Moves I would ponder:
Trade B-Mac, Uggla and Sean Gilmartin (or, reluctantly, Randall Delgado) to the Rangers for Elvis Andrus and Michael Young.
As much as I like and respect the guy, the Braves should not re-sign Brian McCann, even if he rebounds in 2013. So they might as well get something for them and dump Uggla’s contract to boot. Of course, that would require taking on another bad contract, and Michael Young’s is really bad ($16 million per, though it expires after next season) and he’s having a terrible season (.640 OPS). But he could be a serviceable back-up to Juan Francisco at 3B, while Andrus, a FA after 2014 who may be expendable with the emergency of SS Jurickson Profar — widely seen as the best prospect in baseball — could play 2B and replace Bourn atop the line-up (.298 BA, .363 OPB, 19 SB).
If McCann and Uggla rebounded this would be a great deal for Texas, which will probably be in the market for a catcher since Mike Napoli, a free agent-to-be, has reverted to his pre-2011 form. The Braves, meanwhile, would dispatch their one remaining long-term contract while sporting an unmatched DP combo.
Sign Russell Martin, Mike Napoli, or Chris Iannetta.
None of these guys will be mistaken for B-Mac in his prime, but, paired with David Ross (who will also be a free agent), would make for a serviceable backstop while buying time for Christian Betancourt.
Trade Tommy Hanson to Brewers for Carlos Gomez.
Gomez, 26, has quietly put together his best season (.771 OPS), but his contract expires after next season. And his agent is Scott Boras. So he might not be a Brave for long, but you could say the same thing about Hanson, even though he’s not a free agent until 2016. Might as well get something for him while you still can.
The Braves could trade Hanson for a prospect and use their considerable savings to sign Josh Hamilton.
Neither the Yankees or Red Sox are expected to be in on Hamilton, and the Dodgers have nowhere to put them, with Ethier, Crawford and Kemp all signed through at least 2017. Jayson Stark quoted one AL exec speculating that a mid-market team will sign the 31-year-old slugger, who’s rebounded from a horrible July to put up his usual stellar numbers.
Yes, he’s been somewhat delicate and has the questionable past, but those factors will keep his contract from reaching Pujols-ian levels.
Hire Dave Martinez.
If the Braves collapse again Fredi is likely to lose his job, and Martinez, Tampa’s bench coach, apprentices under the best manager in baseball. He also has ties to the Braves, playing here in 2011 — not that it matters.
I’ll note this is the kind of thing one does when their team is mired in a demoralizing slump.