Trade Deadline Looms For Braves

Written by Thomas on July 29, 2011 – 3:06 pm

With Sunday’s trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Braves have yet to make any moves to bring some new blood to Atlanta.  There are differing opinions as to what Frank Wren should do.  BravesBlast contributor, Thomas, examines possible trades for the Braves in today’s podcast below.  Should the Braves go after bullpen help?  Right-handed power at the plate?  Just stand pat with what they have?  Let us know your thoughts!

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Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 9 Comments »

Jason Heyward and Rookie Of The Year

Written by Thomas on September 13, 2010 – 5:30 pm

By August 19th it seemed as though Jason Heyward had all but fallen out of contention for NL Rookie of the Year. Although the Braves’ right fielder was still having an impressive season for a twenty year old at that point, several other National League rookies had been better. But in his past twenty-three games, Heyward has hit to the ridiculous tune of .422/.523/.678 and jumped right back into the discussion. And with just eighteen games left to play, only Buster Posey and Jaime Garcia have a realistic chance of winning the award over him.

From a performance efficiency standpoint, it could be argued that Posey has been better than J Hey. Both he and Heyward have nearly identical on-base plus slugging percentages, but Posey has posted his while catching. He also has a higher homerun per plate appearance ratio and batting average (although a significantly worse OBP but “old school” voters may not even consider this). However, Heyward has the advantage of having started the season in the Major Leagues while Posey was not called up until late May. By that time Heyward had already won two consecutive Rookie of the Month awards and was on an absolute tear. This gave him a head start on Posey that has translated into a higher value. While their levels of production are nearly identical, Heyward has played in significantly more games and therefore given more to the Braves than Posey to the Giants.

Comparing Heyward to Garcia, a pitcher, is difficult to do. Garcia, like Heyward, has been in the majors since April and has been very impressive. A 13-7 record and 2.69 ERA make him a strong contender for the award, but peripheral statistics suggest that his ERA has benefited from strong fielding and a little luck. How writers will vote is anyone’s guess, but Heyward has a considerable “hype” advantage. No rookie, with the exception of Strasburg, has been covered by the media more over the course of the season. The final eighteen games may go a long way in deciding who wins the award, but right now my money is on Heyward.


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Posted in Speculation | 2 Comments »

Braves To Move For Derrek Lee? Good Idea?

Written by Jonathan on August 18, 2010 – 11:57 am

With every at-bat or play at first base, it’s quite apparent that Braves first baseman Troy Glaus is in a lot of pain and unable to play up to his full potential.  Gone are the days of May where he was hitting everything in sight, whether it was over the plate or not, and now, the best we can do is hope he doesn’t hit into a double play at the wrong time.  Rumors have begun circulating that the Braves are close to making a move for Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee.

In his day (he’s been around the league since 1997), Derrek Lee produced some solid numbers from the plate.  He’s had 9 20-HR seasons and is 5 shy of 1000 RBI in his career.  To date in 2010, he has 16 homers (4 of which came last weekend) and 56 RBI.  In the month of August, Lee is batting .306 and slugging .694 with 4 homers and 8 RBI.  By contrast, Glaus is hitting .208 and slugging .375 with two homers.

On the surface, it seems like a logical move.  It would give Glaus time to get healthier (although I doubt that can truly happen until the offseason) and would add a little more pop to the lineup.  The kicker however, is that Lee is injured as well.  His performance has been hampered by a bulging disc in his back, which, after receiving an injection for the pain, has him sidelined until today or tomorrow at least.

Lee would definitely be a rental, as he is a free agent at the end of the season, and would have to waive his no-trade cause, which he would likely do as Atlanta is contending for the NL East.  The rental issue doesn’t bother me however as he would serve as the next step in the bridge to getting Freddie Freeman into the majors (which I still maintain the  Braves don’t have to rush to do).  The question is, is sitting one injured first baseman for another injured first baseman the right thing to do.  With Troy’s performance as of late, I’d say it’s an option that we seriously need to consider.


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Posted in Injuries, Roster Moves, Speculation | 1 Comment »

Make The Minor Move: Bring Minor To The Majors

Written by Colin on August 5, 2010 – 11:49 am

After Kris Medlen’s elbow injury last night resulting in him leaving the game, there’s cause for concern that he’s out for the year. We’ll find out more after an MRI today.

Now the question arises: what happens with Medlen’s rotation spot for the start that he’ll miss? Since he just won the fifth rotation spot from Kawakami, do we just let Kenshin back into the rotation? He has only pitched once since being taken out of the rotation – we don’t want to use him – and there are rumors that we might want him to accept a minor league assignment (though it might hurt our chances with signing future Japanese players). Or do we promote Mike Minor, the top pitching prospect at the AAA level.

Minor is having a great first full pro season – in 118 2/3 innings at AA Mississippi and AAA Gwinnett, he’s posted a 3.41 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, and 144K’s with only 44 BB’s. He’s part of the rotation of the future and has been starting regularly unlike Kawakami.

My plea to the Braves is thus: Please make Minor the fifth starter. Kawakami has had his chance and blew it – send him to AAA for some regular pitching and let Minor fill in on the back half of the rotation in the bigs.

