Braves still mulling options

While the Phillies have upgraded their bench with a couple acquisitions (Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton), the Marlins have spent the past couple weeks supposedly courting every top-tier athlete, including Aaron Rodgers and Sidney Crosby.

Seems like they’re trying to form one of those Dream Teams in Miami. Oh yeah.  That’s right they already did that in that other sport.

Since we’re on the subject of LeBron James, I was dumfounded this morning as I watched ESPN’s First Take and actually heard them debate whether Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew crossed the line when he scored a touchdown and then mimicked the “powder toss” James performed back when he was playing games.

Seriously?

Yeah, I understand the hatred the city of Cleveland still has for James.  But what happened to that once feared group of fans that inhabited that intimidating zone known as The Dawg Pound?

I know.  You don’t care.  You’re much more concerned about what might happen to Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens.

Truthfully not much has changed regarding either of these players.  Both are obviously drawing interest from a number of teams.  But the Braves have made it known they will need to receive a significant return to trade either Prado or Jurrjens.

Since this past season concluded, I have often referred to Prado and Jurrjens  as the Braves “most tradeable” veterans.  In other words, Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Dan Uggla and none of the young pitching prospects are going anywhere.

So if the Braves are going to at least explore the possibility of improving their roster via the trade market, Prado and Jurrjens are the players that arguably make sense.

But I would be among those who would argue that the Braves are not currently in a position where they can comfortably deal Jurrjens.

Tommy Hanson’s shoulder might never again bother him.  But with the projected rotation already including Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor, the Braves can’t afford to trade Jurrjens and then deal with the consequences if Hanson’s shoulder proves to be a lingering problem.

Yeah, Kris Medlen’s presence provides some insurance in this department.  But once again, you’d be taking a gamble here on Medlen, who has not started a game since he blew out his elbow in August of 2010.

As the Rockies, Royals and Tigers have proven, there are a number of teams that would love to add Prado’s versatility to their roster.  At the same time, the Braves could certainly benefit from keeping him around for at least another season.

There’s no doubt that Chipper Jones could continue to benefit from the opportunity to get some regular rest.  Having Prado around to play third base would allow manager Fredi Gonzalez to allow Jones to get a breather whenever necessary.

But with the right deal, it would be much easier for the Braves to find a versatile asset like Prado than it would be to find a starting pitcher that they could immediately place in their starting rotation with confidence.

Quick hits:

As you likely saw from this weekend’s story, Jason Heyward is looking forward to entering the 2012 season feeling a little lighter.  With the help of a better diet and workout program, he now weighs between 235-240 pounds.  He weighed 258 pounds at the start of Spring Training.

Heyward certainly never looked overweight.  But with his shoulders looking a little less bulky, he looks a little more athletic.  More importantly, he’s excited about putting this past year behind him.  Check the story for his thoughts about his shoulder and  not playing an everyday role down the stretch.

Congrats to Joe Terdoslavich and Christian Bethancourt for being named to this year’s Arizona Fall League Top Prospects team.  Check out the details by clicking here.

Follow me on Twitter @mlbbowman

20 Comments

Good blog Mark, thanks for the update. Just a note, when you said:
“In other words, Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Dan Uggla and none of the young pitching prospects are not going anywhere.”
I think you meant “…and ALL of the pitching prospects are not going anywhere.”
Otherwise, solid entry.
I’m wondering what to make of the rumors that seem to be abound, Swisher or Gardner plus Nunez and a prospect (via John Heyman). I don’t know if we want Nunez or should just try to resign Jack Wilson. It will be very interesting to see how Frank handles the shortstop conundrum this offseason.

Actually I would love to see both Swisher and Gardner in a Braves Uni and if Bourne flies the coup we can use either Swisher or Gardner in CF.

