The Atlanta Braves will be spending this off-season. What positions and players should the Braves focus on acquiring?
The Atlanta Braves are heading into the off-season feeling more optimistic than they have in a long while. The Braves finished out the final two months of the season in great fashion scoring in bunches and leading the league in several categories for the final two months.
They have been notorious sellers for the past few seasons selling off their franchise players and almost anyone who had been acquired by the former general manager. The two big exceptions to that rule have been Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman.
Freeman and Teheran both had their names swirling in the trade market for several seasons. The Braves opted to build around both of the young stars as opposed to cashing in either for a pay day in prospects. Their decision is starting to pay off, both Teheran and Freeman took big steps forward this season and look to be ready to lead next years team as the respective ace of staff and best hitter in the lineup.
This off-season is going to look much different for the Atlanta Braves. They will be headed into the off-season as spenders for the first time in recent memory. Their current roster looks to be solid offensively but there are still a few holes that the Braves will need to fill if they hope to compete in 2017 and beyond.
The most obvious hole for the Braves is the lack of quality pitching that the Braves seem to have on hand. Julio Teheran seems to be the only for sure arm in the lineup the rest will be filled in through out spring training. It sounds as if the Braves are hesitant to give up any big prospect names. With that in mind the Braves may opt to add two or three quality veteran arms to compete for spots or to fill spots behind Teheran.
Rich Hill will be the most popular name in the starting pitching market and may be one that the Braves decide to look at. After Hill the list grows thin though there are several bounce back players the Braves could target and trade if the season were to go sour.
Bartolo Colon is scheduled to hit the market as well and a player that the Braves have shown interest in the past. The problem for the Braves would be convincing Colon to leave the Mets where he has had so much success. Jeremy Hellickson, Ivan Nova, and Doug Fister are a few other notable names that the Braves could target to help fill in the rotation.
After addressing their rotation the Braves next priority will be looking at the catching market both through free agency and possible trades. As posted here before Brian McCann appears to be a good fit but the problem of his salary may be a deciding factor for a cheap Atlanta club regardless of the fact they will be in spending mode.
The free agent market for catchers appears to be rather thin and could force the Braves to overpay for a light hitting catcher. For the few Braves fans who believe Anothy Recker is a viable option take a look at his stats during his six year career, the thirty-three year old will not solve the Braves catching issues.
Matt Wieters is scheduled to hit the market but there are concerns about his health and a long term contract in the National League. Nick Hundley and Wilson Ramos are the next best options, Ramos is headed for surgery and rehab this off-season and Hundley set to move on from the friendly Coors field safe to say none of these options seem to be especially appealing.
That leaves Brian McCann as the Braves best option and a deal that they could look to get done early on this winter. If the Braves can pull McCann away from the Yankees he would give them a great platoon option with Tyler Flowers as well as a voice in the clubhouse.
No question, this off-season should be an interesting one for Atlanta Braves fans as the team finally switches direction. They will be looking to build a competing roster for the first time in a long time and get this franchise back on track.