Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Third Edition of Atlanta's Offseason Moves: Royalty in Atlanta

Of late, rumors have been swirling over the availability of Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.

AL Clubs have been at the center of the possible Prince Fielder Sweepstakes, but I have an interesting proposition.

How about Atlanta?

Before you call me a hack, I know that I have no sources.

I'm speculating.

As a fan, that's my job.

Now, back to the post...

We all know that Atlanta needs power.

We all also know that Milwaukee needs pitching.

Atlanta's three and four hitters during the 2009 season were Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.

That's 18 and 21 home runs, or 39 combined.

Prince Fielder had 44.

Milwaukee's staff ranked 29th in baseball in team ERA at 4.84.

The Braves were fifth.

Milwaukee, who lead the NL in homers this past season, has hitting to spare.

The Braves have pitching and prospects to spare.

Here's the deal (with salaries):

Braves Get: Prince Fielder (10.5 MM)
Brewers Get: Javier Vazquez (10.5 MM), Kris Medlen (400K), Freddie Freeman (MiLB), Brandon Hicks (MiLB)

That may seem to be a lot for the Braves to let go of, but the one thing that separated them from the elite teams in baseball was the absence of a big-time power threat, and Prince Fielder is that.

The Brewers fell short in the bid for the NL Central because of their lack of pitching, and Javier Vazquez is that.

This trade gives the Brewers a premier front-of-the-rotation pitcher who could also serve as a great tutor for young ace-in-waiting Yovani Gallardo as well as a plus-MLB-ready starter/reliever in Kris Medlen, the replacement for Fielder in Freeman, and a good prospect in Brandon Hicks.

From the Braves' perspective, they get a young power-threat (albeit a left-handed one) to insert between Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.

This, depending on which side of the fence you're on, may seem like a lot for the Braves to give up (or maybe not enough if you're a Brewers fan)

After all, Vazquez was one of the premier National League pitchers in 2009, and Kris Medlen,
Freddie Freeman, and (to a point) Brandon Hicks are all very good prospects.

But when the strategy for winning in Bobby Cox's final season in Atlanta is planned, the choice between one of the Free Agent 1Bs, Freddie Freeman, or Prince Fielder is presented, which is the best choice?


The one hitch for each team is the signability of each of the centerpieces.

Fielder and Vazquez are each free agents following 2010 and (if one departs from either team without the other doing the same) could make this trade a bust for whichever side loses their star.

Braves fans are far too familiar with big-time first-basemen becoming too expensive following a big exodus of Minor Leaguers.

However, a Braves' run towards the Series or a Milwaukee playoff push would certainly make it easy for each side to retain their guy.

But, if the Braves really ARE serious about getting power, then it's going to cost them somewhere, be it the farm or their wallet.

Why not let is be someone like Fielder?

A line-up of McLouth, Prado, Jones, Fielder, McCann, Escobar, Heyward, Diaz/Schafer is dangerous.

Combine that with a rotation of Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, Lowe, and Kawakami

Once again, I don't have any evidence that this is even on the table.

And, as a Braves fan, I don't know how a Milwaukee fan would respond to a package like that.

But I feel that an ace, plus-plus MLB-experienced pitcher, excellent first base prospect, and above average infield prospect make this a fair deal.

But, if you think more should be added from Atlanta's side, here are pieces that could be interchanged with the deal I have standing: Jordan Schafer, Todd Redmond, Cody Johnson, Craig Kimbrel, Van Pope, Randall Delgado, and Julio Tehran.

Just don't say Heyward or Hanson.

Obviously, this would hinder any of the other plans for Atlanta this offseason, but Prince Fielder would be plenty for me.

So, what do you think?

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