So, after some time to mourn Victor Caratini‘s loss to the organization, I began to realize that he was the organization’s only loss over the trade deadline and the acquisitions made were (as predicted by MLB.com’s Mark Bowman) a bench bat and a LOOGY. I wondered how it could have looked for the Braves were money no issue, and if the team was all-in for 2014. I chose to focus on those names exchanged only on the 31st, not guys like Jeff Samardzija or Felix Doubront, who moved at least a day before the deadline, and I picked 5 deals to put the team all-in for 2014. The biggest rule was that in order to get the deal, the Braves would have to offer more than the original deal. Finances are not a consideration here, neither are long-term extensions for anyone acquired.
Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 competitive balance draft pick
This one would have been perfect for the Braves. Gomes would have been a great addition off the bench, and Lester plus Julio Teheran in the playoffs would have been a great pairing. The big issue the Braves would have trouble matching up with is the 2015 competitive balance pick, something key for Boston since they were giving up the right to a compensation pick for Lester if he left.
My Offer: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for Justin Upton and Mauricio Cabrera
Better player with similar contractual control in Upton vs. Cespedes, but to beat that compensation pick, I had to put in one of the Braves’ higher upside arms into the deal.
Would I Do The Better Deal? Yes
Gerardo Parra for Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger
Parra was easily my favorite outfielder on the market, and with Gomes on board, we need a platoon partner for him. Parra offers the additional benefit of being able to play anywhere in the outfield with exceptional defense and not embarrass himself at the plate. The cost here was very minimal, seeing as neither prospect was in the Brewers’ midseason top 20 that MLB.com just released for each team (more on that later this weekend). Banda is a guy that the Diamondbacks originally drafted late in the 2011 draft and the Brewers got in 2012 after Banda went to JC for a year. Both are really organization filler type of players, so this shouldn’t be difficult to “one-up”.
My Offer: Gerardo Parra for choice of 2 packages – 1. Jordan Schafer and Ryne Harper, 2. Josh Elander and Wes Parsons
Either package is stronger than the one received from the Brewers, so it’s really the Diamondbacks’ preference if they wanted guys who were able to contribute immediately or in the very near future as Schafer and Harper could or if they’re more interested in upside of guys a few more years away like Elander and Parsons.
Would I Do the Better Deal? Yes
This was a great haul for the Red Sox. If I were one of those prognosticators that enjoyed grading trade deadline results, the Red Sox would have received the top grade I gave out for a “seller” in the market. Rodriguez is a highly-regarded arm that throws from the left side. He’s in AA at 21 and, though his numbers have slipped some this year, even if he ends up in the bullpen, his arsenal as a lefty in the bullpen could be unhittable.
My Offer: Andrew Miller for Lucas Sims
Yeah, this sounds like a huge package to give up for a LOOGY, but it’s equivalent to what the Orioles gave, and there’s really no way to get any higher in the Braves system. The one thing to take into account is that the Orioles had to pay a premium due to being in the same division as the Red Sox, but we’re operating on a basis of having to beat the actual deal, other issues be darned.
Would I Do the Better Deal? No. This means we would still need a LOOGY as the final two deals I will examine here aren’t LOOGYs either.
Martin Prado for Peter O’Brien and a PTBNL/cash
I’ll be honest that this one hurts my heart a bit. It will not be easy to watch Martin put on a Yankee uniform. The return was underwhelming to say the least as well. O’Brien is a power-only hitter who has no real position as he’s a pretty bad defender. He was not in the top 20 of the Yankee preseason prospect list, and that’s not exactly a highly-thought-of minor league system. The reports on the PTBNL is that the Yankees will most likely accept cash, and the rumor is that it is less than $1M of cash.
My Offer: Martin Prado for Victor Caratini and Aaron Northcraft
Caratini is a pretty highly regarded prospect, a top 5-7 prospect in the Braves system (MLB.com had him #7, and that was the lowest I’d seen him) with excellent defensive skills both at catcher and third base. The inclusion of Northcraft is mostly because of the helium O’Brien has received for his home runs this year in order to better the offer they got for Prado.
Would I Do the Better Deal? Yes.
My Diamondbacks Offer: Martin Prado, Gerardo Parra, and Oliver Perez for Victor Caratini, Jordan Schafer, JR Graham, Cody Martin, and Wes Parsons
With the Miller deal being too strong and already making a move on two Diamondbacks, I figured we’d pursue one of the best LOOGYs on the market as well. Perez very well may still be on the market in August as well, and the Braves would be wise to go after him, even after acquiring Russell. This is much more rich than any individual deal for Prado or Parra combined, and the addition of Perez is why the Braves plug in 4 of their top 20 prospects into this deal.
Would I Do the Better Diamondbacks Offer? Yes
David Price for Nick Franklin, Drew Smyly, and Willy Adames
This is the one that’s a little complicated because this was a three-way deal where the Tigers traded away Smyly, Adames, and Austin Jackson to get Price, but the Mariners got Jackson in exchange for sending Franklin to Tampa Bay. The Braves have pieces to definitely go after this deal, but it would hurt the hearts of fans.
My offer: David Price for Tommy La Stella, Mike Minor, and Johan Camargo
I would do this offer in a heart beat, but realize that it is based on what has been acquired already above. Prado would occupy 2B, so La Stella is movable, and with Lester and Price added to the rotation, Minor is movable.
Would I Do the Better Offer? Yes.
So, after this writer’s all-in trade deadline, this would be the Braves roster:
C – Evan Gattis
1B – Freddie Freeman
2B – Martin Prado
3B – Chris Johnson
SS – Andrelton Simmons
LF – Gerardo Parra/Jonny Gomes
CF – B.J. Upton
RF – Jason Heyward
Bench – Gerald Laird, Ramiro Pena, Parra/Gomes, Ryan Doumit
SP – Jon Lester, David Price, Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood/Aaron Harang
RP – Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Walden, Oliver Perez, David Carpenter, David Hale, Anthony Varvaro, Shae Simmons, Wood/Harang
I would love to head into the playoffs with that lineup and rotation. Money would never allow it, and that’s why this is all an exercise in fun, but it’s nice to dream now and then. The best part of this whole exercise is that while I had to beat each deal, the Braves were able to hold onto Lucas Sims and Jose Peraza, their two top prospects.