The last two seasons have ended in frustration for the Atlanta Braves. This year, they expect things to be different after retooling the lineup in the off season, adding brothers B.J. and Justin Upton to go with star Jason Heyward in the outfield.
"We are going to have the best one of the best if not the best outfields in the major leagues and you know we have a lot of power, we are going to hit a lot of home runs, you know that's the recipe for winning," says Braves reliever Craig Kimbrel.
The Braves signed B.J. Upton away from the Rays in the off-season, then pulled off a trade with the Diamondbacks last week for brother Justin.
"We feel like we are going to have a real dynamic outfield not only defensively but the ability to hit the ball out of the park and to run the bases and we are just getting more and more athletic," says Braves GM Frank Wren.
"Any time you are on the mound and have got guys like that behind you, there aren't going to be too many balls falling, so it's definitely a pitchers best friend," adds Kimbrel.
The Braves must also address a position they haven't needed to think about in a long time, with Chipper Jones retirement, third base is now open.
"I think we are going to go into spring training with an open mind. We like Juan Francisco a lot, he came through the Reds system as one of the top defensive third basemen, has a great arm, you know we asked him to go back and get in a little better shape. We also feel very good about Kris Johnson the combination of the two hit 24 home runs last year so gives us another power position in our lineup," says Wren.
The moves give Atlanta a good shot of winning their first N.L. East Crown since 2005.
"On paper, we look great but we've got to do it on the field and we've got to do it between the lines. I think this group can't wait to get to spring training and really get the season kicked off but we are in a great spot."