Braves put an Angel in the outfield…

Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren can cross through that
final line on the winter shopping list. The Braves inked outfielder
Garret Anderson to a one-year $2.5 million contract on Sunday,
effectively filling the last of the glaring voids they entered the
off-season needing to address.

garret_anderson.jpg

With the former Angel now in the Braves outfield, Wren bounced back from being slighted in pursuit of Ken Griffey Jr. Anderson,
36, clocks in nearly three full years younger than Griffey, and without
the burden of off-season knee surgery to boot.

Anderson does not bring 611 career home runs and the marketability
that Griffey will lend the Mariners in his reunion tour, but he does
bring a proven veteran bat that will add depth to the Atlanta batting
order.

While no one will confuse Anderson with the first ballot hall of
Famer the Braves were unable come to terms with last week, his career
average of .296 is eight points north of Griffey’s. Anderson’s 84 RBI
also bested Griffey’s total of 71 from a year ago.

Signing Anderson allows Atlanta to follow the same model they were
said to be planning had they signed Griffey, utilizing a platoon that
would allow Matt Diaz to get the majority of the at-bats against
lefties. However, the younger Anderson may see more time than Griffey
was slated to receive had he signed with the Braves.

Though the majority of both men’s power production came against
right handers last season, Anderson hit .290 in his 141 at-bats versus
lefties. Griffey hit just .202 in 163 AB’s against southpaws in 2008.
Anderson could steal some of the at-bats from Diaz, given the
likelyhood that he will be taking his swings in the middle of the
Braves order.

This move was symbolic of Atlanta’s off-season theme, with Wren
working to eventually turn a perceived negative into positives as it
comes to player personnel moves. Missing the mark on Jake Peavy and A.J. Burnett turned into the acquisitions of Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami and Javier Vazquez.

Atlanta’s new look rotation was the major undertaking this winter.
Bringing in a veteran like Anderson will help the Braves bridge the gap
until top prospects like Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward and Gorkys Hernandez are ready to assume full-time duties in the Atlanta outfield.

While Schafer may be given the chance to assume the starting job in
center field this spring, the veteran Anderson will be charged with
helping the Braves outfield regain some of its clout. Last season, the
Braves outfielders combined to hit a major league low 29 homers.

The Braves are also hoping that a resurgent Jeff Francoeur
will rebound from his dreadful 2008. After driving in more than 100
runs and averaging 24 homers over his first two full seasons, Francoeur
hit only .239 with just 11 homers and 71 RBI in 155 games.

A new and improved batting stance, modeled after former teammate Mark Teixeira‘s
right-handed approach, along with less emphasis on weight training and
size have Francouer convinced that 2008 was just a bad dream. His
production from the right side of the dish will be vital to an
otherwise lefty-heavy Atlanta lineup.

8 Comments

I think in the long run Anderson might be the better player for you.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

Thanks for stopping by! I hope Anderson works out … I’m anxious to see a good Braves team this year.

Tiff
http://tiffanihillpatterson.mlblogs.com

Although Anderson’s numbers don’t impress me, much like Mark Kotsay, his leadership and professionalism does. Anderson seems like the kind of guy that can strap the other 7 hitters onto his back and carry them through when they’re in a slump. Overall, I think he’ll help our team’s consistency a lot. He isn’t the big power hitting bat we’d said we’re looking for, but he’s nothing to complain about, especially at the modest salary he’ll receive.

Here’s a preview of the NL East rotations with a poll for voting.

Link: http://pabaseball.blogspot.com/2009/03/nl-east-rotations.html

Give it a plug if you like it, thanks.

Hi Mr. McAuley,
I’ve always found your blog so interesting! Not only is it informative, it keeps things as seen from a very reasonable perspective. I’ve started a blog of my own, and I was wondering if you could take a look once in a while!

Thank you!
http://www.bravesdominate.mlblogs.com

http://bravesdominate.mlblogs.com/
would probably work better.
Thanks again, and hope to get your input!

I don’t even know if anyone checks this to make a response but, you guys look really stupid now. Anderson has a below average bat, he lacks the desire to want to be here. He barely runs balls down in the outfield, in fact I would say our outfield would be better defensively to put him a bench in foul territory in left and let McClouth play left center and Francouer play right center. He would be better 70% of the time conceding a strike out than waste his precious energy walking out to the plate because he seems to smile when he strikes out and I would honestly say a looping hit over the infield, most outfielders could throw him out. He has no initiative out there, he looks like he would rather be elsewhere, and the Braves should pay him a couple million more dollars to stay home and not show up ot the ball park. I would think he would be trying to audition for a DH job but I have seen nothing from him that I would ever want to see. I feel sorry for his next team.

I don’t just “look stupid” but I also feel stupid… that is for reading your analysis of Anderson. Hopefully, you’ll be able to email this type of keen insight to all of the general managers out there who await your advice before signing a player, so they won’t make the same mistake!

And you are so right, a two man outfield would clearly be a better option than having Anderson. And since the Braves have so much extra money to burn, throwing $2-million more at him to stay home sounds like a rational scenario. So many teams are going to the two-man outfield as well… Thanks for revisiting an article from 4 months ago in an attempt to sound smart.

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