All is quiet on the Braves trade front

Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of TheJeff Francoeur Trade.  The Braves will  commemorate the event by spending this weekend playing against Francoeur and his Mets teammates at Citi Field.

Here at Bowman’s Blog, we chose to recognize the event Thursday, when we drew a steady wave of page hits courtesy of a player, who has previously drawn comparisons to Francoeur.

Once MLB.com’s Peter Gammons mentioned Mike Minor and Corey Hart in the same tweet yesterday, Braves fans buzzed with curiosity.  From all indications, Frank Wren and his lieutenants simply sat back and recognized the fact that we are indeed in the middle of July’s rumor season. 

If there is a group of untouchables within the Braves organization, Minor ranks near the top of that list.  The 22-year-old hurler will likely be projected to be part of the 2011 Atlanta rotation. 

Yes, somebody will likely have to be moved to create a spot for Minor next year.  But for now, we should just focus on the belief that he will stay with the organization unless the Braves are blown away by the offer of a young affordable position player that they could control for at least three years. 

In other words, Minor, Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado will be sticking with the Braves unless another club is willing to offer a Jason Heyward-type player.  Last time I checked, the Marlins (Mike Stanton) and Tigers (Brennan Boesch) aren’t going to be willing to do this. 

The direction the Braves take leading up to the July 31 deadline will be heavily influenced by what Heyward shows when he returns from the disabled list after the All-Star break.  If he proves to be healthy and capable of being as productive as he was during the season’s first two months, there will be less need for Wren to pursue and everyday outfielder.

If Heyward provides confidence about what he could provide down the stretch, the Braves may simply look to add a bat to a bench that has been recently weakened while Eric Hinske and Omar Infante have been in the lineup much more often than originally projected. 

Matt Diaz’s return has already solidified the outfield mix.  If Nate McLouth is able to return from his concussion and provide some indication that he will be much more productive during the season’s second half, the Braves would then have the option of using either Melky Cabrera or Gregor Blanco as a trade chip. 

Blanco obviously has more trade value than the more-expensive Cabrera.  But more importantly, his performance over the past couple of weeks has given every reason to believe he can capably handle the center field position if McLouth isn’t able to regain his health or show the promise that was expected when the Braves acquired him last year.

If the Braves reach a point where they are seeking an outfielder to play on an everyday basis, Hart won’t be high on their wish list.  While producing a career-best season this year, Hart is setting himself up to earn $7-8 million via arbitration next year. 

The Braves would be hesitant making this kind of commitment to a player, who combined to hit .265 with 32 homers and a .757 OPS during the 2007 and ’08 seasons.  But the primary reason they wouldn’t offer the Brewers a highly attractive packages stems from the fact that Hart will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2011 season. 

The Brewers have spent the past couple of years attempting to get the Braves to trade for Hart. Right now, it appears they’re still not ready to bite. 

Still the odds of Hart landing in Atlanta might actually be higher than those surrounding the possibility that Yunel Escobar will be traded before the trade deadline.   The Braves simply aren’t willing to sell low on a guy, who they still view as the game’s top defensive shortstop.

Manager Bobby Cox complimented Omar Infante the other day by saying he could be an everyday shortstop.  But it’s quite obvious that Infante wouldn’t bring the same defensive value as Escobar, whose presence strengthens the value of Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe, who both rank among the top three NL starters in groundball/flyball ratio. 

While the Braves may not currently be major players on the trade market, they could see one of their former hurlers influenced if the Yankees conclude their current negotiations to land Cliff Lee. 

If the Yankees do land Lee (and it appears they will), they will likely trade Javier Vazquez. One scout told me this morning that he was hearing Vazquez would be dealt to the Phillies in exchange for Jayson Werth. 

But with Chase Utley sidelined until at least the latter portion of August, I find it hard to believe that the Phillies would be willing to trade another key piece of their lineup to strengthen their shaky rotation. 

NOTES: Julio Teheran was scratched from his latest start with Class A Myrtle Beach to allow him to be ready to pitch in this weekend’s Futures Game. Mike Minor is also scheduled to pitch for the U.S. team. The game will be shown live by MLB.TV and ESPN 2 at 6 p.m. ET Sunday…Highly-regarded, 18-year-old shortstop Edward Salcedo has hit .269 with two doubles and two triples in his first 26 at-bats since being promoted to Class A Rome. 

      

27 Comments

Thank you Mark for the Blog. I don’t understand the logic behind trading a great young pitcher for Corey Hart. The Braves just got Matt Diaz back and he is comparable to Hart, if not better. When given the opportunity to play last year, Diaz proved he was a 300 hitter with 20 hr power, 20 SB and decent defense. Hart has has had a great 1st half, but he is typically a 260 hitter with 25 Hrs? I would rather have Diaz by far. What is wrong with an OF of Heyward, and some combination of Blanco, Infante Hinske, Diaz and Cabrera? Sounds pretty good to me. I hope Nate McClouth gets better, but please don’t just give him the CF spot back. He has been struggling for three month (including spring training) and his throwing arm has killed them on several occassions. Watch Blanco or Cabrera throw and you will see the difference.

