After capturing the National League East last season, the Atlanta Braves‘ World Series hopes were abruptly dashed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Though they raced to a 96-66 record, the 2013 campaign ended in disappointment for a club expected to play deep into October.
They would also like to see the projected outfield of Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward perform to expectations; and two of Ryan Doumit, Evan Gattis, Gerald Laird and prospect Christian Bethancourt help the club not regret letting catcher Brian McCann sign with the New York Yankees.
Who’s New/Who’s Back
Atlanta inked the veteran catcher/first baseman Doumit to compete with Gattis, Laird and Betancourt for the two catching spots.
Anchored by Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Beachy, the Braves have a talented young rotation, but the front office felt the club needed a veteran presence after rolling Tim Hudson. Enter Gavin Floyd, who was signed to a one-year deal.
What Could Happen Before Spring Training/Opening Day
The Braves could use outfield depth to accompany Jordan Schafer behind the Upton brothers and Heyward. The club could also add an experienced reliever to complement a strong pen headed by closer Craig Kimbrel and set-up men Jordan Walden, Luis Avilan and David Carpenter.
Tyler Pastornicky is versatile, but the Braves would benefit from a utility corner infielder. They signed minor league journeyman first baseman Mark Hamilton, and Doumit can play first base as well, but a backup for third baseman Chris Johnson would be beneficial, unless they believe that Ramiro Pena is adequate.
Editor’s Note: This “New Year, New Season” post on the Atlanta Braves is part of a series where Baseball News Source columnist Jeff Louderback chronicles each Major League team as spring training draws nearer.