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BLOCKBUSTER TRADE (or should I say wish)

posted Jul 15, 2009, 7:32 AM by R. Brett Rosson   [ updated Jul 16, 2009, 10:16 AM ]
    Ok, go ahead and say it. You're dreaming. You're crazy. You must have lost your mind. But have I? I like to think that I haven't...yet anyways. If the Braves keep this season up I just might, but that's besides the point. I am a constant reader of David O'brien's blog. It's nice to hear news straight from someone. He normally has good insight and breaks news rather quickly. On his blog, people have been chiming in on THEIR trade proposals so I am taking the time to write out mine. It's obvious what the Braves need but do they need to prepare for now? or later? The Phillies are starting to address their needs (pitching) with the signing of Pedro Martinez. This, in my opinion, is not what they need to do to help that out. Pedro is done in my book. Last year he posted a 5.61 ERA with 5 wins and 6 losses in 20 games started. Those aren't the Pedro everyone is used too. He's getting up there in age which makes the Philladelphia rotation get even older. They are aslo in serious talks with the Toronto Blue Jays about acquiring Roy Halladay. He is one of the most dominant pitchers in the Major Leagues and would definitely help out a weak rotation like the Phillies.
    First, let's point out the Braves weaknesses. Even with addition of Nate McLouth, subtraction of Jeff Francoeur and recent surgence of Garrett Anderson our outfield is still amongst the worst in the NL. As a whole, the Braves outfielders have hit a grand total of 14 hrs (only homers McLouth has hit as a Brave and Matt Diaz's numbers). That is two less than any of the starting POWER outfielders in the All-Star game. That of course is excluding Josh Hamilton because he has been hurt for part of the first half and Ichiro and Victorino because they are typically not known for their power; however, their totals are more than any single Braves outfielder unless you count McLouth's homer as a Pirate. So to say that the Braves lack a power outfield bat is an understatement. That would be like telling a survivor of the Titanic sinking that the water was cold.  As anyone who watched this year's homerun derby can tell, most of the NL first basemen are sources of power for their respective team. This is not the case for the Braves. I'm not saying that the Braves need to address this situation because what Casey Kotchman brings to the table not many others can. He has a great glove and has yet to commit an error as an Atlanta Brave. I'm purely pointing out that our first basemen ranks 12th in OPS in the NL and 13th in HRs in the NL (aka dead last). So in review, Braves need a power bat of some kind, but preferably a outfielder. Another weakness that could be arising is our bullpen. Mike Gonzalez has struggle severly of late. They rank amongst the league leaders in appearence and this year it's not because of our starting pitching. Our starters have mostly done everything you could ask for. Bobby has just gotten into a tradition of wearing out our relievers. Soriano has had a history of elbow problems, and both Gonzalez and Moylan are coming off surgeries. Why keeps plugging the same guys out there at the end of the games I don't know. This WILL come back to bite us. I guarantee it. Soriano and Gonzalez are free agents at the end of the year. Do you trade them? I might if the it was a perfect situation (I'll explain later), but for one thing I know I would rather trade Gonzalez over Soriano if I had to trade one of the two.
    To summarize this all, we desperately need a BIG bat, and we can't afford to trade away the farm or to much of the bullpen. So here are my trade options:
  • Option 1:
  • Orioles get:
    • Kris Medlen - 5.85 ERA, 2-3 Record with Atlanta/1.19 ERA, 5-0 record in 8 games with Gwinnett
    • Jo-Jo Reyes - has stuff to be a quality pitcher at times
    • Barbaro Canizares - .323/.387/10 hrs/47 rbis with Gwinnett
  • Braves get:
    • Luke Scott - .305/.384/18 hrs/51 rbis
    • Player to be named later (lower league pitcher)
  • Why it should be done:
    • This is good for both sides. Baltimore is desperate need of pitching and Atlanta, as we know, is need of an outfield bat. I say that the Orioles desperately need pitching, well basically because they do. They are currently 13th in the AL in pitching, and we have a surplus that can workout in our favor. Kris Medlen is a nice prospect for future pitching. He hasn't shown the lights out ability he did at Gwinnett, but this kid can pitch. Jo-Jo as we all know hasn't shown his potential either. He is a gifted left hander that with the proper couching could end up being a number 3 or 4 guy. Canizares is an added bonus. He will be a good can be a good major league hitter and is primed for the DH position. Now the best part of this trade is that our offense gets a major upgrade and we didn't have to sell the farm for a rental. Luke Scott is having a tremendous season. The Orioles have plenty of young talented outfielders and could be willing to part with one. Scott is arbitration eligible in 2010 and 2010 so we would have him for a couple of years. He definitely has the potential to be that 30 hr guy we need. On a side note, Frank Wren used to work in the Baltimore organization and likely still has a few contacts. This could be a huge positive for us Braves fans!
