The Braves are talking with Sarasota about a new spring training facility

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The Braves’ current spring training home at Disney World is less-than-ideal. It’s far from almost every other Florida spring training ballpark, which are primarily located on the coasts. Once the Astros leave Kissimmee next year it will leave only the Tigers in Lakeland less than an hour away. Most parks are a couple of hours, actually. Between that and the fact that Disney controls everything on-site, ticket prices included, the Braves have been seeking a new spring training home for after their lease is up following spring 2017.

A few months back the Braves were talking to St. Petersburg, but that went nowhere, likely because the Rays don’t want a spring facility in their Major League town. They’ve talked with Palm Beach too, but nothing’s doing there either. But now there is progress elsewhere.

Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that the Sarasota County Commission has voted to move forward in negotiations with the Braves regarding a parcel of land on which the club could build a new facility. Ideally a deal would move quickly so the Braves could get in for 2018, but if it doesn’t the thinking is that they can go one more year at Disney.

The location sounds utterly baffling, geographically speaking:

The Braves and the county are discussing a large parcel of land in the West Villages development in North Port, in the southern part of Sarasota County.

Eh, who cares. Everyone has GPS now. We’ll find it. Just don’t name the park East Pointe or something as it’s already confusing enough.

Phillies to induct Bobby Abreu to Wall of Fame

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The Phillies announced on Wednesday that former outfielder Bobby Abreu will be inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame this summer. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 3 as part of the club’s alumni weekend festivities.

Abreu, 45, went to the Phillies in a November 18, 1997 trade with the then-Devil Rays that sent shortstop Kevin Stocker to Tampa. Abreu somehow only made two All-Star teams while in Philly. Overall, he hit .303/.416/.513 with 195 homers, 814 RBI, 891 runs scored, and 254 stolen bases in 1,353 games with the Phillies. Abreu ranks sixth all-time among Phillies in career Wins Above Replacement (47.2), fourth in on-base percentage (.416), seventh in slugging percentage (.513), second in OPS (.928), 10th in runs scored (891), fourth in doubles (348), second in walks (947), and seventh in stolen bases.

Perhaps Abreu’s most noteworthy accomplishment as a Phillie was winning the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit. Abreu hit 24 home runs in the first round and finished with 41 total, both records at the time. That is his most noteworthy accomplishment as, through no fault of his own, the Phillies never made playoffs during his tenure from 1998-06.

Abreu’s tenure came to an end on July 30, 2006, when the club packaged him with pitcher Cory Lidle and sent them to the Yankees in exchange for Matt Smith, Carlos Monasterios, C.J. Henry, and Jesús Sánchez. Obviously, not a trade that worked out well for the Phillies. Abreu played through his age-40 season, spending time with the Angels, Dodgers, and Mets along with the Yankees. He retired with 60 career WAR, per baseball Reference, as well as a .291/.395/.475 batting line, 288 home runs, 1,363 RBI, 1,453 runs scored, and 400 stolen bases.

Phillies fans have always criminally underrated Abreu. He was viewed as lazy and uncaring, in part due to racism and in part due to a perceived aversion to outfield walls. Abreu’s induction into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame is a long time coming, but it will also likely spur a lot of debate on sports talk radio in the months leading up to it.