Monday, October 12, 2009

Possible free agent First Base targets

The following are some first basemen the Braves might look to target in the upcoming free agency period. No players with WARPs under 0.5 were considered because, hey, even the Braves have standards.

Player (2009 WARP)
Adam LaRoche (3.9)
Russell Branyan (2.9)
Nick Johnson (2.9)
Fernando Tatis (2.1)
Eric Hinske (1.1)
Carlos Delgado (0.8)
Dmitri Young (0.5)

Based on last season's Wins Above Replacement Player, Adam LaRoche will be the best first baseman hitting the free agent market this offseason. As such, it would make a great deal of sense for the Braves to offer LaRoche salary arbitration. Should he decline the offer, don't be surprised to see Atlanta pursue him as a free agent. It would be difficult to imaginge that Frank Wren would let first base go virtually unattended for a second consecutive season. Should the price tag for LaRoche be too high, there will be some other interesting options available to the Braves.

No one questions Nick Johnson's talent, but he's been a disabled list mainstay for the better part of the decade.

Russell Branyan has finally begun to thrive after being given a shot at regular playing time the past two seasons.

Carlos Delgado was well on the way to following up on a resurgent 2008 campaign when hip surgery put him on the shelf for all but 100 PAs in 2009. He might be an interesting candidate for the vacancy if the Braves can sign him cheaply.

Lastly, there's always the option of moving Chipper Jones over to first base. Doing so would relieve the Braves' pitching staff of Chipper's increasingly miserable defense, help Chipper stay healthy, and fill the Braves' vacancy at first base with a player already on the payroll.

This article can also be viewed at the Braves Baseball Blog.

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