Winter Meetings could be busy for Braves

Some general managers predict an eventful four days of wheeling and dealing at the Winter Meetings starting Monday in Dallas, and the Braves will be involved in plenty of rumors — whether they like it or not, and whether or not the reports have validity.

They are still looking for a shortstop and a power-hitting outfielder, and it’s no secret they are more inclined to trade for players than sign expensive free agents.

While Braves general manager Frank Wren rarely discusses with reporters any specific players he’s pursuing, officials with many teams aren’t nearly so tight-lipped. As a result, trade talk is leaked by some teams, fueling even more speculation.

Rumoring tends to become widespread this time of year, particularly around teams that choose to neither confirm nor quash most of the reports.

“I’ve actively shopped players this fall [according to some reports] that I haven’t even mentioned their names,” said Braves general manager Frank Wren.

Left fielder Martin Prado and pitcher Jair Jurrjens are Braves most often mentioned in trade rumors since October, with multiple teams either claiming to have had preliminary trade discussions for one of those two or at least heard through the grapevine that Prado and Jurrjens were available.

Both are coming off injury- or illness-plagued seasons and will command substantial raises through arbitration, Prado to a projected $4.5 million or more and Jurrjens about $5.5 million.

Because the Braves want to add offensive punch to the outfield and already have two of three spots occupied by center fielder Michael Bourn and presumably right fielder Jason Heyward (as long as he’s healthy), they’ve looked for an outfielder who could  play left field either full time or in a platoon (Matt Diaz, who generally excels against left-handed pitching, remains under contract).

Colorado’s Seth Smith has come up consistently in Braves-Rockies rumors, and he fits the description of platoon left fielder; he’s thrived against right-handed pitching. The Braves have reportedly been persistent in demanding a center fielder or center-field prospect from the Rockies in addition to Smith. Atlanta knows it could lose Bourn after the 2012 season, when the Scott Boras client is eligible for free agency.

The Braves effectively bid farewell to slick-fielding but weak-hitting veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez when they declined to offer arbitration. They didn’t want to pay him more than $3 million in arbitration, and won’t commit for more than one year to a shortstop — not with prospect Tyler Pastornicky waiting in the wings and exceptional fielding prospect Andrelton Simmons not far behind him.

The Braves would like to sign or trade for a veteran to serve as either a bridge to Pastornicky, if he were take over the position either later in the season or in 2013, or as a backup to Pastornicky, someone who could be there in case he struggles.

“I think that would be the minimum we’d want to do, get a veteran to be able to help him handle situations if [Pastornicky as starting shortstop] is the way we go,” Wren said. “But we’re very open minded in how we can configure that position.”

The Braves could possibly bring back shortstop Jack Wilson, a late-season 2011 addition who could also back second and third bases, but doesn’t hit much at all. Wren wouldn’t say Friday whether former Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria might be another option.

Pastornicky has no major league experience, limited high-minors experience – 128 games in Double-A, 27 games at Triple-A – and made 26 errors in 2011. Wren says the Braves saw enough in his performance the past two years, including a .314 average and .349 on-base percentage in ’11, to go to spring training with the speedy 22-year-old penciled in as a potential lineup regular.

“We’re comfortable with him at shortstop at the major-league level,” Wren said. “We think he’ll grow and get better, and offensively he’s shown us that he can handle the bat over the last year and a half. I think he’s at least a 20-plus stolen base player at the major league level, and his numbers in the minor leagues were double that.”

Wren knows that rumors are an almost unavoidable part of the social media-saturated world of pro sports.

“There’s certain times where you pick up the phone [to discuss a potential deal] and before you hang up somebody [in the media] has got it already,” he said. “That happens all the time. It makes it hard to deal with some teams, to get in-depth and talk about scenarios with them. There’s some clubs you can do that with and some you can’t trust.”

That’s only magnified in the Winter Meetings setting where hundreds of media members, agents and team officials are gathered in a sprawling hotel for four days.

In his four years as Braves GM, Wren has still managed to pull off notable trades without any prior leaks from either side of the deal. That included the trade for Nate McLouth from Pittsburgh in June 2009 and the Oct. 31 trade that sent Derek Lowe to Cleveland.

Wren said he and Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti had a recent discussion about how nice it had been to get the Lowe trade virtually completed on a Friday and for no mention of it to be leaked to the media until minutes before the deal was announced the following Monday.

If he had his druthers, every trade would happen that way, without any negotiations leaked to the media.

Three years ago the Braves weren’t so private with their dealings. Wren provided updates on some of the marquee players they were pursuing in trades and free agency, and each time one of those players landed elsewhere – Jake Peavy, A.J. Burnett, Rafael Furcal – it strengthened a perception that the Braves and Wren were floundering in their attempts to add big-time talent.

Since then he’s kept matters close to the vest, talking only in general terms about team needs and progress made toward filling them. When there are rumors of a Braves player on the block or a Braves inquiry about a free agent or trade possibility, the  leak is often from another team’s front office or an agent.

“It’s clearly our preference to get as much work done behind the scenes, out of the public eye and out of the press if we can,” Wren said, “because the more people know about it the more opportunity for things to blow up and not get done.

