Now What?…Again

Well, the Braves lost the bidding for Rafael Furcal on questionable acts by his agent. I’m not going to turn that whole debacle into a huge thing. It is what it is.

Rafael FurcalThat move could have opened things up for the Braves. Furcal could have played second base and Kelly Johnson could have been used as a trade piece. The Cardinals are apparently interested in Johnson, but I don’t really see the Braves moving him. I heard rumors about Johnson and a pitcher going to St. Louis for Ryan Ludwick, but that deal is dead. Rick Ankiel is a possibility, but he is left handed so I doubt the Braves would pull the trigger.

I was really looking forward to having Furcal back. He provided the speed at the top of the lineup that the Braves have lacked since he left. He was a great guy in the clubhouse but obviously things weren’t going to work out. I blame a lot of that whole signing on Furcal himself, if he wanted to come back to the Braves he would have. I think he is just greedy at this point. He passed up going somewhere he could have been really happy for a bigger contract.

A minor signing I would like to point out is that of Greg Norton. He may not be a super star but he is a switch-hitting pinch hitter that can knock in runs when they are needed. He can play the corner outfield positions and first base. He was a clutch hitter for the Braves after they signed him. I was hoping they would bring him back and they did. Next I want Atlanta to bring back Will Ohman. It may take more than they wanted but we all know the Braves have been saving up as they have done almost nothing this off season. Ohman is a top notch lefty that will come a lot cheaper than Brian Fuentes.

Jason Heyward

I still think the Braves should take a shot at Pat Burrell. I was not high on him at the beginning of the off season but the Braves have cornered themselves into this position. Burrell could be a short term solution before Jason Heyward is ready for Atlanta. Burrell is a right handed, power bat that Atlanta has been looking for. I like Jermaine Dye better, but I would think the Braves would have traded for him at the same time as Javier Vazquez. It just makes sense.

Jordan SchaferIf Atlanta went into the season today, I would be hoping for 3rd place in the division, at best. They don’t have a power-hitting outfielder. They don’t have an ace. They don’t have an established lead off hitter. The outfielder may not be needed if Jeff Francoeur can bounce back, while Jair Jurrjens is no ace. He has the potential to be one, but he isn’t one now. Josh Anderson has the potential to be a legitimate lead off hitter, but I want to see him do it over the course of an entire season. I would almost rather take my chances with Jordan Schafer, who can be a 5-tool player. Gorkys Hernandez also has the potential to be a 5-tool player, but I think Schafer has a little more power.

I actually like Atlanta’s bullpen. Mike Gonzalez is great at the end while Peter Moylan is an excellent set up man. I would like Rafael Soriano to be the set up man, but he has yet to prove he can stay healthy. I had thoughts that he may be faking his injuries since the trainers couldn’t find anything wrong. Every time he said he was healthy, bam, he is hurt again. I was actually beyond frustrated with him. Blaine Boyer is not as bad as people think, he just was overworked.

If things stay the way they are I think the Braves can compete, but not win anything big. I’m not going to sit here and tell myself the Braves are a lot better than they are. I’m not going to sit here and tell all of you the Braves are better than they are. Right now they are mediocre at best. If they stay pat, 85 wins is a good season.

Over and out,

~Ben    

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5 comments

  1. juliasrants

    I hate it when a player only looks at the $$$ amount when making a decision on where to play. That’s why I tip my hat to Dustin Pedroia. He could have made more money else where – but to him – “Boston is his home”! There should be more like him!

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  2. Darion

    We aren’t as bad as our record showed last year. If it wasn’t for injuries and horrible luck (one run games and Frenchy), we would have been in the playoffs. We can still have a good season with our roster right now, but it’s very unlikely. Like I said before, we are 1-2 players away from being good again.
    http://darion.mlblogs.com/

  3. hardballblog

    Yea, I really like players that will take less to play near their hometown or play where they know they will be happy. I know the Braves had a lot of injuries last year, but they have them again this year. Hudson won’t be back for a long time, we don’t know if Smoltz can even pitch. Glavine is probably going to retire. I just can’t see this team going to the playoffs or even further. Do I hope they do? Of course. Do I think they will? No.
    http://hardballblog.mlblogs.com/

  4. PWHjort

    I like the Norton signing. I also agree with you that our bullpen is strong. We don’t have an elite closer, but we’ve got 4 legitimate set-up men in any other bullpen: Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Peter Moylan, and Jeff Bennett. If we re-sign Ohman that would make 5 legitimate set-up men, that’s a luxury. Carlyle is effective in long-relief and Blaine Boyer, like you said, is better than most people think. He needs to be cut off at 60 innings, but he is better than most people think. The Braves won’t make the playoffs, but they’re trying to build a winning club for 2010, which they’re doing a good job of. I think they should just save their money this season then go grab John Lackey and Matt Holiday next off-season. Gorkys isn’t close to MLB ready. Schafer is though and he’ll probably be an opening-day LF or CF.

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