Every time I read the Braves Inbox (used to be called "Mailbag" but I guess no one sends postal mail anymore), I always answer the questions in my head before reading Bowman's replies. This was a fun off-season project last year and I'll do my best to keep up this year.
What is the possibility that the Braves could trade for Justin Upton and then persuade B.J. Upton to sign a contract?
-- Milton G., Snellville, Ga.
That would be SO COOL. I just don't know how long we could afford them. I'd like to build a team and keep it the same for a while, you know? Also, there are very few players I'd be willing to trade, and no one is good enough to pry Justin Upton. If Wren ends up trading my Jonny or EO for a big name player I'm going to be as upset as I was when Tom Glavine cheated on me with the Mets.
Why don't the Braves move Heyward to center field? He has proven that he can play there and had the National League's best zone rating.
-- Jameson C., Pleasant Grove, Utah
Oh hey Pleasant Grove, I lived near you for a few winters. Met some good Braves fans out there.
I want JHey to stay in RF and Freddie to stay at 1B and Mac to stay at catcher. Kimbrel should be our closer, not a starter. I don't understand some fans' obsession with moving our players around. Everyone isn't a Martin Prado.
How is the Braves' bullpen shaping up for next season?
-- Kenny G., Nashville, Tenn.
Beautifully. I love them all. If Wren trades any of the Big Three away I'll never forgive him. NEVER.
What was the real reason that both Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens lost velocity on their fastball?
-- Dwain M., Winston Salem, N.C.
Well Dwain, some players are lucky (Hanson's umpteen wins this year vs Mike Minor's barely-breaking-.500 record) and some decline after injury. Some just aren't great to begin with and some have fantastic smiles and puka shells. ;)
Obviously these two are on the trading block. The real question is, could we get a decent return for them? JJ was an all-star in 2011 and Hanson's W-L record is much better than you'd think if you watched him every day. (I'm sorry, he just makes me nervous-in-a-bad-way and I don't think he's cute like several friends do. He looks like a ginger Wahlberg.)
Some interesting site stats for the last week...
This isn't just Braves Country... Here's a list of the countries that have visited the website this week, in order of frequency: United States, Australia, Canada, the UK, Israel, Philippines, Costa Rica, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Curacao, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Italy, South Korea, Morocco, Serbia, Sweden, and Taiwan.
Top 20 cities: Atlanta, Lilburn, Smyrna, New York, San Francisco, Kennesaw, Roswell, Asheville, Athens, Lawrenceville, Bethesda, Rock Hill, Charlotte, Charleston, Johnson City, Bellevue, Birmingham, Marietta, Zanesville, South Burlington
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