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Friday, January 27, 2023

Braves extend manager Brian Snitker

The Atlanta Braves today signed manager Brian Snitker to a contract extension through the 2025 season.

Snitker, 67, guided the Braves to 101 wins and the club’s fifth consecutive NL East division crown last season, one year after helping the organization win the fourth World Series title in franchise history. He finished third in the Manager of the Year voting in 2022, after winning the award in 2018. He also was a finalist for the honor in 2019, and finished fourth in 2020 and 2021. 

Snitker completed his 46th season in the Braves organization in 2022, and his sixth full campaign as the Braves manager. He took over on an interim basis on May 17, 2016, before being named Atlanta’s manager on October 11, 2016. The native of Decatur, IL, joined the organization as a non-drafted free agent in 1977.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 27, 2023 at 04:47 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, brian snitker

Monday, January 09, 2023

MLB reinstates former Braves GM after ‘lifetime ban’: Everything to know

John Coppolella will likely have to seek new employment elsewhere given the Braves currently have Alex Anthopoulos as their general manager, but new opportunity awaits.

The former Atlanta general manager was well known for his exploits in international markets, but it was that same flirtation which eventually led to his undoing. Coppolella broke MLB rules by offering players a higher signing bonus to sign in Atlanta. Rob Manfred himself suspended Coppolella for “circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017.”

“We can confirm that Mr. Coppolella has been reinstated, given the more than five years he spent on the ineligible list, the contrition he expressed and the other steps he took in response to this matter,” MLB said in a statement, via The Athletic (subscription required).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2023 at 11:31 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, john coppolella

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Sean Murphy hops on Braves’ long-term extension train, with Alex Anthopoulos as engineer - The Athletic

Sustainability starts with ownership. The front office needs stability so that GMs can think long-term. Only the owner can provide the culture and stability required to create sustained success.

“I just think as I’ve become more comfortable in Atlanta, I understand the marketplace, the division, everything else — you have to be fluid in these jobs,” Anthopoulos said of using long-term extensions. “These guys, we think they’re going to be very good players. Yeah, there’s no guarantees and they certainly need to go out and perform and stay healthy. But I’ve said this before, too: I think it’s important for a fan base, as well.

“You (reporters) ask what I worry about the most, and it’s the sustainability piece. I see how well the organization is being run, from (Braves presidents) Derek Schiller and Mike Plant and obviously (chairman) Terry McGuirk overseeing all of us, what they have going on on the business side of the operation. And I feel like, from a baseball operations standpoint, we have to pull our weight. We have to put a good product on the field every year, no matter what. And part of that is the sustainability piece. We don’t want to be in a position where we’re talking about having to trade guys away because they’re getting close to free agency, or that we can’t sign them.”

jimfurtado Posted: December 29, 2022 at 10:56 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, sean murphy

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Braves’ Sean Murphy: Inks extension with Atlanta

Murphy agreed to a six-year, $73 million extension with Atlanta on Tuesday, which includes a $15 million club option for 2029.

The contract buys out three years of arbitration eligibility and could keep Murphy in Atlanta until the 2030 campaign. The 28-year-old was acquired from Oakland in mid-December after he posted a .250/.332/.426 slash line with 18 home runs and 66 RBI for the Athletics last season, and he also won a Gold Glove in 2021.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2022 at 10:22 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, sean murphy

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Braves sign veteran OF Jordan Luplow to 1-year, $1.4M deal

The Atlanta Braves signed veteran outfielder Jordan Luplow to a $1.4 million, one-year contract on Monday.

