The defending NL Eastern Division champion Atlanta Braves look to repeat with a roster featuring young, exciting players. Rising shortstop Andrelton won the Gold Glove in his sophomore campaign, first baseman Freddie Freeman (.319/.396/.501) has emerged as one of the top clutch hitters in baseball, and third baseman Chris Johnson challenged for the NL batting title last season, before finishing second, with a .321 average. All-Star catcher Brian McCann left via free agency, but that will mean more swings for fan favorite Evan Gattis, who hammered 21 homers and knocked in 65 runs, in only 382 at bats. The Braves sported the lowest ERA in the majors last season and key returnees in the starting rotation include left-handed starter Mike Minor, hard-throwing 23-year Julio Teheran, and stalwart Kris Medlen. The Braves will again have one of the best bullpens in baseball, led by flame-throwing closer, Craig Kimbrel. Manager Fredi Gonzalez’s job will be easier in 2014, if he can get more production from second baseman Dan Uggla and center fielder B.J. Upton, and if right fielder Jason Heyward can stay healthy. The key home games you will want to have Front Row Seats in 2014 are against Eastern Division rival Washington Nationals, NL champion St. Louis Cardinals, World Series champion Boston Red Sox, NL West champion LA Dodgers and AL West champion Oakland A’s.
2-4-14: The Atlanta Braves agreed to an eight-year contract with first baseman Freddie Freeman. The team also signed outfielder Jason Heyward two a two-year deal.
2-10-14: The Braves unveiled a new Spring Training hat. Pitchers and Catchers report on Thursday. The position players are due in next Tuesday and the first full workout is next Wednesday. Last year, several position players reported to camp early.
2-14-14: SP Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension. The Colombian pitcher will have a 7th year option for 2020. He will earn $32.4 million. General Manager Frank Wren also discussed his desire to sign shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a long-term deal.
2-16-14: Frank Wren and the Atlanta Braves continue to extend their young players. Closer Craig Kimbrel agreed to a 4-year/$42 million deal with a fifth-year option worth $13 million. He can earn an additional $3 million in bonuses. The team has spent $222 million over the past few weeks by extending players - and their spending habits do not appear to be complete. The organization suggests they want to sign other players to long-term deals. Mike Minor is another candidate, though some believe he wants to test free agency.
2-19-14: The Braves extended General Manager Frank Wren and skipper Fredi Gonzalez. Both deals were set to expire after this season. The franchise did not want their contracts to be an issue. Wren has been with the team since 2007 and Gonzalez rejoined in 2011.
2-21-14: The Atlanta Braves agreed to a 7-year/$58 million extension with shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The second year infielder received his first Gold Glove in 2013.
2-25-14: The Braves announced that they will induct former catcher Javy Lopez into the franchise's Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held before the game against the Rockies on Friday, May 23. Lopez was a member of the 1995 World Series team.
3-3-14: Cuban catcher Yenier Bello agreed to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves. The deal includes an invite to Spring Training. This move was likely made to add depth to the organization. The team already has Evan Gattis, Gerald Laird, and prospect Christian Bethancourt competing for roster sports to catch. Manager Fredi Gonzalez suggested "El Oso Blanco" will start 125 games behind the plate.