Wren facing tough decisions

As the Trade Deadline draws closer, some sellers could start dropping their demands and some buyers could get antsy and end up paying more than they had desired when they began evaluating the trade market.

Knowing that it will be at least a few more weeks before Brian McCann returns and recognizing the fact that they don’t know how Chipper Jones’ legs will hold up the remainder of the season, the Braves have become a little more aggressive while pursuing the Astros’ Hunter Pence and White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin.

UPDATED:  But a Major League source said late Friday afternoon that the Braves have never considered Pence to be a priority.  At the same time, the White Sox have never indicated they are definitely willing to trade Quentin.

It still seems like the Phillies are the front runners to land Pence.  But one National League scout not affiliated with any of the clubs involved in the Pence pursuit, said Friday morning he was getting the sense the Astros were asking too much.

The Braves have said all along that they were not interested in dealing any of their top pitching prospects  —  Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino or Mike Minor.  To land either Pence or Quentin, it seems they would have to part with at least one of these pitchers and possibly another prospect.

While Pence could spark the lineup, he would also complicate the team’s financial situation.  The outfielder will earn approximately $11 million via arbitration next year.   With the need to find a shortstop next year  (no Tyler Pastornicky will not be ready for a full-time role), this could put the Braves in a bind.

Right now, Wren has to assume next year’s payroll will include the salaries owed to Derek Lowe ($15 million) and Chipper Jones ($13 million).

This seemingly makes Rays’ outfielder B.J. Upton a more attractive option.   The Braves would not have to give up nearly as much to get Upton and he will likely make something closer to $7 million as an arbitration-eligible player next year.

As previously mentioned, the Rays had a scout present for the entirety of this week’s series against the Pirates.

Instead of trading any of their top prospects, the Braves could also end up trading the Padres for Ryan Ludwick, who could likely benefit from moving away from PETCO Park.  The home/road splits are not drastically different.  But it should be remembered it’s been just one calendar year since he hit .281 with 11 homers and a .827 OPS in his first 77 games of 2010 with the Cardinals.

But if the Phillies answer the Giants’ acquisition of Carlos Beltran with the acquisition of Pence, can the Braves feel good if they simply add Ludwick to their lineup?

78 Comments

“But if the Phillies answer the Giants’ acquisition of Carlos Beltran with the acquisition of Pence, can the Braves feel good if they simply add Ludwick to their lineup?”

No.

I’m going to boycott this blog until after the trading deadline. I can’t hear another thing about BJ Upton or I might vomit…..

Mark – Not at all. Ludwick is not the answer at all. And Mark, why couldn’t Pastornicky be ready next season? He destroyed AA, and albeit only in like 50 plate appearances, is lighting AAA on fire. If he could continue a good AAA line, show some promise when he’s called up in September(we all know he will be), he could be in a very good position to win the starting SS job in 2012, unless he has a Dan Uggla or Nate McLouth spring training.

Signing Pence would be a mistake. There is just so little bang for the buck there. Quentin is a much better offensive upgrade, despite the lack of speed. But with Schafer in center, he could provide the speed this team needs, with Quentin adding much needed RH power and consistency. Heyward just isn’t getting it done right now, so he should either be placed in a bench role or sent to AAA to work on getting his form back.

The problem is that FW couldn’t trade for a beer league softball player right now. He would stand by as the Iranians were dropping A bombs on NYC and say. We like what we have right now. It’s kinda like yelling when your walking through tall grass so that the snakes will run away.

One thing getting lost in all of this is the unlikelihood that Wren will sign both JJ and Hanson long term. It will be even difficult to sign one of them, given the fact that they’re both Boras clients. That might give some insight as to why Wren is deeming the top 4 prospects “untouchable”. Still – here are the top pitching players/prospects who are either major league ready or will be shortly and all under team control for a few more years: Hanson / JJ / Beachy / Medlen / Minor / Tehran / Vizcaino / Delgado. We have a surplus here.

No, I understand it completely. But the nearest free agent is Jurrjens, who will become one after the 2013 season, Hanson after the 2014 season. So that’s 2 more years of Jurrjens, 3 more of Hanson, 4 more of Beachy, 4 more of Medlen. Huddy will resign with us until he retires, so theres our 5th starter there. Add in only two of the big 4, and we have these 7 starting pitchers for only 5 spots as early as 2013, without factoring in the development of other top draft picks(like Gilmartin). We are the only team I believe that can get away with trading away 2 stud pitching prospects in one year. Though I don’t condone it.

If we can’t get Pence, I don’t know if there’s an OF move worth making. I’m not sold on Ludwick.

Speedy – If we settle on Upton it’s still an upgrade. He’s basically Schafer plus 15 more home runs. At the very least we get more run production. I’d take it if it were the right price. If not Pence/Quentin, then Upton is the next guy.

I definatey agree upton is surely better than either of our centerfielders

15 more HRs + $7m added payroll + Esky type headaches…Not worth any of our prospects. The Nationals are making a run at Denard Span who has a team friendly long term contract. Why haven’t we heard anything about the Braves pursuing him?

Apparently we are gonna wait til the 23rd hour and send a low prospect and a bag of table scraps to the Yanks for Andruw Jones and maybe Joba.

These untouchables are pitching prospects just like JoJo Reyes(DFA) and Kyle Davies(KC) were. Give Frenchy another chance as his numbers look good against left handers. He is also better than Heyward on defense as Heyward has a hard time going back on balls.

The fascination with Ludwick and Upton is disturbing. Neither will help this team. If Wren wants his team in the postseason and making a run, then he should focus on hitters that will do that. Ludwick nor Upton are that hitter. Pence or Quentin or bust basically.

McLouth to DL with abdominal strain. Did he slip in the shower? We get to see Costanza tonight.

McBlondie Fell out of the chair while getting his hair dyed. How awesome would it be if Costanza could light it up in CF. What’s his defense like?

I hear Costanza giv good glove. I guess we will know tonight. He leads off and plays CF. I have this incredible urge to nickname him George.

Is anyone aware Derek Lowe gets a half million bucks every time he goes to the mound (assuming he pitches in 30 games a year. Give me a break, move him!!!! I’m sure I speak for everyone who watches and supports the Braves, we would rather see Minor, Tehran and the other guys do as bad as he does. This has been going on far too long!

And further more…what the heck has Wren done to help this team anyway…put Nate in center field. What a joke. Frank doesn’t have a clue how to win.

Upton isn’t all bad. Not as good as his brother, but noticeable upgrade over what the Braves have now in CF. If ATL refuses to trade a single top pitching prospect, and thus not land Pence or Quentin, Upton is nice consolation. No interest in Ludwick however. Already tried one Cardinal reject last year and didn’t pan out.

Oh puke.

“The Braves did inquire about Pence and also to see if the White Sox were interested in trading Carlos Quentin. But it seems they are more likely to acquire Rays’ outfielder B.J. Upton or Padres’ outfielder Ryan Ludwick before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline arrives”

MB.

Qtip doesn’t think acquiring Pence or Quentin was a “priority”. What a F—–g moron.

haha Bill, it’s CoNstanza. Still has a ring to it. CON-STAN-ZA!

Also, Constanza has 7 extra base hits in 363 PLATE APPEARANCES. That’s insane. Insanely bad.

He has 4 triples and 2 doubles,WTF? does he even stop at 2nd?. George…….after all he was in the Yankees FO.

Beachy is throwing BB’s. Man, I like this kid.

Intentionally walk the worst hitter on the team to get the pitcher instead of having him potentially lead off the 6th. Great strategy. If 2 on or later, then yeah. But come on..

Starting to get concerned about heyward. A ton of weak ground balls and pop ups. I am a big fan still, but they need more from him with all the injuries. Freeman looks better every day and heyward looks worse. What is going on? He looked so steady last year and his outs were all hit hard. Not this year. For the first time, the line-up does not look so good and Uggla is hitting.

“starting to get concerned…..” Really? Where have you been:?

Welp. Phillies getting Pence. Its official. For Singleton, Cozart, and 2 un named players. They just got a lot better.

Well QTip, whatcha gonna do now. Make a blockbuster for Ludwick or Upton? Beachy deserves better than this.

Phillies got Pence. We’ve got 2 hits.

Ski, the largest ballet dancer on the planet.

F–k Frank Wren. You are an idiot.

Well Brandon, It sounds like you have come to believe.

I’ve been just as anti Wren as you have ever since he got hired.

This could get Uggla.

I think Heyward needs to ground out more.

hurry hurry hurry fank go get ludwick, cause thats our answer, you gotta be kidding me…
Great game by the way so far, Uggla is getting sick. and Beachy is just doing his thang!

Do I need to tell you guys how much I love Brooks Conrad :)

Apparently only everytime he gets a hit.

Damn Bravo, aren’t you getting any?

Wife just had a baby… Its been a while.

So now Pence is gone, Who do we hope for Bourne, Span, Quinton after those three it’s fourth outfielders, platoon guys or lateral options.

GEORGE!!!!!!

We could’ve beat Philles offer and they’re getting cash also, WTF?

What the hell did we even offer them that beat Braves offer so easily?

Wow – Astros even paid the Phils $1 mill. to help them avoid the luxury tax. The two prospects the Phils gave up were in Keith Law’s “top 25″… but still – I think we could have done better. But hey – at least we have 9 really good pitchers.

Those 2 guys are top 70 prospects if I recall correctly. And they’ll get 2 mid tier prospects as well. Not exactly highway robbery for a guy who will make 11mil next year.

Cozart is #17 and Singleton is #24 on Keith Law’s top 50 prospect list.

Pence would’ve been nice but a) where do you play him next year? and b) how do you afford him next year? Basically getting Pence would amount to a rental since we would probably have to trade him in the off-season, and give up 2 top arms in the process.

Part of the value of getting Pence is getting him so the Phillies don’t. But otherwise I agree with what you said. Unless Chipper retires that would open up a spot for him and as far as money goes I think Lowe will be traded this offseason even if Braves have to eat a chunk of it. But that is really two big ifs.

I mean.. all of this is spelled out pretty clearly above in Mark’s article.

Snooze, you lose. Prospects are what the name implies.

Ruben Amaro Jr. goes out and gets Hunter Pence while Frank Wren presumably stares creepily at pictures of our top prospects that seemingly everyone wants, but his fixation with them will be the death of the 2011 Braves season. You have all the pieces of the puzzle but are scared to put them together because you’re trying to wait and see if a better puzzle comes along in the future. Go to Hell Frank Wren.

You’re an idiot.

Viva – The Phils concern themselves with winning Championships right now as opposed to worrying about the future. Nobody knows what the future holds. That’s a lot to give up for Pence, but nobody will be saying that if they win a pennant and play in the World Series. Worry about the future tomorrow. I wish Braves management would take a page out of that book. We have a major weakness on our team that could/should have been addressed… if anything else – to block the Phils from getting him. There’s a logjam of pitchers we’re sitting on burning a whole in our system. What if our best chance of winning is now? I hope Wren has something magical brewing… we need it.

I swear if we end up getting Ludwick, Willingham, or Crisp as our big move heading to the post season I’m going to be so pissed!

Pence is an overpaid CORNER OUTFIELDER with mediocre power and average to above average defense. We CAN’T afford him next season and if so, where would he play, assuming Chipper is not retiring? He is good, but not good enough to give up one of our great prospects. You really would want to give up Minor (and another top prospect), who will be in the rotation next season and under team control for YEARS for a guy who will be making over $11 million next year not to mention what he would be owed for the rest of this season. Aren’t you people the same who bitched and moaned and bitched and moaned ad nauseum about the Texiera trade??? And Pence isn’t even close to Tex’ pedigree. The Phillies gave up their 2 best prospects and a few middling prospects. The reality is that the Braves can’t be that foolish with their prospects because we don’t have the payroll to throw away future stars for only a decent gain, whether they may pan out or not.

