No. 8 USC Aiken (4-2)
The Pacers faced one of their toughest non-conference weekends ever, according to coach Kenny Thomas, when they played host to No. 1 Tampa, No. 4 Mount Olive and Shepherd this past weekend. It was almost a perfect weekend for USC Aiken, and the Pacers should come away with confidence.
The decision to sign either Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward or Craig Kimbrel - or even other players like Mike Minor, Andrelton Simmons or Julio Teheran - to a long-term extension probably didn't come down to which player they liked most. Extension decisions usually aren't so cut and dry. Players have different demands at different times according to different on-field outcomes, and teams have different views of different players at different times.
The Braves took a major step toward reassuring their ability to lock up a core player Tuesday.
The Braves put to rest the negativity surrounding their lack of long-term deals for core players by giving Freddie Freeman an extension worth in the neighborhood of $100 million. Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported the deal could be worth up to eight years and $125 million.
(2-1) USC Aiken 2-1 vs. (1-2) Lincoln Memorial
No. 8 USC Aiken got off to a solid start this season by going 2-1 in a three-game weekend series against Lincoln Memorial.
Pacers coach Kenny Thomas said the early-season schedule would be tough, and it began with a scrappy Railsplitters team that featured some pretty good hitters. However, the Pacers held them to just two runs in the first two games before allowing eight in the series finale.
Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt's name is no stranger to this blog. That's because I believe in the potential.
General manager Frank Wren's comments on Bethancourt spell out a similar belief in the athletic receiver.
Depth is one of the more underrated aspects of roster building. The minor league signings with spring training invites don't get the same attention as the blockbuster trades or major free agent signings, and for good reason. Minor league signings don't hold the same value. But they do hold value over the course of a season, and for that, they are important.
The Braves avoided arbitration with three eligible players Friday while we wait word on the four who remain eligible.
Kris Medlen will receive $5.8 million, an increase from the $2.6 million he earned in 2013. It's a fair increase after throwing a career-high 197 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 3.48 FIP.
Major League Baseball announced Thursday the addition of instant replay for the 2014 season. It's officially happening.
Notes from the release:
Managers will have at least one challenge to use, but managers can't challenge more than two plays in a game. If any portion of a challenged play is overturned, then the manager who challenged the play will retain the ability to challenge one more play.