This has to be my favorite time of year. The beautiful leaves have fallen. The air is getting much cooler. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Gone is summer—the long days, the starry nights.
College Football Bowl season is so close we can taste it, NCAA Basketball holiday tournaments are getting ready to begin, and Hot Stove League baseball is in hyper mode.
The latter of that trio is one of my favorite aspects of the great sport of baseball. That time where everyone is 0-0. Every team has a shot. And depending on what your team does over the next few months can determine how realistic that shot will be.
For the Atlanta Braves, this time of year in ’08 was up-and-down to say the least. We bade farewell to hometown hero, John Smoltz; just missed on bringing a fan-favorite, Rafael Furcal, back; yet we welcomed Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, and Kenshin Kawakami.
My expectations, based on what I’ve heard and seen over the last few weeks, are for GM Frank Wren to explore the trade and free agent markets to fill holes in the outfield and at first base.
After looking over the free agent market for a few days I have singled out five players that I believe are worthy of consideration by the Braves.
As much as I want to place Jason Bay, Matt Holiday, and Chone Figgins on this list, I am realistic. I understand there might be a better chance of a snowstorm in Hades than for any of these guys to sign on the dotted line with Atlanta.
So I tried to keep this list as realistic as possible. This list is based on any potential signee to basically become a stop-gap for a year or two while a few Atlanta’s highly touted prospects complete their development phase.
Here they are in order of my preference.