The 29-year-old Luplow hit .176 with 11 homers and drove in 28 runs in 83 games with Arizona in 2022. The right-handed hitter had eight homers against left-handers last season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 20, 2022 at 12:52 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jordan luplow

Monday, December 12, 2022

Sean Murphy heading to Braves

The A’s are sending catcher Sean Murphy to the Braves, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. After multiple teams showed interest in the 2021 Gold Glove-winning backstop, Atlanta came out on top to add another catcher to its roster.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report the move, and a source told MLB.com’s Martín Gallegos that it will be a three-team deal also involving the Brewers. Milwaukee is reportedly landing catcher William Contreras, per Passan.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2022 at 04:22 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves, brewers, sean murphy

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Tigers trade Jiménez to Braves for pair of prospects

On the last day of Winter Meetings, the Tigers and Braves made a deal that will send reliever Joe Jiménez and cash considerations to Atlanta for OF Justyn-Henry Malloy and LHP Jake Higginbotham, the clubs announced on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Jiménez appeared in 62 games for the Tigers and was 3-2 with a 3.49 ERA and two saves. His 12.23 strikeouts per 9.0 innings ranked fifth in the American League among pitchers with at least 50.0 innings, and his 1.4 WAR for the season matched his career high. He gives the Braves a veteran arm at the back end of their bullpen after closer Kenley Jansen agreed to a deal with the Red Sox earlier in the day.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 07, 2022 at 10:09 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, joe jimenez, tigers

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Braves have Ron Washington working with their potential shortstop: Vaughn Grissom - The Athletic $

If it wasn’t apparent there’s a very real possibility Swanson will leave as a free agent, it should be now. The Braves sent Grissom from his home in Orlando, Florida, to New Orleans on Sunday to work with “Wash,” the first of three planned one-week sessions designed for one thing: to get the 21-year-old ready to play shortstop on a regular basis in the majors.

Grissom is staying in a downtown hotel and working out for about three hours each day with Washington at New Orleans Youth Academy, which is operated by MLB. Washington recently told Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos that he could get Grissom ready to play shortstop by spring training.

“That’s why they’re giving me time with him right now — to get him right,” Washington said. “Get him thinking right, getting him to understand the nuances of being a shortstop, the things you have to do, the way you have to go about your business. You know, he’s a young kid. A young kid that’s just used to going out there, putting the gloves on and playing. There’s a lot more to playing defense than just putting the glove on and going out there, and if the ball comes to you, you catch it.

“So I’m taking this opportunity to instill as much as I possibly can in him, so that when we hit spring training, if it so happens that we don’t sign Dansby back, we have some options. We also have Arcia. So we’ve got some options. But this kid (Grissom) has got some upside. And we’ve got to have him ready for whatever may go down.”

jimfurtado Posted: November 17, 2022 at 09:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, dansby swanson, ron washington, vaughn grissom

Liberty Media to Split Off Atlanta Braves, Create Liberty Live Tracking Stock With Live Nation Stake

“We plan to split off the Atlanta Braves into an asset-backed stock to better highlight its strong value. Additionally, post-split-off, we plan to recapitalize all of Liberty Media’s remaining common stock into three tracking stock groups,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media president and CEO. “These actions will provide greater investor choice and enable targeted investment and capital-raising through more focused currencies, while maintaining an optimal capital structure for Liberty Media and preserving optionality with respect to our subsidiary SiriusXM and our Live Nation stake.”

The split-off will be accomplished “through the redemption of Liberty Media’s existing Liberty Braves common stock in exchange for common stock of a newly formed company to be called Atlanta Braves Holdings Inc.,” the firm said. “Atlanta Braves Holdings would hold all of the businesses, assets and liabilities currently attributed to the Braves Group, including Braves Holdings LLC, which is the direct or indirect owner and operator of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball Club, certain assets and liabilities associated with the Atlanta Braves’ stadium and mixed-use development project, The Battery Atlanta, and corporate cash.” In connection with the Split-Off, Liberty Media would redeem each outstanding share of its Series A, Series B and Series C Liberty Braves common stock for one share of the corresponding series of common stock of Atlanta Braves Holdings. As a result of the Split-Off, Liberty Media and Atlanta Braves Holdings would be separate publicly traded companies. It is expected that the intergroup interests in the Braves Group held by Liberty Media’s existing Liberty SiriusXM Group and Formula One Group would be settled and extinguished in connection with the Split-Off in a manner to be determined.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2022 at 08:48 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Monday, November 14, 2022

