Can you really feel comfortable if Braves stand pat?

Are the Braves getting drunk on success lately or do they need another piece?

Are the Braves getting drunk on success, or do they need another piece?

If the Braves don’t make a significant trade before the deadline – and that seems to be the betting favorite – this is what you’re going to hear from general manager Frank Wren:

> “We like our team.”

> “We have Tim Hudson and Omar Infante coming back soon, and we like our team.”

> “In these tough economic times, we don’t feel it’s prudent to give up young prospects and take on a high-salaried veteran in a trade. And we like our team.”

And you know what? Those are all valid reasons to stand pat.

But a question: If the Braves go through this trading deadline without making a significant move to improve the roster — despite desperately trying to stay in the National League East divisional race and at worst being in the middle of the wild-card race — would you feel a little unsatisfied? Uncomfortable? Un-playoff-like?

The Braves used to be a player at the trade deadline. Even recently, when the Mark Teixeira deal didn’t work out, it said something that then-general manager John Schuerholz swung a trade that led many to believe had lifted the club up to a World Series contender.

Now the players are elsewhere. St. Louis dealt for Oakland’s power-hitting outfielder, Matt Holliday. Philadelphia continues to circle Toronto pitcher Roy Halladay. If the Phillies don’t land Halladay, the Los Angeles Dodgers may be next in line to get him. So there’s three National League teams — Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers — in the mix for major players before October.

The Braves? Maybe nothing. I’m just not sure I’m feeling that mindset.

So it’s your turn. (Again.) Hey, you’ve had an entire off day to think about this. Are you OK with the Braves not being a player?

207 comments Add your comment

chris

July 28th, 2009
6:21 am

I like our team. We have great starting pitching 1 through 5 (or six if Hudson returns to form) and the bullpen is solid. This line-up is at least as good as the pre-McGriff teams that went to the playoffs. So we can be the kind of Wild Card team that makes noise and potentially upsets the Phillies and/or Dodgers in the playoffs.

The last thing we need is another Texiera trade. The ESPN guys doing a Texas game a couple weeks back said that it was the trade of the decade – For Texas. The only thing that might be worth mortgaging your future on is an ace starting pitcher, and we don’t need any of those. Too bad Hudson won’t make it back in time to audition prior to the trade deadline, or we could have taken advantage of some other team willing to mortgage their future.

NCBravesFan

July 28th, 2009
6:48 am

I think it’s questionable whether the Braves can get to the postseason as constructed — eight games back in the loss column to the Phils, and the proverbial logjam of teams competing for the WC.

Once we start playing in our division, there’s only one team we have (Washington) that figures to be easy (and we haven’t exactly killed those guys, at least not yet). Meanwhile, the Central and Western Division WC contenders will each have two teams to feast upon in their divisions.

I like our team and I wouldn’t make a short-term trade that hurts the long-term future — but I just think the math is not on our side this year, as you have stated before Jeff.

I’ll be rooting for the Braves to prove me wrong in the weeks to come.

ckgator

July 28th, 2009
7:02 am

I like our team as is, in both performance and character.

We will not gain much – if anything – by mortgaging the future.

Greg Norton

July 28th, 2009
7:10 am

No, you really like to see them do something. We still have lots of games to make up in either the divisional or wildcard race. At least do something – a little extra bullpen help, an outfield bat with a little more power. Even a modest move like the ones the Giants made to acquire Ryan Garko for a Class A picture would make you feel more comfortable. It’s just hard to rest while I’m still on this team.

Average Joe

July 28th, 2009
7:22 am

I actually am VERY comfortable with the Braves standing pat as July 31 approaches. What this team needed was a reversal of attitude, a belief that they could win with the team as it was already assembled. For me, the big turn-around happened when Bobby Cox finally got smart and inserted Martin Prado in the everyday lineup in the number 2 slot, which in turn allowed Escobar to move to the more RBI-rich 6th spot. This formula has clearly worked, and the new-look lineup together with our season-long strong starting pitching makes us a legitimate contender. Remember, there’s still A LOT of baseball to be played!

