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Friday, December 12, 2008

Where do the Braves go from here?

Seriously, this is getting annoying.  Another top pitcher to the Yankees?  

The Braves reportedly offered AJ Burnett 5 yrs for $80 million while the Yankees got him for 5 and $82.5 million.  Factoring in taxes and cost of living, the Braves offered the better deal.  It appears winning was the deciding factor and I guess you can't blame a guy for that.  So what do the Braves do now?

The Braves reportedly had about $42 million to spend this offseason.  After trade talks for Peavy fizzled (thank you), Burnett burning them for New York, and Derek Lowe showing not interest I'm worried the Braves will throw a boatload of cash at 2nd-tier free agent in an effort to get someone to sign.  This would be a mistake.

What they should do is sit on the money.  Put more money in the draft.  Every year there is 1st and 2nd round talent that gets drafted in the 10th round because of their contract demands.  My advice is: Give in to those demands.  Pony up the dough.  Why not keep stockpiling the minor league system?  Boston does this and they are rewarded for it.  Follow their example.

The second part is to use the money they had set aside for this season on next season's free agents.  Let's compare the pitchers quickly:

2008 2009
CC Sabathia Josh Beckett
AJ Burnett John Lackey
Derek Lowe Tim Hudson
Andy Pettitte Brett Myers
Oliver Perez Cliff Lee
Ryan Dempster Rich Harden
Jon Garland Erik Bedard
Randy Wolf Kelvim Escobar
Jason Jennings Joel Piniero
Mike Hampton Vicente Padilla
Jamie Moyer Brad Penny
John Smoltz Doug Davis

Next year's market looks pretty good.  What if Atlanta signed Beckett to a huge contract?  This is unlikely, but it's possible if they hold off.  Frank Wren knows he needs 2 more starters.  How do John Lackey and Tim Hudson sound?  This is realistic and but it will only happen if the team remains patient and does not overreact.  Next year however, there is no excuse for not signing someone.  But that is a year away.  Now I'm just hoping they don't throw $10 million a year at Oliver Perez and $30 million at Raul Ibanez--wait, the Phillies already did that. 
Things are looking up already.
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