Other Things To Watch This Spring
A New Home For The Future?
How much longer will the Braves be training in Disney? In addition to changing venues for the regular season, the Braves could also potentially move their spring training site in the near future. The team has a lease that expires following the 2017 season, and there has already been speculation about where the Braves could move after that time. St. Petersburg is a possible landing point, but with the potential movement of the Rays still unresolved it is difficult to imagine the Braves committing to a move there anytime soon. This topic could come up at some point this spring, and it will certainly be something to monitor.
As you may have read, former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is back with the organization in a special assistant role. What this role will entail remains to be seen, but it is likely that Jones will be working as an on-field instructor of sorts. His wealth of hitting knowledge should be of value to the Braves as they attempt to remedy some of their offensive shortcomings from a season ago. Chipper has spent time in Braves camp since his retirement, but not with an official title within the organization. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact Jones might have this spring, but regardless of his abilities as a coach, it will no doubt be a nostalgic moment when Braves fans see number 10 back on the field in uniform.
Is Freddie Healthy Again?
For the 2015 Braves, offense was no doubt a struggle. Just ask recently traded starter Shelby Miller, who totaled just six wins last season despite posting a 3.02 ERA and earning an all-star nod. Part of these struggles could be attributed to a mid-season trade that sent veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, both key contributors in the season’s first half, to the New York Mets for minor league arms, but another major issue for the offense was a wrist injury to first baseman Freddie Freeman that sidelined him for much of the second half. If the Braves aim to improve their offensive output this season it will be imperative for Freeman to stay healthy and produce up to his capabilities. It will be worth watching this spring to see if Freeman’s wrist is back to 100 percent, and if the Braves offense can improve once they have their leader back in the middle of the lineup.