The Braves did not pick up the option on Nick Markakis but it’s possible he may return to Atlanta.

On Saturday evening the Atlanta Braves did not pick up the option on Nick Markakis. Markakis played right field this season for the Braves and had an exceptional season. He was an All Star and his offensive numbers in the first half of the season were remarkable. His numbers did not live up to his amazing first half of the season however. The Braves did not pick up the $17.9 million option for Markakis and he will become a free agent starting on Monday morning.

This by no way means the Braves are not interested in Nick Markakis. The Braves may shop the free agency market or attempt to resign Markakis for a lower salary. Markakis is 35 years old and he can also test the free agency market. There might be a Major League Baseball team looking for a power hitting outfielder. Nick Markakis would fit that role quite nicely.

Personally do I want Nick Markakis back in Atlanta? Absolutely yes! His energy and enthusiasm played a key role in Atlanta in 2018. Do I think Markakis is a good long term solution? Of course not, but by signing Markakis to a lower year salary he would be helping the. Atlanta Braves.

The Braves farm system is full of young talent. The Braves could definitely use a power bat in the outfield or on the bench. The Atlanta outfield is getting crowded with Ender Inciatre, Ronald Acuña Jr., Adam Duvall all looking to play daily. Plus there are players hoping to make their debuts in 2019 much like Ronald Acuña Jr. did in 2018. Acuña was recently named Rookie Of the Year for 2018. Acuña set the bar very high, and some of the young and upcoming talent want the same chance.

This is one of the first of many decisions Braves General Manager Alex Anthopolious and Braves manager Brian Snitker will need to make. Of course the other coaches in Atlanta like Walt Weiss, Terry Pendleton, and Ron Washington will provide much needed input as well.

Thie Atlanta Braves are now a team in the front office as well in the clubhouse. Can the Braves still pursue some big name free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado? Of course and the Braves might want to bring in some great potential free agents too. The Braves bullpen and relief pitching can also use some work. There are many questions in this off season for the Atlanta Braves. It should be as exciting as the 2018 Atlanta Braves. Free Agency starts tomorrow (Monday November 5, 2018) and the Braves are in search to make a huge splash. Unfortunately there are other teams in baseball looking to do the same. Get ready Braves fans, it’s going to be a fun and exciting ride! GO BRAVES!!!

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Brian McCann back in Atlanta?

I love these ambiguous questions that I keep asking. The Houston Astros dis not resign Brian McCann. The Astros are an odd franchise anyway and no I am not a fan. Brian McCann is now a free agent. A return to his hometown might be what the doctor ordered.

Tyler Flowers is a good catcher without a doubt. He and Kurt Suzuki shared the catching duties in Atlanta quite nicely. Now it’s up to Braves General Manager Alex Anthopolious and Braves manager Brian Snitker to pursue this potential signing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that’s a decision that I am glad I don’t have to make. Kurt Suzuki played a key role in 2018 and the Braves front office may hesitate bringing in Brian McCann.

O say go for it. McCann is a power bat and he was loved in Atlanta. The Houston Astros were desperate for help in their World Series run and trades for McCann. The Astros are a young team and their mindset might be put with the old and in with the new. Did I mention that I don’t like the Astros? I’m sure I did. Oh well I’m sure they won’t lose any sleep over my hatred of them or their owner Reed Ryan. It’s a Texas thing and my despising them is full of history and arrogance from both sides. Anyway, please bring back Brian McCann. His power and veteran presence will be welcomed in the Atlanta. Free Agency begins Monday and we can all watch it unfold. GO BRAVES!!!

Listening to others….

When I read the outline for this assignment I was excited. Rather than focusing on the length of the assignment, I could express how I thought and what I assumed others were thinking and saying. I knew I was supposed to make the 2 men aware I was listening so I managed a few chuckles at their attempts of humor. My back was to them, but after I turned to leave the restaurant I gave them both a nod and I silent good bye. Although their conversation was none of my business, they weren’t discussing top secret plans or anything like that. The subject of their conversation was routine and most might consider it boring. I knew their conversation would be the subject of this assignment.