I see Jair Prado and Hoover going to the Yankees for Swisher Nunez and either Maxwell Dickerson.or both

Then use Joe Terdoslavich as the utility guy for corner O.F and 1st and third base to give Chipper and Freeman a day off and sign Wilson for IF help

I’d welcome Swisher and Nunez with open arms. Nunez is like a Prado but younger and not a fit in the OF. He could play SS, spell Chipper at 3B and I’m sure he’d be ok at 2B as well. Swisher would immediately become our best offensive OF’er and not a terrible defender either. Gardner would be great to have if we can’t resign Bourne, I’d take either one of those at the top of our lineup and be really happy with it!

If our only option is Gonzo, we might as well keep Wilson instead. Neither can hit, and Wilson is cheaper and just as solid defensively….

Mark,
Prado and Jurjens aren’t going anywhere. Makes no sense for either when you look at the 2 year forecast and too much sense to keep the both of them. The real issues that I wish you would address is the replacement of Chipper after next year, and the acquisition of a corner OF (i.e. Cuddyer or Kubel) to provide the much needed hitting consitancy. You mention in your blog a list of “untouchables”. Outside that list are marketable names such as Jones, Heyward, Hanson, Venters, Ross, and Constanza. Why not address the trade possibilities of these folks for a consistant bat? Yeah, I said Jones (as in Chipper). Love the guy and am a firm believer in team loyalty, but I believe an AL team might be willing to offer some gems for his bat in the DH position.

Thanks,

Rowdy

Actually, Mark had Heyward on the untouchable list. And the young pitchers, so that includes Venters and Hanson. And Chipper will never be traded because he is more valuable to us than to any other team; nobody is going to offer any gems for Chipper. So… Ross and Constanza? Not getting us a consistent bat in return.

It’s because of the two year forecast that trading JJ would make sense. There are a ton of young arms coming up and JJ is a Boras client.

Trade them both I hope. Both going to be expensive next year and could get something good for jurrjens.

How bout sending Prado and J.J to the Reds and asking for Drew Stubbs and Paul Janish.

Actually instead of Stubbs how bout sending Prado and Jair to the Red for Yonder Alonso and OF Dave Sappelt.

Dave Sappelt wouldn’t be to bad, he’s kinda like schafer minus the power and better average still needs a little work on stealing bases without being caught. Yonder Alonso could work as a trade chip but that’s about it, poor splits and defense.

What I don’t understand is why not trade for a SS and just use Diaz and Hinkse in L.F or bring up someone to play l.f like Gartrell.or if they are gonna trade Prado and Jair how bout to the Rangers for Leonys Martin and Guilder Rodriguez.

The question is not if the Braves WANT to trade Jair and Prado. They do not. But if they can get something good in return, then they will entertain the idea. If you had to construct a list of the guys that they Braves would be willing to trade, Prado and Jurrjens (in no order) would be 1 and 2.
If Prado returns to form, we do not need a LF. The biggest hole in the team right now is SS. If we can’t find anything substantial in the FA/trade market, we might as well use Jack Wilson for a cheap buffer for Pastornicky. Wilson has good defense and hopefully can hit 8th and move guys over. We do not need to trade for a SS just to trade for a SS.

….I can’t wait for Spring Training, I was hoping the NBA would be cancelled, forever.

Hows does Andrew McCutchen sound for Jair and Prado?

as much as I hate speculation, I was wondering about this… insurance if Bourn leaves? But I wouldn’t want to give up both Prado and JJ…

NO I saw it on MLB Trade Rumors that the Pirates are listening to offers for him and I think maybe offer the Bucs Jair Prado and a Matt LIpka or Marcus Lemon for McCutchen and Pedro Ciriaco

Hudson just had back surgery so now it looks like JJ may be off the market

Everything I’ve been reading says Huddy will be ready before Spring Training. It was just for a herniated disc and im sure he will be fine. I don’t want to trade JJ unless we get something decent in return. If he stays healthy he’s got the ability to go out and win the Cy Young.

It’s been stated plenty of times that the Braves will only trade JJ or Prado for a significant return.

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