Mar 11, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) runs onto the field before playing the Philadelphia Phillies in a spring training exhibition game at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves chairman claims team in 'winning mode', not rebuilding

Atlanta Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk wanted to assure fans (and anyone else questioning) that the Braves are not in a panic mode, but rather are going  about business as usual.

When news broke that starter Kris Medlen was likely to have a second season-ending Tommy John surgery (along with the numerous other pitchers that are either in rehab or experiencing “discomfort”), Braves president John Schuerholz hit the McGuirk button on his speed dial to ask for more money.

Surprisingly, McGuirk was happy to oblige.

The Braves then went out and signed free agent starter Ervin Santana to a one-year deal for a reported $14.1 million.

The at times embattled braves executive then made a statement to quell the fears of those who felt the situation was quickly getting out of hand in Atlanta.

“We’re not in a rebuilding mode, we’re in a winning mode,” McGuirk said to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. “We’re standing around right now in this clubhouse with a bunch of winners around us. We think the time is now. We’ve always been willing to add to the payroll and the substance of this club.”

The Atlanta payroll, which is a hot topic for those who follow the Bravos, generally stands at between $95-100 million – a number that hasn’t seen much movement in several seasons. Today’s signing of Santana will bump that number upwards of $107 million this year.

And they said Ted Turner wasn’t coming back.

So why now, after there had been outcries of “spend more – get more” echoing down Hank Aaron Drive for so many years?

“It’s the right time,” McGuirk said. “Money was not the issue so much as, ‘Is it the right time to do it?’ We want to send a message to the guys in this clubhouse, our fans and our sponsors and the whole organization that we expect to win.”

Winning the Braves have been doing…just not in October.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Ervin Santana Kris Medlen MLB Mlb Spring Training 2014

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