Filling the void

Nick SwisherWith all the acquisitions made this off season the Braves still have two voids to fill in the outfield. Jeff Francoeur seems to be entrenched in right field for at least the 2009 season which leaves two spots open. Atlanta has shown interest in both Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady, though Swisher appears to be the favorite.

Nady is the superior player both offensive and defensively but Swisher would come at a bigger discount. Nady also happens to be a Scott Boras client and will hit free agency after the 2009 season. Jason Heyward could be Nady’s replacement in the likely hood that he departs, but there is no guarantee that he will be ready in time.

Heyward is already a tremendous talent but Atlanta does not in anyway want to rush him. He has been invited to this year’s spring training but is not expected to make the roster.

Atlanta’s beat writer Mark Bowman has said that the Orlando Hudson idea died about a month ago. Atlanta let the idea go over defensive worries. I don’t really buy that idea as before last year he won consecutive Gold Glove awards. Hudson was also injured for part of last year so that may have effected his range factor, which has provided concerns for Atlanta. The signing of Hudson could have made Kelly Johnson expendable and led to a possible trade for Ryan Ludwick.

Gregor BlancoI would like a trade for Swisher if Atlanta didn’t need to include too much value. It would take less to land Swisher than Nady, but Swisher is also under contract for $22.5MM over the next 3 seasons. Swisher had a down year last year but did hit 24 home runs. Swisher is also a switch hitter which gives him a lot of value to the Braves.

If Atlanta can’t land Swisher it looks like Matt Diaz, Brandon Jones and Gregor Blanco could be battling for the spot in left field. Center field is also up for grabs with Blanco, Josh Anderson and Jordan Schafer all fighting for the spot.

When this is all said and done I think Atlanta can land Swisher and that Jordan Schafer will win the starting spot in center field. Schafer is just as good defensively as Anderson and Blanco but can provide more offense. Atlanta was in desperate need of offensive production from the outfield last year and Schafer is the most likely to provide it out of the three.

Till next time,



  1. hardballblog

    I also agree that Josh Anderson is very promising. I love his blazing speed. Atlanta has lacked speed ever since Rafael Furcal left for Los Angeles. And no problem, you deserve the love on the side bar. And Julia, I think the Yankees want to deal either Swisher or Nady. Nady is the better player but he could just end up back in New York next season. He is going to ask for a ton of money and no one will want to pay that. Swisher, who isn’t quite as good, is a lot more affordable for teams while having a great upside. Swisher can also play first base which Nady has never played. Swisher is also a switch hitter so he is very versatile. In the end Swisher could end up being better than Nady. You just never know.

  2. Elizabeth D.

    Good luck landing Swisher. If you got him you’d still have to pay that entire contract right? Scott Boras is impossible to deal with, too bad a lot of his clients are so good! Interesting how a bunch of ’em are still unsigned.
    I see your point about Hudson. Just because he had one season where he was injured doesn’t mean he’s a terrible player. Just look at Mike Lowell. Hudson would be a great pickup!

  3. hardballblog

    Thanks Elizabeth. As far as I know the Braves would take his contract but with the value he could bring to the team I think he would come at a reasonable price. Jane, the first name that comes to mind is Kris Medlen. He was one of five top prospects invited to spring training by Atlanta. He did well in the Arizona Fall League and I have heard nothing but good things. Beyond him no names come to mind but I do know Atlanta’s farm system is filled with pitching depth. New York would definitely get value in exchange for Swisher.

  4. PWHjort

    Schafer will get the lion’s share of the at-bats in Center this year. Whether or not he makes the opening day roster (I hope he doesn’t so his arbitration and free agency years are pushed back 1), is up in the air, but he’ll get most of the at-bats in Center. Anderson will spend some time in Center and a lot on the bench or late-inning defensive substitutions for our new LF.

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