2014 Braves Q&A with Franklin Rabon
This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers.
Franklin Rabon is a contributor to SB Nation’s Braves blog Talking Chop. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Braves-related questions to help preview the upcoming season in the NL East. Give him a follow on Twitter @fjrabon.
1. The Braves spent the off-season signing their core players to contract extensions rather than shopping for free agents. Are you happy with what the Braves accomplished over the winter?
Yes, while none of the deals they signed jump off the table as being “steals” I think they were all good moves that don’t go into the decline years of the young core’s career.
I don’t love the Kimbrel extension, because it’s a lot of money for a closer. However, his new contract is just as trade-able as he would have been under the old contract, and the team option year on the end is very nice to have, so ultimately it’s just kind of “meh.” I love the Teheran contract, as it buys out his arb years at a reasonable rate, and may well prove to be a HUGE steal in the free agency years. The second year being an option means there is little downside risk for the Braves, but with huge upside potential.
Sure, I mean what else could they really do? They should eventually get the pick back when they QO him after this season, and the money wouldn’t have been spent on anything else.
4. Brian McCann went into free agency and signed with the Yankees. In his place, the Braves are using Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird. Ryan Doumit can also crouch behind the dish if necessary. Will catching will be an issue in 2014 for the Braves?
I worry about Gattis’ ability to hold up over a full season. If he holds up, the Braves will be more than fine. Laird and Doumit for extended stretches would be a disaster though.
I think a pretty decent leash for about half the season. I don’t really see La Stella being a MLB starter, though some at our blog disagree there. If it turns to July and Uggla is still struggling mightily, I think Tyler Pastornicky, Ramiro Pena or La Stella get the job.
6. On a related note, what will the Braves do if B.J. Upton continues to struggle?
Play him. It’s not really like the Braves have an internal candidate, other than sliding Heyward over to CF and playing Justin Upton in RF and Joey Terdoslavich in LF, which I don’t think is really an option. They don’t have money to fill CF externally. For better or worse, that’s BJ’s job.
7. Assuming the Braves are, as most predict, right in the thick of things leading up to the trade deadline, do you think the Braves will be active in adding players or do you think they’ll stand pat?
Doubtful, I’d imagine they simply won’t have the money at this point with the emergency add of Santana. They’d have to find a way to offload salary, which is hard to do while also improving your team.
Bold prediction: How many games do you think the Braves will win? Will they win the NL East?
94 and yes.