The last time the Atlanta Braves made news with a big free agent signing was probably back when Greg Maddux signed decades ago. In the years between then and now the Braves have been accustomed to finding what works for less. Whether signing the right man at the right time or making the perfect trade, they kept the famous winning streak going without breaking the bank or bringing in many outside players. At the 2012 MLB Winter Meetings however, things for the Braves look to be hopping.
The desire to sign B.J. Upton is pretty well common knowledge by now. If that doesn’t get done before the meetings, Frank Wren, Braves GM will be certainly looking to close it then. What of the other needs the team has though? Reportedly Wren is focusing mainly on getting two quality outfielders. Martin Prado would then take Chipper Jones‘ vacated spot at the hot corner. Something that hasn’t really been said but is clearly true is the desire not only for quality outfielders but more specifically a quality outfielder with a quality right handed bat coming along with it. So then who are the candidates to fill the other outfield spot for the Braves?
There are a few options. Shane Victorino is an attractive option for them with his speed and ability to hit in the leadoff spot in the order. Cody Ross’ name has been tossed around a little for those paying attention and would be another good right handed option. A very interesting long shot might present itself if the Arizona Diamondbacks are willing to make a deal with Justin Upton, B.J. Upton’s brother. The Braves would have to send some nice prospects to get him but with his youth and budding talent he would be a welcome presence as well.
Either way they go, if Wren does his normal stellar job, the Braves should end up with an outfield that provides solid fielding and two reliable right handed bats for the line-up. What Justin Upton gives up in experience he gains in potential but getting him would cost money and prospects. Victorino is a little older but still has legs to spin in the lead-off position as well as running down balls in the outfield. Cody Ross is a solid all around option that might give more in the way of batting average and OPS than the other options. All in all the Braves could have a really good week when the meetings come to an end. Wren has enough money to make the team a very strong contender in 2013 and beyond. Time will tell if he delivers or if a great looking outfield slips through his fingers.