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.
Tags: Chicago Cubs, Derrek Lee, Trade Rumors, Troy Glaus
Posted in Injuries, Roster Moves, Speculation | 1 Comment »
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.)
Tags: Fried Baseball, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Trade Rumors
Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 1 Comment »
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.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Trade Rumors
Posted in League Analysis, Pitching, Speculation | 4 Comments »
In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington discusses the possibility of another pre-deadline deal for the Atlanta Braves. 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.)
Tags: Fried Baseball, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors
Posted in Roster Moves | No Comments »
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?
Tags: Cody Ross, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors
Posted in Speculation | 27 Comments »
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.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Jermaine Dye, Marlon Byrd, Nate McLouth, Trade Rumors
Posted in Speculation | 4 Comments »
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.)
Tags: Cody Ross, Florida Marlins, Fried Baseball, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors
Posted in Speculation | 1 Comment »
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.)
Tags: Fried Baseball, Matt Diaz, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors
Posted in Speculation | 1 Comment »
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.)
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.
|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):
Tags: Eric Hinske, Fried Baseball, Matt Diaz, Trade Rumors
Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 3 Comments »
To answer the question of buyer versus seller for the Braves, please remember the last two weeks of the 2007 season in the National League — anything is possible. Currently sitting four games back of the Phillies, the Braves are still very much alive in the most competitive division in baseball and will be buyers by the trade deadline.
I identify the Braves immediate needs as being veteran starting pitching and improving their bench. So do not expect another Mark Teixiera type trade this summer. Fortunately, Mike Hampton, Tom Glavine and Mark Kotsay are all on the mend and will be back before the trade deadline which could turn out to have the effect of a bigger trade.
The current starting rotation has held up unbelievably so, with four rookies, but I feel that the Braves need to add one more inexpensive starting pitcher because there are so many health questions with aging veterans (I mean it’s Mike Hampton…c’mon!) and four rookies. The durability of young starting pitching is always in question when it comes to September and hopefully October, so some insurance would be great to have. Frank Wren should not be looking to spend too much in this area, but players that could make sense are: Shawn Chacon, Free Agent; Odalis Perez, Washington; and Paul Byrd, Cleveland.
Buying low on Chacon makes a ton of sense to me because he will not cost the Braves a single prospect, he has some playoff experience, absolutely has something to prove and can really add depth as a starter or reliever. Whether or not the Braves want to take the chance on Chacon is a whole different question, but anyone can see that “free” is better than trading a prospect or two for Byrd or Perez who offer no upgrades on Chacon. Again, these guys aren’t going to knock you off your feet, but it’s depth that the Braves need since the young pitching is in the long-term plan (Jurrjens, Reyes and Morton). However, if the opportunity is there to get Erik Bedard in a Braves jersey, it would be worth the high price to put a potentially dominant righty-lefty combination back to back with Tim Hudson.
The Braves bench has shown its ugly face with recent injuries and currently is comprised of four players hitting below the Richie Sexson Line (.218). Corky Miller (.100), Ruben Gotay (.211), Greg Norton (.207) and Brent Lillibridge(.091) do not provide the depth that the Braves need from the bench. Perhapd Norton and Gotay can hang around but Miller needs to be sent packing and I have seen Lillibridge hit one ball to the outfield, he needs more time. Truly, I feel more comfortable with Jorge Campillo (.267) at the plate than Miller at this point. Without much help in sight from the minors, acquiring a backup catcher should become an immediate priority for Wren and the baseball operations people. Some options include: Gregg Zaun, Toronto; Ronnie Paulino, Pittsburgh; and David Ross, Cincinnati. Zaun is the best (and most expensive) of the bunch. He would provide the most experience and a great bat off the bench if need be. Zaun has an option year coming and would cost around 2 million dollars for the remainder of the season, which may be cheap enough. I like the idea of adding Paulino a lot as well. Paulino is a career .279 hitter and has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh; he is still young and could pan out as a solid catcher somewhere. I have heard questions about his character and commitment, not something that the Braves are known for having a high tolerance for.
