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Braves in good shape as Winter Meetings come to a close

The 2017 roster is already in far better shape than the roster in 2015 and 2016.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves didn't do much of anything during the Winter Meetings, and that is perfectly OK considering the state of the roster.

Some fans may be disappointed in the lack of action this week. That's understandable considering the nature of fandom. I would much rather be writing about the new star the Braves acquired today than this, but here we are.

We heard they were interested in Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Chris Archer. So were 90 percent of the other teams in baseball. As currently constructed, the last thing the Braves needed to do was drastically overpay for a frontline starter.

Let's look at the roster. Call me a fanboy, but I think this team could at least flirt with being competitive in 2017. They're not going to win the World Series. They're not even going to contend with the Nationals in the NL East. But there's a lot to like here.

The Braves used 16 different starting pitchers last year. It was a never-ended carousel, and a good majority of the ones who made starts had no business starting big league games.

Julio Teheran put together a terrific season and is just 26 years old. Mike Foltynewicz was far from great, but he made clear strides from his forgettable rookie debut. He's only 25 years old.

Jaime Garcia, when healthy, is a legitimate No. 3 pitcher. He's a year removed from posting a 2.43 ERA (and 3.00 FIP) over 130 innings.

Bartolo Colon is who he is, and that's a damn steady pitcher. His WAR the last six seasons: 2.7 > 2.4 > 3.8 > 2.9 > 2.6 > 2.9. There is always the chance Big Sexy falls apart at age 43, but that would be somewhat of a surprise.

R.A. Dickey will be an inexpensive innings eater in the 5th rotation spot. He posted a 3.99 ERA over 96 starts from 2014-2016. You can certainly do worse*.

*Remember when Williams Perez, Joel De La Cruz and Roberto Hernandez started 22 games for the Braves last season? Me neither.

Erick Aybar and A.J. Pierzynski are long gone.

Dansby Swanson will play his first full season in the big leagues. Ozzie Albies will make his big league debut.

Fingers crossed that Ender Inciarte doesn't get hurt on the 3rd day of the season again and essentially need two months to recover. Coming off three good seasons, Ender may be entering his prime.

Matt Kemp mashed during his two months in Atlanta. If he can come close to repeating his .280/.336/.519 (120 wRC+) line over a full season – and at least catch the stuff hit right at him in left field – that deal will look even better. The same can be said for Nick Markakis; just be serviceable, the way he has been the last two years.

Sean Rodriguez is coming off a career year and probably won't repeat those numbers in 2017, but he will be a far better utility option than Gordon Beckham and Daniel Castro. He could be a steal at his price and meshes well with the rest of the roster.

Freddie Freeman being an MVP candidate once again would certainly help, too.

No one is suggesting the Braves will make the playoffs next year. I'm certainly not. Brian Snitker is, but what else is he going to say? "Let's get out there and win the hell out of 4th place, boys." Of course a manager heads into the season with the mindset to be division champions.

The 2017 roster is already better from the group that played in 2016, and the Braves could still add a big piece or two should the right deal present itself. With the Winter Meetings wrapping up and plenty of offseason to go, the Braves are in good shape compared to years past.

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