Luis Hernandez is reeeally bad. Whatever good he'll produce with his glove, he'll waste away with his horrible bat.
Betemit can replace Furcal offensively... he won't steal, or cause havoc on the basepaths, but he's a very good hitter with good patience, and costs under a million, which is the best part.
In the minors, Escobar could be ready sometime next year, but the big prospect is Elvis Andrus, a 17 year old SS who played in the GCL this past year, and who scouts are saying is the best prospect they've seen since Andruw, and are looking at him like a mini-ARod. The power wasn't there the past year, but every scout who's seen him says the power will develop, and in a large way. He's a fantastic hitter, and is only 17 years old. He'll start out in Rookie Ball this year, and in 2-3 years should be among the top prospects in baseball, looking at the starting SS job.
IMO, Furcal just isn't worth it for the Braves... they have too many issues in the bullpen that need to be resolved. Also, with Hampton being out, there's a need for a #3 starter. His money (amortized, and contract) is available for use for this starter. Burnett would be a nice option if he's not too expensive...
Thomson, Sosa, Estrada, and LaRoche should all be traded IMO... with Chipper going over to 1B, and Marte getting the job at 3B. Thomson is cheap as hell with an option for 4 Million, and with his production, he's a greeat bargain in the market for pitchers now. Sosa's cheap and pretty young, hopefully they sell high with him. They have all this talent and a bunch in the minors with which hopefully they trade for a good starter, or closer (Zito? Nathan?)
This is my hopeful 2006 team:
Johnson LF (Saltalamacchia threatening sometime during the year)
Sign Burnett to 4/47
Trade Sosa, Estrada, Reitsma for Linebrink
Trade Ramirez, Thomson, Campbell for Nathan
One more thing... Saltalamacchia was quoted as saying something to the tune of "I'll play whatever position they want me to, whatever it takes to get to the majors. Hell, I'll even play SS if that's what it takes" I don't know if he was just joking around, or if he's serious... but I wouldn't count it out, he's a freak