Braves looking to improve bullpen and bench

Before we step away from one milestone and begin the quest for 10,001 victories, let’s take a quick look at the topic  — potential trades  —  that will consume the baseball world for the next two weeks.

(This is the entry I posted on MLB.com’s Trade Deadline Blog this afternoon.  Follow that blog for regular updates on the trade market.)

While the Braves might not make a huge splash on this year’s trade market, they will be certainly be active in their search to land a right-handed reliever and right-handed hitting outfielder.

An American League scout proved more specific Friday when he said, “They’re looking for a right-handed hitter who can play each of the outfield positions.”

While the Braves might not necessarily find the versatile outfielder they are seeking, they would seemingly be satisfied to strengthen their bench with the right-handed equivalent of Eric Hinske.  This would provide manager Fredi Gonzalez at least another option to combat situations when opponents can attempt to take advantage of  the heavy left-handed presence in the Braves’ lineup.

The desire to add a right-handed reliever is obviously aimed toward limiting the innings compiled by top middle relievers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty down the stretch.   The Padres’ Mike Adams has been mentioned to be on the Braves’ wish list.

Adams and his All-Star teammate Heath Bell have also reportedly been on the Phillies’ wish list, which seems to look a lot like the possessed by the Braves.

The Braves and Phillies could both benefit from the acquisition of Hunter Pence.   But the Astros’ outfielder will seemingly come at a steep price.

With the general belief being that Astros general manager Ed Wade is fighting for his job, one Major League source said earlier this week, “he’s got to make sure he clearly wins the deal if he trades Pence.”

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD

  • As Martin Prado stood in the dugout Friday afternoon and talked about how he might need a few more days to get comfortable at the plate,  I couldn’t help but smile and think, “yeah right.”   In other words, it wasn’t a great surprise to see him return to the Majors after missing more than a month and enjoy a two-hit performance highlighted by a home run last night.   Prado’s determination to work harder than anybody else  has earned the distinction of being one of this organization’s most valuable pieces.
  • It was nice to see Pat Corrales back in uniform as the Nationals’ bench coach last night.  Those who were around will never discount the value he brought while he served on Bobby Cox’s staff here in Atlanta.   Corrales was always a man who drew both admiration and respect in the Braves clubhouse.  There was a time when a young Andruw Jones was nearly as annoying and maddening as Yunel Escobar was the past few years.  Taking the approach of a strict loving father, Corrales guided Jones in the right direction and saw him quickly become one of the most beloved members of the clubhouse.
  • The Braves have opted to put highly-regarded pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino in the bullpen with Double-A Mississippi for the remainder of this season to limit his innings.  At this time last year, it seemed like the 20-year-old right-hander was destined for Tommy John surgry.    He’s already thrown a season-high 87 innings this year.  While there is a chance he could return to the rotation to simply continue his development next year, I still believe his future at the Major League level is as a reliever.  This drew debate from some of you in Spring Training.  But I still think his fastball-curveball mix will work best as a top setup man or closer.

93 Comments

I think Vizcaino will serve us better in the future as a bullpen arm anyway. Barring a trade, we already have rookie Beachy and top prospects Minor, Teheran, and Delgado along with at least 3 more years of Tommy Hanson at the very least. We’re stacked with starters.

Not to mention Medlen coming back even as late a next year, who can start, but will probably be the swingman.

If we trade then I wouldnt give up any prospects. I wouldnt mind selling on some of our major leaguers though.

Mark, we both know the Braves have no room for someone like Hunter Pence, but what we need is a RH OF bat that can pinch hit and play CF. Is there anyone out there that the Braves could even realistically get?

Open the vault. Get Hunter Pence.

Put him where? You’re in love with Schafer and Prado, Heywards not going anywhere, can he play SS? I’d be truly happy then.

Let’s go a little off the rocker. Pence can’t play ss but prado can. If the guy is a true talent he could play anywhere in the outfield. Gonzo isn’t gettin it done or showing signs of improvement offensively. Either pence or heyward in left with martin at short. Hmm? I’d have to think thru that a bit more but sounds at least intriguing.

Its obvious the braves need a cf so they dont have to play nate or schafer, both of whom arent very good.

Is it possible to trade some of the blog followers? Would be a win win in my opinion.

Can we trade Proctor for a new pinball machine for the locker room?

Is proctor worth that much based solely on his performance? Not iin my opinion.

