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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Braves Complete Off-Season With Low-Risk, High-Reward Signings

1B Troy Glaus
(32 PA, .172/.250/.241, 2 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3/8 BB/K, 32 OPS+)
CIF/COF Eric Hinske (224 PA, .242/.348/.432, 12 2B, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 27/52 BB/K, 107 OPS+)

Frank Wren essentially completed the off-season for the Braves by signing third baseman Troy Glaus and utility man Eric Hinske to solidify Atlanta's bench.

Glaus, a career third baseman and designated hitter, has six career games at first base. All those games have come within the past two years in St. Louis. However, the potential for him being a 25-30 home run and 100 RBI, as Wren stated, is very high.

With Hinske, the Braves have a bench player who can play both corner infield and corner outfield positions. The former Rookie of the Year fulfilled the bench player role with the Pirates and Yankees last season.

This signing pretty much closes the book on Wren's off-season shopping. Assuming that Hinske, Glaus and Cabrera are to make the team and the Braves will carry 12 pitchers, this means the Braves have one bench spot left:

C - McCann
1B - Glaus
2B - Prado
SS - Escobar
3B - Jones
LF - Diaz
CF - McLouth
RF - Heyward

C - Ross
OF - Cabrera
OF/IF - Hinske
IF/LF - Infante

It's most likely that the last bench spot on the team will be filled by someone who can play shortstop. If Brooks Conrad can learn to play shortstop consistently in the spring, he may get the spot. An earlier signing in the winter, Joe Thurston, is another option because he has experience at shortstop. The third player likely to get that spot is Dioary Hernandez, who filled in for Escobar last season when Yunel was hurt. The only problem is that Hernandez's bat is VERY light (93 PAs of .144/.198/.212 with three doubles, one homer and a 9 OPS+) and he can only play shortstop.

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