Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Post: What Prospects Could Atlanta Trade Away?

 

Eddie Perez wants somebody to join him in the bullpen this summer.    Frank Wren would like to oblige him.

There are two parts to any trade deal:  you do have to give up something good to get something good.  This Trading Post topic deals with the ‘other side':  what prospects do the Braves have available for a deal this year?

Trading fundamental #1:  trade from strength (for Atlanta, that’s pitching)

Trading fundamental #2:  teams value ‘quantity’ as much as ‘quality’ since approximately half of all prospects never even make it to the majors… even the “good” prospects (only top 3-4 are the best bets).

Two other points of note:

  • the Draft Class of 2013 is off-limits – there’s actually a rule about this:  new draftees must stay with an organization for at least one calendar year.  Beyond that, all bets are off.
  • the Braves farm system is indeed undergoing a rebuilding phase – this thanks in part to the recent ‘graduations’ of some premium talent, and in part to the Justin Upton trade.  But that’s not to say that there isn’t solid talent available.

So here are some of the possibilities:

Sean Gilmartin.  May no longer be such a good trade option given his poor 2013 performance in repeating AAA (5.83 ERA after a 4.78 in 2012)… followed now by his placement onto the disabled list last week for shoulder tendinitis.  But he’s left-handed and close to ML-ready, so if some scout thinks these set-backs are minor, a team could opt to ‘buy low’ on him.  See also J.R. Graham, below.

Joey Terdoslavich.  Joey T is ‘Evan Gattis-lite’.  He is hitting a bunch… but has no true position to play.  I don’t believe they’d actually do it, but the Yankees have a need for him right now.  But to throw a kid (almost 25) untested at the major league level into the AL East pennant race would be daunting, to say the least.  While a switch-hitter, he definitely hits better from the right side.

Todd Cunningham (CF).  Playing very well in AAA, but clearly blocked from the major league levels for what could be at least another couple of years.

Christian Bethancourt.  The best defensive catcher in the organization, possibly the best in baseball not named ‘Molina’.  The nagging question continues to be this one:  will he ever hit enough for the majors?  As a catcher, he is still probably the best trade chip… but would the Braves do this knowing that Gattis and Laird are under control through at least 2014 (and Gattis even longer)?  I note that the Braves drafted more catchers than any position other than pitcher this year (but the first one of these is now playing third base – go figure).  We might just see how confident they are about Gattis as their future catcher.

J.R. Graham.  Like Gilmartin, J.R. is also now (somewhat) ‘damaged goods’ at the moment.  Funny how things can change quickly:  during Spring Training, Graham and Gilmartin were expected to be the emergency rotation guys for Atlanta if Teheran or someone else broke down.  Both have had difficulty – and perhaps due to their injuries.  But the emergence of others has raised the possibility (as least in my thinking) that either player could be flipped to fill a need… if the trading partner concurs.  Still a very top prospect, but I expect that either he of Gilmartin (not both) could be made available… thanks to Cody Martin‘s emergence.

Aaron Northcraft.  Has had some hiccups this year, but is still well thought of.  ERA is under 4 at the AA level this year.

 

Players that Frank Wren will be most reluctant to move (at least I think so!):

Lucas Sims.  First rounder from 2012… and progressing nicely, thankyouverymuch.

Alex Wood.  Second rounder from 2012, the first of that class to see the majors as an emergency call-up.  Being groomed as a starter, and it is possible that this role may not ultimately stick. Right now he needs to finish getting ready for Atlanta, even as he has been pressed into service.  It’s for this reason that a bullpen trade is needed.

Juan Jaime.  Could be a closer of the future.  Already suggested him for a bullpen role now.  Now at AA.

Tommy La Stella.  Could be a second baseman of the future.  Now at AA.

Jose Peraza.  Could be a shortstop and lead-off hitter of the future.  Now at Rome.

Cody Martin.  Just check his minor league stats.  Well-earned promotion to AAA, and now suddenly on the major league doorstep.  Likely want to see some further AAA innings, but could be an option for 2014.

Jordan Schafer.  I put his name on this list because he has been playing so well that he’s forced his way onto the field while Brothers Upton and Heyward have not lived up to expectations.  In fact, even if they start hitting, Schafer is still the first bench option for the outfield or late-game running.

 

Other Names you’ve heard – that aren’t going anywhere

Brian McCann.  Most playoff experience on the roster.  Not moving unless somebody overwhelms Frank, but that won’t happen.

Dan Uggla.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.

Paul Maholm.  Yes, he’s a free agent at year’s end (so is McCann, but keeping him brings a draft pick).  But with Brandon Beachy‘s arm still in limbo, Maholm is the sure thing in hand.

Chris Johnson.  I’ve already used up a lot of virtual ink about him, but even if the team finds a better 3B defender, he’d be a solid bench bat.

 

Tags: Atlanta Braves Bullpen Prospects

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