Moved from the Kendrys Morales thread...
I don't see Atlanta doing much this season. They lost a lot. Brian McCann was probably their best player and Hudson was a strong pitcher. Ryan Doumit and Gavin Floyd are replacing them. That's a huge step back. I also think Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson had career years last season that are unlikely to be repeated.
I see them as an 80-85 win team and don't think they will really contend for a playoff spot.
Atlanta is about a 100 million payroll team. The Upton brothers and Dan Uggla make up about 41.5% of that. That is bad news when BJ Upton and Uggla were basically bench players. Toss in the fact they have no farm system and it's bad new all around.
Unless you are putting value in the intangibles of Hudson and McCann, you are making too much of their departure. McCann was a 2 win player for the Braves in 2013, and Hudson was a 1 win pitcher. Those guys had a role in winning, but it was the young guys who were most responsible for the year the Braves had.
bWAR and 2013 age
Andrelton Simmons 6.8 23
Freddie Freeman 5.4 23
Jason Heyward 3.6 23
Justin Upton 2.6 25
Craig Kimbrel 3.3 25
Kris Medlan 3.3 27
Julio Teheran 3.2 22
Mike Minor 3.1 25
I don't usually hear someone think a 23 year old had a career year. Even if Freddie Freeman has reached his plateau he's still a good bet for a 4 win season no? Hudson was a solid pitcher, but you are really underselling how good Teheran, Minor, and Medlan were in 2013. Is Simmons going to be significantly worse at SS? Are you counting on Heyward being injured again in 2014? Is Kimbrel not the best closer in baseball? Chris Johnson just has to be an average starter to match what he did last year. Where's the decline?
I'm struggling to see why you consider the Braves a 80-85 win team . It's not an aging roster that's on the downswing. The Braves MLB roster is one of the best in baseball even with Dan Uggla and BJ Upton combining for -3.1 bWAR. It's actually remarkable, Atlanta could replace the value they lost in Tim Hudson and Brian McCann by Upton and Uggla just being replacement level(or replacing them with guys who'll be replacement level.) I actually think Upton and Uggla will be better than replacement level, Uggla averaged 3 wins a season from 2010-2012, and Upton was coming off back to back 3 win seasons when he signed with Atlanta. If those two guys are just average starters in 2014 the Braves will be fine. To me the Braves are going to be in contention for a playoff spot, I can't understand you're reasoning.