This is the seventh in an 8-part series on the offseason options of the Atlanta Braves. The schedule will be as follows:
Monday, November 4: Free Agents
Tuesday, November 5: AL East trade options
Monday, November 11 PM: AL Central trade options
Tuesday, November 12 AM: AL West trade options
Tuesday, November 12 PM: NL East trade options
Wednesday, November 13 AM: NL Central trade options
Wednesday, November 13 PM: NL West trade options
Thursday, November 14: “Best” options for the Braves in the 2013-2014 offseason
Today, we will explore the teams in the NL West and how they fit with the Braves as trade partners this offseason:
The Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world last season when they traded superstar talent Justin Upton to the Braves in a multi-player deal. They were coming into the season with a very well-balanced team on paper that had power, speed, contact, pitching, defense – a little bit of everything. They didn’t have one thing in 2013 that couldn’t be seen on paper, however: health. The Diamondbacks had 600 plate appearances from three players, but then not a single player over 475 appearances. They did have two 200-IP starters, but then not a single starter other than those two cleared 150 IP. There were some nice emergences in 2013, however, with Paul Goldschmidt having arguably the best offensive season in the National League, Gerardo Parra emerging as arguably the best defensive outfielder in all of baseball, and Patrick Corbin showing a lot of toughness throughout the season after a tough stretch in the middle.
What can they trade with the Braves: Arizona has some depth at 2B, but the contracts of their guys at 2B are very similar to Uggla for just a small step up in production. I’d love Aaron Hill on the team though he seems to have injury issues, and any Brave fan has nothing but love for Martin Prado. Sadly, neither is likely to be Braves in 2014.
The Rockies, as many predicted, were terrible in 2013 for a second straight season. They picked a possible future ace in Jonathan Gray in this year’s draft and will be hoping for a similar find in 2014. The issue is that they have two stars signed for big money for many years into the future. Troy Tulowitzki has found his way into trade rumors this offseason, though only with the Cardinals, who could offer the kind of Erik Bedard/Mark Teixeira sort of package that could turn around the Rockies franchise and infuse the whole system with talent. This would be a very intriguing move. The Rockies could also turn Michael Cuddyer‘s batting title into a way to move him for solid prospects as well or spin Dexter Fowler to someone as a leadoff hitting center fielder for prospects as well.
What can they trade with the Braves: I have always been a big fan of Jorge De La Rosa‘s stuff, but the Rockies picked up his option. He will only make $11M in 2014, and that could be a major bargain.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Excuse me while I curse a little. (@#$%#@@$^@$#%#@@) Okay, I feel better. The Dodgers seemingly have an unending payroll, but to their credit, they’ve put together a good team with that payroll. It’s hard to top Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke 1-2 in a rotation, nevermind following that with rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was tremendous in 2013. The team produced solid offensive numbers in spite of Matt Kemp basically not playing in 2013. The Dodgers have already made a splash in the offseason, signing Alex Guerrero from Cuba, and now they start what should be an exciting offseason for Dodger fans. It is possible the Dodgers will still be in the mix for Robinson Cano, they have the pieces and the ability to pay David Price on the trade market, and they can fill their bullpen with any piece they really desire in front of Kenley Jansen.
What can they trade with the Braves: Really nothing. The guys they have are too expensive for the Braves payroll or young enough to require too much of a trade package to acquire them.
San Diego Padres
The Padres showed a lot of grit and toughness in 2013, outplaying their Pythagorean record by four whole games. They had some solid showings from young players on the team, and they only have 5 guys under contract for 2014 at this point, none of whom will earn $10M+. They may choose to shop Chase Headley again this offseason, though they won’t get nearly as much for him in this offseason as they would have last year without absurd trade demands. The other piece they could move is Huston Street, though teams seem to be numb to the words “Huston Street on the trade block” at this point. The Padres have some very good young talent coming up and could be a team to challenge for a playoff spot out of the West in the years to come if things fall right.
What can they trade with the Braves: There are some intriguing ideas in San Diego. Nick Hundley is under contract for 2014 at $4M, but San Diego seems to want Yasmani Grandal to take the position if he can kick the PEDs. He could be had at the right price. Also, with Jedd Gyorko entrenched at 2B and Headley at 3B, Logan Forsythe is expendable for the Padres, and he’s got an intriguing bat that didn’t perform excellent in 2013, but he had a .340+ OBP in 300+ PA in 2012 and has solid history at this level in the minors. He might be a good utility guy even if the Braves stick with Uggla.
The Giants already made the biggest argument in the 2013 offseason, signing Tim Lincecum for a 2-year, $35M deal when many were debating if he should even be given a $14M qualifying offer. They also signed Hunter Pence to a 5 year, $90M extension before letting him hit free agency. While it’s nice for them to have these players in the fold again, this is a team that was 76-86 last season and returns virtually the entire team. They are making a move for another starter and have kicked the tires on veterans like Tim Hudson and A.J. Burnett. There have been rumors that they make a big move for someone like Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, and while that would be intriguing, it’d put them into a tough spot financially. Keeping up with the Joneses (or the Dodgers, in this case) could be tough to bankroll for this very proud organization.
What can they trade with the Braves: Once again, there aren’t a lot of good fits here. Marco Scutaro is old and a team leader, so he’s not available. Buster Posey isn’t going anywhere, likewise Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner. Here’s hoping they simply stay away from over-bidding Mr. Hudson.
Outside of San Diego, there doesn’t seem to be a lot to like in the division. What do you think may interest the Braves?