16. Will the Braves re-sign Will Ohman?

Should the Braves bring back lefty reliever Will Ohman?

When the Braves acquired Will Ohman from the Chicago Cubs last December they hoped he would be an effective reliever. Ohman had pitched well away from Wrigley Field, giving Atlanta hope he'd be able to be more successful in another uniform.

Overall, Ohman had a very good season. He pitched in 83 games and was 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA. He allowed 51 hits in 58.2 innings pitched, with 22 walks, and 53 strikeouts. Left-handed hitters hit only .200 against the southpaw in 105 at bats.

The Braves tried to trade Ohman when they were deemed out of the race with the trade of Mark Teixeira to Anaheim. But they were unsuccessful. The Braves believed they would get a draft pick for Ohman in next June's draft, but his slump at the end of the season pushed him away from being a Type B free agent.

Ohman had a 6.62 ERA after July 31st, but he had to be a little tired with his 83 appearances. It can't diminish his successful season in his first year with Atlanta.

So now the Braves can either re-sign Ohman or allow him to walk and not get any compensation through the draft.

Ohman has already received interest from the St. Louis Cardinals, who were one of the teams that inquired about him before the two trade deadlines. With lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt becoming the first free agent to sign (with San Francisco), Ohman's price will certainly increase.

The Braves are going to want a lefty setup man, especially if Mike Gonzalez, himself a lefty, is the team's closer. They've already made an offer to Ohman, who has expressed an interest to return.

But this will probably just be about the money. There's no point in the Braves getting into a bidding way over a lefty reliever. There will be plenty on the market. And there are so many pressing needs for this team that this can't be a priority. They'll monitor the market, but Ohman is worth overpaying. If he's not going to accept the Braves offer on the table now, it's likely he'll be pitching elsewhere in 2009.


Bill Shanks hosts The Braves Show Talk Show, The Atlanta Baseball Show on 680 the Fan in Atlanta, and The Bill Shanks Show on SportsRadio 105.5 the Fan in Macon. He is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. You can email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.



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