Now, the only question is whether Cox (who was far too slow in overhauling the lineup) sticks to this winning formula. He has a history of letting his loyalty interfere with winning games. Kelly Johnson had a good game on Sunday, but it’s clear that Prado is the better player. For now, Johnson is best suited to replace Norton (who really needs to go) as the number one man off the bench.

One more observation-does anyone think it’s a coincidence that this current streak of great baseball began AFTER Frenchy went to NY? I’m starting to think that Mr. Can’t Miss was a less-than-positive influence on this team. He showed us something when he whined about being sent to the minors last season, and I now wonder if that type of attitude was just Frenchy being Frenchy. Very interesting.

I like the new attitude, the new lineup, and the new dedication to playing good, solid, baseball. Given the talent on this team, I think October may once again find Turner Field aglow in the bright lights of the postseason. The only question is Cox and whether he can leave well enough alone. Let’s hope, let’s really hope.

Mac

July 28th, 2009
7:22 am

Yes. I’m OK with it, because I didn’t expect the Braves to be World Series contenders this year. There is no one out there to get who will make them one. They are much improved over last year. I’m watching more games than last year. They are rebuilding and doing it well so far. So, yeah, I’m happy for them to stick with the process and not mortgage next year for a shot at a wildcard this year. Fred McGriff is not out there.

ByteMe

July 28th, 2009
7:23 am

If you have a chance to improve your team, you do it… but without mortgaging the future. Wren made it clear he was really building this team for 2010 and he should stick with that plan. If you can get a bigger bat in exchange for a bench player — KJ comes to mind — you do it, but you don’t trade prospects that have a future in the Bigs for a one-season rental at this point.

the Future

July 28th, 2009
7:28 am

Teams that just sit and do nothing are the teams that sit come playoff time.

Yunel Asscobar

July 28th, 2009
7:30 am

Team? Do you like our team? Forget the team! Do you like me? Have you seen me hit? Have you seen my great plays in the field? Did you see me do my own thing when Bobby gave me the hit/run sign several days ago? Did you see me give the love to the official scorer when he scored it an error instead of a hit? It’s about me baby! Get Greg Norton off my team and I will be even better!

hop

July 28th, 2009
7:33 am

i hope the braves learned their very painful lesson in trading the future away with the tex trade and in making the rangers a long term success!

if the braves do not have a world series type of team,i do not want just to see a playoff team. we have all experience that many times before.

the future is very bright with many talented young players on the farm and here now.
the last thing the braves need to do is make a bonehead decision by trading ofr a “rent me now veteran player who will be gone next year!

Jeff Schultz

July 28th, 2009
7:42 am

Byte Me– I’d be surprised if Kelly’s not traded for something, but I doubt they’re going to get much for him.

the Future — that has a ring to it. You could be right.

Yunel — yes, I like you. everybody likes you.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 28th, 2009
7:46 am

If you want a Playoff contender then I’m fine standing pat, if you want a World Series contender, then I will see you in 2011.

nick manning

July 28th, 2009
7:49 am

trading for one big bat will be a mistake. The Braves weren’t noticably better when they traded for Tex and the Angels weren’t any better with Tex either. If we trade a bunch of players now, we’ll regret it for years to come and still probably finish the same in the standings. I think our team is pretty good and if Bobby plays the right players (Prado, Diaz, etc) we will play as well as we have been the last couple weeks.

bruce

July 28th, 2009
7:52 am

I am happy with the team and how they are playing. No trades needed.

Bama Aaron

July 28th, 2009
7:53 am

Seeing as how we probably won’t re-sign Gonzalez I’d say package him with Kelly for a nice middle reliever if you can find one.
Other than that stand pat with what you’ve got.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

July 28th, 2009
8:01 am

I am happy with this team standing pat….heck Chipper is just playing average…he’ll get it going in August…the Braves are fine…(as long as the bats stay hot..)

MightyQuinn

July 28th, 2009
8:02 am

No rent-a-player deals!

Barry Hardy

July 28th, 2009
8:11 am

I have to agree with Frank on this one.

matt_T

July 28th, 2009
8:11 am

The team is in great shape as is. The best ERA in baseball and with prado, and church in the line up its the lineup we actually expected out of spring training. There is no easy out in the lineup. With the stellar pitching and decent offense, its closer to the old braves teams than the past few years.

