Braves narrowing focus as deadline nears

Approximately 72 hours before this year’s Trade Deadline arrives, the Braves are starting to put a closer focus on their desires to add a right-handed hitting outfielder and right-handed reliever.  Time is running out and options are too.

The Braves crossed two players off their wish list Wednesday when the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants and when Blue Jays’ right-handed reliever Jason Frasor ended up with the White Sox.

Speaking of the White Sox,  FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted this afternoon that the Braves are “hot” after Carlos Quentin.  Well we know the Braves have interest in Quentin before and we also know that the White Sox had a couple scouts in Atlanta during the first week of this month.

But with the White Sox just 3 1/2 games out in the American League Central (think NFC West), the White Sox still are in great position.  In addition, highly-regarded prospect Dayan Viciedo’s injured thumb seemingly casts greater doubt about whether the White Sox would be willing to move Quentin.

If the Braves are going to make a significant acquisition before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, it will likely come in the form of  Rays’ outfielder B.J. Upton, who could spend the final two months of this season as Atlanta’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.   The Rays have had a scout in Atlanta throughout this week’s series against the Pirates.

The Braves will likely have to part ways with Mike Minor or another of their top pitching prospects to get Upton, who could make approximately $7 million during his final arbitration-eligible season next year.

Upton seemingly makes much more sense than the Astros’ Hunter Pence, who could make closer to $11 million via arbitration next year.

The Astros are looking to gain a significant return for Pence, who is their most marketable player (think Jeff Francoeur, if things had gone according to play in Atlanta).   A Major League source said he believes the outfielder  will end up with the Phillies this weekend or possibly during the offseason.

The Braves are also looking at players like Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham.   Because he is clearly the better and more versatile defender, Ludwick seems to be the better option.

If the Braves land Willingham or Ludwick, they will likely platoon with Jason Heyward in right field and spend some time in left field when Martin Prado is playing third base.

With the Braves planning to give third baseman Chipper Jones regular rest down the stretch, Prado could be spending a lot of time at third base.

 

 

59 Comments

I keep hearing Ludwick, Willingham, Quentin all over the place every day. they’re up on him, they’re down on that, yadda yadda. So I just say the Braves are interested in everyone at the same level.

Josh Willingham is hitting .215 against LHP and Ludwick is hitting.264 against LHP
that’s hardly an upgrade

if all it takes to get upton is minor i say do it. buy low sell high. just imagine if he gets better….

These moves would be very disappointing and typical of Frank Wren not being able to make the big move.

I think it’s just wait and see time now. This one has been talked over and over.

Still think it would be foolish to go after a corner OF when our full time CF now is McLouth. Go for Upton, lineup looks like:

Upton
Prado
Chipper
Uggla
Freeman
Heyward
Ross
Gonzalez

When McCann comes back…

Upton
Prado
Chipper
McCann
Uggla
Freeman
Heyward
Gonzalez

I’m not convinced Upton is enough of an upgrade to be worth trading away Minor for. Similar BA and OBP. His slugging is a bit higher but he’s also a major headcase. Is that really enough of an upgrade for Minor? Not to mention the salary.

Similar BA and OBP to Schafer is what I meant.

I agree Nomad, I don’t see the point of getting Upton. Make a real move Wren, enough with the head cases and projects….

If everyone starts playing to their ability a lineup with Upton in CF could be deadly. Just need Heyward to come back around and Gonzo to get that swing back. He had two hits last night against the Buccos hopefully that is a sign of thing to come

Don’t like Ludwick, Willingham, or Upton anymore than Schafer or McClouth. I would put up one of the fab 4 and a couple mid level prospects for Pence. If not, stand pat and hope everyone starts playing to their potential sometime pretty soon.

I agree that we need a bat, but if Upton is the best we can do then I saw we just stand pat. His numbers really aren’t a huge upgrade of Schafer and his salary will be much more, we can use that money to go after a legit player in the off season. Yes, he has a ton of potential, but so does Schafer. Either way, performance wins games not potential.

Perdonally I’d be all for a corner of like pence or quentin, either now or even offseason. If we were able to get one of those at the deadline(I know pence is a longshot at best) we are still set up nice for this year and next(this is following the assumption that Chipper will retire). Imagine this lineup in 2012(not sure how it would go this year)
Schaffer
Prado
McCann
Freeman
Quentin/Pence
Uggla
Heyward
Pastornicky

I like the looks of that and a roatation with Hudson, Jurjens, Hanson, Beachy and Teahrean/Minor depending on what we have to move to get this of.

It makes no sense to trade a lefty possible 3 starter for another 225 hitter. when does a 225 hitter deserve 7 mill in arbitration.
We are paying an oft injured Chipper over 10 mill. If Pence makes 11, but plays 145 games, based on per game payment, he is worth it and Chipper is not. I will take a proven 300 hitter, who steals bases, plays good defense, and can replace a 225 hitter in right, over another 225 hitter platoon, but requires a lefty future starter.
But hey, what do I know…I hated the Wainright trade, I hated the Teixeira trade, and I hated the Escobar trade…so obviously, I have no clue. Go, Frank. Prove me wrong again.

We have enough .240ish hitters for my taste. Why trade for another one?

I am thinking that QTip is cooking up a deal for Quentin. That’s about his speed.

Any chance the Sox have any bullpen arms available? Linebrink has recovered nicely but I still think we need another arm. Although hopefully Moylan comes back soon. Not sure why the Sox would want to trade Quentin, aren’t they in the middle of a playoff race?

Of the names I’ve heard, I would rate the players as follows:
1. Pence
2. Quentin
3. Ludwick
4. Upton
5. Willingham

The only thing worse than the douchebag known as Upton is the aging Wonder Willingham. Are we just looking at any available OF? Nice to see scouting is doing their job. Why not just put all OFs baseball card on a dartboard to decide who we are “hot” after….geez.

It’s kind of like an nc trade…

If they trade for ludwick or willingham I will dis own this team forever!!!!!!

Why is Willingham even being considered?

is michael bourn not even an option?

He’s an outfielder, that’s about it from what I see. If I’m not mistaken, he’s in his mid 30’s. No need to trade our prized pitching prospects for an average OF. my question is, if we are considering all of these guys, why not Frenchy? His cannon of an arm does not slump. Hitting from any of these guys other than Quentin and Pence is a shot in the dark.

Oh, now we’re interested in crisp also?

Another card on the dart board. How is Ludwick at the “top of our wishlist”? Do we favor him over Pence. I know Pence is a stretch but he should still be at the top of the list. Maybe we can work a deal for Ludwick and Heath Bell.

Lets go after Lorenzo Cain, much better option then most of these players that Braves have been linked to. Frenchy I would take look at also.

I have no idea why we aren’t at least considering Frenchy. He’s just as good as some of the names mentioned…..

Cain, why don’t we just go after McCutcheon?

They’re in love with the milkman.

This series is absolutely killing our staff….. Might as well be an extra inning game as well.

Our sp’s were already struggling before tis series started. Went from #1 in era to 4th in about 1.5 wks.

well, Lowe doesn’t usually go more than 5 anyway. We just eliminated the part where he gives up 5 more runs.

And as if on cue…….

Here is the thing. If they make a change, it needs to be an upgrade. Rick Ankiel was not an upgrade over McClouth offensively. Better defense. Ludwick is no better than Heyward against lefties. Heyward is just going through a rough patch, but sticking him in a platoon will not help. I see Upton as an upgrade in center over McClouth and Shafer. Grap upton and the lineup is loaded.
I saw some more bad defense from earlier in the game tonight. He took a bad angle on that double.
BTW, if anyone mentions Frenchy, they are banned from the blog. We don’t need that again. Hometown hero with a 650 OPS.

Frenchy is easily as good as some of this meat we are discussing. Upton, kids a nightmare in the clubhouse. Last thing we need for a mediocre stick. The only guy i would waste any breath on is Pence if Houston is really interested in moving him.

We couldn’t keep Esky because he was having a bad season after a few good years because he had a bad attitude. Are we really going to acquire a guy who is horrible in the clubhouse who is having a subpar year…..in essence, we are trading for another Esky. That makes our organization hipocrites…..
And Frenchy is every bit as good as some of the options being thrown out there and he wouldnt be that expensive. Will he ever live up to his potential, heck no. But when you look at the other options, we could do much worse.

It sure is great to have Ski on our bench

I swear it’s almost like Fredi wants to lose some of these games.

I don’t like platooning Heyward and I don’t like the idea of trading to get a right handed hitter who can hit for power if he’s not going to play everyday. I think Upton would be the best trade to make of the available major league outfielders. Now,if the Braves could work something out with the A’s they might be able to get a right handed reliever and a right handed center fielder. Grant Balfour is a very good right handed reliever. The A’s also have an abundance of outfielders and do not have room for Jai Miller. Miller in 79 games with AAA Sacremento is batting .298 with 25 HR, 65 RBI, and 13 SB with 0 CS. Not sure if Balfour is touchable but Miller might be worth a shot.

Hearing the Phillies are pushing harder for Pence. Blame Wren if the trolls come back. We obviously don’t wanna win that bad if the only thing we can say for ourselves so far is that we still have 4 top pitching prospects.

Pence thinks he’s traded already. Doesn’t know where yet.

