Weigh in: Should Braves buy or sell at deadline?

Frank Wren has some tough decisions to make -- again.

Frank Wren has a tough decision to make -- again.

The Braves have won seven of their last 10, which qualifies as a hot streak for a .500 team that hasn’t been north of break-even since June 9 (they were 29-28 after a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh).

It’s a good sign for a team that has had to blow up the blueprint more than a few times this season. But with the trade deadline (July 31) just 11 days away, their post-season chances aren’t any clearer than they were weeks ago. Consider:

National League East: It’s not concession time yet. But Philadelphia leads the Braves by 6 1/2 games and, more importantly, by eight in the loss column. The Phillies have won eight straight and 12 of 13 since being swept at Turner Field. Logic says they’ve already gone through their funk and they’re not going to go through another. The lineup is too good. The pitching might be getting better. They’ve taken a low-cost flier on Pedro Martinez and they’re probably leading the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. (Philly has scouted all of Halladay’s starts lately, including even the All-Star Game. Toronto has been scouting the Phils’ minor-league teams.) Bottom line: Winning the East looks like a long shot.

Wild-card race: The biggest plus to taking three of four from New York is it pretty much buried the Mets in the wild-card race. But the Braves are still only tied for fifth at 4 1/2 behind San Francisco — tonight’s opponent. That’s the difficulty of winning the wild-card — not all the teams you’re battling lose at the same time because they’re playing each other.

So here’s the question (and I think I know your answer): If you’re Braves general manager Frank Wren, what do you do? Commit to trying to make the playoffs this season or start looking toward next year? The answer would be easy — commit to this season — if the trade deadline wasn’t coming up. Going to the game tonight but just curious to hear your thoughts.

210 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

July 20th, 2009
3:12 pm

No question they must sell. Or at least, they must not buy. They need to position themselves for a realistic run in 2010. They are not making up 8 games in the loss column in 70 games. The math doesn’t work. If the Phillies play .500 ball (which is probably too conservative), the Braves have to play .600. That just isn’t happening. So with the rotation we have, let’s be content winning 83 games or so and position ourselves for a run next year with strategic offseason moves that don’t require giving up players.

Schultzie – your thoughts on this logic?

tale of woe

July 20th, 2009
3:12 pm

Buy and Sell…I think we need to see what we can get for Vasquez and Escobar. I also want to see what we can get for Kelly Johnson and Mike Gonzalez. If we can break the bank and pile up some good prospects, then we need to make those deals. I would like to see up get some bullpen help no matter what.

Sir Stealth

July 20th, 2009
3:16 pm

Stand pat – have done plenty to this point, shouldn’t break up the team or sell of any more of the farm. Let’s see what we can do with what we have. Put Hudson in the ‘pen until someone gets hurt, our relievers are all gonna be worn out anyway.

SimpleDawg

July 20th, 2009
3:27 pm

Would you morons advocating the trading of Vasquez and Escobar STFU. Let’s let the boys play and see what happens. If Hudson can come back and contribute as expected, then Kawakami can be taken out of the starting rotation and sent to the bullpen for long relief.

Infante will return soon…cut Norton and use Infante as a pinch hitter or use him to give McLouth some days off.

But for the love of God, stop making stupid trades !

The_Superhoo (Montana by way of Virginia)

July 20th, 2009
3:27 pm

Neither. Stand pat. Got some good tools (especially pitching, but a few position players), and next season we should have more (Heyward, Schafer, Freeman maybe at the end?)

Stay where we’re at and we’re ready for next season.

Mac

July 20th, 2009
3:29 pm

Don’t do anything stupid to try and make a run this season. Fred McGriff is not out there. Work on building the team for the long haul. There are lots of nice pieces on hand, more on the way in the minors, and the Hot Stove League to build a contender for next season.

Keith B

July 20th, 2009
3:31 pm

What they NEED to do is to let Bobby Cox go. His ability to successfully manage a contender has significantly dropped. The two cases among MANY that come to mind are the (1) night he let Moylan (?) hit in a crucial point in the game. Moylan’s first ML at bat. Funny thing was, he ended up pulling Moylan prior to the start of the next inning anyway. (2) How MANY more times is Cox going to ‘give’ Norton another opportunity when the bases are loaded. Wouldn’t you want more than a .120 hitter at the plate? The reason the Phillies will win is because their manager understands that the time for auditioning for a regular spot ended months ago (spring training). Cox manages like he’s still trying out players and like he has an endless amount of time to catch the Phillies. Bobby, it’s been nice . . . but you’ve past your prime . . . and it IS time to go.