I was at one of my favorite restaurants in town. I often come here for a break from the routine that is my life. They serve a variety of foods and although their focus is an Italian eatery it is so much more. They offer several Italian dishes but they also have oven baked sandwiches on the menu. My favorite is their Philly Cheesesteak sub with home made French fries. Normally I can not eat the entire sub and the fries but yesterday I was starving. My goal was to finish my entire meal and this would be the day to finish my goal. I ate the sandwich fairly easy and it was time to tackle my fries. As I was finishing up two men walked into the table behind me.

Their voices were not familiar so I made sure to listen intentionally They must of been having their lunch break from their jobs. They were talking about some sort of construction job. Since I am fairly handy around the house I was intrigued. They were discussing the in and out of a contract job with the city. They discussed their budget and how much materials and labor would cost. The job included plumbing and some sort of renovations. I assumed they were fixing a problem instead of a brand new building. They complained about the poor workmanship of the previous contractors. They boosted about how their work would be superior to the old. They even suggested that their quality of work may lead to future contracts.

It was then we I began to wonder if they were as good as they thought they were. It has been my experience that your work can be better than someone else’s work just by giving yourself compliments you may or may not deserve. Plus if you tend to downgrade the work of others you might be falsely sticking out your chest sort of speak. I have done this in the past. I was so busy patting myself on the back any other people’s opinions were not needed or asked for. Their comments about the bad building and planning of others was almost ridiculous. This is when they laughed at their own jokes and I blatantly laughed out loud.. I guess I needed a job laugh because their comments were not that funny.

After about listening to these two for what seemed like an eternity, I had heard enough. I finished up my fries and drank all of my tea and it was time to go. My bladder agreed and as I got up to excuse myself to the restroom I greeted the men with a smile and nod of my head. I figured this would be the proper fairwell. I might run into them again since I come here at least twice a month. Their faces weren’t familiar and I doubt they recognized me either. They were the subject of this paper, and I almost wanted to thank them. I did not of course, but maybe I will tell them one day. I doubt it though, I enjoy my alone time because I don’t get it as often as I want it. This was fun though, a nice lunch with two strangers if you will.

Could Craig Kimbrel return to Atlanta in the 2019 season?

The Atlanta Braves have money to spend this off season. As I look up and down the Braves line up it is hard not to smile. This is a young and exciting team and it was a great vibe in Atlanta. The only real concern I saw was in the Braves bullpen. There is not a shut down closer there.

Sure there is a lot of talent there, but the Braves did struggle in finding a consistent closer. Yes there is a lot of potetential there, but having a shut down closer in the bullpen might be where the Braves should start spending. A couple of seasons ago when Craig Kimbrel was traded away to the Boston Red Soxs it was a surprising move. I’ll be the first to admit I was scratching my head. Why would the Braves trade away 1 of the best closers in the game?

Luckily the new regimine in Atlanta can fix that questionable trade. The Braves General Manager Alex Anthopolious can work his magic and bring back Kimbrel to Atlanta.

The question then would be do the Braves want him back in Atlanta. As a lifelong Braves fan allow me to answer my own question, YES YES YES!!! Sure there might be some key players the Braves can add to their roster. But if the Braves want to be even more competitive in the National League East having a proven arm in their bullpen who can close out games in Atlanta they can look in their past and find that golden nugget named Craig Kimbrel. This off season should be tons of fun and I’d love to see the Braves bring in some solid players in. Could Craig Kimbrel return to Atlanta? I hope so but I don’t own a crystal ball. GO BRAVES!!!

Clayton Kershaw in the Braves pitching rotation?

This could happen and the Braves organization should embraces this. This by no means is a done deal. Clayton Kershaw is a restricted free agent. The Atlanta Braves would have to make a big trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers to make this happen. Alex Anthopolies makes big trades happen. The Dodgers aren’t going to give Kershaw away for a couple of prospects. This could be the huge splash the Braves make this off season.

The Braves farm system is loaded with great prospects. The Braves have arguably one of the best farm systems in all of Major League Baseball. Not only that, but the Braves have some great veteran players in their current lineup to make a potential trade more desirable. Put your personal feelings aside about the Dodgers. They are a great franchise and being in Southern California is a great spot for young and potential talent. The Dodgers have the brand name and notiertity to attract both American and talent from South America and Mexico. The Atlanta Braves have built their brand name on the East Coast. Of course the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Soxs have huge brand names as well.