“I think we have a baseball group that doesn’t look to get their name in the paper but ultimately to get the job done, which is to make our team better. It’s a pleasure having conversations with teams that operate likewise. That allows you to do your due diligence without it hitting your paper the next morning.”

191 comments Add your comment

Scrub

December 2nd, 2011
6:35 pm

Brad

December 2nd, 2011
6:37 pm

OklahomaBrave

December 2nd, 2011
6:37 pm

Rent could be a good stop gap if that’s what wrens really going for.

birdpoop

December 2nd, 2011
6:39 pm

Can he trade Jim Powell and the braves broadcast team?

RBG

December 2nd, 2011
6:40 pm

would love to get renteria if just for the fact if we can get to the post season there is NOBODY i would rather have at bat for the Braves!

The Grinch

December 2nd, 2011
6:46 pm

Getting rid of Prado in order to get someone to platoon with Diaz doesn’t exactly get my heart racing. I expect it’ll go down differently than that.

JJ & Prado must go

December 2nd, 2011
6:53 pm

Come on Wren con someone into giving up talent for overrated average players.

Joey B.

December 2nd, 2011
7:14 pm

Wow. Great blog DOB!

From the outside looking in, I’m getting the feel something will occur in Dallas next week. Is that OF Bat Wren’s first priority?

Triple Lindy

December 2nd, 2011
7:19 pm

Out here in Colorado, the local radio guys are saying the Rockies and Braves are talking Prado, but the Braves want Dexter Fowler, which is a deal the Rox aren’t too hot on currently… Personally, as a life-long Braves fan, I love how Prado brings it and would hate to see him get traded.

tmc

December 2nd, 2011
7:22 pm

DO NOT TRADE MARTIN PRADO!

He is the glue on this team and a fan favorite.
He had a down year because of the staff infection…
You will piss off a large portion of the fan base if the braves trade him.
AND he can take over for Chipper at 3rd after next season.

Don’t DO IT!

AFAN

December 2nd, 2011
7:23 pm

we need two outfielders. we need a short stop. We need a third baseman back up.

Terrance

December 2nd, 2011
7:26 pm

I say Wren should inquire about White Sox OF Carlos Quintin. He would bring more power to lineup. Only problem is he would potentially be a one year rental. He would surely would want to test the market but with contracts coming off the payroll we could possibly sign him to an extension.

Sam

December 2nd, 2011
7:27 pm

Amazing video of a high school senior from Columbia TN who kicks the ball dead straight 75-80 yards in the air. He was successful on 54 of 54 attempts this season….100%. Now he needs a college team.

Watch for yourself…it is unreal!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_JKwgwFY3g

ChipsATurd

December 2nd, 2011
7:39 pm

I heard that Ken Griffey Jr is available to platoon in left. Oh, wait….

ohhhhYEAH

December 2nd, 2011
7:47 pm

Prado is not a third baseman. Sure, he can play there when needed, but his BEST position is by far second and thats where he belongs. Hes not as good defensively at third, and he doesnt have the power. And if these kids P’nicky and Simmons are that talented, it shouldnt be too hard transitioning one of them to third. Then we have a young, capable left side of the infield (presuming they can actually hit in the majors) and Ugg and Free-boy on the Right side of the infield. LF and a CF prospect should be, in my opinion, our main priority at this point

El Bravo

December 2nd, 2011
7:52 pm

DOB, have you heard any interest in bringing in a comeback player type project, such as JD Drew or Magglio Ordonez? JD still kills righties and would platoon nicely with Diaz. Magglio’s bat is still very productive…

Bob the Blogger

December 2nd, 2011
7:58 pm

We may not have seen the best of Prado as a hitter, especially as a power hitter. Most players power peaks in their late twenties to early thirties. Another left handed outfield bat is the last thing we need. Plus, as valuable as Prado is now, he’s that much more valuable if/when Chipper can’t play or if Uggla gets hurt. I can see him moving from position to position over his career in Atlanta as positions need to be filled similar to Mark Derosa.

garynpohio

December 2nd, 2011
8:02 pm

is sam a spam

jch

December 2nd, 2011
8:04 pm

I’m not so comfortable trading Prado for a platoon player – seems too little for what we all know, and have seen Prado do.

On the other hand, if we sign a LF, where does Prado play??? For the same reason as above I’d want him in the lineup every day.

Is it possible as a “super utility” guy spelling 2B, 3B and LF he could play every day?? Seems a bit unfair to Prado too bounce him around so much but with his apparent make-up and personality, I doubt he’d care too much especially knowing he would take over 3B full time when Chipper leaves.

