The July 31st non-waiver trading deadline is about 2 weeks away. Will the Braves be buyers, sellers, or both? Let’s weigh the options…
The Braves don’t need a catcher. I think they have the best catcher and back-up combination in the majors. David Ross has been superb behind Brian McCann. What more could you ask from this position?
Casey Kotchman has been the best fielder in the big leagues for the past year, but he lacks power at a traditional power position. Freddie Freeman is still over a year away, but it doesn’t make sense to upgrade for just one year. Martin Prado and Greg Norton can back-up, so I don’t believe this is a position that will be addressed.
Speaking of Martin Prado, the second base position is also set for the Braves—remember the Braves will get Omar Infante back soon; their most consistent April hitter. With Kelly Johnson on the DL with “tendonitis,” Infante will get playing time. What a job Brooks Conrad has done; spot-starting and off the bench! He’s hit .344 2 HR 8 RBI in his limited action. Again, this position won’t be addressed.
The Braves don’t have a back-up plan at third (besides Prado) for the immediate future, but that guy called ‘Chipper’ isn’t going anywhere except maybe the DL once in a while.
As I said last time, Yunel Escobar can’t be dealt. They aren’t going to get anything close to his talent back in return and they don’t have anyone to take that spot. I’m sorry, but Diory Hernandez isn’t the answer. Escobar has to be the guy.
The Braves have a solid starting rotation that can only get better when Tim Hudson is healthy. That said; does this mean Javier Vazquez will be expendable? I really hope not—at least for this season. One thing I have learned about baseball is that you can NEVER have too much pitching. Besides, Tim Hudson can’t be expected to be 100% until next spring. Hudson could help a bullpen in dire need of a fresh arm.
Speaking of that bullpen…Rafael Soriano has been the man—the polar opposite from his 2008 season. If, and that’s a big IF, Mike Gonzalez really just has tendonitis, and can come back to form, the Braves will have a solid back-end to their bullpen. I have faith in Kris Medlen. I like his stuff…now if HE can just believe that, there won’t be any long relief worry. The middle relief…I don’t know where to start. Eric O’Flaherty has been a pleasant surprise. I’ve had a lot of chances to see him pitch, because it seems that he’s in EVERY game. The same goes for Peter Moylan— I swear that I saw him come into a game twice last week against the Rockies. Boone Logan…Manny Acosta…Luis Valdez…are they the answer? Probably not. The Braves could use a reliever (or three) at the deadline. It won’t be a top-notch guy like Matt Capps or even George Sherrill, but maybe a Michael Wuertz-type guy can be had for a reasonable price. Other than that, I can’t see a pitcher coming in for the Braves.
That leaves the outfield. It’s been a disaster the past two seasons. The McLouth deal gave the Braves a legit guy out there. So that’s 1 out of 3 spots. Matt Diaz is a good role player—a guy who can hit lefties…but he is not an everyday player, nor is Ryan Church. Let’s be honest—he is an injury-prone, average outfielder. He has never realized his potential and if he can’t do it for the Mets who sign players from nursing homes, he is not the answer for the Braves.
I always try to be pleasant and look at things glass-half-full, but Garret Anderson is the laziest player I have ever seen. Maybe I’m way off base, and not seeing the whole picture. But I think I am. I’ve never seen the man run hard—whether it’s down the first baseline or after a fly ball. I’ve heard several times that “He just goes about his business in a professional manner. That’s just the way he plays the game.” Well, if that’s the way he plays, I’d rather have Reid Gorecki out there. At least he hustles. I swear Anderson is asleep half the time in left field. He is one player on this team who infuriates me nightly. Now that I am done with my rant, the corner outfield is what the Braves severely need to address.
There have been names such as Jermaine Dye and of course Matt Holliday thrown the Braves way, but I am not convinced that the Braves can get either at an affordable price. It’s not worth giving up Schafer or Medlen for Holliday. If they can pull the trigger on a deal that brings them a right-handed, power-hitting, corner outfielder (without giving up too much) I will be ecstatic. They really do need a bat, and from what I have seen Frank Wren is not shy about making a deal. So, all we can do is wait. I know I will be on every website imaginable for the next two weeks, clicking the refresh button as fast as I can.
If you are reading this, you might be a tad more hardcore than me. Feel free to leave comments about what you think. Tell me I’m a jerk. Tell me I am the best thing since Garrett Anderson. Tell me I have no clue what I’m talking about and should sit at Starbuck’s with my chai latte and shut up. Whatever it is, feel free to write it.
By the way…I don’t drink chai latte, so YOU shut up!
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Until Next Time…GO Braves!