Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Ervin Santana rejected a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer last winter from the Royals because he thought he would be able to hit it big on the free agent market. He wound up having to settle for a one-year, $14.1 million free agent deal from the Braves, and now we get to do this all over again.

Santana, who turned down a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer last month from Atlanta, is looking for a five-year contract on the open market this winter according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

It only takes one owner to meet the asking price, but it’s hard to see Santana suddenly being able to command such a lengthy commitment. The right-hander had a 3.24 ERA (127 ERA+) over 211 innings in 2013 for Kansas City and he posted a 3.95 ERA (92 ERA+) in 196 innings this past season with Atlanta.

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Originally posted on Breslanta:

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson AP Photo/Brynn Anderson


Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.

Those are the only four quarterbacks, through 12 weeks of the 2014 NFL regular season, who are ahead of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in overall passing. The Falcons’ signal-caller is averaging 279 passing yards per game, and he’s completing 65 percent of his passes.

And he’s doing it with constant pressure from opposing defenses and no time to think – much like he has been for the past two seasons.

While the Falcons may still sit in first place of the historically-bad NFC South with a 4-7 record, there’s no doubting Atlanta’s mediocrity. All you had to do was watch the way the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line pushed them around last Sunday to see that it pays to spend years building an important foundation, instead of wasting big draft picks on flashy players.

And had the Falcons…

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Originally posted on From VA to the show:

MLB’s 2014 postseason awards started in full swing with the presentation of the Gold Gloves. The Braves were represented on the GG squad, by a repeat winner.

SS Andrelton Simmons (Lynchburg, 2011) won his second straight Gold Glove by turning in another solid season defensively. He did make 14 errors, the same as a season ago, but posted a still solid .978 Fielding Percentage, and he led all NL SS with 99 Double Plays turned, as well as a 3.9 Wins Above Replacement on defense.

This was the second straight Gold Glove for Simmons, who played 131 games for Lynchburg in 2011 when coming up in the Braves system.

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Originally posted on Mark Bradley blog:

Exiting Baltimore, bound for Blighty. (Gail Burton/AP photo) Exiting Baltimore, bound for Blighty. (Gail Burton/AP photo)

After a month like this, you’d think about fleeing the country, too. The Atlanta Falcons have lost four consecutive games by the aggregate score of 127-68. (Not-so-fun fact: The Falcons beat Tampa Bay 56-14 in September and have still been outscored by opponents by 28 points on the season.) They’re 2-5. Not one of their losses has been by single digits.

We started off thinking (for good reason) that their defense was lousy. Now their offense is, too. They’ve scored 40 points and four touchdowns in three games. The lowest three-game output for the 2013 Falcons — who finished 4-12, you’ll recall — was 33 points against Arizona, Carolina and Seattle, but all three of those teams wound up winning at least 10 games. This brings us to the truly sobering part.

The Vikings beat the Falcons 41-28 and haven’t won since…

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Originally posted on Fan Buzz:

Former Aggie and current Atlanta Falcon offensive tackle Jake Matthews posted this photo on Twitter yesterday for Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Matthews brought his sister, Gwen, who has down syndrome to the team’s facility. Jake is certainly one of the good guys in the league and Texas A&M fans should be proud to call him a former Aggie.

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Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Evan Gattis hasn’t played a full game for the Braves since September 7 because of strep throat and, more recently, a kidney stone. In that time, Atlanta has lost 12-of-14 games and been completely eliminated from postseason contention. But there will be no early shutdown for the 28-year-old slugging catcher.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gattis is scheduled to return to the Braves’ starting lineup for Thursday night’s series finale against the Pirates. Gattis is only expected to play about five innings, serving as the catcher for spot starter David Hale, who’s filling in for Mike Minor.

Minor was officially shut down earlier this week due to inflammation in his left (throwing) shoulder.

Gattis is batting .268/.322/.503 with 22 home runs in 102 games played this season for the Braves. There has been talk of him being traded this winter to open up starting catching duties for…

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Originally posted on Atlanta Hawks blog:

121913 hawks premium JC14 Al Horford is returning from a torn right pectoral muscle that limited him to 29 games last season.

The Hawks open training camp next week. Here are five things to look for as the team prepares for the 2014-15 season and the second year under coach Mike Budenholzer.

1. The health of Al Horford

The center’s season came to an abrupt end last year when he tore his right pectoral muscle in a game against the Cavaliers on Dec. 26. He was done after just 29 games. At the time of the injury, Horford led the team in scoring and rebounding and the Hawks were third in the Eastern Conference. Without him, they slipped to eighth and made the playoffs despite a below-.500 record.

Horford progressed in his rehabilitation and was doing some basketball activities – minus contact – during a summer trip to Italy with Basketball Without Borders. There…

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Originally posted on The Sports Tank:

Yeah, the Atlanta Falcons completely annihilated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Thursday night’s matchup, but it was no contest for Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester. The 31-year-old Hester set an NFL record with his 20th career return touchdown, surpassing the previously record held by Hall of Famer and former Falcons cornerback Deion Sanders. It was such an epic moment as the three-time Pro-Bowler made history by taking a punt 62 yards for a score while displaying celebratory moves of Deion Sanders. Prior to signing with the Atlanta Falcons, Hester spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears.   

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Originally posted on Atlanta Falcons blog:

FLOWERY BRANCH — The NFL is copycat league and the Falcons needs to steal a few pages out of the Eagles playbook and use Antone Smith and/or Devonta Freeman like the Eagles are using Darren Sproles.

The former New Orleans Saint was a terror in space last night against the Colts. He had 11 touches for 178 yards. He had four rushes for 26 yards and caught seven passes for 152 yards.

Curtis Compton Falcons running back Antone Smith breaks away from Saints safety Jairus Byrd picking up a block from Levine Toilolo for a 54-yard touchdown during the third quarter in their NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (By Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com) Curtis Compton
Falcons running back Antone Smith breaks away from Saints safety Jairus Byrd picking up a block from Levine Toilolo for a 54-yard touchdown during the third quarter in their NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (By Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

He powered the Eagles to a 30-27 comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Now, Sproles did get some lovely blocking on those screens.

If the Falcons can make those blocks, Antone Smith has shown…

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Originally posted on Mark Bradley blog:

Bruce Levenson is leaving. Can Danny Ferry possibly stay? (Johnny Crawford/AJC) Bruce Levenson is leaving. Can Danny Ferry possibly stay? (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

When first the Atlanta Hawks’ owners were squabbling over a general manager, it was semi-comical. In 2005, Billy Knight wanted to send Boris Diaw and two draft picks to Phoenix in a sign-and-trade for Joe Johnson; Steve Belkin thought that was too much to give and refused to grant his blessing. The whole thing wound up in a Massachusetts court — yielding the famous photo of Knight refusing Belkin’s proffered handshake — and led to the other owners deposing Belkin as NBA governor and holding what amounted to a pep rally for Knight on the floor of Philips Arena.

This is different. This isn’t amusing in any way. This involves racist language and could well cost Danny Ferry, who 36 hours ago was seen as this franchise’s shining light, his job.

Zack Klein of Channel 2 WSB reported last…

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