If the Braves plan to regain their dominant status in the NL they will need to stay away from five to six year deals and simply bridge a gap to our youth. With that said it will be almost impossible to get an ACE without a five year deal. IF I'm Wren I play the FA market as follows:
Tazawa is an important piece to the future. Do not let that go.
Make Sheets an offer now. Don't let the FA market dry up and allow him to get a better contract. Sheets is an ACE. All pitchers on FA have red flags. Lowe is old and his stats have been padded by the Dodger stadium. Dempster could be a fluke and will demand a five year contract. Burnett has the same injury risk factors as Sheets but will cost even more. He will also demand a longer contract. Make Sheets an offer now.
If we don't sign Hampton then replace him with either Randy Johnson or Wolf. Do not sign two of these guys.
Sign Will Ohman back and don't think about the Pen again unless it involves a trade for a Grady Sizemore type OF or controllable Young Pitching.
At this point I believe your done with the FA market until there are steals at the end. So at this point you need an OF and one more starting pitcher.
Trade kelly Johnson while his value is still good for an OF like Ludwick. Fill the OF need with Kelly Johnson. Back fill KJ internally.
Now your rotation looks like this
- Hampton/ Randy Johnson/Wolf
Remember you still have the option of bringing back Glavine, Smoltz. It's December now so Scott Boras is off his high horse on Oliver Perez. Sign this younger left hander for 3/4 years and keep in mind he is your lefty arm in the rotation after Hampton and Glavine are gone in 2010. If FA has no good steals at pitching then you hunt down Sonnansinte, Ian Snell, etc.... type pitcher and trade. You have given up hardly any of your prospects this off season so you have some bargaining chips.
Wren sign Norton type guy and sit back. You have youth and controllable contract for 2010 Rotation
- Oliver Perez/Sonnanstine/Ian Snell
Your lineup looks like this
- Schafer CF
- Yunel SS
- Chipper 3B
- Mcann C
- Ludwick LF
- Kotchman 1B
- Franceor RF
- Prada 2B
You also still have major talent in your farm system because you were smart in the winter of 2008. Your entire organization is young and you have major leverage in trade market. Sit back and enjoy your in position for substained dominance again.