In Year Two of a rebuilding project and only a few known building blocks, it is going to be hard to convince a superstar free agent to come to town. Unfortunately, that is where the Bravos find themselves this winter. In years past, the Braves have been able to convince some guys to take a few dollars less to wear the tomahawk, but we also had an all world rotation and were in the playoffs every year.
The Braves do have a top five pick that would be protected, if I understand the draft correctly. So why not be aggressive going after a marquee name?
What Do We Have:
Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons will anchor first and short. Nick Markakis will occupy one of the corner outfield slots (most likely right). Hector Olivera will get a majority of the time at third. Cameron Maybin will either be traded or will start out in center (or left if Mallex Smith makes it up). Jace Peterson will get the first crack at second. Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn will have some role or be moved.
I imagine a few of the guys listed above will be moved at some point this winter. I decided to not really dive into bench players because they will probably be filled by guys already listed, or low cost farm hands.
With what I have listed and consulting our good friend Ryan C’s article at Tomahawk Take it appears we will have around $30 million to spend after arbitration. (That is assuming our payroll is around $107-110 million.)
What Do We Need/What Will We Do:
Personally I would look at four areas. 1) A corner outfielder with pop 2) A starting pitcher 3) A catcher 4) bullpen arms.
I know we are loaded with young pitching, so going after a starter may seem illogical on the surface. However, pulling in an ace or a good number two or three would allow some of these guys to develop more, take pressure off of them and the bullpen, or make them trade bait for a bat.
If the Braves are serious about contending in 2017, one would figure the majority of the 2017 team would need to be in place by the end of 2016.
I went to get my haircut and just missed Coppy getting a straight shave. Here is what my barber was told.
The Braves have been pretty clear they are not in on Jason Heyward or Justin Upton. Yoenis Cespedes would be a great addition, but I have a feeling the Mets are going all in on him. Alex Gordon is probably going to ask for six years $110 million. Gerardo Parra will probably ask for half of that.
Smitty’s Barber Says: The Braves look to upgrade via trade.
Smitty’s Barber Says: The Braves sign Wieters.
With Grilli and Simmons coming off an injury and Vizcaino as the early favorite to close, the key roles will be setup men. Most of the roles will be filled by a displaced starter or a farm hand.
Of course, all of this could change with a single trade or an outstanding winter ball performance.
As I mentioned above, if the Braves are serious about 2017, we will see a majority of that team on the field by 2016 season’s end. I think we will make some splashes in the free agent market, but the majority of our moves may be by trade.