2013: 96-66, 1st in NL East; lost in NLDS to Los Angeles
The Braves took home the division title in 2013 for the first time since 2005, making the playoffs for the second time in three years. The scariest thing about them, though, is that this team has yet to reach their full potential. If Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward, and Dan Uggla could all perform more consistently up to what they have shown they can do in the past, we could looking at a 100-win team. But not to worry, the Braves got off to a good start in 2014 anyway. The younger Upton bro, Justin, and first baseman Freddie Freeman have been their most dynamic players offensively. Evan “El Oso Blanco” Gattis is a monster behind the plate. But the pitching, as usual in Atlanta, is a strength. The bullpen of Craig Kimbrel, David Carpenter, Anthony Varvaro, Luis Avilan, and Jordan Walden is elite. The rotation was a little thin after Tim Hudson signed with San Francisco and Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen both went down with injuries, but veteran signings of Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana to fill in behind now-ace Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, and Alex Wood have worked out.
Baseball teams get a huge source of revenue from their local television contracts in this day and age, as live sports is one of few remaining forms of entertainment where people routinely still watch live TV. But Atlanta, stuck with an inefficient TV deal for the foreseeable future, is forced to exercise other methods to make payroll. Specifically they announced that they will build a new stadium in suburban Cobb County, to be ready for the 2017 season. The new stadium and accompanying entertainment complex should help the Braves generate the revenue they need to remain competitive. To keep their stars affordable, they’ve also handed out numerous extensions to core players, like Heyward, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Kimbrel, and Teheran. While they may seem premature to some, the deals are a great way to sign these guys to deals before their production prices them out of the Braves’ budget. And for the fan, it means you’re guaranteed to see your favorite Braves stars for the foreseeable future and at the new ballpark. Gold Coast Tickets can hook you up with the best seats at Turner Field for Atlanta Braves games!