Top 10 teams in the majors
Their budget lines are all but immovable, and as the Braves’ impressive young players have begun to climb into their arbitration years, Atlanta had some tough decisions to make this winter, allowing Brian McCann and Tim Hudson to walk away. But the Braves have three high-end position players in first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right fielder Jason Heyward, as well as the game’s best closer (Craig Kimbrel) and what should be a good rotation. There are three major questions on this roster:
1. What will the team’s highest-paid player, B.J. Upton, provide after hitting .184 last season?
2. Will Dan Uggla bounce back after batting .179 and being left off the postseason roster?
3. Will Justin Upton be as good as he was early in the year, or just an average player, as he was in the middle of the season?
Atlanta Braves Rumors
Right-hander Luis Vasquez was signed to a minor league deal in November and has drawn the attention of several teams due to a standout performance in the Dominican League. At the Winter Meetings, Braves GM Frank Wren said that received several comments and queries about Vasquez from other scouts and executives. Vasquez will fight for a job in Atlanta’s bullpen at Spring Training.
The acquisition of minor league first baseman Mark Hamilton could make Ernesto Mejia more expendable, O’Brien opines. Mejia, 28, has hit 78 homers over his last three seasons and a career .279/.340/.493 slash line in 3492 minor league PA, but he has yet to reach the majors after nine pro seasons. Mejia is defensively limited at first base and records a lot of strikeouts, which is why O’Brien categorizes him as a “Quad-A” type of player.