After a horrible loss to the Cardinals in the wild card game this season, the Atlanta Braves go into their first off season without future Hall of Famer and Braves legend Chipper Jones. They are going into the 2013 off season with a significant amount of cash, and luckily, there is a lot of very good players to choose from this off season.
First off, I believe that Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, and Paul Maholm will all have their options picked up. McCann will cost 12 mil, Hudson 9 mil, and Maholm 6.5 mil. After resigning David Ross to a 1 year, 2 million dollar deal, the Braves should look to make a splash in the free agent market.
If you look at the Braves moving Martin Prado to 3rd base, the Braves will be looking for a right handed power bat to play left field. One option is signing Cody Ross, who had a good season with the RedSox in 2012. Ross has 20+ hr potential and, if he plays every day, would drive in 80+ runs. Another option would be Delmon Young, who is still only 27 years old, though it seems as if he's been playing for 10 years. While Young has never really lived up to his potential, ( Young was once the #1 Prospect in all of baseball,) he has the talent to be a super star. Given the right situation, Young could hit .300 with 25 hr, and 100 rbi, but he could also hit .270 with 15 hr, and 75 rbi. If you can sign Young to a 3 year 30 million dollar contract, it could be worth it. Ross will probably not sign a deal for less than 10 mil per season either.
If the Braves decide they can't resign Michael Bourn, then the outfield situation becomes a need to fix situation ASAP!!! BJ Upton is a guy with all the talent in the world, but much like Young, he has yet to put together that all around season. He has shown glimpses of greatness, and has 30/30 potential all day long. He is an above average center fielder as well. If you can get Upton for 12 million per season over 5 years, do it. Nick Swisher is another guy with massive potential, but unlike Young and Upton, Swisher has been putting up above average numbers consistently for the last 5 seasons. He, being a switch hitter would be a perfect clean up hitter for the Braves and a stop gap between Heyward, in the 3 hole, and Freeman in the 5 hole. 5 years and 70 million would probably get the job done.
Now lets look at what we have so far. McCann, Huddy, and Maholm will cost 27.5 million in options. If the Braves decide to go Swisher and Upton, that will be another 25-30 million in salary this season. If they do upgrade their offense in this way, your 2013 starting lineup could look like this. 1.Upton/CF,2. Prado/3rd,3. Heyward/RF,4. Swisher/LF,5. Freeman/1rst,6. Uggla/2nd,7. McCann/C,8. Simmons/SS....
After these signings, the Braves could still be looking a Zack Grienke. He would come over and be a number 1 if needed. To sign him will cost though. You're looking at 5 years/110million. I say we sign Swisher, Shane Victorino, Shawn Marcum, and Brandon Inge. If you do that, you are looking at 15 mil/season for Swisher, 12 mil for Victorino, 10 mil for Marcum and 2.5 for Inge. That's a total of 38-40million added. If you go after Grienke, Swisher and Upton, you will be looking at 50+ million.
There are many different directions Atlanta could go. If Bourn does not resign, they could trade for Ben Revere, sign Angel Pagan or Torri Hunter to 2 year deals, and also trade for a Josh Willingham for LF power. Once Michael Bourn makes his decision, there will be a flood of activity in the Braves front office. GO Braves!!!