Barring any unforeseen moves I think now we are at a good point in the offseason to start making some predictions for the 2017 season. Here are my rosy ones!
1) Braves will win 85 games - I do not believe that the offense from August on was a complete aberration. Clearly we won't be one of the top 3 offense in baseball but for those who look at the whole 2016 season as a baseline of where we could be moving forward in 2017 I have a few names/situations to consider - Iciarte injury/Aybar/Olivera /AJ/Castro. All of these players/situations contributed to an absolutely DEPLORABLE first half offense. The infusion of Kemp/Swanson and a healthy Inciarte clearly changes what the calculus is for projecting the future teams offensive production. I'd like to see Markakis traded and give Mallex the everyday job but I'm just not sure what the organization wants to do with the intangible qualities that they believe Neck brings to the club. Let's not sleep on Adonis who was a different player after getting called back up. Snitker was his manager when he excelled in Gwinnett a couple of years ago so maybe there is a comfort factor that gives Adonis more confidence to succeed. We don't need him to be great but in that 6th/7th spot his power could be useful. The weakness of the team last year after August was clearly the starting pitching. Just the idea of getting more innings out of the rotation is going to be help set a lot of things in place with what should be a really really good bullpen.
2) Jamie Garcia will post a 3.5 FIP - He's done this before and is pitching for a contract. I like the ingredients for a bounce back season. Also a potential flip candidate come July.
3) Albies will make his season debut in June and hit 300 for the rest of the season.
4) Jim Johnson will be traded for a top 50 prospect in July - He seems to thrive pitching in Atlanta and I expect him to get a lot of opportunities to get the meaningless save statistic which will hopefully increase his market value.
I could spitball a few more but maybe this can get people talking (mostly about how silly my first prediction is).