When I learned recently that Frank Wren picked up Joe Mather from the Cardinals, I wanted to break something. He hit .191 in the majors last year before being sent to the minors where he hacked about .275… sounds like another Chris Woodward or Pete Orr. This move also eludes to the idea that non-tendered possibility Matt Diaz may not be brought back, which terrifies me beyond belief. Word on the grass is that Diaz and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel are next door neighbors and good friends, and the Phils have shown interest in signing my favorite player. If this happens I may sink into a depression that I may not be emotionally prepared to handle.
So, who do the Braves need?
Outfield. Well, we need a center fielder, but since we’re stuck with Nate McClouth’s 6.5mil remaining salary, he’s probably going to start. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope that he turns it around. Unless hell freezes over, look for Heyward in RF. Left field… well, you all know my opinion. According to more important blogs and websites, it’s looking like the Braves are showing interest in several veteran players like Pat Burrell. Next to Diaz, I think the Braves should resign free-agent Eric Hinske and start him in left.
Infield. Freddie Freeman (whom I am now following on Twitter… apparently he likes video games) will get the 1B spot. Braves signed an extension with Alex Gonzalez at SS. So that leaves us with the question… who’s playing second and third? As of right now, Chipper is coming back, so he more than likely will start at third and Martin Prado will move back to second. Even though I love me some Chipper, I wouldn’t mind seeing him retire and have Prado at third and Omar at second. That would be nasty.
Pitching. There’s not a lot of talk about the Braves looking to land another starting pitcher, but with Wren you never know. Lowe, Hanson, Jurrjens, Hudson are your 1 through 4 guys, and it’s looking like Matt Beachy could be number 5. Kris Medlen should return from Tommy John surgery around August, so look for him to bump Beachy out and dominate the universe. As far as the bullpen goes… the Braves are showing interest in landing a veteran closer like they did with Wagner last year. My opinion (which is always right)… the Braves already have some nastiness in Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrell and need no new additions.
Catching. Look for Brian McCann and David Ross to dominate the world of baseball as usual.
As for the big new managerial change; I have mixed feelings. Unlike many Braves fans, I have been ready for Bobby’s exit since ’07. I don’t know enough about Freddi to make a public opinion yet. I’ve read that he has a more small-ball and aggressive coaching style (which I love), and I’ve also read that he is extremely conservative like Bobby (which I don’t love). So, we’ll see. I am happy, however, that Pendleton is no longer the hitting coach.
Well, there’s my 2 cents, which in foreign markets is worth at least a dollar. Recent history has shown Braves fans that the unexpected can happen, so look for Frank Wren to land some more “who the heck is that guy?” deals. Knock on wood.
Don’t stop the chop.