Atlanta Braves: Just Let The Boys Play, Wren

Kevin MarkumCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2009

Griffey is a Mariner. Okay, that's over with. What can I write about now? 

Oh, I know!

Let's talk about how Frank Wren is a terrible GM, since he failed to acquire the majority of the big names that were out there this past offseason.

Despite the struggles, the Braves have had an excellent offseason. Frank Wren is actually a good GM, even if he is eclipsed by the shadow of his former boss.

I don't want to talk about Frank Wren, like everyone else. I'm sure I'd get a few comments and reads from it, though...

How about Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, or Luis Gonzalez?

That seems like the logical story for the Braves right now. We've come up short with a few other outfielders, so now let's go for the next-best options.

But maybe a free agent isn't the Braves' next-best option.

It has nothing to do with Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, or Luis Gonzalez. Although if you begged me to say who I'd choose among the three, it would be Edmonds.

The fact is, the Braves have a ton of depth in their own clubhouse. Whether it be in the infield (Martin Prado, Omar Infante, etc.) or in the outfield (Josh Anderson, Brandon Jones, and Jordan Schafer).

On several MLB teams, any of these guys could easily be starters.

Why can't we look inside for our starter in left? I think our best option is already on our 40-man roster.

Do I think Edmonds could produce more in 2009? Maybe. However, that doesn't make him the best option; you have to consider the costs.


Josh Anderson is ready to play full time, I believe. He is speedy on the basepaths and his OBP and walks will increase with time. I think he's a better option than any of the three veterans listed above.

Jordan Schafer has waited for his turn. He has superstar capabilities, and I see him contributing more for a full season in a full-time role than any free agent out there. I also think giving him big league experience is a must if we ever expect him to rise to his full potential.

Martin Prado is a reasonable choice, considering that Kelly Johnson could be flexible and able to play in LF. Johnson was originally a shortstop, but has worked on his outfield skills. He also plays 2B well, but if Prado has a hot bat in spring, I could definitely see Bobby Cox trying to find a spot for him in the lineup.


I think another thing to consider is the fact that if you sign a veteran guy to play left field, you are almost obligated to use him. What if you find out that your young guys are able to produce? You'd be stuck starting the guy you felt forced to sign while the younger prospect is prevented from developing.

With all this said, I think the Braves need to let spring training play out. If there is still a need at the end of spring, address it then.

I think the Braves have already messed up by signing Glavine, as his deal virtually blocks Tommy Hanson's path to the majors unless there is an injury. In this case, an injury to Glavine might actually help the Braves (whereas last year it was costly).

Hopefully, they won't make the same mistake by signing a veteran outfielder that would require everyday playing time. If Wren wants to make the best move of the offseason, it would be to just go into spring with what we have and "just let the boys play."