Braves bring back Jack
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
Put a mark on the wall.
The Atlanta Braves finally made a move this offseason, signing free agent shortstop Jack Wilson to a one-year deal Friday. The move brings Wilson back to the Braves after Atlanta acquired the 10-year veteran late in the season. Inking Wilson to his $1 million deal is just the third major league transaction Braves General Manager Frank Wren has made this winter and it was more like a resigning than a true free agent deal because Wilson actually started in Atlanta’s 162nd game last season.
So once again, Atlanta’s inactivity has left fans yawning at best. However, some are happy with the deal because it was a cheap solution to one of the Braves’ glaring holes. Signing Wilson is safe. He is durable and plays good defense, hence his .977 lifetime fielding percentage. It’s just hard to get excited about a guy who knocked in just 11 runs in 214 bats last season.
Rumors surrounded Atlanta this winter about whether the team would trade starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens and utility man Martin Prado in hopes of landing a much-needed power hitting outfielder. Those talks soon squandered as rumors of bringing Adam Jones or Seth Smith (who was acquired by the Oakland Athletics hours before this post) to Atlanta faded quickly, leaving the Braves with really only off season move: signing Jack Wilson.
Meanwhile, the front office didn’t even attempt to resign Alex Gonzalez or even flirt with players like Jed Lowrie and Nick Punto. Atlanta also didn’t come close to entertaining the Miami Marlins when they asked if the Braves were interested in Hanley Ramirez. Yes, a lot of big names were thrown around about Atlanta’s offseason plans. But ultimately, the club did what it does every year. The Braves talked a big talk and walked a big walk. However, in the end, the only thing that came from their mild chest pumping was a shortstop who only the Pittsburgh Pirates were bold enough to give regular playing time to.
It may seem like I’m being a little drastic just about a common baseball player. But if Atlanta’s gamble on rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky doesn’t pay off, Wilson will be the team’s only option. And the Braves already know they need help in the run department. Wilson’s glove may be nice, but there’s no way his bat helps even the Braves’ lineup.