Anyone know who all of the rh outfielders that might be up for grabs?

Wonder what the Mutts want for Beltran?

Nate’s out of the lineup. Wonder if he got traded?

McLouth + R. Delgado for Beltran + 6 mil. sounds about right, ha ha just kidding.

I hope they look for the long run. At least then if whomever we get doesn’t live up to expectations this year or if it doesn’t get us a ring we have a long term asset instead of a rick ankiel, derrick lee, or kyle farnsworth kinda guy.

Very doubtful.

The White sox have been scouting us for a couple of weeks, I can’t imagine what they have that we want. Brett Lillibridge or Juan Pierre?

Where is the old nc and his fantasy trade when you need one? jk.

Let’s go Mets.

They are clowning Cole Hamels and getting into the crappier part of the Phillies bullpen, hopefully to score a lot more. Go Mets. *gag*

Only 4 innings for hamels, after only 5 from the starter last night. Anyone think the phillies bullpen is going to explode come september? Surely thats what pherris thinks.

Hey NC. I just figured that when Proctor is on the mound it looks like pinball out there anyway, so it should be an even trade :D

I can just see it now. Only problem is that so many balls would only go one way….over the fence. He would have been great pitching to someone in the homerun derby. They definitely would have won!

3run homer by the mets. Think that’s now 11-2.

Good to see wilkin get a game tonight vs the leftie. Tomorrow I would sit schafer and bring in nate in centre and give wilkin another game. schafer is 3 for his last 22 with 1 walk

No one cares what you would do, Zippy.

Why do you come to a internet blog just to be rude to other people? Does it make you happy?I actually feel sorry for you.

Zippy I’m not rude to people, just to you.

What about me?

Brandie, You were the bottom of the barrel until the ZippyMonkey reared his ugly head. I’ll get back to you later if you are feeling left out.

Chipper seems pretty good in the booth. He’s not calling the game, but I’m enjoying his stories.

What sweet joy it is to get off of work early and come home to find the Phillies got slaughtered.

Good ol’ Doug Eddings, there.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/tigers-interested-in-derek-lowe.html#disqus_thread As my commented, Lowe + $10MM($4MM for this year, $6MMfor next) for a B- prospect and PTBNL sounds good and fair for each side. Hope they get really interested.

Damn it. We need to capitalize on this Phillies blowout. Myabe we can get to their pen, Lannan is owning our LH hitters tonight.

Wow, Bill I really do pity you. If someone disagrees with you about baseball you have to be rude to them. Do you really think that is the way to act to people?

Yawn. Zippy, I think your mom needs you.

Damn, Proctor got out of an inning.

1) I think Heyward needs to ground out more (sarcasm) 2) The problem with those 11 run blowouts like last night is that they mask what the biggest glaring weakness of this team is. A RH outfield bat. Not off the bench – but an everyday production guy. Any decent lefty will carve up this team night in and night out. If we think adding a bench guy to platoon against lefties would help us in a playoff series in which we face Hamels and Lee twice each is kidding themselves.

If the Pirates weren’t doing so well, I’d say lets go get Diaz back.

Matt Diaz for instance?

Well, if you look at recent production from your power positions Heyward may be the glaring weakness. After taking his sweet time to recover from ANOTHER injury he has come back weak.The rest of the lineup goes like this. Martin will be Martin. Schafer and Gonzalez are tantamount to defensive specialists. Freddie is fine, Uggla is coming around, Chipper will be back soon and Bmac is well, Bmac. Right field is a power position and JH has 2 Hr’s in the month since his return( he is also batting .247 and has 9 RBI’s for the month) A season long projection for those numbers are 12 HRs and 54 RBIs. His swing and timing are really messed up right now and I’m not sure we have a coaching staff that can get him going right again. Why can’t a team that spends 80 million dollars in salaries find a decent batting coach. TP was no godsend and he makes LP look sick by comparison. A decent college swing coach would be working these guys over better than what we have going right now. WHY CAN’T WE FIND A BATTING COACH!!!!!! We have some awesome young talent that we are going to ruin if we don’t fix this. You know who the Frillies are looking to put in their RF opening, Jeff Francoeur. Does that tell you anything?

Will you stop blaming the hitting coaches. You have absolutly no idea whether parrish is good or not. Literally no idea.

Zippy, I will no longer respond to your ignorant rants. It’s like arguing with a tree.

