Monday, November 9, 2009

Chips on the Table: The Braves' "Tradeable" Players

So, we've already gotten through the Adam LaRoche situation.

Now, let's talk about the guys the Braves could be shipping out for some hole-filling.

Here, in my mind, are the guys on the block from the Braves' '09 payroll.

  1. Derek Lowe
    Bad contract coming of a bad year; this one's pretty simple.
    But who would want him?
    Brewers? Cubs? Mets?
    You've gotta think "money-absorbing" over "talent-laden" in Lowe's situation when you're looking at potential suitors.

Yeah...that's pretty much it.

Coming off an 86-win season, you don't want to mess too much up.

Here are the potential "centerpieces" in deals for a middle-of-the-order hitter.

  1. Javier Vazquez
    Spectacular career-year in '09, and, at this point, his value has never been higher.
    Why trade him then?
    For me, Vazquez's '09 is too much unlike his career numbers to tell me that he'll sustain it for an extended period of time.
    It's either address the team's needs now, or wait until mid-July when Vazquez may have a 4.00 ERA (on the same hand, he may have a 1.02 with another team and make me look like an idiot).
    You've gotta sell-high on this guy if you are given the opportunity to get a legit-hitter.
  2. Kris Medlen
    It's not so much that Medlen would be a "centerpiece" as much as he would be a "very tempting piece to get the other guys to take less."
    He's young with a live arm and experienced success in his stint in the Big Leagues; or just what a rebuilding team with a large contract on the books is looking for.
  3. Martin Prado
    Prado's situation, in my opinion, is like Medlen's and Vazquez's rolled into one.
    He wouldn't be the one guy that could almost get a deal done on his own as much as he is, when paired with another guy, an enticing entity.
    Add to that the potential for a one-and-done-year career, and you have another perfect sell-high opportunity.
    Yeah, he played hard, and yeah, he earned his keep, but if the, just an example, Cardinals come shopping Albert Pujols and say "We want X, Y, Z, C, and Martin Prado," you'd have to think about letting him go (and, yes, I know that situation would never come up).

These are guys that would be traded if and only if the right player were to come along.

I'd rather not see any of them traded, but, as the old baseball cliche goes, you have to give up value to get value.

Now come the biggest part in any trade talk: the complementary pieces.

  1. Kenshin Kawakami
    Kenshin Kawakami is neither an elite pitcher nor an immaculate prospect.
    But what he is is a very solid three or four starter in any rotation outside of Atlanta, and that is something a lot of teams would be looking for in the trade market.
  2. Cody Johnson
    Power? Check.
    K's? Unfortunately, also a check.
    Cody Johnson is a frustrating guy to evaluate.
    He's got a shot at being the next Adam Dunn, but he could also strike out 250 times.
    With Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer already on the verge of Major League readiness, this is a guy you'd have to call expendable, and if a suitor with a little time to spare in the outfield comes knocking, I'd let him go.
  3. Brandon Hicks
    Yet another frustrating prospect.
    His bat has been projected as above-average and his defense as epic.
    So far, he's at the latter and struggling to make it to the former.
    Right now, he would be serviceable as a back-up middle-infielder and could become a lighter-hitting Yunel Escobar.
    You'd like to keep him as an emergency future-3B (catastrophic injury to Jones) or as an option at 2B down the road, but neither of these are things the Braves need at this juncture, so he is expendable,
  4. This is going to be a small wad of pitching prospects that could have value in the right deal (in order of best-to-least-value):
    Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Todd Redmond, James Parr, Jo-Jo Reyes
    Here, I have potential stud, potential stud, good long-relief/5th-starter option, OK ceiling, and Jo-Jo.
    All are guys that could make-or-break a deal (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating about Reyes...but you get my point).

These are the guys that wouldn't catch the headlines in any deal, but they would mean a lot to the teams getting them.

As GM (this IS part of that series), this would be a relatively tough decision.

The talent the Braves have warming in the minors and the talent that's already roaming the Ted make you pause when you're looking at trades, but here is what I propose to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as my one "blockbuster trade":

Right here.

Yeah, that's right.

I had the audacity to link an old article from Carolina Co-Op.

There, I outlined my ideas thoroughly, so you can read (it was written about two weeks ago, so some of the info is outdated).

Here, I'll give you the gist of what I said.

Braves Get: Juan Rivera, Jason Bulger
Angels Get: Kenshin Kawakami, Kris Medlen, Cody Johnson, Randall Delgado

Here, I will also just give you the Braves' perspective.

The Braves, while giving up a lot of talent, would be netting what they'll be pursuing this offseason in a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter (Rivera is a consistent .280/25 homer guy when he's been given his shots in crowded outfields) and a bullpen arm (Bulger is a little older, but he has potential).

Unable to find a taker for Lowe, I have also decided to keep him (JJ and Hanson kinda balance him out...right?).

So let's recap the moves by the Cameron Britt-run Braves thus far:

We've traded, all told, Kris Medlen, Kenshin Kawakami, Cody Johnson, Brandon Hicks, Cody Johnson, Randall Delgado, James Parr, and a A-ball pitcher of the Marlins' choice for Jorge Cantu (new 1B), Juan Rivera (new LF), Brian Sanches (RHP), and Jason Bulger (RHP).

We've also retained Tim Hudson (as the real-life Braves did) and Derek Lowe, and let Adam LaRoche walk.

Next up: The other Free Agents to-be

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