Art Vandelay

July 20th, 2009
3:33 pm

We have nine games left with the Phillies head-to-head, so we’re not out of the running for the East by any stretch of the imagination. Selling now shouldn’t be an option, but I don’t think we need to make any big buys, either. The bats seem to be waking up a bit, and having Prado in the #2 spot is paying big dividends all the way down the lineup. Let’s just sit tight for a while and see how things play out.

Diceman

July 20th, 2009
3:33 pm

How about trading Derek Lowe? With Hudson coming back, we’ve got our Ace and Vasquez is just too good to give up.I think Lowe is the odd-man out with a chance to reap in someone nice or a few great prospects. Could we trade Kelly for some good prospects? What about Garrett Anderson? He can’t be a keeper can he?

Bill

July 20th, 2009
3:34 pm

Is it possible to sell Liberty Media?

country boy

July 20th, 2009
3:36 pm

Hello Jeffy boy. I would listen to offers for Hudson ( if any ) since his contract is up after this year. I would not listen to much concerning Yunel. He is only to be paid about 400 k this year and 500 k next year. A bargain for the stingy Braves.

Joey

July 20th, 2009
3:37 pm

A-men, SimpleDawg. Escobar is the best hitter and run producer on the team. No trades either – we have big bats coming up from the farm next year.

TSimm

July 20th, 2009
3:40 pm

Well unfortunately the Braves are probably out of the Division race with a slim chance at the Wild Card. However the simply HAVE to either buy or stand pat or the same results will just spill over into next year. This is the 3rd year in a row where we have come to say “Wait until next season.” I’m sorry but KJ, Kotchman, Diaz and Anderson just aren’t going to get it done. That lineup isn’t going to scare anyone. We obviously have a top of the line rotation, especially with Hudson coming back, but we would be crazy to trade Vazquez and Escobar.

We need to get realistic and start building our core around Escobar, Prado, McClouth, Infante, McCann and Chipper. I honestly feel that if we added a $10mil bargain big bopper like Dunn and maybe another 20 – 30 home run guy then we would be competing for the division right now. Why can’t we just package Reyes, Medlen and maybe Schafer for someone of Dunn’s abilities and affordability.

The bottomline is we simply can’t keep throwing in the towel and waiting for next season. Imagine a lineup that featured Infante (in lf), Escobar, Chipper, Dunn, McCann, McClouth, Prado, Kotchman (if we have to keep him) and just insert any of our starting 5. Now that would strike a little more fear in some pitchers.

NORRIS

July 20th, 2009
3:41 pm

There is a lot of baseball left and we all know that anything can happen. The phillies went on a tail spin with a few injuries and then pulled out of it. They could do it again. We just have to play solid ball and see what happens.
I say go ahead and bring up heyward. The kid is ready and could provide the spark this team needs.
For all those people that keep saying trade vazquez and escobar. STOP BEING STUPID!
Escobar is under contract for minimal money and we have him for a few more years. So why would you trade a good bat that cost nothing???
Also vazquez can only be traded to certain divisions. And besides that, why would you trade one of the pieces that got you this far. We are where we are because of pitching. Lets keep the pitching and get the bats going. ONCE again bring up Heyward and see what the kid can do. There is going to be pressure no matter when you bring him up. So now is as good as any time to do it.

Jt

July 20th, 2009
3:42 pm

I do not want them to do either. Who are you going to buy? Holliday? Kearns? Dunn? No way! There is no place for them. Are you going to trade either Garret Anderson or Church with prospects for any of them? I don’t think so. They are not worth the price. You would be foolish to trade Escobar in a package for any available hitter-not enough return for the investment. The only possible position upgrade would be a first baseman with power. Who is available? Adrian Gonzalez? Nope. Nick Johnson? Not enough of an upgrade. How about sellers? What are you going to sell? Starting pitching? That would be foolish. You can never have enough. Vasquez is affordable for next year and has exceeded expectations. Every time he goes to the mound the Braves have a chance to win. Despite the issues with Escobar, the Braves would be foolish to trade a guy with his talent level and affordability. Sometimes it pays to stand pat-this is one of those times

Blair

July 20th, 2009
3:42 pm

The only deal Atlanta should make is one that pays immediate dividends, and one that also bears the future in mind. No rentals. So you buy, if anything, but you certainly don’t sell. I think Atlanta will be in the mix one or another at the end. Pitching is too good folks. I think the ATL will have something to say to everyone in contention even if the Braves come up short.

nique

July 20th, 2009
3:42 pm

Don’t do anything. We’ve already traded enough prospects this year. We will be well-positioned next year with some prospects coming up and if Huddy returns to full strength.

