Looking beyond the B.J. Upton deal

Now that the Braves have landed B.J. Upton, they will move toward completion of the roster reconstruction process with the focus on landing an outfielder who can fill the leadoff spot of their lineup.

After undergoing a physical this morning in Atlanta, Upton will travel to Turner Field for a 2 p.m. ET press conference that will officially announce him as the newest member of the Braves organization.

With his five-year, $75.25 million contract, Upton will also be the highest-paid player in Braves history.  The talented centerfielder’s average annual salary of $15.05 million trumps the $15 million salary that Derek Lowe garnered while pitching in Atlanta from 2009-11.

Upton provides the Braves the middle-of-the-lineup right-handed presence that they wanted to add to a lineup that already includes left-handed power threats Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann.

Like Heyward, Upton has the ability to produce a 30/30 season (30 home runs and 30 stolen bases).  To put that in perspective, there have been just three 30/30 seasons in the history of the Atlanta Braves.  Ron Gant accounted for two of those occasions in 1990 and ’91.  Dale Murphy accounted for the other when he notched his second straight National League MVP Award in 1983.

While the Braves know Upton and Heyward will sit in the middle of their lineup, it remains unknown who they will acquire to serve as their leadoff hitter.  In attempt to fill this need, they will continue to evaluate the possibility of acquiring either Denard Span from the Twins or Dexter Fowler from the Rockies.

With some uncertainty within the ranks of the Rockies’ front office, Span is seemingly the more likely candidate.  So far the Braves have not made much progress with the Twins, who would likely seek either Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in return.

But with the Winter Meetings preparing to start on Monday, the trade market could certainly begin heating up.  This could help the Braves gauge what kind of market there is for Tommy Hanson, who won 13 games this past season and was heralded as the game’s top pitching prospect just three years ago.

By trading Hanson, the Braves could free up approximately $4 million and increase their options in their search to find another outfielder.  This could open the door to negotiate with free-agent Shane Victorino, who could play left field and hit leadoff.  Victorino will likely get a three-year deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $27 million.

Another interesting potential trade for the Braves could involve Justin Upton, who will be at Turner Field today for his older brother’s press conference.  If the D-backs end up deciding they are going to trade the younger Upton, the Braves could certainly show some interest.  But to be in position to complete this deal, they would likely have to trade Hanson or free up a portion of their payroll in another manner.

The last order of business leading up to the Winter Meetings will occur on Friday when Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan will both likely be non-tendered.  Barring an unforeseen trade completed in the next 24 hours, Jurrjens will definitely be non-tendered.

There is a little less certainty about Moylan.  But in all likelihood, Moylan will be non-tendered and put in a position where he would have to accept a Minor League deal to return to the Braves next year.

19 Comments

Is there a possibility Frenchy could return from the Royals to fill last OF position? Of course, that leaves uncertainy at lead off. Simmons has the speed to fill lead off but is asking a player this green too much for him?

Will Upton’s deal effect future deal for McCann, Heyward, Freeman and the young pitching staff. Losing one of those guys would crush the team and the fan base.

You said yesterday that you thought the Braves could possibly get Upton for one of Teheran/Delgado + Nick Ahmed. Do you really think Towers would accept that offer?

i think Towers would go for Nick ahmed plus teheran/delgado maybe OF prospect todd cunningham

If the Braves did trade for the other Upton brother, how would he fit in the lineup? The Diamondbacks are looking for pitching! But, it would be awesome to have both brothers playing for the Braves.

I think a fair and smart trade would be tommy Hanson for span. Solves our leadoff hitter issues and gets twins established so they need. Or maybe to totals for Cain plus a prospect.

Sp not so

Braves need to focus on a good RH’d bat for LF, not a leadoff hitter. Prado can hit leadoff if need be. Go get Justin Upton and work out lineup issues later. Sorry but Upton + Span dont replace Chipper/Bourn’s numbers from last year. We need a better offense.

Damn, now we not only don’t get span, but we loose him to a division rival.

Shame we lost Jordan Schafer. He is obviously a future MVP as he proved last year with his .591 OPS haha

Jordan is in play for the 4th or 5th outfielder correct?

I got trade that can fix both lead off hitter and 3rd base and free up some money

We trade Uggla Ahmed Terhan and Jair for Toronto for Emilio Bonifacio Brett Lawrie and Travis d’Arnaud and here’s the lineup for next year

Bonofacio Cf
Prado 2nd
Freeman
Upton
Heyward
Simmons
Lawrie
McCann

Okay so now that Span is gone who is next on the list for the Braves? Maybe go after Bourn and use him LF?

The Braves signed a very, very avg player to above avg pay. Turner Field will eat Upton alive. The ball field is way to big for Upton and Home Runs will be cut in half. If he avg 12 HR a year that will be alot. Also a career 250 batting avg, batting 3rd in the line up, that gets a big “C’MON MAN”.

I would prefer for the Braves to go after Shane Victorino, but I’m not sure if they’d want to sign him to a 3 yr. deal like he wants. The best fiscal option would be acquiring Dexter Fowler. …Even if neither become a Brave, I’m hoping Hanson is pitching for another team next year.

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I think, looking at the non tender list, that Andres Torres might be a good fit for the braves and would definitely leave free some wiggle room with the budget at perhaps 10% of the victorino asking price. Torres was abismal last year in hitter’s hell, Citi Field, but he has proven that he can steal bases and hit the gaps with his numbers in 2010. He would also give them some leadership that they desperately need, seeing that he was a Willie McCovey Award winner in 2010 for leadership with the Giants. He would be that spark at the top of the lineup the Braves need.

bosten says there open to trading elsbury he would be a good fit but a little expensive

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