Braves to search for another outfielder at Meetings
Atlanta able to acquire Upton, its top target, before heading to Nashville
ATLANTA -- Less than 24 hours after his team was eliminated from the postseason, Braves general manager Frank Wren described his offseason wish list as "focused." Instead of shopping for pitching, power and bench help, Wren said his roster reconstruction process would likely focus on acquiring two outfielders.
Two months later, Wren has the satisfaction of knowing he has already secured the outfielder -- B.J. Upton -- who was positioned at the top of his offseason wish list.
When the Winter Meetings begin in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, Wren will be looking to add another outfielder and possibly strengthen his bench. But he made his most significant acquisition when Upton agreed to a five-year deal worth approximately $75 million.
Along with improving the Braves' offense, Upton will bring his highly respected defensive skills to an outfield that already includes Gold Glove right fielder Jason Heyward.
With approximately $10 million left to spend, the Braves will continue their attempt to acquire another outfielder, preferably one who can bat leadoff. The Twins' Denard Span and the Rockies' Dexter Fowler are both options.
With Minnesota looking to gain young pitchers in exchange for Span, Atlanta might be able to satisfy the Twins with either Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado. Colorado would also likely be interested in either of these two highly regarded pitching prospects.
Another interesting trade possibility could involve Tommy Hanson, who was regarded as the game's top pitching prospect when he made his Major League debut in 2009. If the Braves move Hanson, they would free up approximately $4 million and increase their options in their search to land another outfielder.
By moving Hanson, the Braves might put themselves in better position to afford either Shane Victorino or Angel Pagan on the free-agent market. With Pagan being a little more expensive and seemingly on track to return to the Giants, Victorino might be the more likely option.
It will also be interesting to see if the D-backs arrive at this year's Meetings ready to once again make Justin Upton (B.J.'s younger brother) available via trade. To get the younger Upton, the Braves would have to include either Teheran or Delgado and likely Nick Ahmed, a sure-handed shortstop who garnered some attention during the Arizona Fall League.
Before the Upton signing, Wren's only significant offseason move thus far was signing veteran backup catcher Gerald Laird to a two-year, $3 million contract. The Braves filled a need with Laird after David Ross signed a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Red Sox.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.