Jun 28, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves former third baseman Chipper Jones (left) poses with general manager Frank Wren during a jersey retirement ceremony before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Offseason Needs 2013


Needs for Braves: Offseason 2013

Once again, the 2013 postseason was short lived for the Braves. The Braves ran into a great pitching staff in the Los Angeles Dodgers, but one of these years, you’d think, that Atlanta will break out of their “choke” streak.

I think I speak for all fans that we need something new, and fast. The question is, what?

Oct 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning during game two of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Jared Wickerham/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Playoff baseball is all about one thing, pitching. In past years, we have seen teams who win the World Series have the most dominant pitching. Most recently being Jon Lester and John Lackey of the Red Sox. Lester and Lackey both have one thing in common, they grind.

The Braves this year seemed to just slide along, playing in a weak division and not having to worry about a late division title chase. I believe that this can truly effect a team and how they play in the postseason. The last gritty player I have seen in Atlanta has been Chipper Jones. If I was in the GM office in Atlanta, I want gritty players who know how to play in October, when it matters.

Although the Nationals will most likely be back in playoff contention next year, the Braves have a good chance that they will be playing playoff baseball. Changes need to be made, and possibly drastic changes.

First, Atlanta needs to get a playoff pitcher who will go out and give you a chance to win, even if they’re just average in the regular season. A perfect fit would be John Lackey. Lackey proved himself to be an October pitcher this year by out pitching Justin Verlander, and clinching a World Series.

Oct 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of game two of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Along with Mike Minor (who pitched a great game versus Los Angeles in the ALDS) and Kris Medlen, I think the Braves can keep up with the NL’s great pitching. Lackey could thrive at Turner field, as he feeds off of “the moment” and is a true gamer.

One other name that isn’t really out there is Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco, who pitched extremely well down the stretch for LA, is an inning eater and someone who you know what you will get from him. He can be another gritty guy who would greatly benefit the Braves.

I am not worried about the Braves offense, they’re a young team and experience will only make them better. I would love to see Atlanta sign a veteran postseason hitter, but it really isn’t necessary.

What about Carlos Beltran?

This is most likely out of the picture because of what other teams will offer him, but how great would it be to see one of the best postseason hitter in the middle of a young lineup.

Seeing Brian McCan go will be a sad moment for Braves Nation, but hopefully it will clean up some of the scrutiny the Braves have picked up the past few years. I don’t see the offense suffering, as younger players will pick up the slack and the Upton brothers will be better.

Could the Braves sign a catcher?

Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird are just fine with me.

Recent speculation has said that closer Craig Kimbrel could be up for trade….

Personally, I am 100% against getting rid of the best closer in the league. The postseason is all about clutch pitching and timely hitting. Why get rid of a closer that can shut a game down and be the most feared closer in the league now that the great Mariano Rivera retired.

If you look back from past years, teams have had a closer who has been money in the playoffs. some include Koji Uehara, Sergio Romo, and Brian Wilson. Craig Kimbrel should be absolutely untouchable for the Braves this offseason.

Atlanta has a great core; a franchise shortstop, power hitters, and a money closer. Some grit and experience could lead the Braves into the 2014 World Series.

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Tags: Braves Offseason

  • rick staley

    would love to have either lackey or shields anchoring this rotation next season. now that KC has extended their GM, maybe JS & DM can converse on sending Alex Wood, Aaron Northcraft, Dan Uggla, and $ 13 million to Royals for Shields.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to switch Hale or Beachy for Northcraft either. Wood looks like he will be next client of Dr. Andrews again due to his motion and funky delivery. Beachy is still iffy as far as readiness imho. Shields is a big-time pitcher that knows how to bear down and grind even when calls are not going his way and/or his mechanics are out-of-whack.

    Lackey is a better economic investment, but trading for one of these two would be my first order of business conducted at the Winter Wonderland Meetings next month if my name was Frank Wren. Since it’s not, our Bravos will probably go after Kyle Lohse.

    • fireboss

      Dayton Moore is not going to trade Shields. The Royals have to go for it this year and Shields is essential to that run. Lohse isn’t a power armor a number 1 and isn’t going anywhere either. The Brewers have him at a bargain price and need him to have any chance this year. Getting him would take a package that Braves shouldn’t offer for a 2. The Braves are either going to have a hard time finding one they can pry loose. They might have to take a one year flyer on a guy like Oswalt and hope they catch lightning in a bottle

  • fireboss

    While I agree that we need a power arm at the top of the rotation there’s only one name out there that could really be available and the Braves aren’t likely to give up what ity would take to get him. The Tigers are not going to trade Scherzer because they want to win now. John Lackey had a good post season but he is what he is and for all of that good run he’s a 3 starter. We have 3 guys as good or better than Lackey already and if Beachey returns to his pre-injury form 4.

    Ricky Nolasco is a 3 or 4 and Wednesday he agreed to join the Twins 4 years $49M.

    Please identify the players who lack grit. Freeman, Gattis, CJ, Heyward and Justin played through or with injuries this season and Simba lays it all out there every game. You cannot accuse them of lacking grit; plate discipline certainly but not lacking grit. the team carried two players who were below replacement level all season and still won 96 games.