I am very excited for the rest of the season. They need at least one game against the Mets so they can go into the beak with a 2 game lead. 2 of 3 would be better. The consistent solid play of the Braves has really been something. Does everybody realize that they have only lost one series since the beginning of may – sweep by white sox.

Here’s speculation from Bleacher Report

Corey Hart To Atlanta?
jake grubbs

It Seems Like The Braves Have Been Gods Chosen Team this Year. They are 6 Games Above the Phillies and 3 Above the Mets. But if the Braves want to make The postseason run They will need to Add a RH powerbat like Hart.He is on Track to hit 40 Hrs this year and he would easily move to Left Field.

Braves get: Corey Hart, Giants Prospect

Brewers get: Melky Cabrera, Mike Minor,Giants Prospect, and Matt Cain

Giants get: Prince Fielder

billreef, that will never happen in a million years. No way Braves give up Minor and Cabrera for Hart and a Giants prospect. The only way Minor would ever go to the Giants or Brewers’ is if Lincecum or Braun are coming their way. No way Giants give up Cain and two prospects for Fielder. Obviously you’re a Brewers’ fan also.

Bowman, how about the Braves revisit a trade for Ludwick? Maybe Hicks, and maybe a “B” prospect for Ludwick, or just Hicks straight up?

I understand the logic of wanting to get a big bat (I really do), but we are putting alot of faith into wanting Corey Hart to stay consistent. I don’t see the point in giving up Minor. The kid only strikes out 8-10 batters a game as a southpaw. We don’t have a LHP in our rotation and I think that it would be a big advantage. Thinks about the Phils lineup, having Minor out there HELPS neutralize the Ultey-Howard combo, which are still tough outs no matter how you look at it. From what I’ve seen and read, this Minor kid has the potential to give us (from top to bottom) one of the best rotations we’ve had here. Everybody knows we could use a bat, but I also think we could get more creative than Minor. He’s too valuable to give up for another Tex (except with half of the potential). IMO, as I said before, if your name isn’t Heyward and you play OF , you are on the block. And KK still hasn’t pitched in a while, nice and rested for any team that wants to pick him up…. (and yes viva, I was being hopeful).

JoeJoe, Ludwick doesn’t hit lefties well (.217 this season). We need a RH bat, which he is, but we also need someone who can hit lefties (most important), which he cannot…..

One more thing – does anyone know where Lebron signed? I can’t find anything on the news.

One more thing – does anyone know where Lebron signed? I can’t find anything on the news.

Well, if Hart isn’t the guy, who else would we try and get? Maybe Pence from Houston or Upton from Arizona? I can’t imagine either one of those teams wanting to lose those guys unless they got alot in return. But at the same time, they are both terrible so time will tell….

Where Lebron signed? I thought he was with the Cavs…

Man it’d be nice if sports reporters would do their job and update us on things like these.

Wow, I love how Mark basically took my comment from earlier and turned it into a blog post haha. Thank you, Mark, for understanding my position on the trade rumor front.

bill, whoever wrote that definitely sounded like nc for a second, the I remembered, McLouth, Resop, or Chavez wasn’t a part of the names, so it may be someone making just a LITTLE more sense.

I understand the want for a big bat too, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We are the best team in the National League, even though 3 of our pitchers with the most starts(Hanson, Lowe, and Kawakami) have a 4+ era, and out offense includes no player with 15+ home runs, and only one of the opening day starters batting .300. Something magical is happening here. And now that we have key pieces returning(Mr. Matty Diaz, our biggest role player of the last decade, Jair Jurrjens, out ace for the past 2 seasons) and we’re getting rid of the little things holing us back (McLouth on the DL, Kawakami to the pen, Chavez coming up for air once every two weeks, just to let us know he’s not dead), our team is looking even more and more promising. We got our big offseason bat in Troy Glaus, let us let the men play. The only way I think we can solidify our club without ruining the future of our club is to get one more solid reliever. The only things currently wrong with our club aren’t making hardly any apperances, so let us rride out our luck for now.

I get that argument, but it’s gonna be mighty tough if the Phrillies or the Mess upgrade their team. There is almost zero production in CF. Though I think if Yunel’s bat heats up then we basically found the upgrade internally.

I can’t stand the Yankees or the NY Post (I’m a southerner living in Brooklyn), but this is one of the funniest sports covers I’ve ever seen.
http://www.i-yankees.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/13539_887204647699_8804883_49825073_5655340_n.jpg

I don’t really see the Mets or Phillies upgrading. The Phillies have 7 starters when J.A. Happ comes back, so they can’t really make pitching moves, and their offense is as good as it gets. At most they get Ty Wigginton, but he’ll come back down to earth again soon.

