Title edited at the suggestion of Cavebird
So lately after the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee a lot of people have been debating whether they feel the Braves should make another move. Some feel that we should make a move for a top flight SP (Matt Garza, Zach Greinke, etc.) Others feel that we should make a move for a bat.
I personally feel we should make a move for a bat. I like our rotation as it stands and the only way I would feel like we should make a move for a SP is if someone comes to us wanting to take on Derek Lowe and all but about 5 mil of his contract (I'm looking at you NYY). However if that doesn't happen I don't see the team acquiring a SP. It would be nice to get someone like Matt Garza but we just don't have the money to get him. It would allow Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy to build up some endurance by pitching a full season in AAA and having two insurance arms in case someone goes down but because of money I just don't see it. So let's talk about bats.
Last year this was our lineup
Melky Cabrera - Part of a platoon in LF with DIaz that was supposed to put up at least a .800 OPS together looking at their splits
Martin Prado - Had just dominated after transitioning to a starter.
Chipper Jones - We knew he wouldn't play more than 130 games. What we did <strong>NOT</strong> know was his only asset for half the season would be taking a walk.
Brian McCann - everyone expected nothing less than a strong season from Mac.
Troy Glaus - the 2nd biggest question mark last year. He was coming off a shoulder injury and no one knew how it would affect his power and his swing. If healthy he was almost a lock for 25HR and 80+RBI. He was on pace for 30+ HR and 100 + RBI before his knees gave out on him. He was later replaced by Derrick Lee who started off very slow for us but picked it up and carried the offense starting in September.
Yunel Escobar - had just come off a season where he posted a .800 OPS with 14HR and 76 RBI. Most expected him to get to the 20HR plateau and be a even bigger run producer for the Braves.
Jason Heyward - the biggest question mark last year. He was the top prospect in baseball and there were projections of him doing everything from putting up 10HR with a .700 OPS to putting up 25 HR with a .900 OPS.
Nate McLouth - everyone figured that McLouth struggled a bit because he was adjusting to some new pitchers he might not have seen, new parks, and a new club house. Most expected him to rebound and be a .800OPS type guy again. No one knew that his early struggles in ST would show that he would completely tank the entire season.
Now looking at that list we had about 2 main question marks in Glaus and Heyward. Other than that we expected everyone to contribute and carry this team.
This year its different.
1. No one in that lineup from 2009 gave us any indication that they would post around a .6xx OPS (Alex Gonzalez)
2. The older player coming back from an injury wasn't coming back at age 38 from their 2nd ACL surgery (Chipper Jones).
3. There was not a player projected to be a starter that had just had a season where they hit .190/.298/.322 (Nate McLouth)
4. There is yet another rookie starting on the team and we have no idea how he will perform. Last year the Braves got a .797 combined OPS from their 1B with 19 HR and 95 RBI from their 1B. Freddie Freeman could put up those numbers and he could not. Once again a question mark.
There is really nothing we can do to acquire a top hitting SS so replacing Gonzo is out of the question. Chipper is a Braves legend and they will not go out and replace him unless he absolutely can not play. Which leaves CF and 1B as the easiest places to replace/upgrade offensively. Now Freeman is already said to be the Braves 1B of the future and they might not want to kill his confidence by having him start another year in AAA. I personally wouldn't be THAT opposed to it as 1B would be the easiest place to get a bat via Free Agency or trade.
CF is the only other option however that area is much more limited with options and we would have to pony up some prospects to get a player of high caliber which I wouldn't mind doing just as long as its for the right player and we aren't over paying like crazy.
So as you see this year is a bit different than last year. Yes every team has question marks but the offseason still has about 2 months left and those teams are also making moves to take care of their question marks and this is the best time since prices will be dropping on a lot of players as the season nears.