With only minor moves left to speculate upon, rosterbating to 2011 has just about lost its ability to stimulate our imaginations, forcing us to resort to grainy videos of barely eligible teens fouling off balls in batting practice....that Salcedo...such a thick frame for a teen...
Ladies and gentlemen,
I think it's time we took a look into the future.
That's right! Let's all look to the future. All the way to the year 2012.
2012 Atlanta Braves
C McCann $8.667 million
1B Freeman $440,000
2B Uggla $13 million
3B Chipper? $13 million
RF Heyward $440,000
LF Prado? Arb 2
In the year 2012 the Braves will only have a couple of free agents, and few fans will be sad to see McLouth and Gonzalez sign elsewhere. Short and center are big holes to fill, but we could have some internal options to consider and the free agent market has a decent number of acceptable stop gap types who could sign a two or three year deal while we wait for the farm system to produce a long term solution.
In the year 2012 the Braves will have some quality prospects playing shortstop, but Lipka and Salcedo won't be ready until 2014, and there is no guarantee that either will stick at short. Diory Hernandez has shown he can play well in the minors but he has never played well enough at the major league level to consider him for a starting role.
In the year 2012 there will be a decent crop of free agent shortstops, ranging from once elites -- Rollins, Reyes, Furcal (team option) to solid role players -- Hardy, Infante, Scutaro (option) to decent backups -- Wilson, Punto, Izturis.
In the year 2012 the Braves will undoubtedly buy out McLouths option for 2012, and if Jordan Schafer can't get back on track (I think he will) we should be able to find a decent centerfielder on the free agent market. If we have money to spend Beltran could be an option, or we could go after a guy like Coco Crisp or Cody Ross.
The Chipper Situation
In the year 2012 Chipper Jones might retire. But he might not. If so, Prado could move to third base, creating a vacancy in left field. There are many free agent options in left, including Cuddyer, DeJesus, JD Drew, Fukudome, Willingham, and Andruw Jones.
1. Hudson $9 million
2. Hanson $440,000
3. Lowe $15 million
4. Jurrjens Arb 2
5. Minor $440,000
In the year 2012 the Braves might have a big problem with nine quality arms competing for five spots in the rotation. If Medlen successfully returns from Tommy John surgery and Teheran and Delgado progress as expected the Braves will have enough pitching to trade two starters and still have one of the deepest rotations in baseball.
In the year 2012 Derek Lowe will have one year left on the four year, $60 million contract he received entering the 2009 season. If he has a strong 2011 he will look mighty good to big market teams in need of a solid #3 starter. If the Braves eat a little of his salary we could expect to get a decent prospect or two in return. Moving his salary would free up some money to sign some decent outfield bats.
In the year 2012 Jair Jurrjens will have two years of team control remaining before he hits free agency. If he pitches well in 2011 we could look for a top prospect in return, much like the Shawn Marcum deal this winter.
CL. Kimbrel $440,000
2. Venters $440,000
3. Moylan Arb 3
4. EOF Arb 2
In the year 2012 the Braves will have a value priced bullpen, so there's no reason for the Braves to non-tender Moylan, who will get another raise in his third year of arbitration. We have some solid in house options to fill out the rest of the bullpen, or we could hit the bargain bin again like we did this year. Bullpen arms are hard to speculate on, but I would love to see Marek up here finally.
C Ross $2.5 million
Big slow left handed bat Hinske $1.5 million option
Middle Infield ?????
Corner Infielder ?????
In the year 2012 the Braves will probably have a similarly weak defense to recent Braves teams, so I would like to see a bench constructed with defense in mind, but that isn't really our style. I would love to see Cesar Izturis or Jack Wilson as a defensive backup in 2012.
In the year 2012 we will be off the hook for McLouth, Kawakami, and Gonzalez, which is about $15 million in payroll. McCann, Prado, Moylan, Uggla, EOF and Jurrjens will all get raises. Chipper Jones is a big question mark, but I expect him to play out his contract. The Braves have the pitching depth to move Jurrjens and Lowe, which would add another $15-$20 million to the budget. The Braves have some big holes to fill, but they are currently occupied by guys we want to get rid of anyway, but we should have a the payroll flexibility to fill the gaps with solid free agents.