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Winter Meetings preview: Braves likely to continue search for an ace, catcher

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From Chris Sale to Wellington Castillo, we are sure to hear the Braves linked to a wide range of players this week.

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The Braves have been one of baseball's busiest clubs since the offseason began, and it would seem likely John Coppolella is a busy man once again during this week's Winter Meetings in Maryland.

Atlanta has already added, among others, Jaime Garcia, Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Sean Rodriguez. Most of the major holes on the roster have been filled, which will certainly lessen the chance the club has a big week. Even so, with a strong farm system and desire to be competitive in 2017, Coppolella will leave no stone unturned.

Here are three things to keep an eye on:

The pursuit of an ace

Most everyone figured the Braves were done trading for pitchers after acquiring Jaime Garcia on Thursday. That is apparently not the case, as the team will continue pursuing the likes of Chris Sale and Chris Archer.

I would be borderline shocked if a trade with Chicago or Tampa Bay was made.

I'm fine with the rotation as it stands now. If Mike Foltynewicz takes another step forward and Jaime Garcia can log 150 innings, it might actually be a middle-tier starting rotation in the NL. Maybe even Aaron Blair or Matt Wisler will surprise us and bounce back, assuming they aren't traded before then. That rotation won't win a World Series, but it would work for what Atlanta is trying to do in 2017.

A blockbuster trade seems unlikely, but never say never.

Is there a catcher out there?

At the moment, the Braves would rely on the trio of Tyler Flowers, Anthony Recker and Tuffy Gosewisch to catch 162 games next season. There are few options out there, though only a couple make sense.

We still have no indication the Braves are legitimately interested in Wilson Ramos or Matt Wieters. Other potential suitors, like Brian McCann, Jason Castro and Derek Norris, have found new homes. The Diamondbacks just non-tendered Wellington Castillo, and while he could be a fit in Atlanta, he bats right-handed like Flowers does and should command a decent salary.  The Braves reportedly have some interest.

Someone like Brayan Pena could also be added for next to nothing.

Nick Markakis rumors

We have heard nothing on a potential Nick Markakis trade, which is somewhat surprising considering there were a few reports during the season that the Braves were receiving calls on him. Those talks could spark up this week.

It's unclear how eager the club is to move Markakis and the $11 million he's owed the next two seasons, but a trade wouldn't be a total surprise. There is plenty of depth in the outfield with Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte, and Mallex Smith, plus Sean Rodriguez's ability to play a corner spot. Surging prospect Dustin Peterson is knocking on the door, too.