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Do the Braves have any trades brewing or free agents left to sign?
The baseball world is descending on Nashvegas for their annual Winter Meetings -- a time when General Managers and club executives come together and trades get done and free agents get signed. The Atlanta Braves, though, have already signed their big free agent, and made a big trade. So what, if anything, is left to do?
B.J. Upton is in place in center field for Atlanta. Tommy Hanson is out of the rotation, and Jordan Walden is in the bullpen. The Braves have even done one of their annual waiver claims of a random pitcher, selecting right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from the Red Sox last Friday.
The Braves have stated that they would still like to get a left fielder, and after trading Hanson they likely have an extra $3 to $4 million on top of the rumored $10 million they had left after signing Upton. That's a pretty good chunk of change to work with.
One of the fancier rumors -- that would use up all of that change and more -- came from Jon Heyman of CBS, who reported that Braves President John Schuerholz said not to count out Atlanta on Zack Greinke. Sounds crazy, but if Greinke wants a less stressful environment closer to home and is willing to accept less money, then he would definitely be in the Braves wheelhouse. That move would eat up all the Braves available cash, and perhaps tie their hands on doing anything else, so one would think a move to free up salary would also need to happen, unless they severely backloaded the contract -- something the Braves don't like to do.
As for left field, there's still that lingering flirtation with Justin Upton that everyone keeps bringing up. But as long as the Diamondbacks are insisting upon Andrelton Simmons, I don't see how Atlanta makes that move, having no ready replacement for their young shortstop.
The Braves could take a run at one of the free agents to fill left field. Shane Victorino would fit with the Braves desire to stay speedy in the outfield, and he would fill their leadoff void. Ryan Ludwick or Cody Ross would add more right-handed power to the lineup, though there probably wouldn't be any bargains in that group.
It certainly seems like the Braves are primed for action over the next few days. They've already been one of the most active teams, and moving Hanson could signal a desire to do some radical remaking of their roster after hardly making a move last off-season.