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
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.
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.

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
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.

Padres announce Pat Murphy won’t return as manager in 2016

Pat Murphy
AP Photo
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Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.

Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.

Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
AP Photo

With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.