UPDATE: It's up. My grade was pretty much on par: NL East blogger he contacted was between a C+ and a B, except for one lone incomplete grade (which may have been more accurate, albeit less interesting).
Willy Yoder of TheNatsBlog asked me for a capsule writeup of the Braves' offseason so far. Here's what I wrote:
- Team Name: Atlanta Braves
- 2009 Record: 86-76
- Team Needs: 1st baseman, utility infielder, outfielder, several bullpen arms
- Team Moves: Extended Tim Hudson; signed Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner; released Ryan Church and Kelly Johnson; traded Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez
- Winter Meetings Grade: C+
Evaluation: The most noteworthy aspect of the Braves' offseason so far was Frank Wren's miscalculation on Rafael Soriano, who wound up accepting arbitration after Wren had publicly predicted that he wouldn't, forcing Wren to trade Soriano for a scrap arm from the Rays. There was no room or money for Soriano after Wren had already spent $10 million on Wagner and Saito, who are aging but still intriguing, particularly outside the launching pad in Fenway. Money issues also prompted the non-tender of bench OF Ryan Church and IF Kelly Johnson, whom the team might welcome back at a lower price.
Wren and Cox have identified the team's biggest remaining need as offense, but it's not clear where that will come from: Cox has disavowed interest in Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, and the team refused to offer arbitration to 1B Adam LaRoche. The team has no serious internal options for 1B, so they'll need to fill it with a free agent or a trade. Outfield is less clear: Matt Diaz and Nate McLouth will be back, and Cox has indicated Jason Heyward will be given the chance to win the RF job in spring training, though at least one of those positions really ought to be upgraded -- Diaz isn't very good against RHP, and McLouth's CF offense and defense are both average at best. A higher offseason grade will depend on how Wren improves the offense.
What do you guys think -- too harsh? Just right?