Braves still weighing their options

(This entry has been updated since being originally published around noon.  It was originally  written for our  MLB.com trade blog.)

As Braves fans debate whether it would be better to acquire B.J. Upton or Carlos Beltran, general manager Frank Wren and his staff find themselves debating just how much they should be willing to give up to satisfy their wishes to add a right-handed hitting outfielder and right-handed reliever before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

Like most buyers on this year’s market, the Braves currently believe sellers are asking too much for their goods.   As history has proven, the demands should lessen as the deadline approaches.

In other words, acquiring Beltran, Upton or any of the other players on their wish list would be prove to be more expensive today than it would at some point this weekend.

The Braves have the prospects to make a significant acquisition.  They have also made it known they would be reluctant to part ways with any of their top pitching prospects  —  Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado and quite possibly Mike Minor.

Of course like sellers will alter their mindset as the deadline gets closers, buyers might too get a little antsy.  In other words, there is always a chance Braves general manager Frank Wren will opt to include one of these pitchers based on the confidence that he has plenty of other good young pitching in his organization.

With Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Brandon Beachy, he already has three members of his Major League rotation who are 25-years-old  or younger.   Lesser-known prospects like Zeke Spruill and Brett Oberholtzer simply add to the organization’s pitching depth.

Still it will be hard for Wren to include one of his elite pitching prospects in exchange for Beltran, who will exit Atlanta when he becomes a free agent at the end of this season.

At the same time, the acquisition of Beltran would set the stage for him to play right field on an everyday basis and possibly make things uncomfortable for Jason Heyward, who still stands as one of the cornerstones of the club’s future.  This move would likely lead the Braves to put Heyward on the bench or in the Minors for a couple weeks.

With this being said, Heyward has shown great maturity while dealing with adversity on a consistent basis this year.   The 21-year-old outfielder has dealt with his struggles and negative press in a very professional manner.

But is it worth putting Heyward in this position for just two months of Beltran?  Or would it be better for the Braves to find somebody to platoon with Heyward in right field?

These are some scouts (and fans based on your comments) who believe the Braves would be better off acquiring Upton to serve as their starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter.   The Braves really never showed interest in having the Astros’ Michael Bourn fill this role.

Upton will not be eligible for free agency until the end of the 2012 season and will likely earn nearly $7 million via arbitration next year.  The 26-year-old outfielder possesses tremendous potential and would serve as an upgrade to Jordan Schafer.

While Upton might make sense for the rest of this season, there is reason to wonder if his salary would match the value he could bring next year.   Since starring in the 2008 postseason, he has hit .239 with 44 homers, a .318 on-base percentage and .403 slugging percentage.

While Beltran and Upton are the two most significant names linked to the Braves, there is also a chance they will simply add a right-handed bat to enhance their bench or possibly platoon in right field with Heyward.

As they continue to search for a right-handed reliever, the Braves plan to promote Vizcaino to Triple-A Gwinnett soon Tuesday night.  They want to see how the strong-armed 20-year-old hurler reacts to pitching on a regular basis as a reliever.  If he passes the tests, there is certainly a chance he could be promoted to the Majors for the season’s final month.

The Braves will also continue to evaluate the possibility of acquiring either Jon Rauch or Jason Frasor from the Blue Jays.   With Rauch and Frasor both in position to be Type B free agents, the Blue Jays are currently looking for a significant return in exchange for either of these relievers.

112 Comments

Mark, you do a great job at keeping us informed. Thanks for the great articles and tweets!

why not go get BJ Upton?? he would fix a lot of problems for the braves. a change of scenery is all he needs. speed, power, glove, and arm, he has it all except the BA.

He does not have a head! He will give you bad frustrating AB’s in big spots much like Alex Gonzalez. And when will all the potential talk stop at 27 he prop is what he is. I know he could be much more than what he is, but doesnt have enough mentally to reach that full potential.

I’d much rather have B.J. Upton than Beltran. If we get Beltran, put him in CF. Quit playing the scared game, we need a CF.

UPTON!!

It is time to admit that Nate McLouth’s defense is terrible, it’s even a liability. Nate and Fredi are apparently not on the same page from the comment’s after last night loss to the Pirates. Fredi said ” Nate knows better, while Nate said he believed he had made the right decision….Something has got to give, Who is running the Braves?

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Any rental like beltran should be off the table. If we have to give up some of our best prospects we better get someone who will be around for at least 2 yrs. Otherwise we are depleting our chances for future sucess. We do have a wealth of young pitching so giving up one of them is realistic,butonly for a real return on theinvestment. Remember, we could be giving up a neftali feliz or a elvis andrus, it better be worth it.

