Last night’s game really chapped my hindquarters as I’m sure it did to most of you, as well. The easy part about being a Braves’ fan has always been that the players on the field were easy to root for because they carried themselves with dignity and class while playing the game. It may be my old school mentality but I’m really sick of seeing the bat fly, helmet slam and hearing the blatant F-bombs that fly from the mouths of players after an unproductive out. However, the biggest issue for me came from B.J. Upton the other night when the microphone picked up his accusation after being called out on a strike that was very much a strike; “That’s not a strike on Trout”. If it wasn’t a strike on Trout, it sure as heck should have been.
Get to the point, man…
Regardless of my personal feelings towards B.J. or any other player that lacks professionalism from time to time, the Braves need not explore trade options that don’t fix what doesn’t need fixing. There have been early rumors that the Braves are interested in acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs, which would insinuate that the Braves need starting pitching help. On the contrary, the Braves are 2nd in the National League, trailing only the St. Louis Cardinals in ERA among their starters (3.20). Not only do the Braves not need a starter, but they actually have 2 extra that, if necessary, could be ready by week’s end. The time to trade one of Aaron Harang, Gavin Floyd, or even Ervin Santana will come soon coinciding a move for Alex Wood back to the rotation. A rotation of Teheran, Minor, Wood, and 2 of the 3 listed above will be quite sufficient to take us to the playoffs. There is, however, need to improve the offense. Which is where these series of wild and crazy trades come from. Bare with me…
Both Gavin Floyd and Aaron Harang have pitched brilliantly in a Braves uniform and are the definition of selling high. While it’s likely the Braves will be trading one of these 2 guys, I think it’d be wise to look at trading both. Neither will be pitching in a Braves uniform next year and the Braves could really use them to grab some useful parts to plug other holes on the current team and in the Minors. Trading these 2 in separate deals for a Utility Infielder under team control, a LOOGY under team control, and some Minor League prospects would be maximizing their value.
Here is my first idea: The Oakland Athletics are expected to have Josh Reddick back in about a week, therefore Craig Gentry becomes the 4th/5th OF in a crowded outfield. They’re also in need of a starting pitcher. Gavin Floyd for Craig Gentry and Daniel Robertson- Craig Gentry is a 4th OF who is capable of being a starting CF for many teams. In my opinion, he is like Martin Prado in terms of underrated ability due to average Minor League numbers that have translated to better, or equal, Major League numbers. He has performed essentially equal to he Minor League numbers, and although his overall numbers leave much to be desired this year, he gets on base and runs quite successfully. Daniel Robertson is a budding shortstop prospect in their organization who scouts say doesn’t have the range for shortstop and will be used as a 3rd baseman. Here are a few other names that might do in a trade with Oakland: Chad Pinder, Billy Burns (should get him just for the name as he stole 74 bases last year, only caught 7 times).
Here goes my 2nd idea: Trade Aaron Harang for Brian Matusz. Matusz was groomed to be a starter in the minors, but his inability to keep right-handed batters at bay has turned him into a reliever. As a LOOGY, Matusz has been very successful as left-handers have a .616 career OPS against. Matusz is under team-control for 2 more years, and while he’ll become an expensive LOOGY, the Braves can rest assured that he’ll be trustworthy in his role.
This leads up to the grand finale, the dreaded bad contract swap. I’m not even going to build it up anymore…
Trade B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer, David Hale and Dan Uggla, plus 25 million dollars over the course of the next 4 years to the Chicago Cubs for Edwin Jackson, Emilio Bonifacio and Nate Schierholtz. This is essentially trading off 5 players of which have underperformed for their current teams and could use a change of scenery. Edwin Jackson’s peripherals suggest he’d be just fine with a good defense behind him. In this scenario, the Braves will use a platoon throughout the rest of the year where Craig Gentry starts in CF against LHP and Schierholtz starts in RF against LHP with Heyward jumping between CF and RF. The Braves can then re-explore the market for a CF that’s capable of putting the ball in play regularly or, if Gentry succeeds in his role, employ him to be that CF.
Recap the Madness
Braves get Edwin Jackson, Nate Schierholtz, Brian Matusz, Emilio Bonifacio, and a prospect.
Braves give: 25 million, B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla, Jordan Schafer, David Hale, Aaron Harang, Gavin Floyd
New 25-man roster- Lineup: 1. Heyward 2. La Stella 3. J. Upton 4. Freeman 5. Gattis 6. C. Johnson 7. Schierholtz/Gentry 8. Simmons
Rotation- 1. Teheran 2. Minor 3. Wood 4. Santana 5. E. Jackson
Bullpen- 1. Kimbrel 2. Walden 3. Simmons 4. Avilan 5. Matusz 6. Varvaro 7. Carpenter
Bench- 1. Laird 2. Doumit 3. Bonifacio 4. Schierholtz/Gentry 5. Pena
Do I think these will all happen? Heck no, but at least they’re plausible.