Chief Nock A Homa

July 20th, 2009
3:43 pm

Gotta agree with diceman…

See what we can get for Lowe… Some contender surely would take the chance to bring in a number 1 (or 2)… We’d rid ourselves of the salary too and still have, what seems to be, a pretty potent rotation that would give us the opportunity to get to the playoffs…

Don’t you think the Yankees would be interested in Lowe after they don’t get Halladay???

Salamander

July 20th, 2009
3:44 pm

Jeff

I think it depends a lot on how Atlanta plays against the Giants. If they can win 3/4, or somehow beat Lincecum and sweep the series, then Wren might add a reliever and/or a bat. I’m not sure what impact bats are really available (without giving up the farm), so even if the Braves play really well this week, Wren might stand pat simply because there isn’t a bat worth adding.

Now, if they lose 3/4 or get swept by the Giants, and the Phillies pull even further ahead, then Wren needs to pull the plug and think about 2010 and beyond. Soriano, Gonzalez, and Vazquez should be moved in the right deal for young talent. If the deal isn’t available, then Wren should hold off until the offseason to move Vazquez, and either resign Soriano and Gonzalez or let them walk and collect some draft picks.

NORRIS

July 20th, 2009
3:45 pm

Why trade your pitching. You have a proven commodity with Lowe. We have no idea what Huddy is going to do.

Reid Adair

July 20th, 2009
3:45 pm

I can’t understand all of the people who are saying do nothing and just get ready for next year. Have y’all seen this excuse for an “offense” that the Braves put on the field every night? It doesn’t matter how good the starting rotation is. If the offense can’t score more than a run or two regularly, the team doesn’t have a chance.

2010 will be no different without some changes to the lineup.

Bama Aaron

July 20th, 2009
3:46 pm

Stand pat. We’re probably not catching the Phillies but I think we have as good a shot at at the wild card as anyone. Especially if we can take 3 or 4 from the Giants this week.

NORRIS

July 20th, 2009
3:48 pm

I agree this team is in the hunt. But before we go trade away the farm lets see what the kid Heyward has in the tank. He may just be the piece.

Antonio Gramsci

July 20th, 2009
3:48 pm

Sell. Don’t sell anyone young, but sell. (Interpret that as you will; I think you know who I mean). The horror that is our division doesn’t take away from the fact that the team needs more than it can get trading prospects, and we’ve already re-made the Texas Rangers franchise for them so perhaps trying to pick up some talented offensive players in exchange for a veteran or two would help the farm system.

The East is bad; if the Braves weren’t in the NL east, it wouldn’t even be a question.

Chief Nock A Homa

July 20th, 2009
3:49 pm

Norris,

Proven commodity with Lowe is that he is too up and down…

I know we don’t know what we’re getting with Huddy, but it seems we’re in pretty good standing from a pitching standpoint even without Huddy…

If someone’s interested in Lowe, FW just needs to make sure we get at least a number 3 included in the deal… Right??

JEB

July 20th, 2009
3:50 pm

Should have just placed a poll on this question.
Should the Braves a) Sell
b) buy
c) stand pat – maintain the course see what happens.

The poll would have been better than listening to some of these ridiculous ideas!

My personal thought is “C” stand pat – follow the course they are on and see exactly what you have for 2010. Wren did a great job in the changes made and vastly changed the pitching staff this winter – give him another winter and he will do a great job for the offense.

We just may get on a good roll here till the end of the season – who knows what may happen. Right now they’re a good team to watch play.
Let’s see what happens!

Salamander

July 20th, 2009
3:50 pm

Bama Aaron

I agree – this San Fran series is huge. The season probably hinges on it. If the Braves play their butts off and take 3/4 (or somehow sweep), then they will look like a legit Wild Card contender even if Philly runs away with the NL East. The Wild Card is not a great race to try and win (so many teams to hop over), but this Braves team has the pitching to compete if the offense can keep doing what it has been doing the past 2 weeks or so.