The Mets will MAYBE get a starting pitcher, but I don’t see Ted Lilly doing much more for them than they have now.
And I honestly think our benches production is making up for the CF production.

I meant 6. I guess if you count Jose Contreras giving you a spot start, it could be 7.

I’ve heard if the Marlins are going to sell the braves might be interested in Jorge Cantu. I think this would be a good fit. Not sure what his numbers are as of right now but I think a change of scenery on a postive winning ballclub would do him good. Plus he can play third,first, and the majority of outfield. He adds depth and power.

Brandon, I think that the biggest concern with us on the blog is that CF has had limited production at best, our usually dependable RISP shortstop is not producing with the stick, and our big FA acquistion is batting under the mendoza line for the month. If Glaus can’t find his stick after the break there will be some concerns. However, on the plus, we have alot of things looking up as well. Prado is showing signs of a batting title, McCann is hitting the cover off of the ball even though the numbers aren’t showing it, and our pitching has been A+ all around….now only if we can get someone to take KK off our hands to open up some payroll…Also, what do you mean we need to add someone to the bullpen? Wagner, Saito, Moylan, Venters, O’Flahrety…All 5 of these guys are lights out for the most part this season. Why would we want to make a move to get another, most teams can’t find 2. Seems like a lateral move to me to try and trade for someone. Also, in the minors we’ve got plenty of arms ready to come up and contribute. By the way, I haven’t asked in about a week. Anyone have any idea where in the world is Luis Valdez? I’m assuming this is a work visa problem, if so, any updates on how he is doing?

I didn’t say we NEEDED to, I’m just saying we could get one for a little next to nothing and demote Chavez. Nothing wrong with a little insurance.

Please don’t anyone tell FW that the Rays released Hank Blalock. He will be cheap and plays like it. A typical Wren acquisition.

speedybream, hasn’t Glaus been nursing an injury for much of July though? I wouldn’t be concerned, given how he was owning the league prior to that.

He didn’t own it in April, in fact, he looked alot like he does now. Also, Troy does have a history of injuries. It’s not a good thing to say, “i wouldn’t be concerned”, but just as brandon says, “insurance doesn’t hurt”. I think there is a good possibility that Glaus will heat up again, but he was the only real power we had for a while, and now he’s not producing it. If we are going to get “insurance” we need it more in the power numbers game in the OF than we do in the bullpen. I would hope that we could all agree with that. Now, hopefully, when Heyward returns, he can provide some power numbers for us (along with B Mac), but if not, I am a little concerned about our power game. We can’t sit on what we have if our only power threat is struggling heavily. Our only saving grace has been MVPrado, if not for him, we could easily be down there with the Marlins.

Cliff Lee to the Rangers. I was hoping for the Twins, but this is good too. I guess I can hope to see 4 of my favorite 6 teams in the playoffs(Braves, Rays, Twins, Rangers).

The Braves have an outfield tonight of Hinske, Blanco and Cabrera. This is what they sent out there to face our closest competition????? And we don’t need a trade for an outfielder???? You guys kill me.

I wish the Braves would make a conserted effort TRADE YUNEL ESCOBAR. He makes too many filippant errors for a MLB player. He just through a nonchalant throw to Glaus which almost seriously injured him. A couple of plays before he looses a routine fly ball in the lights. Get rid of him. You can even tell other teammates are over him, his lack of discipline and inconsistent pop at bat. The immature non-disciplined attitude of his is not worth his streaky contributions offensively. Trade him.

To be fair, none of the Braves owned anything in April save for Prado and Heyward. And yeah, insurance can’t hurt, but what do we give up to get it? This is the most flexible Braves team I can remember in recent history, and I think that’s a large part of our success this season.

Atlbravos fan. If yunel plays as bad as you spell we are in real trouble.

Way to go guys!! It’s a true luxury to have the lead going into the break. I’m glad to see Melky contribute some power with the stick. I also love that Infante has not let the “he’s not an all star” garbage get to him, he has been so valuable. Also, glad to see Glaus pick up a RBI. If we could get another win in this series that would be HUGE, GO BRAVES!
Oh, and by the way, how many fantastic plays has Escobar made, and how many hard plays has he made look easy. He has saved more runs than he has given away with his glove. And the comment that he is inconsistent is not correct either. He has hit all the time, except for this year (which he has hit none). Slumping, yes…inconsitent, no. Does he do things ill-advised yes, but he has far more plusses than minuses, especially for what he gets paid. If you want a perfect shortstop, I don’t think Jeter is going anywhere anytime soon.

I really do hope the Braves make a trade with Toronto and send Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays for SS Alex Gonzalez. this guy is ripping the cover off the ball and is better in every category than Escobar. I think its time for him to move on and bring in someone who will not be a distraction in the clubhouse, The Braves have said they are tired of his attitude and sloppy playing, so heres the chance to move him and get a better SS in return!!!!

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