Source: Pierzynski agrees to 1-year deal with Braves

Seventeen-year vet expected to mentor catching prospect Bethancourt

Source: Pierzynski agrees to 1-year deal with Braves

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's trip to Honeybaked Ham led to the revelation that his club and A.J. Pierzynski have agreed to a one-year deal. The club has not confirmed the contract.

While waiting to pick up his ham for the holiday season on Wednesday, Gonzalez was telling his son that Pierzynski was an option to fill the Braves' need for a backup catcher. The father of Aaron Lunsford, the drummer for a rock band named "As Cities Burn," overheard the news and informed his son, who tweeted the information from his @darrenstains account.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves reach agreement with veteran reliever Grilli

Braves reach agreement with veteran reliever Grilli

ATLANTA -- Less than a month after buying low on Jim Johnson, the Braves have opted to do the same with veteran right-handed reliever Jason Grilli.

On Tuesday evening, Grilli and the Braves reached an agreement on a two-year, $8.25 million deal that includes a $3 million option for the 2017 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pierzynski's signing first reported from a ham store

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Pierzynski's signing first reported from a ham store

On Wednesday, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported that catcher A.J. Pierzynski would be signing with the Braves.

Though the club has yet to confirm, where did the info come from? Did Pierzynski tweet something? Was it a report from Ken Rosenthal? A leaked document? 

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Christmas traditions are special to Miller

Braves' new righty discusses his all-time favorite gifts, family and more in special Q&A

Christmas traditions are special to Miller

Shelby Miller served as the centerpiece of the Braves' return when they traded Jason Heyward to the Cardinals in November. Miller, who has the potential to be one of Atlanta's top starting pitchers, recently spoke to MLB.com about his favorite Christmas traditions and memories.

MLB.com: Is there a Christmas show or movie you always look forward to watching this time of the year?

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Gattis the next domino in busy offseason?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from Braves fans

Inbox: Gattis the next domino in busy offseason?

How much money have the Braves freed up this offseason?
-- Kaleb C., Bowling Green, Ky.

Simply accounting for the trades involving Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, the Braves gained approximately $21.7 million in payroll flexibility. When you account for other variables like arbitration projections and the raises the likes of Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman will gain, there is now approximately $20 million available to fill remaining needs -- a starting pitcher, a backup catcher and a bench player to serve as the primary pinch-hitter.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves send J-Up to Padres in six-player swap

Prospects Fried, D. Peterson and Smith and supplemental pick J. Peterson go to Atlanta

Braves send J-Up to Padres in six-player swap

ATLANTA -- Just when it seemed the Braves were running out of potential suitors for Justin Upton, the Padres stepped back into the picture and made Upton the latest addition to their significantly upgraded roster.

Persuaded by the opportunity to strengthen their weak farm system, the Braves agreed to trade Upton and Minor League pitcher Aaron Northcraft to the Padres in exchange for former supplemental Draft pick Jace Peterson and three of San Diego's top 20 prospects -- left-handed pitcher Max Fried, infielder Dustin Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gattis assumes spotlight as Braves chart new course

Gattis assumes spotlight as Braves chart new course

ATLANTA -- Now that the Braves have traded Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, they find themselves with a much-improved farm system and reason to wonder if they can indeed be competitive in 2015.

With Heyward in St. Louis and Upton dealt to San Diego, the Braves have lost two of the key components from an offense that scored the second-fewest runs in the Majors last season. But in compensation for these two players, Atlanta received a potential frontline starter (Shelby Miller) and four players -- Max Fried, Tyrell Jenkins, Dustin Peterson and Mallex Smith -- who now rank among their Top 20 Prospects according to MLB.com.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hart sees major value in newly acquired prospects

Hart sees major value in newly acquired prospects

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart made his latest big move on Friday when he sent Justin Upton and Aaron Northcraft to the Padres in exchange for left-handed pitcher Max Fried, infielder Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Alex Smith. Atlanta also gained San Diego's fourth international slot bonus in this deal.

Hart had the option to keep both Upton and Jason Heyward, who was traded to the Cardinals in November. Instead, he sought returns that he believes will prove to be more valuable than the compensatory Draft picks the Braves would have received had Heyward and Upton both exited as free agents following the 2015 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Breaking down the prospects acquired in Upton deal

Left-hander Fried, infielder Peterson among talented young players coming to Braves

Breaking down the prospects acquired in Upton deal

No one can accuse new Padres general manager A.J. Preller of standing pat. News of the huge three-team, 11-player deal that netted him Wil Myers had just settled in when the Matt Kemp deal was finalized. The ink on that one had barely dried when Preller was at it again, this time sending young players to the Atlanta Braves in return for Justin Upton.

Here's a closer look at who the Braves are getting in return for Upton:

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves purchase land for SunTrust parking

Plot sits less than half a mile from projected location of home plate

Braves purchase land for SunTrust parking

ATLANTA -- The Braves have increased their SunTrust Park parking options by purchasing the land upon which the headquarters for Genuine Parts Company currently rests.

Braves executive vice president of business operations Mike Plant and Derek Schiller, the club's executive vice president of sales and marketing, confirmed that the 9 1/2-acre parcel of land will be used for stadium parking. This lot sits a little less than half a mile north of where home plate will be when SunTrust Park opens for the start of the 2017 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kohn looking forward to fulfilling childhood dream

Kohn looking forward to fulfilling childhood dream

ATLANTA -- Right-handed reliever Michael Kohn has written verification that he gained a chance to fulfill a childhood dream when he signed a Minor League deal with the Braves earlier this month.

Approximately 18 years have passed since Kohn wrote a contract to his parents that read: "I Michael Thomas Kohn will make Pro baseball for the Altanta [sic] Braves and make all my goal. Shortstop bat 3rd." The avid Braves fan, who was 10 at the time, then signed his name at the bottom of this loose-leaf piece of paper that rested in a box under his bed.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Markakis has neck surgery to repair herniated disk

Braves right fielder should be ready for the start of Spring Training

Markakis has neck surgery to repair herniated disk

ATLANTA -- Nick Markakis underwent fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck on Wednesday. The Braves expect the veteran outfielder to begin baseball-related activities before the start of Spring Training.

When the Braves signed Markakis to a four-year, $44 million deal earlier this month, they expected that he would undergo this surgical procedure, which was performed in Atlanta by Dr. Steven Wray.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves trade Varvaro to Red Sox for Minors pitcher Kurcz

Braves trade Varvaro to Red Sox for Minors pitcher Kurcz

ATLANTA -- After spending the past month evaluating multiple options, the Braves finally found a suitor for right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro.

Varvaro was traded to the Red Sox on Wednesday in exchange for Minor League pitcher Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations. This deal provides the Braves a right-handed reliever who could become a part of Atlanta's bullpen within the next year.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves announce Minor League coaching staffs

Braves announce Minor League coaching staffs

ATLANTA -- The Braves' Minor League system will have a familiar feel in 2015, as five of the organization's six affiliates will be led by managers who were in the system last year.

Brian Snitker (Triple-A Gwinnett), Aaron Holbert (Double-A Mississippi), Luis Salazar (Class A Advanced Carolina), Randy Ingle (Class A Rome) and Rocket Wheeler (Rookie-level Danville) have all accepted invitations to serve as managers within the organization again next year.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves give Cuban outfielder Toscano 4-year deal

Contract worth $6 million, includes a fifth-year option for $1.5 million

Braves give Cuban outfielder Toscano 4-year deal

The Braves acknowledge that they will need to gather more data before gaining a better understanding of how successful Dian Toscano might be at the Major League level. But a recent workout impressed them enough to offer the Cuban outfielder $6 million over the next four years.

An industry source informed MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez of the financial details of the deal Toscano and the Braves agreed upon during last week's Winter Meetings. The four-year contract, which is pending a physical, includes a fifth-year option that would increase the total value of the package to $7.5 million.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Braves' patient approach on historic streak unmatched

Cox led efforts toward player development en route to 14 consecutive first-place finishes

Braves' patient approach on historic streak unmatched

When "Moneyball" was published, the "in" thing among Major League teams was to focus on on-base percentage, and ramp up their analytical efforts, hoping to follow an approach that A's general manager Billy Beane credited for the franchise's run of division titles.

This offseason, the "in" thing is to add power arms for late-inning bullpen work, trying to duplicate the road to success that the champion Giants and AL pennant-winning Royals followed to the World Series.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With eye on future, Braves take Winkler in Rule 5 Draft

With eye on future, Braves take Winkler in Rule 5 Draft

SAN DIEGO -- The Braves lost a former top prospect with shoulder concerns in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, but they gained a reliever who could prove to be a future asset if he makes a successful return from Tommy John surgery.

