Finding a new centerfielder. Who are the best options and what can they offer?

There are several Braves players at several positions who are underperforming, but there is only one position that can readily be fixed, and that is centerfield.

Nate Mclouth, for all of his ups and downs and swings in and out of favor, just quite simply isn't getting it done.

  • -1.3 WAR in 2010 / -0.1 WAR in 2011
  • .283 wOBA in 2010 / .318 wOBA in 2011
  • -36.5 UZR/150 in 2010 / -37.1 UZR/150 in 2011


We've all seen the weak throws, the no throws, the bad routes, and the weak grounders to 2B. For as much as we want to point to his improvement from 2010, he has simply improved from atrocious to pretty bad. Nate is slumping, the Phillies are within striking distance, and the team could certainly use a spark. The time to begin looking for his replacement was yesterday.

So what options are out there? Well, for the sake of keeping this in the realm of feasibility, lets filter out the likes of Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Colby Rasmus, and Drew Stubbs. These players are all young, playing extremely well, and/or are on winning teams. The chances of them going anywhere are about 2% combined.I also filtered out guys with contracts over $5 million dollars to keep financial restrictions in mind, 

The team's biggest needs out of a new centerfielder are speed and defense. That narrows the list down even further still.

What we are left with are the players that, in my opinion, best fit our team needs. 

1. Michael Bourn


The downlow:

  • 28 years old
  • 4.4 WAR in 2009 / 4.4 WAR in 2010 / 0.9 WAR in 2011
  • 61 SB in 2009 / 52 SB in 2010 / 14 SB in 2011
  • 9.9 UZR/150 in 2009 / 20.6 UZR/150 in 2010
  • 2011 contract = $4.4 million / 2012 = free agent.

His wOBA would probably be about the same as Mclouth, but he plays gold glove defense, is one of the best base stealers in baseball, and would give the team a legitimate leadoff hitter. Plays the best defense out of the group.


2. B.J. Upton


The downlow:

  • 26 years old
  • 2.2 WAR in 2009 / 3.5 WAR in 2010 / 1.2 WAR in 2011
  • 7.5 UZR/150 in 2009 / 1.9 UZR/150 in 2010
  • 42 SB in 2009 / 42 SB in 2010 / 7 SB in 2011
  • 2011 contract = $4.82 million / 2012 = free agent.

While Bourn has shown better consistency in recent years, Upton has shown glimpses of greater upside in the past (peaked at 4.7 WAR in 2007). He's a base stealer with some pop and solid defense. Downside is his strikeout rate (28.2% career) and character questions. Has the most power out of the group.

3. Jacoby Ellsbury


The downlow: (2010 stats omitted due to injury)

  • 27 years old
  • 3.9 WAR in 2008 / 2.7 WAR in 2009 / 1.2 WAR in 2011
  • 23.3 UZR/150 in 2008 / -10.0 UZR/150 in 2009
  • 50 SB in 2008 / 70 SB in 2009 / 13 SB in 2011
  • 2011 contract = $2.2 million / 2012 = arbitration eligible.

Ellsbury is sort of a rich man's Matt Young. A small guy with blazing speed and no pop who can play an adequate centerfield. He has the most reasonable contract of the bunch, but he is also has some durability concerns. Has the best speed out of the group


These are the three guys that I think both fit the teams needs and fit the bill of "possibly available". Others who were considered but did not make my list for various reasons. Adam Jones, Denard Span, Dexter Fowler, Cameron Maybin, and Coco Crisp.

Please discuss and feel free to accuse me of straying from the rosterbation thread without merit.

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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