Schuerholz said the following this week:
"We pretty much anticipated [prices on free agents going up]," Schuerholz said. "The market is what it is, the guys in the market are in the market and teams who need people to fill those jobs are going to go after people that are available." He added, "We're working hard at it. We're realistic."
But are they really realistic? Apparently a three year deal at $5 million a year is as high as the Braves will go for leadoff man and left fielder Dave Roberts. Yes there are questions about whether he can play 160 games, or whether or not he can continue his production into his late 30's. But this seems to me to be a similar quandary we were in last off-season; we needed a closer and all the Braves were willing to do was $5 million a year. So we passed on Farnsworth, we passed on Jones, we passed on Hoffman, and we even passed on Wickman, and were stuck with an unproven commodity that rather predictably failed us.
And this year we are at the same crossroads; do we pay for the player we need or do we try and make it work with what we've got. Granted, this year we seem to have more in the way of tradable commodities than last off-season, so one would think that our options are not limited to the free agent market, but if the perfect fit did exist as a free agent would we pay what it takes to get him. Roberts is someone who would fit well in the Braves lineup, someone who could provide us with a spark at the top of the order and be that threat to steal we lacked this year.
Let's hope that Schuerholz and company do not pass up the opportunity to sign the player we need before they are all gone.