NL East Hot Stove Preview
The Braves still then have a little work to do, since the back end of the rotation was so porous last year. If you can get Tom Glavine at some kind of hometown discount, he's probably worth the upgrade over Buddy Carlyle, even assuming that Jurrjens wins a rotation spot. The bullpen would probably be fine if both Villarreal and Dotel came back, but otherwise Atlanta will need to sign comparable talents, since there's very little pitching in the farm system. In some ways, then, this is a hand that kind of plays itself. With a lineup of Johnson/Rowand/Chipper/Teixeira/McCann/Francoeur/Diaz/Escobar and a rotation of Smoltz/Hudson/Glavine/Jurrjens/James, the Braves would quite probably be the best team in the division, and very possibly the best in the National League. Turner Field fans are hungry again after overcoming their fatigue, and with the farm system in a relative lull and a host of players like Teixiera and Smoltz all questionable beyond 2008, now is the time to deliver.
You've got two of the five or 10 best players in baseball in Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez -- I think you've got to take your shot here. Bring on Mike Cameron in center field and give your pitching staff a chance. Sign fan favorite Mike Lowell at third base, move Cabrera to first, and pull the plug on Mike Jacobs. Make a pitch to Hiroki Kuroda and hope that he confuses "Marlins" for "Mariners." This is a team that desperately needs to buy back some credibility from its fan base, as well as the politicians of South Florida. Merely making the effort would restore hope and good faith.