The Atlanta Braves are looking for one more outfielder and a lead-off man in one as the MLB Winter Meetings rev up today. Braves GM Frank Wren has already made the B.J. Upton deal and sent Tommy Hanson packing for a good reliever and roughly $4 million extra to go after his next target. The names that have been circling around for them are Shane Victorino, Cody Ross, Angel Pagan and Justin Upton. Let’s take a look at the options.
Angel Pagan is the easiest one to explain as he resigned with the San Francisco Giants. Then there were three. Cody Ross is a solid player with good numbers but lacks the qualities for the lead-off role. The Braves could shift things around and have someone else lead-off if they brought him in but would probably rather a traditional lead-off guy take that spot.
Justin Upton has all the tools and is younger than anyone else in the fight. The only problem with him is that he is still under contract and would require a trade to bring in. The Arizona Diamondbacks want a shortstop in return for him and the Braves aren’t willing to part with theirs. That’s a pretty big issue to overcome.
Shane Vicorino has the numbers and ability to fill the role perfectly. With all of the names and teams flying around him the Braves might wish for another option to avoid a bidding war. Still Wren would be hard-pressed to find a better man for the job. He and Ross are fairly similar and would both work well but with the man needing to fill the lead-off role specifically, the Braves either need Victorino or to come up with an attractive trade offer that doesn’t involve someone they don’t want to see go in order to get Justin Upton.
In the end the answer is going to be Victorino. Everyone hates bidding wars but if it solidifies their outfield for the next four or five years, the Braves would be well served by bidding away.