Braves Monday Quiet At Winter Meetings


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.

Updates:

  • 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.

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  • Lee Trocinski

    It won’t be enough to hurt the team, but I don’t know if Johnson is really worth the roster spot. He hit .270/.305/.320 with ATL, and he probably shouldn’t play CF anymore. Someone with a bit more power is preferred, since Constanza or Schafer can be the backup CF. Also, Sweeney has less pop than Schierholtz, not more.

    Morse makes solid contact, when he makes contact, and hits the ball a long ways, but he doesn’t walk and is poor, at best, in the outfield. He is probably more valuable at first base, so I would stay away from him. I’d rather sign Ludwick.

    • fireboss

      Johnson hits lefties consistently better that Schafer or Constanza, that’s his allure.

      Ludwick wants to play in Cincy and Cincy wants him back. He also wants three years (that’s why he hasn’t signed in Cincy) and costs more. I don’t hate the idea but if I’m signing him or Ross it’s Ross who is likely out in Boston after the Victorino signing.
      I wouldn’t let Schafer in the ballpark. I think he’s permanently broken ballplayer, talented but unable to put it together. He can’t hit left handed pitching and isn’t great against righties either. He’s at best a AAAA player; minor league depth. As a fourth outfielder I prefer Constanza though Schafer is likely a better fielder. At least Jose leaves it all out there even if all isn’t that much

      You’re right about Sweeney though neither have a lot of pop. He has more career doubles but Nate has more career homers. Neither is going to generate runs. In any event they were only examples, I don;t expect or hope for either.

      Yep, Morse isn’t a great left fielder, maybe not even average however let’s not ignore his bat. 8 year totals: Morse 295/347/.492/.839; BJ Upton .255/.336/.422/.758 This isn’t to say that Morse is better only he isn’t the worst option around.
      He’s well above the league split for left (.265/.329/.434/763). His contact rate was higher than Ludwick’s last year though admittedly that isn’t saying a lot. In the last three years among ft fielders with at least 1000 AB his wOBA was 4th behind Braun, Cargo, and Holliday and his wRC+ was third behind Braun and Holliday. Are there better fielders? Yep quite a few but his power bat is very good.
      Wren is making noises like “we did our job and signed Upton, anything else is gravy” so I don’t think he’s expecting to make that “significant deal.” He’s let it be known he isn’t interested in free agents; told O’Brien and Bowman both to make sure. The “I’m will to trade Teheran etc” was noise to make it seem he’s digging hard after Upton or Myers or that secret player so when a trade doesn’t happen he can say I tried but they wanted too much. Call me a cynic but he’s all smoke and mirrors. He overpaid by $4M a year to get BJ so he wouldn’t be AJ embarassed again. All that’s to say we aren’t going to get one of the free agents nor a great trade. We’ll end up with a low budget platoon in left or Prado there and Francisco at third and Johnson in left against lefties.
      I really hope I’m wrong