Well Frank Wren has started this off-season off very well by re-signing Tim Hudson to a three year deal, and signing him for less money; granted Tim Hudson deserves the credit for taking a pay cut but either way we have another top of the line starter and when is that a bad thing? He has also got a quick start on revamping the bullpen by signing Scott Proctor to a minor league contract. Proctor could end up being a good mid relief guy but even if he doesn’t come through we are paying him so little it wouldn’t matter too much.
So now Frank Wren faces his biggest and most important challenge of this off-season: landing a big bat in either the outfield, or at first base. He might not have as many options as he would like, but he does have a few and here are the best options that he has.
1. In My opinion, the best move that the Braves could make would be to trade for Adrian Gonzalez. He is exactly the type of player that we could use. He hit 40 homeruns last year in Petco Park. Yeah that’s one of the most ‘pitcher friendly’ parks in the big leagues if you didn’t know, so the numbers are bound to go up if he is playing in almost any other park. He is also cheap for the talent that he has, and is under contract for two more seasons. The Padres reason for trading him is because they need as much money as they can get and he will bring in the greatest return while creating a more flexible budget.
The Braves could match up very well as trade partners for San Diego because of all the young talent that we have in our farm. I think we could put together a deal that involves Freddie Freeman, Jo Jo Reyes, and a few other young guys (not with the last names of Jurrjens, Hanson, or Heyward) and be able to bring Adrian to Atlanta. He seems to be a pretty good guy and if we can become contenders he might be willing to sign long term with us after his contract is up.
I don’t care what anybody says but today, prospects are immensly overrated. So many things can happen to a player before they reach their ‘potential’ and most of the highly regarded prospects don’t. I would much rather have Adrian Gonzalez than Freeman, Reyes, and… Kris Medlen for instance because Gonzalez is a legitimate MLB player. He has proven that over the years and is actually getting better and better. Who knows what could happen to any of the young prospects in our system. They could all turn out as duds just like the Jeff Francouer ended up being, and people thought he would be the face of our franchise a few years ago.
So the best option is definitely going after Adrian even if it means giving up some good prospects.
2. Matt Kemp would also be a good option and the Braves and Dodgers could be very good trade partners. One of the Dodgers main weaknesses this past season has been their pitching. The Braves have pitching that they are looking to deal and the Dodgers have an outfielder that can hit some homeruns and drive in runs. The Dodgers also have four legitimate outfielders in Manny Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Kemp, and Juan Pierre. Pierre proved early last season that he could be a starter on any team, and the team actually did better with him in the lineup. I still don’t know why he didn’t play that much.
Kemp had 26 homeruns and 101 RBIs and that could definitely help out the power-starved braves team. He also had a .297 batting average so he isn’t exactly one of those swing and miss type batters like Adam Dunn. The Dodgers have Manny, Ethier, and Russel Martin to put some spark in their lineup so they could score runs without Kemp.
The Dodgers have two great young pitchers in Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw but they do not have a veteran presance in their starting rotation which is an important thing to have on any team who is going to the playoffs. The Braves have three (tradeable) pitchers that have lots of MLB experience, one of which was a very successful pitcher for them in the past:Derek Lowe.
Derek Lowe’s salary is also pretty high and LA might want to put alot of money into an obviously better pitcher like John Lackey. I don’t think the Dodgers have a chance in getting Lackey but you never know. So if they lose out on the Lackey bidding war then they will have very few options to get a starting pitcher. If Atlanta eats some of Lowe’s contract then LA might make this trade happen but this is definitely a best case scenario. They might want Javier Vazquez who is a legitimate ace but i really really do not want to give him up.
3. The third option is Jason Bay. He is not first because it would take a lot of money and their are a LOT of other teams that are looking to buy his services. He is the best outfielder in the free agent class this year (not counting Matt Holiday but we won’t talk about him because of his wonderful manager).
I think that Bay would also help to bring people out to the ball park and the Braves could use some mor fans out a Turner. I would be excited to get Bay because he brings power but i definitely would not expect it to happen.
Any other good options?