offer to Damon. We've had plenty to say about Damon over the last couple of days, and while I acknowledge that he may not be the ideal outfield solution, he's far too valuable to pass up for a low-priced one-year deal. Unless he's willing to be a Royal or a Pirate (and it doesn't sound like he is), the Braves are really his only option, since the Yankees seem entirely uninterested. I would think I'm not the only one that likes the idea of Damon and Nate McLouth setting the table ahead of Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus, Brian McCann and Yunel Escobar.
You'd certainly be forgiven if you didn't remember a certain Chris Resop (pictured inset), the fireballing righty reliever who the Braves claimed off waivers from the Angels back in October of 2007. A good spring training in 2008 won him a roster spot to open the year, and he responded with an unimpressive 5.89 ERA in 16 games, walking nearly five batters per nine while only striking out 6.4. Well, he's back. After a year pitching for Japan's Hanshin Tigers, Resop is ready to try his hand in the majors again, inking a minor-league deal with the Braves that presumably includes a non-roster invitation to spring training. Resop can pump 98 MPH gas, but big-league hitters can hit 98 MPH gas if it's straight (which his is). If he can learn a second pitch to go with his quality velocity, the Braves might have something on their hands. Unfortunately, his track record from Japan brings little reason to hope; he threw 21 1/3 innings for Hanshin and posted a 6.75 ERA, allowing 29 hits while walking 7 and striking out just six (that's 2.5 per nine if you're better with rate stats). It's a long shot of course, but the expense is minimal, and hey, the Gwinnett Braves need relievers too.
ESPN's Enrique Rojas brings us word that the Braves have avoided arbitration with Melky Cabrera, agreeing to terms at $3.1 million, or just more than double the $1.4 million that The Melk-man made in 2008. For those of you following our payroll analysis here at Chop-n-Change, we had estimated Cabrera at $2.8 million, so that doesn't radically alter any of our payroll projections. Remember that the Yankees contribute $500,000 towards Cabrera's salary.
Seems our old friend Adam LaRoche will join our other old friend Kelly Johnson in Arizona. It was pretty clear from the start that a LaRoche-Braves reunion was unlikely, and even though it appears that Roachy will only make $4-5 million this year, I think I'd still rather have the Troy Glaus/Eric Hinske tandem for close to the same amount of money.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments?