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What's Left For The Braves

Add right handed power hitter. Check.
Re-sign key pinch hitter. Check
Add right handed setup man. Check.
Add another left handed setup man (because just about every slugger in the NL East is a lefty). Check.

So what's left for the Atlanta Braves on the off-season shopping list?

Really, not much. The Braves have a pretty set roster, and have even gone as far as to fill out a lot of the details of the roster -- bench guys and 5th and 6th bullpen arms. But that got me thinking about what else the Braves need. It was noted recently by the Braves beat writers that the team is fine going into the spring with guys like Diory Hernandez and Ed Lucas competing for backup jobs. I disagree.

Two years ago we suffered through a couple of months of Diory Hernandez not performing very well while filling in for the injured Yunel Escobar (and the injured Omar Infante). A big part of our offense was missing and we couldn't replace it, though that was the rare double-shortstop injury. Last year when Chipper Jones went down, when Yunel Escobar went down, and other key players went down, we were able to fill in with an Omar Infante or Brooks Conrad and the offense kept going. While Conrad is still here to provide that second/third base support, and Martin Prado can always move back in from the outfield, the Braves need another above average backup that can play shortstop and come close to replacing what Omar Infante gave us. (I say come close, because it would be hard to replace or replicate what Omar did last year -- maybe even for Omar.)

While the cost of getting Dan Uggla was VERY cheap, it did remove a nice and reliable backup piece away from our team. The Braves stated after the trade they would try to acquire another utility infielder, but the urgency of that needs to be stepped up. With the fragility of Chipper Jones, we saw last year the need for reliable and proven Major League backups.

This off-season has been a success, but that one last piece needs to be secured before our depth will be at a level where I can feel comfortable.

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