Discussion: The Braves’ Pitching Surplus

In the first trade of the offseason, the Braves shed $5MM of payroll when they shipped Derek Lowe to the Indians and agreed to pick up $10MM of his $15MM salary for 2012.  It was a deal that gave GM Frank Wren & Co. some much needed breathing room, and one that couldn't have been made without a good deal of pitching depth.

Even without Lowe in the mix, Atlanta still has a rotation headlined by Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens.  There are plenty of young hurlers available in support, including Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado , Arodys Vizcaino, Brandon Beachy, and Tommy Hanson.  While Atlanta would certainly like to avoid rushing their young pitchers into taking on major workloads, they might be better served by turning their pitching wealth into offense in 2012.

Wren claims to be content with his stockpile of arms and even though interest in Jurrjens is high, the GM is reportedly asking for a Zack Greinke-like return for the oft-injured 25-year-old.  While the Braves could come away with a solid package for Jurrjens, it's overly optimistic to put the youngster's value on a par with Greinke's. 

The Braves are looking to make a few upgrades in their lineup and would like to move on from shortstop Alex Gonzalez if they can.  They'd also like to land themselves a young center fielder as insurance if they can't retain Michael Bourn when he hits the open market after next season.  Wren would obviously love to keep Jurrjens as part of the starting five, but he can absolutely afford to flip him in order to improve elsewhere.

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