Melky Cabrera Recorded Three Hits and an RBI in the Win. Photo Courtesy of Tim Evearitt

The Dilemma in Center Field; Revisited

Tomahawk Take put up a poll on July 20th wanting to know what Braves fans thought the Braves should do in Center Field. We basically gave four choices those of which were, a) make a trade, b) play Nate McLouth, c) play Gregor Blanco, d) play Melky Cabrera. Here are the results of that poll:

More after the jump:

Since Nate McLouth returned from the disabled list I have him at 1 hit in his last 15 at bats. His average has now sunk .168. You have to feel for the guy but at the end of the day he isn’t producing and is going to ultimately lose his job in Center Field.

So the question remains what to do in Center Field. Our poll says that Braves fans want to see a trade. The problem with a trade is what do you give up and what do you get back? Most of the outfielders that the Braves were said to be looking at were left fielders like Corey Hart and Josh Willingham. Those would seemingly cost the Braves some pitching prospects and a left fielder isn’t a priority with Matt Diaz’s hot return from the disabled list. Marlins Center Fielder Cody Ross has been mentioned of late but what would he cost? Is he really that much of an upgrade over Melky Cabrera?

As I wrote in this Call to the Pen piece, I am not sure that the Braves should make a deal. They seem unwilling to part with any of their pitching prospects that are in the minors and I don’t think they should unless they are going after something big like a Matt Kemp to solidify Center Field for the next few years.

The only really problem with that is what to do with McLouth? He is under contract for the 2011 season with a club option for 2012 that is almost certain not to get picked up. I don’t see the Braves swallowing his salary and simply designating him for assignment and I don’t see anyone stepping up to take him in a trade.

So in my opinion the Braves are sort of stuck, but it isn’t all bad. Play Melky Cabrera everyday in Center with McLouth as a late inning defensive replacement. Omar Infante has played CF in the past and could also conceivably get some at bats there as well. Ride this thing out until September when rosters expand and Gregor Blanco can be recalled. At that point the Braves will be able to decide who to include on the post season roster.

It isn’t an ideal situation but to me it seems like the only choice to be made.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Cody Ross Gregor Blanco Melky Cabrera Nate Mclouth Omar Infante

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