December 2013

Braves acquire Doumit from the Twins in exchange for Gilmartin

The Braves have acquired Ryan Doumit from the Twins in exchange for left-handed starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin.  

Doumit is a capable pinch hitter who can be utilized as a catcher, first baseman or corner outfielder.  The 32-year-old veteran batted .247 with 14 home runs and a .710 OPS while compiling 538 plate appearances with the Twins this year.  

With this acquisition, the Braves have gained the power potential they had not previously had on their bench.  Doumit has hit at least 10 home runs in five of the past six seasons and belted a career-high 18 for the Twins in 2012.  

Gilmartin has not lived up to expectations since the Braves took him  with the 28th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.  The 23-year-old southpaw has gone 12-20 with a 4.23 ERA in 54 professional appearances.   He compiled a 5.74 ERA in the 17 starts he made for Triple-A Gwinnett this year. 

Braves, Floyd agree to a one-year, incentive-laden contract

If Gavin Floyd makes a successful recovery from  elbow reconstruction surgery, he could provide the depth the Braves have been looking to add to their starting rotation.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed Floyd and the Braves have reached agreement on a one-year, $4.5 million contract that an additional $4.5 million in incentives.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the terms of the agreement.

Floyd made just five starts for the White Sox before undergoing Tommy John surgery on  May 6. During the procedure, Dr. David Altchek reconstructed the 30-year-old hurler’s right elbow by repairing a torn ulnar collateral ligament and torn flexor tendon.

Because both the tendon and ligament were repaired, there is a chance Floyd could need more than the 12-month rehab schedule starting pitchers often experience after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Floyd has gone 69-69 with a 4.38 ERA in the 186 Major League starts he has made since the Phillies selected him with the fourth overall selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.   The White Sox acquired Floyd and Gio Gonzalez in exchange for Freddy Garcia on Dec. 6, 2006.

After producing a 5.89 ERA in the 29 starts he made from 2004-07, Floyd displayed his promise, going 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 33 starts during the 2008 season.  But the 30-year-old right-hander  has compiled a 4.22 ERA in the 125 starts he has made over the five seasons that have followed.

Braves in the midst of “serious discussions” with Floyd

Gavin Floyd is five years removed from his only 200-inning Major League season and seven months removed from elbow reconstruction surgery.  But the Braves are targeting him to provide starting pitching depth and possibly serve as the veteran presence they have been aiming to add to their inexperienced rotation.

A source familiar with the situation said the Braves have had “serious discussions” with Floyd and that the two parties appear close to an agreement.  It is not known whether it would be a Major League or Minor League deal.

Floyd made just five starts for the White Sox this past season before having to undergo Tommy John surgery on May 6. During the procedure, Dr. David Altchek reconstructed the 30-year-old hurler’s right elbow by repairing a torn ulnar collateral ligament and torn flexor tendon.

Because both the tendon and ligament were repaired, Floyd could need more than the 12-month rehab schedule starting pitchers often experience after undergoing Tommy John surgery.   Multiple post-surgery reports indicated he could be sidelined 14-19 months.  If this proves to be true, he could be sidelined until early July.

Floyd has gone 69-69 with a 4.38 ERA in the 186 Major League starts he has made since the Phillies selected him with the fourth overall selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.   The White Sox acquired Floyd and Gio Gonzalez in exchange for Freddy Garcia on Dec. 6, 2006.

After producing a 5.89 ERA in the 29 starts he made from 2004-07, Floyd produced some encouragement, going 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA in the 33 starts he made during the 2008 season.  But he has compiled a 4.22 ERA in the 125 starts he has made over the five seasons that have followed.

From nervous to jubilant, Bobby Cox joins the Hall of Fame

As they were driving toward Florida on Sunday morning, Bobby Cox told Fredi Gonzalez that he was more nervous than he would have been when facing Barry Bonds with the bases loaded.

This year’s annual Winter Meetings were going to be different than any of the countless others Cox had experienced during his distinguished career as a manager and general manager.  Along with providing him a chance to reconnect with the many friends he has gained over the past six decades, this year’s event was going to provide him the opportunity to gain baseball’s ultimate honor.

All of the nervousness and excitement that Cox felt over the past few weeks was replaced with overwhelming joy on Monday morning, when he learned he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July.

“They say when you get elected to the Hall of Fame, it will change your life and it has,” Cox said. “I’ve got goosebumps.  It’s the greatest honor you can ever have.”

Cox gained entry into Cooperstown’s hallowed Hall courtesy of the votes cast by a 16-man Expansion Era committee.  Two of this generation’s other great managers  —  Joe Torre  and Tony La Russa   —  were also elected through this process.

Along with sharing this honor with two of his distinguished peers, Cox could fittingly be inducted at the same  time as two of  his greatest pitchers —  Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.  Maddux and Glavine will learn whether they have been elected as first-ballot Hall of Famers on Jan.  8.

“Those were the two guys who helped get me this far,” Cox said. “It would be unbelievable.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for both of them.”

Maddux and Glavine were instrumental to the success achieved by Cox, who ranks fourth among all managers with 2,504 victories.   Hall of Famers Joe McCarthy, John McGraw and Walter Alston are the only managers who compiled a better winning percentage than Cox (.556) while notching at least 2,000 wins.

A little more than 40 years later, it is safe to say Cox made the wise choice to accept Lee McPhail’s offer to begin his managerial career in 1971 with the Yankee’s Class A affiliate in Fort Lauderdale.   Three years earlier, Cox had reached the Majors and gained the pleasure of being teammates with Mickey Mantle during Mantle’s final season with the Yankees.

But as he battled constant knee discomfort, Cox began evaluating other employment options.  He had always desired to be a high school football coach.  Fortunately, the opportunity to stay in the baseball world proved more appealing.

Cox proved successful as a Minor League manager and got his call to the Majors to serve as Yankees manager Billy Martin’s first base coach in 1977.  During his one-year stint in that role, he spent a lot of time with Martin, Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner, who took an immediate liking to Cox.

The following year, Cox was introduced to another eccentric character named Ted Turner, who gave him his first shot to serve as a Major League manager in 1978.  As he announced Cox had been fired after the 1981 season, Turner said, the best candidate for the job would be “someone like (Bobby Cox).”

Those words proved prophetic  just a few years later.  After leading the Blue Jays to the playoffs for the first time in 1985, Cox opted to come back to his family in Atlanta to serve as the Braves general manager.  During his five seasons in that role, he rebuilt the organization’s Minor League system and planted the seeds for the tremendous success the club would have after he returned to the bench midway through the 1990 season.

The Braves went from worst to first and were one win away from winning the World Series during their memorable 1991 season, which marked the start of the club’s unprecedented run toward capturing 14 consecutive division titles.

Cox guided the Braves to the World Series five times during the 1990s and helped the city of Atlanta capture its first major sports championship with the 1995 World Series title.  After his club’s run of consecutive division titles ended, he directed the Braves through a few transition years before he guiding them back to the postseason one last time before he retired in 2010.

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