Diving into the depths: Atlanta Braves

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Atlanta Braves
Rotation
1. Tim Hudson
2. Jair Jurrjens
3. Derek Lowe
4. Tommy Hanson
5. Kenshin Kawakami
6. Jo-Jo Reyes
7. Kris Medlen
8. James Parr
9. Todd Redmond
10. Kyle Cofield
The Braves had one starter too many before the Javier Vazquez deal, but now they’re lacking in depth in case injuries strike. That will especially be the case if Reyes, who is out of options, fails to make the team this spring. Medlen would do well if needed, but he’ll be awfully valuable in the pen, too, and there’s not anyone trustworthy behind him.
Bullpen
1. Billy Wagner
2. Takashi Saito
3. Peter Moylan
4. Eric O’Flaherty
5. Kris Medlen
6. Jesse Chavez
7. Michael Dunn
8. Manny Acosta
9. Jo-Jo Reyes
10. Luis Valdez
11. Scott Proctor
12. Juan Abreu
13. Craig Kimbrel
14. Stephen Marek
15. Mariano Gomez
The top five are locks and then the next four figure to compete for two spots during spring training. Proctor underwent Tommy John surgery in May, so he’ll be behind at the start of the year. Ideally, Kimbrel would come up and make an impact in the second half.


Catcher
1. Brian McCann
2. David Ross
3. Clint Sammons
First base
1. Troy Glaus
2. Eric Hinske
3. Martin Prado
4. Freddie Freeman
Second base
1. Martin Prado
2. Omar Infante
3. Brooks Conrad
4. Diory Hernandez
5. Joe Thurston
Third base
1. Chipper Jones
2. Omar Infante
3. Brooks Conrad
4. Joe Thurston
5. Eric Hinske
Shortstop
1. Yunel Escobar
2. Diory Hernandez
3. Brooks Conrad
4. Brandon Hicks
I like the Glaus signing for first base, and Hinske is a nice fallback in case he gets hurt. If Glaus does spend some time on the disabled list, what the Braves will likely do is use Hinske against righties and Prado against lefties, with Infante filling in at second base.
Left field
1. Matt Diaz
2. Melky Cabrera
3. Eric Hinske
4. Mitch Jones
5. Gregor Blanco
Center field
1. Nate McLouth
2. Melky Cabrera
3. Jordan Schafer
4. Gregor Blanco
Right field
1. Melky Cabrera
2. Jason Heyward
3. Eric Hinske
4. Mitch Jones
5. Brent Clevlen
The big decision here is whether or not to have Heyward open the season in right field. Ideally, the Braves would be able to send him to Triple-A for two months, just like they did Hanson last season. However, it would leave them without a lot of punch in the outfield. My guess is that they do it anyway, but it will probably come down to how Heyward performs in spring training.

Cubs expected to host an All-Star Game in the near future

A general view of Wrigley Field and the newly renovated bleachers during the second inning of a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds Thursday, June 11, 2015,  in Chicago. Chicago won 6-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photo/Paul Beaty
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The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.

The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges. That is sort of important now since the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.

The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.

Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”

Update: Here’s a table showing the last time each team hosted the All-Star Game.

Team Park Last Hosted Yrs Since Notes
Dodgers Dodger Stadum 1980 35
Nationals Olympic Stadium (Expos) 1982 33 2018 host
Athletics Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 1987 28
Cubs Wrigley Field 1990 25
Blue Jays SkyDome 1991 24
Padres Jack Murphy Stadium 1992 23 2016 host
Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards 1993 22
Rangers The Ballpark in Arlington 1995 20
Phillies Veterans Stadium 1996 19
Indians Jacobs Field 1997 18
Rockies Coors Field 1998 17
Red Sox Fenway Park 1999 16
Braves Turner Field 2000 15
Mariners Safeco Field 2001 14
Brewers Miller Park 2002 13
White Sox U.S. Cellular Field 2003 12
Astros Minute Maid Park 2004 11
Tigers Comerica Park 2005 10
Pirates PNC Park 2006 9
Giants AT&T Park 2007 8
Yankees Yankee Stadium 2008 7
Cardinals Busch Stadium 2009 6
Angels Angels Stadium of Anaheim 2010 5
D’Backs Chase Field 2011 4
Royals Kauffman Stadium 2012 3
Mets Citi Field 2013 2
Twins Target Field 2014 1
Reds Great American Ball Park 2015 0
Marlins Never Hosted 2017 host
Rays Never Hosted

Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren will compete for No. 5 spot in Cubs’ rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.

Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.

The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.

One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to limit David Wright to 130 or fewer games

David Wright
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Mets third baseman David Wright missed four months of the 2015 season due to spinal stenosis. In other words, Wright dealt with a narrowing of his spinal column. Going forward, the Mets plan to be cautious with Wright so as not to overuse him.

As ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports, Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to have the 33-year-old Wright play in no more than 130 games. Alderson said, “We’re gonna make sure that he’s not overworked. So it’s important for us to find somebody who can play 30 games or so at third base when he’s not in there. But I think we have to be realistic, and not expect that he’s gonna be an absolute everyday [player] out there playing 150 or 155 games. That’s not gonna happen.”

Wilmer Flores played 26 games at third base in his rookie season in 2013, so he could back up Wright as needed. But Alderson mentioned that because Wright would mostly sit against right-handed pitchers, the switch-hitting Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera could get the call at the hot corner.

When he was on the field last season, Wright hit a productive .289/.379/.434 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.