The Braves Are Going To Be Fine

There's been a lot of movement within the National League East in the last few months. The Marlins either signed or came close to signing every notable free agent and their cousin, the Nationals just acquired a solid starting pitcher in Gio Gonzalez and the Phillies retained Jimmy Rollins. The Mets still suck, but that's a fun story for another time.

The Braves finished 2011 with a record of 89-73, which was fifth best in the league and ninth best in baseball. They'll replace a bad starting pitcher in Derek Lowe with a good one in Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado. Alex Gonzalez and his sub-Francoeurian numbers will be replaced by Tyler Pastornicky, who has a chance to become a very solid regular at shortstop.

A relatively young team, Atlanta does not project to see many of their players hit a decline in production in the near future. There's always a chance of a slump, but other than Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson, most everyone on the roster is younger than 32 or so.

Jason Heyward still has the potential to be a superstar. Freddie Freeman just had a big rookie season and is only going to get better. Brian McCann will be healthy to start the year. Martin Prado will be healthy to start the year. Dan Uggla can still hurt a lot of baseballs, if the second half of 2011 was any indication. We have Michael Bourn for an entire season. We don't have Larry Parrish for an entire season.

Assuming they're healthy, Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson give Atlanta a 1-2 punch as good as almost anyone. Brandon Beachy was awesome last season and will likely continue to be awesome. Mike Minor is one of the more promising young left-handed pitchers in baseball. Craig Kimbrel is already among the best closers in baseball. You can't hit Jonny Venters, assuming Fredi Gonzalez doesn't kill him first. And the rest of the bullpen is pretty damn great, as well.

There are a lot of good things going on for the Braves right now.

This is not to say there aren't a few things worth fixing before the season begins. But do a few signings and trades by the Nationals and Marlins make us any less of a team? Not at all. Not by a long shot.

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