The Braves don’t normally sign major free agents. Even in the flush days, they signed only one really premium free agent (but that one was a doozy) and three kind of second-tier guys (Terry Pendleton, Brian Jordan, and Andres Galarraga), plus a number of lower-level guys. The preference has been to build from within and make trades when major acquisitions are needed. If the Braves do try to address the left field situation via a free agent, there are a few options. Concentrating mostly on righthanded hitters who seem to have something left…
Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth probably aren’t among them. Crawford certainly will get big money, more than he’s worth, on the free agent market. It’s just possible that Scott Boras has overreached on Werth and will wind up taking a more reasonable contract, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Also, since the Braves refused to go after Adam Dunn when he was younger, cheaper, and more mobile, it’s very unlikely they would go after him now and move him back to left field, where he’s no longer even good enough that you can close your eyes and hope. Manny Ramirez is also out, because he is insane and Fredi doesn’t need that in his first year.
Pat Burrell is a maybe. He’s also a poor left fielder (despite some good metrics in his half-season in San Francisco) and another guy that the Braves didn’t go after when he was younger and more mobile. Magglio Ordonez is a big name with a big option that won’t get picked up. At 37 and coming off an injury-plagued season, he could be in the Braves’ price range, and they have been interested in him in the past. He probably still has more power than anyone on the Braves’ current roster. Vladimir Guerrero is creaky and a shadow of his former self, but if the Rangers don’t pick up his ($9 million) option, I’d be really tempted to go after him. He played only 18 games in the field in 2010, up from two in 2009.
And then there’s Andruw. Andruw’s seeming partial rebound in 2010 is a park illusion; he hit .215/.314/.415 in road games. I love the guy, but I have to pass.