While the rest of the National League East has been busy creating offseason news, the Atlanta Braves have sat by idly to the dismay of some fans.
Aside from dumping Derek Lowe and a chunk of his salary, the biggest moves for the Braves have been exercising Eric Hinske’s option and non-tendering Peter Moylan. Even though it didn’t require a move, deciding that Tyler Pastornicky was ready to start at shortstop has probably been the second biggest decision of the off-season.
There have been a couple other minor events involving declining options and non-tendering players to go along with a few minor league deals, but for the most part the Braves have been completely quiet despite having two notable names on the trading block.
Rumors surrounding Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens have been flying since the beginning of the offseason, with numerous reports of the Braves trying to land Seth Smith or Adam Jones that were exaggerated.
The Phillies have gone out and added Jonathan Papelbon and re-signed Jimmy Rollins. The Marlins went on a spending spree to get Heath Bell, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. The Nationals added Gio Gonzalez and are one of the leading candidates to snag Prince Fielder. Even the Mets have made more acquisitions than the Braves, arms to solidify their bullpen.
All the while, the Braves have remained quiet, and that’s exactly what they should have done. While it’s possible for the Braves to improve the team via trade, it’s not really necessary. Built the way they are, the team has a good shot of making the postseason despite the other workings in the division.
The loss of Derek Lowe was addition by subtraction and with Tommy Hanson’s status uncertain it’s not bad to have an excess of pitching.
Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens are far from the best players at their position, but it would have been silly for the Braves to trade them if they weren’t getting better.
While the Braves may have wanted to move one or both of these players to find a different left fielder they would have been silly to do so at in the rumors being mentioned. The Orioles are asking way too much for Adam Jones, who has a lower career wOBA than Prado, and Seth Smith has drastic home/road splits (Coors Field effect) and even more drastic platoon splits.
With the possibility of an additional playoff spot, Frank Wren has been smart to hold onto Prado and Jurrjens. The Braves had a playoff caliber team last year and losing Derek Lowe made them better. Factor in a full year of Michael Bourn and likely improvements from Prado and Jason Heyward and the Braves are positioned just as well this year even without a flashy offseason.