    Beltran is not a fit here for several reason the first and foremost of these is the three year deal for he wants and the two year $30M he’ll get at a minimum, He’s an AL player these days and wants to win a ring who we can’t afford doesn’t fit what our needs.

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      They all lack grit. What lens you looking through!? haha

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      They all lack grit! What lens you looking through!? Only Gattis has a beard, and it’s tame, and none of them are from north of the Mason Dixon, and none pronounce “yard” as “yiiiaaaard”. No grit ;-)

  • rick staley

    although I agree with you that Dayton Moore won’t trade Shields (what a surprise…lol), I sure hope that Wren doesn’t give Oswalt one iota of a look either. Roy O. needs to hang those spikes up and retire. I would much rather see Wren go after the other Roy (Halladay) instead if you are using “catch lightning in a bottle” as the measuring tool to find a veteran presence to help our young rotation.

    • fireboss

      I;’m not supporting him but Roy O’s peripherals weren’t bad last year in spite of the ugly era. Doc is a 37 year old coming off shoulder surgery. Success rate for pitchers his age after shoulder surgery is under 30%. You saw last year what his problem will. The ball remains flat and lacks movement so he can strike average or below hitters out but good hitters will wear him out. I wouldn’t hire Doc or Penny or any older pitcher after shoulder surgery. My choice would be to see if I could pry Jeff Samardziia from Chicago for Hale and a prospect. But honestly so many people are after Samardziia I doubt we get a sniff.

      • Matthew Jones

        Oh, I think that the Golden Boy of Chicago/Boston will give us a sniff, it’s just if the Braves will want to give up the king’s ransom that Samardziia will get now.

        Truth be told, I like Samardziia a lot. Got to watch a lot of his starts this year on WGN (an advantage of day baseball and staying at home with kids, right?!), and he’s good. But there’s just something about him that seems like he could go downhill fast. No real reason why, just a hunch…

        • fireboss

          I saw him 2 or 3 times and really like his motion and his his arm. The cubs tended to leave him in to long because the middle of their pen wasn’t great much like Mets did with Harvey but although he’s 29 in January his arm has a lot less miles (about 1100 combined pro innings) on it than most starters because he was in the pen initially. He’s a lot like Greincke in his decision process in that he knows what he wants to do professionally and points himself in a direction to do it. His initial contract withe the Cubs was set up his way, most other clubs wouldn’t have agreed to his major league path (save Boras clients) but his with his brother as his agent he has more control and an agent who understands. The Cubs know all this too and they will likely trade him this off season for a big return. Wren doesn’t mind throwing money away but he resists trading players he “likes” even if it’s the right thing to do.

          • Kyle

            Samardziia is one of those guys that fool you. At times (three innings here—maybe a complete game there) his stuff is ace quality yet he’s not an ace. He’s inefficient and inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jeff is a high-quality pitcher, just not an ace.

          • fireboss

            yes he’s been inconsistent but I think part of that inconsistency comes from the very thing that makes him a good option, he’s only 580 starting innings or so. He has the things we don;t have now, a 95 mph sinker and 4 seamer that he throws for strikes. Smoltz said it in his book, Chipper said it on the air the other day, you can win the season with staff of 2s, 3s and 4s but in the post season a power arm is needed, With the market the way it is I don’t see us getting one that’s already there. He has the stuff to be that kind of guy and McDowell might be able to help him do it.

  • Kyle

    A team that 96 games doesn’t need drastic changes. You point out the pitching staff needs an “ace” yet you don’t offer us a solution. Lackey is nothing better than what we have: an above average pitcher who happened to get hot in October. What we do have is a bevy of young pitchers, with two that could potentially turn into that shutdown ace we sorely need.

    As for Kimbrel, no, I wouldn’t trade him this year. I would next year though. The salary he will command as a free-agent drastically dwarfs the actual ‘wins’ he brings a ball club over the course of a season.

    What do the Braves need more than anything? For Mike Minor or Teheran to take the next step coupled with the signing of a veteran starter. They also need to find a solution to Uggla. How you failed to mention this is beyond me. He is such a liability in the lineup I’d rather have Honus Wagner’s corpse out there.

    Then you have BJ. . . He should be able to rebound and AT LEAST bat .250, right? I said the same thing about Uggla. I’m not optimistic.

    The Braves will be there in 2014 (at least in the Wildcard game). They need someone to get ‘dominant hot’ and some luck.

  • rick staley

    i dont see uggla getting moved unless the braves swallow a bad contract in rerturn. i would rather have brandon phillips for 4 yrs. than popeye for his last 2. im aware that requires twice the price, but phillips can still play solid defense and he will hit to all fields with 2 strikes (unlike danny boy). he improves the braves lineup by providing a proven MLB hitter that can fill the 2 hole nicely all the while capable of hitting 15-20 HR’s. also, still can swipe a bag if needed as well.

    j up10
    bj up10

    • fireboss

      I’m betting BP ends up in KC.