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Atlanta Braves Offseason Primer: What happens with McCann, Uggla and the starting rotation

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What does Frank Wren do to try and improve the club for 2014?

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It was a fun ride while it lasted. While I'm still pretty flabbergasted and disgusted with how Game 4 went, there's no reason to think the Braves won't be back and competing for a World Series in 2014.

Over the next few months, Talking Chop will have full offseason coverage. While we're still a couple weeks away from the offseason actually being here, here's a primer for all the (likely) things that'll be addressed before March.


Brian McCann has played his final game in a Braves uniform. I'm about 99.98 percent sure of that. Honestly, unless Mac wants to take a huge -- and I mean HUGE -- hometown discount in both dollars and years on the deal, it doesn't make sense to even really try and bring him back. Extend the qualifying offer to get a draft pick and move on.

Where there is some debate is who catches next season. The Braves already have a couple options in Evan Gattis, Gerald Laird and Christian Bethancourt. The early money is on El Oso Blanco being named the starter with Laird backing him up and Bethancourt continuing to develop in the minor leagues.

2nd base

This is going to be really interesting to watch. Dan Uggla's numbers have fallen off a cliff just like we predicted when they signed him to a four-year extension prior to the 2011 season, and he's only going to get worse as he ages.

The problem is, the Braves don't have anyone in-house to fill second base. Elliot Johnson isn't the answer, and while he put big numbers in the minors, Tommy La Stella is far (I mean, really far) from being a sure thing with the bat and his glove.

Uggla's owed about $26.5 million over the next two years. Given that he has zero trade value, it's tough to see Frank Wren dealing him unless he eats at least 90 percent of his salary. Will he do that? I'm not so sure. And it's not like teams around the league are just waiting to trade their good second basemen, either.

B.J. Upton

The fact is that B.J. will be back next season, and given his contract, it only makes sense for the Braves to go back to the drawing board during the offseason. He is far too talented to just give up on him, and it would be a shocker if any teams had interest in trading for him after his 2013 campaign.

The starting rotation

Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran are all guaranteed spots. Who takes the other two is up in the air.

Does the club see if Alex Wood can handle a full season of starting in the big leagues, or do they make him a Jonny Venters clone? Is Brandon Beachy healthy? What happens with impending free agent Tim Hudson and his surgically repaired ankle? Will Freddy Garcia be back to make more pitch? (No.)

Could Wren trade for an ace? We're all of 36 hours removed from the end of the season, and I've already seen two articles already linking the Braves to David Price. If not an ace, could someone like Jeff Samardzija or Homer Bailey come over?


Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, Chris Johnson, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Craig Kimbrel (did I miss anyone?) all seem like viable candidates to at least begin contract extension talks. Obviously they won't all get one, and it takes two to tango when it comes to a new deal.

Guys like Heyward and Freeman aren't dumb; they know that if they wait a few years and don't sign a deal with Atlanta, they'll hit the open market and draw interest from just about every team in baseball. Extending pitchers is always a risky proposition, though it's become less of an issue in recent years given all of the advances in the medical world.

My guess is Wren and the front office get one of their young guys extended this offseason, delaying their free agency by a couple seasons. Who will it be? Again, that's anyone's best guess at this point.

But I really, really hope it's Jason and Freddie.


For continued updates throughout the offseason, follow @TalkingChop and @ScottColeman55 on Twitter.