Posts Tagged ‘Tigers


Braves offer Damon one-year deferred contract

Will Johnny Damon sign with Atlanta?

It seems the Braves interest in Johnny Damon has increased.

According to an updated post on his blog, Atlanta Braves beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves have made the free agent outfielder an initial one-year offer in recent days.

Reports have varied on how much the Braves offer is believed to be worth.

O’Brien writes the team offered approximately $4.5 million with a portion of money deferred while Mark Bowman of’s sources tell him the contract’s total value is under $4 million, including the deferred money.

This development comes the day after Damon sent a text message to the AJC telling them of his hope that the Braves would make a competitive offer for his services and that they are a team that is on the top of his list.

Damon enjoyed one of his best seasons for the Yankees last year, when he posted a .282 batting average, .365 on-base percentage, and matched a career high 24 home runs.

The club apparently is bringing out the big guns in their last ditch effort to land Damon.

The Braves recruited Chipper Jones to contact Damon to sell him on coming to Atlanta.

Chipper wouldn’t confirm that to O’Brien but did list the benefits of acquiring a player of Damon’s caliber.

It is Chipper’s belief that Damon deepens the Braves roster from top and bottom and would give the team invaluable experience in the clubhouse.

If the Braves sign Damon, he would likely play left field for Atlanta and bat first or possibly second in their lineup.

The addition of another proven run producer like Damon would instantly improve Atlanta’s playoff chances this season while also alleviating the pressure on rookie Jason Heyward to make the club out of Spring Training.

If Heyward wins a spot, the Braves could opt to deal Melky Cabrera or Matt Diaz, or they could break camp with an extra outfielder.

While there is a mutual interest between both parties, Damon’s agent Scott Boras is still seeking a two-year contract for his client and claims one team has made such an offer but denies to name the club.

The Braves, Tigers, and Rays are the remaining teams left that have some interest in signing Damon.


Jurrjens struggles as Braves drop grapefruit league opener…

Jurrjens warming up in the 'pen

Jurrjens warming up in the 'pen

Jair Jurrjens got the call in the Braves grapefruit league opener against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fl. Unfortunately for Atlanta, he wasn’t sharp and struggled early, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in 2 innings in the Braves eventual 5-4 loss to the Tigers.

Jurrjens, who was facing his former organization who traded him to Atlanta for shortstop Edgar Renteria after the 2007 season, failed to exact revenge against the Tigers as he lacked good command of his pitches. Despite his shaky start, Jurrjens seemingly has plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments to be ready by the start of the season.

The right-hander opted not to play for his native country The Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, instead staying in camp with the Braves.

Jurrjens is coming off a strong rookie season that saw him win 13 games with a staff high 188-1/3 innings pitched. Jurrjens finished an impressive 3rd in the National League Rookie of the Year race.


Looking back at a Brave legend…

Smoltzie celebrating

Smoltzie celebrating

Long-time Braves fans will never forget the day that John Smoltz was acquired. August 12, 1987 still resonates in the hearts and minds of the Atlanta faithful.

John Smoltz, a Michigan native, was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 1985 draft. But, when the Tigers were in the midst of a three-team pennant race and chasing the first place Toronto Blue Jays, they decided to trade their 20-year old prospect Smoltz to Atlanta for 36-year old veteran starter Doyle Alexander. And, while Alexander helped lead the Tigers to a division championship, the cost of giving up Smoltz hurt the franchise for years.

What was Detroit’s loss was Atlanta’s gain. John Smoltz helped lead a fumbling franchise to lengendary stardom. Smoltz, joined by Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, formed the “Big Three,” that anchored Atlanta’s rotation for years during their run of divisional dominance in the 1990’s. John Smoltz won the 1996 National League Cy Young Award and was selected to eight All-Star games during his more than two decade career with the Braves. Smoltz was also a part of all of the 14 consecutive division championships the Braves won, making them the winningest team in any of the four major professional sports over the regular season stretch.

John Smoltz’s years with the Braves weren’t without a few bumps along the way. Smoltz underwent Tommy John surgery on his arm prior to the 2000 season, forcing him to miss the whole year. When Smoltz returned in 2001, he ultimately found himself in a new role… the Atlanta Braves closer. The Braves moved Smoltz to the bullpen down the stretch, where he proved effective. The team felt Smoltz’s new role would be less taxing on his arm and would also provide the team with the dominant, power closer they had been lacking in years past. In his first full season as a closer in 2002, Smoltz broke the National League save record with 55 saves. Smoltz went on to have three successful seasons as the team’s closer, proving his versatility and his willingness to put the team first.

Before the 2005 season, Smoltz’s desire to return to a starting pitcher was too strong to deny. The team finally granted his wish and moved Smoltz back to the rotation, where many critics doubted Smoltz’s ability to stay healthly and return to the effective starter he once was. But like always, Smoltz proved all the naysayers wrong finishing the ’05 season with a record of 14-7 and an ERA of 3.06. More importantly, he reached the 200 inning mark despite the odds stacked against him. Smoltz’s move from starter to closer to back to starter has garnered him Hall of Fame buzz.

Arm injuries continued to dog Smoltz and in June of 2008, he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. His contract with the Braves expired at season’s end and while Smoltz had hoped to re-sign and ultimately retire for the only professional team he’s ever played for, the two sides could not come to an agreement and Smoltz went elsewhere.

It is now with a heavy heart that Braves fans must now watch John Smoltz try to defy the odds yet again and make another successful return from arm surgery with the Boston Red Sox.

But for a man who has given so much of himself, his heart and his soul to the city of Atlanta, the fans, his teammates and ultimately the Atlanta Braves organization, no Braves fan can say they won’t be rooting for Smoltz.

John Smoltz turned the Atlanta Braves into winners. John Smoltz was the face of this franchise. John Smoltz was and still is a Brave legend.



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