Rants? So says the guy who comes to a baseball blog to personally insult people who have different views to him. Interesting.

Espicially as you all critised TP last year. And look at us now, we are down across every category. You wouldnt be happy with the coach unless the whole team (which is based around ptiching not offense) was hitting .350. You just decide that parrish is going to be your scapegoat, just like TP was last year. Its pathetic.

I agree with your thoughts on Heyward, Bill. In my opinion he has been a bust. In hindsight, that extra year of seasoning in the minors would have probably helped him out a lot. I know Freeman really benefited from it. To me, Heyward is the perfect display of hype and potential without any results. He keeps teasing us with signs of greatness… but the further along we get, I’m starting to believe it will take a while… even years… before we learn what he’s all about. Right now – the inside fastball is killing him. He stands so far off the plate like he’s challenging pitchers to pitch into him. When they do – he weakly grounds out to second. It really predictable.

Good to see freddie sit nate last night and heyward tonight vs the lefties. It makes sense to play schafer to see what he can do before the trade deadline. Wilkin has done really really good so far when he has been given the chance and he cant do worse than schafer/mclouth/heyward vs lefties. Its interesting that we the NL OPS average is .703 this year. Our outfield:

Nate = 0.678
Schafer = 0.611
Heyward = 0.713

I know they are all decent defensively and all have above average speed, but I remember a few years ago when mark used to write about how we had the worst outfield in the majors offensively. I hope our outfield can pick it up in the next few weeks.

Schafer and Prado, helluva 1-2 punch.

Hmm, a walk, a straight steal, and an advance on an error. THAT is why we have Schafer, because we’d be hard-pressed to find someone to match his disruptive speed.
Great AB by Martin to single him in. We gotta keep him batting 2nd as long as possible, ’cause that’s his natural spot.

Nice steal Martin! Can anyone remember the last time we had 2 steals in the same inning?

Today’s only the seventh time all year we had 2 SBs in one game, let alone one inning. lol

Schafer had 2 a little while back.

IF schafer can get on base then I will be happy to be proven wrong because that will make this team 100-game winners. The problem with shcafer is that whenever you think he has finally realised that what he should do is stop hitting fly balls/pop outs and should instead try to hit ground balls and use his speed then his brain dead attributes seem to kick in and he reverts to type. As I write this AGon makes another good play. You guys who want to get rid of him are so so so so so wrong its unbelieveable. I dont care what he hits like. When you have JJ, Lowe and Huddy in your rotation then you need a short stop like AGon, and he is the best there is.

Schafer’s one of the best fielding CFs in the game currently, and you harp on how he hits.
Gonzalez is one of the best fielding SSs in the game currently, and you say you don’t care what he hits like.
If that’s not a double standard, I don’t know what is.

We have a ground ball staff. And short is alot more demanding than CF. So not really double standards. O and Gonzo is alot better as a SS than Schafer is as a CF.

They’re different but equally demanding. Both are the captains of their respective areas (CF takes charge in OF, SS takes charge in IF). Put a crappy defender in either position and watch you lose games.
My original point is, either disregard the hitting in both positions or harp on the hitting in both positions. Don’t pick and choose just because you have a personal vendetta against one of the players.

I hate Tom Gorzellany. First he does that ridiculous half ass tackle that makes an extra run score, then he exits from the game so now we can’t beat up on him.

I’m not on the “Sell high on JJ” bandwagon right now… But I took one step closer today. Everyone is afforded a bad start every now and then and he has been lights out. That being said – he was throwing grapefruits up there. Getting shelled. The fact that Scot Boras is his agent is pretty much a given we’re not going to sign him long term. He is worth his greatest value right now. We could get a lot for him.

Wow – it does sound like I am on that bandwagon doesn’t it? Well, with Lowe sucking it up I am more inclined to keep our rotation in tact… especially after Tommy got hit yesterday. We’re really going to need our pitching to be as good as they were in the first half to have a shot. Especially because it sounds like we’re not going to go after the big bat to improve our offense.

Well I would sell JJ. We have minor and come october Lowe will be dominating like always

Heyward has to have the worst luck. Comes in the game and 1 pitch later he is injured. Hey Schafer now has 2 steals today. He’s been on base 2 out of 3 AB’s. McSlump, not so much.

A little ice and he’ll be fine. It’s probably good that Fredi didn’t keep him in the game to play defense. Now he can rest up for the week on the road.