Why Michael Harris Impresses Me (Bill James Handbook Excerpt) - Sports Info Solutions

Harris II made some absolute highlight reel catches in his first year in the major leagues. While spectacular, those don’t move the needle for me. I spoke with a veteran National League evaluator and asked him what sticks out about Harris II. “This young man has intelligence, elite athleticism and an ability to make difficult things look very easy”.

jimfurtado Posted: November 14, 2022 at 08:06 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, michael harris

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Asking Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos about Jacob deGrom, without saying ‘Jacob deGrom’

“We’ve got four guys who basically have jobs in that rotation,” he said. “The fifth spot is open. Whether that’s [Mike] Soroka, Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, Bryce Elder, Kolby Allard and so on. As we sit here today, unless we acquire somebody else, those guys will all be competing for the five spot.”
...
“From an outside perspective, there’s [a perception of], the Braves are great at doing extensions with their own guys and wouldn’t necessarily be a franchise that will go big on starting pitching free agent. Is that a fair characterization generally?”

“No,” Anthopoulos said.

“Do you think that’s too general?”

“I think that’s too general. I’ve been here the last five years, going into year six. If we think something makes sense for the organization, we do it. We’ve done all kinds of things.

jimfurtado Posted: November 10, 2022 at 06:27 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, braves

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Braves trade Jake Odorizzi to Rangers for Kolby Allard

The Atlanta Braves re-acquired left-hander Kolby Allard, their former first-round draft pick, from the Texas Rangers on Wednesday for right-hander Jake Odorizzi and cash.

Allard, 25, was Atlanta’s top choice, No. 14 overall, in the 2015 draft. He was 1-2 with a 7.29 ERA in 10 relief appearances last season while also spending time at Triple-A Round Rock.

Odorizzi, 32, was an All-Star with Minnesota in 2019, when he had a career-best 15 wins.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2022 at 09:56 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jake odorizzi, rangers

Monday, October 17, 2022

What’s next after Braves’ tough end to ‘22?

Swanson’s future
If last year’s Freddie Freeman negotiations reminded us of anything, it’s that “mutual interest” really doesn’t mean anything until a deal is done. There’s no doubt the Braves would like to keep Dansby Swanson, who has made it clear he’d like to continue playing for his hometown team. A four-year, $60 million deal may have seemed fair as recently as May. But the veteran shortstop’s production this year increased his cost approximately $5 million per year.

Snitker and many of the Braves have expressed how much they want Swanson back. Anthopoulos took time to discuss how highly he thinks of the All-Star shortstop.

“He gets better every year,” Anthopoulos said. “You can look at his stats and he’s always been a good teammate, but I think he rose to new levels. I told him that as well. I’ve been impressed with him across the board. He’s as good a teammate as you’re going to find.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 17, 2022 at 11:20 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, dansby swanson

Monday, October 10, 2022

Atlanta Braves lock up Spencer Strider with 6-year, $75M deal

The Atlanta Braves made another investment in their future by signing rookie right-hander Spencer Strider to a $75 million, six-year contract on Monday.

The move came one day before the Braves open their NL Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies and less than two months after Atlanta signed another rookie, outfielder Michael Harris II, to a $72 million, eight-year deal.

Strider’s contract includes a $22 million club option for 2029 with a $5 million buyout….

He will earn $1 million per season in 2023 and 2024, $4 million in 2025, $20 million in 2026, and $22 million per season in 2027-2028. If the 2029 option is exercised, the deal will be worth $92 million.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 10, 2022 at 10:54 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, spencer strider

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Clinching NL East ‘extra sweet’ for Braves

Two days after delivering the critical blow in the National League East race, the Braves popped champagne and celebrated what will be considered one of the most memorable and appreciated division titles in club history.

