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The Braves had a very quiet off-season. They traded Derek Lowe, ostensibly to free up some payroll (worried as they were about arbitration costs), but they made essentially no new investments. Resigning Eric Hinske and signing SS Jack Wilson to a 1 year, $1 million contract isn’t exactly going to light up the talk radio shows. The bigger story was perhaps that they retained two of their stars who they had tangled as trade bait, but found no one willing to bid generously. Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens will be staying in Atlanta. They’ll try youngster Tyler Pastornicky at SS. Along with certain-to-improve Jason Heyward, the National League’s best bullpen, a steady but no longer lights-out Tim Hudson, aged but still powerful Chipper Jones, peppy leadoff hitter Michael Bourn, solid catcher Brian McCann, big bopper Dan Uggla at 2B, and assorted bits and pieces they will probably replicate last season’s efforts, but it’s hard to envision them improving.
In: Jack Wilson, Chris Jones
Out: Derek Lowe, Alex Gonzalez
Strength: Craig Kimbrel was impressive at closer, and the Braves certainly have a solid lineup.
Weakness: Atlanta doesn’t seem to have the je-ne-sais-quoi that puts teams over the top. Lots of solid players who could well blossom (Heyward, McCann, Prado, Freeman, Bourn), but they lack the star quality, and their rotation is not going to make opposing batters quake
Manager: Fredi Gonzalez
Projected Rotation: Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy