With the season behind us it's time to look at the five most pressing issues facing thethis off-season, and what some possible outcomes might be. This is the first of a five-part series of posts that will be on the site today and throughout the weekend.
Question One: Can the Braves actually add a power bat this off-season?
After having failed the last two off-seasons to add a power bat, will the Braves finally spend the money or give up the prospects to add one this year? It's frustrating, because when I look around this Braves team that will take the field for 2011, I see one big gaping hole that needs filling ... the same big gaping hole that hasn't been filled the last two off-seasons (fitting that the Braves are in Atlanta, the city of 10,000 potholes).
The starting pitching is set, with a very solid 1-through-4 in the rotation, and two good young rookies who could battle it out for the fifth spot. The bullpen has some great power arms in it, and only needs a few additions here and there. The infield is set, and the outfield is set except for left field where there is a perfect spot to add a major impact player.
I will not be happy with another Troy Glaus-like reclamation project. I will not be happy with a platoon of ANY kind. I want a bonafide star player who can go to the post 160 times a year and put up All-Star numbers. Yes, I'm asking for the moon, but the Braves have to make up for the slight of offense at shortstop and center field, perhaps a rookie learning the ropes at first base, and a veteran coming back from injury at third base. I'm willing to see the Braves give up good prospects to make this happen, maybe not Teheran or Freeman, but anyone else is fair game.
The Braves should get in the middle of the Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford and Adam Dunn discussions, even if they don't bear fruit they would express the team's willingness to spend big on a big-time player. The name most-rumored will probably be Colby Rasmus, and I would risk giving up another Adam Wainwright to get him on this Braves team and have him grow as a player right along side Heyward and Freeman.
Not adding a substantial outfielder to this team this off-season would be a major failure by the front office. It needs to happen. It must happen. And with the prospects we have in our system, it can happen.
Adding a power bat goes part and parcel with another off-season priority for Atlanta, finding a hitting coach. Attracting a great hitting coach is a lot easier if there's enough talent on the team for him to do something with it. With how badly the Atlanta offense struggled this season at times, especially near the end, it may be seen as a mine field for someone new to walk in to. Adding one extra big power bat would give us a fifth-place hitter, and make life a whole lot easier for whoever takes over as the Braves new hitting coach.
Coming up later, Question Two: What about the last spot in the rotation?