It's pretty clear by now that the Braves have three major goals that they want to accomplish this offseason: Improve the bullpen, add another strong arm to the young-but-potential-laden rotation, and add a big bat to the lineup. If all goes well with these objectives and we see plenty of improvement from some of the younger players getting even more Major League experience under our belt (which would obviously also include 31-year old Hector Olivera justifying the team's faith in him with a solid performance in 2016 and beyond), then the front office's goals of hitting a 15-20 win improvement over 2015 are actually quite feasible.
Obviously, the main goal would be to shore up the bullpen. Fortunately, this offseason appears to be a good one to be in the market for bullpen arms. Over at Fox Sports South, Tyler Duke came up with five names that the Braves should try to target this offsseason when it comes to the bullpen. The two guys I like the most are Houston's Tony Sipp and Sean Marshall. I like Sipp because a reliever who can hold down a 2.93 FIP for two consecutive seasons deserves a look in the free agent market, and I also like Marshall because he's been one of the most reliable relievers in baseball, and I'm pretty sure the Braves can't help themselves when it comes to signing players who are coming off of major injury, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see his name pop up in free agent rumors concerning the Braves this winter. Either way, this will definitely be the Braves' focus when it comes to the offseason. At the bare minimum, the bullpen must improve.
The Braves could have options in adding a starting pitcher with experience. Granted, they're not going to be out there going after the Zack Grienke's and the David Price's of the world, but there are probably going to be plenty of middle-of-the-rotation options to be had, especially ones with experience. If the Braves are indeed going to open the checkbook in a big way for the next couple of offseasons, then they'd definitely be wise to dip their toes into this market, in my opinion.
As far as adding a bat is concerned, you'd think that they'd try to upgrade one of the weaker spots of their lineup, which would be either second base or the outfield. Now, second base may not be an issue if the first half of 2015 version of Jace Peterson shows up for the entirety of 2016, which means that the Braves will probably stick with him at least for the early part of next season. But if it doesn't work out then, then they'll probably move on for next season, since the current crop of free agent second basemen isn't exactly enticing. The same could be said of the outfield, but again, the free agent class there is similar to the crop at second base. So, again, internal options may be the best idea here, even if the internal options are Cameron Maybin and Michael Bourn, with a possible call-up of Mallex Smith on the horizon as well. John Hart himself said that upgrading the offense for 2016 would be a tough task, and I'd definitely agree on that point.
There's really nowhere to go but up for the offense and the team in general. Again, there's hope that the team can improve simply by seeing improvement from the younger/inexperienced players, and that'll probably be what they end up depending on when it comes to the offense. Meanwhile, they'll probably have a decent amount of options when it comes to improving both the bullpen and the rotation via free agency, so if we'll see a "major" free agency signing, then it'll probably come in the form of a pitcher. I know that some of you are probably pitcher-fatigued after seeing the team focus on it to improve their minor league, but hey: You can never have too much pitching, right? Plus, who's to say that they couldn't flip some of those pitching options into bats? Either way, the Braves will absolutely have a busy offseason, and although they may not accomplish all of their goals, they'll have a decent shot at taking care of most of them.