All we know for certain is that we’re stuck with Tom Martin. The Dodgers foolishly gave him a two-year contract, and the Braves more foolishly took him off the Dodgers’ hands. The Braves would have been better off with an all-righty bullpen.

Everyone else… Well, let’s see:

  • John Smoltz could be the closer, or he could be in the rotation, or he could even be traded to the Yankees should they decide to risk starting him and offer enough. He’d have to approve any trade.
  • Juan Cruz could be the top setup man, or he could be the closer should Smoltz move, or could be back in a middle or long relief role, or could be in the rotation. My assumption is that the Braves always had a plan for him this season.
  • Jose Capellan could be in the rotation, or he could be in middle relief, or could be a top setup man, or he could be the closer, or he could be in Richmond, or he could be part of a trade. I think that covers him.
  • Dan Mayer, likewise, except that he wouldn’t be the closer. I don’t think he projects as a LOOGY but it’s possible.
  • Antonio Alfonseca is a free agent. I figure that the Braves would like him back, but I don’t know about the finances of such a deal.
  • Kevin Gryboski is arbitration-eligible and should be dumped because his contributions don’t match the million dollars he’d get from a gullible arbitrator. Bobby likes him, though, and might convince the front office to keep him on. I hope not.
  • Chris R**tsm* is arbitration-eligible and is widely expected to be either non-tendered or traded. Wherever he is, he could start, or close, or be a setup man… You get the idea.
  • Roman Colon pitched okay for the Braves after the division race was pretty much over. They like him, but he lacks the electric stuff of a Capellan or Cruz, and doesn’t seem to have either starter or closer ability. He should slide into Gryboski’s slot.

If I had to guess, the Braves’ bullpen next season will be:

LOOGY Martin
MIDDLE Mayer, Colon, a free agent
LONG Some rookie, probably not Capellan

But I have absolutely no confidence in this projection. I also don’t know who the free agent (or free agents) would be. There are always lots of these guys who get cut loose, and the Braves have done a pretty decent job in picking them up in recent years. Chris Hammond had his option declined, and I could see him returning, but that’s just a guess. There’s been some talk of Byrd returning in a swingman role, which might limit his innings and increase his effectiveness.