The Atlanta Braves do not need to make a bunch of splashes in free agency this year. The starting rotation is now one of the best in baseball and strengthened with the extension to Tim Hudson. The team has solid infielders and one of the best catchers in the game.
What the Braves do lack is a true power hitter, someone who can smack 40-plus home runs a year. Two of the top free agents available is Boston Red Sox Jason Bay and St. Louis Cardinal Matt Holliday. If the Braves were to sign Bay, it would cost them a first round draft pick, as explained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Signing Bay is very unlikely if the Braves payroll is going to be under $95 million. That is because Adam LaRoche, Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez are all available to other teams. Those three players now would like cost $25 million or more to retain.
The Braves will lose one or even two of these players, and it is doubtful–very doubtful–the Braves acquire Jason Bay.
So this dilemma could leave the team with weaknesses in the bullpen and first base. Other problems will be finding that special player who can provide the Braves with a power kick without soaking the piggy bank.
The list doesn’t show a bunch of promise.
The Braves should not trade Javier Vazquez, but they can trade Derek Lowe for some solid lefties for the bullpen.