One final player name that I need to mention is that of Randy Winn. Acquiring Winn makes so much sense to be because he drops everyone down a spot and makes the entire outfield and bench better. A healthy Matt Diaz and Gregor Blanco become 4th and 5th outfielders’, which in turn makes the bench a lot more dangerous in the late innings with Diaz and his ability to mash lefties and Blanco’s speed as a pinch runner or defensive replacement. Winn also is durable and can be counted on to be in the lineup (149+ games played since 2001). The Braves have been linked to Winn earlier this month and it does make sense.
Remember that it does not always have to be a big deal to make a big impact and the Braves should be looking hard at some of the less talked about names approaching the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.
BravesBlast is proud to introduce its newest contributing writer, Dan Fisher. For Dan’s personal blog, visit http://baseballecon.blogspot.com.
Tags: Braves Trade Rumors, David Ross, Erik Bedard, Greg Zaun, Odalis Perez, Paul Byrd, Ronnie Paulino, Shawn Chacon, Trade Rumors
Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 8 Comments »
Humor me. For about five to seven minutes put aside all loyalty to Hammerin’ Hank (without a doubt a very classy individual) and hear me out. The Braves should consider signing Barry Bonds for the remainder of the season.
The Braves are looking for power in the outfield – which makes sense given that Francoeur is struggling, Kotsay is still on rehab, and we’ve seen to much of Greg Norton playing left field for my taste. The Braves need a boost in the lineup from another player – but at what cost would we trade for Jason Bay or Randy Winn? We’d not only pay a few million but get rid of young talent. So let’s set aside our dislike for the guy and talk business. No bias. Look at the numbers. Think about the possibilities and results.
- Think of having Chipper/Tex/Bonds in the middle of the lineup.
- $200,000 price tag for the rest of the year. That’s the same thing we’ll pay Brent Lillibridge to be on the team.
- No prospects have to be traded away.
- We could probably expect 15-20 HRs, and Chipper and Tex would have a chance to make a killing.
- Without a doubt the most offensive bang for the buck out there. Bonds would justify keeping Teixeira and making a legitimate run at the World Series this year.
- It’s Barry Bonds – there’s not much love for the man
- This is Aaron city. Atlanta is his town.
- He has a reputation for being standoffish and not helping the chemistry of the team he plays with.
- Barry has legal issues hanging over his head – currently having to do with allegedly lying to a grand jury about his alleged steroid use.
What do you think? Would fans open their arms and accept Barry as a hired bat, an NL DH, if you will for the rest of the season? Could he put himself aside and accept the fact that he wouldn’t be treated like a star, just another member of the team? Would the team be able to have Barry on their side? Would the Braves management even consider this?
If Barry came in to play for the Braves, it’d be a shot in the arm (pun intended) for the offense. Is it worth it?
Tags: Barry Bonds, Braves, rumors, signing rumors, Trade Rumors
Posted in General, Speculation | 26 Comments »
We all know where the Braves would be if they did not manage to get a guy like Jair Jurrjens, as a rookie he’s quickly become our number two starter. Jurrjens is 7-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 90 innings pitched. His 66 strikeouts leads the team, but, like Hudson, Jurrjens is more of a ground ball pitcher than a strikeout guy. Could he become a Brandon Webb type pitcher? Maybe with time, this is still his rookie season. Hudson will remain our ace and in the future I see Jurrjens and Reyes as our number two guys.
Jurrjens gets the ball tonight in Toronto and former Braves and manager who beat us in the ’92 World Series Cito Gaston. He’ll be pitching against Dustin McGowan, who’s 6-5 with a 4.21 ERA. Despite the fairly average stats, McGowan has been nearly unbeatable at home. At the Rogers Center (formerly the Sky Dome), McGowan is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA with a .242 batting average against (.299 on the road) and just one homer allowed against six on the road in 11 more innings.