Heyward will be in the OF as early as September, but definitely at some point next year and Freeman will likely man first in a year or two. No need at all to send those prospects for a bat.

If they can move Kelly for a bullpen arm, that’s the only move they should make.

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

July 28th, 2009
8:13 am

Although I’d like to see us trade for a big bat, I don’t see it happening and I also wouldn’t want to see a repeat of Texiera-gate. I think it’s best to stand pat. I’m impressed with the way we’re playing, but I still don’t know if we’ll make it to the playoffs. I’d rather us see what we can do with what we have, and then assess our options during the offseason. Bye KJ, we’ll miss you.

BnB

July 28th, 2009
8:14 am

I say stay pat. The Tex trade was horrible. Cox finally tweaked the lineup and the effects are unarguable. We have already made a lot of moves this year so there is nothing magical about July 31. does anyone really think we are a top four team in the league? If not, build for tomorrow. the flawed teams of the early 80s were always trying to buy that last piece (Len Barker) by trading away the future (Brett Butler) and it got us in the crapper of mediocrity for years. The Braves–when successful–are built on pitching and when they got away from that (Adam Wainright) was when the slide began in earnest. You do not bash your way to a championship (Cleveland Indians mid-90s, Bash Bros). We have some darn good starting pitching and we will continue to have it. Don’t mess up a good thing by getting greedy.

willsmith

July 28th, 2009
8:21 am

I say go with what we have, except maybe replacing Norton with Infante when he comes off the DL. Having Jeff and Kelly together in the lineup was like having three pitchers (nine or twelve sure outs, depending on how quickly the lineup turned over). That shortened us to a five or six inning game. At least now, we can expect to still be in it in the ninth.

Angus

July 28th, 2009
8:23 am

I’m as big of a Braves’ fan as there is, but our chances aren’t getting any better.

Right now, Colorado (.545) projects to have 89 wins.

The Braves will have to be 15 games over .500 in the remaining 63 to get to 90 wins (39-24) – we’re 3 over for the first 99. The numbers on catching the Phillies are even worse.

Point being, we need a lot more on our side than any trade that’s likely to happen now (eg, KJ for middle relief). Don’t do anything that adversely affects next year.

Sonny Clusters

July 28th, 2009
8:24 am

We was standing pat when we won the state champion. Standing pat is what the Braves should do, too. Letting Jeff get away may have been good and may have been bad but the Braves sure have won a lot of games since Jeff’’s been gone. I suspect Jeff being gone has done some damage to the local Dairy Queens, too. I am going to sell my Dairy Queen stock.

Chris

July 28th, 2009
8:31 am

Jeff, I think your editor wanted you to provoke readers, but I like our team.

The pitching is there. The hitting is there. The chemistry is there. If the Braves keep winning and kick the crap out of the Phillies a few times, we’ve got ourselves a playoff appearance. It’s a solid roster.

I just don’t think a lack of home runs can keep a talented, confident, upbeat team from missing out in October. The Braves are back.

Sonny Clusters

July 28th, 2009
8:32 am

I guess it’s kinda corny but we had a guy in our outfield we called Standing Pat. He would stand straight up and would never look like he was in fielding position and then when the ball was hit to him he would come running real hard and make the catch and then turn and throw the ball as hard as he could to third base or to the plate and all the runners would move up. Coach never liked that about Standing Pat.

The Princess

July 28th, 2009
8:34 am

Unless he has the opportunity to get someone for virtually nothing, Frank Wren needs to sit tight. The Teixeira trade will go down in the annals of Braves history as a bust of mythic proportions–okay that’s an exaggeration, but still…
The team is rebuilding. They’re fun to watch. Don’t mortgage the future to try to win the wild card.
By the way, if Kelly Johnson becomes the everyday 2nd baseman again I will not be happy. And if The Princess isn’t happy…

Reid Adair

July 28th, 2009
8:38 am

The starting pitching is solid, but the offense has not been consistent this season. I do not believe that this roster can combine for an “everyday” lineup that provides an offensive effort consistent enough to make the playoffs.

Many people have said this from the beginning. I am not sure why some folks are now choosing to put all of their faith in the words of Frank Wren. Just because he likes this team does not mean it has all the pieces it needs to get to the playoffs.

