With Wieters back in Baltimore and the front office expressing little to no interest in Alex Gordon, the Braves have a lot of money to spend with Uggla off the books. Expect the Braves to get a MAXIMUM of two of these guys. Here are the free agents on my personal short list:
Note: Personally I’d pursue Ben Zobrist, he’s a great player and excellent trade chip, but I don’t see the Braves moving on him. And also Braves fans, Heyward will be in pinstripes. Cubs or Yankees. Expect former GM Frank Wren to make a push for him in Boston. Dexter Fowler would be a good option, but we have a flooded outfield.
1. Howie Kendrick
Zobrist is called “The Swiss Army Knife” of the MLB. I like to think of Howie Kendrick as a Beretta M9. Classic, straight shooter, and very consistent. A lot like newly acquired Erick Aybar. Howie doesn’t have a spot to fill at the moment, but plays a lot of positions and could make a good third baseman. This was my plan for Daniel Murphy before his postseason outburst. Howie is always an excellent trade chip at the deadline.
10 year Career Stats: .293, 271 2Bs, 87 HRs, 555 RBIs.
My Offer: 3 Years, $42 M. $14 M p/year.
2. Tyler Clippard
If the Braves sign Clippard, they more than likely will not pursue another reliever. Their bullpen will improve by doing nothing at all, with Chris Withrow, Jason Grilli, and Shae Simmons all returning (and more). Clippard has always been a consistent bullpen player, and flipping him at the deadline isn’t out of the question either.
9 Year Career Stats: 2.88 ERA, 53 SVs, 612 Ks.
My Offer: 2 Years, $25 M. $12.5 M p/year.
3. Matt Thornton
Thornton, another former Nat, is a viable lefty option if the righty Clippard goes elsewhere. Thornton is a seasoned vet, and like Grilli, will surely be in trade talks at the deadline. We could be Thornton’s last ride, he is 39.
12 Year Career Stats: 3.35 ERA, 23 SVs, 633 Ks.
My Offer: 1 year, $12 M. $12 M p/year.
Other Interesting FA’s: Austin Jackson, Marlon Byrd