I just wanted to say happy holidays to everyone and I hope you all have an amazing weekend. I hope everything you wished for is under your tree and you have a great time with your family. We all know some people got everything they wanted and more, cough, cough Yankees, cough. Just remember that the holidays are about spending time with your family and loving life, not presents. Presents are great and all, but family is better.
What do I want for the holidays you ask? The Braves to not suck next season. They may not land any big names like Derek Lowe or Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, but I think they can get some mid level guys that will contribute to the team.
I think signing Will Ohman would be a great piece to have come back. He isn’t Brian Fuentes but he is going to come a lot cheaper if they sign him before Fuentes lands somewhere else. Ohman was great last year as a lefty out of the bullpen and I think the Braves need to bring him back.
Ohman will be a solid piece to help anchor down the bullpen which I believe is the strength of the team. Mike Gonzalez is an excellent closer and Rafael Soriano is another closer caliber pitcher that will set up Gonzalez.
Peter Moylan is a great right handed pitcher that I think will come back from elbow surgery and dominate again. The Braves will have 3 players that could close on a lot of teams and that is their strength. Blaine Boyer is also a solid reliever but was just overworked to the point where his game suffered greatly. I think this boils back down to the weak starting pitching last year.
The starting pitching issue I think can be somewhat solved with Jon Garland. I know, I know, he isn’t a great pitcher with a sub 3 ERA. What he does do is eat innings and keep the team in the game. That is what the Braves need. Garland and Javier Vazquez will night in and night out go and throw 6 or 7 solid innings so when the bullpen does need to be used they are fresh and on top of their game.
The Braves have some young talent like Charlie Morton and Tommy Hanson. They are going to stumble in games and need the bullpen to bail them out. That bullpen will be fresh after they get a few days off after Vazquez and Garland pitch. Morton pitched hurt most of the season which caused a lot of his bad numbers. Hanson has been dominant but we cannot count on him to do the same at the major league level. If we do we are setting ourselves up for disaster, again.
I honestly don’t think the Braves will win the World Series next year. I don’t think they will make the playoffs. I hope they do, more than anything. But unless Atlanta lands a few more players and plays out of their minds it doesn’t look good. The Cubs, Mets, Phillies, and Dodgers are all going to be really good. So that means the Braves have to be better. Hopefully they can at least make it competitive.
Be safe and happy holidays,
Hot Stove talk from around the MLB.
A.J. Burnett – Burnett has been offered a deal from the Atlanta Braves. It is supposed to be worth about $15MM per year. Frank Wren says it doesn’t include a guaranteed 5th year but would most likely have an option for one. Wren will push Burnett to sign before C.C. Sabathia. If Sabathia doesn’t land with the Yankees they will most certainly turn to Burnett.
Jack Wilson – Wilson has been involved in trade talks with several teams. The newest is the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A. is looking for a replacement for Rafael Furcal who will be leaving via free agency. The Detroit Tigers have also been involved with their search for a replacement for Edgar Renteria. I see the Dodgers making the trade as they can eat some of Wilson’s contract. They may not like it but they are more likely at this point.
Derek Lowe – Lowe has drawn interest from a handful of teams. One team could possibly be the World Champion Phillies. The Yankees and Red Sox are also expected to make offers to Lowe. The Red Sox I believe are the favorites at this point as both sides have mutual interest and Lowe has a desire to return to Boston.
Khalil Greene – Earlier today Greene was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Greene was traded in the Padres‘ attempt to dump salary. The departure of Greene could increase the chances that Jake Peavy can stay. Greene is coming off a very disappointing season in which he hit just above .200 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.
Jake Peavy – The Chicago Cubs are apparently still in talks with the Padres for a deal involving Jake Peavy. The Cubs have tried to bring in a third team that would supply them with the prospects required to land Peavy. Almost all of the reports have come out of San Diego and not Chicago. This means that Padres GM Kevin Towers could in fact be exaggerating the progress of the trade. From a prospect standpoint the Braves put the best deal on the table but pulled out of the running. This could be Towers’ attempt to lure the Braves back.
Adam Dunn – Dunn was not offered arbitration which makes him a free agent. Dunn has not drawn much interest outside of the Washington Nationals. The Nationals can put out a competitive offer but it is unlikely Dunn would accept. The deal would most likely be in the $15MM per year range. The Nationals would be bringing in a big piece that wouldn’t be surrounded by much so it doesn’t make much sense on Dunn’s part. The Nationals have also asked about Zack Greinke from the Royals but don’t have the prospects to land him.
I would like to shed some light on some realistic, and some plain crazy ideas that have been floating around the Atlanta Braves site.
First off, the Peavy trade. People say “trade Jo-Jo Reyes, Scott Thorman, Kelly Johnson, and Chuck James”. You need value to get value. You cannot keep saying to trade the players you don’t like for an ace. If you don’t like them because they aren’t good what makes you think San Diego will like them? They won’t. If you want quality players you have to give up quality players. Both sides will be hurt at first but it should even out if it is a fair trade. Atlanta will have to give up a potentially great player for Peavy, get over it.
People say start Jordan Schafer he is amazing. He has done well in a few Mexican League games. He has not even made it to AAA yet so why should he be the starter for Atlanta. If he proves it then yea, he should start. The best player should start regardless. He is not going to be handed the job like many of you want. Josh Anderson and Gregor Blanco have much more experience and at this point deserve it more than he does.
Something that has been bothering me is that people want Edger Renteria and Rafael Furcal back. Edger Renteria is 33 and has slowed down. He was great with Atlanta, but the guy is going to hit into more double plays than Manny Ramirez when he doesn’t get his contract. Not to mention that he cant get to as many balls anymore. He was great, but bringing back a over the hill shortstop will not help Atlanta. As for Furcal, he isn’t exactly young anymore. Also he is going to want at least 10 million which Atlanta can spend elsewhere.
Finally about the left field situation. PAT BURRELL AND ADAM DUNN WILL CAUSE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. Both are strikeout prone. They are all or nothing players, everyone knows this. You would be adding at least 130 strikeouts to a lineup that has 2 players that struck out over 100 times last year and 1 that had 99. They will kill rallies in between the occasional double or home run. They will not be worth the trouble. If you disagree, convince Frank Wren to sign one of them and we will see who is right at the All-Star break. Matt Holliday or Jason Bay would be so much better it is almost not fair.