Jurrjens pitched six innings last time out against Seattle, allowing zero earned runs. Unfortunately, in that start the defense let the guy down and had three errors in the first inning that led to three unearned runs. The Braves ended up winning the game on Brian McCann’s clumsy single with the bases loaded.
But enough of Jurrjens, remember the other guy we got in the trade for Renteria? Gorkys Hernandez was selected to play on the world team in the upcoming Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. The minor leaguer is hitting .320 with five triples and four homers. He also has seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Hernandez and the rest of the minor league world stars will play against the US Olympic Trials team (including Georgia Tech’s Derek Dietrich at short).
I also wanted to address some of the possible trades the Braves are looking through and looking for. According to Jayson Stark and his Rumblings article, the Braves are no longer in the market for pitching. Instead, and understandably so, the Braves are looking for some outfield power.
Names that came up through the article were Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. Ibanez a little less so maybe. He is hitting .277 with just nine homers, but does have 47 RBIs and would definitely be an upgrade over current outfielders offensively (at least until Kotsay gets back). It probably will not take a whole lot to get Ibanez since he is in the last year of a (very affordable) contract and is playing on the worst team in baseball. I’m thinking maybe a low A level prospect or two B prospects, something the Braves may be willing to part with.
The other problem? Teams still don’t know exactly how long the Pirates are going to hold out until selling mode. Both Jason Bay and Xavier Nady have been awesome for the Pirates this year. Bay is hitting .287 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs, but still can’t hit offspeed pitches the way he can fastballs. He’s also a little bit less affordable at $6 million dollars (obviously about half if the Braves get him in the middle).
Nady, on the other hand, is making only $3 million, hitting .314 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs (he led the NL in RBIs for much of the first two months). Plus he’s a right fielder, so putting him in left would give us three strong outfield arms (with Kotsay in center). The catch? He’s been hurt, he sat out a while with an ankle injury earlier this year and has recently been benched with a shoulder injury. Teams might stay away from that, but there’s no reason the Braves won’t consider it if they can get him for a lower price than he would have been if healthy. Of course, we all know how that worked out with the Dotel trade last year (Davies stats: 3-0, 3.12 ERA in five starts, still walks a lot of guys though but he’s coming around).
I also wanted to talk about some of Dan’s comments in an earlier trade thread. I think it’s a great idea to go out there and get a backup catcher. We have a guy, Clint Sammons (former UGA catcher) who is projected to be a guy with great baseball IQ and can be a prototypical backup catcher with solid defense. Sammons is hitting .245 in 204 at-bats through June 26. There is also a possibility that we would go after a guy like Rod Barajas and Gregg Zaun, but what’s the likelihood that they’re going to part with a catcher that has managed their pitching staff fairly well (3 in AL in ERA and lead the AL in innings pitched).
Lillibridge has had 11 at-bats so chances are if we get another hitter, he goes back down. Norton has been clutch off the bench, it’s the fact that he has to play every day that’s kind of exposed him. He’s a great pinch hitter and spot starter, but not an everyday guy.
As far as other names. According to David O’Brien at the AJC, I’m pretty sure we won’t see Randy Winn in a Braves uniform. Winn is hitting .302 with five home runs and 32 RBIs. But Winn is aging a little bit and at $8 million, his price tag is a little high, he just wouldn’t be a good fit for the Braves. Same with most of the pitching names going around the rumor mills. Erik Bedard especially, he’s talented but not motivated in any way. He’s got ace type stuff, but his attitude makes it impossible for him to be an ace and we all know how well that would end in Atlanta.
Obviously as the trade deadline approaches we’ll hear more and more names. I certainly hope we can get a guy from Pittsburgh. I know it’s a little callous, but Pittsburg typically makes bad trades and I think we would be able to get a good major league pitcher for a lot less than we would have to give Seattle for Ibanez (although with their dysfunction it might be a tie).
Tags: Gorkeys Hernandez, Renteria Trade, Trade Rumors
Posted in Minor Leagues, Speculation | 5 Comments »