I said this in an earlier post. If Pence is unavailable, the next difference maker for a legit post season run would be Beltran. Minor could be expendable in hopes that Gilmartin pans out. They’re practically clones. Play Beltran in RF and move him to CF against LHP. Heyward can fill in RF against LHP since he has a split of .250 with 9 homers against them.

The Braves already have the right handed bat they desire, David Ross. I would platoon him with Eric Hinske in left and move Prado to right. I would still let him catch every 5th day. Ross is too good to sit. Heyward needs to be sent down to learn how to hit the ball to all fields and vs left handers. Keep Schafer as a defensive replacement/ pinch runner.
batting order of:
RF Prado
3B Chipper
C McCann
2B Uggla
1B Freeman
LF Hinske/Ross
SS Gonzo
P
CF McLouth

What are you smoking?

Fraser is a real high quality reliever, the Jays would not give him up without a very good return. Rauch is good, but Fraser is special..Atlanta needs to understand that the Jays can simply hang onto both these guys and get a comp round draft choice if they leave via free agency, in Fraser’s case possibly two draft choices.

@ Allen Lawson, in no way am I defending Nate McOut, but Frediot has certainly proven that he doesn’t deserve to be running a team as talented as the Braves, who keep winning despite his nonsensical bullpen usage (i.e.- ever letting Scott Proctor step onto a major league pitching mound and not using Kimbrel in the highest leverage situations) and lineup construction (i.e.- Gonzalez in the 2 hole, seriously???).

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It’s been great watching Vizcaino over here at AA Mississippi. He lights up the clock big time and is getting better with his location. Even got to see him rack up a 4 strikeout inning in July. Here’s a pic I took of ‘em in June:

Mississippi Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaino throwing in the mid 90s in the mid 90s heat

Upton would still be an upgrade over Schafer and McLouth. Get him!

I’d rather Uehara. Frasor K/BB 2.47. Koji K/BB 7.38(!!!)

Demoting Heyward in the thick of a pennant race has to be a joke. Right?

What is there about BJ Upton to make anyone believe that all he needs is a change of scenery? His best year was his first full year and he has been on a downward spiral ever since. Lead off hitter? He was the lead off hitter only a half dozen times in 2007 and 2008, 98 times in 2009, 37 times in 2010 and 2 times so far this year. Except for HR and stolen bases which have remained consistent his offensive production has been in steady decline particularly walks. If he would be expected to earn $2 or $3 million he might be worth the risk. But top prospect this year and $7 million next year on the off chance that all he needs is a change of scenery? I’d pass.

I’d much rather take that gamble and have a good defensive CF(unlike McLouth) who can hit(Unlike Schafer) a little bit than waste a top prospect on 2 months of Beltran, with no compensation picks.

If we are going to give up a top pitching prospect then I say give one up and more for the best you can get. Someone young and controllable for awhile. Someone who can play center and truly make a difference. Would Baltimore part with Adam Jones for a solid package? If you are going to go, go big.

The Braves don’t need a CF, they need a corner OF who can hit. Much as I don’t like rentals, Beltran’s cost has already dropped. Jason can take the opportunity to go down to the minors and find his stroke. His ego could probably use a rest, too. Their really isn’t a blue chip CFer on the market. Pence is a corner OF really and would cost too much anyway. Bourn can’t hit a lick and Rasmus is trouble we don’t need. Neither of those guys upgrades the team like putting Beltran in RF. Have to agree with DOB on this one, Beltran is probably the best option.

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What about Jeff Francoeur he is batting .309 with 8 HR in 97 AB lefthanders this season and is young still. Him and Heyward could be the corner outfielders in the future. He is batting .268 with 13 HR and 16 steals on the season. Beltran is batting .289 with 15HR and only 3 steals. Beltran is batting .288 against leftys with 8HR. If Royals would deal this makes much more sense to me.

what are you all on? a few months ago if Bowman suggested sending J-Hey to AAA you would ask for his head… you don’t give up a Mike Minor for two months ofCarlos Beltran and a hit to J-Hay’s confidence and faith in the Braves, heck even a Minor for Upton scenario makes me uneasy. Beltran already said he doesn’t want to play CF if hes traded so this significantly hamstrings Wren. Pence doesn’t play CF basically at all anymore, hasn’t regularly since rookie year, so that’s far fetched. and whoever said Adam Jones is drinking the Kool Aid, the O’s would never give him up, and if they did they would basically ask for the Braves farm.

Correction Beltran is batting .232 against lefties. Hitting righthanders doesn’t fix our problem.

IMO Frank needs to get off his tail and make a move! We need it now, proctor out of the pen, heyward out of right, and just someone to get on base so McCan and Freeman can bring them in, im tired of watching the Phillies win every game that we lose and we just keep losing ground! Frank if you want a championship, MAKE THE MOVE

Boy Heyward didn’t look like he was playing at home on that deep fly. His defense is slumping right now, too.

I like the idea of Frasor in the pen. Please NO UPTON!

I’ve seen this game before.

What on earth has happened to our rotation? They are all giving up far more runs than they averaged the first half. Its not like they were over worked. What’s the deal?…….

Congratulations Dan Uggla, you are now a better hitter than Mario Mendoza. (But REALLY! IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!)

Why have we not heard anything about Marlon Byrd. I know he doesn’t have the home run numbers you would like, but he is a quality player, over .300 hitter with a 750 + OPS.

Johnny Gomes goes to the Washington Nationals

BTW, Byrd went to College here in Atlanta (Georgia Perimeter). He plays CF.

I’d rather have Byrd than Upton. in case I haven’t made my case clear enough, NO BJ UPTON!

Come on Nate

The good news. It wasn’t a double play.

fail

didn’t matter. good grief.

sucks for hanson

Fire Larry Parrish

I think we’re a stronger team with Nate ejected. Field an 8 man defense and bat Huddy in his place. I’d take it.

I saw that Gonzo came in for SS, Lugo to 3rd and Prado to LF. Who took over in Center?

Schafer is in CF.

McCann’s hurt. We’re screwed.

christ if we lose mcann for an extended period we may not even finish close to a wildcard birth

mccann before someone corrects me…

a wildcard berth, Zippy

Wheels are coming off fellas.

Wait a min…I thought Schafer was DL’d yesterday.

Shit, they would have to drag him out of there. Remember this kid played for 2 months with a broken had.

How much yall wanna bet that Wren makes a move now that McCann may be out for a extened period, we cannot afford to lose ANY more ground

I don’t care what else you say, Jordan Schafer is tough as Nails.

I think Lugo is after Gonzo starting spot. And if he keeps hitting he just might get it.
WTF Schafer has enough problems with his hands.

Martinez looks good tonight

Boy this will mess you up. Through 12 tonite Braves hitters have 32 LOB.

Gonzo just let McCutchens ball go under his glove. Not a good start. Sac just down.

They don’t deserve to win this game. Just put proctor in now to blow it

haha you sound like a mets fan… is that what we’ve come to? keep that crap to yourself, I want to win.

I lost respect for McLouth this game. Yes the umpire made bad calls on him but to get thrown out is just letting your side down. Schafer is growing on me with his attitude. I hope he suceeds. However, there are too many holes in his swing and he has never proven he can hit. I hope I am wrong. Glad this blog got back to baseball talk and I can return.

Zidane, what the hell are you doing back here again? You’ve “officially” Retired about 7 times now. Theres an old saying in America, Either sh*t or get off the pot. Quit straddling the damn door and just leave and stay gone already. I’m tired of reading your little girl tantrum of “Thats it, I quit forever!!!” and back less than 5 minutes later. GTFOH already.

good post Jim. I am out of here forever now. Your rudeness is uncalled for and is the cause of me going forever. I mean it this time.

One can only hope.

Funny, I expected an AMEN from Bill at least. Oh well.

and besides, nobody ‘asked’ you to return anyway.

Yeah, yeah. I’ll believe it when I see it. Hey guys, 5 bucks says he’s posting AGAIN in 20 minutes.

This may not end well tonight, but you have to admire Christian Martinez’s effort.

and you supposedly meant it about 7 times by my count already. Sheesh….I swear, reading “Im retiring, goodbye forever” more often than Brett Farve talks about retirement is damned annoying. So much for Brits for being men of their word…

This team is frustrated. It’s not just this game, even though this game is putting a huge magnifying glass on that fact. We need to make a move, and Freddi needs to get this team back on track.

Anyway… Martinez looks fantastic tonight, that’s something to take away from all this either way. Hopefully he can regroup and not let this umpiring garbage get to him.

Boy, Martinez has earned some cred no matter how this turns out.

It sure would be nice to just DFA Proctor and give Martinez his roster spot. I can’t remember why he had been sent down. I’m sure it was a roster move to make a spot for an extra bench player, but im surprised it took this long to bring him back to the Majors. But, oddly enough, it seems like we have more extra innings games when he is in the bullpen. I think they said on the broadcast that the last extra inning game was back in …now im not sure if it was May 25 or june 25. Wasn’t that the last time he was on the roster?

cmon boys lets get martinez this one!

I for one, am sick of watching Alex Gonzalez “dog” it down the first baseline. If one of my players did that, I would yank him in front of God and his Mama.

I”m with you on this, at least when Uggla was slumping he ran everything out. Give Lugo his spot.

It’s time for Chipper to pull a Kirk Gibson. Is anyone here old enough to know what that means?

I am, but I do believe he has already pinch hit tonight and grounded out.

oh. missed it.

Maybe Huddy can give Martinez tips on how to hit a HR during his at bat and put an end to this…..

Absolute Ice water for Schafer. Martin is really out of sync.

I don’t think Prado has hit a ball out of the infield all night. He’s hit what…4 popups to the infield tonight? Seems like our best hope of ending this soon is have Heyward ambush a ball and put it over the wall. But just about every at bat for him is a ground ball chopper up the middle/to SS/ to 2nd base. Someone really needs to tell him to close up to the plate to take that upper inside fastball spot away from pitchers. I know, who am I to give hitting advice, but he’s been hitting so many ground ball choppers rights back to thoe three spots, he’s gotta listen to someone to take that spot away. Worst comes to worst, he gets grazed by an inside pitch and then we can get a baserunner at least. He keeps hitting so many ground ball choppers, I long for the days when he would at lesat fly out to the wall. At least Conrad hat more fly ball on the warning track outs. But a lot of folks on here were wanting Conrad gone for hitting balls that far nd close to getting out of here. So much for that matrure, wise beyond his years, smart baseball player we had come up at the beginning of last year.

I think Freddie gets my vote for ROY and Gold Glove.

Oh and Bill, at the end of 16, Braves only left 16 on base…not 32…but I understand the sentiment.

Braves “batters” left 32 on, check the boxscore. It doesn’t mean that that 32 actual runners were left on , it means that when Braves batters came to the plate, that is the sum of all the runners that they left on.

Never mind…saw the TV boxscore say LOB Braves 16, but the MLB boxscore says 35 at the end of 15.

O Geee we have to win it here. Proctor is warming.

Damn you Alveraz….

Somebody give Alex a table leg. At this rate, I don’t think he’ll hit anything but a ground ball to SS to end the inning with his bat.

DAMMIT! Did I call it or did I call it?

Yeah, and Jason will ground out to second to lead off the bottom half. Say something we didn’t know.

Oh sh*t. We just lost. Proctor has come in. Dammit, I hate to be right sometimes.

Well at least he got through the first pitch this time.

Oh shit, Scott Proctor

Leadoff walk from Proctor. SHOCKER!!!

Leadoff walk. This guy must have a video of a gay tryst with Qtip, Bobby and John Schuerholz.

IBB to get to McCutcheon, WTF?

If Proctor blows this everyone is going to be calling for his head. Me included.

I can breathe again, The Proctologist didn’t stick it in our ass, yet?

Ground ball to second base? or a walk off home run? which will it be, Jason?

Why, in God’s Green Acres does a team with an abundance of pitching talent in the minor leagues, have Scott on it’s active Roster?

This isn’t gonna end well.

Good lord…I would rather see Jordan come in and pitch than this guy.

takes me back to the NLDS against the astros…perhaps we will fare better this time…

thank God for Freddy Freeman!

Thank God Joey Devine isn’t on the team this year…but his spiritual brother Proctor is here…here’s hoping he won’t channel him tonight.

This game goes on much longer, Im gonna have to run to the store for a beer run. What’s the longest extra inning game the Braves have played since they moved to Atlanta from Mil?

Think it is 20

maybe just maybe this extra work for proctor means he wont pitch for a while

Well, just wondering here, but I don’t think Tosca is gonna use Proctor for more than 4 inning (unless he gives up a run which will probably happen) but if he doesn’t, who’ next to pitch? Bullpen is dry. Do we start on the starters? Since there’s no bench player left, I don’t think they’ll bring in a position player. But who’s most likely SP to get asked to throw a few?

good god these umps are pathetic. How the hell did he miss that. I’ll take the win but i feel for pirates fans.

wow that was epic, think he was ready to go home?

Worst call i have ever seen in a BB game.

Wow, even the Great Carnac could not have forseen the ending like that. Of course, Im not sure which is more stunning. Proctor slippin out of the box or that call at the end.

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