If and when Tim Hudson signs an extension with the Braves, MLB.com's Mark Bowman says GM Frank Wren appears likely to shop Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez. Moving one of the two veterans would create the financial flexibility to allow the Braves to pursue a first baseman, a closer and, possibly, an outfielder.
It's a "strong possibility" that Adam LaRoche, Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano will all sign elsewhere as free agents. Bowman says the Braves may consider signing Billy Wagner or trading for Matt Capps if they don't retain Gonzalez and Soriano.
Jason Heyward looms in the minor leagues. He's arguably the game's top prospect, but the Braves may choose to sign an outfielder. This would enable Heyward to pick up more minor league experience – he's only played 50 games in the upper minors – and would allow the Braves to prevent Heyward from becoming a Super Two. It's the strategy they used with Tommy Hanson this year and it makes sense to do the same with Heyward.
Last week, Tim suggested the Braves spend on a first baseman and a left fielder. To cut costs, he recommends the Braves save on the bullpen. Trading Vazquez would free up $11.5MM for the upcoming season and trading Lowe would free up $15MM, but the Braves may ultimately need the pitching depth.