Atlanta Braves Offseason Moves: Really, Frank Wren? Really?!
From the first signing of Billy Wagner, who will turn 39 in July and missed all but a month of baseball in '08, we should have known Frank Wren was serious about returning the Braves to the postseason.
Then the free agent signing of Takashi Saito, who will turn 40 in February and whose velocity barely equals his age, as the setup man--wow is pretty much all I can say.
As for Glaus, nothing like throwing down the gauntlet on the NL East by signing a guy who played in 115 games in '07 before missing nearly all of '09. I'm sure the Phillies are shaking in their boots now, Mr. Wren.
Oh and I mustn't forget Eric Hinske. Eric stinkin' Hinske. That's just another one of those awe-inspiring moves that make you wonder how in the heck the Braves deserved a GM like Frank Wren.
The Braves have done nothing but create more question marks this offseason. They ended '09 with one question mark on offense. They added question marks at first base, on the bench, in the outfield, in the starting rotation and the bullpen.
Sorry, Braves fans, but if you think an aging, oft-injured, third base convert to first base is going to rival Ryan Howard, you are crazy.
If you for one second think that Melky Cabrera/Matt Diaz, Nate McLouth, and a rookie are going to strike fear in the Phillies who have Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Shane Victorino, I need to try what you are on.
The lead-off spot in the order was perhaps the most daunting question mark. Nate McLouth was pretty much Kelly Johnson in that spot since his arrival via trade in June.
His power hitter mentality is much more suited for batting sixth or seventh in the order.
At the very least the Braves should have waited, saved a few bucks, and gone after Johnny Damon. I know he fits the aging category that I've railed against in this article, but he's a winner. He hits for average and power. And he would be an infinite upgrade over McLouth.
I realize what the Braves were trying to do with the Vazquez trade. I even liked the deal because I thought it added depth to the farm system so Atlanta could go out and get a real, bonafide power hitter via trade.
The Braves signed a power hitter alright. One that played in 14 games last year and hasn't hit 30 home runs in a season since 2006.
Granted if the Braves get the Troy Glaus from '07, 27 HR's 99 RBI, it will be considered a resounding success.
However, when your big bat acquisition has played 14 games since that '07 season and will have to move to a position he's played six times since 1998 to do so, it reeks of desperation.
I do not want to be down on the Braves. Quite the contrary. I did want to make a move that would instill some confidence back in the team. I did want to make a move that would make some in the NL East jealous.
The Braves got older, more injury-prone, and much less confident.
Hopefully Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Yunel Escobar, and Martin Prado can light the spark the Braves need. If Atlanta hopes to challenge for the Wild Card, those young guys will have to provide the spark.
After an offseason full of questionable moves and increasing the average age of the team almost two years I somehow doubt these acquisitions have much of a spark left.
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