After a busy two-day stretch that saw the Braves sign BJ Upton to a five-year, $75.25 million contract, non-tender Jair Jurrjens and trade former top prospect Tommy Hanson to the Angels for reliever Jordan Walden, Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren found himself with very few items left on his to-do list.
Hence the lack of activity by Atlanta at the winter meetings.
Heading into Nashville, Frank Wren had two tasks to complete: shoring up the bench (including the signing of a backup catcher for Gerald Laird) and finding a left fielder, preferably one that could bat leadoff.
With no Rule 5 selections to be made, the Braves made exactly four moves in Nashville.
On the fourth of December, Frank Wren signed two catchers that could possibly back Laird up: Matt Pagnozzi and Jose Yepez.
Yepez played for Atlanta at Triple-A Gwinnett in 2012, so technically he was a re-signing. He has proven able to take walks in the minor leagues, but is 31 years old and has yet to accrue a major league at bat.
Pagnozzi might be a more viable option to back Laird up, as he has been able to hold his own at the plate in his limited major league experience (all 83 at-bats of it).
Atlanta also made an underrated but very important transaction: the re-signing of pinch hitter and fourth outfielder Reed Johnson. Johnson provided a lot value off the bench for the Braves in 2012, and if Wren fails to sign a starting left fielder, Johnson could see a fair amount of at-bats.
Finally, as the meetings came to a close, Atlanta signed Blake DeWitt, who will most likely serve as a backup infielder and pinch hitter for the Braves.
Perhaps Wren's biggest success was not shelling out $40 million for Shane Victorino or giving up too much for Ben Revere. Sometimes, the best moves are the ones not made, and it's important to remember that low activity does not necessarily mean inactivity.
Braves fans are probably disappointed that Atlanta did not come away with Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler or Shin-Soo Choo, but the Braves now have a backup plan in place in case they cannot find a starting left fielder, and they are still searching for a player that fits that mold.
Frank Wren may have had an uneventful winter meetings, but with the re-signing of his most valuable reserve and the acquisition of two potential backup catchers, the 2012 winter meetings were a success for the Braves.
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