Almost one year ago the Atlanta Braves traded their former-future star Tommy Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for reliever Jordan Walden. Hanson had clearly seen better days despite his relative youth but Walden was no guaranteed bonus either. What seemed at the time like possibly a decent swap turned perfect for the Braves as Walden was a huge member of the bullpen all season long. They have now signed him to a one year deal to avoid arbitration.
This is a good move for the Braves who have become one of a few teams that are very good at avoiding the arbitration process. Walden however might end up being the only move the Braves will pull off at the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings. Last season they upgraded their roster in a big way before and after the meetings and that appears to be the case this season with almost zero activity going into the final day.
While possibly irritating to some fans, this really isn’t a terrible play for the Braves. The pressure to make a move is higher at the Meetings and sometimes better deals can be had later in the offseason as was the case with Justin Upton one year ago. They still want a veteran starting pitcher and were interested in Roy Halladay before he retired this week.
That probably will give you an idea of the type of pitcher they are looking for while not wanting to give up almost any of their talented young starters at the same time. Worst case scenario for the Braves starting rotation right now is going into the season with five or six extremely talented young starting pitchers. It really could be worse and they are right not to make a move they don’t feel good about.