That being said, I do NOT want to see another deal like the Mark Teixeira trade. I don’t believe that is worth it.

Chris

July 28th, 2009
8:39 am

Jeff, do you think Kelly Johnson will be the regular second baseman again? He sure seems like one of Bobby’s Boys for whatever reason. Maybe he’s an illegitimate child or something.

Atticus

July 28th, 2009
8:46 am

Can we please give the Tex trade a freaking break. Salty and Andrus were never going to play in this organization and Matt Harrison is a good pitcher, not great. Salty is batting .243 with 7 homers. Elvis is decent, he is batting .256. We have one of the best SS in the league. We have great pitchers.

Yes we could’ve used them later to get another player but at the time you had a chance to get a Hall of Famer. My problem was they should’ve known they couldn’t re-sign him. Maybe they could’ve gotten someone else with them later but even then it is no guarantee.

Please drop it and move on.

Sonny Clusters

July 28th, 2009
8:48 am

What’s all the fuss about Kelly Johnson? Everybody knows that Bobby Cox is a great manager and Bobby decided awhile back that Prado is a utility player and Kelly is a major league infielder. Kelly will be back in the lineup and Prado will go back to supersub at 3 positions and the Braves will revert to the old ways. We was always reverting back when we was playing ball together.

Max Power

July 28th, 2009
8:51 am

I would still want to bolster the line up. I would love to pull off a trade for Adam Dunn. Stick him right in the middle of Chipper and McCann. Send Washington Kelly Johnson and a pitcher like JoJo Reyes.

NC Braves Fan

July 28th, 2009
8:52 am

The Tex trade wasn’t all that bad – people forget that Edgar Renteria got hurt in August of 2007, and that slowed the Braves down for a few weeks. And then Colorado went lights out to close the season.

We ultimately needed a pitcher in 2007 but none was available. The trade was a calculated risk that didn’t work out.

And it’s not like any of the players we gave up are tearing it up at this point.

SimpleDawg

July 28th, 2009
8:54 am

Thank God ! Finally we’re going to refrain from trading our future for some perceived pie in the sky today.

I agree that we can win with the team we have….patience, the cream is beginning to rise.

Oh, speaking of Yunel….we’re just going to have to accept the occasional gaff and enjoy the greater benefits of his outstanding play. He will get better.

I’m glad to see KJ playing better, but he will have better playing opportunities elsewhere….maybe he’ll be the next Mark DeRosa.

the truth...

July 28th, 2009
9:09 am

Kick Norton to the curb…bring Brooks Conrad up….that’s not so hard is it?

Phil

July 28th, 2009
9:11 am

Trade Cox for anybody.

Paul H

July 28th, 2009
9:12 am

A month ago I would’ve said no. Today I say yes. The team stands as is. Besides, the rent-a-player thing has proven not to work.

PMC

July 28th, 2009
9:13 am

Frank Wren has done a magnificent job all year. Of course we all would make some moves differently if we were in that seat but in the course of a year he took a floundering average team and gave them a shot if they played well to maybe get into the playoffs with a wild card bid. That’s a pretty incredible job really when you consider they have virtually no power and virtually no speed AND salary was decreased. They had to stick it out this year and give thier younger guys time to progress and get better while making the other tough decisions. This team couldn’t afford to wait on John Smoltz or Tom Glavine to have a chance to make the playoffs. The only really bad move so far is Kawakami’s salary but I expect they knew it would take him a while to acclimate to playing in the states. If there was a great move on the table I’d expect him to pull the trigger quickly but I don’t think anyone is willing to give up a difference maker for unproven prospects. In a game without steroids prospects rather than 32+ year old veterans hold more value.

Blackberry Cobbler

July 28th, 2009
9:15 am

I like our team THE WAY THEY ARE PLAYING NOW.

A month ago, I wouldn’t have said that and neither would 99% of all these other posters.

As long as the team continue to play like they’ve been playing recently, I’d rather not trade away prospects for anything else.

Be aren’t going to catch the Phils, we’re just not. Despite how good the Braves have played since the All-Star break we haven’t gained ground on the Phils. Our best chance is the Wild Card and as long as we keep playinh the way we’ve been playing, I like our chances with that.

If the Braves revert back to their former sub .500 self, then we’ll wish we had done something and so will Wren.

PMC

July 28th, 2009
9:15 am

I think Conrad will certainly be up in September. I would have liked to see the team go get Adam Dunn as a clean up hitter prior to the season but the money just wasn’t there with all the pitching expenditures. Garrett Anderson for 1 million is a heck of a bargain even with the slow frustrating start.

PMC

July 28th, 2009
9:16 am

the trading deadline is not a hard deadline anyway, players just have to clear waivers…. it’s not impossible to bring in players after the deadline.

sportsmandh

July 28th, 2009
9:20 am

Some Braves posters on here just will not be satifsfied regardless of what Wren does. It’s hard to argue and say he hasn’t pulled off many good moves. The best move may be to hold what they have right now. I’m not sure I have the best answer. BUT, I am in agreement that they shouldn’t be giving up any big prospects right now. Probably the only move I would make is to try and get another solid right handed reliever. And that is IF I could get him without giving up a whole lot. For me that includes Schafer, Medlin, and Freeman being off limits (obviously Heyward is totally off limits).

By the way, has anyone noticed what DeRosa has done since being traded to the Cards? He’s only hitting about .250, but has 5 bombs in 13 games. He would’ve been a nice pick up.

Wes

July 28th, 2009
9:22 am

Hey Jeff, why not improve the team by promoting Heyward? The guy is hitting near .400 in Gwinnett. I know they are scared of screwing him up ala Francoeur, but can you run an organization scared? Frank Wren certainly doesn’t seem like the type..

DawginLex

July 28th, 2009
9:31 am

Gotta win a bunch more games before playoffs are even in sight. Gotta take the series vs florida. Than, the Braves play the Dodgers two series out of the next three or four. That’s scary.

Come out of that still in the race, they have a chance to sneak in.

Whopper Dawg

July 28th, 2009
9:32 am

The Dodgers, Phillies and maybe the Cardinals are legit contenders for a World Series title. If you are that kind of club, a trade of the sort mentioned makes sense. What the Braves have been doing recently is trading the prospects to get a veteran lift to maybe the playoffs only to take an early exit. Those have not been good trades.

I would rather develop the prospects for a deep run and hopefully a title in 2010/2011. Remember how we built the 90s dynasty, with the kids and very selective (cheap) veteran additions.

Stand pat and I will be quite content to sit during the playoffs this year with the expectation that we have brighter years in front of us.

Blackberry Cobbler

July 28th, 2009
9:34 am

Another thing…………..

the way the other guys are playing, this team would be a lot better if and when Chipper gets on track. This hasn’t exactly been a good year for him and he’d be the first to admit that.

Jeff R

July 28th, 2009
9:38 am

Bravos pitching is good, though the team could use a boost to the middle inning relief squad. But that wouldn’t involve as major deal.

The hitting has come around lately. Why mess with success?

Note the the Phillies haven’t pulled the trigger on Halladay. Management isn’t willing to give up Happ and Drabek in a package for the very talented veteran. Makes perfect sense. The Phillies are playing it smart.

Jeff Schultz

July 28th, 2009
9:38 am

Chris — I don’t think Kelly Johnson will be back with the Braves next season. Even if they don’t trade him, I don;t believe he’ll be re-signed because the front office won;’t think he;ll justify the salary, and now they’ve got Martin Prado.

Max Power — The Braves are not taking on Dunn’s salary.

Wes — I don’t see the rush with Heyward. We’ve seen how minor-league stats can be misleading when it comes to bringing up a player. He can wait until rosters expand late in the year, and then maybe next year.

homer

July 28th, 2009
9:39 am

Hey, Wes…good thinking, man. Only problem is Heyward is not playing at Gwinnett…he is still in AA.

bvillebaron

July 28th, 2009
9:44 am

Atticus:

I noticed how you conveniently failed to mention that the Braves also included Neftali Feliz in the Texeira disaster. You are entitled to your opinion, but a number of posters agree with me that the last thing this team needs to do is trade more minor league talent for rental mercenaries like Texeira. Stand pat or at least make a McLouth type trade (you know a young player who can help now and will be around for a while).