Bring Minor to the Majors.


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Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 7 Comments »

Braves Trade Deadline Watch

Written by Colin on July 31, 2010 – 9:13 am

The deadline is upon us. The Braves have been linked to (most notably) Josh Willingham, Lance Berkman, and (most recently) Cody Ross, but nobody knows what will happen today as the deadline approaches. Will the potential injury to Martin Prado last night impact Wren’s position today? Check back, we’ll update this post throughout the day.

Cody Ross was linked to the Braves yesterday but *supposedly* the Marlins have taken him off the table. They have been known to change their mind last minute and surprise people so we’ll have to keep watching this story line for some time. We’ll see what happens here.

Josh Willingham has been linked to the Braves as well, but the Nationals have said they won’t move both Adam Dunn and Willingham. I think the most recent word out of the White Sox is that they’re out on Dunn, and it doesn’t look like he’ll move. Is Willingham an option then? Who knows. Hard to tell at this point.

Lance Berkman was another name the Braves were linked to, but the Yankees landed him yesterday so he’s no longer an option.

One has to wonder if the potential injury to Martin Prado (inconclusive x-rays on his right pinky) will impact the team at all. If Prado has to sit out a few weeks, will the Braves feel they need to add a bat more urgently? He’s been the spark plug to the team so far this year. What happens if he’s out?

The bottom line is nobody but Frank Wren knows what the hell is going on today. Check back for updates. We’ll be following all the rumors and (hopefully) a deal for the Braves that makes sense.


Posted in Speculation | 2 Comments »

Oswalt To Phillies….Will The Braves Counter?

Written by Kent on July 30, 2010 – 1:16 pm

In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington wonders how creative the Braves are willing to get in their efforts landing another big bat. Throw in your 2 cents in the comments area below… or leave a message with your questions or comments for a future commentary at 888-669-5368 (ext.701.)

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What Roy Oswalt To The Phillies Could Mean For The Braves

Written by Thomas on July 29, 2010 – 1:24 pm

Pending his approval, Roy Oswalt will be making 12 plus starts for the Phillies over the course of the next two months. As Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com points out, this trade is an admission of guilt by GM Ruben Amaro for inexplicably trading Cliff Lee last off-season. The Lee trade left the team with a top heavy rotation that was hurt even further when it lost J.A. Happ to the disabled list after only two starts.

Following the Happ injury in April, the Phillies rotation looked like this: 1) Roy Halladay 2) Cole Hamels 3-5) Kyle Kendrick, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton. To translate this into Braves lingo, they had a Maddux, a Glavine and then three Kenshin Kawakamis. Another comparable would be the Braves’ 2007 rotation which consisted of Hudson, Smoltz and then three or four Kenshin Kawakamis. That season there was an incredible amount of pressure on the games Huddy and Smoltz started, because losing them meant there could easily be a four or five game losing streak. Both of them stayed healthy all season and pitched very well, but the team could only win 84 games, good for third in the NL East.

The Phillies’ top two of Halladay and Hamels have been in a similar situation all year but have managed to lead the team to an impressive 55-46 record prior to the Oswalt trade. Unfortunately, adding the Astros’ ace to their staff significantly improves the Phillies’ chances at catching the Braves down the stretch. Oswalt, who will essentially be replacing the mediocre Jamie Moyer, has been very good this year, with his 8.37 K/9 ratio being the highest it has been since his rookie season.

The Phillies could potentially switch to a four man rotation at some point before the season is over. Doing so would eliminate yet another horrible starter from their rotation. This combined with the return of Utley and Victorino will make them a very dangerous team. The Braves still have a 3.5 game head start, but their chances at winning the division looked a whole lot better one week ago. At that point the lead was seven games and Oswalt was still in an Astros’ uniform. Six games remain between Atlanta and Philly including the three game set at Turner Field to end the season. As Billy Wagner predicted long ago, these three games just might determine who wins the NL East.


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Posted in League Analysis, Pitching, Speculation | 4 Comments »

Will The Braves Make A Move At The Trade Deadline?

Written by Thomas on July 26, 2010 – 8:44 am

With the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline less than a week away, the Atlanta Braves have seemingly reached a stalemate with the market. A recent piece from the AJC’s Dave O’Brien highlighted the bevy of great pitching prospects in the Braves’ farm system, but it hardly made it seem as though Frank Wren is interested in including any of them (possibly with the exception of Mike Minor) in a deadline move. Without a doubt the Braves would love to upgrade in centerfield, but the only name out there right now is the Marlin’s Cody Ross. If the Braves could acquire Ross for virtually nothing (Jo-Jo Reyes-like prospects, cash, etc.) then they should do so. The only problem is that other teams, such as the Red Sox and Yankees, are reportedly inquiring about him as well. Ross is under team control for the 2011 season and would be a nice upgrade in center over anyone in the Braves’ organization, but he is obviously not worth getting into a bidding war over.

