Major League Baseball's winter meetings get underway on Monday and there is sure to be no shortage of rumors surrounding the Atlanta Braves. While most of the talk has centered on potential trades of Evan Gattis and Justin Upton, MLB.com's Mark Bowman writes that the team is also in the market for a second baseman along with another starting pitcher.
Speculation about the futures of Upton and Gattis will likely highlight many of the Braves rumors at this year's Winter Meetings, which once again will bring all of Major League Baseball's top executives and agents to one location to discuss potential trades and signings.
The Braves need to add at least one more Major League-ready starting pitcher and assess their outfield needs, which will be influenced by any decision involving Upton and Gattis. They might also attempt to find a second baseman to bridge the gap until their top prospect Jose Peraza is deemed ready to make the jump to the big leagues.
Its been assumed that the Braves were retooling their team in an effort to be a contender by 2017 when they move into Sun Trust Park. However, David O'Brien quotes John Hart saying that the team isn't considering doing a complete rebuild and wants to remain competitive.
"I wouldn't be telling you the truth if I said we're not taking a look at '17," he said. "But we haven't made a move yet that would give anybody any reason to think that we're even considering doing a strip-down (rebuild)."
David Lee writing for the Augusta Chronicle says that Upton and Gattis are major trade chips for the Braves.
The Braves continue to field offers for outfielder Justin Upton, who is a year away from free agency and likely doesn't fit into the team's long-term plans. They have also received interest in Evan Gattis, who is without a position in Atlanta. The Markakis signing basically assures at least one will be dealt, if not both.
The returns for Upton and Gattis could strengthen their new core of young talent that keeps them competitive in the future. Reports indicate the return for Upton could be similar or stronger than the Heyward return.
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince takes a look at John Hart and what challenges he faces in remaking the Atlanta Braves into a contender.
John Lester still on the market
White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams is considering resigning his position with Chicago so that he can pursue the vacant President and CEO position with the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto reportedly has interest in Williams and Baltimore GM Dan Duquette but Chicago has denied Williams the opportunity to speak with Toronto about the job.