Atlanta Braves: Where Do We Go from Here?

Jay ButlerContributor IOctober 7, 2008

After a glorious 72-90 season, the Braves seem to be a shell of what they used to be.

What used to be a team defined by their dominant pitching now has a starting rotation led by Jair Jurrjens, a rookie.

Their outfield is comprised of a rookie in Gregor Blanco, a subpar platoon in left field, and a right fielder in Jeff Francouer, who is another bad year away from being a bust.

The infield is very good, led by All-Star Brian McCann at catcher, NL Batting Champ Chipper Jones at third, and Casey Kotchman at first, who has unbelievable potential.

So...The Braves head into the offseason, and the Braves are going shopping. They have $45 million to work with...But what do they look for?

The main things the Braves are looking for are starting pitching, which is an absolute priority, and a dominant outfielder, preferably a left fielder. However, who would be the best for the Braves?

Let's start with the starting pitchers. The Braves need a dominant an ace. While this is easier said than done, it's vital because Atlanta's ace, Tim Hudson, is out until the last month of NEXT season. Ouch.

There are several names that pop up that are free-agent starting pitchers. The ones that'll pop out for the Braves should be Jon Garland, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster, and Randy Wolf. However, Braves GM Frank Wren said there will be an addition, more than likely a pitcher, acquired through trade.

Something that I would like to see is a trade with Tampa Bay, who is crazy deep with young starting pitching. They need to get rid of a starting pitcher to make room for "Pitcher of the Century" David Price. Getting a young, back-of-the-rotation guy, like an Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson, would be nice.

However, how would a trade for JAKE PEAVY treat Braves fans?

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution threw this idea out for readers, and I love it. I would trade Kelly Johnson to give them a legit all-around second baseman, and two great prospects, such as Brandon Jones and Cole Rohrbaugh, would be a nice package for Mr. Peavy.

Now onto that left fielder.

Now I'm screaming for us to sign Pat Burrell all day, every day. He has the power needed to get the Braves' anemic offense off the ground. However, if we want to sign a big starting pitcher, we can sign a Jerry Hairston Jr. or Craig Monroe.

It's exciting because it's so wide open. So here is my wish list/predictions, but I'm not getting paid to make these decisions, so what do I know?


2009 Atlanta Braves Lineup

  1. Gregor Blanco-CF
  2. Yunel Escobar-SS
  3. Chipper Jones-3B
  4. Brian McCann-C
  5. Pat Burrell-LF
  6. Casey Kotchman-1B
  7. Jeff Francoeur-RF
  8. Brent Lillibridge-2B

2009 Atlanta Braves Starting Rotation

  1. Jake Peavy
  2. Jair Jurrjens
  3. Mike Hampton
  4. Andy Sonnanstine
  5. Jorge Campillo

Crazy, I know...