  • Option 2:
  • Cardinals get:
    • Kelly Johnson - .214/ .286/ 5 hrs/ 20 rbis
    • Kris Medlen - 5.85 ERA, 2-3 Record with Atlanta/1.19 ERA, 5-0 record in 8 games with Gwinnett
    • Brooks Conrad - .355/ .375/ 2 hrs/ 8 rbis
  • Braves get:
    • Ryan Ludwick - .264/.333/ 15 hrs/ 56 rbis
  • Why it should be done:
    • This will only occur if the Cardinals are able to acquire Matt Holliday. I'm not sure if they are still pursuing him. With the recent acquisition and injury of Mark Derosa, they still need a big bat to plug in behind Pu-"Juice" (from now on in my blog Pujols will be referred to as this name). In my opinion I would love to see Ludwick batting behind Chipper and moving McCann to his normal five hole for the next couple of years. He is, like Luke Scott, eligible for arbitration in 2010 and 2011. Ludwick is fresh off a year where he clobbered a career high 37 and a career best .299 batting average. He has the makings of a star power bat IF...he can stay healthy. He has been plagued with the injury bug this year a little bit, but is still able to put up a higher homerun total than the entire Braves starting outfield combined (minus McLouth's numbers as a Pirate). They supposedly had a chance this past offseason to get Ludwick for Kelly Johnson. Boy isn't hind sight 20-20. Can you imagine where we could be if we had his bat in the lineup right now? Brooks Conrad and Kelly Johnson (when he isn't sucking) could prove to be an upgrade at second base. Both would be expendable with Omar Infante coming off DL shortly. And of course, Kris Medlen is a nice pitching prospect/starter that any club would love to get their hands on. Like I said before, the Cardinals would probably not look to get rid of Ludwick unless they are able to land Holliday.
  • Option 3:
  • Trade the bullpen:
    • The more I think about it, the more I like this idea. We could easily trade either Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez, perhaps even BOTH. Think about it. These two are both free agents at the end of the year. Each will likely command too much money to be retained. If we can get one? GREAT! I would love to have Soriano back. Mike Gonzalez on the other hand, I'm getting a little of tired of the rocking on the mound and then him blowing the game. There are a couple of teams out their that may have some interest. Some that come to mind are the Rockies and, yes division rivals, the Marlins. I'm not big on trading within the division but when it comes to a player that will definitely only be there for half a year? Why not? The Rockies are right there in the thick of things. They need another arm in their bullpen, and they have a 5th outfielder that looks at least decent and could at least a minor upgrade out in right field. Ryan Spilborghs is batting .258 with 6 homeruns and 34 rbis. This is not the big bat that we need, but he is under contract for a couple of years, and if your trading your bullpen away your not doing it to compete this year. I am in no way giving up on this season, but let's face it no one is that great in the NL East this year. So why can't we win even with trading away some salary? The Marlins outfielder of choice would be Jeremy Hermida. He is batting .255 with 10 homeruns and 34 rbis, and again is arbitration eligible in 2010 and 2011. It would be a long shot for the Marlins to take on the contract of Soriano but I think Gonzalez would be not to far of a risk. Both of these possible options would help both clubs and could turn out to be good moves.
  • Option 4:
  • Wait it out and don't do anything:
    • Don't do anything and see if the players we got can make a move in a slow division. This would allow us to save our farm system and possibly give us the funds to go after that bat in the offseason. The pitchers we have are locked down until at least to the end of next season.
    Think of the possibile lineups we could be looking at for the next couple of seasons if we were able to do one of these moves.
  1. Nate McLouth CF
  2. Martin Prado 2B
  3. Chipper Jones 3B
  4. Ryan Ludwick/ Luke Scott RF
  5. Brian McCann C
  6. Yunel Escobar SS
  7. Garrett Anderson/ Matt Diaz LF
  8. Casey Kotchman 1B
  9. Pitcher