Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Team Analysis: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves:

2009 Record: 86-76

General Manager: Frank Wren

Manager: Bobby Cox

Organizational Philosophy: when Frank Wren took over as GM in 2007 many assumed he wouldn't deviate too much from the way former GM (and current Team President) John Schuerholz's ran things: heavily scout local high school talent with a keen eye on pitching and athleticism, create a sense of team unity as each player moves through the minor league system, develop and/or acquire talented starting pitching but don't overspend on bullpen arms. 

This formula proved to be successful during Schuerholz's tenure and current GM Frank Wren has stuck to this plan for the most part (although his signing of Tom Glavine in '07 offseason did get his first year of supervising the amateur draft off on the wrong foot since it took a pick away from them in the first round; although comp. pick LHP Brett DeVall, who came out of the Florida HS system, is intriguing despite reports that health remains an issue). In terms of spending, he did go a bit overboard during the 2008 offseason.  That spending spree only took half of last season to catch up with them as Derek Lowe failed to impress (4 years/$60 million) and even with Kenshin Kawakami showing he could be a reliable starter in his first season, some analysts do wonder if the 34 year old veteran will be worth the 3 year/$23 million dollar contract he signed. During that same timespan, Chipper Jones came off one of his best seasons and signed a 3 year contract extension worth $42 million.  Jones did start the '09 season on fire but his dramatic decline during the second half had some wondering when the 38 year old would retire.

It's expected for Wren and co. to harness some of last offseason's excessive spending and focus on rebuilding their minor league depth.  During the last few years of Schuerholz's reign, the Braves caught a lot of criticism for not developing the type of pitching prospects Brave fans came to expect.  Former Brave prospects Adam Wainwright, Kevin Millwood and Neftali Perez were shipped off in separate trades while still being developed.  However, last season we saw Tommy Hanson establish himself as one of the NL's most exciting young pitchers and 2010's favorite prospect OF Jason Heyward has fans in Atlanta excited both now and into the future. 

2010 Commitments:

Starting Rotation:

Jair Jurrjens ($450K)
Derek Lowe ($15M)
Tommy Hanson ($400K)
Tim Hudson ($9M)
Kenshin Kawakami  ($7.3M)


Billy Wagner ($6.7M)
Peter Moylan ($1.15M)
Eric O'Flaherty ($400K)
Manny Acosta ($412K)
Kris Medlen ($400K)
Jo-Jo Reyes ($410K)
Takashi Saito ($3.2M)
James Parr ($400K)
Luis Valdez ($400K)

On the field:

C: Brian McCann ($5.6M)
C: David Ross ($1.6M)
1B: Troy Glaus ($1.75M)
2B: Martin Prado ($415K)
SS: Yunel Escobar ($425K)
3B: Chipper Jones ($13M)
INF: Omar Infante ($2.2M)
LF: Melky Cabrera ($3.1M)
LF: Eric Hinske ($1M)
CF: Nate McLouth ($5M)
CF: Jordan Schafer ($400K)
RF: Matt Diaz ($2.5M)
RF: Jason Heyward ($400K)

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