The Braves do not need to make any big moves to be a World Series-caliber team. Why not sign Ryan Theriot and allow Martin Prado to prove that he is a MVP-caliber player?
-- James H., Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Braves general manager Frank Wren might opt to sign somebody other than Theriot to serve as his backup shortstop. But Wren essentially shares your belief, James, that he did not need to respond to September's collapse with a sense of panic this offseason. At the same time, Wren wouldn't have been responsibly handling his duties had he not at least explored all options to improve his roster.
Thus, we've seen Jair Jurrjens and Prado's names in trade chatter the past couple of months. Meanwhile, the Braves have continued to provide indication they will not trade either unless they get a serious offer. They approached the Orioles about Adam Jones.
When the O's attempted to extend the discussion by asking for Jurrjens, Prado and two other "premium guys," the Braves rolled their eyes and began looking for something that sounded more feasible.
There is still a chance Jurrjens or Prado could be traded over the next few weeks. Some baseball sources have said the Braves have to move at least one of these players to gain the kind of financial flexibility they are seeking. Wren has said this is not true.
While some can continue debating whether Atlanta "needs" to move Prado or Jurrjens, there is no doubt that the only way it will make a significant acquisition this ofseason is to move one of these players.
It's easy to understand why Wren is exploring the possibility of acquiring a left fielder who could provide more power. But there is certainly not an overwhelming need for him to make this acquisition at the expense of losing the depth and value Jurrjens and Prado provide.
Have a question about the Braves?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
With Jason Heyward poised to bounce back and Michael Bourn set to spend an entire season atop the lineup, the Braves have reason to believe the 2012 offense will be better than the '11 version. If he regains the approach he had BLP (Before Larry Parrish), Prado could once again hit around .300 with 10-15 homers.
When building a roster, you don't necessarily want to be utilizing the word "if" too frequently. But when it comes to the likes of Heyward, Prado and even Brian McCann, the Braves are not going too far out on a limb when assuming each will bounce back from last year's struggles in expected fashion.
Why were the Braves not in on Carlos Quentin? It looks as if we could've upgraded our lineup without giving up Prado or Jurrjens. The Padres got him with two prospects that weren't in their top 10.
-- Greg R., Poca, W.Va.
The Braves understandably had some durability concerns surrounding Quentin, who has never played more than 131 games in a season. He has played fewer than 120 in two of his past three seasons. In addition, they were willing to take a chance on him knowing he will earn more than $7 million via arbitration.
It's easy to understand why Padres general manager Josh Byrnes jumped at a chance to reacquire Quentin. He has spent the past few years regretting the fact that he had traded the outfielder to the White Sox while he was the D-backs' GM. When you have these kinds of previous relationships, it's sometimes easier to roll the dice on a player that might be drawing caution from other clubs.
I just read that Andruw Jones signed with Yankees for $2 million. I thought he would have been a good and cheap option for the Braves. Was a reunion ever discussed?
-- Chad S., Crawfordville, Fla.
Even if you have had a solid previous relationship with a player, you might be reluctant to even give him a couple million dollars if he has hit .237 and displayed decreasing defensive skills in the two years since he had two seasons that were much more disappointing at the plate.
If the Braves had a left-handed-hitting outfielder who could platoon with Jones in left field, there might have been a fit. The former Gold Glover hit .286 with eight homers and a .540 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers in 2011. But he batted .172 with five homers and a .406 slugging percentage in 64 at-bats against right-handed pitchers.
Several teams have young players with slugging potential coming up in their system and some are already in the Majors. Do the Braves have anyone that falls in this category?
-- Freddy D., Macon, Ga.
Without even thinking before writing this response, I'll guarantee you there are 29 other organizations who would give anything to have Heyward and Freddie Freeman in their system right now. It's quite difficult to find true prospects with legit power potential. The Braves have introduced a pair to the Majors the past two seasons, and it will be another eight months before either of these guys celebrates his 23rd birthday.
If Chipper Jones retires next season, what are the chances of the Braves picking up David Wright, Brandon Inge or another big name?
-- Jose B., Orlando, Fla.
It's far too early to know exactly what the club's needs or specific targets might be next year. Right now, I'd say they won't spending their available funds on a third baseman. But that all could change based on how Joe Terdoslavich performs while handling third base for Double-A Mississippi this summer.
It's easy to get excited about the possibility of Terdoslavich being Jones' long-term replacement. But the switch-hitting prospect has a lot to prove before this should be considered anything close to a probability.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.