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Running down the rosters: Atlanta Braves

Feb 10, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Since finishing off one of the biggest collapses in NL history, the Braves have responded by doing absolutely nothing, at least when it comes to adding. They did trade away Derek Lowe and let shortstop Alex Gonzalez leave in free agency. But every member of the current 25-man projected roster below was in the organization last year.

Rotation
Jair Jurrjens – R
Tommy Hanson – R
Brandon Beachy – R
Mike Minor – L
Randall Delgado – R

Bullpen
Craig Kimbrel – R
Jonny Venters – L
Eric O’Flaherty – L
Arodys Vizcaino – R
Kris Medlen – R
Cristhian Martinez – R
Anthony Varvaro – R

Disabled list: Tim Hudson (R)
SP next in line: Julio Teheran (R), Medlen, Todd Redmond (R)
RP next in line: Robert Fish (L)(Rule 5), Peter Moylan (R), Adam Russell (R), Cody Gearrin (R)

It’s looking increasingly likely that Hudson, who is coming off back surgery, will miss at least the first couple of weeks of the season. The Braves can’t be too confident about the health of Jurrjens or Hanson, either. Of course, they have great depth with Delgado, Teheran and Medlen, but it’d be for the best if it’s not tested in early April.

The bullpen is also strong, with the game’s most untouchable one-two punch and Vizcaino seemingly ready to take on a big role in the sixth and seventh innings. The only spot that figures to be up for grabs is the last one, assuming Medlen isn’t needed in the rotation. Fish, who was taken from the Angels in the Rule 5 draft, could claim it over Varvaro with a strong spring.

I’m listing Moylan with the next in lines since he’s likely to spend the first month or two rehabbing following shoulder surgery. He’s back with the Braves on a minor league contract (and thus won’t be on the major league disabled list initially).

Lineup
CF Michael Bourn – L
LF Martin Prado – R
3B Chipper Jones – S
2B Dan Uggla – R
1B Freddie Freeman – L
C Brian McCann – L
RF Jason Heyward – L
SS Tyler Pastornicky – R

Bench
C David Ross – R
INF Jack Wilson – R
1B-OF Eric Hinske – L
OF Matt Diaz – R
OF Jose Constanza – L

Next in line: INF Drew Sutton (S), INF Brandon Hicks (R), INF Josh Wilson (R), OF Jordan Parraz (R), OF Luis Durango (S), OF Stefan Gartrell (R)

For the record, that’s not how I would arrange the lineup. Fredi Gonzalez, though, likes Uggla in that cleanup spot, no matter that it would make more sense to have him lower in the order breaking up the lefties. And while McCann spent much of the season hitting third and fourth, he was dropped down to sixth at the very end.

The roster here is probably set. I’d rather see them carry Sutton than Constanza, but that would leave them without a legitimate backup center fielder. Better yet, they could carry both and go with an 11-man pitching staff once Hudson is healthy. But figure the odds…

These Braves are still very much a threat in the NL East if things break right. However, I’d be more optimistic if I felt safe in projecting any of their starters to throw 200-220 innings. And if they had a different manager.

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 10, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    I see that they are going with another Blue Jay cast off at short stop. In the meanwhile, the Jays are very happy with the short stop who went the other way. Good luck to Pastornicky. I hope he has a decent career.

    • alexo0 - Feb 10, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      One of Kimbrel or Venters is going down with TJ this season. Fredi rides them too hard.

  2. buffalomafia - Feb 10, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Wtf are the Braves doing? Why do they still have broken down Chipper Jones & the one year wonder Heyward?

    After choking last year you would think Atlanta ownership would have at least opened up his wallet to get better players!

    If Atlanta didnt choke msybe they could have won the world series instead of st louis?

  3. kandh2004 - Feb 10, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    I was gonna say something about the Braves but it’s just to easy and I was only gonna do it because how much Craig rides the Phillies but I at least I have last September to remember

  4. bravojawja - Feb 10, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    The off season market wasn’t very friendly to the Braves’ needs this year. They need a shortstop for a couple years to bridge to Pastornicky/Simmons, but who was available worth the time and money? They need a left fielder, but who was available worth the time and money? The Braves still believe in Heyward in RF and Chipper at 3B for 130-150 games.

    The Braves’ ownership, such as it is, is very much an absentee landlord. The front office is basically holding the line on the payroll and following the basic formula that won them 14 consecutive division titles: build from within, trade to get what isn’t waiting in the wings, and load up on young pitching. Maybe this year they’ll add the last piece of the puzzle that worked in the 90’s: trade for a huge bat/solid arm in midseason to put them over the hump. (Too bad that didn’t work with the Tex trade. Sure would have been nice to sign Elvis Andrus to a three-year deal.)

    Every team needs a couple of ifs to fall their way to get to the postseason; the Bravos are probably middle-of-the-pack in how many they need. And if they do, this team could win a pennant. If they don’t, well, they’ll still give Philly a run for their money.

    • danrizzle - Feb 11, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      About shortstop, apparently Jed Lowrie was available for a bag of balls and a ham sandwich. I don’t know if they were in on him, but he was at least out there. Not a long term option, but a bridge guy.

  5. realgone2 - Feb 10, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    The Braves’ ownership, such as it is, is very much an absentee landlord.

    That is it right there and it won’t change until we get a better owner.

  6. thetruth702 - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Suttin…? Come on now. And why move our big power down just bc the lefties? Angels gonna put pujols 7? Hell no

  7. thetruth702 - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Buffalomafia.. REALLY. How are you gonna talk crap on tgem then say they would have won the world series if they made. What a joke. And yea lets get rid of a first ballot hall of famer.. Tell them to trade chipper. LOL. Makes total sense

  8. thetruth702 - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Obviously they have the team to compete. Why trade the ss, lf, and 3B if they did that good last year.

  9. Walk - Feb 11, 2012 at 4:36 AM

    Braves are part of liberty media. Liberty media has no intention of making a playoff run if it requires any more of a an investment on their part. That is exactly what they braves are to them, an investment. When the profit margins start going down they will sell for a profit. Am i wrong? Maybe but i really get the feeling that that is what is going on.

    • bravojawja - Feb 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      The team prez keeps saying Liberty Media has given him free rein to run the team, with no real budget limitations, but nobody believes him. He works to make sure the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club doesn’t lose money, so the budget has fallen to the low $90M’s and squatted there like an Occupy movement.

      Liberty is now free to sell the team (one of the stipulations of their original purchase [for a tax benefit] was that they had to hold the team for a few years; that term is now over), but they’ve said they’re perfectly happy to have the team in their portfolio, whatever the hell that means. I guess someone needs to blow them away with an offer, and I doubt that’ll happen in this economy. Where’s the 1% when you need them?

  10. gallaghedj311 - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Biggest collapses in NL history? Wait, for the wild card? Please. Enough with the man crush w Atlanta. I got excited to read a braves article that wasn’t written by Craig. I think he did write it. Under an alias. Go phightins’ !!

  11. buffalomafia - Feb 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    The truth702- Chipper is going into the HOF! But why keep a player if he gets hurt every year?

    Jason Heyward had a great rookie season then he got paid & is just a mediocre player!

    I like the Braves but if ownership is anything like your former Thrashers team then maybe the Braves will move to Buffalo? Lol!

  12. naturalwonders - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    There oughta be a law against corporations owning ball teams.

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