Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/16/12
The Braves figure to be spenders in the free-agent market this offseason, but its too early to tell exactly who they will target to fill their potential needs. With Chipper Jones retiring, the Braves can either move Martin Prado to third base and pursue a left fielder, or they can keep Prado in left and go after a third baseman. Or they can give the job to Juan Francisco, who hit nine home runs in 192 at-bats, but slumped terribly the final two months. General manager Frank Wren also will have to decide whether to make a huge offer to center fielder Michael Bourn, who is represented by Scott Boras. If Bourn jumps to another team the Nationals and Phillies figure to be players in that bidding war the Braves also will need to find a center fielder and leadoff hitter. Heres an early look at the free-agent outfielders (with their 2012 team) who the Braves might pursue this winter. Josh Hamilton, Rangers The Braves likely wont spend the 20-plus million a year it will take to land Hamilton, who hit .285 with a career-high 43 home runs. He also drove in 128, two shy of his career best 130, set in 2008. Hamilton can play all three outfield positions, but hes also injury-prone he missed 40 games in 2011 and 30 in 2010 and he struck out a career-high 162 times this season. The former AL MVP will be 32 years old next May. Ryan Ludwick, Reds The Reds either lucked out and knew something no other team did when they signed Ludwick for 2.5 million last year. He promptly hit .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs this season and would provide the right-handed power the Braves need. There is a mutual 5 million option for 2013, and Ludwick, 34, has said he likes playing in Cincinnati, but might turn that down if bigger offers come rolling in for Ludwick, who had the third-highest OPS (.877) among outfielders behind Hamilton and Melky Cabrera this season. Angel Pagan, Giants Hes not as fast or coveted as Bourn, but had another productive season and would be a better fit for the Braves budget. Pagan also doesnt have the defensive skills of Bourn, but he played in a career-high 154 games in 2012, scored 95 runs, led the NL with 15 triples a product of playing in AT&T Park and didnt fade down the stretch, hitting .308 with 10 triples and 12 steals in August and September. Hes also a switch-hitter and will be 32 next July. Cody Ross, Red Sox Ross excelled with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs, but some of that can be attributed to playing in Fenway Park. He played for 3 million this season and likely will be looking for a multi-year deal. Hes hit well with his past teams, which include the Marlins and Giants, but Ross hit .232 with nine homers on the road in 2012, compared to .298 with 13 home runs at home. Hell be 32 next year and is right-handed. Nick Swisher, Yankees Hell get a lot of attention because hes a switch-hitter, he has a career OBP of .367, he can play first base and hes averaged 26 home runs in his eight-year career. Plus, hes played for the Yankees, driving in an average of 87 runs a year in his four seasons in the Bronx. Swisher, who will be 32 next month, could get upward of 12-14 million a year, which likely would push him out of the Braves budget. B.J. Upton, Rays Upton is another player who might be too expensive for the Braves. He just turned 28 and seems like hes been playing forever, but he might not have reached his full potential. Like Hamilton, he strikes out a lot (169 this season), but he also hit a career-high 28 home runs and has averaged 39 steals a year the past five seasons. He could fill two needs: Playing center and batting leadoff, although his power might be suited for another spot in the lineup. Shane Victorino, Dodgers The thoughts of Victorino playing for Atlanta could be problematic for Braves fans who have visions of him tormenting the Braves all those years he played for the Phillies. Victorino hit .255 in 2012, his worst average in his seven years in the majors, but he stole a career-high 39 bases, only three fewer than Bourn. With a career .341 OBP, Victorino, who will be 32 next month, remains a viable leadoff hitter, bats from both sides of the plate and brings plenty of playoff experience.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore


Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

NFL owners reportedly concerned with Raiders-gang connections in LA

T'Wolves getting calls about Rubio ahead of trade deadline

Jarryd Hayne wants to return to NFL

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

Franchise tag has been a useful tool for John Elway, Broncos

The 16 best NBA All-Star Game sneakers ever

Eight most potentially combustible MLB clubhouses

Matt Barnes coyly denies IG post was shot at Derek Fisher

NHLers who should be dealt to contenders before deadline

Robert Kraft compares Tom Brady to Peyton, Eli Manning

WATCH: Markieff Morris appears to flip the bird to heckler

Prediction for each NBA award heading into the All-Star Break

Did Clippers reenact Paul Pierce stabbing during pregame intros?

Kobe Bryant gives LeBron James his game-worn Kobe 11s

Terrell Owens tells Skip Bayless to stop ‘misinforming’ people

8-year-old Panthers fan writes adorable letter to Cam Newton

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker