It's pretty well-established at this point: the Braves want to add a right-handed power bat at first base or an outfield corner. Let's look at some candidates (assuming Jason Bay and Matt Holliday are too pricey).
- Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks Nelson Cruz's name will come up at the Braves' organizational meetings. Cruz, 29, hit .260/.332/.524 with 33 home runs in 515 plate appearances this year. However, he is under team control through 2013 and the Rangers have given no indication he's available.
- Jonny Gomes slugged .541 this year; he'd fit the bill. He'll become a free agent if the Reds play it cheap and non-tender him.
- Josh Willingham slugged .496 for the Nationals this year. The Nats may consider him a big part of their lineup, but for the right young arm(s) they'd have to listen. He's under team control through 2011.
- Juan Uribe, a free agent, quietly slugged .495 for the Giants. Uribe might be a poor fit with Martin Prado at second base for Atlanta. Miguel Tejada also probably does not make sense positionally.
- Paul Konerko slugged .489 for the White Sox. But the Sox are not in a position to subtract a bat, and Konerko has full no-trade rights.
- Marlon Byrd, a free agent, slugged .479 for the Rangers. He can play any outfield position. Solid player, but Byrd is coming off a career year and the Braves might not prefer doubles power.
- Jake Fox will probably be available this winter. The 27-year-old slugged .468 in 241 plate appearances for the Cubs after a ridiculous .841 mark in Triple A. The Braves could look into other older minor leaguers with power such as Shelley Duncan, Mitch Jones, or Randy Ruiz. Probably wouldn't be a fan-pleaser.
- Free agent Vladimir Guerrero (.460 SLG) would have difficulty playing the outfield full-time.
- Marlins' second baseman Dan Uggla slugged .459 this year and .514 in '08. Uggla's teammate Jorge Cantu could also be available.
- The Tigers could non-tender Marcus Thames, who slugged .453 this year and .516 in '08.
- Free agents Jermaine Dye or Gary Sheffield could come back to Atlanta, if the Braves don't mind sacrificing on defense. Pat Burrell, a player of the same ilk, might be available in trade.
- Xavier Nady is another consideration; he slugged .510 in '08. Mark DeRosa, who the Braves non-tendered in December of 2004, also showed good power last year. Ditto on the '08 power of free agents Troy Glaus and Melvin Mora.
- Magglio Ordonez slugged .494 in '08 and finished strong this year. However he makes $18MM next year and his 2011 option still might vest. Speaking of large contracts, Vernon Wells slugged .496 in '08.
- Jorge Says No wonders if a Corey Hart-Kenshin Kawakami swap would be fair.
- Did we miss anyone? Which right-handed power bat would you like to see the Braves target?
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