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.

Tags: Braves Offseason

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