Braves GM Frank Wren heads to Dallas this weekend for the winter meetings still without two of his three desired pickups this off season – if you consider Drew Sutton as the utility man he was seeking. Publicly he says he’s happy to start the year with the current roster. Privately I suspect he’s still looking for that RH bat we were missing last year. Will he be able to accomplsih that? Who knows? A little bit of luck might need to be involved, similar to online bingo games.
The addition of Sutton and the non-tender of Alex Gonzalez may mean he’s ready to let Tyler Pastornicky be heir apparent to shortstop at least until the All Star break when many scouts think Andrelton Simmons may be ready. In any event Wren is not going to sign a veteran backup for any longer than a year ; Gonzalez wanted a multi-year deal thus it was bye bye Alex. With that decision apparently made, the corner outfielder is our remaining vacancy.
As I noted back in October I’m in favor of a little Carlos Quentin in my outfield. Since then the new CBA took away Josh Willingham’s added cost of a lost draft pick but I believe his asking price and minimum three year contract are still more than the Braves want to commit too. There have been a number of names tossed around, some of them even realistic. So, in order to remove the name bias from the player I’ve created a list of six potential trade targets that would fill our needs. When revealed you may say one or another isn’t available but my experience says almost anyone is available for the right price. Using that criteria, all of these players are available. Besides, all have been rumored in a trade in the last couple of months.
They are listed in no particular order of preference. The numbers for each player are in various forms; traditional stats (http://www.baseball-reference.com), newer more sabermetrically oriented stats as well as contact, hit and trajectory stats (http://www.fangraphs.com) and average speed off the bat for home runs (http://www.hittrackeronline.com). The player order is the same in each list. Look them over and tell me without digging around to figure out who they are (you can but what fun is that?) Decide which you’d choose if that was all you had to go by. These are 2011 numbers except as noted for contact stats.
Contact and trajectory Stats (SoffB = Speed off the bat in mph.)
These numbers are an average of the last five years play IF the player has been in the majors for that long. One has not. Speed off the bat is for 2011 only but indicates current ability.
Let me know by adding a comment, dropping me a note at [email protected] or tweeting me @fredeowens with your thoughts and choices. I’ll post the names in order and my choices next time.