So it seems that the Braves are probably done for the offseason with the Hinske and Glaus signings.
Time for Frank Wren's off-season grades.
Starting Pitcher :
The offseason started out with signing Hudson to a three-year, $28 million extension. Below market value for Hudson, a great leader in the clubhouse and community. The type of player the Braves want to build around.
Unfortunately, once the Braves signed Hudson to an extension, they were put into a position where they needed to trade Lowe or Vazquez.
If Wren was able to trade Lowe without eating any salary, his grade would have been an A+++, unfortunately he was unable to move him at all and this required the trade of Vazquez.
Trading Javy to the Yankees was a necessary move financially. We did get, in my opinion, one of the best fourth outfielders in the game, a top pitching prospect, and a solid young lefty reliever. I would have rather gotten a power LF bat, but I like the return.
Wren's Grade: B
We all knew our bullpen was going to get overhauled this offseason. Gonzalez and Soriano would not be coming back, which is a huge blow. Frank went out and got the closer Bobby Cox has wanted for years—Billy Wagner.
Wagner will solidify the role as closer. I do wish perhaps Wren could have waited a little longer before making the signing.
$7 million is a lot of money, especially on the free agent market for closers this offseason. I think if perhaps we had waited a little longer for the Wagner signing, we could have signed him for closer to $5M.
I am really glad that Takashi Saito will be in a Braves uniform in 2010, but again I believe we may have paid a little too much here. Boston released him when he was at a $3.5 million salary for 2010. We paid him a base $3.2 million with another $2.3 in possible incentives.
I really like how the rest of the bullpen can shake out.
Peter Moylan will be a solid set up man.
Kris Medlen will prove to be a stud in the pen.
I really liked the Jesse Chavez pickup. I think he will thrive in Atlanta.
Michael Dunn and Eric O'Flaherty could prove to be solid left handed options.
Wren's Grade: B+
To me, this was Wren's best move. Glaus was a very good signing, low risk, with huge upside.
Would I rather have Adam LaRoche back? Yes. Would I want LaRoche back on a three-year $30 million deal? Absolutely not.
With the Glaus signing, you could have very cheaply found your 30 home run, 100 RBI man behind Chipper Jones that we desperately need, or you could be out $2 million. It was completely worth the risk. (P.S. in case it doesn't work out, there should be a lot of 1B on the trade market come mid-season)
Wren's Grade : A+
I am a big fan of the addition of Melky as our fourth OF. Unfortunately, that is all he is, a great fourth OF. Wren's lack of getting a proven OF bat shows his faith in "The Jay Hey Kid."
Jason Heyward will be our opening day right fielder. Not a doubt in my mind. An, outfield of Matt Diaz, Nate McLouth, Heyward (with Melky getting his share of playing time) is an average OF in my opinion. (At least until 2011, when I believe Heyward will make his jump into stardom)
Wren's Grade: B-
Overall: great depth and versatility. I like the bench a lot.
C - David Ross - Solid backup in my opinion.
UTIL - Omar Infante - One of the best utility players in the majors in my opinion.
OF - Melky Cabrera - Again, big fan as a fourth OF.
PH - Eric Hinske - Great addition: power and the versatility to play corner INF or corner OF. (1,000 times better than Greg Norton)
UTIL - Brooks Conrad - To me this is the weakest spot on the roster. I would like to get a player like Jerry Harrison Jr. or Khalil Greene for this spot.
Wren's Grade: A- (could move to an A+ with another addition)
Due to budget constraints and team needs Wren did a good job. I really think he did the best he could do given the circumstances. No, the offseason hasn't gone like many of us had hoped, but it was a productive offseason.
Wren's Grade: B+