The Braves selected right-handed pitcher Daniel Winkler out of the Rockies' system and lost J.R. Graham to the Twins in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. During the Minor League phase, Atlanta strengthened its organizational depth at catcher by selecting Steven Rodriguez from the D-backs' organization.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Veteran exec Hart still has the knack

Veteran exec Hart still has the knack

SAN DIEGO -- The thing about John Hart is he's really good at what he does. Make that very good.

Hart is 66 years old, was great as an analyst on MLB Network, his golf game is close to scratch and he's probably forgotten more baseball than most of today's executives know.

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Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New renderings offer peek at area by SunTrust Park

Mixed-use development will include restaurants, bars, retail and hotel

New renderings offer peek at area by SunTrust Park

ATLANTA -- The Braves gave fans another glimpse of the mixed-use development that will surround SunTrust Park when it opens in 2017 by releasing four new conceptual renderings on Wednesday morning.

The new renderings display the architectural detail of the mixed-use development, which will include restaurants, bars, retail outlets and a hotel. These latest design plans also provide fans a better view of the plaza and streets that will surround SunTrust Park and a look at the expanded Chop House -- a three-tiered eatery that will include two party decks and a field-level area that can accommodate large groups beyond the right-field wall.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite moving pieces, Fredi likes makeup of Braves

Despite moving pieces, Fredi likes makeup of Braves

SAN DIEGO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez understands why his club might make some moves that are aimed toward being a consistent postseason contender when SunTrust Park opens in 2017. But while such moves might be in the organization's best long-term interest, this mindset is not necessarily comforting for Gonzalez as he enters the final year of his contract.

Still, the veteran manager has fully supported Braves president of baseball operations John Hart throughout this offseason and maintained a good sense of humor about his future.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves agree to deal with infielder Callaspo

One-year, $3 million contract is pending physical

Braves agree to deal with infielder Callaspo

SAN DIEGO -- As the Braves evaluated players who could bridge the gap until top prospect Jose Peraza is deemed ready to serve as Atlanta's second baseman, they were initially hesitant to pursue Alberto Callaspo because he has battled weight issues the past two years.

But after learning Callaspo had already hired a personal trainer in the Dominican Republic, the Braves altered their mindset and opted to sign him to a one-year deal that is worth approximately $3 million. The deal will not be officially completed until the 31-year-old infielder completes a physical in Atlanta later this week.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hart confirms pursuit of Cuban outfielder Toscano

Braves exec says agreement hasn't been reached

Hart confirms pursuit of Cuban outfielder Toscano

SAN DIEGO -- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart confirmed that the Braves are negotiating with Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano. But as he spoke with reporters early Monday evening, he said an agreement has not been reached.

"This is a player that our guys have looked at and we're getting close to doing something there," Hart said.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves honor Van Wieren with auction for LUNGevity

Braves honor Van Wieren with auction for LUNGevity

SAN DIEGO -- As the Braves were playing the Padres during a West Coast swing in August, they were saddened to learn that beloved former broadcaster Pete Van Wieren had lost his battle against B-Cell lymphoma.

Van Wieren was diagnosed with this condition in 2009, approximately one year after ending his 33-year career with the Braves. During the final years of his life, Van Wieren maintained the spirit promoted by the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, which Major League Baseball will promote again during this year's Winter Meetings.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Hart putting his winning formula to work in Atlanta

Hart putting his winning formula to work in Atlanta

Twenty one years ago, the Cleveland Indians were on the verge of opening their brand new ballpark, Jacobs Field, and they had a young team on the verge of contention. Looking to put the finishing touches on that team, general manager John Hart targeted two veteran players to round out his roster -- the great pitcher Dennis Martinez and the Hall of Fame hitter Eddie Murray -- and his tactics in closing those deals were, in the right moment, brilliant in their deviousness.

The wind happened to be blowing in the day Martinez visited the new facility.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Simmons' sparkling defense nets GIBBY Award

Simmons' sparkling defense nets GIBBY Award

ATLANTA -- Less than three full seasons into his Major League career, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons has already compiled a collection of defensive honors that would make a veteran proud.

Simmons added another honor to his portfolio, recognized as the Defensive Player of the Year when MLB.com's Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards (GIBBY) were announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday night.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.