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?