For Braves fans, a simultaneously encouraging and discouraging fact


Buster Olney linked to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about the Braves’ improving financial picture. After doing so, he said this:

The bottom line is that the no team has a harder budget than the Braves, who are like cadets at a military school. They are given an allowance and cannot and do not spend beyond that, which means the improvements made by their team this season — the signing of Ben Sheets and the trades for Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson and Paul Janish — are the product of great work by their baseball operations department.

Anyone who follows the Braves closely is well aware of this.  And it really, really stinks, especially if you were a fan back when Ted Turner owned the team and spent money and seemed to care about the baseball side of things as opposed to the bottom line. It just makes the speculative parts of the season — trade deadline, hot stove — totally boring.

But good point on Frank Wren’s moves this year. For the team to fill gaps like it did without spending money and without giving up top prospects, it’s hard not to be pleased with what they’ve done.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.