[...] Manager Frank Wren arrives in Dallas on Monday for the start of Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, the question on many excitable and anxious fans minds is if Christmas will indeed come [...]

ohhhhYEAH

December 2nd, 2011
8:07 pm

Only problem with that theory Bob, is that you almost NEVER see someone reach their full potential that way. youre either a starter or a super utility, a la DeRosa or Infante. Moving someone you want in the lineup everyday all over the field isnt a good thing. You never get comfortable. I thikn that had a good bit to do with why he struggled this year, along with the staph infection. Major league players need to be comfortable to produce

JoshTown

December 2nd, 2011
8:11 pm

I just don’t see the point in letting Prado go for someone to act as a bridge, who’s been so popular with fans and in the clubhouse, the front office, etc. Prado seems to embody what a ballplayer is, and to me that’s the kind of guy you want on your side. I get Jurrjens being shopped because of our pitching depth, but I’d have to be blown away with a trade for Prado to lose that kind of presence in the clubhouse. I’m sure Wren will keep that in mind, but yikes.

ohhhhYEAH

December 2nd, 2011
8:24 pm

Thing is, its going to take a lot to get Prado away from us, everyone is freaking out for nothing. Wren is at least smart enough not to let a player of his caliber go for a rental or a platoon guy and that be the end of it. If hes trading Prado, we will have to get a major piece, i.e. a top-teir prospect AND at least a servicable every day player. He’s not gonna let him go for nothing

Uncleduke

December 2nd, 2011
8:40 pm

All I know is it sure is fun talking baseball in December

Coach

December 2nd, 2011
9:10 pm

Wren should be the GM of the year for trading off Lowe. I mean, to trade a guy that lost 17 games for a mid level prospect, and shed a third of his salary is a blessing. Not to mention, he opened up a roster spot for one of the young arms, kudos to him. I can see being concerned about rumors leaking out, I mean, look at the Peavy, Burnett and Furcal potential deals. I think that Wren has a particular player in mind to play left field, and will work a deal to get that bat this upcoming week. I think Wren is still kicking himself in the AZZ for hiring Larry Parrish, I think he got talked into that hiring if not bullied. By having 2 hitting coaches, you have 2 sets of eyes picking flaws out of hitters and keep hitters on track. Wren is no idiot, and he will receive the players that he is seeking sooner or later. People have to realize that the Braves are in the drivers seat. We have players that teams want, and teams will become desperate as the clock ticks. All Wren and his aids really have to do is sit back and let the teams come to them. Worst case, we start the season with both Prado and Jurrjens(which is not a bad thing), and if they are healthy and productive at the deadline, providing that we are in the thick of the playoff hunt, move them for impact players. If we were desperate, that’s one thing, but we’re not. The 2012 team will be better from all facets, but if we can get better, then Wren will make the moves that he feels will strengthen the team that much more. Next week will be an interesting one for the Braves, as I feel that chips will fall and we will get a right handed power bat and some minor league depth. I would be comfortable with Wilson coming back to mentor the kid at short. He has been around a bit, and plays a solid defense(Which is what this kid could take some notes on). It’ll be intersting if a deal gets done involving Jurrjens. With his injury history, we may not get quite the return like the Zach Greinke deal, but close. When he is healthy, he is lights out, but his injuries have alot to do with the conditioning that he does in the offseason, he definately needs to improve his offseason workouts if he wants to be recognized as a true ace.

Murda

December 2nd, 2011
9:35 pm

I trust Frank Wren will do something interesting.

ryan

December 2nd, 2011
9:55 pm

I wish we could that Cuban star everyone is taking about i know it wont happen .

tnbravesfan

December 2nd, 2011
10:13 pm

Hi David

I was wondering your thoughts on if the braves should add a Veteran starting pitcher like cj wilson to their rotation. Your thoughts would be appreciated

John Pappadoppagapoulas

December 2nd, 2011
10:31 pm

@birdpoop- Sir or Madam? I must respectfully disagree. Jim Powell and Don Sutton are a GREAT Braves broadcasters. Powell is a homegrown braves fan and his passion shows. He is very knowledgeable, yet he defers well to a hall of famer. I am thankful these guys accompany me on so many summer nights.

AdirondackDave

December 2nd, 2011
10:42 pm

Triple Lindy — Out there in Colorado what does Dexter Fowler bring to the table that the Rockies can’t seem to part with? Needing a second baseman, seems odd they wouldn’t be seriously considering all-star Prado for the guy…

Disgusted

December 2nd, 2011
11:03 pm

Seth Smith is not what the Braves need, If this is what Mr. Wren has to scramble for, you can thank the cheap corporate shirts at Liberty Media. Maybe Mark Cuban can have a change of heart and take another look at how other teams are ready to spend $$$$ and the Braves are stuck in the 1990’s with no hope for improvement.

tdmorgan

December 2nd, 2011
11:04 pm

tnbravesfan, there isn’t much of a reason to sign a veteran starter, we already have 8 potential starters not including Vizcaino (Hudson, Hanson, Beachy, Jurrjens, Medlen, Teheran, Minor, and Delgado). Why bring in another starter when we have been trying to clear spots for young cheap starters that will continue to get better. CJ Wilson is looking for close to a $20 million a year contract, we don’t need another one of those. Plus we don’t have the money for it.

Dennis Reynolds

December 2nd, 2011
11:04 pm

I’m not understanding what the fascination with getting a power hitting LFer. Isn’t our PH LFer in Prado’s old position?? I thought WREN was the one who said he wants to style the Braves after the way the game is headed!!!! Speed and defense!!!

This just doesn’t make sense to me. We were pretty high up last season in HR’s among the NL and none of us seemed to enjoy that formula. We need high OBP guys and pure hitters (like…PRADO..without the high OBP.)
I think Wren is a smart GM and I trust his decisions, but I really feel that trading Prado right now isnt a very good move, unless obviously you get something ridiculous in return.

Bill

December 2nd, 2011
11:20 pm

I too agree..John@10:31..on daily trips Jim & Don calling Braves games make my day..Please keep them.

Remarkable

December 2nd, 2011
11:42 pm

If Prado goes, who will platoon with Chipper and who will take over the position in 2013?

wayn-o

December 3rd, 2011
12:18 am

wonder what kind of package would pry McCutchen away from Pittsburgh? Bourn, McCutchen & Heyward, not that’s an outfield.

ray

December 3rd, 2011
12:25 am

why do we need a 29 yr old platoon OF like Seth Smith who hits left handed ? maybe, is it because he has 1 more year left on his contract and then we can have him leave for nothing like everyone else ?
Wheeler, Blackmon and Fowler , all Rockies other OFs, are better so why take Smith ? Wheeler hits right and Fowler is a switch hitter. Blackmon and Fowler are both from Georgia, but that doesn’t seem to work for us.
they need to expand the deal to a 2 for 2 where we get a better 2nd player than the one we give with Prado. that would make the deal equitable.
The MO remains ; the cheaper, the better. talent is only a secondary concern.

nelson

December 3rd, 2011
12:27 am

are really lost, if we really want to win should be signatures of height… you have a corporation owners is the more sh.%^%& that can happen to us. imagine. first time warner and now liberty media, which I’m crazy because they sell the team and is an owner willing to invest and want to win, these moves, good renteria is a good SS but there this available jose reyes, who the marlins offered 90 million because dream , the Braves sign Jose reyes in truth, and then john schuerholtz send a letter to fans that will not return to happen what happened to us this season and the moves that I’m looking at that they want to do, we pass through the same 2011 or worse, in a division where the marlins want pujols, reyes, buerhle, now signed to bell as November. and with a few strong pitching phillies , and u believe that we can really compete with these moves? I don’t think so.

Mountain Braves Fan

December 3rd, 2011
12:35 am

I would not trade Martin Prado for Seth Smith. Smith is not what the Braves need in left field for two reasons: (1) he bats lefty and the Braves lineup is already too left handed (2) he is strictly a platoon player who should not play vs. LHP with an OPS vs. LHP of .576. If Prado is to be traded, bring in a right handed power bat to play left field, someone along the lines of Carlos Quentin or Michael Cuddyer, or a switch hitter like Nick Swisher or Carlos Beltran. Otherwise, just keep Prado.

count_schemula

December 3rd, 2011
12:43 am

This is why I was against the Uggla signing when we made it. We already had a second baseman – Martin Prado. The opportunity cost of Uggla is the hole in left field.

Joe

December 3rd, 2011
12:49 am

If Seth Smith is the best the Braves and Wren can do, then 2012 is already shot doomed.

Also Mr. Wren, please think of next summer, after Tommy Hanson’s shoulder explodes again, that you could have kept Jurrens.

Toyo

December 3rd, 2011
1:12 am

Remember that Uggla was our power hitter, leader in al the power cats.

hmmmm.........

December 3rd, 2011
3:37 am

Why not move Prado to SS?

Gimpah & McError

December 3rd, 2011
6:11 am

Prado wants to play the infield and sticking around until 2015 to play 3B isn’t his idea of a good time. Make no mistake, Mr. Ego aka Gimper Jones will be back for a couple more years…

old man

December 3rd, 2011
6:25 am

Yes, I wonder if Prado may not have been miserable in LF last year, and maybe he has asked for a trade.

waterstim

December 3rd, 2011
7:53 am

Time for Liberty Media to sell: RIGHT NOW

BasementGM

December 3rd, 2011
8:32 am

I would offer JJ & Pastornicky to Rangers for our old friend Elvis and Nelly Cruz. Rangers want more front end starting pitchers and we get a long term SS and LF w/ power and speed. Then Andrus provides leadoff insurance in case we cant keep Bourne after this year.

Lemke's Knuckler

December 3rd, 2011
8:39 am

Prado for Seth Smith and Tim Wheeler or Nolan Arenado…yes

Prado for Seth Smith and Charlie Blackmon…hell no

Absolutely no reason to trade either Prado or Jurrjens unless the return is substantial. Wren has all the leverage, and he knows it. The other teams know it too, that’s why they keep leaking all of these crazy rumors. They’re just hoping enough rumors get back to Prado and Jurrjens, eventually they will ask to be traded and Wren loses the leverage. Dirty negotiation tactics, and I admire Wren for staying above it.

Too many people in this world willing to get what they want by any means necessary. Integrity is a dying art.

Lemke's Knuckler

December 3rd, 2011
8:44 am

“JJ & Pastornicky to Rangers for our old friend Elvis and Nelly Cruz”

Makes sense, an oft-injured pitcher with less than overpowering stuff and a marginal shortstop prospect for an All-Star shortstop and one of the better power right-handed bats in the league that just put up one of the best offensive displays in postseason history.

Daniels would be an idiot not to pull the trigger on that one.

ET

December 3rd, 2011
8:45 am

No comment… I’d rather keep my thoughts out of the media until I have consumated them.

garcia

December 3rd, 2011
9:06 am

Here is an unpopular thought: Larry Jones is holding this team back.

Yes, I like Chipper, but his long term injury woes have turned hiim into a shadow of the player he once was. The team can not rely on him to last an entire season. He is clearly no longer worth half of his contract.

The Braves are first, and foremost, a business. I understand that Chipper’s contract is guaranteed, but I think that if he lost his starting job, he would consider retiring. I would start Prado at third and spell him, from time to time, with Chipper. A couple of months of that, and Chipper will finally do what he should have done this off season……retire a Brave and wait for the call from The Hall.

World Be Free

December 3rd, 2011
9:07 am

The best trade would be the one made for new owners that give a hoot.

I agree on not trading Prado. Move to short would be interesting but what do you do next year when the kid comes up? Marty needs a permanent home. Stop platooning in left and get a guy that will play every day.

Paddy

December 3rd, 2011
9:20 am

The most telling aspect of this article is the trust issue. For Wren to admit that there are teams GM’s that he can’t trust to keep a secret is appaling. It was always a given that you kept your mouth shut and acted with professionalism. This” sign of the times” is disturbing!

Disgusted

December 3rd, 2011
9:26 am

The reason why we are hearing names like Prado and JJ moved is because ownership wants to replace them with younger or cheaper players You also have to give up something to get something. .

I am convinced that a healthy Prado will return to his 2009 and 10 level. When JJ is right, he is a solid number 2. The names you see the Braves linked to are either younger or cheaer players., They will have to pay Prads and JJ in the near future.

Our problem is Ownership & Wren and his baseball people have done a solid job keeping this team at least relevant.

Now, as the Marlins and Nats up their spending and our ownership keeps spending pretty much flat, how long we are relevant is a good and fair question.

I heard a Cameron Maybin rumor. He has been slow to develop offensively. I want more than 40 RBI from any starting OF with 516 AB.

Rob

December 3rd, 2011
9:32 am

Braves trade Prado…..my girlfriend will go ballistic!!!

extremus

December 3rd, 2011
10:06 am

If Liberty Media’s tax write-off eligibility expires after this December (I think that’s the case), then the biggest and hopefully happiest news for Braves fans may actually NOT come during the winter meetings. I hope someone local, human, and passionate about the Braves and Atlanta will step up and take over if/when that happens.

Lew

December 3rd, 2011
10:11 am

There has been absolutely no indication that Liberty Media will sell the team – or is even interested in doing so. IN addition, with the sale of the Dodgers imminent, it’s unlikely that two teams will be up for sale at the same time.

Even if they were sold – and to an individual instead of a corporation – there’s no guarantee that an owner would come in and spend millions more dollars to improve them. There are plenty of individual owners that dot spend diddly. Look at the Marlins.

Stanley

December 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

I like to paint dog houses.

Patrick

December 3rd, 2011
10:55 am

Everyone is correct on here

DOB, I love reading your blogs and your are usually always spot on with your ideas.

But how you could write something as false as Seth Smith fitting in nicely in left field, especially if it means giving up Prado

JUST SAY NO!

Felix

December 3rd, 2011
10:55 am

You guys go ahead and dream on, but I have no hopes that Wren will do anything significant to help the Braves. FW is the embodiment of the Peter Principle. We can only hope that he doesn’t do more harm with another idiotic move; i.e., Lowe/ K.K./McOut. Then, in addition to FW’s ineptitude, there is coach Frodo. The same Frodo who had the brilliant idea to pitch a completely inept Lowe in that critical next to last game of the season. One can’t build a team and the other can’t coach a team. Are you paying attention to the Marlins? The Marlins, who were a tough out in 2011, are building a stonger team, while Braves management/owners dither and sit on their hands.

Never forgetting Sept. 2011.

Patrick

December 3rd, 2011
10:56 am

Digusted…couldn’t you argue that Prado and Jurrjens are still young and cheap, they are both under 30 and still arb eligible.

TeheranTime

December 3rd, 2011
11:00 am

I keep waiting, so I will ask the question: When will the Braves EVER don’t anything?!

TeheranTime

December 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

That’s “do” anything.

El Bravo

December 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

DOB, a second question: what is your opinion of Seth Smith? When you look at his road numbers he seems like a very similar player to Prado with a better glove but lower batting average. I reckon the Braves true target is Arenado on that trade. Thoughts?

Colorado Brave

December 3rd, 2011
11:30 am

Please, please, please do not trade Prado or Jurrjens…especially not for Smith or Fowler. I watched them play and they are not what the Braves need. Fowler bounced back and forth from the Rockies to Triple A. Prado had an off year…so what. He will bounce back and be an All-Star next season, he is that good. When Jurrjens is healthy, he is a solid 2 and its hard to risk giving away a solid 2 these days…especially if you make it to the post season and face the likes of Philly or St. Louis with all their pitching.
Leave Prado and Jurrjens alone…leave the team alone. They will be better next season just as they are.

don

December 3rd, 2011
11:31 am

Instead of trading Prado, Chipper should retire. Prado has a future. Chipper only has a past. Of course, we need to realize that the Braves will be represented in these meetings by Wren. Our only hope is that his plane is grounded for a week in some small town in Arkansas that has no cell phone reception.

David O'Brien

December 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

DOB, a second question: what is your opinion of Seth Smith? When you look at his road numbers he seems like a very similar player to Prado with a better glove but lower batting average. I reckon the Braves true target is Arenado on that trade. Thoughts? — El Bravo

On the road in 2011, Seth Smith hit .283 with a .360 OBP, .817 OPS and 6 HRs in 287 at-bats. Pretty darn solid.

I like him a lot as a platoon player and pinch-hitter. He rakes against righties — .300 average w/ .893 OPS in 2011, .290 w/ .882 OPS for career.

Oh, and Braves know the Rockies aren’t planning on trading Arenado for anyone, and certainly not for Prado alone.

Derek

December 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

DOB: Thanks for your advice on Daddy Ds–hit that place right after the Turner Field tour yesterday. Awesome food–maybe not the best choice before a long flight back to Montana–but great nonetheless.

David O'Brien

December 3rd, 2011
11:55 am

Everyone is correct on here

DOB, I love reading your blogs and your are usually always spot on with your ideas.

But how you could write something as false as Seth Smith fitting in nicely in left field, especially if it means giving up PradoPatrick

First of all, I never said that. Quite the contrary, I said I would NOT trade Prado for Smith one-for-one. I said if the Braves could get one of the Rockies’ center fielders out of the deal, might do it. Fowler is reportedly not going to be moved, but if they could get him or Tim Wheeler, the kid who hit .287 with .900 OPS and minors-leading 33 homers last season in Double-A…

David O'Brien

December 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

Derek, glad you liked Daddy Dz. What did you get? (I take it from your comment, maybe you got pork and beans or red beans and rice as a side?)

Bill Dozer

December 3rd, 2011
12:15 pm

JIm Powell is okay but I’d be happy to trade the spineless pre-game crew to anybody–for anything.

Derek

December 3rd, 2011
12:21 pm

Got the rib plate with corn bread and black eyed peas. Man, really good. Folks up here don’t know what they are missing on any of those fronts. Honestly, a little overwhelmed with the variety. Of course, it has now stirred up a hornet’s nest of debate in my family about what region turns out the best bbq–mother from Texas and father from GA. Guess, i’ve been the beneficiary of that one.

I guess one more thing/observation, is it me, or are some of the really good current/recent shows (SOA, Wire) really making good use of music during the course of their episodes? The Wire did a great job of it during its season ending montages, but the Shield, and now SOA, really seem to have taken it to a new level in terms of weaving it into the story-telling aspect of the show. SOA in particular–through Social D, J. Isbell, Noah Gunderson, etc., this season–just awesome.

Peter

December 3rd, 2011
1:05 pm

I think Jurrjens gets dealt to some team desperate for starting pitching for a substantial return, and Prado stays put.

Heisenberg

December 3rd, 2011
1:09 pm

I am a big Prado fan. But if he has the same agent as Lowe, JJ, Hansen, & Bourn then he will need to be moved. We all know how that story ends. When you sign with Satan as your agent, you forfeit any right to complain about being traded. Can anybody out there verify who Prado’s agent is?

rainman34

December 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

For everyone that is love with prado look at his numbers as a whole. He is an above average SECOND BASEMEN. As a left fielder or third basemen he is BELOW AVERAGE. We have a second basemen so prado is worth more to other teams in need of one. This is how baseball works you trade from what you are set on to fill your needs. Same goes for jj. We have great young and much cheaper options.

Ray

December 3rd, 2011
1:21 pm

Prado.. for once and for all is NOT a SS. Also,, everyone is on Liberty Media.. They are giving the Braves Brass over 90 million to spend. Doesn’t it come down to HOW you spend it? Rays payroll no where near that, Look at the Ray’s payroll, Rangers etc. 90-100 million dollar payroll is strong enough to win. Would I prefer someone like a Cuban etc.. yeah but its not like the Braves have a payroll at the bottom. Just spend it wisely.

Ken Stallings

December 3rd, 2011
1:27 pm

David,

I answered your question/challenge regarding three 22 year olds on a pennant winning team in the Huddy back surgery blog.

But, short answer: 1970 Reds.

DOB,

OK, here’s your answer. The “baby” Big Red Machine of 1970. They lost the World Series to Baltimore, but as they say the “rest was history!”

Johnny Bench (C): 22
Dave Concepcion (SS): 22
Bernie Carbo (LF): 22

Ken Stallings

December 3rd, 2011
1:41 pm

In my view, Jurrjens is worth what he would get in arbitration, but Prado is a utility player forced by limited personnel to play in the everyday lineup. I don’t believe he’s worth $4.5 million per season, or more.

If the Braves are going to take a risk for next season, I would say take it on Pasernicky. I seriously doubt he’s be a weaker bat that was Gonzalez. Then, the question comes down to his defense. If the kid’s glove is solid, then make the full committment to him now.

The Braves need to improve its offensive production in the outfield, which has been among the weakest in the league.

Mike

December 3rd, 2011
1:55 pm

The only way I would EVER trade Prado is if the plan is to replace him with a full time LF that is an obvious upgrade. NOT a platoon player. The Braves have had plenty of platoon players over the years. Seth Smith would NOT be an upgrade over Prado. If the Braves trade Prado and end up with anything in LF other than the obvious upgrade, we will regret it. Mark my words.

Ozzie

December 3rd, 2011
2:29 pm

The problem is Wren already paved the way for Martin to be expendable by giving his job to Uggla. Anything he does this year even if it looks like a lateral move shouldn’t be a surprise.

If Prado did not excel in LF (he didn’t in 2011) and up his power numbers he was going to get traded b/c the Braves cannot afford a 4-5mm utility player bouncing between LF and 3B proving limited power in both positions (which are know for HR/RBI guys). Also the longer they let him flounder as a LF the less his 2B numbers will be seen as relevant. Better to trade him now as a 2B who had an off year due to injuries and an LF experiment versus keeping him in LF for another year and risk his value dropping.

Given more budget room you would like to keep a Prado on the team but that room does not exist.

Wren has to start selling high versus riding guys down their value meter. He did that with JJ and Escobar.

Two guys who will not be lifetime Braves and both of whom could have yielded better impact options at their peak.

David O'Brien

December 3rd, 2011
2:41 pm

Ken, we’d already covered that, regarding the 1970 Reds winning the pennant. That was only reason I didn’t respond to your email at the time. Some others on Twitter had answered it, which I passed along on blog. But thank you for the reply. I know from experience that it takes a while to find that stuff, so I do appreciate you going to the trouble.

And just an FYI, the 1914 Boston Braves were the last to win a World Series with at least three 22-or-under players in the regular lineup.

Gumby

December 3rd, 2011
2:51 pm

I would have kept the “slick fielding”, well liked Gonzalez as the veteran to tech Pastornicky and be the bridge to Tyler.

Ozzie

December 3rd, 2011
3:03 pm

Gonzo’s bat was so awful that it actually over shadowed his glove in terms of his total value. With LF, RF and 3B as ? marks (in terms of consistent offensive performance) you cannot afford an all glove no bat SS who occasionally walks into one.

Pastornicky is all bat and base stealing. His arm is below avg and his defense is avg to below avg. The fact that Wren and others are looking to him as a potential opening day starter shows you how desperate they are to get the offense going.

I saw him play the minors. His throws to 1B were all over the place – high, low, wide right/left most of the time with no apparent reason (i.e. not fielding a tough hit).

He needs to work with a fielding instructor and work on his arm/shoulder strength. Fielding wise he needs to improve his lateral movement and throw accuracy especially when he is not able to plant before he throws.

If he can hit ML pitching he should be an improvement over Gonzo but much better hitters than him (in the minors) have struggled against professional pitchers. If that is the case his defensive growing pains will be hard to stomach.

Simmons is a more complete package and is ML ready IMHO defensively. Offensively he needs work but has show good improvement this year.

Pastornicky is going to end up a utility player or traded in a package once Simmons is ready.

alexcox

December 3rd, 2011
3:52 pm

estoy deacuerdo con tods sus comentarios pero yo estoy en la espera d la proxima semana para ver d q esta hecho FW si maduro o no hasi q comentare despues del resultado d la semana proxima ha si no pierdan la calma q mas adelante podran pelar o obasear

cosmo

December 3rd, 2011
4:22 pm

With a diff team Martin would be very good second sacker- he’s a good hitter but not a power hitter- he may improve in the outfield but he lacks speed ( well maybe not when compared to Diaz)- if we had the money, he’d be the ultimate utility guy to have ; definitely a good guy to have

With 90 mil, you have to do it with mirrors – i’d say our pitching is pretty solid- you cna never have too much – we have superior players at second, catcher & centerfield; above average at first & third; rf hopefully will bounce back and be at above average;

the bench is alright hopefully hinske bounces back and perhaps conrad- you can’t beat ross

so we need a ss and perhaps a lf – I’d say lets go for a very good ss – it would put us over the edge-

wardenerd

December 3rd, 2011
4:24 pm

Truth is if Hayward had played at 80% and Larry had not limped thru the season we would have made the pennant a real possibility. we have several really good pitchersnbut no superstars. Our season rests with Hayward’s return no matter who plays short. My other concern is can our relievers repeat their magic and will Freeman come back at his rookie level. nyway go BRAVES

phoenix

December 3rd, 2011
5:18 pm

I cant believe the Braves are giving any thought at all to having Matt Diaz in the lineup, even half the time. They need some “pop” from LF. He had ZERO home runs in 268 plate appearances in 2011. And in the field, for his career: 17 assists, 17 errors. The guy is a right-handed pinch-hitter, 2nd or 3rd choice off the bench, at best.

extremus

December 3rd, 2011
5:19 pm

After September’s historic collapse (which seemed to encapsulate a lot of things many feel are wrong about this team), the Braves are in a position where they must EARN their fans’ confidence if not their continued devotion. Some moves will have to be made, perhaps as far in as next Spring or even during next season (I’m thinking, say, if Jason Heyward again gets off to a “slow start” or if we again hear the words “You gotta hand it to…” from their manager when the Braves have a losing record), and some may not be very popular at the time. This is NOT a winter for them to stand pat and hope that everything suddenly clicks next season; they had an entire summer, not to mention an 8 1/2 game wildcard lead in early September, to do that. Aspiring to another wildcard berth or an above-.500 record simply falls WAY short of fans’ expectations here or in ANY city. You’re in to win it all or don’t bother.

In short, 2012 is the year that will determine whether Freddi Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, and probably some other names see 2013 or even the end of the coming season in a Braves jersey. Liberty Media or no, many fans (including myself) are fed up with an underperforming, seemingly oblivious or in-denial clubhouse atmosphere from the Braves. Acknowledge and do what it takes to fix problems regardless of the ownership, or the stands are going to stay even emptier from here on.

Mekons5

December 3rd, 2011
5:42 pm

If we can get Smith and a legit CF prospect for Martin, I’d be happy. Bourn is not going to be back after next year and except for some real young converted infielders, we really don’t have anyone to look to in 13. A platoon of Smith and Diaz wouldn’t be bad and we’d have two positions settled. Then sign a defensive SS to play with Pastornicky and things would look good for next year. Trying to fit 8 starters into a rotation will suck, but a nice problem to have come July.

I gotta admit that idea of Andruss and Cruz for JJ and Pastornicky was the best laugh I’ve had all day.

TeheranTime

December 3rd, 2011
5:59 pm

What say Joey Votto and a prospect for Jair Jurrjens? MLB Traderumors says that the Reds are on the hunt for starting pitching and JJJ is one of their targets. The same post about the Reds says that Votto’s name has been brought up in trade rumors.

bigredmachine

December 3rd, 2011
6:49 pm

take a lot more than jj to get votto. might have to throw julio in there.

MitchC

December 3rd, 2011
6:50 pm

Dave, while the Winter Meetings are always an interesting time of year, I will be surprised if the Braves do anything big.

I dont know if you remember, but, just a few weeks ago, one of the AJC writers, cant recall whether it was you or someone else, predicted a quiet winter for the Braves.

With Derek Lowe already gone, Hanson, and JJ question marks, etc, what can we really do?

Yes, we know JJ is a Boras client, but.. if we trade him, we might end up very thin in the starting pitching department., Also, his value, I think, is diminished, because of his injuries.

I dont think we will be able to really make a big trade for an expensive power hitter, or sign an expensive power bat, until Chipper retires. When he does, that will be 10 mil plus off the books that we can use to get a younger, more productive power hitter.

I think the meetings will be quiet for the Braves. Time willl tell if I’m right.

garynpohio

December 3rd, 2011
6:58 pm

last time i checked we had a 1st basemen, ROY kind of year, gold glove kind of guy

garynpohio

December 3rd, 2011
6:59 pm

with all this talk about Boras, does this mean that any player with him as an agent is off limits. seems that could limit how we match up with other teams when it comes to free agents

Skeezix

December 3rd, 2011
7:00 pm

Here it is —Dec. and all the Braves have still done is fire a hitting coach. Oh, wait a minute, that’s not exactly correct.

They fired a hitting coach and wrote a letter.

phoenix

December 3rd, 2011
8:10 pm

As long as everyone can agree, that as currently constituted, the Atlanta Braves are not a pennant-contending team in 2012. If Wren can pull off a heist, things could change.

But for now, you’ve got a better-than-average 1st baseman, a one-month wonder with no range at 2nd base, no shortshop, a part-time 40-year-old budget busting 3rd baseman, no punch in LF, a .300 singles hitter in center, ??? in RF, a good-hit, no-defense catcher who fades in the 2nd half, a couple of sore-armed starters, and 3 reliable relievers. That’s it in a nutshell. Better than average team, nowhere near enough for postseason.

Cali

December 3rd, 2011
9:35 pm

Thanks for all you’ve done, Chipper, but would you PLEASE retire??? The Braves could use some of that money you are stealing as a part time player.

Playoffs!!!

December 3rd, 2011
10:02 pm

If Matt Diaz platoons with anyone, it should be Heyward,. The last thing the Braves need is another left-handed hitting starter. Any trade for a left-handed hitting outfielder is stupid.
If Prado or Jurrgens are to be traded it should be for a right-handed hitting outfielder with some power. The Braves are way too unbalanced now–too lefty-hitting heavy..
If the Braves’ braintrust and the leader this blog cannot see that, then they really aren’t that baseball savvy.

Bill

December 3rd, 2011
10:35 pm

skeezix..they also hired two hitting coaches and traded Lowe.

David O'Brien

December 3rd, 2011
10:38 pm

Thanks for all you’ve done, Chipper, but would you PLEASE retire??? The Braves could use some of that money you are stealing as a part time player. — Cali

Hey Cali, not to let facts get in the way of your point, but Chipper played 126 games in 2011, which was 2 games fewer than McCann, 2 fewer than Heyward, and 3 fewer than Prado.

The only three Braves who played more than 130 games: Dan Uggla (161), Freddie Freeman (157) and Alex Gonzalez (149).

So I guess several others owe back some money, too, by your logic?

Add your comment