Counted out in June and bruised again in early August, Atlanta has proven to be a resilient squad. The Braves’ bid to defend their World Series crown was strengthened as they won a fifth straight NL East title with a 2-1 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night at loanDepot Park.

“I’ve been lucky to have been part of a lot of special seasons, and this is by far my favorite,” said Braves reliever A.J. Minter, who has been on each of the past five division-winning teams. “I know how hard it is to win and what we did this year is just the most impressive thing we’ve done.”

The Braves have won every NL East title going back to 2018, and many of their current players tasted ultimate postseason jubilation last year. But there was plenty to celebrate as the defending World Series champs overcame the odds they had faced when they entered June trailing the Mets by 10 1/2 games, then found themselves still seven games back as late as Aug. 10.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 05, 2022 at 09:27 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Friday, September 30, 2022

Atlanta Braves sign RHP Charlie Morton to 1-year, $20 million deal for 2023

The Atlanta Braves signed veteran pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year extension, the team announced Friday.

Morton, 38, will earn $20 million in 2023, his 16th year in the big leagues. The deal includes a team option for 2024, also worth $20 million.

Morton is in his second stint with Atlanta after being drafted by the organization in 2002. He returned to the Braves in 2021 and made 33 regular-season starts, then four more in the postseason, before fracturing his leg in the World Series.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 08:06 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, charlie morton

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Should the Braves Be Looking For a New Closer?

So here’s the good news for Atlanta: Jansen’s wobbliness over the past few weeks doesn’t seem to have jeopardized the Braves’ season. Since August 22, Atlanta is 11–5, which is the best record in the NL over that span. If Jansen doesn’t blow a save, Atlanta basically doesn’t lose. Moreover, if Snitker were determined to make a change, he has other options: Collin McHugh, A.J. Minter, or Raisel Iglesias, who’s as Proven Closer-y as they come and has allowed a solitary run in 17 appearances since coming over from the Angels at the deadline. Suffice it to say, this is not a situation where Jansen is the best of bad options.

But the question of whether to make a change is not actually a question, but three. First, is Jansen actually pitching poorly, or did he just get bum rushed by Julio Rodríguez? (An exit velocity of 117 mph looks ugly, but Rodríguez is going to end up doing that a lot over the next several years.) Second, is he pitching poorly enough that the benefits of a change outweigh the aggravation of reshuffling the bullpen? And finally, even if Jansen is going through a rough patch, is there a better place to hide him than the ninth inning?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2022 at 01:36 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, kenley jansen

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Which teams have the most talent locked up? Ranking all 30 MLB cores [$]

ESPN Insider sub required.

1. Atlanta Braves
Elite: Ronald Acuna Jr./CF, Austin Riley/3B, Max Fried/LHS

Above Average: Matt Olson/1B, Ozzie Albies/2B, Michael Harris II/CF, Spencer Strider/RHS

Solid: Vaughn Grissom/2B, Travis d’Arnaud/C, Mike Soroka/RHS, A.J. Minter/LHR, Kyle Wright/RHS, Raisel Iglesias/RHR, Ian Anderson/RHS, William Contreras/C, Collin McHugh/RHR

This may have been the first team you thought of when you read the rules for this piece. After extending Acuna, Riley, Olson, Albies and Harris, in addition to having an outside shot to go 1-2-3 in NL Rookie of the Year voting this year (Harris, Strider, Grissom), there’s been a lot of headlines about this group of young players. As if the World Series last year wasn’t enough, this was the unanimous top choice for everyone I spoke with in the industry.

