Atlanta Braves Quiet Offseason Heading into 2014

Braves RumorsAfter 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.

In 2014, the Braves are counting on bounceback seasons from B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla, and a successful return from Tommy John surgery for starting pitcher Brandon Beachy.

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 Elsewhere

McCann departed Atlanta for the Bronx while outfielder Reed Johnson, and  infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish, elected free agency.

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.

 


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