Rotation: Hudson, Smoltz, Davies, Ramirez, Sosa
Bullpen: Reitsma, Boyer, Cormier, James, Remlinger, Thomson, Villarreal
Lineup: Giles, Renteria, Jones, Jones, Francoeur, LaRoche, McCann, Langerhans
Bench: Pratt, Betemit, Orr, Diaz, Jordan
Disabled List: Foster, Hampton, McBride, Johnson
Call-up Hopefuls: Jurries, Devine
Okay, maybe we know what Bobby Cox is thinking, but we also know it's just one of his neuroses: he likes hanging onto his veterans until they fall apart -- which, unless I'm mistaken, is basically what Jordan did last year. Okay, so Cox has a veteran who can play three outfield positions and first base. But all last year and even this spring, Jordan has proved that his bat is no longer a part of the equation. Even if he manages a .280 batting average, neither his OBP nor his SLG will be much higher.
The Braves need to think about the future, and I don't think Brian Jordan will help bring another championship to Atlanta. James Jurries, on the other hand, deserves his shot and earned it this spring, much more so than Jordan did. But at least this way, the Braves have options. When/if someone (Jordan? LaRoche?) fails to perform, Jurries will be on deck in Richmond.
As for pitching, anyone paying attention this spring knows that injuries have caused quite a few unexpected shakeups. John Thomson's injury hasn't kept him off the roster, but it has pushed him to the bullpen. With so many injuries out there, though, perhaps that's not a bad thing. Of course, if it were my choice, I would have put him on the disabled list and sent him down for a couple of rehab starts to make room for Joey Devine on the opening day roster.
Also, perhaps luckily, Kyle Davies had a brilliant spring to earn a spot in the rotation, offsetting Thomson's tough luck. Overall, the team looks strong, as strong as most others during the Braves' streak, and strong enough for anyone who knows anything about baseball to predict another division championship for Atlanta -- if for no better reason than having no one else in the division who has ever finished a complete season ahead of the Braves since division play began.
The final roster is set: