Rafael Soriano may accept aribitration

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Braves fan glass half-empty response: “D’oh! That’s less money available to go and get a bat!”

Braves fan glass half-full response: “Man, our bullpen is gonna be epic!

It’s been widely speculated that right-hander Rafael Soriano who was offered salary arbitration by the Braves this week, will
decline the offer and hit the open market as a free agent. But
Soriano’s agent said Saturday that the pitcher is giving serious
consideration to accepting arbitration and returning to Atlanta for a
one-year deal.

“It’s going to go down to the wire,” said agent Peter Greenberg. “It’s definitely going to be a last-minute decision for us.”

The last time the Braves offered arbitration to a guy they were certain was going to leave was Greg Maddux before the 2003 season.  It cost them $14.75 million and turned the team off of the arbitration game for a long time, arguably costing them some draft picks along the way. Still, the 2003 Braves won 101 games, in part because Greg Maddux was there to bolster the pitching staff.

So basically, I’m not going to cry about it if Soriano accepts arbitration, even if Frank Wren does.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: