Friday, July 24, 2015

Trade Deadline Is Near - Braves looking to make moves

What is the right fit? What do the Braves have that teams want and do those teams have the depth to make it happen?

The Braves have some nice chips that they could move if an interested party were to offer up a package that fits what the Braves are trying to do. Based on being 7 games out at the break, one would think that John Hart and Co. would continue to look to the ultimate end game of being good in 2017 when they move into SunTrust Park. All the moves thus far have had an eye on that being the end game. Even more recent moves involving older players are now solid trade chips to bolster the farm, create a pipeline of talent and create depth so future trades for proven players is available when the time is appropriate. All the arms they are gathering is great but as we saw with the big 3 throughout the 90's and early 2000s great pitching can cover up a lot of offensive warts but at some point you need to have a consistent offense and an increase of power, one capable of putting up some runs to aid these good young arms and lessen the amount of stressful innings they have from night to night. It is hard for young arms to pitch in 2-1 games all the time. Being last in baseball with under 60 Home Runs this season thus far needs to be addressed. It would be nice if Hart can be creative enough to get some young power in the ATL.

When the season began there were a lot of “experts” that had written off the Braves this season and gave them no chance of finishing higher then last place in the East. Thankfully the Phillies look to be tough to wrestle that position away from. Going into the All Star Break the Braves are 7 games behind Washington for the East lead. Sure it is well within reach but fans should not be fooled. The team is not in a position to contend this year. They are a competitive team but not ready to be a playoff team yet.

After an off season that saw guys like Jason Heyward Justin and Melvin Upton Jr. Evan Gatis, and Craig Kimbrel shipped out for prospects and more controllable contracted players. The Braves were not expected to field anything near a competitive team. Thankfully for the players that were left and the fans that still wanted to see some decent baseball the Braves have played just under .500 ball.

Last year the team was an all or nothing squad. It was, for the most part and Home Run or bust team that were victims of the strike out more often then not. This year most of those guys are gone and replaced with contact hitters and play a more traditional National League style of ball. Contact and speed seem to be more the focus. This “small ball” mentality makes for much more enjoyable to watch. Sure it is nice to see the Home Runs hit, but when the power dries up it is a very painful game to watch. It is hard to watch the starters trow a good game and not get any support. As stated before. it difficult on pitchers both mentally and physically. Those bright young arms can throw much more freely when they get some help and take some of the pressure off.
To continue on with the plan the Braves need to look to move some guys that are not going to fit into the long term plan and are nice trade chips should the Braves manage to find a suitable dance partner with the right combination of players or prospects. Guys like Cameron Maybin, Juan Uribe and Jim Johnson and maybe Chris Johnson's contract. If the Braves can use these guys to further increase the depth at the minor league level or pick up a young controllable bat that could be very beneficial to the club going forward. What is also nice is a extra bit of money that will be freed up when the cash owed to Dan Uggla is off the books. Money+ Prospects = Flexability

John Hart has shown he is not afraid to deal and if he can take these players and sell high he needs to do so. Even by moving some or all of these players they are still going to be able to field a competitive team. If you can still supply watchable baseball and strengthen your organization at the same time, it is a no brainer.

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