Ken_Rosenthal Ken Rosenthal
Source: #Astros wanted two of #Braves’ top four pitching prospects, plus another young pitcher Braves regarded highly. #tradedeadline #MLB

If you believe anything that little Bow tied wearing tweep posts, You should have your baseballs examined.

Ha ha ha, very true just posting some updates.

Exactly. The deal probably would have been Minor / Delgado / Oberholtzer for Hunter Pence minus $11+ million. Great deal for all you Tex trade detractors.

Agreed, but now what do we do to counter the Beltran and Pence moves we can’t just stand pat?

I’m more pissed about Phillies getting him than Braves not getting him. I would have been very happy if Pence just stayed in Houston.

That was my big thing. I hated that we let the Phillies get him.

Is he so much better than the platoon they had? He is certainly an upgrade but not a gamechanger. Look what happened to us after the Tex trade.. I’m happy they made the deal and tossed away their top 2 prospects.

True, but putting Pence in that lineup and in that ball park worries me. And even small upgrade wile we’re chasing there tail with the options that are left is very concerning.

The Braves are pursuing both center fielders such as B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn and corner outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham, major-league sources say.
Ken Rosenthal tweet.

The problem with this trade is that the Braves didn’t drive the price higher for the frillies. Instead, The White Haired Wonder made the big 4 untouchable. I would be ok with not getting Pence for too high a price, but Qtips negotiating skills are pathetic. He just doesn’t know how to play the game. At the end of the deal I just have this horrible image of Wren standing there with his pants around his ankles.And we get left to bemoan why we can’t land key players when we need them.

My next move would be Bourn for Minor straight up. He’s not the righty we need. But when did I ever believe that Qtip could accomplish what was needed. Can we get a new owner, NOW PLEASE!!!!!

Bourn and a solid reliever and I’d be OK with that.

Michael Bourn for Randall Delgado or Mike Minor and a PTBNL. Once that is done, focus on a small deal for a dependable reliever.

You think Michael Bourn could be had for Mike Minor straight up? Bill, I thought Schafer was your man? He would be on the way out if we got Bourn, or Schafer stays and Bourn is but a 2 month rental. We could have had Beltran for that price.

I’m not saying the Tex deal wasn’t bad…but it’s easy to sit here and critique it after the fact. At the time, we had a chance to win it all, and Tex gave us the boost to make it a more likely possibility. It didn’t work out, of course, so now we can sit here and say how awful it was. If you think back, though, I’m sure every one of us was excited when we head Tex was going to be in a Braves uniform. If we would have won, no one would care that half of the Rangers’ starting lineup could have been ours. It seems to me that our front office is scared to make the same “mistake”, and in doing so refuses to take any risks. With risk comes reward, though. Sometimes you have to roll the dice. I’m not saying we should sell the farm. Hell, I’m not even saying I wanted us to trade any of our top pitching prospects for Beltran. But the fact that they are “untouchable” just shows how scared our front office is to make another mistake. It’s a shame, and it sickens me as a fan, that we’ve done NOTHING to show we want to compete for a World Series. Complacency doesn’t win championships.

And I think I use way too many commas…wow

Koovoon, we weren’t going to win it all that year. We had no pitching what-so-ever that year. We needed Tex to make a run at the playoffs and try to lock him up for the future. Which both never happened.

Once again, it’s easy to say “we weren’t going to win it all that year” after everything is done and we didn’t. Just like the Phils and Yanks were shoe ins last year to the WS, right? Once you make the playoffs, it’s a crapshoot. Tex gave us a chance.

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