Atlanta Braves: Four Areas to Build on for Next Season

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Aug 14, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports


Since John Hart became the Atlanta Braves’ new general manager, he made it a priority to acquire young arms to bolster a dwindling farm system. Through his trades last offseason between the St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, and New York Yankees, Hart acquired numerous young arms including: Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, Matt Wisler, Max Fried, and Manny Banuelos.

-= Related: Jeff Samardzija: Bridge the Atlanta Braves’ Gap to 2017? =-

Shelby Miller emerged as the best arm the Atlanta Braves had to offer, usurping Julio Teheran as the club’s ace. In addition to Miller, Matt Wisler and Manny Banuelos both made their big league debuts this season with the Braves; however, neither of them provided must boost to the rotation. Matt Wisler stepped up his game here in September, but it does not overshadow his poor performances throughout the year.

Manny Banuelos is notorious for being injured. While a member of the New York Yankees, Banuelos missed significant time due to injuries, and that did not change as a member of the Braves. Bone spurs and shoulder problems forced Banuelos to miss significant time, and it raises the question, can he stay healthy for a full season in the bigs? Thus, the Atlanta Braves and John Hart should pursue some front-end arms to help their rotation.

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With Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Jordan Zimmerman, and Mat Latos hitting the free agent market, John Hart should want to sign someone out of the bunch. Samardzija and Latos pitched poorly this season, but that could help the Braves for the upcoming season. By them pitching poorly, they ultimately lost their power in contract negotiations; thus, the Braves would be smart to negotiate with one of them.

Kazmir and Zimmerman will likely demand more money and longer contracts, so they might be out of the question. But with Kazmir being 32 years old, a long contract does not seem imminent. Any one of the options listed above would help a struggling rotation and could help bridge the gap to 2017. Look for John Hart to actively look for pitching this offseason.

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