The Atlanta Braves have been quiet all offseason. With the exception of the trade of Derek Lowe, which was essentially a salary dump, and the selection of Robert Fish in the Rule 5 draft, the Braves haven't made a single trade or signing. There is one player who could help the Braves significantly but won't break the bank: Cody Ross.
Ross is a right-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions. He has a batting average of .261 and an OPS of .779 over his career, though he only managed a .240 average last season. The fact that he can play center field may be his greatest asset, however.
With the roster as currently constructed, the Braves have Matt Diaz, David Ross, and Eric Hinske penciled in on what will be a five-man bench. The Braves will undoubtedly have a backup shortstop as part of the bench, which leaves one spot for their backup center fielder. Ross would fill that role perfectly, as he not only is a decent fielder at the position but would be a very strong addition to the bench as a right-handed batter.
Furthermore, since Chipper Jones will inevitably miss a fair share of games, Martin Prado can take over third base in Jones' absence and Ross would fill the void in left field. While the combination of Ross and Prado likely wouldn't match the production of Jones and Prado, Ross is a tough out and would fill in capably. Having a good hitter like Ross in the lineup will allow Jones to rest more often and be productive down the stretch.
Lastly, as much as Braves fans hope that Jason Heyward returns to his 2010 All-Star form, that simply cannot be assumed. Having a right-handed bat on the bench like Ross would enable the Braves to rest Heyward against tough lefties.
Braves fans are becoming impatient at the lack of activity, and understandably so, but Frank Wren doesn't need to hastily make a trade that won't benefit the team. For a mid-market team like the Braves who can't afford the likes of Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, a Cody Ross signing would fly under the radar but could be exactly the type of move the Braves need to make.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones, Cody Ross, Martin Prado, MLB