The Defending Champs are Just as Problematic as the Braves…
if not WORSE. Boston is 5 games below .500 in the junior circuit. While that is not promising, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be in sell-mode due to the nature of their division (Like the NL East, no one is running away with it) and the addition of the 2nd Wild Card. As bad as they’ve played, their only 7.5 back of the division and 5 back in the Wild Card. Let’s take a look at their problems and decipher what they might need on the trade market.
Problem 1: Their outfield is the worst in baseball
If you think the woes in the Braves camp are bad, you haven’t frequented any Red Sox blogs in the past month. Like the Braves, the Red Sox are a wholly holed team with certain needs. With Shane Victorino on the shelf (he looks to be able to return at month’s end), the Sox have been desperately trying to fill holes in their offensively-depleted outfield. Their first attempt to fill the “Flying Hawaiian’s” shoes was released last night in the form of Grady Sizemore. Grady’s numbers are really no worse than the others that roam the outer-green, but they can’t just release EVERYONE! They’d likely take a flyer on almost anyone.
Problem 2: Their back-end starting pitching
For the most part, the Braves have had 7 guys that have been solid in the starting rotation, giving them the 2nd lowest ERA in the NL among starters. Boston is 10th in the junior circuit in starters’ ERA and currently plugging holes with smokescreens such as Rubby de la Rosa and Brandon Workman, neither of whom seem like long-term candidates to hold down a rotation spot. Both Clay Bucholz and Jake Peavy have pitched poorly this year.
There are 2 ways the Braves could make a trade, one being very unlikely and the other being formidable. Let’s look at the unlikely trade first:
The Dreaded Bad Contract Swap:
Contracts- Jake Peavy is under contract through 2015 (has a player option that he’d simply be MAD to turn down) for 15 million and Clay Bucholz is under team control through 2015 at 7 million this year and 12million next year. He then has 2 team options 13 million.
Why it could work- B.J. will be owed approximately 53 million through the rest of his contract. Sending 23 million cuts his contract down to 30 million for 3.5 years (essentially buying out 1.5 years of his contract). Gavin Floyd is an absolute bargain at 3-5 million for the rest of the year (depending which incentives are activated). Obviously, the Braves will be on the hook for Peavy’s or Bucholz’s entire contract.
The More-likely Scenario:
Why it could work- The Sox have a serious surplus of LH relievers and Capuano seems likely to be the most expendable. As stated before, the Sox are likely to take a flier on almost anyone to fill the void in their OF . Schafer likely won’t be of impact, but he at least provides defensive value, of which Daniel Nava does not. The Sox are also awful defensively in the outfield therefore a late inning replacement in LF or RF might interest them. Ideally, Daniel Nave becomes the LH platoon for B.J. Upton, shifting Jason Heyward to CF. The Braves are obviously getting the better player in Nava, but are giving the better pitcher in Floyd.
What other trade matchups do you see that the Braves/Red Sox could pull off?