Schafer has played well. But lets be honest. The walk was when the umpire squeezed gorzalanney and the hit was probably an error if we are being honest.

Oh BMAC. I love you.

McRallyKiller

Braves score 5 runs in an inning. First thing that springs to bill’s mind is to abuse Nate. Sad little hater.

Nate is slumping at the moment. He cant seem to get any sort of good contact. I think its all in his mind. He is trying too hard because of his slump last year, and the fact he was berated by alot of the braves “fans”. He will probably leave next year and tear it up somewhere.

Blondie will “probably leave next year”??????? The chances of McFlop being a Brave next year are about the same as Zippy making an intelligent observation. He will sign a minor league contract and try to make the Astro’s or somewhere that will take the chance on him.

He’ll bounce back some as a Royal (aka land of the misfit Braves).

Where is everyone? Suddenly a case of Braves Homesick Blues or is that NL East Homesick Blues?

Oh, hi, Pherris. Missed you like a stomach virus.

Hey Weinus. How bout them apples?

YEAH, NATE!

Way to go Nate. 1st HR since May 4th. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

wow, you really cant give him credit and be happy for him even with such a clutch homer? Support all the players when they cross onto the pitch please.

This coming from the guy who does nothing but bash Schafer?? Really? Do us all a favor and just shut up. You just make yourself look more stupid with each post.

The only pitch in baseball, moron, is the one that comes out of the pitchers hand.

Frederick Charles Freeman’s ROY stock continues to rise. Interestingly enough, our other ROY candidate, Craig Kimbrel, gets the win today.

Hahaha anyone else see Fredi’s “It’s a Catch 20/20 situation” comment during post game interview!? lol Such a fool! At least he had Kimbrel pitch the top of the ninth instead of Proctology!

He also said that he “often forgets that Freeman is 21.” Understandable. But then he continues with “Maybe 21 in dog years.” Um, that would mean he thinks Freeman is only 3.

Let’s trade Zippy for a pinball machine. Then lets donate the pinball machine to Braves, let FW package the pinball machine, D.Lowe, and Scott Procter for Cash Consideration.
Everybody wins.

If we could trade the little monkey for a pinball machine, don’t you think someone would have pulled the trigger long ago?

O dear. Some people now have egg on their face for heckling Nate today dont they. Taking clippard deep when trailing by 1 with 2 outs in the 8th is pretty much as clutch as it gets.

Nooooo…. as clutch as it gets is freddy’s walk off single today or brooks’ walk off slam last year. Or even getting strike 3 with the bases loaded, 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. I’m awfully glad he got the hit because I’m a braves fan however, our team has had many more clutch performances that far exceeded that one.

I’m sure by now. Doesn’t matter what anyone says. Zippy’s in love with McBlondie.

Ok, you heard it here FIRST. Any reason why we don’t here McCann’s name in MVP discussion? He is on his way to the best offensive year he has ever had (please remember he is a 6 time all star). Would 310 with 27 and 95 and an OPS of 900 bring him into the discussion? Yes, he only throws out 20 percent of base stealers, but a lot of that is pitchers’ (hanson) faults and he is great at blocking balls and calls a fantastic game for a top pitching staff. Plus, he is a great leader and plays his butt off every day. Keep in mind, he is a catcher and think how much better his stats would be if he did not get beat up daily and takes every fifth day off.

JUST REMEMBER, YOU HEARD IT HEAR FIRST..

I was thinking exactly the same thing today Jr. BMAC- The campaign begins.

I was as well. Also checking, last year(probably his worst year) was the first time he had even gotten MVP votes. It’s a damn shame.

I think its dangerous to always take a “wait and see” approach with the development of our offense. (I.E. Let’s wait and see if Uggla/Heyward return to form in the second half) NY/Boston, unfortunately, have the resources to be impatient. And I’m getting worn down by our the lack of mid-season moves to make this team better offensively. (Last year’s Ankiel being the most obvious example).

Bottom line: Chipper is out. Our center field situation is weak. We’re loaded down with prospects….make a move. Please.

IF we trade JJ the only person i want to see come over is Drew Stubbs the kids is worth giving JJ up him and Cueto for JJ and schafer and hicks its a win win in the offseason next year.

Goodserendipity, I’ve heard his name several time about the MVP. I acutally heard it here about the 5th or 6th time.

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