Atlanta Braves New Year’s Resolutions
Atlanta Braves New Year's Resolutions
The 2012 year didn’t have a great ending for the Atlanta Braves but for the most part it was magical. The swansong of the legendary Chipper Jones was nothing short of breathtaking. There were late inning heroics and a late run for the NL East title that made every fan proud. Sadly the season ended with a terrible game-costing call that ruined late momentum and the chance the Braves had to come back in the Wild Card playoff game.
All that means is that as Chipper gets ready for retirement the Braves have a lot to work towards to make sure 2013 is magical with a happily ever after ending instead of the sputtering one they had this past year. To make that happen there are a few things the team should get done as New Year’s Resolutions.
Chipper cannot be replaced anywhere on the field, in the locker room or in the dugout. The game must go on however and the Braves must move on to another option or combo of options to help make up for the loss of a hall-of-famer. Some of this will center on outfield improvements and some of it will include moves that will be needed in the batting order. All in all, it looks like it could be another great year in Atlanta. The things in this list, these resolutions, could be the difference between magic and happily ever after and the big bad wolf blowing the Braves house down.
5 - Figure Out Left Field
From the beginning of the off-season the left field position has been an open question for the Atlanta Braves. Sadly for those fans that wanted questions answered, this spot still remains in jeopardy. Word has been that they might stick Martin Prado out there and even possibly move him back and forth in a platoon type system. Whatever they decide, it would be nice if they decided it quickly after New Year ’s Day.
4 - Leave Martin Prado in One Position
I’m not even going to say that he has to be the replacement for Chipper Jones. Really that doesn’t matter as much as leaving him somewhere all year long. Martin Prado performs better skipping positions that most players in MLB do with consistency in their fielding spot. Still one has to wonder how much better he would do if he knew where he was jogging to when he grabbed his glove. Sure he performs fine hopping around but think of how amazing of a breakout year he could have if he just plays one position.
3 - Chose Fifth Starter Wisely
Right now the front runner appears to be Julio Teheran. If things go as planned he will be the Braves fifth starter in all likelihood. That should be a good choice for both the staff and Teheran himself. He is young but has great stuff. There is no reason to think he wouldn’t be a fine fifth starter. The only problem that could arise is if he were to get traded. They have Delgado that could fill that role as well but mainly they need to chose wisely and make sure they have a chance to win when the fifth man runs out.
2 - Get From Starters to Craig Kimbrel
Craig Kimbrel is widely thought of to be one of the best, if not the best closer in all of MLB. If the Braves hand him a lead going into the ninth inning, their chances of winning are pretty high. The bullpen has undergone a few changes as is usually the case each off-season. For the Braves it is key to ensure they can arrange the right collection of men to bridge the gap between the starters and Kimbrel. If they do that successfully, this could be an even better year for the pitching staff than 2012
1 - Stay Healthy All Season
The outfield is shaping up okay and there are a few questions in the infield. The main thing that could trip up the Braves success this year is their lack of significant depth. They need to stay healthy to win. Paramount on this list is Brian McCann. It is vital that the coaching staff and management ensure that McCann get enough rest when he needs it throughout the main early part of the season. They need him healthy at the end of the year big time. Also huge on the stay healthy list is Martin Prado. A few years ago his injury effectively ended the Braves season.