Baseball’s winter meetings opened quietly for the Braves with reports that GM Frank Wren spent time talking bench players. The search continues for a left fielder / third baseman but I think a trade is the most probable route as the Braves are not high on any of the remaining free agents. With that in mind here’s what I read about players the Braves have reportedly checked in on.
Rumors And Quotes
The Diamondbacks seem fairly rigid in their desire for a front line SS telling the Rangers to include Elvis Andrus in any discussion. Ken Rosenthal says that a deal with Rangers is not likely. Jurickson Profar had to leave winter ball due to an arm issue and while Gerry Fraley at the Dallas Morning News says tests turned up nothing, the Rangers like the idea of having Profar and Andrus in the same lineup. For the Braves this means that either Andrelton Simmons or another 1st level SS must be included. GM Frank Wren told David O’Brien in today’s AJC:
“. . .I don’t think anybody is untouchable, but I think he would be…” Wren said, pausing for the right adjective, “unreachable. Because he plays one of those skill positions in the middle of the diamond much better than your average bear. He’s a special player.
With Simmons unreachable, a three way trade and the most likely candidate for such a move is Asdrubal Cabrera.
Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer says that the Indians want four (4) — yes f-o-u-r — prospects in return for Cabrera and passed on deal including a current major league pitcher and two prospects when the unnamed team wouldn’t add a third prospect. If we take them at their word that almost certainly leave the Braves out as The DBacks want more that just a SS and are interested in a starter and a reliever – preferably a lefty – meaning at least six and maybe seven players as the Braves price for Upton.
In the same article quoted above the GM told O’Brien that Mike Minor and Kris Medlen aren’t considered trade pieces but in a change of heart from his previous position, previously untouchables Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado could be available in a “a significant deal.”
With that in mind I could see a scenario where the Braves would offer Julio Teheran and a couple of prospects to the Tribe for Cabrera and a minor prospect then flip the SS along with Jordan Walden or one from Jonny Venters/Luis Avilan/ Eric O’Flaherty and Randall Delgado to the Dbacks for Justin Upton and a prospect. Even that’s a stretch in the shadow of`the Mark Teixeira trade that most regard as one of the worst ever but it does fit his significant deal criteria. It might also fit for a player like Alex Gordon in a Teheran + prospect swap or maybe Jedd Gyorko/ Wil Myers in a Teheran + two prospects deal.
Shane Victorino is a great fit on paper for the Braves however he has multiple three year offers and at least one four year offer. O’Brien says he wants at least what Angel Pagan got from the Giants and the Braves won’t go there. O’Brien also reports that there’s an offer on the table for Reed Johnson. That makes considerable sense as he played well in Atlanta at the end of last season and can fill in at all three outfield positions.
Dexter Fowler is very expensive – Rockies ask for Mike Minor – and hasn’t traveled well as his numbers away from Coors Field show. The only Rockie I’m interested is Nolan Arenado and there hasn’t been a whisper about him.
The Braves asked the Royals about Lorenzo Cain earlier but the price was high. if the Royals really want Myers in center Cain’s price may drop and while the Phillies need a CF their pretty skinny in the kind of player the Royals want, affordable starting pitching.
- Ned Yost speaking on MLB XM said the Royals are not going to trade any of their starting lineup which appears to rule out Gordon and Cain.
- Braves fan favorite Eric Hinske signed a one year contract with Arizona according to Ken Rosenthal
That’s a Wrap
I was asked what left fielders were available for trade. Every player has a price I guess but the better question is who might be traded at a reasonable cost; reasonable depends on the player of course.
If we ignore the in division trade taboo I’d love to see a guy like Mike Morse in left. he has good splits and good power, would be able to spell Freddie Freeman at first and is affordable. It’s unlikely the Nats would make that trade, not as unlikely as the Marlins trading Giancarlo Stanton but very unlikely, particularly to the Braves.
There are non-tendered players out there that might fit the bench as a platoon. Who depends on whether Johnson is signed. Guys like Nate Schierholtz who lacks the pop I’d like to see out there, Ryan Sweeney a good left handed bat with pop but can’t hit lefties a lick and Ben Francisco are still unsigned. These guys are definitely not top tier players but filling out a bench is essential to a good season.
The meetings are a fast moving event and things change quickly. I’ll try to stay on top of them and get a post up when I see something of note.