Kudos to the front office, led by Anthopoulos, for putting this group together. I also wanted to draw attention to some of my former coworkers from the previous Braves regime who were behind acquiring Acuna, Riley, Fried, Albies, Soroka, Minter, Wright and Anderson in the roughest parts of the rebuild. Every decision takes a lot of good work and good people (and luck, honestly), so it’s good to see some of our biggest decisions work out this well.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2022 at 02:11 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Monday, August 29, 2022

Ronald Acuña Jr. discusses sore knee that sidelined him in consecutive losses - The Athletic $

He’s been assured this is normal for some athletes just over a year after the ACL surgery he had in July 2021. But that doesn’t make it easy to take for a guy who usually is one of baseball’s most popular, colorful and exuberant players, in addition to one of its most extraordinarily talented.

“They explained to me that this is just going to be part of the procedure and part of the process of coming back and everything,” Acuña said through a team interpreter before Sunday night’s series finale at St. Louis, the second consecutive game (and loss) he was held out of because of knee issues. “To be honest, it was some pretty intense pains over the past couple of days. And this is just all something that I’ve never really experienced before in my life, so it’s all new to me.

“And so with that, that’s why we’re just kind of taking it easy and just trying to get away from that a little bit.”

...

“It’s just something we know he’s going to have to fight through,” Snitker said of Acuña’s injury, “and when we give him a few days, we’ll see. I don’t know if it’s ever just going to go away; I think it’s going to bother him the rest of the summer, then have a normal offseason and spring training, and he should be good to go.

“I know structurally it’s fine. It’s just there’s inflammation in there that’s making it uncomfortable for him. I feel for the kid. I mean, his legs are a big part of his game. It’s hard for him to run in and stop, and all that. He said it didn’t bother him hitting. It’s got to hurt a little bit, I would think, since the legs are such a big part of hitting.”

jimfurtado Posted: August 29, 2022 at 11:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, ronald acuna

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Braves surging, and improved Robbie Grossman is a reason Marcell Ozuna already was benched - The Athletic

This is not a ringing endorsement of the Tigers’ coaching and player development.

When they got outfielder Robbie Grossman from Detroit in a trade-deadline swap for minor-leaguer Kris Anglin, the Braves were thinking strictly platoon with Grossman, a switch hitter who had struggled mightily this season against right-handers.

Soon after the trade, however, analysts from Braves baseball operations presented video to hitting coach Kevin Seitzer that showed what Grossman was doing differently from past seasons when he’d thrived against righties. The outlook started to change.

If Grossman saw the same things they were seeing and was willing to work right away on adjustments, Seitzer and the Braves analytics experts thought he might be more than a right-handed hitting platoon player to share left-field duties with Eddie Rosario, as originally planned.

To say that it’s worked as hoped would be an understatement. Grossman hit .205 with a .595 OPS and two home runs and 90 strikeouts in 273 at-bats with Detroit, including .143 (28-for-196) with one homer left-handed. But in 11 games with the Braves before Friday, he hit .286 (8-for-28) with two homers and a .965 OPS, including 6-for-18 from the left side.

jimfurtado Posted: August 21, 2022 at 12:13 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, pay site, robbie grossman

Friday, August 19, 2022

Braves get an early jump on Dansby Swanson extension talks

The Braves have opened extension talks with Dansby Swanson, and if they can lock up the Georgia product, that would leave three likely top free-agent shortstops: Trea Turner, plus Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa (who are likely to opt out). Swanson is repped by Excel/ Casey Close, who didn’t work out a deal for superstar Freddie Freeman with the Braves, much to Freeman’s dismay. To this point, there’s been less whispered negativity about these talks.

Swanson might have to take a hometown discount to stay. Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is one of the best negotiators, as he proved again this week by locking up wunderkind center fielder Michael Harris II. Unconfirmed, but a repeat of the Bogaerts deal — $120 million for six years — is an early guess.

Part of the calculus of the Harris deal was his likelihood to win Rookie of the Year, which would have moved up his free agency by a year, thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2022 at 11:48 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, dansby swanson

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Atlanta Braves, Michael Harris II agree to 8-year, $72 million extension

The Atlanta Braves made another move Tuesday night to lock up their young core long term, agreeing to an eight-year, $72 million extension with outfielder Michael Harris II.

