A rumor popped up a few days ago that the Braves might have some interest in San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, which is interesting because I proposed the same thing in November.
As I wrote then, the Padres need to trim payroll and there is absolutely no downside to the Braves pursuing a trade for Gonzalez: 1) He gives them a dependable power hitter and run producer; 2) He fills the great black hole that always seems to exist at first base in Turner Field; 3) He has a favorable contract ($4.75 million and $5.5 million this season and in 2011, respectively); 4) His name isn’t Troy Glaus.
Would Braves general manager Frank Wren have to deal some prospects for Gonzalez? Yes. Do the Braves still feel somewhat burned by the Mark Teixeira trade? Probably. But there comes a time when a franchise has to push the button on a deal, and the Braves can’t afford to drop too far out of the race and potentially miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
Now, back to Glaus. There is no shortage of problems in the lineup. We can start at leadoff, where the Braves are batting a sickly .091 — last in the majors by a longshot. Texas is next lowest at .138. The major league average is .252.
Detroit, which is led by would-be Brave Johnny Damon’s .323, is hitting .313 at leadoff. Sorry, just had to throw that in.
Chances are the Braves will have to deal with the leadoff issue all season. Their hope is that Nate McLouth or another player eventually gets hot (or even tepid) in that role. Or that Jordan Schafer can be brought back up and he takes it over. There just aren’t a lot of great leadoff hitters around.
The Glaus situation is different. The worst news is not that he stinks (.186 batting average, 17 strikeouts in 59 at-bats; slugging percentage of .305, even worse than Omar Infante’s .346). The worst news is that he might not get better. Consider that Glaus’ career stats show that his best months are April and May. In other words, this might be as good as it gets.
The career splits:
For what it’s worth, here are Gonzalez’ current statistics: .317, 6 homers, 14 RBI, .667 slugging, .429 on-base percentage, 1.095 OPS.
So the question is: How long can Wren afford to wait before pursuing a deal? And since some of you will bring up Freddie Freeman, here’s my view: Freeman can stay in the minors one more season. He’s not ready yet. Next year is next year, and that issue can be dealt with then. It’s about making something of this season.
Earlier posts today