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End of break, start of offseason...

posted Oct 26, 2009, 6:56 PM by R. Brett Rosson   [ updated Oct 26, 2009, 6:57 PM ]
    Sorry it has took a while for me to make another post. I got caught up in school work. Well the Braves proved something at the end of the season. This team has what it takes to win. Now they need to do it more consistently.

    So it's the offseason. This could be a very key offseason for the Braves. They had a great one last year and revamped the starting rotation and now only have a few questions to deal with there. There are a lot of rumors flying around these days of whats going to happen so I will get started with my predictions (wishes).

DREAM OFFSEASON

    Let's go ahead and start with Tim Husdon. They are currently in talks with him to get him back. There is no doubt that he wants to be in Atlanta. His family just built their dream home in nearby Auburn, Alabama. He and his wife are big in the community and have a lot going on. He has already said he would give the Braves a "hometown" discount. Let's just hope Wren will not completely low ball him, but I have a feeling Tim Hudson will be in a Braves uniform for the next couple of years.
    What impact will that have on the rotation? That is where this offseason gets tricky. If Huddy is brought back, that would give 6 legit starters. Is that a problem? Definitely not. It's more of a godsend. It gives us options, and if the cards are dealt right. This signing could be BIG for the Braves. Ok, let's break down the options. If Huddy is brought back, it isnt for a bullpen spot. So here is the rotation (in my eyes).
  1. Javier Vazquez
  2. Tim Hudson
  3. Jair Jurrjens
  4. Derek Lowe/Kenshin Kawakami
  5. Tommy Hanson
    Why did I put Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami (KK) in the number 4 spot? That is the area of the rotation that I think will be looked closely at. Derek Lowe had an off year as far as ERA. KK performed well but as we saw at the end of the season he is most likely to wind up in the bullpen. Now here comes the options, there is a lot of talk that the Braves are getting a feel in the trade market for either of the two. Obviously the more desirable of the two would be the proven MLB veteran Lowe, but his contract may scare suitors away.
    NEEDS: (1)There is an obvious need at first base. With the trading of Casey Kotchman for Adam Laroche, you have a void to fill. I personally think they need to sign Adam Laroche to a 2-3 year contract. The spark he supplied at the end of the season is beyond replaceable. He would be perfect placeholder until Freddie Freeman is ready to go. (2) The 2009 Braves outfield was one of the most least productive outfields in the majors. Center field is pretty set in stone with Nate McLouth. Matt Diaz proved last year that he needs to get a shot at the everyday position. What about the other corner position? Jason Heyward might end up being the guy, but is he the guy now? Should they use the "trade bait" mentioned before to go after a big right handed slugger? I think this is the route they will choose. Who? Here's my blockbuster deal.
    Braves get:
        Nelson Cruz - .260/.321/33 homers/76 rbis
    Rangers get:
        Kenshin Kawakami
        Christian Betancourt (C)
Christian Betancourt is the number 4 prospect in the Braves organization. He is 18 and could be the catcher of the future for the Rangers. All in all the trade would be great for both teams. The Rangers are in need of pitching and Kenshin would be a great fit. This is in no way a rumor from the Braves. It's just what I think should happen. (3) With the Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano becoming free agents, this leaves a void in the back end. I think Soriano will be retained because he will realize that his late season antics wont help his free agency. If they dont trade Kenshin, he may be a option. The Braves also have a few guys within the organization that can step up and take the spot. Craig Kembrell is in the minors and if he continues to impress he could end up being a great reliever for the Braves. He has upper 90's to triple digit stuff with an out slider which as we know is the makings for a great closer.

25 Man Roster

Lineup:
1. Nate Mclouth CF
2. Martin Prado 2B

3. Chipper Jones 3B
4. Nelson Cruz RF
5. Brian McCann C
6. Yunel Escobar SS
7. Adam Laroche 1B
8. Matt Diaz LF

Bench:
Omar Infante - Util INF/OUT
Brooks Conrad - Util INF/Pinch Hitter
Ryan Church - Util OUT
Brandon Jones - Util OUT (just to start the season)
David Ross - C

Starting Rotation
1. Javier Vazquez
2. Tim Hudson
3. Jair Jurrjens
4. Derek Lowe
5. Tommy Hanson

Bullpen
Eric O'Flaherty - LH Specialist
Peter Moylan - Set-up
Kris Medlen - Long Relief
Rafael Soriano - Closer
Craig Kimbrell - Set-up/ Closer
Boone Logan - RP
Buddy Carlyle
- RP

With this roster, the Braves would easily make the playoffs.  So I guess we will wait and see what Wren will do.

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