Braves Talking With Juan Gone

With a vacancy in right field, the Braves are talking with one of the best home run hitters of the last twenty years to fill the void. Bill Shanks has the exclusive.

The Atlanta Braves have initiated discussions with the agent for free agent outfielder Juan Gonzalez, has learned.

Gonzalez spent the 2004 season with the Kansas City Royals. Injuries limited him to just 33 games. He hit .276 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI. After making $4,000,000 last season, Gonzalez is interested in signing a (relatively cheap) one-year deal for 2005 to show that he is healthy and can produce significant numbers. Gonzalez is only 66 home runs away from the 500 home run mark for his career. He also has a .295 career average with 1404 RBI and 1936 hits.

The Braves inquired about Gonzalez last year before the acquired J.D. Drew from the Cardinals. Signing him would allow the Braves to have a cheap alternative for right field as several young players, notably Jeff Francoeur and Andy Marte, continue their development in the minor leagues.

Bill Shanks can be reached at

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