Max

July 20th, 2009
3:50 pm

Be anything except sellers. If you get a good deal for a hitter pull the trigger if not, stand pat. Also, everyone calling for Escobar to be traded you are an idiotic fool, Escobar and McCann are the future, you have to keep them, look what Escobar has done this season.

mudcat

July 20th, 2009
3:51 pm

We start building for next year. We DON’T trade our top prospects. We trade for other team’s top prospects. Heyward could be ready next year and Freeman is getting close. We do have some good arms coming. We need power at 1B and the outfield. Why trade one of our best starters?(Vasquez) That makes no sense. I know Wren wants to prove he’s as good as JS, but he can simply by not doing something stupid.

chc4

July 20th, 2009
3:51 pm

Sell Vazquez. His value will never be higher and no way we sign him after 2010. Our rotation is still above average w/o him assuming Kenshin keeps throwing well.

IDC

July 20th, 2009
3:53 pm

Why does everyone want to trade Vazquez? He has pitched marvelously this year, just hasn’t had the run support. We don’t know what Hudson is going to do, the durability and effectiveness of Kawakami is an issue and Derek Lowe hasn’t exactly set the world on fire lately. Look at Vazquez’ ERA and explain why he should be traded. I understand there are teams that might want him, but why on earth would you trade him?

Salamander

July 20th, 2009
3:54 pm

If someone’s interested in Lowe, FW just needs to make sure we get at least a number 3 included in the deal… Right??

No team is going to offer much value in return for Lowe unless the Braves offer some serious salary relief. Wren overpaid for Lowe, and I just don’t see how he could be traded right now with 3+ years left on his deal at $15 million per.

Pete

July 20th, 2009
3:54 pm

The Braves don’t have the bats. Unless they get Holiday or another premier offensive player this season isn’t going to produce a playoff birth. They can’t afford Holiday and nobody else is worth trading for. Sit tight, don’t make the playoffs, and play in 2010. This is the only option. The organization will be back in thick of things within 2 seasons and without Bobby Cox.

NORRIS

July 20th, 2009
3:55 pm

Hey Chief.
I guess we are still in pretty good shape with pitching. Yeah it would have to be a good offer.
CHC4 made a good comment. I dont want to trade vazquez but his stock is pretty high.
I really dont like Kawakami. He is up and down as well.
Medlen could be a good solid starter too.

Maturin

July 20th, 2009
3:55 pm

Salamander @ 3:44, that means the Braves will go 2-2 in this series, and we will be treading water again as the season begins to run down…
/sigh

Carolina Gent

July 20th, 2009
3:55 pm

I’d say stand pat unless someone comes through with a too-good-to-pass-up offer for Gonzo, Medlen, KJ, MAYBE Vasquez, but only if it’s an overwhelming offer. Definitely don’t be buying and giving away more prospects. There’s nobody available and affordable out there who’d make that much of a difference. Trade Lowe? No way. His contract is too expensive for what the Braves would want in return. If the team can get on a bit of a roll and have a close, but no cigar, finish and just barely miss the playoffs, it might bode well for next year. Then, use the offseason to make the upgrades you need.

NORRIS

July 20th, 2009
3:56 pm

Holliday has not done much of anything this year. So what would you be getting with Holliday??
It makes you wonder if his stats were all due to Coors Field??

Breeze

July 20th, 2009
3:56 pm

If the Phillies are indeed leading the Halladay sweepstakes it will make them an NL East favorite for years. The Braves will have to get stronger to catch them so selling good young players like Escobar and a quality pitcher like Vazquez makes no since. Escobar is just too good of a hitter to let go, but the Braves need to work on his head the rest of 2009. We need to focus this off season in acquiring power to support an already good pitching rotation that will get better with Hudson’s return.

Glenn

July 20th, 2009
3:56 pm

I of the mindset that right now, the pitching will keep the Braves in a lot of games, and the the current Offense, with Prado taking over Second Base, has improved dramatically. Anderson’s bat has started to heat up and while Kotchman hasn’t hit for power, he has been consistent.

The only real area, Offensively, that has been cause for concern, recently, was Right Field, and with the trade bringing in Church, I’m not sure that the answer is in place. I would also argue against selling out the Farm system at this point because the Team does seem to be fairly “stable”. Bringing up Heyward and letting him play every day couldn’t hurt any worse than having what we’ve had in the field earlier in the year.

