Morning Chop: Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
10 Realistic Moves Atlanta Braves Should Consider
For a team that finished the 2013 campaign with 96 wins, the Atlanta Braves have an uncommonly busy offseason ahead of them.
Here’s just a peek at Frank Wren’s offseason checklist:
- Figure out what to do with Dan Uggla and the second base position
- Negotiate with Brian McCann
- Get B.J. Upton right again
- Weigh the pros and cons of returning Tim Hudson to Atlanta
- Determine the Braves’ No. 1 starting pitcher
And that’s not even the half of it.
It’s not an all-inclusive list, but here are 10 moves Atlanta should seriously consider this offseason.
What will Braves spend their $25 million on?
The Braves’ payroll is likely to rise to about $100 million in 2014, up from approximately $90 million in 2013. That’s right in the middle of the pack of 30 MLB teams. All major league teams will receive about $25 million more annually beginning in 2014 from the new national TV contract.
The Braves will be spending less than half of it on players, A $100 million payroll won’t be middle of the pack for long.
Atlanta Braves Should Consider Joba Chamberlain If Price Is Right
Every sports fan has heard the cliche that a certain player “needs a change of scenery”. Well, that sentiment definitely applies to enigmatic fireballer Joba Chamberlain. After a breakout effort in 2008, one that actually started in August of 2007, the New York Yankees appeared to be in possession of quite possibly the AL’s most electric young right arm. However, by inserting the dominant setup man into the rotation in 2009, an experiment that was largely unsuccessful, the Pinstripers seemed to place Chamberlain on a path that ultimately led to little more than a plague of injuries and inconsistent performances.
Chamberlain will be attaining free-agent status in the coming weeks and almost certainly will be headed out of the Bronx. The 2013 season was another of mixed results for the 28-year-old reliever. Although he finished up with an unsightly 4.93 ERA, the promising “stuff” still showed up on a regular basis. According to FANGRAPHS.com, Chamberlain’s average fastball velocity was 94.7 miles per hour this year. His struggles came mostly on account of a career high 5.5 BB/9 combined with the hitter-friendly conditions of Yankee Stadium.
2013 Statistical Review: Rome
wn in the lower minors is where the Braves have some of their higher-ceiling prospects. That’s good in a way because, hey, they have some high-ceiling prospects. But lower-level prospects are the guys you dream on anyway, and it’s a long way to The Show. It also means that making trades becomes more difficult because other teams prefer lower-level guys as compliment pieces, not centerpieces, so pulling off another big trade like last off-season will be difficult this time around. More difficult, not impossible.
Kyle Wren, CF - #1 ‘spect Wren did about everything you could have wanted him to do out of the draft. He hit .328/.382/.452 with some gap power, decent walk rate, and a 10% K rate, but the headlining stat is the 35 SB in 41 chances in 47 games. That’s just ridiculous, and the reports on his defense are positive. What’s the drawback? He’ll be 23 next season, which means he beat up on younger competition, so no one is going to get too excited just yet. A promotion to AA Mississippi wouldn’t be absurd, but I’d expect a short period in High-A as Atlanta tends to be conservative with promotions for hitters.
Josh Elander, LF - Moved from behind the plate, Elander now needs to mash to have any prospect value. In Low-A, he was a force, hitting .318/.381/.536 with 22 2B and 11 HR in 74 games, but while he maintained his 10% BB and 19-20% K rate while jumping up to High-A, his line plummeted as BABIP did. It didn’t help that his ISO dropped over 100 points, so it’s hard to argue that the BABIP drop was just a fluke. Elander has a tall mountain to climb given the offensive needs from his position.
Levi Hyams, 2B - Hyams was excellent in Low-A – .317/.378/.407 – but like Elander, he fell off quite a bit in his trip to High-A. Hyams is also older than the previous two, as he’ll be 24 next season. It was a rough jump for Hyams as his K rate really jumped, and he’ll need to rebound in 2014.