The winter meetings start this week for Major League Baseball and it is a confusing time for the Atlanta Braves and their fans. With their new General Manager Alex Anthopoulos less than a month with the Braves organization he has a lot of questions that need answers and he needs to juggle the Braves offense and defense. The only player in the Braves organization that seems safe is Freddie Freeman.
The Braves will answer the question of where their hot young prospect Ronald Acuna is going to play in the outfield and most importantly when. Right now the Braves don’t have a spot open in the outfield with Matt Kemp in left field, Ender Inciatre playing center field, and Nick Markakis in right field. Honestly the Braves will probably trade either Kemp or Markakis before Spring training and Acuna will fill that spot. Inciatre is not going anywhere after winning his second straight Gold Glove in the 2017 season.
The infield is coming together nicely with Freeman at first base, Ozzie Albies at second base, Dansby Swanson at shortstop, and Johan Camargo filling in at third base. The third base position for the Braves has been like a rollercoaster since the retirement of Chipper Jones and Camargo does not necessarily have a strong hold on this position. Rio Ruiz will be a bench player and just like last season Ruiz can fill that rotation spot quite nicely.
The Braves will be playing dueling positions again at the catching position with Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki. The catching position work well in 2017 and Braves manager Brian Snitker was satisfied enough with the power of his catchers and the different rotations for his starting pitching. The 2018 Braves are looking to add more relief pitching to their 40 man roster and the new pitchers will get comfortable with either Suzuki or Flowers as the 2018 season progresses.
The starting rotation is not quite set but there are a few names Braves fans will recognize. Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Lucas Sims, and others will be looking to gain a starting rotation spot in Spring training after the Braves did not pick up the option of R.A. Dickey who was hinting at retirement at the end of the 2017 season. There will be deals and trades made at the winter meetings and the Atlanta Braves are looking to make a splash after a quiet 2017 off season. Besides from the Braves mishandling of the international trades made from the previous administration which cost John Coppolella and John Hart their jobs in Atlanta, the Braves have been an enigma. Let’s all hope for a more productive off season as the Braves look to regain their glory in Atlanta. GO BRAVES!!!!!