Phase 1 complete. The Atlanta Braves have shed $7M from the payroll after closer Rafael Soriano surprised the team by accepting salary arbitration. The Braves expected to let him go and pick up an early draft pick for him but instead had to find a trading partner. Tampa Bay Rays needed a closer and got one for a very reasonable price. The Rays only had to give up 26yr old Jesse Chavez. Hopefully with his addition and the recent signings of closer Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito that will help round out a bullpen that needed to be more consistent.
Hopefully that will free up GM Frank Wren and allow him to focus on other possible trades, most likely a starting pitcher for hopefully a decent and consistent bat. That can come in the form of a first baseman and/or one of the corner outfield positions. Those are the 3 positions that require the most immediate attention and upgrade.
The starting rotation was one of the best in baseball last year (surprise, surprise the Braves had a good rotation). It looks like they will have to give up some of that depth in attempts to either gain a player or free up some money to be able to go sign one from the free agent market. Right now it looks like it will have to be Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez that have the most value but Lowe’s contract may be a bit tougher to move. It would have been great if one of the young prospects were a little closer to cracking the lineup and that would give more options to Wren but it looks like there are a few more holes to plug. Hopefully during the winter meetings that are going on that there is some ground work for possible deals being made.
I want to get back to the days that My Braves were rattling off 14 Division titles and not seeing the Phillies representing the NL East year after year. They had their run, now it is time for the market to self correct and go back to the way it should be.