Good morning. The Braves haven’t made a trade yet. Why do I get the feeling I’ll be able to type the same thing after breakfast?
Did something a little bit different last night, while switching between the Braves-Marlins and the “The Doors” movie on HBO (and by the way, it turns out Jim Morrison was kind of dark and had a drinking problem). I arranged all of the National League playoff contenders by winning percentage. The idea was to determine if only the best teams are being aggressive as they approached the trade deadline.
The maybe-not-so-shocking results: Yes.
As you go down the list, notice how as the winning percentages decrease, the lesser teams are napping. (This includes your Braves: No. 8 with a bullet.) Now, doing nothing isn’t surprising for a non-playoff contender, unless you’re the Pittsburgh Pirates and the idea is to see how much you can sell off your major organs for. But every team I’m listing below is at least a legitimate wild-card contender. Or is supposed to be.
♦ 1. Dodgers (.618): They just made a trade with Baltimore for All-Star reliever George Sherrill, who can close or be a set-up man. There’s the added bonus of Sherrill not having failed a drug test in 2003, which sets him apart in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
♦ 2. Phillies (.580): The team the Braves have pretty much ceased chasing in the East tried to swing a deal for Toronto pitcher Roy Halladay but couldn’t get him. So they settled for Cleveland’s Cliff Lee, a Cy Young winner. Assuming we can call that settling.
♦ 3. Giants (.549) They’re one of the teams that has benefited most from the Pirates’ yard sale, acquiring All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez.
♦ 4. Cubs (.540): Not a huge move but a solid one, acquiring reliever John Grabow from Pittsburgh. Grabow is 3-0 with a 3.42 earned run average. Seems like he’s a guy who could have helped the Braves’ bullpen.
♦ 5. Rockies (.539): Nothing big this week but last week added set-up man Rafael Betancourt from Cleveland. Opponents were hitting .225 against him. So far he’s allowed one base runner in three appearances in Colorado.
♦ 6. Cardinals (.533): Acquired someone who potentially could’ve put the Braves over the top for a wild-card spot: Oakland outfielder/first baseman Matt Holliday, a legitimate home run hitter. (Correction from earlier reference to “40-home run hitter.”)
♦ 7. Marlins (.520): Nothing.
♦ 8. Braves (.510): Nothing.
♦ 9. Brewers (.500): Nothing.
♦ 10. Astros (.500): Nothing.
Does this disturb you? We’ve weighed in on the whole should-the-Braves-deal-or-stand-pat thing several times. But seeing them at the bottom of this list and doing nothing jumps out at me. Isn’t the idea to be aggressive in a pennant stretch? Or is this just about 2010?