Don’t look now, but the Phillies are hot on the Braves’ trail. The Phillies have won eight straight games and have cut the Braves’ lead down to just 2.5 games in the NL East—so losing 2 of 3 in Washington hurts the Braves even more. If that weren’t bad enough, there are reports all over the internet and TV that the Phillies have struck a deal for Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt…GREAT!
This trade gives the Phillies a 1-2-3 punch of Halladay, Oswalt and Hammels (though Hammels scares me as much as a box full of puppies). I would still put Hudson-Jurrjens-Hanson against the Phils trio anytime; especially with that mess they call a bullpen. However, it is still unsettling for a rival team to add one of the top pitchers in the game to their starting rotation, for the second time this year.
Of course everyone is going to be asking the question about this move…Why the hell did the Phillies trade Cliff Lee??? They are giving up more for Oswalt than they got for Lee, they are paying Oswalt more money (especially since Oswalt insists on having his $12 Million option picked up) and they could have had Lee all season, instead of just two months this season. I don’t get it, but I can’t say I’m upset about it. Hell, I’d rather the Phillies have Oswalt than Lee any day.
In my last blog I brought up the trade rumors that linked Cody Ross to the Braves. It looks more and more like these were just rumors and I am very glad! While Ross would be an upgrade in CF, the talent the Braves would have to give up has increased, and Ross isn’t worth it.
I was listening to 680 the Fan yesterday, and there were callers suggesting the Braves trade Kris Medlen for Cody Ross. WHAT?! That is outrageous to me! Medlen is one of the most versatile and valuable players on the Braves roster. He is an above average starting pitcher and reliever, and since it is a business, he makes virtually nothing in today’s baseball world. Maybe they should trade Heyward to get Francoeur back while they are at it!
Let’s not forget some past trades in which the Braves traded young players, particularly pitchers away at the deadline… Jason Schmidt, Adam Wainwright (though we did get Eli Marrero!) and of course the famous Mark Teixeira trade in which we gave away the whole Myrtle Beach Pelicans team including Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz (both All-Stars this year). Sometimes the best deals are the ones you didn’t make.
So, I was writing a blog on Tuesday and a good part of it was about Nate McLouth. After I had a few paragraphs written, I went on the AJC site and saw the Braves had sent him down to AAA. “WOW! They read my mind,” I thought. It’s a move that had to be done and the same decision I would have made. Here’s what I had written before I heard the news:
- They can’t trade him—If a GM gave up talent for McLouth, not only would he be fired immediately, I would guess he’d face criminal charges for his recklessness. They can’t keep him on the MLB roster—he clearly can’t hit major league pitching and I think the last time he tried to throw a runner out was in Little League. If the Braves release him they would have to pay the rest of his $5 Million salary this year and the $6.5 Million he is owed next season to play for another team (though if it were the Phillies it may be worth the money). So, my opinion is to send him to AAA Gwinnett. The worst that happens is that he plays poorly and they part ways in 2012. Who knows, maybe he can work something out and be decent for next season. The bottom line is that he can’t be on the roster any longer.
- I would rather see the Braves stick with Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco in CF and batting in the 8th spot. They may not provide much power, but they can cover more than their share of ground in the OF and will provide solid at-bats and good speed on the bases. Hey—they can’t do any worse than Nate…
So it seems as if Frank Wren and I are thinking on the same wavelength. Since we are thinking so much alike, I’m going to start thinking about a move involving the bullpen…
How many times do we have to become physically ill due to Jesse Chavez entering a game? Look, he has a great arm, no one is questioning that, but time after time he has been hit around and the game has gotten away. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but maybe he needs more seasoning in the minors to work on his control.
I just checked the Braves roster on their website, and Kenshin Kawakami is still in their bullpen. This was news to he because I had just assumed he had passed away—I haven’t seen him pitch, in what feels like months (some GOOD months!), but apparently he did make an appearance one time this month. I guess I shouldn’t have sent that condolence card to his family…
Seriously though, I do remember him pitching the one time, and it wasn’t pretty. He gave up 5 hits and 3 earned runs on July 16th against the Brewers, a game the Braves let get away from them—go figure. So what are the Braves going to do with KK? He is making about $7.3 Million this season and another $5.3+ Million next season (he received $2 Million signing bonus). I have a feeling Frank Wren is gun-shy on making a trade involving KK for PR reasons, which I can understand. But, I prey he is not in their plans for next year’s starting rotation, especially with Mike Minor doing so well in AAA Gwinnett.
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Until next time…Stay classy Braves fans!