I would also add that it may be time to change some Coaches. As much as I love TP when he was a Player, when the Braves were making their run in the 90’s, Gaston had the guys playing with a totally different mindset. Also, the Relief Pitchers are being used crazy. Time to bring Leo back into the fold. These two changes will make Bobby Cox look like the Bobby of old.

Lifetime Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
3:56 pm

Is there any good value at 3rd Base with some power? Then we can move Chipper to 1st since he has lost a step at 3rd. Then lets see what happens rest of year. We do look good for next year.

Long time fan

July 20th, 2009
3:57 pm

Keep the players. Get rid of Cox and Pendleton. Braves bats have been in the cellar for the past 3 years and not getting any better. Frenchy went to Texas during the off season (not that it helped him either). Of course neither of those scenarios will happen.

Candler Sausageman

July 20th, 2009
3:58 pm

Everything rides on the pitching. The great Braves teams relied upon pitching and defense and could hit a little. This team has the pitching and not-so-good defense. They can’t hit, not really. I say turn the lot of them and buy some good sausages for the concession stands. I’d buy a sausage and I’ll bet you would, too. Then we can have sausage races like in Milwaukee. A good sausage race makes for a good day at the ballpark.

TurnThePage

July 20th, 2009
3:58 pm

I agree with Herschel Talker. The Braves should not be buyers if it involves trading off your prospects. As far as trading Tim Hudson goes, no one will touch him. He just had his first rehab start at Myrtle Beach yesterday. I don’t think he’s a free agent either. I think there is an option on his contract for next year. Mr Schultz can confirm that. I think that if Hudson is back to form, you deal Javier Vazquez. It may be better to deal him prior to Roy Halladay being dealt. You may get more. Teams will guage what they offer for a Vazquez based on what Toronto gets for Halladay. In any deal, I would hope for a third baseman for the future and maybe an outfielder plus a starting pitcher. Atlanta has some names they throw at you as far as pitching goes but none have pitched on the level of Tommy Hanson. Of course, not many do. Cole Rohrbough is one name you hear a lot. I haven’t seen him perform on the level that says he’ll be in the bigs. That’s why you need some more arms. The power outage in Atlanta should be addressed when Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and company arrive. Cody Johnson still has question marks even though he has hit home runs. Namely his strikeouts and what position he will play. In addition to Vazquez being trade bait this year or before next season begins, I would say that Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez may be tradeables as they are free agents after this season. Frank Wren may opt to take the draft picks for them instead. Yunel Escobar should never be part of any trade conversation, period.

NORRIS

July 20th, 2009
3:59 pm

I would love to see us with a first baseman with some power. Its been way to long….

McClain142

July 20th, 2009
3:59 pm

Don’t Buy! And I probably wouldn’t sell, either. Dumping Esco is a terrible idea. I know it’s hard this time of year, but the Braves need to just stay put. Look at Hudson in a month and the call-ups later this year and start planning for the future. I think we could have a great team in next year, but we need to let our farm system heal from the sins of past Julys.

Salamander

July 20th, 2009
3:59 pm

Why does everyone want to trade Vazquez?

Moving Vazquez during the season makes no sense (unless the Braves fall out of the race), but during the offseason Vazquez should still have enough trade value to land an impact bat. Vazquez is having an amazing year, but realistically, is he going to repeat his 2009 numbers next year? Maybe, but I’m skeptical – look at his career numbers and compare them to this year. Add in his age, and the fact that he has only 1 year left on his current deal, and he is the perfect guy to sell high and get a nice return – during the offseason.

Brian

July 20th, 2009
4:00 pm

For what it’s worth, Baseball Prospectus has the Braves’ postseason odds at 21%. And actually, it should be much more likely that they’d win the division (16.6%) than the wild card (4.7%) because to win the wild card, several different teams have to go south, and they play each other the rest of the year (somebody is going to win). To win the division, only the Phillies have to tank. That doesn’t, of course, factor in the possibility of the Phils getting Halladay or any other help.

joe

July 20th, 2009
4:01 pm

Why do people keep saying Holliday is a premier player? He’s sluggin less than Yunel. No thanks to that P.O.S.

It'stheowners

July 20th, 2009
4:04 pm

Bill said it best, re. the owners. This team never wins a title with these owners. Take it to the bank.

JW

July 20th, 2009
4:04 pm

One thing is for sure..Cox needs to go, either now or at season’s end.