Check out this excerpt from an article out today around the Braves off-season situation. I find a three year deal for Furcal pretty ridiculous thought (gotta be hard feelings there) but obviously would love to see Quentin come over. Definitely didn't see an Andruw shout out coming, and a bandaid like that doesn't seem to make any sense...
Which is why Furcal would make for an ideal solution. Between a markdown for his injury history, his age (already 34), and his willingness to take a three-year deal during his previous free agency after the 2008 season, he might be a tidy fit into Atlanta’s infield and budget. Paired up with Bourn atop Fredi Gonzalez’s lineup would also give Atlanta some nice potential for basepaths havoc and good OBPs in front of their boppers. Admittedly, Furcal’s coming off a season where he produced his lowest walk rate (7.6 percent) since 2002. And Bourn’s 2011 walk rate similarly plummeted from just shy of 10 to 7.3 percent. But both hitters have done better, and Furcal’s .240 BABIP was the real OBP-sapping development, and that shouldn’t last.
If anything of this starts getting the Liberty execs squawking over the expense, all’s not lost. GM Frank Wren’s roster arms him with considerable freedom of action. Because of that depth in young pitching talent, he can afford to dangle Jurrjens in front of teams disenchanted by a free-agent market overstocked on recently injured thirtysomethings. The Braves don’t have to deal Jurrjens, but they can see what the market for him might be.
Similarly, because Martin Prado’s a moving part who can be wedged into a lineup at second, third or left, he’s also someone Wren can afford to shop around, because he can be taken as a short-term fix for so many teams at several different positions (as handy as it might be to have him around as an insurance policy against Chipper Jones’ next disabling injury or the failure to find a left fielder).
But having both available to peddle plus the bounty of the farm system gives Wren a hand with which he might do more than dump arb-eligibles to control payroll -- he could use them in a package to get an outfield bat for left. The White Sox’s rumored shopping of Carlos Quentin might a great place to start, giving the Braves’ lineup a second right-handed slugger to balance out their attack. Quentin’s also arb-eligible and just a year from free agency, but the potential for a salary-neutral exchange for 2012 is there.
The alternatives on the market aren’t great, but they are interested. Along the lines suggested yesterday, a creative deal for Grady Sizemore could work, but so too might J.D. Drew in a short-term agreement. The problem for both would be that they’d exacerbate the left-wards lean to the lineup. Renewing their acquaintance with Andruw Jones might be part of a cheap platoon arrangement with the ubiquitous Eric Hinske.
Whatever solutions Wren and company land upon, there’s plenty to work with, and perhaps even more to look forward to. But with Chipper Jones’ career winding down and commitments to Brian McCann and Tim Hudson (though there are options for both for 2013), as well as Bourn ending soon, angling for win-now solutions ought to be under consideration.