Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

10 Jul

Trade season is upon us

I’m creating a new category, “Trade Winds”. I see these entries as kind of a collaborative effort; I’ll open the subject with a post and ask for comment. (How this differs from anything else around here is all in my feeble little mind.) This first entry is kind of long.

Anyway, it’s about the time of year when the teams that are out of it start dealing off veterans. We’ve seen a couple — the White Sox’s acquisitions of Alomar and Everett. But who cares about them? What are the Braves going to do? As I see it, there are four areas the Braves could be looking to make an addition:

1. The bullpen
2. The bench
3. The rotation
4. Third base

The Braves haven’t normally tried to shore up the bullpen during the season. They got Pena in 1991 and Reardon in 1992, of course, but since then the only year they made trades was 2001, when they dealt Rocker for Reed and Karsay, and also got Rudy Seanez. On the other hand, they’ve normally been able to build bullpens from within. For whatever reason, they haven’t been able to do that this year. I think they’ll trade for a reliever or two.

By bench, I mostly mean a reserve outfielder. They don’t really need a pinch-hitter with the Franco Brothers around, and though he hasn’t played well DeRosa should be okay as a utility infielder. I’d like to dump the Personal Catcher, but I doubt there’s any chance of that. So the best possibility of improving the bench is replacing Darren Bragg. I personally feel that there are useful players in the organization who could do that, but I’m guessing that Scheurholz or Cox feels they want someone with significant major league experience. If you look at the rosters from the last dozen years, the Braves have almost always had a veteran outfielder as their top reserve. (The exception is 1997, when Andruw was the “fourth outfielder” but played about as much as starters Klesko, Lofton, and Tucker, and 1993, when they had Deion.) I figure there’s a good possibility they’ll look to add someone of the Mike Deveraux/Luis Polonia class, someone who’s been a regular but isn’t anymore, with the added qualification that he can handle center at least for a few innings.

Nobody’s happy with the rotation, but making a move here is (in my opinion) unlikely. For one thing, Horacio Ramirez would be demoted to fifth starter, and he’s been the Braves’ second best starter. (And Bobby seems to have confidence in him.) Replacing Shane Reynolds would be nice, but Reynolds wouldn’t pitch in postseason anyway, and the in-season value of replacing his starts and half of Ramirez’s with a middling starter isn’t that great even when you’re not 8 1/2 up. The way I see it, the Braves would likely make a move only if that means getting a good starter, at least a borderline ace. Most of the pitchers they’ve been mentioned in connection with simply aren’t of that caliber, though some could rise to that level. Someone like Brad Penny, for example, is roughly where Jason Schmidt was two years ago, and look at Jason now.

While we’d all like to be rid of Vinny, I just don’t see it happening. He’s the only hole in the lineup, and quickly becoming one from which no rallies can escape, but I just don’t think that the Braves will make a commitment to a third baseman with Andy Marte on the way up. And while we can dream about getting an outfielder and moving Chipper back to third, he hasn’t played an inning there in a year and a half. You might as well talk about moving Sheffield back to third.

Okay, then, what do you think?

11 Responses to “Trade season is upon us”

  1. 1
    Aaron Sturgill Says:

    I agree with you on everything except the rotation part. What about Sydney Ponson? He’d be a great pick-up and if I had to skip someone’s start (without that pathetic excuse for a pitcher Shane Reynolds in the rotaion) it would be Mike Hampton. Just my opinion and I’m sure you know a lot more than I do,

  2. 2
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’d skip Hampton too, but he’s not going to be skipped. I’m just being realistic.

    Ponson’s 17th in the AL in ERA. He’s just not much better than what we have.

  3. 3
    Tom Says:

    It seems you are right on. I really wish we could skip Hampton leading up to the allstar break so he could get a considerable period of time for his groin to heal. If the rumors of this being a problem are true he could really use the rest. I have thought all season that someone like Gabe White needs a tomahawk accross his chest.

    We shall see.

  4. 4
    clarke Says:

    What about moving Trey Hodges into the fifth starter, dumping Reynolds, and picking up a reliever with the empty spot left by Hodges? I just don’t know who we would trade to get another reliever…

  5. 5
    Rhett Says:

    I’d love to take one of those spare outfielders off of the Twinkies hands. Grab Bobby Kielty, for example. I would dearly love to move Chipper back to third base (he should never have been moved for the likes of Vinny Castilla.) This is not likely to happen, but it would be nice.

    I just hope the Braves don’t give away anything important for the future to grab a relief pitcher. We’ve struck gold on picking up non-tenders in the offseason for these slots. It didn’t happen this year, but if we scrounge around we should be able to find something.

  6. 6
    snellville jones Says:

    I would make a move for LaTroy Hawkins over in Minnesota. The guy is going to be a free agent at the end of the year and has already said he will not be resigning with the Twins. 1.79 ERA, 53 Ks in 45 IP (9 BB), and a 1.04 WHIP. As far as a fourth OF, how about Rickey Henderson? I’m pretty sure he can still play center, and he’s got a boatload of experience. Another bullpen option might be Andy Pratt. The kid has a ton of Ks, like 114, but if I recall correctly he did walk 50 or so. Could he follow the Hodges/Bong bullpen role?

  7. 7
    bledsoe Says:

    My prediction is that they go get Ligtenberg from the O’s for two horseflesh minor leaguers.

  8. 8
    JH Says:

    I agree with snellville jones about Hawkins. I think Hawkins would be a great pickup, as long as the Braves don’t have to give up too much to get him (not that I have too much confidence in Schuerholz’s abitily to avoid being snookered). I don’t see Rickey being a viable option due to his reputation as a troublemaker. I think, in reality, though, if given a chance, he’d do fine (Bonilla was supposed to be a troublemaker too–but I didn’t hear of them having any problems with him).

  9. 9
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Yeah, but that’s because Bobby didn’t have Rickey to play cards with.

    I’m working on a post about who the Braves might get for the outfield. My basic standards are that he’s got to have played regularly in the past, that he can play center for at least a few innings, and that he’s a longtime veteran.

  10. 10
    steve lofton Says:

    i think the braves should get a outfilder and put chipper back to thirdbase so they can get more power and have a good outfield. i think the braves should try to get a hard throwing RIGHT HANDER AND WITH SOME GOOD STUFF THATS WHAT I THIMK.

  11. 11
    dump Says:

    i love devo i still talk about him hes the best wax bbq all the way

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