The season is over now after the Braves have blown a 10.5 game lead since the end of August. Anyway, I have decided that I'm going to go ahead and try to figure out what is going to happen in the off season and what I think about the Braves future. I'll start with center field. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure the Braves are going to buyout Nate Mclouth's contract for $1.25 million instead of picking up his option and paying him $10.65 million this next season. I'm not sure if the Braves can afford Michael Bourn, but I would love to see him with the Braves for a whole season. If we can't keep Bourn there are several options. One, Coco Crisp is going to be a free agent and there have been rumors of Crisp becoming a Brave for six years, so it might actually happen. Another option is trading some pitching. Next season the Braves will have ten major league ready starting pitchers, two rotations worth with Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, Beachy, Lowe, Medlen, Minor, Delgado, Tehran, and Vizcaino. I would love to see Lowe get traded. The only teams I think might be interested are the Tigers and the Yankees. A more likely trade involving a pitcher would be Hanson or Jurrjens. Both Hanson and Jurrjens are represented by agent Scott Boras, so with the Braves limited budget, we can't keep both of them and we might not be able to keep either. Because of this, I think one of these two pitchers will be traded for either an outfielder, some infield help, or bullpen help. I think the Royals might have interest in either Hanson or Jurrjens.
Unless the Braves resign Alex Gonzalez, he is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Gonzalez is a solid glove, but assuming we don't bring back Bourn, then we will need a leadoff hitter. I think Tyler Pastornicky is the answer for both shortstop and leadoff. He won't bat leadoff at the beginning of the season, but I think he will develop into a solid leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Braves. My only question is if he is ready for the Major Leagues.
The Braves don't need to self-destruct but we do need to shore up some positions. Also we need a hitting coach since Larry Parish was let go today. I think the Braves are very close to a World Series title. I would love to see one next year, but my bet would be on 2013 being our year.