Let’s take a quick look in at a few notes from the NL East:
- Free agent utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist has already been tied to just about every team in baseball, including the Nationals and Mets. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network’s Tom Verducci see those NL East rivals as strong fits and real threats to add the veteran. (Links to Rosenthal’s Twitter account.) All indications are that Zobrist remains in very high demand with the open-market season in full swing.
- Young Braves lefty Kolby Allard tweets that he’s only had one back surgery, contrary to reports suggesting he’d had two separate procedures. Regardless, what’s important here is the fact that Allard says he’s “recovering quickly” and expects to be ready for spring camp. The 18-year-old remains an intriguing player to watch as he enters his first full season of professional ball.
- Some Braves fans have been left frustrated with the team’s front office. After all, one line of thinking goes, why trade a quality young shortstop in Andrelton Simmons if you are aiming for near-term competitiveness? While this has obviously been reported and commented on quite a bit, it’s well worth considering the comments of GM John Coppolella in full, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides a complete transcript of his recent media session. Most interesting, perhaps, were Coppolella’s statements on the timing of the deal. With the Angels having many needs, he said, that club might have used its top pitching prospects in other deals had the Braves waited to act. He went on to reflect on some recent experiences in that regard: “We had a shot to trade a player this past season for a guy who’s now ranked as a top-50 prospect in the game, and that player [whom the Braves were going to trade] ended up getting hurt,” Coppolella explained. “And by the time we tried to make the trade, that prospect had shot up the charts and they wouldn’t even talk about the player.” The newly-minted GM also said that the Braves “made a strong run” to acquire Luis Severino from the Yankees, noting that he’s now “off-limits this year.”