Beyond centerfield there are very few areas, if any, where the Braves are likely to upgrade. The team seems content, and justifiably so, with a Diaz/Hinske platoon in left which would be the only other position where the Braves would conceivably add a bat. In an ideal world the Braves would be able to go out and handpick a centerfielder to trade for, but this is simply not the case. Their offense is, for the most part, set in stone unless they acquire Ross from the Marlins.

Wren may explore adding bullpen depth but not much else. It would have been interesting had the Braves entered the Dan Haren sweepstakes using one of Vizcaino, Teheran, or Delgado as the centerpiece. Although their rotation has been strong this year, Haren would have made it significantly better come playoff time despite his struggles this season. As I am writing this, it has been reported that the Angels have acquired him by packaging Joe Saunders with two “eh” prospects and a player to be named later who is supposedly the centerpiece. Atlanta could have matched this package easily; the question is do you think they should have attempted to improve their rotation or keep their stockpile of young pitching talent intact?


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Posted in Speculation | 27 Comments »

Time To Land A Center Fielder

Written by Colin on July 25, 2010 – 6:56 pm

If you watched the Atlanta Braves play the Florida Marlins this weekend, you saw Nate McLouth have several big at-bats when put in context of his future with the Braves. The latest – with the bases loaded in the top of the 11th – ended with a double play.

Yes, it was a hard-hit ball. Is he coming around? Maybe.

To me, it’s time to land another center fielder. While McLouth might come around and we may have moderate production out of the position the rest of the season, and I’m not OK with that.

The way this team is playing, I want to see us go out and get a player who can put some pop in the lineup. I want someone who is going to put us from playing pretty well in the NL East to the class of the NL East. I want to put the Phillies on notice that even if they trade for Oswalt they are going to have to play .800 ball to catch us. I want to be damn good. We’re already good. I want to be even better.

Here’s the thing – I’m against trading prospects for a star to “put us over the top” when we’re only hoping to make the playoffs. However, I am completely behind trading prospects for a star to make us the class of the National League.

Mark Bowman is reporting that the Braves may not be that interested in the Marlins’ Cody Ross. Others are reporting that the Fish are unlikely to move Ross. If you ask me, it sounds like Ross won’t be the next member of the Braves. I would like to see us make a *smart* move and land a center fielder who can give us the production we need from center field to have a potent lineup throughout the batting order.

Let’s go get Marlon Byrd ($5.5M in ’11 and $6.5M in ’12). Or hell, how about we sign Jermaine Dye? His power numbers would be nice and he’d definitely hit for more average than McLouth will. I’ll think on that more and maybe expound on it in another blog post soon.


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Posted in Speculation | 4 Comments »

Cody Ross to Atlanta? Could Happen. But Would He Help?

Written by Kent on July 21, 2010 – 12:39 pm

In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington discusses recent developments that suggest the Braves have serious interest in Cody Ross of the Florida Marlins.  Throw in your 2 cents in the comments area below… or leave a message with your questions or comments for a future commentary at 888-669-5368 (ext.701.)

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As The Braves Approach The Trade Deadline…

Written by Kent on July 20, 2010 – 8:51 am

In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington takes an updated look at possible remaining trade targets and breaks down the performance of the red hot Matt Diaz. Throw in your 2 cents in the comments area below… or leave a message with your questions or comments for a future commentary at 888-669-5368 (ext.701.)

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The Official Fried Baseball Atlanta Braves Trade Show

Written by Kent on July 15, 2010 – 2:31 pm

In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington analyzes the Escobar/Gonzalez trade and breaks down possible remaining trade targets. Throw in your 2 cents in the comments area below… or leave a message with your questions or comments for a future commentary at 888-669-5368 (ext.701.)

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Here are a few key numbers to keep in mind for this discussion:

Matt Diaz got off to a very slow start and then of course spent a lengthy period of time on the DL. But his numbers last year against left-handed pitching were insane. And it was no fluke, as his numbers over the last 3 years clearly indicate. You will see those numbers below. We have also scaled his vs-lefties numbers out to 550 at-bats, just for perspective. It’s difficult to overstate how good he’s been against left-handed pitching.

AB AVG OBP HR RBI 2B OPS
Matt Diaz 2009 v LHP 136 .412 .464 6 24 11 1.104
Matt Diaz 2007-2009 v LHP 396 .369 .404 17 58 27 .975
Matt Diaz 07-09 v LHP (550AB) *550 .369 .404 23 80 37 .975
Eric Hinske 2010 v RHP 162 .272 .335 5 31 15 .804
Eric Hinske 2010 v RHP (550AB) *550 .272 .335 17 105 51 .804

Below are projected post-all-star numbers of potential Left-Field trade targets vs. a Diaz/Hinske platoon (based on first-half production – and 242 expected post-all-star at bats):

AVG OBP HR RBI 2B OPS SB
Cory Hart .287 .351 16 52 16 .919 3
David DeJesus .328 .398 4 26 17 .861 3
Jose Guillen .274 .336 11 40 8 .789 1
Cody Ross .282 .332 5 34 14 .747 6
Josh Willingham .278 .410 13 41 12 .915 5
Diaz/Hinske .305 .371 9 37 15 .865 6


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Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 3 Comments »

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