Monday, January 7, 2013

Offseason Review: Atlanta Braves

The majority of major players have been taken off the board and it doesn't look too likely that there are going to be anymore major blockbuster trades unless Justin Upton FINALLY gets shipped out, so a preliminary assessment of all 30 teams seems fair. Here we go.

Atlanta Braves
Atlanta's new set up man and all around
handsome fella, Jordan Walden.

The Braves have been pretty quiet ever since trading Tommy Hanson to the Angels for Jordan Walden and signing BJ Upton to a stupid 5-year $75.25MM contract.  Atlanta didn't really need to do much to be a contending team, but I really don't understand substituting Upton for Bourn. The Braves essentially traded speed, defense and hitting for flashes of power and one-year-younger player. Obviously Upton has crazy skills in his own right, but I honestly think he's always gotten way to much credit. The Hanson for Walden trade is risky but I think it'll pay dividends. The Braves bullpen went from very good to almost unstoppable. Kimbrel is, without question, the best closer in baseball. With Venters and now Walden joining that battalion, any Braves lead going in to the 7th inning is going to be death for the opposing team. So essentially, a very good Braves team is going to stay very good. One risk that the team faces lies in attempting to fill the void left by Chipper Jones. That kind of leadership can't really be substituted, so it's on the Braves to figure it out. I expect them to finish second in the division.

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