The Atlanta Braves looked to make a move during the winter months to try and bolster their outfield options, but a lack of spending money and refusal to include top-prospects in any trade limited what general manager Frank Wren was able to do. Now, with Chipper Jones already set to miss time with a torn knee meniscus, the Braves will likely revamp their search for an outfield bat in the coming days.
Atlanta likely has a few million dollars to spend, although Wren made it known that he wants to have some flexibility around the trade deadline to add a piece if necessary. Do not expect a big-dollar signing.
David O'Brien of the AJC mentioned the club could have interest in veteran outfielder Johnny Damon. While he isn't getting any younger -- Damon is 38 and has played nearly 2,500 games as a professional -- he still appears to have some left in the tank and posted an OPS of .744 with the Rays in 2011. He was worth 1.5 WAR, a measurement of a player's combined value, which is worth approximately $6 million dollars on the open market.
The Braves would likely not even consider Damon for anything less than $3 or $4 million, but he is an option.
J.D. Drew could be an interesting player to target, but he, like Damon, would likely not come for less than $5 million dollars. There is a reason these veteran outfielders are still available and they will not put their bodies through the rigors of a 162-game season for a million bucks or so after earning so much over the years.
Bobby Abreu is reportedly not happy in Los Angeles and the club would have no issues dealing him, although his $9 million dollar price tag could be an issue. Should the Angels be willing to eat a majority of his deal, Abreu could be a cheap fit in Atlanta. Another potential option is Magglio Ordonez, although he may be leaning towards calling it quits after a rough few last seasons.
Wren has the prospects to acquire just about anyone short of an all-star, but it still looks like he will be hesitant to move any of them. Without a ton of money to spend, I'm thinking the Braves will likely head into the regular season with their current stock of outfielders and potentially look to make a deal in May or June if the situation turns ugly.