So if the season started today, here’s what the Braves roster would look like, now that several moves have been made in the last few days.
The rotation would include Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Shelby Miller, Alex Wood and David Hale. We expect the Braves to add a veteran starter through a trade or free agency. But right now, those are the five guys penciled into the rotation. Any new addition would push Hale back to the pen as the long reliever.
The bullpen would be led, of course, by Craig Kimbrel. Forget about him being part of the purge of this team. Kimbrel is not going anywhere. James Russell is under contract for next season. Then you have David Carpenter, Anthony Varvaro, Luis Avilan and Arodys Vizcaino. Let’s give Shae Simmons the nod as the last reliever. This group probably needs another veteran, and there will be plenty on the market over the next 10 weeks.
Christian Bethancourt would be the starting catcher. The Braves need a backup. Gerald Laird is not coming back. Obviously, regardless of what happens with Evan Gattis, this is an area of concern.
The infield would be Freddie Freeman at first, with Andrelton Simmons at shortstop and Chris Johnson at third base. The second baseman would be Phillip Gosselin, with Tommy La Stella now in Chicago. The Braves believe Jose Peraza will need some time in Triple-A before he makes the jump to the big leagues.
Ramiro Pena would be a reserve, along with maybe Joey Terdoslavich. Expect the Braves to upgrade here, with a veteran or two brought in as insurance.
The outfield would be Evan Gattis in left, B.J. Upton in center and Justin Upton in right field, with Zolio Almonte as the main reserve. The chances of that staying in place until opening day 2015 are slim and none.
Gattis and both Upton brothers could be traded, so the outfield could look completely new before the season starts.
How good is that team, at least the one on paper today? Well, what would the lineup be? Who would be the leadoff man? B.J. Upton? Simmons? They would need one until Peraza is ready. If more trades happen, who will fill out the batting order?
That looks like a team that could hover around the .500 mark, as last year’s team did. But the Braves are far from finished with their tinkering. There are many moves to be made and you can expect the players penciled in right now to change as the weeks pass. This is a major rebuilding project, and Monday’s trade with the Cardinals is just the beginning.
What if the season started today?
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