Sounds like the Stros are publicly throwing out the names that the Phils are offering to drive up the price for us…. Minor OR Delgado, please not both…

Does it make any sense to be trying to acquire ANY outfielder at this point? Prado is clearly better suited to LF than 3B, and they already have Lugo and Conrad to sub for Chipper. Any platoon with Heyward is going to stunt his development, ditto that for bringing in a rental to cover for Schafer. McClouth plays a good enough CF (despite his arm), and grinds out ABs well enough to occasionally luck into the big hit. If anything, it seems like they should be trying to find an upgrade at SS. Gonzalez isn’t just lost at the plate, he looks like a guy who may be done; he shows not one iota of aptitude or consideration for situational hitting, and he’s lost a step in the field over the last 2 months. (Of course, if any shortstops-who-can-hit were available, the Braves would be in on it with 20 other teams–how about promoting Diory Hernandez? It really, really could not hurt.) In sum, this may be a “dance-with-the-one-what-brung-you” type of season. Go into the offseason trying to convince the Yankees that they need one year of Derek Lowe, and to convince Chipper that sticking around past his expiration date is a large cause of the problems they have in creating a roster with some flexibility. They’re definitely going to need the extra $$, because Prado and Jurrjens both figure to get significant raises in arbitration, and Schafer, Freeman, Venters, Kimbrel, Hanson, et al. will all get paid more next year.
Final thoughts:
Asking “why don’t they consider Francoeur?” is like looking for a new girlfriend and asking “why don’t I consider my ex-wife?” In other words, as much as it would be nice to get back the other 50% of my “community property”, there’s just too much baggage.
Also, in what alternate universe is Upton a good idea? His defense will not outweigh his attitude and the hole in his bat; ask the Rays why they’re trying to unload him with a year-plus left on his contract. You all understand this is B.J. Upton and not Justin Upton, right?

Has anyone thought we might be putting Beachy on the table? He has had a couple of rough starts, but he has the most experience out of our young guns, and has been scouted in his last two starts.

Ludwick is at the top of our list….does anyone else find this concerning? The only way a top pitching prospect should be dealt would be if we got Pence or maybe Quentin. We already have enough .240 hitting OF to go around. Hinske has almost as good of power numbers as Ludwick and he has played half the time. Granted Hinske cannot play CF…..

Great. Buster Olney just tweeted this: “Observation from an NL official about the Braves’ interest in Hunter Pence: “They don’t value on-base percentage as much as other teams do.”
I could have told you that based on the lineup we put out there every night.

I don’t know what’s worse. Us not getting the one player that we need to make a difference. That player going to a division rival we are trying to catch in standings. Or the fact that the whole league knows that we don’t care about OBP.

It’s ok Bravo….we have prospects and guys with potential.

You guys are cracking me up but honest as you do it. I agree with most here, as of right now, the only names that appeal to me are Pence and Quentin, in that order. If we have to give up Delgado to get Pence, go for it. I would like to keep Minor as we need a good lefty going forward, actually we could use at least 2.

Well, I would love to know what we DO value. Because it is obviously not batting average or defense.

If the Frillies do take Pence it will be interesting to see the price they pay. I am hoping that Wren has other ideas and that Pence is a decoy. Phillies or Braves, Pence will only come with a very high price. It will be interesting to see it all unfold…. or not.

Interesting? I call it excruciating. Knowing there’s a player available that will make us significantly better and watching a rival team (already better than us) going after him more aggressively than we are?!?!? EXCRUCIATING. Phils get Pence and we get another .230 hitter (Ludwick). Hopefully Quentin will be our next move or there is something under the radar that will surprise everybody. We are playing .500 ball since the break and our pitching isn’t what it was in the first half. We need to improve our offense or we’re screwed.

Hey – but at least we have 4 great pitching prospects. It’s not like we have a logjam of starting pitching right now. Oh wait….

As I typed that, just heard the news that Quentin is off the market. That makes sense considering the White Sox are 3/5 games out of first.
I think Upton would be the next move. Still REALLY want Pence and REALLY don’t want to see him go to Phils.

If Wren will trade minor for Quentin, what was wrong with minor for beltran. I guess desperation has set in

Agreed from an earlier post, its BJ Upton not Justin. BJ is not even worth a thought. The only way I can comprehend getting BJ is if another player is packaged in the deal.

And from my point of view with Francouer was in a rebuttal of Ludwick. If we are going to get a subpar guy with pop, you might as well get someone who you know who possesses a cannon for an arm. As for baggage, Frenchy has about 2 mil reasons to suck it up and attempt to be a modern day prodigal son.

I agree. Frenchy >Ludwick>Willingham.

Joel Sherman reports Astros like Braves prospects better than Phillies(I can’t imagine why -sarcasm-), but Braves won’t give up key guy which is believed to be Minor.

I say we go all in: Delgado, Minor, Jordan Schafer, Wilkin Ramirez, and J.J. Hoover for Bourne and Pence plus cash. The ballsy, over the top super trade Frank Wren needs to make but will never happen because it’s Frank freaking Wren. He wouldn’t know a good mid season deal if it penciled itself in the lineup.

Man – a combo deal for Pence and Bourne would make me do naughty things.

Honestly, I’ve seen Delgado pitch before and he didn’t appear to be anything special. If he helps get Pence, he’s worth it.

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