Over the next few days, how the Braves and Falcons are viewed could change significantly. Or not at all. Here’s the question: Which team would be taking the bigger risk by doing nothing?
♦ Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is Sunday. The feeling here is that the Braves need to do something.
I wasn’t completely convinced of this. But when center fielder Jordan Schafer’s finger injury turned out to be a slight bone chip and not just a sprain, and Chipper Jones tweaked his quadriceps in his first game back from a knee injury, it raised the level of concern. Adding Carlos Beltran to the rotation of outfielders — he can play center or right field, possibly in a platoon with the struggling Jason Heyward — would be huge. I know some are pushing for Houston’s Hunter Pence instead, but given that Pence is a 28-year-old batting .308, logic says he would cost significantly more in a trade — and there’s no certainty general manager Frank Wren even wants to give the New York Mets pitching prospect Mike Minor for Beltran.
♦ The Falcons decided to go the route of offense at the top of their draft, taking Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. But now that the lockout is over and free agency is here, the defense needs to be addressed.
I know some fans were upset with the drafting of Jones, given that their last view of the Falcons had the defense getting dismembered by the Green Bay Packers. But the offense needed another game-breaker, somebody who can change the tone of a game. Jones does that
But now, the pass rush must be improved. There are increasing indications that the Falcons may be priced out of the market for the likes of Ray Edwards and Carolina’s Charles Johnson. General manager Thomas Dimitroff’s focus right now appears to be on keeping the bulk of the starting offensive line intact, particularly tackle Tyson Clabo and guard Harvey Dahl. That would be a positive. But to assume the defense is going to get better just because Peria Jerry will be another year removed from a major injury and other young players will be further along is risky.
Who would be taking the bigger risk by doing nothing? It’s close. But I’ll say the Falcons. The Braves showed their resiliency last season after a flurry of injuries. Adding Beltran or Pence turns a strong team into a potential World Series team. But if the Falcons don’t add a pass rusher, they’re banking on a lot of things going right, particularly with their front four.
Ideally, both franchises make a move.
What are your thoughts — who’s taking the bigger risk with no move?
By Jeff Schultz