July 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Farm System, Prospects, Transactions
So we’ve got the Trade Deadline coming up on July 31st. Exciting times in the baseball world. Just a quick run down, here’s what it means.
- Until 4:00 PM, clubs can file paperwork and trade any player not on the DL without any restrictions.
- A flurry of trades usually happen in the days and hours leading up to this deadline.
- After 4:00 PM, clubs can still make trades, but the involved players have to pass through waivers first. You see a lot of big contracts moved during that period (they’re more likely to clear waivers). Here’s an article on the 4 types of waivers (trade included).
- If a player is put on trade waivers, he either clears and can be traded or he doesn’t and one of the following happens:
- The team that controls the player can pull him back off of waivers. He can’t be placed on trade waivers again that season.
- The claiming team can have the player for nothing provided they assume his contract.
- The two teams can work out a trade for the player.
So it’s not really a deadline. But it sorta is. So we’ll take a look at what we can expect from the Braves this upcoming deadline.
If They Buy: If the Braves decide they need another piece or two, there are two obvious places the club could stand to upgrade. The first, and the most likely to acquire, is another reliever. The Braves were 13th in bullpen ERA in the 1st half and 4 of the relievers were heavily used. Adding a veteran reliever that can pitch in the late innings would take some stress off the bullpen. While the late innings group has been very good, they could use some rest and a shot in the arm. Potential targets include George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Scott Downs, Chad Qualls, Jon Rauch, John Grabow, Juan Cruz, and Takashi Saito. The other obvious need is for a power bat. Someone with some home-run pop. Considering nobody on the team really has too much home run power, adding a bat who can hit for some power would have a disproportionate effect. But the club has played well without one as of late. 1st Base and either corner outfield position could stand to be upgraded. Interestingly, those are the easiest places to find power-hitters. I won’t list potential candidates, there are too many.
If They Sell: It doesn’t look like the club will be looking to sell, but if they do for some reason, there are a few pieces that could be moved. Javier Vazquez, who has no-trade protection to the nine western division teams, could be moved for massive value. He’s been one of the best starters in baseball. He’s signed through 2010. Two of the Braves’ late-innings bullpen arms are impending free agents–Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano. Both have been quite good and could also be moved for quite a bit of value. With the emergence of Prado, Kelly Johnson has become an expendable piece as well.
Could They Do Nothing?: Yes. Absolutely. The way the club is playing right now, they really don’t seem to need anything to make a playoff push. Frank Wren is reluctant to trade prospects at this point. He’s already traded away 3 in the McLouth deal and 4 in the Vazquez deal. So doing nothing seems probable. Unwillingness to mortgage the future is a good thing.
Overall, I expect the Braves will probably add a reliever as Mark Bowman noted, but I don’t foresee any major moves. Maybe we’ll see some in August. I don’t know. But this club is playing well right now, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the coming week.