Without listening every single team in MLB with huge followings, the Atlanta Braves are a young and talented team. Sure they have some great veterans like Freddie Freeman,Julio Teheran, and Nick Markakis but it is the young and very talented players that are the toast of the town in Atlanta. Although I do not live in Atlanta whenever I wear my Ronald Acuña Jr. shirt or my Fans by Swanson jersey around the town I live in, I always get someone giving me a thumbs up or wanting to talk Braves baseball. In case you don’t live in the South like I do I can assure you it’s hot. In fact it was in the 90s here recently in South Carolina in October. That doesn’t seem fair as a lot of the cities up North are already having snow fall. Oh well we are never promised that life is fair now are we?

If General Manager Alex Anthopolious can put together a package of prospects and maybe a veteran or two mixed in I for one would be very happy. Sure it is not a wise thing to trade away the farm system for talent, but a trade for a veteran proving pitcher in the Braves rotation would be wonderful. Yes a big proven power bat would be no e also, it the Braves have power basin the dugout. I am willing to bet that a lot of Braves fans have over looked Adam Duvall in the line up. The only problem with Duvall is that he doesn’t play in the lineup every game. This is an exciting time to be a Braves fan. With all the talent in the National League East,it is vital the Braves improve their already talented line up. The New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Florida Marlins will be spending a lot of money this off season, and the Atlanta Braves should be no different. The off season could start as early as this upcoming week with the Boston Red Soxs only one win away from a World Championship. If the Braves want another championship in their impressive trophy case, some big additions might have to be made. I’m glad imjust a huge Braves fan and I can just watch the LinkedIn for breaking news with free agency and trades in baseball. I do not have any inside information on the Braves, but I wish I did. Brian Snitker is a wonderful manager and the Braves are very fortunate to have him as their manager. Loyalty is rewarded in the Braves organization. Ask Freddie Freeman or Chipper Jones if you need reassurance. Let’s sit back and let things happen. I just like to put ideas out there and create some healthy conversations. GO BRAVES!!!

Cheryl and the magical scarf

Once upon a time in an enchanted forest there was a fair maiden named Cheryl. She was a humble woman who had a passion for making clothes. She would stitch and knit most days and she was very well known around the village for her craft. The people of the surrounding villages would travel many miles for the clothes she sold in town weekly at the market. As rumours spread of her gifts for making clothes, a knight who worked as a guard for the Prince had an idea. The knight had been in love with a servant of the castle. This knight wanted to impress this servant, who was a cook for the royal family. The knight thought if he purchased one of Cheryl’s scarfs he would claim he had made it for the servant girl since winter was rapidly approaching. This would work thought the knight, only he would know.

The knight went into the market where Cheryl sold her clothing. The knight selected the most beautiful scarf she had. This would be wonderful the knight thought to himself. However the knight was unaware that the clothing Cheryl made were unique. The way Cheryl stitched was unlike anyone else in the country. All of Cheryl’s stitches had a bit of magic. Nothing like the ability to fly, but the magic of love. Whoever wore Cheryl’s clothing would meet their love. Cheryl did not know of this magic either. She just knew her clothing kept everyone warm. She found her passion in doing unto others and was never greedy. The knight put his plan into action. After buying Cheryl’s scarf, he presented it to the servant girl.

She was very grateful for the present. She wrapped the scarf around her neck. The knight had no idea about the servant but she was already married to someone else, a wood chopper for the king. The servant girl saw the scarf and after looking at it more closely, she saw the stitching of Cheryl’s work. Just a year ago her husband had presented a similar scarf to her. She immediately fell in love with him. When the knight had told the servant he had made it, she knew he was lying. The knight walked away in shame. All of his hopes were now gone. He wasn’t sure what to do next. 

He would return the scarf back to Cheryl since he had no use for it now. Cheryl took the scarf back but she saw how sad the knight was and she insisted the knight keep it. The knight lived in a warm castle so he had no use for the scarf. He then gave the scarf to a young lady in the market who looked cold. The lady gladly accepted the gift from the knight, it turned out that this girl was a member of the royal family who had lost her scarf in the forest. Once the lady put on the scarf she instantly feel in love with the knight.

As word spread around the kingdom about the knight and his caring heart the king insisted on meeting Cheryl. Cheryl and her scarf making changed the lives of everyone in the kingdom. The king appointed Cheryl as the clothes maker for his kingdom. Cheryl never knew of the magic of her scarfs. She lived a very long life in the castle making clothes and she lived happily ever after.