As we digest the aftermath of the R.A. Dickey trade, it is clear that the New York Mets are looking to build their 2013 squad with youth. A natural question to keep an eye on for the Mets is to see what their division rivals are doing in the offseason. For each of the next four weeks, the Mets 101 staff will break down a division rival's offseason plans and see what moves they are (or aren't) making to get ready for 2013. We will continue our series with a look at the Atlanta Braves.
Free Agents Entering the Offseason:
OF Jeff Baker, SP Miguel Batista, CF Michael Bourn, RF Matt Diaz, RP Chad Durbin, 3B Eric Hinske, LF Reed Johnson, 3B Chipper Jones, 1B Lyle Overbay, C David Ross, SP Ben Sheets
Areas of Concern:
OF, 3B, SS
What They've Done:
What's Left to Settle:
The Braves most glaring vacancy comes at the hot corner, where Chipper Jones will not be standing on Opening Day as Braves fans have grown to expect over the past 15 years. Martin Prado can play third, in addition to his outfield abilities and looks to be in the picture according to Bravos GM Frank Wren who said “Martin Prado can continue to play left field … and he can go to third base, so we have some flexibility with the way our roster is constructed.” The Braves also have part-timers Juan Francisco and Paul Janish under contract who can play third, so as Wren said, the team has options if they don't bring in any true starting 3B via trade or free agency.
Are They Better or Worse:
The Braves definitely look strong once again heading into 2013, the losses of Michael Bourn and Chipper not withstanding. B.J. Upton can be a huge asset if he performs to the level of his massive contract and the Braves lineup holds enough depth that they should be able to find some combination at SS/3B/LF that can produce both offensively and defensively. The bullpen is bulletproof again going into 2013 and the starting rotation is good enough to keep them in most games, although the .500 record of their 3-5 starters in 2012 could be reason for concern.
Projected Opening Day Lineup:
Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy
Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Jordan Walden, Cristhian Martínez, Luis Avilán, Randall Delgado
Tags: Atlanta Braves, B.J. Upton, Baseball, Chipper Jones, Gerald Laird, Martin Prado, Miguel Batista, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Reed Johnson, Sizing up the Competition
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