Originally posted on Chop-N-Change  |  Last updated 1/8/12
Here is a summary of the Braves' offseason moves:

-Traded Derek Lowe for salary relief and no players of consequence
-Fired Larry Parrish, replaced him with Greg Walker
-Nontendered Peter Moylan and Brooks Conrad
-Picked up Eric Hinske's 2012 option
-Let George Sherrill and Alex Gonzalez walk away as free agents
-Named Tyler Pastornicky as starting shortstop

Nothing on that list screams "high profile" move, with the exception of the Lowe salary dump. With all the talk this offseason about trading Martin Prado, trading Jair Jurrjens, getting an impact bat...the Braves have done absolutely nothing. Here's a look at ESPN's free agent tracker, with the Braves selected as the free agent's new team.

 
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's January 8th, and the team hasn't signed one free agent. This really isn't a bad thing, because the team is essentially saying that they're going with what brought them to the dance last year. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.  Looking at Fangraphs fWAR rankings for the Braves last season, the team lost a whopping 5.0 fWAR by dumping Lowe, Sherrill, Gonzalez, Moylan and Conrad (though to be fair, Gonzalez's fWAR number uses UZR instead of DRS, and DRS absolutely adores him while UZR is unfairly strict). That's it, just five wins. Hell, 30 more innings of Brandon Beachy and 100 more of Mike Minor could be worth two or three wins alone. Then assume that Jason Heyward bounces back from his disappointing 2011 and plays like it's 2010 again, and poof! You've got your five wins. 

Obviously, baseball really isn't that simple. Patornicky could come out of the gate and hit like a 22 year old who's only had a month of games at AAA, and make us fans long for Alex Gonzalez. Dan Uggla could have a first half reminiscent of 2011, and not be as great as he was in the second half all year. Heyward's shoulder could require surgery and take him out of action for a prolonged period of time.

The 2011 Braves won 89 games and missed the playoffs by just a couple of bad hops. Letting the team go younger isn't a bad thing for a team that was so close to the promised land last season, especially when two of the five players you let go were a pinch hitter and a pair of situational bullpen arms that combined for less than 45 innings. Sure, it would have been awesome for the Braves to be players for Carlos Beltran, but the team just really doesn't need that. A full season of Michael Bourn is a two win improvement at worst over a third of a season of Bourn and 2/3 of a season of Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer.

The Braves don't need to blow it all up, trade away the future, and disrupt the balance they've got going on right now. This is a really, really good team, and Frank Wren is just tweaking it right now. Why bother looking for a replacement in the bullpen for Moylan and Sherrill when you've got a couple of guys in AAA that could probably fill the same role? I don't think the free agency or trade route was really the best course of action, and it's good to see the team's GM agreed and opted to build from within this offseason.
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