The deal for 21-year-old Harris runs through the 2030 season and includes team options for 2031 ($15 million) and 2032 ($20M).

Harris was the team’s top prospect entering the season, leading to a major league call-up in late May. The youngest player in the majors hasn’t missed a beat since, hitting .287 with 12 home runs, 13 steals and 39 RBI in 71 games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 16, 2022 at 11:57 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, michael harris

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Vaughn Grissom makes history with HR, steal in debut

Starting at second and batting ninth, Grissom went 2-for-4 with a strikeout and a stolen base in his debut, securing his first career hit and homer in one at-bat and helping to turn two double plays in the Braves’ 8-4 win over the Red Sox.

Grissom reached base in his first at-bat after grounding into a forceout in the third. His next time up, he struck out on four pitches to open the fifth. When he stepped up to the plate for his third at-bat, Grissom hammered a first-pitch fastball out of the ballpark.

“The competitive nature kicked in,” Grissom said. “I had a couple of at-bats, and I failed a couple of times. So it was just like, ‘All right, like you’re down.’ I’m not gonna say I expected it, but like, I need to do something.”

Grissom became the youngest player in AL/NL history to homer and swipe a bag in his debut—though watching him play, it’s easy to forget his age. Whether it be his composure on the field or the conviction in his bat flip, Grissom is already displaying a big league attitude just one game in.

“He did great. Nothing fazed him,” manager Brian Snitker said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 10:11 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, vaughn grissom

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Atlanta Braves sending struggling right-handed starting pitcher Ian Anderson to minors

Right-hander Ian Anderson, a big part of the Atlanta Braves’ rotation last year in their run to a World Series championship, was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday after his struggles this season.

Anderson (9-6) has a 5.11 ERA this season in 21 starts. He last pitched on Friday in the Braves’ 9-6 victory over the New York Mets when he lasted 4⅔ innings during which he allowed four earned runs, seven hits, walked four and struck out three.

Before he reports to Gwinnett, Anderson will remain with the Braves on their taxi squad this week and is slated to pitch one of the two games in Atlanta’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins next Saturday, manager Brian Snitker told reporters Sunday.

“We need to get him right,’’ Snitker said. “He’s a big part of what we’ve got going on. Hopefully he can take a step back and reassess things and get himself going.’‘

The Braves, currently in second place in the National League East and holding the NL’s top wild-card spot, acquired more rotation depth at the trade deadline last week when they dealt for right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2022 at 06:08 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, ian anderson

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moore: Age is just a number for Niekro and Moyer

Phil Niekro: The sparks is still there!

“Oh, yeah. I threw my last [Major League] pitch when I was 48, but I could have gone another year or two,” Niekro said, recalling his final season in 1987. It began with the Cleveland Indians, but he was traded near the end of the season to the pennant-hopeful Toronto Blue Jays.

After two rough starts, then-Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick released Niekro and told Toronto reporters that he thought Niekro’s career was over.

“Since I have total respect for [Gillick], and also out of fairness to myself, I just took his word and decided that maybe he knew more about myself than I did, and that maybe he sees something that I don’t see, so I went by his words,” said Niekro, who made one final start with Atlanta that season. “After I retired, the next Spring Training, I got the fever. Then the next Spring Training after that, I got the fever.”

In fact, Niekro still has the fever.

Said Niekro, chuckling, but only a little, “I still feel like I can get guys out in the big leagues right now. My arm feels as good now as it did when I retired.”

...“I’ll throw some BP down there, so my arm is no problem,” Niekro said. “To stick around a long time, it’s a discipline thing for a player, where you have to stay healthy. You also have to be fortunate, just to spend any time in the big leagues. I’ve got no squabbles about anything. I just kick myself in the butt for not hanging around for another year or two.”

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history

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